Wikipedia:Village pump (proposals)/Archive 3

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Anyone planning on building a MediaWiki extension to support OpenSocial?????????? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:44, 2 November 2007 (UTC)

What, exactly, are you suggesting? Integrating Wikipedia content with social sites through OpenSocial? Or integrating OpenSocial into the MediaWiki software?-- Kesh 23:10, 2 November 2007 (UTC)
Not necessarily Wikipedia, but many sites powered by MediaWiki can probably benefit if they had the option to integrate OpenSocial into MediaWiki. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:51, 3 November 2007 (UTC)
Sounds like a discussion for the site, then, not for this page; we're just one language version of just one project of the Foundation, which manages the software. -- John Broughton (♫♫) 00:32, 4 November 2007 (UTC)

Annotations - an idea

Creating the ability for a user to annotate an article, perhaps with his/her own observations on some aspect of it for his/her future reference. It would, via a cookie (I assume - I'm not technical) remain on the user's computer, so the Wiki page itself would not be affected. This may help users who are using Wikipedia for learning purposes, and he/she can have a series of notes that would either pop up or give the user the option of having them pop up whenever that page (even if, by then, revised by other uses) is summoned again. Ajarmitage 09:04, 31 October 2007 (UTC)

  • Mozilla Firefox has an extension to its browser that allows for notetaking and I believe there is a similar tool called a widget) for Internet Explorer. - Mgm|(talk) 12:13, 31 October 2007 (UTC)
  • Purely private annotations could be on your own computer, as stated above. Fine, but maybe your annotations would be worthwhile to others. You could put them into the wikitext as comments, but this would rapidly become an unmanageable mess. But perhaps we could develop a server-side mechanism, wherein each user has private subpage (probably in the user's namespace) for each "annotated" article in mainspace.The result would display somewhat like the "collaboration" display in a word processor such as OpenOffice or Word. Of course we already have the talk page, but it is more about the work in progress and less about permanent annotations, and there is no way to link from an annotation point in the article to a particular comment. One tiny little problem: The system architecture and coding for such a shared annotation system would be a major undertaking. -Arch dude 18:22, 4 November 2007 (UTC)

Massive article misnaming?

This proposal is for the verification of the proper use or misuse of a word in the title of a large number of articles, and for the moving/renaming of the articles if the community determines that they are misnamed.

According to the articles Demography and Demographics, the term demographics is often used erroneously in place of the word demography.

This seems to be the case with the majority of articles on the demography of regions:

Compare with:

See Demographics#Demographics vs Demography for the distinction between the two terms.

My question is: Are the above "demographics" articles named correctly?

The Transhumanist    07:33, 1 November 2007 (UTC)

The relevant sections in those articles have no sources. We should at least be able to verify that this name distinction actually exists outside of the opinion of an anonymous editor, before assuming that we've done something wrong. -/- Warren 10:44, 1 November 2007 (UTC)
Yes, there is some serious misnaming going on. As they are, the demographics articles mentioned above are misnamed because they are about demography. However, like the Demography of Europe article, most of our Demograph* of articles contain information about demographics and not just demography. Demography refers to population size (birth, death, migration), whereas demographics contains things like religion, ethnicity, education, languages, and social class. See Demography of the United States, Demography of Russia, Demography of Pakistan, and Demography of Brazil for examples which should be labelled Demographics. Someone tried renaming some of these articles a while back without much thought. Some articles have also changed their scope since they were first named. As they expand, more articles will be about demographics. -- zzuuzz (talk) 10:57, 1 November 2007 (UTC)
I suspect the common understanding of the word "demographics" is that it refers to population. Words change, and we tend to stick with the common usage rather than fixed notions of correctness.Wikidemo 20:30, 1 November 2007 (UTC)

Thank you for the feedback. These terms need to be verified, and then the article titles corrected. Are there any objections? The Transhumanist    18:03, 4 November 2007 (UTC)

Primary sources

Can primary sources (Such as people's diarys, religous texts etc) be used as references within an article? Is this discouraged?--Phoenix-wiki (talk · contribs) 19:14, 1 November 2007 (UTC)

You may better ask this question at this pump. Generally, it is NOT a good idea to use primary sources, due to problems with their originality. Awolf002 21:47, 1 November 2007 (UTC)

WP:PSTS + WP:SPS + WP:RS all speak on the issue. Publicola 22:11, 1 November 2007 (UTC)

If that alphabet soup doesn't make the answer obvious, discuss at the talk page of the article and/or seek outside advice for the specific source and article combination at Wikipedia:Reliable sources/Noticeboard. GRBerry 02:58, 2 November 2007 (UTC)
My personal opinion is that a link to the primary source is useful, but that statements about it (e.g., "Fred Smith's will made no mention of his six stepchildren") should come from secondary sources, not from original analysis of the primary document. -- John Broughton (♫♫) 00:28, 4 November 2007 (UTC)
My personal opinion is that too many editors have "primary source paranoia". For the example you give, it is probably obvious to anyone reading the will that it makes no mention of the stepchildren. If this is the case, there is nothing wrong with citing the will as a primary source. Of course, that will would not be able to support any statement as to why Fred Smith decided not to mention the stepchildren. Anomie 01:52, 4 November 2007 (UTC)
I agree that Wikipedia needs more links to original sources. But in my example I was assuming that (a) the will could be fairly lengthy, and in a non-searchable format and (b) that the names of the stepchildren might not be in the article. If either is true, then it's quite difficult for another editor to verify the information, as compared to that information being in a second source, where what's in Wikipedia would be simply a paraphrase. -- John Broughton (♫♫) 18:38, 4 November 2007 (UTC)

Number of edits on watch pages

Firstly apologies if this has been suggested before, or there is a fix already available, couldn't find it anywhere. Would it be possible to increase the number of most recent edits on a users watchlsit to two or three (or a user defined number). Reason is that often the most recent edit isn't the one which is most significant as far as changes go. A number of times I've seen an edit which is a trivial number of characters and which may be ignored, however the second or third most recent edit may be significant and need acting on. If the user was made aware of the 'bigger' changes they may be less likely to miss these changes. The 'show/hide' minor edits option doesn't do the job for me. Yorkshiresky 20:20, 3 November 2007 (UTC)

Have you tried the "Expand watchlist to show all applicable changes" option in your preferences? (Personally, though, I just use the history links to see all the edits to each article, and then the 'cur' link to see the diff from the last version I viewed.) Anomie 21:32, 3 November 2007 (UTC)
Yeah, think that will probably do the trick. Thanks. Yorkshiresky 17:33, 4 November 2007 (UTC)

Lolicon image replaced

A new higher quality image has replaced the lower quality and controversial image on Lolicon. In the last RfC, many editors expressed a desire to see a higher quality image on the article and this new image attempts to fill the role. See talk page for further discussion. --Farix (Talk) 00:53, 5 November 2007 (UTC)

General Policy Discussion: Pertaining to Fiction

A lot of the policies on wikipedia are great. I have read through most of them multiple times. There is one thing I don't 100% agree with. I am a little paranoid about doing this as this is the first time I offered feedback on something like policies. So ever if every disagrees, and it doesn't go through or even if it's ignored, atleast try to understand this is my first time commenting on something like this. What I disagree with is the overall Policies take on fictional work. I think that we should consider a slight alteration. I think that fictional related "text" should be allowed, when references are cited. There are some policies stating that it has to be of real life related works with citings, and if it's fictional it has to be written from a real life view (which I agree with). However I have noticed that certain articles get opted for deletion when they contain great deals of information on a fictional plot. I think we should be more linient when it comes to that. We have giant fictional lists, or great details of data about a fictional work that details out a great deal about the plot, but when this happens, it's generally tagged off (even when it has decent citings). I think that is something we should work, towards being more linient with. I am not sure if I exactly communicated what I was trying to say accurately, so if anyone has questions about my thoughts or didn't understand let me know and I will try to rephrase. businessman332211 16:57, 31 October 2007 (UTC)

An example article or two would help me understand what you are referring to. It sounds like you want longer {{plot}} sections? (but that could be a complete misinterpretation)
Wikipedia:Manual of Style (writing about fiction)#Fair use and Wikipedia is not an indiscriminate collection of information (#2, Plot summaries) would be the main objections to that. --Quiddity 18:23, 31 October 2007 (UTC)
Not necessarily longer plot summaries. Everywhere I have seen those, seem great. I mean some articles are completely fictional. For example pages that are based on fiction. Like halo articles, the list of halo characters is a good example. Some say it shouldn't be there but I think it is good. I can't explain it very well. More-of there are some articles that are deleted just because they are not "real world notable". They are "about" a notable subject, btu from an in-game, in-book perspective, but written as information.
Examples can vary. Any list based off characters in a story/series/book/game. Or pages about specific comics that tell the plot of the comic. Generally they have the release information, info about the creators, writers, authors), then the rest is plot summary, character lists and everything else. I think we should be "more" linient about that perspective and not delete some pages because they are "heavily" comprised of "that" type of information. Because it is (nevertheless) information. Which is what wikipedia is about. businessman332211 19:01, 31 October 2007 (UTC)
This issue is what has led me to raise a question at Wikipedia:Village pump (policy)#Soft redirects to Wikia wikis and other non-Wikimedia GFDL projects. --Stormie 00:17, 6 November 2007 (UTC)

New Template

I recently created {{Wikipedia policies and guidelines}} in an effort to make it easier to navigate through our important Wikipedia policies and guidelines, while also making it easier to cite the policies (by adding their main shortcut next to the title of the policy or guideline). I was thinking of adding this template to the bottom (or the "See also" sections) of the noted policies and guidelines, but I wanted some input and consensus since we are talking about our main policy pages. Please tell me what you think, and if you see anything that you can fix or make better, be bold! Thanks.
Gonzo fan2007 talkcontribs 03:46, 5 November 2007 (UTC)

Well, you already have some bold changes from me. --ais523 09:49, 5 November 2007 (UTC)
As I said on my talk page, I think this is a brilleant idea. It'll really help newer users navigate around policy/guidline - they might even discover one or two that they never knew existed. I say let's give it a shot - if people don't like it, then we can always remove it at a later date. Ryan Postlethwaite 12:37, 5 November 2007 (UTC)
I think this is a good idea (it's only one additional line of information, until you click "show"), but you're going to have to be judicious about which guidelines to include - there are a lot, for example, that make up the Manual of Style. You might want to add to the template page that these are (for example) the 50 or so most useful (most commonly used or cited) policies and guidelines. And since there are roughly 40 policies (see Wikipedia:List of policies), that would mean some of them would be omitted. (Wikipedia:Bot policy, Wikipedia:Wheel War, and all the ones in the deletion group are ones that you've omitted; I agree with that, except for the core Wikipedia:Deletion policy, which is a good starting point, I think.) -- John Broughton (♫♫) 12:55, 5 November 2007 (UTC)
I like this though I think it should be expanded by default, because collapsed at the bottom of a page, too many new users would miss it. -- DatRoot 13:49, 5 November 2007 (UTC)
I addressed all the issues brought up. I think it is very subjective on which policies and guidelines are added, but I added all of those listed in {{Wikipedia principles}}, {{Policylist}}, and {{Guideline list}} and a couple more I thought were mentioned a lot. Add any that you think would be important, as these were the ones I felt were needed. I will start adding it to the policies and guidelines (at least the ones that are cited in the template itself) in a little bit since I cannot do it right now, since Im in class :P haha
Gonzo fan2007 talkcontribs 20:59, 5 November 2007 (UTC)
Oh and I changed the title to clarify that this is not a list of ALL policies and guidelines, but I dont like the title, it sounds weird, so if someone could come up with a better one, that would be great!
Gonzo fan2007 talkcontribs 21:07, 5 November 2007 (UTC)

Peer review sorting

We already have a project to sort current deletion debates by topic, so interested users can participate in particular areas, but what I was thinking, is that we initiate a new process of sorting Peer reviews by topic – this might even have the potential to at least lower the backlog on the peer review page, and help editors by getting the most out of a peer review, by getting a review from someone with experience writing on the subject. As the number of active peer reviews is much lower than the amount of deletion debates ongoing at any one time, the scope of a topic should be widened.

This idea may perhaps expand to not just peer reviews, but copyediting requests on League of Copyeditors pages, since I hear that there are new systems in place over there to put each request for copyediting/proofreading on a separate subpage – making transcluding a particular request easier.

Any feedback on the proposal is welcome. ~ Sebi 20:54, 5 November 2007 (UTC)

Please see the active discussion of peer review sorting here: Wikipedia talk:Content review/workshop. DrKiernan 14:26, 6 November 2007 (UTC)

Template creation page

What do you all think of having a sort of "Templates for creation" page? It'd be a place where people who want to use a template that doesn't yet exist could request that someone more experienced with templates and template syntax make one. I don't think we have anything like this yet, and it could be very helpful considering how complicated and confusing making some kinds of templates can be. Pyrospirit (talk · contribs) 17:08, 6 November 2007 (UTC)

See Wikipedia:Requested templates-gadfium 18:46, 6 November 2007 (UTC)
Ok, thanks. Wasn't aware something like this already existed. Pyrospirit (talk · contribs) 20:08, 6 November 2007 (UTC)

Recall elections for admins


Wikipedia seems to have trouble with admins abusing privilege, acting uncivil, making questionable decisions, etc. There is also discontent over administrator actions and behavior. Both problems seem significant. Here is a survey concluded early this year. Anecdotally, the problem seems to have since grown worse (in the interest of disclosure, I have had my run-ins as well but don't want to focus on that). Some feel this impact the health and perhaps even the long-term viability of the project. It seems there are a fair number of people who should simply not be administrators, and many others who will not perform well unless there is some oversight and accountability. The two mechanisms we have do not seem to be working. Arbitration Committee cases are few and far between, sanctions are made for immediate practical behavioral problems only, and de-sysopping is seen as an extraordinary punishment that should be done only after everything else fails. WP:AN/I is an unruly, rude place with more conversations than anyone can keep up with, some involving a high degree of incivility, accusations, and edit warring, often by administrators. Informal discussion and behavioral norms would work if there were only a few bad admins, but when the behavior veers too far from expectations, those norms are off. A large proportion of administrators seem to think it's okay to make summary decisions, use threats or even actual administrative actions to enforce their content preferences, treat non-administrators in a condescending or uncivil way, and so on, knowing there is no penalty for doing so and that other administrators will back them up. Some proposals (changing the administrator approval process, or limiting the terms) have been considered and rejected.

