User talk:Jimbo Wales/Archive 88

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Block Sottolacqua

I've seen the score chart, styles, scores, and songs, and call-out order be removed. Sottolacqua made a page biased, and lack reputable sources, and miss the most information in Dancing with the Stars (U.S. season 12). She also removed a warning I've wrote to her. The answer is there. I want her gone and to never come back to editing and removing important stuff with Dancing with the Stars (U.S. season 12). --Plankton5165 (talk) 04:24, 11 November 2011 (UTC)

  • Thanks for notifying Jimbo. Perhaps some people do not realize that TV series was one of the high-rated TV shows in the U.S. for the year (with the daughter of the U.S. Republican vice-presidential candidate), and many aspects are discussed each week (in which the show is broadcast) on several other U.S. national TV shows as sources for details. I am sure that detailed sources can be found to support the score charts, songs and dance styles. However, please be patient as it might take a few days to get the source links together. Again, thanks for the notice. I feel you were right to be alarmed, but this will likely be settled within a few days. -Wikid77 (talk) 16:13, 12 November 2011 (UTC)
  • Deletion of score-tables from old game-show articles: This situation is basically major deletionist-vs-inclusionist, where a 4-year editor has blanked whole sections of score-charts in multiple TV-dance-competition articles as "unsourced" even though the charts had been crafted over months of news reports about the high-ranking TV shows. The deletion was aggressive, as one-person no-consensus blanking with warnings not to re-add the tables, which had been developed months and years ago. Naturally, some editors who added tables were frustrated. The sources for score-numbers are scattered, and so sourcing all the numbers will be a tedious job spanning days or weeks of reviewing old news reports. Fortunately, the sources for high-ranking TV shows remain on the Internet for years, and can be found quickly eventually. However, some tables included average-score numbers which editors had hand-calculated from the raw score-number data, which is being debated as WP:OR of adding numbers and dividing by 10. See bottom topics in related talk-pages:
         • Talk:Dancing_with_the_Stars_(U.S._season_11)
         • Talk:Dancing_with_the_Stars_(U.S._season_12)
    Perhaps there should be a guideline about collecting score-data in article charts, and a less-disruptive way to challenge data which has been collected over several months, years ago (or is there a guideline already?). -Wikid77 (talk) 14:49, 13 November 2011 (UTC)

Resignation of Silvio Berlusconi

I have no strong opinion, but shouldn't this discussion be at the talk page?
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.

Any takers anybody to expand this?♦ Dr. Blofeld 22:54, 12 November 2011 (UTC)

A separate article on a resignation? See WP:NOTNEWSPAPER and WP:RECENTISM. Hans Adler 11:36, 13 November 2011 (UTC)

Considering the way Berlusconi ran the show for so many years in Italy it seems a very notable event in Italian politics that he would resign and surely longer article could be written about it examining his reasons for doing. WP:NOTNEWSPAPER and WP:RECENTISM you could argue could be used to argue against any event in world politics. If in due course it is merged then so be it but Berlusconi's article is already excessively long...♦ Dr. Blofeld 11:43, 13 November 2011 (UTC)

You are assuming that this isn't just a trick to ensure his re-election 3 months or so from now. Wouldn't be the first short intermezzo to his reign, either. If the Berlusconi article is too long, then trivial stuff should be removed or it should be refactored into larger subarticles per WP:Summary style. Blowing up tiny details in this way doesn't help. Hans Adler 12:43, 13 November 2011 (UTC)

I just asked for some help with expanding it! Jeez, I thought you'd support me. ♦ Dr. Blofeld 13:31, 13 November 2011 (UTC)

I have no problems with merging it, but as I say the article is too long.♦ Dr. Blofeld 14:08, 13 November 2011 (UTC)

Ireland's records

The Irish burned their genealogical records during the early troubles. (A few of them anyway). But the original records often remain in the churches. Wouldn't this be a splendid new wikia project? Kittybrewster 13:54, 13 November 2011 (UTC)

Sounds cool! By the way I'm working on the schedule for that thing you emailed me about... will let you know later today I hope!--Jimbo Wales (talk) 13:58, 13 November 2011 (UTC)
Can you persuade someone else to kick it off? Kittybrewster 14:34, 13 November 2011 (UTC)

Wikipedia languages

Interesting piece in the Guardian today about the work of some Oxford University researchers: The world of Wikipedia's languages mapped. (talk) 16:11, 11 November 2011 (UTC)

I have mentioned this to the editors of Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost.
Wavelength (talk) 05:11, 12 November 2011 (UTC)
This covers only English Wikipedia as is stated on the map when you click on it.[1] It would be more interesting to see a map of all Wikipedia languages. Naturally people are more likely to contribute in their own native language. SpeakFree (talk)(contribs) 19:46, 12 November 2011 (UTC)
The article (The world of Wikipedia's languages mapped | News | has maps for English, French, Arabic, Egyptian Arabic, Persian, and Swahili.
Wavelength (talk) 21:55, 12 November 2011 (UTC)
This visualization won the prize at WikiSym this year & is truely global, though using different data from the Oxford one. It's a hard link to find by the way, they should update the WikiSym site “A Thousand Fibers Connect Us — Wikipedia’s Global Reach". Hours of fun! Johnbod (talk) 13:58, 13 November 2011 (UTC)

Thanks Wavelength, I hadn't thought of The Signpost. I did add it just now to Wikipedia:Press coverage 2011, which I found by way of The Signpost talk page. Finding anything here is like sorting through a jumble drawer. (talk) 22:34, 13 November 2011 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Editor's index to Wikipedia can help editors to find useful pages. Wikipedia Signpost is listed under "News".
Wavelength (talk) 01:58, 14 November 2011 (UTC)
Wikipedia – The Missing Manual is helpful, also.
Wavelength (talk) 04:49, 14 November 2011 (UTC)
Thank you, but Wikipedia:Press coverage 2011 is NOT listed in either of those two sources. This is a list of what links to it. This is yet another example of how Wikipedia is highly unwelcoming to those who don't know the secret pathways which continue to increase. Wikimedia says it's Wikipedia's problem, and Wikipedia says it's not a problem at all. Brilliant. (talk) 17:42, 14 November 2011 (UTC)
From Wikipedia:Six degrees of Wikipedia, I visited Link Two Articles on Wikipedia, and I found this chain of links.
Wavelength (talk) 19:26, 14 November 2011 (UTC) and 19:27, 14 November 2011 (UTC)

Missing info


Thanks, Looie496. Of course, I'm still not sure what it means, if anything.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 20:20, 13 November 2011 (UTC)
It's either WP:SOAPBOX, or that some article, somewhere in the various linguistic editions of Wikipedia needs a WP:SOFIXIT (but the specific article might be semi'd...the Trujillo name rings a bell for some reason) (talk→ BWilkins ←track) 11:59, 14 November 2011 (UTC)
Probably Rafael Trujillo, long-time dictator of the Dominican Republic. The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 14:47, 15 November 2011 (UTC)

Where "every word doth almost tell"

I was amazed that Wikipedia does not currently note the pun, with the Shakespeare authorship question, to compare the line from Sonnet 76, about the name "de Vere". For years, the pun has been noted elsewhere, in the line "that every word doth almost tell my name" with the name "deVere" and the word "eVery" as almost telling the name. This is just another major curious omission, where outside sources note the connection, but it is found nowhere in Wikipedia. The concern is not just the years when plays were published, and the potential for unfinished plays to be pen-named later, but also the possible double entendre in that unusual line of poetry. Add this to the long list of simple, easy topics to add to Wikipedia. -Wikid77 (talk) 17:29, 13 November 2011 (UTC)

We have policy for this sort of thing Wikid77 (we have policy for eveything!)-WP:SOFIXIT. Basically if you see a gap, jump in and be bold. Ceoil (talk) 17:37, 13 November 2011 (UTC)
When it comes to the Shakespeare authorship question, boldness is not the best advice for ideas that may be viewed as fringe. Bringing it up on the article's talk page is the best advice. Looie496 (talk) 17:42, 13 November 2011 (UTC)
Agreed. Ceoil (talk) 18:35, 13 November 2011 (UTC)
I only sort of agree. I think the area needs a large influx of uninvolved editors to help alleviate the ongoing issues of general hostility. I have no opinion at all about the particular issue that Wikid77 has raised, since I know next to nothing about it. But speaking philosophically, the idea that views that are academically fringe but popularly repeated must be systematically *excluded* from Wikipedia strikes me as completely wrong. Rather, we have a responsibility to educate the public that although such things are commonly repeated, they are given little (or even no) credibility by authorities.
The reason I do agree, though only partly, with Looie496, is that it's really hard to recommend to anyone without a bit of a caveat or warning to go into an area like that and "be bold". It's going to be an unpleasant experience, I'm afraid, if you do - even if it is the right thing for Wikipedia.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 20:01, 13 November 2011 (UTC)
There are no reasons at all to expect an unpleasant experience if an editor works responsibly and in conformity to Wikipedia policies and guidelines and—in the SAQ area—pays attention to the final arbitration decision. Both new editors and those who should know better encounter friction when trying to insert inappropriate material and links into other articles. In the case of Wikid77's above suggestion, the place for that would be in the Oxfordian theory of Shakespeare authorship article, not the Shakespeare authorship question article (which is for more generic anti-Stratfordian material), and not the Shakespeare's sonnets article or the Sonnet 76 page. A good basic understanding of the WP:FRINGE guidelines and the WP:NPOV polices, especially WP:WEIGHT and WP:ONEWAY, would go a long way to resolving the great majority of problems engendered by that area of Wikipedia. Tom Reedy (talk) 02:58, 14 November 2011 (UTC)
I don't agree with you. The hostility I have seen in that area goes far beyond that sort of thing. Someone can come in, adhere to policy perfectly well, and get treated very badly. It's an ugly situation.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 10:45, 14 November 2011 (UTC)
A few examples would be useful. Tom Reedy (talk) 13:07, 14 November 2011 (UTC)
Naming names might cause an escalation, but the main point is to be more welcoming, and more subtle in rejecting ideas. People get the message by just saying, "I am not sure there is much support for that view," rather than, "If you continue to push your pet fringe theories, it can only end badly for you". Something to consider. -Wikid77 14:16, 14 November 2011 (UTC)
I was asking for examples of editors coming in and adhering to policy and being treated badly. An explicit warning to an experienced editor seems prudent to me and could even avoid a future confrontation, but I gather that's not what Jim's talking about. I'm as tired as anybody else of the constant jockeying for advantage. It would be a better situation for all if editors understood and conformed to policies instead of looking for loopholes and quoting them out of context. One would have thought that the arbitration would have made things clearer for all, but one would be wrong in thinking so, wouldn't one? Tom Reedy (talk) 14:42, 14 November 2011 (UTC)


It appears to have been recreated - Wikipedia:Run to Mommy - Off2riorob (talk) 12:50, 14 November 2011 (UTC)

The discussion for the redirect is at Wikipedia:Redirects for discussion/Log/2011 November 13 - perhaps it needs wider publicity. I am pretty certain the community is against the creation of such a redirect. Off2riorob (talk) 12:53, 14 November 2011 (UTC)

Indeed.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 13:05, 14 November 2011 (UTC)

I don't endorse the language used by Pink Oboe above, but I do endorse his (?) request: please undelete this. There was an active deletion discussion in progress, the redirect does not unambiguously meet the speedy-deletion criteria, there is precedent for similar redirects (see the various redirects to ANI, for example), and your deletion circumvented the established process for dealing with such discussions. Nikkimaria (talk) 13:17, 14 November 2011 (UTC)

Non of the redirects to ANI are comparable and demeaning and attacking towards users that work there and to the whole dispute resolution process. If I had the tool I would have deleted and protected it on sight and there would have been no discussion. It was basically an attack redirect without a single beneficial use apart from that.Off2riorob (talk) 13:30, 14 November 2011 (UTC)
"Cesspit"? I don't see how this particular redirect is particularly "demeaning and attacking towards users that work there", and quite honestly I think this particular part of the DR process merits the redirect. A good analogy would be the frequent reference to RfA as "poisonous" - it reflects the state/effect of the process, not necessarily the relative merits of contributors there. Nikkimaria (talk) 13:36, 14 November 2011 (UTC)
ANI:Cesspit is incomparable imo. Calling ANI a cesspit is totally different to demeaning users with such comments as, go on then ya big sissy, run to Mommy. I think you are not looking at the problems usage of such a redirect would cause and the detrimental affect it would have on dispute resolution. Off2riorob (talk) 13:47, 14 November 2011 (UTC)
Rob, your argument was that the redirect was insulting to contributors at WQA. Which, to your mind, is more offensive: suggesting that a user is raw sewage, or suggesting that they are a maternal figure? Your argument is simply illogical. Nikkimaria (talk) 13:56, 14 November 2011 (UTC)
ANI:Cesspit simple describes what we all know that ANI can get messy sometimes and that if your get reported there you are likely in the proverbial s**t. Totally different to you running to your Mommy every time you don't like something. Off2riorob (talk) 14:05, 14 November 2011 (UTC)
...which similarly describes "what we all know" and is a fairly accurate depiction of WQA. Look, there's no need to rehash the whole deletion discussion here - what should happen is that the out-of-process deletion is reversed and the discussion allowed to reach whatever conclusion community consensus decides. Nikkimaria (talk) 14:23, 14 November 2011 (UTC)
I don't know what you are so down on the dispute resolution for - you only have one single contribution there from Nov 2010. Off2riorob (talk) 14:37, 14 November 2011 (UTC)
There's a very good reason for that, which is completely irrelevant to this discussion - again, this is about the out-of-process deletion, not the deletion arguments themselves. Nikkimaria (talk) 14:43, 14 November 2011 (UTC)
Its a speedy delete of an attack redirect. Off2riorob (talk) 14:46, 14 November 2011 (UTC)
Doesn't meet G10: not unambiguous, attack is not its only purpose. Nikkimaria (talk) 15:07, 14 November 2011 (UTC)

Good call, Jimbo. Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 > haneʼ 13:18, 14 November 2011 (UTC)

To belittle and demean users - its enough of an attack creation for a speedy delete. Off2riorob (talk) 15:18, 14 November 2011 (UTC)

I cheerfully tossed in the first keep, more for a poke in the eye of the ridiculousness of WQA than anything, but really guys, this doesn't stance a chance in hell of being retained. Let it go. Tarc (talk) 13:27, 14 November 2011 (UTC)

I agree with Tarc --Guerillero | My Talk 14:45, 14 November 2011 (UTC)
Agreed as well. Besides, the redirect is ambiguous. Thinking on recent discussions I've seen/been involved with, "Run to Mommy (Daddy)" could apply to any of WQA, ANI, ARBCOM or even this very talk page. I admit, I chuckled, but this redirect serves only to demean the people that, well, run to mommy. WP:PITCHFORKS for ANI might be my favourite redirect, btw. Resolute 16:45, 14 November 2011 (UTC)



I saw your remark on User talk:Off2riorob about civility, and wanted to say that this is a thoughtful, concise and persuasive argument for one of our essential five pillars. I may quote it to to others, though I may be accused of trying to curry favor with this encyclopedia's most prominent contributor. So be it. Cullen328 Let's discuss it 18:03, 15 November 2011 (UTC)

Cullen328 is a mensch addressing either lords or commons.  Kiefer.Wolfowitz 18:24, 15 November 2011 (UTC)
Thank you, KW, I try. I've added the quote from Jimbo to the beginning of User talk:Cullen328. Cullen328 Let's discuss it 18:31, 15 November 2011 (UTC)


Hi, I'm directing this quiry to you as I can't find any one else.


Flattr is a donation system where users give an amount of their choosing to Flattr. Then they click Flattr buttons on websites. If a user clicks on 100 of these in a mounth then each website will get a 100th of the money they gave to Flattr. One problem is that you can Flattr a twitter user even if they don't have a Flattr account so a bunch of this money goes unclaimed. Wikipedia is one such example. @Wikipedia has 161 people wanting to give it money. To claim this you would need a Flattr account and the login details for @Wikipedia. As I only discovered Flattr yesterday I don't know how much money this amounts to but every little bit helps. The link to the unclaimed donation is Hopefully you can organise to claim it. Thanks, Bardi1100 (talk) 21:57, 15 November 2011 (UTC)

I think the best thing will be for you to contact Zack at the Foundation, or email the donation team at They're super busy with the fundraiser right now, but in the spring when things are calm for them again, and they are regrouping to plan for next year, I'm sure they can consider this, and also look into getting whatever money is already there!--Jimbo Wales (talk) 08:13, 16 November 2011 (UTC)

Notification of RfD

There is currently a discussion at Wikipedia:Redirects_for_discussion#Wikipedia:Run_to_Mommy you might be interested in. Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 > haneʼ 00:06, 16 November 2011 (UTC)

Because sometimes the big pages take a while to load, here's the daily log it's on: Wikipedia:Redirects for discussion/Log/2011 November 15. Cheers. lifebaka++ 14:28, 16 November 2011 (UTC)

Closing RFDs

I am concerned that when you closed Wikipedia:Redirects_for_discussion/Log/2011_November_13 as a speedy deletion you violated Wikipedia:SPEEDY, unless, of course, it was an office action. I don't believe it's appropriate for admins to super-vote - even if they are voting correctly. Please consider not taking abrupt unnecessary action in the future - there is no rush, and not only did you prevent non-admins from reversing your action, you also used your gravitas as "founder." Such actions should be reserved for things that really need it. Thanks. Hipocrite (talk) 13:46, 14 November 2011 (UTC)

I think that from time to time it is valuable to remind people that WP:NPA is hard policy, and that civility really does matter. Snarky comments should not be given the luxury of a serious discussion and debate as if this were a serious matter to consider. Delete, salt if necessary, move on. Users whose talk page shows an astonishing degree of incivility should be blocked permanently without batting an eye, as they are destructive to our purpose of building soman encyclopedia - I won't take that last step myself, but it would be good for the encyclopedia to re-establish the principle that insults are absolutely unacceptable.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 13:51, 14 November 2011 (UTC)
I have added your new speedy deletion category as G13. Hipocrite (talk) 13:53, 14 November 2011 (UTC)
Thanks, but there is no new rationale needed, no new policy needed. Existing policy more than covers this sort of thing.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 14:13, 14 November 2011 (UTC)
Could you point out where? Thanks. Hipocrite (talk) 14:17, 14 November 2011 (UTC)
The right place for this discussion is at the talk page of Wikipedia talk:Wikiquette assistance
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.

Jimbo, it appears that at least one member of the community disagrees that incivil pages can be speedily deleted. Please defend your new speedy deletion rationale at WP:SPEEDY. Thanks. Hipocrite (talk) 14:02, 14 November 2011 (UTC)

sadly User:Nikkimaria has deleted it - I support it and we should seek consensus to replace it. Off2riorob (talk) 14:02, 14 November 2011 (UTC)
There's no new category needed. It's an attack, it's vandalism, delete. Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 > haneʼ 14:05, 14 November 2011 (UTC)
(ec)I hope you mean "defend it at WT:SPEEDY", not at "WP:SPEEDY", as that would be a call to edit war on a policy page. Furthermore, perhaps that one person disagrees that policy can be set by Jimbo alone, and that a talk page discussion is needed for this anyway, no matter if he agrees with the sentiment or not, or perhaps he feels that the new policy and the page deleted under that then not-existing policy don't match (i.e. that that redirect was not a PA), or perhaps he had another reason (like that G10 already applies if it is really a PA). Please don't ascribe motives to persons without very good reason. Fram (talk) 14:07, 14 November 2011 (UTC)

Sorry to bother you again but... somebody's losing it... Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 > haneʼ 14:14, 14 November 2011 (UTC)

WP:POINT is a blockable offense, and I think it's about time for it. When you add to his shocking violations of WP:NPA (see his talk page for example) I'm astonished it hasn't happened already.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 14:17, 14 November 2011 (UTC)
Jimbo, creating a template page does not disrupt the encyclopedia. I'm really concerned that you are advocating for a block here. Hipocrite (talk) 14:19, 14 November 2011 (UTC)
Ahem. Just saying... Delicious carbuncle (talk) 14:38, 14 November 2011 (UTC)
That is loud quacking indeed. Can someone block him - User:WebHamster indefed on November 6th 2009 - User:The Pink Oboe created November 6, 2009 - with an unbelievable liking of some totally obscure articles - Off2riorob (talk) 15:16, 14 November 2011 (UTC)
This "Stalker" output apparently only outputs pages where both editors edited. There is no list of discordant pages which have been edited by exactly one editor. The output is worthless for making decisions about sock-puppets. It is shocking that Off2riorob would call for a blocking and label that crap "strong quacking indeed". It should be shocking that Hipocrite (well, maybe not, considering the name) Delicious Carbuncle would post such smearing output in such a passive aggressive manner. (16:46, 14 November 2011 (UTC) Updated: My apologies to Hipocrite for the confusion, which is especially bad because I know that I should double-check names. Sincerely, KW)
That said, a non-lazy editor might do some further digging on these pages and some analysis. It is unfortunate that editors accuse any editor of being a sock-puppet so thoughtlessly.  Kiefer.Wolfowitz 15:44, 14 November 2011 (UTC)
What smearing output are you referring to, exactly? I don't recollect posting any smearing output. Hipocrite (talk) 15:54, 14 November 2011 (UTC)
Not sure why but there is a lot of opposition to this sock claim and it is quacking so loud its untrue - its been closed down like lightening at SPI. Off2riorob (talk) 15:57, 14 November 2011 (UTC)
The administrator said that the Stalker (so-called) tool's output was utterly inadequate to warrant an SPI search. Your reading will improve if you remove cliches from your thought: You should have to give 25 USD every time you refer to "quacking" on WP.  Kiefer.Wolfowitz 17:00, 14 November 2011 (UTC)
You are free to draw your own conclusions about the link I posted earlier, but perhaps you should look at this one before making up your mind completely. Delicious carbuncle (talk) 17:36, 14 November 2011 (UTC)
If you want to make an accusation, write it and deal with the consequences. Please stop this passive-aggressive behavior. Here, your posting the raw output from a very crude tool for detecting only concordant edits (meat-socking/puppet-socking tool) makes a lazy and cowardly accusation against three accounts. Your last smear against two of them was taken to SPI, by Off2RioRob, who at least made a few sentences of intelligent analysis; his SPI-request was declined.  Kiefer.Wolfowitz 20:00, 14 November 2011 (UTC)
Its totally clear, it's unquestionable for anyone that spends a half an hour investigating the edit history that the three users are the same person. Off2riorob (talk) 20:40, 14 November 2011 (UTC)
Kiefer.Wolfowitz, The Pink Oboe is heading towards being indef blocked in the near future for their own actions, so it isn't a good use of anyone's time to do more than point out the obvious. If you think there should be consequences for that, feel free to start a thread on ANI. I'm sure you can find a sympathetic admin who will be only to happy to rap my knuckles. Delicious carbuncle (talk) 21:01, 14 November 2011 (UTC)

This all is one of the main reasons why out-of-process deletions like this one are so often a bad idea. If you had let the discussion run its course, probably none of the current problems would have happened. Fram (talk) 14:22, 14 November 2011 (UTC)

Agreed. Please see the DRV. Nikkimaria (talk) 17:16, 14 November 2011 (UTC)


I think that from time to time it is valuable to remind people that WP:NPA is hard policy, and that civility really does matter. --Jimbo Wales (talk) 13:51, 14 November 2011 (UTC)

  1. 14:24, November 13, 2011 An admin, Stephan Schulz, tells two users to "Shut the fuck up" at WQA.
  2. 18:13, 13 November 2011 (UTC) SandyGeorgia starts a discussion of the civility double standards at Malleus's talk page.
  3. 19:02, November 13, 2011 (UTC) approximately The Pink Oboe posts a "Run to mommy" redirect to WQA.
  4. 19:26 and 19:27, November 13, 2011 (UTC) Off2riorob posts (then removes) a vulgarity directed at Pink Oboe.
  5. 12:45, November 14, 2011 (UTC) While missing two gross instances of uncivil posting-- one from a admin, both specifically directed at other editors—Jimbo goes out of process to close an RfD that might offend a vague "someone" while curiously stating that "civility really does matter".

