User talk:Jimbo Wales

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Lamar Smith's data retention bill out of House committee

I just received an e-mail from Demand Progress about an Internet spying bill by the author of SOPA requiring ISPs to retain data about users and their reading for 18 months.[1] Would the bill have any effect on Wikipedia (e.g. changing the retention of checkuser data and therefore, most likely, making sockpuppet policies harsher)? Do people feel Wikipedia should get involved in this one? Wnt (talk) 18:49, 4 February 2012 (UTC)

I have not read the bill closely enough to have formed a strong opinion. But a cursory reading suggests that it wouldn't really apply to websites. It's about ISPs.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 19:06, 4 February 2012 (UTC)
[Addendum] - Also in some Internet chatter that I've seen about it, it is alleged that the bill requires ISPs to keep records of everyone's browsing history. But it seems to only require that ISPs keep records of what dynamic ip numbers they assigned to people. Presumably this is to facilitate tracing things back to a particular customer. I'd love to read a more detailed and NPOV analysis of it. So I will read this now.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 19:19, 4 February 2012 (UTC)
While the bill appears to have that meaning, I mistrust its application. "A commercial provider of an electronic communication service shall retain for a period of at least one year a log of the temporarily assigned network addresses the provider assigns to a subscriber to or customer of such service that enables the identification of the corresponding customer or subscriber information" You'd think that means ISPs, but so far as I can tell, neither the bill nor chapter 121 define "electronic communication service", and people on Wikipedia do communicate. You'd think Wikipedia isn't commercial, but all its software runs on commercial servers. You'd think at least Wikipedia doesn't allocate IP addresses, but under IPv6, is that really true regarding all the weird extra bits of those addresses? As a sibling of SOPA, the bill surely must be aimed at file sharing, even though it is sold as "fighting child pornography" because that's the master key to break through every right of free communications, anonymity and privacy known to man. Terms like "knowing that such transaction will facilitate access to, or the possession of, child pornography" sound like they're aimed more at people who sell encryption software and anonymizers than people selling kiddie porn. Censors are, by nature and essence, haters of truth, friends of deception. Wnt (talk) 03:48, 5 February 2012 (UTC)
  • Oh god. *facepalms* They pulled out the Think of the children card. Now anyone who opposes this will be labeled a child pornography enabler. SilverserenC 04:05, 5 February 2012 (UTC)
  • That seems to be the current weapon-of-choice for people who just want to manipulate the good ol' public using the hype-by-mass-hysteria route. Back in the old days, it would have been "Burn the witches!" Pesky (talkstalk!) 06:49, 5 February 2012 (UTC)


ISPs currently keep such records, folks. And libraries maintain log-in sheets for their computers as well. And since the bill does not apply to websites, as it stands, this may simply be a further attempt to politicize Wikipedia. Cheers. Collect (talk) 17:12, 5 February 2012 (UTC)

There's clearly nothing here for Wikipedia to get involved in, it doesn't affect the site, but it does affect us normal internet users, so we can individually speak out all we want. Wikipedia shouldn't be doing anything though, of course, that's pretty obvious. SilverserenC 17:26, 5 February 2012 (UTC)
(ec) At least currently, Americans can enjoy the illusion that somewhere, some other library might be letting people talk online without tracking them for Big Brother. And more to the point, there's always the chance the library is careless with the records, runs out of disk space and tosses them out. Now if someone were really trading child porn from the terminal, that wouldn't stop the federal agents from showing up, but if it's only the lawyer for the writer of the Harry Potter series trying to track down someone who posted about how it ends, he might decide the chance of not finding anything makes it not worth filing the subpoena and getting the bad press. The illusion is not as good as freedom, but it's still worth hanging onto. Wnt (talk) 17:31, 5 February 2012 (UTC)

GA Review on an Article In Which You Have Expressed Interest

Hi Jimbo,

You recently expressed interest in the work of WWB Too, a paid editor working for Cracker Barrel and other companies wishing to improve their image by modifying their Wikipedia articles to minimize negative publicity. I wanted to let you know that WWB Too has done a major rewrite of the Cracker Barrel article in his user space, and that another editor replaced the existing Cracker Barrel article with WWB Too's rewrite. The new article has now been nominated for good article status. I thought you might want to participate in the GA review process, or at least monitor its progress. Cheers, Ebikeguy (talk) 22:20, 4 February 2012 (UTC)

