User talk:Seth Finkelstein

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Hello Seth Finkelstein, and welcome to Wikipedia. Thank you for your contributions. I hope you like the place and decide to stay. Here are a few good links for newcomers:

I hope you enjoy editing here and being a Wikipedian! By the way, please be sure to sign your name on Talk and vote pages using four tildes (~~~~) to produce your name and the current date, or three tildes (~~~) for just your name. If you have any questions, see the help pages, add a question to the village pump or ask me on my Talk page. Again, welcome! --Wikiacc (talk) 15:39, July 25, 2005 (UTC)

The address reverse-resolves to the hostname "". I believe the "" part of the hostname indicates that editor is unlikely to be Alan Dershowitz himself. Though by now it's likely someone has told him about the article. -Seth Finkelstein 02:49, 11 December 2005 (UTC)

That may be so, but resolves directly to Dershowitz. Anyone who has received an email from Dershowitz in the past will be able to tell you that. is responsible for blanking the page, partially and completely - [1] [2]- Xed 10:39, 11 December 2005 (UTC)

your bio page[edit]

If you want, you can put your bio up for an WP:AfD vote to get it deleted. Sdedeo (tips) 16:09, 3 June 2006 (UTC)

Thanks. I'm unsure if that's the smart thing to do though, as doing it will attract people who want to be contrarian. -- Seth Finkelstein 21:01, 3 June 2006 (UTC)
Well, now that it is up, you might as well make your pitch as to why you are not notable at the AFD. Put it out as a first level bullet * with a Delete introduction. I've already argued that you should be listed to as any other editor in good standing would be. (As opposed to Mr. Brandt, who is banned and whose biography has survived 8 AFDs at last count, some or all of which he may have initiated.) GRBerry 03:36, 2 July 2006 (UTC)
Haven't I been making my case in the "Question" thread? It looks like I'd be way outvoted ... Seth Finkelstein 03:50, 2 July 2006 (UTC)
Unfortunately (from your perspective), 35 of the 52 individuals who have received the EFF Pioneer Award have articles in Wikipedia (just by counting red links and blue links). It seems an EFF Pioneer Award is a strong indicator of notability. The argument that the article requires defense from vandals is weak because all wiki articles require defense from vandals. I'm afraid that you are doomed to live with your fame - which is better than the alternative! --Jacknstock 04:10, 2 July 2006 (UTC)
But, essentially, it doesn't matter if someone vandalizes, say, Bill Gates' bio or the George W. Bush page. They're at another level entirely. It does matter much more if I'm getting a little rare news coverage one day, and someone takes that as an opportunity to sling mud at me in what's allegedly a reference site. And no, the caveats of not believing everything you read are not much comfort. The damage is still done. It's an issue of how much harm can be wreaked on a person by the vandals. And Wikipedia is just off the scale here when it comes to bios of living people. Seth Finkelstein 04:25, 2 July 2006 (UTC)
That's an argument about the reputability of Wikipedia, not the notability of Seth Finkelstein. I agree that unethical people can be hurtful and/or damaging in what they say or write, and this is particularly the case on-line, where there is very little personal accountability. --Jacknstock 04:34, 2 July 2006 (UTC)
It's more. It's that Wikipedia's processes are particularly flawed and potentially hurtful to living people who are slightly notable but not extremely so. Seth Finkelstein 04:45, 2 July 2006 (UTC)
And yet Jimmy Wales won an EFF Pioneer Award. "Empowerment of individuals" at the cost of other individuals? --Jacknstock 05:06, 2 July 2006 (UTC)
OK, I can see your point. Besides, I'd never heard of you before the afd nomination. I have changed my vote to "delete." However, I fear we deletionists cannot win in this case. --Jacknstock 02:22, 6 July 2006 (UTC)
Thanks. I hate to have to make that argument, but I think it's the truth. I'm just not at the level which is required to comfortably bear the risk. Seth Finkelstein 06:01, 6 July 2006 (UTC)

Formatting citations[edit]

Seth, last time I checked, there was no consensus about how to cite sources or format them. My preference is to have a footnote corresponding to an entry in a references list. This is created by placing whatever you want as a footnote between <ref> and </ref> tags. For formatting citations I find it most convenient to use one of the templates on WP:CITET. Alan Pascoe 22:29, 9 July 2006 (UTC)

Hey Seth, are you mad enough to write an article for my site?[edit]

You should be. This living-person bio stuff, particularly for marginals like you and me, is out of hand. Would you like to write an article for on the problem? I really like the points you made on your AfD. Google is going to start ranking my site properly, and more people will read anything you write on my site than they would on yours. If we work together, maybe we can get Wikipedia to treat us with more respect. And with any luck, maybe it will happen before we need to send out resumes someday to find our next job. --Daniel Brandt 22:39, 12 July 2006 (UTC)

  • Not yet (yet!). Thanks, but at this time, I'm still "working within the system". I'm sympathetic to your own concerns, but right now, I want to avoid anything that's associated with threats of litigation. Maybe we can be "Good Cop/Bad Cop" :-) -- Seth Finkelstein 12:15, 13 July 2006 (UTC)
    • I understand. Since I'm already in "indefinite block" hell, I had the freedom to write a new page at and perhaps you can comment on it via your blog. Or will something you write on your blog constitute a legal threat? Be careful -- you are probably already in purgatory just by communicating with me. --Daniel Brandt 10:32, 5 September 2006 (UTC)

Signpost article[edit]

I touch on the experience with the article about you and use some quotes in my article for this week's issue of The Wikipedia Signpost, our community newspaper. It's in the context of Angela Beesley's request and the issue of subjects getting their own articles deleted generally. Feel free to review the draft version and let me know if there are any problems with it. --Michael Snow 07:25, 17 July 2006 (UTC)

German Article[edit]

Given how you feel about having an article here, I'm sure you'll be thrilled to see that you also have an article on the German language wikipedia. I haven't figured out interlanguage links, but you can see it here [3]. I speak no German, but have tried to use English to let them know that you would rather not have an article on the English Wikipedia. GRBerry 13:34, 21 July 2006 (UTC)

Sigh. Yes. Thank you. I've confirmed it on that page :-(. Seth Finkelstein 16:09, 21 July 2006 (UTC)

Don't worry overmuch, I and others will closely monitor the article. Doesn't the German Wikipedia have a reputation for its being relatively strict about articles? --Eldred 09:51, 30 July 2006 (UTC)
You may be right, in which case, I gain nothing. You may be wrong, in which case, I will be the one affected by whatever harm is done (could be trivial ... could be non-trivial). See the problem? And I do worry, since there's been too many times in my life when a supposedly trustworthy party has done the wrong thing. I'd much rather that behavior not even be a worry in the first place. -- Seth Finkelstein 03:41, 31 July 2006 (UTC)

Guardian article[edit]

On behalf of people I have no right to speak on behalf of, sorry about the kerfuffle over your article and the Guardian article referring to it. I had a go at removing it but ran into WP:3RR, so I had to give up. I can sympathise with your point of view - you've just been appointed unpaid policeman for your own personalised graffiti wall. As I said on the talk page, let me know if it ever comes up for deletion again - I'll support it for sure. Orpheus 16:52, 28 September 2006 (UTC)

Thank you. A mention of the Guardian article in itself doesn't really bother me, though I think it's a silly item to include, the epitome of navel-gazing. It's all the rest of the vandalism that's been generated from the attention which is the problem. I sadly suspect I'll never get out of that being "appointed unpaid policeman for your own personalised graffiti wall". Too many people are going to have a we'll-show-him! attitude. -- Seth Finkelstein 17:10, 28 September 2006 (UTC)
I have protected the article, so that anonymous and new users can't edit it. bogdan 21:29, 28 September 2006 (UTC)

For what it's worth, the community is currently testing functionality which would reduce the necessity to police your own article. Cheers, jacoplane 22:05, 28 September 2006 (UTC)

Comments re your article[edit]

