Wikipedia:Village pump (proposals)/Archive 84

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Waiting edit requests to the global block notice

There are two waiting edit requests at MediaWiki talk:Globalblocking-blocked.Jasper Deng (talk) 05:18, 16 January 2012 (UTC)

Call talk pages "Talk"

Coordinated SOPA reaction in early 2012 RfC

In response to some of the arguments (most of which I find quite fair in their presentation), allow me to quickly say the following (before I hop on a plane):
(1) The primary reason to oppose SOPA is its effect on the Internet and the precedent it creates for further censorship once the government gets comfortable with pulling down entire sites. That is, our focus should not necessarily be on only the definition of "internet search engine." Our site relies on other sites to provide us sources, so, in my opinion, an attack on those sites is indirectly an attack on us.
(2) As I said in my blog, one of the most serious issues with SOPA (Section 103) appears to be addressed from a Wikipedia viewpoint with the amendment introduced before the mark-up. The chances are now slim that any rights owner would argue we are an "Internet site dedicated to theft of U.S. property" under that provision.
(3) I understand conflicting views on the interpretation of "internet search engine," and, believe me, I will argue vigorously that the definition does not apply to us if we are challenged in court. That said, I don't always trust prosecutors and judges - who sometimes look for ways to put round pegs into square holes without much technical expertise - to interpret the poorly-drafted definition of "internet search engine," especially when such proceedings are at the urging of well-financed and motivated rights owners. In the end, we might be required to incur significant costs in courts to defend our position if the government does not exercise proper discretion. A clean definition would prevent that. In short, I'm concerned about the power and money of rights owners and how they may improperly affect government policy in this regard.
Again many thanks to all for their different opinions. I have tried to be balanced in my presentations and blog because I believe the community needs to understand the impact of SOPA without hyperbole, but obviously I welcome thoughtful disagreement which helps provide additional perspective. Happy holidays to all. Geoffbrigham (talk) 19:18, 23 December 2011 (UTC)

Personal statements from proposal authors

Ian Baker: While I work for WMF as a developer, this proposal is made by myself as an individual. I am aware that the Foundation officially opposes SOPA, but am in no way representing the Foundation when I write this. I care about Wikipedia deeply, and am therefore very concerned about this bill's imminent passage. raindrift (talk) 00:09, 19 December 2011 (UTC)

Jimbo Wales: I have sought to assist Ian in trying to make this proposal mild and widely acceptable. We do not have a lot of time for debate, as markup is set to begin again on December 21st and this could still make it to the floor of the House quite quickly.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 12:28, 17 December 2011 (UTC)

The above comment signed by Jimbo, was not added here by Jimbo. fredgandt 00:20, 19 December 2011 (UTC)

Sorry about that. It's from this userspace draft raindrift (talk) 01:10, 19 December 2011 (UTC)


  • I support this proposal, but I believe that a full-scale, international blackout (à la the Italian Wikipedia) would be more effective.
    SOPA stands to affect readers around the world (not merely those in the United States). During the Italian Wikipedia's strike, users in various countries contacted ambassadors of Italy to express their concerns. It would be helpful if the same were to occur with ambassadors of the United States.
    I also worry that a one-off message (with the ability to click through to the desired article) would be treated as little more than a nag screen (dismissed and forgotten). As upsetting as it is to deprive readers of the encyclopedia, that might be the only way to get their attention and prompt them to take action. —David Levy 00:45, 19 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Purely technical issues/concerns Some readers may not have cookies enabled. Session id? Could this cause accessibility problems for some users? fredgandt 00:53, 19 December 2011 (UTC)
    • If cookies are disabled, the user will see the blackout page once for each article they visit. --Carnildo (talk) 01:37, 19 December 2011 (UTC)
      • Could be done with both a cookie and a session id. Session id would ensure it only comes up once per visit where cookies are disabled. Cookie could ensure it only comes up once at all. So someone with cookies disabled will see it everytime they close their browser and then come back to Wikipedia but not on every article.--v/r - TP 16:33, 20 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Against First, quite likely several US presidential candidates (to candidates) have different views on this subject. Which candidate(s) will WP support? Second, I do not know anything about SOPA in particular, but I strongly believe that defending intellectual property is extremely important (unless we want to descend into a dark age of search and copy, as creating does not pay for your food and bed) This is highly ridiculous, this is - I thought - a encyclopaedia, not a political platform. - Nabla (talk) 00:55, 19 December 2011 (UTC)
    You acknowledge that you "do not know anything about SOPA in particular". If you were familiar with the bill, perhaps you'd understand why opposing it isn't remotely the same as opposing the defense of intellectual property (just as opposing the USA PATRIOT Act isn't tantamount to supporting terrorism).
    Indeed, Wikipedia is an encyclopedia — one based on specific principles. If a politician happens to disagree with said principles, that can't be avoided. —David Levy 01:20, 19 December 2011 (UTC)
    I take the criticism - of not knowing - as fair and took a look at our article. Actually I have already seen it sometime. Overall it looks fine. Sites facilitating copyright infringement should be stopped. It supports my guess that this is "the internet at large" being against copyright. That includes WP. WP - as a community, not every member - show little respect for copyright. I once uploaded a few photos, the copyright tags I placed on them were changed several times by some random users a couple times or so. WP also leaves up to community discussion several legal matters (like fair use for images) while we are no court at all. WP has no moral authority at all to protest. Joking a little, this is like a bank robber opposing a law against robbing banks. But all that is my opinion about copyright and its (poor) implementation at WP, subject for a nice calm, or heated, internal discussion. This discussion here is about WP direct and intentional interference in USA politics. First, that is completely against WP purpose, as I see it; Second, the WMF may natuirally do turn WP into a political platform, as they may, and probably have the right to. Me, I am against. - Nabla (talk) 02:01, 19 December 2011 (UTC)
    Thanks for clarifying your position. I was unaware of your bias. —David Levy 02:15, 19 December 2011 (UTC)
    Bias?!, prejudice, lack of objectivity? Where do your opinions come from? Out of thin air? Because someone told you? You born with them implanted in your brain? They come out of your pure and kind heart? Or are they born out of your life experiences, just like mine? Your life experiences are good reasons, mine are «bias»? Campaign as much as you want, but cut the crap, do'n play all saintly, and do not insult others's opinions. - Nabla (talk) 02:00, 20 December 2011 (UTC)
    I neither insulted your bias nor claimed that I possess none of my own. I merely stated that I was unaware of yours. Had I realized that you believe that opposition to SOPA stems from "being against copyright" (a position fundamentally incompatible with supporting this proposal), I wouldn't have pressed the issue. —David Levy 04:23, 21 December 2011 (UTC)
    So, which is your bias? And do you think WP is (or should be) a platform to directly influence the US Congress? - Nabla (talk) 20:45, 30 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose Is this not what could be fairly called "a perennial proposal"? It has been knocked back twice already. How many more times do we have to go through this? I emailed Jimbo stating my concerns regarding the hypocrisy of this proposal. It went something like this: For Wikipedia to state loudly that it is against proposed laws that are (from most peoples perspectives) designed to protect copyrights, will be a media nightmare. Who honestly thinks the media at large will stand shoulder to shoulder with us, and sing our praises for doing the right thing? They sell dung; and the stinkier the better. This is delivering it to them in truck loads. Wave buh-bye to our reputation folks! fredgandt 01:24, 19 December 2011 (UTC)
    Firstly, you're referring to two very different proposals, both of which failed for reasons irrelevant to this one. The original RfC (which focused on the general idea instead of specific implementations highly unlike the one proposed above) generated broad support.
    Secondly, you seem to suggest that we should worry more about PR than about defending principles that enable Wikipedia's existence. Obviously, I disagree. —David Levy 01:44, 19 December 2011 (UTC)
    Irrelevant'? Excuse me for looking bemused O.o. PR matters. If the aim of this proposed fiasco is to protect Wikipedia, consider the harm it might do. This is surgery with a rusty spoon. There are better ways. fredgandt 01:51, 19 December 2011 (UTC)
    1. Yes, irrelevant. Those proposals failed because they entailed rushing into implementations substantially different from the one proposed above. The general idea received broad support.
    2. I didn't say that PR doesn't matter. However, it will cease to matter if Wikipedia fades into history.
    Also note that the Italian Wikipedia engaged in a significantly more extreme variant of this protest with positive results.
    You say that "there are better ways." What do you suggest? —David Levy 02:15, 19 December 2011 (UTC)
    Not responding to the end of the world posturing.
    I suggested to Jimbo by email that he use his own clout to raise awareness without dragging Wikipedia through the shit in the process. How ever many readers Wikipedia has each day, it will be nothing compared with the numbers that read the papers and watch the telly. He, without the backing of WMF could easily get any audience he chose, and no one could deny him the right to claim the limelight as creator of Wikipedia (although many try). This is now for certain my last comment on this thread (my last was but I was asked a direct question). Not being dramatic, just said my bit and moving on. fredgandt 03:09, 19 December 2011 (UTC)
    I don't believe (and I don't think that Jimbo believes) that he commands such power and influence. He's well known, of course, and he is doing his best to raise awareness of the issue. —David Levy 03:35, 19 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support but go further. Blackout all articles about movies made by MPAA members, with no possibility of viewing the article for the 24 hours. Jc3s5h (talk) 01:38, 19 December 2011 (UTC)
    Yeah and then permanently blackout all pages to do with Nazis and terrorists and child abusers and rapists and cheese and frogs... fredgandt 01:41, 19 December 2011 (UTC)
But I like cheese. --Hobbes Goodyear (talk) 01:59, 19 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support: action could well go further into economic restraints on the utility of Wikipedia to the supporters and groups lobbying in favour of this bill. As an immediate proposal this is worth supporting and putting in place. Fifelfoo (talk) 03:05, 19 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support: Including internationally as described by David Levy at the top. Mark Hurd (talk) 07:20, 19 December 2011 (UTC)
  • For the third time, support, though I'm concerned the proposal is not bold enough. A full, almost immediate, complete blackout is in order if we are to generate serious and significant media attention, which is basically the only thing politicians care about. But then that's only my view. I support WMF action against SOPA, though only if not associated with political organizations (e.g. those also associated with other causes than SOPA). CharlieEchoTango (contact) 07:27, 19 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strong oppose - Wikipedia should not appear to have political bias.  An optimist on the run! 08:19, 19 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support, as Wikipedia is concerned with free access to the web. Thus it's a part of Wikipedia's mission to react on such events. The political bias issues are irrelevant here, as no politics concerned. — Dmitrij D. Czarkoff (talk) 09:25, 19 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strong Oppose - By carrying out these actions Wikipedia will sacrifice its perceived neutrality and the protecttion that it gives. Lose that neutrality and it will be much easier for companies (or people with an agenda) to take legal action as the FIRST step without the bad PR that would create now.Even worse are some of the suggestions above that want to censor Wikipedia - I mean "Blackout all articles about movies made by MPAA members, with no possibility of viewing the article for the 24 hours" and "action could well go further into economic restraints on the utility of Wikipedia to the supporters and groups lobbying in favour of this bill Then goodbye Wikipedia. That is just asking for Wikipedia to be sued or shut downNigel Ish (talk) 11:26, 19 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose. As I wrote previously, it is inappropriate for the community to compel any user to edit or not edit to make a political point. It would also set a truly awful precedent, with unknowable consequences. If some threshold of consensus is all it takes to turn Wikipedia into an instrument of politics, then Bill O'Reilly can take over the encyclopedia if 1% of his three million nightly viewers respond to a call to register accounts. Even if nothing like that happened, Wikipedia would be permanently politicized. Every time a controversial piece of media legislation got introduced, it would be "How will Wikipedia respond?" all over the news. Nigel Ish also highlights some upsetting avenues this could open toward liability. And as Nabla says, how far does this go? If it becomes an issue in the U.S. presidential campaign, which candidate do we endorse? Lagrange613 17:50, 19 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strong support - Having read the bill and numerous informed analyses of it, I believe that SOPA threatens the very existence of Wikipedia. This requires decisive action, and requires it urgently. It makes little sense for Wikipedia to refrain from action in order to uphold our apolitical ideals when so doing may well result in the elimination of the site itself. This is an extremely poorly-conceived and constructed piece of legislation, and it demands an unequivocal response. This is not a slippery slope. The Wikipedia community has historically shown great restraint against taking indiscriminate political action, and will continue to do so in the future, regardless of what decision is made here. The is no equivalency between an awareness-raising action regarding a bill that would necessitate universal censorship of Wikipedia and, say, the endorsement of a political candidate. To propose such is an insult to the intelligence and discretion of this community.
Of the three SOPA-related action proposals thus far put forth, this is by far the best-articulated, and most immediately practicable one. It is respectful of the community, addresses all major the previously-raised objections, and is compatible with NPOV. It also—and I consider this crucial—includes a strong emphasis on creating high-value action on the part of the Wikipedia community and readership. The Tumblr auto-calling system mentioned in the proposal was a massive success, without which SOPA might have sailed through without the scrutiny that it is now receiving, and which it so needed. Without the tumblr action, our community might not even have the opportunity that we now have to draw further attention to this deeply-flawed legislation.AaronMuszalski (talk) 19:19, 19 December 2011 (UTC) AaronMuszalski (talkcontribs) has made few or no other edits outside this topic.
  • Strong oppose. As I have said, the statute as presently drafted is inapplicable to Wikipedia. End of story.--Wehwalt (talk) 20:17, 19 December 2011 (UTC)
    The Wikimedia Foundation's general counsel has advised the community that SOPA does pose dangers to Wikipedia. While the latest version exempts American organizations from some sanctions (such as cutting off payment processing), the WMF could still be subject to court orders to review every outgoing link from Wikipedia and to block certain domains. I find it hard to imagine a more direct attack on the freedom of the Wikipedia community. Do you have another legal opinion to cite? NeilK (talk) 02:54, 20 December 2011 (UTC)
    Counsel conditioned his opinion with many a “might” and “could”. I see no definite statement of opinion on what, in fact, SOPA would do to Wikipedia. What he is doing is the “parade of horribles”: That is, if you pass an ordinance banning playing the radio on the subway, you have repealed the First Amendment and you are now living in New Pyongyang. I’m a lawyer myself, I know when a lawyer is advocating for a client’s position. That’s what he’s doing. Perfectly proper, and perhaps not entitled to the weight and authority you’re giving it. Always look to the qualifiers in a legal opinion. Any lawyer can hand you dramatic language. It looks impressive in print, but when run through legal analysis, not much is left.--Wehwalt (talk) 11:32, 21 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support - I support this because while not being consistent with NPV, SOPA endangers the very idea of open internet sites like wikipedia Cat Cubed (talk) 20:26, 19 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support SOPA will effect the very nature of the internet --Guerillero | My Talk 20:55, 19 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support - I'm not fully understanding arguments against this action due to Wikipedia's perceived neutrality - Wikipedia is indeed not neutral in this situation and needn't behave as such. With lawmakers making comments such as "this worked in China" we, of all those on the web, should certainly be supporting any action that could help prevent this bill from going through in its current state. This is an effective option; take advantage of the opportunity to make an impact. LoriLee (talk) 21:37, 19 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strong supportI've previously opposed taking site-wide action since I had believed that Jimbo's voice in the media alone would be enough. Unfortunately, I don't believe that to be the case any longer. As a result of witnessing the rejection of so many amendments on December 16th, I believe that a stronger message from the WMF and the enwiki community is needed in order to spread awareness of this bill. --Michaeldsuarez (talk) 21:53, 19 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strong support - SOPA poses a direct threat to what Wikipedia stands for. As Vint Cerf wrote in a letter to Lamar Smith, SOPA opens the door to "unprecedented censorship" of the web. When statements like this - including an appeal from 83 of the internet's founders about the dangers of SOPA - fall on deaf ears within Congress, it's time to act. Wikipedia has the power to reach thousands of people, and that kind of power should not be taken lightly or used carelessly. The situation is dire, but there may be hope if Wikipedia contributes to the awareness effort. As representative Zoe Lofgren pointed out, people have a tremendous power to influence legislation, as illustrated by the story of one of her colleagues rethinking his position on SOPA after a phone call from a small business owner in his district. If more representatives hear from their constituents about how counterproductive and dangerous this bill is, maybe the tide will turn. This is a crucial moment in the Internet's history, and I think that Wikipedia should take a stand, because SOPA undermines every value that this community is built on. The neutrality that people are so protective of in this discussion can only thrive in an open internet. The sum of all human knowledge will not thrive in the balkanized internet that will result from SOPA being passed.Nadya lev (talk) 22:01, 19 December 2011 (UTC) Nadya lev (talkcontribs) has made few or no other edits outside this topic.
