User talk:Jimbo Wales/Archive 98

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Wikipedia Review

Dear Jimbo, Wikipedia Review, a website you most likely know what is about, has been in focus for a period of time now. Several users who are banned or blocked from Wikipedia for a variety of reasons use the website to attack our editors. But the main problem is that also several users who are still active at Wikipedia use the page for that purpose. Would you consider making an official statement about Wikipedia Review, as I believe that this page has no positive effect on our community and the sole purpose is to harass us. Many users who use Wikipedia Review link to their Wikipedia accounts, so their posts to WR are linked to their WP account. Do you feel that a personal attack directed at Wikipedia or a Wikipedia editor from such a WR user would be blockable on WP? Sincerly, PaoloNapolitano 09:50, 21 February 2012 (UTC)

Perhaps you could tell Jimbo there is presently an AN/I thread going on about such an editor; the link is here. I would anticipate that whatever Jimbo has to say will be used by the combatants. Should he choose to respond, we should at least ensure that Jimbo has been given information about the matter, lest he make an offhand comment, not knowing to what use it will immediately be put.--Wehwalt (talk) 11:53, 21 February 2012 (UTC)
And what about welll-known blogs and other sites which routinely refer to Wikipedia? I believe a significant number of them exist, some of which take strong positions on certain specific topics on Wikipedia. Ought any editor who uses any outside blog be excised from Wikipedia? Or ought we say "what you do on the outside of these servers is substantially beyond our control"? Is policing the Internet a wise use or a poor use of our time? Some would have us ban 'bad' editors who use some specific outside blogs and not act precisely similarly for 'all who use outside blogs. I fear this looks a tad more like selective 'witch-hunting' than simply banning bad apples. Sorry for any mixed metaphors. Collect (talk) 12:27, 21 February 2012 (UTC)
It sounds a little like your suggesting that wikipedia editors should not be alloed to express negative opinions about the project (also you mention the possibility of personal attacks against wikipedia - I don't think the project has that kind of corporate personhood). It is generally a pretty bad ida for projects that ant to be the best they can be to stifle criticism - and for a project that claims to work for information freedom it seems even more silly.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 13:45, 21 February 2012 (UTC)
Ironically enough, WR try to oppress the right to information freedom. Some would say that an admin should tolerate criticism, but posting of personal information and WP:HOUNDING them constantly is NOT tolerable. We should protect our users and give them freedom to do a fantastic job for Wikipedia without outsiders trying to disrupt their work. PaoloNapolitano 14:01, 21 February 2012 (UTC)
I don't think that is an accurate description of what WR does. In anycase there are no insiders and outsiders in wikipedia - w are the encyclopedia any one can edit - not an exclusive club where people's conduct off-wiki have to be approved by a reviewboard to be allowed in. There are people who behave like assholes on WR - but thats no different from here on wikipedia. How people are treated on wikipedia should have to do only with how they behave on wikipedia - that is a basic principle that we should not move from. ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 14:14, 21 February 2012 (UTC)
Indeed WR is not perfect and is an obvious magnet for editors no longer welcome here, but to say that it is oppressive is a bit much. It shines a useful light on us. I am not a member there, but I will confess to lurking. I doubt I am unique in that regard.--Wehwalt (talk) 14:19, 21 February 2012 (UTC)
I agree. I recently joined in order to learn more about what kinds of criticisms exist of wikipedia - I was not very impressed and am currently not active there. I do however "oppress" free information if that means to argue in favor of a standard of inclusion that prioritizes certain topics over others and a somewhat higher standard of notability and ethics than some editors prefer.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 14:31, 21 February 2012 (UTC)
There are a lot of policies, like WP:CANVASS and WP:OUTING and WP:NPA, which just don't seem to count for anything once WR gets involved - even if the editors happen to use the same names and acknowledge their connection. If these policies are unworkable, we should get rid of them entirely - that way, Wikipedia Review would have no special power to control the direction of Wikipedia, and people here would have a fair chance to fire back. We need to focus only on the portion of the process that we do control - by refusing to pay heed to "outed" information when it is provided and thereby avoiding things like the Fae RfC/U; by clearly acknowledging when canvassing on WR is a factor in !votes and making efforts to counter its effect; and by coming together in unambiguous shows of support for harassed editors. Wnt (talk) 16:11, 21 February 2012 (UTC)

Here. Now sort it all out. The most interesting man in the world (talk) 17:25, 21 February 2012 (UTC)

I've read a few postings at WR and agree that they're grousing/complaining/being entertained by WP. But I cannot see them as any kind of threat to WP. The AN/I mentioned above could have involved any off-WP medium, even private emails made public. In my view, problems between editors are due to themselves. Editors who remain CALM, CIVIL, and reasonable are universally liked and listened to. Tell that to someone who attacks others. I had to learn this lesson, and frequently see that many other editors need to learn it, too. David Spector (user/talk) 22:17, 23 February 2012 (UTC)

I have personally known users who were very active but largely dropped out of Wikipedia following harassment by WR users. However, I don't hold WR as a whole responsible, but rather the users in question. People who expose a user's personal information and contact their workplace, school, or family in order to intimidate them, sometimes placing them in very real physical danger, should not be banned or sued, but should be held criminally responsible. Dcoetzee 19:32, 24 February 2012 (UTC)

Original research

Hello Mr. Wales and page watchers. At a recent point of meditation, some things occurred to me which are practically impossible to imagine editors supporting, but I tell you in my thoughts I was able to imagine some valid reasons. So I ask, does anyone see reason, or think there ever could be a reason or way that OR could find some place in this encyclopedia? The sum of human knowledge is not the same as the sum of published/verifiable knowledge. I am curious if this is just a bad idea, too hard to implement/control, or something else? My76Strat (talk) 04:10, 23 February 2012 (UTC)

See WP:NOT#OR.—Wavelength (talk) 06:12, 23 February 2012 (UTC)
See Wikiversity:Original research - Wikiversity (= v:Wikiversity:Original research).
Wavelength (talk) 06:28, 23 February 2012 (UTC)
Oh yes, thank you. I do understand the current longstanding policy. I don't even know why I asked the question. Thanks for the Wikiversity link, I'll definitely look at it. My76Strat (talk) 06:32, 23 February 2012 (UTC)
Well, a different way to ask the question, to just get the mental juices flowing so to speak, is to ask what the borderline is. WP:OR addresses this question in a few different ways, but of course actual practice is always more complex than written policy. Some of the cases that I'm aware of have, in my view, generally gone in the right direction (our process of good faith dialog and discussion isn't perfect, but it more or less works) even though policy doesn't give a lot of particular guidance. One example is that we've begun, in limited ways, to accept some information from, an open project to analyse historical weather data from ships logs. I briefly read an email from an acquaintance there explaining to me how they've discovered that despite a lot of standard references claiming that a particular ship was not involved in a particular naval battle, the ships logs that they use for their weather work show clearly that it was. The people who figured this out are not professional historians, and their conclusions are not published in any other source, but we've reasonably tended to accept it. (Among other things, there's no agenda pushing here, so little danger of activists coming up with some sort of invalid synthesis to push an agenda. It's just really interesting bits of historical trivia about ships, really.)--Jimbo Wales (talk) 06:59, 23 February 2012 (UTC)
Thank you Mr. Wales. Once again you have appended a thoughtful reply, and I appreciate the insight. I should clarify that the only thing I would have advocated adding to an article is a template like the one that says "We have related images on commons" but instead something like "Wikiversity has original research related to this subject". Perhaps it is already allowed and I've simply never seen it. Again, thank you. Best - My76Strat (talk) 07:13, 23 February 2012 (UTC)
Would you like to point to a particular article that does cite to claim that military history orbats are wrong? My experience of observing the Sinai campaign discussions in MILHIST is that orders of battle are highly contentious and politicised. Fifelfoo (talk) 07:16, 23 February 2012 (UTC)
I'll be traveling today and will read the email from my correspondent in more detail. I'll try to post about it in a few days. You are right, of course, that orders of battle can be highly contentious, which makes this question all the more interesting! But of course sometimes they aren't particularly contentious, there is just an (uncontroversial) error in conventional sources, an error which is easy enough to spot for anyone who looks at the data.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 07:26, 23 February 2012 (UTC)
Thanks Jimbo, whenever you've got the time and access. It isn't a time-dependent issue. Fifelfoo (talk) 07:39, 23 February 2012 (UTC)
See a list of pages linking to
Wavelength (talk) 17:25, 23 February 2012 (UTC)
See Wikibooks:Original research - Wikibooks, open books for an open world (= b:Wikibooks:Original research).
Wavelength (talk) 17:15, 23 February 2012 (UTC)
To answer the question a bit differently: OR already does occur in Wikipedia, and is widely accepted in certain forms. For example, many articles give illustrative examples that are invented for the purpose of the article (mathematics articles containing worked problems are a common example). More subtly, many illustrations and even text subtly advance new, unpublished information that they didn't intend to, depending on the observer. For example, if I make a map of the United States showing which states voted for a particular presidential candidate, one might observe an alternating pattern of red and blue states in a certain region, and assign meaning to it when in fact there is none. This kind of subtle OR seems almost entirely unavoidable. Dcoetzee 19:28, 24 February 2012 (UTC)
In fact photographs themselves are usually original research which along with maps, charts, and graphs are specifically encouraged by the WP:NOR policy at WP:OI. (talk) 20:09, 24 February 2012 (UTC)
Dcoetzee you make good points worth consideration. The IP augments the point well, and I am reminded of a discussion past; when it was clear that an image caption is almost entirely OR. My76Strat (talk) 23:07, 24 February 2012 (UTC)


Jimmy, please see my comment at [1] the admin's talk p. DGG ( talk ) 16:38, 23 February 2012 (UTC)

Featured stubs?

I think we should feature stubs on portals and on index.htm the Main Page. That way we can attract more possible Wikipedians to contribute. -- (talk) 19:40, 23 February 2012 (UTC)

There was a similar discussion a week or so ago at Talk:Main Page/Archive 165#An idea for converting readers to editors....?. It's a good idea, but any changes to the Main Page would require a pretty well-advertised RfC. Jenks24 (talk) 12:26, 24 February 2012 (UTC)

Switch from .com to .org?

I thought I'd ask here, as I know people watch this talk page for Jimmy. According to Wikipedia, the site switched to the .org world in 2002, in the same message that he announced there'd be no ads. Fishing through wikipedia-l, I can't find anything. I can find the "no ads" post, but not the .org. And whois says the .org was registered in 2001, which doesn't make sense, unless Jimmy bought up multiple domains.

Any ideas of where he announced .org? There's a press request about this. -- Zanimum (talk) 01:27, 24 February 2012 (UTC)

Wikipedia moved to the .org domain on 15 August 2002, as also announced by Brion in this edit. The way I read it, the "Wikipedia" article just says that both the announcement that Wikipedia would not contain ads and the switch to the .org domain occurred in 2002, but there's also this relevant message from Jimmy from a few days after the domain switch. Graham87 11:18, 24 February 2012 (UTC)
And it was also announced here on the mailing list. Graham87 11:22, 24 February 2012 (UTC)
Thank you so much for digging around and finding this, this is exactly what I was looking for, Graham! -- Zanimum (talk) 18:14, 25 February 2012 (UTC)

Blocking of the Uzbek Wiki/Knockoff of the Uzbek Wiki

Hi! The Uzbek wiki has been blocked by the repressive Uzbek government in Uzbekistan. I recently wrote an article (in Uzbek) in RFE/RL about it. Then many news agencies reported about the blockage. I have also written an entry in the English Wikipedia about the the issue. I noticed that a knockoff of the Uzbek Wikipedia has been set up which is obviously supported by authorities and doesn't have any material critical of the despotic government of Islam Karimov. Instead, it's full of biased material. On its main page it is written that this fake Wiki is a "mirror" of the Uzbek Wikipedia. Do you think the Wiki community should somehow be told about this fake Wiki? Nataev (talk) 10:20, 26 February 2012 (UTC)

some links in English [2] [3] [4]
Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 > haneʼ 10:39, 26 February 2012 (UTC)

Why I'm opposed to the phrasing "verifiability, not truth" revisited

This article is a very good read.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 19:28, 19 February 2012 (UTC)

Alas - too good an example of how some presumably reasonable editors can act when what they know is shown not to be so. This is not the only example thereof, but one where a specific author as an expert ran into the "brick wall" of Wikipedia guardians (several of whom are prominent, and communally self-protective) against being shown to be wrong on matters of fact. On matters of opinion - "chacun a son gout" is reasonable, on stuff like "no connections were shown at trial" then we do, indeed, need more than "a majority of our sources say the White House is purple." Collect (talk) 19:47, 19 February 2012 (UTC)
You think? Some prior discussion about it is found here and sections below that. Does Wikipedia Have an Accuracy Problem? Yes, but only because history is in a constant state of revision. seems a better way putting it. ASCIIn2Bme (talk) 20:01, 19 February 2012 (UTC)
So... Wikipedia is geared toward expressing what the majority thinks? But... what if the majority is wrong? For example, if the majority still believed the sun revolved around the earth, even if it was proven that it was false, would we display it as truth? Akihironihongo (talk) 20:05, 19 February 2012 (UTC)
It is an insightful read. I think what we do, our actions to correct the imbalance, is significantly more telling than any well enunciated explanation. I am slightly concerned at the misinformation editors are too often given, some of which the article contains. For example the preference for secondary sources becomes a prohibition against primary sources, sometimes clearly appropriate. Or a COI that can be accommodated wrongly teaches a new user that their contributions are incompatible. Mr. Wales, some things are best corrected by fiat. Please, please become proactive correcting institutional deficiencies where consensus has consistently shown more prowess at stifling progress or obfuscating intent. This project is tremendously successful because it was formed around your visions and values. I swear there is an element intent to see these factors erode. I enjoy participation in the project you envisioned! I am less enthusiastic regarding a project where your opinion is minimized. My76Strat (talk) 20:08, 19 February 2012 (UTC)
Currently in one article, one editor has refused to allow that William F. Buckley was a member of the political spectrum "right wing" for some months. ") I have in the past posited "Collect's Law" a few times which applies to some of these cases: The person who posts the greatest amount of repeated verbiage to a discussion, is least likely to be correct. There is now a corollary: The person who is most insistent that only specific sources which he favours know the facts, is least likely to have found the best sources. Collect (talk) 20:17, 19 February 2012 (UTC)
"The person who is most insistent on giving equal weight ("NPOV") to all "reputable" POVs is most likely to be pushing to include their fringe, if not completely fallacious, POV."
Sources must themselves be subject to verifiability, at least with regard to representation of basic facts. All too often fallacy is presented as fact if a "verifiable" opinion source. PЄTЄRS J V TALK 20:37, 19 February 2012 (UTC)
If consensus depends on the quality of various arguments, rather than the quantity of arguments offered for various views, then can the same principle not be applied in evaluating the evaluation of sources, so that a minority of sources with a demonstrably superior quality are given more weight than a majority of sources with a demonstrably inferior quality?
Wavelength (talk) 20:58, 19 February 2012 (UTC) and 00:03, 20 February 2012 (UTC)
Yeah, but who is qualified to directly evaluate the the quality of arguments in a world of editors with brown bags on their figurative heads? For example, in the dispute about what images to display in the article on Muhammad, the chief argument against the current choice of images is that the majority of sources don't include anthropomorphic images. What is a test for quality arguments that (almost) everyone could agree on? ASCIIn2Bme (talk) 21:12, 19 February 2012 (UTC)
That's a very good point Wavelength. The article which opens this thread is indeed a good read. I had never heard of this event in American history before and I find the whole article, and indeed the whole episode, quite fascinatng. The article is all the more interesting since the comments made by the authour are still there at the top of the Talk Page. There aren't many editors who actually have to publish their own book to get their view across! .. or indeed, to get the truth across? Martinevans123 (talk) 21:17, 19 February 2012 (UTC)
The quality of comments is significantly harder to appraise than the quality of a source. Regarding sources, Independence, a good record of editorial control, reliability, and fact checking all lend to credibility and a significantly more credible source does carry more weight than less scrupulous sources, even if they occur in abundance. My76Strat (talk) 21:22, 19 February 2012 (UTC)
  • WP:HISTRS and the other standards relating to history articles goes over much of the ground of how an encyclopaedia ought to treat the epistemology of historical knowledge. Many of Collect's observations on the sociology of an encyclopaedia anyone can edit I agree with. Fifelfoo (talk) 01:54, 20 February 2012 (UTC)
    • Unfortunately, particularly in competing accounts of history, sometimes views on agreed facts, sometimes versions of mutually exclusive facts (both can't be factual), what is admissible as a source is (falsely) subject to consensus. Too many editors search Google books for "text bites" to support their prejudices; too few actually search out sources considered seminal in their topic and read them from cover to cover prior to contributing to an article. Fewer still change their views based on research, fewer still admit to such change. PЄTЄRS J V TALK 02:34, 20 February 2012 (UTC)
      • This is true. Hopefully developing good policies, good use of policies at dispute boards, and good projects such as MILHIST will help, over time, to change editorial practice. Fifelfoo (talk) 02:44, 20 February 2012 (UTC)
I don't think that the issue here is really "verifiability not truth". The author concedes that his view is in a minority against a large number of publications which agree with the article. WP:UNDUE can be overbearing at times, and this might be such a case, but we have to follow the sources - rather than, for example, doing "original research", going back and reviewing the court transcripts, and having huge arguments on the talk page about whether showing that someone's political speech inspired a bomb-maker counts as "evidence against him" or not. Wnt (talk) 07:04, 20 February 2012 (UTC)
Indeed, as I read the story, I'm relatively pleased at how our volunteers treated an expert used to scholarly debate--let's not mince words here, we've seen many, many worse. The "vandalism" bit was over the top, but WP:VAND#NOT is among our least well understood policy bits. And, ultimately, the last editor is right: one minority view should not be the basis for altering a Wikipedia article. Wikipedia is a tertiary source that reflects reliable secondary sources--since when do we want our tertiary project edited by academicians with direct access to primary sources? His job is to do precisely what he did: right great wrongs by engaging in the academic publishing world, such that he convinces the authors of e.g. other textbooks to replace their "facts" with his work, and then, and only then, should Wikipedia be updated to reflect the new academic consensus. If anything, this demonstrates that we should AGF and be more civil with contributors, not that our content, sourcing, original research, and weight policies are in error. Jclemens (talk) 07:17, 20 February 2012 (UTC)
Not "textbooks" in history, more the review articles and historiographical introductions to scholarly monographs and edited collections that represent the state of the research culture; but yeah. Fifelfoo (talk) 08:00, 20 February 2012 (UTC)
Nor is this the first article where old and new historians disagree. See Roger Bacon#Changing interpretations of Bacon for another. ASCIIn2Bme (talk) 11:01, 20 February 2012 (UTC)
  • Yes, I think this is a serious problem. The majority views are usually biased. The majority of people think they know something because they read about this in newspapers. But reality may be very different, as became clear after reading books by experts. This is especially the case with political controversies in countries with unfree media. However, this is not the major source of bias in articles. It is usually assumed that we do not have editorial boards. But in fact we have them: a lot of subject areas are effectively controlled by groups of like-minded contributors or by individual "vested" contributors who decide all subject matters and effectively own the articles. It may not be so bad when articles on Physics are owned by physicists (except that a person without PhD degree frequently can not understand a thing), but it maybe worse in other areas. What we have here are fiefdoms when Romanian patriots own Romanian articles, Russian patriots own Russian articles, and so on. That may be be not so bad for administrators, because the system of fiefdoms makes thing more peaceful: the conflicts only occur when one of the national teams evicts a dissident from their subject area or two teams clash over a disputed territory, however this is the major source of bias if not outright propaganda in certain articles, I believe. Biophys (talk) 14:37, 20 February 2012 (UTC)

As far as I can see, WP processes seem to have worked well in this case. It may be the problem is an editor who believes WP should reflect his point-of-view.

The statement originally in the article ("The prosecution, led by Julius Grinnell, did not offer evidence connecting any of the defendants with the bombing") was not accurate, and there doesn't seem to be much doubt about that.

However, a day after Mr Messer-Kruse's intervention, the text was amended twice with a citations ([5][6]), the editor having checked two sources suggested by Mr Messer-Kruse. The second of these changed the text so that it referred to "credible evidence" instead of just "evidence".

This seems to be accurate, per the settled view of historians. Which can be a hard thing to know for sure. But, Messer-Kruse himself provides us with this information in a article:

  • the publication of Henry David’s dissertation, “A History of the Haymarket Affair,” as a book in 1936 spurred historians to view the events in Chicago in 1886 as a classic case of police brutality and judicial lynching. After Paul Avrich published The Haymarket Tragedy in 1984, followed by the attention given to the event in its centennial year, this interpretation became nearly universal, with introductory textbooks in American history describing the event as the conviction of anarchists in a trial in which “not a shred of evidence” was introduced to connect the accused to the bombing

As for the evidence about bomb-casings which Messer-Kruse focuses on:

  • in the century or so since the trial, historians have largely sided with the defendants and found this physical evidence unconvincing

I'm finding it difficult to see why there's need for very much of a blind panic over this. Why, over two years prior even to it's publication, should Wikipedia have been expected to reflect the view of a book that, according to its blurb "rewrites the standard narrative of the most iconic event in American labor history", rather than just reporting that standard narrative? --FormerIP (talk) 21:23, 20 February 2012 (UTC)

The only reason WP's policies "worked well" is because WP was shamed by the publicity. Countless contributors face the same sort of things than Messer-Kruse did, but because they're not scholars or authors, their stories don't get told in The Chronicle of Higher Education, and then get picked up by NPR and The Atlantic. The critical problems that caused all of this to happen remain, untouched. Moynihanian (talk) 02:27, 25 February 2012 (UTC)
No, that's not correct. As you should be able to see from what I posted above, the inaccuracies raised by Messer-Kruse on the article talk page on 22nd January 2009 were corrected on 23rd January 2009. --FormerIP (talk) 13:30, 25 February 2012 (UTC)
Not true. Only one of five issues raised by Messer-Kruse was fixed to his satisfaction the next day. See #next-day edits responding to Messer-Kruse's points. --Wbm1058 (talk) 20:25, 25 February 2012 (UTC)
It's not really Wikiepedia's job to satisfy any given blogger, but I've responded to your bullet-list where it is posted. --FormerIP (talk) 22:56, 25 February 2012 (UTC)
  • The Atlantic has a good article on the Messer-Kruse fracas: "Does Wikipedia Have an Accuracy Problem?" subtitled "Yes, but only because history is in a constant state of revision."

