Wikipedia:Village pump (policy)/Archive 21

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Fair use of Wikimedia Foundation-related images

I have a question about the relation between the Wikimedia Foundation's licensing policy and use of Wikimedia-related images (like those under Category:CopyrightByWikimedia) on this project (and others). Copyright to those images are either partially or wholly owned by the Wikimedia Foundation, as I understand.

It seems that the licensing policy does not allow any fair use of images unless there is an EDP allowing the use. English Wikipedia does not have such policy when it comes to WMF-related images. Should there be one? Or is there any reason to think that it is okay to regard that the licensing policy does not apply to the WMF-related images?

I am also thinking that it might be okay for the Wikimedia Foundation if those images are kept. They might potentially object to some of the image uses, but not based on the licensing policy, which is designed, I think, to limit the fair use of images and other media in the article namespace. If the Foundation gives blanket permission of a kind, subject to later termination based on their discretion, regarding WMF-related images, it would save some time developing an EDP for many projects. Is this a possibility do you think?

Thanks, Tomos (talk) 06:58, 7 January 2008 (UTC)

Ah, the elephant in the room. The problem is, a lot of the uses _are_ inappropriate (there's no reason, for example, that a screenshot of a browser needs to show wikipedia, and in fact it borders on violating WP:ASR.) We've been ignoring this for a long time. —Random832 15:36, 7 January 2008 (UTC)
I agree. I have often thought that (for example) in the screenshots of Mozilla Firefox it would be more appropriate to show the first run page than a screenshot of Wikipedia. Then again, that page is copyrighted (although perhaps no more so than the Firefox logos). • Anakin (contribscomplaints) 16:29, 7 January 2008 (UTC)
I see your points. But I am thinking more about logos used for some Wikiprojects and templates on user pages. Some contain presumably fair use of the jigsaw puzzle Earth. Like this Image:AIDlogo2.png. It takes an EDP amendment to preserve images like this used in non-article namespaces mainly for symbolic, identification purposes - identification with Wikipedia, that is. Tomos (talk) 10:12, 12 January 2008 (UTC)

WP:No drama

In accordance with WP:POINT, I have a proposal:

"If editors do not believe that Wikipedia is a useful tool for spreading knowledge and do not believe that expressing their concerns politely, and in accordance with Wikipedia policy, will have any impact, they should simply leave. People expressing their concerns to the community about any fundamental problems with Wikipedia is vital to the success of the Wikipedia project. Editors, however, who attempt to start flame-wars through dramatic announcements about their leaving Wikipedia are acting in bad faith. This is true whether their frustrations are justified or not, because such dramatic exits generally only seek to encourage other users to leave Wikipedia and disrupt Wikipedia, out of their own sense of frustration."

What do you think?

To clarify, I don't have any specific issue with any editors leaving. I just saw an admin elsewhere make such a posting and it seemed highly inappropriate. I'm sure this has probably happened several times before, yes? Zenwhat (talk) 03:59, 8 January 2008 (UTC) The page appears to have been deleted and, in any case, the proposal is withdrawn.   Zenwhat (talk) 06:06, 16 January 2008 (UTC)

Maybe we can't learn anything from listening to what people who leave in frustration have to say. Then again, maybe we can. Some marketing types and some lawyers suggest that listening to disgruntled customers can be a wise thing to do even if one learns nothing. See e.g. Customer service#Accountability. Best, --Shirahadasha (talk) 04:10, 8 January 2008 (UTC)
The above text addresses the importance of them expressing their concerns to the community. It's talking about vague pronouncements where everybody knows what they're upset about and they're just trying to make everybody upset by dramatically leaving. It's as if they want the administrative decisions involved (that's usually the issue) to be overturned by making people upset. The existence of "vocal disgruntled customers" by itself doesn't benefit Wikipedia. Just as the existence of disingenuous shills may help a business, the existence of attacks on a company made in bad faith (see astroturfing, libel) may hurt a company. If they have an issue, there are ways they can formally issue their complaints. Dramatic exits are immature and disruptive. I say this even for those admins who have left who I agreed were mistreated. This also holds true because if such behavior is anything like what I've seen from forums, such claims of, "I'm leaving and never coming back!! See what you've made me do?!" aren't sincere. They're temporary emotional reactions, which are often quickly withdrawn when the person realizes how much they really value the community, whether it's a forum or Wikipedia. A fair amount of forums I've come across have this rule. Zenwhat (talk) 04:23, 8 January 2008 (UTC)

Sometimes it is useful to hear what people are to say, sometimes it is useful to overwrite an admin decision to save a productive user for the project. I do not see any particular advantages in shutting up people's mouthes Alex Bakharev (talk) 05:02, 8 January 2008 (UTC)

People storm off in a huff all the time[citation needed]. Half the time, they're back within a month[citation needed]. It's a very human reaction, and not something I think we should worry about. Let them have their space. So long as they're not violating any existing "rules" (e.g., WP:NPA), it's mostly harmless. And, as others have said, sometimes the irate outburst can be useful. Maybe it sheds light on how something could be done better. Maybe it makes some other involved party sit back and think, "Ya know, while I still believe I'm completely in the right, perhaps I could have been a little nicer, and avoided the wiki-hate." I added the fact tags myself.DragonHawk (talk|hist) 05:22, 8 January 2008 (UTC)
Alex and Dragon, you make valid points why it shouldn't be a policy. What about a guideline? Zenwhat (talk) 06:47, 8 January 2008 (UTC)
What about writing an essay in subpage of your userspace. No one is going to object to that, but I see no compelling reason to have this as part of the Wikipedia namespace. It sounds like a good idea for an essay, but really, do we need anything on this under the "official" guise of a policy or guideline in the Wikipedia namespace? --Jayron32|talk|contribs 05:27, 9 January 2008 (UTC)
There really isn't a huge difference between policy and guideline. Guidelines are a little less serious, but in practice it just depends on how willing people are to enforce them. WP:N is a guideline that people enforce pretty rigidly, probably more so than WP:V, a policy. The WP:MoS is made up of guidelines too, but much of it is rarely enforced except on WP:FAC. Mr.Z-man 20:52, 11 January 2008 (UTC)