  • Oppose as POV and a distraction by "movement groupies" over content creators. We should not restrict content to make a political point (to support or oppose a law). Similar to not censoring. This is censoring the entire site. I'm also concerned that this seems to appeal to people that would rather found a movement than write content. Wales and Gardner should worry about content problems we have (10 years into this thing). This is a distraction. It takes us further down the road of losing the best writers and retaining people that want to use the blank slate as part of some meta-battle. (And if you don't like it or think I'm not AGFing or shouldn't impute motives, tough titties. I would look anyone on this site in the eye and say what I beleive.)TCO (talk) 22:11, 19 December 2011 (UTC)
    If you're calling Jimbo a movement groupie, I'm not sure who you would consider a "real" Wikipedian. Jimbo continues to contribute to articles to this day. Furthermore you are proposing a false dichotomy, that we can only care about content quality or legal threats to the existence of Wikipedia. We can do both. NeilK (talk) 02:38, 20 December 2011 (UTC)
Not to besmirch the work Jimmy Wales does on behalf of the project, which I do very much appreciate, but I really must chime in here. The link you provide purporting to show that Mr. Wales "contribute(s) to articles to this day" shows no such thing. Oh, he changed a URL on one piece in mid-November, etc. But he basically engages in Talk pages, Noticeboard pages, and other matters relating to the apparatus, not the content. Once in a while there is a contentious BLP that brings editorial action, but that's ultimately a function of project maintenance and defense rather than content creation. That's neither here nor there, there are many people who do these things — some productively, some not. But it is a misrepresentation to contend otherwise. Carrite (talk) 17:31, 21 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Weak support for a weak proposal. Every media report will make reference to the fact that we considered a blackout but bottled it. --FormerIP (talk) 22:15, 19 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support I'd actually prefer a stronger action more like what the Italian Wikipedia did, but I can get behind this proposal. NeilK (talk) 02:58, 20 December 2011 (UTC)
    Also, I have a couple of questions. I can understand those who think this kind of protest is inappropriate, and would prefer something different. What I don't get are those who object to taking any sort of action. According to the WMF's general counsel, this is a serious threat to Wikipedia's independence (and if you disagree, please show us a different legal opinion). So are you arguing that it's more important to avoid any hint of POV -- even about issues of state censorship? Personally, when I look back on this episode in 10 years, I'm not sure I am going to feel good about concluding "well, we may have let Wikipedia become a collaborator with government and industry to keep people ignorant about certain things. But I'm glad that at least we never pushed any POV on our users with a banner ad or anything...." NeilK (talk) 03:20, 20 December 2011 (UTC)
    It's important to avoid any hint of POV even about issues of fill in the blank. Otherwise it will be "Wikipedia condemns anti-copyvio measures but not child pornography or AIDS denialism or overzealous gun control or spending time on copyright on the Internet instead of unemployment" or whatever bête noire you choose. We can't pick favorites with political causes, or do-gooders will be knocking down our door asking us to pick them. I reject collaboration with either side of this debate. We're an encyclopedia, so informing readers is part of our mission; we just can't inject the political views of the majority* of editors into that process. (*Really the majority of the minority that participates at this board.) By all means draw attention to the debate around SOPA, but do it within the bounds we set for ourselves: work the article up to FA and make it TFA around some appropriate moment, like one house or the other voting on it. Lagrange613 06:29, 20 December 2011 (UTC)
    Wikipedia, by its very existence, aligns itself with a POV contrary to SOPA's intent. You might as well argue that our "pro-free content" POV is inappropriate. —David Levy 06:39, 20 December 2011 (UTC)
    I disagree. Wikipedia is free content is one of the five pillars; Wikipedia provides links to copyright-infringing websites is not. SOPA would not outlaw free content. Lagrange613 07:04, 20 December 2011 (UTC)
    This isn't about a desire to provide links to copyright-infringing websites. Do you honestly not realize that? —David Levy 08:17, 20 December 2011 (UTC)
    "SOPA would not outlaw free content". Sure, but it'd give anyone a weapon to cause untold quantities of harm regardless. Someone with powerful lawyers gets pissy about the fact that we legitimately use their non-free logo under fair use, or perhaps that we disagree with them on Bridgeman v. Corel, the lawyers start making a ruckus and then god knows what happens. Or think of the child porn stuff a few years ago: it would have only taken one or two rogue prosecutors to go after Wikipedia: this is what you get when you detach intellectual property enforcement from due process. Wikipedians try very hard to keep the site free of copyvios and we still fail, and will continue to fail. SOPA is a gun pointed at our head and the trigger could go off at any minute. —Tom Morris (talk) 09:17, 20 December 2011 (UTC)
    My point was only that Wikipedia does not "align itself with a POV contrary to SOPA's intent." Tom Morris correctly identifies the stakes here as risk to the project, not some deep contradiction with Our Precious Values. And taking a public political stance like this is very risky indeed, for reasons opponents continue to spell out. Lagrange613 15:51, 20 December 2011 (UTC)
    1. Wikipedia aligns itself with the POV that the online dissemination of free information should be unencumbered. SOPA threatens to make it too onerous for Wikipedia, let alone downstream users, to handle.
    2. Has the Italian Wikipedia's protest — a significantly more extreme variant — resulted in adverse political consequences for Wikipedia or the Wikimedia Foundation? —David Levy 16:15, 20 December 2011 (UTC)
    I guess I don't see Wikipedia aligning itself with any POV, because I don't see myself as part of a political movement. I understand that some people feel that way, but I don't think it's appropriate for them to impose their vision on the rest of the editing (and reading) community. I guess that makes me one of TCO's "content writers", though we're mostly a soft-spoken lot. I don't know much about the Italian Wikipedia's protest, but I do think it's a little early to evaluate all of its effects. In any case the English Wikipedia is so much more visible that I doubt the value of the comparison. Lagrange613 22:10, 20 December 2011 (UTC)
    Wikipedia is part of the free culture movement. When politicians threaten to harm said movement via onerous legislation, the lines between "social movement" and "political movement" are blurred.
    The Italian Wikipedia is the fifth-largest. Its protest (which was worldwide, blocked article access with no option of clicking through, and had no predetermined duration) generated massive media coverage in Italy (the country considering the problematic legislation) and a substantial amount internationally. I've seen no evidence that the Italian Wikipedia's reputation (or that of the Wikimedia Foundation, which endorsed the protest) has been damaged. Many Wikimedians (myself included) initially expressed concerns similar to those discussed here, but the general public found fault with Italian parliament (and reacted accordingly). That protest's success inspired this proposal. —David Levy 00:14, 21 December 2011 (UTC)
    Wikipedia is emphatically not part of any movement, social or political. It is an encyclopedia that anyone can edit regardless of membership in any movement, social or political. Individual contributors may feel they belong to a movement and that editing Wikipedia is part of their participation in that movement. Which is fine as long as they don't use Wikipedia as a soapbox. Lagrange613 01:29, 21 December 2011 (UTC)
    "The Wikimedia Foundation believes that all people everywhere should be afforded equal access to information. It supports network neutrality and the free culture movement." (Source: WMF Answers page)
    "Your donation makes you a key supporter of the free culture movement..." (Source: Jimbo Wales)
    No one asserts that Wikipedia is a soapbox or that we ordinarily engage in the type of activity proposed. But let's not pretend that the Wikimedia Foundation and its projects are uninvolved in the free culture movement and advocacy related thereto. —David Levy 04:23, 21 December 2011 (UTC)
    The Wikimedia Foundation has a fiduciary duty to advocate for all its constituent projects. It's decided that identifying itself with the free culture movement is a good way to do that. Wikipedia is not bound by this decision to adopt a political POV; on the contrary, the Foundation does it so we don't have to. Lagrange613 14:00, 21 December 2011 (UTC)
    I haven't asserted that we "have to" engage in the proposed protest. I've explained why I believe it to be an advisable course of action. It is, of course, entirely reasonable to disagree.
    But one of the arguments against the protest is that it would be non-neutral. My point is that Wikipedia, as a project of the Wikimedia Foundation, already aligns itself with the free culture movement and the POV that the dissemination of free information should be unencumbered.
    Do we normally interrupt page loads to announce this? No, of course not. That would be a significant departure from our standard procedure. Does that make it a departure from the principles on which the project is based? No, it doesn't. We seek to build an NPOV encyclopedia, but from an organizational standpoint, we've never been neutral on this subject. —David Levy 20:05, 21 December 2011 (UTC)
    "SOPA would not outlaw free content"? The proposal keeps changing, but some versions would not outlaw free content, but would change who decides if complaints are valid from a court, which is obliged to be fair and neutral, to the ISP of the person or organization who puts up the disputed content. Of course, the primary interest of the ISP is minimising the amount of staff time devoted to content issues, and the quickest way to resolve issues is to cancel the account of the accused subscriber. So some incarnations of SOPA don't outlaw free content, but do deny due process of law to possibly free content. Jc3s5h (talk) 16:25, 20 December 2011 (UTC)
    Well, are you saying that there's nothing wrong with this action, but that it will lead inevitably to Wikipedians being dragged into other issues? I think there's no risk of that. First of all, SOPA is very clearly targeted at sites like us. Its entire intent is to affect internet entities where content is contributed by users, which were formerly shielded by the DMCA. We are not becoming exercised over this bill by accident. I think the Wikipedia community is smart enough to figure out when we must speak out and when we should be silent. If not, we can get legal advice from the WMF or others, and we can do what we're doing now -- talk it out. There's no slippery slope here. Nothing about this action commits us to other, future, unrelated actions. NeilK (talk) 18:31, 20 December 2011 (UTC)
    I'm less worried about getting dragged into future issues (though that is a concern) than I am about changes to our image. At the moment people read us as an encyclopedia, and this will lead to people reading us as an encyclopedia that crusades for one political POV at the expense of another. If we're pigeonholed like that it may be harder to attract new users, which is becoming more and more urgent. Lagrange613 22:10, 20 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strong support for action. I'm flexible on which proposal. Just like the DMCA, this law operates based on allegations. It operates in the absence of an actual court determination of infringement. The law requires Wikipedia to censor targeted sites, even when any allegation of infringement is clearly false. Even if a site actually contains nothing but Public Domain material. Even more significantly, I think it's wrong to say that Wikipedia itself actually is safe from being taken down or de-funded under this law. Wikipedia's supposed safety is conditional upon Wikipedia being confined within US borders. Imagine for a moment a law which explicitly prohibited Wikipedia from ever moving outside the US, prohibited us from ever utilizing any systems outside the US. Is there anyone here who would tolerate any such thing? It is impossible for anyone to assert or accept that Wikipedia actually is safe from the most catastrophic portions of this law, not unless you first imply and accept the radical position of forever prohibiting Wikipedia from moving or using any system outside the US. Alsee (talk) 06:05, 20 December 2011 (UTC)
    Wikipedia's Alexa rank is 6. Any bill about the Internet has the potential to harm (or benefit) Wikipedia. Where do we draw the line? Lagrange613 06:29, 20 December 2011 (UTC)
    The difficulty of knowing where to draw the line does not mean that we shouldn't draw the line. If you want a clear test, here's one: if a law forbids content that the community has come to a consensus on as being valuable to include in Wikipedia, we should oppose that law. Seems like a no-brainer to me. And I know that includes a lot of things like freedom of panorama or laws against Nazi imagery in Germany, and I'm not advocating that we protest those things as strenuously. But another issue is, when should we take action that interrupts the average reader's experience on the encyclopedia? I think that is a judgment call, and we'll have to talk it out every time, as we are doing now. The point is I don't think you can argue for no action merely by saying that it's hard to know when action is required. NeilK (talk) 18:43, 20 December 2011 (UTC)
    What content that the community values would be forbidden under SOPA? Lagrange613 22:10, 20 December 2011 (UTC)
    Well, the Pirate Bay article has an external link to the site, so that's some content right there. And The Church of Scientology already abuses copyright to kick sites off the internet that are critical or provide neutral information about their organization; we can expect them to use this tool as well. But the thing is, while SOPA purports to target piracy, it really places website publishers at the beck and call of anyone who is willing to pay a lawyer. (Caution, I am not a lawyer, and that cite comes from October, but I believe it is still relevant.) In many cases, a judge does not decide what is an appropriate measure to take, the claimant does. The obligation to monitor content isn't theirs, it becomes ours. The risk to Wikipedia may be lower -- the current draft exempts US websites from some provisions, and few organizations would risk the blowback of kicking Wikipedia offline. But consider that we also largely rely on the rest of the Internet to verify all the significant claims in the encyclopedia. If it becomes difficult for non-US sites to be critical of the class of "anyone who can afford a lawyer" I don't see how Wikipedia can succeed. No site on the web is an island, and Wikipedia least of all. NeilK (talk) 21:26, 21 December 2011 (UTC)
    So the only content you can think of is the external link to The Pirate Bay? Seems like an easy thing to fix. Then you expand your rationale to suggest that Wikipedia has a duty to protect the rest of the Internet, placing us on an even slipperier slope. Lagrange613 04:10, 22 December 2011 (UTC)
    Are you asking me to enumerate every article before you take the threat seriously? I don't know what SOPA will look like in its final form, or when enforced, and neither do you. Something that leaves so much of the judgment to private companies is unlikely to err on the side of free speech. And the whole point of SOPA is that a site can be banned for the action of a single user, or a single page of content. But speaking of slippery slopes, exactly how much of Wikipedia's content are you willing to let the government ban, or rightsholders curtail? It's clear that you think we can lose a few articles about self-described "pirate" groups. But how about, say, the "Pirate Party", a significant force in European politics now? Where do you draw the line? NeilK (talk) 16:56, 23 December 2011 (UTC)
    We already have policies restricting content to protect us from liability, e.g. WP:BLP. We are well past that. I didn't say I was willing to lose articles, and I don't think that's at stake here. I'm not trying to justify SOPA (my opinions on it are irrelevant) but to express how unpersuasive I've found the doomsday predictions about the bill's prospective effect on Wikipedia. Lagrange613 21:21, 23 December 2011 (UTC)
    Look back at the root of this thread (my Strong Support vote). I explained SOPA can take down anything, including a site hosting noting but public domain content. And either (1) you accept Wikipedia may someday be directly&catastrophically taken down under this law, or (2) you implicitly accept the law effectively prohibits Wikipedia from ever moving outside the US. Alsee (talk) 18:24, 24 December 2011 (UTC)
Support I am an European, but I believe that any similar law aimed directly against the freedoms of people merit similar response. Wikipedia is global project and as such it should defend itself on a global level no matter government of which country is attempting to propose change which could affect it. Petrb (talk) 09:09, 20 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support When bad laws threaten the survival of Wikipedia, we must make a stand. The argument that it is a violation of WP:NPOV doesn't hold up because our very existence isn't a matter of neutrality. We prefer free content to non-free content, we prefer open source to closed, we prefer free access to closed access: the very parameters of the project aren't neutral, and rare, extraordinary action to protest dumb laws that threaten the survival of Wikipedia and the free Internet generally is a price we occasionally have to pay. —Tom Morris (talk) 09:22, 20 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support Wikipedia needs to inform readers that free access to information is being placed in jeopardy. The comments above about Wikipedia's neutrality misunderstand the situation: the best advice currently available indicates that the bill presents a unique threat to Wikipedia's continued operation (see link in proposal). It would be irresponsible to fail to inform readers of that unique threat. Johnuniq (talk) 10:51, 20 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strong support per my comments on Jimbo's talk page and elsewhere.--v/r - TP 16:33, 20 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Neutral if it remains targetted at US IPs only, oppose if it's expanded to include non US IPs. Having read our lawyers response and some follow up comment, the actual extent of any threat to wikipedia seems to remain fairly unclear. Therefore, I remain opposed to any action involving non US IPs, particularly since the ability of non Americans to directly influence the bill is limited anyway. As also per my earlier comments, I'll let those from the US decide what they wish to do about it themselves. Nil Einne (talk) 20:46, 20 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support: I preferred the tools-down global blackout (as several countries follow the US example and might try restrictive laws of their own, and action should be taken there too), but any action is good action. Sceptre (talk) 02:55, 21 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Did Google pay us to shut down Wiki? Just wondering. Supposedly we are discouraging large individual grants (to not be beholden). But then we just got a half million from the founder of Google. And he has given us a LOT over the years too. And he has billions tied up in Youtube and Google and all. When we read the Wiki counsel's advice, we find out that Wiki itself is not under much danger. But Google has a lot of problems. And they are a ginormous, for profit, entity. So...just wondering on the timing of that last grant. Signal? TCO (talk) 03:14, 21 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support with conditions. A more limited affected range at first, targeting only the IP ranges serving the U.S. Congress at first (although if we can exclude Senator Ron Wyden's office and Rep. Darrell Issa's (cosponsors of the more acceptable OPEN Act), we should. There is no sense in pissing off the entire US Internet population, even for a day, until and unless things get desperate.

