Wikipedia:Village pump (policy)/Archive 45

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Standardise navigation templates colours?

Have a look at this version of Giovanni Trapattoni page, we have red,blue,black,white,purple and green ,basicly a rainbow of of colour here. Is it time to define a standard colour (most like the pale blue) for nav boxes? Gnevin (talk) 20:17, 23 April 2008 (UTC)

For reference, see screenshot at right.
My eyes!
--Random832 (contribs) 20:40, 23 April 2008 (UTC)
I don't believe so. Trappatoni is an extreme example of the multicoloured navboxes. I think it's quite appropriate that navboxes for football clubs match the colours of the club. пﮟოьεԻ 57 22:12, 23 April 2008 (UTC)
Trappatoni is one of many examples and to be honest it looks really,really unprofessional. A standardised colour would really help here Gnevin (talk) 22:33, 23 April 2008 (UTC)
"Unprofessional" is right. Actually, the first words that popped into my mind when I saw that were slightly less restrained than "unprofessional". --Craw-daddy | T | 22:43, 23 April 2008 (UTC)
"Eek, this reminds me of some really bad web designs from the 90's. This should not be allowed to happen IMHO. Erick880 (talk) 00:33, 24 April 2008 (UTC)
(off-topic)add a yellow template, and it starts looking like the gay pride flag--Enric Naval (talk) 01:36, 24 April 2008 (UTC)
Perhaps a way around it is to do this Template:British_viscounts. Alternative is to have a parameter for the colour, so in cases with multiple template they can all be made with matching colours. SunCreator (talk) 00:49, 24 April 2008 (UTC)
A parameter to change the color on the most problematic pages would be a very good solution, IMHO, and people can still use the club colors on the default template --Enric Naval (talk) 01:36, 24 April 2008 (UTC)
In my experience, people will ignore a parameter unless a Policy not even a guideline explicitly says they have to use it see WP:Flags for the amount of heel digging in against something when's it's only a guideline Gnevin (talk) 07:57, 24 April 2008 (UTC)
From {{navbox/doc}}:

It is not recommended that one modifies the default styles

If people would stop tarting the things up like they were circus acts we wouldn't have this problem. The standard colour should be the default, i.e. it should not be specified on a per-template basis. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 12:02, 24 April 2008 (UTC)
I was the one who initially developed the manager templates for Footy per discussion at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Football/Archive 13#Manager templates and Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Football/Archive 13#Navbox standardisation. I also commented a while back on how garish I thought they had gotten. I also think they many of them fail Wikipedia:Colours#Using colours in articles part of Wikipedia:Accessibility, in that they have lots of colours that are not always compatible for all readers. I think we should have a standardised navbox colour for Template:Football manager history and Template:Football squad as it looks a lot more professional. Woody (talk) 13:45, 24 April 2008 (UTC)

Number of templates

The other question is - should one article really have thirteen navboxes? Combined uncollapsed, these are nearly 2600 pixels tall, at default settings at a screen width of 1280. --Random832 (contribs) 02:20, 24 April 2008 (UTC)

The trouble is that are all relevant, maybe a collapsible box like {{WikiProjectBanners}},here's an example

would be helpful?Note this is just an example would need a dedicated {{Navboxes}} to do this correctly ,However the colour issue still needs sorting Gnevin (talk) 07:36, 24 April 2008 (UTC)

I think the colours should stay, they are the Country/Club colours... It would be much harder to disambiguate if they all had the same colours. Now I can't recall that I've been in a discussion about Manager templates, which are the once that would fill up with multiple colors, but there's obviously been discussed and "approved", probably at WP:FOOTY, Just to say I at least strongly disagree with removing the colors for the World Cup and Current templates ← chandler 13:29, 24 April 2008 (UTC)

Although the colors might be familiar to those who follow football, the current design does violate several principles associated with web design, not the least of which is accessibility for the color-blind. Exactly how does color "disambiguate" the templates, besides make it much harder for one's eyes to scan them? GracenotesT § 17:19, 25 April 2008 (UTC)

My two pennies worth: we should keep the colours of club/country as they are, but also having thirteen (no doubt some will have even more) manager templates is a bit ridiculous, so I would say the collapsable box is a great idea. GiantSnowman 14:53, 24 April 2008 (UTC)

I too fully support the idea of keeping the (sometimes garish) colours and making them collapsible on pages that have more than say 2 or 3 navboxes? EP 16:36, 24 April 2008 (UTC)
Good idea. Malinaccier Public (talk) 16:41, 24 April 2008 (UTC)
A navigation box full of ugly navigation boxes? As far as professionalism goes, I don't see that as being much better. The fact is that trying to use team or national colors for things like this is going to look ugly. It may only hurt your eyes this much if there's 13, but just having 2 boxes that clash really bad will still look wrong and things like red text on a blue box with a white page background is going to look bad on its own no matter what.
This is two separate issues from my point of view, the colour issue and the size of 13 templates, the size issue can be resolved as above the colour needs a Guideline or policy change Gnevin (talk) 09:11, 25 April 2008 (UTC)
Created {{Navboxes}},simple box takes in a title and the nav boxes and groups them Gnevin (talk) 09:48, 25 April 2008 (UTC)
Why not make all navboxes blue with a white border?--Phoenix-wiki 11:13, 27 April 2008 (UTC)
Thats what I've been suggesting ,Is their further steps required to have this become policy or do we just continue to discuss it here? Gnevin (talk) 21:35, 27 April 2008 (UTC)
This is material more adequate for the relevant page on the Manual of Style --Enric Naval (talk) 14:49, 28 April 2008 (UTC)
It gives a clear indication of who he has managed throughout his career. As above it is extreme as he has had such a long and travelled career, seemingly with a number of clubs with equally varied colours. If the colours offend in this particular combination the navboxes could always be collapsed into one navbox collapsible collapsed section.Londo06 17:08, 2 May 2008 (UTC)
A clearer indication is the words in the title. The colors may help you if you know something about the sport and teams, but for someone like me, or as mentioned someone who is color blind, it's just a mess. --Kbdank71 18:21, 2 May 2008 (UTC)
Are these templates all relevant, however? Certainly it is relevant to note that this individual was a manager of squad x, y and z. Is it relevant to this individual that another person was manager of team x 50 years ago, a third individual manager of team y 20 years ago, and a fourth of team z last year? Resolute 18:26, 2 May 2008 (UTC)

I think what should be done is to require all nav boxes to be held within a collapsed box. Title it something like 'Quick Links to related articles'. I have done this at the Wayne Gretzky page, surely an example of overuse of templates of this sort. This has two objectives. If the nav boxes are held within a collapsed box, it is likely to reduce the proliferation of these templates, which most people would agree can create a lot of unnecessary clutter, the reduction of which is the other objective. Alaney2k (talk) 18:13, 2 May 2008 (UTC)

Guidelines have to be followed?

From numerous definitions of "Guideline" via google searches, guidelines are non-mandatory suggestions. So does that mean we can deviate from the guidelines in some cases with good reasoning?

If the answer is yes, then answer this. How can we continue to deviate from the guideline without other people continually interfering (which has been the case for a while now)?

Also, answer this. If the article is based upon a product or service you've directly made contributions to (i.e. say if I helped build Wikipedia's servers and manage them) then would that mean I have more jurisdiction over someone whom is new and/or not very active or helpful and comes in and makes a bunch of unwanted changes? Thank You for your feedback. Ryan Gordon (talk) 05:19, 2 May 2008 (UTC)

For the short answer, ignore any rule that inhibits improvement of the encyclopedia.
For the long answer, all policies and guidelines get their authority from consensus among Wikipedia's editors (with a couple exceptions, most of which are due to Florida Law). A guideline will probably be correct in 90% of cases it was designed to address, but if there's a good reason, it can be overridden. Policy will probably apply 98% of the time, but even they will have the rare exception. In all cases, however, the real rule is to follow the consensus process. "A good reason" for going against a rule is defined as one that you can get your fellow editors to agree with.
For your last question, I'm not sure what you're asking. Are you talking about conflicts of interest, or editors claiming to "own" articles? Either way, one of those two links should answer that for you. --erachima talk 05:36, 2 May 2008 (UTC)
Those are all good answers, and another is WP:NOCOMMON. - Dan Dank55 (talk)(mistakes) 12:04, 2 May 2008 (UTC)


Somebody can help me ? I'm an administrator on fr-WP : fr:user:Stef48, and, yesterday, an IP has offended me on my user talk page (see user talk:stef4854, the last message in french). I want an administrator block him for his behavior, thanks for your help Stef4854 (talk) 06:29, 2 May 2008 (UTC)

This is the wrong place for this, and as far as I know en-wiki admins can't block on foreign language wikis. If you're an administrator, can't you block him? Sorry, I get it now... let's see Alex.Muller 09:54, 2 May 2008 (UTC)
He's now on his last warning – if he does anything at all again, make a report at WP:AIV or on my talk page instead of posting here and we'll block Alex.Muller 10:01, 2 May 2008 (UTC)
Hi Alex,
I think you don't speak French. This IP should receive indefinite block immediately.
He did not just vandalize Stef4854's page.
Among many other unacceptable insults, he threatened him with death :
"(...) Je sais où tu habites et prépare mes couteaux. Je possèdes toutes tes vieilles photos. Je n'aurai aucune difficulté à te retrouver dans ton village. Je vais te faire souffrir lentement. Tu es un homme mort. signé : Le cannibale du parc Duden et dépeceur de Mons MS/Lustucri"
-> approximative translation :
"(...) I know where you live and am preparing my knives. I have all your old pictures. I will have no difficulty in finding you in your village. I am going to make you suffer slowly. You are a dead man. signed : the cannibal of Duden's park and Mons's dismemberer MS/Lustucri"
no comment.
Ceedjee (talk) 13:58, 2 May 2008 (UTC)
I'm not going to claim to speak French fluently, but I know enough to know that you're telling the truth there – honestly, I didn't read the whole paragraph. I'll block for a week (indef blocking an IP is inadvisable) to prevent anything else from happening for now, and make an abuse report to the Internet Service Provider (who should pass it on to their local police, ideally) if I can. See WP:TOV for a little more info on stuff like this. Hope this helps Alex.Muller 15:49, 2 May 2008 (UTC)
Thanks. This IP is some kind of proxy, we've blocked it for 1 year. There is more info about him on meta. He has been the worst vandal ever on french language WP, and Stef is unfortunately one of the numerous people insulted. Clem23 (talk) 17:51, 2 May 2008 (UTC)

Proposal for a fundamental change in the Featured List process

Consensus is being tested concerning the proposal to establish a directorate (possibly two of the regular reviewers) as part of a program to improve the FLC process. Input is welcome. Wikipedia talk:Featured list candidates#Should we have a FL director.3F TONY (talk) 12:13, 24 April 2008 (UTC)

Elections underway there. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 17:59, 24 April 2008 (UTC)
I retrieved this from its (premature) archiving. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 14:29, 2 May 2008 (UTC)

Overhaul of FL criteria (and instructions)

The process is starting in earnest here, coinciding with impending election of a directorate. The input of interested parties would be welcomed. TONY (talk) 05:33, 3 May 2008 (UTC)

Animated images

Is there an existing policy or guideline regarding the use of animated images? I would like to propose (in the appropriate place) a new editorial guideline that animations should be enclosed within a collapsible box, so that if readers find the images distracting, they can hide the image. See, for example, the lead animation to Shallow water equations. silly rabbit (talk) 15:55, 1 May 2008 (UTC)

It would probably be easier to just let people set that kind of thing in their browser. -- Ned Scott 08:44, 3 May 2008 (UTC)

Speedy deletion of flicker images

Image:Tyrone Panel 2005.jpg Image:Tyroneandkerryflags.jpg Image talk:Semplestadium.jpg These images where where uploaded correctly and under good faith only to be changed by the "copyright holder" . I say "copyright holder" as i fail to see how someone can release an image as cc-by-2.0 for example and then claim all right reserved . Please stop the maddness Gnevin (talk) 23:46, 1 May 2008 (UTC)

I am not questioning whether or not you uploaded the image in good faith or not, it is obvious that you did. I have a FLickr account and understand people change their license on photos all the time. But if there is no proof that the image was licensed under said license, that we have to assume that the license that is accessible (i.e. the most current) is the license the image is and has always been under. If you can show me proof that the said image was under the license that you put on the image when it was uploaded, then I will gladly restore the image for you, but if there is no proof we must delete the image under our image policy. Sorry if I sounded rude, but the sarcastic tone in your first post kinda turned me off from being my usually cheery self. « Gonzo fan2007 (talkcontribs) @ 23:43, 1 May 2008 (UTC)

This was posted on my talk page by Gonzo (Gonzo i hope you don't mind the copy) . Now in my opinion the above makes fliker images useless for wiki and the copyright holder can change the tag on the image after years and make it unless on wiki Gnevin (talk) 23:51, 1 May 2008 (UTC)

(ec):As I stated on the users talk page, I feel that if there is no proof that the images were uploaded while the original image was under a different license, than we must assume that the license we can see now is the license the image is under, and thus if they are not compatible with Wikipedia they should be deleted. « Gonzo fan2007 (talkcontribs) @ 23:53, 1 May 2008 (UTC)
ie fliker images are inherently useless for wiki and should be banned , unless all image are followed by a screen shot of the copy write tag and the time it's uploaded but i'm sure their is a problem with a screen shot too in terms of copy rightGnevin (talk) 23:58, 1 May 2008 (UTC)
Commons does have a Flickr verification scheme. Dragons flight (talk) 00:05, 2 May 2008 (UTC)
(ec)Actually we now have Wikimedia Commons and commons:User:Flickr Upload Bot which will verify the copyright tag at the time of uploading. We also have on Commons where admins and trusted users will review the image and place a tag saying that the image was reviewed and the tag is correct. Basically, free images from Flickr should be uploaded to Commons, not Wikipedia. This solves all the problems. « Gonzo fan2007 (talkcontribs) @ 00:07, 2 May 2008 (UTC)
It's also worth mentioning that CC licenses are irrevocable. In essence, if someone licenses something under CC and then moves to full-copyright, it doesn't change the original status of the item - it remains CC-licensed for all time. -- ChrisO (talk) 00:10, 2 May 2008 (UTC)

(←)Of course, but like I said, if there is no way to verify this, then we must revert back to whatever can be proven, which is the license the photo is under now. We must side with the original copyright holder unless proven otherwise. « Gonzo fan2007 (talkcontribs) @ 00:12, 2 May 2008 (UTC)

Wiki didn't have the special fliker features in 2005 or 2006 when I uploaded the images, shame the one with the flags is nice. Well I guess wiki is a evolving project and we learn by our mistakes .An admin can remove these images now ,i have no objections Gnevin (talk) 00:18, 2 May 2008 (UTC)
Wikipedia:Village pump (policy)#When CC is revoked For reference a couple threads up had the same question. « Gonzo fan2007 (talkcontribs) @ 00:20, 2 May 2008 (UTC)
Deleted, « Gonzo fan2007 (talkcontribs) @ 00:23, 2 May 2008 (UTC)

Suggestion There needs to be a special speedy template for flicker, this template would include the pictures source url. This would allow users to go back to fliker and see if they can have the tag reverted to a wiki friendly tag ,Gonzo if possible can you give me the fliker url for the sam lifted image ?Gnevin (talk) 00:28, 2 May 2008 (UTC)

What's wrong with Flickers? Why do images of them need to be deleted? :) Dsmdgold (talk) 16:58, 3 May 2008 (UTC)

Featured Article Categories Problem

I have been discussing at length a problem with the categories at Wikipedia:Featured articles, being the combination of Psychology and Philosophy into a singular category, when these two subjects are so utterly different and unrelated. I won't repeat the discussion here, but would like to draw attention to it: please comment here! Thanks. --Aquillyne-- (talk) 12:46, 4 May 2008 (UTC)

The open proxies policy is killing people

Dear honorable administrators and editors,

Please consider my request at Wikipedia Talk:Open proxies#This policy is killing people. I throw myself, my countrymen, and the non-free world on your mercy. I beg you, in this day that the number of edits is no longer growing, the civil liberty of anonymity for those whose lives depend on it.

Thank you for your work. (talk) 14:06, 4 May 2008 (UTC)

I'm sorry but Wikipedia is not a place to bring about social change. Opening up proxies won't help save lives, and I seriously doubt rejecting proxies is actually killing anyone. Keep in mind that using a proxy does not guarantee you can't be traced. -- Kesh (talk) 14:22, 4 May 2008 (UTC)


If I for example post on a talk page that I believe the page should be moved and leave it a reasonable amount of time for example a week, if no-one objects or supports the proposal is it fair to save i have formed WP:CON or is support of a other user needed to say WP:CON exists ?Gnevin (talk) 16:32, 4 May 2008 (UTC)

I'd give it at least 2 weeks (as not everyone checks into Wikipedia regularly). But yes, if there are no objections in the given timeframe, that's considered consensus for a move. If there is an objection, then it becomes necessary to generate a consensus through discussion first. -- Kesh (talk) 17:44, 4 May 2008 (UTC)
Moving to talk at WP:CONGnevin (talk) 19:15, 4 May 2008 (UTC)


Is it alright to have external links on your user page to torrent downloads? Can someone check my user page and tell me if these links are against wiki policy? Cosprings (talk) 19:52, 4 May 2008 (UTC)

In this case, no, it isn't alright. If they were legal torrents maybe, but entire albums and presumably copyrighted films, linked at a site which shares a ton of stuff that is definitely copyvio no less, are bad. — Trust not the Penguin (T | C) 19:57, 4 May 2008 (UTC)
I am not sure, but would advice against it on grounds of WP:CV. You might stay within the letter of the guidelines and indeed the law (Note that I am not a lawyer so you may also actually violate something; see the problems Piratebay (who you are linking to) is having to keep within the Swedish law (liberal compared to US! - and Wiki servers are in the US)). In any case I think for a project as Wikipedia it is important not only live to the letter but also to the spirit of the guidelines. Therefore, even if you are not viloating the guideline per se, I would strongly advice you to remove the link to (illegal - see comment above) Torrents. Arnoutf (talk) 20:02, 4 May 2008 (UTC)

Thanks for the responses-I will remove themCosprings (talk) 20:03, 4 May 2008 (UTC)

I´d like to post an article about a dotcom

Hi admins

I know that there are several dotcoms published in wikipedia, and I can only imagine that it´s because those companies are known and therefore deserve to be listed.