Few would also probably object to me jumping off a cliff instead of proposing the above as policy. But that's irrelevant. The issue of whether people would object to a policy says nothing of the merit of the policy proposal. In practice, if everybody has the false notion, "Oh, everybody will object to the policy," it can make it such that no policies get passed, the same way that similar reasoning can cause lotteries to be winnable if everybody makes the false assumption that you can't win. It is an irrelevant fallacy that evokes appeal to popularity. Zenwhat (talk) 01:34, 12 January 2008 (UTC)

Someone appears to have deleted the above proposal without either commenting here or notifying me. Zenwhat (talk) 23:01, 12 January 2008 (UTC)

About policies on deletion

I have read that wikipedia has deleted articles on freemuse.org with reasons that are false. I'm curious if it is the normal policy of this encyclopedia to censor the articles found on the website. I really don't care about etiquette right now. I find this an asinine attempt to keep the uneducated, ignorant people in that state so they don't know what is actually going on in the world around them. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 71.109.211.90 (talkcontribs)

Well, first of all Wikipedia is not censored. Secondly, if you are talking about the article that was titled Freemuse, I see that it has been deleted 3 times, and all appear to be legitimate reasons:
So, hopefully this has addressed your question as to why the article was deleted. We have policies here. - Rjd0060 (talk) 04:48, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
Wikipedia is not censored, the same way China is not censored. We have policies here, but no individual rights.
"A membership organisation with its secretariat based in Copenhagen, Denmark. Freemuse receives core funding from SIDA, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency" is not notable. Neither is Wikiality or Encyclopedia Dramatica. For a good example of notability, see Bawls and Internet memes. If you persist in opposing this policy by making statements like, "I find this an asinine attempt to keep the uneducated, ignorant people in that state" you will be blocked per WP:CIVILITY. And yes, I am being sarcastic right now. Zenwhat (talk) 22:35, 12 January 2008 (UTC)
Does NRK rate as unreliable? Taemyr (talk) 20:07, 13 January 2008 (UTC)

youtube on wikipedia

Hello there, what is the policy of posting youtube links on wikipedia? Ktsquare (talk) 21:49, 11 January 2008 (UTC)

Here's the relevant policy. Basically, there is no blanket ban on linking to youtube, but we are also not allowed to post anything that infringes on someone's copyright, so that leaves out much of the content on youtube, and we're also only supposed to link to relevant content, so that leaves out 99.9% of what's left. If you find something that meets all the criteria, though, it's okay to add the link. Karanacs (talk) 21:53, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
Short comment: establishing the status of copyrights may be very difficult though, so caution is advisable. Pundit|utter 18:27, 12 January 2008 (UTC)

Proposal to make uploads autoconfirmed

There is a proposal to make "upload" an autoconfirmed right rather than an automatic right, as default on all Wikimedia wikis except at the Commons. So after you sign up, you have to wait 4 days before you can upload. Individual projects could opt-out from this. See m:Metapub#Set upload to autoconfirmed Wikimedia-wide. Please comment over there. Lupo 12:34, 12 January 2008 (UTC) (Also posted at WP:AN.)

I agree. The bots are annoying. I've tagged images with my copyright info and they still say, "helo ur imag does not hav any copyrite info plz add or it wil be renoved." Copyright is stupid to begin with and I don't like spam! Zenwhat (talk) 16:03, 12 January 2008 (UTC)
I commented there. Lawrence Cohen 16:07, 12 January 2008 (UTC)

Hold on to the general public's interest, Wikipedia

Today I went onto Wikipedia to look up information on an episode of Scrubs I was watching, only to find that individual episode articles have been condensed into a non-descriptive page with a glorified list of episodes on it. The week before I went to look up something I had previously read on a "facts (trivia)" section of a composer I enjoy listening to, only to find that it had been deleted citing a "No trivia" policy. A long time ago I tried to find a way to express the importance of a specific piece of music, but could never keep the words to stay on the page: being that they were constantly deleted because of "non-citation".

These among so many other occurrences has lead me to the pump, where I will implore the big-wigs at Wikipedia to stop making such harsh, totalitarian rules. I understand the purpose of each and every one of them, but they should be applied as guidelines, and used at the contributing public's discrepancy. One of my favorite things about Wikipedia was finding "trivial" information about television/movies and other non-mainstream information of the ilk: because it's not very easy to come by.

So, please, reconsider the new implementations of these creativity-binding policies. You're taking away from what made Wikipedia so interesting, and shows that the average contributor is not to be respected or trusted.