    Then we extend to IPs serving all organizations supporting SOPA (RIAA, MPAA, movie studios and record companies ... we can certainly determine these from the edit histories of the corresponding articles). And ideally we get Facebook, Twitter, Google and everything they own (i.e., YouTube) to do this as well.

    We sustain this until the bill is killed and/or OPEN is passed instead, lifting blocks only for those people who have capitulated to our demands.

    There's an election year coming up. I think a lot of members of Congress, facing primaries and redrawn districts or both, would not want to be in the position of passing legislation that would offend us, Facebook and Twitter when not only can we cut them off from all three while their opponents or prospective opponents are not. Time would be on our side here. As the joke goes, what do you have when you're holding two green balls in your hand? Kermit the Frog's full attention. Now all we need is someone to volunteer to hold a big fluffy white cat in their laps when we record the video of our demands. ... Daniel Case (talk) 04:35, 21 December 2011 (UTC)

  • Support, begrudgingly. I think we should go further than this, much like the Italian Wikipedia did. But this is better than nothing. --Rschen7754 08:17, 21 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support We are also working on a banner-action on the german Wikipedia. --Liberaler Humanist (talk) 08:59, 21 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose SOPA is terrible but it is not a threat to the existence of WP. That is where this differs from the Italian law earlier this year. I agree with many that it is the first step down a slippery slope which could lead to problems for WP, but remember that this action could also be the first down a slippery slope. I think that the Italian project's actions this year were probably justified, but this is the kind of response I worried about. How tangentially related to WP will legislation have to be for the users to weigh in? If the default is that we do weigh in, what's to stop us from blacking out every time some bill threatens the other interests of our community (and given the demographic homogeneity of editors, there is likely a fair bit of overlap)? For me the test must be a clear threat to the continuation of the project and this does not come anywhere close to meeting that standard. I hope you will all actually call your representatives and hand write a letter. From conversation with former congressional phone pit grunts, these are the most effective tools. -- InspectorTiger (talk) 13:50, 21 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support, if this is all we can get. I'd still like to see my stronger proposal (#2 at the Wikipedia:SOPA initiative page, but this is enough to get at least a good few people's attention. Wehwalt is a good editor (I know that for certain), and may be a good lawyer (no way for me to know), but Geoff is a known expert on this particular area of law. It's clearly an ill-considered bill that's totally discounted the opinions of technical experts, and has had a laughable run in Congress. More than once has been heard a variant of "Well I don't understand the technical issues, but...". NO, NO, NO. If you don't understand the technical issues, and people who do tell you repeatedly it's a Very Bad Idea, you stop and do not move until you understand why they say so. Given the clear lack of consideration given to this bill, it's certainly very possible it could have unintended ill effects on Wikipedia. Geoff's opinion is that it's likely to. Given the current abuse of the DMCA, and the fact that this can do far more damage, I see why he says so and tend to agree. I'd rather not let it pass to settle the argument, I'd rather take Geoff's opinion seriously and kill this thing. Seraphimblade Talk to me 15:57, 21 December 2011 (UTC)
    • A minor gripe with your comment: Even if people don't fully understand the implications of the proposed legislation (because they don't fully understand the legal technicalities), they may still oppose using Wikipedia to promote a political point of view, without their view/opinion being any less potent. The issue up for discussion here is not if SOPA is bad, but if Wikipedia should say so. fredgandt 16:58, 21 December 2011 (UTC)
      • I apologize if I was unclear, as your comment was quite correct. I was referring to actual comments by the members of Congress who have been commenting on this legislation (to show that it's ill-considered and why it's so likely to be a blunder), not comments by Wikipedians. Sadly, it seems most of those discussing the bill here (on both sides) understand the technical issues better than the members of Congress debating it. Seraphimblade Talk to me 17:27, 21 December 2011 (UTC)
        • Ah right gotya. Yes it's a crying shame that our planet is run by morons. fredgandt 17:44, 21 December 2011 (UTC)
          • As I heard someone quip once, you can understand all of the problems in the US if you recognize that Congress are the teenagers we've hired to babysit the emotionally immature segment of our society. Unfortunately, we've given them the run of the house and spent way too long out at the movies; sooner or later we're going to have to go home and clean up the mess they've collectively made. --Ludwigs2 18:20, 21 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose - While running an educational banner is a good idea, blacking out the site is a terrible concept for something that is not a life-and-death matter for WP. SOPA is no such thing, even if passed through both houses unchanged and signed by the President. Pressure should be happening NOW by WMF behind the scenes. Public Copycat-The-Italians gestures are both ineffectual and annoying. Carrite (talk) 17:21, 21 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strongly Oppose any direct opposition by Wikipedia. Wikipedia editors should all call and/or write individually. Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren of the Judiciary Committee has stated it is already having a positive effect and now with the postponing of the vote and the 25 amendments to it, it is obvious the bill is receiving alot of opposition. We are not listed as a Political Activist Group with the IRS. I believe we are in the group of charitable organizations such as 501(c)(3) status and so we should take care not to lose our status, and for another, Lets keep our eyes on the prize, i.e., defeating SOPA through individual calls and letters. Mugginsx (talk) 18:28, 21 December 2011 (UTC)

UPDATE Jimbo Wales has stated on his page this is not a problem so I would withdraw my objection on my above stated grounds and change my vote. Mugginsx (talk) 21:07, 26 December 2011 (UTC)

  • Support Mugginsx (talk) 11:53, 8 January 2012 (UTC)
  • Comment: I would support the above proposal IF the choice is either that or nothing. Why isn't there a centralized place to discuss all proposed action against SOPA?? There seem to be numerous different discussions regarding proposed action against SOPA (such as a "blackout", banner, etc) at various locations, including several here at the Village Pump, several at Wikipedia:SOPA initiative, and there are/have been several at User talk:Jimbo wales, among other locations (and there are likely many that I don't even know about). This makes it really confusing for people to find out where to discuss or to know where their voice will count. Can't we just have one clear location where discussion takes place??
I am really worried that we will end up doing nothing at all, not because we decided to, but for the sole reason that we discuss it until it is too late without ever reaching any kind of consensus either way and/or that the discussions are all over the place and about so many different proposals so there is no way to even determine whether there is consensus for/against a particular action.
And for those who haven't already, I suggest reading/commenting on the "concrete proposals" at Wikipedia:SOPA initiative#Concret proposals workshop. (which I thought was supposed to be the centralized location for discussion, but apparently it's not). -MsBatfish (talk) 20:27, 21 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strongly Oppose
This will probably get censored/deleted again (oh the irony), but what the hell, I love exposing hyprocites:
Pay the fuck attention kiddies, this little event that you're basically shitting your pants over...oh, hey, guess what, IT ALREADY HAPPENED! No, srsly, it ALREADY THE FUCK HAPPENED! Woah! TWICE in fact that I can recall off the top of my head just in the past 15 years!
I mean, hurr de durr, where were your stupid asses in NINETEEN NINETY SIX when Congress passed the CDA, the Communications Decency Act, which, by the way, was like 38 shades WORSE than this current bill you're all spastic and frothing over.
And make no mistake, Congress WILL pass it into law, they're getting a FIFTY SEVEN MILLION dollar bribe to do it, essentially. And they've no problems at all with that knowing that their "big brother" the Supreme Court will simply step in right afterwards and fix their epic fucking mess...they get to keep all that bribe money of course and the MPAA/RIAA will be out FIFTY MILLION all around!
They do this all the time, it's practically their job description, there's actually been a whole slew of these idiot "laws" in the past 25 years, every single one deemed unconstitutional by the Supreme Court within a year of their passing through Congress, usually due to lawsuits from the ACLU and/or the EFF.
The last two major ones were the CDA, Communications Decency Act and the COPA, Children's Online Protection Act. This new bill is basically the exact same thing, just reworded slightly. Same old shit, different acronym.
Honestly, I can't believe I'm the ONLY one to point this out! I mean, hello, 1996! Blue Ribbon Campaign?! Surely I couldn't have been the ~only~ person online back in 1996! Tha'fawk...they sure are breeding you kids stupid these days.
Mmmm, should probably mention, in the event that a really fucked up law does come to pass, it usually takes the Supreme Court about a year or so to completely boot fuck it...BUT, when they're sued they usually file injunctions and shit that prevent them from actually putting the law into effect at even though the law could effectively be completely passed...yeah, that doesn't mean they can actually act on it.
It is pretty hilarious though, first it was "decency", then it was "won't someone think of the children?" and now we've got "scary pirates" in the latest incarnation, but it's all the *SAME* fawking bill, just slightly reworded and with new acronyms, CDA... COPA... and now SOPA. I mean, what, do they think the Supreme Court isn't gonna notice it's the EXACT SAME BILL THEY ALREADY BOOT STOMPED?! *rolls eyes* It really is just for the money when you get right down to it.
That's the current version of my Anti-SOPA Idiocy rant...feel free to repost/edit/plagiarize at your discretion elsewhere, the important thing is just getting it circulated.
--InvertedCupcake (talk) 22:38, 21 December 2011 (UTC) InvertedCupcake (talkcontribs) has made few or no other edits outside this topic.
There was no wikipedia in 1996. And yeah, you were pretty much one of the few people online back then. Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 > haneʼ 12:42, 22 December 2011 (UTC)
You're probably right, and yes, I did oppose the CDA in 1996. But the problem with relying on the Supreme Court is that it has not always been a foolproof barricade against unconstitutional censorship. They're a safety net, but it's best not to fall off the tightrope in the first place because you might just miss. The other problem is that between Tipper Gore and Clinton's willingness to sign the CDA I ended up voting Ralph Nader in 2000, then watched as Bush turned out to be more of an incompetent, liar, money-burner, and out-and-out war criminal than I ever thought possible. I don't want this to go to Obama, because if he gets blackmailed into signing it somehow, I won't know how to respond. Wnt (talk) 23:21, 31 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose. WP:NOTADVOCATE. 'Nuff said. If individual editors want to state their opinions on their user pages, they are free to do so. Hundreds of editors already do so, for a myriad of issues. Wikipedia is not in the business of advocating a political cause, even if it will directly affect them (which I highly doubt, but that's irrelevant). If Wikipedia does go into that business, they will lose my support. Buddy431 (talk) 23:10, 21 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose This, hilariously, has absolutely no teeth and is an pathetic conservative "lets pander to the opposers to get their support". At least have the gall to stick to your guns and propose a full outage. Anyway; Geoff's comment at the top is very uncompelling as he glosses over the word "indexed" (which has a specific technical meaning in relation to search engines). This protest is predicated on our being seen as a search engine which, lets face it, is impractical. SOPA is idiotice, American tech law is going the way of the dogs. Ignore it, up roots and go somewhere sane. Or put up and shut up. --Errant (chat!) 00:58, 22 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support. This is a well crafted proposal and an appropriate response to dangerous legislation that stifles free speech. Wikipedia should take this opportunity to stand alongside all the other online communities that, like us, help make the Internet not suck. (Thanks Reddit, Twitter, Public Knowledge, Scribd, EFF) Gobonobo T C 17:27, 22 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strong oppose. Wikipedia should not involve ourselves in political advocacy, period. To permit any deviation from that principle would be to fundamentally compromise our neutrality. Robofish (talk) 16:07, 23 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose not what wikipedia is for and is wikipedia meant to be neutral? MilborneOne (talk) 20:15, 23 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support. Considering what happened to Veoh due to the UMG v. Veoh lawsuit (bankruptcy), despite winning at every stage of the litigation, this is quite prudent. We simply can't depend on the good graces of those who wanted to pass this legislation to interpret it according to the "specific technical meaning" of words. Let's face it, one argument UMG made in that lawsuit was that DMCA's takedown safe harbor provisions did not apply to Veoh because...the content was accessible from the Internet. (Never mind that the takedown provisions pretty much presupposes that the content is accessible.) Perhaps after years of litigation courts will find that SOPA does not apply to WMF, but that would still result in huge amounts of resources wasted by the Foundation. T. Canens (talk) 03:32, 24 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strong support due to the impact that this would have on Wikipedia/Wikimedia and the internet at large. CodeBlock (talk) 15:56, 24 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strong support The bill has the strong possibility to pass into law, considering the amount of money backing it. Yes, it is true that WP tries to avoid bias. However, if this bill were made into law, and Wikipedia did not shutdown as a result and decided to continue on, Wikipedia would be forced by law to become biased. Rabbitfang 16:52, 25 December 2011 (UTC)
    You got some evidence for the sentence that begins "However,"?--Wehwalt (talk) 19:31, 26 December 2011 (UTC)
    I was basing that sentence off of what is said that WP would be required to do (e.g. remove links/references to some sites and to remove images that provide useful information for an article). Maybe 'biased' wasn't the best word; "less neutral" would probably be better. Rabbitfang 22:22, 26 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose: We should not advocate to disenfranchise over 300 million people just because the whole Internet is in a tizzy over a proposed United States law. A single site notice, as with the donation drive. The Italian Wikipedia overreacted, in my opinion, and this would also be an extreme overreaction to shut down one of the most viewed Websites on the Internet.
    However, in the instance that we actually do this, I think it would be appropriate to enable it to be blocked via a Cascading Style Sheets entry so the savvy users and those who know of this need not be affected by it.—Ryulong (竜龙) 23:36, 26 December 2011 (UTC)
    Did you read the proposal? It doesn't involve a shutdown. Access to the encyclopedia would remain (with no CSS workarounds required). Some of us regard this as an underreaction, but it appears to address your concerns. —David Levy 00:12, 27 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support this moderate proposal, which neither interrupts Wikipedia's educational mission nor is so weak as to be ignored. However, we should remember that this action is only one arrow from a large quiver - our more powerful tools include to compile good articles on everything related to this issue, to educate the public, to host discussions (perhaps on Wikiversity) of philosophical and practical alternatives to copyright, to join in a request for an injunction against the lawsuit and an overturn in the courts, and to support traditional lobbying and interview-based activism by prominent Wikimedia officials. Wnt (talk) 01:51, 28 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support - I have been opposed to the earlier Chicken Little variants of anti-SOPA action, which were based on worst case scenario readings of a bill in its early stages. 24 Hour Shutdown was a gross overreaction to an exaggerated threat that would have alienated the public rather than mobilizing them for action. The proposal here is far less hamhanded as a response and includes coherent triggers. I think it would be effective. I still have misgivings about WMF inserting itself into politics in anything less than a life or death situation and am not convinced this bill rises to that level. However, in the name of solidarity, if nothing else, it is time for Wikipedia to join this campaign in a measured and thoughtful way — which this proposal does. Carrite (talk) 18:10, 28 December 2011 (UTC) Last edit: Carrite (talk) 18:17, 28 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strongly oppose I'm a fan of SOPA. You only look at this online waste disposal at Commons, to understand how important such a rule would be. --Michael Metzger (talk) 18:14, 29 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support we ought to do something (as explained by many in the previous, and above, discussions), and a U.S. banner is certainly reasonable. —innotata 22:14, 29 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support this and any measure by the community to protest this insane legislation. elektrikSHOOS (talk) 11:46, 30 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strong Oppose I am not convinced that SOPA would have a substantial negative effect on us. We are not a search engine, we are a referenced encyclopaedia. I know judges can sometimes come to rather strange conclusions about technical matters, but I think even they can understand the difference between a search engine and an encyclopaedia (the definition of search engine given in the act is clearly just intended to codify the common meaning of the phrase and not to create a new definition). Even if we are deemed to be a search engine, all that means is we would be required to remove links to copyright infringing sites, which is our policy anyway. This act may cause serious problems for some parts of the internet, but I don't see it causing serious problems for us. We aren't here to protect the internet, we are here to make knowledge available to people. Let's concentrate on doing that and stay out of politics unless it really impacts on us. --Tango (talk) 16:58, 1 January 2012 (UTC)
  • Support Wikipedia stands for freedom of information and knowledge. Even if SOPA isn't a direct threat to Wikipedia, it is a threat to what it stands for. This is a reasonable proposal which will effectively get the message across, while still allowing access to content. Pvvni (talk)
  • Strong Support it would send a strong message to those who are working to take away the freedoms that Wikipedia represents. Whether or not Wikipedia is directly affected by the legislation (and I am certain it will be in one way or another), the foundation should take a stand when it counts.--Anon 06:40, 11 January 2012 (UTC)
  • Strong support any action up to and including long, full-scale, international blackout Bulwersator (talk) 16:10, 11 January 2012 (UTC)
  • Strong oppose: Wikipedia is not an advocacy, users are free to observe an editing strike on their own. Also, there's much more than USA to the content in Wikipedia which should be the main concern of editors. --lTopGunl (talk) 16:35, 11 January 2012 (UTC)
Oh come on, "editing strike"? Who the hell will care or even know about it? Wikipedia is an encyclopedia not a playground for editors. There is a real world outside Wikipedia, and it pays to remember it and stand up for it.--Anon 09:52, 12 January 2012 (UTC)
Who cares if people don't come to know about it. See WP:NOT. --lTopGunl (talk) 16:54, 12 January 2012 (UTC)
As you can see from the amount of support on this page, lots of people care, including Jimmy Wales. From WP:NOT: a widely accepted standard that all editors should normally follow. It's a content guideline for editors, nobody is proposing we change the content.--Anon 22:00, 13 January 2012 (UTC)
  • Strong support for strong action, including a full blackout with banner. The only slippery slope here is the one which is starting to threaten Wikipedia's existence through SOPA lawsuits, takedowns, and the overhanging threat of such. First Light (talk) 17:06, 11 January 2012 (UTC)
  • Support. At present, if a rights holder calls us out for hosting copyrighted material, we immediately identify what material is under discussion, excise it, and solve the problem. Under SOPA, as currently proposed, a rights holder who contends that an article violated their copyright could file a complaint, and then the Department of Justice could respond to the complaint with a seizure of the domain. Period, full stop. The original claim does not have to be correct, just plausible. The speed with which some editor could rectify the problem is irrelevant. The analogy would be performing surgery with a heavy blunt object dropped from a great height - sure, it might crush the tumor, but the collateral damage would be frightful. UltraExactZZ Said ~ Did 19:28, 11 January 2012 (UTC)
  • Suppport the proposed bill would do serious damage to Wikipedia (or at least the WMF's lawyer thinks so) and action of this nature can produce results as the Italian experience shows. NOTADVOCACY is irrelevant here: we aren't proposing to rewrite our article content to be biased against SOPA and our content policies aren't written with this kind of situation in mind. Hut 8.5 22:37, 11 January 2012 (UTC)
  • Strong Support for the proposal as SOPA is detrimental to the free exchange of ideas. I also support an extended lockout of IP addresses coming from the Washington, D.C. area. This could entail blocking or redirecting requests made from IP pools held by Comcast, Cox, RCN, and Verizon that geolocate to the D.C. metro area. Webjedi (talk) 03:45, 12 January 2012 (UTC)
  • Question : If this happens, how do I go about getting back the donations I have given to Wikipedia over the years? I was not informed I was donating to a political organization dedicated to affecting the laws of the USA. Thank you. (talk) 09:35, 12 January 2012 (UTC)
  • Oppose - I'm in support of powers that block offending websites that profit from illegality, particularly those that refuse to acknowledge DMCA takedown notices. This signals the end of The Pirate Bay, not Wikipedia, and anyone who suggests otherwise is being hysterical. — ThePowerofX 12:41, 12 January 2012 (UTC)
  • Oppose the blackout action as too extreme. Support the rest of the proposal. The threat to Wikipedia may or may not be a direct one but anyone who thinks that SOPA is not a threat is whistling past the graveyard. – Allen4names 16:47, 12 January 2012 (UTC)
  • Strong Support SOPA/PIPA are going to cause massive issues if they are passed (like pretty much anything Congress does, but, that's another debate for another time. :P), and Congress apparently STILL doesn't see that the people of the US (and around the world) don't support SOPA/PIPA. Wikipedia is one of the web's largest sites, and a black out to oppose SOPA/PIPA would be a great way to get the message across (especially if any of the Congressmen involved in the discussion use Wikipedia to look something up that day). AndrewN talk 17:57, 12 January 2012 (UTC)
  • Strongly Support If there was a proposed blackout for just about any other reason I'd be speaking out against it, but since this is something that directly affects Wikipedia I'm all for it. Aethersniper (talk) 18:03, 12 January 2012 (UTC) Aethersniper (talkcontribs) has made few or no other edits outside this topic.
  • Support, despite my disappointment at the timid scope of the action. I'm indifferent to America inposing whatever laws it wants that affect those within its borders, but Wikipedia has a global reach. For as long as SOPA is deemed capable of affecting Wikipedia's operations, this is a global Wikipedia issue. Obviously this talk page has no juristiction on other language versions, but speaking as a Brit I feel that's action should be implemented globally for maximum effect. —WFC— 19:11, 12 January 2012 (UTC)
  • Support, although I want to see something stronger, such a total blackout for 24 hours, still with a page (or link to a page) talking about SOPA and what action readers can take. I think that any opposition at this point (based on my reading) comes from a selfish perspective ("don't take my content away!") or a misunderstanding of the dark ramifications of this legislation. This proposal is simply an action of the Wikipedia defending itself as well as the entirety of the Internet from the nearly self-evident abuses that would arise from corporate IP holders or anyone with a grudge. I don't ordinarily want the Wikipedia to take stands on issues. But this is unavoidable. Stevie is the man! TalkWork 22:42, 12 January 2012 (UTC)
  • Strong support for strong action, including a full blackout with banner. (talkcontribs) has made few or no other edits outside this topic. The preceding unsigned comment was added at 00:04, 13 January 2012‎ (UTC).
  • Strong support for a full blackout with SOPA themed banner. January 18th to show solidarity would be nice. If we wait too long this will build momentum and most of our politicians are pushovers once bills have momentum. Just look at what happened with NDAA. Mckarnin (talkcontribs) has made few or no other edits outside this topic. The preceding unsigned comment was added at 05:06, 13 January 2012‎ (UTC).
  • Strong support for a full international blackout, hopefully on January 18th. While we aspire to be neutral in contents, our mission is not neutral: we want to make all human knowledge available to everyone in the world. This requires a free and open Internet and as such we need to defend the Internet and fight against SOPA and PIPA. Drdee (talk) 15:32, 13 January 2012 (UTC)
  • Support I'm in favor of the, but I would be more in favor of it if it wore global. Icedog (talk) 02:23, 14 January 2012 (UTC)
  • I support the limited measures that have been proposed here: a click-through "blackout", geolocated to the U.S. only, followed by a similar banner. I strongly oppose international action or a full blackout. My reasoning is that Wikipedia can act in its own interest, but should avoid either compromising its mission or campaigning unnecessarily. A complete blackout would compromise Wikipedia's mission, and international action is unnecessary campaigning in the face of a proposed U.S. law. Additionally, a blackout is the most extreme action we can take: while SOPA is dangerous for Wikipedia, playing the blackout ace lessens its potential future impact if needed. {{Nihiltres|talk|edits|}} 21:02, 14 January 2012 (UTC)
  • Strong support To be against this is to be against the very survival of Wikipedia as we know it along with everything it stands for. It's been proven countless times from experts all over the world including the very inventors of the Internet. Bring it down on the 18th. Cowicide (talk) 10:25, 15 January 2012 (UTC)
  • Strong Oppose I DO NOT support this decision and feel that Wikipedia is now a public resource that should not be taken offline. If this action proceeds, then as of tomorrow, you will need to add a disclaimer to the non-bias policy, set out by this community, quoted below with new end sentence: 'Totalitarian governments and dogmatic institutions everywhere might find reason to be opposed to Wikipedia, if we succeed in adhering to our non-bias policy: the presentation of many competing theories on a wide variety of subjects suggests that we, the creators of Wikipedia, trust readers' competence to form their own opinions themselves.' Click 'edit' and add: Some animals on wikipedia are more equal than others and need to enforce their views on others by shutting down this website as part of a biased political protest. :-) This in no way means I am for or against the SOPA, as I do not think we should even be discussing it here. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:45, January 17, 2012 Added after the discussion was closed. fredgandt

