User talk:Tryptofish

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Regarding this idea of a "COI investigations mailing list" that's been floating around: I know you've spoken in favor of it, and are usually sane :) I have extremely strong reservations about this and am not sure whether those who like the idea have had a chance yet to think through the back-end logistics or long-term management of this system.

  1. You'd want the WMF to create, host, and oversee a database or archive exclusively dedicated to storing personally identifying material about alleged COI/paid editors. Inevitably, it will include inaccurate identifications, accusations that would be libelous if public, and attempts at taking out wiki-political opponents, as well as garden-variety private information gathered from amateur internet sleuthing that may not have previously been collected in one place. The reality is that stuff leaks sometimes - technical compromises happen, accidental disclosures happen, and occasionally people do "go rogue". This could be much worse than existing archives leaking, because it would consist almost entirely of off-wiki personal information. There tends to be a great deal of moralizing from some quarters about paid editing, but hopefully we all agree that getting doxxed is not a reasonable consequence of having once possibly violated a website's terms of use.
  2. You'd want a group of volunteers (existing functionaries? a new set?) to receive this private information and then issue public rulings on whether there is or is not a COI/paid relationship. This is personally and legally risky if they get it wrong, and it's highly unlikely that this group is going to end up with any meaningful amount of training or resources to do the investigations. Wikipedians appointing themselves as "sleuths" and organizing private mailing lists for the purpose hasn't historically worked out all that well.
  3. You'd want someone (arbcom? the WMF?) to oversee the selection of this group's membership, hear appeals of their findings, deal with disputes that arise, and remove people from the group if needed. This is not a responsibility that anyone currently has extra bandwidth for.

It is not at all clear to me that any of this is doable, or desirable, or worth the level of time and effort that would be required. (Frankly, whenever I skim COIN I think the same thing.) Those who are very concerned about paid editing would, IMO, be best served directing their energies toward changing the notability and sourcing expectations for the topics that are most commonly affected. Opabinia regalis (talk) 06:50, 23 July 2016 (UTC)