As such, the company I intend to talk about it´s fairly known in several countries: just google for "Kviar" and you´ll find countless newspaper articles in several languages about its doings.

Still, I do not want to seem that I´m spamming or anything like that, so first I´m kindly asking the administrators to first check to see if it´s ok before I send a first draft (of course, you are free to also check if the text I send is not biased and all)

Thank you for your kind support

Al Costa —Preceding unsigned comment added by Alcosta (talkcontribs) 21:33, 4 May 2008 (UTC)

You are now asking for advice on notability of the company. However, from your question I guess you are in some way linked to the company. That immediately flags up other concerns such as potential conflict of interest and neutrality of your point of view. If you think you are fine with all those guidelines, please go ahead. If you make all of these judgments in good faith and there are doubts nevertheless you can at worst expect that the article will be nominated for deletion. Arnoutf (talk) 21:41, 4 May 2008 (UTC)
As a guide for how to do it right, see Durova's excellent Business FAQ. DGG (talk) 01:00, 5 May 2008 (UTC)

Style bots again

See Wikipedia:Bots/Requests for approval/DyceBot 4, a bot which would replace some hyphens with en-dashes in some page titles. My take on this, from discussion at that page:

As far as I know, changing some hyphens to en-dashes in page titles by bot is a good idea, since page titles come under WP:Naming conventions and other policy pages, as long as we keep the redirect pages, but I'd like to give people a couple of days to say if they know if this will cause unforeseen search problems. As to the idea that because something is in a style guideline, that means that anyone can write a bot to enforce it in the text (not the titles) in all 2.3 million articles ... well, please don't tell people that MoS-editors made you do it. Nowhere in WP:MoS do we pretend to be policy-makers.

So: does anyone see a problem with this? Google hardly notices punctuation in searches, so I don't think this will affect Google searches, and I assume we're going to leave the redirect pages (with hyphens in the title) in place, so Wikipedians won't lose the page. Feel free to discuss here for a few days, but there's already a discussion at WT:MoS#Bot is being developed to convert hyphens to en-dashes, so I will copy any discussion from here over to there after a few days. - Dan Dank55 (talk)(mistakes) 23:01, 4 May 2008 (UTC)

Which Bible version to use in articles?

Hi all,
I've looked all over the MoS and this Village pump for policy on which English version of the Christian Bible should be used in articles. My understanding is that the NIV is the current scholarly consensus of the Bible in English. So... what next?
--Shirt58 (talk) 12:47, 29 April 2008 (UTC)

The King James Version, American Standard Version, and World English Bible are all public domain, so I think any of those three is fine. Unless there is a compelling reason to prefer one over the other (ie, a verse missing from a modern translation or old English in the KJV that is no longer understandable) then I think we should use the same rule we use for British vs American spelling - use whatever the person who started the article used. Wikisource has a public domain Bible translation but I would strongly advise against using it (and it should be removed anywhere that it is being used) - it does not meet Wikipedia's core content policies like verifiability. I don't think there is any scholarly consensus for the NIV. The New Testament class that I took at Virginia Tech used the NRSV. In many Christian circles, the KJV is still preferred. But regardless of preferences, I think we should definitely use a PD version for copyright reasons. WP:FAIR says that we should not use non-free media when a free equivalent is available and the copyright statement in the NIV [1] says that you may not use more than 500 verses in your work. So if Wikipedia were to quote more than 500 NIV verses in such a way that would not qualify for fair use (pretty much a certainty if we are quoting it frequently), then we would be in violation. --B (talk) 12:57, 29 April 2008 (UTC)
The last thing we need is another one-size-fits-all policy on something that should be a matter of editorial discretion and common sense. This question should be worked out by the editors on each article. I would assume that the New American Bible or New Jerusalem Bible would be used in Catholicism-related articles and the King James Version would be used where the topic was the Bible's effect on the English language, for example. Like B, I'm unaware of any "scholarly consensus" for the NIV. ObiterDicta ( pleadingserrataappeals ) 16:15, 29 April 2008 (UTC)
Agree with both above. Different versions may be most appropriate for different articles - King James in literary and many historical articles, an English Vulgate for medieval art and history, and so on. Johnbod (talk) 16:31, 29 April 2008 (UTC)
NIV tends to be conservative. It's not outright advocacy, but when there are two possibilities for a translation they tend to choose the more conservative one. NRSV is closer to a literal translation. Raymond Arritt (talk) 16:40, 29 April 2008 (UTC)
I've always preferred the NRSV for precisely that reason. When they do make a controversial decision (ie. "brothers and sisters" rather than just "brothers"), it's got footnotes explaining the discrepancy. Even if you consider the translation biased, you can't fault them for pointing out exactly what the changes were. -- Kesh (talk) 20:34, 29 April 2008 (UTC)
The NAB and NJB, I would assume, are both still under copyright. There's nothing magical about the Bible that makes it immune from our non-free content policy. If a free version would have the same effect, we use it. So if there is a Catholic doctrine where the NAB expresses that doctrine in a different way than the KJV and that difference is significant to the article, then we can use the NAB under a claim of fair use. But if using a free replacement would not hurt a reader's understanding of the topic, then we should use one of the three public domain translations. --B (talk) 23:46, 29 April 2008 (UTC)

As pointed out by others, this really does seem to be an issue best resolved on the talkpage of individual articles. Where possible other editors should follow the preference of the original author, just as we do elsewhere, unless there is a compelling reason to use a different version. Doc Tropics 20:47, 29 April 2008 (UTC)

Quotes from copyrighted Bible translations should be treated in the same manner as any direct quotes used in Wikipedia: as long as the quotes used are short, and fully referenced with publication details, then there should be no problem. Gwinva (talk) 00:04, 30 April 2008 (UTC)
Yes and no. With other copyrighted publications, there is no free equivalent that would serve the same purpose. But with Bible translations, there are a gracious plenty to choose from. So using a non-free Bible translation is more analogous to using a CC-BY-NC-ND photo. Can we do it and get by with it? Yes, but we choose not to because our non-free content policy is intentionally more restrictive than it has to be. --B (talk) 01:14, 30 April 2008 (UTC)
  • I agree with B, some preference should be given to a free (public domain) translation where available. If someone really wanted to get one of the modern translations available for use, it might be possible, but probably not as they all still have commercial value. Another free translation is the Douay-Rheims Bible, a Catholic translation of an age comparable to the KJV, that was updated in the 1752 Challoner's revision, highly respected and also public domain. A more modern Catholic translation was published in 1936, but won't be public domain for a few more years; another version that is being translated now with copyright waived is not yet complete. In fact, every translation listed at Modern English Bible translations#18th and 19th century translations would also be available, as would a few further down the page. What I don't know of are any Orthodox Christian translations into English that are public domain. A few Jewish translations are also now public domain, see Jewish English Bible translations and look at the earlier ones - but I don't know of any from the Orthodox branch of Judaism. It should only rarely be necessary to use non-free versions in a minority of cases - where distinctive translations for modern denominations/sects/cults, Orthodox Judaism, or Orthodox Christianity are needed for the specific article. But there are so many public domain choices available that the editors of each article can choose as appropriate for that article. GRBerry 03:17, 30 April 2008 (UTC)

Note that in the front of every NIV text it states "The NIV text may be quoted in any form (written, visual, electronic or audio), up to and inclusive of five hundred (500) verses without express written permission of the publisher, providing the verses do not amount to a complete book of the Bible nor do the verses quoted account for twenty-five percent (25%) or more of the total text of the work in which they are quoted." --Carlaude (talk) 00:17, 4 May 2008 (UTC)

But this permission is very hard to obey in Wikipedia; which 500 verses should we use? From a different angle, using a replaceable non-free source when we don't have to is against Wikipedia guidelines, and there are very few cases where we have to use the NIV.--Prosfilaes (talk) 00:47, 4 May 2008 (UTC)
Each Wikipedia artical is a separate work. This permission is very easy to obey in Wikipedia.--Carlaude (talk) 14:49, 5 May 2008 (UTC)
Who says that each Wikipedia article is a separate work? They're articles in an encyclopedia; would you say that each article in the Brittanica would be its own work? I expect that the people who gave that permission would object to a substantial portion of their translation appearing online connected together as they would be in Wikipedia; that they wouldn't see a difference between us and a website that had the entire bible, one chapter or verse to a webpage.--Prosfilaes (talk) 00:35, 6 May 2008 (UTC)

My understanding is that if no version is given, Biblical quotes can be assumed to come from the KJV, especially in any literary context. And almost all the ones I've seen in general reading have been. Also, it's such a beautiful translation as compared to the late 20th century ones, and is ingrained into our literary culture and traditions. Even for non religious people. So that would be my choice and has been. — Becksguy (talk) 01:55, 4 May 2008 (UTC)

But of the major options, the KJV is most likely to get things wrong from a modern scholarly perspective and the most likely to use vocabulary and phrases in a way that our audience will fail to understand or actively misunderstand. From the choice of an encyclopedia, those issues outweigh those of literary quality.--Prosfilaes (talk) 02:04, 4 May 2008 (UTC)

The King James Version is a bad translation to use for almost any purpose nowadays.

If we make any policy at all it should only be to avoid any translations not made in the last 100 years. --Carlaude (talk) 14:49, 5 May 2008 (UTC)

If I may offer a possible solution; I agree we should use the KJV in articles, as that sidesteps any possible copyright issues. In articles where the KJV is quoted, we can include a link to, where the reader can pull up any verse in a number of different translations.TheBigFish (talk) 03:55, 6 May 2008 (UTC)

Why is it a problem to even consider that Wikipedia might usefully address more than one user base?

My point is, as has been acknowledged by Florence, that if there is merit in the Schools project, then there might be something positive that could be done to help parents and children be part of the project, rather than turning this into a hysterical OH MY GOD HE WANTS TO BANUS non-discussion. The lack of any positive interaction here is telling in my book. Why not think of how to be inclusive by acknowledging issues and addressing them, rather than a "La! La! La! we can't hear you, if you can't take the heat stay out of the kitchen", view. You can't solve problems you deny exist. Dogbiscuit (talk) 15:15, 5 May 2008 (UTC)
Again, if someone wants to fork an elementary-schools version, that's up to them, and they can go right ahead. The issue is whether or not the main project should be censored. Celarnor Talk to me 18:23, 5 May 2008 (UTC)
Elementary schools? You keep making things up, like you have implied that I have suggested the main project be censored. I have suggested that it is quite possible to provide mechanisms to allow an online sanitised version of Wikipedia to co-exist. Now I am quite happy for you to explain why this would either be impossible or why, if it is deemed to be acceptable on CD why it is unacceptable online - but rest assured you'll have to rely on more than misrepresentations and ad-hominem attacks to convince me. My point, however, is that if the community that is, or is not, Wikipedia simply dismisses these thoughts out of hand, then to me it points to the problematic nature of the anarchistic governance. How can you come to a consensus view if ideas are rejected out of hand?
There already are mechanicsms to allow a sanitized (read: censored to not material inappropriate for children) to co-exist. It is called a fork, and happens in the open-source world all the time. If you disagree with something that is being done, you can set up an installation of MediaWiki and get a markup dump of all the current revisions and do with them whatever you like. Nothing is stopping you. It already exists, and is perfectly acceptable online. I don't really see why you're seeing this as impossible. Celarnor Talk to me 21:11, 5 May 2008 (UTC)
For sure that is A mechanism. I simply posit that there could usefully be another mechanism. Why is forking the one true way? With the future releases of software, tagged revisions (ho, hum, is that the right name for it) could trivially support multiple views. Most things do not have one right answer in the real world. And you really should stop making up suggestions that I am seeing solutions as impossible - if I thought that things were impossible then I wouldn't be wasting my breath posting here. I had a vague idea that there might be some people who thought that addressing issues that affect the public reputation of Wikipedia might be helpful, and actually most of the issues that get people upset have simple solutions - if people have a will to address them. Dogbiscuit (talk) 22:43, 5 May 2008 (UTC)
If you want to script something that only pulls certain tagged revisions, then review the relevant documentation, write it, and stop whining that someone else hasn't done it. There's nothing stopping you. Nothing at all. Go right ahead. Celarnor Talk to me 23:21, 5 May 2008 (UTC)
I'm not whining. I'm suggesting that it is an issue worth thinking about. Wikipedia isn't my fault, you know. Personally, I blame Jimbo. Dogbiscuit (talk) 00:39, 6 May 2008 (UTC)
If you don't want to contribute to the encyclopedia, and you are only denigrating it, then why are you here? Simply to cast aspersions? You are welcome to fork all 2.5 million articles, including Pornographic film, Fluffer and Gay pornography, and make them child friendly for kids and parents. Absent that, I suggest parents make use of blocking software for pages that have certain key words. Absent that, I suggest they don't subscribe to the internets. Absent that, don't buy a computer. Absent that, keep your child under lock and key, home school them, and don't let them mingle with any one but non-molesting family members. It's pretty simple - there are your options, Dawgbizkit. --David Shankbone 00:52, 6 May 2008 (UTC)
It's been thought about before. Citizendium was considering forking Wikipedia one page at a time, changing the text to be in line with their own policies as they went along. This isn't anything new, and it seems like you're rehashing the debate just for the "OH NOES TEH CHILDRENZ GOT TEH SOFTCORE PRONZ FROM TEH 'PEDIA!111!" shock factor. There's nothing preventing you from creating a child-safe encyclopedia wiki. It's just not going to be this one, because this one is not censored. Celarnor Talk to me 01:11, 6 May 2008 (UTC)
But Celarnor, that's just it: if you can't hide the truth from children, then you can't control what they think and do. Boy, I remember when it was reported in the media that I was the guy who made sure the Santa Claus article explained it was a myth at Christmastime - did I ever get e-mails from some hot-under-the-collar parents! --David Shankbone 01:21, 6 May 2008 (UTC)
I like how they say "But Shankbone's site is popular enough, albeit controversial." Apparently you own Wikipedia now. Congratulations. Celarnor Talk to me 04:00, 6 May 2008 (UTC)
Yeah, exactly! The hyperbole in the press knows no bounds - "leading editor" - lol. --David Shankbone 04:12, 6 May 2008 (UTC)

GFDL - it may be simple, but do users really understand its implications?

Whether they, as parents, choose to do so is up to them. I understand the GPL pretty well when I was 13-14. The GFDL is vastly more simple, and can be easily understood by pretty much anybody. I think that's a very poor example. I think a better question than "Why should Wikipedia make a parent's life harder" is "Why should Wikipedia make everyone else's lives harder at the expense of a few irresponsible parents"? Celarnor Talk to me 10:18, 5 May 2008 (UTC)
I suspect you have missed the point about GFDL. GFDL is legally very simple: I give away all my rights, and anyone can do anything. What people do not grasp is the consequences of that licence: that if the derivative work brings people into disrepute, there is no redress aside from the right to demand a disclaimer. Most people do not seem to get the problem that a picture donated for sound encyclopedic reasons can and do end up on unsuitable sites - like pictures of real and living boy scouts ending up on a pornographic website run by Wikia Inc with no legal redress. The consequences are so blindingly obvious, yet GFDL is sold to the audience as a totally positive thing. Click on the GFDL link below when editing. Where does this warn you of the unintended consequences of GFDL. Why are the public expected to be lawyers? Doesn't Wikipedia have any responsibility to explain these things clearly, for adults, let alone children? Dogbiscuit (talk) 15:15, 5 May 2008 (UTC)
If you don't want your picture to be reused freely, then don't release it into a free license where anyone can use it. That's a pretty obvious concept, is pretty easy to wrap your mind around, and doesn't require you to understand even the rudimentaries of contract law. Again, most of your arguments center around extremely young children who don't have the vocabulary skills or reading comprehension to really participate on a wiki anyway. Celarnor Talk to me 18:23, 5 May 2008 (UTC)
The trouble is that Wikipedia is an encyclopedia that anyone can and does edit, and you make a lot of unfounded presumptions about the nature of editors here. You are arguing by assertion - no problem here because it ought to be obvious to anyone. I am struggling to see how you can suggest my observation that adults have not comprehended that there can be serious negative implications to GFDL (including if you make a mistake, it is too late, it is irrevocable) can somehow be turned into suggesting I am talking about kindergarten or something. Dogbiscuit (talk) 20:41, 5 May 2008 (UTC)
There are no "implications". You seem to think that there's some kind of hidden subtext or something. It's all quite obviously stated: "You may copy and distribute the Document in any medium, either commercially or noncommercially, provided that this License, the copyright notices, and the license notice saying this License applies to the Document are reproduced in all copies, and that you add no other conditions whatsoever to those of this License." If you can't figure out what that means, you can always ask someone. If someone wants to put a license on their work without understanding it and then complain about it later, that's incredibly stupid. If you're not sure of the terms of a contract that you're entering, then it's your fault for blindly going on with it without knowing what it means. Celarnor Talk to me 21:11, 5 May 2008 (UTC)

<--There are always implications. I'll take this step by step. Firstly, whether it is sensible or not, few people will read or understand what GFDL really means. You are in the software world so it all seems obvious to you.

People, when they upload pictures, are often thinking in terms of the article and when they think about derivative works, they do not realise that articles can be bastardised. Again, you seem to have a problem with this, but there is a difference between what people perhaps ought to understand and what they actually do.

At the point of committing their works, Wikipedia offers no plain English language guidance as to the meaning of the contract that people are entering into. This issue is not limited to Wikipedia. There are plenty of other sites that do a poor job of ensuring that people understand the implications of what they sign up to.

