User talk:Jimbo Wales/Archive 89

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Arbcom Election

Just a heads up, there's an ongoing debate over how many seats are up for grabs during the election here. Hot Stop talk-contribs 21:34, 24 November 2011 (UTC)

On behalf of reddit

On behalf of reddit, just wanted to let you know that there's an IAma (ask-me-anything) request up for you --  IShadowed  ✰  18:29, 25 November 2011 (UTC)

I don't really understand what that means. I don't use reddit.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 00:31, 26 November 2011 (UTC)
IAMA is actually quite an interesting phenomenon - the idea is that you say "Hi I am X, ask me anything". They get some high profile or otherwise interesting people there (from astro-physicists to major CEO's). (not that I'm suggesting you do one, just in case you wondered what on earth it was about :)) --Errant (chat!) 00:47, 26 November 2011 (UTC)
User:X! did an AMA three months ago.[1] I imagine you would be asked all of the same questions, plus questions about your personal life and the early days of Wikipedia. You might be asked thousands of questions, but thankfully it's not your burden to sift through them; the Reddit users collectively decide on their favorite questions by voting them up to the top of the page. For example, many of the less-mature users would ask sarcastic questions about your picture in the fundraising banner, but these probably wouldn't make it to the top. Melchoir (talk) 11:58, 26 November 2011 (UTC)

A beer for you!

Export hell seidel steiner.png ололо Dimа (talk) 12:13, 26 November 2011 (UTC)

No Idea Time

I think that's the first time I've ever seen anyone on QT be honest and say they don't have any expertise to answer with :) tickled me! Kudos. for everyone else, Jimbo is currently on BBC1 in the UK on Question Time - put it on! --Errant (chat!) 23:27, 24 November 2011 (UTC)

Seconded. Best moment on QT ever. "The advantage of not being a politician, is that I can say 'I have no idea'" – Jimmy Wales. Basalisk inspect damageberate 01:41, 25 November 2011 (UTC)
That is just... Wonderful. I wish politicians would admit that more often. ~~ Hi878 (Come shout at me!) 04:16, 25 November 2011 (UTC)
Surprising that Justin King claimed to have "just checked" his Wikipedia entry and could confirm that his £900,000 salary "was not there". More surprising still that the co-founder of Wikipedia was not asked to correct him. Facts do sometimes miraculously disappear from Wikipedia from time to time, of course. But there seems to have been a bit of frantic editing of King's salary just before that TV programme was broadcast. Whoever that anon editor was! Martinevans123 (talk) 14:35, 27 November 2011 (UTC)

Please note, everyone, that trying to watch this on YouTube is not a good idea. There are several videos there pretending to be that programme, but they are all fake. They consist of a small number of stills from the programme and no sound, and start with the text "Youtube will delete this video Watch this episode at ...". The URL given in the video as well as the link lead to a site where I could not actually watch the programme. They asked me to complete one of four surveys first, and the completion of any of them would have required giving them my mobile phone number and PIN so they can commit a subscription fraud against me. In my case the surveys were localised for Austria, but I assume for other countries they will have other scams. I flagged the videos for attention by Google, but they are still up. Hans Adler 01:06, 26 November 2011 (UTC)

Note the episode is here at the BBC. I (assuming all of the United States as well) can't view the video, however. Albacore (talk) 01:16, 26 November 2011 (UTC)
Update: The fraudulent videos uploaded by YouTube user nkosisanders are still up. If anyone knows how to contact YouTube in such a way that they take a complaint seriously (i.e. not just flagging as spam/scam so that the person looking at it thinks a normal copyvio has been misflagged and therefore simply ignores it), then please let me know. Hans Adler 08:59, 26 November 2011 (UTC)

Royalist shenanigans

Hello Jimbo, I just noticed you once took an interest in the shenanigans of one Rapportroyal (talk · contribs) and an apparently fake reference he was adding [2], so you might be interested in a thread I just opened at WP:ANI#Sneaky vandalism campaign involving fake references. Unfortunately these spam links to the alleged "Annuaire de la Noblesse Moderne des Maisons Principales de l'Europe" by "Kozma Prutkov" have been inserted on several other wikis too and are now being used to support edit-warring by the agenda accounts on various "French legitimism" articles. Fut.Perf. 15:47, 26 November 2011 (UTC)

Ты заебал уже со своими обращениями. Я нихуя не дам тебе денег, сраный пендос. Достало уже видеть твою рожу и рожу твоего волосатого программиста. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Abu-al-valid (talkcontribs) 18:12, 26 November 2011 (UTC)


so, shall i start editing via the "Don't Talk With Me" account now? or shall i wait for you to tell me when?.... You said that your gonna post a message on my talk page saying that you've spoken with me and that i promised you that ill behave.....

Again, thankyou for giving me a chance, god bless. again, i promise to stick with the Don't Talk With Me account and be the best editor ever.Don't Talk With Me (talk) 18:39, 26 November 2011 (UTC)

You need a new marketing scheme.

I figured it was about that time of year for Wikipedia to start begging people for money. Telling us if we were to donate now you'd be able to end your whining but where do your statistics from?! Stop with these pointless appeals, we all know you have people write them for you; another thing, nobody cares about seeing 'appeals' from some nobodies. Spend some of that money you're raising and get at least some sort of D-List celebrity. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:11, 24 November 2011 (UTC)

(P.S.) - I'm not a troll - my I.P. resets everytime I log onto my internet. --01:31, 27 November 2011 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk)

(i.e. - in this case, I'm still logged on and never disconnected. K? Thanks. -- (talk) 01:32, 27 November 2011 (UTC)

What the IP lists above is, in my opinion, actually kind of a good idea. If we "cough" persuade someone working at one of the UN's departments relating to world knowledge/children/whatever, it might garner more support and donations then, with all due respect, Brandon Harris. Just pointing this out. Or it could run alongside the other stories. A thing to consider come next October. Buggie111 (talk) 03:21, 27 November 2011 (UTC)
  • Appeals from nobodies did work: The data showed that the Brandon Harris banner was very popular. Perhaps it is because many people who contribute do not think it "begging" to fund a volunteer organization. Ironically, a key dispute was the exact number of WM staff ("73" or "93" people), so next time, perhaps remind people to just say "nearly 100" or such. I think encyclopedia readers notice the small details, so it is best to avoid precise details, unless there is quality-control phase for copy-editing the details in a fundraiser banner. -Wikid77 (talk) 04:41, 27 November 2011 (UTC)
Looks like I shouldn't be speaking about topics I'm not familiar with. But anyway, maybe someone of more international renown would generate even more bling donations? Buggie111 (talk) 04:51, 27 November 2011 (UTC)
Potential donors to non-profits often appreciate hearing from those who are actually doing the work (speaking about a topic I am familiar with). It can make it much more personal and real to hear from a volunteer who is passionate about the project, a programmer/employee who believes strongly in the project, etc. But we should all see what the results are before judging, keeping in mind that this is a very challenging time for non-profit fundraising. First Light (talk) 05:17, 27 November 2011 (UTC)

Fund-raising appeal

How much money are you hoping to raise? How much do you have so far? -- (talk) 07:05, 27 November 2011 (UTC)

See wmf:Special:FundraiserStatistics. Regards, Rock drum Ba-dumCrash 13:50, 27 November 2011 (UTC)

Encouraging more WikiProjects

I am beginning to see why you have been recommending more people to join the various 2,000 or so semi-dormant WP:WikiProjects. The massive amount of work being done to improve quality in Wikipedia cannot be understood, unless considered in terms of hundreds of groups of collaborating users. As a member of WP:GOCE (Guild of Copy Editors), this year, we are seeing about 800 articles "corrected" during each of the end-of-year backlog drives, by 30-50 people. The November 2011 drive is:

Many of those articles involve partial rewrites of text sections which were rambling or unclear. All together, the GOCE Guild (and friends) seems to have made about 80,000 small changes to the tagged articles, each month, during the July/September drives. Those people seem to be very cooperative, and when a bizarre article is spotted, then discussions on the GOCE talk-page tend to resolve the problems within a few hours. However, about 500 more scruffy articles (each with dozens of punctuation or grammar errors) are tagged for {copyedit|date=} each month, and hence, the GOCE Guild is falling behind by about 100 more articles being left uncorrected each month. People must understand that Wikipedia's quality improvements can only be handled by many hundreds of groups of people working in teams. Hence, we need to encourage these hundreds of efforts. I am thinking:

  • "WikiProject of WikiProjects" should visit each to offer support or cross-WikiProject advice to help make the teams work faster (WP:GOCE cannot reduce the backlog of 1,000 more tagged articles, every 2 months, by only fixing 800 articles in each drive). More editors are needed.
  • "WikiProject Enrollment" needs to advertise system-wide across Wikipedia, to encourage people to "enroll" or join into a WikiProject as a place to find other people with shared interests, and less hostility.

Many of the various 2,000 WikiProjects have become dormant, but the resulting quality of Wikipedia articles which they left is somewhat amazing, in terms of the broad scope of details which has expanded many one-liner "sub-stubs" into larger stubs with some real content. We just need to keep reminding people to join the active WikiProjects, and try to avoid unproductive conflicts with hostile users who do not like to work in cooperative teams. I hope other people will help expand these efforts, whenever someone mentions how "abusive" other editors are acting. -Wikid77 (talk) 02:04, 26 November 2011 (UTC)

屌你老母 --Dave ♠♣♥♦™№1185©♪♫® 02:41, 26 November 2011 (UTC)

The above is not Dave1185, it is an impostor. - The Bushranger One ping only 03:54, 26 November 2011 (UTC)
The next general survey can include questions about familiarity with the WikiProjects (as well as with the Wikipedia Signpost, the Reference Desk, the Village Pump, and the Manual of Style).
Wavelength (talk) 03:16, 26 November 2011 (UTC)
The welcoming committee can mention WikiProjects in its welcome templates.
Wavelength (talk) 19:19, 26 November 2011 (UTC)
Suggesting to join WikiProjects in the "WP:Welcoming committee/Welcome templates" does sound like a great idea, to spread the word with less effort. Even experienced editors often run across the new "Welcome messages" or other user-talk pages, so older editors would often see a "join-WikiProjects" note, if sent to new users. -Wikid77 16:36, 27 November 2011 (UTC)
See Wikipedia talk:Portal#Merge portals with WikiProjects (permanent link here).
Wavelength (talk) 19:47, 26 November 2011 (UTC)

Excellent ideas, but the problem is Wikipedians who don't believe project consensus applies to them. It doesn't matter how many people are active in a project if a few very active rogue editors believe they have the right to run wild and do whatever they like. This is very discouraging to those who take the time and make the effort to create a project-wide consensus which is then ignored, article by article, by others. No one has the time to watch the hundreds or thousands of articles in a single project. There's no reason to reinvent the wheel on each article within a project. That's the reason for having project-wide consensus, and why these projects should be respected and taken seriously. We either take the concept of discussion and consensus seriously, or we don't. (talk) 18:38, 27 November 2011 (UTC)

An article might be monitored by more than one WikiProject. See Venn diagram.
Wavelength (talk) 20:02, 27 November 2011 (UTC)
Can one WikiProject "own" an article? See WP:OWN.
Wavelength (talk) 20:44, 27 November 2011 (UTC)
Should there be (or is there already) a mechanism for settling disagreements between WikiProjects?
Wavelength (talk) 20:57, 27 November 2011 (UTC)

Dear Mr Wales

I think a free dictionary of expressions should be founded as a Wikimedia Project. Pdiddyjr (talk) 20:18, 26 November 2011 (UTC)

Wavelength (talk) 20:29, 26 November 2011 (UTC)
See Category:English idioms.
Wavelength (talk) 20:15, 27 November 2011 (UTC)

Editor base stabilized at 34,000 active editors

The drop in editors has ended: The October usage stats have confirmed, along with 3rd quarter editor counts, that the count of active editors has stabilized at nearly 34,000 active editors (>10 edits per month), since June 2011 (October: 35,028 editors). We had discussed this likely outcome, several months ago, that the "free fall" or "hemorrhaging" of editors was obviously ending, at a bottom-out count of 34,000 people who will always edit English Wikipedia each month. The usage data, for the past 5 months (June-Oct.) has confirmed this same pattern of editors staying: each month in 2011 is nearly 99% of the 2010 active-editor counts. See table:

Year April May June July Aug Sep Oct
2011 37,294 36,930 35,747 35,501 35,651 34,767 35,028
2010 38,991 39,286 36,270 35,856 36,429 34,874 35,443

Monthly counts:

On average, people have stopped leaving: the count never drops below 34,000 active editors. That stability gives the WMF resource planners the controlled usage pattern they need to expect 34,000 active editors each month.

Who were those people who left?  Well, along with active users who were edit-banned, about 3,000 "average editors" left in June 2010, and do not seem to have returned. I am suspecting that they were some groups of students who left in June 2010, but now the remaining 34,000 editors do not take "summer wikibreak" as others did in past years. The final core of 34,000 editors seem to work each month, regardless of the northern hemisphere summer-break period beginning in June. However, it could be that more students (or others) use home computers to continue editing Wikipedia when school ends (or on vacations).
Meanwhile, because some other-language Wikipedias are growing in active editors, such as Spanish Wikipedia, the total of all-language active Wikipedians has been growing, slightly, for the past 5 months (October: 80,630 active editors, all-languages). Anyway, the so-called "mass exit" of editors since 2007 has clearly ended. Tell the Foundation not to turn off the lights yet: those 34,000 editors intend to stay all year at the party! -Wikid77 (talk) 05:41, 27 November 2011 (UTC)

Reduced activity of remaining active editors

>10 edits/month (one every three days on average) isn't much, especially if those are relatively minor edits, or include several attempts to get one edit right, or include editors who only hit that number for one month as opposed to several months running. Can we see the numbers for total edits per month over time? I'm interested in finding out if the current anecdotal evidence of previously high-level contributors (>150 edits/month perhaps) dropping down to maintenance (>10/month) is actually as prevalent as it appears. I want to make sure we're all seeing the big picture, not just one statistic over time. (talk) 18:01, 27 November 2011 (UTC)

Thank you. The tracking of total-edits-per-month does sound like another key measure of editor interest-levels. As for the "busy editors" (>100 edits per month), the pattern of stabilized editors, discussed months ago, was similar for those highly-active editors wanting to stay: reaching a bottom-out level of 3,500 busy editors every month. However, I have not confirmed the recent data since first noticing that busy editors had also stopped leaving. These editor trends seem like "Queueing theory" where people get in line and stay there beyond the point where slow service should drive them away (Many people have a lot of tolerance and persistence). I think the important thing to understand is that "this is the real English WP neighborhood" and the neighbors are not leaving, so try to make more friends among them. -Wikid77 (talk) 03:10, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
Yep, and if we made a 'I LIEK THIS!", and added a 'share' button, and maybe a 'chatroom', then new-users would skyrocket. Quality? Would the encyc get better? "88.2% of Statistics are made up on the spot" Vic Reeves. New admins: 2007, 408; in 2008, 201; in 2009, 119; in 2010, 75. 2011, to date, 46.1. Keep fiddling tho, eh?  Chzz  ►  20:37, 27 November 2011 (UTC)
Except new users have been doing the opposite. For the most part it has been increasingly difficult to retain new editors. In 2006, 27% of new editors made at least 10 edits, and 5.3% made at least 100 edits. By 2008, the comparable numbers were 17% and 2.1%. By 2010, they had fallen again to 14% and 1.4%. In 2006, 10% of new editors persisted in editing for at least 6 months. By 2008 it was 4.0% and in 2010 it was 3.3%. If the editor population is stabilizing it is because the old guard is becoming even more persistent, because the retention rate for new accounts has continued to fall. In 2006, the mean account age of article editors was 11 months, by 2008 that had grown to 21 months, and in 2010 it was 34 months. 2011 is on track for the mean account age of article editors to exceed 40 months. We are becoming an old bunch. Dragons flight (talk) 03:50, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
Note that the "editor age" trend is due in part to the longevity of the project itself. (Think of a limiting case: in a one-year-old project you're not going to have any editors of two years tenure.) This isn't meant to minimize the new-editor-retention issue, though I'm not entirely convinced that the reasons for this are necessarily what Sue Gardner believes they are. Short Brigade Harvester Boris (talk) 04:08, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
By the way, does Ms Gardner/the WMF have an action plan, with a formal timeline and estimated completion date, for resolving the new editor retention problem? If so, could someone please link to it here? Cla68 (talk) 04:25, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
That's not the right way to look at it. It isn't a single one time project with a "formal timeline and estimated completion date" nor should it be. It's about an overall philosophy of development moving forward and there are many different moving parts and it will always be a priority. 20 years from now we will all need to be taking a hard look at new editors and what tools, community conditions, etc. are needed to retain the best among them.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 15:27, 28 November 2011 (UTC)

Fundraiser statistics

Can you find out what happened to this page (Special:FundraiserStatistics @ wmf)? thanks. Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 > haneʼ 06:21, 28 November 2011 (UTC)

It got posted onto a Reddit thread and, due to not being intended for a very large number of hits, locked up the Wiki's last night. Details --Errant (chat!) 10:10, 28 November 2011 (UTC)

I'm hearing a little negativity

I'm hearing a little negativity around the project, about the impending failure of Wikipedia by one measure or another. Can I just say, on the measure that matters to me, the project is proceeding nicely. My interest lies in neuroscience, psychology, philosophy and medicine. When I first joined the project I rarely bothered reading the articles here, and if I used them, it was to plunder the footnotes. Lately wherever I go in these fields I am delighted to find well-written exposition in most cases. Over the last few years I have found as a reader that this project can answer almost all of my questions in these fields at a good encyclopedic standard. (Though there are many more articles needed in all of these fields.)

Recently, Peter Doherty, Nobel laureate and Professor of Microbiology and Immunology at Melbourne University on Australia's Radio National (listen 12 minutes in) said:

Generally if you go to Wikipedia, you'll get a pretty good description. When I've looked at Wikipedia, in the areas I know about, it's generally been very good.

--Anthonyhcole (talk) 08:49, 28 November 2011 (UTC)

I've been a long-time (>5 years) user of Wikipedia and occasional contributor. I can confidently say that the content (both quality and quantity) has improved considerably over that time. Although I tend to avoid any of the community drama, my general impression is that things are much more stable in that respect now than they were years ago. (talk) 15:53, 28 November 2011 (UTC)

Your Appeal

I don't see how you can say there is no place for adverts on wikipedia, there what power the rest of the free internet and they wouldn't be any more irritating than the appeal banners. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:01, 29 November 2011 (UTC)

Asking for donations once a year to keep this project running does not violate our policy against advertisements. Secondly, our prohibition is only partially based on annoyance; rather, it is to keep WP as independent as possible. If we have paid advertising we enter a conflict of interest and that could both degrade article quality and integrity. Noformation Talk 22:07, 29 November 2011 (UTC)

Perhaps we should replace Jimbo's image with this and see if anybody notices? The banners last for only a few weeks and can be hidden. Adverts would permanently appear on every page every day of the year and would clearly irritate the hell out of us. Jimbo and the foundation and the general public at least should be greatly praised for what they do to keep it advert free, that's partly what makes wikipedia so special. ♦ Dr. Blofeld 16:11, 30 November 2011 (UTC)

Hugo Chavez

Jimbo, thank you very much for intervening. I just made a post on the NPOV noticeboard:

WhisperToMe (talk) 19:17, 30 November 2011 (UTC)

Well, I didn't 'intervene' I just posted some thoughts.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 10:14, 1 December 2011 (UTC)
Still, I think that goes a long way. I've been fighting to get that page fixed since I first started making Wiki edits more than a year ago. So far, the only success I've had is making sure the POV tag remains in place lest any unsuspecting reader stumble upon the page and think they're getting an accurate portrayal of Chavez.JoelWhy (talk) 16:09, 1 December 2011 (UTC)

circular plagiarism: sometimes there's truth in XKCD comics

You've probably seen XKCD's Citogenesis comic, which jokes that wikipedia citations are basically a vicious cycle. I've just found an interesting example of a cycle of plagiarism involving wikipedia and the Israeli newspaper Haaretz. In short, a Haaretz obituary appears to have lifted a sentence from a wikipedia article. Our article later closely paraphrased that same obituary.

The article in question is Amnon Kapeliouk, a deceased French-Israeli journalist.

Here's the sequence of events as best as I can piece it together:

On July 21, 2008, User:N-HH adds the following to Amnon Kapeliouk:

His published workds include a biography of Yasser Arafat, Arafat l’irréductible, as well as a detailed investigation into the Sabra and Shatila massacre[3]. N-HH cites IPS News

On June 28, 2009, Haaretz posts an obituary of Kapeliouk. It includes the following line:

Kapeliouk's published works include a biography of Yasser Arafat, as well as a detailed investigation into the Sabra and Shatila massacre.[4]

On May 31, 2011, User:Nbauman adds a citation to the Haaretz obituary to Amnon Kapeliouk. He also adds the following sentence:

During the first Lebanon War, Kapeliouk interviewed Arafat in Beirut for Al HaMishmar. When Al HaMishmar refused to publish the interview, he moved to Yedioth Aharonoth. [5]

But this edit is very similar to the original Haaretz text, which states:

During the first Lebanon War, Kapeliouk interviewed Arafat in Beirut. According to his spouse, Olga, Al HaMishmar refused to publish the interview, and as a result he moved to Yedioth Aharonoth.