Thanks for taking the time to write this very thoughtful message to me. (But don't be so sure about my sanity!) At this point, I'm in the thinking-out-loud stage, so I'm not strongly committed to any particular approach. And having users like you, who are more plugged in to the logistics than I am, give me advice about things that can be deal-breakers is very helpful to me, and you can be sure that I will take everything you say very seriously.
No matter what you and some other users with advanced permissions may think, simply trying to revise notability and sourcing guidelines will end up in a lot of heat followed by no consensus. And the fact that many community members are correct, that undisclosed paid editing presents a monumental threat to Wikipedia's mission, cannot be wished away. Nor should it be.
What I'm trying to do is to get something in place that legitimately allows us to have a bright-line outing/harassment policy, a policy that says that it is never, never, never OK to post outing-type information on-site – but that also allows editors to investigate undisclosed paid editing without having the disruptive user say: you are making a personal attack on me, because you are accusing me of COI but you provide no evidence. There needs to be a private way to evaluate private evidence, that verifies the evidence but makes it credibly possible to never post it on site.
Taking your points one-by-one, I agree with you that getting doxed is the wrong solution to someone violating the terms of use. I want to prevent that from happening. The way I tentatively see it at this time, such a mailing list would contain information that would not really be a whole lot different in terms of legal liability and risk of doing harm than what Checkusers already do. They call up IP information that can sometimes identify a user as sitting at one very particular computer, and determine the likelihood that two accounts are or are not the same person. To my knowledge, that doesn't mean that a Checkuser can get sued for posting "confirmed" or "likely" on-site, and I think (again, to the best of my knowledge) that Checkusers outing editors has not been a pervasive problem. And I understand that there is a log kept of all Checkuser runs. And I'll make a bet (again, to the best of...) that the Functionaries email list gets stuff that should never be posted on-Wiki, and the ArbCom list even more so. I've had email communication with the ArbCom list in which my real life name is revealed, and I have trusted ArbCom not to go blabbing my name in public. Yes, there was that infamous leak, but I hope that procedures have been improving since then.
But what you say here gives me the idea that the new whatever that I might propose should be set up in such a way that once a case is dealt with, it gets erased from whatever digital storage there is, not stored or archived.
To your second and third points, I've been thinking about defining membership on the list as being: those users who are currently on the Functionaries email list who volunteer to participate. It would never be dealing with urgent matters (unlike Oversighting), so there would be no need for a lot of volunteers. If one is already a Functionary in good standing (and I understand that ones in bad standing are kicked off the list), one is already cleared by WMF to have access to private information. And folks who don't have the time or inclination won't have to do anything.
And here is something very key: under no circumstance should it be permissible to post on-Wiki anything more than that it is "confirmed" or "likely" or "not confirmed" (or something like that) that a COI exists. But not what the COI is (beyond the fact that it pertains to certain pages)! That's not revealing anything even remotely libelous, and the "harm" that could be done to a user would simply be being required to disclose a COI in discussions about a page, something we already ask users to do under the WMF terms of use. I'm not seeing (?) much need for appeals. I don't imagine that any of the Functionary volunteers would be seeing, privately, anything more than what Arbs, Checkusers, and Oversighters already see. I don't think the sky will fall.
But if you can shoot holes in what I've said here, please do! That's the kind of feedback that I want! And I promise to take it seriously.
When I have more of an idea of what I think it should be, I'm going to create a draft (with "no index") in my user space, and I'll post about it to Arbs, Checkusers, and Oversighters, and ask for feedback. I'm not going to attempt to make an RfC to the community to adopt a proposal, until after the Functionaries have had a chance to vet it. --Tryptofish (talk) 20:42, 23 July 2016 (UTC)
Well, to start at the top, undisclosed paid editing presents a monumental threat to Wikipedia's mission - unshared implicit premises are part of the problem. I wouldn't agree to that at all - paid editing is a nuisance and a timesink, yes, and certainly some people believe there is some kind of clear and present danger, but there's precious little evidence of it. Yes, we have spam, and so does every other website with user-generated content. We're lucky in that ours is often in the form of new articles on crap topics with little traffic; it didn't much bother the 209k people who wanted to know who Tim Kaine is yesterday. The damaging insidious advocacy cases (Wifione, etc) are a) believed to be "paid" by inference, not evidence, and b) not the cases that would ever be usefully handled by this COI investigation process.
The advantage of approaching this whole problem through notability and sourcing is that the changes work with existing infrastructure and can be done incrementally and reassessed regularly. Sure, there will be no consensus for sweeping all-at-once changes, but the point is to deal with bite-sized pieces of the problem in a flexible way. Possibly this could be coupled with technical improvements like automated classification of new articles to prioritize patrollers' attention. This mailing list is a huge bureaucracy of uncertain benefit that would be extremely difficult to get rid of once it's entrenched.
I see the temptation, but I think checkuser is a poor analogy here. Checkuser involves the WMF collecting fairly simple routine technical data from everyone, storing it temporarily, and permitting access only under certain conditions to authorized people who are generally familiar with the technical aspects before they start using the tool. The COI investigation process would involve self-appointed third parties collecting random internet flotsam from whoever they decided seemed suspicious, storing it indefinitely on their own computers of indeterminate security, and submitting it to a mailing list for review by people with no particular specialized knowledge. In the CU case the information is provided by the affected users themselves, by virtue of their use of the site; in the COI case the information is gathered from off-site by others only when suspicion arises. Assuming good faith of the reporters, that's a recipe for confirmation bias; taking a more cynical view, it's a good way to try to knock out your opponents in a dispute. (You're much more involved with the GMO topic than I am, and have certainly seen as much of the alt med cluster of disputes, so clearly you know that some editors deploy COI allegations as weapons. Right now they make these claims in public where others can see they're unfounded, but what happens when they gather suggestive tidbits and tie them together with rhetoric, and the report gets read by someone who's just trying to clear the queue and doesn't really understand the subject?) As for legal risk, you're right, nobody gets sued for saying "User:JoeBloggs is technically indistinguishable from User:SpammitySpamSpammer." But that's a completely different claim than "User:JoeBloggs has been engaging in deceptive practices for his own personal profit and in so doing has violated the legal agreement he made by using our website."
Honestly, it kind of worries me to see comments like I'm not seeing (?) much need for appeals - the question mark must be those cases where the determination is factually incorrect, and thus there is indeed harm being done to the user? The functionaries are reasonable people who would be careful, naturally, but people make mistakes and misjudge evidence all the time, and digging around in editors' off-wiki business is not a skill anyone was selected for, and overall you seem to have a much greater degree of confidence than I do in the likely success rate of this venture. (That, by the way, is the catch-22 of the data retention problem - how would you go about appealing a sanction if the evidence on which it was based has been discarded?)
So will the sky fall, probably not. But it is an enormously complicated and uncomfortably invasive solution to a problem more effectively addressed through other means. Opabinia regalis (talk) 06:44, 24 July 2016 (UTC)
Again, thank you, and again, I very much value this discussion. You've given me some things to think about, which I will, and perhaps I will change my mind about some things. Here are some of my thoughts as of now.
Starting with that question mark about appeals, I did that on purpose, because I'm not that confident myself about what I said, and I wanted you to reply critically. I think you are right in identifying a problem about deleting material while allowing appeals based on that material, and this is something I'm going to have to take some time to work on.
About what I called the "monumental threat", well, you say tomayto and I say tomahto. I noticed yesterday that your ArbCom colleague DGG commented at the outing RfC in a manner at odds with what you have said to me here, and he did a very good job of making the case. My approach to this is to try to find a way that duly respects both perspectives, and anything I might propose would be premised upon making it out of the question to post sensitive stuff on-site. (But, by the way, another idea that's coming out of those discussions is to have the developers create a simple question that comes up as part of the account registration process, in which a new editor can say yes or no to whether they expect to edit for pay, and a yes would automatically give them advice on their new talk page about how to do things right. I'm going to propose that in the next round of WMF asking for feature proposals, this November.)
I have trouble seeing how to revise the notability and sourcing guidelines without creating unintended knock-on effects.
It seems to me that "huge bureaucracy" and "enormously complicated" are hyperbole.
About individual editors keeping private information about other users on their own computers, they do that already. (Even on mine!) That's not a liability for Wikipedia, and it's not a change. What Wikipedia should be concerned about is what is on WMF servers, etc.
About editors using this kind of thing in POV disputes, I agree with you 100%. No bleeping way! Something else that I'm going to push for is that this kind of investigation must be strictly for COI that is strictly defined as monetarily based, as opposed to having an opinion. (No investigating someone because they might be a racist, etc. etc.) I've been arguing for that. I would insist that any email submitted to a COI process should be kicked to the curb if it's about POV and so forth. Otherwise, it's a non-starter for me.
Well, in any case, I take it that if it ends up as a volunteer committee, you won't be one of the volunteers. Face-smile.svg But thanks again for your feedback. --Tryptofish (talk) 19:14, 24 July 2016 (UTC)
Uh-oh! Just saw this: [1]. Face-smile.svg --Tryptofish (talk) 19:46, 24 July 2016 (UTC)
Damn, people noticed! Now I don't even have implausible deniability! ;) Opabinia regalis (talk) 01:30, 26 July 2016 (UTC)
Sounds like you've been disappeared! --Tryptofish (talk) 00:02, 27 July 2016 (UTC)
I'm continuing to think hard about this, and two more thoughts have occurred to me.
You are right about what you said about Checkusers, but I really was only trying to say that, in terms of being authorized to see personal information, there's no difference, and in terms of posting on-site things like "confirmed" there are at least similarities.
About appeals and data retention, I've come around to agreeing that there needs to be a procedure for the accused to defend themselves fairly. One way to do this might be to have the Functionary, only if they decide to support the accusation, take the email they received, scrub it of personal information about the filing editor, etc., and forward it to the accused editor (if email is enabled, otherwise, leave a message on the editor's talk page asking to be emailed back). (This procedure would be explicitly stated, so editors making accusations will know that it will happen.) After doing so, the Functionary would delete everything from WMF systems. I think that would enable appeals even with the subsequent deletion, would make the process fairer, and would still minimize retention of sensitive data. --Tryptofish (talk) 19:30, 25 July 2016 (UTC)
Yes, I think DGG and I disagree on this - others may yet weigh in. We haven't discussed the paid editing issue as much as last year's committee did, but last year there was a very strong consensus against having arbcom take on that role, and having read those archives I am very much in agreement with that consensus. I'd also say that "comment on content, not contributors" is a long-standing and effective social norm here, as is respect for others' choice to contribute anonymously, and institutionalizing systematic offsite research of other editors' identities and likely motivations is much closer to the description "threat to our mission" than having a backlog of spam to delete.
I really do think the first thing anyone who wants new processes needs to do is gather some data showing that the types of articles or editors they think are problematic are not being effectively dealt with using existing processes. It doesn't matter so much whether someone uses phrases like "monumental threat" or "chronic nuisance" or something in between; it does matter that we actually understand the scale of the problem at least somewhat quantitatively. In particular, comments on this issue often circle back to the matter of transactions on elance/upwork/fiverr/etc., but my anecdotal experience is that content that comes from these mechanisms is almost always very poor. There is little need for offsite investigations to determine that most of this content is unwanted. The more serious Wifione-style long-term advocacy is not amenable to your system, since there's no evidence of money changing hands. I get the sense that a lot of people think that if they can prove undisclosed paid editing and therefore prove a ToU violation, they've done a better job or caught a bigger fish or something than if they just delete spam for being spam. We should be talking about what the scope of the problem is on a content basis and then designing the best solutions to make sure it gets reviewed efficiently and without wasting volunteer time, rather than trying to design a system based on catching some particular preconceived category of potential violations.
Another possible issue I didn't think of before is the politicization of the functionary selection process, which has historically been (or tried to be) fairly non-political. Seeding this system with existing functionaries is one thing, but in the future we'd almost certainly see people applying for functionary positions for the sake of joining this COI squad, in addition to (or instead of) doing traditional functionary work. This doesn't really solve the problem of creating a new body because arbcom doesn't have the time/interest/desire/scope/etc., because functionary appointments and complaints are still overseen by arbcom.
As for anonymized summaries of information as long-term storage mechanisms: better, but I still see this as a disqualifying problem. First, as Fluffernutter posted at length in the harassment RfC, outing problems can be created with long trails of individually non-identifying breadcrumbs. It's really difficult to know in advance what might prove to be a key piece of someone else's puzzle. It's better than storing every detail, but still difficult to justify given the relatively minor nature of the offense. Second, there's no such thing as a summary that doesn't interpret the underlying data. A future reviewer who has only the summary, where the summary was prepared only because the accusation was considered true, can't fully review the matter. Again, you seem very confident that the process would have very few cases of trolling, joe-jobbing, and plain old mistakes. Third, I focused on the data stored by the WMF because that's what we can control, but the existence of such a process necessarily encourages editors to dig and store their results. If the functionary says "not confirmed" but the submitting editor is convinced there is some grave threat to the project, they may well be tempted to publicize what they've gathered. We've already seen examples of similar behavior.
Now, your new-editor signup idea is smart. The concept of having people deliberately segregate edits so that they have a dedicated and labeled paid-editing account is a sensible compromise... that was suggested, IIRC, by Greg Kohs circa 2006 ;) Opabinia regalis (talk) 00:31, 26 July 2016 (UTC)
The sign-up idea wasn't mine, but I'm happily supporting it.
Interesting that you would prefer to treat this as just reverting spam. Maybe you're right. That would, in effect, mean deprecating WP:COI (except for the parts that advise proper editor conduct) and WP:COIN.
As for politicizing the Functionary selection process, the selection process isn't particularly vulnerable to editor lobbying, and I think unqualified applicants will still be rejected. And I'm not asking ArbCom to do anything new.
No, I didn't say long-term storage of anonymized data. What I did say seems to me to give the accused a good way to self-defend against trolling, joe-jobbing, and mistakes, and gives them as workable way to present their side to a future reviewer.
I'd say anyone who tries to publicize rejected accusations is a prime example of someone who should be blocked or even banned for harassment. But I don't think anyone would be prompted by such a system to research opponents any more than the status quo does, because editors already do that all the time: what matters is what gets divulged on-site. --Tryptofish (talk) 00:02, 27 July 2016 (UTC)
You're right, sorry, I misread your idea about the anonymized summaries - I think you mean that the functionary and the editor in question retain the summary, but no one else does? I had figured the accused editor, at least, would get to see the un-edited submission if they requested it (without the submitter's name, obviously). But maybe that's a bad idea - if the identification is not correct, you've just handed them a pile of links to personal information about someone completely different. This is a lot more complicated with actual personally identifying information than with CU data or on-wiki behavior, which may be distinctive but rarely is personally identifying on its own.
Yes, I would prefer to just delete spam as spam. (Similarly, I also see no real need to chase up G5-able content unless there's reason to believe it's bad.) That's why I prefer content-level approaches like raising the requirements for notability and sourcing, and would rather see energy invested in progress on that - even if it's slow - than in creating infrastructure for real-world investigations. I recall a proposal back in the days of Essjay to create a similar process for investigating and (sort of) verifying editors' claimed real-world credentials, which is not really so different in principle and I didn't like it then either ;) Opabinia regalis (talk) 02:32, 27 July 2016 (UTC)
Actually, my thinking is that the Functionary would retain nothing, once the accused editor has received the anonymized information. What I'm aiming for is: (1) allow the accused to know why they are accused, (2) allow the accused to possess the information they need to appeal, should they want to appeal, and (3) avoid retaining personal information by Functionaries or WMF servers beyond when 1 and 2 have been accomplished. The issue of giving the accused information about someone else is one I haven't thought of, so I'll think about it.
You've been around long enough to remember the Essjay thing? I'm glad there is someone who has been here longer than me! Anyway, I get where you are coming from, but I also think that your view about this is not widely held in the community, so I remain pretty sure that editors are going to continue to try to investigate COI, and we need a mechanism to ensure that they don't harass/out anyone in the process. --Tryptofish (talk) 22:47, 27 July 2016 (UTC)
Well, I was gone for awhile in the interim... but I was around as an occasional IP editor even before Seigenthaler... holy shit, that was more than a decade ago! While we're on the subject of old but relevant precedents, remember this block and the resulting arbcom case about a prominent incident involving a self-selected group using offsite mailing lists to organize "investigations" of other editors...?
We already do have a mechanism to stop people from harassing and outing other users: when someone tries, we block them and suppress the edits. Yes, there are debatable borderline cases of "you posted too many breadcrumbs", but most are pretty obvious (including the one that touched off this whole discussion, which surprised me). Opabinia regalis (talk) 00:13, 29 July 2016 (UTC)
Nope, I didn't start here until a year after that. See that: fish evolved after whatever organism you are! I looked at the links and it's somewhat tl;dr (and I'm not in the mood for any more depressing reading right now). But I don't think it's comparable to what I will propose. I'm certainly not proposing that editors get any OK to collaborate on investigations off-Wiki and then block based on secret and incorrect evidence.
Well, we are going to have to disagree (a lot) about your second paragraph. The case that touched off this discussion? I miss that editor. And you wanna see a borderline case (and one of ArbCom's darkest hours)? Take a look at my block log. --Tryptofish (talk) 01:46, 29 July 2016 (UTC)
Sorry, I lost track of this thread over the weekend. Doddering old invertebrates and their lousy memories... ;)
Not to drag out the unpleasant old reading material again, but I think that's focusing on the wrong things from that episode. The point is that one person, acting in good faith, but subject to motivated reasoning, confirmation bias, and a misperception of the actual frequency of the problem they're looking for, can easily mislead themselves into believing shoddy evidence. And when a trusted source says they're confident in their research, people are liable to not look too closely until it blows up in everyone's faces.
That's a big reason that I think the missing piece in all this discussion and talk of proposals is data. Describing the problem in as quantitative a set of terms as possible and then designing the mitigation process would be a reasonable thing. If the evidence says that yes, we're drowning in spam that's sneaking through NPP and not getting deleted, and most of it is coming from likely paid editors, then we really do need to figure out a process to deal with it directly. But right now we have no basis on which to judge the scale of the problem compared to the scale of the proposed solution, which is a very large expansion of what has traditionally been considered as actionable evidence. Compare how much difficulty there was last year with off-wiki evidence, and that was for objectively horrible behavior, not the relatively minor sin of spammy editing.
Nobody looks at block logs ;) While I appreciate your frustration in that situation, I'm not really sure how it relates to investigating paid editing? For obvious reasons I haven't looked at the archives related to the GMO case, but AFAIK that issue wouldn't have been covered by this investigations list anyway. Opabinia regalis (talk) 04:50, 3 August 2016 (UTC)
No worries, and truly, you have been incredibly gracious and helpful throughout these discussions. And I agree with what you said about my own history; I simply brought it up to reflect what I, personally, have been frustrated over, and how it contributed to my present interests in making the situation better. In some ways, I see the problem less as being about the threat of COI, than about the unsupportable status quo in which good faith editors cannot figure out what will or will not get them blocked. I see you just commented at the outing talk page, and I'm rather amused by some of the replies to what you said. In any case, if you look at WT:HA#Better example, there's an example of something where I'd like the community to deal with it the way that the community did deal with it, but also without anyone risking an unpredictable block, or an invertebrate with advanced permissions telling them that they should have just reverted the spam. About data, I'm the wrong editor to ask about it, but the editors who work at COIN should be able to provide that, and it's worth asking them. In any case, I disagree with you on the more fundamental underlying assumptions of this debate, and I think most members of the community disagree with you too. I've gone ahead and worked up a draft proposal, and I'm going to unveil it very soon, and I think that you will see that I really listened to what you said about the logistics. (And, speaking of doddering, I found myself typing GMO when I meant COI, while I was writing it: [2]. Sheesh!) --Tryptofish (talk) 15:31, 3 August 2016 (UTC)
FYI, I posted the link to your draft, and this thread, to the functionaries list also. Thank you for the revisions you've made. To be honest, I still see no useful future for this, and dozens of pitfalls, but a good-faith proposal deserves to be looked at thoughtfully. Opabinia regalis (talk) 23:01, 5 August 2016 (UTC)
Since I've been mentioned twice, I should explain why I differ from Opabinia regalis (and those of my arb and functionary colleagues who have spoken about this in public) . I am an editor primarily, not a functionary, and I'm on arb com primarily to bring them the perspective of an editor--an editor who works primarily with new articles. Not just some, but most submitted articles on organizations and their executives are press releases--as are many others in many fields. The basic principle of an encyclopedia is subverted when the articles are written on the basis of that the subject wants their article here, and wants it from their own perspective. If readers want that perspective, google does the job of finding their web pages very successfully. The reason for our existence is to fill the need for information not contaminated in that manner. The more fundamental purpose, and the really exciting aspect for many of us, and also to show that volunteers working in a non-hierarchial manner can produce a monumentally useful complex intellectual product. When it's not the volunteers producing the product, we're not justifying our conceptual basis. The world does not need another medium for advertising.
People who work primarily on process or infrastructure tend to not realize the problems with content and contributors. I doubt there is any experienced person working with new contributions who does not see the extent of the project the same way I do. Protecting privacy is important, but it's not our fundamental purpose. We want to protect the privacy of good faith contributors, not of those who attempt to subvert the project. The key problem in finding a way to deal with COI is to protect those without the COI who may be falsely accused. This is getting increasingly serious, because many good faith editors now copy the work of the coi editors, because they think it's the way to do things here. The only way to protect their privacy is for the investigations to be done in private, once the plausibility of a case for investigation has been raised--it is in this sense exactly similar to SPI investigations.
The only people available for this are the functionaries, and the genius of Tryptofish's proposal is that it uses existing already vetted people, and does not add an entire new group of people with advanced permissions. It does make our job as functionaries a little more complex, by adding an additional task--I think we basically able to handle it. I cannot see how this adds any security problems beyond what we already have at present--the true security problem is the need to maintain a history for future investigations that determine a pattern,and this applies already. The only additional private information that would be collected is information that someone works for a particular company. While this should be kept private for good faith editors, the results of an failure to protect the information on them that would incidentally be discovered is unlikely to be as personally disruptive as much of what we already deal.
Anyone who works at AfD and other deletion processes knows how unreliable they are in maintaining quality. They are better than they were when I joined 8 years ago--I'd guess the error then to be as high as 20%, including both directions--I'd say it is now less than half that. I've also learned over the years the difficulty and hazards of trying to change notability requirements. The interpretation of them is subjective, and attempts at changes yield unexpected consequences. It's usually better to leave the text alone, and let the interpretation change gradually. (Not that I think the present way of deciding based on the GNG to be particularly helpful, but that's another matter, though I think we'd have a better way of protecting against POV by adopting more objective criteria)
The most critical need at WP is the continual acquisition of new active volunteers, as very few of us will be around forever--or can even be expected to make a career out of it,or even a lifelong hobby. Volunteers get discouraged in trying to compete with people who get paid for their work, and in particular volunteers trying to improve articles get very discourage when they realize they are trying to improve the work of incompetent editors who are collecting the money for what the volunteers have done.
We need a different balance. DGG ( talk ) 00:34, 4 August 2016 (UTC)
Thank you very much for the kind words and the thoughtful analysis. I agree exactly with your view of the issue. --Tryptofish (talk) 01:05, 4 August 2016 (UTC)
Thanks DGG, this is a good articulation of your view and you might want to post it (or a summary) somewhere more visible. (Though I do see Trypto has 200 watchers, that's a lot for a fish... ;) There's a couple of things I wanted to respond to briefly here, though. First, I don't really see that there's a correlation between people's focus on "process" or "content" and their opinion on how best to deal with paid editing. Second, I don't think there's any real evidence that the encyclopedia is any more "subverted" by paid editing than it is by editing done by fans (a common problem in pop-culture type articles), editing by cranks and POV-pushers (everywhere in science and medicine), editing done by people with axes to grind (common in BLPs), and so on and so forth. In fact, if I had to rank-order content problems by the extent to which they harm the project, I'd put BLP violations well above spam. The appeal of addressing paid/COI editing by increasing notability standards is precisely that it applies equally to all of these problems and does not require differentiating between them, which is often impossible. (Unless the cranks turn out to be right that telepathy is real... ;) Opabinia regalis (talk) 23:01, 5 August 2016 (UTC)
Well, hosting an argument between two arbs should be good for my WP:Centijimbos. (And everyone knows that my talk page is where all the cool kids hang out!) I don't think it's a contest between COI and BLP or anything else to be the biggest problem. But if there's a problem and a workable way to reduce the problem, then that workable way is a net positive. --Tryptofish (talk) 23:13, 5 August 2016 (UTC)
Probably not, nobody watches my talk page... ;) Opabinia regalis (talk) 23:35, 5 August 2016 (UTC)
Well, you are always welcome here. (In the past 24 hours, I've gone from being called a POV-pusher in favor of GMOs to being called a POV-pusher in favor of pseudoscience. I guess I was in favor of it before I was against it, or something...) --Tryptofish (talk) 23:40, 5 August 2016 (UTC)
Opabinia regalis, I suppose everyone tends to see as serious the problems they mainly work with. Relatively few of the arbs actually work at NPP, or AfC, and I don't see them often at AfD or Deletion Review. Myself, I see relatively little BLP problems as compared to 8 years ago before we tightened the rules, but I tend to work on other things primarily--though you've just given me the idea, that dealing with promotionalism of individuals (or even organizations, because they usually mention living people as well) might be greatly helped by applying the strictness of BLP about RSs (the paid editors mostly do know about the need for inline citations, but they usually cannot really find RSs because there often aren't any, though it can take actually reading the sources to tell.) This I see as one of the purposes of the list, at least some of us being able to exchange information off-wiki, as I'm a little reluctant to tell the spammers the hints I use, just as we tend to to disclose details of what we look for at spi.) DGG ( talk ) 01:30, 17 August 2016 (UTC)
@DGG: Yes, I think approaching the problem as one of reliable sourcing is a very good idea. Taking that approach did help clean up a lot of the historical BLP issues, and you can see the positive effects in topics that fall under MEDRS as well, where being very strict about sourcing has produced clear improvements in dealing with crank advocacy and POV-pushing. Opabinia regalis (talk) 20:36, 17 August 2016 (UTC)
I thought that DGG made an interesting point, about not giving away tells, as per SPI. I shouldn't get ahead of myself, but my gut feeling is that the RfC is going to result in consensus against the list I proposed. I say that with the realization that I confidently told OR that I was sure that the community will want such a system, woops! As long as I've been here, I still find myself surprised at how the community resists new ideas, and at how I keep misjudging it. Anyway, I'm beginning to think that the end result of discussions that will follow is going to be something very similar to what OR prefers: pretty much an abandonment of COI as a concept, and its replacement by a content-based, not editor-based, practice of removing spammy content per WP:NOTADVERT. On the upside, I think that will be accompanied by making WP:Outing a strict, unambiguous, bright-line policy that makes no exceptions for COI, and I think that would be a good thing. On the downside, after a few years it will become apparent that Wikipedia will have been overcome by undisclosed paid editing that cannot be kept under control, and comedians will be making jokes about it. And then, we will find ourselves right back here again. Anyway, I'm probably getting ahead of myself. --Tryptofish (talk) 21:01, 17 August 2016 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I don't agree at all Trypto. A good chunk of the community really wants to protect the integrity of WP, and it is rarely necessary to even come close to the OUTING line when working with editors to disclose and manage their COI.