Plain language versions of contracts licenses are an extremely dangerous idea, and should always be approached with utmost caution. The vocabulary used in agreements is used because it is concise, clear, and has as little ambiguity as possible. To reword it into common vernacular is dangerous, as someone might be led down the road that the vernacular "translation" is the end all and be all of the license and that the actual text itself doesn't matter. However, a broad and generalized statement of what the license is is available on the article on the GFDL: "It is the counterpart to the GNU General Public License that gives readers the same rights to copy, redistribute and modify a work and requires all copies and derivatives to be available under the same license. Copies may also be sold commercially, but, if produced in larger quantities (greater than 100), the original document or source code must be made available to the work's recipient." Celarnor Talk to me 01:05, 6 May 2008 (UTC)
Now you are just getting silly. Plain language versions are SOP even on pretty major contract agreements in the UK. This is because there is a difference in law. In the UK, consumer protection legislation holds that any term of a contract that might be deemed to be unfair can be struck out. This means that companies have to be very careful that their contracts can be understood.
But that is a diversion. Perhaps you would understand better if I used WP:UNDUE. The important thing about uploading is that the uploader should understand what rights they are signing away. Instead, the vast majority of the page is about ensuring Wikipedia is protected against copyright violation. You have to be determined to find the relevant text. You are in "people following policy" dream world if you think people do that. Where does it say in plain English - "You do realise that once you upload, you're screwed Y/N/C"? Dogbiscuit (talk) 01:32, 6 May 2008 (UTC)
What does UNDUE and NPOV has to do with any of this? You don't have to be determined to find the relevant text of the licenses. You can very easily find information on the licenses by going to Creative Commons and looking them up there or going to Gnu Free Documentation License and getting the text. Or you can go to the Free image licenses category. How do you have to be determined? It's not like their texts are hidden somewhere in a tome in a locked cabinet at the Foundation office. Celarnor Talk to me 03:51, 6 May 2008 (UTC)

Go and read the GFDL link that is the main link in Wikipedia. Does this tell a normal human being what giving a GFDL licence means in simple terms? I think your average editor will look blankly at it, going off as it does into all sorts of technical stuff, but where does it say the criticism that it allows works to be used for nasty things too? No, nothing there that warns people of the implications of licensing. Now, go and look at the Wikipedia upload page. Yes the wording is there, buried. There is no commentary to explain it.

The information you're talking about is in section 2, paragraph 1, sentence 1: You may copy and distribute the Document in any medium, either commercially or noncommercially, provided that this License, the copyright notices, and the license notice saying this License applies to the Document are reproduced in all copies, and that you add no other conditions whatsoever to those of this License. The whole "Anyone can do whatever they want with this" bit seems quite clear. Celarnor Talk to me 01:05, 6 May 2008 (UTC)

Now, it is not an impossible problem to fix. All it needs for someone to recognise that the weight of those pages is too much about protecting Wikipedia and not enough about ensuring the user is clear on what they are about to sign up to, for ever, no changing your mind.

If they don't understand the text of the license, they can go the extreme but safest route and seek legal counsel, or they can hop on over to the PUMP and ask for clarifiction there. Celarnor Talk to me 01:05, 6 May 2008 (UTC)

The particular example I alluded to cropped up a few months ago. A scout leader was proud of the Wikipedia article about the scouting movement but noticed that nobody had put up a nice picture of some wholesome boy scouts doing the wholesome things that wholesome boy scouts do when they are being boy scouts. So he put up a picture. Imagine his embarrassment when it was found that Wikia Inc was hosting a site promoting spanking. They had taken the scouting article and pictures, added some hand drawings of children being spanked and some words about how boy scouts just loved getting spanked. That boy scout leader then realised his mistake, and the first response was remarkably like yours - "Ha! Didn't you know that? More fool you." So, an adult user of Wikipedia, doing the right thing of trying to improve the encyclopedia could have been thrown out of the scouting movement because he did not understand the contract he had implicitly signed (though it was never presented to him except as a link) and also that a group of teenage boys had the potential damaging embarrassment of staring on a porn site with no policy or means of identifying pictures of minors. And guess whose site that was - Jimbo's Wikia Inc. The site got taken down quickly, with no apology for the potentially illegal content, just the usual abuse for those interferring neer-do-wells at Wikipedia Review who saved someone a court case and some other people a major embarrassment.

So if you study Internet law as you do, this may seem obvious. In the real world, not everyone finds it so, and as an encyclopedia that everyone can edit, Wikipedia has a duty of care to at least ensure that all its supporters are looked after, even those who just think it is some old MMO. Dogbiscuit (talk) 00:04, 6 May 2008 (UTC)

If you enter into a contract that removes the rights you have over a document without understanding it, you're one of two things:
a) You're just plain stupid and never read the text of agreements you agree to.
b) You've read it but are ignorant of the terms of the contract, which is also an incredibly dumb move on someone's part. You should never enter into a contract you don't understand, since ignorance of a contract is almost never viewed as a defense.
The person in question should have considered what reuse of the image could entail. Alternatively, there were other licenses he could have uploaded the picture with varying degrees of freedom. Its sad that what happened did, but this is what happens when people are ignorant of the things that they do. Celarnor Talk to me 00:49, 6 May 2008 (UTC)
<More smiles> I think you've just defamed a goodly proportion of the editors on Wikipedia :) Now, hands up everyone in the room who reads the licence text of software they use... Dogbiscuit (talk) 01:05, 6 May 2008 (UTC)
Pretty much everyone I've run into understands the free licenses pretty well, especially those participating in images. Heck, there's a license-related discussion right below this one somewhere. So ... what are you saying? Are you saying that we holds someones hand when they make an edit and ask "Are you really, really, really sure you understand what you're doing?" Are you suggesting that we host copies of the discussions of the license? We already link to more than a few bits on the GFDL from its article. Celarnor Talk to me 01:17, 6 May 2008 (UTC)
I saw the discussion below - what can we see, that someone didn't like the licence that they signed up to, and you can talk for a long time to try and work out what is the right thing to do.
My suggestion is trivial. Somewhere on the upload pages there should be some plain English that says: "You should only give away your images by uploading if you understand that they may be used for harmful purposes as well as helpful, for example, copied onto pornographic sites or edited to embarrass you. Neither you nor Wikipedia has any real control over your images once given away, and you cannot change your mind about this. If you are in any way uncertain about what this means, seek advice from xyz."
Do you see how this makes the implication clearer than the simple statement? Does it invalidate the contract? Does it significantly mislead? Dogbiscuit (talk) 01:42, 6 May 2008 (UTC)
Something that all parties seem to be missing here is that you do not give up all rights by licensing an image under the GFDL. In particular, the GFDL says absolutely nothing about personality rights and other rights related to a person's identity. If someone uses a GFDL image of you to defame you, you can still sue them for defamation. If someone uses a GFDL image of you in advertising without your permission, you can sue them for violating your personality rights. --Carnildo (talk) 02:39, 6 May 2008 (UTC)
This is true; all other rights are reserved to the content creator. The GFDL only releases your rights to distribution; you don't waive anything other than your right to say "No, you can't copy that there." Celarnor Talk to me 03:51, 6 May 2008 (UTC)

When CC is revoked

A question about what to do when the original creator of a work plays musical chairs with their displayed license. I uploaded a photo from Flickr that was marked as CC-BY. At some later point, the author changed the displayed license on all her photos to (C).

Since the image has been previously released as CC-BY, then the reusability (and suitability for WP) of such an image cannot be affected. This would be the CC analogy to w:Revocation of GFDL.

The author has confirmed this and refuses to restore the displayed license. She admits she cannot affect my usage (in WP) -- but what about further usage? What can be done?

There is a proto-"template" suitable for this situation, see at [2].

- Keith D. Tyler 00:40, 1 May 2008 (UTC)

In the future I would recommend uploading your Flickr images at Commons. They have a Flickr review system where a trusted reviewer checks and confirms the license, which makes it hard for the copyright holder to say that the image was never free. Alternatively you can use Flickr Upload Bot, which is a fantastic tool for Flickr uploads - once you use it, you'll never upload Flickr images manually again. Kelly hi! 04:58, 1 May 2008 (UTC)
The CC FAQ says that CC licenses are irrevocable: you can stop distributing a work under the license, but you can't revoke the license to redistribute any copies someone else may already have obtained. However, I wouldn't be too sure about the extent to which that rule might stand up in court, particularly if the original author can make a convincing claim that they chose the original license by mistake or without fully understanding its legal implications (courts being generally loath to punish people for honest mistakes, especially when the mistake involves voluntarily giving something away). Besides, if they've genuinely had second thoughts about the license, and if all it'd cost us to respect their new choice would be the loss of one image, I'd say it would be just basic courtesy to do so.
The situation could be different if you'd e.g. spent considerable time and effort on creating a derivative work, which the new license would prevent you from distributing (in which case a court, if it were to come to that, might consider it a case of promissory estoppel), but if there hasn't been any significant investment in the work on our part, it would seem really impolite and unfair to just tell the original author "Sorry, you clicked the wrong button, we now have a license to your work and we're not gonna let you take it back, nyah nyah!" —Ilmari Karonen (talk) 05:24, 1 May 2008 (UTC)
(IANAL) Someone over the age of majority, and in full capacity cannot in effect punish another person by claiming they made an honest mistake or that they didn't fully understand a legal contract implication. When all parties acted in good faith, the court can only find the irrevocable rights granted to be valid. Of course, legal rights and common courtesy and two different thing. —Preceding unsigned comment added by KTC (talkcontribs) 07:16, 1 May 2008
It's a wonder to me that Flickr, surely being aware of the issues of revocation, even technically enables authors to change the license on their page with no sign whatsoever of its previous license. As for courtesy, I agree that the positive relationship of Wikipedia with particular artists has a very real value to the project (particularly in the form of future contributions) — but in some cases the image in question is simply precious and irreplacable, such as a high-quality photo of a now-deceased person, where all other photos of the person reserve all rights. These two values must be weighed against one another. Dcoetzee 10:30, 1 May 2008 (UTC)

Note: See also specific discussion at Wikipedia:Deletion review/Log/2008 April 28#Image:Northeastern West Village H.jpg. —Ilmari Karonen (talk) 16:41, 1 May 2008 (UTC)

The content creator freely admitted to me via email that the work (et al) was originally released under CC-BY, but because she is now looking at financial possibilities, she has changed the licenses on her images. I directed her to the CC license legal text as well as the CC "what if i change my mind" FAQ, she demurred and was short with me about it, insisting that she is within her rights and implying that her lawyer agrees. - Keith D. Tyler 17:46, 1 May 2008 (UTC)

She is entirely within her rights to stop announcing that any of her work is or was declared to be CC-BY. Whether that has any actual impact on the rights of current and potential reusers is a more complicated question, though the goal of CC licenses is that the rights should continue in perpetuity. Dragons flight (talk) 18:10, 1 May 2008 (UTC)
Yes, she as the copyright holder, is entirely within her rights to change the license. What she can't do is to prevent anyone who obtained the images under the previous copyleft license to continue to make use of and redistribute it under the terms of said previous license. (IANAL and all that) KTC (talk) 18:25, 1 May 2008 (UTC)
I find these references to "obtaining a work under a license" odd. The point of irrevocability is that the work itself is still under the CC license, regardless of how it is labelled - the website you download it from has no impact on what permissions you have to use it. A person has the right to cease distribution of a work that they have released under a free license (but not to force others to cease distribution), and they may choose to release additional rights for copies distributed via a particular channel, but they don't have the right to restrict use of copies distributed through a particular channel, since the original license doesn't permit this and can't be revoked.
The trouble is that if a case arose, you would have to prove that the work had been released under the CC license in the past, and as long as Flickr doesn't keep records it's quite difficult to prove you or any "trusted" third party actually observed the work released under the old license (even if they were signed by a timestamp authority, HTML documents are easy to forge; even if they were retrieved from the original server, packets can be spoofed). IANAL, but I think Flickr needs to be a little more thorough about the legal services they provide. Dcoetzee 00:14, 2 May 2008 (UTC)
The work obtained through a particular channel (e.g. Wikipedia) is still under the CC license, but someone new coming along obtaining it now from Flickr cannot legally use it under CC because that person did not obtained the work under said license. Of course, the copyright holder would have a tough time bringing a copyright violation action against this person as the person can just say they obtained it from (for our example) Wikipedia (assuming they know abut it during such legal challenge, whether they did or not when originally obtaining the work).
Civil action is all on the balance of probability. Assuming you can get that third party to testify they verified it, it's probably enough to win you the case. It might or might not be the case that the verification as logged by Wikipedia/Commons server from a third party psudo-annonymous editor that is then subsequently uncontactable be enough.
Of course, the best thing would simply be if sites such as Flickr publicly logs license changes by user as you suggest. (IANAL and all that) KTC [[3]](talk) 03:42, 2 May 2008 (UTC)
What I'm asserting is precisely that "someone new coming along obtaining it now from Flickr cannot legally use it under CC" is untrue - the CC license does not permit you to grant freedoms to how a work is used depending on what channel it's distributed by. Once it's released under that license, putting "all rights reserved" back on it has as much effect as putting the same on a public domain image. Dcoetzee 02:57, 3 May 2008 (UTC)
The CC license, or any other license for that matter, is an agreement between those that are parties to that license. It does not give rights to anyone who are not parties to that agreement. With a CC license, the licensor (the copyright holder) explicitly grant to a 3rd party that receive the work through you the "a licence to use the Work on the same terms and conditions as granted to You". Someone who did not receive the work (derivative or otherwise) through the copyright holder or someone down stream under the CC license have no rights to use the work because the copyright holder never granted those rights (directly or indirectly) to this person.
When it is said the license (GFDL or CC) is irrevocable, it is only talking about the licensor are not able to come along after the license agreement have been agreed by both parties to then revoke the rights that were granted to the end-user except as explicitly allowed under the license agreement. And the only way the license is terminated under the license is when the end-user breach the license agreement, in which case the termination of rights to the end-user (but not anyone down stream of him) is automatic.
Your analogy with PD does not work because a work that is PD is by that very fact not-copyrighted, which means everyone have rights to do what they want with it, which is not the same with a copyrighted work where the user only have the rights as granted to him by the copyright holder. KTC (talk) 10:37, 4 May 2008 (UTC)

Restart indent. From the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License [4], section 8, subpart a:

8. Miscellaneous

a. Each time You distribute or publicly digitally perform the Work (as defined in Section 1 above) or a Collective Work (as defined in Section 1 above), the Licensor offers to the recipient a license to the Work on the same terms and conditions as the license granted to You under this License.

Italics mine. Frankly, that ought to settle the matter. Removal of CC would seek to violate this clause. Since the content creator cannot revoke the license to me, she cannot therefore revoke the passed-on license from anyone who gets it from me, and anyone who further gets it from them. Ergo, I distributed it under CC-BY to WP, and in turn WP can distribute it under CC-BY to whoever, who can in turn distribute it under CC-BY to others. By can I mean must under the terms of the license under which it was distributed (namely CC-BY). So she can seek to stop distributing the work under CC from herself, but she cannot prevent me (and WP) from distributing it to anyone else, because the license she granted me requires her to grant the same license to whoever gets it from me and on and on. It's not a matter of not being allowed to revoke, it's a matter of being required under license to grant the same license to whoever gets it from whoever it was previously licensed to... e.g., me, or WP. - Keith D. Tyler 15:37, 5 May 2008 (UTC)

That's the part where everyone seemed to have agreed on. ;-) KTC (talk) 20:29, 5 May 2008 (UTC)
...except for the "must" bit. If I get the image from Wikipedia, I have it under a CC license that allows me to distribute the image under the CC license myself. But I can also get a separate license from the original owner that allows me to e.g. sell copies under a normal restrictive license. Something similar used to be the QT business model... --Stephan Schulz (talk) 21:08, 5 May 2008 (UTC)
(retracted prev. comment) Oh, I see what you mean, point taken, but it's neither here nor there. - Keith D. Tyler 21:24, 5 May 2008 (UTC)


There is currently an RFC underway regarding whether the clause about Plot summaries in what Wikipedia is not belongs in policy, or is more suited to a guideline such as WP:WAF. Input from the wider community would be appreciated at WT:NOT. --Pixelface (talk) 12:31, 5 May 2008 (UTC)

Television schedules in network articles

I removed a primetime schedule table from Seven Network, upon finding opposition to its presence on the article's talk page. But an examination of other television network articles indicates that their use is quite widespread.

Am I missing something here? How is this week's television schedule encyclopedic? WP:NOT suggests that Wikipedia is not an electronic program guide. Whilst it may be useful for people to be able to find the current TV schedule in the article, that is not the point. Five or 10 years down the track, how is what was on TV today going to be important to our treatment of the article's subject, i.e. the television network? - Mark 11:24, 5 April 2008 (UTC)

I campaigned against these schedules about a year ago. See Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Television/Archive 5#Current primetime television schedules. I didn't see any consensus to remove the schedules, so I dropped the matter. You could raise the matter again at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Television to see if consensus has changed.-gadfium 18:57, 5 April 2008 (UTC)
My opinion is they're outside the scope of WP, as per WP:NOT cited above. Secondly, they're not going to be right so their use shouldn't be encouraged. Simply listing the headline shows would avoid this problem completely. --AtD (talk) 07:29, 11 April 2008 (UTC)
I've made the bold move of removing all the schedules from Nine Network, Ten Network, ABC1, ABC2 and SBS TV as Mark has protected Seven Network from IP edits. Even if the decision is reversed, at least it'll stimulate discussion. --AtD (talk) 09:05, 14 April 2008 (UTC)
Support such a move, and I agree fully with AtD. Daniel (talk) 09:09, 14 April 2008 (UTC)

Since the edits have been reverted a few times without any discussion, I thought I'd just highlight that WP:NOT really leaves no room for interpretation on this issue.
"Wikipedia articles are not: Directories, directory entries, electronic program guide, or a resource for conducting business. For example, an article on a radio station generally should not list upcoming events, current promotions, phone numbers, current schedules, etc., although mention of major events, promotions or historically significant programme lists and schedules (such as the annual United States network television schedules) may be acceptable." --AtD (talk) 12:36, 17 April 2008 (UTC)

  • Pile on support for enforcing WP:NOT. Guides such as these in WP are plain ridiculous. —Moondyne click! 13:20, 17 April 2008 (UTC)

Just removed current schedule from the Nine HD article. I support for the current schedules to be removed. Same should be done to Radio Stations as well?. -- Bidgee (talk) 17:58, 17 April 2008 (UTC)

Under WP:NOT, yes.--AtD (talk) 00:01, 19 April 2008 (UTC)

If were doing this, I demand all schedules taken off, including those of other countries like NBC, ABC, CBS, FOX...