Of course I only found this because there was an accusation on the article's talk page that our article had closely paraphrased another source - a blog post from the activist Franklin Graham.[6] Turns out there was some close paraphrasing of that article as well.

Anyway, I thought users would get a kick out of this. GabrielF (talk) 20:33, 30 November 2011 (UTC)

Quite interesting. Is everything in the article true?--Jimbo Wales (talk) 10:15, 1 December 2011 (UTC)

Who to ask

I need help!

Jimbo, I simply need help on getting to be a better editor. Can you point me in the right direction? Jonathan is me (talk) 06:29, 1 December 2011 (UTC)

try Wikipedia:Adopt-a-user :) Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 > haneʼ 07:38, 1 December 2011 (UTC)

Need for resources to improve quality

Jimbo, I'm simply going to refer you to the discussion here. FAC editors are asking for resources, including me. Can you tell us if this would be a budget buster from your point of view, or if our thought that it is feasible for WMF to help us is out of line?--Wehwalt (talk) 16:07, 28 November 2011 (UTC)

I like the idea mentioned in that discussion of giving Wikipedians JSTOR accounts. Jimbo: has the Foundation ever looked into the possibility of joining something like the UK Federation or equivalent organisations elsewhere in the world. That could be a way of giving users (who I guess would have to qualify in some way) access to all kinds of ebooks and research papers. (Declaration of no interest: for the time being, I already have access to this). --FormerIP (talk) 16:54, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
You could also talk to some of the GLAM organisers - those institutions commonly have JSTOR access etc. and may be interested in a dual funding role (or sponsored access) via a partnership with one of the chapters. --Errant (chat!) 16:55, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
I also understand that some of the chapters are engaging in activities like this - the Germans in particular. I support it, although overhead and appropriate controls are an issue of course.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 17:13, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
I am not German, despite my chosen username. How do I translate that support into a JSTOR account? I assure you it would be put to good use.--Wehwalt (talk) 18:00, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
Oh, right, I didn't even notice that - I didn't mean you should ask the Germans. I was speaking to the general philosophical question. Assuring me of good use isn't necessary or - unfortunately - helpful, since I don't have anything to do with making decisions of this type, nor do I know who does at the moment.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 18:29, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
How much does JSTOR access cost? I tried to find out and failed miserably :) Many of the chapters offer grants, and some of them specifically ear mark portions for use globally; that could be one route. --Errant (chat!) 18:44, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
They do not offer it to individuals, or I would not have bothered Jimbo. You have to go through an organization, many schools or local libraries, though not my library (I do not go to school).--Wehwalt (talk) 18:50, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
Interesting; looks like the best bet might be something like EduServ Athens etc. Although I am unsure how much that would cost. Certainly, if there is the serious potential of funding to set something up then it would be worth pursuing. (this looks like what we'd want) --Errant (chat!) 19:02, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
Athens or another thing called Shibboleth is the technical side of it. It doesn't get you any actual content, I think. Anyway, I guess the bottom line from Jimbo's response above is that it should be raised with someone else. --FormerIP (talk) 19:08, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
True. I'll look at the bright side. As I have a watch with me, I can't say he sent me away without the time of day.--Wehwalt (talk) 19:24, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
See these pages.
Wavelength (talk) 19:36, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
Thank you; I am aware of such resources. However, there is a synergistic effect from having "browsing" access to the latest research. Using the resource exchange is rather like trying to do research by asking people to bring you books from the library. It is a noticeably inferior method to visiting the library yourself.--Wehwalt (talk) 19:41, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
The second and third of those pages include links to free reference websites. The fourth of those pages has a search function for finding resources, including free reference websites. I suggest that you try it with a few of your favorite topics.
Wavelength (talk) 20:28, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
I did. My search was Garret Hobart, my current project.--Wehwalt (talk) 20:30, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
For the latest research, there are open-access journals.
Wavelength (talk) 20:58, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
My experience is the same as Wehwalt's: Nothing that I've come across, including all the links that have been shared here, compares to Jstor for quality, quantity, and breadth of the journals. And nothing compares to having actual access, vs. requesting individual articles at the resource exchange. First Light (talk) 21:51, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
Throwing a couple of darts at the WMF staff page suggests you should ask Stephen Walling or Maryana Pinchuk (both "Community Organizer") if they are the right people to ask. Johnbod (talk) 16:59, 29 November 2011 (UTC)
Philippe reached out to me on my talk page and he is trying to get it for me. It would really come in handy. I'd like to have my second president at FAC sometime this spring (McKinley).--Wehwalt (talk) 23:00, 29 November 2011 (UTC)

The real issue

Personally I find the whole "pay to read" concept to be an abhorrent way to stratify information access and create a class of "elites" above the common people, introducing "knowledge restricting middlemen" whose only purpose is to man the gates and pad their own pockets in the process.

So apparently only certain editors are "bestowed the privilege" of having access to high quality citations? Apparently so. Sourcing articles like list of batteries is nearly impossible without IEC/ANSI specification access.

As far as I'm concerned everything should be freely accessible for sourcing of any content, anywhere. IEC, ANSI, NFPA, Journals, scientific papers, all of it. Open access to anyone. What is the justification for restriction of access by "the common people"? The real goal appears to be extraction of blood and tears from the engineers that can apply the information, but for us armchair hobbyists the restrictions serve no purposes.

For example it'd be very interesting to see what happens if every autistic person were to have free access to scientific journals on ridiculously obscure technical information. Rather than uselessly memorizing baseball facts and dates they could be finding new ways to think about DNA sequences and protein models. Oh, but giving every random joe off the street access to such information would be far too expensive. Gotta save the info for the few elite scholars and research universities who can cough up the cash for it.

I'm all in favor of saying "fark the system" and finding ways to distribute all this privileged information freely to anyone who wants casual access. The whole restricted information access system should be ripped down and torn apart. DMahalko (talk) 03:53, 30 November 2011 (UTC)

And how do you think the people who write that stuff would make a living? Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 > haneʼ 05:38, 1 December 2011 (UTC)
In many cases the publishing is a final act after public funds have already been spent to do the research. So we pay for the research, then we are required to pay over and over again to access the research we already paid for. DMahalko (talk) 17:22, 1 December 2011 (UTC)
Also there was a time when charging for publishing scientific data made sense, back when you needed a physical printing press to distribute the information. The number of potential users was small so the printing and distribution costs were high, and the limited readership justified the high costs.
Now, however, distribution can be done easily and and inexpensively via the Internet, but yet the costs remain extraordinarily high. Odd, isn't it? It's as if the publishers realized they could create a lucrative source of profit by vastly overcharging users for costs far beyond what is required to simply cover costs of distribution. DMahalko (talk) 17:27, December 1, 2011‎ (UTC)
Other aspects of standards organizations, that used to be costly but which are now cheap and obsolete include the mailing of information to members, and establishing physical forums and written journals where members can discuss topics of interest to the organization.
There is no need for an organizational secretariat to manage the conversations, the mailings, and the meetings. It is all easily replaced with an automated PHP-BB/LAMP webserver running at a server farm for $20/month. Physical meetings for program functions are rendered a mere formality and are not required at all.
In short the only thing keep journal/paper/standards access costs high is momentum, and that these are opaque and old entrenched organizations that don't yet grasp they are mostly obsolete. When you have power, you don't let go of it easily. DMahalko (talk) 17:41, 1 December 2011 (UTC)
I disagree. Physical meetings are essential, and people need to eat. Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 > haneʼ 17:47, 1 December 2011 (UTC)
Ah so we should restrict free access to technical data for millions of people, so that a few elites can keep their posh positions in the ivory tower? Gotcha. DMahalko (talk) 17:57, 1 December 2011 (UTC)
There's no need to misrepresent what I say by projecting your own hostility-issues onto my words. Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 > haneʼ 18:41, 1 December 2011 (UTC)
So then what are you trying to say, that "people need to eat", other than what I am suggesting? I'm trying to have an engaged discussion and all you offer are one-line offhand jabs. DMahalko (talk) 18:52, 1 December 2011 (UTC)
(my interpretations and what I'm hearing is []) You are starting with the premise that all research has already been [generously] funded, [that the people who are doing research live in splendid luxury/"ivory-tower"], and that therefore the results should be given away for free. The premise of this presumed funding is not quite accurate in my view. If it was really the case that the government (I'm talking about the US in particular) was funding all research sufficiently and not only the "ivory-tower," people I could agree with you.
The position you are espousing leads to this: government will continue to slash funding, saying that the money should come from publication-revenue. People like you are saying, we're not gonna pay for it, government should or has... well, somebody has to pay for it. If all researchers were government employees it should certainly be public domain, as is the case with NASA and so forth. As long as most institutions are as underfunded as they are, I cannot agree with you.
I looked at your userpage; you seem to be interested in a specific sub-set of research for which your premise might hold true (no idea), and seem to be applying it to all research. Maybe military applications, the auto-industry and so forth are funded; however, journals at jstor etc. also contain the, y'know, "unimportant junk" like art history and philosophy. And those people need to live off their publication revenues (of course, you could take the stance that they shouldn't exist in the first place and all that stuff has no use or meaning, but that's a different discussion I'd suppose) Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 > haneʼ 19:03, 1 December 2011 (UTC)
I find it hard to believe that income connected directly to journal publications is significant for anyone. Can you provide any pointers for this claim? According to our article on open access, "Opponents of open access would argue that without direct financial compensation via pay-for-access, many authors would be unable to afford to write [...] However, this argument has no relevance to academic publishing, because scientific journals do not pay royalties to article authors and researchers are funded by their institutions and funders." This reflects what I have always heard on this matter, and it is also my personal experience. Hans Adler 20:04, 1 December 2011 (UTC)

This is actually an area where I feel that the Wikimedia Foundation should become active. For some background see this influential letter by Donald E. Knuth, an extremely popular computer scientist and mathematician. Sooner or later, there will be no more commercially published journals. The publishers know that and have moved from the maximisation of long-term profits to the maximisation of short-term profits. If a publisher is currently making X dollars from all libraries together for a major scientific journal, and can be sure that if they rise the price to 3X dollars for every single subscription, then at least one library will pay this new extortionate price for a few more years, then they will do so.

In this situation, I think there is huge potential for "Wikiresearch", a platform on which members of the academic community would be able to draft texts alone or in groups, then publish the results informally, and then send them through peer review, all on the same server. Where Wikipedia has WikiProjects, Wikiresearch would have virtual "Wikiresearch Journals". Academics might also want to put their professional homepages on this system. To minimise the load on Wikimedia's servers if this becomes a success, there could be satellite servers at individual institutions which would be responsible for storing and serving the content owned by their users, while still presenting a uniform appearance to all end users. Hans Adler 18:06, 1 December 2011 (UTC)

  • I have created a tangent talk-page thread, below: "#Pay-for-access journals as primary sources". That topic is not really a pure sub-topic, but relates to the concept of paying for access to sources which are not considered secondary sources to be allowed to defend article text as notable, beyond mention in primary sources. -Wikid77 (talk) 02:59, 2 December 2011 (UTC)

Pay-for-access journals as primary sources

Tangent to thread: #The real issue (above) about elite paid-access to data.

The focus on pay-per-access journals, as references for WP articles, raises the issue of when such journals constitute the discouraged use of "WP:Primary sources", such as a court in criminal law publishing a Motivation report summarizing the findings of the court (as to conviction or acquittal of specific charges, as in Italian courts 90-days afterward). Such court reports have been considered primary sources, where crucial legal text was omitted from WP articles because no news agency had repeated those aspects of court-report documents as being "notable" enough to allow inclusion in a WP article. Perhaps the key concept would be "peer-reviewed as notable" so that a page within a "Wikiresearch" or other website would be considered a secondary source once the requisite count of "peers" had reviewed the page to ensure the contents qualified as (secondary) notable conclusions and data items, beyond those in the primary-source documents.

Does the application of a peer-review cycle change a journal article to become a secondary source with citable conclusions, to be allowed in a Wikipedia article? -Wikid77 02:59, revised 10:56, 2 December 2011 (UTC)

WP:PAYWALL. There's no particular restriction on pay-for-access sources, just as there's no particular restriction on dead-tree sources that may be available only at a few specialist libraries. Whether or not we consider such sources primary (just as we might consider a paper on the freely accessible server primary), WP:PSTS says we can still use the paper as a source to describe itself. Whether focus on such a paper is WP:UNDUE is a separate issue, which will vary on a case-by-case basis, appropriate for discussion on the article talk page. Jheald (talk) 11:18, 2 December 2011 (UTC)


I support the re-block based on "Actually, you were corrupting release dates and sources by the fourth article you edited."--Jimbo Wales (talk) 10:06, 30 November 2011 (UTC)

So WP:ROPE does work, sometimes :-) (talk→ BWilkins ←track) 10:15, 30 November 2011 (UTC)

Good reblock, bad unblock, bad hatting summary. Second chances shouldn't be given on a whim or without more indications that anything would really change from the first time around, and shouldn't be given without some consultation with those involved in the first block(s). Fram (talk) 10:22, 30 November 2011 (UTC)

Calling this a "second chance" unblock is insane. Take a look at Category:Wikipedia sockpuppets of Brexx and you can see that he has had 180 chances. That's what "fresh start" is all about: if any one of those accounts had edited well enough for people not to notice it was Brexx back again, the account would be unblocked today. People get to those kind of sock counts by being fundamentally incapable of correcting the problems that led them to being blocked in the first place. If they were able to correct the problems, they would correct them, and quietly edit undetected.—Kww(talk) 13:03, 30 November 2011 (UTC)
  • A close look at Category:Wikipedia sockpuppets of Brexx showed 143 "alternate usernames" created over the years, many used only 2 days for less than 40 edits. It seemed more like someone who forgot their username and kept creating another username each week. -Wikid77 (talk) 03:50, 2 December 2011 (UTC)

I too must say I disagree with the summary that a second chance was "properly given". Jimbo, I would expect you, like every other administrator, to act with due diligence and fulfill the basic requirement of consulting with the community, at least with the blocking administrator(s), before making such a step. You apparently didn't, and that is the reason you evidently didn't have the information necessary for judging whether the promises of "good behaviour" were credible and whether the granting of a second chance without further preconditions was appropriate (which, in this case, it was not.) Fut.Perf. 13:26, 30 November 2011 (UTC)

Jimbo, can you give us any reassurance that you will take the many negative responses to your actions and comments in this case into account if future similar cases would happen? Fram (talk) 10:55, 1 December 2011 (UTC)

Of course.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 12:21, 1 December 2011 (UTC)
Thanks. Fram (talk) 12:22, 1 December 2011 (UTC)
  • A wider view: I checked the contribs for each username in Category:Wikipedia sockpuppets of Brexx, which showed 143 "alternate usernames" created over the years, many used only 2 days for less than 40 edits. It seemed more like someone who forgot their username and kept creating another username each week, rather than someone with nefarious intent to sock in a devious manner. To use the term "sock-puppets" for all 143 usernames seems too judgmental, in case a user simply kept creating fanciful new usernames over the years. Looking at the leet-esque writing posted by those usernames, it could be argued that User:Brexx (and related students?) did not meet WP:COMPETENCE levels. Plus, to users who cannot remember their "username from last week" then every next chance might seem like a "second chance" to them. :-) Just some thoughts to consider. -Wikid77 (talk) 03:50, 2 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Okay, I see the pattern where many usernames, which edited only popular female-singer articles, were blocked within 2 days of use (as being multiple accounts of Brexx), and when blocks occurred several days after last edit, it could be the user anticipated the block and changed usernames every 2 days (such as with Special:Contributions/Bottleofjag, with last edit 20 March 2010 and did not wait 3 days for the block on 23 March). I was not "looking for excuses" for behaviour, but trying to avoid a judgmental attitude about the 143 usernames. I am new to seeing this sock pattern of creating 100 or 400 usernames among the 25,000(?) sock usernames, and meanwhile, I am trying to think of ways to "reach consensus" with such users. However, if they keep continually "ignoring all rules" (WP:IAR) during 2008-2011, and create socks to !vote "Keep" @AfD (see: contribs Hotcircus), then I agree that such users would be uncooperative in forming a WP:consensus. I am not trying to condemn people, but rather seek other ways to work with them. -Wikid77 12:34, 2 December 2011 (UTC)
Bottleofjag stopped editing and switched accounts because I made this edit on 20 March 2010. Brexx has always considered his block to be unjust and does everything he can to work around it (including proxy abuse using zombie botnets). The only way to deal with these editors is vigilance: enforce the blocks, revert the edits.—Kww(talk) 14:50, 2 December 2011 (UTC)

Wikipedia and censorship

You may be interested in my overview of changes to WP:NOTCENSORED throughout the years. See WT:NOT#The path to Wikipedia policy fundamentalism -- a case study. Hans Adler 22:28, 29 November 2011 (UTC)

Very good!
I remember years ago one of the early policies written about objectionable material; when evaluating material of this nature for inclusion in an article simply ask; "is it really necessary". This advice, elegant in its simplicity, required adult judgment, something the Wikipedia community seems to have less and less of over the years while policy has grown and grown. Nowadays, the more objectionable the material the greater its protection under the banner of anti-censorship. I'm not sure but I think it may have been Larry Sanger who wrote ask yourself, is it really necessary. --PumknPi (talk) 09:17, 30 November 2011 (UTC)
That's an excellent concept. I've begun a list of some of the trash I've found while vandal-patrolling. ScottyBerg (talk) 22:55, 30 November 2011 (UTC)
Interesting. Dried nasal mucus is an example for Wikipedia's obsession with having a separate article for everything that has a name. The logic seems to go: This stuff has a separate name (bogey or booger) and an encyclopedia is just a kind of dictionary, so it must have its own article. I think it would be much better to say what little there is to say at mucous membrane of nose, where it is currently missing. Your second example isn't a particularly good one because the image is hosted on Commons and the only link from the English Wikipedia is from talk space. And in fact I think the way it's used on the German Wikipedia (as the last of four images and with a detailed description) is perfectly fine and instructive. Hans Adler 23:13, 30 November 2011 (UTC)
There are many things to say about dried nasal mucus, from differences in it that can be indicative of health problems, to the specific microbiological mechanisms underlying its interaction with the multitude of small lifeforms living in it. Mucus is incredibly notable, and it's users deciding that article's which displease them don't need to exist and posting comments such as "Why do we need a picture for something that is considered disgusting?"(Talk:Dried_nasal_mucus#Gross_picture) that we have WP:NOTCENSORED.AerobicFox (talk) 05:23, 1 December 2011 (UTC)
If there is so much to be said about dried nasal mucus then it should be said. But so long as we are saying so little, we are better off with putting it into an article where people will actually find it without looking specifically for it. The main difference between an encyclopedia and a dictionary is that an encyclopedia has large articles that cover many related topics together, whereas a dictionary is organised by words. Too many editors don't understand this. Hans Adler 13:32, 1 December 2011 (UTC)
Good point about the photo being on Commons, so I'm afraid I'm going to have to take it off my list. I can substitute one of the 112,000 video game articles. ScottyBerg (talk) 04:31, 1 December 2011 (UTC)

@Aerobic, I think that NOTCENSORED can be a fig leaf for content that is gross, disgusting and offends the sensibilities, such as the occasional pedophilia concerns that arise. Good judgment and a small amount of taste will go a long way. ScottyBerg (talk) 16:42, 1 December 2011 (UTC)

I'd say 'Amen to that!' but given current discussions I'd probably be accused of promoting religious fanaticism. So let's go with 'Well said!' Face-wink.svg --Ludwigs2 02:56, 2 December 2011 (UTC)

Hey Jimbo

I can't believe a meme is reading this! =D --Sistemx (talk) 13:43, 1 December 2011 (UTC)

Well, at least two: ceiling cat watched you typing this! — Coren (talk) 17:42, 1 December 2011 (UTC)
Ceiling Jimbo is watching you not donate. :)--Jimbo Wales (talk) 18:13, 1 December 2011 (UTC)

Multilingual Web in India

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has published "Challenges of Multilingual Web in India : Technology Development & Standardization Perspective" at The document has about 60 slides, and downloading it takes a long time.
Wavelength (talk) 20:19, 1 December 2011 (UTC)

Possible lack of communication about a site-wide banner

Can you please take a look at Wikipedia_talk:Arbitration_Committee_Elections_December_2011#Sitenotice? There was consensus for a site-wide banner alerting users to the 2011 ArbCom elections, but I'm not sure whether organizers of the elections or the closing sysops of the RfC ever conveyed this consensus to the WMF or whoever handles the top banner. --Michaeldsuarez (talk) 00:42, 2 December 2011 (UTC)

Cleanup and upgradation of "India" and "Economic History of India" articles

This was posted to the talk page for your wiki article. I believe this was meant to be posted to your user talk page, so I have moved it here. --Harizotoh9 (talk) 07:46, 1 December 2011 (UTC)

Dear Jimmy Wales,

I sent you an email last week with details of certain administrators/users who were engaged in vandalism of the "India" and "Economic History of India" articles. ( is my email address).

I feel that the introduction to the "India" article needs to be changed and should address the following issues:

1) The intro should mention that India is the oldest living civilization on the planet.