    Quote: "The whole fracas reflects that though people will rant and rail over Wikipedia's faults, we hold this massive experiment in collaborative knowledge to a standard that is higher than any other source. We don't want Wikipedia to be just as accurate as the Encyclopedia Britannica: We want it to have 55 times as many entries, present contentious debates fairly, and reflect brand new scholarly research, all while being edited and overseen primarily by volunteers."

    My take: By all means, hold us to a higher standard. We will try not to let it go to our heads. [Returning to the policy language that was the original subject of this thread,] feel free to ridicule the "not truth" rubric that that looks so preposterous when taken out of context. Humility embiggens the spirit. Just don't hold us to the even higher standard of being the ultimate arbiters of truth. ~ Ningauble (talk) 16:36, 26 February 2012 (UTC)

It's disingenuous for anyone to argue that Wikipedia's critics want to hold Wikipedia to "the even higher standard of being the ultimate arbiters of truth." I have never seen that demand made anywhere, by any critic. Moynihanian (talk) 17:31, 26 February 2012 (UTC)
Any perceived dishonesty on my part was not intended.

My remark about making Wikipedia the arbiter of truth did not assert, and was not intended to suggest, that critics want us to do this. They clearly do not. It was intended to reflect the irony of demanding that we consider the claims of those who profess themselves to possess the truth. ~ Ningauble (talk) 20:56, 26 February 2012 (UTC)

I have to point out that I wrote disingenuous not dishonest, but since it's hard to be honestly disingenuous I won't take much issue other than to note what I actually wrote. In any case, I don't know who, in this case, "profess(ed) themselves to possess the truth." Messer-Kruse's edits reflected facts he uncovered elsewhere, not his own pronouncements. I think your willingness to so badly mischaracterize his contributions is symptomatic of a deeper issue at Wikipedia: the outright hostility to those who have expertise in a subject. On the one hand, Wikipedia claims to want such people to contribute, but in practice, their expertise is quite frequently used to exclude them on conflict of interest grounds, and if they complain, to launch ad hominem attacks that, in one form or another, accuse them of elitism for having thoroughly researched a subject and then bringing their verified findings here. Moynihanian (talk) 22:29, 26 February 2012 (UTC)
I did not mean to refer to his article contributions, but to his criticism of Wikipedia's practices. It was not my intention to put words in his mouth, nor to imply that his research was just made up. As with your remark about ad hominem accusations of elitism, which you did not represent as a characterization of what I said, I intended a general observation. I have clearly failed to express my intent intelligibly.

I actually have a lot of sympathy for academics who are so often blindsided by Wikipedia's policies. The world of academic discourse values original research, and the world of an encyclopedia edited by non-experts eschews it. Each has different policy needs. It is a natural consequence of valuing different things that the two worlds sometimes confront a wall of mutual incomprehension.

Much of this thread (and its subthreads) has focused on aspects of Messer-Kruse's anecdote that do not relate specifically to the nominal topic, which is the phrasing "verifiability, not truth"[emphasis added]. I think it is funny that the phrasing can be used to ridicule us for appearing to deprecate Truth. I did not intend to disparage Messer-Kruse for availing himself of the opportunity to do so. I have clearly failed to express my intent intelligibly.

@Jimbo: I apologize for injecting a feeble attempt at a humorous observation on the topic of this thread, which has evidently degraded the level of discourse on your discussion page. I regret the disruption it has caused, and shall refrain from intruding here again. ~ Ningauble (talk) 02:51, 27 February 2012 (UTC)

RE The world of academic discourse values original research, and the world of an encyclopedia edited by non-experts eschews it. I don't doubt that that may be a general tendency. But is it intrinsically necessary? Academic researchers conduct reviews of the literature (systematic or otherwise) which may have eligibility criteria far stricter than Wikipedia's own; and such reviews can be highly relevant in research. I'm not suggesting in any way that it should be Wikipedia's job to advance academic research, but I just can't see any intrinsic need for conflict. —MistyMorn (talk) 20:23, 27 February 2012 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I'd say that this site (Wikipedia) eschews not just original research, but fact, accuracy (the exception being that secondary sources are supposed to be accurately cited), and truth. I don't think that encylopedias necessarily avoid those things as a matter of course. Only this one. Wikipedia is built on the idea that, as a corporate entity, it need not concern itself with facts, or truth, because whatever the majority of people thinks is true will suffice. It shoudn't be all that hard for anyone to see that this position wouldn't (and shouldn't) fly in academia. Moynihanian (talk) 20:48, 27 February 2012 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Verifiability, not truth vs. Wikipedia:Truth, not verifiability

As the world's de facto encyclopedia of record, Wikipedia endeavors to publish truth. Truth is preferably established on Wikipedia by citations of facts published by reliable, verifiable secondary sources, which in turn cite facts established by primary sources. Secondary sources are verified by checking their references. When a secondary source establishes a fact through verified citation of a primary source, that secondary source may be cited on Wikipedia, even when a majority of secondary sources cite a contradicting fact, if the contradicting fact is not verified by primary sources. Wbm1058 (talk) 20:05, 21 February 2012 (UTC)

Sigh. I am so glad I don't live in a universe where that makes sense.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 20:16, 21 February 2012 (UTC)
Help me understand the universe we live in at Wikipedia talk:Neutral point of view. Thanks --Wbm1058 (talk) 12:02, 24 February 2012 (UTC)
I don't think "truth" is in Wikipedia's realm. I discuss that and other related issues at length on my talk pageMoynihanian (talk) 01:52, 25 February 2012 (UTC)

If Wikipedia endeavors to publish truth, then why aren't primary sources like coroner's reports and court transcripts acceptable items to cite? Messer-Kruse says "Simply referencing the coroner's records or the trial transcripts or other sources that I'd uncovered was not sufficient" in his NPR interview regarding the Haymarket Affair debacle. I cannot find direct instructions from a Wikipedia editor on the Haymarket Affair talk page that say he can't use either. As a Wikipedia Campus Ambassador, I'm seeking ways we can recruit scholars of the nuanced, minority, and unpopular, to contribute legally and appropriately to Wikipedia. Kmpolacek (talk) 21:29, 23 February 2012 (UTC)

The policy WP:PRIMARY does allow primary sources, used "only with care, because it is easy to misuse them." I have seen court rulings directly cited in a biography of a living person. Wikipedia editors should not "analyze, synthesize, interpret, or evaluate material found in a primary source yourself", but this just leaves it to the reader to draw their own conclusions. In this biography, only the few charges on this person has been convicted are cited in the article. Perhaps the editors had to resort to primary sources because they could not find any secondary sources reporting these convictions to cite, which leaves me wondering whether the convictions are truly notable. On the other hand, this person has been acquitted on far more charges, many of these acquittals have been cited in secondary sources including The New York Times and published books (at least one dedicated entirely to discussing this person's business), yet these acquittals are not mentioned in the WP:BLP article. So, I see cherry picking of primary sources to let the readers draw their own conclusion, while secondary sources defending this individual are not allowed because they are "not reliable", "self-published", WP:FRINGE or whatever excuse the gatekeepers come up with. The bar for secondary sources supporting their point-of-view is much lower, in my opinion. —Wbm1058 (talk) 13:45, 24 February 2012 (UTC)
I am trying to wrap my head around the idea that Wikipedia editors should not "analyze, synthesize, interpret, or evaluate material found in a primary source yourself"... What is the definition of an encyclopedia? A regurgitation of already published material that has not been evaluated at all? Kmpolacek (talk) 16:46, 24 February 2012 (UTC)
An odd word - but fairly accurate. Wikipedia either had to choose between editors asserting that they know the "truth" and using that to determine what is in every article, or saying that there is, for many topics, no "absolute truth" on which every editor would agree, and that to use "what other people write in published works" is a reasonable choice - and that is what Wikipedia chose. Collect (talk) 17:44, 24 February 2012 (UTC)

Why is it acceptable to use 64 primary (of 65 total) sources in the Wikipedia article on RNA, while Messer-Kruse was told he couldn't use any? Kmpolacek (talk) 19:57, 27 February 2012 (UTC)

He wasn't told he couldn't use any primary sources. --FormerIP (talk) 20:39, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
Yeah, right. He was told "Blogs are not considered reliable sources.", and he couldn't use a blog. Since the fact he was using primary sources was not even acknowledged, he wasn't told he could not use them, however, neither was he told that he could. Wbm1058 (talk) 21:54, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
Technically, he cites a blog, but that blog entry was a collection of citations. Why couldn't Wikipedia editors have simply told him to extract and cite the individual citations from within that blog rather than citing the blog itself? Can we not make it easier for new editors? Kmpolacek (talk) 22:03, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
I'd say he actually cites a blog, rather than technically. The information in the blog was then correctly judged good enough by another editor to ring alarm bells about the "no evidence was presented linking..." claim in the article. So this was amended to "no credible evidence", as reflected in secondary sources. The primary sources cited in the blog don't show that the evidence was credible, because primary sources can't do that. --FormerIP (talk) 22:17, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
Which secondary source used the word credible? On M-K's blog, we have, "There was not a shred of evidence", "There was no evidence whatsoever", "There was in fact no evidence" and "Although no evidence emerged", from four different sources. The article from the day before M-K's first edit[7] says: "The prosecution, led by Julius Grinnell, did not offer evidence...", so it appears to me that the source for the word credible may be the Wikipedia editor. Why not just say that evidence was presented? A Wikipedia editor shouldn't make a judgement call over whether it was credible or not.
The blog actually doesn't just cite the primary sources, it has links to the actual trial transcripts which were digitized at http://www.chicagohistory.orgWbm1058 (talk) 23:42, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
Testimony of Harry L. Gilmer (first appearance), 1886 July 28. Testified that he saw August Spies light the fuse of the bomb which was then thrown by Rudolph Schnaubelt. --Wbm1058 (talk) 00:01, 28 February 2012 (UTC)
Please point me to exactly the policy on primary sources. Thanks in advance. Kmpolacek (talk) 21:05, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
WP:PRIMARY, as I said above --Wbm1058 (talk) 21:54, 27 February 2012 (UTC)

History recorded by historian versus history recorded by machine

Tempted to win simply through sheer tenacity, I edited the page again. My triumph was even more fleeting than before. Within seconds the page was changed back. The reason: "reverting possible vandalism." Fearing that I would forever have to wear the scarlet letter of Wikipedia vandal, […]

— The 'Undue Weight' of Truth on Wikipedia, Timothy Messer-Kruse

Alright. I've found in the edit history the first and second sets of edits mentioned in M. Messer-Kruse's article. But where's the third? I've been through all of ClueBot's edits to the article since that point, since they are the ones that use that phrase, and not a one of them is related to this content — although my mental defences against the flood of knowledge imparted therefrom about how various people are faggots and penises may have blinded me to what I was actually looking for. Where was M. Messer-Kruse reverted with that edit summary? M. Messer-Kruse appears to have only made one edit after that, which wasn't reverted with that edit summary. So where's this edit? Uncle G (talk) 01:25, 20 February 2012 (UTC)

  • Did you check to see if he did it as an IP without logging in? You'd have to check the edit summary. Yopienso (talk) 07:27, 20 February 2012 (UTC)
    • As I wrote, ClueBot is the one that uses that phrase in edit summaries, and it was spotted when he accidentally edited without logging in. I've been over every single ClueBot/ClueBot NG diff back until 2008, and unless M. Messer-Kruse is claiming responsibility for edits like "he likes penis" and "faggot", the reversion that scared him into thinking that he might be considered a vandal simply didn't happen, and the tale of history that we are being told by a historian has been embellished. Uncle G (talk) 08:43, 20 February 2012 (UTC)
Technical question: is it plausible that Messer-Kruse saw ClueBot reverting "he likes penis" or some such vandalism, and mistakenly thought that it was referring to his own edit? (Of course it's always possible; I'm asking if that is reasonably likely, or if we can dismiss it as far-fetched.) Homunq (talk) 23:38, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
      • Chronicle ought to allow a right of reply. Fifelfoo (talk) 10:54, 20 February 2012 (UTC)
      • It's easy for any noobie not to know exeactly what vandalism is and isn't on Wikipedia. So maybe he was just recalling, imperfectly perhaps, his sensations at the time. 2c MistyMorn (talk) 10:58, 20 February 2012 (UTC)
In 2011, it became common to stop calling people "vandals" (except within the WP:ANI typical insult sessions). The idea is that no one should be referring to another user as a "vandal" in edit-summaries, and the Bots need to be changed to use different wording. -Wikid77 14:01, 22 February 2012 (UTC)
        • The article does not cast it as a general impression, but as a direct quotation. Although the Chronicle is recognized for some very good work, choosing to run this whiney little piece seems indicative of rather lax or uneven editorial standards for a journal of its type. ~ Ningauble (talk) 15:24, 20 February 2012 (UTC)
          • What I was trying to suggest was that he may have got the "vandalism" recollection wrong in good faith. I agree that there seems to have been a lack of editorial control there. A non-polemical rectification might be appropriate in the spirit of post-publication review. MistyMorn (talk) 15:38, 20 February 2012 (UTC)
          • You don't read it often enough then. This type of article is not that uncommon over there. Wikipedia as their topic of "whining" is uncommon though. ASCIIn2Bme (talk) 17:03, 20 February 2012 (UTC)
          • I don't read it at all, but it was described as "the big cheese in journalism for universities" when a university administrator who, knowing my interest in Wikipedia, forwarded the article. I stand corrected. ~ Ningauble (talk) 18:09, 20 February 2012 (UTC)

Interestingly, Fred Bauder thinks that a historian who writes an article about consulting primary sources and what's in Wikipedia edit logs is a novice who wouldn't consult the primary source containing the edit history. The implication of that proposition, moreover, is that there is no fact checking at the Chronicle of Higher Education. Uncle G (talk) 08:48, 22 February 2012 (UTC)

Yes, simple error is usually the more reasonable explanation. User:Fred Bauder Talk 12:39, 23 February 2012 (UTC)
No one has ever accused Wikipedia of being anything but a very difficult site to navigate. It could be that Messer-Kruse tried, and couldn't find everything, or never saw it to begin with. Moynihanian (talk) 02:29, 25 February 2012 (UTC)

play-by-play account

It seems Uncle G has a valid point, but that should not be used to detract from the overall thrust of MesserKruse's article. In fairness, one should also look at the talk page history when analyzing his edits (researching the primary source). I think it's established that he edited both the talk page and article under IDs MesserKruse and On that "slow day at the office", Jan. 22, 2009, he edited Talk:Haymarket affair 9 times and Haymarket affair 6 times, and User talk:MesserKruse twice and User:MesserKruse once. That's 18 edits on January 22—14 as MesserKruse and 4 as These edits addressed three issues Messer-Kruse raised about the article, not just the one issue that he wrote about in the Chronicle.

His first edit was to the talk page at 16:13, raising what I will call the no evidence issue. 21 minutes later, with no response other than from SineBot, his second edit raised what I'll call the 2 killed, not 6 issue. He quickly followed this with two technical edits (signing his previous post and editing SineBot's post). At 16:36 the talk page had 2 messages: [8][9]. The Chronicle article does not mention these talk page edits. His first article edit, a minute later at 16:37, addresses the 2 killed, not 6 issue. At 16:39, his fifth talk page edit (sixth overall) raised the Parsons led 80,000 issue[10]. His second article edit, at 16:40, addresses the Parsons led 80,000 issue. His third article edit (eighth overall edit)—the first edit mentioned in the Chronicle—at 16:42, addressed the no evidence issue. While a single minute passed between talk page and article edits of the 2 killed, not 6 and Parsons led 80,000 issues, 29 minutes passed between the first talk page no evidence edit and the first no evidence article edit, with no response on the talk page. Could this be counted as a second attempt to obtain acceptance of this proposed change to the article?

At 16:51 (nine minutes later, or "within minutes" according to the Chronicle), his three article edits were all reverted, with edit summary undo good faith but wholly unsourced revisions. Two minutes later (16:53), the reverting editor posts a message to the talk page: You must provide reliable sources for your assertions to make changes along these lines to the article.[11] The Chronicle article repeats this "full explanation in Wikipedia's behind-the-scenes editing log." After 45 minutes pass, M-K, inadvertently switched to an I.P. user, responds on the talk page at 17:27: I have provided reliable sources. See my discussion of the McCormick's strike above in which I cite the primary sources for this information. By what standard are you claiming that is not a "reliable source." It clearly cites primary sources in its rebutal of this myth. Perhaps its not "reliable" sources you want but ideologically comfortable ones.[12] A minute later, between 17:28 and 17:29, M-K edits the article three more times to again address each of the three issues. At 17:33, recognizing that his recent edits had posted under an I.P. address, M-K edits the talk page to replace the I.P. with his user name—his seventh talk page edit, and 13th overall. Four minutes later (17:37), a new (to M-K) editor appears with a talk page response: Please read Wikipedia's policy concerning reliable sources. Blogs are not considered reliable sources. Also, according to our policy concerning "undue weight": articles should not give minority views as much or as detailed a description as more popular views (emphasis in original) You should not delete information supported by the majority of sources to replace it with a minority view. Thank you.[13] As of this time, M-K's article edits were still live. At 17:41, M-K responds on the talk page: Fine. I see I will have to fight these battles one at a time. I will start with the most obvious. Here is a "majority" source, indeed the most often-cited source for information on Haymarket there is, Paul Avrich, The Haymarket Tragedy: from page 190: "Spies had heard that two men had been killed, apparently the correct number, but when he picked up the Daily News, the paper reported six deaths." So, it should be evident that this authoratitive source also agrees the proper number should be TWO. As for you claim about Wikipedia's policy, your characterization of it is absurd, especially if the "majority" source that is cited can be shown to be factually wrong. Explain to me, then, how a "minority" source with facts on its side would ever appear against a wrong "majority" one?[14] Three minutes later, at 17:44, the original responding editor returns: You're more than welcome to discuss reliable sources here, that's what the talk page is for. However, you might want to have a quick look at Wikipedia's civility policy.[15] At 17:55 (11 minutes later), the second responding editor reverts M-K's second set of article edits. This would be the final relevant article edit of the day (a vandal would make a quickly reverted edit several hours later). At 17:57, the second responding editor said: I'll review Avrich tonight. Please have a little patience and leave the article as is until then. Thank you., and at 18:02 M-K responded with his 15th edit of the day: Fair enough. You might also consult the citation provided in the article for the McCormick deaths, that of Green, pp. 162-171. Note that this cited source does not claim that six men were killed, only that August Spies claimed that six men were killed in his Revenge leaflet. Thus, the source cited does not actually support the fact alleged. Several hours later, the second responding editor posted: I checked Avrich and corrected the number of fatalities at McCormick. Thanks for bringing the error to our attention.

Finally, for completeness, is the end-of-day user talk page:[16]. I hope I got all that right. Corrections welcomed. I've spent a lot of time today pulling together this complete set of primary research, so that others may analyze it and write secondary sourced articles referencing it. I hope someone feels my efforts were worthwhile.

Observe that the second set of article reverts happened after the first responding editor either implied that M-K had already violated the civility policy, or warned him by implication that he was on the verge of violating it. In my opinion vandalism is an excellent example of uncivil behavior. Indeed I feel that vandalism is by far the most common form of uncivil behavior on Wikipedia—the vandalism policy page is linked twice from the civility policy page. As the responding editor did not specify the specific type of uncivil behavior, I think it was fair for M-K to assume the most obvious form.

