Wikipedia:Village pump (proposals)

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Add archives to ALL URLs, dead or alive[edit]

So as many people are aware, InternetArchiveBot has been a major help to combating link rot in that it continuously and actively attempts to add archives to any URL that it sees as dead, or is tagged as dead. This really makes sure all of our sources continue to remain accessible and helps with verifiability. However there are those moments, when archives were not created in time and as such are unavailable when the original URL goes down. Having the bot add archives not only allows us users to make sure that it has an archive in case of possible link rot, but for those URLs missing an archive, allows us to take the opportunity to archive them elsewhere before possible link rot and add them, thus also letting IABot know that an archive exists, or vice versa.

So how would this work? Quite simple. Most sources use the CS1 and/or CS2 citation templates, which has the "deadurl" parameter. When set to "no", archive URLs are not made clickable on the rendered page, but when set to "yes" or when the parameter is omitted entirely, it will make the title link to the archive version instead. This allows users that detect dead urls to only have to flip the switch to enable the archived version. The bot will set deadurl=no to all cite templates it adds archives to that are still working, and of course it will set deadurl=yes to the dead ones as it does now. The side effect of this is, the non-cite template references that use external links will have {{Webarchive}} attached to them if it can't convert the link to a cite template.

Thoughts?—CYBERPOWER (Chat) 18:22, 3 July 2017 (UTC)

About cs1|2 and |dead-url=no: not quite true what you said. The archive is clickable, but you don't get to it through the source's title. To get to the archived source, click the word 'Archived':
{{cite web |title=Title |url=http://en.wikipedia.org |archive-url=http://example.com |archive-date=2017-01-01 |dead-url=no}}
"Title". Archived from the original on 2017-01-01. 
There are cases that are unclickable but for that to happen, the value assigned to |dead-url= must be one of unfit, usurped, or the bot-only value bot: unknown.
{{cite web |title=Title |url=http://en.wikipedia.org |archive-url=http://example.com |archive-date=2017-01-01 |dead-url=unfit}}
"Title". Archived from the original on 2017-01-01. 
The default state of |dead-url= (when omitted or not assigned a value) is yes so adding |dead-url=yes may not be required.
Trappist the monk (talk) 18:41, 3 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose – Systematic archiving would create needless bloat in articles, and would drown editors and readers alike. Sources that actually need archiving would also become harder to identify at a glance. See the disastrous effect when a well-meaning editor applied IABot-assisted archiving of hundreds of sources at Barack Obama and Donald Trump. — JFG talk 12:32, 7 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Support: Systematic archiving of all cited webs is good and very desirable. Linkrot will eventually happen to most urls, and there is no advantage to postponing web-archiving and citing the copied url. Among other supporting arguments, I point to three:
    • Wikipedia rules plainly state that: Editors are encouraged to add an archive link as a part of each citation (Wikipedia:Link rot)
    • Citing sources and, and making those citations as complete as possible is central to Verifiability and having high quality and durable articles in wikipedia.
    • Bloating is not an issue with referencing as Wikipedia rules on optimal article sizes, say that "These rules of thumb [on article size limit] apply only to readable prose (found by counting the words (...)) and not to wiki markup size.".
      • Furthermore, expanding existing citations in any given article to include webarchive in them has a zero effect on the actual content and readability of the article. (talk) user:Al83tito 17:25 10 July 2017 (UTC)
There is no "rule" it's an wp:essay. It creates a tremendous problem with maintenance to deal with that many archive links as archive links also suffer from link rot and are considerably more resource intensive to fix from normal URLs. It also locks in an archive URL that might be working today but could stop working tomorrow. The archive is best retrieved when needed to avoid link rot. IABot is already able to fix links when they die so there is no great gain by doing it proactive but there are downsides. -- GreenC 20:04, 10 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Support, bloated or not Wikipedia should be durable and it's bad enough that plenty of articles can't be verified because of link rot today, tomorrow it'll be (even) worse. --125.212.228.11 (talk) 05:40, 14 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose I am dissatisfied with the communication policy around InternetArchiveBot. Comments on the bot go to phabricator instead of typical on-wiki discussion. This is an amazing, constructive highly valuable Wikipedia and Internet Archive project which I like a lot. At the same time I feel that the project has some management problems which need to be addressed because it discourages the Wikipedia standard of discourse (including having a talk page). I would like to see this project (1) establish a talk page (2) host some public conversations (3) get a demonstration of support. This is a project which many people like, including me, but I do object to the precedent it is establishing of operating without discussion. I only intend to ask for 2-3 hours of labor in community engagement. I do not wish to distract the project organizers with unnecessary community discussion. I do not anticipate that much community discussion is necessary. Blue Rasberry (talk) 18:43, 21 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose I'm entirely fine with IABot creating such links pre-emptively and automatically, but pre-emptively and automatically adding them to duplicate stable links that aren't in danger of become rotted and spamming them on our articles is detrimental. I'm fine leaving this to the discretion of whoever activates the bot, but like all semi-automated things, the editor becomes responsible for the bot's edits, and there needs to be way to rescind access if the bot is abused.Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 21:55, 21 July 2017 (UTC)

Automatic column mode for references element[edit]

Recently it became possible for <references /> to automatically use responsive columns when there are more than 10 references in the generated list. Currently this behaviour is an opt-in mode (<references responsive="1"/>). The opt-in was intentional as throughout Wikimedia, we had many templates that already relied on pre-existing behaviour. Recently I prepared {{Reflist}}, to be able to deal with both situations. As such it would now be possible, to switch the default of <references />, without influencing {{Reflist}}. I think a default column mode is easier for most situations that do not require {{Reflist}} and I want to propose to switch the default of <references /> to automatic responsive columns. So to summarise:

  1. Currently <references /> never has columns
  2. When we switch the default, <references /> will have columns if there are more than 10 references (30em wide, same size as most Reflist usages).
  3. This switch of the default will not influence {{Reflist}}, which can be used for changing column width and a few more advanced features.
  4. It will be possible to disable these columns by using <references responsive="0" />.

If there is agreement, then we can file a phabricator bug report to make the change. —TheDJ (talkcontribs) 09:15, 13 July 2017 (UTC)