2) The intro should mention the fact that India's wealth finds mention in ancient texts around the world. The wealth of ancient India needs to explained further. India was the wealthiest civlization for ALL of human histopry until the 18th century.

3) The intro should mention the fact that India was united for the first time by Ashoka the Great.

4) The intro absolutely has to mention that the whole of India was never administered by the British. Even at the peak of the British Raj, only 60% of Ancient India, (which included Pakistan, Afghanistan, Nepal, Bhutan Bangladesh etc) was administered by the British! THE REMAINING 40% OF INDIA HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH THE BRITISH EMPIRE AND WAS COMPLETELY INDEPENDENT OF FOREIGN INFLUENCES! I am editing your user page from a region in India that has never been conquered by outsiders! This is a HUGE mistake in the article. The Britishers administered 60% of ancient India for 65 years! That is it! The British Raj is grotesquely exaggerated in the intro!

I have a draft of the intro, but I need to create a new account and get "auto confirmed" so that I can edit the India page. If I do that, I will get blocked for "sockpuppetry". What do I do?

In the "Economic History of India" article, the change that I mentioned in the e-mail should be implemented.

Regards, (talk) 07:16, 1 December 2011 (UTC)

I recommend that you get an account and take these concerns to the talk page of the articles in question. I do have your email and will be reviewing it in more depth... but please expect that to take a while, as I'm quite busy this week and next.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 10:44, 1 December 2011 (UTC)
Reading between the lines this is a blocked/banned user, who can leave either their new introduction on their talk page, with a {{Help me}} template, or follow the usual process to become unblocked. Rich Farmbrough, 11:05, 1 December 2011 (UTC).

Thanks Jimbo Wales. I will do my best to edit the India article. (talk) 11:08, 1 December 2011 (UTC)

If you are a banned user, please don't edit in violation of your ban.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 12:19, 1 December 2011 (UTC)

ok. (talk) 17:51, 1 December 2011 (UTC)

  • Perhaps create article "Oldest civilization": The issue of "oldest" civilization might be debatable versus Sumeria, as would any superlative title, so perhaps that should be avoided in the lede section of article "India". We already have article "Indus Valley Civilization" stating circa 3300 BC. However, I am thinking we need a separate new article "Oldest civilization" to compare/contrast the debated issues, such as whether to demand a civilization have written text or just artwork, such as dating before 10000 BC. -Wikid77 (talk) 20:45, 2 December 2011 (UTC)

I suspect you two are secretly sweet on each other

I suspect that you want stuff related to this put to rest. But reading over it again - particularly some of the more idiotic responses and ad hominen attacks that were made against Cla68 by devoted but misguided sycophants (this seems to always happen on this talk page, but not on other users' talk pages, mind if I borrow some of these courtiers sometime?) - it strikes me how much you and Wikipedia Review really need each other.

Think of the "biggest controversies" that have happened on Wikipedia so far, the ones that actually got spilled over into the "mainstream media". Let's pick Essjay and the short-selling thing. In both cases, WR was the first one to bring these up, did all the ground work and made Wikipedia look stupid as a result. BUT. What would have happened if WR had not existed? The chicanery would've come up sooner or later, and by bringing it up sooner rather than later, WR actually did Wikipedia a huge favor. How much worse would've it been if Essjay etc. kept on going for a year or two longer? Wikipedia would've wound up looking much worse as a result.

BLP issues are another example. The drive to actually protect living people on Wikipedia's articles started on WR and it was someone who had feet in both camps that really made it matter. And Wikipedia's better for it.

Of course there's a lot of noise and trolling and grudges and meanness on WR. Have you tried editing Wikipedia yourself lately? It's much worse here than there. Maybe you should do a "prince and a pauper" kind of thing sometime and register a no-name non-Jimbo account and start editing some difficult and controversial topic yourself and see how you fare (prediction: you'll get your ass banned or you'll be sooooo frustrated you'll give up). Wikipedia has become a very mean and nasty place and it's starting to show in the statistics. How we wound up here, I don't know, but that's where we are.

For all the hate talk towards WR by some Wikipedia devotees, it actually does the encyclopedia a huge favor. It's pretty obvious that one thing that Wikipedia is horrible at is self-criticism, self-reflection, and even self-correction (bad ideas, and even bad edits, persist and over time get incorporated into the institutional structure of the site). It needs an outside voice, no matter how disagreeable and cynical it is, that can serve as an INDEPENDENT check on it. Otherwise you just gonna get a lot of discussion about how great we all are. Which is nice and all, does great things for our self-esteem, but it is completely useless in terms of improving the project (not to mention it makes Wikipedians seem like a bunch of seven year olds in constant need of affirmation)

If Wikipedia Review didn't exist, you'd probably have to invent it.  Volunteer Marek  01:21, 2 December 2011 (UTC)

Exactly. SilverserenC 02:22, 2 December 2011 (UTC)
I "retired" after a few thousand edits which I think were good contributions. I "retired" after many of the things Marek touches on became just too much for me. If I had to pick a soundbyte quote from all the thoughtful things Marek says above, I'd go for: "It's pretty obvious that one thing that Wikipedia is horrible at is self-criticism, self-reflection, and even self-correction (bad ideas, and even bad edits, persist and over time get incorporated into the institutional structure of the site).".
Particularly influential in my personal "retirement" decision were the treatment of new editors, and the stuff I allude to in the quote on my user page regarding image "madness". In a dysfunctional situation as I saw it, with no avenue I could see to be a part of altering it, I gave up. Many others have done that, too, you know.
The responses to criticism I have seen here recently, both in the interaction with Cla68, and the Brexx unban fiasco above where you seem to disregard the freely donated hours and opinions of your sysops, and bypass procedure to unban on a whim, don't lead me to hold much confidence that can change.
Stumbling on this thread, I couldn't help but pop back to add my plea, Jimbo, that you listen to what is being said here. It's not all ok, and labelling people who don't agree with you all of the time as disruptive/aggressive or trolls won't fix it.
When people stop arguing with you, and go away, Jimbo, it doesn't always mean you were right, or "won", sometimes it just means they recognise the stupidly stacked odds and have given up arguing against the wind. You will need to decide if that helps wikipedia in the long run. I contend it does not.
Thanks for listening. Begoontalk 13:42, 2 December 2011 (UTC)
Personally I regard WR as a cancerous wart on the anus of Wikipedia, dominated by a rabble of trolls, nuts and embittered banned editors. I appreciate others may think differently, though. Prioryman (talk) 19:47, 2 December 2011 (UTC)
I can understand that point of view. I'd probably once have felt the same if there were posts on there speculating about my previous identities too. It's one of the more unacceptable and intrusive things they do there. Luckily for me, the juiciest thing they could find out is that I once edited articles about TV remote controls under my real name, then changed that account name to a pseudonym. That was in the days when I cared if anyone knew who I was. Now that I don't, I still sympathise with those who do. Nevertheless, while it's not really possible to discuss things that irk you productively here, it's hard to blame people for venting about it elsewhere. People will do that. Begoontalk 20:13, 2 December 2011 (UTC)
My view of things is that we are losing good eds because we are world champion critics and excel at making mountains out of molehills. Criticism of Jimmy as if the sky has fallen because he tried-out giving a chance to a banned ed is a typical example. (talk) 05:41, 3 December 2011 (UTC)
Back to Volunteer Marek's point. Wikipedia Review has immeasurably improved Wikipedia. As pointed out, it is often WR participants who discover and publicize editors or admins using Wikipedia to promote underhanded or dishonest agendas. Wikipedia's administration is a mess, but it isn't as big a mess as it would be if an independent forum didn't exist to blow the whistle on some of the corruption which has taken place in this project. The fact that a few admins once tried to use WR participation as a discriminating factor in requests for adminship (I won't link to those diffs, but they are interesting to read) is telling as to how poorly self-reflective Wikipedia's administration is. Jimbo, you owe WR a big "thank you." Cla68 (talk) 06:09, 3 December 2011 (UTC)

"Bigot of the Year" award?

Noting that a significant number of BLPs mention this "award." I think the term "Bigot" is not commonly used as a polite remonstrance (implicitly including "hatred and intolerance" therein). Is the mock award, however, properly part of a BLP? Suppose an organization started issuing "Rapist of the Year" or "Genocidal Murderer of the Year" awards - would that be acceptable? At what point is the name of the "award" actually getting to the point of non-factual attack? Thanks. Collect (talk) 16:08, 2 December 2011 (UTC)

See Stonewall Awards for context. Looie496 (talk) 16:22, 2 December 2011 (UTC)
Does that somehow make "Bigot" a proper word to attach to living people? Cheers. Collect (talk) 18:32, 2 December 2011 (UTC)
And do other reliable sources refer to this award? While some 'winners' might possibly deserve it, the mere fact that Stonewall hands one out doesn't seem particularly significant in itself - in any case, there are other forms of bigotry than homophobia, so I don't see why they should have a monopoly... AndyTheGrump (talk) 18:36, 2 December 2011 (UTC)
"Pink Paper" and some other interesting mags ("Diva") promote it, but otherwise only a bare mention (at most) of the "award" having been given. In one BLP the simple fact the person was "nominated" makes it into the Wikipedia article. IIRC, a bare mention in a reliable source is not sufficient for "notability" of anything much (the papers which mention it in passing do not do anything other than mention it in passing). I have been of the opinion that epithets slung at people do not necessarily meet the Wikipedia standards for BLPs. I believe Jimbo has opined that such awards may easily hit WP:UNDUE as well. Thanks! Collect (talk) 19:32, 2 December 2011 (UTC)
  • There seem to be quite a few sources that mention or otherwise discuss the award in relation to various people. SilverserenC 19:38, 2 December 2011 (UTC)

Jim. In 2009 you made a pretty strong stance against paid writer policies and I was hoping to see if you felt the same way today. I've spent hours culling over the years of history on this discussion and I feel prior policy discussions missed the boat and there is still a missed opportunity to resolve the issue through a more compelling non-policy alternative.

If you'll hear me out, consider the following:

  • Wikipedia is made better by some paid writers who serve Wikipedia's encyclopedic goals
  • Any policy specifically about paid-for writing implies an endorsement that will encourage COI contributions that do not serve Wikipedia's goals and undermine Wikipedia's authority and neutrality
  • The objective then is to build an ecosystem that (a)makes COI contributors prioritize Wikipedia's goals over those of their cleints (b) guides employers to the few COI contributors that serve Wikipedia's interests (c) does not encourage the proliferation of excessive COI participation or make otherwise volunteer editors start asking for money.

If we can accomplish that, we can significantly decrease COI noticeboard issues, the burden on admins to police COI contributors, the large volume of advert that slips through and the "salvaged" advert articles that could have been better Wikis without the drawbacks of an official policy. I think this can be accomplished through a certification-type model, where COI contributors can earn a community endorsement that they're motivated to keep more than they are motivated to serve their clients.

For example, say the COI policy had a link to a list of certified/endorsed community-approved COI Wikipedians. Those who choose to hire a writer would be more likely to find one that's proven their servitude to Wikipedia's goals. Past behavior is a good indicator of future behavior. That COI contributor wants to stay on the list, so they're more motivated to behave ethically, because the community can nominate them for removal. To be listed you must also agree not to advertise your services on Wikipedia or elsewhere, to prevent over-commercialization.

The prior discussion was focused on policy, but I think there is a more subtle way to align COI contributors' motivations with that of Wikipedia's goals. This way it's made possible for COI authors with genuine needs to find someone who is bound by a code of ethics to serve Wikipedia. I'm a COI contributor that's made my fair share of mistakes, but also written great Wikis. I really enjoy the work and also genuinely care about making Wikipedia better. I believe in this enough to post here despite fear you will execute on your 2009 threat and ban me (*cringe).

I would love to know if you feel this general limited certification/endorsement approach might be worth further discussion. Best Regards.

King4057 (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 20:55, 2 December 2011 (UTC).

Is there are an actual problem where someone is being prevented from adding good encyclopedic content? I ask because several very tedious and unproductive discussions about paid editing have occurred in the past—it is too difficult to argue about an abstract issue when we all know that helpful edits are welcome and unhelpful edits are not, and not many people would support paid advocacy. Johnuniq (talk) 00:12, 3 December 2011 (UTC)
As my opinion, i think there is nothing wrong with paid edit? What's wrong with it really? The contents still free for everyone, it's not like Wiki foundation has to pay for it. It's up to people to choose to pay it if they want to. I'm a really pro freedom. People can do whatever they want as long as it doesn't violate the natural of human.Trongphu (talk) 03:45, 3 December 2011 (UTC)
Take one scenario. A profitable, multi-billion dollar company gets "next in line for chapter 11" added to their Wiki presumably by an angry ex-employee right after a layoff. It was up for weeks, read by thousands, utterly fictional and missed by the community. They have so many options as far as using Talk pages, noticeboards or asking an admin to intervene, but they don't know any of this. The COI policy scares them off and they feel they have no recourse.
Or take Kirby the vaccume cleaner company. There's years of community members in the Talk page complaining that the Wiki is bias and overly focused on criticism and controversy. Where's the other half of the story? Another one, someone put the incorrect price of a company's product on a table with a reference that's just a sentence saying there's discounts available. The company feels they have no recourse.
Multi-billion dollar, notable companies with extremely ethical business practices and no real controversy are subject to incomplete Wikis filled with 5-year old information and splattered with personal opinions.
There's policies for all of this, but very few notable COIs take the time to read it. Policies is how Wikipedia works, but hiring good talent is how businesses work. Wikipedia can't endorse paid-for writing, but we can give COI contributors with a genuinely good reason to contribute to a clear and obvious place where they can find help. They need help and by helping them, Wikipedia can get more quality, encyclopedic, well-referenced content while reducing the burden of policing COI.
I don't mean to dominate the string - eager to hear more from others.
King4057 (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 15:50, 3 December 2011 (UTC).

Wikia and WP usernames

I realise that Wikia is a different system and that WP usernames cannot be extended/reserved in that space but I wonder if you would care to comment on a situation that amounts to "passing off".

I adopted my username many years ago and it is used in all sorts of places. Recently, there has been a series of campaigns against contributions made by me and a few others to various India-related articles. In every case, and at every on-wiki venue where my contributions have been attacked, I have had the support of the en-WP community & my detractors have often been blocked or topic banned. Off-wiki, there have been campaigns via Facebook, Orkut and at least one defamatory blog.

I can live with that, frustrating although it can be, but now a long-running "battle" involving the Yadav article appears to have led someone to set up an account at Wikia using my username, and then used that account to post an old, very poor version of the WP Yadav article there. It is clearly malicious rather than a coincidental choice of username. Sure, the same stuff has been posted on sites such as Metapedia (although how it has stayed there is beyond me, given MP's raison d'etre) ... but no-one has attached my username to something before.

The heat I am getting (& it has included a death threat) is ridiculous without this sort of machinating going on. I know that the blogs etc cannot be stopped but are you still involved with Wikia, as I believe once you were? Is there any way to revoke that account? - Sitush (talk) 12:02, 3 December 2011 (UTC)

Ray Guy

Mr. Wales, I would like to provide some additional information on Ray Guy's Wikipedia page. My mother and Ray Guy went to high school together and I would like to include some factual information about his high school football career at Thomson High School in Thomson, Georgia. To whom may I submit this information? Thank you, Brooke — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:38, 3 December 2011 (UTC)

You should be able to either a) edit the page directly, or b) start a discussion on the article talkpage to obtain consensus for the edits. Please note that original research and personal knowledge are not sufficient - all information needs to be verifiable using 3rd party reliable sources. All the best (talk→ BWilkins ←track) 18:35, 3 December 2011 (UTC)

wikipedia Banner/add. Bigger close button.

Could you make the close button bigger? Asylum de senscape sale en 2012 (talk) 10:55, 4 December 2011 (UTC)

Maybe you should read it...

MalikPeters (talk · contribs)

Jimbo, although we keep removing it because the editor just keeps creating new disposable userids in order to rant, I'll link to one of his earlier attempts to post it. Seeing as my name is mentioned, I have no issues with anyone reviewing either the situation or my role within it. This is one of the diffs where he added it, and the first blocked account is right here. (talk→ BWilkins ←track) 14:15, 27 November 2011 (UTC)