What I used to do (and this is what my TBAN is on, among other interactions with editors about their actual or potential COI) is just ask someone who edits like they have a COI (who have what the COI guideline calls an "apparent COI") if they have a connection to the subjects they have been editing; most people will disclose when asked, and are happy to be taught what they should do after they disclose. The only time something OUTING-y needs to come into play is in an enforcement context, and that can be done via email.

While some editors seem to be bothered that I ask people who edit like they have a COI questions, there is absolutely nothing wrong with doing that politely. No OUTING is involved. Jytdog (talk) 23:57, 17 August 2016 (UTC)

While you've been forcibly away, there has been a monumental amount of discussion in the wake of your block, and I'm struck by how much the balance of community sentiment is going in the opposite direction of what you just said here. (I'll tell you one thing: you sure did get a lot of discussion going!) Doc James opened an RfC about a rather open-and-shut situation of the sort you describe, and the community split just about 50-50, with a lot of admins and functionaries coming down on the side that the outing policy is way more important than controlling undisclosed paid editing. I've got an RfC going on right now (discussed above) about handling enforcement via email, and it looks to me like it's going to go down in flames. So no, I'm pretty sure that handling it via email will soon become forbidden. I think the COI guideline will stay around, but mainly just as advice about good practice, for good faith editors like the majority you describe as responding positively to being approached. But when someone comes along who is uncooperative because that's what they are getting paid to be, I'm increasingly convinced that the community is going to conclude: just revert spammy edits, and if they edit war with you, take them to 3RR, but never get into their motivations. It sure looks to me like the number of editors who place a high priority on protecting content against COI is shrinking and besieged, whereas there is a rapidly growing consensus that what matters most is that editors should stop investigating one another. I predict that the COI noticeboard will be replaced by a spam noticeboard. --Tryptofish (talk) 00:14, 18 August 2016 (UTC)
By the way, I said some stuff on your talk page right before you requested that everything be archived, and I'm sufficiently full of myself that I'll repeat it here: [3]. It probably goes less for you than for anyone from ArbCom who is reading here. --Tryptofish (talk) 00:20, 18 August 2016 (UTC)
Thanks for the recap - I have been following the discussion WT:HARASS and yes I recall the message, Pufferfish.  :) But the only one stupid here was me. Don't know if you ever reviewed the stuff on my Userpage about COI but yes - there is tension between the values of privacy and integrity and privacy is always going to win. One has to be very mindful of the OUTING line. I wasn't in the edit that got me blocked and it cost me.
That said, there is some unrealistic hand-wringing going on at WT:HARASS that is bothering me -- all the worry about getting blocked if you address COI editing at all. As I wrote above it is entirely possible to never go near the OUTING line when dealing with COI. I have dealt with scads of COI editors and I can count on two hands the times I have gone right up to the line - and of course the one time I went over in the course of my COI work. It's a sliver of a percent and those could have been handled off-wiki. Really - the edit I made that got me blocked was not necessary and if I had been working slower and had more sleep I would not have made it. You have to be mindful to work on COI but it is very far from impossible. I intend to get back to it if I am able to successfully appeal my TBAN in 6 months. (My desire to appeal puts some restraint on what I can write on these matters, because I need to be careful not to write anything that can be twisted against me. I have rewritten this a few times out of that anxiety)
I've been debating what to say if anything over at WT:HARASS - I am thinking I should do, to counter the undercurrent of fear that is building there. Jytdog (talk) 01:16, 18 August 2016 (UTC)