AND also the season schedule changes and program returns.

Wouldn't this mean that the series of articles of United States Network Television Schedule needs to be deleted? I think a general prime time schedule is fine as long as it is updated. It is basically like a current list of shows the network is currently broadcasting. ♪♫Alucard 16♫♪ 23:44, 21 April 2008 (UTC)
Those US schedule articles contain the general prime-time schedules simply for Monday to Friday for those years, not every day of the year. What we had was people coming in every day and updating the "current schedule" section to state exactly what minor changes were made to the schedules for one week from today. This seems to me like exactly what the section in WP:NOT was written to avoid. Hence, it is the being updated part which is the most troublesome. And the articles already have extensive lists of shows the networks broadcast. - Mark 02:13, 23 April 2008 (UTC)
I see Mark, would it be best to remove the prime time schedules from the American networks too? Like on CBS for example. The schedule on the American networks though is just a general schedule and does not take into count specials, etc. Similar to United States Network Television Schedule. Or are they fine to leave in? ♪♫Alucard 16♫♪ 03:06, 23 April 2008 (UTC)
I guess it depends on how they are used in those articles and how often the American TV networks change their schedules. I suspect their schedules change much less often than Australian networks, hence why they have those decade-by-decade articles of the schedules. - Mark 03:41, 25 April 2008 (UTC)
In the United States, the primetime schedule of a TV network generally stays the same for the entire ( year-long) season, barring one or two midseason replacements. Is this not the case in, say, Australia? Squidfryerchef (talk) 12:33, 29 April 2008 (UTC)

I do not support the removal of these pages - the (Australia) Seven, Nine, Ten, 7HD, 9HD and TEN HD schedules are updated regularly by myself anyway! Just leave them as a reference for readers (at least the prime-time schedules). It is not like we have the 24-hour schedules on there anyway. You don't have to take them off anyway, I'll take responsibility for these schedules (Australian) being kept updated if you all want. User:Cpandilo (User talk:Cpandilo) 8:52, 2 May 2008 (UTC)

As I've stated this is a Encyclopedia not a TV guide whether it's 24 hours or not. Check out WP:NOTDIRECTORY. Bidgee (talk) 10:07, 2 May 2008 (UTC)

It seems to me that these Australian channels ought to be handled the way the US networks are in their articles. i.e. No weekly updates, because that brings us way too close to being a program guide. Just the default weekly schedule for the season, no specials, with maybe some blocks blank or marked as "local option". Is this feasible to do with the Australian schedules? Squidfryerchef (talk) 15:17, 3 May 2008 (UTC)

I like Squidfryerchef's suggestion. I would support it (talk) 04:49, 7 May 2008 (UTC)

Privacy and Outing

The recent departure of User:Newyorkbrad raises issues of how Wikipedia editors can preserve their privacy, and what (if any) response should be made when editors' personal information is posted off-wiki. Brad has asked that the particulars of his case not be discussed, but there is a general concern as well. This discussion is moved from Newyorkbrad's talk page, although it might be better as a centralized discussion, if someone wants to set it up.

More secrecy, more anonymity

I have already posted, and I will eventually put up for a vote, that your situation should be told at all the Meet-Ups, and that should be severe limits on photography and recording at all Wikimedia events, including Wikimania. I will pursue ways to make the site more anonymous and secret. There are some editors on this site that I think many of us feel deserve to be targeted for their problematic editing styles (or admin decisions). You are clearly not one of them. --David Shankbone 15:13, 29 April 2008 (UTC) --David

People should be warned of the dangers of using their real name as user name and of the consequences of posting personal info on their user page. Also, people should choose a user name they don't use on other sites. Images depicting users should be speedied, possibly by stewards, regardless of what wiki they are on if anyone depicted in them wishes so. Educating people together with severe and non-debatable consequences in case of violations of these restrictions on images would at least be a step in the right direction. EconomicsGuy (talk) 18:52, 29 April 2008 (UTC)
On the contrary; with all due respect to the above post, I suggest that "people" should understand that leaders of any organization, such as the one herein, including administrators and arbcom. members, that, in fact, choose to participate in same, and as such, should be willing and able to share their real life identities with the world at large; expect to have their real life world exposed as a matter of transparency and due course. The idea that everyone can and/or should edit as anonymous or pseudonymous, is quite frankly, absurd, and will not work in the real world...within the context of 21st century law and order. It is unfortunate, in my opinion; for Wikipedia, that NYB has chosen to not edit as himself, the real life person. Cheers! (talk) 19:52, 29 April 2008 (UTC)
I think we have to go beyond that. Let's face it, these people are engaging in criminal harassment - they should be made to pay the consequences. -- ChrisO (talk) 19:48, 29 April 2008 (UTC)

As an editor using real name, and a target of quite a few harassment campaigns, I believe that the only way to deal with it is to oppose anonymity and support disclosure of real name and credentials - combined, of course, with being very harsh on editors who engage in harassment. Editors who reveal their real name should be protected from slander/stalking/etc. no less then subjects of WP:LIVING policy.--Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| talk 22:24, 29 April 2008 (UTC)

Piotrus, many of us elect to use pseudonyms because of threats and harassment that come from off-wiki sources. There is nothing that Wikipedia or the Wikimedia Foundation can do to stop that, particularly if there is no activity involving their sites. They can't indefinitely block or ban people in the real world. There are alternative venues that require verified names and credentials; for some of us, they are not an option. Risker (talk) 22:39, 29 April 2008 (UTC)
I'm fortunate to be in a situation where I don't need to be concerned that my employer knows about my postings (I'm self-employed now, and worked for a local government previously). And I don't happen to edit articles like sex and others which - for better or worse - are appropriate for Wikipedia, but nevertheless are disapproved of by a significant number of people. I mention this because other editors are not so fortunate. We all have different circumstances. If Wikipedia were to insist on full disclosure of names (and thus to make it easier to identify individual's home address, employer, etc. - particularly for those with less common names) - then there certainly would be fewer constructive editors. And without a major infrastructure to truly verify identities, the trolls and vandals would just make up names - so we wouldn't see any less of that. In short, as much as it would be nice to live in a world where harassment doesn't exist, the reality is that it does, and there are good reasons - for the sake of the project, not just for contributors - why we should not require real name user accounts. -- John Broughton (♫♫) 22:52, 29 April 2008 (UTC)

Brad helped me a lot when I was the subject of harrassment with an editor posting details of my birth place, date, etc, and my mother's maiden name and other family details. My somewhat unusual name had helped this editor do this. It was done in an attempt to silence me in some debate ! was having with the user concerned. In these cases, I would favour harsh measures being taken against those doing the harrassment by wikipedia.  DDStretch  (talk) 07:11, 30 April 2008 (UTC)

Guys, can you please explained me what happened? NYB didn't used his real name as user name. What happened? Can anybody explain this to me? Please reply on my talk page or send me an email. Regards, Masterpiece2000 (talk) 08:50, 30 April 2008 (UTC)
Well, I agree with User:David Shankbone. There should be severe limits on photography and recording at all Wikimedia events, including Wikimania. This is a very sad and unfortunate event. Masterpiece2000 (talk) 09:13, 30 April 2008 (UTC)
Man oh man do I super not agree with this proposal. Limits on photography and recording at Wikimedia events? What is this, the CIA? It's hard to conjure a suggestion more antithetical to the idea of free, unrestricted information. I've been a victim of off-site harassment via my personal info (thanks Wikipedia Review jerks!), and yeah, it sucks. But you know what? You want to protect your identity? Don't make it known at public events. Barring photography at Wiki events isn't privacy it's secrecy. Ford MF (talk) 22:58, 1 May 2008 (UTC)
  • It is more important that we avoid future Newyorkbrad situations by discussing it here, then it is to have some misguided "Honor Newyorkbrad" removal of legitimate discussion over privacy and anonymity. I think removing references to specifics is one thing, removing discussion about the problem Newyorkbrad faced can only hurt the community. Newyorkbrad is gone. But the Talk page is open to everyone - this is a long-standing community consensus. --David Shankbone 15:41, 30 April 2008 (UTC)
I agree, but perhaps a special page should be created for the purpose. Giano (talk) 15:50, 30 April 2008 (UTC)
It's a legitimate sentiment, Giano, but right now this is the page that has the attention, and the issue is bigger than NYB. We can't get him back...I think referencing the old asshole who did this and the site that gave him a voice to threaten and extort (in a non-legal sense) NYB is wrong - but there are fundamental problems here. The do-nothing Wikimedia Foundation is clearly never going to address them. I just think this is the right forum (for now) to discuss the issues at the heart of this. --David Shankbone 16:09, 30 April 2008 (UTC)
Out of respect for Newyorkbrad we shouldn't be having this debate here. This is a much needed debate and a lot of good ideas are being discussed but this isn't the place. This is his talk page and he makes the rules. If he doesn't want it here we'll need to move the debate somewhere else. EconomicsGuy (talk) 18:36, 30 April 2008 (UTC)
Out of no disrespect to Newyorkbrad, it has never been the case that people get make the rules on their Talk pages. --David Shankbone 19:38, 30 April 2008 (UTC)
Policy is impossible to enforce off-wiki, but this certainly will lend to a hard-line policy that only Wikipedians can post photos of themselves, on this website. Along with all the usual warnings about safety, security, and privacy. Lawrence Cohen § t/e 15:52, 30 April 2008 (UTC)
We really need to figure out a way to get all the Meet-Ups and Wikimedia events to illustrate the problems with photography and recording. I admit, I originally liked the idea of doing portraits of Wikipedians, and started that at the New York picnic. I've had my head so buried in the content I produce, that I rarely know what is going on around here - both the dangers to the editors, and the mess that has become our BLP situation (that too few of us want to address!). There are two things that each Meet-Up needs to address: The Newyorkbrad example, and the BLP problems. Since I interact with a lot of notable and media people through my content work here, I know what a problem our BLP issue has become. We have too many armchair editors who simply don't care. But the first issue is making sure a Newyorkbrad situation doesn't happen again. --David Shankbone 15:58, 30 April 2008 (UTC)
Should Wikipedians have special rights the rest of the world doesn't have? We go around taking pictures of notable non-Wikipedian people all the time (you've done a huge amount of it, and I've done some too) and posting them. I bring my camera to (non-Wikipedia-related) conventions I attend, such as the Mensa Annual Gathering, in the hopes of getting shots of people who have WP bios who are attendees / presenters / panelists there. *Dan T.* (talk) 12:36, 1 May 2008 (UTC)
(edit conflict response to Lawrence) I'm not sure that we can create such a policy, based on the current problems regarding policy that you already know about. And what would we do about my user page showing a photo with caption of "me and KillerChihuahua (real name - Clark Kent) swilling some beer at Larry's Place"? Maybe instead anyone could be allowed to request the removal of any reference to themselves, by photo or name, from any page in wikipedia, including other users' userpages would be better. John Carter (talk) 16:03, 30 April 2008 (UTC)
!!! Thats not how it works. If you post someone's real name or IRL info you already broke rules--you don't remove it WHEN they ask. Lawrence Cohen § t/e 16:07, 30 April 2008 (UTC)
OK, if name is already excluded, limit it only to photos. I'm thinking in particular of the photo on User:Kirill Lokshin's page and any others which might exist like it. I can't imagine that in this particular case he didn't think to get permission in advance from each individual in that particular instance, but in other instances that might not be the case. John Carter (talk) 16:12, 30 April 2008 (UTC)

A policy like this is simple. If Shankbone's real name is "Jerry Seinfeld", I'm not allowed to ever utter that on here in reference to him. Why would I be allowed however to post up any photo of Jerry without his explicit permission ahead of time...? Lawrence Cohen § t/e 16:06, 30 April 2008 (UTC)

There needs to be a way that when people register they are given suggestions. I agree with Lawrence - the sloppiness of wanting to have photos up of each other is what caused this problem (and arguably, it could have been my photo of NYB). What needs to happen is the word should be spread. We have to let other people know that there are people out there who want to hurt them. But it's a two-sided coin. We have to address the BLP problem and stop the anonymous IP editing of BLPs - damn our "open editing" ethos when it comes to people's lives and reputations. We should be better than that. --David Shankbone 16:11, 30 April 2008 (UTC)
I must admit, I've considered going to some local meetups, but one of the things that made me pause and reconsider (even before this happened) was seeing all those photos around. I thought to myself: "Hang on. I don't want to end up in the background, or even foreground, of one of those pictures." I disagree, though, that this talk page is right place to discuss this. I think a link to somewhere else is sufficient. I'm still wondering how the Signpost (and indeed other internal news outlets) will cover this. After a bit of back and forth, Ral has posted this. But I agree, as long as explicit references to details are avoided, the general issues and possible solutions, need to be discussed. Carcharoth (talk) 17:10, 30 April 2008 (UTC)
We should encourage greater openness not greater secrecy amongst our editors. Thanks, SqueakBox 20:20, 30 April 2008 (UTC)
I agree with that myself; if you're open about who you are (as I am), then by definition you can't get "outed". *Dan T.* (talk) 02:04, 1 May 2008 (UTC)
I don't think we can put a strict policy of anonymity up, nor do I think we should. It is cliche to say, but we can't live in fear on the subject. I think instead of thinking about how we can preserve anonymity, we need to talk about how we can defend privacy. Clearly harassment should not be tolerated, & the level of information transparency makes it difficult for someone to "strike back" at an anonymous source disclosing their personal info. I get that it sucks, but turning Wikipedia into a Black Ops team isn't a realistic option. In fact, that anonymity being exposed has been a boon for the project, like WikiScanner. --mordicai. (talk) 21:34, 2 May 2008 (UTC)

Those who don't learn from history...

You all know how it goes. I have no idea what happened to Newyorkbrad, but I am concerned with three issues.

First: if what happened to him can happen to other editors and has implications for our policies (as the rumor mill indicates), it should be discussed just as Essjay incident was. I gather something bad has happened to Newyorkbrad, my condolences - but the remaining editors have the right to know the situation, so they can prevent it from repeating (to themselves, to others).

Second: the censorship of the very news of this incident (from the AN pages, from the Signpost tip line, and likely other places) is hardly befitting an open community. At the very list those pages should contain a note that "Newyorkbrad incident" should be discussed at a centralized page (ex. here). Continued removal of all references to it looks bad - just as all censorship does, anywhere, anywhen.

Third. Currently, it is evident there is a minority of editors who know what's going on (and who censor the discussions) and the majority who don't and who fuel the rumor mills. This, of course, will not only lead to more speculations about cabal and whatsnot, but will create various theories, on and off wiki discussions, feeding on each other, blowing this incident out of proportions and making Newyorkbrad (in)famous - something I gather he would like to avoid (need I remind you that the best way to increase popularity of something is to try to censor it?). This can still be ended if the censorship stops and an official notice is released, along the lines 'former ArbCom member resigns due to...'. The sooner this happens, the sooner popular interest in this will die down. The later this happens, the larger this wikidramu will grow.--Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| talk 19:40, 30 April 2008 (UTC)

This is, of course, quite different from the Essjay case. There are no suggestions that Brad misrepresented himself, nor are his on-wiki actions or contributions being questioned. He has decided to retire to protect the privacy of himself and those close to him. If you want to talk in general terms about how to maintain one's privacy, and what the community's response should be (if any) to off-wiki disclosures of identity, then by all means, have a discussion. The particulars of Brad's case do not have to be a part of the discussion, and he has asked that they not be. I suspect he will tell you privately if you email him, but he does not want the particulars of his case to be a focal point of unnecessary and counterproductive wikidrama. Thatcher 19:50, 30 April 2008 (UTC)
(re to Piotrus, edit conflict)I agree with much of this post in its sincerity and articulation, Piotrus, with exception to the use of the word "censorship". I don't believe anyone is being censored in a strict sense. A wikipedian user, albeit a high profile one, has decided to leave for reasons he prefers not to have on Wiki. This is a user request, not censorship. Arguing that "the rumor mills" will continue until the "few that know" tell the "many that don't" what's going on is rather oblique, and rather selfish, and rather inaccurate. I completely and fully respect, (as I'm confident that you do as well) NYB's reasons for leaving, be they whatever they are, in or out of his control. He's gone for the time being, that is terribly unnfortunate. His departure could/should/might/might not lead to some fundamental privacy/security changes. But arguing here that you have some "right" to know what happened under the overused and mis-cited guise of "I'm being censored" is illfounded. I respect your edits, Piotrus. You are an asset to Wikipedia. If/when this situation presents itself to you, your Wikipedian activity, and your explicit wishes to go away quietly, I would expect the same courtesy would be given to you, as you would expect, or perhaps demand. Keeper | 76 | Disclaimer 19:52, 30 April 2008 (UTC)
(and in the interests of disclosure, I have no freekin clue what's going on either.) Keeper | 76 | Disclaimer 19:55, 30 April 2008 (UTC)
Someone posted his real name. That's about it. -- Ned Scott 21:42, 30 April 2008 (UTC)
BLP crossfire, very depressing but IMO we should try to fix the BLP problem. Thanks, SqueakBox 21:46, 30 April 2008 (UTC)
@Ned: Its significantly more than that. Mr.Z-man 01:30, 1 May 2008 (UTC)