  • Yes please! --Izno (talk) 12:21, 13 July 2017 (UTC)
  • It would be great! --Jennica / talk 14:52, 13 July 2017 (UTC)
  • The change reduces the size of the text. This change was not mentioned in the description of this change. I prefer that the type size match the body of the article. Jc3s5h (talk) 15:39, 13 July 2017 (UTC)
    • @Jc3s5h: I'm not sure how you reached that conclusion, but I cannot confirm it. All references lists have a font-size of 90%. It has been like that since 2011 as far as I can tell. Can you please give examples, and information regarding the skin you use perhaps ?—TheDJ (talkcontribs) 15:55, 13 July 2017 (UTC)
      • When I tried to reproduce the problem, I realized the article I used as an example has several reference-related subheadings and I had been mixed up about which section I changed (in preview mode only, of course). Jc3s5h (talk) 16:12, 13 July 2017 (UTC)
  • I agree with this change. The columns seem to be just slightly too wide at the moment, but maybe this is deliberate. Jc86035 (talk) Use {{re|Jc86035}}
    to reply to me
    05:58, 14 July 2017 (UTC)
  • I support this change. There will no doubt be some minor unintended consequences and some necessary cleanup to a few articles, but that is the price of progress. – Jonesey95 (talk) 16:19, 14 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Mild oppose. Personally, I prefer the single column style, and think that the change to 2 column that is often made is rarely an improvement. Making it the default will mean this is done with little thought far too widely. If this is to be done, the threshold of 10 is much too low, 30 is about right, at the lowest. DES (talk)DESiegel Contribs 14:44, 15 July 2017 (UTC)
  • This sounds like a nice improvement. I support making it the default. Kaldari (talk) 18:40, 15 July 2017 (UTC)
  • I kind of oppose this. As {{reflist}} already does this, changing <references /> too would make creating a single column ref list needlessly complicated. DaßWölf 21:53, 15 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Multiple columns are fine for simple citations, but make it difficult to read long explanatory footnotes. In considering whether to use columns, and of what width, our first consideration should be what makes things easiest for the reader. That has to be done on a case-by-case basis rather than according to an arbitrary standard based on the number of citations. Ammodramus (talk) 16:55, 16 July 2017 (UTC)
    • @Ammodramus: You consider the case of NOT having columns for lists larger than 10 items to be more common than having columns ? I think we should cater to the largest group of users and to 'safe' defaults. I think that if we can have 90% of the cases right and only need to modify 10%, then that is better than the reverse for the casual editor right ? —TheDJ (talkcontribs) 10:17, 17 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Would support if the proposal is limited to two columns only. Even long citations / quotes are reasonably easy to read if in a two-column format. Is that what's intended by the proposal. K.e.coffman (talk) 21:20, 16 July 2017 (UTC)
    • The columns of the responsive column mode of the references tag, are the same as the most common setting for {{Reflist}}: 30em. The amount of columns depends on the width of your screen. —TheDJ (talkcontribs) 12:01, 17 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose because we already have this with {{Reflist|}}. Why re-invent the wheel? What are the benefits of having two paths to get to the same place? Also, with today's screen proportions trending towards wider screens, three ref columns are being used more and more; so if this change were to take place, that capability should be available as well. I'd still oppose this, however, for the same reason as above. It's not a needed universal change, and we already have the way to do it. GenQuest "Talk to Me" 11:16, 17 July 2017 (UTC)
    • I see several errors in reasoning here. (1) The wheel is already reinvented, it just needs turning on. Our {{reflist}}'s multi-column support was liked so much it got added to the extension itself. (2) This change would use three columns on wide enough screens, it's more or less equivalent to {{reflist|30em}}, not {{reflist|2}}. (3) Two ways to do it already exist. The only thing this change changes is to make the default when "responsive" isn't specified in <references /> be <references responsive=1 /> rather than <references responsive=0 />. Anomie 12:14, 17 July 2017 (UTC)
      • Still not clear on there being a need for this. Users of reflist have pretty much moved away from using the column to the width parameters anyway. Doesn't this have the same effect as your #2 above? What, if any, are the differences? GenQuest "Talk to Me" 13:36, 17 July 2017 (UTC)
        • This form of arguing can also be inverted. Why would you want to keep a difference between two existing methods for the same purposes, now that we have the ability to not have this difference ? Is there a need for columns to begin with ? Well probably not, yet people still like using them. Is there a need to change the default ? Well no one will die if we don't, but if it's already the most common form, then why not align the default with that form and make the exception the more laborious process ? —TheDJ (talkcontribs) 13:52, 17 July 2017 (UTC)
          • Still doesn't answer the question. Why do we not just deprecate <references> and use the more powerful {{reflist}} ? GenQuest "Talk to Me" 16:05, 23 July 2017 (UTC)
            • Because {{reflist}} is, at heart, a wrapper for <references />. You can't deprecate the tag as it must be available for reflist to work. DES (talk)DESiegel Contribs 19:29, 23 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Support People generally like multiple columns, which is why {{reflist}} is so widely used. We may as well make it the default for a bare <references /> too, where it will use what is currently recommended as the multi-column setting in Template:Reflist/doc#Columns. Anomie 12:14, 17 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Support. There's no harm in doing so since automatically adding columns would actually reduce the amount of space that one has to scroll down. epicgenius (talk) 21:25, 17 July 2017 (UTC)
  • 'Support I ,like {{U|DESiege},} personally prefer single column, but I see from [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Template:Reflist[[ that there is an easy way to turn this off. DGG ( talk ) 15:10, 18 July 2017 (UTC)
Hey, DGG. I see some typos and errors above in your post. Kind regards, --George Ho (talk) 11:31, 19 July 2017 (UTC)

Edit filter to prevent Signature faking[edit]

I recently thought that it could be possible to fake signatures by copying the wikimarkup for an above signature and pasting it on to the end of their own text. Should there be an edit filter to protect from this? [Username Needed] 12:34, 14 July 2017 (UTC)

People often modify their signature in all sorts of ways, writing a filter to guard against that, won't be easy. —TheDJ (talkcontribs) 15:32, 14 July 2017 (UTC)
Maybe an edit-filter that guards against signatures which do not contain the editing user either as a link or as text? Regards SoWhy 15:48, 14 July 2017 (UTC)
Also common is to move threads around to a more appropriate location, in which case the editor copy/pastes multiple third-party messages and signatures together, either in the same page or to another page... —PaleoNeonate - 15:56, 14 July 2017 (UTC)
This isn't feasible without a high fail rate. I'm not an expert on abuse filters, but being a bot op, I can say this will be almost impossible to pull off. I would recommend a filter that trips if the user doesn't have a link to their user or user talk page in any edits on noticeboards, and talk pages. It's not a disallow, but asks the user to confirm the edit before continuing, asking them to sign with their username. The edit gets a tag if the confirmed edit is still missing a link. Then humans can patrol it.—CYBERPOWER (Chat) 16:00, 14 July 2017 (UTC)
Agreed, I can't think of any way to do this that wouldn't result in a useless number of false positives. Sam Walton (talk) 18:03, 22 July 2017 (UTC)
it could be possible to fake signatures - We don't expend resources on prevention of "possible" problems. Can you show evidence of a significant signature forging problem? ―Mandruss  16:11, 14 July 2017 (UTC)
The few instances that I remember seeing were usually mistakes (like one instance of an admin putting my signature on a message I didn't write after some revdel by another admin). Where this is not the case like in an AfD or other debate, it is usually discovered by other participants, because their watchlist and the history does not match what they see. What would be less likely to be detected promptly would be edits to old threads in unwatched archives or inactive discussions, however... —PaleoNeonate - 16:19, 14 July 2017 (UTC)
Ok, that's not what I would call a significant problem. The first case is extremely infrequent, is easily discovered and corrected with minor disruption, and provides useful information about the editor who committed the forgery. The second case is still hypothetical (again, real problems only, please) and would be largely inconsequential if it occurred. Perhaps you agree, I'm not sure. ―Mandruss  16:37, 14 July 2017 (UTC)
Yes, I agree. —PaleoNeonate - 23:03, 21 July 2017 (UTC)
  • This reminds me of another issue, despite WP:SIGPROB, possibly because it is only guideline, a number of editors have a signature showing another name. {{displaytitle}} detects when the displayed name does not match the signature and it would be easy to ensure that signatures match editor names as well. On the other hand, because of the existing practice, if this was suddenly enforced a number of users using strange names may need to rename their account... —PaleoNeonate - 16:25, 14 July 2017 (UTC)
  • We do have an ongoing issue with people leaving unsigned comments and others creating signatures for them, I'm not convinced we have an issue of people faking each others signatures - even the proposer seems to imply it as a possible problem rather than a real one. If it actually is happening we can block people for disruptive editing - no new policy is required. Before considering an edit filter we need to establish that this is common enough to merit an edit filter - I'm not yet seeing a single dif demonstrating that this actually happens, let alone the multiple recent diffs needed to show it merits an edit filter. Remember each edit filter slows everything down a teensy bit, so they are only appropriate for problems that are known to be sizeable. ϢereSpielChequers 14:08, 19 July 2017 (UTC)
  • I don't see this as an existing problem that needs a solution. Killiondude (talk) 22:40, 21 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Forging of signatures does happen occasionally (example) and it's sometimes difficult to detect, for instance if it occurs in the middle of a succession of edits. – Uanfala 17:41, 22 July 2017 (UTC)

Guild or WikiProject of paid editors[edit]

Thanks for the feedback. Jytdog (talk) 05:17, 22 July 2017 (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.

(also posted at Jimbo's talk page and at WT:COI)

I want to ask - at a high and initial level, does anybody here oppose the formation of something like a "guild or WikiProject of paid editors", by paid editors? I have proposed this initially in three places, but I want to also float this balloon here, and if it doesn't get terminally shot down here, I want to go to work doing what I can to help them plan and form it, and then at some point bringing it to a community-wide forum to get validation before it would actually launch.

The notion here is to formalize and build on what is already going at Wikipedia:Statement on Wikipedia from participating communications firms, and there is some support among two of the key signatories there, to do this.