Hi - I realize that your article can be a troll magnet, but there are now a substantial number of Wikipedians watching your article to make sure it meets living person biography standards. It would be easier to just remove it, but I think you can be confident that over a year it will be correct and not slanderous 99-99.9% of the time, the other 10-90 minutes every week will be reverted as quickly as possible. I would hope you don't feel that you need to defend it for the rest of your life. I would also point out that the methods you are using to compain about it, like The Register, are more likely to attract the attention of trolls - who read the popular media and are not, normally, part of the Wikipedia Community. May I suggest raising your concerns on biography vandalism prevention or its associated talk page, where you can get in touch with reputable Wikipedians who value the reputation of the encyclopedia and want to help you. --Trödel 19:12, 29 September 2006 (UTC)

Just FYI - I thought you'd want to see this discussion Wikipedia:Courtesy blanking, had I been aware of this policy I would have supported blanking the article and rebuilding it using resourced material only. --Trödel 19:15, 5 October 2006 (UTC)

Thanks, though my problem is less "resourced material" than the issue of the article being an "attractive nuisance", which is a problem as long as it exists. -- Seth Finkelstein 04:27, 7 October 2006 (UTC)
Courtesy refactor of this subsection. Summary of [this version]: QTJ expressed sympathy for the situation, Seth Finkelstein said thanks.


Thanks for watching vendor spam on the Content-control software page. It's a real magnet. Sdedeo (tips) 00:57, 17 December 2006 (UTC)

You're welcome -- Seth Finkelstein 23:06, 23 January 2007 (UTC)

edits breaking links[edit]

Your last edits to Content-control software and Alan Dershowitz mangled up the non-ascii characters used for the interwiki links (Hebrew, Japanese, but also Polish), please take a look at that. --Hurax 21:58, 23 January 2007 (UTC)

Thanks, I suspect it's a Unicode issue -- Seth Finkelstein 22:57, 23 January 2007 (UTC)

Could you tell us the User-Agent of the browser you are using? It could be added to MediaWiki's Unicode blacklist (browsers on the blacklist receive the unicode characters as numeric entities instead, which avoids the corruption). --cesarb 18:19, 23 February 2007 (UTC)

Aha! I'm using an older version of FireFox on Linux. But I set my User-Agent to be IE6 because I was having a problem with a site that demanded that I use IE for the "experience". It didn't seem to be a problem, until the Unicode bit me. -- Seth Finkelstein 19:01, 23 February 2007 (UTC)


Common sense finally prevails (two weeks ago, I'm a bit slow). Orpheus 03:03, 27 June 2007 (UTC)

Thank you. Never too late :-) -- Seth Finkelstein 03:47, 27 June 2007 (UTC)

Maybe you want to respond, maybe not[edit]

Responded to your admirable note here. --Stoodwiped 05:49, 12 November 2007 (UTC)

The price of total personalisation is total surveillance.[edit]

I saw "The price of total personalisation is total surveillance. " here with your by-line and I remembered:

"Sentient World Simulation is the name given to the current vision of making SEAS a "continuously running, continually updated mirror model of the real world that can be used to predict and evaluate future events and courses of action."" from Synthetic Environment for Analysis and Simulations. WAS 4.250 (talk) 13:11, 24 November 2007 (UTC)
Interesting, thanks, but I think they're working on a level of granularity that's much cruder and more global -- Seth Finkelstein (talk) 17:25, 25 November 2007 (UTC)

SEAS can be used to model both large and small, simulated and interactive. Alok R. Chaturvedi#Simulex Inc. says

Simulex Inc. is a modeling and simulation company located in Purdue Technology Park.[2] Its main sources of income are the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Defense, Intel Corp. and Microsoft Corp.. It was established in 1999 by Alok Chaturvedi and Shailendra Raj Mehta.[3]
Simulex Inc. creates synthetic decision situations using the SEAS technology developed at Purdue University in conjunction with funding from the National Science Foundation, Intel, 21st Century Fund, Office of Naval Research and other agencies. The technology recreates situations using human and artificial agents. It populates it with real data then allows data mining, decision support, forecasting, scenario planning and strategy planning. Millions of artificial agents represent behaviors (buying behavior of consumers, movement of trucks, contamination after a bio-terror attack, etc.) and hundreds of human players can make decisions (regarding production, advertising, recruiting, etc.) all in a real time, web-enabled, interactive environment.[3]

WAS 4.250 (talk) 10:29, 26 November 2007 (UTC)

I think I remember reading that it was used in an H5N1 pandemic simulation, but I'm not positive. WAS 4.250 (talk) 10:29, 26 November 2007 (UTC)

Guardian article[edit]

Are you the author of this? I thought the article was very good and agree with a lot of it. --Duk 02:22, 6 December 2007 (UTC)

Yes, I am. Thank you. -- Seth Finkelstein (talk) 03:38, 6 December 2007 (UTC)

P.S. the first time I remember hearing the 'sausage factory' analogy is from David Gerard:[4], [5]. --Duk 03:53, 6 December 2007 (UTC)

Following the link above I found this article and feel an urge to comment: if it shows anything it is how painfully long does it take for Wikipedia to respond and how being an external authority allows one to rage like a Black Hand. I did some minor editing in the same article (related to programming languages) as Hewitt, two years ago. He put inside something so absurd that even I could recognize it.

I looked to his other edits, saw his typical argumentation style "it is so because I say it is so", saw how aggressive he could get and moved away, shrugging my shoulders and wondering what he is trying to demonstrate. Later, I saw several editors of science related articles completely burned down by warring with Hewitt and leaving convinced that the Wikipedia model is helpless in face of such behaviour.

That he got eventually banned somehow reduces my learned conviction how fragile this system is. Pavel Vozenilek (talk) 02:49, 9 December 2007 (UTC)

To be clear, my view of the fragility of the system is based on the tensions between sucking in volunteers to contribute, yet not having conflicts tear them apart. In this regard, I think Wikipedia does much more poorly than is generally believed. But that people have the impression it does well, because it draws from an expanding pool of new fodder to replace those who it burns out or drives away. That is, it's not really good at conflict-resolution. In fact, it's arguably worse than average. But it can get by, because there's more than enough replacement (free) labor. However, from a lot of perspectives, that's not such a great thing. -- Seth Finkelstein (talk) 03:35, 9 December 2007 (UTC)
I was not able to parse correctly the first sentence but for the main problem: yes, conflict resolution here is very poor and that's hardly a surprise - electronic communication doesn't handle emotionally charged situations well and the need to deal with psychos like this one doesn't help either. The software remains on the Stone Age level while the number of users and of everything else grew up by order of magnitude. Pavel Vozenilek (talk) 04:15, 10 December 2007 (UTC)

List of works by William Monahan[edit]

Seth, if you have a moment would you mind reviewing the list of works by William Monahan that is currently at WP:FAC? Any comments or edits you could provide would be appreciated.-BillDeanCarter (talk) 15:08, 19 December 2007 (UTC)

Are you sure you're asking the right person? I don't have any expertise in that area -- Seth Finkelstein (talk) 18:52, 19 December 2007 (UTC)
You mean specific expertise about writers or William Monahan? Anyhow, just thought I would ask. I think generally people are not experts on the subjects they review at WP:FAC.-BillDeanCarter (talk) 19:02, 19 December 2007 (UTC)
Well, if you wanted me to review/common on "the list of works by William Monahan", and I have no knowledge of him, it's hard to see what sort of checking or per-review function I could do well -- Seth Finkelstein (talk) 19:57, 19 December 2007 (UTC)
Oh, okay. I guess you haven't reviewed anything yet at FAC. I suggest WP:BOLD and try it out but either way there's plenty of other stuff to do at WP. Best, BillDeanCarter (talk) 20:29, 19 December 2007 (UTC)

Cheap irony[edit]

You may have missed the link to a comment of yours I was attempting to pastiche. You wrote:

I apologise if you feel that's a cheap shot, and I would like to inform you I would never in a million years allow such a thing to last a second longer than my awareness would allow within an article on you. However, I spotted the comment and I couldn't resist the cheap irony. Boot on the other foot and all that. As I mentioned elsewhere in the debate, I enjoy your pieces in The Guardian, but never mind. It was more political to reply to the second comment than the first. All the best, Hiding T 16:49, 4 January 2008 (UTC)


Greetings, Seth. Do you have a moment to look over Jonathan Zittrain? Except for the addition of his nickname we have no other contributors besides me since the stub was expanded on 16 April. Thanks by the way for the link to the Yale Books Unbound version of his new book which I only had in hard copy. What a great service. Thank you either way and best wishes. -Susanlesch (talk) 19:30, 20 April 2008 (UTC)

You're welcome, but I probably shouldn't be involved with his page - too much problematic politics for me there. -- Seth Finkelstein (talk) 21:55, 20 April 2008 (UTC)
OK. I better disappear like a bunny or won't be able to cite your work much as a source in the future. Sounds like we agree in places, too. Good luck. -Susanlesch (talk) 22:57, 20 April 2008 (UTC)

Right winger ranters[edit]

Hey thanks for your clarification in the now removed thread from Jimbo's user page. I think the Americans tend to see anti-porn as synonymous with evangelical Christianity whereas I alsways relatte it to ardent radical anti-porn feminists. Thanks, SqueakBox 14:35, 12 May 2008 (UTC)

Media Bloggers Association[edit]

I'm quite willing to concede that the material I added to the Media Bloggers Association page, and which you removed, did not meet neutrality standards. But you say you are an MBA Member. How well does that sit with a Wikipedia ideal of neutrality?

The MBA website has a strong feel of self-promotion on the part of Robert Cox, and that may be carrying over to my reactions to the Wikipedia Page. Prior to our edits, it almost seemed a boast about long-past success. The page definitely needs to be brought up to date.

I'm suspicious. You're a member. This could develop into a hot topic. Should some less-involved third party take the lead on editing the topic? Zhochaka (talk) 07:21, 19 June 2008 (UTC)

I agree with you that it would be best if some less-involved third party would take the lead on editing the topic. I understand your concerns about WP:COI, which is why I declared my membership right in the edit summary (fyi, the entire impact on my life of that membership has been material for a few blog posts!). But I'd say that has to be balanced with sensitivity that much of the material linked contained very unjustified personal attacks and accusations, because the writer was outside of an area of expertise. The policy issue with that edit is not neutrality _per se_, but WP:RS, reliable sourcing. While that blog is a reliable source on certain topics, e.g. science fiction, it is not a reliable source on the topic of media blogging, and hence shouldn't be cited about an organization in that field. Especially making serious accusations. So taking everything into account, I felt removing the material immediately, with full disclosure of my nominal conflict, was justified. Less formally, whatever Robert Cox's self-promotion sins, he doesn't deserve the hate-storm he's getting recently because some big-audience bloggers decided to rant on him. -- Seth Finkelstein (talk) 13:36, 19 June 2008 (UTC)
Thanks. Your reasons make a lot of sense. But I'd caution you that Making Light's RS status does change. There are several bloggers, they do different things, and TNH, in particular, is now working in the professional blog support field. Plenty of room for argument, still, about just what makes somebody a reliable source, but you do look a bit behind the times.

And terms like "hate-storm" are very subjective. (Why am I tempted to parody Roy Batty?) Zhochaka (talk) 17:48, 19 June 2008 (UTC)

Thanks for the heads up. Very odd indeed. Short of a DNA test, I don't suppose anyone will be convinced, but what an off-the-wall assumption! Robertissimo (talk) 13:53, 23 June 2008 (UTC)

Wikia Page[edit]

Thanks for the reference, sorry about that little war. happypal (Talk | contribs) 04:29, 25 June 2008 (UTC)

What is going on[edit]

I am sorry this appears to be a bit of a mess. I understand that it is hard to follow if you want to write about it. I am not sure what to suggest. I would ask Durova for her input.--Filll (talk | wpc) 13:46, 28 June 2008 (UTC)

Thanks, I'm not sure I want to write about it, yet. It's obviously still developing. But even if I don't write about it, other people might. And I was trying to convey that even if a journalist tries, in good faith, to be fair, it's usually tediously difficult to make out the "official Wikipedia" (for shorthand!) side of the story. -- Seth Finkelstein (talk) 07:14, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
I think I know what you mean by "official Wikipedia" but one of the most interesting things here is the incoherency of it all. Not only is there the so-called ID cabal supporting OrangeMarlin, and the Wikipedia editors who also are regulars at Wikipedia Review wanting to hang him from the highest tree (then burn the body at the stake), but even Arbcom is seemingly at a loss to get their story straight. At the moment it looks like there will be a show trial for OrangeMarlin and the meantime Arbcom will be furiously emailing one another trying to come up with a straight story. 22:11, 29 June 2008 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk)
Which makes it all the more difficult to figure out what in the world is going on! This seems even more byzantine and back-channel and clique-agenda driven than usual for Wikipedia, and that's saying something :-). -- Seth Finkelstein (talk) 22:41, 29 June 2008 (UTC)


Re [6] - sorry, my fault entirely. Neıl

No problem -- Seth Finkelstein (talk) 17:31, 7 July 2008 (UTC)


No need to apologise, old boy - thought there was precisely zero chance you did it deliberately. Vizjim (talk) 08:05, 14 August 2008 (UTC)

Kohs ban cont from AN[edit]

As "The Buddha resides as comfortably in the circuits of a digital computer or the gears of a cycle transmission as he does at the top of a mountain.", so does the realpolitik apply as much to wikidrama as to superpower cold war. You touch on the key issue when you note it is not about the "website" but the "community" - which I read as effectively "the clique" (not cabal, because cabal implies power, whereas clique is about petty social in-group and out-group distinctions, usually so the in-group can feel superior). After all, a totally dedicated build-the-encyclopedia person would not care much about such clique-ness. But the point is that if HE doesn't care about being recognized by the clique either, you have no power over him. Whereas if someone greatly craves approval and recognition from insiders, such disapproval will be significant (and thus that's one of the ways Wikipedia becomes a cult). And so the more you (collectively) come off as a bunch of would-be Queen Bees looking to lord it over people who don't think too much of you, the more he can wear the mantle of underdog and martyr. That's where realpolitik applies. -- Seth Finkelstein (talk) 00:48, 22 August 2008 (UTC)

Oh, boo-hoo! Man is a political animal. The less qualified guy than you got the promotion because he takes smoke breaks with the boss, and Al Gore should have won the election. People vote for President as if he’s a drinking mate. It all sucks and it is stupid, and I applaud your casting a woeful eye toward the games that people play. Your effort to shine the valiant mirrored shield of hypocrisy to us all, while interesting, leaves most here (if I may be so bold) scratching their heads. Kafkaesque? What are you talking about? (rhetorical – please don’t delve in the Parallax View at work here). Most of the people voicing opinion don’t even know who he is. They are looking at evidence as it is presented now. There are links; there are diffs. The unban side is only offering geopolitikspeak; grave speculation as to the philosophically corrupt nature of our sacred cow “The Project”; and limp arguments that boil down to ‘what’s the worst that can happen?’ You must admit these attempts to persuade have been unconvincing. Most of us just want to photograph, edit, write, learn…and do so in peace. When a person has shown over 20 months, and recently, that they hold a very low opinion of this site and the people on it. Who wouldn’t be leery? Spend a few months not being such a nudge (noodge?) and welcome back. Why is that so much to ask given the history? --David Shankbone 02:40, 22 August 2008 (UTC)


PD mentions Sloan. There seems to be a long back story here too (which I'm not really all that familiar with yet....) Privatemusings (talk) 06:54, 7 September 2008 (UTC)