  • In general I would prefer that we be more lenient than normal on my user talk page, particularly when someone is upset about something they view as an incorrect application of the rules. If he posts it again, I'd rather we discuss it than revert it - to a point, of course. Possibly something useful will come of it.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 20:15, 27 November 2011 (UTC)
  • Jimbo, the reason this guy is so upset is because some admins are, in the background, ignoring your own request to give him a chance to state his case here. They have blocked all of his accounts (since your request, not before!) so he has to create a new illegal sock account for every new message he posts here. The admins then use this as further evidence that he has been a devious and compulsive "puppet master" all along and thus Wikipedia will be well rid of him thanks to all their sterling good detective work. However, I just don't see it. This and this show how reasonably this guy conducted himself on a couple of his own Talk Pages before all this began. His comments on this page show exactly how frustrated and angry he now is at the way he is being treated. And that was a few days ago. He's probably even angrier right now, and who can blame him?
The problem now is that Malik is so frustrated and angry at the unjust way he has been treated that, if and when he does get granted a clear channel to communicate here, he may well flame out in front of everyone and destroy his own case. Which I'm sure is all part of the plan ... look, not only is he a deviant master of a large sock puppet ring but he's downright rude and uncivil too! This whole debacle is just too silly for words and does not reflect at all well on Wikipedia. Surely the project is about cooperatively building an encyclopedia that distributes the truth to people, not about suppressing or corrupting the truth so much that it drives someone that is normally well-mannered and writes, "It's allright. Thank you very much for correction, they were appropriate." on his Talk Page (I'm AGF that the admins are correct in identifying that as a true Malik account) to writing only the other day, "Fucking hell, YOU LOT WOULD TURN THE MOST MILD MANNERED PERSON INTO A CRAZED COP KILLER IF HE EVER MET THE LIKES OF YOU IN THE REAL WORD ..." You can almost feel the heat of Malik's frustration burning through your PC screen and the cause of it is the consistently uncivil, stubborn and antagonistic behavior of the admins towards him based on a bad faith assumption of "guilty as sin you POS" when their behavior throughout should always have been civil, and based on a good faith assumption of "innocent until proven guilty." Mancini's Lasagne invite to Harry Talk 19:35, 3 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Yet another highly experienced user has gotten caught in the sock-block-complain-newsock-newblock quicksand trap. This time it looks like the admins are targeting the victim as a case of sock-block-complain-resock-ban-from-Wikipedia. The user was careful to keep the original account secret, so might be able to return to editing, peacefully, even though the intent is to edit-ban the user due to being caught in the sock-trap. I wonder if the people working on policy WP:SOCK knew this would drive many experienced users to leave WP. -Wikid77 (talk) 16:55, 27 November 2011 (UTC)
    • I hope he does return to editing peacefully; I think that the original socking was totally misguided rather than disruptive. As the original blocker I'm totally happy for the community to review the situation - here or anywhere else. I'm confident the community agrees that socking to "question" another editor is not at all legitimate. For my own part, the reason I ultimately supported trying to expose which editor it was is a) because he started being very uncivil and casting aspersions at me and Bwilkins (trawling my history for find something to throw at me) and b) because he keeps threatening to take it all to Arbcom. And I would like to know which editor holds this over my head (I'm fairly sure I know who it is anyway, but confirmation never hurts). Reviewing the situation could be beneficial to see where we could have approached things differently, and whether we need to clarify the Socking policy to make sure it explains to editors the standard expected of their interactions. --Errant (chat!) 20:25, 27 November 2011 (UTC)
  • It takes time to untangle WP:SOCK policy loopholes: When people are trying to keep their real names or username hobbies from being "outed" then the use of WP:SOCK#Legit accounts becomes an obvious choice, but there is a "slippery slope" where neutral discussions can slip into borderline uncivil sarcasm or slip into unintended vulgarities (such as saying "bullocks" or "pillock" not realizing the highly vulgar origin of those terms). A similar comparison I've seen in U.S. English is to tell people they are "full of bull" where "bull" is an ellipsis form for "cattle excrement" which is also vulgar when considered from that aspect. Hence, a person starting with a valid sock username might enter a discussion, then slip into a heated debate, and use idiomatic expressions without realizing the perceived attacks. Another example is to use the word "slow" as in a "slow group of editors" who make changes slowly, but have "slow" interpreted as "slow-witted" or "unintelligent" as some people have insisted. At that point, using a sock "anonymous username" becomes viewed as an attempt to violate WP:NPA while "evading" detection. We have recent real-world cases: some people become well-known in their small hometowns by their WP usernames, because Wikipedia has become a part of mainstream society, such as giving Facebook usernames, then they sock to discuss issues privately (away from their hometown crowd) but get outed as bad users who "violated" sockpuppet policies (not only losing privacy but being smeared as policy violators in the hometown). Another real-world case: an award-winning author instinctively creates a real-name username ("I am the real <username>") to refute rumors in talk-page discussions, then that same person creates an "alternate username" (for privacy), but enters some same talk-pages and is seen as "evading detection" as an invalid sock username. Meanwhile, many admins are just too busy to untangle these loopholes in policies, so we have this downward spiral of people being outed and semi-publicly humiliated by subtle Catch-22 "vicious circles" in policies. I hope that wasn't too WP:TL;DR rambling, but WP:SOCK should not be enforced so drastically. -Wikid77 (talk) 02:49, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
Wikid77, I just wanted to say that your above comment is the most sensible contribution to the debate I've read in this section. The way I read current WP:SOCK policy it is not illegal to have and use multiple accounts, it is only illegal to use them disruptively. Which means for the purposes of vote stacking or stirring up controversy in discussions by behaving in a "good-hand, bad-hand" manner. I don't see evidence of any of that in Malik's actions. Knowing the personality of the user he was about to confront, the situation may well have got out of control for Malik and he might indeed have gone sliding down that slippery slope. But it appears to me he was well aware of that and decided to take a calculated risk anyway, having the confidence in his own ability not to allow MF to draw him into those sort of incivility issues because he felt himself competent to operate in a conflict arbitration situation (note: I have no idea if Malik is so qualified; I'm just AGF and taking him at his word). It was perhaps a poor decision by Malik in retrospect, but surely not quite the guaranteed disaster that confronting MF as his main user id. would have been.
The two admins concerned just don't seem to get that aspect of this case. I cannot find anything in WP:SOCK policy that states categorically that engaging someone in conversation via an alternative account is illegal per se ... it ONLY becomes illegal should that engagement become disruptive. However, admin Errant did not allow the engagement to get that far but preemptively blocked Malik based on his own misinterpretation of sock policy. What he did is the equivalent of a policeman that arrests someone because he is convinced he is about to commit a crime. Or bombing the bejeebers out of another nation on the basis that you think they are about to attack you. Preemptive blocking cannot be a good policy for Wikipedia. I would love to hear Jimbo's views on this issue. Mancini's Lasagne invite to Harry Talk 12:15, 1 December 2011 (UTC)
You find me in some level of agreement - when you are talking about protecting our off-wiki identities (or view versa). Indeed, we already have a strong consensus on helping editors avoid being associated with their private lives. But... then that same person creates an "alternate username" (for privacy), but enters some same talk-pages and is seen as "evading detection" as an invalid sock username.; well that clearly is evading detection. If they already had a user account under their real name, then created another one to contribute further to the discussion... that's a problem of deception and a block is the right move. I can't think of any legitimate reason (assuming they weren't editing other topics) for one editor to contribute to the same article with two accounts! In this case none of the legitimate uses of Socks stood up; the account was created purely to avoid scrutiny while pursuing another editor over an issue. One of the most important concepts in our community is that of transparency - weakening the socking policy to allow that sort of behaviour leads us into the situation where throwaway accounts to pursue a specific issue are the norm. And we end up no longer being able to trust who is who :) (the editor seems to have gone to some length to protect his main account, which for me takes away the vestiges of good faith remaining in their actions). So as to your final comment; the sort of anonymous socking that is allowed should be specific and rare exceptions (as we already detail in the legit uses section). --Errant (chat!) 12:45, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
I have long thought that we need an essay WP:Respect the border zone. Many conflicts in Wikipedia follow this pattern:
  • A policy or guideline defines the border between what is allowed and what can be sanctioned.
  • Which side of the border an individual action falls on often depends on one's interpretation of the plain wording, of the plain wording when put into the context of the entire policy and guideline, and/or of the plain wording when put into the context of all policies and guidelines and our unwritten practices.
  • An editor does something which he or she legitimately thinks is allowed or even required. Another editor legitimately thinks that it's forbidden and reacts accordingly. (E.g. ANI report, official warning, block, or censoring comments, as happened to me recently.)
Making our policies and guidelines less ambiguous helps. Making them more consistent with each other and actual practice also helps. But this is a lot of work and will never solve the problem completely. What we need is a general awareness of the problem. We must be very careful when we want to do something that we think is allowed but may fall into the border zone, and we must also be very careful when reacting to something that we think is forbidden but may fall into the border zone. This is a no more than common sense, just like an air condition system set to 21 °C doesn't heat with full power when the actual temperature is 20 °C and doesn't cool with full power when it is 22 °C. In fact, it won't heat at all at 20.8 °C and won't cool at all at 21.2 °C. But in practice we don't act like that. When we feel that the thermostat should really be set to 25 °C, then at 20.9 °C we still heat like mad to make a point. Then of course whoever feels that 19 °C would be better will start cooling vigorously as soon as the temperature has reached 21.02 °C.
This phenomenon is observable in its purest form in the case of civility blocks, but it also applies to socking as you described and many other areas. Hans Adler 09:43, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
I think part of the problem is that, as the person admits, they created the ID specifically to ask a question - that is by definition "to avoid detection". There are indeed many real life reasons to create an alternate account, but this specific situation was not one of them. Now, the first one could have been forgiven - if one WP:AGF's, that it was not done to be a WP:DICK, and might have been a misunderstanding/bad idea. Fine - forgiven. The half-dozen more afterwards to make a WP:POINT were an absolute abuse of alternate accounts, and tainted the possible forgiveness for the original transgression. Indeed, because of the later abusive use of WP:SOCKs, since a block applies to the person, in theory the original account would need to be blocked. A truly unfortunate and ridiculous situation and pointless overall. (talk→ BWilkins ←track) 13:01, 28 November 2011 (UTC)

So what's your take on this Jimbo? Does the letter and/or the principle of WP:SOCK allow an established editor to create an alternate account, for the sole purposes of engaging in polite dispute resolution with an editor like Malleus from a position of complete uninvolvement, where there are very obvious reasons why that editor might not want his main account to be known by onlookers. Let's not forget, the claims made above about my supposed motives over and above what I've said they are, are still just that, mere unsubstantiated claims. And let's also not forget, Malleus never asked for the 'protection' as it has been applied by admins in this case. ErrantX just appeared out of nowhere and did what he misguidedly thinks was his duty. I see he has stopped calling what I did harassment (but not either withdrawn that slur on the block log, or even explained how he could possibly have misapplied such a label so badly with zero evidence), but he's still insistent on throwing AGF out the window and labelling my actions as a "pursuit" etc. And BWilkins is still throwing out the insults as he seeks to conveniently justify his slack review & other general un-admin like interaction with me, based on what happened because of it, not anything that I had done before it (again, the lack of any actual evidence offered or questions being answered, shows that these decisions were being made on the fly, from personal pre-judged viewpoints rather than secure policy positions). Sure, now we're here 'in front of teacher', they're both happy to stand by their mistakes based on assumptions that the community would support them post hoc. Do you see any such support? Or even any attempt to divine it? Not good enough. Not WP:ADMIN standard behaviour at all. And the less said about Boing! said Zebedee's review, the better. As far as I'm concerned, what he did is simple admin abuse, particularly the talk page protection . But sadly it's a rare admin indeed who has the integrity and the clue to do his job properly once you reach the stage of a second review. Sure, I didn't have a "real life" reason not to disclose it, wanting to maintain a peaceful life for my main account is hardly that, but it should be blindingly obvious what effect such a viewpoint has on the chances of Malleaus not being royally screwed down the line, thanks to the admins who seek to protect him in this misguided manner. I was only trying to spend a few minutes on a difficult issue, for the general health of the site. If I had wanted to put my good record on this site to use as a dispute resolution functionary, I would have entered into the current elections. I don't, so I won't. Nobody here has even considered whether I might even have the bit myself in my main guise. But knowing how he views such baubles, I'd never in a million years attempt to interact with Malleus with it on display, hanging over what are essentially non-admin discussions. And Malleus doesn't tend to inhabit my own wiki-sphere too often, so from a purely selfish point of view, if my help is not wanted and nobody is too bothered about what's happened here, it's no skin off my nose. But I think we've all seen how far the likes of ErrantX and BWilkins get when (if) they ever try to constructively engage with him. And so it goes on, for far too long than necessary, until the inevitable. Is this a feature or a flaw of the Wikipedia community model? Not for me to decide. But bearing in mind it's supposed to run on one simple thing, civil discussion between editors can solve all, the maintenance of which is the sole function of the myriad of behavioural rules like WP:SOCK etc, I'd say it's a glaring flaw. Malik Peters (talk) 15:36, 28 November 2011 (UTC)

Someday I look forward to knowing where I have been the least bit insulting on either your original sock's talkpage, or even above. For someone who's once again evading a valid block, I would hope that you would calm the rhetoric, and actually try to assist in resolution as opposed to revolution. (talk→ BWilkins ←track) 15:47, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
Well I was thinking about the repeat references to WP:DICK [8][9], coupled with the general sarcasm, and your selective approach to what points you will and will not respond to (the last of which I'll grant is more of an insult to my/the community's intelligence, as well as your responsibilities under WP:ADMIN, than a direct insult). Malik Peters (talk) 16:26, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
Perhaps you went in with good intentions at first, but sometimes those just wind up making nice paving stones on the way to a warm place. If you have something to say to another user, then say it with your own identity. Tarc (talk) 15:46, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
I agree with Tarc that this was misguided; it's certainly an uncivil way to approach a conversation (even if you act polite). FWIW I was very clear on the exact part of the sock policy that supports this, "Avoiding Scrutiny"; it is a violation of this policy to create alternative accounts to confuse or deceive editors who may have a legitimate interest in reviewing your contributions. Although it is allowable to avoid scrutiny in some cases for privacy reasons, this is not one of those situations (if you read WP:LEGIT is specifically relates privacy to real-world issues, and nothing else covers it). The problem with demanding specifics in the policy wording is that nothing on that page supports the action you took. --Errant (chat!) 15:56, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
And yet, the block log reads sole purpose of harassment, which also matches your block notice, "sole purpose of harassing another editor". And I'd like to hear why you think you have a legitimate interest in my contributions, just because I started a polite discussion with Malleus. WP:SOCK does not support such a suspicious and clear ABF attitude. And you're incorrect in your assumption that the only legitimate uses of socks are for real-world issues, unless you care to explain what the real world aspect of "long-term users might create a new account to experience how the community functions for new users" is? Malik Peters (talk) 16:26, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
If an unfamiliar person comes to my talk page, I will automatically check the contribs and see what they edit and where we may have crossed paths. If their first edit or thereabouts is to my talk page just then, I'd be highly suspicious of their motivations, regardless of what they actually wrote. Apart from dumb vandalism and trolling (seen here this week), I have had imposters at times try to claim to be people I know, or profess support for something I do as well, trying to bait me into joining them in some argument where they have deliberately stirred up trouble. None of this applies to you per se, but Malleus is the center of a lot of historical drama and shenanigans, both self-created and created by others, as I am as well. So, for either he or other who frequent his page to get red flags over a "new" user posting there is quite natural. Tarc (talk) 16:42, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
Red flags are one thing, instant unsolicited blocks are quite another. Sure, Malleus was suspicious, but not so much that he wasn't quite happy to continue the discussion as far as I could tell, until it was cut short by this unwarranted block. I'm well aware of the ground I was treading, but even so, I see no basis for admins to introduce a new regime whereby anyone who even so much as speaks to Malleus that they don't know, is instantly blocked. He certainly never asked for this sort of 'protection', if anything he is more annoyed about those times when admins take no action when his name is being taken in vain away from his talk page. It was after all his talk page, where he has almost complete and total control, and where I had made it as plain as plain could be that I would stop at any time if he said so. Malik Peters (talk) 15:18, 29 November 2011 (UTC)
(edit conflict)AGF is not a suicide pact; you were socking, which already is problematic. You claim, for example, to have no prior connection to the ongoing dispute, but you can't hold up AGF and demand we believe that. If you are who I am pretty sure you are then you were involved in the dispute the periphery of a previous related dispute. I will give you that at the bottom of WP:HARASS is mentions a tendency to use it too broadly, and I intended it in the nominal sense I would use it in the every day world (else I would have linked to WP:HARASS). Really, though, that's a terminology matter - harrasing, pursuing, bothering, jumping into the middle of a dispute; take your pick, it's no excuse. The reason for blocking was sock-puppeting, that you were doing so to harass Malleus simply strengthened by decision to block. --Errant (chat!) 16:50, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
Well, first off, you're expected to know how other editors, particularly the accused, will receive charges of harassment, when there is a well known definition of it on this site. How loosely you use the term in your real life is irrelevant (although quite concerning in itself). This is just the same as how you're not at liberty to call people vandals if your definition of one in the real world doesn't meet the established one. Second, as for "AGF is not a suicide pact", that phrase is never applied to situations like this, but to situations where a pattern of behaviour has been established, and/or some sort of proof of wrongdoing has been presented. Your incorrect belief that socks are never allowed and are to be instantly blocked, combined with simple suspicions about who I supposedly am, are simply not good enough. If you want to lay charges of evading scrutiny, then the burden of proof is on you. The actual evidence is as plain as day, I was not "bothering" Malleus and I was not trying to evade scrutiny for any reason other than I've already stated. You simply chose to see it a different way, for reasons best known to yourself, which you cannot excuse by throwing out the 'suicide pact' defence. There was no sense of AGF at all, you don't even come close to being able to claim you had extended some until it became clear it was a suicide pact. No discussion, no investigation, just an instant block. Malik Peters (talk) 15:18, 29 November 2011 (UTC)
I assume good faith that you thought you were doing something useful. However that does not mean the socking policy or general rules of engagement are suspended. You were bothering/pestering/harassing Malleus; in case it is not clear from that discussion they think you are MONGO - as further evidenced by an even more explicit comment today. and where I had made it as plain as plain could be that I would stop at any time if he said so; yet despite being told that it was not OK, you persisted in demanding an explicit "go away"... a fairly uncivil move. All of which is by-the-by, because you socked to insert yourself into a contentious discussion. Hence blocked. our incorrect belief that socks are never allowed and are to be instantly blocked; not at all, I in fact have a very relaxed attitude to most socks. combined with simple suspicions about who I supposedly am, are simply not good enough.; oh come on - it wasn't hard to connect the various dots (I'd be surprised if other admins involved aren't aware either) and that was even before you gloated about it on the main account.... Honestly this is going in circles, and exhibiting examples of the same Wikilawyering incivility as your main account... I'll try to make this my last comment on the topic because it is already becoming tedious: your attitude all throughout has just been way out of sync with the expected high standards of a Wikipedia editor - and both here and under your main account you have refused any level of criticism, even the polite advice, and turned it abusively back on everyone else. Given that situation I've got even less concern about my block. --Errant (chat!) 15:58, 29 November 2011 (UTC)
Your not making any sense at all. Who thinks my main account is MONGO? You? Malleus? Whoever it is, they're wrong. I was told it was not OK? Wrong. I persisted in "demanding" an explicit "go away"? Wrong. All of this is your rather warped view of the discussion. You haven't connected any dots here, but it's clear from these statements that you actually cannot conceive in your mind that there might not be any dots to be connected. Total ABF. I socked to simply keep my privacy, nothing more. At the end of the day, here's the truth - you were watching Malleus' talk page, and you simply didn't like the fact that I wanted to have a polite discussion with him without revealing my main identity, so you jumped in an blocked without discussion or even warning. There's no policy justification for this block, which is why you are now pulling the tired old cliche of greeting requests for one as "wikilawyering", while trying to project all these unseen interpretations and conspiracies of yours, as simply facts, that everyone must accept, because you're an infallible admin. You're not, and some acceptance of that from you would be appreciated, instead of an inexplicable hardening of what was already a weak position. Malik Peters (talk) 20:25, 29 November 2011 (UTC)
Sorry if my comment was confusing; Malleus seems to thing you are MONGO. I know you are not :) -Errant (chat!) 21:48, 29 November 2011 (UTC)
  • Although Jimbo can click on the original Malik's contribs as easy as anyone, this link to Malleus's user talkpage will be very illuminating as to the whole story. The intent was to stir the pot with the alternate account, and it's effectively even admitted. This was therefore not a valid use of an alternate account. (talk→ BWilkins ←track) 18:29, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
Well, until Jimbo responds further, I must say that I read that talk-page section very carefully (User_talk:Malleus_Fatuorum#More_evidence), and I do not see how the "intent was to stir the pot". In fact, the stated intent was to question the use of the term "American rednecks" (and its impact on "others" versus using alternate wording) in the ongoing discussion, as stated by User:MalikPeters twice (here: diff 23:41, 25 November 2011). All comments made by MalikPeters seemed quite civil. If anything, MalikPeters taught Malleus_Fatuorum to spell it as "rednecks" not "red-necks". This was in relation to User:MONGO explaining his background, driving a "pick-up truck" and going "camping" and noting offensive use of the word "rednecks". BTW: The part of that discussion I thought highly offensive, to U.S. citizens, was the term "American... draped in red white and blue" (which can apply to many U.S. citizens who fly the U.S. flag at their homes, daily or on U.S. national holidays). I saw no reason to block User:MalikPeters for posting messages in that discussion. Perhaps, the concerns should have been noted at WP:WQT, to recommend more-proper dialogue (if needed) using the WP:SOCK#Legit account, days before reaching the decision to block a username account which might have been the only username created by an IP-address user. -Wikid77 (talk) 10:56, 29 November 2011 (UTC)
"stir the pot" is total nonsense, as can be seen by the evidence. It's just more of the same epic levels of ABF, kicked off by ErrantX, then continued by Bwilkins. This is why it took him just 19 minutes to review the original block; they both simply went off of what they believed, not what they could see or had read, let alone could prove. Not good enough. Not WP:ADMIN at all. Malik Peters (talk) 15:18, 29 November 2011 (UTC)
Are you suggesting that it should take anyone more than 19 minutes to review an unblock notice? Anyone who took anywhere close to that long would be not good enough for WP:ADMIN ... even for unblocks of editors with years worth of editing it should not take 19 minutes. You're pissed off because I know how to read quickly? (talk→ BWilkins ←track) 15:43, 29 November 2011 (UTC)
It's perfectly obvious to anyone who knows what the job entails, that no admin could have reviewed this particular block properly in just 19 minutes, even if they were a speed reader, even if we are making the assumptions that you saw the request immediately, and know the precise wordings of several policies off by heart. Malik Peters (talk) 20:25, 29 November 2011 (UTC)
If it took any admin more than 7 minutes to read the unblock, look at the history of that specific editor determine that the unblock did not meet WP:GAB - even if you partly WP:IAR - then you should question that admin pretty darn quick. Unblock reviews are not rocket science, and suggesting that someone needs more than 19 minutes in this case (or in most cases) is ridiculous. I even read the "evidence" twice, just to make sure. (talk→ BWilkins ←track) 21:13, 29 November 2011 (UTC)
The unblock request alone was 620 words long. And it concerned a discussion which was 1,200 words long. The average adult reading rate is 250wpm. So that's 7 minutes just to read just those two things, once. Given all the other things you would have had to have read and done, plus all the checks and the messing around clicking links etc, in order to be able to do a proper review, I think it's beyond obvious you are lying, especially when you've now claimed that 7 mins should be the absolute maximum even for fresh n00b admins! Ridiculous. And this latest comment of yours also reminds me of two other things - you claimed before that you had declined for not meeting WP:GAB, but you failed to mention that until the 5th or so opportunity. That's never been explained. And this is now the second time you've claimed you declined because the request didn't meet WP:GAB, without explaining how it doesn't (despite being specifically requested to do so after the first time). It's hardly worth even asking a second time is it? Malik Peters (talk) 23:53, 30 November 2011 (UTC)

Just now seeing this...I edit from Omaha, Nebraska...the IP may come up as Bellevue, Nebraska...I also do a talkpage edit (as now) on a Blackberry via Sprint...this MalikPeters is not me nor a meatpuppet of mine. However, I share some of the same concerns over the incident and when I voiced them strongly by referring to Malleus as an anti-American bigot, got shouted down probably for good cannot fight fire with fire. I apologize in several locations and retracted my comments. For the record, I have anything to say to Malleus, I'll surely do so as MONGO.MONGO 17:09, 29 November 2011 (UTC)

I apologise if ErantX's paranoia is causing you un-needed stress. Malik Peters (talk) 20:25, 29 November 2011 (UTC)
Paranoia... familiar... *ahem* Anyway - sorry MONGO for the confusion above. The comment I linked to notes the belief in a connection to you - but I am aware this is not the case. --Errant (chat!) 21:48, 29 November 2011 (UTC)

This is going nowhere; I fairly confident this person is now blocked both as the socks (except this one) and as the other account (through normal means) and it feels much like we are going round in circles; this is an editor who simply does not seem to understand the standards expected of editors, and has a very strange opinion of what constitutes incivility (basically; anything we say to him is uncivil, but personal attacks laid back at us are purely the truth). M; I encourage you, whenever a legit unblocked account becomes accessible to bring this before the community in whatever venue you see fit and have it scrutinised. Till then, I don't see the point in going around and around the same issues and suffer the level of abuse you are resorting to. --Errant (chat!) 21:53, 29 November 2011 (UTC)