I have no specific proposal, but can we brainstorm on how we can make administrators more accountable to the wishes of Wikipedians, and the benefit of Wikipedia? My first thought is a recall system whereby if there is a sufficient question raised as to behavior or competence, an admin would have to stand for re-appointment. The downside is that implementation might be difficult, it is similar to a vote, it may be prone to sockpuppeting, canvassing, etc., and that there would be a possible stigma to getting recalled. Any thoughts or ideas? (proposal by user:Wikidemo)

Note that the benifit of Wikipedia does not necessarily equal to the wishes of Wikipedians. effeietsanders 22:45, 29 October 2007 (UTC)
Even though I have tried to propose an admin recall system, the way you propose this seems to assume bad faith on the part of every admin. Mr.Z-man 23:11, 29 October 2007 (UTC)
How so? I never said that. Demanding oversight and accountability and assuming bad faith are two completely different things. As for why this is needed, one doesn't have to look farther than the some recent things that drove this home for me, this sorry spectacle, this arbitration (including the incidents here and here that lead up to it, and this related incident. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Wikidemo (talkcontribs) 03:19, 30 October 2007 (UTC)
I don't follow your argument. The fact that the a case you cite is in Arbitration – and that desysopping is on the table – suggests to me that the dispute resolution mechanisms are working.
Is Arbitration slow and deliberative? Yep. Does it take a fair chunk of time and effort to prepare and Arbitration case? Yep. Are these bad things? Not to my thinking, no. Because the ArbCom is slow, methodical, evidence-driven, community-approved, and Jimbo-selected, their decisions are generally widely (if occasionally grudgingly) respected and implemented with a minimum of rancor.
Any desysopping process that might be proposed will at some stage involve the collection and presentation of evidence (diffs), yes? (I should hope that we won't ever support a kangaroo court that pulls sysop bits on the basis of "I don't like him for personal reasons...but secretly it's because I didn't like it when he asked me to provide source info for my images and now I can get back at him".) For participants in an Arbitration, gatherings statements and marshalling evidence are by far the most time-consuming steps, and they can't – or shouldn't – be avoided in any substitute desysopping process that someone proposes here in its stead.
Show me a case where someone has made an honest, thorough, good-faith, effort to follow through the existing dispute resolution mechanisms that hasn't resulted in a desysopping where one was due. If there is a pattern of failure on the part of ArbCom, then we can talk about creating a new bureaucracy. TenOfAllTrades(talk) 13:18, 30 October 2007 (UTC)
Here is an ArbCom case which was rushed, undefined, ignored evidence, and made decisions without evidence (and the preceding case and participants had not been included). (SEWilco 16:31, 30 October 2007 (UTC))
"WP:AN/I is an unruly, rude place with more conversations than anyone can keep up with, some involving a high degree of incivility, accusations, and edit warring, often by administrators." and "A large proportion of administrators seem to think it's okay to make summary decisions, use threats or even actual administrative actions to enforce their content preferences, treat non-administrators in a condescending or uncivil way, and so on, knowing there is no penalty for doing so and that other administrators will back them up." - Is not demanding oversight and accountability - it is unnecessary rhetoric. Mr.Z-man 13:50, 30 October 2007 (UTC)
No, the first half is an apt description of AN/I and the second a claim about main space. What's your point, that it's wrong to criticize administrators' behavior? This is a policy discussion forum. If you think things are running smoothly right now and happy with the way administrators behave, then there's no need to do anything. My premise is that there's a serious problem that needs fixing. From the poll I cited the majority of people agree. I've never questioned ArbCom's integrity. But as careful, respectable and fair as ArbCom may be it lacks the mandate and the capacity to handle the task of reform. It deals with one case at a time, and only the more extreme ones. One can be a rude, ineffective, partisan, or incompetent administrator for years, but unless one crosses the line to outright abuse there is no sanction. The effort going into the Alkivar case is now greater than the direct disruption he caused. We have to decide whether being an administrator is a lifetime personal right only to be taken away after an extensive hearing, or whether the administrators serve at the will of the membership. If it's the latter, we need to actually make that happen. The "kangaroo court" comment comes off as a bit dismissive of the hardworking editors around here. Indeed, there is a fair concern over recall processes that they tend to attract the disgruntled. But what alternatives are there? Wikidemo 15:17, 30 October 2007 (UTC)
I think its wrong to do a blanket criticism of almost all admins to make your point. I'm not criticizing you for bringing up the question, I think we need a process too - I just don't think saying that a large proportion of admins think its okay to be rude is the way to do it. I don't think that and am offended by such comments. Unless you can provide proof that such a massive problem exists, don't say so. Mr.Z-man 16:58, 30 October 2007 (UTC)
ANI may be an unruly and/or rude place, but how is this relevant to desysoping? Are you claiming ANI is like this due to some fault of admins? Much more likely, it's because many users view ANI as the complaints department (despite the red text at the top of the page). As for your general premise, if there's truly a serious problem with admins, you should be able to provide far more evidence than you've already listed. I agree with TenOfTrades that what you need to do is to show a pattern of failure in the current system. Anecdotal evidence and a poll of a few dozen editors just isn't sufficient. There's well over 1000 admins, it's inevitable that a few will be unsuited for adminship. I think you need to prove that your premise is indeed correct before you'll convince many editors that reform is needed. Chaz Beckett 16:12, 30 October 2007 (UTC)
If you read the first paragraph, I say that as one of two forums available for ensuring oversight and accountability of administrators, AN/I is inadequate due to its unruliness, length, incivility, etc. It is not a useful place for people to bring up problems they are having with administrators, or for administrators to conduct their work in a dignified way while everyone else watches. Blame? Plenty to go around. As my link to the wheel war illustrates, administrators are sometimes the ones being unruly. I'm not going to try to convince anyone there is a problem. Plenty are convinced already. I'm asking for some creative brainstorming on possible solutions.
There is a problem. The description of ANI is just part of it though, and it won't be easy to convince people of, especially admins (obviously). If I were an admin, especially one who participates regularly at ANI, I think I'd want to at least try and accept the fact that I can't possibly be objective about what goes on there, and the views of the ordinary editors who have experience bringing up issues there are what matter. If the average editor sees admins and/or ANI the way Wikidemo does, then that in itself is a problem that needs to be dealt with. See my talk page for some context.
Equazcionargue/improves20:07, 10/30/2007
As far as ArbCom, it being slow is a problem. As an ordinary editor, when you're dealing with an admin who you think acted inappropriately (and for argument's sake there is even consensus that he acted inappropriately -- again, see my talk page) but you don't necessarily have proof of a long record of such behavior, nor the time or willingness to gather it, you generally have no recourse. Some consequence is needed for cases like this, because admins need to have a reason not to repeat similar actions again. Cases that probably won't qualify for ArbCom are not necessarily cases where nothing should be done at all. There needs to be a middle ground, something between "we have hard evidence of long and clearcut privilege abuse" and "forget about this incident". I've suggested some kind of standard temporary disciplinary action that's immediately available through community consensus and that wouldn't require arbitration. Whether it's that, or recalls, or term limits, something is needed that merely forces admins to consider their actions thoroughly before taking them.
Equazcionargue/improves20:40, 10/30/2007

Here's another troubling case, Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard/Incidents#User:Privatemusings. It's pretty horrific, actually. Administrators warring, yelling and screaming, accusing each other of bad faith, and calling for each other's de-sysopping, all over one administrator blocking another. One of those duking it out, an administrator who has ostensibly "retired" for murky reasons but nevertheless blocks about five users per day and deletes more articles than that, deleted a comment I made on an unrelated AN/I matter, obviously on the other side of the issue than me, and came to my talk page to scold me for "inflaming" things. I have no idea who is right and wrong in the current spat. Maybe both sides are wrong. You bet that sends the message that non-administrators should live in fear and shouldn't cross paths with aggressive administrators. I'm glad all this is out in the open for everyone to see, but at the same time I shouldn't have to see this. Yuck.Wikidemo 21:41, 1 November 2007 (UTC)

(I'm moving the subheading down here - if you want to brainstorm about possible changes, here's the place. You can criticize me above for bringing up the question)

What to do


  1. Recall elections?
  2. Demand as a condition for voting for their RFA that administrators pledge to stand for re-appointment if there is every a serious question about their actions (e.g. by the category, but this needs some work). (Reference: Category:Wikipedia administrators open to recall)
  3. Higher threshold for RFA? If 20% of voters think someone will make a bad admin, that's not very encouraging; most of the bad admins had a rocky approval process.
  4. 2 tiers of adminship; first tier is a probationary period that doesn't come with "block" tool. They become full admins only if they prove themselves (example: follow-up election or appointment upon review)
  5. Periodic re-election of admins (to keep load down, hold re-elections only once a month allow checkbox or slate approval) (i.e. 120 administrators up for re-election all at a time on staggered schedule)
  6. Tighter standards for admins and admin actions (must have user page; must not use bad language; must keep and be responsive to talk page; behave with dignity and courtesy as admins; threatening admin action and chastising non-admins may only be done under prescribed methods; make block and protection policies stronger; do not undo actions of other admins without following specific protocol, etc) (a basic administrator's handbook, saying what the job entails, what they may and may not do)
I've numbered the suggestions so that they are easier to respond to individually.
  1. If you can come up with a procedure that will not be easy to abuse yet still effective and less work than ArbCom, good luck.
  2. This is essentially applying #1 to all new admins.
  3. This would not be much of a major change, I think the threshold is already ~75%. Bureaucrat discretion about how much weight to put on an oppose vote is important too.
  4. I don't see what this will accomplish. How does one "prove themselves?" Probably 75% of blocks are blocks of obvious vandals and other clearly disruptive users; protection and deletion can do just as much damage and need just as much discretion.
  5. You mean re-elect every admin once a month? You do know we have 1,214 admins right? A straight vote once every other year per admin would be a much more manageble process, but would still be open to some of the abuse like recall elections.
  6. Why do admins need a userpage? All users should not use bad language, that's already covered in WP:CIVIL. Do any active admins not use a talk page? All users are supposed to behave with dignity and courtesy. Threatening admin actions and chastising is already supposed to be done within policy, or do you mean have a special policy of specific occasions where this can be done (WP:CREEP - admins are supposed are trusted for discretion. The more specific you make policy, the more potential loopholes you create and the more invitations to wikilawyering you send out; again, admins are trusted for discretion. Again, specific protocol borders on instruction creep and is open to loopholes and wikilawyering. Common sense should prevail - we don't need policy/protocol to cover every situation. If we have to fill out a protection form 614-B to protect a page for edit warring, 114-C(3) for vandalism blocks, and 212-V and 44-A for a civility warning, a whole lot less is going to get done. (That last bit is sarcasm if you can't tell :) ) Mr.Z-man 18:26, 2 November 2007 (UTC)