Tryp - I've been quietly following this discussion and recently another discussion which presents some parallels [4]. While I certainly understand the potential detriment of COI to WP and that we must keep "promotionalism" out of the encyclopedia, I'm more inclined to believe subjectivity is the elephant in the room. I agree with the opinion that we have built-in safeguards without the need to probe into identities or risk WP:OUTING. Quite simply, if the material added is beneficial to the encyclopedia and is cited to RS, what difference does it make who added it? If it's ok for an uninvolved editor to add the same material as an editor with a COI, and can cite the same sources what is the problem? I see no benefit to creating unnecessary disruption or removing perfectly legitimate material just because you can. Doing so discourages expert input in a negative way and creates a "police" environment instead of one that encourages growth with regards to highly reliable encyclopedic material. At the same time, I understand the importance of keeping "promotionalism" out of WP but there appears to be a misunderstanding of promotionalism vs expert input (properly sourced). Our PAGs suggest that we follow RS and provide inline citations, and if there's a chance the information will be challenged, we cite more than one RS. If we follow our basic editing policies there shouldn't be an issue. I think we're throwing out some of the babies with the bath water with an overzealous COI program. I think we'd be much better off by exerting a concerted effort into copyediting and encouraging more qualified volunteers to help out at AfC. Atsme📞📧 16:38, 18 August 2016 (UTC)

Content can only be removed based on the content policies/guidelines. The COI guideline is not part of the content policies/guidelines; it is behavioral. Editors who are advocates (including those with a COI) tend to violate NPOV and PROMO content policies and the sourcing guidelines due to their external interests or passions and they are often unaware of this; the COI guideline discusses that. One comes across content all the time in WP that is obviously the product of advocacy; the community is well aware of this and nobody that I encounter is happy about it or thinks it is just fine. On the other hand, if an undisclosed paid editor or an advocate creates great content that is well sourced no one will ever know where they come from or that they have violated PAID; which is really as it should be. All the angst about paid editing (and advocacy in general) arises because advocacy editors usually create bad content. Everything starts and ends with the quality of content. Jytdog (talk) 17:47, 18 August 2016 (UTC)
Pufferfish? I like that! But watch out, because we can be poisonous! Anyway, I'm happy to host this discussion, so I'm glad about everyone who is commenting (but remember, nothing here decides policy).
Yes, it's all about the quality of content, and not the intentions of editors, which is why I'm starting to think that Opabinia has been right. As for hand-wringing, I learned in the discussions about websites like Upwork, and when one sees what goes on at edit-Wikipedia-promotionally-and-against-content-guidelines-for-pay websites, it really is disturbing. This is way more than puffery. It's fully intentional conspiracy to mislead the community and evade our norms for financial gain, on what could soon become an industrial scale. And even in the case of expert knowledge, I see first hand examples of early-career neuroscientists who try to have BLPs about themselves because they think it will advance their careers, even though they fail WP:ACADEMIC. On Wikipedia, I see strong evidence of administrators and functionaries who have such aversions to harassment (and rightfully so) that they become overly stringent in enforcing OUTING, as well as editors who care so much about COI (and rightfully so) that they become overly stringent in enforcing COI. And my honest opinion is that the weight of community opinion is going in the direction of sharply reigning in the COI enforcement. I agree that everything starts and ends with content quality. And maybe we can uphold content quality without ever needing to investigate COI motivations, but I'm not so sure when people's incomes depend on deceiving us about it. --Tryptofish (talk) 18:51, 18 August 2016 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────That's the part I'm not quite grasping, specifically "when people's incomes depend on deceiving us about it." Granted, I don't think it's helpful for some editors to get paid to do work the rest of us do for free - I question whether it encourages a free editing environment but I also think unpaid advocacies may be even more detrimental in some instances. Regardless, if a behavioral issue exists, the latter of which is typically the result of a content dispute and eventually edit warring - our admins take action, correct? It doesn't matter who is right or wrong, admins follow 3RR, and I can vouch from experience there are times when the editor who is right gets the block simply because they edit warred. Is that the concern? In other words, does the problem stem from COI editors winning content disputes and 3RR cases? What exactly distinguishes the difference in behavioral issues that can't be resolved through normal channels without disclosure, be it an advocate, a paid editor, a self-publisher, an expert, etc.? If the topic passed notability, and the passages in the article are properly cited and sourced, what exactly is the issue? We have many policies in place that cover behavioral issues without needing to justify such actions by labeling or identifying the "cause" or the editor. Perhaps I'm missing something? Atsme📞📧 21:30, 18 August 2016 (UTC)

No, I don't think you are missing something, and it certainly is true that good content is fine, no matter who wrote it, and bad content is bad on the merits. But there can be borderline cases of notability, thus the sometimes heated arguments at AfD. And what I said about Upwork is where people anonymously post "looking to hire an experienced editor to write favorable material about our client on Wikipedia, contact us for details", and there are such experienced paid editors who tell the advertisers not to publicly name the client, because Wikipedia will see the ad and watch to prevent the edits, and these writers have posted profiles in which they boast about how skillful they are at navigating Wikipedia. And that means they intend to post promotional material that is not-quite notable, but they will make it look at least borderline notable, and fight relentlessly to accuse anyone who wants to delete it of bad faith. Wikipedia is so highly viewed that the incentives to do this are considerable. --Tryptofish (talk) 22:30, 18 August 2016 (UTC)
One thing about the why bother with COI when you can just use 3RR, NPOV, etc. question is that I don't think many people realize how difficult it is to get traction on dealing with advocacy on Wikipedia. Admins and ArbCom generally don't want to touch advocacy because it is behavior heavily intertwined with content. It's not so much a knock against those folks as it's rather just really difficult to actually sort through the content dispute and behavior simultaneously as someone uninvolved. The GMO suite is a good example on general non-COI advocacy where it finally took editors directly attacking others before action was generally taken. COI related advocacy, whether paid or unpaid, creates a huge timesink for editors to deal with that doesn't result in quick cutoffs to an editor trying to push content, sources, etc. Usually it gets dragged out as the editor persists in the topic and/or becomes talented at using Wikipedia by escalating nearly any dispute. Whether it's 3RR, NPOV, etc., it takes significant time and effort from at least one editor to begin calling attention to those problems, but there usually isn't a mechanism to get the problem editor to stop when the problem isn't deemed serious enough for a topic-ban, etc. There's quite a gap between that start point and a topic-ban end point.
WP:COI is the one concrete way we have to limit advocacy right now that usually diffuses drawn out advocacy. If we could really focus in on advocacy behavior instead and reliably shut down disruptive timesinks without bringing in COI, we could scrap the COI guideline, but I don't see the "it's a content dispute" mentality on advocacy changing anytime soon amongst the folks at ANI, AE, etc. It's also not entirely a content dispute since behavior is involved directly related to the COI. If anything needs to be made clear at future discussions on outing and COI when people say to just use NPOV, etc. instead of WP:COI, it's that our policies and guidelines not related to WP:COI generally do not do well in addressing advocacy as it is. Of course COI does need to be balanced with WP:OUTING, but I guess I thought the two were pretty well balanced in practice at COIN, etc. until this semi-recent kerfuffle with respect to editors who have reasonably self-identified themselves on-wiki by username. Kingofaces43 (talk) 23:22, 18 August 2016 (UTC)
Thanks, those are very good points. @Opabinia regalis: what do you say to that? --Tryptofish (talk) 23:31, 18 August 2016 (UTC)
Yes when I wrote above everything comes down to content, i left out behavior. Kingofaces did well to bring that up. The COI guideline is a behavior guideline, after all, and persuading conflicted editors to disclose and submit edits for peer review preserves integrity of the encyclopedia and prevents the behavior problems that would otherwise occur. I diffused a bunch of ANI threads by just going to the editors page and explaining COI issues. being uninvolved in the content dispute is essential to being able to persuade and educate about COI. I have a script I use with editors who are advocates with no apparent COI but that is a much harder row to hoe. It might be useful to develop the WP:ADVOCACY essay into a behavioral guideline and link it better to the COI guideline. Jytdog (talk) 00:42, 19 August 2016 (UTC)
To respond belatedly to the above, I am actually very much in favor of taking a harder line on POV-pushing and advocacy (doesn't matter if it's paid or not, doesn't matter if it's civil or not) and I think that investing limited volunteer resources in "COI" actually distracts from the broader advocacy point. (Of course, COI and advocacy are correlated but not the same, and it would be inappropriate to treat COI editors as advocates.) When we get crappy spammy articles on non-notable topics from probable paid editors, that's bad, but very few readers are exposed to that content and we have established processes for deleting it. It's a much bigger problem for many more of our readers if, say, the GMO articles were to falsely represent GMOs as unsafe to eat because they had been edited by advocates of that position, regardless of those advocates' motivations.
I agree that arbcom isn't really well set up to control this problem - OK, if I'd been a super-arb deciding the whole GMO case myself, there would have been a lot more topic bans. But understanding relatively subtle problems with patterns of sourcing and advocacy is difficult to expect arbcom to do in general, because there's no expectation that arbs will have any specific familiarity with a disputed content area and it's often hard to sort through who's POV-pushing in a topic you don't understand well. But once a dispute has reached the point where discretionary sanctions come into play, that makes it easier for admins who are familiar with the subject (or willing to do some research) but not involved in editing the articles to be more assertive in controlling advocacy. Opabinia regalis (talk) 19:46, 22 August 2016 (UTC)
If you had been a super-arb unilaterally deciding the GMO case, I would have been a much happier fish! Damned recusal and all that. Oh well. Anyway...
I don't think that you really dealt with Kingofaces' point that admins and above are prone to dismissing anything that they see as a "content dispute", and if we treat spammy edits purely as content disputes, that will become a roadblock. And if the "edit Wikipedia promotionally for pay" industry takes off, it will affect a lot more readers than you expect. But I'm going to lobby for the idea from the WT:outing discussions, that we should all get accustomed to saying "obvious spam is obvious". Has a nice ring to it (?). As for DS, I'm now wondering if someone can get creative about getting ArbCom to accept a COI/paid editing case and to enact DS for all pages where there is spam.
I'm pretty sure that my idea of dealing with COI via email is going to fail, and that the community instead will want to completely do away with anything that is not completely transparent and on-site, while also having a strict interpretation of outing. But I'm optimistic about having a question at account creation, and it will help a lot with good-faith users. It looks like there is a lot of support for that. Beyond that, Tryptofish's current prediction (not a reliable source) is that COIN will be replaced by a SPAM noticeboard. --Tryptofish (talk) 20:45, 22 August 2016 (UTC)
Maybe not - but I think this is sort of the limit of the usefulness of lumping POV-pushing and spam/promotionalism under the collective "advocacy" umbrella. I could just be looking in the wrong places, but I sure don't see a lot of admins roadblocking the removal of obvious spam on the grounds that it's a "content dispute". But insisting on treating disputes between, ahem, reality-based editors and POV-pushing swarms as "content disputes" happens all the time.
I haven't been closely following the COI list discussion - I figured since I had commented on it beforehand, I'd stay out of the main discussion. I still like the idea that paid editors should segregate their paid edits on a dedicated account, but I'm sure "we should've done what Greg Kohs suggested ten years ago" is politically dead in the water :) Opabinia regalis (talk) 22:51, 22 August 2016 (UTC)