You really have lost me. M? Is that supposed to be some kind of code? My main account is still unblocked, I've knocked out a nice stub just today as it happens. I will bring this to the attention of arbcom if or when Malleus is dragged into an arbitration case because you 'protected' him from civil discussion by abusing your technical abilities, while failing to do even the basics like read the policies you think you're enforcing, let alone doing the beyond basic things like assuming good faith or stopping to ask me anything. I'll do that in the same manner I approached Mallues, if trying to help him isn't worth exposing my main account, then I'm sure bringing you to account certainly isn't either. I would like to see you lay out any personal attacks I've supposedly sent your way (and remembering the last confusion, just so you know, when I say personal attack, I mean "personal attack", not whatever you might be able to morph it into, the way you somehow can for harassment into pursing into bothering). And in the unlikely event I've actually attacked you, I would hope you could explain why you think that excuses your behaviour so far, which has ranged from the minor but irritating, to the serious failings, in the standards expected of you. You're the admin here, I don't have the luxury of ignoring when you are incivil to me if the reason for the incivility is to cover up how poorly you handled a block on me. The reason you feel like this is going round in circles, it because it has been. But it's not me who's been turning the wheel. I've given straight answers to straight questions, each time every time. I've never once ignored anyone's points, and I've never once claimed a policy said or meant something it provably didn't. If you or BWilkins had done the same either from the outset, or at least once you'd been reminded of your obligations, as both WP:CIVIL and WP:ADMIN asks you to, then this all could have been concluded long ago, with either you being vindicated, or me being unblocked. Some hope. At this rate, neither will happen, and this will just shuffle off into the archive. I'd hope you would have protested that as the wrongness that it clearly is, but no such luck yet. Malik Peters (talk) 23:53, 30 November 2011 (UTC)

Not sure there was anything wrong with Malik asking a few questions of explained. I don't think the admins involved in this have erred is best to use known accounts if we're going to be scrutinizing each other...but perhaps Malik did this for the precise reason he/she did...identity reflection, it really is important to be respectful of each other and to be particularly decent to those we know are from a different culture/nation than our own. Insulting and deliberately degrading persoanl insults, particularly ones of an ethnocentric nature, demonstrate nothing but ignorance and, in the worst examples, bigotry.MONGO 14:44, 30 November 2011 (UTC)

I agree MONGO, there was nothing at all wrong with asking the questions from Malleus. Although Malleus can be, erm, "unique" in his style of reply, the questions were probably worth asking. (talk→ BWilkins ←track) 09:48, 1 December 2011 (UTC)
Sheesh, all that's wrong and screwed-up with Wikipedia is right here on this page in full view for everybody to see (if only people were able to see the woods for the trees). Down below in the Brexx section we have the case of a multiply banned troll called Don't Talk With Me (IMO hardly a choice of user handle conducive to harmonious interaction with others), who has a 5-year plus history of over 180 sock puppets used to vandalize Wikipedia articles, being given a "second chance" (more like his 181st if you ask me!) by no less a person than the founder of the project; whose ill-considered action, in a single stroke, completely undermined all the prior efforts of "good admins" who had relentlessly spent their time protecting Wikipedia from this incurable vandal.
In contrast, right here in this section, you have the case of two self-righteous and somewhat arrogant "bad admins" who smugly continue to stand by the respective parts they both played in creating an incident, that with a little more careful handling could have been completely avoided, when the first one of those admins, in a clear rush to judgment based on ABF, blocked an experienced user (Malik) that is not only a positive contributor to Wikipedia, but a contributor in the areas of the civility pillar and conflict arbitration, no less.
You know there has to be something wrong with Wikipedia when the "good admins" get overridden and the "bad admins" are allowed to run amok and abuse their power to block someone who contributes in the area of conflict arbitration in order to defend, of all people, "Malleus Fatuorum". If you wanted to describe in just two words what is wrong with Wikipedia it would be MF. This person is using his Wikipedia account Talk Page to run his own personal message board and daily blog for free. MF appears to think he is the cheap British answer to John McLaughlin or Rush Limbaugh and is using his free access to Wikipedia resources to run his own "McLaughlin Group" discussion forum that provides a vehicle for him to spout off his own demagoguery on anything and everything happening on Wikipedia that he sees fit to comment on. And he does this from the safety of his own Talk Page where he can control and orchestrate everything, much like the Limbaugh phone-in call vetters make sure he never receives an antithetical call on-air from someone with more than half a brain.
People in responsible positions should be a role model for others and lead by example. Jimbo's rather disappointing spin-doctoring in calling his belated concurrence to the re-blocking of the Brexx vandal a "second chance (that) was 'properly given'" is not, if he fairly analyzes his own actions, his proudest moment. As much as I admire and respect his fair and liberal stance in giving that guy a "second chance" it was, in retrospect, ill-advised. But the subsequent spin-doctoring of what he did was even worse. Because it sets the wrong example to others who look up to him as a role model - such as the two blocking admins Errant and BWilkins.
So why am I not surprised that the admin Errant defends his fellow admin's "rush to judgment" actions with the same sort of disingenuous spin-doctoring of what was done, morphing a simple and honest attempt by Malik to engage a known troublesome user (MF) in a possibly fruitful discussion (thanks to BWilkinsErrant we'll now never know the outcome) into an egregious case of harassing / bothering / pestering (and all the other words they have used to retroactively whitewash their respective actions) rather than have the plain good grace to now admit that perhaps both of them were wrong. Can you blame either admin for resorting to such a recourse when someone with the esteem of Jimbo also resorts to such actions. Come on guys, if the Wikipedia project is all about building an encyclopedia that is based on reporting the truth then, just like charity, truth has to begin at home. Mancini's Lasagne invite to Harry Talk 10:44, 1 December 2011 (UTC)
Wow, thanks for the vitriol, filled with WP:NPA, WP:ABF, and some pretty significant errors. The first, of course, is that I am not the "blocking admin"; I declined an unblock request. Of course, most of what you said above pretty much dissipates now. (talk→ BWilkins ←track) 11:34, 1 December 2011 (UTC)
I'm sorry, it is about a week since I first saw this incident blow up and so please forgive me for getting the details of which admin did what and when incorrectly allocated given that elapse of time. I will go back and redact and correct who did what where I can. I had already done that in part before you even posted. I think what both of you did was wrong - the original blocking by Errant and the subsequent refusal to unblock by you, so it really doesn't matter who did what. I'm arguing the principle of the thing here, not trying to provide a blow-by-blow analysis. There is no vitriol in my comment. If you are so insecure a person that you see vitriol in what I just wrote then you should not be an admin. As an admin you must be able to take criticism and be able to grow and improve. Always attacking back in such a supercilious manner is not being a good admin. Malik is entirely right about that. Mancini's Lasagne invite to Harry Talk 12:09, 1 December 2011 (UTC)
Mancini; you're missing the fact that at this stage multiple admins (at least 4, probably more) have reviewed this situation in some form - and none of them have taken issue with the actions. From your history of articles it looks like you've had run ins with Malleus, so perhaps this explains your rather off-the-wall rant. However; I once again say - if someone feels strongly enough to take this before the community in an appropriate venue, then go ahead and do so. Posturing on Jimbo's talk page is all well and good; but I suspect it was chosen as the venue because anywhere else the community would simply have agreed (as, to be honest, they have done). There is nothing wrong with questioning Malleus's actions (no matter if it is likely a fruitless endeavour) - but using a sock puppet to do so is not the right approach and contrary to policy & community spirit. --Errant (chat!) 11:59, 1 December 2011 (UTC)
The fact that multiple admins agree with you is EXACTLY the problem here. Jimbo wants to know why new editors are leaving. It is because if and when they get into a situation requiring admin intervention the admins come across as being defensive of their actions and somewhat abusive of their powers. They also come across as being smart asses. They use their greater Wikipedia experience to Wikilawyer every response (just read BWilkins response to me above) to the relative newbie editor such that he feels overwhelmed and that he has no recourse. Nobody likes to play on an unlevel playing field. So they leave. It's that simple.
Also, nobody likes to see their edits reverted or modified with smart ass comments such as "changed silly xyz to pqr" which is the kind of thing MF does all the time. It's indirect incivility because the editor that writes such ES is really calling the person whose edit he is changing "silly" by calling his edit "silly". It's not enough to cause people to quote WP:CIVIL at MF (or whoever) and those of us that are a bit more thick-skinned just shrug it off or give as good as we get back ... but it will scare off a large proportion of your inexperienced newbies. Supercilious adminship and smart ass established editor cliques are Wikipedia's biggest problem. You all need to go read WP:DICK. You may be technically right as an admin but if in executing that right decision you come across as a dick ... you are still effectively wrong. Because nobody likes to spend their escape time on Wikipedia dealing with dicks. Mancini's Lasagne invite to Harry Talk 12:37, 1 December 2011 (UTC)
Where did new editors come into this? no one involved here is a new editor! In fact, if you bothered to check my contributions you might notice I have a history of sticking up for newbies and have always been approachable - something I take pride in. I'd appreciate it, if you're going to criticise, if you actually did some research :) This elaborate excuse about not endangering the main account is pure nonsense; I've not seen Malleus hold grudges against the occasional interlocutor - indeed (and I can't find the diff right now) he recently noted that he constantly forgets where he has interacted with people before. As someone who has criticised Malleus over his actions using my main account: I've never had any trouble! --Errant (chat!) 13:14, 1 December 2011 (UTC)
Now you're being a prime dick. Please treat me with more respect. You know quite well that there is an ongoing initiative at Wikipedia to address concerns that new editorship is falling off and has been for a few years. Until it was archived off this page only a few hours ago there was a long section on this page that started with a statistical analysis that claimed the editorship had bottomed at around 34,000. Those are the exiting new editors to which I was referring. Your entire message that you just made me respond to was both defensive and condescending to someone who is only trying to help Jimbo et al identify what might be the problem at Wikipedia WRT to editor exodus. Confronted with someone such as yourself making a ruling over a misdemeanor I might have stumbled into when I was more of a newbie, if you were as arrogant and defensive as you are currently being I would have probably left never to return too. You, and admins like you, are the problem. You need to approach users requiring your intervention with more respect and less of a supercilious and sarcastic attitude. Do you read me? Mancini's Lasagne invite to Harry Talk 13:55, 1 December 2011 (UTC)
You might just be missing a few points here:
  1. MF made some comments (obvious)
  2. A possibly established editor (who knows?) created an account specifically to question those comments (admitted)
  3. Said clear WP:SOCK account was blocked - but not the underlying IP (as per log)
  4. An unblock request was denied (obvious on the talkpage)
Although I have never suggested that MF was right or even in his right regarding his comments, the question becomes "does the end justify the means?" I am in no means defending MF, nor is this block defending him in any way shape or form. The one and only point is: don't create a sock to deflect possible criticism away from you - that's clear policy. Did MF deserve to be questioned? Probably yes - but this has nothing to do with that. This has to do with avoiding scrutiny. Nothing else. (talk→ BWilkins ←track) 12:57, 1 December 2011 (UTC)
WRONG - Malik's new user account does not become a sock-puppet account until he uses it disruptively. Engaging in conversation with MF is not a disruptive action per se. Maybe disruptive fireworks would eventually have occurred but Errant did not allow that to happen because he preemptively blocked Malik before anything disruptive occurred. There is nothing in WP:SOCK policy that I can find that justifies preemptive blocking of sock puppets. They first have to commit the crime of being disruptive to the community. Please show me where in the Wikipedia sock policy it gives an admin the right to preemptively block someone using an alternative account. Mancini's Lasagne invite to Harry Talk 13:08, 1 December 2011 (UTC)
BTW, once he was blocked I don't think Malik behaved as well as could by creating all his other alternative accounts in order to get his side of the issue stated. Because you blocked him, by definition all his other new accounts are sock-puppet accounts because they are designed to get around his block. But it is poor adminship that put him in that position and you two need to take responsibility for that. Mancini's Lasagne invite to Harry Talk 13:13, 1 December 2011 (UTC)
Malik's new user account does not become a sock-puppet account until he uses it disruptively; this is nonsense. It is automatically a sock. Some socks are not blocked - under a certain number of legitimate purposes. However all other socks are disallowed, and that has nothing to do with disruption. Please read the relevant policy, which is extremely clear on this point :) --Errant (chat!) 13:15, 1 December 2011 (UTC)


From right in the opening paragraph of WP:SOCK: While there are some valid reasons for maintaining multiple accounts on the project, the use of multiple accounts to deceive or mislead other editors, disrupt discussions, distort consensus, avoid sanctions, or otherwise violate community standards and policies is called sock puppetry and is not allowed.

Only if Malik was doing one of the things that I've put in bold font is he a sock-puppet. I don't see that he was doing any of those itemized actions. He opened his interchange with MF by admitting that his new account was a cover but that he would like to ask him some friendly questions, and that if at any time MF should wish to terminate the exchange he would gladly go away. That is not misleading or deceiving anyone. None of the other bold items apply either. Mancini's Lasagne invite to Harry Talk 13:31, 1 December 2011 (UTC)

Thanks for making the point: creating a new account to deflect from your main one is, by definition, an attempt to mislead someone as to who they are. (talk→ BWilkins ←track) 14:32, 1 December 2011 (UTC)
I'm afraid what you wrote above is something you just made up. The last sentence of the WP:SOCK lead-in reads: "Editors who use unlinked alternative accounts, or who edit as an IP separate from their account, should carefully avoid any crossover on articles or topics, because even innocuous activities such as copy editing, wikifying, or linking might be considered sock puppetry in some cases and innocuous intentions will not usually serve as an excuse." Why on earth would WP:SOCK contain such a warning if, as you so resolutely claim, any use of an unlinked alternative account is "by definition an attempt to mislead someone as to who they are"?
Unless Malik had previously posted on MF's Talk Page under some other account name there was no crossover involved here. Nor was there any attempt by Malik to mislead or deceive MF involved because he openly admitted to MF that he was using an alternative account as a recourse to protect his main account, and he even offered to go away again if that creeped MF out. The fact that MF is on record as acknowledging that it didn't creep him out and pursued the conversation means that no deception or misleading of anyone occurred here. Nor did any disruption of MF's Talk Page ensue. Nor was the content of the encyclopedia regressed in any way. You can argue that what Malik did was not the smartest thing he could have done but that hardly merits an automatic block of his so-called "sock puppet" account (Malik), let alone any other of his accounts. Nor does it merit all the public pillorying you have subjected him to here.
To a neutral observer (and that's all I am here, because I have no idea who this Malik guy is) what appears to have occurred - based only on what has been posted in this section of this page - is a rush to judgment based on ABF, compounded by a second piece of well-intended ABF (if that's not an oxymoron) in the denial of the subsequent request(s) to unblock. Everything that has occurred after that doesn't really count, does it? Yes, yes, Malik violated sock policy in creating other new accounts in order to try and tell his story, but you two admins are the ones that created that need with your questionable heavy-handed actions. To retroactively use his later sock accounts as a justification for what you initially did - viz. claiming that you were justified in identifying and blocking the original Malik account because he's obviously a "puppet master", just look at how many sock accounts he's created since - is an obvious case of fallacious petitio principii reasoning and won't hold muster with any intelligent reader of this.
Even if I'm wrong and you aren't actually violating WP:SOCK policy as argued above, you are still both applying the letter of that policy while violating its true spirit or underlying principles. Considering that Jimbo was prepared to give the Brexx kid - someone who has spent almost 5 years vandalizing Wikipedia content - a second chance, in contrast what you two admins are doing to Malik looks extremely harsh and unnecessarily severe. I'm afraid that in this instance you simply both come across as violating WP:AGF and WP:DICK big time. Give it a rest for chrissakes, show some good grace and human compassion, and let the guy get on with his Wikipdia life. It's time to move on. Mancini's Lasagne invite to Harry Talk 00:42, 3 December 2011 (UTC)
That's possibly one interpretation. Mine is also a valid and probably more reasonable interpretation. Because in our legal system one has to actually commit a crime before one can be charged with a crime. If we didn't have that legal code we would all suffer from being answerable to "the thought police." Now Jimbo seems to me to be a very fair and reasonable person - he just reinstated a proven 180+ times sock puppet vandal for goodness sakes! Therefore, I don't believe he would have any Wikipedia policy in place that so directly conflicts with every Western culture person's sense of justice. Hence I would conclude that under Wikipedia policy someone has to act as a sock puppet before he can be accused of being such and subsequently blocked.
That's why I say that most other people will probably find my interpretation of WP:SOCK much more reasonable than your own. I can tell from the smugness of your reply that you clearly like your interpretation much more because it gives you, as an admin, the power to act as "the thought police." And it is that power craving of yours which really worries me why you were ever made an admin. in the first place. Blocking someone like Malik is something that you should have to regret having to do, while you appear to be very pleased with what Errant and yourself have done. Take that attitude and compound it across however many admins there are at Wikipedia and you have the reason for the new editor exodus. That's just way too many smug smart-ass dicks for people to deal with. If you had blocked the Brexx vandal I could understand your glee over a job well done. To take so much pride in the blocking of Malik just shows other Wikipedia users what dicks some admins can be. Mancini's Lasagne invite to Harry Talk 15:12, 1 December 2011 (UTC)
If Wikipedia sock policy was "no alternative accounts under any circumstances" then your interpretation of Malik'a action is totally correct. The fact that alternative accounts are allowed under some circumstances - thus creating what someone earlier called a "border zone" - means that as an admin you should show more respect for instances that fall in that zone. Malik's actions are not a clear contravention of what we all inherently understand sock puppet behavior to be. Errant should have allowed him much more rope to incriminate himself ... i.e., to cause a disruption. If Malik had got the information he wanted from MF and gone on his merry way, and no disruption ensued, then there would have been no harm done. Errant zealously created a crime where none had yet occurred. And you zealously backed him up. That is not a positive productive deployment of either of your admin powers. They are much better being deployed against incurable vandals like Brexx. Mancini's Lasagne invite to Harry Talk 15:28, 1 December 2011 (UTC)

Above you talked about respect; right now I have extremely little for you. Above I see you bemoaning poor civility, abuse and superiority - traits you yourself exhibit in many of the posts. Yes, differing interpretations of socking exist - and I can understand that you might find your interpretation correct. Consider that I might find my interpretation correct as well... Who is right? The community, is the answer. So I say again; if you feel this needs further resolution please take it to the appropriate community venue, where I will be happy to discuss the matter. Until then, this is a volunteer project and I don't have to take abuse and vitriol such as the above (a greater lot of bad faith assumptions I have never seen). Dear god; if I behaved as you have just done the community would be down on me like a ton of bricks. Disgusting. --Errant (chat!) 15:34, 1 December 2011 (UTC)

How can I possibly be applying bad faith? I am criticizing you - and please, I want you and anyone reading this to see this criticism to be intended as a positive criticism aimed at helping you and BWilkins to see how you could improve as admins - for actions you have already done and the reasons you have explained in length both in your blocking reports etc. and here on this page. ABF and AGF apply to making assumptions about why someone, say, made an edit that they did based only on an edit summary of "ce", or why someone defended a certain position with a one line post in a Talk Page discussion. In those situations there is not much to go on, so people fill in the blanks why they might have done what they did, and one is meant to fill in those blanks with AGF reasons rather than ABF ones. There are no blanks to fill in here.
It is clear from MF's Talk Page what Malik did, and from his Talk Page what went on between all the admins and him during his blocking and unblocking request refusals. He has come here and explained himself the reasons why he did what he did, and you and BWilkins have explained in all those same places why you both did what you did. There is very little to second guess here, so ABF and AGF do not really apply. You have stated categorically that, in your opinion, there is only one interpretation of WP:SOCK, and I have tried to show you that a gray area (border zone) exists - although others had also pointed that out before me - and thus you should maybe have shown a little more tolerance. Or that you should at least be questioning your actions now after hearing some of these arguments. But you are resolute. There is no doubt in your mind that you might have possibly handled the situation in a better fashion. Don't you understand that some people might find that unequivocal position of yours a bit troubling given the gray area you were operating in?
Also, if you are indeed correct in your interpretation of the sock policy then maybe someone needs to look at reworking the wording of WP:SOCK so that it is not so confusing. Another point you guys seem not to get (pardon me if you feel that is ABF) is that Malik did what he did because he thought he was validly operating in the border zone, not because he intentionally wanted to flaunt the rules. That's my interpretation, anyway, but it really is for him to say that, and I shouldn't put words in his mouth. Anyway, I am done ... way more than done. I only came to make my initial post, not to get roped in interactively with you guys. Mancini's Lasagne invite to Harry Talk 16:33, 1 December 2011 (UTC)
BTW. I only just saw your last edit summary after making my last post. It reads, "stop being obnoxious and abusive, it's unbecoming'. That simply proves the point I'm trying to make here. First off, nothing I've written here is in the slightest bit abusive. It may say things you disagree with or even vehemently dislike because my comments are critical of you ... but none of my comments are obnoxious or abusive. The fact that you think so shows everyone reading this that you do not have the comprehension skills nor the calmness and objectivity to be an admin. You incite confrontation when your job should be to do exactly the opposite. Mancini's Lasagne invite to Harry Talk 16:49, 1 December 2011 (UTC)
nothing I've written here is in the slightest bit abusive; accusing us of being "power crazed", implying we are "smug smart-ass dicks", stating we are a cause of poor editor retention (which I find the most offensive) - these are not abusive? It's certainly not positive criticism... What you do above is presume to read my beliefs and motives - and then lecture me over them. You then lecture us over your interpretation of policy and conclude you clearly like your interpretation much more because it gives you, as an admin, the power to act as "the thought police." - how is that not a bad faith assumption? Then we have Another point you guys seem not to get (pardon me if you feel that is ABF) is that Malik did what he did because he thought he was validly operating in the border zone, not because he intentionally wanted to flaunt the rules; which is certainly not the case. If you read through the discussion I hope it is clear that my view is that he had the best intentions, but took a very bad route to do so. I've never accused him of wilfully flaunting a rule. There is no doubt in your mind that you might have possibly handled the situation in a better fashion.; yes, I should have just blocked him and left the rest to the other admins. Choosing to try and help Malik understand the issues with his approach (and hear out his reasoning) has not led anywhere constructive. Perhaps, thoughm this is advice you could take with regards your approach here (for example; you'll notice I took no issue with Wikid77's reasoned post - because he didn't march his criticism/suggestions through a pile of abusive language) --Errant (chat!) 17:23, 1 December 2011 (UTC)
Don't forget, by applying policy in the way that the community intends it to be applied, we're both "bad admins". Who knew.
Like the old saying goes, "when someone yells 'admin abuse' it's usually the admin who's being abused" :-)
I'm not trying to make light of the fact that Malik felt they were right. However, when black, white, and all shades of grey show otherwise, I often wonder why things like this escalate. One of our key roles is to educate ... but you have to want to accept that freely, as opposed to being closed minded. Is it possible Malik had a sincere reason to do things the way they did? Yup. Does it turn out to have been the wrong way of doing it? Yup. Rather than a win-win solution, it's become zero-sum...and therefore ridiculous. Pretty soon we'll here "yeah, well, because you're an admin we'll have to follow your rules"...or did we already stoop that low? Am I up for being a better admin? Sure thing - but twisting policy, abusing those who are doing the right thing ... yeah, that'll get my attention. (talk→ BWilkins ←track) 17:50, 1 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Start a new thread about delaying blocks: At this point, it is clear that "everyone" thinks the other guy was wrong for doing something. This seems to be a clear case of "Fix the problem not the blame" because everyone is being blamed for acting improperly, and this long discussion is NOT helping to prevent hostile feelings in the future. I think we should move to a new thread "#Delaying sock blocks" (below) to discuss broader use of alternate accounts, and close this thread, with less name-calling in the next thread. However, any final words about this incident should be included here, to reduce hostile replies in the next thread. The admins have advised User:MalikPeters to seek WP:Arbcom help to unblock the account, and he has noted the risk which he faces if Arbcom rules harshly with an indef edit-ban. -Wikid77 (talk) 00:21, 2 December 2011 (UTC)

Response please Jimbo

OK. It's only taken, what? a week of questioning, but now we've finally got an actual answer from the blocking admin, can you Jimbo please confirm that you agree with the claimed policy basis of this block. Do you accept that the single word "mislead" in WP:SOCK gives admins carte blanche to block on sight without warning, any user who creates a sock account for the sole declared purpose of attempting polite constructive dispute resolution with another user, while not wishing to reveal their main account for no other reason than not wanting that account to receive unwarranted blowback, just for making the attempt.

