Wikipedia talk:Disruptive editing/Archive 5

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Disruption is Not a Bad Thing

This page is dangerously vague. Change in general is disruptive. Debate is disruptive, Free speech is disruptive. This page (along with WP:POINT) gives users an angle to attack their enemies, because many well-intentioned, productive, insightful people are disruptive. This page also advances a belief largely confined to totalitarian regimes across the world and throughout history. So, I find it disturbing that it is a guideline for a project devoted to spreading free knowledge. I don't think it'd be enough just to delete this page. Instead, we should state explicitly that disruption is not against any guidelines. In other words, we need to rewrite these pages to state the opposite of what they currently do.--Drknkn (talk) 07:38, 19 October 2009 (UTC)

Interesting. I'll watch this page, and see if I can't sort this out in my thoughts. Thanks for speaking out. Jusdafax 07:50, 19 October 2009 (UTC)
An incredible insight into all the world's history... Haven't we met before?. Yes, removing just one of behavioral guidelines does not cause a domino effect. But other guidelines, especially WP:CIV, WP:NPA and of course "consensus" are just as vulnerable. And quite a lot of editors questioned their validity. Here's the proposal: consider all these guidelines in a single package. Would you vote to delete them all? What safeguards, if any, will remain? NVO (talk) 13:08, 19 October 2009 (UTC)
Thank you. I don't object to WP:NPA or WP:consensus because they aren't as vague as this policy. WP:CIV is a vague policy, however, and I object to it.--Drknkn (talk) 21:11, 19 October 2009 (UTC)
Let's avoid any it's a slippery slope style arguments. More importantly is the fact that this policy talks about disruption to our function as an encyclopedia. While disruption might occur as part of our editorial process, it should not disrupt that fuction and as such will not fall under this guideline. On the other hand we do need a guideline on how to handle editors who refuse to work with other editors, or editors who refuse to accept our purpose as an encyclopedia. And those guidelines springs from WP:DISRUPT.Taemyr (talk) 17:05, 19 October 2009 (UTC)
That is still too vague. There's nothing terribly wrong with being a loner. That just comes with being a bookworm. True, people generally don't like them. But our distaste of loners is causing us to ban too many intelligent and valuable people. It's usually because a group of people just don't like someone. It's the combination of consensus and disruption that makes such events possible. It reminds me of what happened to Socrates. The Athenians didn't like him because he spoke his mind. The truth hurts sometimes, and people easily feel insulted by it.--Drknkn (talk) 21:11, 19 October 2009 (UTC)
The ability to engage in a cooperative enterprise like Wikipedia requires that you are able to verify your edits to other editors. Yes, "The truth hurts..." but Wikipedia is about "Verifiability, not truth." --SteveMcCluskey (talk) 20:48, 16 November 2009 (UTC)

Disuption by a minority

An essay has been drafted that concerns the treatment of a minority group proposing an addition to a Main page that is not favored by the majority of editors contributing to the article. Please comment. Brews ohare (talk) 17:32, 14 November 2009 (UTC)

Editor's Note

I have reverted the Editor's Note which essentially undermined the legitimacy of the guideline, which Stevertigo (talk · contribs · logs · block log) added as a header without any discussion on the talk page. Please discuss this to achieve consensus before restoring the disputed note. --SteveMcCluskey (talk) 21:13, 16 November 2009 (UTC)

McCluskey, if you read it, drew a conclusion about it, and then removed it, could you comment on it here - why do you think it was inappropriate to "undermine the legitimacy of the guideline?" The note makes it clear that it is the "guideline" that in fact undermines itself. Regards, -Stevertigo (w | t | e) 00:10, 17 November 2009 (UTC)
The standard Guideline header box says:
This page documents an English Wikipedia behavioral guideline.... Any substantive edit to this page should reflect consensus. When in doubt, discuss first on the talk page.
That about sums up my position on your substantive edit. --SteveMcCluskey (talk) 00:36, 17 November 2009 (UTC)
So you think my edit was "substantive." Let us deal then with the substance in that edit, Steve. What are your substantial thoughts about that aforementioned "substance?" -Stevertigo (w | t | e) 03:36, 17 November 2009 (UTC)

Good removal, SteveMcCluskey. Stevertigo, that type of note isn't standard on guidelines and takes the appearance of some kind of community consensus reservation. If it wasn't discussed at all, then the usual format for that kind of thing would be to write an essay on a separate page in namespace, and mark it as an essay. Durova366 03:50, 17 November 2009 (UTC)

Compromising subjectivity

Putting issues of "appearance" and "usual format[ting]" aside, let's move this discussion on to the actual substance in the note, recreated here:

Please be aware that this is page is only a "guideline," and one dependent on highly subjective concepts of both "disruption" and "editing." Given the range between this guideline's inherent subjectivity and its self-defined severity (indefinite block or ban), the actual meaning of this guideline is debated. Thus it is important that this guideline be clearly understood as based in doubly subjective concepts:

  1. The "disruptive" in "disruptive editing" is a subjective concept, and while what does or does not constitute "disruption" is certainly debatable, in all but the fewest cases a designation of "disruption" alone is not sufficient justification to block or ban anyone. The core principles of WP:NPOV, WP:CIVIL, and WP:ENC should be more than sufficient to cover any problematic editing and problematic would-be editors, and our dispute resolution processes should be more than sufficient to handle any such difficulties.
  2. As written (since ~Nov. 16, 2008), this guideline also wavers in its usage of "editing" to mean either "edits" (ie. to articles), or "comments" (ie. to talk pages). Since Wikipedia's beginning, the distinction between "edits" and "comments" has been clear and unequivocal, hence the usage of "editing" here to mean 'either edits or comments' represents a serious and unsupportable deviation from their long-standing distinction.
  3. While a reasonable concept may employ one subjective concept, such as those that employ a subjective and an objective, its usage of two subjective concepts means that this guideline is compromised (as currently conceptualized and written).