So, if "civility really does matter", why didn't you (YOU, Jimbo) do something about the two gross instances of incivility or say something to those editors while you deleted the redirect and dealt with The Pink Oboe? Is there nothing that will draw attention to the civility double standard on Wikipedia, and how it is frequently (and falsely) claimed that content contributors get a free pass while admins get away with whatever they want? I apologize if you actually did do something to address the underlying uncivil admin post that led to all of this, but if you did, I can't find it. An admin can tell two other editors to "shut the fuck up", and no one bats an eyelash at the Administrators' noticeboard. Yep, civility really does matter. So, ANI is a cesspool, WQA is "run to mommy", and now you, Jimbo, have put yourself in a position of "run to daddy"-- like many fathers, you wandered in to a scuffle, listened to half a story, meted out some punishment, and wandered off, while the real "civility" abuser got off scot free. If you are serious about civility (and there was no NPA except the retracted one from Off2riorob), then DO something about it as BOLD as you did about the Redirect-- start with Stephan Schulz. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 16:10, 14 November 2011 (UTC)

I didn't punish anyone. I am serious about personal attacks, particularly coming from admins, this is the first I have heard of it. I didn't "wander off" I'm right here. No one has gotten off scot free. And if you think there was no personal attack from The Pink Oboe, you haven't been paying attention. Go read his talk page. Look at his edit history. It is a constant stream of abuse. He called me a "fucking programmer", whatever that means. It's not acceptable. And yes, if an admin behaves in that way, they should be desysopped. There should be no double standards on civility, and crying about double standards should never be a reason to let someone get away with bad behavior. Let's clean house. If people are here to work together in mutual respect to get something useful done, then great. If they are here to abuse and harass others, let's be done with them so we can have a better environment. Gentle outreach to newcomers who are behaving badly is the right thing to do. But for a user who has been around - sockpuppet or no - as long as The Pink Oboe, there's no reason to put up with it any more.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 16:16, 14 November 2011 (UTC)
Correct that you haven't "wandered off", correct that I didn't know you were addressing The Pink Oboe's entire editing history in the one diff to his talk page, and for "cleaning house": money --> mouth --> Stephan Schulz. No way is this "civility" business ever going to be anything but a double standard and a joke if Malleus gets blocked for "arse" while admins can tell two editors to "shut the fuck up" and not an eyelash is batted an AN. If we're serious, let's start where the problem starts (admin abuse and double standards in enforcement of civility and personal attacks). SandyGeorgia (Talk) 16:30, 14 November 2011 (UTC)
I have now spoken to both Stephan Schulz and Off2Riorob. Thanks for calling those things to my attention. My primary interest here is to encourage everyone to reach within ourselves for a higher standard of behavior. Responding to people like Malleus when he's misbehaving by misbehaving further does not resolve the problem. Instead, insisting that everyone behave themselves is the right way forward. I don't think there is a huge and ongoing problem with a double standard, but there are people - respected editors, respected admins too - who really should rethink this issue.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 16:33, 14 November 2011 (UTC)
Thank you for the quick response. Now, as to Malleus and moi-- as long as admin abuse goes on and is frequently directed at Malleus (or any editor who has contributed as much as he has to our mainpage), I will try to cheer him on whenever he is affected. The notion that all that has been directed at him doesn't bother him is bunk, and that is why others rally whenever it inevitably happens again. That is not the same as defending any perceived misbehavior-- since it is almost always about pointing out the double standard. When admins are dealt with the same way that Malleus is dealt with, then folks will have an argument about Malleus's perceived indiscretions. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 16:39, 14 November 2011 (UTC)
Regarding Malleus, Jimbo, your comments are really unfair. If you look at his talk page now, you can see that he has immediately rushed to help high-school students with their AP Biology projects and given a lot of help to other users. You should not be spreading the scapegoating of Malleus here, particularly when he is being so helpful to new editors and acting as an exemplary Wikipedian.
In my experience, Malleus describes others' behavior roughly only when he is responding to rudeness or personal attacks or when anybody would be exasperated by another editor's cluelessness.  Kiefer.Wolfowitz 17:12, 14 November 2011 (UTC)
I didn't really say much about Malleus, so I don't see how it is unfair. My point is that when he misbehaves (you concede that he does, although you justify it on his behalf), the right answer is not to misbehave back at him. I don't see how that's unfair to him.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 17:20, 14 November 2011 (UTC)
I did not justify misbehavior by MF. Violations of WP:Retaliation or exasperation are human failings. I object to your bringing up MF, gratuitiously and without mentioning the context, especially the frequent provocations/personal-attacks by administrators against him, in a discussion of double standards. Your error was alleging that MF is the one misbehaving and that others should not retaliate against him, when a look at the record shows that the first blood drawn has usually been his.
You are quoted (like objectivists quote Ayn Rand) by the youth at RfA deform, who mimic your behavior without your careful phrasing. The RfA discussions feature frequent PAs against MF, and you can set a better example.  Kiefer.Wolfowitz 17:33, 14 November 2011 (UTC)
I didn't bring up MF, someone else did. I don't see how you can characterize me responding to someone else as bringing him up gratuitously. I do not agree with your analysis of the record in his case.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 08:43, 15 November 2011 (UTC)
Let me add that I didn't tell anybody to shut up. I told two editors engaged in what can be politely phrased as "an unconstructive personal discussion" that they can shut the fuck up. Apparently this subtle distinction was not universally perceived. I'll try for less subtlety in the future. However, I'll strongly maintain that indeed civility is more than skin-deep, and is not determined by a list of seven dirty words, but rather by cases of personal attacks, suggestions of bad faith (no matter how politely phrased), cases of WP:IDIDNTHEARTHAT, intentionally missing the point, splitting hairs when either of the half hairs leads to the same result, and so on. In other words, it requires people to pay attention to semantics, not just to syntax. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 16:40, 14 November 2011 (UTC)
Yes, well, non-admins don't have the luxury of making the same argument about semantics v syntax-- instead, they find themselves on the end of a block, and then escalating blocks as other admins use the block log as a further excuse to block. So, best advice to you is to stop rationalizing your inappropriate response and behave as expected of admins so civility enforcement will be equal. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 16:52, 14 November 2011 (UTC)
I dislike the administrator/writer double standard, however .... Stephen Schulz's comment seemed to me at first, and still seems to me, to have been intended with humor/good-will, and should be read in the context of the thread, which was then closing. It was not Stephen's first comment to an editor, coming out of nowhere, where it would have been utterly inappropriate. Even so, its reception, even by the tolerant SandyGeorgia, reminds us to use caution with "fuck" and to use winks and smiles liberally. :)  Kiefer.Wolfowitz 17:05, 14 November 2011 (UTC)
On Stephen's talk page, somebody explained that "Shut the fuck up" is often used humorously, recalling (my hero) Walter Sobchak.
Now, all of you who cannot find something better to do are about to enter a world of pain ....  Kiefer.Wolfowitz 08:47, 15 November 2011 (UTC)

SandyGeorgia....those that feel Malleus is at the very least "difficult" aren't delusional.MONGO 17:33, 14 November 2011 (UTC)

And yet another discussion of the double standard goes off-topic to Malleus, who had nothing to do with the entire incident (other than me posting about it to his talk). Beating this dead horse is boring: simple point is, what would happen if Malleus told two editors to "shut the fuck up" and why can an admin do it and then argue "semantics"? I'm equally dismayed at Jimbo's characterization of Malleus ("people like Malleus"), but that's enough for today from me. If the point hasn't been made clearly, it's hopeless. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 17:38, 14 November 2011 (UTC)
There is no reason to have hope. Hope is not a natural but is a theological virtue.  Kiefer.Wolfowitz 17:42, 14 November 2011 (UTC)
Sandy...yes, double standards.MONGO 18:05, 14 November 2011 (UTC)
Speaking for myself, I'm rather fond of the f word. So fond, I utter it only amongst close friends, or if not in anger or whatever, perhaps to those who can see my face and/or hear the spin of how I say it. In my travels throughout the world, I've said to folks who didn't learn how to speak English with other kids on the playgrounds, don't even think about trying to say it, you'll get it wrong and sooner or later piss someone off, or turn them off. Likewise me saying it to the latter and more or less never online (alas). Anyway, if there's any topic where Jimmy and I seem to think alike, it's this one. Be cool, try to be what he calls "professional." It takes one far, in ways both seen and unseen. It's worthwhile. Only my 2 pence. Oh and as to hope, my take on that is straightforward. Without some kind of meaningful faith, yep, give up all hope. Gwen Gale (talk) 17:47, 14 November 2011 (UTC)
I would point out this is the English language Wikipedia. Some words which are considered highly offensive in the US are commonly used in the UK and other English-speaking countries and are considered casual slang rather than serious insults. Let's be aware of cultural differences, and that we are separated by a common language. iow, stop using words once you know others interpret them differently than you do, and stop assuming everyone using a word means it in the worst possible way. AGF and do unto others as you would have them do unto you. (talk) 17:58, 14 November 2011 (UTC)
I don't think any of this is about particular words.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 08:43, 15 November 2011 (UTC)
I do agree: these are double-standars and Jimbo encourages them. -- ClaudioSantos¿? 19:07, 14 November 2011 (UTC)
I do not encourage double standards at all. Can you explain to me why you said this?--Jimbo Wales (talk) 08:43, 15 November 2011 (UTC)
What a surprise; like a bad smell made even worse by a short retirement, MONGO again wafts into a room to have a pop at Malleus, and in doing so calls a range of editors "delusional". And note the distinct lack of any NPA warning on his talk page. Parrot of Doom 21:11, 14 November 2011 (UTC), not what I wrote at responding to SandyGeorgia, I merely stated that those that think Malleus is "difficult" (which was an extremely kind generalization from my perspective) are not (aren't) delusional.MONGO 21:29, 14 November 2011 (UTC)
It's quite clear that your only reason for posting here is to have another pop at Malleus. Perhaps you should spend more time defending poor-quality articles. Parrot of Doom 21:50, 14 November 2011 (UTC)
That isn't the case. It's very disappointing that chronic and persistant incivility by any editor is defended.--MONGO 03:31, 15 November 2011 (UTC)
I agree.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 08:43, 15 November 2011 (UTC)
One doubts that you read this page Jimbo, before making that reply. MONGO is obviously here with an agenda that has little to do with civility. Parrot of Doom 09:34, 15 November 2011 (UTC)
Why are Mongo and Malleus not under a community sanction not to interact with or comment on each other's actions and motivations? It's not quite six of one half a dozen of the other, but neither party is all sweetness and light (and one-sided interaction bans rarely work, cf Russavia-Biophys). This should allow both of them to get on with more productive tasks than throwing mud at one another? Thryduulf (talk) 10:57, 15 November 2011 (UTC)
WTF? MF isn't here. Does he have a history of seeking out Mongo?  Kiefer.Wolfowitz 11:42, 15 November 2011 (UTC)
I don't know. I was responding to my reading of the discussion Parrot of Doom linked to as much as what is written on this page (I should have made that clear, sorry), where the back and forth between them was not a good advert for anything, regardless of who started it. Also, as I did make clear above, one-sided interaction bans very rarely work. Thryduulf (talk) 12:00, 15 November 2011 (UTC)
Odd, it was the comments made by Malleus at that GAR and the talk page of the article in review which led a neutral admin to place a warning of impending topic ban (per arbcom expectation) on Malleus's usertalk...I made it clear that having that article remain a GA was of less importance than ensuring conspiracy and fringe theories (which Malleus wanted to see added) were minimized. IF I was "targeting" Malleus...I could have already submitted an arbcom case with his name flashing atop it...instead the hope is that the next time an admin blocks someone (including me if need be) for persistent incivility, one of the editors buddies doesn't sweep in to unblock without a clear mandate to do so.MONGO 18:00, 15 November 2011 (UTC)

Elizabeth Windsor is a large shareholding retiree, who was predominantly unemployed throughout her working life, and occasionally a celebrity or military support worker. She has large unspecified political powers. And she keeps her emphatic-adjective mouth shut in public about politics, because of the examples of her extended family members who didn't, and lost their crowns or heads. Fifelfoo (talk) 21:53, 14 November 2011 (UTC)

  • Perhaps sentence them to 100 WQA replies: I have tried to remind people that, in olden tymes, the punishment for saying the "wrong things" was having the tongue cut out. For WP's personal attacks, I am thinking a better action would be to "sentence" NPA-violators to have to post "100 replies" for WP:WQA, to explain to people how snarky comments are poisonous to WP collaborative efforts. Having to defuse 100 other snarky comments is probably the best method for teaching people to remain more civil. Plus, we would be fighting fire with fire: people who have so much time to insult others could spend that time trying to remind others to be more polite. Think of the result: 1,000 people each posting 100 reminders at WP:WQA. They would be fighting each other as to who could be more polite. -Wikid77 (talk) 01:15, 15 November 2011 (UTC)
    • For the record, I absolutely did not block Malleus for using the word "arse". I blocked him for repeatedly insulting Tbhotch and Nick Levinson after I had warned him against making personal attacks. The fact that Sandy is gladly willing to excuse any abusive behavior from her friends but insists that an admin using the word "fuck" is grounds for action is the height of hypocrisy, especially since Malleus tells people to "fuck off" on a regular basis, but no one bats an eyelash.[1][2] So who has the double standard? Kaldari (talk) 07:54, 15 November 2011 (UTC)
      • I agree. Those who are upset about double standards should be careful not to have one themselves.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 08:43, 15 November 2011 (UTC)
        • Then really Kaldari, it is long overdue that you yourself become transparent, and give the precise diffs for which you now claim you blocked Malleus. It certainly seemed clear to me at the time, and I presume most everyone else, that you made your block on Malleus because he mentioned the word "arse". I'm amazed that you stood aside all this time if that was not the case, and allowed all this venting on Wikipedia. You must be aware by now that in the United States, for reasons I would not dare to speculate on here, there seem to be many people profoundly terrorized by the mere mention of that, to them, most fraught word. A reaction not shared by people from other countries. --Epipelagic (talk) 09:26, 15 November 2011 (UTC)
          • I don't know how Kaldari decides on admin actions, but in my experience, blocks are rarely issued for "precise diffs", but for a persistent pattern of problematic behavior. Remember that blocks are supposed to be preventative, not punitive. I've not followed Malleus activity on Wikipedia (in fact, I was barely aware of him (gender assumed from the user name) before this unexpected outbreak), so I won't comment on the specific case. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 09:48, 15 November 2011 (UTC)
            • As an editor inserting myself into this discussion I will just say that I have never been blocked but have been given a gentle "advisement" by Kaldari which, under the cirumstances was totally appropriate though I might have wished he had also adived the other editor involved. My personal favorite editor is Off2riorob who, in my opinion is fair and just and if he loses his temper now and then, is generally for good reason. My trouble, speaking as a woman, has been with the unfairness of certain women administrators, who, quite frankly, and speaking as one who has had power in my past vocation, do not know how to use their power. They come in and edit an article as an editor and then come down like a hammer on other editors that do not agree with them, as an administrator. When you attempt to engage them they ignore you and delete your remarks off their page as if you were non-existent. They do not even feel the need to reference their changes and leave it up to others to do. I wish something could be done about these certain few who I am sure you all know. That is all I have to say and I am sorry if this is not quite the right place to say it but it had to be said since it is getting out of hand. I would never aspire to be an administrator because it would take all the fun out of Wiki for me. Mugginsx (talk) 12:30, 15 November 2011 (UTC)
              • I sincerely hope that Off2riorob is not an administrator, certainly not with views like this. Parrot of Doom 12:35, 15 November 2011 (UTC)
                • Changed it, I thought he was. I cannot comment on your example because I do not know the people involved he is talking about. We all have bad days. I will say that he is a veteran editor and if he isn't an administrator maybe he should be. He can cetainly find the abusers. My point is that not enough is being done to monitor especially certain blantantly abusive women administrators. It serves to make editors feel useless. Mugginsx (talk) 12:38, 15 November 2011 (UTC)
                  • This is fairly inflammatory talk, Mugginsx. Unless you can back that up I'd lay of categorizing any class of administrators grouped by sex, ethnicity, religion, or national origin as being demonstrably inferior to any other class of administrators. Sheesh. Herostratus (talk) 15:19, 15 November 2011 (UTC)
                    • I said "some" and "few" and "certain women" and never said "inferior". I stand by it and it is not nearly as inflammatory as some of the statements made here on this very page so, like it or not like it, is entirely your own decision. Mugginsx (talk) 16:18, 15 November 2011 (UTC)
                      • Not necessarily. If you're going to double down on the path of deprecating a class of editors (even with the modifier "some", which doesn't much help) by sex, ethnicity, religion, or national origin, then your fate may pass out of your own hands or mine. This is just flat unacceptable and not what we are about here, I would say. Herostratus (talk) 16:53, 15 November 2011 (UTC)
                        • "by sex, ethnicity, religion, or national origin" - does this apply to age too? Or not? --Demiurge1000 (talk) 18:43, 15 November 2011 (UTC)
                          • Not always. It depends. But constructions like "Gang of forty-something geezer admins ruining Wikipedia" and so forth are probably not helpful either. Is this a common problem? I don't recall Mugginsx mentioning anyone's age. Herostratus (talk) 19:19, 15 November 2011 (UTC)
                            • It depends? Hmm, I think the acceptability of mentioning the sex of a group of people "depends" as well then. I imagine different people have different views on whether either situation is commonly problematic. --Demiurge1000 (talk) 19:39, 15 November 2011 (UTC)
                              • No they don't, not people who wish to live in civil society and be considered gentlemen. Look, there's a difference between saying "Is Wikipedia turning into an Eternal September?" and saying "Is Wikipedia turning into da hood?" or "...a gay bathhouse" or "...a powder room" or whatever. "You kids get off my lawn!" is not the same as "You Koreans get off my lawn". I can't believe you're defending this guy. Am I really outnumbered here? If open and overtly expressed misogyny, racism, homophobia, and so forth is going to be just a "different view" here, then game over, I'd say. Herostratus (talk) 19:59, 15 November 2011 (UTC)
                                • I'm not seeing any "open and overtly expressed misogyny, racism, homophobia, and so forth" on this page. If there were any, I believe it would be a breach of Wikipedia's policy on civility, which is one of the five pillars, and thus should be removed. --Demiurge1000 (talk) 20:07, 15 November 2011 (UTC)
                                  • If you are talking about me Herostratus, I am not a guy. Mugginsx (talk) 21:05, 15 November 2011 (UTC)
                                    • "[T]he unfairness of certain women administrators". "[B]lantantly abusive women administrators". There's no reason to use the term "woman" in those passages except simple misogyny of the most loathsome stripe. If it was in the context of complaining about woman administrators abusing power to push POV in the Susan B. Anthony article or whatever, it would make some sense (though still being an egregiously inflammatory construct). But it's not. It's simply a general attack on women administrators as a class. Unbe-freaken-lievable that this is considered acceptable discourse here. Functional organizations don't permit that, period. Herostratus (talk) 07:27, 16 November 2011 (UTC)
                                      • Concur with Herostratus - that was a misogynist comment, and I'm stunned that anybody is denying it. The coy refusal to name which admins are being referred to is no help, either. --Orange Mike | Talk 17:44, 16 November 2011 (UTC)
                                        • Wonderful - a female editor accused of misogyny by two male editors, complete with random bold text, hyperbole, and a bad case of "why use the word agree if concur makes it sound more important?" People already seem to have enough trouble agreeing on what civility is and then following it, without surreal out-of-control political correctness being thrown into the equation. WP:WQA may be very little use for anything at all - which is a pity - but I think this sort of unconsciously ironic material maybe belongs there. --Demiurge1000 (talk) 18:22, 16 November 2011 (UTC)
                                          My reading of Mugginsx's comment was that it was a personal attack against a single specific admin or two who just happen(s) to be female. Not that that's much better, but I think discussing this much further wouldn't help. Hans Adler 18:39, 16 November 2011 (UTC)
  • Well you are right in the centre of the Burmuda Triangle of Political-Correctness here on Mr Wales' talk page. --The Pink Oboe (talk) 18:32, 16 November 2011 (UTC)
  • From what I'm seeing today, more like the Twilight Zone! --Demiurge1000 (talk) 18:42, 16 November 2011 (UTC)
                                          • I concur with my colleagues above that the remark was most unhelpful and that we should lay off generalisations of admins or other editors based on their backgrounds (or assumptions about their backgrounds)—gender or otherwise—unless somebody would like to present hard evidence. Continuing to make such comments after this advice to lay off might well result in a block. HJ Mitchell | Penny for your thoughts? 18:28, 16 November 2011 (UTC)
                                            • I saw the comment as foolish and inexplicably embittered, but, disagree with it or not, I'll stand up for Mugginsx's right to express her opinion on this page just like anyone else is allowed to. Unless, that is, you're planning to enforce political correctness blocks of the same sweeping nature across the board for all generalisations of this type - in which case you will be rather busy. --Demiurge1000 (talk) 18:42, 16 November 2011 (UTC)
                                              • I don't know why you would find "embitterness" "explicable". This place gets most people down in one way or another after a period of time. I think it's something do with the enforced unnatural behaviour we have to put up with. --The Pink Oboe (talk) 18:47, 16 November 2011 (UTC)
                                          • Feminist women have long learned from male feminists, whether John Stuart Mill or Amartya Sen. I believe that we all can learn from Orangemike, especially in his discussion of behavior that sounds sexist.  Kiefer.Wolfowitz 18:31, 16 November 2011 (UTC)
                                          • The comment looked sexist to this female editor too though I'll assume it wasn't intended that way. Actually I feel a little silly even mentioning my gender that way since I don't think my gender, Orange Mike's gender, Mugginsx's gender, or the gender of the unkown and possibly abusive admins should come into this at all. I'm just giving that detail about myself in response to the comment that it's "a female editor accused of misogyny by two male editors". Cloveapple (talk) 19:00, 16 November 2011 (UTC)
                                            • Thank goodness at least one person remembers to assume good faith rather than joining in with accusations and then following up with threats! And, indeed, assumptions as to the reasons for your better people skills can be left to the reader. Some of the comments made by others above suggest to me a need for a refresher course on WP:AGF in particular. --Demiurge1000 (talk) 19:43, 16 November 2011 (UTC)
                                            • I think Cloveapple has hit the nail on the head. The reason why several editors have found the comment quite offensive and sexist is because the gender of the admins should be irrelevant. Even though it may not have been intended this way, it is rather unfortunate if people can't see why making comments which sounds a lot like you are making generalisations about editors or admins based on their gender is seen as offensive and sexist and therefore withdraw those comments, when it's pointed out to them. It sounds like it was directed at certain admins, even though insufficient info has been provided that will lead to them being identified. It's of course even worse if the admins were identified, since it could easily come across as a personal attack against certain editor based on their gender. And although I'm male, I would say the same thing if another male made comments about how certain 'male admins' behaved. And I don't care whether the person making the comment considers that behaviour inferior, the point is there's no reason to suggest the behaviour has anything to do with the persons gender. The same of course if someone prescribes behaviour to race or sexuality. (Although in reality, I suspect if the comment had been 'unfairness of certain black/Jewish/Australian Aboriginal/gay/lesbian administrators' and 'not enough is being done to monitor especially certain blantantly abusive black/Jewish/Australian Aboriginal/gay/lesbian administrators', I'm not sure we would still even be discussing this, regardless of the race or sexuality of the person making the comment as I don't think anyone would have jumped in to defend the person.) Now, if the intention was not to relate the admins behaviour to their gender, but simply to use it as a form of emphasis or giving an idea of who you're referring to, consider the recent case of 'shove it right up that black arsehole' or on the topic of unfortunate things Kiwis have said, the older case of 'cheeky darkie', as to how these comments can lead to the common perception of the person saying them being a bigot, and also as an example of how when people make such comments and others take offense, a better way to deal with that is to simply apologise rather then try to defend the comments. Nil Einne (talk) 20:13, 17 November 2011 (UTC)
                                              • There's a difference between "jumping in to defend" the comments (which I haven't, in fact I've said what I think of them) and pointing out the problem with the accusations made against the editor who made them. In the UK, there's less hesitancy about mentioning facts where they're considered relevant - BBC News website's top story summary right now talks about a "black teenager" and has used that epithet every time they've mentioned that story over many weeks. All that's happened here is that Mugginsx, angry at perceived injustices, thought that certain facts were relevant. She was wrong in that (and therefore shouldn't have made the comments in that way), but that doesn't make her someone guilty of "misogyny of the most loathsome stripe" nor an urgent target for a piling-on by two male administrators and one male ex-administrator, complete with threat to block. I'm sure they, and everyone else, do actually have better things to do. --Demiurge1000 (talk) 20:43, 17 November 2011 (UTC)