Thanks, but the Sloan issue seems to be a false trail, per later discussions. -- Seth Finkelstein (talk) 15:07, 7 September 2008 (UTC)
maybe so, indeed... :-) ps. I think it's 'hear hear' not 'here here', couldn't resist the urge to be pedantic! sorry :-) Privatemusings (talk) 23:20, 10 September 2008 (UTC)
Believe it or not, I actually meant "here here" as a pun on "hear hear", along lines of look-what's-going-on-right-here - Seth Finkelstein (talk) 23:26, 10 September 2008 (UTC)
well that makes you smart, and me stupid! :-) that'll learn me to stick my oar in! I wonder if you perceive the same danger of conflating dissent and disruption that I see as endemic (to a degree) in parts of the english wikipedia's culture? (interestingly, I've recently had my mind opened a bit to the realisation that some sections of other projects also look on en-wiki with a rather raised eyebrow.... Privatemusings (talk) 23:34, 10 September 2008 (UTC)

Barbarian kingship[edit]

Now why didn't I think of that line? :) DuncanHill (talk) 13:33, 7 September 2008 (UTC)

Feel free to use it in the future :-) -- Seth Finkelstein (talk) 15:08, 7 September 2008 (UTC)
I'm often tempted to mention god-kings and The Golden Bough, but usually manage to restrain myself. DuncanHill (talk) 15:56, 7 September 2008 (UTC)

Your comment at WP:AN[edit]

Hi Seth. Normally, you would post a comment at the bottom of a topic, not somewhere between the other comments. I've moved your text and put "To Jimbo Wales" before it. Don't worry, it will get read. Cheers, Face 16:29, 7 September 2008 (UTC)

OK, sorry, the intricacies of the wiki-etiquette sometimes escape me. No problem, I won't scream I'm-being-censored :-) -- Seth Finkelstein (talk) 17:01, 7 September 2008 (UTC)

Your Wikipedia Biography's deletion is being debated[edit]

Hi, this is a courtesy notice. Your Wikipedia biography article is at Deletion Review [7] and has been userified [8]. Sincerely Ripberger (talk) 06:50, 11 October 2008 (UTC)

Hi: I did not know you were a Wikipedian, being a critic and all. I tried recently to bring back the article about you to userspace but was unsuccessful. You should have put in a vote at the DRV.Manhattan Samurai (talk) 20:48, 11 October 2008 (UTC)
Ripberger: Thanks. MS: I believe in Participant observation :-). But tactically, I suspected that if I commented in the DRV, it would have made things worse, inflaming the discussion, and making me a target. So I kept my head down. -- Seth Finkelstein (talk) 21:02, 11 October 2008 (UTC)
Oh, no, I took care of the inflaming. There wasn't any left to do I think. Anyhow, I've moved on. Their decision stands.Manhattan Samurai (talk) 21:26, 11 October 2008 (UTC)

User:John_Reaves' removal of sources from WP's article on Wikia[edit]

I've moved the issue here, Wikipedia:Administrators'_noticeboard#Wikipedia.27s_article_on_Wikia looks like a huge WP:COI waiting to happen. -- (talk) 22:53, 4 December 2008 (UTC)



I just saw this, WP:RS, and wondered what it is .
I did find some references to it but they don't seem to be pages that you started or that say in what way some sort of power is involved (I assume that means a position within Wiki)

thanks --Chaosdruid (talk) 22:09, 7 February 2009 (UTC)

Sigh, no, I didn't mean position within Wiki. My sense of humor got the better of me in that phrasing. It was a jargonistic way of saying "Because I as a columnist for The Guardian have the power to write material which qualifies according to Wikipedia guidelines as reliable sources, and I have therein cited Jimbo as co-founder in September 2008, I refute you thusly". -- Seth Finkelstein (talk) 00:16, 8 February 2009 (UTC)
Lol - big lol, now I understand... I have trouble joking in Wikiworld also - it's a strange place that's for sure.
Sorry for taking it the wrong way, and hope to read more of your articles, I am pretty sure I read one a while ago but I will check... Oh yes, the Scorpions one thought I had seen your name somewhere.
Anyway as for Mr Sanger etc, I am pretty sure that no-one gives a flying hoot really, but it does seem strange to me that as Sanger was working on Nupedia, similar to Britanica and the "Done by experts, not by you" that it would be odd that he co-founded it rather than just being there and helping. If anything I suppose they should add Ben Kovitz as it seems they all had the conversation together and it was him that brought up WikiWikiWeb in the first place. Ah well I am sure that will go on for some time.
Thanks for your reply, and hope that you can continue to express humour without it getting misconstured by simpletons like myself lol--Chaosdruid (talk) 03:08, 8 February 2009 (UTC)

PS I have also struck off my comment from the other page with a retraction in case that causes any problems - if it does point them in my direction an I will explain !!--Chaosdruid (talk) 03:13, 8 February 2009 (UTC)

Jimmy and Larry - cont.[edit]

Hi Seth

I do not wish to cause any problems, but after reading the refs you gave in your article I have posted on the Jimmy Wales discussion page

It is beyond me how this has become such a ridiculous situation, after you read what I have written I would appreciate some feedback from yourself.

Thanks --Chaosdruid (talk) 04:01, 9 February 2009 (UTC)

Hi Seth - I have just quoted [9] on the talk page, it is 15 Jan 02 and implies 2001 but obv Quackie won't have any of it - feels like he's only there as the Sanger page has been locked for dispute--Chaosdruid (talk) 18:37, 10 February 2009 (UTC)


for the tip about your column, Seth.--ragesoss (talk) 18:28, 5 March 2009 (UTC)

Wikipedia Revolution[edit]

This is in response to the question you pose on Joho the Blog about Lih's telling of the history of Wikipedia. He makes clear that Wikipedia started as part of the for-profit Bomis, as a side project to the (for-profit) Nupedia, and that its solidification as (first, and separate from the Bomis-owned copyright regime of Nupedia) a free-as-in-freedom project (prompted by interactions with RMS) and (later and gradually) as a non-commercial one as well were historical developments. The book also makes clear that the early history is based on Lih's interviews with the principal actors; readers can choose for themselves how much trust to put in those accounts. At the least, I think it's fair to say that Lih himself doesn't try to whitewash Wikipedia's history. The Spanish Fork, the decision to set up a non-profit rather than continuing to administer the site through Bomis, and the turn against advertising aren't treated in particular depth, however.--ragesoss (talk) 23:18, 20 March 2009 (UTC)

Thanks much for the capsule summary. Lih graciously offered to send me a copy of his book, which is very kind of him given my extensive critical views of Wikipedia's history. I accepted his offer, so I'll definitely be looking over how he tells the story. -- Seth Finkelstein (talk) 04:49, 21 March 2009 (UTC)
"free-as-in-freedom project" - Nupedia was free content from its very beginning, see [10], Nupedia Open Content License (Version 0.9, 10/29/1999) or [11]: ... any other Web site may post Nupedia's content on its own. They need only to credit Nupedia as the source. Seth might also be interested in the following quote from that article:
Contributors will not be paid for their work, but Sanger does not expect that to be a deterrent. He cites the success of Linux and the Open Directory Project as similar efforts.
"If a contributor knows that they aren't simply writing for a company--if they know the public is getting the benefit of their work, there's a difference," Sanger says.
Bomis-owned copyright regime of Nupedia - it's true that the Nupedia Open Content License stated "Bomis, Inc. owns the copyright to the compilation of the different contributions". However, the same license makes that copyrighted content available freely. Requiring contributors to sign over their copyright is something that the Free Software Foundation does with its GNU Project, too. This has significant advantages for enforcing copyleft, as Eben Moglen explained here.
prompted by interactions with RMS - it appears that Stallman was mainly concerned with Nupedia adapting the GNU FDL instead of its own homegrown open content license. The decision to make Nupedia open content was already made in 1999, before the project went online (although surely influenced by Stallman's encyclopedia essay from the same year).
Anyway, I would appreciate it if someone who has a copy of Fuzheado's book would use it as a reference to update the article Nupedia.
Regards, HaeB (talk) 22:02, 22 March 2009 (UTC)

Reporting on Wikipedia and Your Conflict-of-Interest[edit]

I've raised this to you privately before, but I fail to see how your reporting on Wikipedia and Jimmy Wales at all can pass journalistic standards of conflict-of-interest. Almost by any standard you have a journalistic COI. From The Guardian's readers' editor:

A whole section of the Guardian's editorial code is devoted to personal behaviour and conflicts of interest. The preamble contains the following sentence: "It is intended to ensure that outside interests do not come into conflict with the life of the paper in a way that either compromises the Guardian's editorial integrity or falls short of the sort of transparency that our readers would expect."