-Stevertigo (w | t | e) 05:29, 17 November 2009 (UTC)

RfC: "disruptive cite-tagging"

Should the passage, Engages in "disruptive cite-tagging"; adds unjustified {{fact}} tags to an article when the content tagged is already sourced, uses such tags to suggest that properly sourced article content is questionable, remain as part of the guideline page? 08:56, 17 January 2010 (UTC)

  • Note: Please do not have threaded discussions in your individual subsection. Please only do that in the subsection, Further discussion. 08:56, 17 January 2010 (UTC)

Previously involved editors

Comments from TreasuryTag

  • I am not aware that such activity is a problem on Wikipedia—I haven't ever encountered it, in several years of editing here.
  • To suggest it on the page (aside from being an arguable case of WP:BEANS) is overly specific. Should we also note on the page that disruptive behaviour would include, "Always using the word paradiastole in place of the word username whenever editing the Wikipedia namespace," – I'm sure that that's disruptive, it's just overly specific and not a remotely serious problem on Wikipedia.
  • Could anyone enlighten me; when was the most recent case of disruptive cite-tagging happening? Thanks in advance. ╟─TreasuryTagbelonger─╢ 08:56, 17 January 2010 (UTC)

Previously uninvolved editors

Comments from Camelbinky

  • TreasuryTag asked a question, and I answered it, and then against normal procedure proceded to delete my contribution on the grounds that it began a threaded discussion (then perhaps you shouldnt have asked a question?) despite Wikipedia policy (stated in many many many places) that a contribution or comment that is made in good-faith but against common procedure is NOT grounds for removal or ignoring. So thanks for using a non-policy to ignore a policy; and just because someone decides they want this discussion to be "non-threaded" doesnt mean we have to all agree to that.Camelbinky (talk) 00:50, 25 January 2010 (UTC) Here is my comment-::I have encountered it by one editor, and it is quite annoying, it was in addition to wikihounding and basically a technique to annoy and often was used as "punishment" or "payback" after "losing" an argument. I imagine most often that is when excessive or unneeded tagging often happens, an editor with a grudge who wishes to annoy another editor by tagging unneeded or unnecessary or excessively an article to which the other editor enjoys working on in order to aggrevate and annoy, or "punish".Camelbinky (talk) 00:37, 20 January 2010 (UTC)
So, there's my comment, everyone- FEEL FREE to comment in response as a thread to my comment here.Camelbinky (talk) 00:50, 25 January 2010 (UTC)

Comments from Abrazame

  • I've encountered disruptive tagging of this sort, from both directions. One, editors wishing to be pointy or downright disruptive by cite-ref-tagging unexceptional statements about not particularly contentious subjects — or even virtually every sentence (which is the flip side to the much rarer quirk of editors actually referencing virtually every unexceptional data point therein), and two, something I saw just tonight at Timothy Geithner, an editor cite-ref-tagging every sentence of an edit by a contentious POV-pusher who has reverted his own uninformed diatribe back into an article seven times in a day and a half. (The thinking apparently being, the guy isn't getting it from the reverts, edit summaries and talk page discussion, so let's try leaving his POV in but just tagging it all up.) Ref-tagging is a battlefield (wasn't that an '80s hit?) may as well spell it out that this sort of thing falls under the disruptive editing guideline. Abrazame (talk) 10:52, 17 January 2010 (UTC)

Comments from Whitehorse1

  • Somebody requested details of the most recent disruptive cite-tagging case, above. I don't know if data are collected of occurrences, so it might not be possible for anybody to give those details. What I can do, is provide details of a disruptive/spurious cite tagging that I've seen.
    Around six months ago, I came across the "Sweet Briar College" article (page history). The most recent edits had "rmv uncited material" as an edit summary. What this amounted to was removing cite-tagged text, after somebody, who is now indef' blocked incidentally, had added a large number of the tags, which were often unnecessary and in other instances on text easily referenced to sources already used in the article such as the schools' website.
    This removal included content detailing: its presence on the National Register of Historic Places, a quote from its founders on the goal they strived for in founding the college, and the first year the college offered graduate degrees. Reasonable, neutral, article content. I restored material, making a series of cleanup edits. Now, I'm not suggesting the article doesn't need work. An absence of smooth edges is exactly what we should expect from Start-class articles though.
    The effect shown is disruptive/spurious cite tagging, as well as being unsightly, leads to editors removing solid "uncited" encyclopedic content that may not need a citation as well as wasted editor time identifying what truly needs to be done.While there may not be an epidemic of this very real problem, which presents itself in different ways, it occurs enough to warrant making clear the activity is neither acceptable nor conducive to collectively building an encyclopedia. –Whitehorse1 04:17, 20 January 2010 (UTC)