US-centrism: a big problem for Wikipedia

This Signpost page on recent featured content presents a nice summation of a big problem in Wikipedia, and one which US Wikipedians invariably pooh-pooh, because they can't see a problem. The problem is this: Wikipedia is supposed to be an international encyclopaedia, catering to an English-speaking audience around the world. Many of these people will not have a good grasp of global geography. The US is routinely presented in Wikipedia as the 'default' country, although no one country is supposed to have primacy (and I'm not talking about numbers of readers by country - I'm talking about content). Rarely in a US-based article is the country given. It is considered sufficient by the US editors who write it just to give city and state. "Because, of course, we all know that Boise, Idaho is in the US, don't we? And if we don't, we should, and besides, it's only one blue click away to find out." My point is: we shouldn't have to blue click. Such utterly, utterly basic information as the country involved should be presented on the page.

A quick survey of the blurbs on the Signpost page:

Non-US based articles
US-based articles

So we can see that every single non-US entry has its country given, while only one in five, a measly 20%, of US entries has the country mentioned. The US has a reputation for being parochial and inward-looking; this arrogant assumption that the US is so important and well-known that editors need not bother to specify the country is infuriating, and I see it time and time again in Wikipedia articles. It makes Wikipedia look ridiculous too - how can it claim to contain as comprehensive coverage as other encyclopaedias if it doesn't even bother to give absolute basics? Try clicking on 'random article' and see how many US-based ones don't bother to give the country, even indirectly.

Please can something be done to ensure that such basic information is provided, every single time? (talk) 10:22, 15 November 2011 (UTC)

When you provided it, who reverted you and when? :) Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 > haneʼ 10:46, 15 November 2011 (UTC)
I checked the 26 US-based entries of Paris at Paris (disambiguation). There's only 2 out of 26 that don't mention the US in the lead: Paris, Tennessee and Paris, Virginia, but they do mention it in the infobox. - DVdm (talk) 10:47, 15 November 2011 (UTC)
I volunteered to add what needed to be added. Now there's 0 out of 26 :-) - DVdm (talk) 12:40, 16 November 2011 (UTC)
I agree 100%. English Wikipedia should be global, but unfortunately it is often very US-centric (or anglophone centric in general). You have listed some good examples. The US is way too often the "default" country. And many articles only discuss the United States- or Britain- related parts of the article subject. We need more attention to this problem, and a coordinated effort to solve it. The problem includes two aspects: 1) Often, information about non-Anglophone countries simply does not exist in articles even when these articles claim to discuss the subject in a global and general way. This can be fixed by adding the missing information. 2) Often, the United States (and other anglophone countries) are given preferential treatment (like in the examples listed by above) or the article is otherwise biased towards an American or anglophone POV. This can be fixed by making editors more aware by the problem. Some possible tools to achieve this include essays, signpost articles and new Wikiprojects. Even just a simple statement by a high-profile person (such as Jimbo) admitting that English Wikipedia still has a lot to do if it aims to be truly a global, and not just an American or British Wikipedia, would help a lot. Nanobear (talk) 10:56, 15 November 2011 (UTC)
All that might be true, but why the OP doesn't know where Idaho is while I'm supposed to know where Romania is is beyond me. Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 > haneʼ 11:02, 15 November 2011 (UTC)
Romania is a country, Idaho is a sub-national entity. Expecting people to know that e.g. Wyoming is a US state is the equivalent of expecting people to know that Charente-Maritime, Cuando Cubango, Bimini and Almaty are first level subdivisions of France, Angola, the Bahamas and Kazakhstan respectively. In my view it is reasonable to expect people to either know where a country is or to look it up if they don't, but it is not reasonable to expect them to know which country a subdivsion is in. While many more anglophone readers will know Ohio is a US state than will know that Oryol is a Russian Oblast, NPOV requires us to treat all countries equally. Thryduulf (talk) 11:54, 15 November 2011 (UTC)
You are correct. It is rampant within articles about people/places in the U.S. As an American, I never noticed it until now, but perhaps there should be an guideline or announcement of some kind. Mugginsx (talk) 16:55, 15 November 2011 (UTC)
There is one at WP:PLACE#United States. The beauty of online encyclopedias that contain wikilinks, is that the articles don't need to include every single mundane detail. Clicking on links helps eleviate most of that. Also there is little reason to disambiguate a place name in the United States once it has been identified.--JOJ Hutton 20:28, 15 November 2011 (UTC)
We're not talking about article names here. We're talking about adding the words "United States" (or similar as appropriate) to the lead sentence of articles dealing with places/topics realted to that country. For example (taking the first US place that I arrived at from a random article link), we're talking about changing "Mammoth Mountain is a lava dome complex west of the town of Mammoth Lakes, California in the Inyo National Forest of Madera County and Mono County" to "Mammoth Mountain is a lava dome complex west of the town of Mammoth Lakes, California, United States in the Inyo National Forest…". Hardly earth shattering. The point is that the country is not a "mundane detail", nor does "Place, State" necessarily identify a location as being in the United States to a worldwide audience. Compare, the Simonsberg article: "Simonsberg (Afrikaans:Simon's Mountain) is part of the Cape Fold Belt in the Western Cape province of South Africa". Thryduulf (talk) 21:08, 15 November 2011 (UTC)
Actually WP:PLACE is and has been interpreted by many others to refer to more than just article titles, but to the article as a whole. These proposed changes are not within the MOS guideline. Disambiguation is not needed beyond. many Americans may not know that Liberia is in Africa, but we don't add Africa to the end of it now do we. It matters little whether or not non-Americans know that Iowa is in the united States, as long as there are wikilinks to click on.--JOJ Hutton 21:56, 15 November 2011 (UTC)

I know that U.S.-centrism is a problem here and I favor reasonable corrective measures. Maybe its just me, but when I read "The CN Tower is a communications and observation tower in Downtown Toronto, Ontario, Canada", I can't help thinking that mentioning Toronto alone would have been sufficient. Looking at Big Ben, I note that England is not mentioned until the fifth sentence, and is not wikilinked. That being said, I can't really object to the United States identifier being added to the lead whenever any editor sincerely thinks that it is useful. To disclose my personal bias, I am a Californian, have been to the top of both Mammoth Mountain and the CN Tower, and once saw a spectacular view of Big Ben from an airplane window. In my opinion, some cities and subnational place names are so well known that they don't require the country name immediately thereafter. London, Tokyo, Paris, Beijing, Rome, Cairo, Toronto, Baghdad, Brasilia, Hanoi, Stockholm, Athens, Sydney, Kathmandu, Lagos, Capetown and many others come to mind. I think that the better known U.S. states also qualify, such as California and Texas, as well as provinces such as Ontario. But I wouldn't object if someone wants to add Japan every time a topic located in Tokyo is first mentioned, just as long as its in good faith rather than pointy. Cullen328 Let's discuss it 22:06, 15 November 2011 (UTC)

(ec) While I agree in general that Wikipedia tends to be US-centric, I can't agree with this specific criticism. First, England and Wales are subnational entities very much like US states. It's unfair to treat them as equivalent to sovereign states/countries/nations in this context just because the UK has such a weird terminology for its four major subdivisions. (Three of them are routinely called "countries" in many contexts, and even Northern Ireland is referred to in this way in certain formulaic contexts. At least one of them is also commonly referred to as a "nation". They are never referred to as "states", although they are very much the equivalent of states in the US or Germany.) While most people from outside the UK have no trouble locating England (if there is any problem here then it is a lack of awareness and understanding of the more or less subtle differences between "England", "UK", "Great Britain" and "Britain"), a not all our readers will be aware that such an entity as Wales even exists.

Languages come with a package of cultural background that every reasonably educated speaker is supposed to be familiar with. As someone who learned English formally as a second language I was actually taught this package more or less systematically at school. People who learn English informally normally become familiar with the English-language mainstream culture simply because it forms the basis of almost all texts and broadcasts. It is perfectly reasonable for an encyclopedia to assume this mainstream culture as a given.

With this in mind, the question becomes whether it is tricky for too many typical readers to resolve location information such as the following without confusion:

  • "Oregon" (US or Canada?)
  • "Victoria" (Australia, Canada, or somewhere in Africa?)
  • "England" (sovereign state or subnational entity?)
  • "Wales" (WTF is it?)
  • "Rhode Island" (US state or island near the African coast?)

The answers will differ from case to case, but in the interest of a certain degree of uniformity that makes the encyclopedia easier to use, the way we handle this should be somewhat consistent. Of course it should also be idiomatic. ("London, Ontario" is fine and necessary, but "London, England" sounds weird to British English speakers in most contexts.)

I am afraid there is no perfect solution to this problem. But I consider it perfectly normal and natural if the sovereign state is usually omitted for certain anglophone countries, but always given in full for all other countries. In my opinion this is a harmless built-in bias of any English-language encyclopedia. While I would not mind systematically mentioning sovereign countries in all cases just for consistency, I doubt that this would work in practice. A much more important problem can be seen in many medical articles, for example, which switch back and forth between purely scientific descriptions and specific legal regulations in the US, or US-centric statistics, as if the US covered the entire globe. Hans Adler 22:11, 15 November 2011 (UTC)

"England and Wales are subnational entities very much like US states." No. Just wrong. How many US states have their own language, for a start? Have you ever met an 'Idaho Nationalist'? That such a statement could be made is surely indicative of the very problem we are discussing - it takes the US as the default, to which everything else should be compared. AndyTheGrump (talk) 22:52, 15 November 2011 (UTC)
You say that like its a bad thing. As for language, you should hear my ex pronounce "oil" with 1 syllable sometime. Pretty much counts as a separate language. Tarc (talk) 22:55, 15 November 2011 (UTC)
Are you trying to be gratuitously offensive? Of course its a bad thing to take one particular nation as the default. AndyTheGrump (talk) 23:00, 15 November 2011 (UTC)
I don't know if it is technically possible to accidentally do something gratuitously, so, there you go. English Wikipedia for a primarily English audience, there's nothing wrong with that. You bizarrely see grave offense in that, while others see a tempest in a teacup. Tarc (talk) 03:55, 16 November 2011 (UTC)
"Have you ever met an 'Idaho Nationalist'?" Yes. Granted, they're well outnumbered by the Alaskan Nationalists, Hawaiian Nationalists and (of course) Texas Nationalists. 28bytes (talk) 23:01, 15 November 2011 (UTC)
Interesting point, Andy. I should start giving "Navajo Nation" instead of AZ or NM; after all, that is officially a sovereign nation (see treaty, 1868). Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 > haneʼ 23:04, 15 November 2011 (UTC)
You know that I love you, AndyTheGrump, but you seem not to know very much about the linguistic history of what is now the United States of America. Dutch was the dominant language in what is now known as New York City long before English was. I grew up in Detroit, where French was the dominant language long before English was. There were cities in the Detroit area such as Hamtramck, Michigan where Polish was the dominant language for decades, and still remains significant. The French language tradition in Louisiana was dominant for a long time and remains a significant cultural influence to this day. Spanish was the dominant language in what is now California (where I now live), Arizona, New Mexico, Texas and parts of Florida and Colorado long before English became common. Tens of millions of people still speak Spanish as their first language in those states. Russian was once the dominant language in parts of California near where I now live, as well as in Alaska. Many tribes of Native Americans assert autonomy over areas of the United States, and try, with greater or lesser success, to maintain their indigenous languages. The Navajo language, for example, is important in large swathes of Arizona and New Mexico. Alaskan nationalism exists and her husband's adherence to that movement was a factor in Sarah Palin's rise to fame. Asian languages such as Cantonese, Mandarin, Vietnamese and Thai are widely spoken in neighborhoods in many cities throughout the United States. San Francisco has had a famous Chinatown for at least 150 years, but the fact is that Chinese language and culture has spread throughout that city, and it is a much more Chinese city now than it has ever been. Cullen328 Let's discuss it 02:48, 16 November 2011 (UTC)
US-Centrism is a serious problem, and it is most immediately apparent in article titles. Recently I initiated an RM for French Quarter. Before I continue with that story folks, what does that title suggest to you?
There is a generalisation of US-centrism to any sort of centrism, of course. Two electorates located in Canada have their articles titled Little Bow and Surrey North, which are both utterly opaque to the vast majority of the readership outside their immediate neighbourhood. Electoral districts in Australian states are named in this style: Electoral district of Newcastle. That one is in the state of New South Wales; but people around the world might guess that it refers to another Newcastle. Even Australians will wonder which Newcastle is meant (given that this is a worldwide encyclopedia); and if they do assume it is Australian, they are likely to confuse it with Division of Newcastle, an Australian federal electorate. Note that one of those titles is qualified by "electoral", but the other is not. (In some states "electoral district" is not in official use; but titles on Wikipedia bear that qualifier nonetheless: Electoral district of Albert Park, in the state of Victoria, is normally not called by that name in Victoria.) Certainly the problem is rampant and general. There is great resistance to adding qualifiers that immediately simplify things for everyone, everywhere: Newcastle (NSW electoral district); Newcastle (Australian electoral division); Albert Park District (Victoria, Australia).
The French quarter that wins the privileged title mentioned earlier is – you guessed it – a US one. In New Orleans. It was argued at the RM, which was closed in favour of keeping the title unqualified, that it was the primary topic. WP:PRIMARYTOPIC is a difficult and complex guideline to interpret, yet it is often appealed to as if there is always a primary topic for any title under consideration; and then it is just taken for granted that the best candidate topic for primary status does in fact acquire that status; and as a third error, that acquisition is too often taken as decisive – regardless of the interests of our worldwide readership, and the safeguards in policy at WP:TITLE to ensure that titles are sufficiently precise, natural, and helpful.
I see US bias squarely in that context, as the major part of a very pervasive failing in the mechanisms for regulating titles, and for dealing with perfectly well-motivated challenges to existing titles. There is more beyond titles, of course. But remember what Confucius said about names:

Zi-lu said, "... What will you consider the first thing to be done?"
The Master replied, "What is necessary is to rectify names."

NoeticaTea? 03:08, 16 November 2011 (UTC)
It gets even worse, not by leaving stuff out of the title, but by putting stuff into the title: Kayenta, Arizona — anglocentrism. But I guess since this is the English wikipedia, being anglocentric is OK. Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 > haneʼ 07:35, 16 November 2011 (UTC)
Given that an article can have only one title, we are forced to choose only one possible name for a place (although redirects mitigate this as best we can). The standard criteria we use are a combination of WP:COMMONNAME and naming conventions. This being the English Wikipedia the English name will, in most cases, be the most common. While this does unfortunately introduce a bit of bias, it is unavoidable, and the common name does avoid conflicts about places with more than one official name - see for example City of Brussels which has two official names in French and one each in Flemmish and German; all of which have equal status according to Belgian law.
If you're talking about Kayenta vs Kayenta, Arizona; that is not Anglocentrism but the consensus decision by all editors (but presumably with a high degree of participation by US editors) to use the "comma convention" that reflects common usage in that country (presumably per WP:COMMON). In Britain we don't use that convention so we use a different one. Thryduulf (talk) 12:22, 16 November 2011 (UTC)
See, you don't even know what I mean. I mean "Kayenta, Navajo Nation". It is anglocentric to claim that Kayenta is in Arizona; it isn't. Arizona police don't have jurisdiction, Arizona laws are only partially applicable; the governing body answers to the Federal Government in Washington, D.C., not to Arizona. The only reason why it says AZ is because the place has a US ZIP code invented by Anglos, and Anglos will be deported to AZ if they commit crimes there. So yeah, Anglos will say that Kayenta is in Arizona. Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 > haneʼ 12:35, 16 November 2011 (UTC)
In response to the original post: this is why we have internal wikilinks in the article. So what if the Philadelphia Phillies article does not explicitly state that they are in the US. You can very easily click on Philadelphia, or Pennsylvania ... this is the nature of HTML markup! How absolutely boring it would be if every article explicitly mentioned the country in it (talk→ BWilkins ←track) 12:54, 16 November 2011 (UTC)
While I don't see why it would hurt to add the country to articles about the United States, let's look at all the ways in which Wikipedia isn't U.S.-centric as well. There's a problem with places, but word "American" is used in the lead of almost every article about people. Also, let's not forget that the MoS outright banned American-style punctuation, requiring British in all articles, even the ones on American subjects. Now that's just got to go.
As for Kayenta, if it's within Arizona's borders, then it's not unreasonable to say that it's in Arizona. What that article should do is, perhaps instead of "Kayenta, Arizona," say "Kayenta, part of the Navajo Nation located within the U.S. State of Arizona..." That way, it doesn't imply that Kayenta is a regular town in Arizona the same way Albuquerque is.Darkfrog24 (talk) 13:00, 16 November 2011 (UTC)
That's too long for a title, and not even correct either. Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 > haneʼ 13:04, 16 November 2011 (UTC)
Okay, but you can see where I'm going with this, right? If the town's situation is more complex than "Kayenta, Arizona" would imply, then explain it, and do so somewhere where there is room, like in the first paragraph if not in the article title. Darkfrog24 (talk) 17:11, 16 November 2011 (UTC)
True, but you'll still have to give preference to one of the options in the title. And (as I said understandably so) that choice will be anglocentric. I'm just pointing all this out 'cause I think it's funny that this thread was started by one Anglo (British) who complains about the -centrism of other Anglos (US). Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 > haneʼ 17:16, 16 November 2011 (UTC)

It seems as though style guides somewhere are actively making it harder for people to find out the location of places they don't know. See for example [3] unlinking Poland and United States in the lead and infobox. While very few English speakers wont know the location of the United States, and most Europeans should be at least roughly familiar with where Poland is (I've no idea about people from other areas), but how many people can locate Honduras (see Central American Airways Flight 731)? Thryduulf (talk) 16:53, 16 November 2011 (UTC)

That's an unrelated problem. We once had a culture of extreme overlinking, which was very hard to fix. It appears that in the process a number of fanatical underlinkers got the impression that they have a majority behind them. I really don't understand why we always have to fall from one extreme into the other. Hans Adler 18:46, 16 November 2011 (UTC)
  • Comment This isn't some United States vs the World problem. And there is no US centric lean, just because some article doesn't explicitly say "United States". As one simple example that there is not a United States Centric lean, I offer History of Manchester United F.C. (1878–1945). There are many others as well. Many of these article do not need to be as thorough as to add the nation. That goes for all nations, especially in these forked articles. Wikilinks are fine for this information.--JOJ Hutton 19:58, 17 November 2011 (UTC)
  • Comment I don't think this issue was brought up by the British IP[4] in good faith. For example, the first message included the comment "this arrogant assumption that the US is so important and well-known". I've seen this anti-american attitude elsewhere on Wikipedia and that may be the real problem, but I don't think it can be solved here, any more than I believe any form of racism or nationalism in the hearts of some editors can be changed. I also believe that such anti-american sentiment is not representative of the British people in general, but is the feeling of a disgruntled minority.
Nowhere in this discussion is there any indication that adding what the IP wants to any article that doesn't already include it, would be reverted. --Bob K31416 (talk) 23:37, 17 November 2011 (UTC)

Trouble brewing in the Big Brother house

Pinoy Big Brother: Double Up (edit | talk | history | protect | delete | links | watch | logs | views) (as example only) (This version, at the time I left this first note; later blanked due to copyvio problems)

Hi Jimbo Wales,

I know you feel strongly about care regarding unreferenced/poorly-referenced BLP content, and I wanted to bring to your attention an example of what is quite a large-scale problem with reality-TV articles. On Pinoy Big Brother: Double Up, a user recently removed a whole chunk [5] but was summarily reverted [6] and even dismissed from the talk page [7]. And these are in no way 'new users'; one has 8000+ edits, the other 20k+.