AE case[edit]

It looks like the community has grown tired with some of the recent things we've seen in the GMO topic, so I've opened up an AE case here. I tangentially mention some evidence where you've shown your concern about casting aspersions, etc. so I thought I'd formally let you know. Here's to hoping this finally settles the topic down after it closes. I for one look forward to being able to focus entirely on content. Kingofaces43 (talk) 17:55, 24 July 2016 (UTC)

I read everything that you presented there, and I've got it on my watchlist. I'm ambivalent about your doing this, because I'm not sure that it is the best way to get things to quiet down. On the other hand, you certainly made a strong case. I'll probably end up commenting there myself, but for now I'm going to wait and see what comes next. --Tryptofish (talk) 18:43, 24 July 2016 (UTC)
Yeah, I'll admit I've been on the fence on when/if to go ahead with this for quite awhile. I'm still not happy with going ahead on it, but there have been so many warnings that it looks like things won't improve otherwise. The problem has got to be addressed at some point and the process is never going to be that clean either. Now is probably about as good or bad of a time as any. It looks like others have been commenting elsewhere on this issue that aren't as involved in the topic, so hopefully we may get some input from the not so usual folks. Kingofaces43 (talk) 19:12, 24 July 2016 (UTC)
You doubtless know this already, but I feel like I have to say it. Please be extra careful and cautious in your own editing, so as not to incur a boomerang. --Tryptofish (talk) 19:17, 24 July 2016 (UTC)
Definitely on my radar. Part of the reason why I went forward on this was because what should be minor situations are getting escalated so quickly instead of the single message or two it would have taken on an article talk page, so I'm very aware of appearances on that on both ends. I won't ramble here anymore though. I have a lot more I wish I could have said with regards to how battleground behavior from other editors can make those attempting to engage in normal editing look bad too, but I'll deal with that if it comes up in the correct venue. Kingofaces43 (talk) 19:58, 24 July 2016 (UTC)
I'm relieved that it's over, and seemingly well dealt with. I sure hope that things will be peaceful from now on. --Tryptofish (talk) 19:03, 28 July 2016 (UTC)
Indeed. That was pretty rough, but I guess there was a lot more trouble brewing under the surface than I expected since I went in looking for a lesser sanction than a topic ban to just get the behavior to stop. I was pretty surprised by all that. I for one am hoping to be able to stay away from AE now with all the cases I've had to bring there even though I try to ignore problems brewing for a relatively long time before finally bringing them up there. Hopefully things settle down now since the community/AE has now taken care of most of the issues that didn't get addressed at Arbcom. Hope is the key word. Kingofaces43 (talk) 21:27, 28 July 2016 (UTC)
Yes, thanks. I hope that this is done with, and I guess I'm cautiously optimistic. What an utter pain it has been, for over a year. --Tryptofish (talk) 23:20, 28 July 2016 (UTC)

From the Department of I'm losing my mind due to Wikipedia![edit]

[5]. --Tryptofish (talk) 20:21, 31 July 2016 (UTC)

Recent revert[edit]

Hello! Minor thing, but when I look at other articles affected by the RFC (such as genetically modified maize and genetically modified food) the paragraph in question omits the comma I removed in this edit to comply with MOS:REFPUNCT. Is it all right if I remove it again? Me, Myself & I (☮) (talk) 23:46, 26 July 2016 (UTC)

Yikes, the implementation of the RfC language has been a mess. I think the problem arose because, afterwards, editors decided to reformat the references, and the accompanying punctuation got messed up in the process. The required language and punctuation are at WP:GMORFC#Proposal 1. I think the comma in question is there, so it needs to be added back at pages where it got deleted. In any case, your edit is no big deal, and I certainly wasn't finding fault with you for it. I'm just trying to make sure that the RfC results remain stable, after all the work and drama that went into it. --Tryptofish (talk) 00:08, 27 July 2016 (UTC)
Never mind that, I just looked back and self-reverted. The comma should of course be before the cites, and an extra comma after was indeed the previous mistake. --Tryptofish (talk) 00:14, 27 July 2016 (UTC)

ARCA notice[edit]

I have filed two actions at WP:ARCA of which you are named party: action 1, action 2 --David Tornheim (talk) 04:06, 27 July 2016 (UTC)

Noted and replied. --Tryptofish (talk) 22:36, 27 July 2016 (UTC)

Sad news[edit]

Rest in peace, User:Kevin Gorman. Utterly heartbreaking news, about an editor who was very kind to me, and not always well-treated by Wikipedia. --Tryptofish (talk) 21:21, 29 July 2016 (UTC)


Hi, Tryp - thanks for offering your help. My concerns are over the degree to which OTRS at Commons feel they need to delve into private information in order to satisfy their own individual concerns over copyvio, much of which is based in their own lack of knowledge about copyright law or perhaps their inability to communicate intelligently with the uploader because of overzealous suspicion. Not to honk my own horn over and above the horn honking of an old coot, I consider myself to be well versed in this issue based on in-court and out-of-court situations for which I have participated as a plaintiff (never having lost a case) and long time professional in the photography/broadcast/publishing industry. Worse yet, I see avoidable issues crop up when the editor who actually uploaded the image and was copied on all the correspondence between permissions and the copyright holder, and then when questioned by permissions, the copyright holder themselves have asked permissions to discuss the issues with me as their appointed go-between. I have always donated my time to ensure that copyright holders provide the necessary documents and releases to permissions; therefore, in most cases the copyright holder copies me on all correspondence with OTRS volunteers. Problems arise when OTRS refuses to discuss the issues with me and suddenly shuts me out of further correspondence despite the copyright holders request that I help resolve the issue and be included, keeping in mind this is all being handled via private email exchanges. Perhaps my issue somewhat parallels your own concerns regarding outing which appears to be the reason overzealous OTRS volunteers seem to give, even though communications are via private email. I want to be particularly careful in this discussion to not name anyone or point to any specific editor or file. Atsme📞📧 21:10, 5 August 2016 (UTC)

OK, then I'd like to ask some questions, while trying not to intrude on the private information, so that I can better understand. Do I understand that the following describes the general nature of the problem? You are trying to help some other people, who want to provide files to Commons, where those other people are the copyright owners for the files. Those people are emailing Commons OTRS directly, and cc-ing you on the emails. The Commons OTRS volunteers are raising some sort of problem, that you are seeing on the email cc's. When you email the OTRS yourself, trying to help the file owners, the OTRS people are refusing to discuss it with you. Is that accurate?
If I've got that right, then let me recommend this. Get the file owners to send you a new email, saying that they "license this file according to cc-by-sa-4.0". The email should just say that, in those exact words, and not repeat the earlier problems. Then, you upload the file to Commons under your own Commons account, on behalf of the file owners. And you simply forward their email about cc-by-sa to OTRS, and when the OTRS system gives you a number, you post that number on the file page, as evidence that the permission exists. No extended discussion with those OTRS people. Would that work? --Tryptofish (talk) 21:31, 5 August 2016 (UTC)
Tryp, the problem I'm dealing with now is very frustrating. I volunteered to help both the BLP and the editor who uploaded the original image. I sent both a sample publishing license they could use to send to permissions and grant publishing under CC-BY-SA 4.0. The BLP sent me a new, higher quality image different from the first and I uploaded it, then added the ticket number when it was sent to me. Everything was IN ORDER. Soon after I added the new image to the infobox, it was tagged for deletion at commons. The first statement in the tag is all that I have to go on: An email has been received at OTRS concerning this file, and can be read here by users with an OTRS account. However, the message was not sufficient to confirm permission for this file. Well, I don't have an OTRS account so I don't know what was insufficient and neither do the copyright holders. The OTRS editors also tagged a couple of my images which were already properly licensed and had ticket#s from months ago but I am now having to go through the complete drill again. The copyright holder also submitted a request to permissions to please let me handle whatever it was they needed to resolve the problem but permissions refused to correspond with me like there's some big secret that I'm not allowed to see. For Pete's sake, Tryp - I've been getting copied on all the correspondence by the copyright holders, one of whom requested that permissions allow me to handle it. To make matters worse, the tag also states: If a valid permission is not provided within 30 days of the first response by an OTRS volunteer, this file will be deleted. Perhaps you can advise as to how this process has been helpful. I'm embarrassed by the way permissions has treated the copyright holders. To what depth is OTRS allowed to dig beyond what reputable academics relay? I can't blame JzG for throwing his hands up on the whole mess after what he went through. Atsme📞📧 06:02, 6 August 2016 (UTC)
Yes, I can certainly see how that can be incredibly frustrating. One thing I'm wondering is whether, in fact, you want me to suggest workarounds (which I'm happy to do), or whether you've reached the point where you are going to just walk away in disgust. I'm pointing that out because there is no point in me spending time and effort on it, if it's the latter.
I'm trying to answer here, with limited information for me to work with. So, if I understand correctly, the problem involves image(s) for a BLP page, and there is an editor working with you on that page, who holds the copyright to the image file(s). My thinking is that, when you have OTRS people who are being unhelpful to you, let's find ways for you to bypass them. And here is what I think you should do. Obviously, the approach of you acting as an intermediate who gets cc'ed on the emails is never going to work. And it sounds like the copyright holder is finding it difficult to deal directly with Commons, which is why they requested that you be authorized to handle it on their behalf. But OTRS does not want you to do it that way. So don't.
Let them start the deletion process for whatever they want to delete. That will trigger a deletion discussion, analogous to the AfD process here, that stays open for about a week. As soon as it opens, post an edit to the discussion. Keep it very brief. And ask, please tell me exactly what you need for the file to be kept. Someone will probably answer on-site. And if their answer is unclear, you can follow up like please clarify what you meant by XYZ. Again, keep everything brief, and don't complain about anything being unfair. That way, you aren't dealing with emails, and every reply you get is public.
So, one of two things will happen. Either, they will give you a clear and helpful answer about what they want you to do, in which case, just do it. Or they won't. And if that happens, let them delete the file, and don't sweat over it, because you have a Plan B.
That Plan B is to start over, with you handling everything yourself, so that there are no complications over you mediating between the copyright holder and OTRS. Get the copyright holder to send a new cc-by-sa email to you. Not to OTRS, but to you. You take a look at it, and make sure it's OK. As far as I'm aware, all they have to say to you is: Dear Atsme, I hold the copyright to this file, and I release it under a cc-by-sa-4.0 license. If that's what they say, I cannot imagine that there should be a problem. So you look at what they sent you, and check if it's OK. If it's OK, yipee, and if not, you get back to them and work it out. You will end up with a good email license from them, without OTRS getting in your face during that time. Then you upload the file, anew, yourself. And as the uploader, you forward your good email to OTRS, and you enter the ticket number on the file page. In all likelihood, that will fix everything. I really believe it will.
And if it doesn't, you can ask again at the deletion discussion. If you are getting noise even then, please tell me and direct me to the deletion page, and I'll try to figure it out and maybe intervene myself. --Tryptofish (talk) 17:39, 6 August 2016 (UTC)
Thx, Tryp. I appreciate your input. I managed to ring a few bells over at Commons, and attracted the attention of some helpful admins. I'm back in the email loop. What I find rather bizarre is that the subject stated clearly that they were the copyright owner, that it was a work for hire, and granted license per CC-BY-SA 4.0. By not accepting that email, OTRS is basically implying that the subject is lying about the work for hire. It's rather embarrassing, don't you think? But with all that aside, it actually doesn't make any sense for OTRS to drill contributors the way they do then turn around and accept the word of a complete stranger claiming to be the work for hire. And what if the work for hire is a long gone student that snapped the photo in passing? How does OTRS actually verify it was a work for hire unless they see work contracts or employment agreements? Crazy. OTRS could save everybody a lot of time and frustration if they'd simply make sure the provided information includes the language needed, and that the license is clearly stated in order to protect WMF from copyvio. What's happening now is major overreach and not at all helpful. We'd all be much better off if they'd approach it more as helpful volunteers instead of acting like copyright police, know what I mean? Atsme📞📧 06:52, 7 August 2016 (UTC)
Yes, I very much understand what you mean (and I'm always happy to try to help). Hopefully, you've found some users who will be more helpful to you now. On the one hand, I very much support the practice of taking copyright seriously, because I very much support Wikipedia's mission of making everything here free for the public to make use of, and that only works when no copyrights are violated. But on the other hand, taking it seriously is a far cry from acting like a jerk, and it sure sounds like you had the misfortune of running into some jerks. Well, one thing about editing Wikipedia is that one ends up having to work with all comers, and every position is filled by a volunteer, so sometimes that means encountering a volunteer who does things the wrong way or with bad judgment. For me, that often makes it more interesting, but it can also be a real nuisance. --Tryptofish (talk) 19:59, 7 August 2016 (UTC)