He left after an individual notorious for outing Wikipedia administrators who prefer to remain anonymous determined his identity and employer and made this information public. It is believed that his identity was compromised through a combination of information he had revealed about his location and occupation, and a photo taken at a meetup. The Uninvited Co., Inc. 21:53, 30 April 2008 (UTC)

Again, I'll reiterate, whatever happened, however unfortunate, happened. Tis a real shame, and definitely a call for more security for wiki editors, my anonymous self included. It is therefore, not censorship to remove commentary that NYB himself wants to stay off wiki. Keeper | 76 | Disclaimer 21:58, 30 April 2008 (UTC)
You are drawing conclusions based on the incident but not necessarily the right conclusions. What is tragic is that NYB got caught in the crossfire. The issue we need to address is not greater security and anonymity for our editors, it is how we treat our BLP articles for people who object tot heir articles. Those who militantly oppose a sensible BLP solution are adding to the problem, what I dislike is that NYB never added to the BLP problem. Thanks, SqueakBox 22:06, 30 April 2008 (UTC)
As long as Wikipedia remains influential, there will be people who seek to influence and undermine our work, regardless of whether we have BLP solution that you consider sensible. I have examples. The Uninvited Co., Inc. 22:26, 30 April 2008 (UTC)
yes but its the BLP issues that caused the problem here and NYB was caught in the crossfire not for his attitude to BLP but because he has a reputation, just like those affected by BLP but not like every wikipedian. Trying to encourage anonymity is exacerbating not resolving the fundamental problem. And I don't believe there are issues more important than BLP, and I have plenty of examples. Thanks, SqueakBox 22:30, 30 April 2008 (UTC)
I couldn't disagree more. Trying to blame the BLP problem for the antics of a certain individual is silly. That's not the root issue. If it were not perceived BLP issues, it would be something else entirely. It's the blackmailing and threats that have to stop. Enigma message 22:34, 30 April 2008 (UTC)
Well I strongly disagree up to a point. I am here like everyone else because I feel a sense of outrage at what has happened to NYB. But he was targeted because he was notable, which is what various folk feel is happening to them in their BLP articles that they object to. And I think the bad behaviour needs to stop on both sides and we need to find the peace. My approach to wikipedia is largely based on damage limitation and I deplore these attacks on the project. Wikipedia having BLP problems is not an excuse to destroy it but we do need to make the needed changes to our BLP policy. Thanks, SqueakBox 22:42, 30 April 2008 (UTC)

Part of the problem here is that those who don't know what happened are (or were) genuinely in the dark (and might genuinely be worried about what has happened, even though they shouldn't be). There should be a way, in order to prevent speculation, to quietly tell them, while not going into details, what the story is (for some people it will be a non-story, for others it will be an important principle - UninvitedCompany probably got closest to explaining things to people who don't know where to look). Those who know at least part of what happened realise that those who are trying to reduce or prevent any drama resulting from this, are not engaging in censorship (though we would do well to remember that different parts of the world have different sensitivities to what they perceive as censorship). The aim is simply trying to respect Newyorkbrad's wishes (as stated at the top of this page).

Although Newyorkbrad made a private choice to retire (something any of us should be free to do at any time with no drama - this is a volunteer project after all), it is natural for people to want to know what happened, and to ask questions of those who do know at least something more than what they themselves know. Faced with a lack of information, people speculate (that is human nature), or, if they are happy to take on trust what others say, decide not to push the matter.

I totally agree with Piotrus that a few short, brief statements, similar to the one Newyorkbrad posted above, may be the best way to contain things and allow people to stick to generalities and avoid the specifics. Stuff like this, however, is not helpful. For what it is worth, I think people are over-interpreting what Newyorkbrad said. What he said was: "I request that no explicit reference be made here or elsewhere to the incidents prompting my departure." It is quite clear that it is the specific (ie. explicit) details of the incidents that he does not want reported. That does not mean that he wanted all discussion, or general and non-specific discussion, of his departure suppressed or redirected here. But this is what has been happening. Ral and others initially removed posts about this at the Signpost tipline page. I then posted this to his talk page, and presumably Ral responded at the tipline page with this: "Clearly we are aware of the story by now. Please do not discuss the item any further here, per his wishes.", under the headline "NYB".

The point I am trying to make is that, although this is much better than talking to people through edit summaries, it is still excessively cryptic. Just a little bit more information would make people aware of what has happened, and still make the point about not discussing things in great detail. Something like: "The Signpost are aware that Newyorkbrad has retired. If you would like to leave him a message, please use his talk page. Please do not discuss the item any further here, per his wishes." Trying to avoid using his name is just silly. The bald fact of his departure is not something that can be avoided, and it can easily be reported as a private decision (which it is) without going into details, and equally the departure and the consequences can be discussed without going into details.

In my opinion, it is the explicit mentioning of the details that Newyorkbrad wanted us to avoid, and I strongly doubt the intention was ever for this request to be interpreted as avoiding general discussion ("should we have a policy on photos") and simple reporting ("an arbitrator has resigned"). The problem is how to stop the latter (general discussion and reporting) becoming the former (specific discussion). Please can those rushing to revert things consider that too much reverting may be unhelpful, and simply guiding people and discussions in the right direction (away from specifics and towards generalities) may be a better option. Carcharoth (talk) 23:35, 30 April 2008 (UTC)

Very well put, Carcharoth. Brad has the right to privacy; per Wikipedia:Right to vanish and simple courtesy of others - although as I suggested it elsewhere, we should have a Wikipedia:Anonymity policy making that clear (currently it is a semi-forgotten essay). I fully support not revealing his identity in our discussions.
Everything else, however, should be discussed, and previous attempts to remove the discussions from AN/Signpost talk pages were nothing but censorship, NOT supported by any of our policies (seriously, this is pure and simple censorship), violating Wikipedia:TALK#Behavior_that_is_unacceptable "do not edit others' comments"). Again, instead of pointing fingers to anybody, I accept it was done under WP:IAR, and would highly support creation/expansion of an existing policy that would clarify what to do in the future similar situation (perhaps we could add something to to mentioned WP:TALK, exceptions allowing removal of comments, although I would strongly opposed sanctioning such censorship as demonstrated by diffs above).
Lastly, as I again have argued before, we should indeed have protection similar to WP:BLP for our editors, anonymous or not. Personally I have chosen long time ago to "preemptively" reveal all of my personal details; I have done nothing on Wiki that I am ashamed off and nobody can blackmail me by revealing anything. The lesson from this incident is, I believe, that believing in protection of anonymity is a folly, and will leave you open to blackmail (I have seen this happen in the past, and I know at least one editor who left after he was threatened that his real identity will be revealed). I understand there are cases when an editor will want to remain anonymous for good reasons (criticizing variously defined authority); but you should never feel that this is safe, and be aware of consequences. --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| talk 16:16, 1 May 2008 (UTC)

Don't discuss what happened on wiki - but you can e-mail me

If anyone wants to know the basic information, which is not much and which is freely available on another website, then e-mail me and I will give you a prepared five sentence statement as to the basics of what happened - you can use the e-mail function by clicking on this line. Any request should be made with a statement that you promise to not discuss it on-wiki. I reserve the right to not respond to you without further comment. --David Shankbone 00:53, 1 May 2008 (UTC)

The whole idea that anybody should be satisfied with a "prepared statement" without any public discussion permitted is so pre-Web-2.0... and even pre-Web-1.0... it's "Mid 20th Century Mass Media", the mindset The Cluetrain Manifesto fought against. *Dan T.* (talk) 12:27, 1 May 2008 (UTC)
The idea that every single thing that happens to us has to be discussed in public should never have come to fruition. --David Shankbone 21:38, 1 May 2008 (UTC)

The 10 Ways To Not Get Outed

The short unfortunate answer is the only way to stay totally on the "down low" here if you're concerned about it:

  1. Don't use your real name.
  2. Don't use a name that alludes to your real name.
  3. Don't use a username you've used before.
  4. If all your usernames all over are variants on something like "SeismicGuy", name yourself "Fluffy Nose" here, if you've never gone by Fluffy Nose before--it should be totally unrelated to you, and new.
  5. Use a unique Gmail for your WP activities like Never mail anyone from this Gmail except via the web-based interface, to conceal your IP address (Gmail does not forward a sender's IP address in the email headers).
  6. Don't even enable mail if you're extra nervous--you can live without it.
  7. Don't edit any articles related to your job, known activities, or known relationships.
  8. Give out nothing about yourself on a personal level; keep the job "on-wiki".
  9. Never meet anyone from Wikipedia in real life, over Skype, or anything else that gives them more than what they see "on-wiki".
  10. Exclusively edit using proxy-based Internet access, or only edit from public locations/connections, to conceal your IP presence.

Thats the only way to totally, 100% stop outing. The more of these ten ideas you apply, the less likely it is to happen. Lawrence Cohen § t/e 23:05, 30 April 2008 (UTC)

What the heck: Wikipedia:How to not get outed on Wikipedia. Lawrence Cohen § t/e 23:12, 30 April 2008 (UTC)

Good ideas. The last one is a little hard, though. Some of the more commonly-used proxies are banned, aren't they? Enigma message 23:17, 30 April 2008 (UTC)
Didn't stop some longtime users from being creative in the past. I guess it depends on how private you need to be. Lawrence Cohen § t/e 23:21, 30 April 2008 (UTC)
And there is wikipedia's secure server, as well. John Carter (talk) 23:24, 30 April 2008 (UTC)
That just protects you from some network type stuff, people watching what you're doing when you connect from say the library or work. It doesn't give you any other privacy or keep your IP out of possible exposure. Good idea, but if someone is hunting you down THAT much to find out who you are on Wikipedia, you've got much bigger problems and probably need a permanent Wikibreak... Lawrence Cohen § t/e 23:31, 30 April 2008 (UTC)
I thought I remembered seeing somewhere that edits from the secure server were listed under a separate, possibly unique, IP, which is why I mentioned it. I might be wrong, of course. John Carter (talk) 23:36, 30 April 2008 (UTC)
If so, I bet they sure don't want it advertised that you can beat Checkuser with a secure login on Wikipedia. Lawrence Cohen § t/e 23:42, 30 April 2008 (UTC)
Of course steps 6 and 10 will pretty well preclude you from becoming an Admin. Corvus cornixtalk 23:40, 30 April 2008 (UTC)
On #6, maybe? Not sure. On #10, not automatically? Clever people can set up something like that on a 1 to 1 basis with no one else using the proxy. Lawrence Cohen § t/e 23:42, 30 April 2008 (UTC)
Only if a checkuser notices your use of proxies and decides to ask you a question about it. hbdragon88 (talk) 01:30, 1 May 2008 (UTC)
11. Just because you haven't been outed don't mean people aren't trying. — CharlotteWebb 18:11, 2 May 2008 (UTC)

I think this way of teaching guidelines, an anonymity how-to, is the right way to deal with the problem. I'm surprised that the list doesn't mention the time and topic dimensions. You have a right to remain anonymous, but this is always a hide-and-seek game. You might be discovered and outed. Just like in cryptography, the more clues you give to your "enemies", the greater their chance to break your code. Seek to minimize your anonymous activity. Your need to stay anonymous might be limited to your contributions on a certain topic, or for a limited time. Perhaps you can sign up with your real name for most of your activities and use a separate sock puppet account for the times you need to be anonymous? You can go to meetups with your real name (after all, you will bring your real face), and not disclose your anonymous disguise. Consider if you really need to combine anonymity with adminship. Don't use your real name account and your disguise during the same hour, since that is a proven way to discover sock puppetry. --LA2 (talk) 00:53, 1 May 2008 (UTC)

Not true. Using two accounts at different times is often used as a reason that a single person is controlling two accounts. On the other hand, if both edit in the same hour, and only in the same hour, they may be sockpuppets as well. And determined people will extrapolate every piece of data to determine if accounts are linked or not (see Mantamoreland RFAR for the best case). So create a list of quirks that one account has that the other does not (use of edit summaries, different types of topics, RV vs. rvv vs. undo vs. rollback). The best way to throw them off is to wake up at 3 a.m. your time and edit with one account, and then edit with the other account at regular hours. hbdragon88 (talk) 01:33, 1 May 2008 (UTC)

The single easiest way is to not edit controversial topics and to not be an admin. People are targeted based on the power that others perceive them to have. After all, it's Brandt's Hive Mind Administration. hbdragon88 (talk) 01:30, 1 May 2008 (UTC)

In case anyone thinks that the above comment is an explicity reference to a certain incident, it's not. Hivemind only lists arbitrators, developers, large donators, administrators (current and former). If you're only an editor, and unless you do something extraordinary (I have no idea what that certain editor-only entry did), I'm pretty sure that you won't go on. hbdragon88 (talk) 01:43, 1 May 2008 (UTC)

I disagree with the above. Instead of the ten rules above - which may be good for Chinese dissidents - I believe that for most editors, the following two are perfectly acceptable:

  1. Use your real name
  2. Don't edit anything that you wouldn't want others to find out about

Anonymity leaves you open to blackmail, and encourages behavior that one would not want to have associated with his real life persona (consider that 100% of trolls are anonymous...). --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| talk 16:35, 1 May 2008 (UTC)

While revealing your real name and everything about you precludes you from being blackmailed by certain people of ill repute (similar to revealing a scandal to the press instead of submitting to threats of disclosure), it's not that great of a strategy for many people. The bottom line is that most people, including myself, do not wish to be harassed in real life for their actions on the Internet. How would this help the administrators who were "outed" and are suffering real life harassment at this very minute? Enigma message 16:41, 1 May 2008 (UTC)
I mostly agree with Piotrus. While I have no problem with pseudonymity, people probably shouldn't engage in activity which they aren't prepared to have associated with their real identity. Using your real name to begin with keeps you on track in this regard. Being an arbitrator or high-profile administrator is much the same as being an editor of a high-profile magazine or newspaper and people who take these positions should be aware that they might be on the receiving end of public criticism and harassment. They need to take this into account when deciding if they want the job. Unfortunate but true: people need to protect themselves. Christopher Parham (talk) 00:24, 2 May 2008 (UTC)
I agree with Lawrence Cohen. I think Lawrence Cohen has made very good suggestions. Masterpiece2000 (talk) 04:23, 3 May 2008 (UTC)
In general, I agree with the position that anyone with authority on Wikipedia should not be anonymous. I'm willing to give in on mere admins, but sysop, oversight, and ArbCom levels should be non-anonymous. I'm editing under my own name, I've edited controversial articles, and it's not a problem. --John Nagle (talk) 04:51, 4 May 2008 (UTC)

One way to never be in the position of being outed at Wikipedia

I think it is imperative to address the issue that is truly at hand here. Officers and directors and administrators of real live organizations around the world must be held accountable for their actions in the real world. Therefore, if someone does not want to be outed, they should not hold themselves up to be part of the said former group at Wikipedia or any entity that, in fact, has as part of it's cause, the explicit presentation of information about real, and in some cases, live people.

Officers of public corporations are seen as transparent and out in the open. That is the law and that is the way it should be at Wikipedia. That is the reason why NYB was put in the position he is in now. Peace. :) (talk) 01:37, 1 May 2008 (UTC)

It's the law because there is a fiduciary responsibility for officers and directors of publicly-traded organizations. None of that applies here. Please don't quote the law when you don't know it; it makes you look silly. --David Shankbone 21:56, 1 May 2008 (UTC)
It is not the law and it is not how it should be at Wikipedia. Garion96 (talk) 12:42, 1 May 2008 (UTC)
I agree with the anon. I've always supported the idea that all admins, ArbCom members and all editors 'in the position of power and responsibility' should post their real name and credentials. --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| talk 16:37, 1 May 2008 (UTC)
Piotrus, you are just plain wrong. David Shankbone, you are just plain right. End of story. Keeper | 76 | Disclaimer 21:59, 1 May 2008 (UTC)
So they can be harrassed off-Wiki as soon as they make a decision someon doesn't like? No. This should never be a requirement. -- (talk) 20:14, 1 May 2008 (UTC)
I believe that anyone in a position of power should be open and honest about who they are. I believe this whether it's on Wikipedia, in a job of work, a political position, or anything else. DuncanHill (talk) 20:40, 1 May 2008 (UTC)
Define "power". --David Shankbone 21:56, 1 May 2008 (UTC)
We have an article - Power (philosophy). In future, please try using the search box for general knowledge questions, or asking at the reference desks. DuncanHill (talk) 22:23, 1 May 2008 (UTC)
So that article is how you define power? I'm simply supposed to assume that this covers your thoughts when you make broad sweeping generalizations that everyone on the planet who can influence the decisions of other people should be "open and honest" about who they are"? Is the phrase "open and honest" supposed to be obvious, like "fair and balanced"? If I start an anonymous fan blog dedicated to Angela Bassett and other Bassett fans like my blog and want to start posting too, is it then my responsibility, as the blog admin, to be "open and honest" about who I am? Should the anonymous authors of the Federalist papers, upon which American democracy is based, have not been anonymous even though they influenced the thoughts and decisions of many? If these things are so clear-cut to you, let's hear you actually expound upon the words whose definitions, ideas and philosophies are so obvious to you. Please, enlighten us Mr. Hill. --David Shankbone 22:42, 1 May 2008 (UTC)
On-line forum blog type thingy? Yes, whoever controls it should reveal their identity. Federalist Papers? A subject on which I am profoundly ignorant, but off the top of my head yes, you write any kind of manifesto, be honest about who you are. If you are, or seek to be, in a position of power, you should not hide from scrutiny. To expect trust without showing trust in those from whom you seek it is one of the worst of hypocrisies. DuncanHill (talk) 22:54, 1 May 2008 (UTC)
But what if one doesn't expect trust? Then does the duty to be "open and honest" about "who you are" dissipate? If I approach a blog, secret society or website where I know the people are anonymous, do I not have any responsibility for my membership or what I glean from such a blog, society or website? Where is the reader or new member's responsibility? And what does "who you are" mean? Name? Location? Affiliations? Job? Employer? Likes and dislikes? Political organizations? Where do you draw the line with "who you are", Mr. Hill? I've been accused of being both a Republican (on the WR) and a Democrat (on WP). Is it my responsibility to fess up to my leanings? If I am editing the Abortion article, do I need to state my POV as part of "who you are"? Once I have any modicum of influence over another human, once I am no longer at the bottom of the barrel, please tell me what you expect of me to reveal. --David Shankbone 23:02, 1 May 2008 (UTC)
I find the phrasing and the machine-gun delivery of your questions a little hard to follow. Perhaps you could limit them to just two per post? And by the way, many British people find being "mistered" mildly offensive, it's the sort of language a bum-bailiff uses. DuncanHill (talk) 23:20, 1 May 2008 (UTC)
Really? I lived in London and I found the English saw it as a sign of respect. I suppose, Duncan, all this begs the question: why are you participating in a website that is completely antithetical to your value system, and is unlikely to ever change? --David Shankbone 23:52, 1 May 2008 (UTC)
Perhaps you have a charming accent, that could have greatly affected the way in which your choice of words was received. Wikipedia is not "completely antithetical" to my value system, there are parts of it which I admire greatly, and others which I believe to be in need of radical change. DuncanHill (talk) 23:59, 1 May 2008 (UTC)