I advised said user to raise it on BLPN, and I only mention it to you because I've seeen this problem on a great many similar articles. We have a tremendous amount of problems with various versions of The X Factor, and many more. Note the edit-summary from the example removal - "you want to try that on all BB articles too?"

Articles of this type attract a great deal of BLP information gleaned by people just watching the programmes. Most of the actual broadcasts are not available for any later verification, which leads to a problem for editors trying to make sure it is all neutral and appropriate. The articles attract fans, who naturally think along the lines of, "well of course Sally hates Brian, it's obvious" – and it is often hard, and certainly an unrewarding task, trying to battle for verifiability and neutrality.  Chzz  ►  11:54, 17 November 2011 (UTC)

Update re the example: it looks like there are significant copyright-violations too; see [8].  Chzz  ►  15:37, 17 November 2011 (UTC)

Don't have much to say on the copyvio issues but your comment

Most of the actual broadcasts are not available for any later verification

is not strictly true - all production companies keep archives these days and while access to those archives may not be easy or free it will be possible. Per [[[WP:PAYWALL]] this is no barrier to verifying the information presented. Our job is helped by the increasing number of these shows being uploaded to YouTube, helping editors to verify the details without access to the archive - That said these are primary sources and should be treated as such with due caution. Stuart.Jamieson (talk) 09:01, 18 November 2011 (UTC)

Notability of U.S. Presidential Children

Although you are probably used to your name being invoked as the source of Wikipedia policies and guidelines, I wanted to let you know about a pending discussion regarding notability of U.S. presidential children at Talk:Rosalynn Carter in which User:Redmondome has cited you as a source for his views while trying to impose what I believe to be an overly-broad interpretation of Wikipedia notability guidelines including redirecting Talk:Amy Carter to Talk:Rosalynn Carter without redirecting either of the associated Article pages, which I subsequently reverted. Please feel free to share any thoughts you may have on this matter at Talk:Rosalynn Carter. --TommyBoy (talk) 13:15, 17 November 2011 (UTC)

A beer for you!

Export hell seidel steiner.png For Wikipedia! Arsaces (talk) 08:22, 18 November 2011 (UTC)

Verifiability and truth - humor

Relevant to 'verifiable, and true'--Jimbo Wales (talk) 14:29, 16 November 2011 (UTC)

Unfortunately that is way too close to the truth to be funny.. --Conti| 14:37, 16 November 2011 (UTC)
More unfortunately, removing "not truth" from WP:V will not solve this. The good news is that WP:V already covers this in WP:CIRCULAR, so no change to the policy is needed for this situation! Fram (talk) 14:40, 16 November 2011 (UTC)
Which makes it clear that "verifiability, not truth" is actually a lie. That isn't how we operate and never has been, because it's just silly and wrong. We want verifiability. And we want truth.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 15:37, 16 November 2011 (UTC)
You want truth. I believe that in many cases, one man's truth is another man's falsehood, superstition, prejudice, error, ... Verifiability, not truth is not a lie, we just don't consider info taken from Wikipedia as being sufficient to meet our "verifiability" standards, even if it is true. Fram (talk) 15:52, 16 November 2011 (UTC)
No, the example shows that we don't want information that is "verified" in reliable sources if we also know it to be false. Surely you aren't going to argue that we should have falsehoods that we know to be false in Wikipedia just because they appear in a reliable source. And if you concede that, then you concede that truth really does matter.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 08:58, 17 November 2011 (UTC)
I'm arguing that even if you (you personally, or the general "you") believe that something is true, you still don't get to include it in Wikipedia without solid sourcing; similarly, even if you believe that something is false, you still don't get to exclude it without solid sources to support your point of view. To show that something is a falsehood, you need stronger sources than the one supporting it, not just the say-so of someone or the opinion of unreliable or non-neutral sources. Many people "know" that evolution is "a falsehood that we know to be false", but still we don't exclude it from Wikipedia but present it as the most widely accepted theory. So no, I don't concede your first point, which makes the conclusion baseless. The example you (well, the comic) gives is one where you can show that source is in this case not reliable, since it got its information from us; that doesn't mean that the information is true or false, just that it is not reliably verifiable from that source. Fram (talk) 08:05, 18 November 2011 (UTC)
I want true facts which are verified. In addition, I want false facts (aka popular misconceptions) to be stated as such. (talk) 05:10, 17 November 2011 (UTC)
  • Now that we have a reliable comic-strip source, finally we can write the article "Citogenesis" to clarify the verifiability-not-truth concept in Wikipedia; I always thought the concept sounded "funny"! ;-] –Wikid77 (talk) 15:17, 16 November 2011 (UTC)
This comic is certainly amusing, and an interesting idea, but I wonder if anyone can point to a real life example of this happening? NickCT (talk) 16:16, 16 November 2011 (UTC)
The full name of Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg in the German Wikipedia is such an example. It was picked up by Der Spiegel[9], which was then used to source "Wilhelm" in Wikipedia. It's also listed in our article circular reporting. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 17:02, 16 November 2011 (UTC)
Hmmmm... Interesting example. Good discussion on this topic here. So, there's at least one good example of citogenesis; I gotta wonder how common this type of thing is though. I'd imagine most professional journalists realize that Wikipedia is not a reliable source. NickCT (talk) 17:58, 16 November 2011 (UTC)
See also Talk:Ronnie Hazlehurst#The SClub 7 Hoax for another example. Thryduulf (talk) 18:57, 16 November 2011 (UTC)
Nice example Thryduulf. NickCT (talk) 21:00, 16 November 2011 (UTC)
Oh yeah I've seen it. (N.B. NSFW topic.) In this paper, it turned out that much of the material ("Theory has it that in ancient Japan..." etc.) was taken, not just from Wikipedia, but from material posted in bad faith by a troll. Huge, long arguments about that spanning a couple of archive pages at Talk:Bukkake (sex act) even after this fact was established. Very long and tedious task removing that material. Took months. I'm sure there are still people muttering to themselves about how unfair it was to remove material that was in a scholarly paper. Herostratus (talk) 19:40, 16 November 2011 (UTC)
" I'd imagine most professional journalists realize that Wikipedia is not a reliable source". Sadly, the evidence suugests that far too many don't, or don't care. There has been more than a suspicion of this regarding our Energy Catalyzer article, though at least one article on the subject had the decency to cite Wikipedia as a source. Sadly, this is all part of a wider trend amongst the media to merely paraphrase each other's articles, rather than actually engaging in journalism. AndyTheGrump (talk) 20:59, 16 November 2011 (UTC)
Regarding ways that journalists use Wikipedia, I think some of them cruise some talk pages looking for ideas to use in their columns. On Jan 3, 2010 at Talk:Avatar (2009 film), I characterized the way the film was perceived by a reviewer as being akin to him taking a Rorschach Test.[10] A somewhat similar Rorschach Test idea popped up in a critic's review of the film four days later on Jan 7, 2010. (See last paragraph of this source.) Then the critic's remark in the reliable source was used in the film article three days after that.[11] If the talk page remark (original research) was actually the inspiration for the journalist's remark, that journalist's remark would be OK to use in Wikipedia, even though its basis may have originated on a Wikipedia talk page. --Bob K31416 (talk) 01:08, 17 November 2011 (UTC)

Just an aside. If you're looking for a source for some info in Wikipedia, try to find a source that predates the edit that first put the info into Wikipedia, when possible. --Bob K31416 (talk) 20:42, 16 November 2011 (UTC)

  • Remember reverse WP:COPYVIO of your own articles: Perhaps more surprising to editors was being accused of WP:COPYVIO, when creating a new article, because a mirror-website quickly posted a copy of their new writing, giving the appearance that the mirror-site was the source of "plagiarized" text, which editors had actually written earlier. I think it happened to me only once (but it would take me a while to find which article). I am not sure how they fixed the bot(s) which check for copy-vio text so that mirror-sites are not considered WP:RS reliable sources of original text. -Wikid77 (talk) 23:48, 16 November 2011 (UTC)
"Inventor of the hair straightener"

Here is another nice example: [12][13][14][15]. The result: [16][17][18]. Poor Madam Walker. --JN466 20:43, 18 November 2011 (UTC)

Verifiability sometimes gets in the way of presenting the facts

I was interested to see the discussion about the wording of WP:V because it chimes with something I've been thinking about for a while, namely that there is a lot of verifiable but false information out there that gets in the way of writing good articles - especially when someone has an interest in publicising said false information. I've been working on and off for a while on an article about the Cyrus Cylinder, an important ancient artifact in the British Museum. There is a pretty clear mainstream perspective on it from historians which is reflected in the article. However, the artifact was also adopted as as symbol of Iranian national pride by the regime of the late Shah, which made all kinds of claims about it that historians have explicitly rejected. The current Iranian government has also latched on to it as a symbol of its own legitimacy. The cylinder has thus become something of a nationalist totem for Iranians, backed up by a fake translation of its text. The problem is that the claims and the fake translation have taken on a life of their own and are routinely trotted out in news reports and publicised by non-historians such as politicians, lawyers, and so on. The claims are eminently verifiable but, according to the historians, completely fake and false, anachronistic and tendentious. Note that this is not a "two schools of thought" issue with dissenting historians - it is a straight split between historians and non-historians. This has presented a real problem in writing and maintaining the article because it has repeatedly been disrupted by people (usually Iranian nationalists) demanding rewrites to present the claims as "the facts". After all, they're verifiable, so that's all we need, right? And so it goes. Prioryman (talk) 13:21, 17 November 2011 (UTC)

Just happened by, saw this catchy title. Question: how do you know that something is a "fact", let alone "true" (or "truth")? Well, you could do your Own Research – but (I love that word) that is one of the "Great NOTs" here. So you have to find where someone else said so; that is the essence of verification. But don't forget that verification does not stop at where someone else has said or claimed something; it must also be a published source (so that others have some chance of examining it), and a reliable source. Mere verification that someone has made a claim does not establish "truth", and definitely is not "all we need". Verification is only the basis from which truth-determination starts. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) 18:50, 17 November 2011 (UTC)
Another way of putting it is that verifiability is necessary (because we are a reference work, so people need to be able to refer to the sources), but that it is not sufficient (because, when you put your mind to it, you can find sources to back any assertion and its opposite if it's contentious enough).

In other words, truth is not enough, it must be verifiable – and verifiable is not enough, it must also be true (or, at the very least not known to be false). — Coren (talk) 20:54, 17 November 2011 (UTC)

Necessary, but not sufficient, yes. But, personally, I wouldn't say "must also be true", as an independent criterion. Rather, "truth" is what verifiability, etc., aim for. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) 20:19, 18 November 2011 (UTC)
Maybe we should consider rewording the first footnote in WP:NOR [19] to limit or eliminate blah blah without any demonstrated sourcing on WP. That footnote seems to negate the effectiveness of WP:V. Thoughts?-MW 13:54, 18 November 2011 (UTC)
As long as the refutations appear in reliable sources, it's really not a problem; we just write it as e.g. FOO claims THIS<ref...>, but this has been disputed by BAA.<ref...>
Prioryman, please read WP:TIGER.  Chzz  ►  14:12, 18 November 2011 (UTC)

List of scientists opposing the mainstream scientific assessment of global warming

Not only is this article an appalling mess of POV pushing, but it has stayed in almost this exact form for about 6 years, and through 4 AfDs. The Global warming deniers simply come out en masse, shout down all policy-driven arguments, then revert all changes.

Its structure is simple. Present the mainstream view while avoiding any mention of the evidence for the belief. Reduce it to a few bold assertions. Then have page after page of denialists arguing against it, without bothering to mention that these arguments have been dealt with by the mainstream.

Any attempts to fix it are shouted down, attempts to deal with it through Wikipedia processes attract so many POV-pushers that they just end up closed no consensus, allowing the problem to continue forever.

A clearer example of the utter failure of Wikipedia is hard to think of. Is there anything that can actually be done? 86.** IP (talk) 06:15, 17 November 2011 (UTC)

What a load of garbage. The article survives AfDs because it is propped up by all the regular climate change editors like Kim D. Petersen and William M. Connolley - and plenty of others in their camp. Do you think they're climate change deniers? That's pretty funny. Skeptics in Wikipedia are vastly outnumbered and most have been arbitrarily banned by ArbCom. Sure, it's true, as I keep pointing out, that skeptics love the page because they rightly see that it's effectively a Wikipedia-hosted version of the Leipzig Declaration; but the only reason it continues to exist is that all the regular climate change editors continue to vote "keep". Alex Harvey (talk) 07:28, 17 November 2011 (UTC)
I glanced it, and you can look at this from a different perspective: "List of delusional idiots"... Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 > haneʼ 08:06, 17 November 2011 (UTC)
(ec)Alex, User.86.**IP is a relatively new user. He (I think it's a he) came along first to raise concerns about poorly sourced claims in herbal medicine articles. He's brought issues up at FTN, and has been very quick to learn and implement policy. I, for one, have been glad to see his alerts and help out as far as I can, although he has much more biomedical knowledge than I do. So, if his impression of this list article is that it has problems, that's worth taking that seriously. He hasn't picked out correctly which editor is a global warming denier and who is a sceptic - so? Is the list article really good? No, it has issues: the quotes, the categorisation. I doubt if it is particularly useful for global warming deniers, for sceptics, for schoolkids, for anyone. I expect Jimbo will send the discussion back to the talk page, then let us engage there properly. How many higher degrees do we have between us? Is it not possible to drop the obsessions and momentarily engage brain? Itsmejudith (talk) 08:11, 17 November 2011 (UTC)
Well, If you'll forgive my saying so, list of articles of this sort are generally 'sour grapes' articles, where editors on both sides can engage in a somewhat higher level of self-punditry and coat-racking than is generally tolerated in mainspace. IMO they are never good articles - can never be good articles, because they lack a credible theme aside from dissatisfaction with different articles - but they do act as pressure valves for contentious topics. That's something…
I've took a brief look at climate change articles a while ago and quickly gave up on them (which - if you know anything about me - tells you a whole lot about those pages; I'm not easily scared off). Too many people playing politics on both sides of the issue; too much hostility all around. It's one place on wikipedia where real-world conflicts have taken over everything, and I accept that the bulk of the climate change articles are as good as can be expected under the circumstances. I second Judith's call for a little reasoned reflection, but I expect that the earth will warm up by a considerable factor before this issue cools off. --Ludwigs2 08:24, 17 November 2011 (UTC)

86's position on this article, that it is propped up by deniers, is quite bizarre. Meanwhile, AH thinks it is propped up by whatever-the-opposite-of-a-denier-is. Being hated by both signs is reasonable evidence that the article itself is actually quite reasonable, which it is. It could be better, if folks could just settle down to try to improve it. What it mostly needs is the inclusion criteria tightened up - our definition of "scientist" is far too broad. But that is for the article talk page, and we could be having that discussion, if people like 86 weren't wasting all the bandwidth with deletion campaigns and appeals to higher authority William M. Connolley (talk) 08:49, 17 November 2011 (UTC)

I'm always happy to host philosophical discussions of this type, and since I'm not actually going to do anything, obviously, I think it's not fair to characterize it as an "appeal to higher authority". I agree that the article is reasonable, but I'd like to raise the additional idea that "being hated by both sides" might sometimes be evidence that something really is complete crap.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 09:01, 17 November 2011 (UTC)
Agreed. In this case, my view is that all the "middle of the road" editors are at least OK with the article and would get on with improving it if they could William M. Connolley (talk) 09:26, 17 November 2011 (UTC)
An article "being hated by both sides" could indicate one side keeps deleting crucial information, and the other side(s) cannot get important NPOV information added into the text. A better sign is when several editors post compliments on the talk-page about how fair, balanced and comprehensive the article appears to them, rather than they "all" hate the article. -Wikid77 (talk) 20:19, 17 November 2011 (UTC)
Sounds lie you're insinuating something. Do you indeed think that any crucial info is being deleted, and if so, what? William M. Connolley (talk) 20:57, 17 November 2011 (UTC)

What would a reader expect from an article called List-of-fringe-X-deniers? Of course, a list of people denying X, together with their fringe views. That's not POV but exactly what should be in that list. --Pgallert (talk) 08:59, 17 November 2011 (UTC)

I think we should be very careful though about a BLP problem here. If I'm a scientist, completely sensible and sane, and I disagree with some aspect of some contemporary scientific theory, I run the risk of being latched onto as a champion by some fringe nutcases. And then I run the risk of be tarred by a brush of "fringe X denier" by others. I remember reading, some years back, about Stephen Jay Gould in some pro-creationist screed. He was quoted approvingly because he had written something against Darwin. But of course his beef with Darwinism wasn't a beef with evolution per se, but concerned a much more narrow question of gradualism versus punctuated equilibrium. I don't know the current state of scientific consensus on Gould's views, but I do know that it would radically unfair to call him a "Darwin denialist". I hope that we aren't subject serious scientists to that same kind of unfairness.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 09:05, 17 November 2011 (UTC)
There is a problem that recurrs on that article, with the skeptic side being keen to "claim" people for the list. But the entry criteria get enforced, every proposed addition gets a lively debate if controversial, and there is, as far as I can see, no-one on the list who doesn't belong William M. Connolley (talk) 09:26, 17 November 2011 (UTC)
Jimbo, FYI: "It is infuriating to be quoted again and again by creationists — whether through design or stupidity, I do not know — as admitting that the fossil record includes no transitional forms. Transitional forms are generally lacking at the species level but are abundant between larger groups. The evolution from reptiles to mammals . . . is well documented. Yet a pamphlet entitled "Harvard Scientists Agree Evolution Is a Hoax" states: "The facts of punctuated equilibrium, which Gould and Eldredge . . . are forcing Darwinists to swallow fit the picture that [William Jennings] Bryan insisted on and which God has revealed to us in the Bible." " -- Stephen Jay Gould, "Evolution as Fact and Theory, " Discover, May 1981. Prioryman (talk) 09:30, 17 November 2011 (UTC)
While I understand 86.**'s frustration, he does seem to have developed something of an obsession with eliminating this article (which has survived the AfD process five times). He has raised it (for the fifth time) as an AfD; he's raised it at Deletion Review (admittedly with some justification, the Keep was overturned to No consensus); he's raised it several times on the Fringe Theories Noticeboard; he's now raising it with the "ultimate authority". I have been trying to persuade him for some time to engage rather more on the article Talk page. This statement: "Any attempts to fix it are shouted down", is a gross distortion of the truth. If you compare the article now to how it was before the AfD nomination, I think there have been signficant, substantive edits. Most recently I have cut down the quotes which 86.** thought were excessive. Now, those cuts were somewhat controversial, and are now being discussed on the Talk page, as might be expected. But I think that argument is winnable, and the cuts will probably largely stand. To "appeal" here when that discussion has barely even started, strikes me as wasting everyone's time. The one way in which it might help is wth getting some fresh pairs of eyes to contribute to the discussion; but to be honest I don't think a better discussion is what 86.** wants. His actions don't seem particularly constructive. It seems clear to me that despite the failure to gain consensus to delete at the AfD, he's not interested in improving the article but rather wants it gone, and will keep appealing to authority until that happens. --Merlinme (talk) 10:05, 17 November 2011 (UTC)
I agree, Jimbo. The list is also named much nicer than "fringe X deniers"---If no scientist had ever taken an opposite stand towards established theories, we would never have reached the Internet age. The problem, if any, might be a too low threshold to claim the title "scientist" and "scientific publication". But that is another matter. --Pgallert (talk) 10:10, 17 November 2011 (UTC)
Peer reviewed or not? Another serious problem, IMO, is that the article makes no effort to inform readers if the contrarian views expressed have been published merely in public media (greatly increasing their fringe quotient) or are part of the scientific peer reviewed literature (which doesnt necessarily make 'em right, but does mean they merit at least a moment's thought). Right now, it appears there are a bunch of scientists with serious claims. But only a small portion of the statements actually appear in the sci lit. Readers should be aware of this. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 11:15, 17 November 2011 (UTC)
That is a good point (and probably the first actually useful thing said here). Are 8any* of the statements sourced to PR literature? Certainly, because of the "sci" context, we should note in the lede that most statements are not from the sci literature. Would you do the honours of boldly doing so, and/or starting a discussion on the talk page? William M. Connolley (talk) 12:12, 17 November 2011 (UTC)
I'd suggest that fails into the same problematic territories of researching stuff ourselves. The better approach would be to find a source which comments on statements/work contrary to the mainstream viewpoint and where it tends to be published. Given the field, I doubt that will be hard to find. --Errant (chat!) 12:33, 17 November 2011 (UTC)

The subject perhaps holds merit. The content there at the moment is a disaster. For example; the most critical problem is that the list has been defined as "people who disagree with one of these three views" - and quotes from scientists have been originally researched through primary source material (from the individuals) to build the list. Obviously this is problematical. Ideally we would need each entry to be sourced either to a third party whose view is that this scientist opposes that view or an explicit quote that mentions the IPCC and their opposition. And we can then back it up with a direct quote if appropriate. --Errant (chat!) 12:06, 17 November 2011 (UTC)

All done to death in the AFD's. Do you really want to turn this into yet another pointless re-hash of the same old arguments? William M. Connolley (talk) 12:12, 17 November 2011 (UTC)
I read through several of the AFD's and found no clear explanation of why it is accepted to decide on inclusion by interpreting as to whether quotations from the scientists disagree with the IPCC viewpoint. Humour me with a quick explanation. --Errant (chat!) 12:28, 17 November 2011 (UTC)
Ask on the article talk page if you really want to wade through it all, all over again. Not here William M. Connolley (talk) 12:58, 17 November 2011 (UTC)
William; I'm not trying to be awkward and I did ask on the talk page. But this is classic evasion; it appears you are a proponent of this approach from your comments: please explain it - either here or on the talk page - to set my mind at rest. If you can't or won't, just say so, but don't muck me around, it's not helpful. --Errant (chat!) 15:19, 17 November 2011 (UTC)
Fine, with all the noise there I hadn't noticed. I'll answer there. If you could drop the bad-faith "muck me around" stuff, that would be helpful to a pleasand editing environment William M. Connolley (talk) 17:04, 17 November 2011 (UTC)

Jimbo Wales, if you wanted to see the accuracy level (or not!) in presentation of the scientists' views, open up two browser tabs and scroll down side by side: one on a July 2011 version using the prev link in revision history, another showing the current version. There was a trick of spreading out the changes over many edits, but that way shows the net result.

It could teach volumes about what sometimes goes on in Wikipedia these days.

Or glance within reference link #2 to learn what the Wikipedia article implies to be 97.4% consensus on "mainstream" (catastrophic) global warming is actually based on 75 of 77 respondents in a 2-question web poll agreeing that temperatures now are warmer than in the Little Ice Age (the "pre-1800s") and that human activity has a non-zero effect (which, to a scientist, means not 0.00000). Most didn't respond at all to the transparently dishonest slanted web poll.