If you read self regulation you will see that many industries have a level of self-regulation. The American Bar Association is cited in that article; the ABA operates within the bounds of the law of course, but it has additional rules and ethics, and if you break them, the ABA will throw you out and you can't practice law. Same deal with practicing medicine - you have to be certified by various boards, that are run by the medical profession itself.

If we had something like a guild of paid editors here (again, formalizing what it is going with the Statement), people who are part of it would pledge to follow PAID (disclose, not edit directly, and follow the other policies and guidelines) and the members of the guild would a) watch each other, and b) watch non-members, and c) train new members. They would throw out people who violated PAID or who socked, etc. They would also never: refuse entry to someone who said they would follow the "rules"; never lobby for changes in policies or guidelines; never implement each other's edits; never advertise their services in WP or chase people here.

Outside of that they would be like other editors, and the guild would give them no special privileges.

The community and WMF could say to the public, "There are paid editors who violate WP's rules and are not members of the WP community, and many of them have been banned and have to lie just to write in Wikipedia - they should be avoided. There are paid editors who are members of the community in good standing; people in the Guild of Paid Editors are examples of that, as far as we know."

There are lots of ways this could go wrong if it is set up wrong (there always are) and of course in its execution, but there are many potential benefits.

The thing I am most interested in, is starting to influence the market for paid editing. The public has no idea that there are "white hat" paid editors who are different from "black hat" paid editors, and pretty much the only message that WMF and the editing community put out there, is "paid editing is bad." This leaves the market wide open, and it is kind of like Prohibition in the United States where the gangsters are flourishing. Which is kind of foolish. I am not saying that anybody should endorse paid editing but we should make it clear there are "good guys" and "bad guys".

We could point to the "Statement" now, but that is kind of loose not formal, and if the paid editors themselves form the Guild/WikiProject and invest in it working, paid editors in it will have more of a stake in keeping it clean. And we would all have something more substantial to point to as examples than "signatories of the statement" which is kind of flimsy, and I don't know how rigorous the signatories are in throwing people out who violate their pledges.

If this is effective, it will decrease the amount of undisclosed paid editing that happens from the demand side - from people making better choices if they choose to use a paid editor.

Again, just looking for initial buy-in or "blockers" (to use the WMF dev term) at this very initial stage of thinking. Jytdog (talk) 00:43, 15 July 2017 (UTC)

I think the idea is worth looking into. • • • Peter (Southwood) (talk): 05:13, 15 July 2017 (UTC)
One thing to consider is whether members of such a guild should be required to disclose their real identities: a) to the guild, and b) on Wikipedia. • • • Peter (Southwood) (talk): 05:19, 15 July 2017 (UTC)
Anything that encourages compliance with the COI guideline, utilizing carrots as well as sticks, is constructive. Figureofnine (talkcontribs) 12:10, 15 July 2017 (UTC)
And now the proposal is dead. The requirement is disclosure, not self doxxing. When you make the rules harder for being honest, you encourage dishonesty. --v/r - TP 14:46, 15 July 2017 (UTC)
TParis, I miss your point. Could you clarify? • • • Peter (Southwood) (talk): 15:12, 15 July 2017 (UTC)
User:Pbsouthwood Tparis is kind of emotional about these things and tends to over-react. I think his concern is that we make this onerous paid editors will not use it. In my view the main thing is that paid editors use a stable WP identity and don't sock. Because paid editors who follow PAID need to disclose their employer, many of them do disclose their RW identity in WP. (see signatories to the Statement, linked in the OP) but I don't see a need to place an extra burden on paid editors outside of what is already required in PAID. Jytdog (talk) 19:56, 15 July 2017 (UTC)
Strong oppose ....in no way should the Wikipedia Community look like it's endorsing paid edited by hosting a special place for these people. We should form a Wiki project that searches out these people and looks over their work.--Moxy (talk) 17:18, 15 July 2017 (UTC)
WP:WikiProject Integrity was set up years ago to examine the work of paid editors. isaacl (talk) 17:36, 15 July 2017 (UTC)
User:Moxy, this is not about endorsing, really. I understand that there is a risk that people will take it that way, but it is not that. The points here briefly are:
1) paid editing is never going away
2) There actually are "white hat" paid editors and "black hat" paid editors, but the public doesn't know this.
3) If we were to educate the public, this would do a lot to dry up the market for black hat paid editors
4) As part of that, we need something to point to, as "white hat" -- the "guild" would be people who say they follow PAID and the other guidelines and have not been indeffed. In other words as far as we know (always, "as far as we know"), the members are paid editors in good standing. This is essential for communicating to the public
5) there would be a bunch of other benefits to the self-regulation and having a centralized location for dealing with certain aspects of paid editing (e.g maybe listing all articles worked on by legit paid editors in one place). There are lots of things we could do with it if it were up and running.
I hope that all makes sense. But this is very much about dealing with the reality that paid editing is never going away, and thinking about strategies to manage the market for it. Jytdog (talk) 19:51, 15 July 2017 (UTC)
Just wondering, Jytdog. If the Guild won't work at Wikipedia, why not at Meta-wiki instead? They might form a User Group, seen at meta:Category:Wikimedia User Groups. --George Ho (talk) 18:48, 15 July 2017 (UTC)
I am not convinced that it won't work in WP. There will be turbulence getting there, but that is not unexpected. But meta could be an option, sure. Jytdog (talk) 19:51, 15 July 2017 (UTC)
I don't see why such a thing could not be done off-wiki, with a Facebook group or the like. I don't think such a thing belongs on the project. bd2412 T 22:42, 15 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Strong oppose - Sorry, Jytdog, but the fact that "paid editing is not going away" is not a reason to give it the imprimatur of our approval, any more than the fact that socking isn't going away is any reason to stop blocking socks and their masters. Beyond My Ken (talk) 20:34, 15 July 2017 (UTC)
User:Beyond My Ken This is not giving it "approval" and it is disappointing to hear this framed that way. Paid editors who follow PAID (and the other PaG of course) are members of the community in good standing. There is no argument against that, that you or anyone else can make. Let me come at this from a different direction -- you didn't !vote at the MfD on the Statement. How would you have !voted, if you had, why? Jytdog (talk) 21:08, 15 July 2017 (UTC)
I disagree, allowing such a guild to be formed would indeed give tacit approval to their efforts.
Personally, I am opposed to paid editing in any way, shape, or form. The WMF's most recent pronunciation on it tip-toed right up to the line of banning it altogether, and I have no idea why they didn't bite the bullet and do the deed. In any case, paid editing, whether they adhere to WP:PAID or not, is detrimental to our project, as we don't really have the resources to police their efforts properly -- hell, we can barely keep up with outright vandalism, and sock puppets will remain uncontrollable as long as en.wiki (not the WMF, since other language wikis have more stringent rules) continues to stick its head in the sand and disallow "fishing expeditions" when experienced editors smell something rotten and report it, only to be told that an overriding concern for privacy (ha!) is more important. Well, that's bullshit, and so is this. Yes, I want paid editors to be pariahs, and I will oppose anything which will tend to integrate them into the community, whether they follow WP:PAID or not. If that's harsh, well, tough, they shouldn't be attempting to sully the integrity of our project with their PR. Beyond My Ken (talk) 21:26, 15 July 2017 (UTC)
User:Beyond My Ken taking a moral stance "against paid editing" is like taking a moral stance against drinking alcohol. People feel how they feel about it, but we as a society came to realize people are going to drink, and trying to stop it is pointless. So we regulate it. Likewise, we put PAID in place, but given the nature of this place it is easy for bad faith people to just ignore it. But there are people who follow PAID and we are shooting ourselves in the foot by not acknowledging that. We need to let the public know that good faith PAID editors exist, and we can dry up the market for bad faith paid editors by establishing something more solid for good faith PAID editors to inhabit and maintain - this guild or WikiProject. The moral absolutism is not helpful. We need to move past that by now. This is a strategy to influence the market that works on a bigger scale than the whack-a-mole of catching individuals. (I still do a lot of that work; it needs to keep going, of course). But please do hear me - I am not offering this lightly, and it comes with a lot of thought. So please, put away the emotion. Please. Jytdog (talk) 22:19, 15 July 2017 (UTC)
Your comparison to Prohibition is silly, frankly, as what paid editors are doing is a job, and their employment is damaging the encyclopedia I've spent a lot of time and effort on improving, and don't wish to see harmed. I fully understand that you have put a lot of thought into this, and I accept that you offer it in total good faith -- I would expect nothing less from an editor such as yourself -- but that doesn't make it any better of an idea. You say that it will "sway the market", and I say that it will throw the doors of the market wide open and make paid editing even less subject to control than it is now, as more and more people realize that they can get away with pure promotionalism and swamp our already meager ability to police it. I ask you to believe that this is a fully rational, well thought out stance which has little, if anything to do with "emotionalism". You asked for opinions on your idea, and this is my opinion: it is a bad idea. Beyond My Ken (talk) 22:33, 15 July 2017 (UTC)
The point of the Prohibition metaphor, is that doing what we have been doing - namely saying with straight backs and all moral fiber in place, "Paid editing is bad!"..... does absolutely nothing to affect whether people buy the service and what is worse, leaves those purchasers mostly at the mercy of the "gangsters" (the people who sold alcohol lucratively during prohibition)
tThis reported article in the Entrepreneur (and I mean "reported" - the author went out and talked to people including the WMF) gives no inkling that there are paid editors who are "white hats" and follow policy and there are "black hats". That really, really bothered me. The reporter tried to find out the score and walked away clueless. And communicated that to her audience, which is probably one of our biggest sources of shitty paid articles (startups, business people looking for exposure). I want the public to know there are legitimate people offering paid editing services, who follow policy and that there is a "black market". And just like buying anything on the black market, you do so with risks that you don't take with legit enterprises.... and that using this black market is actually kind of filthy, and actually harms the public good that is WP. The harm comes from undisclosed paid editors who sock and lie and directly dump garbage in WP. It doesn't come from the legit paid editors. Jytdog (talk) 02:54, 18 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose. I disagree about the "good" vs. "bad guys" dualism mentioned in the proposal. There are many shades of paid editing, and the best ones still contribute to a systemic bias in favor of recent products and companies, which would usually have gotten fairly decent coverage anyway -- at best we're talking about a "bad guys" vs. "more-or-less neutral guys". There is nothing Wikipedia would gain from letting them organise into an interest group and (attempt to) gain public validation with this. DaßWölf 21:38, 15 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Strong Oppose per BMK. I'd also disagree with Jytdog's statement that declaring your paid status makes you a community member in good standing. Following the TOU does not necessarily mean that. It means that you are not excluded from using the website by the legal owner of the servers. Spamming is still against community policy even if the paid editor has declared their affiliation, and there are paid users who spam even when this is declared and think that somehow their following the terms of use makes this okay. I fear if this proposal was adapted it would further the misconception that paid editors who declare and create otherwise unacceptable articles should be allowed to do so (even though I know that was the intent of the proposal). TonyBallioni (talk) 21:43, 15 July 2017 (UTC)
You are killing me and worse you are not responding to what I have actually written here. When I say "following PAID" - what that means (if you actually read PAID) is, that they don't edit directly, they don't hammer people at talk pages, etc. Paid editing is not banned (and is impossible to ban given how WP is structured); we need to take that seriously. We don't love paid editors, but you cannot say that they are not members of the community when they are following what PAID actually says. Please go slower in responding to this. Leaving the market as it is, means just more of the same. This is a strategy to influence the market and having something substantial like what is being proprosed will help better regulate paid editing internally and will give us something to point the public to. I arrived at this proposal after a lot of thought. Jytdog (talk) 22:08, 15 July 2017 (UTC)
It references the COI guideline and NOTSPAM as well, but the core of it is the terms of use, which is what is normally meant when people say following PAID. I have read the page, and while your interpretation of it is the one that is most in line with our other community policies beyond TOU, PAID itself does not go into that much detail. I stand by my comments above: making it so that there is a semi-official grouping within Wikipedia lends legitimacy to the idea that paid editors complying with the terms of use allows them to violate other community policies on promotion. I am not actually anti-paid editor as a whole, there are some good ones (people who get grants to do this is just one example). The majority, however, are going to be spammers, and that is easier to deal with when there isn't an organized group sanctioning it. TonyBallioni (talk) 22:33, 15 July 2017 (UTC)
I would say that people who get grants to edit Wikipedia might be a form of paid editing I could accept, if their grant is on the order of "to improve Wikipedia's coverage of X subject" and not in the form of "reverse the bias in Wikipedia regarding X subject", since people who edit with the intent of undoing a bias generally end up editing with the entirely opposite bias, instead of endeavoring to edit neutrally. We had the recent example of the teacher who assigned their students the task of showing how Trump's policies were going to damage the environment. I believe the teacher ended up being indef blocked after an extremely long community discussion that went across numerous venues. That wasn't a grant situation, but it could certainly be one, depending on who is giving out the grants and what their purpose is. Non-profits aren't required to be neutral, nor are academics, but we are -- and PR people are never neutral concerning the subjects they're paid to promote. I see no reason whatsoever to open our arms to them, welcome them to Wikipedia, and give them their own clubhouse. Beyond My Ken (talk) 23:20, 15 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Leaning oppose but could be persuaded. Jytdog, I think I agree most with the opinion expressed by Daß Wölf here but leaning towards BMK. I have to ask, what do we hope to have happen if such a guild existed? How would it improve the current situation? I think the argument for self-regulation is not persuading me because the undeclared paid's already exist so far outside the bounds of what is considered acceptable (even legally per ToS and US commercial laws vis-a-vis FTC disclosures for advertising). ☆ Bri (talk) 02:49, 16 July 2017 (UTC)