Committee meets on Wednesday

Could we at least send some letter to the committee by Wednesday (when they reconvene!), asking for them to at least carve an exception for WP? It'd kind of suck to have to move the servers to Iceland next year, if we could have just politely asked right now. :-P --Kim Bruning (talk) 22:23, 19 December 2011 (UTC)

Due to limited amount of time we have, if we pursue the open letter course, I would recommend the follow:
  1. Have Jimbo Wales or another member of the WMF craft an open letter to the Committee. The letter should be hosted on the web.
  2. Use Twitter to inform Committee members about the open letter.
  3. Convince a Congressperson (via Twitter) to mention Wikipedia and its concerns during the markup session.
--Michaeldsuarez (talk) 22:59, 19 December 2011 (UTC)
Congratulations to the two above editors for laying it out clearly: SOPA can do whatever it wants to the 'net as a whole, provided some exception for WP. Not joking, I much rather read clear positions tan the few holier than thou I've read above. - Nabla (talk) 02:09, 20 December 2011 (UTC)
How would that work? If it's actually specific to WP, that wipes out our ability to fork, which would do away with Wikipedia being a "free encyclopedia", which is kind of important... --Yair rand (talk) 04:36, 20 December 2011 (UTC)
Best not to try for those kind of earmarks. With the House as it is, it likely won't get much traction. Better to change something broader, like narrowing the rules to apply as close as to what the bill was originally intended for (not what it's become).Jinnai 05:40, 20 December 2011 (UTC)

Don't do it

SOPA is an important issue, and I generally support any effort to derail it's possible passage. That being said, don't do this. Just... don't. Wikipedia should remain as apart as possible from any and all real world politics. Delving into the political field is the province of the Wikimedia Foundation (and, by extension, of Jimbo Wales himself). The editorial community of all of Wikimedia's properties should retain their neutrality, let alone their place as editors. If it's acceptable for the community, as a Wikipedia community, to become directly involved in politics then we have absolutely zero credibility when it comes to editorial decisions regarding any article with any political content to it.
— V = IR (Talk • Contribs) 09:14, 21 December 2011 (UTC)

Although I support doing a SOPA blackout, this brings up a good point - should we have a disclaimer on the SOPA page stating that because of talk of doing this, we may have a bias on the issue? Pvvni (talk)

SOPA markup postponed until January, markup was scheduled to resume on December 21st, but now it's rescheduled for January. --Michaeldsuarez (talk) 15:13, 21 December 2011 (UTC)

Legal question

How could political advocacy of the sort proposed here impact our tax status? Mugginsx pointed out this issue at WP:SOPA. Thanks. Lagrange613 05:26, 22 December 2011 (UTC)

I am glad at least two persons have concerns here besides me. Just what does everyone here think is going to happen if all of a sudden tax status changes? Are they going to pay the taxes to keep this afloat? They don't even believe the Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren of the very same judiciary committee who states calling in and sending letters to your particular Congressman as well as the Committee is WORKING. I am sure that they think they are helping but what they really are doing is unintentional plotting the possible end of Wikipedia! Please check this out yourself. It is all online.,,id=96099,00.html

To be tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, an organization must be organized and operated exclusively for exempt purposes set forth in section 501(c)(3), and none of its earnings may inure to any private shareholder or individual. In addition, it may not be an action organization, i.e., it may not attempt to influence legislation as a substantial part of its activities and it may not participate in any campaign activity for or against political candidates.

For a general overview of this and different foundations irs status look here at Wiki: 501(c) organization.

For Wikipedia status look here: Wikimedia Foundation .

ANSWER FROM JIMBO WALES: Copied below from User talk:Jimbo Wales page where he has posted an answer to this concern. I defer to his judgment. Mugginsx (talk) 11:52, 22 December 2011 (UTC)

The key here is the "substantial part" test. It's complicated and I'm not an expert, but as an example, a typical test is to look at spending on lobbying, and the general rule here is that it must be less than 5% of total revenues. We have good advisers, and the Foundation isn't going to do anything that jeopardizes its tax status. Fear about that ought not to restrict community action in this area!--Jimbo Wales (talk) 11:42, 22 December 2011 (UTC)

Other organisations doing blackouts

Looks like some other internet folks might be planning a blackout on Jan 23. --Kim Bruning (talk) 07:58, 4 January 2012 (UTC)

Reddit has just announced they will black out on the 18th. Shall we coordinate?

--Kim Bruning (talk) 01:05, 11 January 2012 (UTC)

Coordinating this with Reddit would serve to magnify the impact - so, yes, absolutely. UltraExactZZ Said ~ Did 19:21, 11 January 2012 (UTC)

Jimbo Wales' opinion

Since the Wikipedia:SOPA_initiative doesn't receive much attention, here's some links to the opinions he had expressed there:

  • Concerning locking all pages from editing: [1], [2].
  • Concerning displaying the message before allowing visitors to view article content: [3].
  • Concerning whether to hide article content from non-US visitors: [4], [5].
  • Concerning how to improve response time: [6].

--Michaeldsuarez (talk) 21:15, 9 January 2012 (UTC)

Reddit's January 18th Blackout

Earlier today reddit announced that they'll be blacking out the site for 12 hours on the 18th. If we do choose to move ahead with any action, it may be beneficial for us to sync the dates that these actions occur. Media outlets will then see that it's not just one rogue site out there that's doing this, but rather several working together toward a common goal. I think we should seriously consider taking action alongside them at this time. Pvvni (talk)

Wikipedia:SOPA_initiative#Reddit_going_black_on_the_18th. --Michaeldsuarez (talk) 15:19, 11 January 2012 (UTC)

I want to state, in the strongest possible terms, my unequivocal support for blacking out WMF sites in solidarity/conjunction/coordination with reddit and anyone else who steps up to make January 18 a date to remember. I do not believe the threat SOPA poses is existential, remote, or minor. I believe that, like democracy itself, those who fail to take action at the top of the slippery slope will find it ever harder to stop once they are headed into the abyss. This is not a question of crying wolf. WMF is obligated to take action to protect itself in the face of threats to its mission, much less existence. The community must likewise take action to inspire a political response to defeat SOPA and PIPA. I don't see room for waffling. I see the need for courage and leadership from one of the great websites in the world.

Ronald Reagan is quoted often for saying "extremism in defense of liberty is no vice." Folks, liberty is precious. Ask those who are without it. Allowing this kind of constriction around the throat of liberty is intolerable in my view. I support strong, direct action calculated towards education and intended to inspire everyone who is affected by the blackout to act politically to change the direction of the legislation. It must be killed.

Geoff has done a fine job in parsing the language from a legal perspective, and I doff my cap for his efforts. At an event for lawyers this evening, I was astonished at how few relatively informed people I know had even heard of SOPA, much less considered it on the merits, much less been inspired to take any action about it. I utterly disagree with those who trivialize this legislation or the need for a response. I also believe categorically that the situations where such action is necessary will likely be infrequent. But a challenge to Section 230 of the CDA, or legislative attempts to restrict the internet in the name of bogus IP concerns, or technical threats to WMF's independence on the web? No way.

Count me as one who proudly stood up to say #STOPSOPA on #J18. @bradpatrick --Brad Patrick (talk) 05:30, 13 January 2012 (UTC)

I couldn't agree more. We should do it. On the 18th. To show the support of the tech community on the day their members are testifying in congress. This is a big fight, and one of the first ones that has actually threatened the internet in any meaningful way. So, for 12 hours, 9am-9pm, we should have click-through on every page, if not a full blackout. Provide links to information, how to contact congressional reps (geo-targeted), simple talking points, and a note that PIPA (Senate version) shares many of SOPA's (House version) problems. Ocaasi t | c 06:26, 13 January 2012 (UTC)
I would be very interested in substantiation of WMF "threats to its ... existence". Most especially in view of the analysis that Wikipedia wouldn't even be affected by SOPA, or at very very worst might have to remove some links. Much of the misinformation I have seen strikes me indeed as "crying wolf", in the interests of panicking the village. -- Seth Finkelstein (talk) 08:03, 13 January 2012 (UTC)
"I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice! And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue!" [7] barry goldwaer Slowking4†@1₭ 13:35, 14 January 2012 (UTC)

Wikipedia:SOPA initiative/Action

In order to ensure that it has time to set up any systems that may be needed to support community consensus, the Wikimedia Foundation is requesting input from the community to help it determine what action is likely to be taken and when. Please help out there. Thanks! --Maggie Dennis (WMF) (talk) 18:39, 13 January 2012 (UTC)

It's getting quite tiresome to have to chase this issue across the website. One could be forgiven for wondering whether the proponents aren't just asking the question again and again in the hopes of getting above the 60-70% support they've gotten on Jimbo's talk and here. One could be forgiven for thinking there's something wrong with that. Lagrange613 07:48, 14 January 2012 (UTC)

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

ACC e-mail feature

Hi. I'm Addihockey10, and I'm pretty active on ACC. If you don't know what that is, we review account requests from blocked users or users who can't create the account themselves for whatever reason. I'm going to get straight to the point, sometimes we get requests like "JimBob77" and there is an existing account named "JimBob76". We think it might be the same guy, and it probably is, but we're a little blind as we have no way to confirm it is in fact JimBob76 for password reset closes. I'd like to propose a feature where we can crosscheck the e-mail that the user submitted in the ACC request to the e-mail registered in the database for JimBob76. In order to comply with the privacy policy, we're only requesting that it returns "E-mail match" or "E-mail does not match". Ideally, these are the two options that could work.

1. Make a special page only available to accountcreators where you can insert the e-mail of the request and it'll return whether it matches or not. This will be logged.

2. Make a page where the ACC tool can automatically submit an e-mail check request if there is a similar account (automatically determined by the tool), and returns whether it matches or not. This shouldn't have to be logged, as a log will probably be available for an extended period of time in the ACC tool.

Thanks. --Addihockey10 e-mail 06:20, 14 January 2012 (UTC)

I believe that option 1 is more privacy-oriented as it doesn't automatically check, say a popular username is similar we would just create and we don't need to perform the e-mail check. --Addihockey10 e-mail 06:24, 14 January 2012 (UTC)
  • Support - as another active account creator ;) mabdul 00:25, 15 January 2012 (UTC)
  • Oh god, there's so many issues As it currently stands, there is a small community of people who deal with ACC requests. People in this community fall into three classes: non-admin users who do not have the accountcreator flag, non-admin users who do have the accountcreator flag, and admins (who don't need the accountcreator flag because the are admins). In addition, there's checkusers, but let's just forget about them for a minute. As currently proposed, this would be something that would be useful for people active in the ACC process in all three classes of users just outlined.
    1. If this were successful, which users would be affected? Those active in ACC? That would require a separate flag (ACC email check or something). If you go for accountcreators and admins, you have the issue of restricting it simply to admins who are active in ACC. Do we want to do that? I mean, it's procedurally easy enough for admins to apply to have ACC tool access an they'd probably get it, so they'd get access to this tool.
    2. What's to stop a malicious admins (and/or accountcreators) from using this to link existing Wikipedia accounts to email addresses of users without their consent? Someone pisses you off on Foundation-L, and they have some plausible deniability thing going on between their Wikipedia identity and the email address they contribute to Wikimedia mailing lists to. Or you just want to out someone. This is a powder keg waiting to explode. This is basically giving "CheckUser-lite" in the hands of people who haven't identified to the Wikimedia Foundation (i.e. admins or even accountcreators). Some people will rightfully find that proposition terrifying.
    Those are just concerns that come from an initial quick think about it. I'm sure if I thought about it some more, I'd find more possible scenarios that would lead to doubleplusbad outcomes. —Tom Morris (talk) 00:54, 15 January 2012 (UTC)
    Well, the users affected would be just the accountcreators group. I'm not sure if there are any non-ACC accountcreators, but if so, that'll be an issue we could easily fix. This won't be given to the admin rights, no. We could just give the users who are active and trusted in ACC the accountcreator right, and that'll be closed. Again, we could perhaps somehow set it up that it would only accept a e-mail request from ACC, but only if the request handler opts into that. This will be logged of course, in the extremely rare case of abuse (we keep our ducks in line at ACC). I don't know of anybody at ACC who would abuse this tool. I think you misunderstood a little bit - it's not comparing the e-mail to all the other users, but rather to the similar user of the request you are handling. You can't just pop the e-mail of your e-mail contact and find their wikipedia account (if they have one). --Addihockey10 e-mail 01:44, 15 January 2012 (UTC)
  • Oppose does not adhere to the privacy policy nor the access to nonpublic data policy, as it gives access to nonpublic data (doesn't matter how limited or restricted that access is: it's still there) to users who are not identified to the WMF. Additionally, the argument for doing this seems weak: far better to enter discourse with "JimBob77" to establish whether he was indeed "JimBob76" (if for whatever reason you need to establish that...), rather than violating users' privacy for such a minor issue. Further to this, it seems unlikely to me that a user with email enabled on their original account would have a valid reason for requesting a new account if they are still using the same email and (pretty much) the same username: we have a password reset function. SpitfireTally-ho! 01:56, 15 January 2012 (UTC)
    If it doesn't adhere to privacy policy, we can set it so only tool admins (who must be identified) to have this right. I have sent an e-mail inquiring if it adheres to policy or not. --Addihockey10 e-mail 04:23, 15 January 2012 (UTC)
    Actually, you seem to be misunderstanding the structure of the privacy policies: this proposal doesn't adhere to the privacy policy because it doesn't adhere to the access to nonpublic data policy: (in general) unless you are identified to the WMF you are not allowed to access nonpublic data, and if you do so, then it's a violation of both the privacy policy and the access to nonpublic data policy. If you are identified, then you may access nonpublic data, but what and under what circumstances you can access that (and what you can do with it) is governed by the privacy policy. Therefore writing to ask whether this would violate the privacy policy is irrelevant: it obviously does, unless you meet the requirements of the access to nonpublic data policy.
    Anyway, the topic of privacy policy structure aside, you'd still be using a sledgehammer to crack a nut, a point I made above which you have not addressed. Additionally, I'd oppose extending the access to nonpublic data beyond the existing groups, especially for something so minor. Best, SpitfireTally-ho! 15:01, 15 January 2012 (UTC)
    What he is suggesting is that only ACC tool admins, who are identified, could have access to this feature. That proposal fits within the privacy policy, though I doubt it would be allowed by WMF due to the lack of transparency around who becomes a tool admin. Ajraddatz (Talk) 01:07, 16 January 2012 (UTC)
    Well, the intitial proposal above suggests giving the access to all users in the account creator group, not just the ACC admins; the new modified version below limits it to ACC admins only. I do concur with you on the point about who becomes an ACC admin: are they selected by the community? Presumably not. SpitfireTally-ho! 01:41, 16 January 2012 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Agree with Spitfire, especially the last part: if a user is using the same e-mail address on both their old and new account, then presumably they have access to that e-mail account, and can recover the old account using the password reset functionality. Moreover, the use of e-mail addresses to check ownership is easily exploitable: anyone who knows the user's e-mail address (which may be public) can pretend to be them. Dcoetzee 15:22, 15 January 2012 (UTC)
    Sometimes when we get similiar requests and wonder if they're the same person, we just have to use our judgement. They could've forgotten their old username, etc. etc. Also, that's not how ACC works. You have to insert the information here, and then it sends a confirmation to the e-mail. After the user confirms the request in the e-mail, we now receive the request. In other words, if we get a request that confirms that the requester owns that e-mail that comes with the request. Further to that, it seems sensible to only give this access to trusted tool admins (listed here) who are all identified to the foundation. --Addihockey10 e-mail 20:37, 15 January 2012 (UTC)
    Probably doesn't help that the link you just posted showing the form to apply for an acc acount reads: "If you have lost your password, please reset it using this form at", where this form links to Special:UserLogin rather than Special:PasswordReset. SpitfireTally-ho! 20:59, 15 January 2012 (UTC)
    I believe this was the link for an older version of MediaWiki, thank you. This has been pointed to the tool admins for them to fix. --Addihockey10 e-mail 22:07, 15 January 2012 (UTC)