Continued ensuring of dishonesty is unfortunately what can happen when those most likely to make enough edits to gain admin powers are deletionists, far easier for someone to make thousands of deletions than that many constructive additions, resulting sometimes in the very opposite of the best people rising high in power. Wikipedia is an excellent source of info on some topics where nobody has tendency for bias, but breaks down utterly on those which get a core of activists of the worst kind.

If there was a system where Wikipedia polled a sample of a couple dozen people randomly chosen from the whole moderate-edit-number user base of ordinary people, on some controversial matters, it wouldn't be so just a matter of who has one or more hardcore political-activist admins on their side on articles like this. This is an article in one of the worst spots: major enough to attract the activist team but minor enough that Wikipedia's mainstream on it is just enforced by several editors and one or more admins. (talk) 13:11, 17 November 2011 (UTC)

If nothing else, the previous contribution surely disproves 86.**'s assertion that "Any attempts to fix it are shouted down". The page has changed a lot in the last few months, especially since the AfD. --Merlinme (talk) 14:23, 17 November 2011 (UTC)
  • Beware a potential hit-list of stereotyped entries: As with other lists (or categories), there is the danger that a concocted list could be viewed as a "hit list" of dissidents to be ridiculed or otherwise targeted. I am not convinced that keeping a list is needed, as perhaps instead, mention a few related notable people in other articles, with various alternative ideas about the subject. Consider rethinking the concerns about the list for WP:Notability. I always remember the joke, "There are 2 categories of people: those who put people in 2 categories, and those who don't". -Wikid77 20:19, 17 November 2011 (UTC)
12.74: As I'm sure Jimbo Wales knows, you can view diffs even over a period of months. It's particularly trivial if you want to compare two revisions that show in a single edit history page e.g. [20]. But of course even if they don't show in a single edit history page, is still doable [21]. One issue is the nature of our diff engine, it's not really capable of properly showing how things have changed very well when stuff has been moved around etc a lot. But of course there is ultimately a limit to whether any diff engine will produce meaningful or understandable results if the content has changed very extensively, so sometimes simply reading stuff side by side or one after the other comparison is the best way to get an idea of how things have changed. In other words, the problem is not the number of edits. It would make no difference if all those edits between July and now happened in one go. (Well they would likely be reverted because having such a large number of edits in one go makes working out why some change was made almost impossible.) Nil Einne (talk) 21:07, 17 November 2011 (UTC)

86** may be new, and inexperienced, even lacking in basic awareness of WP practices, but that does not excuse plain bad argumentation and disruptive behavior. E.g., his characterisation of "an appalling mess of POV pushing" is hardly useful to any temperate discussion, and seems more applicable to his own continued efforts. And: most recently it was he that reverted some moderate attempts to improve the article. As to being shouted down: having repeatedly claimed that there is an OR problem, having added, and then restored, an OR tag, he was expressly asked (here) to provide an example, yet has failed to do. He may indeed be frustrated, but that is not because of some "denier" conspiracy, but his own failure to convince. Indeed, he seems to entirely misaprehend the situation, as many (all?) of the editors opposing him are not "deniers", and the opposition is not on grounds of POV but on failure of process. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) 19:45, 17 November 2011 (UTC)

86 is unlikely to be new [22] William M. Connolley (talk) 19:50, 17 November 2011 (UTC)
Don't want to get in to the long arguments, but I concur what a few others have said about there being a diversity of reasons for people wanting the article being kept. Greatly simplifying, in both AFDs and general discussion we get
1) Those who think the article is a smear on good scientists by those supporting the consensus view (and so the article probably should be deleted or at least massively cut down).
2) Those convinced we are trying to hide the truth about how poorly accepted the consensus view is and that's why we want to delete the article, when what we need to do is be a lot less strict and massively expand the article, perhaps even including people who (allegedly) signed various petition.
3) Those convinced the the article is an attempt by those supporting the 'fringe' view to make the 'fringe' view seem like it's not a fringe view and/or to give unnecessary and unmerited space to the 'fringe' view and/or an attempt to mislead people in to thinking that there is widespread opposition to the consensus view; i.e. the article should be deleted.
4) Those convinced that attempts to delete the article are to try and protect 'fringe scientists' or denialists against people knowing that they have fringe views or to try and make the consensus view seem less like a consensus.
This doesn't of course prove the article is good, balanced or that there is any merit in it, but I think it does demonstrate the are reasons on 'both sides' on why we should keep or delete and expand or restrict the article so trying to say the problem is on one side sort of falls flat.
Nil Einne (talk) 20:46, 17 November 2011 (UTC)

The tactic being successfully enforced now by the activist team (cunning I admit) is to delete any quotes expressing the real basis of the scientists' views, to show only repetitive content-free out-of-context remarks, to effectively strawman them all. Presumably they figure such is more effective than deleting the article entirely, as its mere existence provides a pseudo-convincing impression of balance to the naive, although really a trashed version making it look like the scientists have no basis for their views. Again, a comparison of the July 2011 versus current versions provides an example; the former also had nice quote box formatting since deleted.

Incidentally, for one of many examples of doubleplusungood info nobody is ever supposed to see from the perspective of the activist team here, read Dr. Shaviv:

The preceding is a convenient link to a general discussion including for laymen, but the topics within it are covered by papers such as: Svensmark, Henrik (2007). "Cosmoclimatology: a new theory emerges". Astronomy & Geophysics 48 (1): 1.18-1.24. doi:10.1111/j.1468-4004.2007.48118.x. Shaviv, Nir J (2005). "On climate response to changes in the cosmic ray flux and radiative budget" (PDF). Journal of Geophysical Research 110 (A08105). doi:10.1029/2004JA010866.

And much, much more, the above just the tip of the iceberg. For instance, non-PC temperature history, for 100 years (not the politically correct 30-40 year cutoff) of the top of the Northern Hemisphere where temperature changes most: (compare recent history versus 1930s)

The actual history of the warm Minoan Warm Period, Minoiske Warm Period, Holocene Climate Optimum, etc.: which is a graph of U.S. government NOAA data: (vastly contrary to what is enforced on Wikipedia climate articles by one or more admins and several supporting political-activist editors, the same handful of names over and over again)

I casually discussed such a bit more at That includes many links to peer-reviewed, university, and government sources with non-PC info.

Et cetera. Et cetera.

I don't bother wasting my time adding non-politically-correct content to Wikipedia articles, however, when it just would as usual be eliminated soon afterwards by the dishonest activist team. But, Jimbo Wales, if you read this, your site -- which could be far better -- is crippled on topics like all the climate articles by the dominance of the bias-enforcing deletionists discussed in my last remark. You alone, if you have honor and willingness to spend a little time investigating, are the about only one left who could have much chance of improving the situation here; ordinary users soon realize there is no point in fighting an admin personally. (talk) 00:30, 18 November 2011 (UTC)

Um..... You do realise we link to Dr. Shaviv blog right in the article you're complaing about right? We do know and did on 00:04, 14 November 2011. Not that specific post but it seems odd to say we're trying to stop people from reading Dr. Shaviv when we link to the same blog you're so fond of in the article you're complaining about Nil Einne (talk) 10:36, 18 November 2011 (UTC)
BTW about the point about the basis for the views, first the article has gone thru a lot of changes over time over how we cover things. I'm not simply referring since July, I've been minorly involved for several years. The fact of the matter is the title simply suggests a list of people who oppose the mainstream consensus. It's resonable to suggest we need sufficient evidence in the article to establish their view is against the mainstream consensus but whether we need to spend a lot of space actually explaining their stated reasons for their views is another matter. It's resonable to suggest that's undue weight considering the topic of the article and instead we should simply mention the views and all the readers to check the refs to get a proper understanding of the views if they're interested. And the fact of the matter even when we try to explain their view, if all we have is a 1-3 shortish paragraphs which is realisticly all we can dedicate to each personm people are still going to be saying we don't properly explain their view, and I would say they have a point. The fact of the matter is whether someone reads the July version or the current version I don't think they're going to going to be particularly convinced. The only possibility is they may be more likely to read the refs. Nil Einne (talk) 11:05, 18 November 2011 (UTC)

Simply amazing: "The tactic being successfully enforced now by the activist team (cunning I admit) is to delete any quotes expressing the real basis of the scientists' views, ...." Nah, what is "cunning" is to first complain of too many quotes (and too lengthy), and then complain of too much trimming. I think we should have a vote, and everyone voting either "too long" or "too short" is required to collaboratively (that will be fun to watch) write an alternative article. Which we then diff against the current article. With any luck the diff will be trivial. :-) ~ J. Johnson (JJ) 20:35, 18 November 2011 (UTC)
I have started an RfC on the quotes. Jimbo, if you do read any of this discussion, would be glad for feedback on whether the RfC was a) premature and b) badly expressed. Of course any comments you might want to make would be very welcome, but also of course you can't comment on everything. Itsmejudith (talk) 20:44, 18 November 2011 (UTC)

Turn off the donation ads Jimbo!

Turn off the infernal damned donation ads Jimbo! I only need to see them once, not constantly. PumpkinSky talk 03:43, 18 November 2011 (UTC)

Can't we just have paid advertising like virtually every other web site in the world? A Quest For Knowledge (talk) 04:08, 18 November 2011 (UTC)
Consensus is that paid advertising is anathema to m:Neutral point of view. —Jeremy v^_^v Components:V S M 04:09, 18 November 2011 (UTC)
With animations, commercial ads tend to become 95% (or more?) of a webpage transmission. If Wikipedia response were slowed 20x by more ads, how many people would continue to update articles, despite even slower results? -Wikid77 11:30, 18 November 2011 (UTC)
This is not "every other website". And that's a good thing. Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 > haneʼ 04:23, 18 November 2011 (UTC)
The goal of wiki is noble, but the reality is a disaster. PumpkinSky talk 04:28, 18 November 2011 (UTC)
Can you cite a reliable source for your 'reality'? :P AndyTheGrump (talk) 04:29, 18 November 2011 (UTC)
Instead of asking Jimbo to turn off the ads, just go to Special:Preferences -> Gadgets and tick the "Suppress display of the fundraiser banner" box in the browsing section to turn them off yourself. --Mrmatiko (talk) 08:09, 18 November 2011 (UTC)
I wish sites with paid advertising had a gadget like that! Contains Mild Peril (talk) 10:17, 18 November 2011 (UTC)

Try to sex-up the banners. Change the models. If you absolutely need to be there yourself, shave. -- (talk) 12:45, 18 November 2011 (UTC)

@A Quest For Knowledge, please see Wikipedia:PEREN#Advertising.  Chzz  ►  14:06, 18 November 2011 (UTC)
@Wikid77: Wikipedia is the fifth most popular site on the entire Internet.[23] I'm not sure what ads are going for these days, but there's a good chance that we could afford faster servers and then the site won't be as slow as it is now. A Quest For Knowledge (talk) 17:11, 18 November 2011 (UTC)
This is what The Register says about the ads today: [24].--♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 17:13, 18 November 2011 (UTC)
Did someone vandalize the Register's page once upon a time and since then they've been on a crusade to rid the world of the evil that is Wikipedia, or something? Jeez. Tony Fox (arf!) 18:09, 18 November 2011 (UTC)
And on another part of that Register webpage,

Swedish college girls now twice as slutty as in 2001
'Morons! Zuckerberg, are you listening?'
US nuclear aircraft carrier George Bush crippled by toilet outages
Southampton hampton vice shocker: Exclusive snap

Ghanaian she-devil chews off bloke's 'nad sack
Is this vandalism? --Bob K31416 (talk) 20:28, 18 November 2011 (UTC)
No, it's The Register - that's the kind of news they report. It's... "quirky".  Chzz  ►  21:33, 18 November 2011 (UTC)
[25] --Bob K31416 (talk) 21:59, 18 November 2011 (UTC)

Look after yourself

I've known that this campaign in India was brewing for a few hours but now have English language confirmation. The man behind it has tried and tried here, and is now going the direct route. Be careful out there, Jimbo: yet another riot or even bomb is not out of the question. I wish the conference well, obviously. - Sitush (talk) 04:38, 18 November 2011 (UTC)

Seems the friendly law enforcement people have matters well under control - first ever arrests over a Wikipedia content dispute? --Demiurge1000 (talk) 11:14, 18 November 2011 (UTC)
Some people really need to get over themselves. The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 14:21, 18 November 2011 (UTC)
Please keep your conspiracy theories in check. What evidence do you have to suggest that Yogesh Khandke has anything to do with it? [26] And what is the basis for this sensationalist "bomb" talk? People are already thinking that some Wikipedians' content dispute has some relation with this.-MW 12:11, 18 November 2011 (UTC)
Simply because you have content disputes with Yogesh Khandke does not mean you can stoop to this level of insinuations.MW 13:33, 18 November 2011 (UTC)
I'm not sure whom Sitush is referring to by saying "the man behind it has tried and tried here, and is now going the direct route" but if it is Amit Satam, the politician mentioned in the artilce, I am unaware that he is an editor here. Also I'm hoping this does not set a precedent for settling India related content disputes in the real world with the aid of political parties. If it does, then there are potentially 1034 political parties who can take up one of the many India related disputes (there's one for each article except for the one that I have not yet created), to represent someone from the 4300 communities, the rich, the poor, the urban, the rural, etc. Enjoy your stay in Mumbai, Jimmy! Zuggernaut (talk) 13:48, 18 November 2011 (UTC)
Okay, I've created that article at Wikipedia-BJP India map dispute. Zuggernaut (talk) 13:57, 18 November 2011 (UTC)
No, not Atam (as far as I am aware), although he acted as mouthpiece outside & was using the "we've tried" phrase about attempts here. It doesn't matter, if it doesn't escalate. 50 arrests, I've been told, so it looks like they hyped it up quite a lot to the press. - Sitush (talk) 15:43, 18 November 2011 (UTC)
Okay, good to know you didn't mean Satam (assuming you made a typo). Are you then implying, as MangoWong pointed out, that Yogesh Khandke is behind this? Zuggernaut (talk) 16:50, 18 November 2011 (UTC)


jimmy a bounding am a simple user in a place in this beautiful world and use your regular page, page of which I am grateful ...... case is so like me or if there are many rather most of the usurious not have a credit card but would like to donate .... happens to them? Also your site is the first to appear in gogle if looking for something .... even nonprofit donations because you ask not to the same institutions that appear on this website as without them you want your advertising also are benefited with the information they deliver to the Board Index. I hope I have made ​​my contribution as I can not cash. and if you need something from Chile and I can help just ask. Leticia ~ ~ ~ ~ — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:08, 18 November 2011 (UTC)

Leticia, Jimmy has been very busy lately, but meanwhile, you might wish to read about other ways to donate, other than by credit-card:
     • - English language
     • - Español idioma
For people who cannot afford much, then updating articles about subjects they know (such as towns and culture in Chile) is also welcomed, by the readers who donate as thanks for the detailed information they find on Wikipedia. -Wikid77 22:53, 18 November 2011 (UTC)

Facebook / Twitter links for easy posting of your donation appeal

Nuvola apps edu languages.svg
Hello, Jimbo Wales. You have new messages at Wikipedia:Help_desk.
You can remove this notice at any time by removing the {{Talkback}} or {{Tb}} template.

 Chzz  ►  21:32, 18 November 2011 (UTC)

Um, in case you don't know, Jimbo, the link above is to the specific thread; ie Wikipedia:Help_desk#Facebook / Twitter links for easy posting of your donation appeal?. Cheers,  Chzz  ►  23:29, 18 November 2011 (UTC)

A barnstar for you!

Barnstar of Diligence Hires.png The Barnstar of Diligence
For creating the greatest center for knowledge in the entire world. Alexroller (talk) 00:52, 19 November 2011 (UTC)

Your user page at portuguese Wikipedia

Hello! Your user page in portuguese Wikipedia was edited by another user after your latest contribuition in 2010-november-12. Is better updating the page with your current version of user page in english Wikipedia (translated) or reverting to your last edit, that says that's better visiting your user page here? --MisterSanderson (talk) 01:02, 19 November 2011 (UTC)

NOTCENSORED and illustrations

Jimbo, there is a discussion at WT:NOT#Objectionable content that examines the following question: Should the use of illustrations (images, audiovisual media) in Wikipedia be a matter for community consensus, or should we aim for a presentation that is in line with presentations in reputable secondary sources? In other words, should the project create its own editorial standards with respect to article illustration, or should we strive to have editorial standards that are broadly consistent with and informed by editorial standards in the relevant literature? What is your view? Cheers, --JN466 11:10, 19 November 2011 (UTC)

Hmm, I think we should aim for a presentation that community consensus agrees is in line with presentations in reputable secondary sources. What I mean is this: it isn't reliable sources *versus* community consensus, but rather that the proper goal of community consensus should be (generally) to reflect what is in reliable sources.
To be very very specific rather than abstract, we should be careful not to allow political views held by almost all Wikipedians (in a particular language) to distract us from the demands of NPOV. So as an example, if reliable sources suggest that depictions of Muhammad are rare, we shouldn't as a "political act" shove a bunch of them in just to prove some kind of case against censorship - if we do so, then we misrepresent history.
True NPOV in this area would involve finding a consensus about what reliable sources do. Depictions of Muhammad needs to have some historically relevant and important ones because that's what the article is about. Muhammad though, should not mislead the reader into thinking such images are common if they are not. This doesn't mean that the number should be zero, necessarily, just that it should reflect what is found in reliable sources.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 08:35, 20 November 2011 (UTC)
Yes, I agree with that. It's also important for us to be able to counter complaints that our illustrations are insensitive etc. if we can point to WP:NPOV policy and say that we've looked into it, and made sure, to the best of our ability, that our illustrations appropriately reflect the range and type of illustrations that reputable sources show. --JN466 14:39, 20 November 2011 (UTC)
Jimbo's comment here may be the most sensible idea I've heard in this very long debate. Joefromrandb (talk) 20:52, 20 November 2011 (UTC)

Diacritics in our article titles when the RSs do otherwise

Jimbo, I wanted to draw your attention to something. A relatively new editor created Wikipedia:WikiProject English. The stated purpose there is to “Ensure that article names conform to English Wikipedia policies”. The user behind that has objected to certain articles on hockey players, such as Marek Zidlicky. Notwithstanding that RSs like Sports Illustrated and The New York Times (and even the NHL themselves) spelled it “Marek Zidlicky”, our article had the title (and body text) spelled “Marek Židlický”.

Well, the user behind getting the Marek Židlický moved (and who started Wikipedia:WikiProject English) has found himself the lightning rod of attention from editors active on those hockey articles and they started this MfD in an effort to muzzle discussion of this.

Perhaps the WikProject’s stated goals aren’t being well articulated and need to be massaged. Whatever its teething problems, it seems quite unfair to try to shut down a WikProject when it is still in its infancy (just a couple of weeks old) before it can prove that it can develop a following. I suspect that given the hyperbole at the MfD, the message point of the WikiProject will live on even if project itself is closed down for running contrary to the wishes of a cabal of editors who, in my humble opinion, are putting Wikipedia in the position of flouting the RSs.

All in all, this issue of flouting the RSs for some sports-related articles strikes me as an instance where a consensus among a limited group of editors, at one place and time is overriding the community consensus on a wider scale. Per WP:LOCALCONSENSUS, that isn’t allowable on Wikipedia. Greg L (talk) 16:36, 19 November 2011 (UTC)

People want to see the Wikiproject deleted because it is a thinly veiled lobby group used to support one side in a controversial conflict. It has nothing to do with "muzzling discussion". --Conti| 17:05, 19 November 2011 (UTC)
Greg L, the underlying dispute has been going on for months and has been brought up on Jimbo's talk page several times before. Congratulations that you have now found out about it, and congratulations that you have managed to form an opinion so quickly. Some facts that you may want to consider in addition to what you know already, and whose veracity you may want to check:
  • Fact 1: All good English reference works other than Wikipedia use (almost) all applicable diacritics in titles that are proper names in foreign languages with a Latin-based alphabet. The rare exceptions include the German letter ß (which usually becomes ss) and relatively obscure, diacritic-laden languages such as Vietnamese. (The spellings of Zurich and Armin Mueller-Stahl are not exceptions but proper anglicisations that just happen to look like the original word with the ü replaced by u or ue.) If you don't believe me, look up Polish cities in Britannica, or in Britannica 1911, or look up Björn Borg in Britannica or Encarta. Or look up any big city with diacritics in the original name, in Webster's Dictionary of Geographical Names.
  • Fact 2: Wikipedia de facto does the same. You can check this by using Special:Random. Roughly 4% of our articles are foreign proper names that contain diacritics. I have yet to find a single article with this method whose title is a foreign proper name from a Latin-based alphabet, such that there is a diacritic in the original but not in our title. So it seems safe to say that considerably less than 1% of our article titles have dropped diacritics. This has nothing to do with sports.
  • Fact 3: There has been a systematic push to rename sports articles to get rid of diacritics, and User:Dolovis has created a large number of articles on virtually unknown but formally notable East European hockey players, all with dropped diacritics, obviously to make a point.
  • Fact 4: If one admits that one name can have more than one spelling, and that dropping diacritics creates a new spelling of the same name rather than a new name, then Wikipedia's de facto practice is entirely consistent with all applicable policies and guidelines. From this point of view, the rules of WikiProject Hockey just explain the applicable rules in a way that prevents misunderstandings.
  • Fact 5: There are English words (loanwords from other languages, of course), for which dictionaries such as the OED and Merriam-Webster give a version with diacritics as the primary or only spelling. Of course there are many more for which have an alternative spelling with diacritics. Examples include café, exposé, façade, führer, Götterdämmerung, although details depend on the dictionary.
  • Fact 6: Many English sources drop diacritics systematically for technical reasons. As far as I know, this includes all newswire services. Some newspaper styleguides (e.g. New York Times) explain that the reason they do not restore these diacritics except in certain languages is that they are not sure they would manage to get it right under the time constraints.
  • Fact 7: The Chicago Manual of Style gives detailed technical advice on how to ensure diacritics are printed correctly, advises when to use the optional diacritics in certain English words (e.g. exposé because expose is ambiguous), but never once suggests to drop diacritics from foreign words or names.
  • Fact 8: The higher the editorial quality of an English source, and the higher the language register used by the source, the more diacritics you will find. Reference works and scholarly publications almost never drop diacritics in foreign proper names. National Geographic never drops diacritics in foreign place names.
In addition, quite a few editors who oppose diacritics in titles have !voted for deletion of that particular project because the bad faith and disruptive nature are just too obvious. Hans Adler 17:53, 19 November 2011 (UTC)
Wow, Hans. You misunderstand my position on diacritics. I am only advocating following the RSs (not a bad thing to be advocating, don’t you think?). If the RSs spell it “François Mitterrand,” I’m all for that. If the RSs spell it “Marek Zidlicky”, I’m all for that too.