A few comments based on what has been said above:

  • It's unclear to me that the signatories to the statement from the communications firms in question are truly interested in proceeding with forming a support group of sorts, given that they haven't in the past three years since the statement was released. But if they do proceed, I'd as soon it have some presence within Wikipedia to make it easier to monitor (and apply sanctions against, if necessary).
  • Wikipedia editors and readers are sufficiently savvy to understand that the views given in any number of essays in Wikipedia space are not tacitly approved by the community. I trust they will understand this regarding any project pages used by a paid editor support group.
  • Paid editors who wish to ignore Wikipedia policies and guidelines will do so anyway, no matter what pages exist in Wikipedia. A support group page or the absence of one won't influence them.

As I mentioned elsewhere, I am not optimistic that there will be any self-policing of membership in a support group run by paid editors, so I personally don't see this as making much difference in helping identify paid editors who follow the rules versus those who don't (I know others do; let's agree to disagree). (Editors interested in sorting this out are welcome to help keep Wikipedia:WikiProject Integrity/Editor Registry up to date.) In the collaborative spirit of a wiki, though, I think it is desirable for editors to support each other in following policies and guidelines, and I can't see any grounds to prevent non-banned editors from doing so. isaacl (talk) 03:44, 16 July 2017 (UTC)

It all comes down to what the community wants. If they don't want such a guild to exist, and an RfC shows that, then the guild will not exist. There doesn't have to be a specific policy giving the community the authority to stop it from forming or shut it down if it already has. We make policy, policy doesn't make us. Beyond My Ken (talk) 05:31, 16 July 2017 (UTC)
Sure, any group can be prevented from forming on-wiki (can't stop a group from forming off-wiki, as I mentioned). As much as possible, though, I'd prefer to base opposition on general principles, rather than on personal preferences, or else every conversation will just be an "I like it" discussion. isaacl (talk) 13:15, 16 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose. I've been scanning over this discussion of dealing with paid editing for the past few days. This...is an interesting way to deal with it. Very interesting. A lateral way to deal with such situation. But no. The key priority is keeping transparency with paid editing, and enforcing transparency with paid editing. This path...seems lucrative, but any fear, uncertainty and doubt is very justifiable, if this system operated. That's not saying that I would not trust the editors, but we have seen that past (and current) works of black-hat editing have used very sophisticated means to hide their editing. This...is another thing to care about. And it could all go very wrong if it isn't cared for properly. I support Count Iblis's idea on Wales' talk page. My name isnotdave (talk/contribs) 12:57, 16 July 2017 (UTC)
With apologies, nothing you wrote makes sense. This doesn't make anything less visible and there is no new "system". I don't know what you are reacting to, but it is not this proposal. Count Ibis's idea on Jimbo's talk page means committing fraud, as I wrote there, and neither the WMF nor the community will engage in illegal behavior. If you want to go commit crimes, that is your deal, of course. Jytdog (talk) 21:45, 16 July 2017 (UTC)
  • I've put this on Template:Centralized discussion. [1]. My name isnotdave (talk/contribs) 13:10, 16 July 2017 (UTC)
  • I oppose paid editors, period. Wikipedia should be neutral, and paid editors aren't . --NaBUru38 (talk) 15:11, 16 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Jytdog, maybe you can give this one or a few more days. So far, I see unanimous/huge opposition toward the proposal. I'll let you decide when you can withdraw this proposal. Okay? --George Ho (talk) 21:30, 16 July 2017 (UTC); Never mind; after seeing a few "support" votes below, I'll give it some appropriate time. --George Ho (talk) 03:46, 17 July 2017 (UTC)
The conversation at Jimbo's talk page is going quite differently, and likewise the one at WT:COI - both places where people have been considering and discussing these issues for a long time. This thread has a very weird jag of emotional, kneejerk reactions that I was somewhat worried about when I posted this. But it doesn't matter that people don't "like" paid editing or that they imagine that this would change in any way the underlying policy basis under which paid editing should happen. And almost no one who has opposed seems to be aware of the activities around the Wikipedia:Statement on Wikipedia from participating communications firms that this would merely formalize. This isn't facebook and we don't decide things on "like"s or people shooting from the hip. Please don't close this prematurely. Jytdog (talk) 21:45, 16 July 2017 (UTC)
  • It seems to me that we should oppose undisclosed paid editing with a vengeance. But paid editors who are conscientious about following WP:PAID can make useful contributions, albeit only on a short leash. We must never give the appearance of giving approval to spammers. But if some good-faith editors are willing to voluntarily, and perhaps unofficially, patrol for violations and give advice about best practices, that could be a good thing. Maybe we just don't need to put an official name on it. --Tryptofish (talk) 22:34, 16 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Possible support While I oppose all paid editing, to the extent that I would long ago have actually proposed a ban if there were a feasible way to accomplish this, there is no fair method of detection--all that a ban would do is drive all paid editing underground. Given that it exists, we need to provide incentives for paid editors to declare themselves. This project could assist this, by providing clear standards to those in the trade in their own language, and enable us to keep a better watch on the declared paid editors to ensure that they were actually following the rules. It would assist the critical effort that ought to be made by the foundation to make it unambiguously clear by its own PR efforts that all advertisements of paid editors that do not specifically say they will guarantee the terms of use are opposed to our terms of use, and in many cases pure scams--and to clarify that there is a legitimate alternative. I'm aware that the declared paid editors have a commercial interest in discouraging the undeclared, but it coincides with our own priorities.
But this has to be named and run like any other wikiproject , with open membership and general participation. No wikiproject is "official". I've joined a few wikiprojects whose work I do not necessarily approve of, to keep tabs on what they are doing; many others do likewise. DGG ( talk )
Oppose. This would encourage EVEN MORE unconstructive paid editing. KMF (talk) 00:31, 17 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Comment. The following is something I suggested years ago, so I offer it here again. I would like to see an organization that acts as a neutral go-between, so that Wikipedians can be paid for their work, but not directly by article subjects or their agents.
    Ideally, the Wikimedia Foundation would set up a team with an email address and website, or OTRS-type multiuser system, to which people wanting to pay for articles could apply, and to which all approved paid editors would have access. The Foundation's team would set the fees; choose the editors from a list of Wikipedians who sign up for the scheme (who must have a minimum number of years spent only as volunteers, and a minimum number of edits); pay those editors as independent contractors; and take a percentage of the fee for having organized the transaction. The Foundation's brief to the paid editors would be to write a neutral, policy-compliant article. The payers would have no say over which editor was given the job. Editors producing non-compliant articles would have their paid privileges removed.
    This system would remove or at least reduce the COI; would give people requesting articles somewhere to go; and would provide fees for editors who understand the policies and have the project's interests at heart. It would be win-win. The Foundation is unlikely to do this, but I wonder whether it could be persuaded to help set it up and maintain s close tie with it. Peteforsyth and WWB would be ideally placed to lead it. SarahSV (talk) 01:17, 17 July 2017 (UTC)