Now, is everyone clear on how many times MesserKruse was reverted on the article page, versus how many times he was "reverted" on the talk page? --Wbm1058 (talk) 20:38, 22 February 2012 (UTC) edited 15:45, 25 February 2012 (UTC)

There have been various accusations of "biting the newbie" as well as talk of excessive templating. Did you find anything like that? --Guy Macon (talk) 09:41, 23 February 2012 (UTC)
First I want to make it clear that (below) was responding to my question, not yours. Off the top of my head, I think I may have seen comments on some talk page(s) characterizing some of the two responding editors' responses to the professor that way. I don't understand what you mean by "excessive templating." Excessive use of these? I did not see any use of them in the above. They could have advised M-K that he could tag the disputed statements with Template:Dubious—I'm not faulting them for not doing that—perhaps they were unaware of that template, or it slipped their mind --Wbm1058 (talk) 15:03, 23 February 2012 (UTC) amended 16:29, 23 February 2012 (UTC)
Oh I see. You're having a separate conversation at Wikipedia talk:Neutral point of view. That puts some context on your questions. --Wbm1058 (talk) 12:15, 24 February 2012 (UTC)
No. I am more confused than before! — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:53, 22 February 2012 (UTC)
Good answer! By simplifying his account of the day, the professor wrote an effective, understandable story which did not get bogged down in details. Could he have been more precise? Certainly. Did he twist the accuracy of his report of the events to the point of telling a notable untruth? I don't think so. Wbm1058 (talk) 15:03, 23 February 2012 (UTC)
Wbm, that big blob of type up there was impossible to follow. I applaud the effort, but not the formatting. But I'm not going to try formatting it myself. God only knows what will happen to me. So I thought I'd just point it out to you, in case you'd like to make it more readable. Moynihanian (talk) 01:46, 25 February 2012 (UTC)
Thanks for coming back to post your opinions on this issue. I've tweaked my play-by-play a little (MOS:COLOR), but realize it's not up to article standards. Your talk page makes very good points. Wbm1058 (talk) 15:45, 25 February 2012 (UTC)
Thanks for the tweaks. I can at least hope to read it. As I explained on my talk page, I think I've already read enough to have formed an opinion about the Messer-Kruse case. But it never hurts to read more, so your reformatting makes it possible for me to give it a try. Moynihanian (talk) 01:10, 26 February 2012 (UTC)

next-day edits responding to Messer-Kruse's points

The second responding editor edited the article the next day to accept some, but not all of Messer-Kruse's points.[17]

  • on the no evidence issue, he added "did not offer credible evidence connecting any of the defendants with the bombing but...", inserting an opinion into the article (the judgement that the evidence was not "credible"—shouldn't Wikipedia leave opinions of that sort to trial juries to decide?
  • on the 2 killed, not 6 issue, he added "(although some newspaper accounts said there were six fatalities)." to M-K's final edit. I believe M-K would respond, "fair enough."
  • on the Parsons led 80,000 issue, the statement "Parsons, with his wife Lucy and their children, led a march of 80,000 people down Michigan Avenue." was restored, and apparently no effort was made to verify the primary sources M-K cited on his blog.

So only one of three issues was fixed the next day, the way M-K wanted them fixed.

M-K later raised two additional issues, detailed at Talk:Haymarket affair#Signpost article, and neither of these issues were accepted until after publication of the Chronicle article. Wbm1058 (talk) 20:12, 25 February 2012 (UTC) One of them was accepted 25 January 2012, which may have been before the Chronicle article came out. 20:35, 25 February 2012 (UTC)

Are you supposing that if someone asks for changes to an article and says "I have a blog" then they should automatically get their way? "Did not offer credible evidence" is, by Messer-Kruse's account, a fair summary of the views of pretty much all published scholars on the subject except him. "Led a march of 80,000" is also what all the sources say, as can be seen from [the famous blog]. The only cited reason Messer Kruse offers for doubting this is that "at the time Avrich has him parading arm-in-arm with his children in Chicago, Parsons was, by his own account, on his way by train to Cincinnati where he was to give a talk the next day" - that's interesting, but not a substitute for actually knowing what is in the newspaper reports he cites. And, no, it is not the job of other editors to go to Chicago and do the research. --FormerIP (talk) 22:38, 25 February 2012 (UTC)
Are you supposing that if someone asks for changes to an article and says "I have a blog" then they should automatically get their way? No. This question is a nonstarter.
"Did not offer credible evidence" is, by Messer-Kruse's account, a fair summary of the views of pretty much all published scholars on the subject except him. Fine. Just don't publish it as an undisputed fact on Wikipedia. It's fine to say that is the opinion of many published authors. The jury's opinion was guilty, and common sense says juries don't hand out guilty verdicts based on no credible evidence. I haven't seen any allegations of jury tampering. M-K has pointed to a primary source—the trial transcript—that documents the evidence presented. That is all I think Wikipedia requires—citing the sources. If an editor wants to challenge that, it is up to them to verify the sources, then, if they find the sources do not back up what M-K is saying, that editor should testify on Wikipedia how they found that the sources did not back up M-K's assertions.
The matter of M-K's view of the march is more based on a circumstantial case. My view (opinion) is that M-K has adequately called the matter into question so that it should no longer be presented as an undisputed fact. I think M-K might say about the current Haymarket affair article, "fair enough." There is now a footnote stating M-K's view. The main issue facing Wikipedia is how much teeth-pulling it took to make that happen. Reasonable, unbiased editors should have helped the newcomer, professor M-K, facilitate that outcome. Wbm1058 (talk) 13:02, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
Messer-Kruse's views should not be disparaged as WP:FRINGE and that used as an excuse to ban them from Wikipedia. I'm not saying that was done in this case, but I know of one biography of a living person where the predominant view of the controlling editors is that this person's view of the facts is taken as "fringe". Thus, his supporters are not really allowed to defend his reputation on Wikipedia. Wbm1058 (talk) 13:15, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
How much assistance M-K ought to have been given is not so easy to say. I'd say that, strictly speaking, no-one is obliged to help anyone here. Wikipedia helps those who help themselves and "all the experts are wrong, take a look at this blog ya bunch o' pinkos" is probably never going to represent a winning strategy.
In terms of whether he presented good evidence in support of his case, no he absolutely didn't. Whether the evidence presented in the HM trial was credible or not is a matter of opinion and, in 2009, scholarly opinion appears to have been unanimous that it wasn't. That entitled WP to present it as uncontroversial fact. M-K didn't present any evidence to the contrary, except for the conclusions of a blog. The blog also suggests that Parsons could not have been in Chicago for the May 1 rally, and that there are newspaper reports that prove this. But we are not told what is in the newspaper reports. Given that we have highly reliable sourcing that says he was indeed in Chicago, this is simply not enough for us to remove the claim from the article. So, it's not about WP:FRINGE, but about what standard of evidence we require in order to accept claims of fact which appear to go against scholarship. --FormerIP (talk) 13:52, 27 February 2012 (UTC)

Need guideline for crime articles

It struck me as very foolish to claim, "[T]he prosecution did not present any evidence against the accused" (when instead, a typical problem in other courts would be the prosecution presented falsified evidence rather than none), and so, we need to have a crime-guideline that warns to avoid documented nonsense being fostered by sources. Because crime articles tend to foster a competitive attitude of "winning" the case, as either "guilty" or "not guilty" (or "innocent"), then the guideline should be used to provide some ground rules as to just when bizarre claims are being made. For example, as noted for criminal trials in Italy, almost half of all "primary-grade convictions" in Italian courts are reversed during the secondary-grade trials of appeal. Meanwhile, the notion that the "prosecution did not present any evidence" should have been a red flag that the sources were false about such a claim, related to a criminal trial in the U.S. -Wikid77 (talk) 14:01, revised 14:11, 22 February 2012 (UTC)

Altgeld's grave
I think this evolved from "the evidence utterly failed to connect the unknown who threw the bomb with the defendants". But I have certainly seen similar bizarre claims made, generally against those who's side history has not been on. Rich Farmbrough, 00:45, 24 February 2012 (UTC).
We should document nonsense being fostered by sources, but we should make more effort to specify the source and distance our viewpoint from that. Very little said at a criminal trial, whether by witness, prosecution, defense, judge or jury, is particularly likely to be true. Wnt (talk) 19:48, 28 February 2012 (UTC)

NPR radio program

Timothy Messer-Kruse, Andrew Lih and Steven Walling discussed the article and Messer-Kruse's editing experience on NPR yesterday (Truth And The World Of Wikipedia Gatekeepers). Transcript and audio here. --JN466 15:37, 23 February 2012 (UTC)

Interesting discussion, imo. Challenging on use of primary sources. But not 'whining' at all. Too many 'Keep off the grass' nags...? Andrew Lih's point about "unfortunately, a lot of the policies and a lot of the community members who act in editing are working in kind of a defensive mode and trying to prevent bad things from going in rather than encouraging good things from being there". Default defense mode in some of this thread too? As if this incident was going to be a serious threat to Wikipedia rather than an opportunity for creative reflection. Perhaps a side-effect of having so much to defend... Including all those policies and guidelines. Maybe the communal mindset needs a tweak. In terms of outlook? —MistyMorn (talk) 17:49, 24 February 2012 (UTC)
I think that may well be true. But the thing is that Messer-Kruse isn't providing good testimony, because he seems to be misdescribing his experience. It's not clear whether he presented any primary sources, but his blog wasn't ignored. It was taken as a cue to double-check the secondary sources. This was done and the article text amended so that it was compatible with the available evidence. Perhaps not compatible with Messer-Kruse's take on the evidence, but that's a whole other issue. --FormerIP (talk) 19:03, 24 February 2012 (UTC)
Granted. I just feel the debate is more stimulus than threat. — MistyMorn (talk) 19:29, 24 February 2012 (UTC)

A special request

Hello, I have a very special request. An article stub I support at AFD is opposed only by the nominator and no one has commented. I said in jest: "I'd accept Jimbo's opinion like a WP:3O resolution". Fact is I would, and now I am rather keen to have your opinion. I understand you may be traveling, and this wouldn't be a high priority, but if you find it possible, that would be great. Of course I respect the many editors I often see commenting here, so please, take a look at it and opine. A discussion where no one discusses is rather lame. Richard Landis My76Strat (talk) 02:35, 24 February 2012 (UTC)

You should try the WP:Article Rescue Squadron. Mark Hurd (talk) 07:24, 24 February 2012 (UTC)
That is a fair consideration, but then I could be said to canvass for users likely to support my position. I am rather asking the competent editors who comment at this page comment appropriately according to policy and best practice. And because I do respect Mr. wales demonstrated inclination to thoughtful considerations, I agree to accept his opinion, without equivocation. Otherwise, what is the problem getting the discussion to move along? My76Strat (talk) 07:46, 24 February 2012 (UTC)
An interesting aside just developed. I emailed Mr. Landis when this deletion first commenced. I just checked my mail, and today I received his thoughtful response, with expressed gratitude. He did provide some specific information which I believe will refine a more productive search for sources. But I think the article is a solid stub as is, and take issue that at least one editor feels it more proper to contest. But the matter will resolve, I'd just prefer to hear additional comments. Cheers - My76Strat (talk) 08:09, 24 February 2012 (UTC)
Let's not resort to original research :-) (talk→ BWilkins ←track) 11:33, 24 February 2012 (UTC)
I see the :-) but just confirming for User:My76Strat, getting secondary source suggestions from Mr Landis is a good option, seeing as it is available to you. Just be careful not to fall foul of COI. Mark Hurd (talk) 12:25, 24 February 2012 (UTC)

I'd best stay out of it. If I were to vote right now, it would be to delete. I support seeking more eyes on the question, and if WP:RS do exist, they should be used. I have to second Mark's caution about COI - I have very strong views on COI editing, as is well known. I think contacting the subject of a biography can sometimes be the right thing to do, but let's also acknowledge that if they are unlikely to have an entry in Wikipedia, then contacting them to ask for more sources may simply engage them in an issue that is only going o disappoint them and hurt their feelings in the end. Adding yet another not-very-good and not-very-maintainable biography to Wikipedia is always a bad idea, and attempting to do so in a way which hurts the feeling of the subject compounds that problem!--Jimbo Wales (talk) 14:38, 24 February 2012 (UTC)

Thank you Mr. Wales. I am surprised that you would initially suggest the article is not fit for inclusion. I admit I failed to consider Mr. Landis' feelings when taking the step to contact him. I immediately realized upon seeing his reply that his emotions were affixed. So you are certainly correct that it should never be taken lightly. I have a sense that you have misjudged me at some level regarding this thread, but the error is likely mine. I did agree to accept your opinion with the weight of wp:3O so I don't feel very motivated to support this article further. I will say I vested considerable effort to produce two billboard articles about the subject, and a record of his winning "album of the year" for 1994 at the CMA Awards. Honestly, I thought that would support the subjects notability. You communicate clearly that the article is not-very-good and infer it is misplaced as content. Those are errors attributable to me; they will not be replicated. Thank you for appending your regards here, and be well in you travels. - My76Strat (talk) 23:50, 24 February 2012 (UTC)
There is, as always, a difference between the "topic being fit for inclusion" and the "article being fit for inclusion". Personally, I believe it to be insensitive and dangerous to have contacted the possible subject of a biography, but maybe that's just me. (talk→ BWilkins ←track) 14:04, 25 February 2012 (UTC)
I think it is fine that you have an opinion about contacting people. I also have an opinion, and it doesn't align with yours in this regard. To clarify a point regarding Jimbo's comment. I did not feel the subject of this article was even potentially deletable, let alone likely! I was endeavoring to improve the article and I availed myself to what I believe is reasonable. I want to also be clear that I have no COI in this matter. Nevertheless I believe the suggestion that he is not a notable musician is insulting. My76Strat (talk) 01:08, 26 February 2012 (UTC)

Is this an infringement?

Jimbo, have you ever heard of this site? [18] It seems to me they are infringing on Wikipedia's rights. Do you see any problems in their content and presentation? My76Strat (talk) 01:38, 27 February 2012 (UTC)

Interesting... I don't know for sure. It says it's a Wikimedia project and powered by MediaWiki. If that is untrue, it could in fact be infringing on copyright, but I can't be sure. If it is in fact a Wikimedia project and powered by MediaWiki, then I don't see how it can be infringement. Akihironihongo (talk) 00:05, 28 February 2012 (UTC)
Yes I agree. That is the essence of my question. If it is an infringement, something should be done, if it is not an infringement, I have more to say about my impression. My76Strat (talk) 00:57, 28 February 2012 (UTC)
Still wondering? My76Strat (talk) 01:53, 29 February 2012 (UTC)
I doubt that Jimbo would even know - this should probably go to Wikipedia:Mirror#Non-compliance process or to WMF legal counsel. I think that only a lawyer could answer your question. First Light (talk) 02:09, 29 February 2012 (UTC)

Where does it say it's a Wikimedia project? It looks like a garden-variety implementation of MediaWiki to me, coupled with some aping or parodying of some Wikipedia conventions (such as deletion discussions). In any event, I'm sure there are better places to press this inquiry if it is of concern to you. Regards, Newyorkbrad (talk) 02:05, 29 February 2012 (UTC)

Thank you for commenting. At the bottom of the page it does show the Wikimedia project and powered by Mediawiki logos. Also if the lettered globe is registered, It seems they deface it. I guess my main question is: is this a Wikipedia project or not? Then I will know what to press and which direction to press towards. My76Strat (talk) 02:21, 29 February 2012 (UTC)
  • Looks like protected parody to me. Carrite (talk) 14:13, 1 March 2012 (UTC)

the new "Community Advocacy Department" and "Director of Community Advocacy"

I understand that this is Zack Exley's idea but I am wondering why this is necessary given statements I've seen by Jimbo that seemed to downplay expectations that the blackout we saw last month is going to be something we see on a regular basis. If the blackout is unrelated there's still the question as to why this bureaucracy exists. I understand that the page provides explanation but what's the skinny re what's going on in the WMF?--Brian Dell (talk) 01:04, 25 February 2012 (UTC)

I'm afraid I don't understand where you are coming from. What does the blackout have to do with this? Nothing, as far as I can tell. The page provides a perfectly sensible explanation, and if you have questions about that I can give my own opinions. Asking for "the skinny" is perplexing to me, are you assuming that there is some additional or secret reason? Your whole approach here smacks of bad faith assumptions!--Jimbo Wales (talk) 13:54, 25 February 2012 (UTC)
Bdell55, I would like to encourage you to participate in the community consultation about this new position. And, yes, even the name of the department is up for reconsideration if the community feels that is the right appellation. I guess I would ask questions like the following: Do you think we should not be recognizing and supporting our ArbCom and other administrators and functionaries? Do you think we should not be supporting our editors and the content they write when other country laws may suggest that the content should be removed? Do you think we should not be considering ideas like defense funds for administrators? If you answer "no" to these questions, then I think you will be surprised by some of our ideas about the community advocacy department. This is not a lobbying arm of Wikimedia. If people want legislative updates, we can consider that in this year's budget, but, if people don't want it, that is fine. Indeed, we are being extremely transparent about this. We want the community to tell us what it wants and we are even willing to change the name if the community doesn't like it. So ... bottom line ... I think you should help us form this new department and give us your ideas! Geoffbrigham (talk) 21:17, 27 February 2012 (UTC)

English Wikipedia help

Hello Jimbo – among all the trouble and strife of life, I wonder if you might spare a moment for this. I notice that Snotbot currently has Special:New Pages delay at Defcon 5 (5.77 days); WP:AfC currently says there are 382 submissions pending; it looks to me like a huge majority of new articles by new editors are being deleted every day; and, in a related discussion about en-help on IRC, respectful editors are nonetheless liable to express strong emotion. This at a point where the discussion seemed all but to have petered out: feelings must be running high! It seems to me that all of this is no coincidence. In the meantime, in a little corner of WP, a few editors are wondering what to do about the disappearance of one particular editor whom they know well and respect greatly, and, on one recent occasion, said that he had responded to 650 WP:AfC submissions in one day, reducing the waiting list to zero (see this selection of his contributions). In the past, that editor was also involved in managing and maintaining (e.g. here, here, here and here) the now defunct "feedback" service at WP:FEED.

The editor in question has withdrawn from WP because, in his own off-wiki words to me (we've had off-wiki contact for nigh on four years now), he "can't tell [new editors] how great Wikipedia is, and how great our principles of 'consensus' and discussion are, when they don't apply in the very medium [IRC] I am using [to help them]."

There has been friction between the editor in question and other en-help users, for which he admits he is partly to blame; but it seems clear to me at any rate that this friction had its roots in frustration, misunderstanding, and, ultimately, the appearance at least that en-help on IRC doesn't play by the same rules as WP. On-wiki discussion seems to have reached a stalemate – comparing the situation to a game of chess isn't the best way to describe it, however, since it's also very clear to me that the absent editor doesn't want to "win" anything for himself, only for Wikipedia; and I'm sure that other editors who are involved one way or another have a similarly sincere approach, for their part. The sticking point is, IMHO, that there is disagreement over the existence of a problem in en-help on IRC – I think I'm right in saying that those who control it don't think there's a problem, which to me seems prima facie suspicious, although I have no reason to suppose that anyone is actually being disingenuous, and I wish to insult precisely no-one – and I know that I'm not alone in having run out of ideas about how to approach the situation in on-wiki discussion. All the while, there's every reason to believe that significant numbers of new editors are feeling "burned" in article creation every day, there's a large backlog at WP:AfC, and we have one editor who has made significant contributions towards helping others (alongside other helpers, whose contribution I by no means intend to disregard, let alone belittle), and is keen to do more, sitting on the sidelines taking time out, maybe never to return.

One last thing: I'm told by that editor that

[the New Page Patrol] problem should have been averted when the community agreed to the “Proposal to require autoconfirmed status in order to create articles”. That should have gone ahead – but WMF said no, and instead they’re developing more “toys” (a new NPP interface). The community – in particular the “front line” that work hard on new pages – know damn-well that the only solution is, to have new users create articles that are not live, and to give them help. “We” (those frontline people) spent months getting that across – and succeeded – only to have [someone] from WMF turn around and refuse to implement it. That was a ridiculous … decision – and it shows the core issue.

Relevant diffs are here, here and here. If this is a fair assessment, then I find it very disheartening. I think you'd have to talk to the editor in question for a complete understanding of what he means by "core issue" – I wouldn't want to complicate things by getting it even slightly wrong – but, as I understand it, he certainly intends to include his position on en-help on IRC: apparently, while the WP community can't agree how that should be run, the WMF says it's not its responsibility.

Let me be quite clear that I am involved with that editor, and am searching for a way to pour oil on troubled waters so that he feels able to return to WP; although I've spent the last few days looking at discussions and diffs, I am not familiar with all the history of this issue, and I often find that I might as well be a WP newbie when it comes to following intricate discussion of WP's inner workings; but, at the same time, if these "problems" do exist, then I think that they need fixing PDQ, and I believe that explicit input from you might well help to break the present, perceived impasse, one way or another. Thanks for reading. Nortonius (talk) 21:18, 25 February 2012 (UTC)

  • Expectations of Wikipedia paradise are too optimistic: There is no procedure for actual "due process" to decide most disagreements in English Wikipedia. Instead, many people working with "how great Wikipedia is" have been blocked or banned, with no real attempt to reach a real "wp:Consensus" (which has finally been described as needing "compromise" of all parties, per policy). I was repeatedly hounded from editing about Amanda Knox, during the past 2 years, because I was talking with highly-experienced paralegal or criminal-law editors who wanted to emphasize that the sources were explaining how there was insufficient evidence, no motive, and no justification to keep Amanda Knox in cautionary detention awaiting the trial and appeal. Finally, I was "topic banned" in 2011, and although I did not agree to "consensus" for that outcome, I had been accused of noting there was no reliable evidence and possibly "swaying" the decision of the appeals jury. So, I did not fight the topic-ban, and allowed the Italian jury (without my edits) to acquit and find Knox innocent along with her 1-week boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito ("so-LAY-cha-to"). Well, both of them are now writing big-money insider books to, hopefully, explain how the paralegal experts were not "POV pushing" in Wikipedia, and to explain why there was no credible evidence against them (the "murder weapon" contained no blood, only rye bread on the blade). Anyway, long story short: look at WP:RESTRICT to see the large number of people who did not come to a "consensus" about how to edit within mutual guidelines. I firmly believe that Wikipedia should move to randomized "jury duty" to allow non-involved editors, who have ample time, to carefully review a case and help decide the outcome. The accused editors, many of whom did not do much wrong, need to be given "due process" to state their case, refute untrue allegations, go on wikibreak if needed, and have impartial editors review the evidence and help seek compromise solutions. So, do not think only IRC has problems trying to meet a compromise which all editors can abide. -Wikid77 (talk) 06:51, 26 February 2012 (UTC)
  • As far as the issue of Chzz, I'm not sure what to tell his e-mail friends other than what we've been telling them in multiple places: Chzz is not banned or blocked from either wikipedia or #wikipedia-en-help. He lost his advanced permissions on the help channel because he abused them while angry, but he's welcome to speak to the channel contacts and try to regain the trust he lost by doing that, and he's absolutely welcome to help users via the usual channels on IRC or Wikipedia if he wants. There's also nothing stopping him from creating a competing help channel, with the expectation that if his channel does it better, it could eventually supplant the current help channel (I suppose this is subject to freenode channel guidelines, if he wanted to create it on the freenode server, but he can check with freenode staff about that). So far, he hasn't (as far as I know) returned to either Wikipedia, the current help channel, or a new help channel to help people; the sticking point seems to be that he won't come back unless his advanced permissions (which he abused) to #wikipedia-en-help are returned, and he won't speak to the people who might be able to return his permissions because he's too hurt that they were removed. So we end up with layers of Chzz's friends, such as Nortonius here, requesting that we make peace with Chzz, but with Chzz unwilling to engage with anyone other than his friends directly, that's pretty well impossible. A fluffernutter is a sandwich! (talk) 17:54, 26 February 2012 (UTC)
Thanks for the thoughts Fluffernutter. But I've raised some substantive issues above, to which I'd be interested to see Jimbo's response. In the meantime, I hope that I indicated clearly enough that I do appreciate that there are relevant feelings and sincere positions held on all sides, not just by Chzz; but I also indicated a reason for Chzz's absence which is quite unrelated to "Chzz's feelings", in the first quotation from Chzz that I included above. As I said, if Chzz's assessment is a fair one – and I understand that others can have differing assessments – then I think that there are issues to be addressed which have nothing to do with Chzz. If so, and if something changes, then everyone (including WP) stands to win.