--Alegoo92 (talk) 20:24, 12 January 2008 (UTC)

Line up behind the many others complaining about this. Just check the redirects and in short order you'll be lead to debate after debate on this issue while the actions continue unabated. Weigh in to get it changed. — Trust not the Penguin (T | C) 20:49, 12 January 2008 (UTC)

If you don't like it, you could always try Wikia or create your own Wiki? Specific groups of editors focusing on specific, technical topics should not be adding such technical information that's only relevant to a certain niche group. These references have very little problem with being added on Wikia and outside Wikipedias such as Wookieepedia and so on, have been created precisely for this purpose. An encyclopedia is supposed to be a "general reference." Wikipedia is not paper is not a fallacious justification for non-notable topics, like irrelevant lists and directories entries like Category:Exploding animals. Because my allowing people to add such silliness, Wikipedia ceases to serve any role as a general reference, since it's cluttered with internet memes, rumors, and jokes. That may make Wikipedia "so interesting," but purely because something (like "the lulz") is interesting, does not make it encyclopedic. Zenwhat (talk) 22:41, 12 January 2008 (UTC)

All these changes stem from what Wikipedia is not - we are not an indiscriminate collection of information and is not meant to be a collection of plot summaries. As Zenwhat points out, we are trying to suggest that other wikis are more appropriate places for this information that we can link to from Wikipedia, where there are no similar bounds on what can be included. --MASEM 23:25, 12 January 2008 (UTC)

Well since that's what Wikipedia is great for, maybe you should become just that. --Alegoo92 (talk) 18:10, 13 January 2008 (UTC)

These days, every time I want to give someone a wikipedia link, I need to double-check if it still exists. That sucks. And that while Wikipedia is NOT paper. --Kim Bruning (talk) 00:24, 13 January 2008 (UTC)


A proposal to other editors: This seems like a good place to make my request as any. I've been looking to get into a debate of sorts via point-by-point essays and replies to such over the issue of properly verifiable 'cruft' on wikipedia. I can't promise any time frame on this debate, but if people would like to make an essay (in their userspace for now, perhaps) on such matters on drop me a line on my talk page once you have, it would be interesting to have a series of discussions between editors of differing opinions on this matter. The sole restriction placed on this is, as stated, this does not cover unverifiable material, which I think we can all agree does not have a place. If enough people are interested, I'll throw together a collection of the article links as a proper essay page in wiki space. LinaMishima (talk) 00:21, 13 January 2008 (UTC)

moved lengthy material to User:Masem/cruft-essay per request below--MASEM 02:20, 13 January 2008 (UTC)
Woah, not here! This is an entirely separate discussion really, too deep to battle out over on VPP. I'd prefer only really to respond to separated, qualified points, on a userspace essay, so that we don't clutter this place up and it's easier for everyone to follow the reasoning. There's two key separate issues here: "Do 'cruft' articles which satisfy only V and NOR harm wikipedia?" and "Should wikipedia's coverage be defined by the users or the editors?". Personally, I believe a certain outcome is the only logical one supported by the body of evidence (albeit the one that is unlikely to be followed, for various reasons), however I know other people may have different views. That's why I'd like to solicit people to explore this in-depth elsewhere. I'm busy at the moment, and as such I don't have the time right now to right a properly thought-out (and ideally referenced) pair of essays, but I'd like to see the thoughts of others at least and perhaps get some food for thought. LinaMishima (talk) 02:11, 13 January 2008 (UTC)
If you are upset about not finding something on Wikipedia, especially articles on subjects that consensus, guidelines, or policy have deemed not worth having at Wikipedia, there's a little known place you can look to find that information. It is called the rest of the Internet. Wikipedia is an encyclopedia that needs sources to base its information on. If sources don't exist, then articles can't exist... --Jayron32|talk|contribs 04:48, 13 January 2008 (UTC)
You appear to have missed the point. I am not voicing upset directly here, but rather soliciting a discussion of the issues. Secondly, I do not disagree with respect to sources, and have explicitly said as such. If you would like to join in further debate, please feel free to write an essay on your opinions (ideally separate points each justified, rather than pure prose) and let me know where to find it. It will be interesting seeing what others think with regard to sourced content! LinaMishima (talk) 16:33, 13 January 2008 (UTC)

I don't think that "go away" is a terribly constructive response to the OP. DuncanHill (talk) 04:50, 13 January 2008 (UTC)

True. I apologize for my tone. It was inappropriate. --Jayron32|talk|contribs 06:55, 13 January 2008 (UTC)
I sympathize with the original poster; I started reading Wikipedia in around 2005 it has changed a lot. The best way to sum it up is that it takes being an encyclopedia a lot more seriously. I don't know if this is a good thing or a bad thing in the long run, but I certainly do miss some of the oddities I used to come across that are now removed. I'm not saying if it is right or wrong, just stating that I don't think it was always like this... perhaps someone who was involved in Wikipedia on a community level back then could comment on this. daveh4h 06:42, 13 January 2008 (UTC)
My sense is that before such information (fiction "cruft" and trivia) was really culled (circa about a year ago), WP had a reputation for having information like that. Whether that's a good or bad sign, that's a personal opinion, but it did have it, and as above posters have stated, they kept coming back for it since they knew it was here. And now that its changing to seemingly to remove this information, such issues get noticed quickly. I slightly agree that what's happening is that WP is simply purging a lot of stuff that never should have been on WP, even though policy/guidelines were not exactly as specific as they are today to prevent this stuff from being put on in the first place. It is a bit of trying to close the barn doors while the cows/horses have already escape - many average people expect WP to be a lot of fictional show information and trivia bits, and now that we aren't recommending these areas in coverage, the lack of it alters the reader's perception. Barring any major changes, such readers will come to learn in time that information on WP is not a full compendium of human knowledge, but between now and then, there's a lot of hurdles to clean. --MASEM 07:08, 13 January 2008 (UTC)

New CSD proposal

Cross posting to inform the community about a new proposal. Discussion taking place at Wikipedia talk:Criteria for speedy deletion#New criteria proposal. - Rjd0060 (talk) 02:54, 14 January 2008 (UTC)

WP:PRIVACY - proposed -> rejected -> guideline

This was one of three rejected privacy proposals from a year ago. It went from "rejected" to "guideline" with no discussion after sitting unedited for months. I changed this back to proposed. I don't believe this proposal ever had consensus, and don't believe it has consensus now. Perhaps it would be worth writing a bot to make a post here whenever a policy or guideline tag is added to a page. — Carl (CBM · talk) 03:50, 14 January 2008 (UTC)

Misuse of Wikipedia trademark by Wikia - serious conflict of interest.