It says: "Guardian staff journalists should be sensitive to the possibility that activities outside work (including holding office or being otherwise actively involved in organisations, companies or political parties) could be perceived as having a bearing on - or coming into conflict with - the integrity of our journalism. Staff should be transparent about any outside personal, philosophical or financial interests which might conflict with their professional performance of duties at the Guardian, or could be perceived to do so."

This comports both with this book analyzing British and American standards of COI in journalism, and the BBC's broadcast COI standards. Perhaps there are different ideas for columnists, but you are presenting yourself as a journalist. I may go ahead and contact The Guardian's readers' editor to ask about their stance on your Wikipedia writing, given your past and strong dislike for Wikipedia, its community and Jimmy Wales. It will be interesting to see how you handle it, and what others say about it all. I'll be sure to contact some luminaries of British journalism about whether you, in particular, should be writing about Wikipedia given your past...about whether there is a conflict-of-interest in your doing so. I'm sure any "full disclosures" you make will help mitigate any problems. --David Shankbone 18:09, 9 April 2009 (UTC)

It looks like there is nothing I can say which will convince you otherwise, so I will not even try. As to the facts, if you believe _The Guardian_'s editors are not fully aware of columns which I have written ("given your past"), I'm at a loss as to how to address that absurdity. For the record, ("full disclosures") I hold no office and am not otherwise actively involved in organisations, companies or political parties which would trigger that policy on the topic of Wikipedia or Wikia (e.g. I have no book to flack, no stock options, no social-media consultancy). For example, when someone is running a venture-capital backed startup which has many informal connections to a very prominent charity which publicizes the person extensively, that is a situation rife for the perception of conflict of interest. I have no such conflicting interests. I'll leave it at that. -- Seth Finkelstein (talk) 03:15, 10 April 2009 (UTC)
I look forward to seeing and examining what it is that you do (or should I say "Tweet"). In the meantime, I mentioned your involvement on this blog post. --David Shankbone 16:24, 10 April 2009 (UTC)
David Shankbone is trying an old ploy: try to intimidate journalists from doing their jobs by making threats. Please continue with your excellent work.-- (talk) 08:38, 10 April 2009 (UTC)
Seriously. That blog is a joke anyway. لennavecia 15:36, 11 April 2009 (UTC)
Oh, I know! Seriously, I laugh at the blog myself. But the piece I'd write would be for Wikinews, where I usually publish interviews. You should check it out over there, Jenna. Their stories are on the Google News aggregator now, so its reach is pretty decent. --David Shankbone 16:39, 11 April 2009 (UTC)
I hope you display greater integrity in your Wikinews publishings than you do in your blog. لennavecia 17:06, 11 April 2009 (UTC)
Lol, sure sweetheart. --David Shankbone 17:17, 11 April 2009 (UTC)
I'm sure any editor you may want to contact will be open and balanced and look at the person making the report to assess the validity and credibility of the claims. Let's hope any complainant is squeaky clean. Minkythecat (talk) 17:47, 11 April 2009 (UTC)
Indeed, Shankbone's blog may in itself be an excellent source for stories. For example, the dichotomy of assumed aliases on the internet against the mundanity of real life and where one takes over the other... [12] Minkythecat (talk) 17:57, 11 April 2009 (UTC)
That is definitely the story found in that post, with my experience that my Internet alias began to take over my real life, and make it far less mundane. --David Shankbone 18:31, 11 April 2009 (UTC)
You're right, David. That is the story. Create Internet persona to be everything you can't in real life; play out the self-serving dramaz. Stir the controversy, make that persona THE most talked about thing. Make the persona the focal point. Prod a journalist to then produce an article based around your persona, validating the time and effort spent on the persona. Yet it's all sadly doomed to failure - refuse to provide the persona with the internet oxygen it needs to survive, the persona withers; all the while attempts to gain the attention then become more outlandish to the point the persona loses whatever credibility it ever may have had. And then, David Shankbone, you're left with the person behind the alias. Living with the realisation the persona with time and emotion invested failed. It seems your persona is now you, the tragic part being you can't see the trees for the wood. Minkythecat (talk) 18:40, 11 April 2009 (UTC)
lol - man, you've got me pegged! lol. I'm off to go think really, really hard about what you just said. I think I might just make some substantial changes to my life. Thanks, Minkythecat. Who knew that someone someplace named "Minkythecat" would be able to make me re-examine myself on such a deep level. Off to go spend some time reflecting... --David Shankbone 19:25, 11 April 2009 (UTC)
Good luck with that, buttercup. لennavecia 19:51, 11 April 2009 (UTC)
9/10 for the use of sarcasm, David. You won't, can't reflect. Shankbone is now you; the persona of a "professional journalist". Why, you have now surpassed mortality. As criticism mounts, influence declines - hasn't some of your porn photos been purged? - you have to continue to make yourself relevant. The stunts thus become more self-serving and outrageous; indeed, here you try to stifle the work of a professional journalist by using crass threats. Why target Seth? Through blind devotion to wiki or for the more salient reason - Seth, being a professional journalist is everything your carefully crafted persona wants to be but is unable to be. Minkythecat (talk) 09:01, 12 April 2009 (UTC)
Wikipedia is not a soapbox to use to complain about criticism of Wikipedia. It is also not a place to launch attacks on people for their work outside of Wikipedia. Shankbone, your comments are not civil and are inappropriate. Ottava Rima (talk) 19:48, 11 April 2009 (UTC)

Seth, please, please write about this. Shankbone has no shame or fear about attempting to intimidate an actual journalist because has been selected by The Founder's benevolent hand to protect his mighty visage against all those who seek to denigrate it. We have seen it played out in spades over the past week. His horse is white, his carte is blanche, his leather codpiece is black and studded, and he carries the Mark of Jimbo on his forehead. The situation has taken a turn for the ludicrously Stalinesque. Please tell somebody. Bullzeye contribs 23:04, 11 April 2009 (UTC)

Unless I am given recent proof otherwise, I don't think you can say that Shankbone is anything more than simply tolerated (as opposed to being given a "carte blanche"). I doubt that Jimbo would be approving of Shankbone's current attacks on this page, and I feel that it is best to strike claims to the counter. Ottava Rima (talk) 23:17, 11 April 2009 (UTC)
Feeding him by writing about him is not what is warranted here. The Jimbo/Larry drama is a much better story without including Shankbone in it. لennavecia 04:25, 12 April 2009 (UTC)

Blog post about your journalistic integrity[edit]

Seth, I wanted to give you a 'heads up' that I wrote a blog post about what I consider are the problems with your integrity as a "journalist" in writing about Wikipedia and Jimmy Wales. -->David Shankbone 01:50, 21 April 2009 (UTC)