I too would like to see Chzz say more about it on-wiki. As you say, he's been angered; but the point I'm trying to make is that this was mainly born out of frustration with WP's help for newbies etc. as a whole, as well as the fractured relationship between en-help on IRC and WP – I don't think it would be at all accurate to characterise his position as having "gone off in a temper" about what developed between him and others on the live channel, given his views in the second quotation above regarding the related issue of WMF's behaviour towards the New Page Patrol proposal. He's really not fussed about having buttons to press, unless they're germane to how he's trying to help someone (I was talking with him about precisely this last night), and he's certainly not "too hurt" to engage; he's just had enough! I expect lots of us know what that feels like. I'm pretty sure that he's not going to be interested in the otherwise worthy things you suggest, until WMF becomes more solution-focused than it seems currently to be; but obviously a much clearer relationship between e.g. en-help on IRC and WP could be part of that and also help.

I know that Chzz doesn't feel too clever for upsetting fellow users on IRC, but this isn't about misplaced pride. For Chzz to feel like returning, I think that, as well as some movement on the foregoing, there needs to be some kind of on-wiki "process" involving Chzz, e.g., dare I say it, Arbcom. In the end, though, I feel that I can help best by focusing on the perceived issues, rather than "what Chzz wants", notwithstanding any possible developments over at ArbCom. True, I only know about these perceived issues because I know Chzz; but please, don't get the idea that he came to me asking for help! My general ignorance of WP's inner workings (which I already mentioned) makes me the last person that someone as knowledgable as Chzz might turn to. No, I saw something was wrong, and asked, "What's up?" Now, I understand things just a little better, and think that I recognise the things that got to Chzz for myself. Hope that helps. Nortonius (talk) 19:16, 26 February 2012 (UTC)

Yes, sorry, I didn't mean to come across as speaking for Jimbo or discounting your other points. I'm actually quite interested in hearing Jimbo's take on the issue of new users, new users' article creation, and the Foundation's approach to those, too. A fluffernutter is a sandwich! (talk) 21:04, 26 February 2012 (UTC)
I will say that I got an e-mail from Chzz about a few things, but the part most salient here is that he thought the business with bug 30208 (we know how that turned out) was indicative of many things gone very wrong. My take on it is already quite well known, so I'll say no more. The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 21:13, 26 February 2012 (UTC)
  • Many different user-help issues to discuss: There are so many various issues to consider, about helping new users along with other users. Plus, there are general burn-out problems with any users who handle "650 articles per day" or any other tedious work, such as fixing "2,500 grammar errors per day" in several large articles, or "moving 30 free images per day" to Commons. A wikibreak, for those users, of 1 or 2 months might not be a bad thing at all. For delays, in responses to user questions at WP:Help_desk, there is often a delay of 1-2 hours for responses. However, attempts to answer many questions quickly, within the first hour, often leads to "edit conflict" of editors trying to post well-written replies to the same question. In many cases, there should be "canned reply" essays, which should be merely linked in the response to user questions. However, when looking at WP's "set of help pages" there are numerous gaps, whole subjects not covered in any help pages, where a user could expect to check "WP:xxxxx" where "xxxxx" is a common term for a subject, but the user finds no such page. Try some common terms and see which are missing: WP:Hyphenation, WP:Commas, WP:Dashes, WP:Images, WP:Sounds, WP:Hatemail, WP:Insults, WP:Calculations, WP:Questions, WP:Paragraphs (think of others to try), etc. As an example, wp:Dashes could redirect as in WP:DASH. However, for the whole topics not covered by any obvious help page, then the question-responders might feel compelled to repeat too many answers which should have already been written (and clarified) in prior essay/help pages. I understand that it might seem the "system needs fixing" but often the broad reality is that a "lot of work needs to be worked" to simplify recurring problems that new users (and old) are questioning. -Wikid77 (talk) 13:39, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
Understood, Fluffernutter, thanks for that; actually Blade of the Northern Lights I didn't know about "your take" on "bug 30208", i.e. the NPP proposal (if I understand you correctly), but a search on Google fixed that for me, and this Wikipedia Signpost article "Foundation overrules community consensus on autoconfirmation trial" illustrates the divide between WMF and WP. Forgive me but, to me, this statement in that article regarding the NPP proposal, from a WMF deputy director, is patently absurd: "we believe that creating a restriction of this type is a strong a statement of exclusion, not inclusion, and that it will confuse and deter good faith editors." All the proposal was designed to "exclude", as I see it, was innocent but naive contributions to this encyclopedia which created work for those already engaged with it; anyone would still be free to edit existing articles (my personal experience is that innocent, naive edits can often be useful in developing an existing article, pointing out omissions, new content etc.) and to create a free, gratis, libre account and edit, through which they could become "included" and be more likely to contribute to this encyclopedia in the longer term.

And Wikid77, you make some interesting points there, but, if I may, my original post wasn't about "burn-out" per se, or the mainly intra-WP issues which you identify, which in themselves seem to me to be more about "not enough hands to do the work" – however, I can see that, if the perceived WMF–WP issues which I pointed to were addressed, and if WMF needs to be, and becomes, more solution-focused, for example regarding the NPP proposal and the nature of en-help for WP on IRC, then there could be more motivated hands available to do this work, and, in time, more experienced and committed editors at WP. Now, wouldn't that be great?! Nortonius (talk) 11:07, 28 February 2012 (UTC)

To give you a hint, I'm the one who initially brought the idea up at the Village Pump. I'm very much for it still. The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 13:59, 28 February 2012 (UTC)
That's how I interpreted your first comment here, but thanks for the useful clarification; and, understood about the idea's origin, if this is what you mean? In looking at that discussion, I note Yoenit's comment that, in early 2011, "around 80% of the pages created by new users [was] deleted. Freaking 80%! [And that] deletion of a page is inherently wp:BITEY, no matter how you bring the message" – not much change there then, since almost a year ago! Cheers. Nortonius (talk) 14:33, 28 February 2012 (UTC)
WP:Village pump (miscellaneous)/Archive 31#requiring autoconfirmation to create articles is where it started. The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 14:42, 28 February 2012 (UTC)
Yes, sorry, I could've posted a better link, but your link fixes it! :o) I'd lay money on the NPP proposal having drastically improved that particular situation by now if it had been adopted, instead of being unilaterally dismissed by WMF… I think that and the perceived issue of en-help on IRC remain in contention, in other words. Thoughts, Jimbo? Nortonius (talk) 15:11, 28 February 2012 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Here's an RfA from 2007: it illustrates on-wiki process regarding IRC (in this case en-admins). Apparently views had been expressed that "IRC is not Wikipedia" and "Therefore, 'dispute resolution' is not via Wikipedia". Under "Final decision", it's recorded that "The Arbitration Committee has recently been asked by Jimbo Wales to take an expanded role in the governance of IRC", and "Policy and procedure changes regarding Wikipedia IRC channels will be addressed separately by this committee." But arbitration policy currently states only that "Evidence based on private communications (including, but not limited to, other websites, forums, chat rooms, IRC logs[my bold], email correspondence) is admissible only by prior consent of the Committee and only in exceptional circumstances." Does this mean that ArbCom is not currently in a position to deal with general IRC issues, unless perhaps this falls under "exceptional circumstances"? How did ArbCom respond substantively to those "final decisions", i.e. Jimbo's request that they take on an expanded role in governance of IRC, and the decision to address policy and procedure re IRC channels? I ask because it doesn't look like they did, from what I've indicate there. Anyone care to fill in the gaps? Nortonius (talk) 13:58, 29 February 2012 (UTC)

Should I assume from this deafening silence that Jimbo's request in 2007 has been ignored? (given the frequency at which this page is archived, I think it's not unreasonable to describe the lack of response in that time as "deafening silence") Although I have no reason to expect Jimbo to involve himself in every thread on this page, it does relate to him directly, and I've asked for his input directly: does this silence also mean that Jimbo is ignoring this thread? No-one even from WMF wants to respond regarding the NPP proposal? It might be a "done deal" in their eyes, but evidently the WP community was excluded. About perceived issues concerning en-help on IRC, it looks very much to me as though it is their business: e.g. documentation is on Meta-Wiki here, and e.g. a sub-page here – even their "office hours" are on IRC, according to this, also on Meta-Wiki. But, they don't want to talk about it...? Nortonius (talk) 13:43, 1 March 2012 (UTC)

French Wikipedia definition of God

Formerly To Jimbo

Hello Jimbo,

I've been around wikipedia long enough to know that such messages get ignored most of the time. Therefore, I took extra time to write this down in order to calm down before making flaming comments. But I still feel like I need to inform you. Please, just confirm you read this, I'll be happy with that. I'll be extra short.

According to fr:Dieu, there is one unique, definitive and undisputed definition of God. As far as I can tell, it is 100% conform to the archetypal definition of God in Abrahamic religions. One could claim that fr.wikipedia is not the only one to devote the main "God" article to that one. But as far as I am concerned, it is still the only one that do not mention nothing else relevant about unique God between that God and the polytheist point of view. It is the only one to not even mention that it is presenting a very specific point of view.

I'm been blocked from fr.wikipedia for my 8th and 9th month in total in this affair, this time by the arbcom. I've been told that the humanity might have agreed upon a single definition of God during the 20th century, so that I was making some original research to claim that there is still exist more than one definition based on my old open source version of the encyclopedia Britannica 1911 that was clearly describing that abrahamic POV amongst others.

My opinion is that the fr interpretation of the NPOV have seriously drifted from the original statements. The Arbcom openly said that they would not look at the sources to judge me. I can't find what kind of interpretation they have, but they doesn't seem to see any problem with that situation.

I don't know... Maybe you will also think that claiming there is only one undisputed God on Wikipedia is the good thing to do. But if, like me, you have a doubt about that, you might want to take a closer look at what is becoming fr.wikipedia.

Iluvalar (talk) 16:37, 26 February 2012 (UTC) Please just confirm you read.

I am revising the heading of this section from "To Jimbo" to "French Wikipedia definition of God", in harmony with WP:TPOC, point 12 (Section headings). Please see Microcontent: Headlines and Subject Lines (Alertbox).
Wavelength (talk) 20:24, 26 February 2012 (UTC)
I came across this and it piqued my interest. I don't edit much but do understand French so I looked at this. I can't see the problem here; There is an article for Dieu, that article has a hat which clearly states that there is a difference between Dieu (with a capital D) referring to the monotheist religions and "dieu" with a small d, also called "Divinité" providing a link to the other article which details gods of other religions. The statement Iluvalar has made "According to fr:Dieu, there is one unique, definitive and undisputed definition of God." does not appear correct to me as both in the hat itself, and the article makes it clear that the definition being explained is about the God of monotheistic religions, with the hat providing a link to the other definitions. I can't see anything wrong with the approach French Wikipedia has taken. I am not saying it is the only approach, but I don't see how there could be a problem in wanting to separate the monotheistic definition of "God" and the polytheistic definition of a "god". CaptainJ (t | c | e) 21:34, 26 February 2012 (UTC)
The first sentence in the section fr:Dieu#Dieu dans l'islam says "Dans l'islam, Dieu porte le nom d'Allah et constitue le cœur de la foi et de la pratique des croyants musulmans dont chaque aspect de la vie lui est ainsi relié à travers la religion." In English, that says "In Islam, God bears the name of Allah and constitutes the heart of the faith and of the practice of the Muslim believers of whom each aspect of life is connected to him through the religion."
Wavelength (talk) 21:54, 26 February 2012 (UTC)
I apologize for my posting of 21:54. I forgot that Islam is classified as an Abrahamic religion. That quotation does not indicate a counterexample, after all.
Wavelength (talk) 22:28, 26 February 2012 (UTC)
What CaptainJ said. Nortonius (talk) 22:36, 26 February 2012 (UTC)
What note CaptainJ is right. The article start with a distinction between God and gods and then give the definition of God in Abrahamic religions instead. Followed by the historical point of view of the evolution of the God of Abraham, and then a classification between the 3 Abrahamic religions and New Age (???). fr.Wikipedia will never come close to something like Conceptions of God at that rate. Bahá'í (which is even Abrahamic according to EN), Buddhistism, Hinduism and Sikhism have been removed from the article in the past few years. Iluvalar (talk) 04:46, 27 February 2012 (UTC)

Friendly notification regarding this week's Signpost

Hello. This is an automated message to tell you that, as it stands, you will shortly be mentioned in this week's 'Arbitration Report' (link). The report aims to inform The Signpost‍ '​s many readers about the activities of the Arbitration Committee in a non-partisan manner. Please review the article, and, if you have any concerns, feel free to leave them in the Comments section directly below the main body of text, where they will be read by a member of the editorial team. Please only edit the article yourself in the case of grievous factual errors (making sure to note such changes in the comments section), as well as refraining from edit-warring or other uncivil behaviour on project pages generally. Thank you. On behalf of The Signpost‍ '​s editorial team, LivingBot (talk) 00:00, 27 February 2012 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Arbitration/Requests/Case/TimidGuy ban appeal closed

This case has now closed and the final decision is viewable at the link above. The following remedies have been enacted:

  1. Jimbo Wales' ban of TimidGuy is vacated.
  2. TimidGuy is advised to adhere closely to the reliable sources (medicine) guideline in any edit he makes within the Transcendental Meditation topic.
  3. For conduct unbecoming an administrator, Will Beback is desysopped and may only regain the tools via a new Request for Adminship.
  4. Will Beback is indefinitely topic banned from pages related to new religious movements, broadly construed.
  5. Will Beback is indefinitely banned from the English Wikipedia. After six months, he may appeal his ban to the Arbitration Committee.
  6. The community is encouraged to open a Request for comment on the "Conflicts of Interest" guideline with a view to reconciling some of the apparent contradictions discussed in the applicable finding of fact.

For the Arbitration Committee, Alexandr Dmitri (talk) 00:54, 27 February 2012 (UTC)

Discuss this
Jimbo, according to what I read during the case, you aren't necessarily to blame for wrongfully banning TimidGuy from the TM topic area, as you may have been given misleading evidence on which to base your decision. Now that the case is closed, however, if you would like to say anything to TimidGuy, his talk page is here. Cla68 (talk) 01:00, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
Also, the RfC on the COI guideline is here. Cla68 (talk) 01:25, 27 February 2012 (UTC)

Categories for discussion nomination of Category:Jimbo Wales

Info talk.png

Category:Jimbo Wales, which is about you, has been nominated for renaming to Category:Wikipedia Jimbo Wales. If you would like to participate in the discussion, you are invited to add your comments at the category's entry on the Categories for discussion page. Thank you. RevelationDirect (talk) 04:22, 27 February 2012 (UTC)

Just curious...

Hello, Mr. Wales. I am just wondering, can a block log be cleared or deleted? Again, just curious, since I was looking at my own block log from '07, with a pair of rather....let's just say overly harsh blocks I'd prefer to forget about. Xterra1 05:50, 28 February 2012 (UTC)

(talk page stalker)I'm pretty sure they can't. Even Jimbo has a couple of accidental blocks in his block log!--Gilderien Talk|Contribs 20:56, 28 February 2012 (UTC)
Technically, yes they can be, however it is something that is done in only the most exceptional of circumstances, see Wikipedia:Revision deletion#Log redaction--Jac16888 Talk 22:09, 28 February 2012 (UTC)


What would happen if even you vandalised wikipedia, would you be blocked? Aidan 13 k (talk) 06:02, 29 February 2012 (UTC)

Wikipedia has thrown off any shackles its creator(s) intended to restrain it with long ago, and acquired a life-force all of its own. I'm sure that Jimbo knows full well that he can no longer expect anything but a vague nod of recognition as the beast lumbers past him, at best. So why would he wish to draw attention to this? AndyTheGrump (talk) 06:32, 29 February 2012 (UTC)
Well, Jimbo has been blocked a few times without ever vandalizing, so I'd say it's pretty likely that he wouldn't get a free pass for vandalism. Mark Arsten (talk) 16:07, 29 February 2012 (UTC)

A kitten for you!

Young cats.jpg

Thank you for creating Wikipedia, it is a wonderful website!

Londongoagirl (talk) 14:04, 1 March 2012 (UTC)

Fox News complains about porn on Commons again...

is here.--♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 12:15, 25 February 2012 (UTC)

...and it's Machado talking shit again. Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 > haneʼ 12:27, 25 February 2012 (UTC)
If that was a Wikipedia article, I'd be leaving citation needed and POV tags all over it. Plus their sources are "disgusted reader Virgilio A. P. Machado, associate professor of industrial engineering at the School of Sciences and Engineering at the University of Portugal" (note the redlink) and the self-styled America's Tech Expert. On the, er, up side, they do save the kids some bother by telling them what words to use in their searches, assuming they don't want to use the obvious terms at school.--Wehwalt (talk) 12:36, 25 February 2012 (UTC)
The article is pretty well researched actually. Compare
There are a number of things Jay Walsh is quoted as saying that aren't true though – notably:
Walsh says one reason explicit content is so easy to find has to do with Wikipedia’s worldwide accessibility. “It would require developing a multinational, multilingual system that identifies whether an article is 'safe' -- but that is not possible when you reach across hundreds of nations and cultures. As a volunteer, non-profit project we're simply not resourced to do that.”
Everyone is pretty much agreed that 95% of the most hardcore material – the masturbation videos, the drawings of bestiality and sexual child abuse, the vintage porn films, photos of intercourse, etc. – could be identified by one person in a couple of afternoons, just on the basis of the existing category system. And the original image filter proposal envisaged a category-based system. The reason tagging or categorisation is no longer on the agenda is not that it would be too much work, as Jay told the Fox journalist, but that the Foundation is fearful of upsetting the German community. --JN466 13:11, 25 February 2012 (UTC)
Right. Because tagging pictures of someone jerking off as potentially offensive is a slippery slope to gassing Jews again. *sigh* Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 > haneʼ 14:32, 25 February 2012 (UTC)
Whoa. The German WP is objecting to general censorship, and most Germans are Lutheran. The Jews who left went to Israel, or the U.S. (etc.), and there are fewer German Jews. -Wikid77 14:37, 1 March 2012 (UTC)
JN isn't invoking Godwin's Law here, he's reporting on the fact that the German Wikipedia community has been very vocal in protesting anything that even remotely resembles censorship. --Carnildo (talk) 01:25, 26 February 2012 (UTC)
I wasn't saying he did, I just took an educated guess on the Germans' frame of mind. Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 > haneʼ 02:53, 26 February 2012 (UTC)
For some value of "educated" that involves Fox News or the National Enquirer as the educator, apparently. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 13:16, 26 February 2012 (UTC)
There are several problems with a 95% solution based on our existing categories. One is the idea that a 95% solution would be acceptable either to us or our critics. Considering our categorisation backlog on Commons the other 5% is rather more than 95% of the work in such an approach, and any approach that made use of our categories would have to answer the awkward question of how you implement it without putting obligations on either our uploaders or our categorisers. A second problem is the issue of where you draw the line between hardcore and softcore pornography. The easy bit is saying that various images that would be considered hardcore by most US and UK standards are hardcore, the difficult thing would be to set the boundary between softcore and hardcore in a way that makes sense to editors from Milan, Mumbai and Medina. If we were just catering for a North American or even First World market than an image filter would be difficult and complex; But we aim to serve the whole world and that means we can't simply impose one culture's filter on everyone. This is a complex problem and if we decide to tackle it we need a complex solution that seems simple to its users but handles the complexity of a world where some regard a woman's face as taboo, some are shocked by breasts and others will accept penises if flaccid. ϢereSpielChequers 12:55, 26 February 2012 (UTC)
95% could be identified by one person in a couple of afternoons. What the community could achieve would not be far inferior to what Google achieves – which also has the odd image slipping through, as well as a function where users can report images. The original plan was to have objective category descriptions and allow users to determine which if any of these categories they wanted filtered out. You and I and others have tried to come up with other ideas in Meta, given the resistance to the original idea, but let's not pussy-foot around here: this image is hardcore porn. Anything with 1) an erect penis 2) a penis inserted in someone's mouth 3) a naked woman tied up is hardcore porn. This image has all three. It's not difficult to define and neutrally describe a category according to criteria like these, and then leave it to the user as to whether they wish to see such media. To contemplate and despair over the difficulties of distinguishing between softcore and hardcore porn misses the point as long as we are flushing unfiltered hardcore pornography into the world, without warning and without giving the user any choice in the matter. It's like refusing to take the first step on a 100-mile journey because we can't envisage the last, and that is daft; Wikipedia would never have been started that way. And the law of diminishing returns works both ways: just as the returns shrink towards the end of that journey, the greatest returns are possible in the beginning. --JN466 03:29, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
3)File:Hieronymus_Bosch_039.jpg, for example. Seriously though, the question is less whether you can define your notion of hardcore porn, than whether people accept what you want to do about that - for example, should penis not be illustrated because by your definition it would be hardcore porn? I don't think so. Wnt (talk) 22:10, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
I assumed you would understand that I was talking about photographs, not Hieronymus Bosch. What I would want to do about it is very simple: do exactly the same that reputable, mainstream sources do. --JN466 02:40, 28 February 2012 (UTC)