ARCA archived[edit]

A clarification request in which you were involved has been archived at Wikipedia talk:Arbitration/Requests/Case/Genetically modified organisms#Clarification request: Genetically modified organisms (1) (August 2016). For the Arbitration Committee, Miniapolis 13:51, 8 August 2016 (UTC)

Second ARCA archived[edit]

A second clarification request in which you were involved has been archived at Wikipedia talk:Arbitration/Requests/Case/Genetically modified organisms#Clarification request: Genetically modified organisms (2) (August 2016). For the Arbitration Committee, Miniapolis 14:37, 8 August 2016 (UTC)


I was about to create the another cat until you reverted my edit. I was going to fix both issues. QuackGuru (talk) 22:12, 13 August 2016 (UTC)

Please wait for consensus on the talk page. This is not urgent. --Tryptofish (talk) 22:13, 13 August 2016 (UTC)
If you want me to create the other cat then you will have to revert your edit. Your proposal on the talk page will create a non-neutral cat. QuackGuru (talk) 22:15, 13 August 2016 (UTC)
What I want is for you to slow down. We don't need two categories to accomplish this. And please keep the discussion at the article talk page. --Tryptofish (talk) 22:17, 13 August 2016 (UTC)

Aquarium plants[edit]

Hi Trypto. I understand you are an aquarium person. If you like, there is a new user who could use welcoming and guidance - they are creating low quality articles and adding low quality content to existing articles about aquarium plants. Not my area. Jytdog (talk) 19:37, 14 August 2016 (UTC)

Hi, and thanks for contacting me. Yup, it's in my area (also pinging Randykitty). I looked at what the edit history is, and I'm on my way to her talk page now. --Tryptofish (talk) 21:09, 14 August 2016 (UTC)

My new favorite Wiki-video[edit]

What's a Love dart?

It gets a little corny about how great Wikipedia is, but the answer to the title question is quite interesting, and some of the person-on-the-street reactions are priceless. --Tryptofish (talk) 23:41, 23 August 2016 (UTC)

I almost didn't post - took all of a week involving intense deliberation because a "love dart" can be defined in so many different ways. I was concerned that no matter what I posted, it would get me in trouble. And then VOILA! A new logo came to mind for Dallas Area Rapid "I love DART" poster with the image

Garden snails and love dart.jpg

on the side of each bus!! But then, it doesn't say much for "rapid transit". Atsme📞📧 21:30, 28 August 2016 (UTC)

That's OK! You won't get into trouble here! --Tryptofish (talk) 23:25, 28 August 2016 (UTC)

And my favorite Commons category[edit]

I could probably stare at these all day.

I admittedly have strange tastes: Commons:Category:Animated smilies. (Come to think of it, these remind me of some editors...) --Tryptofish (talk) 21:09, 3 September 2016 (UTC)

At first glance, I thought maybe it was Wikipedia Edit-athon. ^_^ Atsme📞📧 21:25, 3 September 2016 (UTC)
Reminds me of ANI and ArbCom. It must indicate something awful about me (not to be confused with Something Awful), but I find this stuff hilarious. I guess my PhD didn't stick! --Tryptofish (talk) 14:00, 4 September 2016 (UTC)
It depends on where you stuck it. (_*_) Atsme📞📧 20:06, 4 September 2016 (UTC)
And that from the editor renowned for her Britannicas! --Tryptofish (talk) 13:35, 5 September 2016 (UTC)
It's nice to be appreciated for my encyclopedic mind. Atsme📞📧 14:18, 5 September 2016 (UTC)
My face is up here. --Tryptofish (talk) 14:28, 5 September 2016 (UTC)


Tryp, have you read WP:AVDUCK? Would like to hear your thoughts. Atsme📞📧 14:19, 5 September 2016 (UTC)

This is the first time I've heard of it. I like the images (and they are ducks for sure, not geese), and a quick look at the talk archives gave me the shivers. I'll need some time to take it all in, so it will be a while before I give you a thoughtful answer. --Tryptofish (talk) 14:35, 5 September 2016 (UTC)
Thank you, Tryp. I'll be first to admit that I made some newbie mistakes early on, all of which may have contributed to preconceived notions of my intent by the opposition, and eventually caused me to see things from a defensive POV; however, "victimology subterfuge" is not my style. I believe my misunderstanding of the WP community added to the drama; the latter of which was magnified by repeated PAs against me by the same rather aggressive editors, the behavior of which I attribute to their misunderstandings and inaccurate first impressions of me. "Guilt by association" may also have played a role in how my work was perceived. I've come a long way, baby and am happy to say the majority of those fences were mended, in small part because the most persistent of my attackers have long since retired or are no longer active. I'd rather not dredge up the details of the past or the drama I endured because of that essay, and the wrongful preconceived notions of me that caused the disruptive behavior that led to my wrongful block. I'd much rather focus on the end result after all the drama subsided. The essay we see today is the result of good faith collaboration, which is actually all I expected and tried to achieve from day one. I just didn't know how to go about it, knew little to nothing about the actual root of the problem, didn't fully understand the ongoing disputes regarding certain topics, so I'll summarize it all simply by saying, it's behind me now and that's where I'd like to keep it. I trust you will not let the past reflect on the present as the two are unrelated, and while the two roads may parallel, they are paved quite differently. Atsme📞📧 16:20, 5 September 2016 (UTC)
No worries at all. I didn't yet look that carefully, and mostly just noticed a bunch of user names that, when all together, had an explosive potential. That's really all that I was reacting to. But absolutely, what matters is the present-day result, not water under the bridge (except for ducks to swim in). It's just going to be a lot of reading, so that will be something I won't get around to right away. --Tryptofish (talk) 19:03, 5 September 2016 (UTC)
OK, I finally found a bit of quiet time that allowed me to read it thoughtfully. There is certainly nothing for me to disagree with: it's pretty much a compendium of what various other essays and guidelines say, and there's something good to be said for having it organized in one place, as well as for keeping the tone a bit humorous, as you did. I don't particularly think that it adds anything new. A trivial suggestion that I could make would be to move some of the images to other places on the page (particularly the coot image, because there's a section about it). --Tryptofish (talk) 20:31, 10 September 2016 (UTC)
Thank you for taking the time. Feel free to move the furniture. 😊 Atsme📞📧 22:46, 16 September 2016 (UTC)
Oh, you are very welcome. I don't think that my back is up to doing any moving, though! --Tryptofish (talk) 23:03, 16 September 2016 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Whenever I need a smile, I come back here to your page. Thank you for keeping this a happy place. Atsme📞📧 21:05, 5 October 2016 (UTC)


May need some updates. See my TP. *sigh* Atsme📞📧 18:17, 9 September 2016 (UTC)

I just commented "keep" at the FFD. And I was able to cite AAFFD twice! So I don't think the problem is with AAFFD. The problem is with the reasoning underlying the delete arguments, and I think that I did a pretty decent job of tearing those arguments apart.
I'm afraid that this comes with the territory when one wants to use non-free media. At Wikipedia, you are "guilty until proven innocent" when you want to use something for which someone else owns the copyright. And that's actually as it should be, because Wikipedia's mission of providing free information that any reader can use freely really matters.
For your file, the issue really hinges now on WP:NFCC#8, which is entirely a different beast than what you were dealing with in the arguments about speedy deleting. It's all about editorial judgment, and tends to be a point of contention between editors who care about content, and editors who care about mopping up. My sympathies are with the content editors, but the moppers are the FFD regulars. So that's where AAFFD helps. One has to dissect the reasoning underlying the "delete" comments, and find the AAFFD section(s) that can refute the reasoning. --Tryptofish (talk) 22:25, 9 September 2016 (UTC)
Understood, and I thank you kindly. Your flexibility, the depth of your knowledge, and your ability to stay on point continues to impress but please be advised - it won't prevent me from giving you a hard time when we're engaged in a punderful exchange. mm I don't want to get into a lengthy discussion about NFCC#8 because in a nutshell (and with no intention to be condescending toward anyone) the arguments to delete are based on a lack of knowledge about equine sports, the significance and influence of a breeding stallion on an entire breed of horses, especially a stallion the caliber of Sultan's Great Day, and so on. On a world-wide scale, most people simply don't understand horses in general, never mind the intricacies of horse show competition, raising & breeding horses, equine sports, training, etc. I doubt whether they understand the economic impacts of the equine industry world-wide. Example: An annual Quarter Horse show held in Ohio: a single breed show (Quarter Horses). And that doesn't even scratch the surface when you consider all the different breeds of horses, Olympic competition, and the many disciplines. In Cutting (sport), we have trainers who have NCHA Lifetime Earnings of $8,672,366.55 which is not exactly hen scratchings. Most people are familiar with horse racing because of the betting and have a good idea of the purses, but they don't know what goes on behind the scenes. Project Equine is working to provide encyclopedic knowledge and I credit editors like Montanabw, WhiteArabianFilly, Horsegeek and many others for their contributions, relentless perseverance and hard work in making so much of the equine sports information available. RexxS presented an excellent argument which actually aligns with some of the thoughts I presented in July 2015 using this link as an example. I think if we recognize the need to keep pace with the technology, the project will benefit greatly. Atsme📞📧 05:25, 10 September 2016 (UTC)
Thanks for the kind words. And I agree that his argument was a very good one. At this point, I'm getting pretty sure that the result is going to be "keep". I actually think that even the nominator is not set on deleting, but rather just wants to have some discussion. I agree that arguments about criterion 8 end up putting content editors at odds with editors who do not really understand the content, and that is exactly what happened here. In fact, I know very little about horses, which is why my first instinct was to want to defer to those of you who are experts on the topic, and I feel like the logic of the guidelines bears out that instinct. And I agree that videos will become increasingly important in our content. Anyway, I'm happy to try to help when I can. ($8,672,366.55? I say "delete" unless it's $8,672,366.56!) --Tryptofish (talk) 18:31, 10 September 2016 (UTC)
Isn't it just like me to be an hour late and a penny short? mm Atsme📞📧 21:42, 10 September 2016 (UTC)
I guess when people say to me "a penny for your thoughts", they get what they paid for! --Tryptofish (talk) 23:49, 11 September 2016 (UTC)

Fair use templates[edit]

Ok, I found the following template at WP:TAGS/FU in the section "Other": Non-free with permission—supplemental tag for fair use media for which we also have permission to use on Wikipedia. This tag can not be used on its own.
I added it as a 3rd tag on the clip's page. WP:FUR states: If you are using non-free images or other media, you must include two things on the image description page:
1. An appropriate copyright tag explaining the basic claim of fair use. See Wikipedia:Image copyright tags/Non-free for a list.
2. A detailed fair use rationale. A separate, specific rationale must be provided each time the image is used in an article. The name of the article the image is used in must be included in the rationale.