  • 1) No. If nothing else because elections tend to waste time relative to their usefullness.
  • 2) I like that. For things like having had an rfarb or a refcom, when it is difficult to reach a conviction or an aquittal whether removing adminship. It will help relieve the load on arbcom I believe. Also, better if it can result in only partial demoting, per *4). Increases the range of options in response to bad behaviour.
  • 3) No, absolutely not. We need more admins, and heightening the level for being approved is no way of achieving that. Instead, efforts should be directed towards quality control.
  • 4) Yes, if it is short (1 month max/ some number of administrative edits), which gives a benchmark for comparing behaviour when full admin.
  • 5) No, see #1
  • 6) No, constrains flexibility and leads to instruction creep per Z-man above.--victor falk 19:02, 2 November 2007 (UTC)
I've addressed some of the questions by adding italicized parentheticals. I don't think there's anything wrong with laying out instructions for a job and would not call that "creep" - nearly every position in every walk of life in every part of the world comes with some instructions on how to do it. Creep is when there are too many; here there are none. I don't think we want individual idiosyncrasy in how administrators carry out their duties. The requirement that they have a user page with certain minimal requirements is pretty basic. It's like requiring cops (or janitors) to have uniform, badge, and ID tag. Users should know who they are dealing with and what to expect. If an administrator takes some action using taunting language and you go to their user page to find it blank, and some bizarre or hostile messages on an unresponsive talk page, and a name like "vandalcrusher", that may be fair warning you're dealing with a cowboy, but we don't really want that to be the face of Wikipedia policy.Wikidemo 19:35, 2 November 2007 (UTC)
Again, civility already applies to every editor - its already policy, there's nothing to change, it needs to be enforced better across the board, not just on admins. Specific instructions are a bad thing. Flexibility in the rules is what stops Wikipedia from becoming a bureaucracy; its why we have WP:IAR. If we create a bunch of specific rules, it will just increase the learning curve for new admins (so they'll screw up more) and leave holes for wikilawyering when an admin does something right for the encyclopedia but not within the specific rules. Admins are people, they can think for themselves. If we want admins to follow tons of rules, we should just replace admins with bots. The more rules you have, the easier it is to break one on accident (or ignore one on purpose) and have people calling for the admin's head for "admin abuse." Cops get plenty of discretion; do they pull someone over for going 2 mph over the speed limit? Do they give them a ticket or a warning? Do they have enough suspicion to search someone without needing a warrant? Does a person pose a threat? Do they use lethal force; they can't call their supervisor if someone has a gun pointed at them? Etc. Even janitors have discretion, and they aren't hired for their decison making skills. Does a carpet need vacuuming or steam cleaning? Does a floor need to be swept or mopped? Does furniture need to be dusted or polished?
My userpage only contains my editing/adminning philosophy, things that I've done/plan to do, and a bunch of userboxes, most of which have little to do with being an admin - it probably would not meet any "admin userpage requirements". Many users and admins just redirect their userpage to their talk page, why is that all of a sudden a bad thing. Stop using incivility as a reason to try and change other rules. If an admin leaves a taunting message, they are being uncivil, their userpage has nothing to do with that. If their userpage has hostile messages on it, that is uncivil (good thing we already have WP:CIVIL). If an admin ignores messages, but is there a widespread problem with admins ignoring talk page messages, from my experience, there is already a very low tolerance for that. Do we have any admins with names like "vandalcrusher," no, because that would be a violation of username policy.
Most admins follow a combination of common sense and policy. Don't try to punish them with a rulebook because of the actions of a few bad apples. Mr.Z-man 20:35, 2 November 2007 (UTC)
Incivility is one of a number of problems we're having. There are quite a few others. The premise here is that there are problems with administrative actions, more than a few bad apples, that aren't getting fixed under the current system. A user page requirement with some kind of badge or template of adminship addresses some need for decorum and communication, and that's a modest thing to ask. It's understandable to want to defend your freedom if you've been able to operate completely without oversight, but I don't think a generalized argument against the existence of rules makes any sense here. Nearly every position or office in the world comes with instructions, reviews, and standards, from becoming a boy scout troop leader to a notary license. And with every office come responsibilities and expectations. Wikipedia transcends some other real world constraints but not this one. It's only "punishment" if you see the administrative privileges as some kind of entitlement. I see it as standards.Wikidemo 21:08, 2 November 2007 (UTC)
There are plenty of rules. I'm just saying we don't need to and should not be trying to eliminate admin discretion by creating protocol for everything. Why is flexibility a bad thing? Wikipedia is not a bureaucracy. Where did I say that I want to act without oversight? You are twisting my words; that's what I mean by assuming bad faith on the part of admins in general. Every user is an admin's oversight. If you have a problem with some admins, bring it up with them. If they get all abusive and block you for complaining, email me. Otherwise, most of what you are proposing has been suggested before. Unless you have specific, new ideas, nothing is going to change. Also, you keep changing your descriptions; are admins janitors, cops, or elected officials? I don't view being an admin as an entitlement (now you are assuming what I think), but look at it from my perspective: I'm getting along just fine with the current rules, plenty of discretion, few complaints. Then, because of problems with other users, I have almost no discretion and can do almost nothing that isn't explicitly written in policy? That restriction would sure seem like a punishment. Mr.Z-man 00:27, 3 November 2007 (UTC)
Thanks, but as I said, I think there's a significant systematic problem with administrative actions that we need to address, and Village pump is a good place to bring up such things. You are clearly citing administrators' own interests as an argument against change. You say in so many words that you want the freedom to act according to your own initiative rather than rules necessitated by the acts of others. I'm floating the question to see what other people might have to suggest. Many changes would necessarily involve setting standards for administrators to follow. If that's for the best of the project, administrators may just have to deal. But it's not a black and white issue. Making some rules does not mean making rules for everything. Nor do rules have to constrain reasonable behavior. Telling admins to avoid course language, edit warring, and blocking editors they have been fighting with, is not going to stop them from anything they have any business doing in the first place. Telling them to send out a consistent, unified message is only common sense and good basic organizational management. Those standards are clearly different for admins acting in their official capacity than for non-administrators. If you've heard it before then it was probably a problem before. The discussion will probably recur indefinitely until there's some improvement.Wikidemo 01:09, 3 November 2007 (UTC)
"Telling admins to avoid course language, edit warring, and blocking editors they have been fighting with, is not going to stop them from anything they have any business doing in the first place." - These policies already exist - WP:CIVIL, WP:EDITWAR/WP:3RR, and WP:BLOCK. I see no reason to hold admins to a different standard than regular editors. Should regular editors be allowed to get away with more civility issues or edit warring than admins? I only have what I feel are the best interests of Wikipedia in mind, as do the majority of admins. Mr.Z-man 02:36, 3 November 2007 (UTC)
Surely you don't want administrators to behave the same way many non-admins can get away with while avoiding a block. But yes, I think administrators should hold themselves to a higher standard; if they behave no better than everyone else they have no more authority in a dispute, only power. Anyway, this is becomeing something of a back and forth, and I'm waiting for the Apple Geniuses to call my name any moment at the Genius Bar. Have a good weekend, Sir (I assume)! -- Wikidemo 02:57, 3 November 2007 (UTC)
I belive that Admins should be held even more responsible for thier edits then non admins. Also Why is it that if admin ship isnt a big deal, getting rid of admins are? I personaly belive that there should be FEAR in admins that if they do not do a good job there privleges can and WIll be revoked quickly. I think the main problom is lack of fear becuase almost nothing is ever done to them. BUNNYS 03:09, 8 November 2007 (UTC)


Could we add

<div style="float:{{#switch: | align = right | align = left | #default = right }};

to userboxes? See this for an example. It would allow the |align=left or |align=right , which is nice because you don't need to copy the source and modify the "float:<option> directly. Ρх₥α 02:07, 2 November 2007 (UTC)

Whilst I think this is a good idea, why don't you go and be bold and add it to the userboxes you wish to? It would have to be done manually to all the userbox templates, but I don't see a problem with it. Ryan Postlethwaite 02:16, 2 November 2007 (UTC)
Okay. The only thing I'm unsure about is userboxes with parameters to begin with, like {{Numberofedits|200}}. I don't know if adding {{Numberofedits|200|align=right}} will break it. Ρх₥α 02:19, 2 November 2007 (UTC)
I'm not too sure myself unfortunately, but I suggest trying it on a couple, then click "what links here" for the template, and see what happens - if there's problems just revert. --Ryan Postlethwaite 02:21, 2 November 2007 (UTC)
{{Numberofedits|argument=input|argument=input}} transcludes Template:Numberofedits onto the page, so you could just edit that template. Does that answer your question, or am I misunderstanding? — xDanielx T/C 00:04, 8 November 2007 (UTC)
I'm not sure what you're trying to do with the switch there (it seems broken), but wouldn't a simple <div style="float:{{{align|left}}}"> work to allow overriding the alignment? Anomie 02:44, 2 November 2007 (UTC)
It gives you the option of aligning it to the left or right. Ρх₥α 20:32, 2 November 2007 (UTC)
A parent div or table can provide that much more easily. Adrian M. H. 23:17, 2 November 2007 (UTC)
I know that giving such an option is your intention, but your switch doesn't work and is much more complicated than is needed. Anomie 01:41, 3 November 2007 (UTC)
I have updated User:UBX/Anti-federalism to use the Template:Userbox meta-template, which offers this functionality. Simply put {{User:UBX/Anti-federalism|float=l1ft}} on your user page to change the default location. Andrwsc 01:13, 8 November 2007 (UTC)

Q&A Page for Active Arbitration Cases

I have proposed the creation of a Q&A page for active arbitration cases here. Summary: There should be one page dedicated to questions and answers from all open Arbitration Cases so that all questions for arbitrators can be concentrated and kept on the same page in the same namespace, not spread across arbitrator talk pages as they frequently are now. See the discussion for more details regarding the rationale behind this. Input would be greatly appreciated. Thank you. Antelan talk 16:49, 7 November 2007 (UTC)

Anonymous page creation will be reenabled on English Wikipedia

Further discussion to Wikipedia:Requests for comment/Anon page creation. MER-C 03:19, 9 November 2007 (UTC)

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.

Please see this thread on Wikien-l. It would be ideal if any discussion was mostly kept to one place. Thanks for your attention. :) --Gmaxwell 21:31, 26 October 2007 (UTC)

As in, here? Or on the list? Mahalo, Gmax. --Ali'i 21:33, 26 October 2007 (UTC)
Some people may not want to subscribe to the list, or post to it. We can have the discussion here, as this is where most people can. My thoughts: I think this will be a good idea. I work on other wikis where anonymous users can create pages, and there aren't problems with it. We are an encyclopedia anyone can edit, so this should only be positive. Hopefully admins can watch newpages more to see any bad pages that come up. Also, we can get rid of Articles for creation which I unsuccessfully tried to MfD a few months ago, so another good thing :) Majorly (talk) 21:37, 26 October 2007 (UTC)
  • The re-enabling is temporary, so you should probably hold off on running AFC past MFD. Do you even visit that page regularly? If you did, you wouldn't be so enthusiastic about allowing anonymous creations. Anything that is now declined as a submission there, will get posted without any intervention if AFC doesn't intervene causing more work for admins when it comes to deletion and newpages patrol. Unless I can get a newpages patrol bot running, I'm going to take an extended break should this idea go through. Besides, AFC could still continue to exist as a place where people can ask for help formatting and improving new entries before actually posting them. - Mgm|(talk) 12:34, 30 October 2007 (UTC)
So, alas, I should probably eat my words above: It would be ideal but probably not realistic. Some people don't like following discussion on the wiki because they roll of long watchlists too quickly. Some people don't want to subscribe. So, discuss where you wish and forget I said that. ;) Thanks Majorly. --Gmaxwell 21:38, 26 October 2007 (UTC)
I like the idea. CSD is quicker than AFC. Will (talk) 21:43, 26 October 2007 (UTC)
Erm, I'm not sure where we are discussing this but I'll type here. This is probably not a good idea. Spam, vandalism can be expected and lots of it. Most vandalism is committed by IP editors and page creations are harder to revert since it needs admin intervention. GDonato (talk) 22:46, 26 October 2007 (UTC)
The editing history from when anon page creation was disabled does not support (or refute, at least with any great degree of confidence) the theory that we'll see a substantial increase in bad page creation. It is likely that many people simply log in and make the same bad articles they would have made otherwise, after all creating an account is fairly easy.
Disabling anon page creation did clearly reduce our ability to identify likely bad articles, since anon created articles, which are more frequently bad, are now harder to single out in the new page list. Disabling anonymous page creation also made blocking inept troublemakers much harder: if a user must create an account to edit we need a checkuser if we want to block their IP.
Ultimately, what we do will be the community's decision but it is a decision that none of us can fairly make until we have some more information on the actual impact of the change. --Gmaxwell 23:02, 26 October 2007 (UTC)
My suspicion is that you won't really have a conclusive answer after a month either. Wikipedia is very well-known and a substantial fraction of the people who might create article have now learned they can't do it anonymously. So if that changes, it will take some time (I'm thinking several months) before it really filters down to the public at large that anons can create articles again. Dragons flight 23:18, 26 October 2007 (UTC)
I'm sure your view is right. This event includes review at one month and six months. If at six months the community wants another review later, I would support it. And, of course, our operational policy shouldn't be a suicide pact: the project should be able to change behavior at any time if there is cause. The primary reason to have a review at one month is to address the possibility that the results will be dramatic and sudden. --Gmaxwell 23:32, 26 October 2007 (UTC)
GDonato, I agree. And a wiki is not a good idea either. It'll be overrun by spam and vandalism in minutes; that's a terrible way to try to make a worthwhile project. Except it works. ;-) We are not perfect, but there is very little evidence to suggest that this change in vandalism cannot be controlled by our existing people and procedures, and there is a lot of reason, based on past experience, to think that more openness is a good thing. Dmcdevit·t 23:17, 26 October 2007 (UTC)
I personally am a big fan of this. It was a useless reaction to Seigenthaler, imposed from above as a PR maneuver with no community consent or consensus, damaged our reputation for openness for no gain, and made life more difficult for people. Things like making patrolling Newpages and the creation of WP:AFC (a noble attempt, but doomed to failure) are just further negative byblows. I'm glad that there's finally a serious proposal to turn page creation back on. --Gwern (contribs) 00:18 27 October 2007 (GMT)
I dont really think it is a huge issue but I don't see any problem with alowing IP's to create pages. The difficulty of figuring out how to create an acount is comparable to that of finding out how to make an account so spam and junk in the mainspace probably would not increase with this change. -Icewedge 04:24, 27 October 2007 (UTC)
  • Support - IP addresses can be tracked easily enough, and convey more information on many levels than a username. Dangerous (= subtle) vandals are not stopped by having to create an account; they are helped. Childish and spamming vandals will be more easily identified. Speciate 05:22, 29 October 2007 (UTC)
  • I like this too. IMO the hostility here shows how thoroughly we have strayed from our core mission (an encyclopedia which anyone can edit.) As an admin who has largely given up on contributing here, I would happily commit to a daily hour on Newpages patrol if this happens; just give me a jab. -- Visviva 08:46, 29 October 2007 (UTC)
  • No, you can still edit wikipedia anonymously, you can create pages by AFC or opening an account. The restriction has absolutely no effect on openness - only on quality. The fact we're even discussing this shows how we've strayed from doing what's right for the encyclopedia.. - Mgm|(talk) 12:50, 30 October 2007 (UTC)
    • "no effect on openness - only on quality" What effect on quality? On what basis do you make this claim? --Gmaxwell 16:58, 30 October 2007 (UTC)
  • Strong oppose: I predict that this will be an unmitigated disaster. We're already drowning in vandalism and crap articles, making it easier to create the latter isn't going to help anything. — SMcCandlish [talk] [cont] ‹(-¿-)› 23:56, 7 November 2007 (UTC)

Creation is complex

Creating a new article is one of the most complex things you can do on Wikipedia... especially considering we just give people a blank box with a link to tutorials hardly anyone will read. Most new articles created by new users are disasters. Check Special:Newpages if you disagree. If someone can't figure out how to create an account... how are they going to figure out how to navigate copyright, formatting, verifiability, NPOV policy, self-references and all the other things needed to create a marginally decent new article? There are a lot of common sense things that could be done to make new articles less likely to be very bad... like warning if there's no formatting, no incoming links and no category. Or even a decent UI that gives people something better than a blank box to work with. Why aren't any of these things ever considered?