Wikia has announced the Annex. This is described as "This Wikia hopes to be a place where Wikipedia fiction articles that are too detailed for Wikipedia can be kept until they find a new home." The Annex has features like "Getting a Wikipedia Article into the Annex" and "Bringing Many Wikipedia Articles at Once". On Wikipedia, at WP:FICT, the use of this Wikia feature is suggested as a way to move articles out of Wikipedia: "Fictional material unsuited or too detailed for Wikipedia can be transwikied to the appropriate Wikia, such as Final Fantasy Wikia and Wookieepedia. Other sites, such as Gaming Wiki, may also accept material. Transwikied material should be edited to meet the guidelines of specific wikias; do not just copy and paste. The Wikia Annex is a staging area for transwikied material and a place for non-notable fictional material that does not have another home; the original Wikipedia versions will also be stored there."

This is a clear statement of affiliation between Wikia and Wikipedia. It explicitly establishes a mechanism by which Wikia directly benefits from its connection to Wikipedia. Enough of one to put Wikipedia's tax-exempt status at risk. When the same people are involved in the management of both a nonprofit and a profit making organization, US tax law prohibits the nonprofit from taking actions that directly benefit the profit-making organization. See IRS publication 1023, part V. --John Nagle (talk) 17:53, 1 January 2008 (UTC)

Sorry, all WP content is GFDL--all kinds of commercial enterprises exploit WP for profit. Are you claiming that even though the content is available free to everyone else, Wikia's intended use of it threatens WP non-profit status? Professor marginalia (talk) 18:34, 1 January 2008 (UTC)
The argument may be valid in the cases where it appears to be Wikipedia policy to move content deemed excessive for Wikipedia specifically to Wikia (as distinct from other non-Wikia-hosted wikis or non-wiki sites). TSP (talk) 19:14, 1 January 2008 (UTC)
The main reason for that is because Wikia wikis are released under the GFDL when most other websites are copyrighted or use a Creative Commons license (not yet GFDL compatible AFAIK) and it is easy to move an article from one MediaWiki wiki to another as an XML file. Mr.Z-man 00:24, 2 January 2008 (UTC)
I agree with TSP. It appears to have become wikipedia policy (or rather, it is in the process of becoming or is already through allowed actions) to remove the hard work done by contributors and a major draw for many people and to transfer this over to wikia. This is blatantly nothing more than an exercise in damaging wikipedia for commercial gain, in my opinion. Verifiability should be used for article existence, not notability. LinaMishima (talk) 01:21, 2 January 2008 (UTC)
As I said, the main reason lots of content inappropriate for Wikipedia goes to Wikia is simply convenience. Its a website with hundreds, maybe thousands of wikis of different subjects, using the same software (making history transfer easy), with content released under a compatible license. Its a lot easier to drop a note on the talk page of an admin on a wiki that you know has a compatible license asking if they want the content and history before you delete it than it is to email a webmaster and ask them to change their site's license and keep a copy of the history somewhere on their site. Also, the full history is transferred too, so the "hard work" is being preserved on Wikia rather than being deleted here. As far as using verifiability as the main inclusion standard, you do realize that that would basically allow anyone or anything whose existence can be proven (pretty much any person in a 1st world nation) to get an article? Mr.Z-man 03:32, 2 January 2008 (UTC)
I do realise that, yes. Although this is not a discussion for this place (as it is a massively huge issue), wikipedia is not a paper encyclopaedia, limited in what it can cover. As long as articles only contain verifiable information, and are not written by person unduely close to the subject, then there is no harm to the project in articles existing. Whilst this is obviously a matter of contention when it comes to people, when it comes to 'fancruft' for topics with tens of thousands of interested people only harm can come from their removal. This is entirely off-topic though, and there is not really even a debate - it is a difference in ideologies. LinaMishima (talk) 04:20, 2 January 2008 (UTC)
The people who are noting the Annex and other Wikia hosted wikis are all 3rd parties. None of us are employees of Wikipedia or Wikia. -- Ned Scott 01:12, 2 January 2008 (UTC)
Third party implies no connection to either side. If you edit on wikipedia, you are more of a volunteer, a laymember. Given the means by which wikipedia policy is formed and most work on wikipedia is performed, there is a strong case here. Remember, the intent of the law is more important than the literal wording, as the judicial system has repeatedly proven. Where a non-profit's volunteers were to decide that policy would be to support a profit group, tax law would require that the non-profit management takes steps to prevent this. Calling the links 'suggestions' does not make one's self innocent if these suggestions are repeatedly and consistently made. LinaMishima (talk) 01:22, 2 January 2008 (UTC)
I don't think you understand, this has been discussed to death, commented on by lawyers, and ranted upon by people who believe that anyone who is "for-profit" is evil. There is no conflict of interest, there is no threat to the Wikimedia Foundation's non-profit tax status. Someone needs to make an FAQ about this so we don't have to re-discuss it every time someone "discovers" these facts. -- Ned Scott 02:37, 2 January 2008 (UTC)
I don't see a false claim of affiliation on Wikia's part so much as a statement of what is really happening, so I just don't see the trademark issue. I do think there's a serious appearance of a conflict of interest, which is why this keeps coming up. Whether there is an actual conflict and not just an appearance, and whether the conflict has lead to impermissible collusion, few of us are qualified to say. Jimbo still makes policy on Wikipedia, and various people are involved in both organizations. Wikipedia's policies on non-free content, notability, verifiability, conflict of interest, and many other things do tend to favor Wikia. I'm not particularly bothered about this as a user of Wikipedia - I think our policies are sound ones. And in most cases Wikia is doing just what a private company should do, taking advantage of a niche that others are not addressing. So I'm not losing any sleep over this. It's really a matter for the various lawyers and Board members to think through - that's their job! And if they want to set their dials towards being more fast and loose, versus being more conservative in avoiding conflicts, their choice. Wikidemo (talk) 02:48, 2 January 2008 (UTC)
This is a clear statement of affiliation between Wikia and Wikipedia. None of the kind, John Nagle. Material from Wikipedia is used under the GDFL in many for-profit sites. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 03:11, 2 January 2008 (UTC)
It's not a copyright issue. It's a tax law issue. --John Nagle (talk) 03:51, 2 January 2008 (UTC)
I'm sure that you're not telling editors not to do something for legal reasons, but just in case, please note: Wikipedia:No legal threats. -- John Broughton (♫♫) 13:43, 2 January 2008 (UTC)
But Jossi's point is that Wikia is not doing anything that anyone else couldn't do anyway, so they're not (at least, not in the copying of the articles themselves; Wikipedia consistently linking to them over any competitors [do they have competitors?] would be a different matter if that's the case) benefiting from any supposed connection. Special:Export works for everyone (I just tried it logged-out, so you don't even need an account) , and ships with the stock version of mediawiki software, so this is clearly not a feature that's specifically for Wikia's use. —Random832 16:45, 2 January 2008 (UTC)
Amusing note: I tried searching Google for Wikia "Conflict of interest". Google Search considers Wikia to be a synonym for Wikipedia. The search results contain entries that have "Wikipedia" but not "Wikia", and show "Wikipedia" in bold face. --John Nagle (talk) 18:57, 2 January 2008 (UTC)
Google makes mistakes. Keilanatalk(recall) 22:19, 2 January 2008 (UTC)
If you feel this is a legal issue, this is not really the place to decide that. You may want to contact the Foundation's legal counsel instead - Mike Godwin. Mr.Z-man 22:36, 2 January 2008 (UTC)
The policy question is whether Wikipedia needs a policy to prevent editors from deliberately or inadvertently favoring Wikia. We need either a legal opinion that it's OK to favor Wikia (as in WP:FICT) or a policy that such things should not be done. The most appropriate position would be to have a policy that nothing on Wikipedia can be structured to benefit Wikia. --John Nagle (talk) 04:40, 3 January 2008 (UTC)
If WMF's lawyer believes we need such a policy, he is capable of speaking up. If he does not, we as non-lawyers should not be working on half-informed paranoia. —Random832 05:51, 3 January 2008 (UTC)
I agree, ask Mike Godwin if you really think there's a problem. Personally, I really care where the material goes, if anywhere. If you want to copy it to wikia, fine. If you want to copy it to your personal website, fine. Just get the junk out of wikipedia and don't violate the GFDL. Sure some wikipedians seem to be enamoured with wikia but I don't really care about that either and don't get why the foundation is going to be legally responsible because some of their contributors like wikia too much... If there is another suitable place to copy the stuff for WP:FICT then go ahead and add it. Nil Einne (talk) 16:51, 4 January 2008 (UTC)
Jimbo is an Objectivist. What is an Objectivist? Ignore the article on it, because it's probably not accurate. Instead, a summary from here:
  • Cheese triangles are.
  • The goal of life is to consume the most cheese triangles, obviously.
  • Any action anyone takes to prevent you from eating cheese triangles is punishable by sinking the entire continent of Africa into the ocean with him strapped to it.
  • If you can get somebody stupid to give you two cheese triangles for one of yours, then repeatedly perform the swap until he has one cheese triangle left. Then try and persuade him to give you his last triangle. There is nothing wrong in doing this.