Did you think the image page is now prepared properly according to the guidelines? Also, these guidelines do not reflect a steel fisted rule like what I was confronted with soon after upload. Does it to you? Atsme📞📧 03:18, 15 September 2016 (UTC)

The first thing that stood out to me is that you say on the file page that you are the copyright holder. Is it true that you are the sole copyright holder? If so, what is your exact reason for not simply licensing it for free use? I really need to understand that before I can answer the rest of your questions. --Tryptofish (talk) 22:29, 15 September 2016 (UTC)
There is an understandable misunderstanding of copyright law, and how it and royalty-free licenses in perpetuity apply. Hopefully, the following hypothetical example will shed some light on it: Let's say I create an artistic piece of digital art titled "The Digital Masterpiece" comprising images I found in the public domain, along with several pieces I created myself, and a few pieces licensed from a 3rd party entity which gives me exclusive, royalty-free rights to include those pieces in The Digital Masterpiece, the latter of which is my intellectual property; therefore, I am the sole copyright owner of that work, and can do as I please with it. The license agreement also gives me permission to use those pieces in derivative works for educational, non-commercial purposes as long as it is attributed to The Digital Masterpiece, which provides reassurances that the licensed footage hasn't gone rogue, and no copyrights or license agreements have been violated. Does that help? Atsme📞📧 02:19, 16 September 2016 (UTC)
Honestly, no it doesn't. I've read it multiple times, and I don't find it helpful. I asked a direct question, and you answered with a hypothetical. There is no way for me to tell which parts of the hypothetical apply to the real file, and which, if any, do not. It's very simple: (1) Are you the sole copyright holder of the file here at Wikipedia? Yes, or no. (2) If you are the sole copyright holder, why exactly did you not simply provide it here with a free license? --Tryptofish (talk) 14:56, 16 September 2016 (UTC)
I am the sole owner of the copyright for the documentary, and I have rights to use that clip in the manner I used it. I do not have rights to make it either public domain or to share it under an SA license. That's obvious based on the manner in which I licensed it, otherwise I would have licensed it as CC-BY-SA 4.0 as I do all of my other clips and images. What you're implying is that I could have licensed it to WP under a SA free license and didn't, and that is not exactly AGF, Tryp. Atsme📞📧 15:17, 16 September 2016 (UTC)
No, I wasn't ABFing. I wasn't implying anything. I was trying to understand. OK, so you are the sole copyright holder. However, you are subject to restrictions against freely licensing it. That would seem to imply that some other entity also has copyright rights, because how else could you be put under those restrictions. In any case, that is a good enough answer to my questions above.
But that, in turn, leads me to ask about that Non-free with permission tag, how exactly you have the right to give that permission. Am I understanding correctly that the situation is as follows: You are the sole copyright holder, but the conditions under which the film was made are such that you have the right to make the material available for limited fair use, but you do not have the right to release it for derivative or commercial use. Is that accurate? I'm just trying to understand precisely, because I cannot give you useful advice without understanding that. --Tryptofish (talk) 15:30, 16 September 2016 (UTC)
Tryp - I own the copyright to the whole program which means a TV station (or whoever) cannot broadcast it (in whole or part) without my permission, and neither can bootleggers, etc. The whole program contains a few 3rd party licensed clips which impose some limitations on the derivative works but I am authorized to use those clips in a derivative work (like what I did for Sultan's Great Day article) for NONFREE educational, noncommercial purposes with attribution to the half-hour program as the work from which the clips were derived. I will be uploading other short clips from that same program but I can license those clips using CC-BY-SA 4.0 because I own the footage outright as well as the copyright to the whole program. In those situations, the attribution using CC-BY-SA 4.0 protects the copyright. Do you own the material you want to license? If not, are you otherwise authorized to license it under the specific CC license you are interested in using? You should not apply a license to material that you do not own or that you are not authorized to license. See FAQ under "For Licensors" Atsme📞📧 19:14, 16 September 2016 (UTC)
OK, that makes everything clear to me, and I can confidently tell you that you do, indeed, have the right tags, etc., on the file page. And yes, the tag you specifically asked me about is the right one. I've examined the entire file page very carefully, and there is only one minor point where there could be a question. In the template with the title "Non-free media information and use rationale for Sultan's Great Day", the entry for "Source" is a link to the Wikipedia page about the program. Typically, editors list the "source" as some other website, not Wikipedia, where they got the media from. If there is a non-Wikipedia web page for the program, it would be good to list and link to that, instead of to the page here. The reason is that if there is any information about copyright there, then that is something an administrator might look at, to verify what you say about the copyright situation. If there is no such URL, then you can just leave things as they are. And that's it!
In your original question to me, you asked about the steel-fisted rule. I wanted to pin down those other issues first, but I haven't forgotten that you asked. What I think it comes down to is this. Wikipedia has this excellent mission of making everything free for reuse. And of course, Wikipedia never wants to violate somebody's copyright rights. So, taking those two things together, it kind of is a non-negotiable rule that non-free files must be handled according to the NFCC rules. In my opinion, those are good things. In this case, you are the copyright holder, so nobody really thinks that you would cheat yourself, but typically someone else is the copyright holder. So that's the rules in general. As for specific rules about what exactly you choose to put on the file page, there's a good deal of leeway, so long as you make clear that you satisfy the underlying issues. So you could probably choose any of several tags, but whatever you choose needs to convincingly satisfy NFCC. And if someone is unconvinced, they will potentially make a stink about it. --Tryptofish (talk) 21:55, 16 September 2016 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Ok, that's good news. Thank you! If you think an external link to YouTube or FB would be acceptable, I could link to one of those external sites but I thought wikilinks were preferred. The TV Broadcast Museum in Chicago isn't quite setup to make archival programs available for public viewing - they'd rather have visitors go into the museum. I'm too young to be in a museum with dinosaurs! Hopefully, there were enough "keeps" with valid reasons to close the discussion so editors can get back to work expanding the article. 😊 Atsme📞📧 22:44, 16 September 2016 (UTC)

No, YouTube is toxic in this context, so just leave it be. I think you can feel reasonably worry-free about it now. --Tryptofish (talk) 23:05, 16 September 2016 (UTC)

@Atsme: It's a keep! All done. --Tryptofish (talk) 01:41, 25 September 2016 (UTC)

Vani Hari RfC[edit]

This discussion has become pointless. --Tryptofish (talk) 21:27, 29 September 2016 (UTC)

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Given the better sources found on the topic of how she responds to criticism, I think the RfC should be ended and we focus on what would be best to do with those sources. We're getting little from the RfC beyond votes of "I like it", which won't help with further consensus-building. --Ronz (talk) 15:16, 26 September 2016 (UTC)

No. There is a clear consensus emerging among editors, and it's not for what you are saying here that you want. The RfC will go to completion, and the consensus will be implemented – but with no prejudice to future changes along the lines you are suggesting. As for the discussion about better sources, it looks like you are having a discussion mostly with yourself. On the other hand, many editors, including uninvolved editors responding to the RfC, are expressing views contrary to yours. And it's not what you call "I like it". Here is what you need to do: make a specific proposal for what the wording would look like on the page (and I have told you as much at the talk page already), and then find out whether there is consensus for it. --Tryptofish (talk) 21:16, 26 September 2016 (UTC)
Consensus that does not take policy or other sources into account simply isn't consensus. It's a waste of time. --Ronz (talk) 15:27, 27 September 2016 (UTC)
If you are unwilling to work with the consensus of other editors, you will find yourself in dispute resolution. --Tryptofish (talk) 17:31, 27 September 2016 (UTC)
I'm sorry, but that goes for you. Ignoring sources and policies does not make consensus.
Can you please clarify which solution you have for your RfC? You say that no new proposals should be made, yet you want new proposals, and have even commented upon a new proposal added to the RfC. --Ronz (talk) 18:02, 27 September 2016 (UTC)
Saying that I'm ignoring sources and policies is nonsense. I am working with consensus. If you don't like it, WP:ANI is that-a-way, as is WP:BOOMERANG. I never said that no new proposals can be made. Of course they can. But just saying "a rewrite" is not a proposal. A proposal is something that looks like text and sources as they would appear on the page. Absent that, there is already overwhelming support from the community for one of the existing proposals. --Tryptofish (talk) 18:13, 27 September 2016 (UTC)
I think I understand. You want to only focus on proposed changes to the text. I'm saying that if that focus prevents us from looking at the sources and policies, then it gets us nowhere. The current RfC ignores the sources and policies. It asks editors to choose among content changes without considering what all the current sources have to say on the topic, let alone consider that there might be others that have been since identified. The RfC mentions no policy concerns whatsoever.
Please note that I am trying to avoid making any assumptions about what you personally are thinking. This isn't about what you personally may be doing, but the RfC and how we can develop consensus based upon the sources and policy that were overlooked within the RfC. --Ronz (talk) 19:21, 27 September 2016 (UTC)
And I am not concerned with what you personally believe, only with content and conduct. Your understanding is not accurate. As for what I personally want, I am of course interested in what the page will say, which is, after all, what editors are here for. But that does not mean that I am doing so without attention to sources and guidelines. The RfC likewise is not ignoring sources and policies, or preventing their consideration, not by a long shot. Editors are considering and commenting on both those things. You do not agree with them, but that does not make their views incorrect or out-of-process. The consensus that will result will be valid. If you disagree with anything, you are free to say so at the article talk page, and then find out whether anyone else agrees with you. --Tryptofish (talk) 20:44, 27 September 2016 (UTC)
This isn't about you, but you certainly want to make it about me, while you keep personalizing what I say about the RfC. That's a problem. Can you please stop it?
You provide no evidence at all for your assertions The RfC likewise is not ignoring sources and policies. I say the information isn't there. You say it is. But there's nothing about other sources, and no mention of policies. --Ronz (talk) 16:53, 28 September 2016 (UTC)
All I said about you was that (1) you misunderstand what I am thinking, (2) you do not agree with other editors, but that does not make them incorrect, and (3) you are free to comment at the talk page about anything that you disagree with. And I have been extraordinarily patient with you over a period of several weeks. Ultimately, you do not have to convince me about policies and sources. You have to convince enough of the editors at the article talk page to establish consensus. --Tryptofish (talk) 22:29, 28 September 2016 (UTC)
Clearly, you want continue personalizing it all. One comment on that then:
I have been extraordinarily patient with you over a period of several weeks I appreciate that. I hope you realize that I've done the same with you. --Ronz (talk) 15:57, 29 September 2016 (UTC)
No, it's you who keeps talking about what I "want". This discussion has become pointless. --Tryptofish (talk) 21:27, 29 September 2016 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Sorry you feel that way. I was trying to take your perspective. --Ronz (talk) 15:25, 30 September 2016 (UTC)