We have tremendous backlogs in dealing with the basic problems article creators often forget to address - the categories for {{unreferenced}}, {{wikify}}, {{uncategorized}} and so on have backlogs in the tens of thousands. Now doesn't seem to be the time to be making it even easier to create articles that require huge ammounts of work from a small pool of cleanup people. --W.marsh 06:16, 27 October 2007 (UTC)

I do worry about the NP load bump. There is enough crap as is. Voice-of-All 08:07, 27 October 2007 (UTC)
I'd say the only way to compensate for this is more admins and deletionists. Better hand out some cabal membership forms. MER-C 09:59, 27 October 2007 (UTC)
Well, if you mean deletionists in the old "delete all vanity/hoaxes/advertisements" sense, sure. More manpower will be needed. But I still think smarter software can reduce the amount of admin work needed. A simple screen that says "Hey buddy, you're creating an unreferenced article... please provide a source", that would help a great deal. Obviously the person who creates the page in good faith knows that, and just doesn't think to provide it, but can do so in 30 seconds. The overworked admin patrolling unreferenced pages probably knows nothing about the topic, and will take much longer to do the same job. It's just curious that very few people, especially at the top, ever try to figure out why page creation is so difficult for new users to get right. --W.marsh 14:26, 27 October 2007 (UTC)
I have a sneaking suspicion this will ride off the rails *much* sooner than one month. This might be an ok idea *if* we had grown with it, but the difference in size and prominence between when it was instituted and now is so great that I think it's going to create some nasty consequences. I hope to be surprised, that we'll offer this to the Worlds of Teh Interwebs, and they'll be 'oh, that's open of you!' but I believe we'll get bitten. --Thespian 10:00, 27 October 2007 (UTC)
I agree. There's so much work that needs to be done on existing articles that I'm not sure it's a good idea to reduce the already minimal barriers to new article creation. In fact, I'd support a step in the other direction, where only editors with minimum editing experience (50 edits and 3 days or such) can create new articles. As W.marsh mentioned, inexperienced users are pretty much set up for failure with regards to creating new articles. Barring improvements in the article creation interface, I just don't think we're going to see anything other than junk coming from anon article creation. Chaz Beckett 10:10, 27 October 2007 (UTC)
Hear hear. Perhaps I should make the "Wikipedia is an encyclopedia" message at the top of my talk page a bit bigger. I encourage everyone here to put one on their talk page. It works for me. MER-C 10:37, 27 October 2007 (UTC)

Blurgh. I cannot see any good coming of this - CSD is already permanently backlogged, and now we're going to have thousands of articles about schookids "whu r da best" and their "smelly teachers lol" created every day. For those to even be halfway manageable, we're going to have to relax the rules on how many warnings are required before an IP is blocked, not bitch out admins who block on sight, and probably look at expanding some of the criteria for speedy deletion to avoid overrunning PROD or AFD. Expanding A7 to cover buildings, books, the albums and singles of A7-deleted bands, and so on, would be a start. Neil  10:17, 27 October 2007 (UTC)

Something else we can do is create more admins. If anyone wants nominating for RFA, let me know. Neil  10:25, 27 October 2007 (UTC)
I really hope there's enough room in /dev/null to store the additional crap. MER-C 11:22, 27 October 2007 (UTC)
Expanding CSD, which is what the higherups force us to do here, actually makes it even harder on new users. Creating an article that is "CSD-proof" almost has to be an intentional article-design decision at this point, or you just have to get lucky. The more severe CSD gets, the steeper the learning curve for creating articles. And nothing frustrates people more than their new article getting deleted. Whoever is actually going to be turning IP page creation on should really reconsider... page creation now effectively puts new users in front of a buzzsaw. Page creation should be made less traumatic before we encourage vastly more people to start doing it. Too bad more NP patrollers don't read the mailing list... --W.marsh 14:36, 27 October 2007 (UTC)

W.marsh has hit it right on the head. As anybody who does newpage patrols knows, articles created by newbies are of, at best, a subpar quality. Given the high learning curve for editing, the many arcane and obscure policies one must obey related to content, style, interaction, etc., and the fact that NP patrollers usually jump down the throat of a crappy article, I cannot see any good coming from this. east.718 at 10:33, 10/27/2007

Have you seen the guidance in Wikipedia:Upload? Maybe new article creation can be guided. Can Javascript copy text from filled-in fields, so there could be a citation form which would be copied to the text window (the same way special characters are copied to the text window)? (SEWilco 15:04, 27 October 2007 (UTC))
Interesting suggestion. Guiding new users and IPs through article creation, specifically asking them where did they obtain the content (to reduce copyvios), is it an advertisement, has it been covered by secondary sources, etc., could filter out many sub-par articles. - Mtmelendez (Talk) 15:07, 27 October 2007 (UTC)
Would anyone be interested in a Wikiproject here, to coordinate the effort to create a good article-creation screen system? An overhaul is long overdue. --W.marsh 22:54, 28 October 2007 (UTC)

Since the "decision" to permit anonymous article creation was presented as a means to acquire data on the effect of anonymous article creation, the parameters and procedures to be followed in collecting that data, and those responsible for doing so, need to be specified before any such action is actually taken. - Nunh-huh 16:35, 27 October 2007 (UTC)

"Decision to permit" sort of implies that there was ever really a "decision to deny", which is by no means clear. Jimmy announced it as an experiment, and much of the discussion was in opposition, though it's impossible to know how much silent support there was. Later, Jimmy stated that he didn't consider the experiment to be a success and two community discussions showed strong support to reverse the change. In one, Kelly Martin and I were the only opposition.
The data that needs to be collected is already collected by MediaWiki in the form of editing history. :) What I'll be doing is the same measurements which were attempted before: As I briefly stated in the message, I'll measure what fraction of new pages are deleted before and after, and I'll measure how long it takes articles which are deleted to be deleted. I'll perform those measurements, wearing my Wikimedia hat, and post the results for the community to consider.
If disabling anonymous page creation had been substantially beneficial we would expect both the percentage of deleted articles to increase substantially and for the amount of time until deletion to increase after undoing it.
I'd also like too study the average subjective value of retained articles before and after the change. What I will do is randomly sample new articles which were non-deleted a week after creation, both before and after the change and have volunteers rate them on a simple one dimensional scale. I use as large a sample of new articles as the volunteer base will support. I solicited volunteers for this and have had a few people raise their hands. Unless they all drop out, I'll be performing this test too. --Gmaxwell 17:40, 27 October 2007 (UTC)
Regarding some sort of walkthrough process like Wikipedia:Upload; this could actually work to make good faith attempts at article writing by new users more effective. One question that seems to pop up on the help desk and the New users' questions page (I don't remember the actual name) is how to create a new article. The instructions are basically: Type the name in the search box, click go, click create this article, then create the article. I'd be happy to create some sort of quick article writing walkthrough if this seems like a good idea. While my personal opinion is that we don't need new articles, if we're going to get them, they could at least look good and hopefully could avoid so many good faith users getting speedy deletion notices. We have Wikipedia:Introduction, Wikipedia:Tutorial, and Wikipedia:Your first article, but that is a lot to read just to write a stub. If some sort of walkthrough process link was added to the toolbox like "Create an article" it could improve the general quality of new articles and help confused new users. Mr.Z-man 20:06, 27 October 2007 (UTC)

As an experiment, I went to Special:Newpages and had a look at the top five pages where the creator had less then ten edits. I got:

I doubt we're going to get a good signal-to-noise ratio from anon users at that rate. Hut 8.5 19:48, 27 October 2007 (UTC)

That last one was a copyvio; I deleted it. Chick Bowen 20:16, 27 October 2007 (UTC)
And for the remaining one, here's the starting article, in its entirety: A village off the A34 witha pub, two churches and Milton Manor, where a famous opposer to the government once hid in the middle ages. I would disagree with the characterization of that as "a decent stub". -- John Broughton (♫♫) 22:39, 27 October 2007 (UTC)
I believe it's incorrect, too. According to this government page, the Milton where "a famous opposer to the government once hid in the middle ages" seems to be in the borough of Southend-on-Sea, not in Oxfordshire at all. I will add this to Talk:Milton, Oxfordshire. --Stormie 02:55, 29 October 2007 (UTC)

Who made this decision?

Reading through the mailing list, I haven't been able to determine who actually made the decision that anonymous article creation will be re-enabled. I assumed it was an "official" decision until I read this post by Tim Starling:

Who is "we"? The Gregory Maxwell committee? Obviously it wasn't a Board decision, if Florence knows nothing about it. And if it was an executive decision, why isn't it being announced by Sue, or one of the staff?"

Can a developer, board member or someone else in the know elaborate on who made this decision? Thanks, Chaz Beckett 14:54, 27 October 2007 (UTC)

Reading through the discussion, this wasn't a "decision", just a proposal. Which is stupid, but... -Amarkov moo! 16:58, 27 October 2007 (UTC)

I posted on the list on this subject. Honestly, I think Tim's message was out of line and had he bothered to talk to the names he mentioned he wouldn't have said the same things. But you're welcome to conclude whatever you wish. :) --Gmaxwell 17:20, 27 October 2007 (UTC)

I'm not entirely sure this is an important question. Phil Sandifer 17:31, 27 October 2007 (UTC)
True enough, Phil, but here is Greg's message for those curious. Chick Bowen 17:45, 27 October 2007 (UTC)
Erik Moeller has confirmed that Gregory has no mandate from the Board on this, and since it doesn't seem that he has any mandate from the community (especially since the idea was only announced on Friday) I don't believe that he has any authority to make such a decision. So I have to say that, yes, this is an important question. And I believe that unless Gregory gives the community an opportunity to discuss the issue, it would be very un-wiki to implement it anyway. Kaldari 16:13, 30 October 2007 (UTC)
I think this is is a horrible idea, and an even more horrible method of implementation. There was no opportunity for community input, just some private discussion followed by an email decree. I urge that this not be unilaterally implemented on November 9. Calliopejen1 22:56, 30 October 2007 (UTC)

"Methods" and criteria

After a one month period, on December 9th, we will re-evaluate this decision using previously established methods (average article lifespan, rate of deletion, manual quality classification, random samplings of newly created articles, and most importantly, community discussion). (per the initial announcement)

I hope that this we of whom you speak becomes somewhat organized in the near future. Then it could address such things as whether the exact methods will be established before the change takes affect on November 9th, who will do the number crunching; when ther number-crunching will take place (a snapshot on December 9th might miss a large number of page created in the prior week that don't survive the next week or two, for example), how long will the number-crunching should be expected to take (a week, a month?), and what the base comparison will be (October 2007? November 2006?).

Someone else commented (in the mailing list discussion) that I'd personally consider a substantial increase in the percentage of new pages deleted to be a reason to turn anon-page creation back off. That's a start toward discussing how we'd feel about outcomes, though it would be nice to replace "substantial" with at least some range (10 to 20%? 20 to 40%). And (as noted above) "deleted" can mean "deleted within 24 hours", "deleted within a week", or "deleted within a month". More generally, it would really be nice to have a discussion about what different outcomes would mean before the results of this change were known, even if no hard criteria were set. -- John Broughton (♫♫) 20:44, 27 October 2007 (UTC)

If people are wondering what sort of articles we'd get from anonymous users, I'd suggest taking a look at Wikipedia:Articles for creation. That page would essentially become defunct if registration were no longer required for page creation. Despite a rather long and extremely obvious submission wizard, we accept roughly one in every ten articles, and a large percentage of those not accepted are blatantly speedy-able, if not flat-out nonsense. People seem to tend to ignore the walkthroughs and simply click the links that get them to their desired goal. In order to make the walkthroughs effective, we'd require a substantial re-write to the MediaWiki software, so that anyone clicking on a red link would get sent to the walkthrough instead of the edit page. Anyway, back on topic...
AFC gets roughly 40 submissions each day. As I said above, we only accept about 10% of these articles, and some days pass in which nothing gets accepted at all. We have to remember, of course, that not everyone goes to AFC - there is a link to it when an anon clicks a red link, but it's not the most obvious and I'm sure many people don't bother. At a rough guess, we could probably expect twice as many articles each day as AFC receives, about 80 per day on average. If the acceptance ratio remains the same, only 8 of those will be useful for the project, and most will probably require substantial cleanup. I don't know exactly how many new articles Wikipedia gets each day, but 72 more articles that have to be deleted each day (and probably more, most of the above is speculation), is sure to make a bit of an increase in the number of deleted articles. Something else to consider is the number of IP addresses that may get blocked as a result of being able to create offensive pages ad nauseam. AIV gets many reports each day already, and there really isn't any way to tell how this would affect the block logs. Hersfold (t/a/c) 02:26, 28 October 2007 (UTC)
There are roughly 4000 new articles added per day to Wikipedia; roughly half that number are deleted every day. It's possible that the impact of this change will simply be to shift 72 articles per day from AFC rejections to CSD deletions; it's also possible that the change will result in 500 or 1000 additional junk articles per day (and therefore in a jump in CSD deletions). -- John Broughton (♫♫) 14:43, 28 October 2007 (UTC)
From going through the AfC process myself (as mentioned, you have to go through a 7 step wizard) I would suspect, though I have no evidence, that the AfC process significantly cuts down on junk creations - it would be reasonable to expect most non-serious users to give up before completing the wizard. And still AfC has about a 10% acceptance rate, as Hersfold says.
If re-enabling anonymous creation only shifts 72 or so articles to CSD every day we should absolutely do it, the one or two gems that we might miss with the current system would be worth it. If the increased workload instead is 1000 or 2000 we'd have a significant problem. It seems to me that running an experiment for a month may not be a bad idea.
Monitoring it properly would be essential though. How does the distribution of article life lengths look at the moment? henriktalk 21:36, 28 October 2007 (UTC)
English Wikipedia cumulative distribution of articles ages for articles deleted in 2007-09 (blue), 2006-02 (orange), and 2005-11 (green).
2007-09 English (blue) and German (red) Wikipedia deleted article lifetime distribution
See right. Speedys (here defined as articles deleted in less than 5 days) after the change and currently take 25% longer then before the change (mean of 20170 seconds now, 16380 seconds pre change). Prior to the change 73% deletions met the above 'speedy' criteria, today 69% meet it. Right after the change the percentage of speedy deletions was reduced (see graph), but by April the performance was similar to today (omitted from graph because it overlapped the today line too much).
German Wikipedia, which allows anonymous article creation and has a similar ratio of admins to deletions, is much faster then English Wikipedia at deleting articles and also has a similar percentage of 'speedy' deletions. --Gmaxwell 16:13, 29 October 2007 (UTC)

(unindent) Interesting, but of course that was from two years ago, which is like 20 in wikipedia years. I definitely see the need for getting new data. Comparing the absolute volumes of articles created and articles deleted (speedily deleted or prodded) before and after the experiment will also interesting. Anyway, I don't see how testing this for a month could ruin the encyclopedia. Worst case scenario is that we have a busy couple of weeks of CSD tagging. henriktalk 20:27, 30 October 2007 (UTC)

The largest problem with the comparing before is that at the time Wikipedia grew *a lot* and became much more mainstream. It was about the worst possible timing for any change for which we cared to learn about the results. --Gmaxwell 20:40, 30 October 2007 (UTC)

Article writing walkthrough

In an above section, someone suggested that we should have a walkthrough process for article writing similar to image uploads. I agreed and decided to start working on such a thing. You can see a very early start at Wikipedia:Article wizard (note the format directly ripped off from the upload form).