In the words of a mutual acquaintance of ours, "Decline to participate, sorry" -- Seth Finkelstein (talk) 03:27, 21 April 2009 (UTC)
No worries. I also e-mailed Siobhan Butterworth, the Reader's Editor at the Guardian, asking if someone who actively participates in, and engages in confrontations with, the subjects he covers is an issue for journalistic COI and bias. Probably I won't hear back. -->David Shankbone 03:34, 21 April 2009 (UTC)
It's really unfortunate that David Shankbone is persecuting Seth in this way on his talk page. Is this allowed and approved on Wikipedia?-- (talk) 21:48, 21 April 2009 (UTC)
Just a quick note to congratulate you on showing integrity by being the better man and not reacting to such unwarranted provocation. A lesser person would be tempted to abuse their position to settle scores by writing articles about people uploading pornographic pictures; a balanced article would naturally explore the difficulties homeless women face from a sanitary perspective...Minkythecat (talk) 17:58, 21 April 2009 (UTC)
Huh? Pornographic pictures? Homeless women? You have some strange obsessions, Minky. -->David Shankbone 18:10, 21 April 2009 (UTC)
I'm sure there many many people with strange obsessions here. There are probably quite a few strange people with obsessions too.Minkythecat (talk) 18:22, 21 April 2009 (UTC)
Interesting! Are you just an afficionado of homeless porn, or a producer? I would imagine, given the whole Bumfights phenomenon, your production costs are quite low. -->David Shankbone 19:07, 21 April 2009 (UTC)
Do you feel there could be a market for it? Minkythecat (talk) 19:11, 21 April 2009 (UTC)
Well, if you are the proverbial man on the street and they suit your tastes, I'm sure there is. I may have some contacts that can help you move your product. E-mail me and I'll put you in touch (no pun intended). -->David Shankbone 19:14, 21 April 2009 (UTC)
David, could you gently refrain from interfering off-wiki 'personal' stuff (i.e. blogs and newspapers) with Wikipedia's business? This is the second time in less than a week. This page is a page to discuss Wikipedia's contributions. This certainly doesn't help building the encyclopedia at all. -- FayssalF - Wiki me up® 00:40, 22 April 2009 (UTC)
Fayssal, I politely decline the request, and the rationale is here -->David Shankbone 02:07, 22 April 2009 (UTC)
Oh, nice evasion, David. Uninformed readers would never guess that you'd uploaded an excess of pornographic images, taken by you (with your name in the titles, no less), then later had them deleted by Jimbo so you could pursue the impossible dream of a serious career in journalism. لennavecia 03:47, 22 April 2009 (UTC)
Huh? Pornographic pictures? Journalism? Huh? -->David Shankbone 04:11, 22 April 2009 (UTC)
Haha, aw, David. You got me! I was just kidding about you and journalism. It is a joke, after all. لennavecia 19:31, 22 April 2009 (UTC)
After you raised such a fuss that I not upload the forehead pic in the "Body Parts" collection since you would be instantly recognized, I thought we agreed that you did not want it revealed that you were the model for that photo either, and now you just gave yourself away. -->David Shankbone 17:48, 23 April 2009 (UTC)
David, I've got so many shots of my mug up on this project, you can be sure I'm not worried about people mistaking me for anyone in your porn shots. I do have a big forehead, though. I bet you wish you had big body part, but I digress. Hey, guess what! I saw you on TV today. Talk about shocking moments. You actually came off respectable, at least in the moment I caught. Too bad you can't pull the same off on Wikipedia or its sister projects. :( لennavecia 19:12, 23 April 2009 (UTC)
You saw me on the People's Court today, ay?! We're having a viewing party next week - you and your forehead should come! I didn't know there were photographs of your perenium all over Wikipedia, but really, your complexion is not so awful that you need compare it to those nether regions. Don't be so hard on yourself! Here's an {e-hug}. -->David Shankbone 20:02, 23 April 2009 (UTC)
Ew! Don't touch me, not even in the e-sense! o_O Anyway, why do you have such an obsession with genitalia, or, as you may prefer to call it, jennatalia? I mean, ya know, don't get me wrong, it's good times; but you seem to be a bit over-infatuated. Anyway, I'm soft and smooth all over, so I wasn't putting myself down. Thanks for the concern, though. لennavecia 20:24, 23 April 2009 (UTC)
(backing away slowly)Darling, you keep joining my conversations that have nothing to do with you. It's a surprise you don't see that its you who are following me, including on two threads on this page alone; one on Iridescent's page; one at AN; and that's not to speak of your posting on every Shankbone topic on the Wikipedia Review. I've never joined a thread you started, particularly when the topic doesn't relate to me. And my dear heart, you were also the one posting pereniums, pontificating over porn and fantasizing about my body parts in this discussion. I'll throw you a bone - I'm 6'3, so pretty much everything on me is big ;-) Now, I must be off to the red carpet, and I'll give you the last word. -->David Shankbone 20:44, 23 April 2009 (UTC)
Well played, Shankers. You actually made me laugh. I never said you were following me around, I just suggested that perhaps you're giving a little too much attention to my naughty bits. If it's any consolation, I'm not stalking you. Your blog, for example, is funnier than (lol, not really) and about as fair and balanced as Fox News, so I don't read it. I also don't stalk your edits or watch your talk page, but I do enjoy jumping in when you laughably attempt to present yourself as someone to be taken seriously. This thread, for example, has a humorous abundance of irony and hypocrisy. I think there may be a bit of jealousy involved. ;) لennavecia 21:06, 23 April 2009 (UTC)


I hope you don't mind. I created a bit of a userpage for you because you're a loved member of the community. If you'd rather have a red link on your name, let me know and I'll delete my masterpiece. Jehochman Talk 03:14, 6 December 2009 (UTC)

That's a pretty good bit of humor, "a loved member of the community". Sadly, I leave my username as red link, because I suspect whatever I put on a userpage for myself, someone would use it as a pretext to complain. I had considered putting up some sort of FAQ about myself and my perspective, but that would generate a cry of SOAPBOX!. And I don't think it's worth the inevitable argument. No page, no argument, or at least that's how my thinking goes. So, yes, I really would rather have a red link on my name. -- Seth Finkelstein (talk) 03:44, 6 December 2009 (UTC)
An alternative would be to redirect your userpage to your talkpage, so clicking on either link leads to here. You'd do this by adding #REDIRECT [[User talk:Seth Finkelstein]] Tim Vickers (talk) 20:31, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
Thanks, but that strikes me as a bad idea, creating an incentive for vandalism. Is there anything "wrong" with not having a userpage? I just don't see it as a having a positive expected value for me. -- Seth Finkelstein (talk) 10:37, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
Nothing wrong at all, just surprising. It's like not having a number on your house - so I'd class it as a charming eccentricity! :) Tim Vickers (talk) 17:58, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
This is not unprecedented. For example, User:JzG. Jehochman Talk 18:45, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
Indeed, not even rare. I simply stopped linking my user page in my sig, as it seems to *massively* cut the amount of vandalism. Then, too, if anyone goes to my user page, it is because they want to read it. I still get random hecklers bashing away about something on my user page, but at least I only have 1 page to revert, usually.- Sinneed 21:32, 18 May 2010 (UTC)

Dr. Handel BLP story[edit]

I suggest you contact the WMF foundation, especially William Pietri or Erik Möller, if you're pursuing this as a reportable story. They should have an interesting perspective, given their recent input (or lack thereof) on the WMF mailing list [13] [14] [15]. Cla68 (talk) 06:50, 4 March 2010 (UTC)


Hi. Regarding this reversion and this reversion by you, what's up? I made well-sourced additions which built up the legislative history of these two acts, which was lacking in both articles. Your claim that my edits were "self-promotional" is a bit insulting. I have absolutely nothing to do with this organization or the issue it advocates on. I created the Enough Is Enough (organization) article because there was no article on it and it was mentioned in an article I was looking at and I felt like doing a WP:DYK. These are the same reasons I have created hundreds of other articles, including DYK ones on diverse organizations such LatinoJustice PRLDEF, Citizen Action, and Automobile Manufacturers Association that I also have absolutely no connection to. And when I do one of these, I always look for appropriate articles to link to them from. So your reversions are a bit of a mystery to me. Wasted Time R (talk) 00:16, 24 September 2010 (UTC)