Is it remotely acceptable under the general behavioural principles of Wikipedia, for admins in this situation to display such shocking levels of ABF to simply assume that nobody could ever want to do the task as I've outlined it, and therefore, even though there's zero, none, nada evidence to the contrary, this must be what the account was created for?

If you don't agree with this interpretation, then can you please do something about the total abuses I've been put through by multiple admins on this flawed basis, all the incivility, insults, smears, etc etc. Seriously, you can see how hard has it been just to get answers to questions from these admins, that's before you count the number of times they have refused to accept that their various claims have no basis whatsoever (I'm thinking for example about ErrantX's claim that the only legit socks we allow are for real life reasons, a total falsity, clear as day from the actual wording of the policy).

If you do agree with it, then please can you explain why creating a sock to mislead the community into thinking you are a new user just to experiment, is somehow considered a "valid" use of a sock, but the sort of good faith dispute resolution activity that I tried to use one for, is not.

I am of course assuming with the above questions that you have surely by now seen through the various lies made above about how it was 'obvious' the account was only created to harassbother Malleus, that I was told to go away and didn't, that I have a prior history or other nefarious reasons not to disclose my main account, that this interpretation of WP:SOCK has consensus support, etc, etc, all totally unproven, made without any attempt to present a single diff in support. From WP:ADMINS no less.

If people are to be forced to disclose their main Wikipedia account to God knows what, an account which experienced users will have invested lots of time and effort into, before admins will deign to give permission to them to simply talk to Malleus, which no sane editor not running for arbcom would ever do, then he is in short, totally screwed, because it's beyond obvious he's heading for an arbitration case and a ban using the current model of only allowing n00b fodder, close friends and perceived enemies to engage with him.

I will repeat one last time just to hammer home the point that a lot of the misinformation tactics above may have diluted - at no point did Malleus tell me to leave his talk page or say that he didn't want to talk to me, and I hade made it clear to him that he need only say so if he did indeed not welcome the discussion, and I would have been gone. Everything you see above, all the judgements, second guessing, creative/bad faith interpretations of my actions or intentions, everything, all of it, comes from admins alone.

I apologise for the tardiness of this post, several admins yesterday seemed to think that they had your permission to control who does and doesn't post here, even though you'd let me post here for the past five days as an obvious and declared block evading sock, without issue. Still, we can't fix all the problems with the admins in one day, can we?

Yours sincerely,

Malik P 15:11, 2 December 2011 (UTC)

Would people please stop censoring Jimbo's talk page against his express wishes

I cannot believe there are so many people here who seem to think that they speak for Jimbo on his own talk page. He clearly stated he was happy for me to post my concerns here, that has not changed as far as I can see, and he's let me post here since 27 November without complaint or archival. I fail to see what's changed yesterday/today to make certain people feel they now have the right to start sticking their size 12's into this? If the people reverting my posts disagree with any of this analysis of their mindless actions, then how about you just wait for Jimbo to agree with you, rather than pulling these dick moves constantly? Stop taking the coward's way out and simply removing the posts, in the hope that if he doesn't see what you're doing and doesn't telepathically become aware of your abuses, then he must be OK with it.

Malik P. 15:32, 2 December 2011 (UTC)

Of course, reverting Sinebot's additions of your continual new usernames is a bit "cowardly" as well. Your last username User:Typhoon kills Hurricane is threatening, instills a WP:BATTLE, and is now pushing well beyond the boundaries of what is appropriate in order to make your WP:POINT, and devalues the goodwill provided by Jimbo. (talk→ BWilkins ←track) 15:54, 2 December 2011 (UTC)
Jimbo stated he is very busy for the current 2 weeks (beyond 14 December 2011), so that is why people try to reply in his stead on this user-talk page. Another issue is all the accusatory language in the recent postings about this topic above, which should probably be redacted, or at least archived, to avoid sustained view. -Wikid77 10:46, 4 December 2011 (UTC)
Now I've heard it all. BWilkins calling somebody else a coward. Take a long hard look in the mirror, pal, and you will see what a real coward looks like. Your most recent bout of censorship endorsement and nit-picking is making you come across as are such a petty and vindictive person to others. Ever since Jimbo made this post on 27 Nov requesting that if Malik should post back here again he should not have his posts suppressed / removed but rather be allowed the opportunity to state his case, you and some of your more misguided admin colleagues have done everything you possibly can to make sure that wouldn't happen. What Jimbo requested is that you (and all other admins) give Malik free license to post here - but possibly restrict him from doing any editing or posting anywhere else - so that he could state his case, because "possibly something useful will come of it." What Jimbo didn't request is that you, and every other Wikipedia admin with some spare time on his hands, all try your utmost to block and thwart him at every opportunity, but if he should manage to create a new account and get a message posted here before y'all can nobble him, then I guess we'll have to leave it posted here and discuss it to give the impression we are being open and fair to him. What Jimbo requested, and what you and other admins are doing, are entirely different things. This is Malik's one and only day in court and you and your fellow admins are turning it into a farcical witch trial by abusing all your respective admin blocking powers to ensure the real story gets suppressed here, or so badly argued by Malik because he is participating on such an uneven playing field, that Jimbo is bound to see your own contribution to events in a favorable light. What you are doing is the internet equivalent of engaging an unarmed defenseless man in battle when you yourself are armed to the teeth. Now THAT is the action of a COWARD! Mancini's Lasagne invite to Harry Talk 13:12, 3 December 2011 (UTC)
You're pushing your own envelope here: Hurricanefan reverted an addition to this page, Malik subsequently created a userid named "Typhoon kills Hurricane" simply to re-post it. Personally, I would have never removed the original - I am still accepting Jimbo's invitation to Malik as valid - but deliberately threatening usernames are never appropriate. Removing Sinebot's attempts to actually link to the account the posted the message were being refactored. I'm 110% allowing Malik to "have his day in court", but at some point someone has to say "order!" There's a right way and a wrong way to have a discussion, and threatening/battleground tactics have no place on this project. (talk→ BWilkins ←track) 13:25, 3 December 2011 (UTC)
You know, BWilkins, your description of Malik's recent actions seems like an awfully big assumption of bad faith on your part. Given the context you put them in above, I've now independently asked four people to look at Malik's recent actions in naming his new sock account the way he did and then using it to revert Hurricanefan25's ham-fisted censorship of him. Everyone of them saw the name as simply the equivalent of Typhoon reverts Hurricane or Typhoon undoes Hurricane and quite consistent with earlier account names such as Bicycles to India and Tigers eat Rangers. When I pressed them on the point, and specifically asked them, "Do you see that name as any sort of serious threat or harassment?" their independent responses were all along the lines of, You've gotta be joking, right? How could he possibly be threatening him, he has no idea who he is or where he's located. All felt that one would have to be maliciously stretching a point in order to seriously label it a real threat. IOW, to translate their responses into "Wikipediaspeak", they all felt your reaction to Malik's last sock name was an obvious case of ABF. Furthermore, they all saw your own, "You're pushing your own envelope here" comment to me to be much more of a realistic threat given that you are an admin and are thus able to block me on a whim and then retroactively justify your actions without any counter from me (because I would be silenced). Just something for you to think about. Mancini's Lasagne invite to Harry Talk 12:37, 5 December 2011 (UTC)
WRT your comments about Malik's "cowardly" (BTW, could that possibly be a confrontational WP:NPA-violating term? Could that possibly explain why I called your post hypocritical?) removal of the SineBot tagging of his post, did it ever occur to you that Malik did that out of an assumption of good faith and not for the reasons you have stated? Rather than assume (in bad faith) that you and Hurricane were in cahoots together to silence him, he simply assumed that the reason Hurricane had reverted was because the bot had tagged his post as being from a deleted sock account, and it was on the basis of that tag alone that the other admin had reverted him. By removing the unnecessary tag (unnecessary because anyone involved in this discussion, such as you or I, knows his true situation) he possibly felt he was simply removing a "red rag" that was likely to cause more "bullish" reversions. Also, it was not as if Malik hadn't already correctly signed and timestamped his posts. Thus both bot taggings were actually errors. The bot is only meant to tag completely anonymous posts so the reader knows who made them. Malik's original post was clearly signed and timestamped "Malik P. 15:11, 2 December 2011 (UTC)" before the bot automatically tagged it (thus inviting the initial reversion) and his replacement post was also properly signed and timestamped "Malik P. 15:32, 2 December 2011 (UTC)" in a similar fashion before that too was auto-tagged (inviting similar knee-jerk reversion). IMO Malik's reversions of the bot tags were simply because the tags were unnecessary and misleading, plus they were an obvious attempt to make his posts comply with your own wishes. But then again, unlike you, I tend to AGF. Mancini's Lasagne invite to Harry Talk 08:54, 6 December 2011 (UTC)
Then show some good faith and open up one of his accounts so that he has a clear line of communication here to Jimbo for the necessary duration, and under the restriction that if he tries to use that account to do anything else other than post on this page you will immediately close it down again. If you cannot do that without other admins unaware of this discussion closing it down outside of your control then create an alternative account yourself (so that it is associated with your IP address rather than his) and give him access to it for the duration of this discussion. Once this whole thing is over you can simply kill that account again. Right now you are running a kangaroo court and for all the people watching this whole charade unfold, such as myself, it is not gaining either you or Wikipedia any credibility at all. It's very easy for you to write here, "I'm 110% allowing Malik to 'have his day in court'" but it is clear to anyone with half a brain that you are not. How can he possibly state his case here properly if his only means of doing so is from a sock account that only briefly exists until you or another admin immediately blocks it? Do you think all the people reading Jimbo's Talk Page are that stupid they cannot recognize a witch trial when they see one? Do you really think no one saw you just threaten me without any justification whatsoever?
Actions speak louder than words. Now show us all that you are really a man and give the guy some sort of fair chance to state his case. It really is that easy.
Mancini's Lasagne invite to Harry Talk 14:14, 3 December 2011 (UTC)
Here's an idea: use <s> ... </s> to strike out all of your massive violations of WP:NPA on this page, and you'll gain a bit of credibility. Right now you're just proving that you cannot have a viable argument without attacking others. It's also colouring your view of the entire situation, as you're attributing actions and motive to others where it clearly ("to anyone with half a brain") does not exist. Do that, then we'll talk. (talk→ BWilkins ←track) 14:58, 3 December 2011 (UTC)
Yeah, this says it all (talk→ BWilkins ←track) 12:26, 5 December 2011 (UTC)

Wikipedia tending to decrease/increase employment


I've been nearly completely offline since Thursday and expect to be mostly offline until Wednesday, due to a World Economic Forum event being held here in London. Because I have the archive bot on a pretty short leash (2 days) and like to keep it that way, there's a chance that some threads may come and go without me even seeing them. To make sure I don' t miss anything you want me to see, please keep this in mind. (I will look through the page history on Wednesday, but of course that's an error-prone process.)--Jimbo Wales (talk) 12:55, 4 December 2011 (UTC)

  • Thanks for the clarification. There had been 750-900 pageviews per day here while you were gone, perhaps people checking for replies. This message should delay archiving of this notice until you return. -Wikid77 15:38, 5 December 2011 (UTC)

Abuse of beaurocracy and/or stewardship: any ways-out?

I don't know whether this is a right place to ask, but given your social capital maybe it will be useful. You are a sort of last resort. On one non-English Wikipedia there is a huge concern about destructive activities of bureaucrat and maybe steward, because most things they are doing is to make limitations for active users, to attack them with accusations for creating "not relevant" articles (when there have been created thousands of that kind within several years and with analogues in other languages), categories, for "bad" or "wrong" bots, clones etc. The voting against active users usually is done in a manner where the bureacrat asks his friends (or clones) to vote and they prevail in voting, even when their input to Wiki is very minor (when they acquire the adminship it is usually for certain short-term activity). Is there any way to change the bureaucrat or impeach him? What about steward's role? This vicious process is oncoming for several years, and active users tend to retire instead of emotional fight... Alyga (talk) 11:06, 5 December 2011 (UTC)

Just saying it won't get you anywhere. Evidence?--Wehwalt (talk) 14:33, 5 December 2011 (UTC)
To second that, it'd be helpful if you could give specifics. I often engage in email discussions with leaders of non-English Wikipedias to offer them whatever insights and coaching and recommendations that I can based on my long experience. But a random complaint about "destructive activities" and "vicious process" doesn't really get us very far.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 15:09, 5 December 2011 (UTC)

But from your perspective - is it normal, that continually more and more active users, whose input makes more than 80–90% of total input in that language, retire from Wikipedia mainly after those tiresome and maybe even sub-trolling actions of bureacrat & Co? In fact many of them consider forking or mirroring, but is it normal for Wikipedia to have some languages, where negative actors play major roles? Alyga (talk) 09:54, 30 December 2011 (UTC)

Delaying sock blocks

This thread is continued from #Maybe_you_should_read_it... (above).

Delaying the block of sock accounts to reduce hostilities: A number of users have been given 1-month blocks (including myself) for using "alternative usernames" treated as violating WP:SOCK, such as posting from 2 usernames in the same talk-page discussion. Although I find other things to do while blocked, other users have become violently upset (and it is easy to find diff-links for hostile responses to blocks). Let's discuss ways to warn usernames that they are considered a violation, as seeming to be a sock-puppet account, and what steps could be done to delay the blocking process, to allow time to explain or refute misunderstandings of why a user needs multiple accounts. With the growing worldwide popularity of Wikipedia, we need to be sure Members of Parliament, a U.S. Congressman, foreign diplomats, famous celebrities, and any other well-meaning editor is not ruthlessly blocked from editing due to a disconnect in handling multiple username accounts. We should avoid using real examples of specific notable people (unless they offer to discuss their plight in this discussion), and try to use hypothetical usernames just to avoid arguments about specific people. -Wikid77 (talk) 00:37, revised 00:44, 2 December 2011 (UTC)

I think the above discussion demonstrates problems that go way beyond how much rope to allow a sock puppet before he gets blocked. Having read that discussion above from its inception about a week ago - when there were multiple appearances made by Malik to get his case heard that were immediately reverted multiple times because they were made by a banned sock puppet - and at the same time following the discussion similarly progressing in the "Brexx" section, all I could think was that if I were in Jimbo's place it would be Malik I was giving the second chance to, not a well-documented incurable vandal of long-standing. Which is what caused me to make my initial op-ed type comment there ... and that was really the only comment I wanted to make. All the rest, except my comment against your own post, I was kind of sucked into interactively. But I stand by what I wrote.
The problem is much broader IMO that what you are currently addressing here ... so either we need to expand the scope of this section or we need to spawn other new sections to pick up the slack. I'll leave that decision up to you. Let me first just try to bullet out some of the problem areas that might need addressing in order to fix this issue. I won't include "the delayed blocking of sock puppets" in my list because I'll take that as a given.
  • According to one of the admins involved, "creating a new account to deflect from your main one is, by definition, an attempt to mislead someone as to who they are." I don't know where he gets that from - he's not quoting it from anywhere as far as I can see, so I'm assuming (not in either an AGF or AGB manner) that he's making it up. Taking what he says at face value, if true, then that means ALL alternative accounts are sock puppet accounts because all alternative accounts deflect from your main one. He actually says as much himself. "It (Malik's account) is automatically a sock. Some socks are not blocked - under a certain number of legitimate purposes. However all other socks are disallowed." I just don't read the Wikipedia sock policy that same way. There exists the possibility for anyone to have multiple alternative accounts on an AGF basis. And that's all they are. It is only when you use an alternative account for disruptive purposes that it becomes an illegal use of that account that requires blocking. Also, sock puppetry is only one of the possible illegal uses. Vote stacking is an even more pernicious use but that is not sock puppetry per se. Most people use the term "sock puppet" to refer to an alternative account used disruptively / illegally, and I'm not going to get pedantic about the "overstretched" use of the "sock puppet" term in that manner. However, the discussion in that other section is the first time I've ever heard the term "sock puppet" used as a synonym for ALL alternative accounts. Now that's a very significant all-embracing misuse of the "sock puppet" term and its use in that manner needs to be cleared up ASAP if we are going to make any progress here.
  • This is related to the above issue. If all alternative accounts are indeed "sock puppet" accounts, but only a few of them are given special dispensation (because the owner is a public personality requiring privacy) as that admin claims, then the current Wikipedia log-on screens may need to be changed. Right now the log-in screen invites you to log-in or, if you don't already have an account, to first create one. Now that wording hardly encourages the use of multiple accounts. If you have no account create one, otherwise use the one you have. However, we all know that you can ignore that wording and create a new account every time you visited Wikipedia if you so wanted. My understanding is that such an action in itself is not illegal. Possibly not encouraged, but not of itself illegal. If, as that admin claims, all additional accounts are "sock puppet" accounts and the only valid reason for creating an additional account to your main one is because you are a public figure requiring privacy (and possibly some other valid reasons) then verbiage needs to be added to the "create account" screen that clearly states that you had better not be creating this account if you already own one unless you specifically meet one of the valid reasons. It is because that wording has never been there that I believe that that admin's view of what constitutes a "sock puppet" account - viz. ALL alternative accounts - is seriously flawed.
  • If all alternative accounts are indeed "sock puppet" accounts then all an admin needs to do when confronted with such an account is determine if it meets the "special dispensation" requirement, and if it doesn't, immediately block it because it violates the terms on which it was created. Since Malik's account didn't meet that criterion what the two admins did is perfectly correct. That also means that your intended discussion here of the delayed blocking of "sock puppet" (= alternative) accounts is completely moot. If Tony Blair is caught using an alternative account then that is OK, but if you, I, or Malik are caught using one then that's not OK because we are not public persona requiring privacy protection, so that would be a clear case of our using a new account to deflect from our main one.
If you haven't realized it by now, this situation becomes a lot simpler if my interpretation of WP:SOCK is correct rather than that admin's, because all of the above issues disappear. Mancini's Lasagne invite to Harry Talk 04:01, 2 December 2011 (UTC)

What about requiring admins to first issue a warning-only message to a username user-talk page that they are considered to be violating WP:SOCK, before the block is made? -Wikid77 (talk) 00:37, revised 00:44, 2 December 2011 (UTC)