Note - Only the "Other" category is (pretty much) done. The rest I have not started yet. Only look at the "Other" category.
The "Other" and Biography categories are now done.
Biographies, companies, and misc are done, I've moved it to projectspace.

I'll report back here as I finish more. I also need suggestions for more general topics to start with. Right now I just have biographies, companies, and "other." All except other [will] have an infobox in the preload for people to fill in and will have advice and policy stuff related to their topic (WP:BLP for bios, WP:COI for companies, etc.). Mr.Z-man 23:57, 27 October 2007 (UTC)

Good start. The "Other" skeleton includes a reminder about bolding the first mention of the title, but that long sentence could be made two sentences at the comma. Also, apparently Javascript can copy text from text fields so a fill-in-the-blank citation area could also be provided with a click-to-insert button, as a way to encourage providing some sources. (SEWilco 01:37, 28 October 2007 (UTC))
We could copy the already pretty good AfC wizard discussed above and use that as a starting point. henriktalk 21:40, 28 October 2007 (UTC)
I think this sort of thing would be a very good idea, since people would probably be more likely to read the instructions about what is and isn't notable if they know that they are relevent to the topic they are describing. To get people to use this wizard, it could perhaps be linked from the introduction-related Wikipedia pages or from MediaWiki:Noexactmatch. Tra (Talk) 22:41, 28 October 2007 (UTC)
I personally dislike the AFC system. "Is your article advertising" - No real spammer is going to say yes, they aren't stupid, and no one who ends up writing an advert-like article on accident is going to say yes either. I'm also trying to make it simple, but not patronizingly so. I think people can get that an article needs sources without having a dedicated page for it and a paragraph of HTML comments, some IN ALL CAPS on the editing page. I'm modeling more after the image upload wizard. 1 selection screen, then it takes you to the upload page. I also plan on using different preloads for different topics. The one for bios will have {{Infobox person}}, companies will use {{Infobox company}}, etc., and all the help screens will be more geared toward the specific topic. Mr.Z-man 04:13, 29 October 2007 (UTC)
I notice that above is mention of "a rather long and extremely obvious submission wizard" which although it's obvious I did not know about. (SEWilco 04:57, 29 October 2007 (UTC))
Great idea! Apologies if the answer is obvious, but would this procedure be mandatory as opposed to the way articles are created now? The walkthrough puts judicious speed bumps in the way of "JAMES IS DA MAN LOL" garbage while helping guide those who are serious about creating useful articles. Raymond Arritt 05:10, 29 October 2007 (UTC)
I'm hoping that this "walk-through" could be disabled -- at least in the case of experienced members. Some of us have learned how to write acceptible articles from scratch, & don't need to be led by the hand through the process. Forcing the experienced to jump through more hoops may discourage the good writers while not having an effect on contributions from the spammers/troublemakers/etc. (And yes, I have experienced the commons interface, & find it a hinderance.) -- llywrch 20:41, 29 October 2007 (UTC)
The impact this 'walk through' would have on experienced users would depend on how it's implemented - If it was only available through links from help pages then experienced users may never notice it. If it was linked to on MediaWiki:Noexactmatch then it may get in the way but there should hopefully be a (less prominent) link still available to directly create the article. Tra (Talk) 20:59, 29 October 2007 (UTC)
My plan was to have a link to it on the toolbox on the side of every page, something like "Create an article" - It could not really be made mandatory without a software change to how redlinks work. This way new users would hopefully see and use that while experienced users can do it the current way. Mr.Z-man 23:05, 29 October 2007 (UTC)
And I've just finished the bio category. Mr.Z-man 22:17, 30 October 2007 (UTC)
When I thought about something like this, I wanted there to be a clearly labeled "Click here for advanced mode" or something, which takes people to the current page creation system (aka the blank box). --W.marsh 18:09, 2 November 2007 (UTC)
The current plan is to replace the text of MediaWiki:Newarticletextanon with this. This is the page anons see when they try to create a new article. It will also be prominently linked to on MediaWiki:Newarticletext (the text registered users see) or be put directly on that page with a way for experienced users to dismiss it or new users to display it. I don't fully remember my conversation with gmaxwell now :P - if he does not fill in the details here, I'll ask him again. There is no real way to make it absolutely mandatory - the edit box will still be displayed below this (maybe we just decided to have the message to registered users say they can use the wizard or just use the edit window directly). Mr.Z-man 03:56, 3 November 2007 (UTC)

You're joking, right?

Seriously, has anyone here been to Special:Newpages of late? It gets crazy on a good day in a good time-zone...imagine what it'll be like on a bad day, in the US, in the afternoon when all the bored teenagers are home? What next - let's remove the protection functionality? GO NUTS! Dihydrogen Monoxide (H2O) 06:47, 28 October 2007 (UTC)

I happen to agree. This has the potential to make a great dent in Wikipedia's already widely doubted quality as an encyclopedia. -- Anonymous DissidentTalk 06:54, 28 October 2007 (UTC)
Having just made my first visit to Special:Newpages and quickly finding no less than seven pages created in the last 20 minutes to send up for CSD...yeah...I really am not looking forward to allowing anon page creation again and I hope this plan isn't implemented. Collectonian 07:38, 28 October 2007 (UTC)

The only thing worse than the quality of Newpages is the over-a-year-long backlog at AfC. I think this is a fine decision and I look forward to discussing the results in December. Publicola 06:59, 28 October 2007 (UTC)

Or perhaps discussing the carnage, on so many levels. -- Anonymous DissidentTalk 07:54, 28 October 2007 (UTC)
Somehow, I think AfC will STILL be backlogged if this goes in. Oh, and NPP will be backlogged beyond belief. Double loss? Dihydrogen Monoxide (H2O) 09:29, 28 October 2007 (UTC)
AFC is actually a lot better than it was before say the summer holiday. All the entries from Jan to Aug this year were cleared during backlog drive over the summer. Yes, there's still some very old entries from 2006, maybe you can help with that. ;) Monitoring have slow back down again this last month and half, but that's just life of school/college/uni starting back up again, and it's busy time for students. KTC 09:46, 28 October 2007 (UTC)
You're right. Of course, the easiest thing to do would be to just disable anonymous editing entirely. Vandalism problem solved! (Yes. That's sarcasm.) Phil Sandifer 14:11, 28 October 2007 (UTC)
Not to belabor the obvious, but anyone who thinks enabling anon article creation is a good idea has never spent a couple of hours' work on new page patrol. — Coren (talk) 00:45, 29 October 2007 (UTC)
I also noticed some people saying we should enable anon-page creation with a "walkthrough" or template like at AFC. That is pretty much the same as AFC except that it will be easier to create articles. AFC is a set of instructions on how to create articles. But guess what?? Most articles are rejected, and a lot are still pretty much speedy deletion material. Enabling anon-page creation is a bad idea. --Hdt83 Chat 02:39, 29 October 2007 (UTC)
Great, just great! Who came up with this one? I just know that Special:Newpages isn't going to cut it! --FastLizard4 (TalkLinksSign) 03:53, 29 October 2007 (UTC)
Admins often shy away from newpages because they're sick of having people jump down their throats when they do deletes. I've known at least one highly conscientious admin who was savagely attacked by an arbcom member for a mistaken page deletion. (The page in question was a three sentences that were nearly incomprehensible as English and gave zero indication of the subject's importance, but the admin was just supposed to know.) Combine this with anonymous page creation and we've got the perfect recipe for turning Wikipedia into MySpace. Raymond Arritt 04:25, 29 October 2007 (UTC)
Methinks WP:CSD could stand a little strengthening. Mr.Z-man 04:27, 29 October 2007 (UTC)
You know what they say about "it" rolling downhill. NPP is actually safer than AVP as a non-admin, since a WP:AIV listing for anyone less than a 50+ edit career vandal with 9 or 10 warnings is sure to result in a scathing condemnation from one of our well-meaning admins about ensuring some friggin' all-vandal account's feelings are not being offended, since he might decide to turn straight and toss us a couple of mediocre wrestling or X-Box edits if we sit him down in our study, Ward Cleaver style, and appeal to his better nature. And give him 12 or 15 chances. Bullzeye (Ring for Service) 04:44, 29 October 2007 (UTC)
The number of CSD newpages is already approaching the event horizon. We've had to rely on bots now to hold back the tide so we can hope to make the slightest hint of progress against it all, and as Wikipedia continues to grow, the tide continues to rise at a rate which us humans are rapidly failing to keep up with. Crapping up Wikipedia has fast become (and continues to become) a cultural meme to the schoolchildren of the Digital Age on a scale the Foundation apparently does not grasp. I think I speak for every NPPer when I say this is a colossal blunder; any potential PR or creative benefit will SURELY be many times offset by the Biblical flood of juvenile garbage and wanton spam that will be unleashed. What the hell ever happened to Jimbo's new "improve first, create second" doctrine? God save us from the good-intentions of our superiors... Bullzeye (Ring for Service) 04:33, 29 October 2007 (UTC)
Well, if the people don't crash when they open the gates of hell anon new page creation, the servers will. We get an insane amount of newpage requests per minute with anon new page creation disabled! --FastLizard4 (TalkLinksSign) 04:38, 29 October 2007 (UTC)

So much speculation: The fact is that the percentage of deleted articles went UP after anon page creation as well as the amount of time it took us to getting around to delete them. Was this because anon page creation was turned off or because Wikipedia became more 'mainstream'? We don't know. We can guess, thats all we can do.

But we will know after toggling the setting. We'll have solid information, and we can use that information to make an informed decision as well as help us make better decisions about related things in the future.

If the result is terrible we'll know, the community will decide to disable anonymous page creation, and life will go on. One advantage we can expect from flipping the switch is that the worst of the rubbish will be from anons, so going through special new pages will be easier. I also added an option to special:newpages to hide logged in users. --Gmaxwell 06:09, 29 October 2007 (UTC)

  • The increase in deletions could also have been due simply to an increase in admins. Data would have to be gathered in the form deletions per admin to be of comparable use. - Mgm|(talk) 13:16, 30 October 2007 (UTC)
Seeing as how this is set in motion, what exactly will it take by Wikipedians, once the change is made, to overturn it? Most established members here, especially those who patrol New Pages are opposed to this idea. Also, it is without any doubt that doing so will create more work for admins, which means less time for building an actual encyclopedia. MahangaTalk 00:32, 31 October 2007 (UTC)
I'm not sure what you mean by 'established members', but even a strict count here doesn't come up with most opposed, and certainly not if you include the mailing list. :) In any case, as previously stated, after a month it will go up for review. At that point it's all up to you. German Wikipedia seems to do just fine with a smaller number of admins (vs new pages), so all hope is not lost.
Plus there are a few things in the pipeline which should make your new-page patrol life much easier, whether we keep anon creation enabled or not.--Gmaxwell 01:22, 31 October 2007 (UTC)
Oppose change - If you at new article patrol want to have the article flying vampire pigs re-created a thousand times a month, or have people build articles showing the number of witch burnings compared to the number of terrorist events (which was a REAL ARTICLE), be my guest. Judgesurreal777 14:40, 2 November 2007 (UTC)

If it ain't broke

Looking through the mailing list post and above arguments what I can't tell is what is wrong with the current system ? As stated variously above anyone spending some time on new-pages patrol sees the signal to noise ratio and allowing anonymous creators would certainly not ameliorate this. I just can't see that Wikipedia stands anything to gain by removing the current few-day delay in creating articles. Gmaxwell is correct that turning this back on will create data. Unfortunately the data will most likely just show administrators spending more time pressing the delete button and no improvement in Wikipedia at all. Can't see that it's broken and can't see why this has to be fixed.- Peripitus (Talk) 06:47, 29 October 2007 (UTC)

The current system is itself a historical aberration. Prior to the Seigenthaler events, anonymous page creation was always enabled, as it must be on any truly open project. We might just as well note that nothing was really "broke" about Wikipedia then either, and so nothing really needed to be "fixed." -- Visviva 08:48, 29 October 2007 (UTC)
Not an aberration but just another change to the way Wikipedia works. The current system, like that of only admins having a delete button or the CSD/Prod/Afd system is a reactive change to a perceived problem. Perhaps changing back will do no harm but what real good does anyone think it will do ? I'm not opposed to the change but it does seem change for changes sake. Cascading protection, protection and the power of some to delete make the site less open but I don't think they'll be seriously proposed to be removed. If the site was completely open then it would be, today, probably completely unmanagable - Peripitus (Talk) 11:04, 29 October 2007 (UTC)

Would it be fair to say that part of the reason why our exponential growth has been decelerating is because we're approaching - though not there yet - a more sufficient level of breadth? When it seems like the project has finally started to concentrate the bulk of its efforts into article depth, this just doesn't seem like a good idea - it seems like a bullet in the foot. I'm not saying there's not a fair number of articles needed that have yet to exist, nor that we'll ever run out of needed articles (thanks to current events, new media releases, and technology obsolescence, if nothing else), but considering how much junk we already see at AfD, Speedy, and requested articles, maybe continuing to concentrate on breadth after nearly seven years and 2 million articles is a semi-bad thing... Girolamo Savonarola 13:34, 29 October 2007 (UTC)

What information exists behind your implicit claim that restoring anonymous page creation will result in an increase in breadth? --Gmaxwell 15:05, 29 October 2007 (UTC)

I don't have a strong opinion on this. On the one hand, I expect the vast majority of anon-created pages to end up on the cutting room floor. On the other hand, it might slow down the rate of creation of single purpose accounts, which is a benefit. On the other hand, it also is a drawback in two ways. On balance, I don't think switching back is a good idea.

First, some of those SPAs provide usernames that makes it obvious they have a conflict of interest with regard to the article created, which can be a yellow flag for new page patrol. When User:YAJohnson creates an article on Yet Another Johnson or [User:Corporation XYZ]] creates an article on XYZ we can be appropriately wary. If an IP creates those articles, the same cautionary flag won't exist.