After consideration, here's the modified proposal:

The request to confirm whether the e-mail and username match will only be permitted to come from the ACC toolserver.
The only users who will have access to this tool, are the ACC tool admins whom are all identified to the WMF. If a non-tool admin is handling one of the requests where an e-mail check should be applied to confirm whether the old account is indeed the one registered to the ACC request, it shall be deferred to tool admins.
Usage: It should only be used in unclear cases where it would be needed to determine the account owner. In the extremely rare case of abuse the Audit subcommittee or ombudsman will have access to logs of these checks.
What results would be returned: It would only show "Match" or "Does not match" for results. If you insert "John_Doe" and e-mail it will not return that User:John_Doe43 has that e-mail registered. This should clear things up, please poke me if you have any questions. --Addihockey10 e-mail 22:36, 15 January 2012 (UTC)

  • Oppose The points made above questioning how much of a need there is for this and why you can't solve any issues using more conventional methods have still not been addressed. Giving more access to private details without sound and demonstrable justification is not something I'll support. Also, the point above regarding the nature of how ACC admins are appointed is a valid consideration. As a side note, the fact that the details provided on the ACC request page on how to reset passwords (very relevant to this) was outdated only compounds my feeling that this is a poor idea lacking justification. SpitfireTally-ho! 01:41, 16 January 2012 (UTC)
    Tool admins are appointed via a vote discussion in the ACC mailing list and a general need for them to have the tool. An additional reason why I think this is a better idea is because of this. "After running the clicktracking for about 6 hours on September 22, we estimate that about 21% of users follow through the current account creation process. This is for all languages and all Wikimedia projects. More data and project breakdowns to follow." If we add the extra step of them possibly having an account already that they can reset to this process, it'll be more likely that they won't follow through with their account. If they don't actually have that account, it's very doubtful that they'll follow through and make another ACC request. --Addihockey10 e-mail 05:49, 16 January 2012 (UTC)
    Your comment about how toolserver admins are appointed only confirms my concerns. Your comment about the clicktracking confuses me. The link you posted seems to say that clicktracking was turned on for the create an account page on enwp, and estimated that 21% of users who visited it in a 6 hour period actually used it to make an account. I don't get how this is particularly relevant to either the acc project or to the number of users who request an account through acc when they have an existing account with the same email, which is really what this is about. Additionally, any research done into that would be skewed by the fact that the information provided on the acc "request an account" page regarding password resets was outdated. Please explain how your comment is relevant to this proposal. Best, SpitfireTally-ho! 16:27, 16 January 2012 (UTC)


News outlets are reporting WP's going black on January 18. but all I see on the issue at enWP is at Wikipedia:SOPA initiative, where (as of this writing) no decision has been come to. So are the news outlets incorrect, or am I missing something? (Or perhaps they're talking about some other language Wikipedia??)—msh210 21:28, 16 January 2012 (UTC)

Jimmy Wales seems to have made statements indicating that we're going on full blackout; I think he's just predicting how the RFC will be closed and planning accordingly. --Rschen7754 21:30, 16 January 2012 (UTC)
Ah, I see. Thanks.—msh210 21:32, 16 January 2012 (UTC)

Bold moves that end up as de facto successful

Several times I've seen a controversial page move performed without prior discussion. WP:RM says that potentially controversial moves should be discussed first. If there's no prior discussion, WP:BRD suggests that moving the page back and initiating a discussion is the right approach, but when I did that at Campaign for "santorum" neologism‎ it was promptly moved again, then moved back, and then move-protected because of the move edit war. I would prefer it if there were a policy-based argument that said something like: "if a move is made and is regarded as controversial, it should be reversed and a discussion opened at WP:RM, and should not be moved again without consensus". Ideally this should also allow a request for move protection to be made, with the caveat that the protecting admin should always move it back to the original version. I'm aware of the wrong version arguments, and generally agree with them, but I think there's a case to be made for treating the name a little more conservatively. The problem with the current approach is that WP:RM does not agree to a move unless there is a clear consensus to the move, so a controversial move can be done successfully if the move is made and then taken to WP:RM. This is an incentive to bypass discussion, so I think our approach needs to be changed. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 16:29, 8 January 2012 (UTC)

What should happen if the bold move isn't noticed for a long time? This actually happened to yoghurt, and they've been arguing over the "h" ever since. WP:ENGVAR says to go to the "original" version. Some people say that it started without the h, so it should be moved back. Others argue that it's had the h for longer and is now "established" at the new title. Title disputes are messy; the wrong version helps quell the edit war as fast as possible, without having to figure out what to do in some bizarre corner-case like yoghurt. I do agree that someone pushing something through by being the more obnoxious party to the dispute is distasteful, but I just don't think there's any general way to solve that problem. --NYKevin @370, i.e. 07:52, 10 January 2012 (UTC)
I agree that long delays are problematic, but would it actually be helpful in a case like that if the policy were clear -- it should go back to the original version until there is consensus? There may not be a general way to solve the problem, as you say, but I think this might help. Failing that, perhaps a time limit of a week could be suggested. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 10:44, 10 January 2012 (UTC)
Though it doesn't say exactly what you're looking for because it's about closing requested moves, so the timing if after the move has been initiated, note that at WP:RM/CI we have the related instruction: "However, sometimes a requested move is filed in response to a recent move from a long existing name that cannot be undone without administrative help. Therefore, if the closer feels that no consensus has been reached, they may move the article back to the most recent stable name. If the most recent stable name is itself a matter of dispute, closers are expected to use their own judgment in determining the proper destination."--Fuhghettaboutit (talk) 11:26, 10 January 2012 (UTC)
I hadn't realized that; that's pretty much what I was looking for. How about changing those instructions to say the closer "should" (or perhaps "usually should") move the article back? That would address it. I would also suggest adding some text to WP:RM that makes this clear to editors going there in response to a controversial move. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 12:25, 10 January 2012 (UTC)
When I added in the language (in slightly different form) at the instruction guideline I remember there had been a few discussions at WT:RM about these types of moves being a problem, even with users doing the move and then a second edit to the redirect to make sure that only an admin had the ability to make the move back. You might want to trawl the archives a bit to see the various dicussions and bring up proposed changes there.--Fuhghettaboutit (talk) 13:39, 10 January 2012 (UTC)
Two points:
  • BRD doesn't suggest moving the page back as any sort of necessary or even desirable action. "The talk page is open to all editors, not just bold ones. The first person to start a discussion is the person who is best following BRD." The "R" step is strictly optional, and it's kinder to the database to skip it, especially if there's a chance that the new name will be adopted. You don't need to reverse a page move to be able to discuss it at RM.
  • ENGVAR is irrelevant; you should be following the actual policy on this point, which is at WP:TITLECHANGES. Although it generally takes a very conservative approach, it does not authorize reverting page moves during discussions. Neither the article titles policy nor RM actually endorse the sort of "first-mover advantage" that you are worrying about. The folks at RM are actually smart enough to figure out whether the current name is the name described as the no-consensus default at AT. WhatamIdoing (talk) 01:47, 11 January 2012 (UTC)
NYKevin, FYI... Yogurt is settled, and, I predict, for good. --Born2cycle (talk) 05:37, 12 January 2012 (UTC)
Wow, IIRC it was on ANI a few weeks ago (and was closed without result as extremely lame). There's still going to be some residual grumbling for a while, though (e.g. right now they're arguing over which spelling(s) to mention in the lead). --NYKevin @912, i.e. 20:53, 12 January 2012 (UTC)

I strongly support this in principle. It’s not right that an editor or editors should have to go through a formal RM procedure to revert a unilateral bold move, and this can happen if technical difficulties prevent a revert without admin support (e.g. at Shishapangma) or if the bold mover repeatedly moves without discussing. The burden should be on the mover. Also, a bold move can be followed by a filibuster to prevent the page being moved back. Having a policy or guideline that says contested moves should be reverted, then discussed, would help ensure that the editor in favor of the move provides convincing reasons for the move. Perhaps it could be implemented by adding a statement in the Wikipedia:Moving a page instructions along the lines of “If an editor questions a move, the page should be moved back to its previous title and the merits of the possible titles should be discussed.”--Wikimedes (talk) 21:23, 17 January 2012 (UTC)

I do also support the general principle that bold moves (controversial or potentially controversial page move performed without prior discussion) should not end up as de facto successful. I fully agree with Wikimedes that the burden should be on the mover; the example at Shishapangma shows that it is very time-consuming to move back a title, even with a large consensus in favor. Such time-consuming discussions are also discouraging good-faith editors to move back other boldly moved pages. I don't think that the time between the bold move and the revert is so relevant, as some moves for little visited articles can remain unnoticed during months (or even years).--Pseudois (talk) 07:43, 26 January 2012 (UTC)

News that Wikipedia will be closed on January 18 2012

I heard on Radio Four today (January 17 2012) that Wikipedia will be closed for one day on Jan 18 2012. I have not seen much about this on Wikipedia - not even in the Main Page. Can I advertise that Wikipedia does more to publicise this? It could even have a tag heading frequently viewed articles telling people about this temporary closure. ACEOREVIVED (talk) 16:05, 17 January 2012 (UTC)

There should be a banner at the top of the page linking to Selery (talk) 16:52, 17 January 2012 (UTC)
Probably banner was blocked by Adblock or something similar Bulwersator (talk) 17:04, 17 January 2012 (UTC)

All seems OK now. When I logged in just now, I did get a tag saying "Please note that in less than ten hours, Wikipedia will be closed for a day to protest against SOPA". ACEOREVIVED (talk) 20:20, 17 January 2012 (UTC)

It now says that in less than nine hours, Wikipedia will be blocked to protest against SOPA and PIPA. ACEOREVIVED (talk) 20:50, 17 January 2012 (UTC)

It will be interesting to see what effect the Law of Unintended Consequences has in this instance. See also: "MPAA blasts 'dangerous' anti-SOPA blackouts as 'stunts'" Regards, RJH (talk) 23:04, 17 January 2012 (UTC)

Hurrah - I can still edit Wikipedia, even though it is now 12: 18 a.m. United Kingdom time! The blackout must be based on time in North America. ACEOREVIVED (talk) 00:19, 18 January 2012 (UTC)

It's 12am EST (5am GMT IIRC) when the period starts and ends. --MASEM (t) 00:21, 18 January 2012 (UTC)
2 plus hours-- (talk) 02:50, 18 January 2012 (UTC)

Adding rollback edits to your watchlist

I propose an option in "My Preferences" to add pages you rollback to your watchlist. I like to watch pages I have rollbacked (at least for a short while) and I have to manually add them to my watchlist each time. I raised this point here last year but I got no response. —Bruce1eetalk 10:06, 13 January 2012 (UTC)

That's a good idea, but I think you should ask for it on WP:VPT instead of here, where few of the developers who can make it happen will see it. Selery (talk) 15:59, 13 January 2012 (UTC)
OTOH, the developers would probably want to see consensus that the feature is actually wanted by the community (rather than just a few users) before spending time on it. Anomie 17:24, 13 January 2012 (UTC)
Devs already discussed this in mediazilla:4488 but nothing was implemented so far.
Meanwhile you can add this code to your common.js (for all skins except Standard Classic, Cologne Blue & Nostalgia).
//auto watch rollbacked pages
if( wgAction == 'rollback' ) $('#ca-watch a').click();
AlexSm 18:18, 13 January 2012 (UTC)
Thanks for the js Alex, I'll try it out. —Bruce1eetalk 06:31, 14 January 2012 (UTC)
I added the above to my vector.js and cleared my browser cache, but it's not working for me. Does this work with the vector skin? You say it doesn't work with Standard – what is Standard? —Bruce1eetalk 06:18, 16 January 2012 (UTC)
The code above works only if use normal [rollback] links and then taken to the page with Rollback-success message. It will not work with some other "rollback" types (Twinkle? Popups?). In particular, it's not compatible with the gadget "after rolling back an edit, automatically open the contributions of the user rolled back" (mw:MediaWiki:Gadget-modrollback.js). — AlexSm 17:03, 16 January 2012 (UTC)
"Standard" is the "internal" name for obsolete "Classic" skin: in preferences the "preview" link for "Classic" is ...&useskin=standard; sorry for the confusion. — AlexSm 17:03, 16 January 2012 (UTC)
I am using the standard rollback button and I get the "Action complete" screen, but the article is not watchlisted. I have Twinkle enabled but I don't use the Twinkle rollback because it is too slow for me. And I don't have the "After rolling back an edit, automatically open the contributions of the user rolled back" gadget ticked. I don't know why this js is not working for me. —Bruce1eetalk 06:10, 17 January 2012 (UTC)
In case that script is executing too early you can try this instead:
 if( mw.config.get('wgAction') == 'rollback' ){
   $('#ca-watch a').click();
If this doesn't help then on the rollback page you could try to open JavaScript Console in Chrome (Ctrl-J) and then on "console" tab excute some statements to find what the issue is:
$('#ca-watch a')
$('#ca-watch a').click()
AlexSm 18:37, 17 January 2012 (UTC)
Your revised script works – it's doing exactly what I want. Thank you. —Bruce1eetalk 05:23, 19 January 2012 (UTC)

Alternate accounts editing user script pages

Hi I think that alternate accounts of users should be able to edit their main user's user script pages.--Breawycker public (talk) main account (talk) 20:18, 19 January 2012 (UTC)

The system doesn't know that it's an alternative account, for all intents and purposes it's a completely different person & account, so there would have to be a system of linking accounts created that was literal and technical as opposed to just a userpage note, so as to prevent impersonation. Doesn't seem worth it for such a minor gain that will effect very few people--Jac16888 Talk 20:29, 19 January 2012 (UTC)
This convenience is obviously not worth added complexity and potential risks. — AlexSm 20:33, 19 January 2012 (UTC)

H.J. De Blij

Hi. I noticed the page H.J. De Blij has not been rated by the geography department. Can someone rate it? Considering he is one of the top Geographers in his field, it should recieve a high rating. Hoyle Casino Man (talk) 18:31, 20 January 2012 (UTC)

You're more likely to get a response from editors that can help you with this at WT:GEOGRAPHY, the talk page for the Geography WikiProject; they take care of the assessment of articles on explorers and geographers if I'm not mistaken. - ʄɭoʏɗiaɲ τ ¢ 19:30, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
Ok, thank you! Hoyle Casino Man (talk) 22:02, 20 January 2012 (UTC)

"Quantify" Wikipedia traffic data

Wikipedia should "quantify" its traffic data on Quantcast like so many other sites have done. Quantcast is considered the "de facto standard of web audience measurement" and is much more accurate than Alexa if sites "quantify", or opt for exact statistics and numbers by utilizing the company's direct measurement tool. It's very easy to do and would take the WMF less than a minute to implement. Benefits would be, of course, more reliable and accurate traffic data, as well as page view data not available under current estimated data methods. I realize this proposal may seem silly and/or pointless but I would very much like to see it done. Here's Wikipedia's page on the site: [8]. Kinaro(say hello) (what's been done) 00:34, 20 January 2012 (UTC)

Not likely to happen, since it requires external JS to be served to visitors. As I understand it, that both introduces a reliance on a third-party service (which IIRC those who decide such things try to avoid) and is considered a leak of private information contrary to Wikimedia's privacy policy. Anomie 03:16, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
I suppose I understand what you're saying, though I fail to see how this minor reliance on a third-party service would cause any issues. Also, what private information? Why shouldn't we be able to see an accurate count of Wikipedia's visitors? Kinaro(say hello) (what's been done) 04:39, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
The issue is enabling a third party to track every individual's use of Wikipedia. This would break the bond of trust with the readers. If the quantcast server isn't run by Wikimedia, there's no guarantee that the information will only be used in line with Wikimedia's goals. The Quantcast page you link to says "Estimate only" (and their measurements can't include users without Javascript), yet the stats server gives raw hit numbers, so on the face of it your explanation is the wrong way round. MartinPoulter (talk) 13:38, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
"more reliable and accurate traffic data, as well as page view data not available under current estimated data methods" data is available, but it is not published Bulwersator (talk) 14:07, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
I think knowing how often one article is linked from or to another would be very useful. I can see the amount of data involved would be quite large but I believe it is manageable. I don't believe Javascript would be needed for any of this. Dmcq (talk) 14:22, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
Eeeee... What? This data is available, see Bulwersator (talk) 14:36, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
I'm sure Dmcq actually means how often one article is clicked through to or from another. Mark Hurd (talk) 12:13, 21 January 2012 (UTC)

User preference to automaticlly use https

I think that there should be a user preference to automatically use the secure server (https) when logged in. I like to use it but I find it a pain to always type in https and reload the page. It would really help a lot of people if there was user preference like that. P.S. Is this the appropriate place or is technical the appropriate place? Ramaksoud2000 (talk to me) 02:08, 13 January 2012 (UTC)