Assuming my (our?) interpretation of the policy (because otherwise, as stated above, this discussion is moot) I think it would be the obvious way to go. However, that would only be for the cases where a new underlying IP address user is caught socking for the first time, such as Malik was. Maybe one could be even more liberal and apply a 3-strikes-and-you're-out mindset which would mean someone would be given such a warning the first three times they are caught doing it. Any more times after that and it should automatically result in a block immediately they are caught because by then they know full well what they are doing and that it's wrong.
But that still skirts the $64,000 question of what the user with the alternate account must be doing in order to be issued his first warning for sock puppetry. Is just using his alternate account without having it clearly linked back to his main account sufficient cause? I don't think so. I don't see anything inherently disruptive in that. Is using his account to participate in Talk Page discussions and/or to edit the same article as one or more of that user's other accounts sufficient cause? Probably, but even that's a gray area. It really depends on what he edits or what he says in those situations. However, this is probably the situation where his detection by an admin merits that first warning message being sent that says something along the lines of what he is doing is considered to be disruptive sock puppetry and that he must cease and desist immediately. And it must clearly state exactly what he has to do in order to be considered as having complied with that cease and desist warning.
An argument can be made that if a user's first detection of sock puppetry is a case of him being caught red-handed vote stacking or causing a disruption amongst other users using "good-hand, bad-hand" tactics, then he should simply be blocked rather than warned. There is also the question of which account is the sock puppet account and which the main account and which account receives the warning notification. If user "Fred" makes three edits to an article and his alternative account "The other Fred" also makes three edits, which account is the sock puppet account and which one or both gets warned and/or blocked. Mancini's Lasagne invite to Harry Talk 06:33, 2 December 2011 (UTC)
No—this proposal is not compatible with WP:DENY as there would be too much reward for bad behavior, and a further burden placed on good editors. Is the real proposal that socks of "good" editors should not be immediately blocked? Is there an example where Wikipedia has lost someone helpful at building encyclopedic content due to their sock being immediately blocked? If not, the idea need not be discussed further. If such examples exist, a possible approach may be to have a template which a blocking admin could optionally include on the sock's talk page with a more friendly expression of the problem and the outcome. If multiple examples of the loss of good content contributors are available, the community could consider including a suggestion on how the sock might justify their case—I haven't really thought about that but perhaps things like a statement that there would be a mandatory 48 hours cooling off period before any public justification, after which the sock could email a trusted editor in good standing and ask them to post a brief statement somewhere like AN with a link to the sock's longer statement. Johnuniq (talk) 06:34, 2 December 2011 (UTC)
You appear to be mistaking a Wikipedia essay as being Wikipedia policy. You also appear to completely misunderstand the proposal. The issue here is that admins should not be allowed to divine malintent and preemptively block someone before he's actually done anything wrong. If they assume the worst (despite it being a violation of WP:AGF) about someone's use of an alternative account then they should issue a clear "cease and desist" warning to that person rather than just completely railroad him off of Wikipedia based on their own ABF. This will either cause an user making an innocent mistake to self-correct what he is doing or, if he persists despite a clear warning, will have established a sufficient criterion to go ahead and do what you currently do now on the basis of WP:ROPE. I hope that helped. Mancini's Lasagne invite to Harry Talk 12:54, 5 December 2011 (UTC)
Some thoughts. A complex system of warnings is a bit impractical to track and implement effectively. The idea of the socking policy is to limit us all to one account - or to a few known/linked accounts - except in unusual circumstances. The reason for this is to establish community trust; i.e. that the person you are talking to is not the person who last week took you to AN/I under another account. There is a lot of talk about socks being "disruptive" before blocking - but this is not what the policy says, or what it should say. It mentioned keeping up to community standards - and one of those standards is good behaviour.
Nobody is suggesting "a complex system of warnings" - see my response above. Re: "The idea of the socking policy is to limit us all to one account - or to a few known/linked accounts - except in unusual circumstances." That is not the idea of the socking policy at all. The limitation of users to one or just a few accounts may be its consequence, but it is not the intent of the sock policy. Any Wikipedia user can have multiple accounts. But s/he must not use those accounts in a manner that would be disruptive or misleading to the Wikipedia community. An alternative account used in such a disruptive or misleading manner becomes a sock puppet account. The idea of the sock policy is to establish that fact (viz. that disruption of Wikipedia is not welcome and will not be tolerated) and to define all the manner of uses / situations that are considered to be disruptive or misleading sock puppetry - such as vote stacking and "good-hand, bad-hand" usage to stir up / troll editor interactions (for whatever purposes), and to avoid scrutiny.
Simply having an alternative account is not sock puppetry, nor is using an alternative account that is not linked back to the main account sock puppetry. WP:SOCK suggests that the line between benign use of multiple accounts and the disruptive or misleading use of them is crossed once crossover occurs - which means that someone uses two or more unlinked accounts to edit the same article(s) and/or to post on the same Talk Page(s), thus appearing to others as if he is two or more persons to other editors when s/he really is just the one. If that person did exactly the same crossover edits and/or posts with the accounts linked then his/her actions wouldn't be considered to be sock puppetry because the linkage clearly indicates that there is no intent to mislead or deceive the other editors. So the key criterion as to what constitutes Wikipedia sock puppetry is the crossover use of unlinked multiple accounts. Mancini's Lasagne invite to Harry Talk 11:19, 6 December 2011 (UTC)
As it is, my view of socking is quite lenient (probably more so than most admins), if there is no crossover in article editing and there is no disruption of the actual encyclopaedia then it doesn't worry me (although the individual loses my respect for not being open). You'll note, though, that I said "article editing", because participation in the wider community should certainly be done through the one account.
Above we talked about newbies and what can drive them off. One thing that strikes me is that someone socking on the same article could contribute to newbie confusion - i.e. they believe they are talking to two people, for example, when really it is one (even if the discussions are seperate). This is sneaky and underhand.
Avoiding Scrutiny and Socking for Privacy are too ends of the same issue - and I think (based on previous examples of the communities views) Privacy should be used sparingly, whilst avoiding scrutiny should be promoted as a serious consideration to any potential "sock-master". Not wanting to go back too much to the above example, but, there was much reasonable suspicion over who MalikPeters was. Was he involved in the discussion before? Was he "yes another Malleus troll"? Or was he really an editor in good standing. Whilst we should, of course, assume good faith, reasonable suspicion exists. And this is the point of "avoiding scrutiny" - in a community where we are distrustful of the editors we work with then the atmosphere becomes poisonous and intransigent.
Johnuniq makes some good points above; in general most of our templates can be improved (from being accusatory to being explanatory) and our socking templates probably could do with some work.
At the end of the day we are here to write an encyclopaedia, which is why the better option is almost always to walk away from the DRAMAZ :) and politicians should be held to exactly the same account as "normal" editors - if they sock then block :) If they edit under their real name, and have an account to work in a contentious area, complying with policy, for privacy - then that is fine. As it would be fine if you or I did it. --Errant (chat!) 09:36, 2 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Treating everyone as a celebrity: It might be a good idea to treat all users as if being famous celebrities, then for those that are, the special privacy concerns (and expected civility) could already be handled for them as well. Hence, famous user "DonaldZeDuck" could have an alternate username, but concerns of sock-puppet use would be handled with discretion. To me this means some levels of private data in Wikipedia: I do not see how a person can be potentially outed in accusations of nefarious sockpuppetry without violating privacy, and then consider if the puppet username is an imposter, etc. Perhaps the situation could be couched in the term "impersonation":
          "Someone possibly impersonating you is suspected of improper WP:SOCK accounts."
    By wording the accusation disclaimed as "impersonating" the person, then perhaps they could be notified without the potential ridicule attitude of "YOU are a disgusting puppet-master" rather than an "excessively constant fan of Wikipedia" or victim of "impersonation". All I am asking is to imagine alternatives to outing with ridicule. -Wikid77 13:29, 2 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Proportionate sentencing of socks: Is it really necessary to block all sock-accounts permanently as indef blocks? Perhaps the first accounts should be given a 2-day block, such as for WP:DE disruption, then allowed to continue, without a 1-month clamp-down and without outing the main account username. Hence the wording might be: "This username is blocked for 2 days for potential disruption" without mentioning "sock-puppet". I can agree on indef blocking for the 3rd, 4th, 5th sock, but not the first alternative username. -Wikid77 13:29, 2 December 2011 (UTC)
Ugh, I loathe the wording "potential disruption" ... it makes it sound like someone's being pre-emptive, which we typically are not, and sounds like an WP:ABF situation moreso than anything else (talk→ BWilkins ←track) 13:38, 2 December 2011 (UTC)
Wikid; I'm kinda confused by what you're talking about... Privacy, when talked about in this context, relates to things not being attached to your real world identity if you choose to go that route (as most do). The privacy of pseudonymous Wikipedia usernames isn't a concern - if you're linked to another account that breaks policy then that is sock-puppetry. If the socking relates to a contentious area and your main account is not anonymous from your RL identity then, yes, we do exercise caution in investigating (i.e. a checkuser will work it out privately). And, yes, all undisclosed socks should be linked to the main account and blocked - unless the user can give a good reason for having the sock, and the disclosure/link is maintained. In almost all circumstances 2 un-connected user accounts is just not appropriate. --Errant (chat!) 14:07, 2 December 2011 (UTC)
The outing of alternative accounts for suspected violation in one account, is the problem, especially when the suspected violation is the fact of having multiple accounts. A person cannot have it both ways. A celebrity (or anyone) cannot have a real-name account plus a pseudonym account and have both outed due to a suspected violation in one account. The problem is that Wikipedia does not have a retriction to require "due process" to insist a violation be formally judged, rather than a mere accusation considered a violation, which leads to outing and shutdown of all accounts for that person. As noted above, the alternative accounts need to be handled differently for users with severe violations of policy, rather than a person says, "You are acting like a jerk" and then having all alternative accounts indef blocked. -Wikid77 10:48, 3 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Prove both action and intent as sockpuppets: A helpful distinction, in determining whether an alternative account is being used as an improper sockpuppet, is to prove that the user not only used the account to violate policies, but that the user clearly intended to use the alternative account in a disruptive way to repeatedly violate policies, or in connection with other usernames. An alternative account should not be blamed for trying to "avoid detection" because that is the basis of "privacy". Instead focus on a pattern of disruptive actions: alternative account posting just 1 insult does not constitute a pattern of disruption, unless coupled with multiple insults from a related username. -Wikid77 (talk) 10:30, 4 December 2011 (UTC)

Hugo Chávez


I thought it would be worthwhile to tell you about the discussion here. Apparently, a sockpuppet of a banned user tried to add some of the content that you were arguing should be added to the Hugo Chávez article, including some of the same specific sources. The edit was reverted because it was from a sock, but my interpretation of policy is that just because a sockpuppet tried to make some of your proposed changes to this article, that doesn’t necessarily mean none of the changes themselves are worthwhile.

I’ve already been accused of proxying for a banned user just because of saying that’s how I interpret the policy about this, so I’m not going to make an attempt at adding any of the content that you suggested and that the sock tried to add. But I think it would be useful if you could clarify how you think situations like this ought to be handled. According to this ArbCom ruling, this has happened a lot on climate change articles, where people were threatened with blocks for reinstating otherwise reasonable edits because a sockpuppet had previously tried to make these edits. I don’t agree with that; I think if edits that improve an article are disallowed allowed just because a banned user has tried to make those edits, that’s an example of rules being applied in a way that runs contrary to the ultimate goal of improving the encyclopedia. What’s your opinion about this? --Captain Occam (talk) 16:42, 3 December 2011 (UTC)

Please stop drawing attention to a hyperactive and totally banned user, known for their love of attention seeking through trolling (the trolling takes many forms, one of which is to add reasonable content and laugh while dupes argue about whether to include it). I explained on your talk page that "a proposed edit is justified by various policies, and never by a reference to the actions of a banned user". If you have a proposed edit (which is some idea expressed in your words), wait for a few days then make the edit using suitable sources and no mention of a banned user. That would be the normal approach, but given the fuss (prominent attention on the article talk page, at AN, and now here), the wisdom of doing that would be very questionable. Understanding the background and the reasons for WP:DENY shows that communicating with and about banned users is very unhelpful for the encyclopedia. Johnuniq (talk) 22:52, 3 December 2011 (UTC)
All of your comments about what I should have initially done aren’t helpful here. At first I suspected that the block was erroneous, so of course I was going to mention that. I’m aware now that it wasn’t, but it’s too late to change the fact that I wasn’t aware of this at first. And at this point, you’re telling me that if I were to propose that some of this content be added on the basis of policy alone, “the wisdom of doing that would be very questionable”. This is exactly the sort of attitude that I disagree with.
You don’t have to belabor the point about why you think this—I get it, and I also know this is a common attitude in the community. But that doesn’t mean I agree with it, or think it’s supported by policy. WP:DENY is an essay, whereas what I quoted on AN about the validity of my own perspective is part of a policy page.
Even if you think it’s necessary to abide by the WP:DENY essay, I think this essay gets carried to a ridiculous extreme when dealing with helpful changes made by sockpuppets. Imagine hypothetically that the edit made by the sock had been to remove an obvious BLP violation. In that situation, would you still be saying that the wisdom of reinstating the edit is questionable? I’m guessing that you would, but in that case the eventual outcome would be that the BLP violation stays in the article indefinitely. That’s an example of why I disapprove of this attitude, and why I’d like to get Jimbo Wales’ opinion about it. --Captain Occam (talk) 00:08, 4 December 2011 (UTC)
Sorry, I thought there was a misunderstanding, but it is now clear that you are trying to draw attention to the issue. Re BLP violation: That's easy: make whatever edit you think is helpful without mention of a banned user. Johnuniq (talk) 00:33, 4 December 2011 (UTC)
You aren’t answering my question. I’m asking what you think should be done about a BLP violation in a situation analogous to this one, where I initially tried to get other admins to review the block because I suspected that it was erroneous, and then later found out that the account was actually a sockpuppet. This is a situation where it’s already too late to avoid mentioning that the edit had been made by a banned user. What you said above is that now that it’s too late to avoid mentioning this, it’s unwise to reinstate the material regardless of how helpful it might be. And I’m asking, would you have the same opinion about this even if the edit had been to remove a BLP violation? --Captain Occam (talk) 00:59, 4 December 2011 (UTC)
Wikipedia is a big place with a lot of participants and no set of procedures will cover all possible situations. There will be corner cases with unwelcome consequences. The hypothetical scenario is that someone fixes a BLP violation, and an admin reverts the edit and blocks the editor with edit summary "abusing multiple accounts". If I noticed that (and assuming a significant problem), I would make the edit myself with a summary like "remove per WP:BLP". The blocking edit summary is sufficient to show that seeking explanations or querying the admin would not assist the encyclopedia. If I were really concerned, I would check each of the blocked editor's contributions, and if I thought some mistake had occurred, I would email the admin. Johnuniq (talk) 01:23, 4 December 2011 (UTC)
I don't have much to add to this discussion, as I think we can all recognize that it's a complex and difficult problem. There is a good reason to revert even perfectly good edits from longterm abusive editors in terms of reducing their incentives to stick around. (Note, though, that this is an absolutely untested empirical question, and it is not 100% clear to me that we have it right, although I think we do.) But when there is a BLP situation, there is a good reason to accept good edits no matter what the source.
In this particular case, the BLP situation is not a BLP policy violation per se, but rather a longstanding NPOV violation. Our Chavez article has been a joke for a long time, dominated by a handful of people who have systematically excluded criticism of Chavez. It isn't that there is unsourced or poorly sourced negative information about Chavez, it's that there is dramatically too little evidence of much of the most serious criticism of him, excluded on flimsy-to-nonsensical grounds such as that it was printed in for-profit newspapers, etc.
The real solution to such a problem is to raise awareness amongst experienced Wikipedians who aren't partisans, particularly admins, who can go into the situation and lay down the law about NPOV. The participation of socks and abusive users of all kinds should be a peripheral issue.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 12:26, 5 December 2011 (UTC)
Hi, thanks for responding. I’m glad you agree that when it comes to BLP problems, we should accept good edits regardless of the source, but I think you already know that I also feel this way even when it’s a non-BLP situation.
What I’d like to ask is, doesn’t reverting edits that improve articles because they’re from socks go against the philosophy behind WP:IAR, which is that rules shouldn’t be enforced when doing so runs contrary to the goal of improving the encyclopedia? Since the ultimate goal at Wikipedia is to make articles as good as possible, my interpretation of IAR is that doing what’s best for the articles needs to take priority over every other consideration. And pretty much by definition, reverting edits that improve an article because of who made them is not what’s best for the articles. --Captain Occam (talk) 15:28, 5 December 2011 (UTC)
Sometimes the source of the material, in this case Grundle2600 has so thoroughly poisoned the well that there can really be no discussion about any edit that he himself has made. He dug his own grave by trolling the Chavez, Obama, and Gore articles for over a year now. If you really think the material is viable, then you have to work to separate it from this banned user; I'd initiate a new talk page discussion there at Chavez and invite others to analyze the material point-by-point. Keep in mind though that not all criticism of a person is notable or significant, and that NPOV doesn't simply mean "include positive and negative material to create a balance" (that was always Grundle's flaw). Tarc (talk) 18:10, 5 December 2011 (UTC)
Actually, it looks like Jimbo Wales has now re-added some of the material that Grundle tried to add. This might be the first time in the history of Wikipedia that Jimbo Wales has reinstated material that had previously been added by a sockpuppet. But in any case, I agree with the sentiment behind this: if the content improves the article, the identify of the person who originally suggested it isn’t a good reason to reject it. --Captain Occam (talk) 18:30, 5 December 2011 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Jimbo should be reverted. He added word for word the text of a banned sock puppet. If he cannot go through the sources and come up with his own wording, he should not edit the article. Period. It's an insult to the many, many editors who have to put up with the continuous, never-ending flood of Grundle socks. Dave Dial (talk) 18:38, 5 December 2011 (UTC)

I have removed the food price control passage. It this the direct words of a long-banned sock and IMO has little to do with the bio of Chavez himself. Tarc (talk) 18:47, 5 December 2011 (UTC)
Sorry, but this is all just a giant logical fallacy. Of course we're all more suspicious of material added by a sockpuppet -- but, if the information is reviewed and it's accurate, appropriate, etc, the identity of the editor is 100% irrelevant.JoelWhy (talk) 20:18, 5 December 2011 (UTC)
Grundle2600 is either banned or not banned – there is no middle ground, i.e. 'he's banned when we feel like enforcing it'. If we're going to allow his edits, then why is he even blocked in the first place? Of course, given my last proposal to request that a similar editor be unbanned, I got profoundly shot down and was labeled as being disruptive. But if the community only wants to selectively enforce bans and act like a dog chasing its own tail in circles, then I can only come to the conclusion that the editing community is incapable of doing what it wants to do. –MuZemike 00:42, 6 December 2011 (UTC)

Mr. James Wales...

Is it possible the Wikipedia will be closed because of having not enough money for continue working? If it's so, please answer this because I'm worried about Wikipedia closes. Other question is the following one: What's your criteria for becoming people administrator? I mean, what must I do for being Administrator? I am not specially interested about that but I want to know. P.D. I am spanish, if I mistook something tell me. -- (talk) 16:10, 4 December 2011 (UTC)

I'm not Mr. Wales, but I can provide some information.
You can look at Wikipedia's finances yourself, by looking at the Financial Reports. You can evaluate them yourself, but I think that it's pretty clear that Wikipedia is in no danger of being starved for money any time soon. Also interesting at that page are the Form 990s that the foundation is required to file with the IRS, which lists (among other financial information) the salaries of some of the highest paid employees.
The process of becoming an administrator is explained at Wikipedia:Guide to requests for adminship, as well as some of the linked pages. Buddy431 (talk) 20:25, 4 December 2011 (UTC)
Seems unlikely it would close even in a budget crunch. If bandwidth or server capacity were a cost issue, the site performance could scale back and still function... just more slowly and irritatingly.
Looking at the financials is interesting in that there are assumed to be about 90,000 active editors. Assuming we were actually paid a modest wage for our work, say $30,000 a year, that comes out to a donated value of $2.7 billion per year in editor contributions to the encyclopedia. The chance of a work like this ever closing seems extremely unlikely.
(In light of my article contributions, I am somewhat stingy on the monetary side. I don't think I've ever donated any actual money to Wikipeda, but I figure I'm already giving the foundation thousands of dollars each year in high quality additional content, for the editorship work I'm not being pair for. That high quality content is what drives other non-editors to donate and keep the project going.) DMahalko (talk) 19:47, 5 December 2011 (UTC)

Please comment on strengthening civility rules

P.S. I am placing this kitten here in hopes that it will increase the chance that you might comment.

Hi Jimbo, regarding Ludwig's comments above, will you please comment at Wikipedia:Village pump (proposals)#Strengthening civility rules on elevating User:Mindspillage/disputes to guideline or policy level? Thank you. (talk) 21:06, 5 December 2011 (UTC)

I think Mindspillage's piece contains great wisdom, of course. But I'm not sure how it could be turned into a policy, really.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 12:28, 6 December 2011 (UTC)

Good day sir.

Mr. Wales, if you're watching this, you'll know in the future that I've wrote this directed to you. If not, may something similar to God be with you.

What you've done untill now has contributed to the human society greatly. As the information on everything can not be stored forever as the methods of papers and pencils, this new-type of digital Bibliotheca Alexandrina shall last longer than any other forms... For the children that will carry the history and all the things in here, Wikipedia has the greatest role.