Makes no difference who the messenger is - I rather think the problems are quite evident to outside observers of any ilk. Collect (talk) 13:08, 25 February 2012 (UTC)

My 2 cents worth is that some types of material would have an 18+ rating in virtually all countries, including liberal Western democracies. However, fears of a broader agenda of censorship have prevented Commons from introducing a voluntary rating system.--♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 13:34, 25 February 2012 (UTC)
Not just on Commons - enwiki itself has a very strong anti-censorship faction (see e.g. this recent proposal for a content rating system, closed with overwhelming opposition). Consensus for content rating will never appear. I maintain that the best way to enact content filtering is for a third party to create an offsite service specialized to Wikipedia filtering, leveraging our existing category system, and customised to the needs of individual cultures and users. Any entrepreneur with adequate resources could do this. This sidesteps the issue of getting on-wiki consensus for filtering support, and for users who are already bound by web filters, creates a superior alternative to overzealous generic systems. Dcoetzee 14:26, 25 February 2012 (UTC)
Pretty much. If the public at large truly wishes to be babysat while on the internet, then some enterprising company will program them a babysitter. IMNSHO, most people don't, and this is all little more than a few people complaining very loudly. Resolute 19:48, 25 February 2012 (UTC)
Comment From the Fox News article: "Right now, Wikimedia Foundation projects like Wikipedia should be on the 'blocked for children' list in every household and school." Has it not occurred to anyone that the goal of Fox News is to discourage people from reading Wikipedia totally, and encourage them to rely on Fox News instead for their "facts" and viewpoints? This is simply a means to their end. If it's not pictures, it will be articles. If it's not articles, it will be references. If it's not.... (talk) 21:27, 25 February 2012 (UTC)
Comment OpenDNS has a very good free service called FamilyShield which uses the DNS addresses and This blocks access to obvious porn sites, such as, giving this blocked message. However, FamilyShield blocks nothing on Commons, and the search results for "Fellatio" are predictably NSFW. It would not be the proverbial rocket science to have a system on Commons similar to Google Image safe search, which is enabled by default. The NOTCENSORED argument is unconvincing, as some types of material are easily identified as 18+.--♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 21:56, 25 February 2012 (UTC)
There is a reason that SafeSearch has "moderate" and "strict" levels of filtering. It's not magic - it's a machine learning algorithm with both false positives and false negatives. It blocks essentially any image it thinks might contain nudity, even if it actually just happens to contain large flesh-coloured regions. People who want to ensure they get complete and informative results turn SafeSearch off, and being complete and informative is part of our mission. Dcoetzee 22:06, 25 February 2012 (UTC)
The "complete and informative" nature of this image on Commons (NSFW) was debated a while back. At present, Commons has no filtering or content rating at all, which places it out of step with most websites hosting 18+ material.--♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 22:14, 25 February 2012 (UTC)
I prefer that way. Since filtering and even rating can be abused in so many ways that it would never comply with the NPOV mission. But i find it still humorous that filters will be suggested, since Google demonstrates how good they actually work to protect children (try with strict settings [19]). That a child will accidentally come across offensive images is an old story, a fairytale. They come across such topics and material because they strife for knowledge and actually search for it. If they don't find anything on Wikipedia then they will find it somewhere else; but most likely without an related article that explains what they see. It means, even if we would implement such a feature, it won't help the ones calling for it and especially not the endagered species called children. --Niabot (talk) 04:32, 26 February 2012 (UTC)
The real issue is, if people think that they're "protecting" children by blocking them from a few naked pictures, they have another thing coming. Any editor here can link to any site, except a few on a blacklist. That means a kid could click on an article about a favorite cartoon character and find himself on a pedophile's carefully crafted Web site where he'll get into a chat with a "friend" asking him to meet somewhere. Or it could just be a nice healthy porno site. We can't protect kids from that - nobody is in a position to check all the links from three million articles. You want to protect your kids, pay the money for a professional service. Or, if they're in school or a library, then by government mandate (COPA) the taxpayers are already paying for that. Or best of all, teach your child to be streetwise and savvy and if he has a principle against looking at pictures like that make it his principle. But do not pretend that volunteer editors hiding a few nude pictures means that an unwary child is safe here. Wnt (talk) 05:30, 26 February 2012 (UTC)
File:Simulated Forced Fellatio in Bondage Scenario.png (NSFW) is the sort of mediocre and unnecessary sexual image that gives Commons a bad name, and it is not currently being used in any articles. However, it was predictably able to survive a deletion debate when the regulars cited COMSCOPE and COMNOTCENSORED. Commons is a law unto itself, which is why there have been calls to make the hosting of sexual images more tightly related to what is necessary for illustrating articles.--♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 06:32, 26 February 2012 (UTC)
Interestingly enough, it doesn't appear to use Commons:Template:2257. Shouldn't it? Jclemens (talk) 06:52, 26 February 2012 (UTC)
I would certainly hope that the young lady in question is over 18. Anyway, IMHO it is a poor image, even the easily satisfied mattbuck admitted this.--♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 06:58, 26 February 2012 (UTC)
Actually, both parties would need documentation per the appropriate statutes. If Commons would assiduously place such templates where appropriate, then the category would be a nice way to identify (for blocking or seeking out, whichever) sexually explicit material. I'm sure I'm not the first one to think of this, though, but given the zeal with which we went after unreferenced BLPs, you'd think commons could at least bother to label their porn collection appropriately. Jclemens (talk) 07:15, 26 February 2012 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────I've just renominated this image for deletion, now let's watch the regulars come running with the usual arguments. Anyways, there is enough doubt about the 2257 status of this image to delete it on those grounds alone.--♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 07:41, 26 February 2012 (UTC)

This claim is specious; see [20]. Attempts to impose elaborate record-keeping for porn producers on other people merely copying an image online are not based on the statute's language, not enforced, not constitutional, and in any case do not appear to extend to noncommercial sites. Not to mention that we have no idea whether the original photo uploaded to Flickr, where it was released under CC 3.0, was even staged in the U.S. in the first place. Wnt (talk) 08:20, 26 February 2012 (UTC)
It is not out of the question that this image was made in the USA. However, the fact that it was imported from Flickr without bothering to ask any questions about its likelihood of being used in an article is a problem in itself.--♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 08:30, 26 February 2012 (UTC)
Image is now tagged with commons:Template:2257. WMF projects do not have 2257 record-keeping requirements. Dcoetzee 08:34, 26 February 2012 (UTC)
Commons should not need to ask whether an image is actually going to be used before it is imported from Flickr. Flickr licenses can change at any time, and at the rate the locking up of material under Getty Images has progressed, we should be glad that people did rush to grab copies of images immediately without waiting to see what they might need for another project. Wnt (talk) 08:39, 26 February 2012 (UTC)
Another thing to mention is that Commons does not only serve the Wikimedia projects. It is an repository for freely licensed images, no matter how and under which circumstances they are used. I found my own pictures used for things that i never had imagined before. Saying that an image is useless, just because it may not fit in the local project or isn't used, is exactly not what Commons is about. It serves multiple roles and in an extreme it would still do it's job if it is the source for the first free licensed porn site. --Niabot (talk) 10:44, 26 February 2012 (UTC)
Human sexuality is a proper subject for discussion in an academic context, but that does not mean that Commons needs to have every junk sexual image that someone found on Flickr just because it was copyright free. I realise that this view does not go down very well (unlike the young lady in the photo) but that is my personal opinion.--♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 10:59, 26 February 2012 (UTC)
Niabot, you're not correct about the purpose and scope of Commons. See: Project Scope on Commons, which says Commons "makes available public domain and freely-licensed educational media content to all..." (my bold). Commons would NOT be serving its purpose if it was "the source for the first free licensed porn site". GabrielF (talk) 19:49, 26 February 2012 (UTC)

You won't solve this puzzle. It's between those who think the internet is like a public street, and those who think the internet is like a private club. On the street, you can't strip naked and show your dick to passers-by. In a private club, you need a small warning tag at the front door; inside, you can have live sex-acts on stage. Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 > haneʼ 11:03, 26 February 2012 (UTC)

Ooh, I got a mention, yippee! This means I'm popular on en.wp! All my dreams have come true!
Right, let's get down to it. I'm a Commons admin, and yes, we're a law unto our own. Just the same way that en.wp is a law unto itself. Or de.wp. Or any other Wikimedia project. Each project has its own admins, structure, goals, etc. They may be by and large the same, but there are large differences. At Commons, we do not exist for en.wp, we exist for the world at large, and your continued censorship raids are simply annoying. You don't want to use naked pictures here, fine, don't, but don't try and stop the rest of the world being able to use them if they so wish. Every time, it is the same bullshit, "oh she looks a bit young", or "is this really educational" - all just fronts for the fact that you don't like it. You know what, if you don't like it, don't look at it. If you're worried about your children, first off DON'T LET THEM ONLINE UNSUPERVISED, second, install filtering software. We don't care what Fox News say, there was really no research in that article, just a trawl through their comments section to produce an "oh my god the children!" article that red-tops are so well-known for. If you start worrying what idiots think of you, you will just end up making yourself worse.
So in short, sod off. -mattbuck (Talk) 11:36, 26 February 2012 (UTC)
I was wondering when you would turn up:)--♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 11:41, 26 February 2012 (UTC)
It's just the same story every time. --Niabot (talk) 11:44, 26 February 2012 (UTC)
At least I haven't started the Fourth Reich by challenging the regulars over at Commons.--♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 11:49, 26 February 2012 (UTC)
That´s a rather odd conclusion, isn´t it? ;-) --Niabot (talk) 11:54, 26 February 2012 (UTC)

Oh Mattbuck you're only famous for your uncaring and selfish statements back in the image filter referendum. You don't like reader is given the tool by Wikimedia to avoid objectionable images (while those with open mind are unaffected by the filter), this simple fact hurts your feeling so you ask those offended to accept or leave. Wikimedia project is not your sanctuary of freedom. -- Sameboat - 同舟 (talk) 12:31, 26 February 2012 (UTC)

...and you still play the same selfish, arrogant and personally insulting straw man as you ever did. It is no sanctuary of freedom, but it also no lobby for censorship and thought bending trough the back door. Just face the facts or provide some facts. --Niabot (talk) 12:49, 26 February 2012 (UTC)
Yeah I'm selfish and arrogant when Wikimedia was gonna give me the filter tool and you guys appeared to sabotage it in the name of freedom. -- Sameboat - 同舟 (talk) 12:56, 26 February 2012 (UTC)
Maybe you should read Facebooks Regeln – Fleischwunde ja, aber bloß keine Brüste this article. I know it is in German, but maybe then you will understand why the viewpoints collide the way they do and why this kind of self restraint is seen as something bad. --Niabot (talk) 13:07, 26 February 2012 (UTC)
I didn't realise I was famous at all, this is really really really cool. I feel like a little girl who just got her first princess dress. -mattbuck (Talk) 13:14, 26 February 2012 (UTC)
Try not to stain it. John lilburne (talk) 13:59, 26 February 2012 (UTC)
But, if you do, take a photo. --FormerIP (talk) 14:05, 26 February 2012 (UTC) Russavia ლ(ಠ益ಠლ) 14:23, 26 February 2012 (UTC)

Currently Fox seems to think that WMF and Jimbo have consistently lied to them, to the corporate sponsors, and to the general public over several years wrt pending changes, and image filtering. That no one is home, and that WMF have no control over any of the content that they host and raise money for, that hasn't yet percolated into their thinking. John lilburne (talk) 12:47, 26 February 2012 (UTC)

Now that's absurd. We've had a policy "Not Censored" from the beginning, and it still stands. Supposedly Pending Changes was about preventing vandalism, and the "image filter" was a proposed software allowing people with accounts to voluntarily block some categories of images in their own accounts. So unless someone has been lying to us, no one ever promised any plan to censor Wikipedia as it appears on the average reader's screen. Every plan, every discussion, every vote on this topic has been on-line, searchable, and open to participation for anyone who cares to type a term in the Search box from the moment it was suggested. And in the meanwhile, every scrap of content has been free for people to copy and put up on a mirror site and bowdlerize in any way that strikes their fancy. So if there are so many people clamoring for censorship, why can't they get together and arrange simply to copy and "filter" Wikipedia according to values that only they have to agree on? That is so much smaller of a task than it is to build this encyclopedia in the first place. Wnt (talk) 14:12, 26 February 2012 (UTC)
Jclemens is right, there is no obvious reason why any Wikimedia project is immune from 2257. On the basis of this discussion, I would happily disassociate Wikipedia from any material hosted on Commons unless it had clear and legally binding use in an article.--♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 14:26, 26 February 2012 (UTC)
Jclemens spoke about placing a template to warn reusers of possible 2257 issues. Providing a disclaimer warning some users (probably commercial) of potential kangaroo court issues is not the same as saying that Wikipedia is subject to those issues, nor that it should acquiesce to them. Wnt (talk) 17:22, 26 February 2012 (UTC)
When a journalist is told that WMF is going to deal with the porn images, and Jimmy starts deleting some of the most egregious examples, then they expect that WMF is going to deal with the porn images, and the most egregious examples are going to stay deleted. When journalists and members of a legislature are told that the WMF are about to implement a called "Pending Changes" to alleviate the libel issues in BLP articles, then they have every expectation that such a system is going to be put in place. What they don't expect is that several years later that the porn images are going to have resurfaced, and the BLPs are still going to be full of libels, that nothing has happened, and that the people that they thought were responsible for the content are going to be ducking and diving and saying it has nothing to do with us. John lilburne (talk) 16:31, 26 February 2012 (UTC)
That article you cite says "the process of flagged revisions will make it easier for users to edit some of its most controversial articles". It says not one word about making libel harder. It's not like getting an autoconfirmed account is a huge obstacle to someone bent on slandering an enemy. If this were an article, would you say you are not misrepresenting a source? Wnt (talk) 17:18, 26 February 2012 (UTC)
Is it your contentioon that articles are locked down for NO reason? Or that the oversighting prior to a lock down is pure whim? John lilburne (talk) 18:34, 26 February 2012 (UTC)
No, I'm saying that article doesn't say what you say it does. I would like to hear you explain just how you can possibly conclude from it that libel would be more difficult to post. True, I think there is an explanation - one which incidentally would actually make it relevant to this discussion about censoring porn from Wikipedia - - but it is an explanation that no PC supporter has ever been honest enough to suggest even in the discussions here, let alone in third-party sources. Wnt (talk) 18:45, 26 February 2012 (UTC)
Like to explain why articles talk about defamation or libel prevention? Or why the WP article says the same. John lilburne (talk) 21:29, 26 February 2012 (UTC)
Well, I'll grant you that this link of yours actually does say it would make it harder to edit (though no promises were made). They also imply libel would be harder, and yes, some Pending Changes supporters have occasionally claimed that. But they're still wrong. Any editor who seriously has an axe to grind is going to get enough edits made in the process to be autoconfirmed. Or, he can edit an article which is not formally about a living person - for example, an article about a book, a political party, a protest, a law etc. The only way that you would ever seriously eliminate the chance to add libel by run-of-the-mill schmuck editors is by implementing "Level 2" universally - a scheme which would unmake Wikipedia by utterly abrogating all of its original principles and essence - and that would not merely destroy Wikipedia, but turn its remains into a mockery of itself run by some small cabal using it to slander their enemies. Wnt (talk) 17:35, 27 February 2012 (UTC)

Comment - A couple of weeks ago, Jimbo made an interesting point to me regarding NOTCENSORED - one should not confuse censorship with editorial judgement. ŞůṜīΣĻ¹98¹Speak 14:28, 26 February 2012 (UTC)

I have no problem to distinct this both terms. But i have a problem with claims, that anything, that might look objectionable, has to be removed — and calling it ‘editorial judgement’. --Niabot (talk) 14:41, 26 February 2012 (UTC)
I agree. I supported Cartman Gets an Anal Probe being a TFA and I personally regard Fox News as a propaganda machine that would make Joseph Goebbels proud. But. I draw the line at pictures of Rick Santorum drawn in shit, photos uploaded by exhibitionists of their dicks and animated GIFs created by trolls in order to illustrate imaginary sex acts that only exist as image-board memes. ŞůṜīΣĻ¹98¹Speak 18:03, 26 February 2012 (UTC)
The commons category 'Santorum neologisms' is full of unused, politically polemic images that are simply beyond the pale of human civilized behaviour. I vomited after looking at the first one and learning what it was, and could not look at any further. At least this should let all civilized people know who the dangerous enemies of human civlization really are. (talk) 19:02, 26 February 2012 (UTC)
Yes, all uploaded by User:Cirt - a user, thankfully severely restricted on this en wikipedia via multiple arbitration restrictions, but who sadly, remains free to continue his violations using other wiki news and wiki commons projects. Youreallycan 19:08, 26 February 2012 (UTC)
Regardless of how the troika ruled on Cirt, note that his uploads came from Flickr. We have no need to censor what even corporate America does not. And how does playing in dog doo make someone a "dangerous enemy of human civilization", as opposed to, oh, say, driving the middle class into poverty with new taxes in order to make life easier for the rich? Wnt (talk) 19:34, 26 February 2012 (UTC)
Yes, randomly uploaded to flikr and almost immediately uploaded to wikipedia by User:Cirt - the user that massively expanded the Dan Savage wikipedia content - incredulous - perhaps he just stumbled on them and thought, hm, these look encyclopedic and beneficial - at least he can no longer violate this en wikipedia. Youreallycan 19:42, 26 February 2012 (UTC)
Commons' has an explicit mission of being a repository for educational media. That's a different standard than Flickr. I'm find with defining "educational" in very broadly, for instance to include sexually-explicit photos that can explain concepts related to sexuality, but I don't see how the material Suriel1981 describes could fall under even a very broad definition of educational. I do think that many people would argue that a non-profit, educational organization that receives government support in the form of tax-exemption, does have to hold itself to a higher standard then a corporation. GabrielF (talk) 19:45, 26 February 2012 (UTC)
It might help to explain that WP:Wikipedia is not Wikimedia Commons. This might be obvious to the regulars, but in view of recent events, a clearer distinction needs to be made.--♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 19:58, 26 February 2012 (UTC)
Hmmm, may I suggest some text? "Wikimedia Commons remains true to its core principle against censorship, whereas Wikipedia does not..." But since you're arguing about images on Commons, I don't see how your argument would help you anyway. Wnt (talk) 20:08, 26 February 2012 (UTC)
(ec) If churches can receive a tax exemption to spew out vile calls for the death of homosexuals under the guise of misheard Christianity, I think we have no issues about pictures of people playing with dog doo. If claiming a tax exemption meant giving up the right to free speech, the tax code would have been amended to eliminate that right long, long ago. Wnt (talk) 20:00, 26 February 2012 (UTC)
You really are in the wrong place with your activist soapbox, please, stop trolling your POV using this project - go and get a blog - they are free. Youreallycan 20:05, 26 February 2012 (UTC)
Your side is the one that set up this soapbox because you didn't get your way on Commons. It is not "trolling" to oppose efforts by deletionists, censors, and/or vandals to destroy the project's core principles, banish quality administrators, discard newbie users' work and drive them out in frustration, and systematically skew articles to a Polyanna perspective unrepresentative of the available literature sources. Wnt (talk) 20:14, 26 February 2012 (UTC)
Unlike you - I see no sides - I care less about commons - the problems there are massive - mostly copyright violations - hundreds of thousands of them. Pollyanna is not my girlfriend, but I am no free speecher, and thats where we disagree, a degree of editorial control through guidelines and policy is clearly beneficial and necessary imo. Youreallycan 20:22, 26 February 2012 (UTC)

I hate to say it, but I do think Fox News raises an issue that Commons needs to address. Let's say that decided to donate 100,000 images to Commons. It seems like Commons would have to accept these images because they could legitimately be used to explain a particular subculture, certain sexual acts, etc. But there's really no educational purpose of having 100,000 such images, at that point you're a porn site. If Commons wants to have an educational mission and support from mainstream institutions like the Smithsonian, than it clearly needs to either change its inclusion criteria so that there are a relatively small number of images that people might complain about and these images can be justified as serving an educational purpose or it can develop something like SafeSearch. Neither of these options is going to completely satisfy either Fox News or the ultra-libertarians, but I imagine it would take this nonsense off our back so that we can build a collection of educational materials. Let someone else ( host the porn.GabrielF (talk) 20:41, 26 February 2012 (UTC)