Comments from Astynax

  • It should remain. Some disruptive editors have discovered that they can use repetitive tagging of already well-supported content to call into question an article's accuracy. Editors should not be discouraged from tagging unsupported material. But it becomes disruptive when editors continually tag and re-tag paragraphs or statements which are adequately covered by sources already cited, and refuse to supply a reason the tag is warranted in discussion when it is pointed out to them that the material is already referenced. If anything, this should be expanded to include abuse of other content-related tags (e.g., {{dispute}}, {{controversial}}, etc.), as such editors abuse these in the same way. • Astynax talk 19:16, 21 January 2010 (UTC)

Comments from SteveMcCluskey

  • The text should remain. A recent RfC/U, which resulted in the indefinite ban of the involved editor for Disruptive Editing, involved numerous instances where the editor inserted cite tags, not only when he felt citations were inadequate but when he disagreed with the content of the cited text. This may be an extreme case, but it indicates that excessive cite tagging is a problem. --SteveMcCluskey (talk) 20:38, 22 January 2010 (UTC)

Further discussion

  • Many tags and deletions are performed by one time editors or after a two minute inspection without checking refs or understanding of the material. Wdl1961 (talk) 21:05, 22 January 2010 (UTC)

Comment from uninvolved editor Slrubenstein

I think it should stay. It is often undetecte for the same reason hat DE is often undecte, it is a pattern across many articles, sometimes utterly unrelated. But tagging itself is aoften a problem - I am sick of peopl who addPOV tags without providing any explanation of why it is deserved or what kind of treatment would improve the article, this is clearly disruptive and when someone does it repeatedly we have a real problem even if just a couple, or perhaps even no, editors see it. It ends u confusing many people who mistakenly assume god faith (in these specific instances) or people who, not seeing a general pattern, may think it is reasonable. But it disrupts the projct as a whole and maes many artcles look embarassing to a general public that turns to us for reliable knowledge. Tags are meant to signal specific areas in need of improvement and have to be placed in conjunction with discussion, and someone who does not use tags this way really is disrupting the projectSlrubenstein | Talk 15:54, 24 January 2010 (UTC)

Related policy proposal - incivility blocks

In case anyone is interested, I've kicked off discussion about an idea I've had about incivility blocks. Currently it's hard to get a consistent blocking policy in terms of warnings and blocking times, I'm hoping that this proposal can get some traction to make this more clear. - Tbsdy (formerly Ta bu shi da yu) talk 06:15, 24 January 2010 (UTC)

Don't stuff beans up your nose.

Section "How disruptive editors evade detection":

Disruptive editing already violates site policy, yet certain editors have succeeded in disrupting articles and evading disciplinary action for one of several possible reasons:

  • their edits occur over a long period of time; in this case, no single edit may be clearly disruptive, but the overall pattern is disruptive
  • their edits are largely confined to talk-pages, such disruption may not directly harm an article, but it often prevents other editors from reaching consensus on how to improve an article
  • their edits often avoid gross breaches of civility, especially by refraining from personal attacks, even though they interfere with civil and collaborative editing meant to improve the article
  • their edits remain limited to a small number of pages that very few people watch
  • conversely, their edits may be distributed over a wide range of articles that few people watch.

WP:BEANS? --98.114.243.75 (talk) 18:24, 24 April 2010 (UTC)

I have seen it all! Trust me, trolls come to Wikipedia knowing how to troll already! Slrubenstein | Talk 19:41, 24 April 2010 (UTC)
Heh. As anyone with a two-year-old will confirm, children have been stuffing beans up their noses for uncounted generations without any suggestions from older people. The intent of WP:BEANS is to warn otherwise well-intended Wikipedians from inadvertently encouraging more two-year-old behavior than would happen by itself. -- llywrch (talk) 15:27, 25 April 2010 (UTC)
well, I think the chances of a latent troll finding this guideline and then taking lessons from it are pretty slim; I am confident his or her latent trollness will emerge long before discovering this! Think of it more like the sex manual hidden behind some very heavy furniture in mom and dad's room if you prefer. Slrubenstein | Talk 20:05, 25 April 2010 (UTC)
Well said, Slrubenstein. My only comment on this section is that it is phrased as describing clever ploys that people use to get beyond the rules, when it could say something stronger. How about:
=== Attempts to evade detection ===
Certain editors attempt to evade disciplinary action by using several practices when disrupting articles:
  • their edits occur over a long period of time; in this case, no single edit may be clearly disruptive, but the overall pattern is disruptive
  • their edits are largely confined to talk-pages, such disruption may not directly harm an article, but it often prevents other editors from reaching consensus on how to improve an article
  • their edits often avoid gross breaches of civility, especially by refraining from personal attacks, even though they interfere with civil and collaborative editing meant to improve the article
  • their edits remain limited to a small number of pages that very few people watch
  • conversely, their edits may be distributed over a wide range of articles that few people watch.
Nonetheless, such disruptive editing violates site policy.
Would this be an appropriate improvement? --SteveMcCluskey (talk) 20:27, 25 April 2010 (UTC)
No objection from me. look, the purpose of this is to provide criteria for identifying disruptive editing, bt directing editors to look at behavior over long periods of time or across diverse articles - the point is this cannot be detected the same way that 3RR can be detected. Any way to rephrase this that makes it more useful to good faith editors or admins who might block or ban, would be an improvement! Slrubenstein | Talk 22:18, 25 April 2010 (UTC)
Done --SteveMcCluskey (talk) 00:58, 10 May 2010 (UTC)

Disruptive "editing" does not mean disruptive "comments"

After the WP:ANI/Stevertigo referendum on my editing, and claims of my "disruptive editing," I took a look through the history of WP:DISRUPT, to find who it was that first used the policy to refer to "comments" as "disruptive editing," in addition to actual "edits." Note that since Wikipedia began, we have always made a clear distinction between "edits" and "comments" as two different things, with two different sets of principles governing them. For example, talk page comments are the words of individuals and are not to be modified, while articles are of course free to be edited.