Which version was the last one before the replacement?--Jimbo Wales (talk) 22:36, 4 February 2012 (UTC)
Here is the diff showing the changes made when the rewrite was posted. Seems like there was a fair amount of activity on the article while the draft copy in WWB Too's userspace was undergoing peer review (of course the peer review was for the main article, but it instructed editors to look at the draft copy in WWB's user space). Ebikeguy (talk) 23:14, 4 February 2012 (UTC)
  • Things have been coming along well and i've made sure to have multiple people check for neutrality at every step of the way. After the GA nomination, we're going to put it up for another peer review, geared specifically toward fulfilling the requirements of FAC, and then a FAC nomination. Because the GA nom got picked up so quickly by someone, it shouldn't be too long (a month, maybe two) before WWB and I can get it up to FA status, depending on how long FAC takes, especially with all the current fracas over there. SilverserenC 02:32, 5 February 2012 (UTC)
  • Oh, and not much actually changed. Most of the red marked changes you see are because we swapped the positions of the history and restaurant sections, with history being put first instead. The only other big change was the removal of the campaign donations section, as most of the sources there didn't even mention Cracker Barrel and it seemed like undue weight, info that should instead be in the article on Tom Delay's campaign. But other than those three sentences and the re-ordering, there were mainly just fixing of how sentences sounded, word flow and all of that. I did a ton of fixes on the references and then we added the lede. SilverserenC 02:37, 5 February 2012 (UTC)
  • Silver's right about the process so far; we've worked with some previously uninvolved editors at Peer review and GA review to obtain further input, and it's been a success. It may be worth noting, there is actually a more thorough discussion of controversies now, compared to what was there prior to my involvement.
And for what it's worth, I have made no direct edits to the live article since objections were raised, and before that I'd made only copy edits. From the very beginning, my goal has been to seek community consensus. Although there have been some ups and downs, I think this is a good example of how the volunteer community and company representatives can work together, making articles better from the perspective of Wikipedia and outside interests both. Cheers, WWB Too (talk) 22:39, 5 February 2012 (UTC)
And for following the rules scrupulously, you are to be commended, indeed. Collect (talk) 12:37, 6 February 2012 (UTC)
This is great. Can't wait to see the Wikiproject's first FA/GA. Suggest replacing the word "praised" though. King4057 (talk) 23:09, 6 February 2012 (UTC)

A question about our policies on living people

Jimbo, as the only WMF representative here who actually responds to questions, I am curious if using a picture of a Siberian tiger (on a user page, not in the article itself) to represent a living person known primarily for their extensive facial plastic surgery (Jocelyn Wildenstein) is in keeping with Wikipedia's policies on biographies of living people or with the WMF statements in regard to how living persons should be treated on all WMF projects? To me this is a no-brainer, but I am not known for my good judgment, especially of late. Details are discussed in this ANI discussion, although I would hate for anyone to think that I am blatantly canvassing for your opinion in this matter. Delicious carbuncle (talk) 18:52, 5 February 2012 (UTC)

I think Stv's response here is more than enough to show that there isn't a BLP violation. You really need to stop this crusade, DC, the AfD did not go through and going after the creator of the article now is just over the top. SilverserenC 20:50, 5 February 2012 (UTC)
I am asking about something that I view as a clear and unambiguous violation of our policy and the WMF's statement on how we treat living people. Aside from the fact that User:Stvfetterly is the one making the violation, it actually has less to do with them than it does to do with treating Wildenstein with respect. If the image goes, I will leave Stvfetterly to continue their pattern of using obviously poor sources like Google's cache of an online store (so long as they don't do it with any biographies that happen to draw my attention). Delicious carbuncle (talk) 22:42, 5 February 2012 (UTC)
I think it's very much ambiguous, if it is even a violation at all. You have no information, such as a statement from Wildenstein on the name, or anywhere else that using such an image is treating her with disrespect. SilverserenC 22:57, 5 February 2012 (UTC)
Yes, I know what your opinion is, I was asking for Jimbo's... Delicious carbuncle (talk) 23:04, 5 February 2012 (UTC)
It's poor behavior, rude and insensitive, and I'm disappointed to see it - and more disappointed to see it defended by others.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 11:54, 6 February 2012 (UTC)
I think you need to read this diff, Jimbo. Stv perfectly explains, with sourced quotes, that Wildenstein purposefully had herself changed to look like a cat and is "ecstatic" at the outcome, having gotten "exactly what she wanted". In light of this, how is affiliating someone with something they like a BLP violation? SilverserenC 15:38, 6 February 2012 (UTC)