      • This is something I definitely would not support, and I think is a direct contradiction to our basic principles. It essentially amounts to turning us officially into a partially paid encyclopedia. I consider it similar to book review journals which review some books for free, but will also renew anythign else if you pay for it--the most prominent example I know of this is now no longer accepted as a source for WP. It would give the WMF every incentive to maximize the proportion of paid articles, if they received part of the fee. Even volunteer editors often have a great attachment to the articles they work on, and OWNership is an ever-present if subliminal temptation--if the same people did it for money it would be much intensified. It would also put the WMF in the position of "approving" editors, which essentially means interfering with our content, and that would destroy the site entirely. Not only should the WMF not do it, but it should never let itself be connected to any entity doing it. It might even affect our safe-harbor status in terms of copyright and libel. There have been sometimes problems with organizations giving the foundation grants to support Editors in Residence, and Editor in Residence sometimes getting too much involved with articles closely connected with the organization that pays them, but these are at least supposed to be highly reputable non-profits. Having current legitimate paid editors organize it would be the worst way of all--they would essentially be establishing a monopoly. DGG ( talk ) 02:54, 17 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Support per DGG. I've worked pretty deeply on the problem for years, with hundreds of blocks at SPI, hundreds of AFDs and if I've learned anything, it is that it is impossible to prove paid editing most of the time, so managing the problem is better than trying to pretend we could really "outlaw" it. Better to have a system of self-policing with input from the entire community, to have self-declaring, some ethical standards, and then perhaps they would be helpful in getting rid of the bad players, because they have a stake in keeping in the community's good graces as well. It would be the lesser of two evils, which is still the better choice. Dennis Brown - 02:26, 17 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Support. Paid editing is here to stay, so it's overall beneficial for Wikipedia to turn some of these edits to be useful. Paid editors who want their work to survive would benefit from this project, while those who refuse to abide by Wikipedia policies will continue to ignore this project. feminist 16:48, 17 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Comment I'd like to push back agains the idea that it is better to have this out in the open with an endorsed organization rather than shunned and underground simply because we aren't able to stop it that DGG has brought up. I disagree completely. As it stands, we are actually pretty good about picking out the clear spam and getting rid of it through one of the deletion processes. People hide the fact of their employment status and then when it is put up for deletion and they gang up, it is very easy to spot and we deal with it quite well when the editors are undeclared. We can't prove the paid editing, but we can get rid of the non-notable spam articles.
    Working with new pages, I've been on the end of several declared paid editing AfDs where the declared paid status of the editor is used as a way to lend legitimacy to the article outside of policy concerns about notability and promotionalism. The editor is free to game the process circulating press release stories and sometimes canvassing sympathetic !votes to the process. This is without a guild of paid editors, but based solely on the idea that compliance with the TOU is enough if someone is paid. A guild would make this mentality worse and I think would be a step towards the effective end of AfD as a useful process for dealing with articles created by paid accounts on the merits. I respect the work of Jytdog quite a lot and know that they have put a lot of thought into the process, but this is not a kneejerk reaction: before articles get to COIN, they pass through NPP. I really believe this would make the already tough task of dealing with paid editors who will pester you about why their non-notable article should be kept even worse and make our task there much more difficult. As I mentioned above, I am not against all paid editing, but I don't see how this would do anything other than make Wikipedia's processes easier to game. TonyBallioni (talk) 17:03, 17 July 2017 (UTC)
User:TonyBallioni - Thanks for your kind words. The goal here is to promote best practices for paid editors - disclosing and proposing, and not being a jerk and being pushy. There are paid editors who behave this way, and one of the key goals of having a WikiProject of paid editors would be to promote and propagate these best practices. Besides the goal of having something to point the public to (so they have somewhere to go, to choose a "white hat" editor instead of a "black hat"), there benefits internal to WP. Like that propagation of best best practices. Another thing I would want to do is have a page within the project where all articles where paid editors are working, are listed. Another benefit would be, that the kind of pushy paid editors you raise, could go there and ask for advice, and the more experienced ones would tell them that they are barking up the wrong tree. This would all happen out in the open, and self-interest among white hats would drive propagation of best practices. This would be so valuable. Jytdog (talk) 17:17, 17 July 2017 (UTC)
I certainly get the concept in theory. I just don't think it will work in implementation. The paid editor has both ethical and practical obligations to their client: ethical in that they're being paid to promote the clients interests on Wikipedia, so the client should always come first, practical in that they are getting paid for a task and even if you come up with some sort of code of professional standards that includes things such as being paid per hour and not based on articles being kept, it is still going to be bad for business to have articles deleted. Both of these motivations are very compelling motivators to find ways to game the system with the TOU. The really good PR people will find ways to game the system whether they are "white hat" or "black hat", and as DGG has pointed out in the past, in exceptionally rare circumstances they actually help us by producing a good and neutral article about a notable client. My fear is that this will help mediocre and bad PR professionals game Wikipedia more easily. TonyBallioni (talk) 17:42, 17 July 2017 (UTC)
Virtually all editors at Wikipedia have no idea how flooded we are with paid accounts. A few years ago, I estimated it was many thousands of accounts, many per person. Again, I worked here as admin on this problem at SPI and elsewhere. Paid editors games the system in part because it is easier to avoid the rules than follow them here. And there are so few admin compared to paid editors, it is laughable to think we can keep up. Putting some sunshine on paid editing, setting standards, allow them to use one account instead of having to sock (our TOU is problematic as well, but that is another story), and generally allowing them to do so in the open under the same rules that everyone follows, meaning the ones that edit ethically and follow WP:RS, WP:V and WP:N are more likely to be successful here and with their clients. The ones that don't won't be. It reminds me of the illegal nature of cannabis in the US. Everyone practically laughs about it, enforcement can't keep up, the real damage is less than the damage of over-policing it. Paid editing is a problem, but I would rather manage it than be foolish enough to think that we can "stop" it. We can't. I tried, really hard, I failed, it can't be stopped. It can be managed better. Not all paid editors are evil, but we need a system to manage and allow them to self-manage and point out the problem editors, as they will want to protect their own self interest by doing it right. Or we can continue the way we are, and for every sock we block, two more pop up. Dennis Brown - 19:15, 17 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Strong oppose (ec) Tomy Ballioni above raises excellent points. Paid editing is a problem that consumes vast amounts of volunteer time and resources, taking away from more worthwhile pursuits. Why? Because there is demand from people and companies for articles that they can utilize in their marketing. The fact that it "is going to happen anyway" is no reason to create a Wikiproject about it, co-equal with Wikiproject Biographies and dozens of other legitimate subjects, giving it an implicit blessing by the project. And no, the fact that there are "white hat" paid editors is no reason to uncork the champagne. There are advantages of abiding by the rules (Tony Ballioni raised a couple above that I hadn't thought of), and one can accomplish most paid editing objectives by doing so. There is no reason to feel such gratitude for compliant paid editors, whose activities require constant policing by other editors,, to give them their own project as a kind of reward and acknowledgement of their service to the project. Lastly, a Wikiproject Paid Editors would be a significant public relations gaffe, albeit one that doesn't dismay me as the WMF deserves a p.r. thrashing for its ambivalent attitude toward this problem. Coretheapple (talk) 17:08, 17 July 2017 (UTC)
the purpose of the project ought to be to keep watch over it. It would be a good place to monitor if they kept their promises, or were just making pious gestures of good will. Companies put considerable effort into accurate disclosure forms. Unlike the government, we cannot penalize them civillly or criminally if they aren't correct, but we can certainly expose them to public embarrassment. DGG ( talk ) 20:06, 17 July 2017 (UTC)
Then perhaps there should be a paid editors registry, so organized and named that it would provide no marketing advantage to paid editors. "Guild" or "Project" implies Wikipedia approval, and gives paid editors something real nice to put in their advertising. Wikipedia should not be helping paid editors, even so called "white hat" ones, get business. Coretheapple (talk) 21:02, 17 July 2017 (UTC)
I think that registry is one of the purposes of the proposal. I do not particularly want to help whiteh at paid editors, but if the only way we can get rid of the black hats is to extend some coperation to them under our own terms, it's a good bargain. I would even say a necessary bargain. DGG ( talk ) 05:37, 18 July 2017 (UTC)`