Second, requiring account creation encourages account creation. Some new accounts stick around and become valuable users. My first contribution was a new page creation, and I'd not have bothered to create the account if anons could have created pages. I've been around long enough that I'm approaching the one year anniversary of becoming an admin. So I point to essentially all of my contributions as things that might have been lost had anon page creation been allowed. GRBerry 22:18, 29 October 2007 (UTC)

But for each of your points there is a simple counter and currently no obvious way to decide which side is more 'right'. For example, Wikiscanner has provided far more information on conflicts of interest than account names ever could, and disabling anonymous page creation reduces the power of tools like that. And While your first page creation spurred you into creating an account, mine was before I made an account. The fact that I was able to use Wikipedia for so long without creating an account was utterly essential to my decision to participate due to my hesitance to join online forms after years of bad experiences. I only bothered making an account when I could no longer resist getting involved in policy discussions. ;) --Gmaxwell 00:35, 30 October 2007 (UTC)
Disasters waiting to happen - of our 5million users, how many of them were here to create a page - their band, girlfriend, their bio and left someone to clean up the little mess made? Now we get to make every bored individual dropping by with no real effort to do that. We should probably take the group of people with the most action at new page patrolling and make them admins forthwith, expand CSD A7 to everything, and because communication with anon's is difficult - who you write to isn't who may be reading it - no real education can be obtained from notifying anons about appropriateness. Another fine kettle of fish we'll be getting ourselves into. Carlossuarez46 00:39, 30 October 2007 (UTC)
It has been announced we will break it and it will happen. So what should be studied for the experiment? (SEWilco 02:12, 30 October 2007 (UTC))
By the way, I've not had time to read all of the comments, but I'd ust like to note one thing: if we have to go through a wizard to create an article, like with uploading something, I'd definitely prefer a setting that enables experienced users to skip the wizard. I've created plenty of disambiguation pages and other small articles in large numbers, and this would seriously slow me down if my 14+ months' experience didn't count. Nyttend 03:30, 30 October 2007 (UTC)

Well, it's easy enough for an admin to speedy delete articles that shouldn't be on Wikipedia. Marlith T/C 04:19, 31 October 2007 (UTC)

It's easy to do it once. But this would cause the admins cleaning CSD backlog to be doing it hundreds of times. And remember, they still must deal with "omg y u delete my good article". -Amarkov moo! 04:42, 31 October 2007 (UTC)
That, and there aren't enough admins to do it. I've have articles which were obviously crap that I had tagged sit in my watchlist for days before. shoy (words words) 15:56, 31 October 2007 (UTC)
"This would cause the admins cleaning CSD backlog to be doing it hundreds of times". No it won't. While some increase in deletions would not be surprising, a hundred fold increase is entirely unreasonable. Hyperbole isn't helpful, please try to avoid it.
"there aren't enough admins to do it" Well, German WP does somewhat more deletions per admin than English, and they manage to perform them significantly faster then English. I don't think we're running against a resource limitation as much as we have a problem cooperating. With people screaming "deletionist!" "inclusionist!" at each other all the time, I wouldn't want to spend much time here deleting stuff myself. --Gmaxwell 17:32, 2 November 2007 (UTC)

Thanks, but no thanks

First of all, I don't understand how a decision as important as this gets to be decided by one person, Gregory Maxwell, rather than through an inclusive community discussion. I make a point to try to be involved in all important Wikipedia discussions and this is the first I have heard of this idea. I've read gmaxwell's explanation that there's no point having a discussion since people have already talked about it (mostly on the listserv apparently) and that no one has any salient points to debate anyway, which, I'm sorry, is just ridiculous. I believe this is a bad decision undertaken in an even worse manner. I'm sure Gregory has the best of intentions, but there's no reason to rush this. As Kat has stated, this should be decided by the enwiki as a community, not by individuals or the board. Kaldari 14:55, 30 October 2007 (UTC)

You state that this is a bad decision but you've failed to provide any argument or fact to substantiate your position. How can your concerns be addressed? --Gmaxwell 16:52, 30 October 2007 (UTC)
Why should I bother raising my concerns if the decision is already made and in motion? I'll be happy to list my concerns if you'll be kind enough to change the header of this discussion from "Anonymous page creation will be reenabled on English Wikipedia" to "Should anonymous page creation be reenabled on English Wikipedia?" I know it must be frustrating to have to explain your ideas to so many different groups, but I would hope that the discussion here would be important to your decision making. I'm not 100% opposed to the idea, but I do have some concerns that I would like addressed. I'm not interested in complaining for the sake of complaining, however. So I don't see any point in elaborating on my objections unless I have some assurance that this is an actual discussion and not just an attempt to inform the lowly masses of a decision that has already been put into motion behind closed doors. Kaldari 18:00, 30 October 2007 (UTC)
You should bother raising your concerns because you have them and because you care about the project, of course. If there wasn't any interest in hearing concerns or ideas anonymous page creation could have be reenabled without advanced notice. Please do raise them.
As far as 'closed doors' go, an important factor in my decision to move ahead on this was that there has been strong community support for reverting this change in the past, and that the orignal change was made without community support. I see that you feel left out of the process, and I'm sorry for that. The really important decision on this, which is which mode we keep long term, is yet to be made and won't be made by me. I hope you can find the time and will to participate in this, if you can I promise that your concerns will not be ignored. --Gmaxwell 23:31, 30 October 2007 (UTC)

In case you don't know, I was one of the people involved in addressing the Seigenthaler controversy back in 2005. I talked to the media, swatted off the vandals, and basically adopted the article in a personal quest to redeem Wikipedia. It was not a fun time to be an administrator. I also campaigned for more stringent controls over Wikipedia contributors and content. Before Seigenthaler, Wikipedia was a total mess. It was the Wild West without enough sheriffs. Jimbo's decisions to eliminate anonymous page creation, create the BLP policy, and tighten the verifiability policy were the best things that ever happened to this project. I am quite certain that enabling anonymous page creation is a step backwards, back to the Wild West days that led to the Seigenthaler controversy and the crucifixion of Wikipedia in the media. I don't need data to tell me that, I lived through the Wild West days and the subsequent introduction of saner policies and I know that we are a tighter ship now.

Article creation chart 99.jpg

I also don't understand why this "experiment" is necessary. It seems to me that the issue you are trying to address is philosophical rather than practical. If you look at the rate of article creation for the last few years, you'll see that restricting anonymous article creation had virtually no effect on the rate of articles created. If a subject is important it will get an article on Wikipedia one way or another, that much is certain. The only thing that has slowed down the rate of article creation is the recent plateauing effect that has come from Wikipedia reaching a saturation point of articles. I've worked with WikiProject Missing encyclopedic articles for several years and in the past year the project has become stagnant. Know why? There aren't anymore important missing articles left to create! The only important articles left to create are articles on current events and we meet that need 110% even without anonymous page creation. Indeed, that's probably our strongest area of coverage. What is the practical need that this change will address? There is none. Maybe it will silence the blogchair pundits who complain that Wikipedia is too restricted now, but somehow I doubt it. Wikipedia is more restricted now for a reason. We're not just a place for people to post their pet trivia. We are an encyclopedia, and as the de facto authority on every person, place, and thing under the sun, we have a very serious responsibility to "get it right". This responsibility is far more important than conforming to some abstract notion of "openness" (I say this as an active contributor to several open source projects). If indeed, we are too open, as some suggest, why have all the Wikipedia imitation sites (Citizendium, Veropedia, etc) decided to become more restrictive rather than less? By opening the door to anonymous page creation, we are once again inviting a Seigenthaler controversy (or worse).

I support the idea of anonymous page creation in theory, but it has to fit with Wikipedia's other goals. To that end, I believe we should wait until "article verification" or "good article flagging" (or whatever you want to call it) is implemented before we re-enable anonymous page creation. Alternately, if we must turn it back on immediately, we should do it for one month, and then turn it back off unless there is compelling evidence that it substantially improved Wikipedia (which I'm quite certain it won't). Right now the terms of this "experiment" seem sufficiently vague to permit anonymous page creation to remain the standard no matter what the results.

Finally, if you are successful at getting anonymous page creation re-enabled, I expect to see you on the front lines of new pages patrol on a daily basis, as it will be hell there. Don't expect to be able to sit back in your chair as an impartial observer while the rest of us wade through the mountains of shit without suffering a bit of resentment. Kaldari 18:43, 31 October 2007 (UTC)

Yes...most likely we will have an article that is either about the creator, their band, or a giant personal attack on a teacher every 10 seconds if this happens so it will be heck on Special:Newpages and admins are going to have to pay even MORE attention to CSD with anons making all of those crap articles. *goes to see how badly screwed up AFC is* FunPika 19:20, 31 October 2007 (UTC)
  • has looked at some of the articles* Um...this is going to be heck without a doubt. Most likely CSDs are going to be around for awhile before they are deleted after this is implemented. FunPika 19:45, 31 October 2007 (UTC)

I'm a bit confused by the above argument. "If you look at the rate of article creation for the last few years, you'll see that restricting anonymous article creation had virtually no effect on the rate of articles created." I agree that there is no visible effect. Why oppose re-enabling anonymous article creation then?

We have a different set of circumstances this time around. I don't think we can necessarily assume that the opposite action won't have some effect, but maybe you're right, maybe the effect will be negligible. The potential for negative effects, however, seem to outweigh the potential for positive effects, IMO.

I'm very interested in why some people seem to think that there will be anything like "article verification" coming anytime soon to help this. The only thing proposed is revision flagging and it iss months out, and the standing consensus on English Wikipedia *appears* to be that it will *only* be used in places where we currently use semi-/protection, which is also the position advanced by Erik Moller.

I don't realistically expect article verification any time soon, but neither did I expect anonymous page creation any time soon. What's the rush? Why don't we wait until new article creation actually starts declining rather than just holding steady at 1600/day? That way, if new article creation does increase, we know we'll be able to deal with the influx. In my view, we must absolutely ensure that 100% of new articles are reviewed in a timely manner. Right now we still have articles slipping through the cracks, which is unacceptable.

As far as what I'm doing to help new page patrol: I implemented the MediaWiki feature request in bug 1405. This feature will allow users (all logged in users, autoconfirmed only, or sysop only.. you decided: its per-wiki configurable) to mark new articles as reviewed. Unreviewed articles show up with a yellow background in Special:Newpages. I also added a feature to hide logged in users, and I can easily add a feature to hide reviewed new articles (rather than just color them). These features should dramatically increase our patrolling resources by reducing duplication.

These features are turned on at a test wiki I just put online for you to look at. Go to Special:Newpages there and create an account. Try creating some pages. Pages by users and anons start off life unpatroled yellow, but if you click on them in special:Newpages you can patrol them (link on the lower right) if you are logged in. A record of all patrol actions is in the patrol log. Your feedback will be helpful. --Gmaxwell 20:24, 31 October 2007 (UTC)

I like the idea of that. :) Also I feel the ability to mark pages as patrolled should be autoconfirmed only. FunPika 20:40, 31 October 2007 (UTC)
This feature is awesome. I'm disappointed, however, that you want to postpone implementing this feature until after the experiment has run its course. If this feature were live, I would have zero problem with your proposal. I don't think we can afford to experiment for the sake of experimenting, however, when the potential consequences are so serious. If there is something we can do to make sure another Seiganthaler incident doesn't happen, we need to implement it ASAP. Otherwise we are risking the project itself merely for the sake of data about the project, which seems to be backwards. Kaldari 21:00, 31 October 2007 (UTC)
It probably won't be live until after we reach consensus to make it live. :( I wonder how quickly we can reach consensus to make it live... :P FunPika 21:13, 31 October 2007 (UTC)

Kaldari, I am not hard opposed to turning on the new page patrolling feature at the same time, but I think doing so would result in an unfortunate loss of interesting information.
Why do you believe that re-enabling anonymous page creation would risk creating another "Seiganthaler incident"? We've had several similar incidents since then, though none with that level of press attention, and if you look at Special:Newpages you don't have to look long before you see a nasty smear job article created (only to be deleted shortly there after).
Since it's so easy to create an account account creation clearly doesn't stop many people from being nasty. If disabling anonymous page creation helped this issue it probably only did so by lowering the volume of material we had to review.
As far as I can tell the only real way to avoid a "Seiganthaler incident" is positive confirmation that a page has been reviewed by someone with some experience, which is what this new patrolling feature provides. ... I guess thats a good argument for turning on this feature without delay. --Gmaxwell 21:14, 31 October 2007 (UTC)
How exactly will it result in an "unfortunate loss of interesting information"? I don't fully understand that. FunPika 21:59, 31 October 2007 (UTC)
Lets say we turn this feature on along with anonymous page creation. We then find that page deletions are '4x faster' by whatever metric we use. Is that because this feature helped? Or did anonymous page creation just allow for more easy kills? What if there are 10% more deleted articles. Did anonymous page creation increase the amount of junk, or did patrolling make us more effective at finding it? To what extent did each of the two have an impact?
These questions are important because we will have future decisions to make. We'll still learn things if we make both changes at once, but we'll learn a little less. --Gmaxwell 22:08, 31 October 2007 (UTC)
We still have about another week before anon page creation is turned on I believe. Perhaps if there are no objections we could have a short trial (a couple days to a week) of the new page patrol feature that would be completed before we enable anon page creation. FunPika 22:41, 31 October 2007 (UTC)

FunPika... Yes, my recommendation for English Wikipedia would be auto-confirmed or better for patrolling. The default is sysop only, which makes sense for the default MW install. Should autoconfirmed users also be automatically patrolled on English? The default is that pages by sysops and botflagged accounts are automatically marked as patrolled, but this is separately controllable. I worry if autoconfirmed users were patrolled then people could just use sleeper accounts to bypass new page review. --Gmaxwell 21:14, 31 October 2007 (UTC)

Laboratory notebook

If this is an experiment, where is the lab notebook where the things to be measured are being discussed? (SEWilco 16:16, 30 October 2007 (UTC))

Well the real experiment was switching it in the first place. I've pointed out the planned measurements in several places. No one seems to respond, I guess it's just more fun to speculate instead. --Gmaxwell 16:50, 30 October 2007 (UTC)
  • Perhaps you should make a user central subpage where you can list them. Since there is an increase in the amount of admins, and an increase in the amount of articles, you should probably measure the deletion rate not only as a percentage of new creation but also as deletions per number of admins to account for changes. You only have so many admins able to do the work and I would want to see a wrong conclusion because you think the rate of deletion increases, when it's really the amount of admins causing a change. - Mgm|(talk) 12:05, 31 October 2007 (UTC)
The experiment is affected by the awareness by admins and AfD nominators of anon article creation, not only by the number of admins. Could be avoided by hiding the username of an article creator in all normal displays until the end of the experiment. (SEWilco 14:42, 1 November 2007 (UTC))
  • I do not believe that we need to allow anonymous users to create pages. From my experience as a former WP:AFC reviewer, a new pages patroller, and now an administrator who focuses on candidates for speedy deletion, I tend to think that the "noise" from such page creation would outweigh the "signal". --Metropolitan90 04:17, 1 November 2007 (UTC)