Image filter update

Jimbo, any news [2] on how things will (or will not) move forward from here? --JN466 00:57, 6 February 2012 (UTC)

No, I have no news. We ended up not discussing it at the board meeting.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 11:50, 6 February 2012 (UTC)
Thanks. --JN466 12:15, 6 February 2012 (UTC)

You were mentioned! (And linking to your request for editors)

Jimbo, you were mentioned here in connection with the Shakespeare authorship question, a series of articles you have taken some interest in. It would be great if you weighed in with some deep thoughts... or some shallow ones if you think they might go over better! Smatprt (talk) 02:01, 6 February 2012 (UTC)

  • The fact that you, Jimbo, were personally attacked and then belittled after you left the Oxfordian Theory page [[3]] is the perfect example of what is wrong here. If you (of all people) get bullied off a series of pages, how on earth can we expect new editors to stick around?Smatprt (talk) 02:01, 6 February 2012 (UTC)
  • And speaking of editors... are there any of Jimbo's watchers that might be willing to take up Jimbo's challenge? He has called for "a large influx of uninvolved editors". Cavaet: As Jimbo has warned, "It's going to be an unpleasant experience... even if it is the right thing for Wikipedia" So... is there anyone daring enough to take on these bullies?Smatprt (talk) 02:01, 6 February 2012 (UTC)

Ah - just received a year-long topic ban by an involved administrator. Didn't break 3RR, participated in the talk page, was reverted multiple times for a minor edit, references removed, and the other editor... no block, no ban, not even a warning, just free rein to bully, harass, and belittle any editor (even Jimbo) who dares to edit the pages that are (apparently) owned by the current editors. And what does one do when an involved administrator who has obviously chosen sides acts in such a one-sided manner? (The admin didn't even respond to my comments here). What a system. Smatprt (talk) 17:27, 6 February 2012 (UTC)

Hi Jimbo,

I was wondering if you would support a discussion around paid editing issues at Wikimania - or maybe even participate. http://wikimania2012.wikimedia.org/wiki/Submissions/Paid_Editors

I've learned a lot just following the discussions around WBToo, being a part of both Wikiprojects and seeing the discussions on Facebook. I'm also taking your recommendations very seriously and using "edit request".

I mentioned your name as a suggested panelist, but then felt I should ask you first. While 85% of the issues with paid editing are on the PR side of the pond, it would be great to foster some meaningful in-person discussions with representatives from the Paid Advocacy Watch, Wikiproject Cooperation, PR and yourself.

I'm not asking you to change your mind on anything and have even defended your "bright line" repeatedly in the CREWE group. It would be great for you to share that message at the conference along with other viewpoints. King4057 (talk) 03:52, 6 February 2012 (UTC)