I'd suggest there's an underlying fallacy, which is that we can get rid of, or substantially reduce, the so-called "black hats" without taking a variety of steps not acceptable to WMF or the community. However, I think that they can be discouraged - while still retaining Wikipedia's integrity and brand identity - by creating a "consumers guide" for subjects of articles, a variation on ideas that TParis and Smallbones have made. Essentially, potential subjects of articles should get a scary portrait of what happens and how it can and often is a net negative to hire someone to put an article on Wikipedia. If they do so, they should look for various stringent and rarely-met characteristics. Or perhaps better use can be made of article requests. There are a whole bunch of things like that that can be done to attack the problem from the consumer end. For instance, WMF, instead of just responding to requests for comment from journalists, can be more proactive in waging p.r. wars against paid editing. Creating a "white hat project" undermines the rationale behind such an effort, which is that Wikipedia is a volunteer project and that commercial exploitation is contrary to that and undermines public trust in the project. Coretheapple (talk) 13:20, 18 July 2017 (UTC)
Conflict of interest is everywhere in the world. What undermines public trust is unmanaged conflict of interest. This is a tool to help better manage the specific form of COI that is paid editing. Jytdog (talk) 15:05, 18 July 2017 (UTC)
No, what undermines public trust is conflict of interest. Period. What undermines puiblic trust even more is condoned COI. Coretheapple (talk) 17:10, 18 July 2017 (UTC)
Coretheapple, potential COI is everywhere, and every responsible organization has ways to manage it. Pretending it can be eliminated (especially here) is not the real world. You are invalidating your stance here by writing this kind of nonsense, and I will not be responding to you further. Jytdog (talk) 17:23, 18 July 2017 (UTC)
Good. You haven't or won't grasp my point, your WP:BLUDGEONing of the discussion is getting tiresome, and your inflammatory edit summaries gild the lily. Coretheapple (talk) 17:44, 18 July 2017 (UTC)
There is a paid editor registry: Wikipedia:WikiProject Integrity/Editor Registry. It can use updating; everyone is welcome to pitch in! isaacl (talk) 00:51, 19 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Strong oppose-All paid editing is, by its very nature, biased. And, as Coretheapple said, this would also put Wikipedia in the position of being seen (rightly or wrongly) as supporting those companies that pay these editors. --Khajidha (talk) 12:38, 18 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Comment I want to make a note here that even if everyone opposed the idea, someone could start the project, which could only be removed for cause, not just because we don't like it. As far as I know, Projects are not vetted beyond having a scope that is within the limits of the greater project, and this clearly is. When it gets started (and it could be a month, a year, a decade, but not "if"), it would best be started by someone that isn't a paid editor but is willing to provide some guidance and written material to keep paid editors out of trouble. In the end, that should be our goal: help any editor follow policy, generate worthwhile content, and avoid sanctions. That which isn't worthwhile, we have AFD for, no different than today. Dennis Brown - 13:27, 18 July 2017 (UTC)
Dennis, thanks for your note. My goal in posting here was to make sure that the community was aware of this from the beginning. I am aware that people have strong feelings about paid editing so wanted to communicate clearly and broadly, at an early stage, and get useful feedback so that as this move forward (if it does...) that could be built in. My plan has been to do further planning and then present again, with detail, before launching it. Jytdog (talk) 15:02, 18 July 2017 (UTC)
That WikiProject is not really driven by paid editors. With the lack of that sense of "ownership" in the positive sense, comes neglect. Part of the design of this WikiProject is that paid editors will "invest" in its authentic success in the community - that it would propagate best practices and help us identify paid editors who aren't following PAID much less best practices. Jytdog (talk) 15:02, 18 July 2017 (UTC)
I saw that yesterday and just didn't say anything yet. That WikiProject isn't driven by anything, it is basically a ghost town. Re-purposing defunct projects is allowed. Dennis Brown - 15:12, 18 July 2017 (UTC)
i allso wanted to say that this would be "organic" - the next step in the evolution of rhe Statement. Jytdog (talk) 15:16, 18 July 2017 (UTC)
IMO before we will get those involved with paid editing interested in doing it above board, we need to be much more vigorous in policing those involved with undisclosed paid editing. As lots of the articles made by throw away socks of undisclosed paid editors are kept they have no incentive to change. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 15:21, 18 July 2017 (UTC)
User:Doc James, of course we need to keep working on that. But part of the design of this is to dry up the market for unpaid editing by making a place for "white hat" paid editors to be, and communicating to the public that there is a difference. A big goal here is to influence the marketplace and drive business away from the socking, undisclosed paid editors. If this works (and I don't know that it will) there would be fewer people choosing to buy paid editing services on the black market. But right now the marketplace is undifferentiated and that is really our fault, as we have done nothing to define it for people. Nobody else is going to do that, right? We need to do it. And to do that, we need something that defines the legit (as far as we know) service providers. We don't need to endorse or recommend them (indeed we shouldn't) but we need to have a place to point people to. You can think of this like needle-exchange services in Vancouver or the like, and all the issues around that. Jytdog (talk) 15:37, 18 July 2017 (UTC)
I have seen a handful of disclosed paid editors who consistently use the AfC process. There is nothing stopping us form listing them in a central location right now. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 16:02, 18 July 2017 (UTC)
In a way, a project would have us picking the winners and losers. Paid editors that followed the rules wouldn't have any problems, so they would be more efficient (from their perspective). Paid editors that didn't, who still socked, who lied about their status, would be subject to having all their work deleted, wasting their time. This creates a financial incentive to play by the rules, and rewards those that do by letting them spend more time writing passable articles and getting new clients, and less time dodging AFD and Checkusers. This may sound simplistic, but people always act in their own self-interest. We just need to provide a better alternative to socking, one where we can easily monitor everything. Dennis Brown - 16:41, 18 July 2017 (UTC)
A "project" or a "guild" won't do anything to deal with the cause of so-called black-hat paid editing, which is the demand for articles about non-notable subjects. They'll continue to take money from people who want articles written about them, they'll create their throwaway socks for that purpose. If they don't slip by under the radar they will be blocked. So what? They don't care. They'll create other socks, using VPNs etc. Coretheapple (talk) 17:08, 18 July 2017 (UTC)
I have over 1500 SPI blocks, including a record setting 300 in a single paid editing case. VPNs aren't that hard to catch and rangeblock, and pushing as many as you can into the "good" side means fewer to deal with at SPI. Its a bit more complicated than you are making it out to be. I've had more than a few extended conversations with paid editors offwiki, I know the system quite well. Many would rather do so in a legit fashion but the current rules make it hard. Dennis Brown - 01:27, 19 July 2017 (UTC)
This would be a lot more organic if it had happened three years ago, and if there were more involvement from any of the signatories. Right now there are just a couple of statements on the statement's talk page, with only vague details on what kind of work and outreach the parties in question would do. Absent their participation in these discussions, it's hard to tell if they're interested in this initiative or in engaging the non-paid editor community in general. isaacl (talk) 05:55, 19 July 2017 (UTC)
That's true. There is not a single paid editor involved in this discussion one way or the other. They can come here and argue how such a project or guild would benefit them, and complain directly about how supposedly difficult it is to comply with the very few rules regulating paid editing (per Dennis's comment above). I've never heard such complaints, and I've never seen them in public, probably because they would be greeted with ridicule. Coretheapple (talk) 12:59, 19 July 2017 (UTC)
I see WikiProject Cooperation and in particular Wikipedia:WikiProject Cooperation/Paid editor help (the paid editor noticeboard) as a way for the non-paid editor community to provide support to paid editors. For any paid editor support group to be successful, I feel the community needs to reinvigorate a group of non-paid editors to provide assistance, whether it is at the current paid editor noticeboard or somewhere else. isaacl (talk) 00:59, 19 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose: We don't want all paid editors to create an project, otherwise it can cause problems. KGirlTrucker81 huh? what I've been doing 19:17, 18 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose As stated above, allowing for the formation of a WikiProject/Guild/What have you essentially grants tacit approval. We should be here for the benefit of the project, and not to try to turn a buck or push an agenda. caknuck ° needs to be running more often 20:44, 18 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose this would further legitimise some paid editing, the more we de-legitimise it the more the paid editors have to hide by writing neutrally and including neutral sources. I doubt we can get to the stage where paid editors are telling their clients that they had to mention the scandal but they did keep it out of the lede, but that is the direction I'd prefer us to aim for. ϢereSpielChequers 14:17, 19 July 2017 (UTC)