I found that User:Slrubenstein inserted the related text back in mid-November 2008. Among other major edits, he added: "[signs of disruptive editing include] their edits are largely confined to talk-pages, where they avoid gross breaches of WP:Civility; such disruption may not directly harm an article, but it often prevents other editors from reaching consensus on how to improve an article" (diff) Slrubenstein happens to the same person who contributed the most to the ANI/Stevertigo, and along with others, had referred to 'WP:DISRUPT' at least a few times in the course of this discussion.

I found it strange, as I've never confused the concept of an "edit" with a "comment." Nor have I ever promoted a technical policy to supercede WP:CIVIL, which I co-wrote, as a principle. Slrubenstein had appeared to choose violating CIVIL, on the basis of defending against what he called DISRUPT. I made a note to look it up in the WP:DISRUPT history, and after finding it was Slrubenstein himself that inserted the concept, it all started to make sense: His notion that open discussion of editorial issues constitute a punishable offense was nonsense he himself inserted. -Stevertigo (w | t | e) 19:51, 23 May 2010 (UTC)

You are misreading the guideline. be that as it may, it does not matter who added content to this guideline - it was made a guideline after I made my contributions to it. You are remving material that has been part of the guideline for some time. Don't do that - instead discuss on the talk page your objections and see if you can change the consensus. Slrubenstein | Talk 22:47, 23 May 2010 (UTC)
Why does your concept of "disruptive editing" blur the distinction between "comments" on talk pages and actual "edits" to articles? Do you recall the long history of this distinction, or understand its certain logical function in how policies are applied? I noted your addition months ago, but put aside for the time being any issues regarding conflict of interest. If people such as yourself are going to cite this as policy, I want it to be clear. -Stevertigo (w | t | e) 02:07, 25 May 2010 (UTC)

The telltale signs of "disruptive editing"

I removed the below section, called "Attempts to evade detection" from the project page, because it has serious problems with subjectivity and POV:

Extended content

Certain editors attempt to evade disciplinary action by using several practices when disrupting articles:

  • their edits occur over a long period of time; in this case, no single edit may be clearly disruptive, but the overall pattern is disruptive
  • their edits are largely confined to talk-pages, such disruption may not directly harm an article, but it often prevents other editors from reaching consensus on how to improve an article
  • their edits often avoid gross breaches of civility, especially by refraining from personal attacks, even though they interfere with civil and collaborative editing meant to improve the article
  • their edits remain limited to a small number of pages that very few people watch
  • conversely, their edits may be distributed over a wide range of articles that few people watch.

Nonetheless, such disruptive editing violates site policy.