Sorry if I assumed too much - from your overall edits, I thought you were promoting EIE. I was around for the debates over those two laws, and while EIE was certainly in the mix, I would say it's a WP:UNDUE weighting error to mention it specifically in an article about the laws. It was just one of several lobbying organizations, and hardly the most notable or powerful. -- Seth Finkelstein (talk) 02:13, 24 September 2010 (UTC)
Thanks for the response, but you must not have looked too far back in my editing history or at my user page. As for what you say, the incremental improvement model of WP is often in conflict with undue weighting considerations, since a given addition can give too much weight to something until another addition made down the road by somebody else comes along and balances it out. In cases like this, where the addition is relatively innocuous, I usually believe in going for it. What I would have done in your position was add in the names of the other organizations that you know played a prominent role in the lobbying. Instead, we've got a situation where unless some editor is willing to do a comprehensive research job into all the factors that led to the bills getting passed, nothing can be added and the legislative histories get ignored. Wasted Time R (talk) 02:36, 24 September 2010 (UTC)
Unforunately, if I had made such researched additions to the article, I would have laid myself open to accusations of WP:COI, since I was personally involved on the free-speech side of those debates. While there are times I'll risk it, this situation didn't seem worth it. This is another problem with WP, and I agree with you that the overall result is sub-optimal. I've long thought that those articles could be improved, but I'm not willing to do both that comprehensive research job, PLUS the arguing that's likely to result. -- Seth Finkelstein (talk) 02:50, 24 September 2010 (UTC)
If adding material to these articles would be a COI, then why isn't deleting material the same? Maybe you had some run-in with EIE (speaking purely hypothetically, I have no clue) and now you're bearing a grudge? Wasted Time R (talk) 02:59, 24 September 2010 (UTC)
Well, I think rather than an abstract add/delete categorical symmetry, it's more a matter of the extent and opportunities for dispute in each specific task. That is, it's one thing to need to defend a contention that mentioning one organization is undue weight. It's quite another to write a concise history and then need to defend all the aspects of it. In short, the more choices made, the more opportunities for someone to find a single point of contention that can be expanded into a personal attack. For the record, I don't recall any run-in with EIE now, although it was all many years ago (if someone finds a path-crossing on a mailing-list somewhere, it's not that I'm hiding anything, it's that I don't remember it - sigh, see the problem?) -- Seth Finkelstein (talk) 03:55, 24 September 2010 (UTC)
To follow up, I made a few searches through Google News Archives to try to identify what the major advocacy groups were for and against the CDA, but it gets complicated by different phases and aspects of the overall issue versus the actual bill versus the post-passage arguments re constitutionality. But I've seen enough that I'm willing to agree that incrementally just naming EIE was probably a bad idea. Wasted Time R (talk) 13:09, 25 September 2010 (UTC)
Thank you for that gracious follow-up. -- Seth Finkelstein (talk) 14:37, 25 September 2010 (UTC)

Hello Seth[edit]

Has Davis also been a board member of the Wikimedia Foundation? According to this it seems he was or has been. PacoPedroPerez (talk) 13:42, 29 September 2010 (UTC)

Yes, for many years, he was treasurer. But, to be fair, he hasn't been a board member for two years, so I'm not sure if that's relevant to Wikileaks confusion. -- Seth Finkelstein (talk) 15:47, 29 September 2010 (UTC)


great you work for jimbo. why not edit yourself? -DePiep (talk) 03:07, 21 January 2011 (UTC)

Err, no, I don't work for Jimbo -- Seth Finkelstein (talk) 03:23, 21 January 2011 (UTC)
First time I met bullshit from above. The same it is. -DePiep (talk) 03:26, 21 January 2011 (UTC)


that was a LONMG time ago but "By "speculating on interest-rate and foreign-currency fluctuations," "(Lihaas (talk) 01:18, 24 January 2011 (UTC)).

Signpost and citizen journalism[edit]

Your comment, although not necessarily referring to the same thing, reminds me of when I was in the military. Each of the overseas American bases I was stationed at published their own newspaper. The newspapers, however, never printed anything which might have cast the base's commanding officers in a bad light. I remember once a drunk Marine at the base on temporary duty crashed a Humvee into the lobby of one of the barracks buildings, causing hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage, but fortunately no injuries. Nary a word of it was mentioned in the base newspaper the next week. Cla68 (talk) 01:31, 24 January 2011 (UTC)

Economics of truth[edit]

Hi Seth! We lack certitude of others' honesty, granted.

However, evolution has prepared most humans to be honest about important matters, and so it is uneconomical to worry about "cover ups" unless there be evidence of dishonesty. (This analysis was made by Charles Sanders Peirce.)

Sociopaths and liars leave a trail behind them, that alerts us. For example, we did not need Watergate to know that Richard Nixon was a liar; even George Will (who helped coach Reagan and then commented on the debate in the 1980s and so need not be infallible) had criticized Nixon in The National Review (a conservative magazine in the U.S.). I don't believe anybody has alleged any such character flaws in anybody now on the ArbCom, so I wouldn't worry about their cover ups.

Sincerely,  Kiefer.Wolfowitz 02:48, 26 June 2011 (UTC)

Re: phrasing[edit]

When I see a next sentence starting with "However, current arbitrators have emphasized that there is no evidence to suggest", that seems to suggest that the preceding sentences were giving a nudge-and-wink. When the statement is on its own, its just "the issue remains unresolved and a resignation occurred during these times", particularly when it's looked at some point in the future. And that's without getting into the fact that at the time at which the report was written and published, only a single arbitrator said that "her departure should not, however, be taken as an indication that she was at all responsible for the genesis of the unfortunate situation." There's obviously no way of not mentioning that the leaks are continuing; what sort of wording would you have used? Also, I'm sure you noticed a number of users are clearly frustrated with the lack of explanation; do you think I should have noted that no reasons/explanation was given for the resignation? Ncmvocalist (talk) 17:06, 5 July 2011 (UTC)

I would have suggested, minimally, making them two distinct header-level items, with no bridge between them - not "The resignation has come at a time ...". When you have that sort of bridge, it can imply a connection, without stating it outright. When you have that sentence about the leaks under the "Arbitrator resigns" header, it can be read as signaling a connection. If you didn't have time to investigate, I might have skipped the user reaction, or a tiny mention, noting deadline pressure (e.g. "The resignation generated a discussion, but little more, as of press time"). -- Seth Finkelstein (talk) 17:41, 5 July 2011 (UTC)

Hello Seth[edit]

I'd like to know if you have found more embarrassing stuff for Jimbo and the Wikia/Wikipedia enterprise. Negativecharge (talk) 15:08, 25 July 2011 (UTC)

Myself, no. However, the recent ArbCom leaks from their internal mailing-list contain very interesting material on various matters (though there's a lot to dig through). -- Seth Finkelstein (talk) 23:33, 25 July 2011 (UTC)

Your input is needed on the SOPA initiative[edit]

Hi Seth Finkelstein,

You are receiving this message either because you expressed an opinion about the proposed SOPA blackout before full blackout and soft blackout were adequately differentiated, or because you expressed general support without specifying a preference. Please ensure that your voice is heard by clarifying your position accordingly.

Thank you.

Message delivered as per request on ANI. -- The Helpful Bot 16:42, 14 January 2012 (UTC)

It is too late: the angry uneducated youtube commenters have formed a mob and decided that SOPA will shutdown the entire Internet. I was receptive to that argument, so I read SOPA. Some questionable provisions, yes, but hardly going to endanger the Internet, and certainly not Wikipedia, which would be exempt. What a mess. Prodego talk 01:38, 16 January 2012 (UTC)
There's a lot of ends-justifies-means politics here, which deeply bothers me. I actually oppose SOPA on civil-liberties and Internet architecture grounds. But I'm unwilling to go around saying it'll kill Wikipedia. Maybe this is a reason I'm bad at politics. -- Seth Finkelstein (talk) 07:20, 16 January 2012 (UTC)

Journalism and WP[edit]

You might want to answer here, then. --Elitre (talk) 20:56, 31 January 2012 (UTC)


I mentioned you by name in the debate on Talk:Websense as someone who can be verifiably proven to know what they are talking about after they had a go at me for not giving my "sekrit identity" -.- I found your stuff from the talk on the word before and linked it Face-smile.svg --Mistress Selina Kyle (Α⇔Ω ¦ ⇒✉) 13:44, 16 February 2012 (UTC)

Conspiracy theories[edit]

Hello Seth. Please see my reply to your comments at User talk:Jayen466/Archives/2012/December#Conspiracy theories. Thanks. Kaldari (talk) 10:06, 26 December 2012 (UTC)