Methinks it unfortunate that you have such a quick propensity to see it as “just too obvious” that those who advocate follow the RSs are actually motivated by “bad faith” and are “disruptive in nature”. Please familiarize yourself with WP:AGF and WP:NPA; good editors are expected to debate ideas without attacking the motives and character of the individual behind the ideas. I’m glad this discussion has been brought here, where the sunshine of public inspection can help sanitize weak arguments and infected processes. Now…

Your “Fact 6” amounts to “Don’t put credence in the RSs like The New York Times (and Sports Illustrated and the NHL) and any other RS that has editorial policies at odds with Hans. But note that WP:RS and WP:SPELLING don’t yet mention User:Hans Adler as an RS—and for good reason; it is not within the purview of mere wikipedians to debate with furrowed brow and pouted lower lip, what are *good* English-language practices and which ones are *bad* so that Wikipedia can then flout how the rest of the English-language press spells words. Being that Wikipedia is an encyclopedia that “anyone can edit” and is a collaborative writing environment, following the RSs is a core principle. It is not a principle that can be thrown out with the bath water as a small group of editors try to lead the English-speaking world to a New And Brighter Future®™©.

If you don’t understand why Wikipedia follows the RSs, please take a look at Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Dates and numbers. See the “Binary Prefixes” section in the archives? Click on it to expand it. Do you see those 18 archives? For three years, rather than follow what the rest of the English-language computer-related press did and write The Dell Inspiron came with 256 MB of memory, hundreds of our articles had The Dell Inspiron came with 256 MiB of memory. That’s pronounced “mebibyte”. No other computer manufacturer nor computer magazine on this pale blue dot uses such terminology when communicating to a general-interest readership. Yet, all it took was 20 editors here at this little backwater RfC to decide that mere wikipedians somehow knew better and Wikipedia should strike off and try to lead by example. We had hundreds of computer articles with “MiB” and “KiB” rather than “MB” and “KB” everyone else used. It took three whole years for it to dawn on those editors that Wikipedia did not have such influence and that using terminology and spelling that English-speaking readers will only see here and never again after leaving our pages is a disservice to our readership. It certainly wasn’t easy to reverse that. The lead proponent of that was an admin who quit Wikipedia after the final decision was cast to follow the RSs.

I take pride that I lead the effort that reversed that unwise practice regarding mebibytes and kibibytes so we wouldn’t finding ourselves out in left field where the RSs don’t tread. Greg L (talk) 18:42, 19 November 2011 (UTC)

When did it become Wikipedia policy to do what the specific reliable sources do on matters of style? Maybe this was a useful argument that helped to get rid of the silly mebibytes that practically nobody uses. I would not know where to look in Britannica, but I cannot imagine that they are using this kind of language. Of course we should not do so, either.
But "follow the sources", in this case, means opening up 4% of our articles to acrimonious spelling disputes. It means that we would have spelled Björn Borg initially, when he was only known from Scandinavian source, with the "ö". Then the American sports media started writing about him and dropped the dots because they always do that. So the article would have been moved to Bjorn Borg. And finally he made it into Britannica and other high-quality sources which consistently spell his name correctly, so that the article would have been moved back to Björn Borg. Each of these moves would probably have been proposed a bit too early at first, so that we would have had at least half a dozen requested move discussions. And the worst thing is that, as I explained, Björn Borg is not a rare exception but the typical case. Your fundamentalist "follow the sources" rule would result in a Wikipedia in which virtually unknown people and outright stars would be spelled with their diacritics, and those with a medium degree of international notability would be spelled without them. Does this sound like a reasonable principle for editing an encyclopedia? How would our readers benefit from this?
This principle may have helped you to win a dispute where you were right, but that does not mean it's OK to promote something that is just wrong merely to be consistent. Hans Adler 19:03, 19 November 2011 (UTC)
Hmmm… “just wrong”, you say. So, do I understand, Hans, that you take issue with the judgement of the admin who closed the move RfC on “Marek Zidlicky”? That admin wrote I have no doubt that I will be pilloried for this decision but it seems to me that while a straight vote count would show this to be a fairly balanced discussion, the policy-related arguments are for the rename. Bad decision? Bad policy?

Note that User:Who R you? wanted to start a WikiProject to discuss and work on these issues. That brought out a cabal to silence the *dangerous talk*. I personally think that the proper response to “bad speech” is *better* speech. I’m funny that way. I take a dim view of attempts to squelch discussion on the premise that the underlying ideas are bankrupt and—as you just wrote here—“it is just too obvious” that those behind those ideas have “bad faith and disruptive nature”. As you are now discovering, doing an MfD on a WikiProject is easy. Squelching an idea (like adhering to core principles of Wikipedia) is hard. Greg L (talk) 19:13, 19 November 2011 (UTC)

See [27]. This guy is currently playing in the US, and presumably he is using the spelling without diacritics himself when he is there and could also have established a more phonetic spelling without diacritics (e.g. Jidlitsky) had he chosen to do so. The move was OK, the rationale wasn't.
You are getting the history of that WikiProject all wrong. First they tried to change the WP Hockey guideline and failed. Then they went the Requested Moves path (bottom-up approach), with mixed success but causing a lot of disruption. Then they tried to gather support on various policy pages, with little success. They continued starting RMs, most of which failed. Then the project was created to concentrate the canvasing efforts. Some of them subscribe to a xenophobic conspiracy theory, according to which communist foreigners are systematically trying to infiltrate the English-language Wikipedia with their non-English symbols. So apparently everything is allowed in defence.
"Squelching an idea (like adhering to core principles of Wikipedia) is hard." I see. You will make a good member of the anti-diacritics group. Enjoy the company. Hans Adler 19:31, 19 November 2011 (UTC)
"Note that User:Who R you? wanted to start a WikiProject to discuss and work on these issues." - No he didn't. He wanted to form a cabal of his own with which he could push his POV on the diacritics issue despite an overall lack of consensus. His own comments make that patently obvious, and that is why I MfDed it (and I am far from a pro-diacritics editor). And a very large majority of editors - from all sides of the diacritics debate - have seen right through the facade (or façade, if you prefer). Your complaints about trying to silence "dangerous talk" is also farcical given there are active RfCs on the topic that have not been shut down. Nobody is stopping you from trying to form a consensus on this matter, Greg. But don't expect people to sit idly by when others come around and attempt to subvert it. Resolute 20:11, 19 November 2011 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── (*sigh*) To User:Resolute, your certainty and absolutism about how User:Who R You? is trying to “subvert” something (the harmony of the “in” crowd at the Central Committee For All That Is Good On Wikipedia?) betrays a bite the newcomer attitude.

It might surprise some here that I have no issue whatsoever with diacritics; “follow the RSs” is not a principle I use to either promote or deprecate diacritics or influence things to my personal liking (or further my own sense of what is Right and Holy with the English language). At Talk:Crêpe here, I initially !voted to support “crepe” because I first thought that was most common in English-language RSs (you know: this is en.Wikipedia so “English-language” has something to do with how things are done here). But after much fact finding, it became apparent the most-reliable English-language RSs (say, Alton Brown’s cookbooks), spelled it “crêpe”, so I came down ultimately for that spelling (with the diacritic).

But the principle of how the “crêpe” decision was arrived at was a paradigm the closing admin cited when he closed the RfC to move the article to the new title. Admin/user GTBacchus wrote: The result of the move request was: page moved per discussion. In particular, Noetica's excellent and thorough analysis of the sources behind the Google searches establishes that the use of the circumflex is significantly more common in reliable sources addressing this topic, so the COMMONNAME argument is turned right around. This discussion is where I'll probably point people in the future as an example of how Google searches should be treated; that's good work. Note how the closing admin cited using evidence of real-world English-language practices was the deciding factor. The decision to use either “crepe” or “crêpe” was not the product of back-room debate by mere wikipedians who fancy themselves to be power brokers for the future of the English language.

Wikipedia follows the way the real world works; it is not the other way around and never has been—just as it was when we went back to using “megabytes” rather than “mebibytes” even though some 20 editors were absolutely convinced this was *better* because it was a new standards proposal from the IEC. Well… fine. But is anyone else in the English-speaking world following the IEC’s suggestion? In the case of “mebibytes,” no; Wikipedia was off doing its own thing because some 16-year-old kid with a computer had the same say as does a wikipedian who has a Ph.D. in English.

And ‘crat/user Dweller wrote, during the move of Marek Zidlicky as follows: Opponents of the move have argued passionately and I have felt some resonance with their comments, but WikiProject guidelines and userspace essays cannot trump policy. Furthermore, tempting as it is to defer to precedent, Wikipedia doesn't work on precedent, so I have not viewed any previous diacritic-related page moves referred to by Darwinek.

These two principles “Follow the RSs” and “Ensure that article names and body-text spelling conform to English Wikipedia policies” are nothing to fear. Attempts to label any of what User:Who R You? is trying to do as “subversive” is fear mongering and has no place on Wikipedia. Greg L (talk) 00:28, 20 November 2011 (UTC)

Or, a very accurate description of the intent of this project. Everything you say is fine and dandy, but you still need to build a consensus for your position. A project which serves as a false front for one POV in an unsettled debate has no place in Wikipedia. Resolute 00:50, 20 November 2011 (UTC)
In the real world, encyclopedias use all the applicable diacritics and tabloids don't. If you want to spell article titles tabloid-style or encyclopedia-style depending on which sources exist (or which we are using), then you will have to do better than vague hand-waving in the direction of policies or general principles with no immediate applicability.
If a source starts with an explicit disclaimer "In the following, all diacritics were removed for technical reasons", then the fact that a certain word is spelled without any diacritics tells us -- precisely nothing. With a large number of sources we are in the same situation, except the disclaimer is implicit or can only be found in a style guide somewhere. And then there are those sources whose style guide says explicitly that they use the original spelling with all diacritics, but in practice names are spelled randomly, sometimes with and sometimes without diacritics, depending on whether the article comes from a newswire and similar accidents. In other words: Most sources are unreliable for whether a foreign name has diacritics.
For actual English words that may have a diacritic, the situation is different, and for people on who are the subject of an English biography in book form the situation is also different. But the large majority of contentious cases is virtually unknown people who only appear in foreign sources and cursorily in English-language tabloids or sports publications. An encyclopedia cannot have its spelling dictated by such random sources of poor editorial quality. Hans Adler 00:55, 20 November 2011 (UTC)
It appears that Greg L is an even better fit for WikiProject Anti-Precision Canvasing than I thought at first. I will not wantonly mention a number of RM closures that went the other way in response, and notify the closing admins. That would be too obvious, wouldn't it? Hans Adler 01:31, 20 November 2011 (UTC)
You baffle me, Hans. Why, in this venue of all places, would you persist at highlighting your unfamiliarity with Wikipedia’s policies for everyone here to witness?? Try reading up on WP:Canvass. It says In general, it is perfectly acceptable to notify other editors of ongoing discussions, provided that it is done with the intent to improve the quality of the discussion by broadening participation to more fully achieve consensus. Since those two were the closing admins and had both very carefully waded through all the arguments—pro and con—on two RfCs to move article names, and since I cited those two RfCs here on this page and mentioned the closing editors by name here, and since one is a respected ‘crat, I asked those two to weigh with their expertise if doing so could add anything of value to this discussion. If you think notifying a total of two experts in this precise matter constitutes canvassing, please take it up at ANI or hold your peace. Oh… and I’ll take your following my every move on Wikipedia as a compliment; thanks. Greg L (talk) 02:49, 20 November 2011 (UTC)
Did anyone accuse you of technically violating WP:CANVAS? Not me. But in this context it was in poor taste. And I have no interest in following you. I have both editors on my watchlist, so your two consecutive edits stood out on my watchlist. Hans Adler 02:56, 20 November 2011 (UTC)
Note on WP:CANVAS: General canvassing is ok in WP; the problem is "improper canvassing" of notifying a "disproportionate number" of one side about a discussion. However, a loophole exists in WP:CANVAS where the regular editors can be notified via an article-talk page, but attempts to notify rare users via user-talk can be seen as "improper, unbalanced canvassing" because they are notified specially, when the talk-page regulars already knew of the discussion, but also notifying the regulars via user-talk can be seen as unfair because they would be notified twice. The WP:CANVAS page needs to be changed to state that notifying "at most 5" specific people via user-talk is never improper canvassing, to allow contacting another 5 rare editors to discuss the issue, without the Catch-22 loophole of notifying rare editors without notifying regular editors twice. -Wikid77 (talk) 23:34, 20 November 2011 (UTC)
Oh, great idea. Let's make a template with the following content: "Your input is required in a discussion at #1. Please make sure you do not notify more than 5 editors using this template, and avoid multiple notifications of the same editor." This is going to make polarised discussions run so much more orderly and will likely eradicate the canvasing problem altogether. Hans Adler 23:42, 20 November 2011 (UTC)
Seriously, I’m taking none of this too seriously this evening, Hans. I seem to be in one of my moods that goes “Rule 1: Don’t sweat the small shit. Rule 2: Most everything is small shit.” But, honestly, your trying to explain away that you didn’t accuse me of canvassing reminds me of the scarecrow on The Wizard Of Oz when the angry tree asked if there was something wrong with his apples and the scarecrow said “Oh, no! It's just that she doesn't like little green worms.” Do you think we can focus on the substance of the issue here, Hans? Or would you like to play “attack the messenger” until the heat death of the universe? Greg L (talk) 03:09, 20 November 2011 (UTC)

For each of the several RMs the project has been involved with in its brief life, there are several thousand English-language RS examples of the name without diacritics, and zero, or near zero, with. Britannica`s style is to run with a single version of a name, but Wikipedia generally gives variations. So even if a title is without diacritics, the formal name with diacritics can be given in the opening or box. Kauffner (talk) 01:10, 20 November 2011 (UTC)

I'm going to make the same comment I always make: blind source following is detrimental to the encyclopedia. To actually use reliable sources effectively, you actually need to understand what the source is saying; just doing a Google search for sources that'll fit your point of view is the opposite to good practice. From my experience, recent good-quality sources tend to transliterate rather than do blind letter replacement; do a search for "Novak Dokovic" and compare it to "Novak Djokovic". The culture of COMMONNAME as holy scripture is very worrying; I don't think it was ever intended to bludgeon diacritic removal into the project; indeed, my reading of the naming guidelines is that, when the original form is not the most common name, then you should transliterate, as per proper practice, but for heavens sake, don't say that "И" is the same as "N". (Also, as a sidenote, XKCD's recent strip on citogenesis has some truth; there's been a shift in referring to the theme from Requiem for a Dream as "Lux Aeterna" once it got its own Wikipedia article, so take care that you're not creating precedent). Sceptre (talk) 02:03, 20 November 2011 (UTC)

Hopefully, the RMs will continue. Over the years, alot of hockey players articles were unilaterally moved by pro-dios editors. Those arrogant moves were un-necessary. GoodDay (talk) 08:33, 20 November 2011 (UTC)

As a point of order, there's no requirement that you have to go through RM for a move. Indeed, current practice is the opposite. Sceptre (talk) 14:56, 20 November 2011 (UTC)
It's better to go the RM route, concerning diacritics. GoodDay (talk) 15:22, 20 November 2011 (UTC)
Only since you and your buddies made the topic contentious. Before that, names without the diacritics were uncontroversially moved to the correct form to ensure consistency with the rest of Wikipedia. I am sure that for most parts of Wikipedia other than sports that's still the case. Hans Adler 15:58, 20 November 2011 (UTC)
The names were uni-laterally moved to personal preference form, without regard to how english sources presented them. GoodDay (talk) 16:25, 20 November 2011 (UTC)
Get off your high horse, GoodDay. Your own arrogance as it relates to this issue became tedious a very long time ago - and I was on your bloody side! Also, the moves were far from unilateral, and you know that given you were involved in every diacritics debate we ever had at WP:HOCKEY and know full well the outcome of them. Resolute 16:23, 20 November 2011 (UTC)
What I recall getting at those bio articles (in the old days), was alot of you snooze, you loose attitude from the pro-dios side -after they moved those articles to diacritics form. The english sources must be respected & will be respected - until they're, this dispute will continue - If not by me, then certainly by others. GoodDay (talk) 16:30, 20 November 2011 (UTC)


The problem you experienced on that hockey-related venue, GoodDay, is that local cabals can arrive at a local consensus that is utterly contrary to common sense editorial practices of genuine editors at major publications. Since Wikipedia has the principle of “follow the RSs” engrained into its DNA and since this applies also to spelling (see WP:SPELLING and WP:RS), flouting the predominant practice of most-reliable English-language RSs is verboten. Publications like The New York Times and Sports Illustrated have editors who invariably possess journalism degrees. And, yes, publications like The New York Times have access to all the diacritic marks they need and have no difficulty accessing them whenever they need to. Type foundries all the way to the Linotype days offered full diacritic support; that practice continues today after type foundries converted to digital typefaces. The New York Times experiences no difficulty with deadlines to properly spell it “François Mitterrand.” It would be only too easy for them to use diacritics when writing the name of an NHL hockey player who originated from Eastern Europe, but they don’t and spell it “Milan Jurcina”. Allegations that The New York Times isn’t an RS because deadline pressures prevent them from using diacritics even though they’d like to are baseless and absurd. And, quite properly, Wikipedia also doesn’t use diacritics in the name of that same hockey player, but this move regarding Milan Jurcina took a lot of editors’ time. That’s a lot of effort to fix these articles just one by one. These are the facts.

Ever since I was a businessman in my early 20s, I’ve remembered a hard-learned and important lesson about power: there is “paper power” and “practical power;” they are two very different things. Wikipedia, by virtue of its enormous size and diversity of its subject matter, gives wikipedians the tools to run off and do dumb things. Because Wikipedia is the “encyclopedia anyone can edit,” we have everyone from English professors with Ph.D.s to 16-year-old kids in their mommy’s basement; all have the same ability to be heard. I am quite certain the 16-year-old kids outnumber the Ph.D.s on Wikipedia; that’s the nature of the beast given that Wikipedia is a hobby. The result is that Wikipedia affords small cabals “practical power” that enables insane divergences from common sense, like this RfC where just 20 editors decided on their own that Wikipedia would unilaterally adopt a proposal by the IEC to use a new unit of measure called “kibibits (Kib)” and “mebibytes (MiB)”. Nearly overnight, we had hundreds of articles changed so they read The Dell Fluffy Bunny 9000 computer came with a whopping 64 MiB of memory. Wikipedia was the only publication on this pale blue dot using such terminology; not even Microsoft’s Dictionary of Computer Terms had entries for the terminology. And because so few general editors cared about this and the use of the terminology was controlled by a local cabal of specialists who circled the wagons (and had an admin who used his power to great effect to revert attempts to get Wikipedia back to planet earth), it was impossible to do anything about that insanity for three whole years.

This is why WP:LOCALCONSENSUS states that Consensus among a limited group of editors, at one place and time, cannot override community consensus on a wider scale. That is an important principle. But it takes an admin with serious brass or a ‘crat (also with lots of brass) to step in and override a wagon-circling cabal. That’s why I brought this issue here. There is an important principle of “follow most-reliable RSs” that is being ignored in some quarters (hockey, for instance), and doing moves one by one, like we did for Marek Zidlicky and Milan Jurcina is time consuming and unnecessary.

I think we’ve had plenty of feedback from all parties here and there is an unnecessary combative nature to the discussions… far too many personal attacks on others with claims that editors intend merely to disrupt. So…

I came here to break out of this cycle so we don’t have a repeat of what happened with “mebibytes.” The proponents of that practice—like those behind eschewing the practices of most-reliable RSs on diacritics—are well meaning; in the case of “mebibytes”, they thought Wikipedia should Lead The World By Example©™®. But Wikipedia doesn’t have that sort of influence; it just looks foolish when we have articles that spell players’ names contrary to all the most-reliable English-language RSs (like the NHL and Sports Illustrated and The New York times). We have no all-powerful, college-educated editor with a journalism degree; that’s why we follow the RSs and don’t pretend that mere wikipedians can debate, with furrowed brow and pouted lower lip, what is the One True Way for proper English-language practices and they’ll just have Wikipedia strike off doing its own thing.