Aside from contacting Jimbo's lawyer, I recommend contacting the IRS (their website here) regarding Wikipedia's non-profit license. That's more likely to accomplish something than having a non-lawyer write a letter that Jimbo's lawyers won't read. I suspect they knew about this, which is why they added the caveats "Fictional material unsuited or too detailed for Wikipedia" and "do not just copy and paste." The government doesn't like issuing non-profit licenses to for-profit corporations that use a non-profit business as a tax shelter because it is illegal. They may be able to defend themselves in court, but there appears to be enough evidence above to make a case, which is why it's unbelievable for Jimbo to do such a thing. The existence of Wikia itself is a conflict-of-interest. Doing this, now, is just... unbelievable. Zenwhat (talk) 10:22, 10 January 2008 (UTC) These statements were said out of ignorance. Please disregard them and see comments below. Zenwhat (talk) 10:36, 13 January 2008 (UTC)

Mike Godwin is very approachable. He regularly responds to questions on the public Foundation mailing list and he replied to the email I sent him a few days ago within 24 hours. Jimbo will also reply to most emails, but he takes a lot longer. Mr.Z-man 10:30, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
Mike Godwin is also a Libertarian and contributor to Reason magazine who may see absolutely nothing unethical with dodging taxes if he can get away with it. See taxation is theft. Now, that isn't a direct accusation because I'm not a conspiracy theorist or a slanderer (i.e., Jimbo accepted payola from the record companies to say, "Wikipedia is not paper!", where does Wikipedia funding come from anyway?! The CORPORATIONS, THAT'S WHO, etc..) The point is: To avoid the appearance of impropriety and a potential conflict-of-interest -- in fact, a potentially illegal conflict-of-interest that may get Wikipedia shut down as a not-for-profit, "free" encyclopedia that anyone can edit -- conjoining the two in the above way seems outrageously irresponsible, particularly with regard to the criticism Wikia has already received. Though the caveats act as legal shields, in practice, tons of editors blatantly ignore policy -- no one's going to rigorously enforce the "don't copy and paste" rule (is Jimbo going to sue himself?), so it seems to be intended to fork all content to Wikia, which any editor who believes in the Wikipedia project should find unconscionable. Call these arguments spurious if you must, but the government has used similar arguments before. See the recent arrests over the Liberty Dollar. If what you say is true about Mike and Jimbo being easily approachable, this policy should be overturned within a few days. If not, I suspect anyone will either receive no response or some legalese arguing why it's perfectly ethical and legal. After all, I don't think anyone could've done this without either of them giving the green light, do you? Zenwhat (talk) 13:43, 10 January 2008 (UTC)These statements were said out of ignorance. Please disregard them and see comments below. Zenwhat (talk) 10:36, 13 January 2008 (UTC)