  1. "Certain editors attempt to evade disciplinary action by using several practices when disrupting articles" - This conceptualization is tedious, as it states that these "certain editors" (are they editors or vandals), "attempt to evade" (are they evading or attempting), "disciplinary action" (as in punishment? Arbcom? Or does this mean to say "detection"). Are they using "several practices" or are these just a subjective laundry list of anecdotal generalities. Are they actively "disrupting articles" or are they "editing," which then afterwards can be designated as "poor," and the persistent posting of "poor" edits can be designated as "disruptive."
  2. "..their edits occur over a long period of time; in this case, no single edit may be clearly disruptive, but the overall pattern is disruptive" - This is also tedious: Their "edits may occur" (rather edits are "made") "over a long period of time" (how long?), "no single edit may be clearly disruptive" (how can a single edit be regarded as disruptive?), "the overall pattern is disruptive" (how then does one determine that an editor's "overall patterns" are "disruptive?"). Its all generalities.
  3. "..their edits are largely confined to talk-pages, such disruption may not directly harm an article, but it often prevents other editors from reaching consensus on how to improve an article" - Edits cannot be "confined to talk-pages" because edits cannot be made to talk pages. That's the definition of "edits." Changes to talk pages are called "comments." Is the policy going to call "comments" disruptive? It would appear that the authors are trying their best to avoid doing so, as they perhaps understand on some level that "comments" are not "edits" and therefore cannot "disruptive edits." This inferred Wikipedia:Disruptive comments policy awaits.
  4. "their edits often avoid gross breaches of civility, especially by refraining from personal attacks, even though they interfere with civil and collaborative editing meant to improve the article" - Ah, the terrible problems of "avoid[ing] gross breaches of Civility" and "refraining from personal attacks." Note that WP:CIVIL is primary, a 5P, and second only to NPOV. Employing clauses such as these in subjective-based guidelines like this only subverts the primacy of CIVILITY.
  5. "their edits remain limited to a small number of pages that very few people watch" - Anecdotal, unsupported, and counter-intuitive. If their edits are confined to a "small number of pages that very few people watch," what then is the "disruption?"
  6. "..conversely, their edits may be distributed over a wide range of articles that few people watch." - This is confused, conflicted, and inherently contradicted: There is no "wide range" of articles that "few people watch."
  7. "Nonetheless, such disruptive editing violates site policy." - Interestingly, the author takes issue with those who conform to CIVIL and NPA, to the point of violating both of these for sake of countering his own concept of "disruption," and yet "nonetheless" he says, it is what he deems as "disruptive editing" which "violates site policy." -Stevertigo (w | t | e) 17:36, 17 June 2010 (UTC)
I was about to undo Stevertigo's removal of this long-standing part of the guideline, when I was anticipated by Crum375, for which thanks. Having dealt in the past with Disruptive editors who engage in the practices described in that section, I consider it to be an important part of the Disruptive Editing guideline and should be retained. --SteveMcCluskey (talk) 17:43, 17 June 2010 (UTC)
You and Crum will have to participate in this discussion, if you want his revert to stand. I have made several point-by-point comments regarding the subjective, counterintuitive, and contradicted aspects of the listed qualifications. -Stevertigo (w | t | e) 18:01, 17 June 2010 (UTC)
Stevertigo, the part you are trying to remove from the policy describes an important type of disruption, akin to Chinese water torture. Not all disruption is by sledge hammer; some of it is by a pervasive and consistent pattern of annoying behavior in many different areas, which taken together amounts to a significant degradation of our work environment, and a serious impediment to encyclopedia writing. Your criticism of the policy seems to be by wikilawyering, focusing on minutiae and technicalities rather than the big picture. If you have specific wording improvements you'd like to suggest, feel free to do so, but removing the whole thing wholesale is not the way to improve it. Crum375 (talk) 18:14, 17 June 2010 (UTC)
Then start the Wikipedia:Chinese water torture-style disruption policy and explain the problem. This guideline is about "disruptive "editing."" Note that you don't actually say anything by using subjective terminology such as "annoying behavior" and "wikilawyering" and flourishes such as "degradation of our work environment" and "big picture." Your suggestion, to improve specific wording, is well put and is exactly what I am doing. I have annotated in sufficient detail each of the listed qualifications above, and a good faith editor such as yourself will no doubt find it necessary to contest or else concede each of the above points. -Stevertigo (w | t | e) 18:22, 17 June 2010 (UTC)
What I'd like to see you do is offer suggestions how to strengthen and improve this part of the policy, not how to water it down or eliminate it. If you have a concrete proposal for improvement, let's discuss it. Crum375 (talk) 19:57, 17 June 2010 (UTC)
As an example of the kind of pedantic wikilawyering to which Crum referred, I offer this quotation from Stevertigo: 'edits cannot be made to talk pages. That's the definition of "edits."' Interestingly this change was made either by clicking on the edit tab at the top of the page or on the section link labeled "edit". If you have substantive issues to raise, make them coherently and perhaps you can get a consensus to agree with your position. However, arguments from trivial minutiae like the one quoted above scarcely merit a reply. --SteveMcCluskey (talk) 20:10, 17 June 2010 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Steve, note that your analogy is wrong, and not even that: The word "edit" on the tab is simply a symbol used for one of two basic page modes, which in technical language could be described as creating a patch of the previous version of the article. The word "edit" in fact refers to an actual change to an article. We don't "edit" talk pages. We "comment" on talk pages, with regard to "editing" the article. If you have substantive criticisms to make about the points I raised, then make them. Starting off with the personal attack of "pedantic wikilawyering" doesn't serve what ostensibly is your purpose. I understand from your comments though that you don't regard CIVIL very highly, and don't really understand the meaning of the word "substantive." -Stevertigo (w | t | e) 20:20, 17 June 2010 (UTC)

ST has been on a tear to dismantle this uideline for a long time. One way is to identify a section as a pesonal essay of mine and to remove it on those grounds. Of course, anything I wrote that ende dup in the gideline and stayed was the result of a collaborative process on this page, involving othe editors. The section in question des not define a disruptive editor, it is merely meant to help explain why DEs often evade detection. We are necessarily enering a grey area here. But I do not think anything in the passage ST hates conflicts with any other policy.

In the end, I have th same reaction I have with most of SV's large wholesale edits, a yawn and a question, why is this one editor so intent on disrupting other edior's lives through contentious edits. Why can't he just do what a normal Wikipedian does: research topics and add content to articles based on actual research? I am not going to hang around here and keep feeding ST' hunger for endless argument when I could be reading more about the battle of Shiloh or BP or the New Zeeland football team with the hopes of making one of those articles, or another article, better. I do have a simple question for Steve Tigo: Steve, why are you not capable of doing any serious research meant to make this a better encyclopedia? Slrubenstein | Talk 23:23, 17 June 2010 (UTC)