My solution, or at least my first attempt at one, would be to tighten the inclusion criteria such that depictions of sex or human excretion HAVE to be included in an article on another Wiki as a precondition for being uploaded to Commons. That way we can make the case that we're only hosting the images that we need to build an encyclopedia and other educational content. It's a lot easier to justify a small number of photos that are all being used than a number that's so large we couldn't conceivably use them all. GabrielF (talk) 20:51, 26 February 2012 (UTC)
Thats exactly what i see as an violation of NPOV. You want to limit the number of sexual depictions (just because you don't like it), but you have nothing against the next thousand pictures of a dice or flower (just because you don't dislike it or don't care). That is an imbalance far of any editorial standards or judgment. --Niabot (talk) 21:35, 26 February 2012 (UTC)
Do you have any proof that user:GabrielF comments are motivated by a dislike of the images? If not then you shopuld really keep such comments to yourself. I have a great love of Platycnemis pennipes but I'll argue that commons doesn't needs 1000+ images of them. Some one may well enjoy sex whilst caked in excrement, it doesn't follow that they believe that commons should have 1000+ such images. Nor should such images be returned when someone search the site for CAKE. John lilburne (talk) 21:54, 26 February 2012 (UTC)
Searching for what you want to find is the one thing. Excluding content based on personal preference or thoughts that others don't want to see them is the another topic. Who are you to conclude that content should be excluded just because you think that it does not meet everyones taste? And it is not even a question about taste. It is a question about image material that may be used for various purposes. Even purposes you don't think about. For example let's grab some art student that is interested to see the proportions of a men in a rather strange posture, but which would fit very well into it's current scene. He would not care if it stems from a porn movie. He would be happy to have a reference. --Niabot (talk) 22:36, 26 February 2012 (UTC)
Somebody is feeling rather precious today eh? Here is the starbucks test: walk into your local coffee house and ask what sort of images would people expect to see if they searched for "underwater" a picture of a "naked women tied up in a bath" is NOT one of the answers you'll get. People looking for that particular type of image are most like to search for "bondage woman bathtub" and variations. An art student does not need a vast collection of poor quality porn images in order to see the "proportions of a men in a rather strange posture" - Almost every cell phone has a camera, if you don't have a friend, a gorilla pod cost just a few euros, and if the art student can't afford one of those there are vast quantities of such stuff of xtube and similar sites. Simply put there is not porn dessert which wikipedia or commons needs to either irrigate or preserve. John lilburne (talk) 23:14, 26 February 2012 (UTC)
Please hold back with personal insults. As i said. A search tool and actual content are two separate things. You also just admitted that so called "objectional material" can be found everywhere. But at the same time you want to ban it from Commons/Wikipedia, even so it has it's use cases _and_ is under a free license, from which the latter does not apply to "xtube and similar sites". --Niabot (talk) 00:22, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
Having such material in Commons, and presenting it as one of the first results to any user who enters "underwater" as their search term, are quite different things. And pity the person who is looking for a public domain recording of tolling bells in Commons. --JN466 04:41, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
Actually, this tolling bells example raises a good point. I really don't see why this particular ding-dong should lead the symphony. Even searching "tolling bell" the files with multiple instances of tolling and bell don't come up so high. I don't approve of content rating, but I do think it could be useful to have a way to specify that an object is actually present in a photograph in order to improve its ranking on the search results. In other words, you should be able to type in something like "{{+|bell}}" to a picture that has an actual bell in it, and have it come out higher in the search results when you search for "bell". I'm not familiar enough with the search algorithm at the moment to know if we can make that template that without dev-work, but it seems worth a try. Wnt (talk) 22:30, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
Whether something is available elsewhere or not is irrelevant. Xtube for example is not a site that is proposed to be accessed by schools, nor is it a site that derives a part of its income from tax rebates due to charitable status, nor is it a site that purports to be of general educational value. What the unfiltered stuff results in is comments like Wikipedia should be on the ‘blocked for children’ list in every household and school. that view will spread through the societies that one hopes would adopt wikipedia. John lilburne (talk) 08:02, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
Until a parent is sure she's drilled her kid in the basics - like do not post your home address on the talk forum, do not say when your family is going away on vacation, do not arrange to meet that darling little girl you met online, do not mention that your dad has a pot plant in the basement etc. - that may well be the right call. The "porn" is just a reflection of the basic, undeniable fact that Wikipedia is a wide open public space that links easily to the whole wide Internet. Maybe it's time to add to WP:NOT, "Wikipedia is not a play pen". I don't think that the safe-for-children crowd is really thinking through what could happen if parents really start thinking Wikipedia is safe for their kids. Wnt (talk) 19:48, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
It's a question of what's best for the project, not what I personally like or don't like. Commons is more beholden to institutions than Wikipedia because we want images that institutions own the rights to or that are in the public domain but we require physical access in order to scan. Nobody is going to object to thousands of pictures of the same type of flower, but there is a reasonable objection to thousands of porn images. GabrielF (talk) 22:08, 26 February 2012 (UTC)
Indeed. It's common sense. ŞůṜīΣĻ¹98¹Speak 22:15, 26 February 2012 (UTC)
Yes it is a question of what is best for the project. Strangely some are drawn into the illusion to think that drawing the picture of a pink easter bunny that shits a rainbow is the right way to go. It isn't. You only fool yourself in the belief that you could achieve the project goals faster by adapting to so called "common sense" (something that doesn't exist). What you actually do is the following: You change/bend the goals of the project so far that you actually achieve the goal due to changing the goal. Why don't we reword the mission of the project to "100 nice things everybody should have heard about"? We could make progress with that change if we want to fulfill the mission. --Niabot (talk) 22:36, 26 February 2012 (UTC)
For what it's worth, Kim Komando today criticized Wikipedia for hosting child porn and indirectly, it seemed to me, called on Facebook and Google to boycott Wikipedia. Cla68 (talk) 00:49, 28 February 2012 (UTC)


I know this has been presented as an idea in the past and shot down but I still think it has merit. I think we need to flag articles that would be objectionable to most people in some way that would allow a parent to block it using standard block apps. Nothing like a ranking system just a template that the software can use to identify the article/image/etc. as probably being innappropriate for children. Then the parents can block or not block based on what they want. I think this would probably need to be done at least partially at the server level and I don't think a simple template would do, although it might be a start. With that said, I agree strongly that Wikipedia should not be censored nor should we simply remove all the content because someone doesn't like it. What does seem reasonable to me is that parents be allowed (or schools, etc.) to filter some of these things out without having to block the entire site which many schools have been forced to do. --Kumioko (talk) 22:21, 26 February 2012 (UTC)

A proposal riddled with massive POV implications. I have a better proposal: Adults should pay more attention to their children's habits on the internet. Resolute 22:29, 26 February 2012 (UTC)
Thats actually the best idea i heard so far. But i have a further improvement to make. They should not only pay more attention to their children, they should also explain it to their children, explain what they want to know or what they are looking at. Fear to do so is the worst thing. --Niabot (talk) 22:44, 26 February 2012 (UTC)
This was not just proposed "in the past and shot down" - it was proposed less than two weeks ago and closed two days ago with overwhelming opposition. Rehashing it here would be outright silly. Dcoetzee 22:36, 26 February 2012 (UTC)
This is hypocrite. It is not the reader deliberately searching for objectionable materials but the editor/uploader presents them intentionally because they know exactly Wikimedia is not censored. Like the vulva image on de.wp main page. This is the very reason WMF should be the one to offer the filter tool, not shifting the responsibility to the readers just because they don't like it. -- Sameboat - 同舟 (talk) 23:57, 26 February 2012 (UTC)
  • Just move it all into a clear defined separate sector - adult content and be done with it. This will allow readers to more easily avoid it if desired. Youreallycan 22:44, 26 February 2012 (UTC)
Thats the worst possible scenario. Open a Wiki for Kids and make the actual Wikipedia the one for adult content. --Niabot (talk) 23:43, 26 February 2012 (UTC)
As I understand - a kids wiki is more trouble than it is worth. You suggest making the en wiki adult only .... - what is the problem with clearly marking adult content as such - crikey - its laughable to watch a project destroy itself for no value reason at all. ow - notcensored - LOL - what is the reason you object to labeling adult content as such so that I can at least look to inform my children to avoid that sector? - Youreallycan 23:48, 26 February 2012 (UTC)
"Kids, there's a section on Wikipedia commons called 'adult content'. Please, whatever you do don't look at it". It's so simple! Why didn't I think of that? --FormerIP (talk) 00:04, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
Why don't you control and review your own childrens' surfing habits. Kids being kids, are going to ignore your "informing" them to ignore the "forbidden fruit" anyway -- the solution for parents is to read Wikipedia:Content disclaimer and monitor their use of this adult website, as they would any other site on the net. Russavia ლ(ಠ益ಠლ) 23:58, 26 February 2012 (UTC)
I don't suggest making Wikipedia adult only. I suggest to keep it the way it is. A place where you can find knowledge as it is and not as curious parents like to represent it to their kids. Introducing an adult sector would be a direct violation of NPOV. At least the ALA and other library organizations accepted this a long time ago, since it would restrict the access to knowledge, even it is just a child willing to find out more about something. [21] --Niabot (talk) 23:59, 26 February 2012 (UTC)
@Niabot, "Introducing an adult sector would be a direct violation of NPOV" - nonsense. - @Russavia - Thats cool if your position is the official one Russavia - and a declaration we should publicize much more - En Wikipedia is an adult website with graphic content unsuitable for children. - Youreallycan 00:04, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
Take out the "adult", and you pretty much got it right. :) --Conti| 00:12, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
[citation needed] Who said that graphic content is unsuitable for children if used in the right context and for explanation? Did you even bother to read the linked abstract? At least i can be sure that the ones who thought out this rules have a functional brain, good will and the ability to learn. --Niabot (talk) 00:12, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
Thats where you expose yourself. This is an educational encyclopedia - its not a show this porno to your children and they might like it site - Youreallycan 00:15, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
I never said something similar. Considering your attitude it doesn't make much sense to continue this part of the conversation. You just bend the words like you see it fit without showing any respect or manners. --Niabot (talk) 00:29, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
You clearly asserted, "Who said that graphic content is unsuitable for children if used in the right context and for explanation? " - your position is clearly that in the right content pornography and graphic content is suitable for children. Considering this , you are in the wrong place, talking the wrong person if you blindly expect respect and manners. Youreallycan 00:46, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
Read again, get some rest, think about it, read it another time and think again. Maybe then you will notice that i didn´t write the words you put in my mouth. *sigh* EOD --Niabot (talk) 00:59, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
Even the government thinks graphic content is suitable for children. Remember sex-ed class, the pictures of advanced syphilis and so forth? Also, I wonder whether you would recognize that some parents, who are not persuaded by the censors' claims, might simply allow their children to view explicit content and offer to explain things honestly. Wnt (talk) 21:53, 27 February 2012 (UTC)

I'm not sure how giving parents and schools the ability to restrict an image or article from view is POV and if it is so what. We aren't saying they should do it or that the have to do it. Just that it can be done. It doesn't matter that you or I agree with it or that parents are or are not watching their kids. Its simply a matter of allowing it. For example, I trust my kids and I don't think that they are out surfing for porn. I am not so naive as to think that they have never come in contact with an adult image either. Can I block every one of them from their view, certainly not nor should I even try. But I admit that I do have the adult content filter set to on so that it screens out at least some images that I don't really need me 10 year old to see. I think that having that would be a good sight better than having the whole sight blocked. --Kumioko (talk) 00:53, 27 February 2012 (UTC)

What kind of topics do you plan to read with a ten year old kid at your side so that you expect this to happen? --Niabot (talk) 01:03, 27 February 2012 (UTC)

Just because the content is educational doesn't mean its image is not objectionable. Niabot you only believe Wikimedia is a place should accept and present everything regardless of the acceptability of readers from different cultures. It's not their fault for being born in the country/culture/society that inspecting the depiction of naked Greek deities is considered a taboo or even criminal. This is the single fact that Wikimedia fails as an open and free encyclopedia because its content prevents a large group of readers from accessing it freely. And this hindrance is beyond their ability to resolve not because they refuse to. And now you tell them to self-educate or educate their children? You're just avoiding the core cause of the problem. -- Sameboat - 同舟 (talk) 01:03, 27 February 2012 (UTC)

You repeated this assumption at least five times in recent discussions. It doesn't make it any better, because it is a rather odd assumption that looking at "naked Greek deities" would be a taboo or even criminal in many places ("large group of readers"). The core problem is your assumption that you have to restrain Wikipedia to make it more accessible, while other pages, as stated by Youreallycan, provide huge repositories for such material. What would be the point in self restraint? It would only strengthen the position and put us in a position as if we would support this point of view. --Niabot (talk) 01:19, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
If un-censoring doesn't mean we promote porn or violence, why would offering opt-in image filter promote censorship? -- Sameboat - 同舟 (talk) 01:30, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
(ec) On the last point, I agree. The public does not have a responsibility to protect itself from us. If (but, of course, only if) there's a problem, the responsibility to address it lies with us. But let's have a sense of proportion. Naked Greek deities is a content issue that can be ignored, because we can't possibly cater to every conceivable prude. --FormerIP (talk) 01:22, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
Let me use another example. I frequently use Wikipedia at work and have on occasion pulled up an image that I wished I hadn't in the middle of the office. Fortunately, the folks I work with are adults and know that these things happen. It would be far less funny if I was teaching a class of [insert your favorite grade of school here]th graders and one of these images appeared. Issues of censorship aside, I would like to be able to set a filter of some kind on my own account when at work that could then disable at home. --Kumioko (talk) 01:31, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
This discussion seems to have drifted to focus on wikipedia rather than Commons. It seems like the policies on Wikipedia in this area are fairly settled and even Fox News doesn't seem to have too much of an issue. Since this is a thread about a specific Fox News article it might be a good idea to focus on the specific issues raised by that article. GabrielF (talk) 02:15, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
Sorry my fault I was using the 2 interchangably. --Kumioko (talk) 02:45, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
The "NSFW" problem exemplifies the underlying culture war. The fact that people pull up pages from Wikipedia without bothering to install censorware reflects that this is a low priority. If people in the office understand and laugh it off, this is social progress. If a filter were readily available and you had to turn it off to make images like that come up, they would be more judgmental.
Now efforts to make Wikipedia run the censor-filter "for free" (i.e. at the cost of mandating volunteers to take time "rating" their submissions and arguing over the ratings rather than doing useful work), these are meant to shift the balance of power. Rather than you, as an individual, deciding whether it is worth paying for a censorware subscription for your office presentation, or to join with people with similar mores to donate to a free project to make a mirror of Wikipedia, with the censor-filter here that burden is pushed onto the editors trying to write about these topics. Your choice to have these "morals" against images becomes free of cost, whereas their choice to build the encyclopedia becomes fraught with an even greater risk of persecution and harassment than users like Fae and Max Rebo Band have experienced.
If the unfairness of that does not persuade you, I should ask you this --- do you really think you'll be safer at work if you have a censor-filter? You'll pull up 'questionable' images less often, but when you do, people can say you didn't set the filter to be strict enough, or just don't care because they've never seen something like that get through before, or you accessed the site in some way (history for example) that bypassed the filter and that's your fault. My feeling is that your actual risk of penalty would remain the same or even increase. Wnt (talk) 15:34, 28 February 2012 (UTC)
Cost is not the issue here. As stated previously in this debate, most people could compile a list of obviously 18+ categories on Commons in the space of a few days. The problem is that the need for consensus has led to proposals of this kind being blocked. I am not a fan of content filters and have never regarded them as them as infallible, but it looks amateurish when a search for tolling bells on Commons produces a video of a man waving his dick as the top result.--♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 15:46, 28 February 2012 (UTC)
I agree this "tolling bells" situation needs a fix, and I've been trying to figure out how; but the fix needed is to make good hits for the search terms rank higher - i.e. to label a photo with an actual bell in it so that it comes up at the top of a search for a bell. That's just good search design, no censorship necessary. Wnt (talk) 16:45, 28 February 2012 (UTC)
An opt-in scheme for obviously 18+ categories would not be censorship. While not perfect, it would be very simple to implement. It would be considerably more difficult to devise a page ranking scheme, particularly for images with a low number of hits.--♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 16:54, 28 February 2012 (UTC)
I don't think anyone has the time or inclination to go through 7 million Commons files and tag each according to whether it offers a concrete example of the thing signified by each of the words making up the filename, or mentioned in the description. But I am glad you agree that the situation is unsatisfactory. --JN466 07:16, 29 February 2012 (UTC)
With my proposal, if a search is being passed around as a problem, someone can fix it; that makes the issue is self-limiting. And people still _could_ go through and do this for specific search terms they want - including the most common or the ones currently producing the most confused results for any reason. I think that at some point we could have a useful fraction of annotations and see the overall quality of search results for any topic, any reason be much improved. Wnt (talk) 15:40, 29 February 2012 (UTC)

Sexually explicit material is not harmful at all

Despite the moral panic and outrage about sexually explicit materials being made available to minors, it is particularly important to inform this discussion with the results from actual studies:

  • "We hypothesized that the increase in pornography, without age restriction and in comics, if it had any detrimental effect, would most negatively influence younger individuals. Just the opposite occurred. The number of juvenile offenders dramatically dropped every period reviewed from 1,803 perpetrators in 1972 to a low of 264 in 1995; a drop of some 85% (Table 1). The number of victims also decreased particularly among the females younger than 13 (Table 2). In 1972, 8.3% of the victims were younger than 13. In 1995 the percentage of victims younger than 13 years of age dropped to 4.0%.... Most significantly, despite the wide increase in availability of pornography to children, not only was there a decrease in sex crimes with juveniles as victims but the number of juvenile offenders also decreased significantly.... It is certainly clear from our data and analysis that a massive increase in available pornography in Japan has been correlated with a dramatic decrease in sexual crimes and most so among youngsters as perpetrators or victims." -- Diamond and Uchiyama (1999) "Pornography, Rape and Sex Crimes in Japan" International Journal of Law and Psychiatry 22(1):1-22
  • "following the effects of a new law in the Czech Republic that allowed pornography to a society previously having forbidden it allowed us to monitor the change in sex related crime that followed the change. As found in all other countries in which the phenomenon has been studied, rape and other sex crimes did not increase. Of particular note is that this country, like Denmark and Japan, had a prolonged interval during which possession of child pornography was not illegal and, like those other countries, showed a significant decrease in the incidence of child sex abuse." -- Diamond et al (2010) "Pornography and Sex Crimes in the Czech Republic" Archives of Sexual Behavior 40(5):1037-43.

I don't know if it will do any good to post this here, but it needs to become part of the discussion. (talk) 05:31, 27 February 2012 (UTC)

An interesting libertarian position, but one which does not address the issues at hand here. POLA is a stated policy of the WMF, which is the parent of Commons etc., and I am reasonably sure that many of the images fall well afoul of that policy. Collect (talk) 13:22, 27 February 2012 (UTC)

No, POLA is a resolution by the WMF, which both Commons and en have to this point rejected. Resolute 14:51, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
I would like to thank 95.x for providing these useful references. We need to remember that child pornography, and the brutal exploitation that implies, is a $3 billion industry.[22] Some people here argue against hosting any image, even those clearly legal because they are drawings or simulations, which appears to come close to that territory; nonetheless, we must remember that every encroachment means money stolen from the organized criminals who expect the police to protect their business model. Wikimedia Commons can do real, tangible good by advancing free culture even in this most controversial of cases. Wnt (talk) 16:20, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
We had this Fairytale presented in Germany as Ursula von der Leyen tried to introduce the STOP sign to block access to pages which might contain child pornography, going as far to insult India as country which doesn't care about child pornography. This soon fired back, the approach was refused and it was made clear that this kind of industry does not exist (see article for references). Instead it is usually shared by exchanging content for content.[23]. Another issue is the differentiation between fictional child pornography and real child pornography. Curiously the rape rate is much lower in countries that do differentiate between both terms and allow the distribution of fictional child pornography (see Diamond and Uchiyama above or the crime statistic from the UN). Another hint may be this graph based upon the statistics of the Japanese Police, which can also be looked at Since the introduction of the lolicon boom the rate decreased strongly and increased immediately as the so called First Ban happened in 1999. That are just some thoughts about truth and myth that are spread around. --Niabot (talk) 16:58, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
Commons should hold borderline child porn in order to deprive organized crime of its profits? You really are surpassing all our expectations here. John lilburne (talk) 19:03, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
Now i know how pitiful it is to mix two separate topics into one context to produce obvious lies to denunciate other users. Great Job! --Niabot (talk) 19:15, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
"Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press". Nice, neat, sensible, workable, and eminently just, like a simple theorem out of Euclid's Elements based on the most self-evident of truths. And no law means no law. Laugh all you like, but that is the right way to do things and I will not be ashamed of it. Wnt (talk) 20:51, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
It's worth noting that no WMF project is permitted to host material that is illegal in the US for any reason, which obviously includes any actual child pornography. Simulated child pornography is illegal in the US if it is either realistic in appearance or does not pass the Miller test. The Miller test generally exempts works that serve an educational purpose, which is the same reason Commons doesn't need to worry about obscenity law (any work which would fail the Miller test would also be deleted as out-of-scope). Dcoetzee 17:39, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
Do we need a Lolicon that looks like it's wearing flesh-coloured knickers or no knickers, depending on the viewer's interpretation, for bona-fide educational reasons? Or is this just silliness? --JN466 21:51, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
Well, Wikipe-tan has to relax sometime. Wnt (talk) 21:58, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
It is at least a good template to work with. [24] --Niabot (talk) 22:21, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
Thanks for these studies. Of course it is interesting that child sex abuse and other sex crimes dropped significantly in the Czech Republic when adult and child pornography became freely available (while, somewhat surprisingly, murder and assault rates increased significantly), but these wider and very complex questions are not really what this discussion is about. The argument against having unfiltered hardcore porn in Commons is not based on any assumption that hardcore porn must be harmful to society. The objection is based on the fact that turning Commons into a freely licensed porn site, as Niabot suggested above, does not fulfill an educational purpose, any more than turning Commons into an online gaming platform would. We would gain lots of users by doing either, but it's not our stated purpose for which we are soliciting donations. And secondly, we are alone among top websites in mixing hardcore adult content with generic content, such that a media search for "toothbrush" in Commons or in Wikipedia brings up, at the top of the results listing, the image of a woman masturbating with a toothbrush; while a media search for "drinking" in Commons or in Wikipedia returns a photograph of a porn performer drinking her own urine right at the top of the search listing. Of course we need media to cover sexual topics in Wikipedia, including media illustrating sexual positions, images of penises and vulvas, etc. But the way we are curating and selecting this material is simply unprofessional at the moment. --JN466 14:20, 28 February 2012 (UTC)
NB: User:Fæ now seems to have done some remedial work on these two files in Commons, to prevent them from appearing at the top of the linked searches. [25] [26] --JN466 14:57, 28 February 2012 (UTC)
"The objection is based on the fact that turning Commons into a freely licensed porn site, as Niabot suggested above,..." I never suggested anything like this. I said that any topic should be treated as equal and that even pornography can be educational. (With pornography i mean pornography and not nudity or the many other things that are called pornography even if it isn't.) The rest is just an issue related to the search algorithm and has nothing to do with the content itself, like Faux claimed. But i believe that Faux is just as naive as this user. So i can just say: Honi soit qui mal y pense!. --Niabot (talk) 22:26, 28 February 2012 (UTC)
What you said was, "Saying that an image is useless, just because it may not fit in the local project or isn't used, is exactly not what Commons is about. It serves multiple roles and in an extreme it would still do it's job if it is the source for the first free licensed porn site. --Niabot (talk) 10:44, 26 February 2012 (UTC)" I don't think poorly of porn at all, just as I don't have a problem with MMORPGs. I just don't think turning Commons into an amateur porn repository or MMORPG platform fulfils our brief of providing educational content. --JN466 07:03, 29 February 2012 (UTC)
We neither would turn it into an amateur porn repository or MMORPG. We would just treat this topics the same as _every_ other topic. Thats all there is to know about it. If someone uses it to look up flowers it is fine, if the person uses it to look for images containing nudity then it is also fine. You just say that we want to turn it into something else, because you want to construct an argument. That isn't the case. --Niabot (talk) 09:42, 29 February 2012 (UTC)
Incidentally, Fæ's rename of the toothbrush file seems to have been reverted (he had changed the filename to refer to an "improvised vibrator" rather than a "toothbrush"). The file is now again a top result for any Commons search for a toothbrush image. --JN466 07:09, 29 February 2012 (UTC)

Where does it say that Wikimedia projects should behave differently from reputable, mainstream sources?