You said they were misusing our trademark? Wikipedia is our name, they're allowed to mention it. Nothing there says the foundation endorses any of it. Loads of companies, like Veropedia, benifit from wikipedia every day, and all they want to do is take articles that wouldn't be accepted on wikipedia and put them on the appropriate wikis, which is already done a lot on most of the big wikia wikis. All this thread does is serve to create disruption and drama.--Phoenix-wiki 20:20, 12 January 2008 (UTC)
::As John Nagle noted above, it's not a copyright law issue. It's a tax law issue. A charity is free to release its intellectual property into the public domain, but if a single entity generates intellectual property under free licensing, released under the public domain, while simultaneously owning a company that copyrights that same content as a "unique work derived from content that's in the public domain," this seems to be an attempt at creating a tax shelter, which is illegal. And despite the caveats above, you can't attempt to dodge tax law through the creative use of caveats. Bernard von NotHaus tried to argue (paraphrase), "My website clearly states the Liberty Dollar is a bartering currency and not legal tender." The IRS still raided the liberty dollar's offices, arrested Bernard, and charged him with tax-evasion. As a result of the grossly irresponsible actions above, the same could happen to Wikipedia and Wikia, since Jimbo is head CEO of both corporations. As a supporter of the EFF, I am appauled that a "Libertarian" could use the GFDL license to abuse copyright law, in order to profit from the free labor of Wikipedia editors. Zenwhat (talk) 23:12, 12 January 2008 (UTC) These statements were said out of ignorance. Please disregard them and see comments below. Zenwhat (talk) 10:36, 13 January 2008 (UTC)

"released under the public domain, while simultaneously owning a company that copyrights that same content as a "unique work derived from content that's in the public domain,"" Wikipedia does not release content into the public domain. Anyone who reuses Wikipedia content is legally required to make any changes they make available to other people for free, under the same GFDL license. No one can copyright this stuff as "unique work derived from ..". -- Ned Scott 05:27, 13 January 2008 (UTC)

I've discussed this matter with a person familiar with the issue and, as it seems to me, GFDL protects against a conflict-of-interest, as Ned just said. This is true because the requirement that stuff under the GFDL also be released under the GFDL means that Jimbo can't profit from Wikipedia more than anyone else, even if he owns Wikia. That's a strong enough argument to deflect even the IRS's lawyers. This would be true even if he were to add to the main page of Wikia, "HAY GUYS LETS ALL COPE STUFFS FROM WIKIPEDIA RIGHT NOW, LOL!!" Please disregard my comments above as ignorant conspiracy theory. Zenwhat (talk) 10:43, 13 January 2008 (UTC)

What about the situation in late 2006 with MyWikiBiz.com? That was an off-site GFDL content storage area for Wikipedians to work on content before it might be copied by a volunteer to Wikipedia. Jimmy Wales blocked their account, wrote a screed about the site on the site's User page, and claimed that the reason for the block was a misuse of the Wikipedia name in commerce. How is that situation different from the current one described above? - John Russ Finley (talk) 11:38, 14 January 2008 (UTC)
I'm not sure it is, to be honest. relating to the matter being discussed here, although the GFDL allows everyone to make equal profit, the repeated mention of wikia first and foremost biases the wikipedia project's material reuse towards sending articles to wikia and increasing wikia's coverage before that of other, unrelated, wikis. Although the IRS and the like may find that there is no technical issue, placing wikia first to me creates a moral issue. The expression should be "another wiki, such as wikia or...", rather than "wikia, or another wiki such as". The former wording makes it more explicitly clear that 'another wiki' is the key part, whilst the later indicates a first preference for wikia. LinaMishima (talk) 12:41, 14 January 2008 (UTC)
Furthermore, the MyWikiBiz model seems to be more compatible with the spirit of the Wikipedia mission than does Wikia.com. For example, the Wikia Annex home page contains banner advertising that produces revenues that essentially go to a Wikimedia Foundation board member. The MyWikiBiz home page does not display advertising, and in fact, their policy is to allow the editorial contributors to that project to place their own Google AdSense ads, and keep 100% of the revenues, if that is their choosing. Yet, we witnessed Jimmy Wales block MyWikiBiz, while Wikia Annex (which earns him money) is not only tolerated, it's implicitly endorsed. If everyone thinks this is "okay", I'm fine with that, but I think there could be a big IRS surprise one day. - John Russ Finley (talk) 15:18, 14 January 2008 (UTC)

Regardless of what may or may not be required by the law (of which the legal counsel is the proper party to decide, not any of us), we should try to avoid even the appearance of conflicts of interest by avoiding saying things in a way that seems to give special precedence to Wikia sites. Instead, it's best to suggest the trans-wikiing of content to appropriate other wikis (and other sites) with compatible copyright licenses (and hopefully the current proposed changes to GFDL will bring a wider range of outside licenses into compatibility with it), regardless of where they're hosted. Listings can be maintained of known compatible and appropriate sites, which can include ones on Wikia and ones elsewhere without discrimination. *Dan T.* (talk) 13:32, 14 January 2008 (UTC)