You can yawn if you like, but in the referendum on my editing a few months ago, you made notable usage of this guideline, at the expense of CIVIL and NPA, and up to the point of getting an unjustified block. So even though you say you "don't think anything in the passage [..] conflicts with any other policy," you and others did in fact cite this guideline. Why not simply agree to make some improvements to this guideline? Its currently so full of holes as to be meaningless. You are right that there are more important things to do, but why then do you and others cite this meaningless guideline in the first place? And do so at the expense of CIVIL, NPOV and Consensus? -Stevertigo (w | t | e) 00:53, 18 June 2010 (UTC)
Although I'm too busy to give this enough attention, a quick check of Administrators' noticeboard and Arbitration discussions shows that this section has been used in discussions that ultimately led to sanctions against the involved persons. This section appears to be a valuable tool for identifying disruptive editors. --SteveMcCluskey (talk) 17:37, 18 June 2010 (UTC)
I agree that this is a useful section. SlimVirgin talk|contribs 18:12, 18 June 2010 (UTC)
Needless to say, if anyone thinks they have been blocked without adequate justification, they can appeal to any admin. All it takes is one admin to agree a block was unjustified. It doesn't matter what some guideline says: if the block is unjustified, one should be able to explain why to admins who can undo it. I don't see that the fact that ST was unable to persuade any admin to undo the block is justification for changing material that has been here for quite a long time. Slrubenstein | Talk 20:24, 18 June 2010 (UTC)
I have to say I can't see the point of this stuff. The page has a section headed Dealing with disruptive editors. On examination it appears in fact to be about dealing with content policy violation, regardless of whether you call it DE, regardless of all the stuff further up the page.
Of course, whether the steps suggested would actually work is another question. I recently asked the reliable sources noticeboard whether in fact they managed to reach decisions, & whether those decisions were enforced by admin. The answer was basically "often, no".
So in practice many disputes just go on & on. Does this count as disruption? If so, it could be said that it's the Wikipedia system itself that's disruptive. Peter jackson (talk) 14:08, 20 June 2010 (UTC)

Re: what is not disruptive editing

Tidied and reordered a little. Put "in sum" in front of key sentence. Gave trivial example of non-disruptive editing that I don't think anyone will question. Nucleophilic (talk) 18:25, 20 October 2010 (UTC)

Alterations

I have made some alterations to sections which were outdated, overlooked nuances and were a poor reflection of administrative practice. Review and commentary welcome. Skomorokh 16:52, 30 October 2010 (UTC)

Citing wp:rs is not per se disruptive editing

Citing wp:rs is not per se disruptive editing is mostly just a clairification of the sentence before. The key words are "per se", which means the reliable source has to be relevant, etc. to the issue at hand. Mainly, this helps assure NPOV and inhibits POV-pushing by editors who may not like what the reliable sources say. Also, --- notice that one editor with a history of being beat up by arbcom for this sort of stuff-- see Wikipedia:Requests for arbitration/West Bank - Judea and Samaria and ops cit--- reverted a week's-plus of work by several editors without going to the comments page. Should we be calling in arbcom again ? Nucleophilic (talk) 20:33, 5 November 2010 (UTC)

I hear what you are saying, but the WP policies are kinda important, and lots of editors rely on them, and they are "tried and true". So, if you want to add a new sentence or section, the best approach is to propose it here in the Talk page, then wait 3 or 4 days (many editors dont check WP every day) and if there are no objections, you can proceed with your proposed change. --Noleander (talk) 20:49, 5 November 2010 (UTC)
This is exactly what I did. See my above post from October 20 "Re: what is not disruptive editing". I posted to the article on Oct 20, then solicited comments here, just like the rules say. No comments at all. Nucleophilic (talk) 22:27, 5 November 2010 (UTC)
Here is the relevant statement: "That is, citing a viewpoint stated in a main-stream scholarly journal, textbook, or monograph is not per se disruptive editing." Seems to me that this is the essence of maintaining NPOV. BTW, anybody who has been cited by arbcom for (among other things) POV-pushing by deleting WP:Reliable Sources probably has a WP:conflict of interest here. Knowing how stuff works, I also remind everyone about WP:canvassing. Nucleophilic (talk) 13:35, 6 November 2010 (UTC)
Added: " For example, citing a viewpoint stated in a main-stream scholarly journal, textbook, or monograph is not per se disruptive editing." As an example of the previous passage Comments ? Nucleophilic (talk) 16:03, 8 November 2010 (UTC)

Putting more teeth in "Failure to get point"?

I'm dealing with two articles now (Added later for clarification: Libertarianism and United States and state terrorism), one where a few editors keep trying to get material removed despite at least 2 RfCs/2 Name change requests/4-5 failed proposals (all against their view) another where article has been AfD and survived a number of times and people are still trying to delete it. (Both articles now locked because of edit warring!) Yet no one has been sanctioned because of Failure to Get the Point, even though their constant disruptions led to total protection of both articles! How do we get some teeth in "Failure to get point", starting with the article explicitly stating that constant deletionist (or whatever) behavior vs. strong and repeated consensus really is not acceptable?? I have wasted hours on first article dealing with it and don't want to do the same on new article am working on. CarolMooreDC (talk) 14:32, 1 January 2011 (UTC)