My impression was that the curation and content of Wikimedia projects should in all matters have their centre of gravity pretty close to the curation and editorial standards of reputable, mainstream educational sources. The Wikimedia Foundation board resolution on controversial content seems to echo that.

But a lot of what is being said above bears no resemblance to the editorial policies of reputable mainstream educational publications. Editors are declaring that those who don't like hardcore porn should "sod off", and that if Commons were the "first free licensed porn site", this would still be compatible with the Foundation's tax-exempt educational brief. Why is there such a big gap between what reputable, mainstream published sources do, and what Wikimedia does? Is it appropriate for a tax-exempt educational organisation to espouse fringe views on basic matters of content curation? When did we become fringe, or 4chan? --JN466 02:55, 28 February 2012 (UTC)

You obviously aren't talking about Faux News, as you did say reputable after all. Russavia ლ(ಠ益ಠლ) 04:13, 28 February 2012 (UTC)
Fox is a popular news source. I wouldn't call it an educational source. But if you're talking reputable, I wouldn't consider you reputable, based on your response to Natka a few weeks back, when you told her, here on this page, When I masturbate in public, I don't really feel any different than when I do it in private; can you possibly tell us why when you masturbate in public, it hurts? Y u no be Russavia ლ(ಠ益ಠლ) 19:42, 27 January 2012 (UTC) As far as I am concerned, administrators who make statements like that are an embarrassment to Wikimedia. --JN466 11:53, 28 February 2012 (UTC)
At least Faux sees some irony in this topic. [27] --Niabot (talk) 09:47, 29 February 2012 (UTC)
It's not at all surprising that a traditional encyclopedia, being size-constrained, cannot afford to include a variety of detailed topics related to sexual anatomy, sexual practices, and the pornography industry. I believe Wikipedia's treatment of these topics and use of these images is, however, fully consistent with what you would find in a specialist encyclopedic work on these sex-related topics. In short: Wikipedia has more sexual images than "mainstream" sources because it has more of everything than mainstream sources. Dcoetzee 04:16, 28 February 2012 (UTC)
I'm not excluding reputable sexologists and other specialists from the mainstream, at all. However, I have so far been unable to find any correlation between how we are curating and presenting sexual subjects and how reputable specialists curate and present them. Could you provide links to some reputable educational publications and websites in this field that you feel our curatorial approach and editorial policies are consistent with? I'd be interested. (For the avoidance of doubt, when I say "reputable", I mean, first and foremost, publications by university presses and other high-quality publishers, educational websites whose content is compiled by notable academic researchers, government-sponsored health education sites, etc.) --JN466 11:53, 28 February 2012 (UTC)
Commons accepts a much broader (i.e. lower) range of talent than a major art museum. That's what happens in an encyclopedia anyone can edit. But where "pornography" is concerned, they are following the same standards that art museums do, which are famous for accepting content which some news media would categorize as pornographic. Likewise, Wikipedia's no-censorship standard - when we stick to it - is in line with those adopted by librarians in organizations such as the American Library Association. Wnt (talk) 16:54, 28 February 2012 (UTC)
Wnt, we are not talking about art. Commons is not an art repository, nor a repository for substandard amateur art (there are lots of other online communities for this). Commons is supposed to hold material realistically useful for an educational purpose. That's why it's tax-exempt. --JN466 06:54, 29 February 2012 (UTC)
Art museums are also tax-exempt, no? Art is educational. When Commons says "educational", this is meant in a broad sense, as their policy discussions have made clear. Though I would go further still. If an image shocks you, I say that is already evidence that it is educational, revealing your cultural mores. If an image provokes ten pages of discussion, it means that it effectively probes 21st-century political discourse. If we have a glut of boring, repetitive, low-quality images (penis snapshots had that reputation for a bit) they can be called out of scope, but when there is a single one of a kind image that has people on the warpath, that image is worth keeping. Wnt (talk) 15:35, 29 February 2012 (UTC)
I agree, I think it is hard to know where to draw the line about what is "art" or "educational" material. Should we let Rudy Giuliani or Larry Flynt decide? Mark Arsten (talk) 16:23, 29 February 2012 (UTC)
If we follow your line of argument, Wnt, then if we put an image of a doughnut on every page, and people are mystified, that would clearly be educational too. It would cause readers to question their assumptions, and to examine their reactions, thus increasing self-awareness! That's jejune sophistry, Wnt. It could be used to portray any questionable behaviour as "educational". What's shocking here is not the badly-lit amateur image of a woman with freckles giving a blowjob, but Wikimedia's collective lack of judgment and maturity.
And I note that we now have a situation where the editor who tried to help is accused over in Commons of "undermining COM:NOTCENSORED" and "pushing POLA" on Commons, and threatened with the removal of file mover rights – all for trying to make sure that a media search for "tolling bells" / "[for whom the] bell tolls" etc. or a "toothbrush" in Wikipedia would not bring up masturbation files. JN466 03:08, 1 March 2012 (UTC)
If we put an image of a space shuttle on every page, that would seem absurd also. But it doesn't mean that having the picture of a space shuttle is uneducational. Whose sophistry? Wnt (talk) 04:28, 1 March 2012 (UTC)
I opposed Fae's renames, but see no reason for any now all too typical WikiThreats. He was making a good faith effort to solve a problem the wrong way, because (due to database lag) it is difficult to tell whether it is possible to solve it the right way. Wnt (talk) 04:32, 1 March 2012 (UTC)
The problem with MediaWiki search engine is that its exclusion function is poorly done. If I search for "cucumber -sex" in Commons, those files with the category "sexual ~" will be ignored and appear in the first 50 search result (without excluding most namespaces.) It would be nice that if registered user can setup the default list of exclusion of search. -- Sameboat - 同舟 (talk) 04:59, 1 March 2012 (UTC)
  • Keep a user-preference list of image categories to blur out: I think the simplicity, which people have mentioned, could be a user-preferences check (when getting default image-size for "upright=0.75") to also get default image-exclusion categories. When the image is being resized for display, then blur-out (or gray-out) any image linked to those image-exclusion categories, and perhaps disable the click-on-image link. As noted above, it would not take long to categorize the most troublesome images. Also, some image names could be renamed, if even the name is too extreme; however, just blurring the image (extensively) on every page could solve the problem for most concerned users. -Wikid77 (talk) 14:37, 1 March 2012 (UTC)

Commons needs to be shut down by WMF, period. It is the catastrophe that keeps on giving and giving. There is a disconnect between images present and educational mission. Let the language Wikipedias host the images, assure that the images are not orphaned from encyclopedic content, and create some new image sharing mechanism. This is not rocket science. Unfortunately, it's gonna take an American national crisis with right wing Congressmen on the warpath before WMF gets it out of park. This is going to HAVE to be done at some point, better now than under the threat of a really big stick — with all the ensuing negative publicity which will come with that territory. Carrite (talk) 14:26, 1 March 2012 (UTC)

With respect, that is as ridiculous a suggestion now as it was the last time it was made. Commons provides a useful service to all projects, and frankly, is an absolute must have for Wikimedia. There are things that require retooling, but deleting it because it doesn't run the way you want it to is asinine. Resolute 14:45, 1 March 2012 (UTC)
Resolute, just one quick question. In this context, shouldn't it be spelled assinine? Russavia ლ(ಠ益ಠლ) 16:05, 1 March 2012 (UTC)
As to right wing Congressman, no chance, for it is usually right wing pollies who go on a morale crusade only to get busted soliciting for gay sex in airport toilets, or partaking in the pleasure of rent-boys, and the like. Russavia ლ(ಠ益ಠლ) 16:08, 1 March 2012 (UTC)

I know I am just a lowly IP but I would also like to wage a vote on this. I think there are several very different reasons why we may want to allow some kind of way to identify the adult related content.

  1. Some people just don't wanna see it
  2. Some people are offended by it
  3. Some people use and edit Wikipedia from public or work places and some content could be offensive to others
  4. Children use and edit Wikipedia
  5. So that bots that generate content for certain things can be set to ignore this content in some cases. I am by no means a prude but I find it curious that a bot would casually leave a link on a users page as it did here. We have no idea the age of the user so I think this could be deemed, reasonably, as inappropriate.
  6. last and not least, are pedia is getting a very bad image by not addressing this issue. None or few are saying Wikipedia shouldn't have this content or that it shouldn't be available to some. What most people are saying, IMO, is that Wikipedia needs to be a little more understanding of the people who are 'using the data Wikipedia provides. (talk) 03:45, 3 March 2012 (UTC)

Something to think about

I've always been both a skeptic when it comes to Wikipedia as well as a fan, and tried to juggle the two. But the balance has tipped in the past few years and I think it's pretty obvious - it seems like Wikipedia is stumbling from one crisis to another. It still manages to stumble forward but ... well, you see where this is going.

Five years ago I would have to warn my students that "Don't use Wikipedia as your main source, it's okay to us it as a starting point". (which wasn't an insult to Wikipedia - I'd tell them the same thing about any tertiary source like Britannica), and they resented it.

The other day I started off this standard reminder with "Don't use Wikipedia as..." and I was interrupted by general laughter, as in "who in their right mind would use Wikipedia to begin with".

The good news is that I don't have to worry so much about my students plagiarizing Wikipedia content anymore, because they deem it "unworthy" now. The bad news for us, as Wikipedians is that... well, we're not even worthy of plagiarism anymore. The point where cynical "I'll copy anything that's worth copying" students abandon ye ship is the point where you need to worry, even more than what all the declining-editor, retention rates and all that tell you.VolunteerMarek 04:36, 27 February 2012 (UTC)

Can you point to any evidence that Wikipedia is of lower quality today than it was 5 years ago? I know of none, and I know of plenty of evidence to the contrary. Here's how to do a very rough test for yourself. Go to 100 random articles. (Or 10, if you don't have enough time) and then go back and look at how those entries looked 5 years ago. 3 years ago. 1 year ago. Contrary to seeing evidence of decline in quality, I think you'll find what I always find when I do this exercise: ongoing increases in quality across the board.
That's about the reality. But what about the impression?
News reports about the quality of Wikipedia tend on average to reflect that increase in quality. We have mainstream academics embracing Wikipedia. We have Nobel Prize winning scientists praising it in their area of expertise. That doesn't mean we should relax, it means we have a heavier burden than ever.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 14:44, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
Yes, and you have acclaimed scholars telling the world what happened to them at a place that, in the view of many people, myself among them, is fundamentally anti-intellectual in a number of dimensions. Does Wikipedia get things right? Sure. Not even your severest critics dispute that. But many of us, along with a big chunk of the interested world, will not rely on an entity built on the proposition that the truth, and even facts, are what the majority declares them to be. As far as we're concerned, if Wikipedia gets it right, it's because the issue itself was of the type that simply doesn't lend itself to major dispute (the distance of the moon from the earth) or by accident. Moynihanian (talk) 20:55, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
Ah, but you see there are no simple, quantifiable "metrics" for such things, unlike numbers of editors and their retention ratio. So they don't count. Short Brigade Harvester Boris (talk) 04:42, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
"Students in mocking sarcasm shocker". In other news....doktorb wordsdeeds 04:52, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
You'd have to be pretty dumb to plagiarize from the first search result on any given topic. GabrielF (talk) 04:54, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
Point is, that now, you'd have to be even dumber than someone who was doing it six years ago. Which, rightly or wrongly, is a a quality metric of sorts - a "on the ground" "how Da People see it" kind of metric. We used to be a source that was the first to pop on search results and that created plagiarism problems for professors everywhere. Now we're a source that still (for whatever reasons) still pops up first on search result and nobody will even do us the respects of plagiarizing us because our content has gotten so bad. Seriously, in this day and age, if people who are trying to find an easy way out of their homework assignment won't even do you the courtesy of plagiarizing your info, that says something right there about the quality of that info.
How did we wind up here? We're not even good enough to be plagiarized anymore.VolunteerMarek 06:01, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
A direct challenge for you. You are claiming something very specific here, and something I think is empirically false. You sare saying that compared to six years ago "our content has gotten so bad" - i.e. that our quality is worse than six years ago. I defy you to come up with a randomized objective test that shows anything remotely close to that. We have dozens of people, at least, who are interested in the question, so if you want to design something, I'm sure we can get a ton of people to help us carry out the test. We could even have someone pull articles to a separate site - the six year ago version and the today version - and conceal which is which and ask people to review them along a number of dimensions of quality. I think you just can't possibly be serious if you take an even cursory look at quality, that quality has declined. That it hasn't increased as quickly as one might hope - sure, that's possible. But an actual decline? No way.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 15:05, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
Maybe it's just that students have become more clued-up about plagiarism? Maybe it isn't a question of how good a source Wikipedia would be for plagiarising, but how obvious it would be if you did it? AndyTheGrump (talk) 06:07, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
To add a bit of flesh to my rather silly earlier response...Aren't you getting this the wrong way round? It's not that Wiki has lost its credibility, rather students have become wise to the fact that other sources exist? We should be celebrating the fact that students know they can't get away with stealing content, or that students are using Wiki as it was intended - a diving board rather than the whole pool. I don't accept the 'doom and gloom' painting of Wikipedia as a husk of its former self - of course it's going to change as the Internet itself develops. There's never been a better time for a service to be a social network, as Wiki as always been at its heart. Little something else for you to consider - I can hit 'recent changes' any time of the day and see thousands of contributions continuing as they always have. For as long as we have a great army of anonymous helpers updating everything from the Oscars to the principle junctions of Route 66, we're looking good. And I mean "we". Your students have decided that Wikipedia has become MySpace: that's not a reflection on anyone else doktorb wordsdeeds 06:16, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
I think people, especially students, are becoming more educated about Wikipedia's strengths and weaknesses. I can see it when I watch my son and his friends working on a homework assignment. If they click on the Wikipedia article off of Google, I'm satisfied to see that they will skim the article quickly to take in the main points, then go to the notes/refs section at the end and start clicking on the links or write down the names of the books listed. Cla68 (talk) 06:24, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
I agree with Cla68 here (and that's a rare thing. ;) To me, Wikipedia is a lot like Google, but with the search results carefully curated to make them more readily, well, searchable. But citing Wikipedia is like citing Google; it's a highway, not a destination. Wnt (talk) 17:00, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
Come now Doktorb! Don't you dare interject logic into someone's random "Wikipedia sucks, it's going downhill and probably can't be saved" rant. VolunteerMarek - Allow me to reply to your highly subjective argument with a highly subjective one of my own: Believe it or not, I am a regular dodgeball player. Two to three nights a week. We play in random schools throughout my city. Schools like to plaster reports and projects and murals across their walls. You might be surprised how often content from Wikipedia is used in those. Not plagiarized, mind you, but used as part of a presentation of a topic. In one case, parts of an article I wrote. Your warnings of Wikipedia's doom are greatly overstated, IMNSHO. Resolute 15:02, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
I think you all are being too hard on VolunteerMarek. I have also seen the same thing as they, not from an education perspective but on the Government side. A few years ago it was common to see Wikipedia used as a reference in a slide or 2 but now it almost never happens and if it does the speaker almost always loses credibility from that point on (unless they are speaking directly on the use of social media). I don't necessarily think its actually from declining quality but from the general perception of it by the general public. A few years ago people viewed Wikipedia as an Encyclopedia and it was treated as such. Now though its a household name, everyone knows what it is and how it works. There have been very public activities both positive and negative that have shed light on it, the editors and its content. Additionally, more and more people over the years have attempted to edit in one way or another and have given up, gotten bored of it or been run off. That "advertisement" presents a very negative view of the Wikipedia community environment. Thus a decline in editors, content creation and even use as other more user friendly sources become available. I too see a steady decline of the pedia and unfortunately unless we do some things to stop it, I envision it won't be long before Wikipedia suffers the same fate as the passing fads of AOL, MySpace and the numorous other examples. --Kumioko (talk) 15:49, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
An interesting challenge above. My first reaction would be to think that in a truely random sample of lets say 1000 articles from each one might find a slight decline simply because 1. some good editors have left after bringing articles up to spec and subsequently those articles were "verschlimmbessert" as well as 2. a large number of new substandard articles which add to the quantity but not the quality. The trend that I have seen on Wikia that articles deterioate due to unwatched vandalism has not had a real impact here yet. OTOH if you compare like for like - i.e. the coverage of any given subject you will see a definete improvement. In geography where years ago you might have an article on a province you now find at least short articles if not more on the relevant towns. Vandalism is caught much faster. The quality of images has improved. Where up to a few years ago I was looking to imdb if I wanted to know details on an actor or film I now look here first and I am sure many echo similar thoughts on other areas. Agathoclea (talk) 16:06, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
Cultural changes are certainly a relevant factor. Whether they're changes in awareness of plagiarism, in attitudes towards the reliability of information outlets in general, or in the perception of Wikipedia itself. And as well as expanding in various directions, Wikipedia has also experienced shifts in its internal culture; it's even possible that greater emphasis on, say, verifiable sources may have subtly affected reader perceptions. Public—and particularly student—perceptions of Wikipedia may well have matured since the news broke that WP could be (hear this, hear this...) nearly as good as the Britannica. Personally, I feel that the findings of that single study may have been a bit of a distraction: WP and EB clearly have different characteristics and tend to be used for different purposes (btw, I'm concerned about medical information in en.wikipedia not coming with the sort of "health warning" hat you get, for example, on it.wikipedia). Studies of public perceptions of Wikipedia in different populations could also be an informative line of research, imo. More critical cultural attitudes towards Wikipedia are not necessarily a threat. My 2c, —MistyMorn (talk) 19:50, 27 February 2012 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Based on my own experience and conversations with colleagues, I haven't seen any evidence at all that students have miraculously seen the light on plagiarism and sourcing in the past few years. Rather, students have become web-savvy enough to know that Wikipedia is just some web site written by whatever random people who show up, with no formal quality control at all. Journalists and academics who cover Wikipedia remain largely clueless, of course (e.g., many think that admins enforce content standards when precisely the opposite is true). Short Brigade Harvester Boris (talk) 21:05, 27 February 2012 (UTC)

I think that's an astute observation, i.e., that journalists and academics think there are content standards at Wikipedia when in fact they don't exist other than to require an accurate citation to an approved secondary source. I'd be willing to wager that most users wrongly believe that Wikipedia has accuracy standards, when in fact it does not have them because, as a corporate entity, Wikipedia doesn't believe in the concept that facts are anything other than what a majority says they are. They've heard that Wikipedia is an "encyclopedia," so they think, Britannica without realizing that Wikipedia's founding principle is that there are no such things as facts, or the truth, about anything. The whole idea is so far out of the common frame of reference that people just screen it out. Moynihanian (talk) 05:48, 28 February 2012 (UTC)
English Wikipedia has the vast WP:MOS, as a guideline for writing articles of higher quality. There are nearly a hundred pages in WP:MOS, which defines more than 10,000 rules for quality in articles, titles, categories, etc. See the extensive set of 80 pages of guidelines: Special:PrefixIndex/Wikipedia:Manual_of_Style, and over 50 pages about naming: Special:PrefixIndex/Wikipedia:Naming_conventions. -Wikid77 (talk) 12:09, revised 15:28, 28 February 2012 (UTC)
Wikipedia does not, or should not, believe what the "majority" believes. Wikipedia should present what everybody believes, excepting only the rarest "WP:fringe" views (we do so too much already). Perhaps unlike an academic journal, our role is not to say that the Hindenburg disaster was accident or sabotage, or whether Amanda Knox was innocent or guilty; our role is to say, "here's what other people have had to say about the topic" and let the sources speak for themselves. Wnt (talk) 19:46, 28 February 2012 (UTC)

objective test proposal

Another editor jumping in with a proposal for an objective test. I think Jimbo is correct about overall quality improving, however there may be exceptions. First form two sample sets. First set is a random sample taken from all Wikipedia articles over five years old (the control set). Make blind comparisons of 5-yr old vs. current versions to get a baseline measure of improvement in the average Wikipedia article. Second set is of 5-yr old articles with the most talk page chatter, or highest ratio of talk page to article edits. Perhaps this could be considered a proxy for the most controversial article subjects. Compare the blind results of each sample, to find out if high levels of article talk result in articles which improved more than average over the last 5 years, or less than average. Wbm1058 (talk) 16:13, 27 February 2012 (UTC)