User:WereSpielChequers the notion of "deligitimizing" is what we have always done, and there is no evidence that the problem of undisclosed paid editing is going away or that the public even understands what that means. The goal here again is to a) influence the market for it (which has grown up despite the message that "paid editing is bad"), which we have never tried to do before, and b) be provide a more well-defined space where paid editors can learn best practices (the real ones, not the worst ones). Jytdog (talk) 00:15, 20 July 2017 (UTC)
That the problem is pretty bad right now doesn't mean it won't get far worse if we stop managing it. I've seen a few nice people who backed out quietly when I pointed out that what they were doing was in conflict with our goals, but the egregious examples of gaming the system and trying to covertly promote their stuff more than make up for that, and if we give the latter a soapbox to stand on, we'll have an even harder time ridding the project of spam. DaßWölf 00:38, 20 July 2017 (UTC)
Well said Wolf. I'd add that we don't want paid editors learning from each other, we want paid editors learning from editors who write neutrally, use reliable sources and who avoid areas where they have a conflict of interest. ϢereSpielChequers 07:07, 20 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Just fyi, have been thinking about this further, and it might make sense to move that activities around the "Statement" that are already happening, to the WP:WikiProject Cooperation. Might be an easier way to go to accomplish the same thing. Jytdog (talk) 00:00, 20 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Support - A step in the right direction. There is a difference between white hat and black hat paid editors. Sorting the sheep from the goats is what it's all about... Carrite (talk) 04:29, 20 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Support, after thinking about it for a while. We're never going to stop paid editing altogether, so having some paid editors who are members of the community in good standing is an absolutely solid idea. Enterprisey (talk!) 06:43, 20 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose - these guilds generally refer to self-regulatory bodies for desired groups; paid editors are, by our standard, an undesired group. עוד מישהו Od Mishehu 07:58, 20 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Support I'm opposed to paid editing, but I don't see the harm. Perhaps it's a dog whistle I'm not hearing. As pointed out above, anyone can create a Wikiproject. So what are we arguing about? Whatever happens here it will be done, or not, depending upon whatever the whims of individual Wikipedians. Figureofnine (talkcontribs) 00:15, 21 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose, mostly per Coretheapple. Double sharp (talk) 08:40, 21 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Suggestion. Is there milage in encouraging corporate user pages? Let us say that Bodgeit & Scarper want to inform the world that they are "the largest (2017 sales: 35 million) and best manufacturers of spring loaded rodent elimination devices". They, or their agent, can put this on a user:Bodgeit_&_Scarper. An editor can then edit mouse trap to add the information that "In 2017 Bodgeit & Scarper claimed to be the largest manufacturer with 35 million sold.<ref>Bodgeit & Scarper, ''company page'' [[Bodgeit & Scarper]] accessdate=1 April 2017</ref>". Paid editing of the main encyclopedia can then be banned but "white hats" are able to input traceable information whilst eliminating POV. Just a half-formed thought! Martin of Sheffield (talk) 09:56, 21 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose I appreciate Jytdog and others here commenting to advance the conversation. If Wikipedia were to develop infrastructure for supporting paid editors, then I think the start should be for paid editors who are not editing Wikipedia articles on people or organizations. Right now "paid editing" is almost synonymous with "editing for a brand or promotion". Because of that heated discussion, we do not create pathways for benevolent paid editing about general reference topics which do not benefit promotional interests. We have a highly committed model for expert paid editing in Wikipedians in Residence. We do not have a light payment model, like for example, an organization which wants to be less committed in funding a scholar to edit Wikipedia articles in a general field like "sanitation" or "public parks" without promoting a brand. For political debates there are some organizations which would fund neutral discourse and presenting all sides of issues, like for example, listing all major points of view in a discussion on any major policy issue. There are lots of organizations which invest large sums of money in sharing ideas in Facebook and Twitter, when actually, what they would really like is to have neutral information in Wikipedia. If there were a club for "no branding, no promotion paid editors" then I think that could be a workable, positive space for some editors. Once we established a clear path for paid editors who have nothing to do with branding, then perhaps we could address the more controversial talk about branding. So far as I know, 100% of paid editors doing editing for brands have caused problems and made volunteers upset. I see no reason to chase a path with a 15 year, 750,000+ attempt, 100% failure rate. Blue Rasberry (talk) 16:35, 21 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Limited support Some editors perform absolutely herculean tasks on WP, and it is a travesty that none of them should ever receive any recognition for their labors and the selfless giving of their time and expertise beyond just a few barnstars. This should certainly change, even if it is only a small stipend as a token of appreciation for their prolific efforts. Whether it be done through crowdfunding or some Wiki endowment, I do not know. And no doubt not all editors would even wish to be paid for their work, but those who do should have a means of submitting their editing history for review. A committee of admins could then analyze the value of their contribs and decide what, if any, compensation would be appropriate. Another option might be a PayPal link placed on certain user pages to recognize some of the top contributors, allowing others who wish to subsidize and encourage their efforts to do so. Incentivization of excellent work is certainly in the interest of this site. - JGabbard (talk) 17:37, 21 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Support with Guild member fees in Bronze, Silver and Gold accounts. Membership cards include exclusive benefits, such as immunity from 3RR and get out of AfD for free (see fine print for disclaimers and limitations). Members earn double and triple points for gratis edits made in a non-paid capacity. Other benefits include free Wikimania scholarships, the private email address of the WMF president and a Wikipedia tote. -- GreenC 18:52, 21 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Very strong Oppose. Every single paid edit whether it is written neutrally or not, is an attempt to promote a company, a product, a person, or a non-profit. That is not what Wikipedia is for, and it's not what thousands of maintenance workers and bona fide content creators offer their unpaid free time for. The slightest relaxation in our view on paid editing, especially the creation of help/support areas for paid editors will be taken by them as a legitimisation of their activity. We already have plenty who think that by putting a paid editing declaration on their user page means we condone paid editing and give them carte blanche to go ahead and write what is basically blatant spam.
Give these spammers the slightest crack in the plaster and they will soon be chipping away at our rules and guidelines until they've knocked the whole wall down. In collaboration of the community and the WMF a short trial of some new measures is soon going to take place and its analysis will show what kind of effect, if any, it has had on spam (as well as other unwanted content). That, together with the non-indexing of new articles, should go a long way towards negating the SEO advantages for the 'Get me a page on Wikipedia' customers, and reduce the incentive for the 'We'll get you a page on Wikipedia' merchants.
Paid editing is not particularly difficult to detect by experienced New Page Reviewers, and spam links slipped into articles should be recognised by recent changes patrollers and Pending Changes Reviewers, and a few software enhancement we are asking for (eg. ORES, and better automatic duplication detection) should do the rest. What is increasing now however, is the number of direct offers of money for work being sent by email to admins from professional rings of socks (so it's already going partly underground). We can only rely on the sysops' integrity to refuse. I understand that measures to combat paid editing will drive it underground, but I think we need to stick to our principles and if we don't yet have such strong principles, it's time we did. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 21:42, 21 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Very strong Oppose. Kudpung has said it all above and I concur.Charles (talk) 21:53, 21 July 2017 (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.