Rather than statistical studies, perhaps the people backing this change should volunteer to do a few hours of newpage patrol per day during the trial period. I think having to actually deal with the pages, rather than run crunch some numbers after other saps have dealt with 90% of the pages, dramatically changes people's perspectives on this whole thing. --W.marsh 19:09, 1 November 2007 (UTC)

You Have Got to Be Kidding Me

Obviously the person behind this idea has never gone on new page patrol or participated at AFC, this is just going to result in a torrent of new articles which are either a1) too low a quality to be useful, b2) blatant advertising, c3) attack pages or d4) nonsense or too low notability and for what, one extra stub per week? We need to keep in mind that while less than ¼ of anonymous edits are made in bad faith over 90% of vandalism comes from IPs, and this problem is just going to get worse if anonymous page creation is re-enabled given that most users are unable to simply revert it. Really, if a person is that interested in creating an article they can take the time to register an account, otherwise it’s probably not worth us having. And what happened to community consensus on decisions, this seems to be one man’s opinion being forced on the rest of the project, and I have a pretty good idea who are going to be the people cleaning up the mess that results. Guess I had better dust off my old account then, it’s going to be a hectic month… 09:13, 2 November 2007 (UTC)

  • I think a lot of people who actually do get their hands dirty with new page work (me included) are going to just quit doing it or sit this month out in frustration that this decision was made despite their nearly-unanimous objections, which will make things seem even worse. Consensus is effectively dead on Wikipedia though... the fact that no one who's ever worked on new page cleanup seems to want this change, yet it's been announced as a done deal, is just another nail in the coffin. --W.marsh 13:15, 2 November 2007 (UTC)
I think I'll start NP patrolling again. We'll need more pairs of eyes on NP when this poorly thought-through idea is enacted. I, too, have been left wondering where the discussion was; are all editors expected to monitor some off-wiki mailing list? I hope that the proposed one-month review will be a lot more public and accessible. Adrian M. H. 15:40, 2 November 2007 (UTC)
Sadly, they apparently are... or we're even expected to be sitting in at meetings with foundation members and lawyers to have any say? This was even presented to the mailing list as a done deal, based on such a meeting. And now Maxwell is pleading confusion over why people are so opposed... it's quite frustrating. --W.marsh 16:24, 2 November 2007 (UTC)
W.marsh, would you please have some decorum. I am not your enemy. Your needlessly barbed comments are making it hard for us to work togeather productively.
The matter has been discussed multiple times in the past on the wikien-l, "the place for meta-discussions about the nature of Wikipedia".
As far as confusion goes, I'm confused because it appears that you continue to make hostile statements which are clearly demonstrable as false and because you are ignoring any attempts at productive conversation. --Gmaxwell 17:23, 2 November 2007 (UTC)
As far as I can tell you haven't even acknowledged my plea that we look at improving the interface shown to users when they create pages, which is the main thing I want to happen before we open the floodgates... everything else I'm saying is really just incidental, so I suppose I should just focus on that one thing now. --W.marsh 17:34, 2 November 2007 (UTC)
What do you expect me to say with respect to the interface? MrZ made a nice new article creation guide. I support it. You haven't commented on it. --Gmaxwell 18:01, 2 November 2007 (UTC)
It's a good start and along the lines of what we need... what are the chances of it actually being implemented? --W.marsh 18:08, 2 November 2007 (UTC)
I am also very concerned about the level of work this is going to heap upon admins and CSD taggers. I don't think it's worth it. - Kathryn NicDhàna 19:34, 2 November 2007 (UTC)

This is a terrible idea imposed without discussion or consensus. I am frankly appalled. Tim Vickers 05:51, 3 November 2007 (UTC)

As I remember, at least one hundred people including myself agreed to stop anonymous article creation a couple years ago. It would greatly increase the load for newpage patrol and admins. Not to mention the fact that logged in editors are blocked indefinitely every day for creation of nonsense and vandalism. We usually can't block ips indefinitely leaving them nothing to loose and free to do it again, unlike a registered account.--Sandahl 06:21, 3 November 2007 (UTC)

I'm fairly confident that you remember incorrectly. Most of the public response I can remember or find with respect to Jimmy's unilateral decision to disable anonymous page creation was generally negative. If you could point me to a discussion that I'm missing, that would be dandy.
As far as blocking goes, when you indefintely block an account the user can create a new account after only 24 hours, and many do. Losing an account with only a contribs isn't a loss, especially if the user has only been creating articles. Blocking an IP for weeks is much more of a loss for most people. Exposure of the IP makes it easier to find proxies, and even identify users who are changing IPs to evade blocks or autoblocks.
I look at claims like "It would greatly increase the load for newpage patrol and admins" with some suspicion, since unless greatly==%10 or so, there isn't any data that I've seen that can be used to make a fact based argument for that.
Also, Your input on MrZ's article creation wizard, and my enhancements to Special:Newpages would be appreciated. --Gmaxwell 19:08, 3 November 2007 (UTC)
Even if the amount of articles being created just goes up by 10% (which I doubt), it represents far more than just a 10% workload increase for NP patrollers. A NP patroller spends little to no time on decent new articles, but minutes to hours on every single problematic new article. The 10% more articles will almost certainly have a very high ratio of problematic ones... which represents a lot more work for NP patrollers. But still, a 10% increase in creation rates is extremely conservative... more than 10% of all edits to WP articles are anonymous, right?
Everyone seems to see the consensus they're looking for... I look at these sections and see little but posts saying "You Have Got to Be Kidding Me", i.e. people who think it's quite misguided to do this, even if supposedly for just a month (if only I believed that). Yet you say most people seem to be in favor of anonymous page creation. Perhaps we should try to find a neutral party... or maybe do a RFC to assess what consensus actually is. --W.marsh 22:27, 3 November 2007 (UTC)
In past discussions on the lists the desire to turn anon page creation back on was pretty much unanimous, in one only I and Kelly Martin opposed, for example.
Wmarsh, why do you keep commenting on New Page patrol workload while refusing to look at or comment on the improvements to Special:Newpages?
And whats with your "if only I believed that", the decision will be decided by a poll on enwp. I've pointed this out a half dozen times, so far. It won't be my decision. What it sounds like you're saying is that you're afraid an informed consensus will go against your personal wishes. --Gmaxwell 00:16, 4 November 2007 (UTC)
Another point of evidence that the promoters of this have never patrolled Special:Newpages: Quality of articles. When at NP, look specifically at articles created by users with redlinked names, usually those who had just created their account. When you get past the hoarde of attack/blatant non-notable/vanity/advertisement/copyvio pages, you are left with just a few pages that could, in theory, become good articles. However, they are extremely short, uncategorized, unreferenced (not in-line if at all), unlinked, have no section headings, no relevant infobox or bolding, no external links, and possibly above all, no pages, if any, link to it. After time is wasted tagging and deleting huge amounts of the aforementioned articles for CSD for AFD, all other article require more work to bring them to even the lowest standards. In short, anon- and new user-created articles are never any good and completely waste our time. Also citing WP:AFC, allowing anon article creation is a horrible, terrible idea, and I would even advocate semi-protecting article creation, having a waiting period of four days. Even with MrZ's wizard, new articles will rarely be of any quality. If it is really that important to an IP to create one of the few missing articles (see Kaldari's comment way above), then they can make use of AFC. Anyway, we should be weeding out the already bad or non-notable articles rather than allowing even more in (see the German Wikipedia). Reywas92Talk 23:10, 3 November 2007 (UTC)
I'll take Gmaxwell's word for it that he has done NP patrol at some point, but apparently not any of it since July 2005, which is how far back his last 50 deleted article edits. This shows how much deletion tagging, or lack thereof, a non-admin has done... a serious NP patroler were acquire 50 such deleted article edits in a matter of hours of NP patrolling. Maybe on the mailing list there's no expectation that people making policy actually have some reasonably recent experience on the front lines, but we're having this discussion on Wikipedia, where standards are different. --W.marsh 23:43, 3 November 2007 (UTC)

Wanted to throw my voice in here as well in thinking that re-enabling anon article creation is... madness. Wikipedia has grown up past a point where anon article creation helps us, and putting it back in will hurt far more than it helps. -- Ned Scott 06:10, 4 November 2007 (UTC)

I note that the original ban on IP page creation was decided upon without seeking community consensus. I also note that this decision to lift the ban was made without seeking community consensus, and is presented here as a fait accompli.
If there are any supporters of lifting the ban, could I request that they explain in some detail how they see IP page creation benefiting Wikipedia and how those benefits outweigh the obvious problems? For the life of me I cannot imagine what the benefits might be, but I am happy to keep an open mind if the proposer(s) are willing to take the time to explain. Euryalus 01:06, 6 November 2007 (UTC)
In such explanations, watch for measurable events which could be examined during the experiment. (SEWilco 01:32, 6 November 2007 (UTC))

Why do I feel like a lab rat? Not that it doesn't feel rather flattering... according to one of our concurrents, lab mice are the most intelligent creatures on the planet.

The question is whether accountless page creation is good or bad has been disputed. The experiment is a good idea. That's proper scientific procedure, you don't talk the talk, you walk the walk.

Though I share the opinions that is a bad idea to re-establish this permanently, I judge the risk for that as low.
This no quarter red ensign will not be hauled until the experiment is over and negative.

It takes a while for users to notice registration is no longer required (though I don't how much waves this proposal made outside of wikipedia, not so much according to a google smell). I believe that few people here haven't noticed the donation campaign, and I think the experiment is part of it, while catching valuable data with the same stone.

I think people saying there should be some kind of strike are not helping. It will skew the data, create even more backlogs at XfDs, and generally promote discontent. So I suggest folk to do their duty toward the community, and do the honourable thing.

If, and only if, the experiment proves negative and accountless page creation is re-established anyway, will I urge the hauling of the ensign at your right hand.--victor falk 18:11, 2 November 2007 (UTC)

  • That's a bit like running a test in a live environment, in the hope that if it fucks up you can find the resources to fix it. Did you ever do NPP in the days of anonymous creation? Guy (Help!) 23:23, 3 November 2007 (UTC)
Yes, I know about history; and no it's not a live environment, if by that you mean full scale. It's more like releasing it on a small island (the dimensions being in time instead of space), and if it goes wrong you can point at it and say "look how bad it fucked up".--victor falk 05:58, 4 November 2007 (UTC)

My vote of confidence

Having taken a look at gmaxwell's neat tool for looking at new articles, and as someone who repeatedly runs into CSD-worthy articles than the NPP people miss when I go through Special:Uncategorizedpages or Category:Uncategorized pages, I'm not worried about the upcoming change. --Hemlock Martinis 00:22, 4 November 2007 (UTC)

For the benefit of those of us who haven't been paying attention, which tool is this?-gadfium 04:24, 4 November 2007 (UTC)
This one. Highlights new pages that have been patrolled by established users so we can tell which are good and which aren't. Also has a feature to show all unpatrolled pages so we won't have to worry about missing any. It's extremely well-done and I'm looking forward to its implementation. --Hemlock Martinis 04:30, 4 November 2007 (UTC)

I'm not sure if I follow where the confidence (or unconcern) here is stemming from. The {{uncat}}-tagged pages are, as you correctly state, only the ones NPP has missed, and by no means all of those, either. (Articles with a stub tag or in a cleanup category aren't generally included, and nor, obviously, are "correctly" (or at least, tokenly) categorised deletion-bait. (Granted some are also old articles that have had their categories vandalised, deleted, mislaid through markup error, or removed through some other sequence of events.)) And backlog's north of seven thousand pages (or somewhat over a month's worth). Nor would I assume that the good people over at WP:UNCAT are all immune to getting fed up of the endless struggle, any more than NPPers would be.

For me that motivates the opposite question: why aren't we doing something more meaningful to deter hoaxes, advertising, vanity, crankery, and axe-grinding than imposing a four-day waiting period to spam us with it? For myself, I'd be strongly in favour of some sort of lightweight non-auto confirmation process. Alai 23:54, 4 November 2007 (UTC)

Actually, you don't have to be autoconfirmed to create new pages, just registered. And yes, we really should be going in the opposite direction, i.e. make page creation harder. As I said, /dev/null is looking a bit small at the moment. MER-C 04:44, 5 November 2007 (UTC)

If we have to do this...

Could we at least require IP editors to provide one reference for new articles? This is how AFC works, and in the age of WP:BLP it seems perfectly reasonable to ask new editors for a reference when creating articles. A separate field below the article field could ask for it, and add the contents in a ==References== section (if a references section was provided in the text anyway, the need for entering them into the new field would be negated). Some short but sweet wording could say something along the lines of "Independent newspaper and magazine articles are better than official websites; books and scholarly journals are even better". Sure some new articles would give phony references, or the creators would just enter junk information in the field... but that would make it easier to spot the hoaxes, not harder.