Template:Join AWWDCCW

How about Wikipedians who dislike clashes of Wikipedians? --Tryptofish (talk) 21:10, 26 September 2016 (UTC)
After seeing TheStrayDog post this, I'm starting to wonder if there is a sort of Wikipedian Dog Username Association Jytdog or Roxy the dog? Kingofaces43 (talk) 21:24, 26 September 2016 (UTC)
sounds fishy to me... :) Jytdog (talk) 21:26, 26 September 2016 (UTC)
Well we could make a Category:Wikipedians who dislike dogs, which of course could have Category abbreviated to Cat. And of course fish dislike cats. --Tryptofish (talk) 21:29, 26 September 2016 (UTC)
And isn't that Assoc name ungrammatical? Shouldn't it be "Clashes", not "Clash"? --Tryptofish (talk) 21:31, 26 September 2016 (UTC)
I miss user:IRWolfie. -Roxy the dog™ bark 07:53, 27 September 2016 (UTC)
yes . you're talking so funny, I'm talking about peace . when I'm seeing an Armenian person who is active to make articles against Turkish and a Turkish who is active to act vice versa . an Saudi Arabian against an Iranian, an Iranian against an American, an American against a Russian . we want to stop this . You are kidding me and call me dog if it makes you laugh, so doesn't matter, laugh, but please just look around yourselves. with kidding nobody can stop clashes. also i know no pain, no gain. The Stray Dog Talk Page 13:24, 27 September 2016 (UTC)

Hi ..can you help about my report ...its a philosophy and ethics subject ...entitled "love and country ..can you give some picture of it ... devil_angel (talk) 11:11, 16 October 2016 (UTC)

Guys ..dont fight ...make love , not war ... devil_angel (talk) 11:14, 16 October 2016 (UTC)

Interesting... (CC4)[edit]

Would like/very much appreciate your input on the following: [6]. Atsme📞📧 21:01, 5 October 2016 (UTC)

First, thanks for your very nice comment above. Now as for this: I don't know! I saw it as soon as I logged in, and figured I would have to do some research before reaching an opinion. But as for now, I really have not formed an opinion. --Tryptofish (talk) 00:12, 6 October 2016 (UTC)
@Atsme: I've gotten around to reading up on it, and I just !voted "support". As I see it, it's a relatively minor change from the status quo, at least for editors in the US. There are some legalese things that I honestly cannot make sense of, that may or may not make some limitations on what editors in the EU and some other countries can do if they want to go to court to seek redress from someone who copies pages they helped write without proper attribution, but I'm pretty sure that it has no effect for anyone who just wants to be an editor and isn't looking to make a legal case. And there seem to be some advantages in terms of clarity. One fish's opinion. --Tryptofish (talk) 19:20, 20 October 2016 (UTC)


I interacted with Dubbin a bunch at Empty nose syndrome and came to like him/her there. The article was swarmed by some people with the condition and Dubbin was the first try to take the article back from them and in fact called the attention of WP:MED to the problem in this dif, which is what brought me there. Together we made the article decent and it was nice working with him/her. One of those advocates - a more reasonable one - was Ensadvocate. So... this just happened and I can't help but wonder if that wasn't another sock. hm. Jytdog (talk) 05:59, 8 October 2016 (UTC)

I really don't know what to tell you. It seems to me that the SPI case was very strong. If you look it up, there was a very strong "tell" that led me to file it, just not the kind of thing that happens by coincidence. And of course a checkuser found that it all went to a single IP location. If I had to guess, and this is purely a guess, the user who just retired was actually another sock of the same sockmaster. (Another account interested in the same thing, and playing the foil without being too adversarial.) I know it's disheartening. This kind of stuff disheartens me every time it happens. And I've seen it happen more times than I would like to believe. I've interacted with some really helpful users who ended up shocking me when I found out what else they were doing. --Tryptofish (talk) 21:25, 8 October 2016 (UTC)
Oh the socking was obvious (if you picked up the tell) and am glad you did and that you filed the case. just wanted to let you know that it appears there was a third, and explained why i cared in the first place. Jytdog (talk) 23:23, 8 October 2016 (UTC)
Good, thanks. By the way, the tell was so obvious to me that I recognized it as soon as I saw it, but I actually decided to just let it go (in retrospect, too nice of me). But then, when the grandstanding about canvassing started, I changed my mind. --Tryptofish (talk) 22:15, 9 October 2016 (UTC)

Love and country[edit]

Give me some pictures and ideas about this please.. devil_angel (talk) 11:15, 16 October 2016 (UTC)

Welcome to Wikipedia. Sorry, I don't know. --Tryptofish (talk) 20:34, 16 October 2016 (UTC)

Interesting... (2)[edit]

Just watched a tv interview with an "adventurer" who found the wreckage of Eastern Air Lines Flight 980 - he said he read about the flight on... (drum roll please) ...WIKIPEDIA!! You can read more about the two adventurers who found the wreck here if you're interested in that sorta thing. Atsme📞📧 18:15, 19 October 2016 (UTC)

(by talk page stalker) Might be of interest to The Signpost. Chris Troutman (talk) 18:24, 19 October 2016 (UTC)
It might be Chris - I just found the taped interview online where Isaac Stoner mentions reading about the missing black box on Wikipedia. The article he read (but didn't properly call by name) was List of unrecovered flight recorders. The listing for that flight was already removed from that page. Atsme📞📧 19:28, 19 October 2016 (UTC)
Thanks. (If anyone is looking for wreckage, just look at me!) --Tryptofish (talk) 22:19, 19 October 2016 (UTC)
And what miracle will make that happen? Atsme📞📧 23:52, 19 October 2016 (UTC)

Inappropriate talk page comment, edit summary & revert and incivility[edit]

We are all done here. Content can be discussed at the article talk page. --Tryptofish (talk) 01:26, 21 October 2016 (UTC)

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Please justify or retract this revert, including your edit summary: "per GMO ArbCom case and RfC". You removed two entirely appropriate [not in citation given] tags. You need to specifically connect the case and RFC (*which one?*) to the removal of fv tags. Beyond the obvious: the section we edited is about GMOs. You are making multiple vague threats with no justification whatsoever. What the hell? --Elvey(tc) 22:41, 19 October 2016 (UTC)

Please understand, first, that notification of Discretionary Sanctions is not a vague threat, or a threat at all. The original notice that you got from MastCell makes it clear that it is informational, and does not imply wrongdoing. In my own opinion, you have not done any wrongdoing, but I wanted to make sure that things do not become problematic, which is why I reminded you of the previous DS notice.
The issues involved in that content have already been discussed at Talk:Jill Stein/Archive 3#GMOs and Talk:Jill Stein/Archive 3#GMOs and pesticides. That will give you most of the information about what I was talking about. Since you asked me which RfC I was talking about, it is Wikipedia:Requests for comment/Genetically modified organisms, and that, in turn, links back to the ArbCom case. I should also let you know that another editor was topic-banned from the Stein page, partly over GMO edits, at WP:AE, where there was an affirmative determination that the GMO DS apply to that section of the Stein page: [7]. The bottom line is pretty much that the Stein page must not contradict what the RfC determined about the scientific consensus on GMOs. Please get talk page consensus before removing any of the content about GMOs, and remember that WP:1RR applies to that section, and there should be no problem.
And for the top material about Science, I took your concerns into consideration and rewrote it with sourcing to CNN, not the Huff Post. If the talk page comment you are concerned about is that one, that is what I meant. --Tryptofish (talk) 23:01, 19 October 2016 (UTC)
[edit: read next comment first] What the hell? AGAIN: You removed two entirely appropriate [not in citation given] tags. I've asked you to explain why and you've provided NO EXPLANATION WHATSOEVER. AGAIN: You need to specifically connect the case and RFC to the removal of fv tags. You are making multiple vague threats with no justification whatsoever. I'm not trying to make the Stein page contradict what the RfC determined about the scientific consensus on GMOs. You are way out of line. I'm not even anti-GMO! I agree with the scientific consensus on GMOs! Check yourself, TF. You seem to be confusing me and my edit with someone else and their edits. When did you stop beating your wife? --Elvey(tc) 10:50, 20 October 2016 (UTC)
OH, I SEE WHY YOU'RE CONFUSED and thus freaking out. The sources supposedly make THE ENTIRE SENTENCE Commentators have criticized Stein's statements about GMOs as contradicting the scientific consensus that existing GM foods are no less safe than foods made from conventional crops verifiable. They don't do that. They presumably DO make the scientific consensus on GMOs verifiable. Understand now? I propose that we split the sentence into two sentences, each with sources to back it up. You OK with that plan?--Elvey(tc) 11:00, 20 October 2016 (UTC)
(By the way, while we're addressing the above issue, there's a related one: I have no doubt commentators have praised Stein's statements about GMOs too. So per NPOV, we should probably say that.) Agree? Disagree?--Elvey(tc) 11:17, 20 October 2016 (UTC)
I am neither confused nor freaking out. In fact, I think that I have been trying to answer your questions quite politely. There was discussion of how those sources apply to the content (and indeed do not fail verification) in those archived talk discussions that I pointed you to. If you would like to (a) raise concerns about the verifiability of any sources, (b) propose splitting a sentence into two sentences, (c) include sources praising Stein's GMO positions, or (d) anything else about the content of the Jill Stein page, please let me suggest that you bring it up at the article talk page, where all interested editors can take part in the discussion. --Tryptofish (talk) 18:33, 20 October 2016 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Well, when I point people to this discussion, they'll see the questions I've asked and they'll see that you haven't answered them. With all due respect, you are not doing that and not being civil. A sentence in WP:CIVIL says, "Editors are expected to be reasonably cooperative, ... to work within the scope of policies, and to be responsive to good-faith questions." Consider yourself formally warned. It's hardly the only one but the key request I make now for the third time: You need to specifically connect the case and RFC to the removal of fv tags. Unless I see a reply that conforms to this aspect of CIVIL, I'm done here. --Elvey(tc) 23:36, 20 October 2016 (UTC)

You are done here. --Tryptofish (talk) 01:26, 21 October 2016 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.