Please do not use images or templates in your signature; see WP:SIG for details. Please also go back and remove the template from any pages you've already "signed" with it. Thanks.
As for your question, there is no preference, and it would be somewhat insecure as you would have to be logged in to the insecure http site for the preference to take effect. If you're using Firefox, look into HTTPS Everywhere. Anomie 03:56, 13 January 2012 (UTC)
  • I think it would be a good idea to have a preference or some capability such as this. While I primarily use Firefox and will look into this HTTPS Everywhere extension, there are times I have to use computers that only can be used with Internet Explorer. On a similar note, with the https site up and running at the same URL as the http site, is there a reason to keep the http site at all? Grondemar 04:08, 13 January 2012 (UTC)
If you are referring to the secure server it should be kept to prevent link rot. – Allen4names 05:18, 13 January 2012 (UTC)
Actually I was referring to, and all subpages still available through http. Why not simply redirect them to https? Grondemar 02:45, 16 January 2012 (UTC)
PHP provides a rapid and simple solution to check for and redirect to https for any page visited without its use (i.e. if visiting a page at http... that can be visited at https..., the redirect kicks in). Would be a trivial fixfredgandt 02:56, 16 January 2012 (UTC)
You're not thinking of the readers. They typically don't log in or even have accounts. They (mostly) don't benefit from HTTPS, but it does slow them down at least a little; if they lack broadband it could be a deal-breaker. The unsecure server will be around for a while, I'm afraid. --NYKevin @210, i.e. 04:02, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
No please you don't know what all pain is behind the ssl protocol. Feature which point login page as default to https, then in case users needed, it would have option to switch back to port 80 would make sense. But redirecting all pages to https is really to much load for our poor squid and apaches. What's wrong on http? Most of people who use wikipedia only read it, so it makes a lot of sense that http should be a default type of connection, most of users should use. Re secure.wikimedia I think that best thing we could do with that, is disabling it permanently, by redirecting it to[pm] Petrb (talk) 13:11, 23 January 2012 (UTC)
  • I use HTTPS Everywhere. Except, it's not really everywhere. It's HTTPS in one browser that I use on one machine. It'd be nice if we could allow users to opt-in to HTTPS at the user account level. It's particularly important if you happen to be on public networks and have an admin account. And ought to be bloody mandatory for bureaucrats, CheckUsers and Oversighters. (My security paranoia might be due to the fact that I recently worked for a security consultant, and I also asked my clients to run their passwords through How Secure Is My Password? in an attempt to scare them shitless. Only it scared me shitless, and they carried on non-chalantly as if having a dictionary word that can be cracked in under six seconds as the only thing between your data and the world is no big deal.)Tom Morris (talk) 17:05, 25 January 2012 (UTC)
    Unless we make HTTPS mandatory for all logins, there's no way to require it for any particular user. Even if the login fails when they try it via HTTP, they've still exposed their password to sniffers.
    At any rate, I'm not clear what you mean by "public network". If you mean "my personal laptop at Starbucks", then HTTPS Everywhere would cover you. If you mean "a public terminal at the library", anyone with advanced permissions (or anyone who cares about their main account's security) should never log in at all on such a machine, as keyloggers are a greater risk than network sniffing there. If you must log in on such a machine, create yourself a throwaway sock instead.
    If we trust users not to try to log in to the HTTP site, it would be possible to set up something like HTTPS Everywhere for the English Wikipedia: have a gadget that just sets a generic long-lived non-secure cookie, and a script in MediaWiki:Common.js that redirects anyone with this cookie set to the HTTPS site. Anomie 22:09, 25 January 2012 (UTC)
  • I think the original poster is suggesting that this is an option for users with an account. This will not affect most people who visit Wikipedia, but for the few who do log-in, it will provide them with an easy way to ensure they use a secure connection, if they wish. --Iantresman (talk) 17:08, 25 January 2012 (UTC)

English Wikipedia fork

Hi all. Looks like a part of our community is going to force a full and global blackout of the entire English Wikipedia on Wednesday, ignoring all those that think that it is against Wikipedia main goals, that compromises neutrality, all those who voted for a soft blackout or against the full blackout. I think that we need to create a Wikipedia alternative to protect us against the seize of free knowledge under false community consensus. Best regards. emijrp (talk) 12:25, 17 January 2012 (UTC)

You're calling the poll which had the most supporters of any single question in our entire history, a "false consensus"? You're welcome to that opinion, obviously, but I doubt it's one that's widely held. Of course, your Right to Fork is as inviolate as it ever has been. Good luck with that. Happymelon 12:59, 17 January 2012 (UTC)
You have to read Wikipedia:Consensus (specially "This means that decision-making involves an effort to incorporate all editors' legitimate concerns, while respecting Wikipedia's norms.") and Wikipedia:Polling is not a substitute for discussion. Several issues have been raised in the SOPA discussion against a full blackout. A soft blackout would be a consensus solution (to do something). emijrp (talk) 13:29, 17 January 2012 (UTC)
We long ago grew too large to expect a near-unanimous consensus on large issues like this, although our written policies still describe the site as it was in 2005 instead of describing the site as it is today. I think that the options in the vote did give all voters a chance to express their concerns. The vote for a full blackout was 763 to 104; the vote for a soft blackout was 94 to 100. I think those numbers speak for themselves in terms of which option is preferred by the majority of voters. — Carl (CBM · talk) 13:45, 17 January 2012 (UTC)
Polling may not be a substitute for discussion, but thankfully, it's a substitute for endless discussions, which is what the SOPA thing became. —Tom Morris (talk) 16:47, 25 January 2012 (UTC)
You can use the time constructively improving which needs help more than enwiki. 16:55, 17 January 2012 (UTC)
It looks like Distributed Proofreaders will still be up. I know where I'll be... Regards, RJH (talk) 21:03, 17 January 2012 (UTC)

I'm moving this to a subpage of my own. I think we need a stable and reliable mirror of English Wikipedia 24/7. emijrp (talk) 19:19, 20 January 2012 (UTC)

See Wikipedia:Mirrors and forks, we've already got a thousand useless forks that make it a pain in the ass to research anything on the internet anymore. Don't take your marbles and go home just because the outcome wasn't what you wanted. - ʄɭoʏɗiaɲ τ ¢ 19:27, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
If there is a stable and reliable Wikipedia mirror, paste a link please. Most of them are spammy and closed every day. emijrp (talk) 19:37, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
There's a reason for that: Wikipedia is constantly changing, and that involves pulling a ton of data to the mirror site every day. It's expensive to host, and not technically easy. — The Hand That Feeds You:Bite 18:49, 23 January 2012 (UTC)
What are you describing is a mirror, but not a fork. He/she is looking for a fork - something to do (mostly) a clear cut of the original and then starting that as a basis. mabdul 23:53, 25 January 2012 (UTC)

SOPA IS IMPORTANT - have a continual pronouncement on pages re internet restriction (vs. one shot)

we must deal with this internet liberty issue in favor of freedom, which is what separates us from China, & other intolerable living situations - SOPA/PIPA will obviously be reformed, to deal with the piracy issue in a huge way - we should *STAY VIGILANT* until it is resolved in favor of The People, by adding the SOPA/free speech awareness banner (even a 'bar': thin & black) to the top of ALL pages keeping EVERYONE abreast of the internet free speech / piracy issue until it is resolved.


lakitu (talk) 02:30, 22 January 2012 (UTC)

CHOLERA IS IMPORTANT... should we display a permanent banner informing the world about that issue too? How about another banner warning visitors about Global warming? I can imagine there are hundreds of seriously pressing issue we can protest and advertise. How far down the page should the top of the articles be before we consider them too far down? fredgandt 02:42, 22 January 2012 (UTC)
...and would we need a banner about that? Nolelover Talk·Contribs 02:52, 22 January 2012 (UTC)
Preferably two. fredgandt 02:54, 22 January 2012 (UTC)
Support running a banner about cholera awareness. I'm glad the original poster suggested it, it's about time. Franamax (talk) 06:22, 22 January 2012 (UTC)
While I find the proposal unworkable and unwise, it seems to have been made in good faith and perhaps deserves a more serious response than the above. No one can reasonably suggest that either cholera or global warming pose an immediate threat to the continued existence of Wikipedia, so it's really a bit silly to make such analogies. @Factotum/lakitu: the limits of English Wikipedia lie in language, not geographical boundaries, so it's a false premise to suggest that "we" are separated from China or any other country. It's a global project. There are reasons why an "awareness banner" might be unhelpful or even counterproductive, not the least of which is that editors here are deeply divided over the notion that SOPA is a threat and, even among those who agree that it is, over what to do about it. But thanks for making the suggestion. You obviously care about Wikipedia, and that's a good thing. Rivertorch (talk) 19:16, 25 January 2012 (UTC)

Suggestion for how to stimulate improved content

Don't think this has been suggested before - couldn't find evidence anyhow - apologies if it's been dealt with already.

A common experience when looking up a topic in Wikipedia is the feeling that one has learned something but not found all the information one would have wanted on a particular topic. Often, this is largely because the editors of that page have come at the topic from a particular angle (no criticism, that's just how humans work!). If only the editors of that topic knew what it was I (and other users, obviously) needed to know, they could soon update the content to reflect the broader viewpoint required for that topic.

Why not have, at the bottom of every article, an area where users can a) add questions they'd like to see answered in the text of that article, and b) see questions other users have already posed? Each time an edit is made that answers one of the questions in this list, that question could be removed from the list by admin. Admin could also remove questions that are not pertinent to or appropriate for that article.

Perhaps there are technical issues about adding user-modifiable text to the displayed webpage? Just thought I'd see what people think, anyway. — Preceding unsigned comment added by ‎Mesbailey (talkcontribs) 03:23, January 23, 2012

We already have talk pages and the feedback tool thing. Talk pages do exactly what you propose, just not at the bottom of the article. fredgandt 03:53, 23 January 2012 (UTC)
There's a new version of the Article Feedback tool rolling out slowly across the pedia (more useful than the ratings version), so something like this is coming to fruition. --Izno (talk) 04:45, 23 January 2012 (UTC)
A "Make a suggestion" link next to the feedback tool, which would send readers to a feedback box which would then add to the talk page, would work quite well. Pesky (talkstalk!) 09:43, 23 January 2012 (UTC)
I've seen the feedback users are giving using the new Article Feedback Tool, and it is indeed quite useful. Questions they'd like answered, suggestions for improvement. But these comments do need filtering and prioritization, since some of them are random insults and nonsense - which is why they're going to be presented through some alternate interface and not on the main article page or the talk page. Dcoetzee 01:41, 25 January 2012 (UTC)

My first response to this proposal was that such questions might be better fitted on the talk pages than at the end of the articles per se. However, after a little thought, I did appreciate that the problem here is that the talk pages often have a tag stating that the purposes of them is to discuss the article as it exists in Wikipedia, not the topic in general. Perhaps we could sub-divide the talk pages into two sections - one to discuss the articles as they exist in Wikipedia, the other to ask the type of questions which the initiator of this proposal appeared to have in mind. ACEOREVIVED (talk) 16:10, 25 January 2012 (UTC)

Contents summaries for all ref desks on one page

May I suggest we create a page that gathers just the question lists (ie. the "Contents" boxes) at the top of all of the ref desks on one page? That way people who like multiple ref desks, and people who mostly want to edit mainspace, but like to have a quick check of the desks, can browse them all in one go. So in other words, the page would consist of 7 boxes full of question titles, and possibly (if there's room) of the help desk's question headings as well. IBE (talk) 10:28, 23 January 2012 (UTC)

If I understand you correctly: You want the section headings for all the ref desks presented as a set of (linked) lists?
This could be done by user script quite simply. I'm not suggesting that it shouldn't be done another way, just presenting that option. fredgandt 23:44, 23 January 2012 (UTC)
Just wp:transclude all of the reference desks on a single page, just like Wp:XfD today does for deletion discussions. Yoenit (talk) 09:25, 24 January 2012 (UTC)
I almost suggested the same thing, but seriously, that's going to be a massive page. fredgandt 09:29, 24 January 2012 (UTC)
A bot maintains Wikipedia:Dashboard/Help noticeboards. I guess it could maintain Wikipedia:Dashboard/Reference desks without too much rewriting. -- John of Reading (talk) 09:56, 24 January 2012 (UTC)
Transcluding with the actual transcluded material hidden behind {{collapse top}}? Unfortunately (and this may be a more general bug) clicking on a TOC link for a section that is inside a collapsed block does not cause the block to expand automatically, but rather does nothing (see my experiment at User:DMacks/transclude-test). DMacks (talk) 16:39, 24 January 2012 (UTC)
Yup, I've noticed that. Annoying! Pesky (talkstalk!) 21:31, 24 January 2012 (UTC)
Filed as Bugzilla:33937 if you want to track it. DMacks (talk) 22:33, 24 January 2012 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Reference desk/all ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 22:38, 24 January 2012 (UTC)


To my limited experience and knowledge, I found there are quite a lot of correlated concepts among different stream of knowledge. Like “ nothing comes from nothing” is correlated to some ideas from “Modern physics”. Another example is - matter is merely a vacuum fluctuation (seems not updated in wikipedia yet, assume it is part of the content under Matter), it correlated with the Buddha’s concept – form is void, void is form (it means anything with a physical state is void). Add a “correlative concepts”/"similar concepts"(hyper link) next to the paragraph or the name of those concepts with the correlated idea.(now we have similar things like "see also") What’s more to do is to provide a category to collect all the "correlative concepts"/"similar concepts"(or the“see also”) and arrange them according to the alphabet headings of the titles of the correlative articles/paragraphs/sentences/key words.

Original research is not allowed on wikipedia. Yoenit (talk) 19:05, 22 January 2012 (UTC)
So, even the action is linking two existing articles is counted as original research?? ohh, i just think it could be an inspiring thing if everyone suggest what they see similar concepts cross-disciplinarily...-- (talk) 03:16, 23 January 2012 (UTC)
I'm not sure I understand your examples. But currently, if two topics are related, there are many ways of linking them. For example, they might be discussed within the article prose, using links to provide pathways for more information. If there's substantial material to be covered, new sections can be created, as in at Water#In_culture, or Entropy#Interdisciplinary_applications_of_entropy. Your Nothing comes from nothing#Modern physics example also shows this. If you're thinking of something that has the effect of marginal side-notes in a textbook cross-referencing other topics, consider footnotes, which aren't just for references. See Logarithm#Notes for an example usage. Leonxlin (talk) 04:17, 23 January 2012 (UTC)

yea, what if there is a page which list all these interdisciplinary concepts. then we can easy and all-rounded to know interdisciplinary and cross disciplinary knowledge. seems concepts / knowledge have no borders to meet their partners (similar concepts), but the current classification of knowledge cannot show these concepts found their relatives in a whole picture. It's important to show it in a whole picture i think, as knowledge can actually grow horizontally, not only vertically (vertically is meant going more detailed and more detailed). but the two direction is important too i know. -- (talk) 16:40, 23 January 2012 (UTC)

Wikiversity exists. And I recently created {{uw-wikiversity}} to encourage original research-focussed editors to import their articles to Wikiversity and edit. Face-smile.svg

What if the there's an article talking about matter is merely a vacuum fluctuation, and put a "see also" hyper link to another article about Buddhism - Form is void, void if form - anything has a physical state is considered as void. Assume this connection had no one created before, no reference can be found. That means it's the first hand discovery by users/editors. Can it put in Wikiversity,Face-smile.svg? it's just new discovery of 2 concepts having similar qualities, and it is partly quite subjective, that's why diversification of linkages is very welcome under this proposal.-- (talk) 04:50, 27 January 2012 (UTC)

WikiProject History: time for an end?

I am not sure that WikiProject History is on the road to revitalization at anytime soon. I would like to suggest that the project either be redirected to something of a mini-WikiProject Council or just outright deleted, as it is no longer active or incredibly useful. My first choice would be to tag it as "Historical," but would that just make it an unreachable part of the past that's still obvious to viewers of the website? A mini-WikiProject Council of History-inclined Wikipedians could help increase collaborative efforts between History-related WikiProjects, but would deletion be the most efficient alternative now? DCItalk 22:25, 22 January 2012 (UTC)

ehh what? Why on earth would you want to delete it? Tag it as inactive or semi-active if want (done in {{WikiProject status}}), but deletion is out of the question. Yoenit (talk) 23:54, 22 January 2012 (UTC)
Deletion is sometimes an option given the general amount of activity a WikiProject has had previously.
However, DCI, given the large amount of content discussed on the talk pages, I would be inclined to mark it inactive, or possibly repurpose it to act as a host to history minded Wikipedians to discuss various issues, as you suggest. --Izno (talk) 04:42, 23 January 2012 (UTC)
Okay. Thanks for your feedback; I will certainly not mark it for deletion! DCItalk 00:55, 25 January 2012 (UTC)
I have to say I'm fairly shocked that WPHist would have so little activity that this course of action could suggest itself. Where are all the historians? Maybe any of us who know a historian should get on their case about it? --Trovatore (talk) 01:09, 25 January 2012 (UTC)
I would assume historians are like any other profession: Some will focus in World War II, some on socio-economic differences during the 60s, and some on historic China. These people will naturally seek out the WikiProjects which are most pertinent to them. I think it is safe to assume that nearly all historians are like this, as most people are... --Izno (talk) 13:47, 26 January 2012 (UTC)
Where is there any evidence that the WikiProject is inactive? Please see Revision history of Wikipedia talk:WikiProject History and Wikipedia:WikiProject History/Outreach/Members. Maybe things are organized so well that only a few points need to be discussed.
Wavelength (talk) 01:24, 25 January 2012 (UTC)
Most of these are notifications on the talk page, many of which have not gotten replies. Others are proposals/responses to proposals that I've written up in relation to the inactivity issue. A-class reviews had been sitting around since 2009 (in comparison to very active ones like WikiProject Military history), but I cleared them out a few weeks ago, after another editor suggested that they are too old. A newer nomination had no reviewers. Projects with slightly smaller scopes, such as Military history, have been far more active. This is why I am suggesting that a new course of action be taken in regard to this inactive WikiProject. DCItalk 03:09, 25 January 2012 (UTC)
There are two courses of action we follow with inactive projects: we delete the ones that never got going, and we tag formerly-active ones with {{historical}}. Ever since I first encountered it, this project has been quiet, far quieter than ones such as Military History or the project where I'm active. Seems to me that there's a good middle ground amount of specificity for project scope. Make it too precise, like the Weird Al wikiproject, and it's not going to attract enough people with knowledge about it. Make it too broad, like this project, and people won't really have anything in common. Make it somewhere in the middle, like Military History, and you're able to draw people together without excluding them. Nyttend (talk) 01:30, 27 January 2012 (UTC)
Wikipedia:WikiProject Mathematics is pretty bloody broad in scope (mathematicians from different fields can barely understand one another, a fact that may not be intuitive to outsiders) but somehow manages to chug along. No one to my knowledge has suggested breaking it up into, say, algebra, analysis, geometry/topology, and logic projects (there is a Wikipedia:WikiProject Logic but it's not limited to mathematical logic). So I don't really see why history should be any different. But of course there's no point in me moaning about it; historians either find the project useful or they don't, and if they don't there's not much I can do about it. --Trovatore (talk) 01:46, 27 January 2012 (UTC)



I think that there is a genuine demand for an email provider that promises NOT to use your private emails for marketing purposes. Can you provide it?— Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

While that's a nice idea, it doesn't really fall within the purpose of Wikipedia. Our purpose here is to build and encyclopedia, and so everything we do should contribute to that. Resources are stretched as they are - having an email provider would be an unnecessary strain. There is a feature available for emailing users, here. ItsZippy (talkcontributions) 21:56, 26 January 2012 (UTC)

sort articles by " NUMBER OF WORDS"

I would like to give a suggestion to your website. Could we sort the articles by " NUMBER OF WORDS"? For example, by 100 words, 300 words, 1000 words, 1500 words, etc. Most of the time for some user, they just want to know the general information or the subject of an article only. There isn't necessary to read the whole article to get the little information. Sorting by number of words is classified articles into different categories, for lesser words - e.g. 100 words of an article which is talking about Taoism, so readers may know what they need are just some main / key ideas ( without redundant history backgrounds). for more words, it could include more evident or findings for the subject. For even more words, it could include origins, history etc. So , all in all, just sort by different ways of summarization of knowledge.