Attempting to change policy to assist yourself in an ongoing content despite is itself disruptive. Please view WP:KETTLE. [DELETED CONTENT]
I recommend stopping this discussion right here. Dispute resolution is ongoing at the article talk page by way of WP:RFC. Normal processes will work this out, if you let them. Jehochman Talk 14:53, 1 January 2011 (UTC)
Aside from agreeing with Jehochman about what is disruptive, the fact is that the "teeth" of any guideline or policy has always been and in my view should be the consensus reached by a diverse group of editors acting in good faith. Policies and guidelines should not be about "teeth," they should be about principles that diverse editors acing in good faith can refer to for guidance to reach consensus. This underscores Jehochman's point, policies and guidelines cannot be rewritten to serve particular interests.
Inter alia, in protracted edit conflicts, what is usually needed is a larger and more diverse group of editors committed to ou rocre conent policies - that's the "teeth." But it is the very nature of Wikipedia, its quasi-anarchic wiki-process, that demands of all editors one crucial virtue: patience. Slrubenstein | Talk 15:05, 1 January 2011 (UTC)
  • I never heard of WP:Kettle before. But when the heck is one likely to deal with an issue except when one is in the middle of it? Plus this is just a call to make a policy more explicit (i.e., teeth in mentioning it at all), not to change policy.
  • I am talking about articles where AfDs and RfCs have upheld a community view to keep material/articles and yet people keep trying to delete that material articles despite community consensus. How does one get that to be taken seriously? Advice appreciated.
  • This is the third time user:Jehochman has engaged in Wikipedia:Outing#Posting_of_personal_information. Are you under the impression that because someone outed some 7.5 year old email rant I let out in response to repeated death threats right after a big controversial war had been launched, it's ok to bring it up all over wikipedia? If someone researched and found you had some business relations with companies that supported your "pro-America POV" and outed that, would you want other people spouting that all over wikipedia or would you go to WP:ANI with a WP:harassment complaint? Not that JEhochman's WP:ANI against me on this topic failed to get me blocked or banned. The closing editor commented: An admin should know better than to come to ANI with what amounts to "I don't like this user's POV". Especially as within this topic any ANI thread is likely to be unpleasantly conflictual. Yes, we could continue talking here until the cows come home and accuse each other of POV-pushing... but let's not.
  • As I've written to User:Jehochman before on your talk page at this diff I find it difficult to believe you are an administrator when you mock policy, insult other editors and defend editors who insult other editors. WP:ADMINABUSE says "If a user thinks an administrator has acted improperly against him/her or another editor, he or she should express their concerns directly to the administrator responsible and try to come to a resolution in an orderly and civil manner. " So here I am expressing myself. You deleted my comment with a negative edit summary and now are engaging in this kind of behavior again. What would you all suggest as my recourse? CarolMooreDC (talk)
Carol, you chose to identify yourself. In no way have I or anybody else outed you. [REMOVED CONTENT] Jehochman Talk 15:35, 1 January 2011 (UTC)
Read WP:Harass. Bringing up old incidents on wikipedia over and over is bad enough. Bringing up old incidents from 7.5 years ago OFF wikipedia is really absurd. Find current evidence on wikipedia, not off-wikipedia internet researching of some strong POV I have (as I have found abundant evidence of yours here) and use that. Or do you think opposition research on Wikipedia is fine and dandy and oppose the outing policy? CarolMooreDC (talk) 15:43, 1 January 2011 (UTC)
Read Don't cry wolf. A policy talk page is not the place to have this discussion. I suggest ending it right here. Jehochman Talk 16:19, 1 January 2011 (UTC)

Upon reflection I have removed parts of a few of my comments that seem to have been stressing another editor. Today is a holiday, and we should try to avoid needless quarreling so that everybody can enjoy the day. Jehochman Talk 16:25, 1 January 2011 (UTC)

Mea culpa for failing to read yesterday in this article the following:
  • Editor continues to ignore consensus of the RfC.
  • Again request assistance at Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard/Incidents for administrator intervention, point to consensus from the User Conduct RfC. An admin should issue a warning or temporary block as appropriate.
Where's that graphic of the wet fish so I can smack myself with it?? CarolMooreDC (talk) 16:43, 2 January 2011 (UTC)

Is there a relevant talk page template?

What I'm looking for for the Libertarianism article talk page (and possibly elsewhere in the future) is a template to replace the temporary protection-related one now there which was created using Wikipedia:TMBOX. The template would say something like

My questions: Is there such a template now? Does there need to be one? How much page consensus does there need to be to create one if there isn’t an established one? Thanks! CarolMooreDC (talk) 17:37, 2 January 2011 (UTC)

See {{circular}}. I think it is a bad idea to start threatening editors with anything stronger than this friendly template. The archive search is a good feature. We don't want to bite newcomers. If they bring up something that has been discussed before too many times, they can be given a gentle, good faith explanation of the history and pointed to the relevant archive sections. Jehochman Talk 20:13, 2 January 2011 (UTC)
Thanks for that alternative. Unfortunately, it's not the newcomers who are the problem. CarolMooreDC (talk) 22:44, 2 January 2011 (UTC)
Oh. Anybody who joins the editing of an article is a newcomer. It is important to welcome new editors to an article, not bite them for failing to read through the archives before editing. Jehochman Talk 15:29, 3 January 2011 (UTC)
But the problem remains the Old Comers who just keep bringing same thing up over and over. (And I am more concerned with Libertarianism than any articles you and I might disagree on.) Thinking back, I think the article got protected about the same time 3 or 4 editors were ready to take the others to WP:ANI for continuing to fight against the 4 failed RfCs and the 2 failed WP:RM name changes of 3 or 4 other editors. I guess I have some vague hope such a template would reign them in. But it's probably just best to keep listing the RfCs/WP:RMs as a warning to them after each new variation on the same old proposals until we have enough evidence against enough of them to got to WP:ANI and get them banned from the article. But it's taken us 7 months to figure all this out and any guidance this article might provide to people in similar situations would be great! So I'm still talking about improving This article's usefulness. (Mentioning that {tlx|circular} template, if not there already, would be good start. CarolMooreDC (talk) 21:53, 3 January 2011 (UTC)