Reviving Wikipedia:Offensive username proposal

Two years on, the list of users is still frontloaded with garbage (see Wikipedia:Offensive username proposal for a few examples, see Special:Listusers for thousands more). I am reviving my earlier Wikipedia:Offensive username proposal, in a somewhat streamlined form, to address this. Let's implement this proposal and start warehousing this garbage behind an inoffensive number. Cheers! bd2412 T 21:11, 7 January 2008 (UTC)

As a radical supporter of free speech, I have to oppose this. "Offensive" is an arbitrary concept that generally boils down to "something you don't like." Most people don't like racism. It's true racism is nonsense. Should racist names be removed from Wikipedia? It seems like a common sense thing to do but if you have a blanket policy of removing "offensive" names, you're going to inevitably end up with silly controversies, like whether mocking Christianity or Islam is "offensive". Overall, it will tend to reflect the biases of western editors and names which are only offensive to obscure groups aren't going to be removed. Meanwhile, Wikipedia would essentially be censored. Zenwhat (talk) 04:02, 8 January 2008 (UTC)
Free speech does not enter into it at all. The user list is supposed to be useful, allowing people to search for available usernames and identify the status of other users, for example. Garbage names hinder its utility. We are, after all, here for the purpose of writing an encyclopedia, not to use the username list as a messageboard to vent dislike of other users in vulgar terms. I would add that some "usernames" assert that particular users are pedophiles, have AIDS, and other things of that nature which expose Wikipedia to liability for defamation; while others provide private information such as telephone numbers and real identities of other users, in violation of privacy rights. bd2412 T 04:26, 8 January 2008 (UTC)
If the problem is clutter, why not propose tagging offensive names as such and allowing people to option of filtering those out, instead of banning all "offensive" names? Zenwhat (talk) 04:47, 8 January 2008 (UTC)
That is only effective as to people who are familiar enough with the system to know about filtering options. Anyway, what purpose is served by maintaining these names on our user list at all? bd2412 T 06:45, 8 January 2008 (UTC)
This solves nothing, these names will be blocked which means they will not be showing up in edit summaries. All that exists is a user creation log entry, but if we rename them they show up in the rename log. Nothing solved. Lets just leave these bones in the ground. 1 != 2 04:55, 8 January 2008 (UTC)
Doubtless some of them do show up in edit summaries (those that made edits before they were caught and blocked). Those would be solved by this proposal as well. As for the rest, I think the rename log is a far better (e.g. less likely to be viewed) burial than continued presence on the list of user names. bd2412 T 06:43, 8 January 2008 (UTC)
Users who aren't familiar enough with the system to know about filtering options aren't going to care about clutter in the list of users. Zenwhat (talk) 06:49, 8 January 2008 (UTC)

"Does WP:NOTCENSORED outweigh WP:NPA? WP:POINT?" Yes. For a good discussion on the matter of why free speech is valuable everywhere and "offensive" is a crime not worth enforcing, see Chapter 2 of On Liberty by John Stuart Mill. It's not policy or a guideline. It's "just an essay." Zenwhat (talk) 14:57, 10 January 2008 (UTC)

WP:NOTCENSORED generally applies to encyclopedia content, and moreover it does not mean what you think it means. It only says that material which serves a reasonable purpose in building or maintaining the project will not be removed solely because some people may find it offensive. (Even then, we try to strike a balance when handling sensitive material—what is the least offensive way that we can present material without sacrificing the quality of the encyclopedia?)
Material which serves no useful purpose but that strives to irritate or offend tends to get removed with no fuss, muss, or bother. We aim to create a pleasant, courteous working environment for the editors who are creating the world's finest free encyclopedia. If you've read WP:NOTCENSORED, then you'll also recall that just below it on the page is WP:ANARCHY (emphasis added): "Wikipedia is not an anarchy. Wikipedia is free and open, but restricts both freedom and openness where they interfere with creating an encyclopedia. Accordingly, Wikipedia is not a forum for unregulated free speech...." TenOfAllTrades(talk) 15:54, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
If Wikipedia is not censored and Wikipedia is not a forum for unregulated free speech, we are left with only two options:

I think it's somewhere between those two, depending on the specific circumstances. And chaos isn't necessarily a bad thing. Per WP:IAR, I think free speech > everything which = Anarchy. This is why etiquette is only used for meditation mediationZenwhat (talk) 00:47, 12 January 2008 (UTC) and users shouldn't be blocked for bad etiquette. That's basically what this policy implies, except it's specifically about usernames. No thanks. Zenwhat (talk) 16:03, 10 January 2008 (UTC)

I think this shouldn't be looked on from the point of Freedom of Speech or Censorship. Just take it, a rose by any other name would smell just a sweet. If the user is a good user with an offensive name we can't afford to discourage them by giving them hassel about a name, if they a bad user with an offensive name then the name is the least of their problems. Remember attacking someones name will discourage even if they have zero edits it is still annoying. The only problem I see with offensive names is feeling a bit disgusted when reffering to them, but thats a hit I am willing to take for good or even sub average user. The more controling we get the smaller and more exstict wiki will get. I mean we should just thank god that they registered.--AresAndEnyo (talk) 15:22, 11 January 2008 (UTC)

What if, hypothetically, the user's name is User:Fuck AresAndEnyo hes a pedophile? bd2412 T 20:29, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
Then they'd probably get blocked under the username policy. SamBC(talk) 20:43, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
Of course they would get blocked. The question is, should that username thereafter exist in our list of users, forever? If that editor manages to squeeze out an edit or two before getting blocked, should that name be preserved in the edit summary forever? It's a simple thing for a 'crat to effect a namechange, which will remove the offensive (and in this case, defamatory) username from both places. bd2412 T 02:23, 12 January 2008 (UTC)