{unindent} But this isn't an arguable difference, such as "Should we or should we not semi-protect all BLP articles?" (we should). Anonymity is a foundational principle of the site. You referred me to the Power article in order for me to glean a sense of what power is - you trust an article that was written anonymously, when you find that concept inherently flawed and "in need of radical change". Should a pro-Democracy blogger in China reveal who he or she is if they are writing democratic manifestos anonymously? --David Shankbone 00:09, 2 May 2008 (UTC)

As a practicing attorney, in the United States, I can tell you that Mr. Shankbone is not correct. At governmental, as well as, on a corporate level, there are very strict laws; rules and guidelines that we must follow if we are going to act as officers of any corporate or governmental entity, albeit new and even more strict laws are on the way. Full disclosure of identities, along with background checks and checks for credentials are the “norm.”
Transparency is not something new, it is simply now enforced. :) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:52, 2 May 2008 (UTC)
Um, David actually did point out exactly that. He also (rightly) pointed out that this has nothing to do with Wikipedia. -- Kesh (talk) 03:26, 2 May 2008 (UTC)
Er...actually, he did not. He implied there is an implicit law...fidiuciary responsibility. Counsel said there are real live laws. Further, this is all about NYB and has everything to do with expectations that people here will ultimately be forced to obey real live laws. Laws about privacy and laws about transparency as applied to corporate officers and the people "in charge" here. (talk) 03:46, 2 May 2008 (UTC)
I'm sorry, you are making absolutely no sense and User:Kesh correctly interpreted what I said, you did not. But I will give you the benefit of the doubt: since you are saying "people here will ultimately be forced to obey real live laws" can you please link to the law you are referring to? I'd be interested to see you produce that. I've taken Corporate law and Securities regulation, amongst others, and I'd like to see how your own personal legal acumen is coming up with what you are writing. So, please...the floor is yours. I will give you a hint to start with: which state law governing corporations (since, as you know, it *is* state law that governs corporations) would apply to Wikipedia? --David Shankbone 03:53, 2 May 2008 (UTC)
At best, the actual Wikimedia Foundation personnel are required to adhere to such laws. Volunteers on Wikipedia itself are not. There is no "authority" or legal responsibility to being an admin, ArbCom member or any other on-Wiki position. We're all just users, some of which have a few more bits in their account. That's it. -- Kesh (talk) 04:02, 2 May 2008 (UTC)
Kesh is, of course, right except even the personnel don't have fiduciary responsibility. But I'm interested to see the loosey-goosey legal analysis our IP friends provide. --David Shankbone 04:10, 2 May 2008 (UTC)

← I understand that there might be no legal requirement for Arbitrators to reveal their identities, but let us make a reality check here: an Arbitrator occupies one of the most influential positions in the English Wikipedia, and the English Wikipedia in one of the most visited websites in the world. (I am not saying "one of the top-ten sites" because that would be the entirety of Wikipedia.) Both the influence of the Arbitrators in Wikipedia and the fame of Wikipedia itself are undisputed facts; it is a very small stretch to say that Wikipedia is a globally influential site. Combining these leads to the plausible conclusion that Arbitrators are influential people in one of the world's most influential websites. On-line or not, I think this means that their positions are responsible enough to warrant a certain level of transparency. We might be on-line, but we are not isolated from the real world; the rules of reality work here as well, and editors ought to remember this at all times. Waltham, The Duke of 09:21, 2 May 2008 (UTC)

The only transparency that sounds remotely viable to me is if ArbCom members had to give their information to the WikiMedia foundation. That's it. That information should not be publicly available, and the Foundation could screen any complaints with their information. Even this, I'd be resistant to. -- Kesh (talk) 19:24, 2 May 2008 (UTC)
Except ArbCom specifically avoids dealing with content matters, which are all the vast majority of people ever see or care about. Their effect on how non-editors see and use the site and content is indirect at most. Mr.Z-man 23:42, 4 May 2008 (UTC)

Strict enforcement

I am not sure why should attempts to reveal privacy or identity of an editor, against his/her will, be at all a subject to questioning. I have recently been disturbed by absolute disregard to this fact at WP:AE, ArbCom and WP:ANI. Of course, it's unavoidable that someone will try to reveal the identity of the other, intimidating exists everywhere and Wikipedia is not an exclusion. But frankly, unless editor voluntarily provides his identity, saying he is XYZ in real life, then any other attempt is simply a harassment, period. If Wikipedia editor is editing a topic, it should be irrelevant who that person is in real life, because priority here is a topic rather than an author. Any attempt to even question this cannot be interpreted in way other than intimidation and thus must be dealt with strictly. Any editor found of attempting to do so should be restricted without any questioning of how the revealing/false association/harassment/privacy violation, etc. was done, but whether it was voluntary or forced upon a victim. Atabek (talk) 16:57, 1 May 2008 (UTC)

I mostly agree with Atabek here. Everyone who outs anyone for any reason should be treated like SlimVirgin treated User:WordBomb. A full site ban, that is not undoable for any reason. --Rocksanddirt (talk) 22:27, 1 May 2008 (UTC)

Who will protect the editors?

The unfortunate fact is that Wikipedia's rise to be the #7 website on the Internet has had its downside as well. We may be the subject of acres of news coverage these days, but we're also attracting the attention of some seriously malicious people. We've seen editors being threatened, legally and physically, both on and off-wiki. A number of editors have been subjected to sustained campaigns of harassment by a variety of cranks, trolls and bullies. At its worst the harassment has lasted for years. There are people out there who want to destroy Wikipedia and want to achieve this by personally destroying the individuals who contribute to Wikipedia. This has nothing to do with BLPs - charitably, that's just the spark for the problem, more realistically it's a problem which would have arisen whatever the ostensible "provocation". Nor would fixing the BLP issue or ending anonymity have any impact on resolving the problem, as the worst of the cranks want to destroy Wikipedia outright. They can't be reasoned with or appeased. The more moderate critics could perhaps be placated, but not the ultras.

There really needs to be a tougher response to this. Some of the off-wiki activity that has been directed at Wikipedians over the last year or two has, I think, reached the level of criminal harassment. Is it not about time that the Wikimedia Foundation - or at least someone associated with Wikimedia - took a stand on behalf of the editors? The cranks and bullies need to be shut down, through legal means if necessary: sue them for harassment and libel, tie them up in the courts and make the cost of harassing Wikipedians unacceptably high. The longer the perpetrators of the harassment are allowed to continue with impunity, the worse this problem is likely to get. They want to get to a position where people are too afraid to stand for the ArbCom or serve as administrators. Are we really willing to let things get to that stage? -- ChrisO (talk) 00:02, 2 May 2008 (UTC)

If someone crosses the line in real life, then the people that should handle that are the police, not the Wikimedia Foundation, which doesn't have any law enforcement powers that I'm aware of. -Chunky Rice (talk) 00:09, 2 May 2008 (UTC)
Correct me if I'm wrong, please, but aren't there separate civil and criminal law codes? An incident of harassment may not rise to the level of a criminal offense, but it could potentially be prosecuted in a civil court, which is where support from the Foundation could be used. -- ChrisO (talk) 00:14, 2 May 2008 (UTC)
I agree, but the unfortunate reality is that it is quite possible to drive people away with activity that does not rise to the level of harassment, so I am not sure how effective that would be. Christopher Parham (talk) 00:33, 2 May 2008 (UTC)

There is an issue that is, at least indirectly, related to the above discussion, namely the WMF privacy policy and the way in which WMF itself protects the privacy and the identity of its users. About two months ago, in relation to a different incident involving Wikipedia, I made a proposal at the WMF privacy policy page that would require some attempt of notification of WP users by WMF when their identifying info is being sought by third party subpoenas in private lawsuits. That proposal is available at the talk page for the WMF privacy policy.[5] Nsk92 (talk) 03:44, 2 May 2008 (UTC)

Who will protect the children?

There is an aspect to anonymity that has been overlooked in this debate, and a blog by an admin elsewhere highlighted the issue.

It is well known that many editors and admins are children. Indeed some children are in more senior positions than admins. We are told that some even work on OTRS, though apparently they should not. WMF has made statements along the lines that they welcome such contributors and have no problem with this. There is no identification policy, and the content is famously uncensored, as David Shankbone can attest with his recent journalistic exploits in the world of athletic porn. Yet the WMF would have children potentially presiding over reviewing unsuitable material.

We know that there are immoral people taking advantage of Wikipedia - whether you conceive of them as vandals or fellow editors. There are people here who see no problem with child abuse, or bestiality - whose interest goes beyond neutral reporting of those issues. There are sites out there which advocate using Wikipedia to promote their causes. These are all things which are not the fault of Wikipedia in itself, but Wikipedia has no means of dealing with this.

So we have anonymous editors who might be children, and we have anonymous editors who might be interested in contacting these people. What we do not have is any rational policy that even considers there might be a problem here. Why is it that Wikipedia is magically immune from the problems that are continually highlighted by every organisation in the world who is concerned about the issues of child protection? Ah, the old rhetorical question: it is not.

Wikipedia is a big chat room. People arrange meet ups. Are you starting to get the idea that there is another anonymity scandal waiting in the wings - only one that if it did happen would destroy the growing reputation of the encyclopaedia.

But how can you protect someone with no means of proving who they are - there is no system, not even a way of hinting.

This is not an issue for the community to decide, it is for the WMF to impose, in my view. They have a duty of care - and probably legal responsibilities too. And here is a thought: any real world organisation that involves children in the UK under the age of 18 require those who are involved to have a Criminal Records Check or at least a check on the Sex Offenders Register. Next time you arrange to go to a Wiki meet up in the UK, are you sure you know who you are meeting up with? Are you under 18 and at risk of putting an adult into a difficult position, or are you over 18 and at risk of being misled into an inappropriate relationship by a minor? These rules protect adults as well as children. Is there a policeman typing away somewhere on Wikipedia, bating a honey-trap for someone nasty, who might misunderstand you. Be glad original research is banned.

But what do you think? (And say if you are under 18). The right answer, by the way, is neither "Children are our best contributors, we cannot exclude them so we need do nothing." nor is it "Oh, too tricky, therefore we need do nothing." nor is it "Wikipedia is not censored, therefore we don't have to give a f...fig." Dogbiscuit (talk) 23:30, 2 May 2008 (UTC)

Please, won't somebody think of the children? --Carnildo (talk) 23:40, 2 May 2008 (UTC)
Erm, so I take it that you think this is a spurious argument and any effects on children are entirely indirect or imagined? It saves bothering about the issue, so that's at least an efficient response. Dogbiscuit (talk) 23:53, 2 May 2008 (UTC)
No, the answer is WP:NOT#CENSORED. Wikipedia's job is not to play mommy. That's for parents to teach their children about responsibility.--WaltCip (talk) 00:28, 3 May 2008 (UTC)
FWIW, WMF have published a version suitable for school use, so the concept is not alien here. Flagged revisions could be used to implement the same thing, without the need for any underlying censorship of the base articles. Producing such a work is not playing mummy, it is being socially responsible. Oh, and it is possible to get things censored when it is appropriate... oversight. Dogbiscuit (talk) 16:43, 3 May 2008 (UTC)
  • From what I understand from your "Please, please, please, won't somebody think of the children!?" sermonizing, the world is a big bad spooky place, where big bad spooky things can happen to children and adults, and how can we devise a series of policies that protect all of us from all the possibilities that could happen in this terrible world? For anyone who has ever been to a meet-up (and photographs can attest to this), it is surprising how there are virtually no people under the age of 18. Dogbiscuit, you all at the Wikipedia Review are famous for sifting through diffs, photos (*ahem*), IP addresses and websites - you mean you have *never* taken the time to look at all the Meet-Up photos to notice that? You all are losing your touch. It's pretty much just us adult nerds. Otherwise, we are not a social networking site, and I think you should focus on places like MySpace and Facebook, where actual problems have existed, and not places like Wikipedia, where your concerns are all theoretical. Or maybe parents should focus on teaching their children independence, safety and responsibility. The subway could get attacked with sarin gas; I'm still going to ride it. A plane could fly into my workplace; I'm still going to be there Monday morning. If a parent doesn't like the content of Wikipedia, the solution is to block it. In America exposing a child to an adult woman's breasts in public would be seen as indecent; the English do that to children every day in Benidorm. It's up to parents to keep their kids off Spanish beaches if that troubles them; same goes for Wikipedia. --David Shankbone 02:05, 3 May 2008 (UTC)
Well, that's got the knee jerk reactions out of the way. Perhaps you'll consider what I wrote now. I was pretty careful to point out that this was not about protecting children, it was also about protecting adult users too. I am rather perturbed at the logic that equates not censored with meaning that laws in the real world, that are introduced because of real world concerns have no relevance to Wikipedia. Now, perhaps again you will consider why it is that responsible agencies warn adults and children about the dangers of using sites like FaceBook, and MySpace, who at least pay lip service to the issue, where in Wikipedia the issue is dismissed as some anti-libertarian claptrap. Yes, shit happens all the time, but you don't close your eyes to issues. Try finding a litter bin in a London railway station - they don't have them because of bombs. Go to a bar, they put bouncers on the door. You don't get into an unlicensed taxi cab. There is a difference between letting these issues dominate your lives and being reckless in ignoring them. In your case, you must realise that you might make some arrangement to meet up with a fellow Wikipedian to take their picture, in good faith. When you meet up, you only then discover that they are a child. They then make an unfounded accusation about you. How you view yourself and your moral stance will not be used to support your case, your uncensored photographs would be used to establish that you at least have contacts with the pornography industry. (For the avoidance of doubt, I do not suggest that you are involved, I understand your journalistic detachment, my point is that others deliberately will not). What is your defence: it's all right officer, I'm a Wikipedian? Virtually nobody under 18? That's not nobody. So the solution is to make sure that when you have meetups, that you take reasonable steps to make sure that you are not meeting with minors, or that minors have a responsible adult with them. That is completely different to suggesting that because of small risks you do nothing. After all, the designers of the Twin Towers had actually considered the possibility of a jet flying into them, unfortunately their engineering solution wasn't good enough (no blame attached from me).
My point is that WMF have actually worked against being careful. Jimbo pronounced that identifying an editor who committed illegal sex acts was a bannable offence. Where is the warning on entering this site that some of its content may be unsuitable for all viewers? Please note, I am not saying that the content needs to be changed, but that WMF is riding for a fall if they simply ignore the issues on some libertarian or amoral view of the world. If WMF do not do the basics, someone out there will turn them over for it.
So shit happens. We know that, so we take sensible measures to protect ourselves, without desending into paranoia. It is a trite answer to blame the parents: and one that only someone who has not got teenage children would make. I would love to live in your head in the sands world where all problems are someone else's to deal with, Wikipedia is sooo important that it does not need to consider what goes on in the nasty real world outside. Dogbiscuit (talk) 07:40, 3 May 2008 (UTC)
Thank you for those sensible comments DB. I protect my children. All the material that comes in through our broadband is carefully monitored. Wikipedia is not (for the moment). That is because in many cases it is a reasonably good source of information, and in some cases has more than our standard set of reference works. Given it is used so much by children and schools, I would expect a modicum of responsibility. Which indeed it has - can I say how much I get irritated by the cries of 'Wikipedia is not censored'. Of course it is. There is a thin bright line somewhere. I mean, if you go to Zoophilia you don't see Alsatians having full-on sex with women or whatever, you see these tasteful artistic pics from prehistoric times. If you go to Pederasty it's pretty much the same. So, obviously, it is censored. The question is where to draw the line. Many places it is v much in the wrong place. Peter Damian (talk) 09:01, 3 May 2008 (UTC)
First, the concept of a child being offended by Wikipedia is quite different than a plane flying into a building or a subway bomb, as I'm sure you will agree. Second, children should have been taught at their age by their parents that the Internet is a nasty place. Forcing Wikipedia to make legislation to protect the children will severely limit the content available, and the website will become a laughingstock. We cannot accept any level of blame whatsoever if a pedophile solicits a teenage user on Wikipedia, since the policy of WP:NOT#SOCIAL is quite clear and inherent.
Third, Wikipedia already has a warning. It's an ENCYCLOPEDIA, and I would guarantee you that you would find quite a detailed article on the penis in a hard-bound encyclopedia as well.
"Where all problems are someone else's to deal with" - That is also incorrect. The correct phrasing is "A person should be able to take responsibility for their own actions." Being a young user myself, I learned that quite early on at the age of 14. Charity, by nature, should be an action that is compulsory and voluntary, not forced and mandatory.--WaltCip (talk) 12:37, 3 May 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for the thoughtful response. I'll pick up on the "take responsibility for their own actions" issue. I know I started in the context of anonymity, but consider that a young person puts lots of personal information up that leaves them open to ridicule (thinking of a particular example which I will not refer to for obvious reasons). My point is that a young person is treated differently in society and by law for the very reason it is recognised that they do not always have good judgement (well, if we adults have not) and so society as a whole, and the law, not just the parents, have a tolerant and forgiving approach. Parents may advise, but we recognise that unless they sit next to them and smoother them, they cannot be responsible for their every action, so we rely on society as a whole to help in that process. Adults get it wrong too, Squeakbox is bothered about information he once posted on his user page. I once was here under my own name, but got rather concerned about the abuse that certain admins were prepared to dish out when they didn't get their own way. A child may be more reckless.
So we recognise that children should take care, and be cared for by their parents, but we also recognise that things do not always work out how they should.
Nowhere have I said that things need to be banned. What I am saying is there are some obvious concerns, yet the WMF have no policy to address those concerns, the basics of a ethical organisation are not there. Any organisation in the UK that has contacts with children would be expected to go through a risk assessment and put things in place to ensure that anything done in the name of the organisation is protected. You may well laugh at this, but did you know that you have to pass a CRB (criminal records bureau) check to be allowed to have a guide dog puppy? One can only speculate as to what incident led to that.
The analogy is only false in that it was thrown out as supporting an argument for entirely ignoring risk. The point is clear, we do not let our lives be dominated my small risks, but if a risk can be identified as real and quantifiable, then we are reckless if we ignore it. People are very bad at assessing risk.
The point for WMF to consider is that actually there are laws in America that say that online services should take steps to identify minors. The WMF have taken a judgement to ignore that or concluded that they have no legal obligation to comply - but what about an ethical obligation? It is clear that there must be some sort of risk to children engaging in this social networking site. The WMF have not taken any action to assess that, it is left to the community to dismiss as an irrelevance, it appears. The response may be that for sound reasons there is nothing they should do, or it might be that someone realises that new members need to be given a clear set of guidelines, or it may be that editors are reminded that when organising meetups due care should be taken, or it might be that minors are only allowed to see the long promised saved versions of articles (which might then have the benefit of allowing Wikipedia to be opened up to more people via schools).
You see, I don't have a lot of faith in people being very good at doing the right thing - they can't even edit an encyclopedia without needing a whole set of rules to do it right, and even then those rules don't work and we have a heap of banned users. So, sure take responsibility for your own actions, but remember that you are then relying on the other person too, so really it is better, in the words of an admin, to "watch each others backs". Dogbiscuit (talk) 14:06, 3 May 2008 (UTC)
  • Their parents. --erachima talk 09:30, 3 May 2008 (UTC)
    So we need to have hysterical debates about protecting poor vulnerable adult editors from the real world who want to hide away and not take responsibility for their actions, but ensuring that other vulnerable people are not harmed is an irrelevance? Dogbiscuit (talk) 14:06, 3 May 2008 (UTC)