Inline/title coordinates in infoboxes[edit]

Template:Coord#Caveats warns that "Tools which read Wikipedia database dumps (such as Google Earth) often ignore inline coordinates. To ensure that coordinates are seen by these tools, one set should be displayed beside the title." - this also seems to be true for the Wikipedia API, which so far as I can see only provides coordinates for articles when they are displayed in the title, and ignores inline ones.

There are a number of articles that supply coordinates in their infobox, but only as |display=inline (eg. Foundling Museum), and as such are invisible to third-party tools which access the API using coordinates. In cases where an infobox is in the lead section of the article and is already displaying inline coordinates, I propose that these should always be expanded to |display=inline,title (to the point where this process could be performed by a simple bot). Are there any cases where this would be incorrect or unhelpful? --Gapfall (talk) 15:46, 20 July 2017 (UTC)

Regarding the API, there are two types of coordinates: "primary" and "secondary". The default is to return only the primary coordinates, but the coprimary parameter may be used to request secondary or "all". Foundling Museum currently only has secondary coordinates, but it does have them. Presumably it's the primary coordinates that are displayed by the title. Anomie 16:15, 20 July 2017 (UTC)

Perennial proposals and the Village Pump[edit]

If something's been rejected often enough to become a perennial proposal, I gather it can still be acceptable to open a new proposal on it, but that the interested party should first raise it here at the Village Pump (to see if taking a new swing at it is actually merited). Do I understand that correctly? If so, what's the appropriate response if users (either deliberately or unwittingly) disregard PERENNIAL and open new proposals on a perennial topic anyway? ╠╣uw [talk] 18:47, 21 July 2017 (UTC)

Anyone can choose to discuss a perennial proposal in any venue, but unless they've examined past history and are able to address the previously raised issues, then the conversation is likely to end quickly. I would ask the editor in question if the proposal has taken into account previous feedback. isaacl (talk) 03:23, 22 July 2017 (UTC)
When it's clear that the editor has not (but the proposal remains open), what then is the appropriate action? Closing with direction to discuss at the pump? It seems like the value of the perennial proposals list is to help constrain repetitious or unproductive debate, but in my experience even repetitious perennial proposals that offer nothing new and don't consider previous feedback don't end quickly. The few who support it will do so vocally, and the majority who don't will feel compelled to participate so that their silence isn't taken as tacit support. ╠╣uw [talk] 11:56, 22 July 2017 (UTC)
Generally speaking such proposals affect a broader audience and so need the broader attention of a place like a Village Pump, or at least a notification at a Village Pump. I'm not personally a big fan of forcefully closing discussions, so my approach would be to warn the participants that unless the discussion is moved to a broader venue, it can't be acted upon. There are others who do take a more direct tack of closing the discussion; I just think most of the time it creates more fuss than is saved by letting the discussion wind down. isaacl (talk) 15:33, 22 July 2017 (UTC)
Actually, the need for a broad audience would be handled if the discussion in question is advetized in an appropriate venue with a large audience. And without knowing which discussion you're referring to, we can't really answer the question. עוד מישהו Od Mishehu 19:06, 22 July 2017 (UTC)
Yes, I mentioned that notification at appropriate locations can be sufficient. Exactly how I might word a message would likely be context-specific. (I assume your second sentence is addressed to the original poster.) isaacl (talk) 16:12, 23 July 2017 (UTC)
It's a proposed page move, and the proposal is contrary to a consistently applied guideline. It's failing at over 70% oppose. A local matter like that doesn't need a Village Pump consensus or Central Notice. It could reasonably be posted at the guideline's talk page, but the proposal is toast anyway. Just let it die naturally. The standard 7 day discussion period is half over.
In many cases a bad perennial proposal can get a quick WP:SNOW close after a few clear opposes. But a proposal with a 30% support and respectable arguments shouldn't get SNOW closed. This proposal is dead, but not SNOW appropriate. Alsee (talk) 06:29, 24 July 2017 (UTC)
Agreed that a page move in itself doesn't need a broader consensus (changing the relevant underlying policy or guideline would). If the conversation is ending, then as I alluded to originally (but I guess I didn't write explicitly), just let it end. isaacl (talk) 06:50, 24 July 2017 (UTC)

Dispute resolution RfC[edit]

Hello. You are invited to comment on this RfC, which seeks to reform certain aspects of Wikipedia's dispute resolution processes. Biblio (talk) 15:47, 23 July 2017 (UTC)