Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2008-02-04/2007 in review

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The Wikipedia Signpost

Special: 2007 in Review, Part IV

By Ral315 and Staff, 4 February, 2008
See also Part I, Part II, and Part III.

December marked the end of 2007, and the end of the biggest year (and perhaps the most controversial year) that Wikipedia has seen. This week, the Wikipedia Signpost concludes our look back at the year that was 2007 in Wikipedia.

Wikipedia critic unblocked, blocked, merged, unblocked, blocked

In April, Wikipedia critic Daniel Brandt was briefly unblocked by Jimbo Wales, then reblocked by Wales a short time later. The block was lifted on April 18; Wales said, "he asked nicely, we are talking about a productive way forward in the future, it has been more than a year". Brandt was reblocked three days later, after indicating in a mailing list post that "I feel that Jimmy Wales made the wrong decision when he unbanned me a couple of days ago."[1]

In June, the article on Daniel Brandt was merged, after its 14th deletion discussion. Its closure called for the article to be merged to four separate articles: NameBase, Google Watch, Criticism of Wikipedia, and CIA HTTP cookies controversy (the latter since deleted).[2]

Shortly thereafter, Wales again unblocked Brandt on June 18, saying that "[Brandt] asked nicely. He only wants to edit talk pages of P.I.R. and other articles that affect him personally". He was reblocked by JoshuaZ a month later, due to the restoration of a website operated by Brandt, attempting to disseminate the real-life identities of Wikipedia editors.

Controversial RFAs

Former Wikimedia Foundation employee Danny Wool was promoted after a successful request for adminship, a few weeks after his resignation from the Foundation, and his voluntary resignation of all Wikimedia rights and positions. After his unexpected resignation from the Wikimedia Foundation office in March, Wool resigned all of his rights on all Wikimedia projects, saying, "To ensure that there are no misunderstandings or claims of an abuse of power, I ask that all admin status on the various projects be revoked."[3]

The RFA, which received 68% support, was controversial; users noted that the support level ranked well below that of normal RFAs (the threshold of bureaucrat discretion is considered by many to be around 70-80%; to date, Danny's is one of only three RFAs to pass with below 70% support, the others being Ryulong's 3rd RFA and Carnildo's 3rd RFA). However, bureaucrat Rdsmith4 argued that a significant portion of opposition was worried about Wool's actions outside his realm as administrator, including his actions as a bureaucrat, and his role in the Office Actions policy.

Another controversial RFA was that of Gracenotes. The RFA had 73% support; most of the opposition hinged on Gracenotes' position on the since-rejected Attack sites proposal, since partially incorporated into a guideline at Wikipedia:Linking to external harassment. Gracenotes said that, "If posting a link to an attack site is intended, in any way, to be a personal attack in itself, then Wikipedians may wish to rephrase or remove their comments. If the issue brought up by the attack site is valid, surely Wikipedians can discuss it on-wiki. ... I oppose removing all links to all such sites in all contexts, especially if such removals interfere with the good faith development of Wikipedia."[4]

Users supporting Gracenotes' promotion noted that the comments of many were based on Gracenotes' ideology, not experience character; those opposing it defended their positions.[5] With bureaucrats divided, and unable to determine whether consensus had been met, a re-run was proposed; however, Gracenotes declined. Gracenotes has not elected to seek adminship since the June RFA.

Projects disbanded

In 2007, a few community projects were discontinued and/or deleted, for various reasons. These included:

  • Esperanza: Disbanded in January 2007 after a deletion discussion. Most argued that Esperanza was overly bureaucratic, and a November 2006 discussion had failed to generate any long-term changes. The "Messedrocker solution" was adopted, closing the organization, deleting many of its subpages, and replacing the main page with an explanation of the organization's history. Some of its projects remain as stand-alone projects, including Admin coaching, and the Birthday Committee's calendar.[6] However, Esperanza is still an active organization in the Simple English and Norwegian Wikipedias.
  • Concordia: Disbanded in March 2007 in the light of Esperanza above.
  • Association of Members' Advocates: Closed in May 2007, after a few deletion discussions. An April discussion resulted in no consensus, with concerns over bureaucracy prevalent.[7] Reform was suggested, but when reform was unsuccessful, the organization was deleted.
  • Bad Jokes and Other Deleted Nonsense: Pruned and moved to Wikipedia:Silly things after a deletion debate in August. Some users expressed questions about whether the page was compliant with the GFDL, but ultimately, the concern was that the pages were a monument to vandalism, and of poor quality: "I do not think that anybody in this MfD would seriously argue for a pressing need to memorialize the claim that there exists a line of Pepsi called 'Penis Pepsi' that 'tastes like big foots dic' (sic). And yet we did."


Also this week:

2007 in review — Newsroom use — WikiWorld — News and notes — In the news — Tutorial — Dispatches — Features and admins — Technology report — Arbitration report

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