Yes, let's let give the secret cabal the power to not only ban users, but to erase their existence. Wikipedia doesn't need a memory hole. It needs a bill of rights which stipulates, "The core principle of Wikipedia is that it is a free encyclopedia that anyone can edit. Thus, policy and the will of the community holds no greater authority than the will of the individual user." In fact, I plan to add those to WP:IAR. Zenwhat (talk) 05:55, 12 January 2008 (UTC)

Nobody is talking about deleting accounts. That isn't done. Rather, accounts indefinitely blocked because their usernames are extremely offensive would be renamed to something that would appear at the end of Special:Listusers and would be less offensive in edit histories and log entries. The user rename log is public and it is hardly a "secret cabal" that could do the renames. What does this have to do with "anyone can edit"? Why does it matter if we don't acknowledge recognition of vandals? The only issue I can see is that this would then open up those usernames to re-registration. Mr.Z-man
I consider re-registration a non-issue - if the name isn't changed, the vandal who really wants to make trouble can register an identical username with some random punctuation mark tagged onto the end (there are plenty of those as well). bd2412 T 06:15, 12 January 2008 (UTC)
It's quite a lot of work to do - there are a gajillion blocked-usernames - for something that doesn't increase the quantity or quality of anything in the encyclopedia. Dan Beale-Cocks 08:52, 12 January 2008 (UTC)
Not to mention lots of people with profane last names in real-life or certain words that are only profane in a certain context, like cock, tit, and shag (for a non-vulgar usage of that last term, see ball shagger). Zenwhat (talk) 22:56, 12 January 2008 (UTC)
I'm not looking to delete all blocked usernames, just those that are blatantly attacks, defamation, invasions of privacy, and the like. As for innocent uses of words with profane uses, I trust the 'crats to make that distinction. bd2412 T 00:42, 13 January 2008 (UTC)

...Which means you're only looking to delete usernames that are already covered under Wikipedia:Username policy, as somebody above pointed out. What you're proposing is that we censor offensive usernames under the pretense of deleting usernames which blatantly violate Wikipedia policies as it is. When one invokes for the children, one must be able to demonstrate how, in fact, existing policy doesn't already protect the children. Zenwhat (talk) 10:41, 13 January 2008 (UTC)

The difference is between blocking and warehousing under a name that does not violate username policy. If the name violates policy, there's really no defense for keeping it, is there? bd2412 T 03:26, 14 January 2008 (UTC)

Yes, there is. Good record-keeping. Zenwhat (talk) 20:58, 14 January 2008 (UTC)

Revised proposal

Pursuant to the extensive discussion of this topic here and on the proposal page, I propose that the following be adopted as a guideline:

  1. Bureaucrats are encouraged to rename an account for which the username constitutes defamation of another user, or reveals personal information about another user.
  2. Bureaucrats, may, within their discretion, rename an account for which the username constitutes a non-defamatory attack on another person or entity, or pointless vulgarity.

How about that? bd2412 T 23:21, 14 January 2008 (UTC)

"Pointless vulgarity" is far too vague and subjective. Both pointlessness and vulgarity are subject to a huge range of opinions, and this is, if I may, the proverbial thin end of the wedge to censoring of usernames.
Unless, that is, you mean for this to only apply to usernames that have been indef-blocked for username violations already, or something.
In any case, the first part seems reasonable to me. SamBC(talk) 23:51, 14 January 2008 (UTC)
There are plenty of usernames which are nothing more than a collection of curse words. I would say that anything that does not merit an indef-blocked for username violations would fall outside of this proposal. I have no problem incorporating that, i.e. "pointless vulgarity of the type that justifies an immediate indefinite block as a username violation". bd2412 T 00:18, 15 January 2008 (UTC)
The problem with that is that it implies that "pointless vulgarity" is a username policy violation, which it isn't. "Soiled underpants" is arguably vulgar, and certainly pointless, but is certainly not something that clearly violates WP:U. IIRC (and I'm heading to bed so not checking), WP:U does have a problem with offensiveness, but not vulgarity, and they are not the same thing.
The justification for the first point you propose is well-argued, and I doubt it would find much reasoned opposition. The second part seems less well-justified and far more opposable, even disregarding my preceding points. Why not just stick with that? SamBC(talk) 00:27, 15 January 2008 (UTC)
How about "[d]isruptive usernames that have clearly been created only to cause trouble" - that's the wording used in the section on offensive usernames on that policy page. The point of the above is to say that 'crats have leeway (but no obligation) to change those. bd2412 T 00:48, 15 January 2008 (UTC)

The revised proposal still:

  • Serves no apparent purpose
  • Is already covered under current policy
  • Would lead to censorship.   Zenwhat (talk) 01:43, 15 January 2008 (UTC)
The purpose of changing usernames that are defamatory or invasive of privacy rights is pretty straightforward - to protect our editors from being defamed and having private information exposed (this is already happening through some usernames), and to protect Wikipedia from legal liability for publishing such information. The purpose of getting rid of the rest of the garbage is really just a matter of enforcing our credibility. Is this already covered under current policy? Please show me where 'crats are authorized to change such names. And how would this lead to censorship beyond that already imposed by our username policy, WP:NPA, and WP:POINT? To put it from the other direction, is it really so vital to our use of Wikipedia as a vessel of free expression that a username such as User:(pick an editor) is a treefucking pedophile be allowed to persist forever on our list? bd2412 T 02:07, 15 January 2008 (UTC)
I'm sorry... treefucking? --- tqbf
Yes, we had an industrious vandal some time back who made lots of usernames claiming that various editors like to fuck trees. bd2412 T 02:15, 15 January 2008 (UTC)
We also have a User:!▄▄█▀▀ █▬█ █ ▀█▀!. That's actually somewhat impressive. Now, seriously, go look up Linuxbeak or Jimbo or Curps in the userlist and see how many defamatory statements you can find. bd2412 T 02:24, 15 January 2008 (UTC)