Thank you!! — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:26, 20 January 2012 (UTC)

You don't have to read past the lead at the top. Normally people do try and put the more relevant stuff first. Are you thinking perhaps of a facility for phones where you want to restrict the amount downloaded? Anyway going further this idea could be expanded further - have a joystick pushing forward gets you deeper down with lots more detail, back and you zoom up for an overview, perhaps turn left for simpler language and less assumptions whereas turning right assumes the reader knows more of the background and can use more jargon. For editors pressing the fire button will get rid of vandalisms by identifying the edit that last changed the bit pointed at. Zap zap zap, yeah that would be satisfying for dealing with them. Dmcq (talk) 05:11, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
A bit sarky, Dmcq. Essentially is what we do by our choice of articles. For example, English law merely mentions murder; homicide in English law would provide (once complete) a few hundred words; Murder in English law a whole article, but whose lead might be about the summary in the previously named article. Grandiose (me, talk, contribs) 13:54, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
Saying what you want is the best way of getting it. Perhaps in the future computers will be smart enough to do what I said. Already we have chat rooms where messages are automatically translated into the language of the person reading the discussion so people don't even have to speak the same language. Your example doesn't satisfy the business about less words, I think what they really are asking for is a cut off which will still display something without eating into their account, that's something I believe some mobile phone service provide already by processing the pages before sending them down but I'm not into that area. Dmcq (talk) 14:29, 20 January 2012 (UTC)-- (talk) 01:18, 22 January 2012 (UTC)

The best way of getting it, and also the best information we want as well. for example, when we search Albert Einstein, in the first beginning paragraphs, i don't even can see his major achievement like Theory of relativity, E = mc square. But i know that is difficult to force other's to think what i think which is more important. i just try to give an suggestion to ask users to make their beginning passage as essence as possible. essence is slightly different to general information. when articles are limited by words, i thought it can let users to think what is important to put their information. And like Dmcq said, mobile phone can apply " lesser word scheme " quite well, but the reason is not quite related the download limitation,i think, it's the phone screen's limitation, it's not that user friendly to read and move around such a big picture in a such a small screen (compared to desktop computer)all in all, sorting by words categories seems a bit far from my original purpose - essence your information. i don't know, i need to think more of that.-- (talk) 01:18, 22 January 2012 (UTC)

The theory of relativity is mentioned in the very first sentence. Have another look. Also you can normally adjust the format of pages for mobiles so the text just goes down the screen instead of needing to pan over a large screen, there will be some option of the browser to do that and Wikipedia behaves quite well in Opera mobile for instance. There's still room for improvement but it's mainly problems in the content because of the editor generated content rather than the site itself, probably there should be a bit of a drive to deal with such things, also some extra work could be done to make tables behave better. Dmcq (talk) 13:07, 21 January 2012 (UTC)
Grandiose's example is a complete one to show the result of what this proposal would be archived. it shows different versions of articles would come out. That's another direction from mine, but that's ok. All this inspired me to know that readers can choose what they want more effectively in some cases. -- (talk) 01:18, 22 January 2012 (UTC)
but this indicated another situation is that not only numbers of words should be sort, it should also include key words searching option next to / under numbers of words searching option.-- (talk) 04:35, 22 January 2012 (UTC)

Dmcq's suggestions about " lesser words policy" on mobile phone is almost like that, i'm not that capable with technology thing. As mobile phone is getting online everywhere, what we absorb is not huge amount of info, like Einstein said, "Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler."

An interesting proposal, but I fear it may be reinventing the wheel. We already have a system of sorting articles into stubs, start class and articles beyond start class - would this not give the type of information for which the proposer is seeking? ACEOREVIVED (talk) 09:13, 26 January 2012 (UTC)

But that's only available in articles with stub added. right? But under my proposal, longer articles is also can be sorted as well. Depends on what readers want.-- (talk) 05:54, 27 January 2012 (UTC)

It is not just available on articles that are stubs - start class articles (the next category up from stubs) are also inidicated this way. Experienced Wikipedians may remind me whether we sort articles into categories beyond that (I do seem to recall we also indicate good articles and featured articles in this way). ACEOREVIVED (talk) 09:11, 27 January 2012 (UTC)

Automatic warning when creating section heading exactly matching an existing section heading

When creating a section heading, I feel it would be beneficial if the parser would direct us to a "are you sure?" page that we must agree to before continuing the save. Since the table of contents and section links are basically useless when on whatever page there are more than one section with the same heading, this might help to stop some of the doppelgängers ever happening and thus make navigation simpler.

Further to this, it might be even nicerer to have automatic anchoring, for any precisely similar section headings that are created even after the warning/alert (alert is perhaps a better word).

I realise that {{anchor}}s exist to solve parts of this issue, but they must be added by hand and known of by any editor who wishes to take advantage of them. To know where all the anchors are would be a logistical nightmare (what links here?, have fun with that). For ease and common simplicity, surely the parser should take care of all this stuff for us.

So I propose that:

  • On saving a page we are alerted to the fact we are creating a section heading exactly matching an existing section heading.
  • We must either change the section name or agree to go ahead anyway, before the page can be saved.
  • Preferably, if any page has any exactly matching section headings, the parser (whenever it spots them (every page edit)) automatically adds an anchor to the sections in question that should be labelled simply as perhaps Example heading 1, Example heading 2 etc., so that we (editors) know where to find them, that they are certainly there, and what they'll be called.

I expect there are many technical issues and editorial considerations here, but Rome wasn't built in a day (gotta start somewhere). fredgandt 22:10, 22 January 2012 (UTC)

You've fallen into this trap before I think: when you start a new section (using the "+" link) you get a URL with "&section=new". This lets the parser handle just the new section text when you preview. Asking the parser to look at other parts of the page requires parsing the entire page, regardless of how large and funky it is. This fundamentally breaks the whole concept of section-by-section editing, so I don't see how can it be built in as an automatic feature of the software. Franamax (talk) 08:53, 23 January 2012 (UTC)
Sorry, I missed your "on saving" bit. I could see duplicate-header detection being an optional gadget, same as the thing that prompts you for an edit summary, so it probably is doable on a technical basis. Why not code up such a gadget yourself? It's easy enough to set up your own test wiki with the exact same software we run here. Franamax (talk) 08:59, 23 January 2012 (UTC)
  • That would be a good idea; here's a corollary for it, too: Don't give Wikilove messages all the same blinkin' name! Make the sender choose a section header. By the time you've been given a few kittens / cups of tea / wossnames, it's a real PITA! You type a nice reply to the most recent kitten-sender, hit the save button, and your page displays the first kittie-message on reloading, not the one you've just replied to! @Franamax: I'm sure there must be a way of achieving this without the parser having to parse the entire page, it just may not be immediately apparent. Maybe parse a "sub-page" kinda hidden thingie which has only section headers in it? Pesky (talkstalk!) 08:57, 23 January 2012 (UTC)
I think a very short and simple php script could check the page for matching section headings while parsing any save made to that page. It would be the sort of script that could be chucked into the mix without (I think) any major confusions. A more complex method (from a development aspect) could be to have a database store the section headings present in all pages, then if a new section heading is created, it is compared with the DB entry for that page. Potentially faster (not that either would be slow) and cleaner (no http requests for a copy of the page in order to check it), but would require almost an entire new extension to be built. One practical upshot of the DB method would be having the DB of section headings for every page (constantly updated (every page edit)) to be used in whatever other way could be imagined. Applied to searching, that extra knowledge could make a huge difference. Just thinking out loud now. fredgandt 23:36, 23 January 2012 (UTC)
Definitely agree with this idea. A script would only need to check text between = characters to see whether the exact same string of text could already be found between equals signs on that specific page. Nyttend (talk) 01:22, 27 January 2012 (UTC)
+1 good idea! Would also be useful for article talk-pages that are susceptible to repeated controversies (rename or merge requests, the N+1'th edit-request today, etc.). DMacks (talk) 01:32, 27 January 2012 (UTC)
I agree. This seems to happen a lot of user talk pages too.   Will Beback  talk  01:37, 27 January 2012 (UTC)

page full of images

Would like there to be a page that has lots of images of the same thing on it, eg: for an owl covered in images of owls, or different for different objects Trellis Reserve (talk) 14:03, 27 January 2012 (UTC)

Is this a proposal for gallery-pages? That exists on Commons. Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 > haneʼ 14:10, 27 January 2012 (UTC)

Proposal: Articles about extant corporations

There's been some discussion recently over paid editing, the creation of a Wikiproject addressing this and the proposal of another, and so forth. Jimbo recently talked to Bell Pottinger (described here). It's a complicated and contentious issue, and if I'm understanding the debate correctly, PR firms are offering the following types of cases where their intervention is needed or useful:

  • There's derogatory and false (or at any rate unsourced) information about their client in their article. Their client doesn't know how to engage Wikipedia effectively (e.g. OTRS, edit within our rules, etc.) and so they need professionals to fix this.
  • There may not exactly be false information, but the article is slanted and looks rather like a hatchet job. Our client simply wants a neutral and fair article (which is what Wikipedians should want also). Again, a professional is best suited to fixing this.
  • And some clients would like to have a Wikipedia article, and we believe that they are sufficiently notable, but there's no article; and they don't want to wait years (or forever) for some random person to create the article. And since they are sufficiently notable (we believe) then an article would enhance the Wikipedia, which should meet the desires both of our client and Wikipedians generally.

It'd be silly to take this entirely at face value (because for one thing "neutral and fair" depends on your point of view, and it's only human for one's point of view may be influenced by who is cutting one's paycheck). BUT, these are valid concerns and, when they do occur, serious problems (the first two anyway). Because they are valid concerns and serious problems, these are good reasons (or excuses if you prefer) for PR firms and paid agents to claim a moral right to edit the Wikipedia and a practical need to do so.

For my part, I'm against paid agents being allowed to edit the Wikipedia. (There is the question of whether as practical matter it's better, tactically, to allow this as opposed to driving it all underground; that's a different issue and outside the scope of this thread.) So, is there another way, rather than allowing or welcoming paid agents, to address these concerns?

Yes, possibly, and I have some concrete suggestions. This is not going to happen right away but it's something worth talking about, maybe. What I'm proposing is:

  • As the main proposal, creation of an "Articles about Extant Corporations" policy similar to Biographies of living persons (BLP).
  • As a secondary proposal, perhaps looser notability requirements for WP:CORP.
  • As a secondary proposal, the deployment of a template which is essentially the converse of {{advert}}.

Details below.

Articles about Extant Corporations WP:AEC

Articles about Extant Corporations. (This would include non-profit organizations and almost all businesses, even single stores and restaurants, since those are almost always incorporated. But some or many single-person businesses aren't incorporated. It could be "Articles about Extant Organizations" instead, which would be similar but not embracing exactly the same sets.)

Various details to be worked out but the basic thrust would be similar to WP:BLP. Corporations aren't exactly like people so there'd have to be some changes from WP:BLP, but it could be expressed with a similar summary:

With a corresponding tag for article talk pages:

This implies the creation, manning, and efficient operation of a "biographies of extant corporations noticeboard", which seems doable. The Foundation would possibly (maybe) take a hand in promoting and perhaps even monitoring this effort if it gains any traction.

Reform of WP:CORP

While this remains on the table, it's secondary and peripheral, and is a distraction from the main point, so I'm making it less visible. Discussion remains open though. Herostratus (talk) 15:42, 21 January 2012 (UTC)


While this remains on the table, it's secondary and peripheral, and is a distraction from the main point, so I'm making it less visible. Discussion remains open though. Herostratus (talk) 15:42, 21 January 2012 (UTC)

General discussion

For my part, I don't especially like these proposals on the merits. But I'm a social democrat and while I appreciate the cool things that corporations make and do, for-profit corporations are amoral entities and their social impact is mixed and they need plenty of oversight. That's my opinion, and a more pro-business person might feel that these are good proposals on the merits. It comes down to a philosophical opinion on what an article about a corporate entity should be: more of a listing of their vital statistics and description of their products and so forth, or more a description of their role in society, or whatever. We're not Frontline but we're not the Chamber of Commerce either, and threading that needle is difficult and contentious.

However, I'm not not suggesting this on the merits, but as I said for two reasons:

  • To address the concerns (or professed concerns if you prefer) of the PR industry.
  • To remove some of the practical reasons for the PR industry to be involved with the Wikipedia.

If this proposal doesn't gain traction, it doesn't mean that these concerns won't be addressed. It just means that they'll be addressed by agents of the corporations themselves, directly. This is problematic as it threatens our reputation, the morale of the volunteers, and our actual neutrality, in my opinion.

There's no force on earth that will stop paid agents from editing the Wikipedia, of course. The point is to strip it of its raison d'etre and reduce the need for it. Herostratus (talk) 17:46, 17 January 2012 (UTC)

I find the proposal repugnant and impractical. This privileges corporation and analogous entities in a very Citizens United way, not for any noble purpose, but merely to keep PR professionals from having to act like responsible Wikipedia editors. Given the tens of millions of corporations in the U.S. alone, the change to WP:CORP by itself could lead to the creation of an entire industry of "put YOUR company into Wikipedia" spamming specialists who would technically be acting within the rules. I see no burning need to whore Wikipedia out to the paid intellectual <insulting five-letter word to be found in the King James version of the Bible removed>s of the PR industry, just because these highly-paid alleged professionals are too damned lazy or stupid to figure out our interface. As an occasional journalist, I also greatly resent the false, even slanderous use of "investigative journalism" as a synonym for "hatchet job"! --Orange Mike | Talk 18:16, 17 January 2012 (UTC)
An absolute disgrace. This is a license to turn Wikipedia ino a censored marketing tool, and is far more damaging than SOPA could ever be.Nigel Ish (talk) 20:31, 17 January 2012 (UTC)
To allow paid editing or advocacy through means that are legitimized, puts Wikipedia at risk. While not all paid editing is with evil intent, it opens the door for abuse. Phearson (talk) 23:14, 17 January 2012 (UTC)
Your solution seems analogous to keeping your front door unlocked so burglars won't force the lock when they come to rob your stuff. Yoenit (talk) 23:47, 17 January 2012 (UTC)
OK, but look. It says here, for instance, that a corporation was described as "wanting to kill you" (and the citation was an extremely unreliable source). And this was there for quite a while. And nobody noticed it, or cared. But the corporation noticed it. And they cared. But they couldn't change it (because they don't know how to edit or engage with the Wikipedia properly). So they hired paid agents. I don't like paid agents roaming the database. But if the alternative is that entities will be described as "wanting to kill you" (if it's not justified; it might be in some cases), then bring them on. I think many Wikipedians would agree: bring them on. You want that? People depend on these entities for their livelihoods, you know. It's real important. Why shouldn't they have the same consideration as provided under WP:BLP, or at least some modified version. If we can't solve our problems ourselves, they will perforce be solved by other means -- other means that bring their own problems. Herostratus (talk) 05:19, 19 January 2012 (UTC)
Let me get this straight: I'm not familiar with the specific case, but you're saying the corporation "cared" but didn't know either how to edit or how to engage with WP. Well, first off, corporations don't care; despite bizarre court rulings suggesting otherwise, corporations are not human or mammalian or even alive, so they're incapable of caring or indeed of having feelings of any kind. As for the people affiliated with the corporation who cared—well, I'm finding it a little hard to imagine that they were capable of using a web browser to find their corporation's article yet were utterly stymied by the links reading "edit this page", "discussion", and "Contact Wikipedia" that appeared above and alongside that article. I have sometimes described myself as an AGF extremist, but I have to tell you I don't believe that for one second. In any event, put me down as opposing this proposal in the strongest terms. You seem to be suggesting we invite the wolf into the fold because otherwise it'll just sneak in anyway. Good grief. We have policies (NOR, NPOV, V) to deal with bad content; we do not need to give corporations special consideration on top of that. "Unwarranted vilification of entities"? Do you have any idea how dystopian that sounds? Also, the likening of "investigative journalism" to advertising is absurd. Rivertorch (talk) 06:49, 19 January 2012 (UTC)
We have NPOV policy to deal with people slanting an article. The proposer seems to at the same time want corporations to be in Wikipedia when they have no notability, and yet for us to treat them with kid gloves like BLP. They have not read the bit in BLP about the strong need for verifiability as well which goes with the kid gloves bit. We definitely do not need loads of corporations noted when they are not notable. From my reading of that case of Bell Pottinger it seems to me their problem was they assumed bad faith so they tried to do things in an underhand way and so acted in bad faith themselves. If they'd done things in a straightforward manner in the first place there wouldn't have been a problem. It does not sound to me from what that says that they have learnt anything either except to be more careful, their attitudes seem unchanged, lets jut hope they follow the policies in future rather than trying to be more devious in 'how best they can use us'. Dmcq (talk) 11:34, 19 January 2012 (UTC)
You're ignoring something that applies to straight BLPs as well: BLP victims are typically not familiar with Wikipedia. Therefore, they might not know any methods of fixing the problem other than underhanded ones--that's what unfamiliarity means, they don't know. They might not even be familiar enough with Wikipedia to know that something is underhanded.
A persistent problem with BLPs is that the BLP victim violates the rules to fix his BLP, and a lot of attention is given to banning or blocking him while little attention is giving to fixing his BLP or preventing BLP violations. Pointing out "oh, they assumed bad faith" or "they weren't straightforward" or other examples of misbehavior is an example of this--they don't know Wikipedia, how in the world would we expect them to know about AGF? All they know is that someone is telling lies about them--to an outsider, that looks like reason to assume bad faith. So they violate the rules to fix the lies and people like you jump on them because you care more about the rule violation than the fact that we are spreading lies. Ken Arromdee (talk) 16:44, 19 January 2012 (UTC)
We are not talking about BLP here. I fully agree that for BLP we should take extra special precautions. I even do that if they are dead never mind the living bit. But this is about organizations and in particular that complaint was about a PR organization and moreover one where the head man still doesn't see anything wrong with what they did. Dmcq (talk) 05:24, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
I'm a paid editor that's been involved in the linked projects and the general effort to make this dynamic better. I think the three bullets up top are very good as problem statements (I would add the desire to make pre-existing articles more complete), but not sure these are the right solutions. A few comments:
  • Negative POV is often less scrutinized than positive POV, but policy already addresses both equally. It's more of a cultural and motivational problem.
  • I don't think it makes sense to erode WP:CORP simply because it's difficult to enforce. However I will say there are a lot of very large notable companies who simply aren't in the news much.
  • The biggest problem is PR people don't read or even know about the existence of policies, so creating more policy for them won't change anything, since they won't read it.
  • I'm not sure if this was intentional but I do appreciate the language of "hiring a professional." I think PR needs to recognized Wikipedia as an expertise and there needs to be experts that can be a guardian of ethics, protect them from themselves and know policy.
Bell Pottinger basically said they didn't know how to edit Wikipedia ethically. Why do PR people keep accepting work they have no expertise on?
King4057 (talk) 16:49, 19 January 2012 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────The proposal above is yet another reason why Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad is one of the worst US Supreme Court decisions of all time, in that it created "corporate personhood" without a corresponding check on the power of a "person" which was effectively immortal and, often, richer than Croesus. We treat the biographies of living persons differently from other articles for the simple, humanistic reason that real life-and-blood people can be conceivable be harmed by irresponsible editing of those article. Corporations, on the other hand, have vast resources at their beck and call, and can counter any inadvertant inaccurcies with public relations, advertising and as much "spin" as they're willing to pay for. There's no compelling reason for us to institute a corporate equivalent of our BLP policy, and every reason to be on guard for their attempts to warp our neutral articles to their liking with paid editing. This may not be David vs. Goliath, but there's certainly no reason to give the corporations our assistance in skewing our articles in their favor. Beyond My Ken (talk) 06:35, 21 January 2012 (UTC)