I still think that a simple comparison is only going to get a partial (and frankly biased) answer. Wikipedia has added millions of articles/content in the last 5 years so of course, we are going to see improvements. No one is doubting that and I would be really suprised if you didn't find that to be true. What I believe is that the public perseption of the site disproportinately affects the idea that Wikipedia cannot be trusted. Bearing that in mind we need to determine and put value on the publics trust in the articles and on Wikipedia itself, not whether a few articles did or did not improve. If you want to truly analyze whether Wikipedia is trusted more now thatn 5 years ago you need to do a PEST/SWOT analysis of the site not just a couple hundred articles. For those that may not know. SWOT analyzes the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and threats and the PEST test analyzes the Political, Economic, Sociocultural and Technological aspects. Together, along with a comparison of the articles, will give you a pretty accurate picture of where Wikipedia stands in the publics eyes and what is affecting its growth and success and give some ideas of how to improve. Of course doing these can be a fairly time consuming endeavor but it might be a worthwhile project for some PHD student somewhere. --Kumioko (talk) 16:29, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
Yes, it's not as easy as just taking two randomized samples and making blind comparisons. First thing is to decide what we'd like to know from the study (or studies). Then formulate answerable research question/s—a key step. Then design the study/ies appropriately. Then conduct, analyze and report... —MistyMorn (talk) 16:58, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
Your absolutely correct, we cannot begin to analyze until we decide what we want to know. --Kumioko (talk) 17:03, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
(edit conflict) If it's worth doing, it's worth doing properly. One wants to get the design right first time—quite a technical matter. University facilities are an obvious advantage. I guess the ideal scenario would be cooperation with a good, dedicated University research group (or groups). Regulations may vary, but I guess that if a study were performed in the context of someone's PhD that wouldn't necessarily rule out broader teamwork. —MistyMorn (talk) 18:00, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
I think there are always some parts of Wikipedia that are getting better and some parts that are getting worse, and metrics of quality that are improving or deteriorating. For example, if all the featured articles in a topic area get slightly worse, while several new good articles are promoted, has it improved or not overall? I think a thorough study would have to investigate a variety of topic areas and quality metrics to come to an overall conclusion. The idea of building a model to predict how an article's quality will change in the future is also interesting and could help target rescue efforts. These are publishable studies but a lot of work. Dcoetzee 17:31, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
The members of Wikipedia:WikiProject Statistics probably have the expertise to design a valid test.
Wavelength (talk) 17:40, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
That could be fine for an "internal" study. Though if the WMF wanted the study/ies to be published in a leading peer review journal/s, it would be wise to bear in mind conflict of interest considerations. An independent study (maybe with external collaboration from WMF) would be considered a more reliable source of evidence.
Adding: "Internal" studies could also be rather useful to Wikipedia. Perhaps especially to address questions that can provide useful information to help guide development. —MistyMorn (talk) 18:26, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
See Wikipedia article depth - Meta.
Wavelength (talk) 00:48, 28 February 2012 (UTC)
But "article depth" would not appear to be an appropriate proxy for academic quality (what we were looking to measure). As acknowledged in a note here: "The "Depth" column (Edits/Articles × Non-Articles/Articles × Stub-ratio) is a rough indicator of a Wikipedia’s quality, showing how frequently its articles are updated. It does not refer to academic quality, which cannot be computed, but to Wikipedian quality, i.e. the depth of collaborativeness—a descriptor that is highly relevant for a Wikipedia." —MistyMorn (talk) 10:26, 28 February 2012 (UTC)
FWIW, "article depth" on en.wikipedia seems to have continued to rise in the last 3 years (currently 660 [28] vs. 413 in January 2009 [29]), albeit somewhat more slowly than in the 2 preceding years (vs. 224 in January 2007). —MistyMorn (talk) 13:54, 28 February 2012 (UTC)

"Objective tests" of Wikipedia Quality Are Largely Pointless

There is a whole realm of material based on "facts" that don't lend themselves to dispute, such as the Census Bureau's 2010 population tallies. If such articles were incorporated in an "objective test" (curious phrase, by the way -- stay tuned), then Wikipedia would have yet one more occasion to pat itself on the back, something it has rarely missed an opportunity to do. What really matters here is the articles where there are disputed views. In those cases, how does Wikipedia perform? How accurately are conflicting views presented? How well are facts sorted and balanced?

An "objective test?" How can Wikipedia measure itself "objectively," when it doesn't believe in the concept, which ultimately rests on concepts of fact and truth that are quite explicitly rejected here? The most you could do is tell the world, or that part of the world that might care, what it already knows: That Wikipedia is just fine if you want to know how many people lived in Missouri in 2010. That's World Book Encyclopedia stuff, not the third-digit-I.Q. issues that Wikipedia has become so (justifiably) notorious for handling badly. So do your "objective study" if you want, but don't imagine it'll substitute for the sort of self-examination that's actually needed throughout Wikipedia. Moynihanian (talk) 20:07, 27 February 2012 (UTC)

  • Laughter and peers are poor measures of quality: Well, the issue of "objective" measures was in response to concerns that some students laughed when reminded not to quote from Wikipedia. Plus, the community seems almost ready to endorse "Verifiability and Truth" even though some do not understand that readers come here to find "true answers" (which limits POV-pushing more than before). However, the discussion, above, included what exactly does laughter mean, as someone suggested it would be foolish to think a teacher would not compare a student paper to Wikipedia phrases about the same subject. Today's students know to avoid copying from Wikipedia for term papers and such. Yet, another problem is why a teacher would worry about laughter by students, as in peer pressure. Those students are not a teacher's "peers" even though some students might be more educated, in general. Meanwhile, it is important not to treat peer pressure, or laughter, or various complaints, as anything more than "anecdotal evidence". Complaining is not sampling, and "correlated does not mean causally related" of new changes leading to complaints. Hence, some have suggested to run a "double-blind study" but first, write out each specific hypothesis beforehand, before looking at all the data, and then click "Special:Random" to gather evidence to test the hypotheses. A person can be more objective, if agreeing to follow some written rules about analyzing data, and trying to set impartial hypotheses to measure aspects of quality metrics. Plus, remember that many editors are, in fact, seeking true data, even though "Verifiability and Truth" (as a goal) is not official yet. -Wikid77 (talk) 05:47, 28 February 2012 (UTC)
This will sound much more pointed than I intend it to, but what does that comment mean? Moynihanian (talk) 05:55, 28 February 2012 (UTC)
I was talking about the whole message thread, above, "#Something to think about" where the students responded with "general laughter" and other editors began discussing ways to check for objective measures of article quality, because thousands of articles seem much better than years ago. -Wikid77 (talk) 12:09, 28 February 2012 (UTC)
Fragments of your posts are interesting enough to make me wish you'd frame your thoughts in the sorts of sentences and paragraphs that most of us learned in grade school. I am not a fifth-grade teacher, but still: The rules of standard English composition make it possible for people to understand each other.
In any case, I'll try responding to one such fragment here, notwithstanding that the structure of your expressions makes it difficult to understand what you actually might have meant. You wrote: thousands of articles seem much better than years ago. I presume you meant that today's articles seem much better than older articles, as opposed to today's articles seeming much better than the "years ago" time period. The latter wouldn't make sense, but it's what you wrote.
If I am correct in understanding your actual point, as opposed to the literal text, I have two questions. First, "seemed" to whom? You? If so, have you read "thousands of articles," and do you still remember them? If not, then on what basis are you judging? General nostalgia, maybe? Moynihanian (talk) 04:37, 29 February 2012 (UTC)
I have read (by Special:Random) several thousand articles (edited more than 10,000 and mass-updated more than 350,000). However, I remember only a few thousand, often surprised when I read earlier texts which were written by me during the past 6 years. My message above contained some "elliptical clauses" so the exact words should be naturally expanded, as you noted. Anyway, many articles do get "hacked" with strange additions or deletions of whole sections, but on average, most articles seem to get better each year. Often the text which has been deleted was too detailed for the remainder of an article, or was added as an off-topic tangent section in an article about one specific case. If you think that a particular article has been "ruined" then feel free to discuss recent changes with other editors and propose to revert the article back to a prior revision. -Wikid77 13:34, 4 March 2012 (UTC)
I was greeted with "general laughter" (more like universal derision after they recovered from their shock) when I repeated Wikid77's comment from awhile back that there are over 7,000 English language news media sources which are every bit as good as The Economist. Are articles better when they're edited by people with such views? Obviously some believe so, but I side with the college students that many Wikipedia articles are now a joke. They've been expanded, but mostly with titillating factoids overwhelming the most relevant and important points. Some like that sort of thing, same as they like tabloid newspapers. The point is, these are the editors being retained who far too often become Admins. If Jimmy doesn't have a problem with that, as long as the article factoids are sourced and the consensus supports these Admins, what's the point of arguing for something else? (talk) 20:24, 28 February 2012 (UTC)
Try not to be swayed by "general laughter" as peer pressure (or "sneer pressure"). Often it is difficult to explain issues to large groups of people, so try talking with them in smaller groups. Let them laugh along the way (without demeaning their reactions), but also explain to them that "reliable" with sources, depends on "reliable for what". It might be that The Economist periodical has no articles about the type of sand along Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, as not being sand at all, but rather stones and shells on the beach, compared to the white sands of Diani Beach at Mombasa, Kenya. A local TV station typically gives more reliable information than a periodical published in another nation. Perhaps The Economist noted that vintage cars on the Orient Express clattered at each track section, while newer trains were whisper-quiet on the same tracks. However, the value of each source document depends on which information is needed, as "reliable for what". -Wikid77 13:34, 4 March 2012 (UTC)
@Wikid77: Maybe you missed Jimbo's challenge above: I defy you to come up with a randomized objective test that shows anything remotely close to that [claim regarding a decline in quality]. We have dozens of people, at least, who are interested in the question, so if you want to design something, I'm sure we can get a ton of people to help us carry out the test. We could even have someone pull articles to a separate site - the six year ago version and the today version - and conceal which is which and ask people to review them along a number of dimensions of quality. Irresistible. Though it would be preferable to use a superiority design hypothesizing that Wikipedia has improved in recent years. Also, it might be a hard task to blind academic raters to the age of an article without distorting either the sampling frame or the articles themselves. But double blind designs are sometimes impractical anyway... Actually, I think all sorts of research challenges could be useful to Wikipedia if approached in the right ways. For instance, it would also be interesting to assess how strongly an index of collaboration such as "article depth" correlates with academic quality ratings. The only major randomized trial so far to use academic quality for the outcome measure seems to be the 2005 one published in Nature. Obviously, studies involving third-party evaluation of academic quality are much more challenging than analyses of a preexisting (Wikimedia) database, which account for most of the available literature (see the Google Scholar results for Wavelength's search string below). For one thing, there are the organizational challenges of setting up the rating processes. But I guess WMF commissions might actually be rather attractive to universities given the potential for good publicity. —MistyMorn (talk) 20:50, 29 February 2012 (UTC)
The complexity of those tests is a good reason to start with Jimbo's suggestion to look at 10 random articles, comparing them back 1, 2, 5 years ago. Then, taking more time, look at 100 articles. Finally, make a plan to check 1,001 articles, perhaps with other people, to gauge a 97% confidence level (3% margin of error) as to the level of quality improvements in articles. All this talk of using a "double-blind study" was just for extreme skeptics. -Wikid77 13:34, 4 March 2012 (UTC)

A few hints about "Objective tests"

I'm writing this because I think it might just be helpful to WMF, no other reason and nothing to do with the laughing students, verifiability-versus-truth or other internal debates. Needless to say, I believe objective testing of Wikipedia quality is worthwhile.

A few premises:

1) Objective testing of Wikipedia quality must regard the encyclopaedia as an end product, irrespective of how it was produced or the policies used (verifiability etc). Randomized comparative trials (RCT) provide the right tool for the task.

2) Any index of "collaborative quality", such as "article depth", can be no more than a surrogate outcome measure or a proxy. "Academic quality" is the obvious hard choice, though its evaluation presents obvious issues. (That doesn't mean that it wouldn't be useful to find an index of collaborative quality which correlates well with academic quality—it could be very useful.)

3) From a scientific (rather than a media) perspective, the validity and relevance of any single study is always to some extent limited by methodological considerations and will remain open to criticism after publication. Once an RCT has been planned, it's preferable not to make any further tweaks: so the planning phase is especially important in RCT.

4) The rigorous processes that RCT demand can present particular organizational problems to academic groups who have competing professional priorities (and don't have the benefit of dedicated corporate structures). Therefore, it would be really important to choose a group with really good organizational abilities, including the possibility of recruiting highly motivated co-workers with the necessary skill sets.

5) A single RCT can only really attempt to answer a single research question, while at the same time also generating data regarding secondary outcome measures that can be useful for hypothesis building. A single RCT can be good, but a series of well-conducted studies could be even better.

6) Due to conflict of interest considerations, it would be preferable for high profile studies to be designed, conducted and reported externally.

Fwiw, my 2 cents:

In brief: Try to establish a good relationship with a highly motivated University research group with the right sort of background, facilities and organizational abilities who can involve personnel, perhaps from outside, with the right sort of technical know-how, such as epidemiologist/s and statisticians with consolidated experience in the design and analysis of high quality RCT. Set the right mechanisms in place for good research by coming to informal agreements on various key aspects of study quality both as regards RCT technicalities (eg identification of suitable primary outcome measure/s, approaches to any subgroup analysis, etc etc) and basic strategy (trial registration [eg [30] ], reporting [31] etc), as well as shared research goals. Particular attention would need to be paid to the logistical as well as methodological challenges of setting up a valid and feasible system for assessment of academic quality (presumably taking advantage of university contacts to create a pool of experienced peer reviewers who are happy to participate in the research project). WMF could then respond to any requests for input without exercising any control over the details of the study methods. Thus, the overall priority could be to establish really good working mechanisms from the start and then leave the research group/s to go on and do their stuff.

If this is all redundant, I'm sorry. I felt it might just be useful. —MistyMorn (talk) 10:13, 3 March 2012 (UTC)

Wikipedia reliability considerations

The problem is that whenever you load a page you cannot be sure whether what you are reading is correct or whether it has been purposely changed to include incorrect facts. If the text is antiquated then it is probably OK, that it was directly copied from EB-1911 or the Catholic Encyclopedia, or some other out-of-copyright source, and hasn't been messed with much. Even if the article hasn't been purposefully vandalized there are problems when editors do a 'bit of tidying up'. I've encountered articles on the 15th century (sourced from an early 19th century work) that talk about 'the civil war' where 'the civil war' has been linked to the 1642-1649 events. People mentioned in historical events where the person is linked to a close relative, or to someone of the same name in different generation, and sometimes of a different nationality. I've seen articles that, through sloppy editing, reference events that did not occur. The issue being that whilst editors may have some prose skills, they do not have command of the subject, and the errors are mostly introduced when an article is expanded, wikified, or otherwise 'improved'. John lilburne (talk) 10:26, 1 March 2012 (UTC)
those articles with text that that hasn't been updated since 1907/1911 are a significant part of the problem: thee is no subject at all where the progress of knowledge stopped at that point. The older the subjects discussed there, the more likely to have been subsequent archeological discoveries or historical reinterpretations. DGG ( talk ) 00:24, 2 March 2012 (UTC)
At least the 1907/1911 text is for the most part correct. The problem occurs when an editor not in command of the subject mess with or recasts text so as to avoid plagiarism. By doing so they introduce problems of fact. For example I've seen articles mention that X died of Y at the Siege of Z: X my have died of Y, and may have been at the Siege of Z, but the siege of Z was a decade or more before X died. Or conversely the article will suddenly state that X (xx20-xx75) was at the Siege of Z in xx90. John lilburne (talk) 08:28, 2 March 2012 (UTC)

External studies of Wikipedia quality

See wikipedia quality - Google Scholar.
Wavelength (talk) 20:40, 28 February 2012 (UTC)

Rather relevant

Wikipedia is fine - SilverserenC 05:00, 29 February 2012 (UTC)

WMF's "rate this page"

Resolved: Many editors have noted it as unfounded claims. WP cannot be held to the ethical code of some other organization or profession, any more than quoting from a Catholic Bible makes Wikipedia ethically bound to "confess its sins" to a priest. Driving a car does not make a person bound by NASCAR rules. A scientist should not delete untrue talk-page remarks as claiming to uphold the ethics of "Truth in Science". Instead, WP has other wp:Policy pages to follow. I renamed the talk-page link to a neutral heading. -Wikid77 (talk) 20:04, 29 February 2012 (UTC)
After answering a survey on an article, readers are invited to edit as part of WMF's strategy to recruit new editors.

I opened a discussion of the WMF's "rate this page" initiative to recruit editors from readers.

Such recruitment "surveys" are prohibited by the ethical code of public-opinion researchers.

Sincerely,  Kiefer.Wolfowitz 22:56, 27 February 2012 (UTC)

This seems like a win-win for me. Readers get to give their feedback on articles and other readers and editors get to review that feedback collectively. At the end of the process an inconspicuous message is delivered informing the reader that they can edit, and it just turns out that a meaningful proportion of them take up the offer. What's the problem here, aside from a theoretical violation of an ethical code that this community doesn't abide by? Ocaasi t | c 19:16, 28 February 2012 (UTC)
"ethical code of public-opinion researchers" - but the WMF is not a organization dedicated to the creation of unbiased research, it is a charity devoted to advocating for the creation of unbiased knowledge by other people. It's inherently advocacy driven in its goal of encouraging free knowledge, not in the neutral creation of that knowledge on its own. MBisanz talk 19:44, 28 February 2012 (UTC)
This question has been addressed many times at that discussion (and even has a suitably titled subsection); the issue of the scope of ethical codes is addressed early in the ethical codes of the organizations, and one statement is quoted on the discussion page. You two wrote without reading here. Also, the discussion occurs at the other page. Please read what others have written before writing further.
I understand the natural concern, "Hey! We are not members of AAOR." Nonetheless, professional ethical-codes cover the practice, and persons who engage in the practice are obligated to follow the code or suffer public sanctions, regardless of any affirmation of the code or any membership in the society. The rather uniform structure of ethical codes should make more sense if you become professionals and join professional societies, or if you consider the role of such organizations in ensuring the good name of the profession, partly by keeping unethical persons from the practice.
Sincerely,  Kiefer.Wolfowitz 22:34, 28 February 2012 (UTC)
I am professional of a state licensed profession (CPA) and am bound to act by the ethical code of that profession, or my license will be revoked and I can no longer practice accounting. There is also a non-licensed organization that claims to represent management accountants (CMA). I am not a CMA and while I do not intend to violate their code of conduct, if I do violate it, I cannot be sanctioned as I am not a member and they do not have enforceable sanctions on non-members. Someone who is a member of the SPHR and violates their code will be penalized by having their membership terminated, but there will be no sanction to prevent their further activities in the HR field. You have identified an organization similar in that it has a non-enforceable code. Tomorrow I could incorporate an organization with the exact purpose of undermining public trust in researchers and offer a code requiring researchers to lie to research subjects. I could threaten to terminate the membership of any researcher who does not steal their subjects' wallets. Given that I would have the same enforcement power as the organization you describe, I believe the WMF should ignore both organizations and act towards its own goals, within the confines of laws that actually can result in sanctions; it should not be bound by every aspirational code of conduct. Our goal is to advocate for the creation of free knowledge, not encourage public faith in researchers or be viewed as credible researchers. MBisanz talk 22:56, 28 February 2012 (UTC)
See also Rorschach test. We can and do assert our right to inform the reader no matter how much the company involved boo-hoos about their right to control the pictures after they've expired to the public domain. Wnt (talk) 18:25, 29 February 2012 (UTC)
I had forgotten about the level of stupidity on this page. It was much more enlightening to discuss this issue with WMF staffers.  Kiefer.Wolfowitz 22:04, 29 February 2012 (UTC)
← I am sorry that you are upset about this issue. What might be considered "stupidity" is merely other priorities which some people place on notifying users, as "(Hey) Do you know you can edit this page?" That is why the emphasis on "our right to inform the reader" (no matter what). It might be easy to forget, when an editor's primary language is German, then they think "Bearbeiten" or French think "Modifier" so a reminder of "Edit" (rather than "Rework" or "Modify") as the ability to change the page could be very helpful. Try going to Arabic Wikipedia and editing a few articles, and then consider the viewpoint of someone whose Arabic skills are rusty. Also, consider going to Swedish Wikipedia to "Redigera" (edit) an article there. An invitation to edit, for people with rusty language skills, could increase their incentive to improve their skills, and help to update the articles. -Wikid77 (talk) 23:30, 29 February 2012 (UTC)
Good to see such an emotionally uninvolved individual closing this discussion with a big green checkmark! Carrite (talk) 14:41, 1 March 2012 (UTC)
Next time such editors should scan the smiley face their teacher left on their homework.  Kiefer.Wolfowitz 14:11, 2 March 2012 (UTC)