I still think allowing IP article creation now is a bad idea, but requiring a reference would probably be the easiest way to keep the situation manageable. --W.marsh 18:29, 4 November 2007 (UTC)

We should require all editors to provide at least one reference, not just IPs. A while ago I floated the idea that biographical articles, in particular, must include at least some references. But it sank. Raymond Arritt 00:08, 5 November 2007 (UTC)
I think making it mandatory through automation is best reserved just for IP editors... who are most likely to forget the reference. Many (most, I'd hope) new articles created by people who've been here for a while already include a reference section, so automation would probably just get in their way here. I'm not proposing a new speedy criterion for unreferenced articles though, merely that we try to preserve the AFC practice of requiring a source. --W.marsh 13:15, 5 November 2007 (UTC)
Which is not the subject's myspace/facebook/orkut/hi5/M$ live spaces/whatever page, of course. MER-C 09:41, 5 November 2007 (UTC)

Attack Pages

Allowing IP's to create new articles is one of the craziest things we on Wikipedia can do. Because of attack pages. Now, if this goes ahead, if someone leaves a warning on a IP's talkpage, they could go straight ahead and create an attack page. Nothing would stop them. This could seriously hurt a lot of people, and a lot of respected admins around here that have to put up with a lot of abuse every single day, yet stay on Wikipedia. Editors like myself, could easily have an attack page created on them. This is seriously something that I am heavily against. This could potentionally drive a lot of people (including myself) out of Wikipedia. Davnel03 19:28, 5 November 2007 (UTC)

What stops a logged-in user from creating the same attack page? --Ali'i 19:35, 5 November 2007 (UTC)
Yeah, but we have, what 5,000 registered editors I guess. Compare that to millions of IP's. Davnel03 19:55, 5 November 2007 (UTC)
  • edit conflicted*Exactly. Logged in users can easily create an attack page directed towards a vandal fighter. I am more afraid of anons abusing tools like popups and twinkle if they find out they exist (ugh...anon monobook.js pages being created...). Davnel, we have 33,687,571 registered editors. FunPika 19:59, 5 November 2007 (UTC)
Though we do only have about 5,000 active editors. Reywas92Talk 17:04, 7 November 2007 (UTC)

Fundamental problem

Hopefully we can all agree that almost any page created in under 2 minutes of work will be deleted. The only real exception is if you're working from a template, such as modifying an existing article on a similar subject. But this is an advanced editing technique... and really only useful occasionally. The vast majority of new articles will take the absolute minimum of 2 minutes of work to write out 1-3 sentences to give context and assert importance, cite a reference, and look up a category. The average time for a decent stub article is probably well over 2 minutes, but I suppose if you notice a redlink on a topic you're familiar with, you could whip up an article that quickly. But not much more quickly.

It's not 2004 any more. An unreferenced, uncategorized 1-sentence article that you spent 30 seconds represents a lot of work other people will have to do. And if you do newpage patrol (again with that if), it's pretty clear one of the major reasons a good-faith article gets deleted is the creator just didn't spend much time on it.

What does this all have to do with anonymous editors? Anononymous editors rarely spend a lot of time on their edits. That's not their strength. Show me a featured article or a good article with the majority of content and referencing done by an IP... you can't, because that's never happened. Show me an article that reads decently and contains few errors because IPs have gradually fixed all the problems in tiny, 30 second edits... that's easy to do. The strength of the IP editor is in the casual, minor edit.

In 2007, creating an article is not a casual, minor affair to be done on a whim during a commercial break. It takes a meaningful amount of time, effort and experience (or willingness to commit a lot of time to reading up). Look at IP edits to existing articles and observe how few of them represent 2+ minutes of work... and that's exactly what new pages created by IPs will look like. People creating articles quickly is just not good for the project. It's just hard to envision a lot of people who'd spend 10 minutes writing an article, but wouldn't spend 5 seconds making an account, even a throwaway one just so they can submit their page. Or who wouldn't go to AFC. But it's easy to envision people who'd spend 30 seconds writing an article not bothering with an account.

We really aren't going to get a lot more decent pages out of anonymous page creation... just a lot more work. By people who could be writing great articles if they had less busy work. --W.marsh 13:37, 6 November 2007 (UTC)

The sysops will be outnumbered

This proposal is insane, we are already experiencing constant backlog at CAT:CSD, if we allow anon creation the admins will be brutally outnumbered, can we imagine how will the ammount of vanity pages skyrocket with this? I can recall recently reading an article that stated that having a Wikipedia article has become the latest "symbol of status". I am not sure when this feature was disabled but it has been at least a year and we need to remember that this is fastly becoming one of the most visited websites in the world, when someone types something on the Google or Yahoo search engines Wikipedia is ussually in the first five websites,[1][2] I can't see any real improvement if we allow anonimous creation only a massive flood of work and more stress on the contributive users. - Caribbean~H.Q. 14:54, 6 November 2007 (UTC)

I hear your concern, but there are a couple of obvious counterpoints:
  • Anonymous page creation is enabled on all Wikipedias in all other languages. Wikipedia in German, for example, enjoys the same sort of position in German language searches as English Wikipedia does in the English language. They too delete much of their new pages, and they get by with fewer admins per new page than we have. They appear do be doing better than English by whatever metrics we'd use to measure the impact of anonymous page creation.
  • "we need to remember that this is fastly becoming one of the most visited websites in the world". Fastly becoming is incorrect, Wikipedia has been one of the most visited websites in the world for years now. Wikipedia was already a top website and top search engine result when we disabled anonymous page creation. As far as we can tell disabling anonymous page creation didn't stop or prevent the sort of problems that you're worried about above.
  • There has been huge growth and improvement in the community and our processes since we turned off anonymous page creation. There are also some improvements to Special:Newpage in MediaWiki which are not yet live on English Wikipedia which will help us work more efficiently. You can see them on this test wiki.
Obviously no one wants to preserve a behavior which turns out to be actually counterproductive. Fortunately, Anonymous page creation is trivial to turn on and off. If the community (i.e. YOU and everyone else) finds the results to be as harmful as you worry they may be, then it will be switched back. --Gmaxwell 15:15, 6 November 2007 (UTC)
  • I wonder though, will it be quickly switched back if it is indeed harmful? When it was turned off a couple years ago it was billed as an "experiment" if I recall correctly. IvoShandor 15:36, 6 November 2007 (UTC)
If the dams burst right away and it's clearly harmful then I'm sure everyone will demand a revert, but if it is just mildly bad there would have been a risk that the change would linger. Because of this I set a community review date, in the announcement, after one month. So there is no risk of it lingering. Cheers. --Gmaxwell 16:36, 6 November 2007 (UTC)
Has it been explained what this "community review" will entail exactly? Will anonymous creation be stopped on that date? Who will make the final decision? --W.marsh 19:40, 6 November 2007 (UTC)
Sorry W.marsh, you've directed me not to talk to you. ;) --Gmaxwell 15:03, 7 November 2007 (UTC)
That referred to one thread on my talk page, where you had little but insults and wild assumptions about my behavior, and it was upsetting me. I don't see how flippantly refusing to explain how this process will be reviewed is a good thing. --W.marsh 04:50, 8 November 2007 (UTC)
  • How is the new page patrolling feature going to make things easier for sysops? It won't stop the CSD backlogs from becoming larger. If a non-admin patroller sees a page which meets speedy criteria, it is getting tagged and added to the CSD category. All it does is allow new page patrollers to know which pages were already looked at by other new page patrollers (and only see pages created by anons). FunPika 20:16, 6 November 2007 (UTC)
  • It would make it easier for sysops to participate directly at Special:Newpages rather than working through the extra CSD step. Beyond that, it won't. --Gmaxwell 15:03, 7 November 2007 (UTC)
  • The point is that it saves time in not having multiple people reviewing pages. 1 person reviews the page, tags it and marks it as patrolled or determines it is good and marks it as patrolled, so that other users don't waste time looking at pages that have already been checked. Gmaxwell, it will be set for all autoconfirmed users to be able to patrol, right? And only sysop and bot pages should be autopatrolled. Mr.Z-man 03:15, 8 November 2007 (UTC)
how does the community pull the plug on this experiment if during the month it deems it unhelpful? what will the mechanism be? --Fredrick day 10:09, 7 November 2007 (UTC)
Any reasonable method. Hold a broadly advertised poll with a reasonable number of participants. Get some established sysop to close it at some point. I don't especially care, and we seem to manage to figure these things out elsewhere on the project without trouble. :) This is also how I expect the planned review would work. I'll be posting weely information about the number of new pages created/deleted over time. --Gmaxwell 15:03, 7 November 2007 (UTC)
It's encouraging knowing the plan for this experiment is "let's wing it". shoy (words words) 17:12, 7 November 2007 (UTC)
Enabling anonymous IPs to do anything they want while simultaneously promulgating increasingly exacting sourcing, citation, and formatting standards are logical-sounding ideas, but Oliver Wendell Holmes said that "a page of experience is worth a thousand pages of logic." He also said "I would not give a fig for the simplicity this side of complexity. I would give my right arm for the simplicity on the other side of complexity." Non-profits don't have to worry about avoiding risks which may prevent them from making a profit. But they still have to worry about avoiding risks which could imperil their survival. Best, --Shirahadasha 20:24, 7 November 2007 (UTC)
I agree that the sysops will be outnumberd emensily. As a NPP i am more then angerd at the amount of pure SHIT that stays for more then a couple hours. I also think that if a show like the colbert report annocnces this change in policy the i.p creation should be pulled EMIDTLY. I also think regarding the backlog of tag pages and other stuff that normal non admis could have deltion rights if elected BUNNYS 03:00, 8 November 2007 (UTC)
If its not linked to anywhere (except Newpages and CAT:CSD), no one except newpage patrollers, admins, and the author will see it. The problem is that the assumption many are making is that we will have all the current bad pages, plus all the ones by anons. But how many of the current bad pages are by people who only created their account to create the page? If the Colbert Report even mentions Wikipedia, it usually means locking down a few pages for a few days, anything he says will be forgotten in ~24 hours - by the time someone manages to wake up a developer and convince him to turn anon page creation off, the surge will be almost over. Mr.Z-man 03:15, 8 November 2007 (UTC)
Ok my bad, fastly becoming may have a mistake however there is no denying that the ammount of editors is on a constant rise, you say that a experienced sysop will be able to close the consensus poll, but will that admin be able to pull the plug on this? (a huge shiny button like one at bot user pages?) this is highly unlikely as I doubt that the developers would bother to create such a feature, this process will probably have to go to a higher authority to probably pass trough another consensus-seeking debate and that makes it more complicated than what you are suggesting. - Caribbean~H.Q. 03:18, 8 November 2007 (UTC)

Get ready everyone...

We have under a day until anonymous page creation is reenabled. I intend to be on NPP at the time it occurs so I can see how quickly things change; hopefully a number of regular NPPers will do the same so we can get some immediate info on it. For that matter, there'd better be a few people other than me there — I can't even come close to handling it myself at peak times as it stands now!

A quick side note for anyone who plans to help out on CSD during the next month: If you haven't already, install the Twinkle user script. It's extremely useful for newpage patrolling as it allows you to do things such as simultaneously tag an article for speedy deletion and warn the article's creator with a couple clicks.

I sincerely hope that things work out well, but I am not optimistic. I just hope there's a lot of admins ready to clear the CSD backlog. Pyrospirit (talk · contribs) 03:56, 8 November 2007 (UTC)

Given the amount of opposition to this, why the hell exactly is it going ahead anyway? I really don't see a consensus here to re-enable; absent that, who is it that's said "We're going ahead consensus or no?" That question was asked several times on the mailing list, to answers ranging from evasive to nonexistent. Seraphimblade Talk to me 04:15, 8 November 2007 (UTC)
Yes, this really makes no sense. I've been away from AfD for a while but a couple of days there shows that this line of protection is stretched way too thin and morale is weak. This is a well intended but poorly conceived policy. --Kevin Murray 04:30, 8 November 2007 (UTC)
Standing in the trenches, I am opposed to this. I wonder if those who don't do CAT:CSD patrol know how long it actually takes to delete (or not) A7s and G12s and the like while exercising due diligence. In any event, as this has been presented as and appears to remain a fait accompli, I am girding my loins.--Fuhghettaboutit 05:41, 8 November 2007 (UTC)
Is this going live at 00:01 UTC? If so, we've less than 8 hours to complete our tea ceremony... Caknuck 16:23, 8 November 2007 (UTC)
Oh, but changing our NPP behavior will skew the experiment!  :-) (SEWilco 17:41, 8 November 2007 (UTC))
Not really. The main thing to look at is the number of pages created and the number deleted. Any changes in NPP behavior that last the whole month we can assume would simply be a part of anonymous page creation. How regular NPPers and admins react to it is part of the experiment too, I think. Pyrospirit (talk · contribs) 19:59, 8 November 2007 (UTC)
Well, it's 00:06 UTC right now, and it's not enabled yet, so I'm not sure when it's going live. Pyrospirit (talk · contribs) 00:06, 9 November 2007 (UTC)
If this is going to be enabled ignoring the lack of consensus it would be good if we could get a link to WP:NPP on the navigation box, probably below "Curren events". - Caribbean~H.Q. 00:18, 9 November 2007 (UTC)
As far as I can tell, it's not actually going to be turned on until a request is filed on Bugzilla with a link to a page showing consensus for the change on-Wikipedia. This page probably wouldn't cut it, but I dunno. This is just my understanding of the situation, I'm not good with technical matters. --W.marsh 01:24, 9 November 2007 (UTC)
I believe that it is getting turned on soon without there being consensus. FunPika 01:30, 9 November 2007 (UTC)
Based on current discussion between system admins, I would contest that belief. --uǝʌǝsʎʇɹnoɟʇs(st47) 01:31, 9 November 2007 (UTC)

Why is this conversation still happening?

It seems overwhelmingly obvious that the consensus does not exist for this, yet it is being thrust upon the project regardless. Now if it's a Foundation mandate, then so be it, but let's call it what it is. And if not, why continue to push forward with this? Surely it would be easier to implement a test with random and brief periods of anon creation rather than letting them run loose openly for a prolonged period across the whole project. It seems that in every metric, the long-standing concerns regarding the encyclopedia as of late 2007 are about improving the information depth (ie quality) and scaling back the need for breadth. I'm not saying that we don't need more articles, but I'm dubious that re-enabling anon creation will make a significant difference for genuinely needed articles, while creating exponentially greater admin overhead (admin overhead we don't really have at this moment). From the looks of the conversation above, I believe that this opinion is well within the (super?)majority. Girolamo Savonarola 20:21, 8 November 2007 (UTC)


TimStarling, one of the eternal ones in charge of this wikipeida thing, has decided that "it could be turned on, if by some miracle someone files a request in bugzilla and links to a page on the wiki where consensus is demonstrated". --uǝʌǝsʎʇɹnoɟʇs(st47) 01:23, 9 November 2007 (UTC)

Does that mean I can climb out of my air-raid shelter? Tim Vickers 01:31, 9 November 2007 (UTC)
Then that means no anon page creation!? :O Also, do you have a diff, link, or whatever to verify? FunPika 01:39, 9 November 2007 (UTC)

Apparently this has all been shuffled to Wikipedia:Requests for comment/Anon page creation. Can someone who knows the template close this here discussion? --W.marsh 02:10, 9 November 2007 (UTC)

The above discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.