It’s time to hear Jimbo provide guidance here. Greg L (talk) 19:29, 20 November 2011 (UTC)

  • Well, your speech is both persuasive and cogent, Greg L, and I agree with you. But Jimbo has already set out his personal opinion on overuse of diacritics (he's against). But Jimbo won't and can't offer a prescriptive decision. I fully agree that it'd be more functional if we had either a professional chief editor or a "content ArbCom" to decide these things in the small number of cases where contentious and well-populated issues are stalled in this manner (and I encourage all to continue to talk this up.) But we don't have that. So I'm not sure where the solution lies. Herostratus (talk) 20:06, 20 November 2011 (UTC)
    • As to a solution, Herostratus, (speaking to your So I'm not sure where the solution lies comment): me neither. Maybe the proper starting point is to clearly identify what the problem is that we would like to solve. I would propose that the objective would be to identify a more streamlined way to fix a single class of articles that are non-compliant with the principle of “follow the practice of the preponderance of most-reliable English-language RSs.” The streamlined process should cabal-proof RfC proceedings so that a closing admin or ‘crat can cut through mere nose-count in RfCs and pronounce the proper remedy (make the articles compliant with community consensus on a wider scale). At the current time, the “class of articles du jour” is some NHL hockey players (maybe those are all fixed but I sorta doubt it), but the *process* should be able to readily adapt to any class of non-compliant articles that have key elements in common. Does that make sense? If we can agree on the objective (what the problem is we’re trying to solve), perhaps discussion in a venue like this (Jimbo’s talk page) will attract the interest of some of our brighter and experienced editors who can propose solutions. Then we can head somewhere else on Wikipedia to work the details. What do you think? Greg L (talk) 20:39, 20 November 2011 (UTC)

    • P.S. Thinking about this a bit, what about the creation of a special tag for flagging a class of offending articles? The procedures could be a variation on WP:BUNDLE. The tag might quote and emphasize certain policies, call for streamlined procedures for presenting evidence (mostly limited to matters of fact regarding how the RSs handle the spelling) and sanctify speedy moves for closing admins. Greg L (talk) 22:28, 20 November 2011 (UTC)
(1) Greg L, as I just discovered, you were involved in these discussions previously. You commented in the huge discussions now archived at WT:Naming conventions (use English)/Archive 8#Use of diacritics in biographical article titles, filling up most of WT:Naming conventions (use English)/Archive 9, and of course the massive RfC at WP:Naming conventions (use English)/Diacritics RfC, which was open for a full month and ended in a clear no consensus leaning numerically slightly to support (60 support, 47 oppose), even though it was so strongly pro-diacritics that I did not even vote and commented: "While I have been a vocal supporter of codifying our actual practice (and that of other English language reference works), this proposal is not well prepared and tends to hurt that goal."
Before this background, could you please elaborate on the "local cabals"? Who are these people? Did they dominate the big RfC?
(2) "Allegations that The New York Times isn’t an RS because deadline pressures prevent them from using diacritics even though they’d like to are baseless and absurd." -- You are aware that this is rhetorics of the cheapest kind, right? It is generally accepted that being a reliable source is not a yes/no thing but a matter of degree and dependent on the claim that one seeks to support with it. The OED is not a very reliable source on medical information, and the sports pages of the New York Times are not a very reliable source on particle physics. In the same way, the New York Times is not a very reliable source on matters of spellings in which it is demonstrably inconsistent, and it is easy to check that it uses diacritics very inconsistently even on the same name. We needn't even speculate on why that is so, because they have published a style guide whose relevant part is visible in the Amazon preview:
Under "accent marks" (page 6), it says they "are used for French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese and German words and names. [...] Do not use accents in words or names from other languages (Slavic and Scandinavian ones, for example), which are less familiar to most American writers, editors and readers; such marks would be prone to error, and type fonts often lack characters necessary for consistency. Some foreign words that enter the English language keep their accent marks (protégé, résumé), others lose them (cafe, facade). The dictionary governs spellings, except for those shown in this manual. In the name of a United States resident, use or omit accents as the bearer does; when in doubt, omit them. (Exception: Use accents in Spanish names of Puerto Rico residents.) [...] Some news wires replace the umlaut with an e after the affected vowel. Normally undo that spelling, but check before altering a personal name; some individual Germans use the e form."
Hans Adler 22:35, 20 November 2011 (UTC)
Hans, how about you sit back and watch and see if the rest of the community can figure out a way to correct articles that are screwed up because a consensus among a limited group of editors, at one place and time, has occasionally overridden community consensus on a wider scale. Yeah, I hear your message point that The New York Times isn’t an RS on *complex* issues like sports and how to spell names such as François Mitterrand and Milan Jurcina. Personally, I don’t think “them edumicated editors” over at the NYT get tripped up easily on such basics so I’m not persuaded in the least by such notions. Everyone can see that WP:SPELLING doesn’t yet list User:Hans Adler or User:Greg L as an RS but does list The New York Times as one (go figure??). Can you find an RS that states that The New York Times isn’t an RS? (Thought not.) So we’ll just have to agree to disagree about your allegations that The New York Times is all so fouled up on the fundamentals, M’kay? These “mebibyte”-type wiki-boo-boos seldom correct themselves until experienced, non-partisan editors join in to help on an issue that wasn’t previously on their radar screen; that’s why I brought it here. Greg L (talk) 01:04, 21 November 2011 (UTC)
Interesting. I was not aware that there was a "community consensus on a wider scale" over the use of diacritics. Would you care to link to a discussion that validates this claim? Resolute 01:36, 21 November 2011 (UTC)
Claiming that reason and the majority are on your side is easy. The hard part is making reality adjust to what happens in your mind. At least you come up with amusing ideas in the attempt, such as the theory that the spelling of foreign names is a sports issue, and the theory that User:Hans Adler's literal quotation from a New York Times publication must be dismissed because, um, User:Hans Adler himself is not a reliable source. Um, what? Never mind. Hans Adler 01:37, 21 November 2011 (UTC)

Trials of banner variations

During last year's fundraiser, on December 14, I suggested a banner [28] that uses information that came straight out of Sue Gardner's appeal: "If all of our readers donated $1, the fundraiser would be over about four hours from now." [29] Whether by that suggestion or not, by December 28, banners with $5 and $10 were tested out in the same exact form as the banner that is being used in this year's fundraiser. And they seemed to have done well. [30] However, no trials were done with the $1 amount that says that the fundraiser will be over within 4 hours instead of today. Unless trials are done with smaller amounts like $1 and $2, saying the fundraiser will be over within 4 or 2 hours, or less than 1 hour (48 minutes) for $5 if it takes 4 hours for $1 donations from every reader with last year's target and whatever calculation was used to get that data in Sue Gardner's appeal, we have no way of knowing how these banners will perform. It will be a neglect to not run trials with variations of the amount and the time it will take to reach the target if every reader of the Wikimedia projects donated that amount. It can well be that one variation will perform better than the $5 banner saying that the fundraiser will be over today. I greatly urge that trials are done with these banner variations to determine which one performs best:

  • "If everyone reading this donated $5, our fundraiser would be over within 1 hour." (or the time it will take with this year's target)
  • "If everyone reading this donated $5, our fundraiser would be over in less than 1 hour."
  • "If everyone reading this donated $5, our fundraiser would be over within 48 minutes."
  • "If everyone reading this donated $5, our fundraiser would be over in less than 50 minutes."
  • "If everyone reading this donated $1, our fundraiser would be over within 4 hours."
  • "If everyone reading this donated $1, our fundraiser would be over in less than 4 hours."
  • "If everyone reading this donated $2, our fundraiser would be over within 2 hour."
  • "If everyone reading this donated $2, our fundraiser would be over in less than 2 hours."
  • "If everyone reading this donated $3, our fundraiser would be over within 2 hours."
  • "If everyone reading this donated $3, our fundraiser would be over in less than 2 hours."

They also need to be translated into other languages and currencies, probably based on users' IP addresses. So far, I haven't seen a translation of the $5 banner last year or this year. And similar trials should definitely be done for other countries, currencies, and languages.

There could be other variations. One can even wonder if fundraising instead of fundraiser will make a difference. Other variations could be using "all our readers," "each of our readers, "each/every reader," or "each/every reader of Wikipedia," "can be over" and "will be over."

Hopefully, having tested variations of this present banner, the most effective one can be found for each country, currency and language that will help this year's fundraiser and future ones reach their target quicker and easier and with less distraction for people with an element that in ways doesn't belong in Wikimedia projects. One could say it's a necessary evil. So it's all the more important that the target is reached soon and they are over soon.

Logos112 (talk) 02:25, 20 November 2011 (UTC)

I'm a big fan of testing, but note that I'm not directly involved in the day-to-day running of those tests. You should probably talk to Zack!--Jimbo Wales (talk) 09:35, 21 November 2011 (UTC)

Me too, which is why I want to test the Article of the Month scheme they have on German wikipedia on english wikipedia. How though do we go about running that particular test? What do I have to do get it implemented for a trial period? Still no response? Very disappointing, I think this will be the last time I post on your page as I cannot believe how disinterested you actually are in promoting article growth and that's really what matters here. Trying to approach you or the foundation with development ideas is like driving a car into a brick wall. All I want is just for you to say something like "Its on the agenda and is something we may consider but will need some discussion"! ♦ Dr. Blofeld 13:11, 21 November 2011 (UTC)

In Persian Wikipedia

I saw that your user page doesn't have interwiki link to Wikipedia Farsi, I will be glad if you want, to translate your userpage to Persian and present it to you. All the best for you--Sahehco (talk) 10:12, 20 November 2011 (UTC)

  • That sounds like an idea that Jimmy would like, but keep the page short at first. For example, just translate the following 2 paragraphs into Persian:
I am Jimmy Wales. I go by "Jimmy" in real life, but often go by "Jimbo" online. People sometimes assume that "James" is my real name, and "Jimmy" only a nickname, but my real name is really Jimmy.
I was born in the wonderful and beautiful city of Huntsville, Alabama, U.S. I founded Wikipedia in 2001. Since 2006, I have been Chair Emeritus of the Wikimedia Foundation, which I founded in 2003. In 2004, along with Angela Beesley, I co-founded Wikia, a completely separate organization unrelated to Wikipedia and the Wikimedia Foundation. I am proud of founding Wikipedia and am grateful for what it has offered to millions of people worldwide.
The Google Translate menu has an option to handle "Persian" but we are not sure how well it works. Anyway, translate that text and show the translation below this message. -Wikid77 (talk) 00:15, 21 November 2011 (UTC)
Perhaps adding the photograph (File:Jimmy Wales Fundraiser Appeal edit.jpg) along with the description would not be a bad idea. Albacore (talk) 01:46, 21 November 2011 (UTC)
Jen, don't Put Jimbo on a pedal stool. (talk) 02:09, 21 November 2011 (UTC)
Whyever would a native speaker want to use Google translate? pablo 15:29, 21 November 2011 (UTC)

Use of social micro-payments on Wikipedia

I see that the 'Message from Jimmy Wales' is back with requests for donations. I have recently come across Flattr, which allows users to reward all manner of bloggers, writers, musicians and anyone who delivers valuable content online. This strikes me as an excellent alternative to advertising revenue, allowing readers to show their appreciation in monetary terms for useful content. I wrote a short blog post about it here: The website for Flattr is A flattr button would presumably be an easy thing to add to Wikipedia pages, and in terms of getting donations it is a much faster, easier gesture for readers to make than a credit card donation. Is it something you have thought about? Claire King (talk) 23:12, 20 November 2011 (UTC)

Last year, the German Wikipedia community discussed some possible forms of using Flattr and rejected them for the time being, see this article I wrote for Signpost.
See also this.
Regards, HaeB (talk) 02:44, 21 November 2011 (UTC)

Thank you. These four points here are particularly useful: <<Privacy: The standard Flattr button is loaded dynamically from Flattr's own servers, which would presumably violate the Foundation's privacy policy (the surfer's IP would be transmitted to an outside entity, which would be in a position to track the surfer's Wikipedia reading behavior). However, there is the possibility of using a static button or a link as in the examples on Commons. Collaboration: Assuming that the money would go to Wikipedians, instead of the WMF: How should the Flattr donations for an article with many different contributors be distributed? Cannibalization: The average donation per Flattr click is far smaller than the average donation via the "Donate to Wikipedia" link, so (in the case where the WMF would be the recipient of Flattr donations) the overall revenue might actually be reduced. Commission size: Currently, Flattr imposes a 10% fee on donations, which might be seen as too high.>> The 10% fee is still the case. As for cannibalization, perhaps as a trial (for WMF fundraising) outside the 'fundraiser' itself could give some data on clicks & revenue? Great to see from the second link that it's an idea that could be considered for next year. Claire King (talk) 08:33, 21 November 2011 (UTC)

Any guarantees?

Hi Jimbo,

Two years ago Wikipedia user donated $1,000 to Wikipedia. Then the user told you about the donation.Surprisingly the user was blocked for this post, and his post was deleted from your talk page.Do you believe you could provide some guarantees that anther substantial donors would not be blocked for donating to Wikipedia? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:18, 21 November 2011 (UTC)

Financial contributions are appreciated by all of us who edit Wikipedia articles, but they do not buy the right to disrupt the encyclopedia. The editor was not, of course, blocked for donating, but for severe and often-repeated disruption. Looie496 (talk) 17:58, 21 November 2011 (UTC)
  • Of course, to suggest that a specific editor was blocked for giving a donation, or for simply talking about his donation is laughable. Giving money is only a "get out of jail free" card in some countries. There's a lot more to that block that the simplistic, misleading, and possibly even juvenile reasoning provided by the OP. (talk→ BWilkins ←track) 18:01, 21 November 2011 (UTC)
Indeed. But at least it was a short and relatively intelligible post. pablo 19:15, 21 November 2011 (UTC)

Mumbai protests - poor reporting

Jimmy, several media organizations have either retracted or altered their articles about the event. I've made changes to the article accordingly. It seems there has been some poor media reporting and it doesn't make an article we can keep anymore - I've voted to have it deleted. I apologize for some of the content based on these sources. Zuggernaut (talk) 17:19, 21 November 2011 (UTC)

I think I pretty obviously have a COI and so won't be participating in the AfD. :)--Jimbo Wales (talk) 23:32, 21 November 2011 (UTC)

Amadigi di Gaula

Could I ask you a favor? Could you take a look at Amadigi di Gaula and tell me your opinion. Someone who seems to follow me and behaves as a troll added flags there. This person thinks I did something wrong, by adding a few lines from two articles which I found on internet. I contacted one of the authors, and he does not seem to be annoyed, on the contrary he is willing to help. But I really think I did not do something wrong. In fact I made references which is usually enough in academic circles. I contacted an experienced scientist and he told me if this person is not the author, I should not worry. But this wikipedian has different ideas, probably because he does not like me for some time. Nobody else seems to bother. The article is very poorly visited.

This person earlier hijacked George Frideric Handel's art collection which I started. He removed all the links to the Dutch and Italian painters and thinks he did a good job. I don't think he is a good pedagog. The link to this article from the main article Georg Frederick Handel is poor too, so nobody is going there to investigate. Taksen (talk) 16:36, 21 November 2011 (UTC)

You do not appear to understand Wikipedia's copyright policy. You must never copy material directly from a source without putting it in quotation marks, "like this", or in a quotation box. Never. Never, never, never. No matter how nice it is. When you do that, you put Wikipedia in the position of breaking the law. If you don't follow this rule, you will have to be blocked from editing. Looie496 (talk) 17:45, 21 November 2011 (UTC)

I followed your advice. I hope it works.Greetings from Amsterdam.Taksen (talk) 18:53, 21 November 2011 (UTC)

P.S. In my point of view the English Wikipedia changed into something that reminds me to the GDR, where you cannot trust anybody. They are unwilling to help and might attack you not understanding the culture or on your language. Besides the rules on the continent are more layed back. We don't have as much lawyers as you have who would like to make a buck, and I can compare because I have experience on the Dutch, German and French Wikipedia. Taksen (talk) 19:59, 21 November 2011 (UTC)

Ask 1,001 users: To User:Taksen, some English Wikipedia users might be more hostile than before, but there are many editors who keep trying to be civil and helpful, despite the thousands of editors who have left English WP during the past 2 years. There are hundreds of policy-point or guideline rules here, and someone could always complain over any of a hundred different issues. I think we still have over 30,000 editors who are somewhat active every month, so you would need to check with about 1,001 users to see if they are generally more hostile or not, but I agree the hostility can seem extreme at times. -Wikid77 (talk) 05:03, 23 November 2011 (UTC)
I am stunned (and utterly demoralized) that this has landed here. Please see my response here (or preferably, since this is incredulous, please don't be bothered to see it). GFHandel   08:56, 22 November 2011 (UTC)
I think this study explains a lot: Can undergraduate students determine whether text has been plagiarized?. Taksen was clearly plagiarising, but may well not be aware of the fact. Hans Adler 09:30, 22 November 2011 (UTC)
The funny thing about that article is that even its author doesn't actually understand the rules: he thinks that paraphrasing is okay if the wording is altered enough. That's not true: plagiarism occurs whenever the wording is derived from the wording of the original version, regardless of how extensively it is modified. The only way to avoid plagiarism is to write entirely in one's own words (or to indicate explicitly that the wording of the original is being used). Looie496 (talk) 16:23, 22 November 2011 (UTC)
"plagiarism occurs whenever the wording is derived from the wording of the original version, regardless of how extensively it is modified" -- I don't think you can put it that way. When you summarise someone else's text it is perfectly normal and desirable to use the key words from the original text and follow its necessary structure. Plagiarism is when you also use non-essential aspects of the original text such as accidental formulations and accidental structure. Or when you get this right but omit the citation.
Can you point me to evidence that the author of the study really got this wrong? Hans Adler 17:17, 22 November 2011 (UTC)
My guess is that Looie496 is referring to the ethics of the situation: I would call it plagiarism if someone were to copy a few paragraphs from a source, then massage each sentence with the intention of making the result acceptable to copyright defenders, then paste it into an article. In such a case, the editor acted merely as a robot to perform a copy-with-modification. Wikipedia's reputation would be damaged if that occurred frequently. Johnuniq (talk) 22:49, 22 November 2011 (UTC)
That's definitely not what I described as acceptable, and I am not going to re-read the entire study to see if they somewhere say something indicating that the examples they considered acceptable were in fact not acceptable. Maybe Looie496 has seen the actual questions somewhere? I would be very much interested in seeing them. Hans Adler 22:57, 22 November 2011 (UTC)

Discussion regarding a message of yours re Wikipedia and democracy

FYI there is currently a discussion on a policy talk page in the section Wikipedia is not a democracy regarding a previous message of yours that is linked to from the policy. --Bob K31416 (talk) 15:54, 22 November 2011 (UTC)
P.S. The discussion is just in the first part of the section, not the subsection. --Bob K31416 (talk) 16:01, 22 November 2011 (UTC)
P.P.S. Strikeout because the formatting was changed (fixed) to place the off-topic subsection in its own section. --Bob K31416 (talk) 04:43, 23 November 2011 (UTC)

Is there a particular question that you or someone else has? For what it is worth, I don't agree with Septentrionalis. Wikipedia really is not a democracy. Wikipedia is also not an experiment in consensus. Wikipedia is a project to write an encyclopedia. Anyone who thinks any other goal is higher has missed the point. As a project to write an encyclopedia we have elements of consensus, democracy, aristocracy, and monarchy. All of those elements are valid so long as they serve the purpose of building an encyclopedia, and invalid when they get in the way of that. People who treat the project as a political game are missing the point.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 23:53, 22 November 2011 (UTC)
Without disagreeing with your main point - that we are here to create an encyclopedia - I will point out that there is no human social activity (anywhere) that is devoid of politics. If we do not put the effort into constructing a functional political system of some sort, then what we will end up with is a dysfunctionally haphazard mess of conflicting political agendas, and that will interfere with the quality of the encyclopedia. In fact, it already does interfere: As a project we are incapable of resolving many contentious issues because there is no systematic method of addressing ideological divides (short of endless talk page disputes geared towards trumping up excuses to block or topic-ban one side of the dispute - is that what you consider a rational decision-making process for an encyclopedia?)
The project has been pulling an ostrich on this issue for far too long, if you ask me (not that you did… Face-wink.svg). I don't really care what system we end up with (the system is secondary to the goal, as you point out), but we need some rational, consistent, un-neutered system, because the alternative is… well… talk:abortion, talk:cold fusion, talk:Race and intelligence, talk:creationism, talk:pregnancy, talk:Muhammad/images,, talk:Messianic Judaism, etc, etc, etc… --Ludwigs2 00:17, 23 November 2011 (UTC)
I thought Wikipedia was an experiment in child rearing; at least that's what some women here have noted. However, I also agree with some things User:Ludwigs2 has stated, and see the need to define some pro-active governance systems, such as randomized juries to decide issues, rather than the current they-all-respond-together WP:TAGTEAM !votes at WP:ANI, plus perhaps run anonymous or secret-ballot votes, where only the totals are revealed. -Wikid77 05:43, 23 November 2011 (UTC)
An experiment in child rearing? I have never heard of this before, but it makes sense. Fortunately my six-year-old daughter is a lot more mature than many Wikipedians. Hans Adler 08:06, 23 November 2011 (UTC)
Did you just describe Wikipedia as a monarchy, Jimbo? --FormerIP (talk) 00:40, 23 November 2011 (UTC)
Just as disturbing is the mention of aristocracy. Fifelfoo (talk) 00:45, 23 November 2011 (UTC)
These are all accurate descriptions of aspects of our community. Are you all blind? Hans Adler 00:51, 23 November 2011 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I'm more wondering whether to do Jimbo a special crown-shaped barnstar. Of course Wikipedia is, to a significant extent, a democracy. There'd be no point in it otherwise. And of course democracy does not mean the tyranny of the majority. But we are subject to the tyranny of anything, we have a problem. --FormerIP (talk) 01:06, 23 November 2011 (UTC)

We have a blood based, probably ethnically distinct, elite that extracts social wealth in an "in-kind" or "labour corvee" form through threats of violence concealed beneath reciprocal obligations tied up in concepts of honour? Fifelfoo (talk) 00:55, 23 November 2011 (UTC)
The tiniest bit of attention in history lessons can help avoid such misunderstandings. Or one can look things up in Wikipedia: "In origin in Ancient Greece, it was conceived of as rule by the best qualified citizens, and contrasted with monarchy. In later times, aristocracy was seen as rule by a privileged few (the aristocratic class)." Jimbo obviously meant the first sense. Hans Adler 01:10, 23 November 2011 (UTC)
If we have an aristocratic class here, they need spoons up their bums. We have functionaries and an unelected committee. --FormerIP (talk) 01:13, 23 November 2011 (UTC)
(ec)"Ethnically distinct"? I daresay that is a rather objectionable statement. AFAICT, Wikipedia is an ordered attempt to produce as good an encyclopedia as possible using reliable published sources, and edited by an array of people who may have differing points of view who are willing to lay such points of view aside in the interest of producing a neutrally worded and accurate encyclopedia. Cheers. (Shameless self-promotion of WP:PIECE and WP:KNOW inserted) Collect (talk) 01:14, 23 November 2011 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── You know, I've just been having this discussion on my talk page. interesting. What we currently have on project is a kind of pre-tribal band system, which can look like any other system (because the elements of all sophisticated political systems are present 'in the bud' in social bands). There are some elements of tribal society developing (Arbcom and administrators fill a role like 'tribal elders' in loose tribal aggregates, policy and guidelines take on an almost mystical/devotional role in some discussions), but on individual pages it still largely devolves to conflicts between small ideologically insular groups fighting for control of a resource. Aristocracy in any sense of the term would be a superior system; in Aristotle's sense it would be far superior.