Fair enough. I don't need to split hairs about it as it isn't central to the argument anyway. I'm surprised to see you coming to Andreas's defense though. You don't honestly believe this nonsense do you? Kaldari (talk) 11:50, 26 December 2012 (UTC)
I believe the Wikipedia SOPA action was a result of political manipulation, arising from (though not the sole, only, single, no other, factor) Google's financial interests, involving much lying and dishonesty, where Wikipedia was in essence used for Google lobbying to the benefit of Google and the manipulators involved. Though I'm very torn since I opposed SOPA. One problem I have in discussing this with many Wikipedia people, is that they tend to view me as Mr Wikipedia Critic Guy, so they are very defensive of Wikipedia and WMF. They often discount what I say due to "tribal" analysis - sometimes this is phrased politely, sometimes not, but it's still the same poor reasoning. They're unaware I've been on the Internet since the mid-80's (from MIT), was involved in some of the earliest net freedom fights in the mid-90's, EFF Pioneer of the Electronic Frontier Award 2001, primarily won a DMCA Exemption (sadly personally a Pyrrhic victory), etc. I'm not going to assert pure authority, but I do have some experience in Internet politics. I believe I understand where you're coming from, as I've been, if not exactly there, close enough to have sympathy for all the emotions that are played on (we, the people, fought the Forces Of Evil, and won, through the purity of our hearts, clarity of reason, and great leaders). Hence I try to keep a leash on my impulse to get-into-it, as well as repeatedly remind myself it'll waste time and not do any good. From past experience, I know it's very unlikely I'll convince you. But at times, my frustration over the whole situation leads me into futile efforts. -- Seth Finkelstein (talk) 13:02, 26 December 2012 (UTC)
Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this. I'm glad to see they are at least more nuanced than the hecklers on Jimmy's talk page. You may be interested in reading my (rather lengthy) new post on Andreas's talk page, as it elaborates on my perspectives concerning SOPA and the blackout. Cheers. Kaldari (talk) 04:58, 27 December 2012 (UTC)
I hope you've noticed that the other 2 participants in the discussion are now defending the DMCA. Kaldari (talk) 21:42, 27 December 2012 (UTC)
Umm, yes, I've noticed that and more. People who believe Google is a quasi-criminal infringer company and favor more powers for copyright enforcement, tend to be rather upset at the lying done by the anti-SOPA campaign. Sort of the inverse of the-ends-justify-the-means (i.e. if you consider the ends to be right, you might turn a blind eye or rationalize improper means - but if you consider the ends to be wrong, improper means will be cause for further outrage). If you meant some sort of consider-the-source argument, I'm not relying on anything they say - I followed the Wikipedia campaign every step of the way myself. Again, I'm sadly aware of the factional aspects. But again, in an ends-vs-means problem, the opposite side will be correct in calling out wrong means. -- Seth Finkelstein (talk) 02:07, 28 December 2012 (UTC)
As I said elsewhere mostly the DMCA works as intended, and the vast majority of DMCA requests appear to be valid. That the process is from time to time exploited is to be expected. All laws are exploited by those of bad faith and have been for millenia. Yet, for example, we don't go around saying rape laws should be abolished because some people have made false accusations. We deal with those that make the false accusations. So fix the DMCA so that it is more effective in dealing with DMCA abusers.
Meanwhile the majority of people using the DMCA simply want the unauthorised use to cease. They aren't interested in suing in a federal court they just do not want there work being sold on eBay, used to promote someone's travel business, or as a draw for a page full of Google ads.
As it is, large corporate interests, can always go down the federal court route, small independent content producers just have the DMCA to rely on. Well unless they open up the small claims court system, though I notice that Google and its shills are opposed to that suggestion, whilst Microsoft and the evil RIAA are in favour. John lilburne (talk) 13:14, 28 December 2012 (UTC)


Didn't know you were on here. :-) — SMcCandlish   Talk⇒ ɖ∘¿¤þ   Contrib. 20:25, 26 December 2012 (UTC)

And I thought I was long-time notorious and infamous :-) -- Seth Finkelstein (talk) 02:53, 28 December 2012 (UTC)
I don't frequently edit "EFFish" topics on here (partly too many conflicts of interest, but mostly just from being worn out on them after doing little but those issues for about 12 years). That's probably why we hadn't crossed WP paths until now. — SMcCandlish   Talk⇒ ɖ∘¿¤þ   Contrib. 00:26, 29 December 2012 (UTC)


I saw that you edited the "Consequentialism" website.

I am trying to create an open source project similar to Wikipedia, but that uses a different format. It states a belief like: "The end does not justify the means" and then lists reasons to agree or disagree separately. You are then able to click on any of the reasons, to find reasons to agree or disagree with them. I have created an example of how it might work here:

However, I am looking for more people to help. The above site is the 7th result if you google “The end does not justify the means”. And so you would be providing direction to about 1,700 people a month, in a very organized way that I believe holds a lot of promise. If you would like to help edit the site, please contact me and I will give you the password. If you are interested more in the project, I explain it better here: myclob (talk) 15:06, 5 January 2013 (UTC)


Quick note (not sure how to contact you except an edit here, sorry): unfortunately the edit (which I didn't make) to the Aaron Swartz page is true. I know this from a source close to him — Preceding unsigned comment added by Spiralhighway (talkcontribs) 03:45, 12 January 2013 (UTC)

You can send me email at sethf at sethf dot com. The problem is it looks suspicious - why announce on Wikipedia? Other people will revert it as suspected vandalism unless there is proof. -- Seth Finkelstein (talk) 03:57, 12 January 2013 (UTC)


For this. Ed [talk] [majestic titan] 20:06, 14 March 2013 (UTC)

Seth Finkelstein[edit]

As a courtesy to you, I thought I'd mention that I created a Wikipedia article about you. I think it's pretty solid on WP:N, WP:V, etc., but I've heard that you dislike this stuff, so I figure it's good to tell you and not make you find out secondhand. I like your writing and admire your work on anti-censorship. Wikipedia isn't complete without an article about you. Red Slash 05:18, 5 May 2013 (UTC)

My Comment at List of Wikipedia Controversies[edit]

Just to be clear, my comment on the List of Wikipedia Controversies talk page was meant as humor. You used markup to put very large text on the talk page. A subsequent talk page guideline states that that is shouting. In your case, it was more like art. Robert McClenon (talk) 22:32, 15 May 2013 (UTC)

ArbCom elections are now open![edit]

You appear to be eligible to vote in the current Arbitration Committee election. The Arbitration Committee is the panel of editors responsible for conducting the Wikipedia arbitration process. It has the authority to enact binding solutions for disputes between editors, primarily related to serious behavioural issues that the community has been unable to resolve. This includes the ability to impose site bans, topic bans, editing restrictions, and other measures needed to maintain our editing environment. The arbitration policy describes the Committee's roles and responsibilities in greater detail. If you wish to participate, you are welcome to review the candidates' statements and submit your choices on the voting page. For the Election committee, MediaWiki message delivery (talk) 12:51, 23 November 2015 (UTC)

ArbCom Elections 2016: Voting now open![edit]

Scale of justice 2.svgHello, Seth Finkelstein. Voting in the 2016 Arbitration Committee elections is open from Monday, 00:00, 21 November through Sunday, 23:59, 4 December to all unblocked users who have registered an account before Wednesday, 00:00, 28 October 2016 and have made at least 150 mainspace edits before Sunday, 00:00, 1 November 2016.

The Arbitration Committee is the panel of editors responsible for conducting the Wikipedia arbitration process. It has the authority to impose binding solutions to disputes between editors, primarily for serious conduct disputes the community has been unable to resolve. This includes the authority to impose site bans, topic bans, editing restrictions, and other measures needed to maintain our editing environment. The arbitration policy describes the Committee's roles and responsibilities in greater detail.

If you wish to participate in the 2016 election, please review the candidates' statements and submit your choices on the voting page. Mdann52 (talk) 22:08, 21 November 2016 (UTC)