Yet, human shall be exterminated and other 'things' shall reclaim the hollow holes. Remember this whoever you are. Even if you're not the ones that will see this. (talk) 10:41, 6 December 2011 (UTC)

BLP case

Jimbo, could I ask you to have a look at Talk:Tahir Abbas? It's a BLP that contains personally damaging information, based on a single secondary source from two years ago that the publisher recently removed from their website following lengthy legal action by the BLP subject. Editors at the article insist that without a formally published retraction, the original article, although no longer available online, is still a reliable source, and inclusion of the material is fully in line with WP:BLP and WP:DUE. The material based on the source makes up about 25% of the entire BLP. Best, --JN466 13:57, 26 November 2011 (UTC)

How many different venues are you going to use to pursue this? You got no traction at BLPN -- the one editor who seemed to support your approach (Bbb23) changed his mind (deciding to support inclusion) when he read the actual article. Even Scott MacDonald didn't see fit to get involved. In any event this looks to me like a clear instance of canvassing, and even though I have explicitly defended you against others' worries that you might not be approaching this one in good faith, I'm done with that now. For those who might take an interest -- a key principle here is WP:SOURCEACCESS: sources do not have to be available online, and it is indeed the case that the article has not been retracted. Furthermore the material is not based on a single source, we also have the fact that the journal Citizenship Studies retracted one of Abbas's articles because it contained plagiarism. Nomoskedasticity (talk) 15:39, 26 November 2011 (UTC)
You can only use SOURCEACCESS as an argument if you are citing the paper source - not when citing an online source that is no longer available.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 15:48, 26 November 2011 (UTC)
What? I read the paper source originally. I am citing a paper source. Nomoskedasticity (talk) 15:50, 26 November 2011 (UTC)
Is the source verifiable now that it's not online? We would have a very different encyclopedia if people could just say "I read it somewhere." Even though I'm not doubting you did. Anyway I'll jump on over to the article discussion since that is where this all should be sorted out :) Quinn STARRY NIGHT 21:40, 26 November 2011 (UTC)
No opinion (yet?) on whether the information should be included, but I think you misread the previous post. The best source for the claim appears to be an article in Times Higher Education, a high-quality weekly print magazine with an excellent reach. (To judge from my experience, it seems to be available in the social rooms of all British university departments.) The article was also available on the THE website, but it appears that it has been pulled specifically, for reasons unknown. Hans Adler 22:43, 26 November 2011 (UTC)
It was removed as part of a settlement of a defamation claim. --JN466 16:29, 27 November 2011 (UTC)
What is the evidence for this statement, Jayen? Nomoskedasticity (talk) 17:28, 27 November 2011 (UTC)
The subject's lawyers advised OTRS of the court case several months ago, including claim number, and asked that his biography be deleted. That request appears to have been refused at the time because the THE article was considered a reliable source. Since then, several editors (as well as OTRS) have seen the recent letter from TSL Education stating, to whomever it may concern, that the article has now been removed from the Times Higher Education website. You have stated that the article is still accessible in Factiva and Nexis, and that this constitutes evidence it has not been properly retracted. I propose we wait a few days, and see if Factiva and Nexis will continue to host it. If they remove it too, I'd consider the source dead for our purposes. --JN466 01:09, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
No, you misunderstand. The persistence of the article on Factiva and Nexis is not evidence it has not been properly retracted. The question of retraction is addressed by whether there has been a retraction. We know what a retraction looks like -- it is what Citizenship Studies did with Abbas's own article. There is no retraction of the THE article. As for your proposed test -- are you proposing that if it remains on either Factiva or Nexis that you'll consider it usable? That would be progress... Nomoskedasticity (talk) 08:01, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
Surely, it is irrelevant whether it has been properly retracted. As a matter of ethical judgment, we should not publish potentially defamatory material unless we have very good reason and are very sure of its truth. If we have reason to believe that the publisher of a source we are using no longer upholds the claim, we should not use it.--Boson (talk) 17:37, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
I agree with this as a general principle. I haven't yet studied the individual case well enough to form a particular opinion, but if the original source has removed the article from their website, that's a perfectly good reason not to use that source anymore - if the publisher won't stand by it, we shouldn't rely on it.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 17:46, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
It's not the only source for the claim; we can be quite sure, via the other source, that Abbas plagiarized in writing his article that appeared in Citizenship Studies. No-one is disputing this: Abbas himself apologized for it in the notice published by the journal. We are "very sure of its truth." And, it's not that the Times Higher Education article in question has not been "properly retracted". What has become clear at the article talk page is that it hasn't been retracted at all. Nomoskedasticity (talk) 18:39, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
I think that whether there has been "a retraction"--that is, whether there is a statement specifically stating 'we retract this article'--should not be a requirement. If the site removes the article for legal reasons, we should treat it as retracted, even if they did not follow all the steps (such as publishing an explicit retraction statement) that you think are necessary to retract an article. Ken Arromdee (talk) 04:18, 29 November 2011 (UTC)
Yes, from personal experience, I can say that I have seen sources print things about me that were false and defamatory and upon my complaint, they merely removed it from the web rather than printing a retraction in the paper edition. In some cases, the false information remains on the web today (thankfully, obscurely) in archives of syndicators. I assume it will often remain in paid archives as well. It's not reasonable to say "Wikipedia will stand by the story unless there is a published retraction" because that just isn't how things work in the real world. What happens when someone is libeled is that sometimes because a lawsuit would be expensive and bring more publicity to the lie (see: Barbara Streisand effect), the victim will often just accept the removal from the main website as taking care of 99% of the problem. Wikipedia can't ethically continue to publish what is very likely false information in such cases.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 17:25, 29 November 2011 (UTC)
And to keep this from resurfacing via a new contributor, it might be a good idea to add a "commented out" section in the article, explaining this. A section in the Talk page is also useful, but some of these pages are so active such a discussion ends up in the archives where it's not noticed, particularly by new contributors. The important thing in this case is to make sure it's documented so all contribuors are aware of the situation, but not readers. In other cases a story has become so widespread we need to address it in the article for the readers' benefit as well. (talk) 18:54, 29 November 2011 (UTC)
Newspapers remove material from their website frequently, and sometimes unintentionally. We even have a term for it: WP:LINKROT. How can we determine if a removal was due to a quasi-retraction instead of other causes, like a desire to free up space on a server?   Will Beback  talk  19:14, 29 November 2011 (UTC)
According to Jayen466 above, OTRS and several other editors have seen a letter from TSL Education, the publisher of the magazine, saying that the story was pulled. Hardly an ordinary case of linkrot. I am still not sure that we shouldn't include the information, but the question is why it was (silently) retracted, not if it was retracted. Hans Adler 22:01, 29 November 2011 (UTC)
As far as editing the article in question goes, it doesn't really matter at the point: the discussion is focusing on information verified by another source (an academic journal). Nomoskedasticity (talk) 22:51, 29 November 2011 (UTC)
Which is a primary source. See WP:BLPPRIMARY and WP:NPF. This is a question of proportionality. The BLP subject was marginally notable in the first place. The first AfD was closed "No consensus". The BLP subject has asked, pleaded, to have his biography deleted from Wikipedia, because for the past two years it has been used to hound him, and has literally ruined his life. For those two years, the article has been a WP:COATRACK, simply used to announce to the world, with top billing for anyone Googling his name, that a paper of his was retracted, with a big fat "Plagiarism" subheader in the article and prominent mention in the lead, edit-warred into the article time and again, and representing more than 25% of the entire article content. After two years, he has succeeded in having the secondary source that editors used as justification for turning his biography into an attack piece removed by the publisher. And now you would still like 25% of his biography to be about one retraction of a journal paper of his that has not attracted attention in any other secondary source than the one now removed by its publisher, by basing it on the primary source of the journal's own statement? There is no proportionality here. There is zero interest in secondary sources. Even his own university restored him to full duties after their investigation concluded, accepting that the attribution errors were not deliberate, but due to personal stress and overwork. This is a semi-private individual, considerably less notable than he was two years ago due to the fall-out. There is no public interest served in using Wikipedia to pillory someone like him. --JN466 11:19, 30 November 2011 (UTC)
You keep making unsourced claims about living people. I see no reason this should be tolerated, particularly as you have already been challenged on it several times. Nomoskedasticity (talk) 13:23, 30 November 2011 (UTC)
So then the standard for removing a source would be an official notice from the publisher, submitted to OTRS or printed publicly, announcing a retraction? That's probably reasonable.   Will Beback  talk  23:10, 29 November 2011 (UTC)
Nope. We have higher standards than that in how we treat living people. We treat BLPs with kid gloves. Cla68 (talk) 23:27, 29 November 2011 (UTC)
OK, I'm wearing kid gloves now - may I handle you? ;) What's your proposal, aside from donning gloves? Do we deleted all sources that are no longer online? That'd eviscerate the encyclopedia.   Will Beback  talk  23:44, 29 November 2011 (UTC)
Comment. I would have thought it obvious that the point of discouraging the use of certain primary sources is to protect the privacy of individuals. Look at th examples used: personal information of no public interest, even if of interest to the public. iow, tabloid junk should be avoided. That has nothing to do with the issue under discussion here. The options are: 1) include the whole story, including the settlement and retraction, or 2) remove the whole thing. If I were Mr Abbas, I would base my preference on whether or not the 'partial story' is easily found (and therefore believed). If so, I would want the retraction included in Wikipedia, which would mean option 1. If not, I would prefer option 2 unless and until that situation changed. However, what bothers me about the discussion here is the insistence of some editors that we follow Wikipedia's rules by the letter, not the spirit. It's part of the whole "truth or verifiability" arguments I suppose, but I would describe it as "can't see the forest for the trees". Anyone working on ann encyclopedia has to be dedicated to the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. I see editors here insisting on cherry-picking the facts to provide a slanted article. That's antithetical to our purpose. Provide the whole truth or leave the whole thing out, but the suggestion of an in-between position of only including the plagiarism claim and not what came after, based on a twisted interpretation of the use of primary sources and/or "is it still available in a generally reliable source, online or in print" reflects badly on the rest of Wikipedia's contributors. Which includes me. Stop the game-playing. We have a reputation for truth and accuracy, and for correcting our mistakes when found. Quite frankly, the project would be better off without people who insist that misleading, incomplete material be presented, and use Wikipedia's own guidelines to "prove" their point. Assume good faith is not a suicide pact, nor is is consensus. If someone's private agenda conflicts with our project's basic mission, then that person should not be allowed to hurt the project. It really is that simple. (talk) 16:10, 30 November 2011 (UTC)
Some on here (not me) have seen a TLS letter confirming the removal of the THE article. I assume this material has come from the subject (or his representatives) - the publishers didn't respond to my e-mail to them. Since people have this contact, would it not be fair to ask to see the subject's 'statement of case' in the 'lengthy legal battle' to see on what grounds he was battling the THE/TLS? It might have been about plagiarism, but it might instead have been about other contentious features of the article (the accusation in THE of 'playing the race card' against his Head of Dept, for instance). Surely that's a good way of moving towards the whole truth about the removal-or-retraction (and why, and does it matter) issue? The statement of case is something any of us could obtain, with a bit of work - JN466 has said he has the case reference number. Bikerprof (talk) 18:12, 30 November 2011 (UTC)
I think it wouldn't be fair. There have already been enough objections that have been answered. Back when the THE article wasn't removed there were people insisting that since it still exists we have to use it. Now that it's removed, there's some other reason why we have to use it--the removal's not accompanied by a retraction notice, or it's not removed from Lexis, or whatever. "We can't treat it as removed unless we see the statement of case" is another in a long line of excuses as to why we just can't follow BLP. The excuse sounds superficially reasonable, and might have been if it was the only barrier, but it's not--it's another in an endless series of barriers. We need to stop making excuses; the article was removed and we should no longer use it. That's enough.
And the reasoning "if the statement of case is too narrow, we can still use the article as a reference" is stupid anyway. The subject should not have to make sure the removal was done with all i's dotted and t's crossed in the exact way required by Wikipedia just to ensure that Wikipedia treats it seriously--the fact that he left a line out of his statement of case would not be a good excuse to avoid BLP. We don't want people to have to tell their lawyers "be careful how you word my statement of case, because if you don't phrase it correctly Wikipedia will refuse to remove the bad information". Ken Arromdee (talk) 18:48, 30 November 2011 (UTC)
It doesn't help to start making accusations of stupidity, thanks. As per the above long-ish comment, I thought it was the truth we were after. I wasn't proposing a forensic dissection of such a document, just whether it was covering the points at issue. If the subject has successfully challenged the negative points, it would surely be worth including (and, indeed, in his own interests to do so)? As argued above, the day we stop referring to sources because they are no longer online we may as well give up. Bikerprof (talk) 19:08, 30 November 2011 (UTC)
1) I didn't call you stupid. I said your argument was stupid. Surely I am not required to agree that every argument proferred by everyone is wise.
2) It's not about referring to sources that are no longer online, it's about referring to sources that are no longer online for a specific reason. It's not going to destroy Wikipedia to reject sources that are no longer online because they were removed after a legal demand. That's different from rejecting all no-longer-online sources.
3) Despite your protestations, what you were saying was that we should not just remove the information--instead, we should check some document and only if this document is to your satisfaction should we then remove the information. Whether you call it a "forensic dissection" is irrelevant; it still amounts to a demand that Wikipedia subjects get their documents in order before you'll follow BLP. We have no right to make this demand. (talk) 03:17, 1 December 2011 (UTC)
(1) I said you were making accusations of stupidity, not that you had called me stupid. Please respond to my words, not your own re-construction of them. (2) I just want to know the specific reason it was removed - perhaps it was related to the accusations of plagiarism (on which we have a firm source, Citizenship Studies), perhaps it wasn't. After all the article makes several claims - as an academic subject/BLP the charges about retraction and plagiarism are I think the most important. Maybe TLS thought they'd win the court battle in England, but have little chance of reclaiming their costs from someone now based in Turkey? Perhaps the article was wrong in some other way. All speculation - from me and others on here, without that evidence. (3) No need for the legal case to meet my satisfaction, I'd happily leave it to a neutral editor to read through. This subject has chosen the legalistic route to resolve issues, not attempted some other form of resolution, so let's see the case. Bikerprof (talk) 07:38, 1 December 2011 (UTC)
Why do you want to know the specific reason it was removed? It sounded like you wanted to know that because having the wrong reason means that we can't get rid of the reference. Is that true? If it is, then what I said is correct. (talk) 08:16, 1 December 2011 (UTC)
Please let me explain.
(1) I have no interest in accusations of filing race-related grievances, internal politics of Birmingham sociology, etc. That's gossip, and should have been removed before (in retrospect). As an academic, editing the page of an academic, I do care about the truth of specific accusations of plagiarism.
(2) The THE is so well-known in UK Higher Education that many will be aware of the accusations of plagiarism made against Dr Tahir Abbas in THE 2009 (plus the accusations about his involvement, however indirect, in the difficulties of Birmingham sociology). If the subject has gone through a legal process that has cast doubt or indeed falsified/refuted the accusations of plagiarism in the THE, he (and we) should be demanding that this is presented on his wikipedia page. It would then say: accusations of plagiarism were made, a legal case disproved them, TLS retracted/removed the story - end of story, handshakes all round, dispute resolved. On current knowledge, that seems plausible, perhaps the most likely sequence of events. I think this is what (an authoritative contributor?) was arguing above when he said "include the whole story, including the settlement and retraction". However the subject doesn't seem to be pressing this argument, no correction or apology has been made, another editor is strongly arguing for the retention of the THE source, so it makes me wonder what the legal case was about (hence my general support for the THE retention, if true). And hence my suggestion that a neutral editor take a quick look at the legal case, and confirm it's about plagiarism.
To that extent, yes, you are right in what you just said -- if the legal case isn't about plagiarism, the reference still supports the retraction which has a primary source. If the legal case and THE removal is about plagiarism, then we should allow the guy to have this confirmed (my preference), or maybe delete the article. I'm not wanting to 'fish' for details, just to confirm/deny whether disproving plagiarism was the reason for the THE removal. I hope this is helpful Bikerprof (talk) 13:41, 1 December 2011 (UTC)
If his lawyer made THE remove the article, we should not continue to use the article as a reference. You're trying to split hairs and say that we can keep using it if his lawyer removed it for the wrong reason. This is wrong.
Saying that we have to confirm whether the removal was about plagiarism puts the burden on the wrong side. Since it is a BLP issue, we need to err on the side of the subject. Nobody needs to confirm that it was about plagiarism; you need to confirm that it wasn't. (And even if it wasn't, they removed the whole article, not just the non-plagiarism parts, so you still can't use the article itself.) Ken Arromdee (talk) 16:52, 1 December 2011 (UTC)
But that's just it: we can confirm that it wasn't removed on grounds that its claim about plagiarism in the Citizenship Studies article was wrong -- we know (from Citizenship Studies itself) that that claim is true. Burden satisfied. Bikerprof's other points are also important -- if other claims in the THE article were indeed wrong then it is in Abbas's interest for the biography here to inform readers of this (given how widely known this case is among British academics). But it was plainly not wrong about the CS plagiarism/retraction. Nomoskedasticity (talk) 18:01, 1 December 2011 (UTC)
Ken Arromdee said: "Nobody needs to confirm that it was about plagiarism; you need to confirm that it wasn't". OK, if that's your view, I'll work out how to obtain a copy from the court system and check. We can debate the truth vs verification and sources points later. Bikerprof (talk) 18:56, 1 December 2011 (UTC)
As I see it, you're still trying to manufacture a controversy that does not exist in secondary sources, and won't let go, now wanting to use primary sources to write a Wikipedia biography, in direct breach of WP:BLPPRIMARY and WP:NPF. Given past edit-warring about this issue, and the past state of the article, the best solution seems to be to delete and salt. --JN466 06:05, 2 December 2011 (UTC)
Citizenship Studies is an academic journal, exactly the sort of "high-quality secondary source" demanded by WP:NPF. In all the voluminous discussion about this person, no-one has raised doubts about the fact that his article in that journal contained plagiarism -- there's nothing "manufactured" here. Nomoskedasticity (talk) 08:24, 2 December 2011 (UTC)
You know it is a primary source in this context; you yourself explained that to Marius. --JN466 16:51, 3 December 2011 (UTC)
And I've argued it's a secondary source. T Abbas sends an apology for the errors to the journal: the apology itself is therefore a primary source. The source reporting that an apology has been made ("The author has apologised for the errors") is therefore secondary. Or at least I think it's strongly arguable that way - and to rely on this distinction as a reason to exclude the retraction is to try to put the letter of WP policies (as JN466 interprets) above what we know to be true, and what is not disputed by anyone (indeed, has been apologised for). A reliable source reporting that an apology has been made must be secondary, with the apology itself the primary source. Bikerprof (talk) 22:31, 4 December 2011 (UTC)
As far as I can tell, you and Mariusmw are basically single-purpose accounts with little understanding of or respect for policy and no other interest in Wikipedia than editing Abbas' biography. --JN466 10:20, 6 December 2011 (UTC)
Well there might be some policy about ad hominem attacks, which I take your comment to be, that I've missed? I've been on here since Feb 2008 (correction: Oct 2007), which is well over a year before the THE piece we're discussing. In that time, I have made precisely ONE edit of the Abbas biography. I admit my collection of edits is less than your own; I edit things that attract my interest at odd points - such as on Rowan Williams, poverty, Universal Credit, David Blanchflower, Jacqui Smith, ... Bikerprof (talk) 21:34, 6 December 2011 (UTC)
Apologies for my inaccuracy, I think I have made three edits and one minor edit of the Abbas biography. In any case it's not a lot for the last 2 years. Bikerprof (talk) 21:40, 6 December 2011 (UTC)
On the Abbas talk page you show detailed knowledge of the subject ("His apology was accepted. It was not assumed to have been a deliberate case of plagiarism, but the result of exceptional stress"). How does this relate to WP:CONFLICT, or WP:RS? You also stated that no consensus about articles-for-deletion led to deletion, when it doesn't, it leads to no change. I don't think is a good position from which to say I don't have respect for, or knowledge of, policy. Bikerprof (talk) 22:04, 6 December 2011 (UTC)

we can confirm that it wasn't removed on grounds that its claim about plagiarism in the Citizenship Studies article was wrong -- we know (from Citizenship Studies itself) that that claim is true.
Saying "we know this article wasn't removed because of false plagiarism claims, since that other article confirms the plagiarism is real" is original research. This is not allowed.
OK, if that's your view, I'll work out how to obtain a copy from the court system and check.
As I also said, you still can't use the article even if you confirmed this. The article was removed, and it wasn't linkrot, it was intentionally removed after legal action. You are not supposed to use an article which has been removed this way. You are trying to argue that if the legal action was only over one part of the article you are allowed to use the other parts of the article. That's wrong. (And it also leads to hair-splitting like 'the legal notice only made a general statement about inaccuracies in the article, see, it didn't mention a plagiarism accusation specifically!') Ken Arromdee (talk) 16:24, 2 December 2011 (UTC)

The THE article has now been removed from LexisNexis as well. --JN466 21:45, 30 November 2011 (UTC)
What I'm arguing is, I want to know the truth. A verifiable truth. Bikerprof (talk) 20:30, 2 December 2011 (UTC)