I'll admit that I'm a huge fan of consensus systems (I live for deliberative democracy…), but consensus systems are hard: they take a lot of self-reflection, a lot of self-moderation, and both a willingness and an ability to set aside small personal concerns in favor of large public concerns. These features are noticeably absent from many of the more contentious discussions on project. If we are not willing to take the steps to achieve a properly functioning consensus system, then we would really do better to try for another less-open approach, because dysfunctional consensus systems are ugly, ugly, ugly beasts. It's why Aristotle considered 'democracy' the worst form of governance (because his understanding of democracy was more-or-less rule by the ignorant and emotionally volatile masses). --Ludwigs2 01:30, 23 November 2011 (UTC)
Collect, I was referring to the repeated discussions of the role of ethnically coherent invaders in early Feudal societies, and their tendency to declare themselves as a nobility or aristocracy over the previously indigenous inhabitants; cf: the Normans in Saxon England. In a way, my reaction to the suggestion we tolerate monarchy is equivalent to your reaction to my suggestion that ethnicity could be involved: we hold with the common enlightenment values regarding proper ordering of constitutions and politics and especial political classes and racialism are both repugnant to the values of the enlightenment. Your suggestion of rule by highest reliability sources is far more desirable to me than the suggestion that we tolerate monarchies or aristocracies in the encyclopaedic project.
Ludwigs2: why doesn't MILHIST have governance problems; and, why does it respond to political criticism from external groups, such as FAC, so readily? The criticism regarding article quality and supply of reviewers (an economic problem) was resolved rather rapidly, and without battleground behaviour against the external group. MILHIST seems to have incorporated heightened sourcing quality, citation presentation, textual quality, and MOS support based on criticisms. Why does MILHIST work where other projects fail? I'd suggest it may be the combination of a high participation culture, an internal rewards and recognition system, a commitment to quality that backgrounds consensus, a recognition of externally driven standards as the key to resolving crises, and a decision to not recognise attempts to revisit community consensus. Fifelfoo (talk) 01:44, 23 November 2011 (UTC)
sorry, those are not articles I generally work on, so I can't speak to the details. I suspect, however, that it's largely due to the fact that Military History has a strong academic tradition and rarely works with controversial material. Most major military actions have a host of well-documented sources, and disagreements are usually over details rather than core principles. Where MILHIST verges into controversial material - for instance, the Armenian Genocide - I expect you see just as much consternation as you see on the pages I mentioned above. Please remember, much of wikipedia works perfectly fine, just the way that pre-tribal groups often shared the same hunting grounds without conflict. Problems occur where there's competition, because there's there's no overarching wikipedia culture to stabilize such conflicts, and no system in place for dealing with them as a collectivity. --Ludwigs2 05:12, 23 November 2011 (UTC)
I concur regarding the common academic culture in MILHIST. There are fundamental disputes emerging within the structure, across projects, and I'd suggest that the model of pre-agricultural society isn't a useful one. Intrafirm competition within conglomerates, or interdepartmental conflict within bureaucracy are far better models. Fifelfoo (talk) 06:58, 23 November 2011 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Except that is not the case here. what Wikipieda lacks is the overarching culture/structure that makes conglomerates and bureaucracies work. I mean for heaven's sake: if you read the disputes I get into you'll find editors heatedly trying to redefine what 'knowledge', 'information', 'neutrality', and etc mean, so that they can get the result they want; That's nuts for an encyclopedia. you'd never find a conglomerate where different segments try to redefine what 'money' mean, nor a bureaucracy where one group claims that Frank is Joe's superior while another group claims that Joe is Frank's superior. Any corporation or bureaucracy that wound up in that state would be incapable of doing anything, which is the condition we find ourselves in on contentious articles. We simply don't have a sufficiently sophisticated system to compare ourselves with any modern organization. --Ludwigs2 00:41, 24 November 2011 (UTC)

Soviet bureaucracy in the 1930s shows some interesting parallels with our situation. Including expert baiting, use of an invented moral code to get people removed from the society/social-organisation, and internal redefinitions of "production money," "time," "skill," and "acceptable output quality," on a regular basis so that people could get the results they wanted. Because the economy was massively expanding, it worked. When it went into contraction after 1945 it was a failure. Conglomerates play these games all the time with notional internal costs btw. Fifelfoo (talk) 00:57, 24 November 2011 (UTC)

(edit conflict)Jimbo, Re your question, "Is there a particular question that you or someone else has?" - Not from me. I was just giving you a heads up on a discussion on a policy talk page about whether or not the policy page was misinterpreting a previous message of yours. And I wasn't requesting anything from you. I thought the section was an important part of policy because it influences how much value to give to consensus polls. Regards, --Bob K31416 (talk) 01:52, 23 November 2011 (UTC)
Update. On that policy talk page it turned out I was mistaken about your message being misinterpreted and I corrected my error. Regards, --Bob K31416 (talk) 14:53, 23 November 2011 (UTC)

Let you know about petition


Just ran across this - Petition: Replace the image of Jimmy Wales with that of a golden retriever. Thought it was funny. And a golden retriever would be adorable. SilverserenC 01:55, 23 November 2011 (UTC)

I personally support this too. Sceptre (talk) 02:52, 23 November 2011 (UTC)
Utterly agree. He's Gone Mental 16:48, 23 November 2011 (UTC)
Golden jumping.jpg
Oh no! I'd have to donate all over again. Cloveapple (talk) 18:26, 23 November 2011 (UTC)
<-- Yes, that! SilverserenC 18:37, 23 November 2011 (UTC)


Hi,Jimbo.I just have a query.Why can't experienced rollbackers give permission for rollback at Requests for rollback page?I try to mean,that,rollbackers cannot give any more permission other than for rollback?That's me! Have doubt? Track me! 16:15, 23 November 2011 (UTC)

Because that's not how the software works. DS (talk) 16:25, 23 November 2011 (UTC)
Why doesn't the software gets updated to a new version which has this facility?That's me! Have doubt? Track me! 16:31, 23 November 2011 (UTC)
Because why would they? Admins don't approve other admins--Jac16888 Talk 18:39, 23 November 2011 (UTC)

"This enshrines old bad practices and privileges the past over the future"

Jimbo, a few weeks ago, you made the above disapproving comment. I was wondering, how are Wikipedians generally supposed to know that this is a bad thing for the encyclopedia—where can we find a statement of principle that promotes this sentiment? Uniplex (talk) 20:38, 23 November 2011 (UTC)

WP:BOLD and WP:IAR.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 22:17, 23 November 2011 (UTC)


I don't know where to say it but here: This year's fundraiser looks exceptionally well done. Mixing personal appeals from multiple members/editors from the community, with a Wikipedia staff programmer, and yourself, is very effective. And the messages are great. I know it's too early to tell, but I'll say it: well done. First Light (talk) 06:20, 24 November 2011 (UTC)

More plagiarism

LOL @ this from the Daily Mail. "Like Eric Clapton, he popularised use of the wah-wah pedal in mainstream rock,which he often used to deliver an exaggerated sense of pitch in his solos. He was influenced by blues artists such as B.B. King, Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, Albert King and Elmore James, and later began wearing a moustache like singer Little Richard, saying 'I want to do with my guitar what Little Richard does with his voice'.

I wrote those lines myself in the wikipedia article. When are these shoddy journalists going to write things for themselves? They should not be using wikipedia text without attribution. Are we going to let major newspapers copy from us without attribution? ♦ Dr. Blofeld 10:00, 24 November 2011 (UTC)

My understanding is that only you as the original author can do something about it. Have you contacted your lawyer yet? No? Too expensive? That's why they can get away with it. Hans Adler 10:12, 24 November 2011 (UTC)

Not the first time DM has done it. Perhaps I should contact them and inform that "we're onto them" and warn them against doing it again?♦ Dr. Blofeld 10:22, 24 November 2011 (UTC)

Take it to the |Mail - and then to the media if they have nothing to say for themselves; plagiarism is still viewed harshly in media circles and other outlets, I am sure, would love to gloat at the Mail being caught ;) --Errant (chat!) 12:48, 24 November 2011 (UTC)
They would love to do so, but I am afraid they will all be worried it might become an own goal. If I were in charge of a newspaper, I guess I would run coyvio tests over my newspaper's output the way we are doing, but even if everything looked clean I would still feel uneasy about it. Hans Adler 13:40, 24 November 2011 (UTC)

I have emailed the Daily Mail warning them.♦ Dr. Blofeld 13:06, 24 November 2011 (UTC)

That must have been quite a rushed copy-paste job. They didn't even fix the space in after the comma in ...mainstream rock,which... . Dr.K. λogosπraxis 13:23, 24 November 2011 (UTC)
Note to Paul Dacre: Please attribute. In addition, please contribute. The Wikipedia Fund Drive is currently in progress, and as a clear beneficiary of its work we're sure your previous lack of financial support is an easily-remedied oversight. Thank you on behalf of hard-working Wikipedians. (talk) 19:14, 24 November 2011 (UTC)
Considering what's coming out about Dacre and the Mail at the Leveson Inquiry, and related issues surrounding it, I hardly think ethics is top of Dacre's priority list. One could even say he's expressly disregarding ethics. -- M2Ys4U (talk) 21:52, 24 November 2011 (UTC)

Study on GA/FA and whether Wikipedia is failing or not

Sorry, I know that this page is watched my a myriad of users, so I'd like to make more public about a publication that has sparked some discussions during the last few days -- user TCO has put some issue analysis down here:

PowerPoint: Wikipedia's poor treatment of its most important articles --Sp33dyphil ©© 10:22, 24 November 2011 (UTC)

Interestingly this article rants on about "core articles" and how do we achieve this. Your answer lies in the section "Social rewards may help us align quality incentives". If you seriously want to the proportion of core articles to be GA or higher than we need to introduce a mechanism such as a Core Contest of the Month scheme to focus on the top important articles and reward those editors who put the most work into achieving it. Funny how such reports continue to be released and the issues are obvious but nobody could care less about actually doing something about it. If you want "new blood" and better focus on core article quality you need bait, plain and simple, just expecting people to come and work on the core articles is unlikely to yield the even quality articles we desire on such topics. Unless we actually start to do something actively towards addressing it then such reports will continue into the future and are utterly pointless unless there is a conscious drive to answer it. Its all well and good producing such reports but who is actually gonna take the initiative to do something about it? I would, but I don't have the power on here to implement a scheme which I am certain would be effective at improving our proportion of quality articles on important topics. ♦ Dr. Blofeld 10:34, 24 November 2011 (UTC)
Just read it. My views on the subject are here. I think this is something WMF should look at. (Obviously, since those are my views.....) heh! What do you think? Pesky (talkstalk!) 10:38, 24 November 2011 (UTC)
@Dr. Blofeld That's a great idea! Thanls <Sp33dyphil jots down idea> --Sp33dyphil ©© 10:42, 24 November 2011 (UTC)
Thanks Sp33dyphil, but I am going to need mass support on this if anybody is going to seriously consider it. There was a Core Contest scheme back in 2008 financed by a private donor and i won it with my article Deforestation in Brazil. I only bothered to write such an article because of my competitive nature and the incentive. There was a bank of "Core Articles" drawn up and participants were allowed to select an article of their choice from several hundred articles. The contest was a major success given that the incentive had the effect of multiple editors selecting a core article and considerably improving it and it was fun I thought. If we do this every month financed by what would be an extremely small percentage of the annual budget or if not monetary based on Amazon vouchers then something of esteem or social value, then we would continously have our core articles improved and I'm certain more good articles on important topics. Now its all well and good talking about the issues but I want to see a move towards actually addressing them!♦ Dr. Blofeld 10:53, 24 November 2011 (UTC)

Response from Dweller

I'm fairly sure that this is not the right place for this discussion (if there's a proper venue, please point me there) but here's my response. Apologies to Jimbo, but here I go.

The arguments are interesting, but I am bothered by them on several counts:

  • Vital articles

Before you talk about page views, you discuss Vital articles. Now, I'm sure a lot of hard work and massive amounts of consensus finding went in to choosing them, but ultimately, they're a horse designed by a committee. Worst, they don't set out to - and therefore don't - correspond with readers' needs.

You cite in the powerpoint Family as one of our vital articles. I'm sure it's a very worthy choice. And indeed, it's had 115,000 views in the last 30 days. Not bad. Except Lady Gaga has had 2.3 million hits in the same period. I'm not certain Lady Gaga would ever gain the consensus to be deemed a vital article. But she is what people want to read about. There are musicians/composers in the vital articles list; 14 of them in total (counting the Beatles as 4). Of those 14, 12 are dead, nearly all of whom died before 1980 (and mostly before 1900).

  • Passion

Deriding the FAs that we produce because they're about topics that some editors deem less worthy than others misses the point. People produce FAs because they're passionate about them. Believe me, without passion, you wouldn't bother entering the process a second time, even if you managed to the gumption to stick through a first time.

And that passion will equate to others' passions, too. I have little to no interest in hurricanes. In the UK, hurricanes hardly ever happen. But I admire the efforts of the editors who produce streams of hurricane FAs - and they'll be useful and interesting to a group of readers.

I tend to write on football and cricket. The latter is the subject of gleeful derision by some, mostly Americans, which I can understand. But cricket is immensely important to many - especially the growing internet userbase of the Indian subcontinent, who treat their cricketing heroes like modern day gods.

  • Pride

We should be proud of the FAs we produce and encourage people to participate in the Featured processes. By all means, encourage people to develop FAs for articles you think are important. The biggest problem I have with your powerpoint is that it seems to me to disparage the work currently done. Phrases like calling some types of articles "peculiar" is counterproductive. Just because you may have little interest in mushrooms is irrelevant if someone has done the hard work to develop quality articles about mushrooms. And who's to say that with a couple of FAs under their belt about mushrooms, they may not take on getting Science featured? Worse, you even disparage individual FA writers, who should be lauded and festooned with garlands of barnstars and ribbons and praise, as "dabblers" and "star collectors". Or you deride the article itself. The Adelaide Leak article, a fascinating study of an intriguing incident, you discount as "1930s cricket player dramah". I tell you, the "dramah" is in your presentation.

I could weather my first two problems in your presentation as minor, but this third is just abysmal and it brings everything crashing down with it.

Don't go trying to improve something that is difficult and requires skill, effort and perserverance (in exchange for no money and a hard time at FAC) by disparaging the contributors and their contributions.

Go rip up this powerpoint and make a fresh start with some humility and respect for the people producing quality articles. --Dweller (talk) 11:43, 24 November 2011 (UTC) PS This "dabbler" hadn't heard of the Core Cup till he read your report. I don't understand the table and can't find it onwiki. Where is it?

I don't see any particular disrespect for people producing quality articles. I see it more as identifying the major problem we have of systematic bias and editors write because they are interested in a subject, which means Lady Gaga gets a great article and Togolese culture remains a lousy article. As an encyclopedia we have an obligation to try to cover topics evenly with a consistent level of quality. We are not achieving this because there is no incentive for editors to go that step further and write about a topic they otherwise might not. I wouldn't normally write an article about the Family but I'd be willing to write about it if there was some incentive which attracted me to it... Obviously there would be disagreement over what constitutes a "Vital Article" and I believe a far higher percentage of GAs are certainly valuable articles. But the issue still exists and we have a duty to address it precisely because editors usually only edit articles they are passionate about and why the quality of wikipedia may differ dramatically. Every featured article is extremely valuable whatever the topic and there's nothing wrong with writing about topics you are passionate about. it often produces the best results, but because of this some topics which may be considered "vital" are ignored because they lack interest or are difficult to write. As I say as an encyclopedia it is our duty to try to produce more even quality on "core" topics and at present we are failing to achieve this because there is lack of encouragement to editors to work on them when they otherwise might not do.♦ Dr. Blofeld 12:03, 24 November 2011 (UTC)
Wikipedia does have a consistent quality, it lies between stub and start classes, with a healthy mix of undefined. Fifelfoo (talk) 12:07, 24 November 2011 (UTC)
Take Togo for instance. Daunting prospect to write about it. I am interested in the country but I'm just lacking the edge to want to write it to a high standard. If somebody said "write this there is a chance of winning a reward for your efforts at the end of the month" I suddenly become interested and an incentive to try to write it. I'm sure I'm not the only person here who thinks like this. We have editor interest in a huge range of topics but we are not fulfilling our potential in what they can produce. Because we solely rely on passion for topics this is why a lot of traditional encyclopedia subjects considered "Vital Articles" on countries/capital cities for example are often barely start class and Lady Gaga B sides are featured articles. Given that this is the way wikipedia is written it is hardly surprising. Unless you rope people into writing these vital articles to a quality standard then this is how wikipedia is going to remain. ♦ Dr. Blofeld 12:12, 24 November 2011 (UTC)
You can propose any new reward system you like without needing to disparage the current contributors and their contributions. Doing so undermines the credibility of the person making the proposal, in my book. If my boss told me I needed to work differently and offered me an incentive to do so, I might be enthused, but not if he added "oh, and by the way, everything you've to-date is ****" --Dweller (talk) 12:20, 24 November 2011 (UTC)
Well, you can't really attack editors for what they choose to write about, given that nobody has to edit a thing here, agreed. Given that we solely rely on the goodwill of people... But at times it does get frustrating for instance to see only a handful of GAs on traditional "Vital" topics and then hundreds of US TV episodes as a matter of priority.. There is an obvious issue but you can't blame people for what they choose to write about when they are offered nothing to write about it. I want GAs and FAs on TV episodes and on any article we have on here but I also want to every one of our core articles up to GA level... But its never going to happen unless there is a coordinated drive to get people to write every core article to a good standard... ♦ Dr. Blofeld 12:32, 24 November 2011 (UTC)
If you want the rather small group of existing FA writers to write FAs about things they don't feel passion for, being sarcastic/rude about them and the things they do have passion for is a really, really bad start. --Dweller (talk) 12:43, 24 November 2011 (UTC)
Agreed, they don't need to change what they do. The amount of editors willing to write a featured article on a topic they are simply not passionate about is next to zero. To put in that amount of work and dedication to one article almost always means passion is the motivator so asking them to work on Vital articles some of which may not be of interest is a tall order... Based on personal experience I've found FAC to be extremely tiresome with expectations of virtual perfection, why would anybody want to run through that just for the sake of getting a core article to FA without reward? That's where the problem lies. People simply don't want to write an article to such extreme lengths as FA if they are not passionate about it. Rather, we need a bank of new quality article writers and need a way to rope them in....♦ Dr. Blofeld 12:51, 24 November 2011 (UTC)

Note that the article assessments are often way off base. Ancient Greek philosophy is supposedly a start class article, while it is obviously at least C-class. The same goes for many of the supposed "start" class articles: something like Drinking water or Sexism is not a start class article any more by any strectch of the imagination. The quality assessments often lag significantly behind the article improvements, making any study based on those assessments a bit dubious. That doesn't mean that an article like oil couldn't do with some improvement of course. Fram (talk) 13:11, 24 November 2011 (UTC)

Another major issue of course is degree of difficulty of writing an article. An article on a village in northern Togo for instance would require far less research than one on Togo which woud need a massive amount of research and effort. And this is why we often have featured articles on obscure railway stations and TV episodes when the parent article itself remains of poor quality as they are easier to write. A lot of core topics on here are amongst the hardest to write about because of the time and effort needed to do the full research and then the condensing..♦ Dr. Blofeld 13:14, 24 November 2011 (UTC)
I've always thought that ease of writing about a subject is inversely proportional to the number of sources available on it. --Errant (chat!) 13:47, 24 November 2011 (UTC)
And it's also negatively correlated with how much you know about it before you start. One problem with core topics is that the choice of topics to mention, and among these the choice of topics to stress, is necessarily original research in the technical sense (under the current, rather sweeping interpretations), unless you just plagiarise from another encyclopedia. And it's not even the easy kind of original research. For someone not trained in the subject (which is the usual case, because the experts tend not to be motivated), I guess that getting an article on certain core topics to FA quality is similarly hard to writing a PhD thesis. Hans Adler 13:56, 24 November 2011 (UTC)
Agreed Hans. To produce a truly comprehensive concise article on something like a country would require an extreme amount of research and time to produce the best quality article. Articles like Ming Dynasty (arguably those sets are the best articles on wikipedia) is another example of an article needing an incredible amount of time and research and it was only because Pericles was passionate about Chinese history that he produced those articles and they were probably something to do with his studies.♦ Dr. Blofeld 14:30, 24 November 2011 (UTC)
This also represents a problem with your "reward system" proposal. If you proposed such a system or context for say, Canadian history, I would be all over it. But for 19th century composers? Artistic movements? Philosophy? Can't say as I would bother. I lack the passion, knowledge or source material for it. I'm with Dweller on this. The solution is not to trash the work others are doing, but to find people with an interest and desire in these topics. If you think a reward system would work, by all means, go for it. Resolute 14:48, 24 November 2011 (UTC)
The key problem I see in trying to broaden the numbers of dedicated editors is that Wikipedia's consensus system, in its current form, makes it at least ten times harder to follow the existing rules than to break them. For example, someone can add an unattributed sentence about some occurrence into an article in a couple of minutes; if it's not obviously wrong or vandalism, by Wikipedia rules, I'm supposed to try to find an attribution myself, which can take me twenty minutes or more if I need to hunt down a couple of reliable sources in the online periodical archives available to me. Filibustering editors who choose to, say, contest relatively straightforward copy edits can drag out what should be a quick in-and-out process to days of discussion, and if the article isn't a popular one, a consensus may never get reached. Though it doesn't happen often, after just a few incidents of this, all the joy of editing is sucked out of it, knowing that your next edit may turn into interminable discussion. Who wants to lend their editing expertise to produce a featured article, when it's always just an edit away from drawing you into a protracted, contentious dispute? isaacl (talk) 16:37, 24 November 2011 (UTC)

Maybe it would be good to shift focus on to processes that can get random poor articles into decent shape and away from new processes aimed at producing content of the very highest quality.

WP:ITN is a good process for doing that and, contrary to what you might expect, the improvements it throws up are quite diverse. So, over the past week, articles like Dersim Massacre, Bulbophyllum nocturnum, Tony Stewart, Metallic microlattice, National League for Democracy, Eurasian Union and Soyuz TMA-22 have all been significantly improved. More often then not this means turning an article which is a complete dog into one that gives a decent overview of the subject, even if it doesn't reach WP's very highest standards.

How might that sort of process be enhanced or replicated? --FormerIP (talk) 14:45, 24 November 2011 (UTC)

@Reso. Yes but there are many editors who would be interested in writing about 19th century composers and philosphers, myself included. The idea is that enough people know about an article of the month scheme where they have the chance to win something and select any article from a batch of core articles to develop... You'd be surprised at the diversity of interests if there was an incentive involved...♦ Dr. Blofeld 15:21, 24 November 2011 (UTC)

I think there are probably an awful lot of editors (myself included) who like to write small quantities of articles, but who like to do each one well for their own satisfaction, who aren't remotely motivated by Cups, stars, awards and so on. Pesky (talkstalk!) 16:45, 24 November 2011 (UTC)
e/c I agree with Dweller's analysis: FAs and GAs are the result of editors with passion for a subject, along with passion's eventual daughter, expertise. We don't need to make those editors feel guilty for not being passionate about "Family." Instead, we need to find a way to build on Wikipedia's unbelievable and unprecedented success in attracting such passionate people, who are willing to write expert articles on their interest, for free! Kudos, and Thanks on this day, for those who are passionate about hurricanes, US roads, mushrooms, and trains. Incentives, of course, might be an additional helpful approach. But the best "magnet" is for people passionate about "x" to see that there are FAs and GAs about a subject/passion that society judges as unusual as their own. That's how Wikipedia has developed: organically and naturally. First Light (talk) 17:05, 24 November 2011 (UTC)
Re "But the best "magnet" is for people passionate about "x" to see that there are FAs and GAs about a subject/passion that society judges as unusual as their own." - Well, people passionate about "x" could just as well be attracted by there not being any decent articles on it, and attracted because of the potential satisfaction of making a significant impact.
Another aspect is the amount of editing activity on an article. I think people may be attracted by activity, which unfortunately may be accompanied by an increased incidence of conflict, which might even cause editors to leave Wikipedia because it may take too much of their time in unproductive conflict. I think there are plenty of articles where a good editor can practically have complete freedom to edit. It's just that they would have little or no interaction with other editors, which might be lonely. It's all a matter of the diverse temperaments of editors, from gladiators to quiet bookworms. --Bob K31416 (talk) 18:05, 24 November 2011 (UTC)