From my former experience as a child, I can verify that I thought all the attempts to "shield children" were pretty silly and useless, and I have to say I currently still agree with my younger self's opinion. So if parents wish to monitor their children's thought crime, that should be their own prerogative - "don't tell them how to raise their children". As for real world aspects like children being lured somewhere... again that should be something that parents have the right to instruct their kids on... but why single out children? everyone is at risk from people who might want to harm them - but I will agree that it would benefit Wikipedia to add some warning and disclaimers in the hope that people won't ignore them and on the off-chance that legal action develops.

Your argument can easily backfire... having children with accounts is an excellent reason for anonymity - we would not want people using Wikipedia records to track down the real life identity of little kids? The bottom line is that kind of paranoia that grips some people today about children is the thing that throws out reasonable judgement of risk and trust. I have seen this from both sides now, and it makes perfectly innocent interactions into emergencies, it makes every adult suspect every other adult, and at the extreme leaves children insulated from the real world (which coincidentally makes them more vulnerable to predators).

The correct approach is simple: solely online interaction does not inherently had significant risk - if you as an editor observe any inappropriate behavior or patterns, bring attention to it through the established processes for bringing up bad editor behavior - practically all Wikipedia edits are public - heck, write an antiGroomingBot that tries to detect it. As for real world meetings... the simple fact is that parents are by far in the best position to monitor what their kid is doing... much better then the amorphous blob of editors. Sure, stick a underage warning on the invite... sure, hold meeting in brightly lit public bars where ID get's checked at the door... but beyond being good citizens, how do you propose WP address the issue? Credit card verification like "certain" other sites use? An age test of some sort, where you have answers questions about random well known events from 15 years ago? A big red "no children allowed" sign? And how does knowing the identity of admins play into all f this? --Marcinjeske (talk) 13:33, 3 May 2008 (UTC)

Thanks for the very thoughtful response. I agree with much of what you said. In fact what triggered this was a comment elsewhere where a Wikipedia admin had suggested that a banned user publicly identifying a Wikipedia admin was "creepy" and inappropriate behaviour because after discovering his identity it was found that the admin was a minor - "older people should not be interacting with younger people." If responding to legal threats is creepy, then isn't it a bit creepy that this social networking site actively encourages disguising your identity to mislead others?
It is not clear to me what the real issues are and what the solutions might be, but it seems that you hit the nail on the head: how do you encourage people to be good citizens? The message I get from David is "Tough, we don't want any good citizens around here, you are on your own." - but I don't really believe that he means it - people get all fuzzy headed when writing an encyclopedia and seem to want things to be different from the real world. Just remember, people here can't even edit articles co-operatively and properly, so don't assume they can do harder things right :) Dogbiscuit (talk) 14:32, 3 May 2008 (UTC)

Arbitrary "Who will protect the children" break

Quoting Dogbiscuit from above: "In your case, you must realise that you might make some arrangement to meet up with a fellow Wikipedian to take their picture, in good faith. When you meet up, you only then discover that they are a child. They then make an unfounded accusation about you." This reminds me of the Satanic Panic cases from the 1980's. If I go to a Marks & Spencers or a Wal-Mart, how is it any different? If I go anywhere in public where exists the possibility that adults and children may mingle, why am I putting myself at any less risk? Your scenarios are flawed, because they suspend common sense: I don't make arrangements to meet up with Wikipedians one-on-one in private, and I certainly have no reason to start photographing them. If I did, I would use more common sense than your hypothetical allows. Unfortunately, Dogbiscuit, there comes a point where addressing your argument beyond what I already have done becomes silly. For years after 9/11 my 90 year old aunt was afraid to leave her rural Iowa home after dark because of terrorists. I, who live in New York City, tried to assuage her fears, but in the end...all the scary things that can go wrong in the world kept her indoors once the sun went down. You remind me more of my aunt than a rational person. Can a child be molested every time they leave their parent's sight? Yes. They can also be molested by their parents. Can I die every time I step in a slippery bathtub? Yes, but I'm not going to start wearing sneakers to shower. --David Shankbone 14:08, 3 May 2008 (UTC)

The scenarios are not flawed for the very reason that they do not suspend common sense - they point out that children often have not developed that common sense, and the world is littered with examples that show that common sense is not that common. So you have not met up with Wikipedians singly, (I can't recall if your lunch that some people said was inappropriate for other reasons was after someone else had introduced you), good for you, but the point still stands. People seem to think that because the cause is noble, that they can suspend critical faculties. No harm here, we are writing an encyclopedia, nothing to see, move along. It is that last little bit I am trying to tease out. This venture has a veneer of respectability that might allow people to lower their guard and do things that they do not realise are inappropriate, because they think they are writing an encyclopedia, not participating in a multi-player online role-playing game. After all, common sense tells us not to make terrorist threats on school articles, doesn't it? No harm done there.
OK, enough said. I put the issue out there, and the community, it appears, has spoken. Dogbiscuit (talk) 14:51, 3 May 2008 (UTC)
I understand you see Wikipedia as a game, and that's fine. Regarding my post photo shoot lunch with Matt Sanchez, people are free to say whatever they like. Fact is, he's an adult, columnist and former soldier. If it's not clear by now, I don't really care what people think about me - I will do what I want and what I think is right. Common sense tells us not to break the law (such as making terrorist threats,on school articles, molesting children or not paying taxes). But your proposition that Wikipedia should cave into the Nanny state is anathema not only to me, but I think to your brothers and sisters at Wikipedia Review, including those who have pooh-poohed the writings of Amorrow, who have been banned for incivility and for being "trolls". You are arguing against anonymity, and using arguments that would lead to the banning and castigation of more people. I don't think you'll find much support for your arguments here, or on the WR. --David Shankbone 15:10, 3 May 2008 (UTC)
OK, I'm sorry that the way I've written this has ended up being too personal about you. The point I was making was you met up with someone you thought you knew about, poor example in that he was a public figure apparently. Others may follow your example and believe that they know the person that they are meeting up with is such a well known Wikipedian there is no issue.
What intrigues me is that people feel so threatened by criticism, that they need to exaggerate to defend the point. Cave into the nanny state: never suggested it - I suggested that to ignore the problem entirely is reckless. Your mis-characterisation of WR as like-thinking people (which indeed you acknowledge) and supporter of He Who Must Not Be Named (apologies for taking that out, you should understand why) is inappropriate.
There are a lot of wrong assumptions in your response, you seem to think I am a thoughtless automaton BADSITE attack robot, perhaps? Perhaps I am arguing for anonymity - it is surely not appropriate for children to identify themselves to strangers, I think I would like to see traceability though (the knowledge that you are only anonymous until you abuse the trust of the community - and that is the condition you have signed up to knowingly, not at the whim of an abusive admin).
What I am concerned about though, is the unintended consequences of a dive for deeper and deeper secrecy in response to attacks. Think on this: do the WMF hide behind pseudonyms? They are the most senior figures, arguably the most juicy targets of attackers, yet they do not seem to run into problems. Is one of the problems of anonymity that it is used inappropriately, the outing of a popular and respected member of the community should not actually have been an issue. Irritation, yes, problem, no. I don't think it was, per se, it was some unforeseen consequences that might not have occurred if he had not been secretive about his involvement. As I said on WR, I did change my views on that issue, in part based on the treatment of our friend by one individual - it hadn't dawned on me that someone could be so carelessly vindictive - but also because I understood that having been encouraged into a veil of anonymity, he had put himself in a difficult position of being, if you like, a public figure which conflicted with his employment, and it was that which made his revelation a problem. Dogbiscuit (talk) 15:57, 3 May 2008 (UTC)
Don't edit my comments. You talk as if you know things that you don't know, and it hurts your arguments. First, you are assuming that NYB left because of some job conflict. You don't know that, nor do I. Second, you are assuming that members of the WMF have not become targets. That is outright not true, and I will decline to go into further detail. Third, you are interpreting my words - I know that the Wikipedia Review is not a single-minded organism and if you read my words carefully you will realize my phrasing doesn't support your inference; however, if members remain silent to other members misdeeds while commenting in those same threads, they are complicit. Unfortunately, those on WR who consistently protest that the WR is not a hivemind fallaciously think that WP *is* a hivemind. As to "ignoring the problem" that is also a fallacy - there is no problem. It's theoretical, this whole adult/child interaction thing. Fifth, let's figure out what you mean by "child" - we don't have many 9 year olds on here, but we do have more than a few sixteen and seventeen year olds editing this on-line encyclopedia (the same ages they can drink in your neck of the woods. Last, if you don't want exaggerated responses, why did you choose an emotive, logically flawed title for the section? You set the tone for the discussion - now you want to circle back ("I wasn't *just* talking about children"; "Don't be so exaggerated" et. al.). It's pretty easy to come on here and muse about saving children from some theoretical problem, propose no solution, and then sit back and cherry pick the arguments you think overstep bounds or misunderstand what you are saying, when you are really saying and proposing nothing. You are simply mentally masturbating. --David Shankbone 17:48, 3 May 2008 (UTC)
A while back, Giovanni di Stefano claimed he was filing papers against some editors who had contributed negative yet impeccably sourced and true material into his article. He also claimed that he was filing against the WMF. You're living in a dream world if you think that we don't have real problems (i.e, not the hypothetical ones that you suggest) stemming from editor privacy problems. Besides...most of the things you say about children seem to focus on the very young (i.e, most people above the age of 12 are perfectly capable of understanding the GFDL), and we simply don't have that many people around. The youngest person I know of is 13 (the person participates in MfDs regularly and is, I believe, female; I can't recall the username at the moment). Thus far, all you've really done is "OH NOES TEH CHILDRENZZZ!!111!" without really proposing anything or providing any hard evidence that isn't raw speculation. Celarnor Talk to me 10:37, 5 May 2008 (UTC)

Hmm. OK, taking it bit by bit:

Not going to talk further about NYB for reasons stated on his talk page.

I don't doubt that the WMF have been subject to abuse and whatever. My point is that as they are open about who they are, there is no chance that the secretiveness can be used against them.

If I read your words on the thoughts of WR, one time fellow WR member, it seems that you seek to discredit all those who are members there by association with events that are unacceptable. This is not the time to debate that, simply to note that you have mis-characterised WR, but it is an irrelevance to the topic at hand.

WP as a whole is not a hivemind, after all there are many people here who merrily edit away with out knowledge of the machinations of the political glitterati. However, there is a worrying amount of group think among those who seek to represent The Community. Again, off topic, but the relevant point seems to be that any "not invented here" criticisms are often swiftly rounded up and despatched. An example would be that it has been ridiculously painful to cut through the idea that "building an encyclopedia" is perhaps not of such importance to the future of the world that living people being defamed in articles on a regular basis is somehow unimportant, a debate that I suspect would not be as painful in traditional organisations whose moral and ethical standpoint has evolved in other ways.

You dismiss the threat to children as some theoretical issue, in the same breath as acknowledging adults have been subject to serious harm. I am perplexed that what is acknowledged to be an issue in the world outside Wikipedia can be dismissed as entirely theoretical, but actually that should not stop it being an issue that is dealt with properly if that theory is plausible. To use your Twin Towers analogy once again, the risk of an airliner striking them was once entirely theoretical, yet the designers sought to address the issue. Millennium Bridge (London) is an example of what happens when people do not consider theoretical issues when dealing with novel systems.

I was not sure what point you were making with the drinking analogy. For example, one could argue that using drinking age suggests that the youth in America are considered so irresponsible that they cannot be trusted to drink until 21. I don't think you can draw many inferences from the various ages of permission other than to recognise that there is a consensus (real world term) that young people are different. In simple terms they are not mature, a biological fact that can be readily observed in the field.

You seem to reject the basic concept that young people (if you prefer) are not fully developed and may not have the proper judgement. You cannot simply then blame the parents. The parents of my generation still come from a world where there is an expectation that people try and do the right thing.

You seem to be too wrapped up in who I am and where I post, so I'll spell my concerns out for you again:

  • There are predatory users on Wikipedia who can take advantage of the system of anonymity. This is not theoretical.
Wikipedia is not myspace. Where would this taking advantage of occur? Celarnor Talk to me 10:18, 5 May 2008 (UTC)
You say it is not MySpace, but that does not make it true, and does not address the issue that Wikipedia provides a medium of communication that can be taken advantage of. This is simply rebuttal by TLA. Dogbiscuit (talk) 15:15, 5 May 2008 (UTC)
Um, that does make it true, as it is official policy. Anything not in line with that policy are subject to reversion , PROD or XfD. We're here to write an encyclopedia, not to hook up and get dates. A billboard on a street provides a medium of communication that can be taken advantage. AIM provides a medium of communication that can be taken advantage of. The phone provides a medium of communication that can be taken advantage of. Does AOL censor AIM? Do you have to prove your age to make a telephone call? Celarnor Talk to me 18:50, 5 May 2008 (UTC)
<Smile>There are lots of things that are policy here, that neither means that they are true or that they are successfully implemented. Do you really believe there is no social networking operating as an underlying level of Wikipedia? I've been told that Wikipedia is not a hivemind, so have you considered that just because you are not on the pull, that others might not be on the same way? Have you heard of Wiki-Meetups - how is that not hooking up? Dogbiscuit (talk) 20:41, 5 May 2008 (UTC)
I hadn't heard of those before, no. Personally, I don't like them, and I don't really think they belong here, but I don't really see the potential for any kind of abuse there. This is a bunch of (i.e, large number) of established editors getting together; this isn't one guy canvassing the talk pages of every young auser he can find and saying "Hi, I'm looking for a young boy to meet me at Sbarro's at 8 pm. Free candy." or something. Celarnor Talk to me 22:18, 5 May 2008 (UTC)
I think I understand a bit more about where you are coming from. I think though you are being a little disingenuous with the line of reasoning you have been displaying where you talk as if you believe that this is simply an academic work, not MySpace, and the first thing I saw on your talk page was the equivalent of an MSN chat where you described Wikipedia as a massive multiplayer online game. I didn't realise that I was talking to a fellow Wikipedia Reviewer after all. Sorry for the misunderstanding. Dogbiscuit (talk) 00:19, 6 May 2008 (UTC)
  • Measures to increase members' anonymity without any system of traceability increases the risk that Wikipedia is abused.
How would it be abused? I don't really see how evidence that protecting editors is going to somehow result in harm to other editors. It seems quite the reverse to me; it lets what happen on Wikipedia stay on Wikipedia. Celarnor Talk to me 10:21, 5 May 2008 (UTC)
Why assume that any action done for good reasons cannot be subverted for bad? It seems to be the standard operating procedure around here. Dogbiscuit (talk) 15:15, 5 May 2008 (UTC)
Why assume that any action done for good reasons is subverted for bad? As an aside, what kind of things could they be subverted for? These are all hypothetical arguments. There's no precedent for anything like you suggest actually happening, and you haven't even provided hypothetical examples. Celarnor Talk to me 18:23, 5 May 2008 (UTC)
Well, here is a hypothetical example. Say a user disguises his identity and uses it to subvert an article, and is so successful in disguising his identity he can get other users banned, and when people find the conflict of interest, this depends on knowing their identity, so if you have true and guaranteed anonymity you cannot have a conflict of interest policy. Oh, not hypothetical, it was an arbcom case, silly me, I forgot. And as I pointed out before, the British government seem to think the hypothetical problem of "meeting people" is an issue, so I don't think it is a particularly sensible approach to dismiss it. No precedent? Well, for one, the precedent does not have to be on Wikipedia, two, there are enough documented cases of real life stalking of adults (one which David did not like me removing mention of even though both Wikipedia and Wikipedia Review agree that the correct approach is zero attention) and AN/I seems to have a regular selection of incidents, including death threats against school mates. Now if you go for greater and greater levels of secrecy (e.g. say abandoning IP logging) you might be protecting the good guys, but you also give succour to the bad guys. You know, this is not hard stuff, it's a bit embarrassing to have to suggest that there might be problems with systems that allow people to operate secretly. Dogbiscuit (talk) 20:41, 5 May 2008 (UTC)
So ... your issue isn't with children anymore? Now we're just talking about people using privileged information to stalk other people. In that case, the obvious solution is to allow privileged access of information to only extremely well-trusted users, or perhaps only to the Office. How does making LESS information available to people result in LESS stalking? To me, it would seem to be the reverse. When and if something bad does happen, just drop the office a thread and explain the situation and appropriate action could be taken. Why doesn't this work? Celarnor Talk to me 22:14, 5 May 2008 (UTC)
I've seen the ANI threads about people threatening to bomb schools and cause bodily harm. They're usually reverted between a few seconds and a few minutes and the appropriate authorities are usually notified. A few regexen may be able to prevent such edits from being made, but people could always use leetspeak to get around it, and that's simply dangerous because of the false safety implied by the regex and the lower number of people manually watching pages. Beyond that, there's really no way to prevent edits like that from being made. Somewhere along the line, someone's going to have to click "rollback". Celarnor Talk to me 22:14, 5 May 2008 (UTC)
You talk about the "British government" like it has done something to address Wikipedia's community aspects, but I'm not aware of any sanctions placed on Wikipedia's traffic in the UK. Could you provide the relevant legislation and any associated case law? The subject of governmental censorship / HTTP packet shaping of Wikipedia's traffic seems like it would have gotten a lot of attention. Celarnor Talk to me 22:14, 5 May 2008 (UTC)
  • By encouraging people to be deceptive about their identity, Wikipedia is putting both children and adults at risk, whether that be by creating an environment for grooming, by involving minors in activities on the site which are not really appropriate for children.
What activities occur here that aren't appropriate for children? Celarnor Talk to me 10:18, 5 May 2008 (UTC)
Discussions on adult subjects, soft pornography in MediaWiki, discussions on topics on illegal activities where the articles may be NPOV but the talk pages are not.
First, there's no pornography in MediaWiki. The only thing in MediaWiki is a bunch of PHP code and some configuration files. I'm assuming you mean this installation of MediaWiki. Regarding both points, they both stem back to parents teaching their children responsible internet use and what the internet is and isn't for. Beyond a simple statement of "wikipedia isn't censored for the benefit of children", there's no obligation on our part, ethical or otherwise, to do anything at all. It's up to parents to use that information available to them to decide whether or not Wikipedia is appropriate for their children. Of course, regarding the second point, there's nothing wrong with discussing illegal activities; they even do that in school. Celarnor Talk to me 18:23, 5 May 2008 (UTC)
Sigh, I, in the words of Clinton, mis-spoke - I meant the Commons. The comment taking a pop at David was his contribution of two men, one doing hand stands whilst the other was, I believe the term is, rimming, though it was a bit complicated and athletic and I am happy to be corrected. This, however, is of course, totally acceptable because it is encyclopedic to document the porn industry. For sure there is no obligation to do the right thing, but in the good old days, it used to be considered the right thing to do, it's sort of, you know, considered to be the mark of civilisation, well it was once. Oh, everyone is welcome to discuss and document illegal activities for the documentation in an encyclopedia, the line is crossed when you advocate. You may not be aware of what gets oversighted for example. I'd say it wasn't a massive problem because the main articles are watched, but it happens and there is nothing to stop it happening but volunteer supervision. Dogbiscuit (talk) 20:41, 5 May 2008 (UTC)
And volunteer supervision seems to be working. I just took a look at all the drug related articles and talk pages I could find, and I didn't see advocacy in any one of them. I saw a lot of debates on the reliability of sources and a comment by a chemistry student pointing out that a diagram wasn't correct. All perfectly appropriate talk page content. Do you have anything to demonstrate that community supervision isn't working? If so, what would you propose as a solution? Paying people to sit in front of huggle all day and do the same thing that our counter-vandalism unit does? What's the point in doing that when we have people willing to do the exact same work gratis? Celarnor Talk to me 22:14, 5 May 2008 (UTC)
Also, if you have a problem with the upload rules at Commons, then the place to take that is, surprisingly enough, Commons, not here. It is an entirely separate project; we just use their images. Celarnor Talk to me 22:14, 5 May 2008 (UTC)
  • If there was a will, a child-friendly on-line view of Wikipedia could be created. Not censored, I don't buy it: the WMF has already shown that it thinks that a Schools Edition needs to be cherry picked. It is illogical to suggest that the same might not apply to the online world. This is not censorship, it is recognising the needs of the audience.
I fear you misunderstand. That is a matter of size considerations and of keeping the cruft and non-academic material out of the copy. It isn't a matter of "OH NOES PROTECT TEH CHILDRENZ!!111!", it's keeping The Simpsons out of academic referentia. Celarnor Talk to me 10:28, 5 May 2008 (UTC)
Let me quote from [6] here, as you seem to think I am some lone voice making up spurious criticisms and you seek to disparage the argument by suggesting I am acting hysterically. Very silly.

There has been recent public discussion, started by the Education Secretary, on the suitability of Wikipedia for UK schools. Many articles on the live Wikipedia website are of suitable accuracy. This Selection aims to correct the remaining criticisms made of Wikipedia as a school resource:

   * the Selection has been screened
   * the Selection cannot be vandalized
   * children cannot "meet" adults there
   * there are no very explicit articles or content.
But wait, this might still be some ravings of a Wikipedia Review loon. Let's just see what the WMF's endorsement of this project is:

Florence Devouard, chair of the Wikimedia Foundation, said: "The Wikimedia Foundation aims to encourage the development and distribution of reference content to the public free of charge: this project is an excellent example of free resources being offered to a particular audience which we warmly encourage, and are proud to support."

Now, will you show me the difference between my position and one that the WMF also endorses? Dogbiscuit (talk) 15:15, 5 May 2008 (UTC)
Anyone can fork the project, with or without the endorsement of the Foundation. That's one of the beautiful things about free and open content. If someone wants to go through the effort of creating a censored fork of Wikipedia, fine, they can go right ahead. But there's nothing but hypothetical arguments to suggest that there's more benefit in censoring the main project itself than keeping our content here and freely available to anyone regardless of age. Celarnor Talk to me 18:23, 5 May 2008 (UTC)
  • Parents cannot be expected to monitor or be aware of their children's every move, indeed that would be unhealthy and inappropriate. Therefore, if children are to use and be encouraged to use Wikipedia, as is happening now, someone needs to consider what aspects of Wikipedia might put children at risk. This might be content, it might be editors. For example, as a minor, you cannot be reasonably expected to understand the implications of GFDL and publishing personal information publicly. It is clear that many adults do not either. As a parent, you can try and explain your concerns, but then children make mistakes, or are deliberately disobedient (usually under the "old fogey, I know best" rule of family engagement). You can stand back and say blame the parents, or you can look and decide if there are things you can do to help parents help their children be involved, to give them a way of being involved where they can understand what they are permitting their children to do. Put another way, life is far to hard and complicated as it is, why should Wikipedia make a parent's life even harder? Dogbiscuit (talk) 20:22, 4 May 2008 (UTC)
If parents think that their children aren't capable of handling an online encyclopedia, then simply deny them access to it. If they want to force their worldviews on their child (which they can, until they're 18), they have those tools at their disposal. Celarnor Talk to me 18:23, 5 May 2008 (UTC)

Anonymity: Other reasons

So far, we have discussed the problem of "outing" an editor causing off-wiki problems. I have had experience with the reverse situation: off-wiki harassment spilling over into Wikipedia.

Off-Wiki, I have had a long-standing feud with a group of trolls on another website. Some of these carried over their vandalism (minor at the time) onto Wikipedia, and I stepped in to stop them. They quickly sussed out my identity, and started a far more intense programme of damage to the Encyclopedia, including extensive vandalism, trolling, identity theft, etc. (See my talk page for details of one such attempt, by following the "suspected sockpuppet" link).

While the system worked well to block these users and revert their damage-- and they've seemed to have dropped their mischief for now-- I think this illustrates another good reason to safeguard anonymity: the risk of off-wiki feuds, quarrels, and harassment spilling over into Wikipedia. In a sense, this is even more serious than the problems debated so far, as the encyclopedia itself is harmed.

Anybody know of similar cases? Rhinoracer (talk) 10:54, 6 May 2008 (UTC)

I don't know of any off the top of my head, but I think this is a sound argument. In general, what happens onto the outside world should not be spilling onto Wikipedia's servers except in the form of articles and sources, and the same goes for what happens on Wikipedia's servers spilling onto the outside world. In a safer, more anonymous environment, people will be more likely to contribute to the best of their abilities without fear of reprisal from any off-wiki groups. Celarnor Talk to me 19:12, 6 May 2008 (UTC)

Rename notability criteria to inclusion criteria

Ok, I'm going to just float a idea here. There has been a contention in determine what topics are "notable". But instead of worrying about notability, why not just rename the "notability criteria" for what they truly are, an "inclusion criteria". By changing the name, you also change the context of the debate and put an end to the debate over notability and is one less point for critics to take issue with Wikipedia. --Farix (Talk) 14:36, 3 May 2008 (UTC)

While it may seem simply a case of word choice, it might make the concept more quickly grasped by folks external to the project. Things could be less emotional when article subjects are said to not meet the "inclusion criteria" as the objection would about the application of a standard. Currently, when subjects are deemed not "notable" it is frequently taken as a criticism of the subject or a criticism of the opinions those who disagree. --Gwguffey (talk) 16:11, 3 May 2008 (UTC)
(ec) Agree with Gwguffey: this would avoid insulting people by telling them something is "not notable" when it is notable according to some definitions, just not sufficiently notable for inclusion. Coppertwig (talk) 16:14, 3 May 2008 (UTC)
I suggested something like this some time ago, to change it to something like "encyclopedic suitability", but "inclusion criteria" is fine as well. I think that would make it much more easily understood and less stinging ("sorry, this subject doesn't meet our inclusion criteria" is a lot easier than "sorry, your favorite band is not notable"). I also think since our definition of notability is different than the common one, we'd have a lot easier time explaining things this way. Seraphimblade Talk to me 17:13, 3 May 2008 (UTC)
It does defuse some, though not all, of the emotional rhetoric that typically accompanies debates about notability. Which is why I'm floating this idea. For example, this anon editor who was upset about the deletion of some garage band and pointed to the numerous articles on small towns and cities. It isn't a perfect solution, but I think it is far better than keeping the existing name. --Farix (Talk) 18:38, 3 May 2008 (UTC)
This is an idea I've been floating. However, I don't think we necessary make the notability guideline an inclusion guideline, but instead create an inclusion guideline which, as one aspect for inclusion, includes the notability guideline. There are articles that we include that are not necessarily notable but that we include as part of good encyclopedic coverage such as some lists (notably, lists of episodes and lists of characters from fiction works). Then, we need to change DEL to reflect that we delete things that are not appropriate for inclusion, which includes articles that are non-notable and that fail to meet any other inclusion guidelines. --MASEM 17:25, 3 May 2008 (UTC)
I believe Masem has an excellent point here. Inclusion standards are more than notability. For example, if an article doesn't fit the purpose of Wikipedia, it's not suitable for inclusion, even if an argument may be made regarding its notability. Vassyana (talk) 18:19, 3 May 2008 (UTC)
I agree... notability is just one aspect of inclusion/exclusion... so we need an overarching guideline that includes notability as part of it. Blueboar (talk) 22:15, 3 May 2008 (UTC)
I have been thinking along the same lines for the last two weeks, mainly because of WP:Notability (fiction) which argues that even notable fictional elements should not have their own article except for certain circumstances (i.e. containing significant amounts of real-world information). Masem's proposal may also work. – sgeureka tc 09:54, 4 May 2008 (UTC)
Yes, some sort of condensed "inclusion criteria" guideline (similar to the 5 pillars for regular policy) would definitely be an improvement over asking new users to read a bunch of different pages to find out why their page was deleted. Mr.Z-man 20:08, 4 May 2008 (UTC)
This doesn't sound like a good choice of wording to me. Wikipedia has several "inclusion criteria" - not just WP:N but WP:NOT, WP:NOR etc. I can see someone writing an article which violates WP:NOT and protesting that "it meets your inclusion criteria, so why are you trying to delete it?" This would only make sense if we merged half a dozen guidelines and policies into one page, which would be seriously impractical. Hut 8.5 19:06, 5 May 2008 (UTC)
I agree that the choice of wording is poor, and strongly disagree with any move of WP:N. However, there is an ongoing debate at Wikipedia talk:Notability which is indirectly relevant to the present discussion. The issue there, in my opinion, is how to accommodate the broad notional use of the term "Notability" in content-discussions, not just deletion discussions. There are a number of de facto standards of notability: WP:UNDUE is among them, but also WP:RS to a lesser extent (which is not policy). It would, in my opinion, be a good idea for WP:N to at least attempt to point readers to the proper place. This might help to avoid conflating different policies, as well as to disambiguate between potentially different uses of the term "Notability" in content disputes. silly rabbit (talk) 19:13, 5 May 2008 (UTC)
  • On the positive side, this will give us a chance to do things properly and logically, instead of the present absurd situation, where we first say expansively that everything we can talk about is notable, and then start removing immense chunks of it by the drastic negative standards of NOT and the over-rigid interpretations of RS, and have no positive explanation of what ought to be in the encyclopedia. Perhaps in rethinking what we want we will at least be able to see the actual arguments instead of judging abstract criteria by how they will affect our favorite sort of articles or arguements. But beware, our present disagreements will be out in the open, and we will actually have to make explicit compromises, instead of trying to maneuver legalistically. DGG (talk) 02:59, 6 May 2008 (UTC)
  • There's no way to describe the set of subjects of Wikipedia articles without abstract criteria, and no way to state those criteria in a way that won't make them "laws" to be legalistically interpreted by some.--Prosfilaes (talk) 23:50, 6 May 2008 (UTC)

WP:When to cite - Guideline or Essay?

The above page has constently swung between Essay and Guideline status. The most recent change being a unilateral change to Guideline - justified by pointing out that "consensus can change". While that justification is true, I think it needs to be demonstrated that consensus has indeed changed. I have, therefor, initiated a compromise position, and marked the page as {{proposed}}. I encourage everyone to review the text and give an opinion. Please comment at: Wikipedia talk:When to cite#Essay or Guideline (again). Thanks Blueboar (talk) 13:02, 6 May 2008 (UTC)


Per discussion on Wikipedia talk:What Wikipedia is not I have removed WP:PLOT from that official policy in an attempt to capture consensus. Hiding T 13:59, 6 May 2008 (UTC)


Does Wikipedia consider it's WP:XXX rules to be part of its corporate by-laws and, if not, how are these rules distinct and separate from it's by-laws? --Taxa 14:13, 6 May 2008 (UTC)

Sorry, you appear to be making an effort to be legal. Corporate by-laws contend with how a corporation is run--such as when meetings are to be held, and how directors and officers are to be elected, etc.--and not with minutia such as content and policy. In fact, given the legal status of Wikimedia and the content that its users supply to its websites, the foundation would not have any official "by-laws" or policies about content as long as it conforms to the laws of its jurisdiction. Perhaps your question would be better answered if you explain in what context you are asking? --David Shankbone 14:37, 6 May 2008 (UTC)
WP:XXX's are often sited as if they were law, leaving the user who is accused of violation in need of an attorney to formulate a legal argument in support of his position, in absence of a formal judicial system where his argument can be heard. Instead it seems the accuser can go to a friendly administrator without knowledge of the accused with the result that his access is blocked in sort of an underhanded way. It would seem therefore that since WP:XXX's serve as the basis of such doings similar in concept to a newspaper's manual of operation and since a newspaper's manual of operation is provided for in its corporate by-laws that Wikipedia corporate by-law would in a like manner provide for WP:XXX's and for the judicial system where arguements might be heard by an impartial arbitrator or judge? -- --Taxa (talk) 16:26, 6 May 2008 (UTC)
The Wikimedia Foundation that operates the infrastructure has a set of bylaws as well as a number of governing policies. Though those policies are sometimes incorporated into WP: references, most of the WP: materials are created by the community rather than by the Foundation. As a result, they have no specific foundation in corporate law. For the most part, Wikipedia is managed unincorporated self-governing community of volunteers. And yes that can sometimes be unfair or problematic. Dispute resolution, the Administrator's Noticeboard and OTRS provide mechanisms to request assistance if you think something has been handled inappropriately. Dragons flight (talk) 16:42, 6 May 2008 (UTC)
Generally speaking there are three types of WP pages: policy, guideline, and essay. Some WP:XXX pages are policies (such as WP:3RR on the three-revert rule, WP:DR on dispute resolution, etc.), and should generally be followed by everyone. Other pages are guidelines (such as WP:USER on user pages, WP:TALK on talk pages, etc.) which are generally accepted standards that people should follow, however there are common sense and occasional exceptions. The final category of WP pages are essays (such as WP:DTTR which recommends not leaving template messages for regulars, WP:TIGER which talks about dealing with passionate editors and topics, etc.) that offer advice and/or opinions, but you are not obligated to follow. --Kralizec! (talk) 16:49, 6 May 2008 (UTC)
Thanks Dragons flight and Kralizec! for your informative help. -- Taxa (talk) 17:27, 6 May 2008 (UTC)