Most corporations don't have vast resources. Upper Crust Pizzeria doesn't. They've got 20 stores, but they're not Exxon-Mobile. This is typical. Is it right and fair that half their article should consist basically of attacks? Maybe it is. But I'm just asking. (And "real life-and-blood people can be conceivably be harmed" by this sort of thing, yes. Upper Crust Pizzeria is not owned and staffed by robots.)
I hatted the peripheral and distracting sub-proposals, to clarify that the main proposition is:
  1. A notice on the talk pages of these articles, directing people with a problem to a noticeboard where they can seek relief.
  2. And the creation and manning of such a noticeboard.
  3. And a policy supporting the noticeboard, to the general effect of "negative information which is unsourced or improperly sourced should be removed without discussion". It could be hedged all around with various caveats about how this doesn't mean the article has to be a puff piece, or whatever.
What's wrong with these three simple things? Who could be against this? Herostratus (talk) 15:42, 21 January 2012 (UTC)
While I support making it easier for businesses to challenge unsourced or unreliably sourced negative information, I also want to be sure that we're not allowing them to to exclude serious but unproven allegations just because the allegations have yet to be proven conclusively. Also, we'd want to prohibit the selective inclusion or exclusion of reliably sourced information in a way that violates NPOV, such as listing their product in an article as "a product that is specifically designed to clean up spilled water is the Big Mop by Mops Inc" while not specifically mentioning their competitors and alternative solutions if competitors and alternative solutions are available. So I support this proposal in the sense that it can help with NPOV and requiring reliable sources, but I want to be sure that we don't go too far in allowing the exclusion of allegations and/or competitors' products. Pinetalk 23:02, 21 January 2012 (UTC)

Question why is this proposal for corporations and not businesses in general? Why not also include forms of business like LLPs which are likely to be used by small businesses? Pinetalk 23:07, 21 January 2012 (UTC)

  • I think Pine has a good point. Businesses can use a number of different legal frameworks and these can vary a little from country to country. (And in British English, "corporation" looks like an americanism although historically a number of local public-sector bodies used to call themselves "corporation"). So, we should take care to use a more inclusive term.
  • We do have a problem with some business articles being hatchet jobs - although we might fret about paid editors making an article too positive, there's no shortage of editors out there who dislike big businesses generally, or have an axe to grind against a specific retailer or former employer, and hence collect criticism from various angles and wrap it up in decidedly non-neutral text... I think a noticeboard and a couple of templates would be very helpful but am wary of making this a bigger thing with substantial policy changes, like BLP. Simply applying NPOV &c to business articles should be sufficient, I feel, and we should concentrate on ways to get extra eyes on potentially-problematic articles to ensure they fall in line with our existing policies. bobrayner (talk) 00:14, 22 January 2012 (UTC)
Well, right, it could be "Organizations" instead of "Corporations" (although I think that LLPs could be shoehorned into "corporation". "Businesses" would be no good since that leaves out not-profits maybe. "Organizations" though would (I suppose) include political parties and possibly bands and so forth so I dunno about that. A minor point of semantics though. Herostratus (talk) 05:57, 22 January 2012 (UTC)
I'd support changing this to "organizations." Political parties and bands could have unreliable or unsourced criticism directed at them just as easily as any other type of organization. This doesn't mean that we should remove bad news or credible accusations from articles just because an organization wants us to censor the bad news when the news is backed up by reliable sources, but we also shouldn't be including every unreliable or unsourced negative news and rumor. We need to achieve balance. Pinetalk 06:28, 23 January 2012 (UTC)

No. Fifelfoo (talk) 02:01, 22 January 2012 (UTC)

Just.... no? Well, while that's succinct, I gather that you preference is for paid agents to be roaming the database instead? Herostratus (talk) 05:57, 22 January 2012 (UTC)
Given the choice between professional PR agents and the naïve corporate affiliated people who try to write their own articles, the PR agents at least do a more consistent and usable job, with greater potential for improvement. But very few of them ever fully internalize the basic concept that while they are automatically thinking in terms of what the subject wishes to communicate to the public, an encyclopedia article must think in terms of what the public might wish to know.
Yet, we are greatly deficient in usable content in this subject area--perhaps more so than any other broad field. I can think of several approaches. The minimum is to consistently watch what they do ,and fix it--but to do this effectively requires legalizing it,and enforcing the standard that they declare their identity. Perhaps we need to modify our policy on anonymity to the extent that anyone editing for pay or part of a job, declare their true identity and affiliation. This would at least provide a better way or tracking the articles, The second, might be to accept articles on corporate entities in the form of infoboxes, which could then be rewritten by people who understand our rules--this would at least provide the basic information and have the side benefit of providing a channel through which we could look at them. The third, which has the advantage that we are already doing it, is to actively work with the various professional agencies on their field to raise their standardsof work here. DGG ( talk ) 10:18, 23 January 2012 (UTC)
Well, I guess I just fundamentally disagree about the "PR agents at least do a more consistent and usable job, with greater potential for improvement". What PR agents know is how to slant things subtly, gladhand, offer treats (like references (but only the references they want you to use)), and so forth. Of course they know all these tricks. They're professionals! Better some hack job that can be detected and reverted. In my opinion welcoming PR agents into the fold is a dagger to the heart of the volunteer ethos. I for my part am not willing to contend with paid professionals as a hobby. But I'm getting the impression that this is distinctly minority view, so... Herostratus (talk) 13:24, 24 January 2012 (UTC)
I agree with Herostratus that PR agents are untrustworthy. They typically have a conflict of interest, and there have been reports of PR agents bragging about the changes that they've been able to make on WP. I don't oppose them working here, but I would want full disclosure of who's paying them and for what purpose, and I hope that their actions could be flagged for especially rigorous oversight by other editors. Pinetalk 09:54, 25 January 2012 (UTC)
Oh I think there's quite a few general editors around on Wikipedia who are pretty good at slanting things without being professionals! And some seem to put in more time on their hobby horse than any professional would. Disclosure though is what I would hope for from any professional. Dmcq (talk) 01:58, 29 January 2012 (UTC)

Potential student project

I am applying for a summer student to do a Wikipedia Medicine research project through my department. One potentially project I am looking at is having them review all the edits made to Wikiproject Medicine articles.[9] The student will go through each edit and

  1. determine if the edit is okay and revert it/fix it if it is not
  2. determine which edits are made from IP/new users verses long term edits
  3. calculate the percentage of positive/negative edits from each group
  4. they will be going over edits more than one day old and thus we will be able to determine how good Wikipedia is at repairing itself.

I am thinking of collecting a weeks worth of edits. If I am able to get approval and funding from UBC I am hoping to run a second round collecting the same data but with "pending changes" turned on for a week on all medical articles. This students would be handling all pending changes to all medical articles and will be collecting the same data as before. This will allow us to determine if:

  1. pending changes affects the numbers of IPs editing
  2. to what degree pending changes reduces the visibility of poor quality content.

The proposed student will be either between first and second year or second and third year medicine and will be working 40 hours per week for 6-8 weeks during the summer. This is still a rough draft thus appreciate comments? Would also need someone who can create a bot to apply PC to the articles in question if we get to that point. --Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 13:44, 21 January 2012 (UTC)

Seems to me that this would require turning whole swathes of an Encyclopedia into a semi private test facility. Whatever work is done should be for the benefit of Wikipedia, not an outside research project. Asking that pending changes be applied to (what one can imagine is) a large number of articles for study purposes, is in my view an unacceptable use of page protection tools. fredgandt 14:14, 21 January 2012 (UTC)
People here have asked for data regarding if pending changes works or not. This is a proposal for a trail to determine this. The number of articles in question is about 24,000. Concerns raised regarding PC in the past have been 1)does PC turn people away 2)how much time is required to manage PC 3)how much poor content does it prevent going live. We can determine all of this. We could try it with a one day trial to determine if the effects are large before looking at doing a week. Since this project primarily / only benefits Wikipedia it is going to be a hard sell to my department. But just the effort will raise awareness regarding Wikipedia. I find the comment regarding "outside research project" strange as I am trying to get funding for an inside research project. --Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 14:24, 21 January 2012 (UTC)
There was some trial of pending changes a while ago, did it come up with figures and what happened about it all does somebody know?
Well one would certainly need the trial to last for a while to get over any transitory effects, also one would need to monitor some similar pages say on biology or sport as the numbers of vandals and good editors may vary anyway e.g. when other countries have a summer holiday. Dmcq (talk) 14:44, 21 January 2012 (UTC)
Yes i have seen a bit of an overview from before will try to dig it up latter if someone does not beat me too it. This trial would just be on medicine pages as that is where the founding is coming from and my only interest. Would be great to have others run trials on other topics though.Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 14:54, 21 January 2012 (UTC)
(Reply to User:Fred Gandt). This is pretty clearly a project intended to benefit Wikipedia, so please try to conduct discussion on the basis of an assumption of good faith. Phil Bridger (talk) 19:33, 21 January 2012 (UTC)
You are assuming that I was conducting it any other way. Please follow your own advice. fredgandt 02:45, 22 January 2012 (UTC)
I was not assuming anything, but basing my comment on the evidence of what you wrote. Claiming that this is not being proposed for the benefit of Wikipedia is an explicit failure to assume good faith. Phil Bridger (talk) 11:06, 22 January 2012 (UTC)
Whether or not I misunderstood the intentions of the proposal, I am insulted by your patronizing suggestion that I in any way didn't assume good faith. As I read the proposal it seemed to be a suggestion that some medical students would privatize a subject in order to study it (etc.). I however at no point considered the proposal to be made in anything but good faith (the tone is obviously serious and considered); I just disagreed with the proposal (as I understood it). Your implication that I did not assume good faith was rude (to me) and unwarranted. Even my Mother doesn't know what I am thinking. You didn't assume good faith in my response to the proposal. I didn't assume anything. I respond and wait. It has paid off. The proposal is now clearer to me. fredgandt 17:41, 22 January 2012 (UTC)
Have you run this by your IRB already, or is this at concept stage? Will the student be writing a paper, or is this a pure WP project? (We heavily frown on external experiments run on us lab rats)
My first concern is the expertise of your selected student, expecially if they are handling PCs, 2nd-3rd year meds sounds better. The equal ranking concern is how well they can learn that they are not in charge of anything at all. I think you should change your design so that they are also analyzing responses to their own edits.
Setting up PC on 24,000 articles is a tall order, is the function even enabled anymore? Can you select a smaller subset for the trial? Say 2-3,000 articles? Getting an adminbot approved to turn on PC may take the entire summer just to get through BRFA. Franamax (talk) 06:07, 22 January 2012 (UTC)
What the student would do would be collecting data for Wikipedia. I guess I should say they would be dealing with PC when it is on so that this would not generate extra work for the community ( a concern previously raised ). Yes PC is still enables (if you are an admin you can see it under the protect opinion). If by write a paper you mean write an article for the signpost yes. I unfortunately do not think anyone cares about the effect of PC on Wikipedia but us thus seriously doubt we could find an academic journal.Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 14:18, 22 January 2012 (UTC)
I see clearer now that what you are proposing is a re-evaluation of the potential usefulness of the pending changes system. I'm actually a big fan of the idea. There are issues that kinda fly in the face of open editing though. One has to wonder if Wikipedia would be what it is today if there hadn't been the opportunity for any passing Tom, Dick, or Harry to add their little bit. But that is the question isn't it? And with this study you intend to find out? If pending changes was ever going to work well, I feel the judgement of those editors proven by track record would be superior to the judgement of outsiders (however well versed in the subject they might be). Certainly though, if a re-evaluation of PC is what you're after, and a way can be found to do it without disrupting the Encyclopedia too much, I might support it. 20000 pages is far too many to play with though. A longer running test on a far smaller subcategory would (in my opinion) be far less disruptive (and possibly thus, far more fruitful). fredgandt 17:41, 22 January 2012 (UTC)
Yes, there is data from the previous trial. You can see some of it at Wikipedia:Pending changes/Metrics/Anonymous edit quality. Yes, the data proves that PC works for permitting new and unregistered editors to make improvements (about a third of the edits to these articles) while preventing vandalism and other bad edits from ever seeing the light of day (about two-thirds of the edits). NB that the articles in question were selected primarily from among semi-protected BLPs, i.e., articles known to have had problems in the past. The ratio of good:bad edits is likely to be (much) higher if you're randomly selecting articles.
Doc James, the better way to run this trial is to randomly assign half the articles to PC and half to current status during the same week. This eliminates problems with unexpected media exposure, holidays, etc., and also halves the workload. WhatamIdoing (talk) 04:52, 23 January 2012 (UTC)
Thanks for that. I just had a quick look around and I just don't see any metrics to answer the questions I'd have wanted to answer. In particular there is no comparable sample chosen with pending changes not used and they should count ordinary editors to see the effect on them as well and if possible I'd like to have an idea of the number of watchers for each article. I think I'd have just stuck it on a random sample of other pages too for the trial period to see the effect where there wasn't a preexisting problem. I'd have thought there would be some good statisticians around on Wikipedia who could have helped with setting up the trial and interpreting the results. Dmcq (talk) 09:10, 23 January 2012 (UTC)
By putting pending changes on a group of articles and reviewing all the edit made, than by not having pending changes on a group of articles and reviewing all the edits made one can determine if pending changes affects the number of edits made by IPs / new users. We would also divide the list of articles in half such that (half have pending changes the first week and half do not, than the second week they are switched so that one can hopefully take into account a change in editing volume from week to week even though there is not much of one). We are than comparing articles to themselves (each article will be its own control).--Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 19:02, 28 January 2012 (UTC)
I strongly oppose running this trial. First, the subject is inappropriate, as the content of or medical articles is well-watched, and has been repeated evaluated by outside evaluators as having very high quality, If we were to do such a test, there are many areas much more susceptible to problematic edits--PC was introduced at first as a proposal for BLPs, and was used as such; BLPs in certain fields particularly, such as entertainment and politics, have a much higher frequency of problems ,
More generally, I think we've discussed this enough.There is already an excellent trial running: the German Wikipedia. On the one hand, their articles have a higher quality of writing--on he other, they are by our standards very often inadequately documented. Perhaps a more detailed analysis of the differences here might be the more productive approach. It does however, require a degree of fluency in German uncommon in the US.
Even more generally, regardless of what might have been the case two or three years ago, quality is not now our most pressing problem The overall quality of Wikipedia is well accepted--that is, the overall quality as judged by appropriate standards for a quick reference site, not the standards for an academic treatise. and the public now seems to understand that such is the appropriate standard. Our problems are rather the attraction and especially the retention of new editors and the introduction of spam articles for both companies and non-profit organizations. Patrolled Changes is irrelevant to the problem of new spam articles, and almost certainly counter-productive in terms of editor attraction and retention. What we need to solve, are the currently critical problems.
Overall, I well recall the tens of thousands of hours for us all devoted to this problem: for us discussing it, for our testing it and explaining it, for the programmers attempting to meet the constraints of our high editing rate. During the trial, the difficulties were such that I at least simply refrained from editing any article under the trial despite my admin status which meant anything I edited would be automatically approved by the system. (The effect of the deWP system is such that I no longer attempt to do even simple error-fixing there--which I must admit is all I'm generally capable of in that language. --that's part of the basis on which i anticipate a similar discouraging effect here.) I think the best way of distracting us from positive work on the problems of Wikipedia would be to reintroduce the subject. I'm glad the programmers made the final decision--their disgust at working so hard on what was not implemented led them to refuse to work further unless we would commit, and since we would not commit without proof that it worked better, this put an end to it. DGG ( talk ) 10:02, 23 January 2012 (UTC)
Yes this was sort of the response I expected.Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 02:20, 25 January 2012 (UTC)

Binding content discussions

Since the discussion is already closed, can someone please remove the notice that appears on our watchlists? A Quest For Knowledge (talk) 01:34, 30 January 2012 (UTC)
Done Anomie 02:35, 30 January 2012 (UTC)