"Paid editing" is a misleading topic name. It lumps together too many diverse things, muddying the issue. "Paid advocacy" is the problem that we have to deal with.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 09:28, 6 February 2012 (UTC)
What about unpaid advocacy? 86.173.251.202 (talk) 11:41, 6 February 2012 (UTC)
Also an interesting topic, but a different topic. The idea that since there is unpaid advocacy, we should ignore the solvable problem of paid advocacy is a total non sequitur.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 11:48, 6 February 2012 (UTC)
My point was, what about advocacy? Why is paid advocacy different from unpaid advocacy? My experience is that unpaid advocates tend to be fanatical and prescriptive and persistent. Paid advocates, by contrast, are usually doing a job, and often have a reputation to protect. That was my point. 86.173.251.202 (talk) 15:20, 6 February 2012 (UTC)
I agree. That's why it is important and valuable to clarify policy around paid advocacy - it's achievable and it will work. Unpaid advocacy is a different problem, also worthy of attention, but usually when people make your point they are asking the community to either lump the two together or to give up in despair. I see zero relevance. They are different problems, and they need different solutions.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 15:25, 6 February 2012 (UTC)
I fail to understand. The point and principle of Wikipedia is that what people say is relevant. If what they say is non-neutral or biased, an army of editors will pick this up and correct it instantaneously. That is the theory of Wikipedia and behold, it works. To go behind what is actually written in the article is to undermine the whole principle which made Wikipedia work. 86.173.251.202 (talk) 15:58, 6 February 2012 (UTC)
I don't know how to explain it to you any more clearly. You said it well yourself, up above. "Paid advocates, by contrast, are usually doing a job, and often have a reputation to protect." Therefore, they can be persuaded to do the right thing. You are making up some kind of new principle if you think some principle of Wikipedia requires that we ignore a problem that can be solved.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 17:15, 6 February 2012 (UTC)
This really means conceding that the basic principle of Wikipedia (that the editor should not be visible, but only their contributions) has failed. What you are now saying is that this failure is more easily corrected in the case of paid advocates - because they have a reputation to protect - than in the case of unpaid advocates. What do you in the case of unpaid advocates such as Scientologists? What about politicians who edit, or who are members of the Wikipedia administration? You have spectacularly failed to appreciate the point I am making here (although I concede I was making it obliquely). 86.173.251.202 (talk) 17:30, 6 February 2012 (UTC)
I agree with Jimmy's point, but would make a further distinction. PR professionals are just that: professional. Lay out the ground rules, perhaps have a contract, and you have a basis to go forward. Unfortunately, "paid" can also mean outsourced, untrained "hit squads" who remove all but pleasant fluff from one group of articles, and add nothing but nasty tittle-tattle to another group of articles. They're not a whole lot different from the volunteer fanatics. I would also add another point about the PR professionals. They do a good job in correcting facts and putting the "bad stuff" in context. However, expecting them to provide material and references for "the other side" is fanciful. I think Newt Gingrich's campaign man is doing an excellent job. At his job. I did not expect him to suggest including the official House report (1996) on Gingrich's ethics issues, not did he. Unfortunately, neither did anyone else working on that article. All those edits over the years, and no one noticed? My point is that while a professional PR person will tell the truth and nothing but the truth, don't expect them to tell the whole truth. The encyclopedia still needs disinterested volunteers to fill in the gaps. We're clearly short on those, but eliminating the contributions of PR professionals isn't going to help. 76.192.41.110 (talk) 17:32, 6 February 2012 (UTC)
Why should 'professional' matter? The principle of Wikipedia is that absolutely anyone should be able to edit (except for banned users, of course, because they are morally evil), but that everyone else can - it is the quality of the contribution that counts, not the person behind the contribution. 86.173.251.202 (talk) 17:35, 6 February 2012 (UTC)
Jimbo, there's been discussions about scope and definition on both Wikiprojects. Paid editing is too broad, because it includes GLAM, etc. However Paid Advocacy is too narrow, because updating revenue numbers for example isn't a form of "advocacy". I'm also coming to realize many PR people are baffled by the suggestion they are "paid" to edit Wikipedia.
Maybe we could collaborate on a new name for the session proposal together? I like the progress RKLawton has made on Wikiproject Cooperation. What about an acronym like CAB (Corporations, Advocacy Groups and Biographies). King4057 (talk) 19:30, 6 February 2012 (UTC)

We need to have a discussion Jimbo

I adore you.... but I need to ask you something. Talk back please :). Cigaro Pizarro (talk) 15:26, 6 February 2012 (UTC)

There's an old saying... "Don't ask if you can ask, just ask." :-)--Jimbo Wales (talk) 17:13, 6 February 2012 (UTC)