Tendentious deletions also disruptive

I added a line about tendentious deletions of referenced material, but it was unilateral deleted without discussion by another editor here: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Wikipedia:Disruptive_editing&diff=405373511&oldid=405330609. My "disruptive edit" read, "Likewise, deletion of relevant, reliably sourced and neutrally worded material from articles, in an attempt to exclude notable but controversial information, can also be disruptive (see Wikipedia:Neutral point of view)." The deleting editor also posted an accusatory message on my talk page here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User_talk:Ghostofnemo#Your_edit_at_Wikipedia:Disruptive_editing Ghostofnemo (talk) 02:46, 2 January 2011 (UTC)

No. Proposal is nearly identical to soundly defeated proposal here--Terrillja talk 04:16, 2 January 2011 (UTC)
While that proposal may be too broad, something about deletion of material that has been supported by multiple recent RfCs (or AfDs for article) might be nice :-) CarolMooreDC (talk) 04:20, 2 January 2011 (UTC)
This is from WP:NPOV:
"There is guidance from ArbCom that removal of statements that are pertinent, sourced reliably, and written in a neutral style constitutes disruption.[1] Instead of removing cited work, you should be questioning uncited information."
And if you follow the link there to the ArbCom ruling, it says: "It is disruptive to remove statements that are sourced reliably, written in a neutral narrative, and pertain to the subject at hand." Ghostofnemo (talk) 12:45, 2 January 2011 (UTC)
No. Wikipedia is not an indescriminate collection of info. Excessive detail can be removed. WP:BLP1E and WP:UNDUE can be enforced. It is a bad idea -- WP:CREEP -- to have too much detail in this guideline. Don't use policy to stifle debate about the proper scope and focus of articles. Jehochman Talk 13:10, 2 January 2011 (UTC)
Also from WP:NPOV: ""Neutral point of view" is one of Wikipedia's three core content policies. The other two are "Verifiability" and "No original research". These three core policies jointly determine the type and quality of material that is acceptable in Wikipedia articles. Because these policies work in harmony, they should not be interpreted in isolation from one another, and editors should try to familiarize themselves with all three. The principles upon which this policy is based cannot be superseded by other policies or guidelines, or by editors' consensus." Ghostofnemo (talk) 13:28, 2 January 2011 (UTC)
Exactly. In order to enforce NPOV, we often have to remove excessively detailed, though sourced, content that is unbalancing an article. There's always more content to add, but articles cannot be endlessly long. So sometimes it is necessary to remove the least important details in order to balance. Jehochman Talk 14:32, 2 January 2011 (UTC)
There is a big difference between "removing excessive detail" and wholesale deletion of entire topics. Would you like to see some examples? Ghostofnemo (talk) 15:07, 2 January 2011 (UTC)
Per my last comment in thread above, I am glad to see this article does in fact state: Editor continues to ignore consensus of the RfC...Again request assistance at Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard/Incidents for administrator intervention, point to consensus from the User Conduct RfC. An admin should issue a warning or temporary block as appropriate. Assuming of course the response is legitimate and reflective of the community (a whole nother topic) what to include or not to include can be settled by a good RfC. CarolMooreDC (talk) 16:46, 2 January 2011 (UTC)
Jehochma is correct. NPOV is all about balance. If, for example, you're working on an article about a fringe theory, and you add material explaining the fringe viewpoint, you also need to add content explaining the mainstream POV. A Quest For Knowledge (talk) 17:30, 2 January 2011 (UTC)
Another thing to keep in mind is that we're writing encyclopedia articles, not books. At some point, articles start getting too long and we need to be judicious in what to include and what not to include. And some material is just plain bad. I'm normally side to the inclusionist POV but one of my pet peeves on Wikipedia is trivia sections. I recently worked on one of our WWII articles and there was a "popular culture" section that mentioned things like Pearl Harbor being in the story of Call of Duty video game. Ugh. And yes, I wiped out the whole section. A Quest For Knowledge (talk) 17:39, 2 January 2011 (UTC)
And don't get me started on Notes/references quotations that go on and on lambasting or defending some person or position, to the point of copyright violation in number of words used. Anyway, it's all a judgment call, except when it's clearly against repeatedly established community consensus. CarolMooreDC (talk) 18:42, 2 January 2011 (UTC)

My concern is that some editors COMPLETELY DELETE material that is relevant, well-sourced, neutral in tone, and not giving undue weight, that simply states facts or reports material published in respected sources. They have all kinds of rationales for these deletions (BRD, UNDUE, against consensus, no consensus, etc., etc., etc.) but the fact is they are being disruptive because the material is neutral, well-sourced, notable and relevant. ArbCom says this is a no-no. NPOV says this is a no-no. It should be reflected here as well. Ghostofnemo (talk) 14:06, 3 January 2011 (UTC)

The discussion on WT:OR pretty much showed that this is not necessary and would only make it harder for editors to improve articles. What you see as relevant others see as irrelevant or unbalanced. You're beating up on the horse again and there is absolutely nothing new that hasn't already been discussed there. And soundly turned down. --Terrillja talk 14:30, 3 January 2011 (UTC)
You're saying deleting good material improves articles? Per WP:TEND: "Instead of removing cited work, you should be questioning uncited information." Ghostofnemo (talk) 13:18, 5 January 2011 (UTC)
Please read the discussion above. A Quest For Knowledge (talk) 13:29, 5 January 2011 (UTC)
I tried to reword the proposed line to cover the objections expressed in this discussion, but once again it was completely deleted. Here is the diff of the deletion: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Wikipedia:Disruptive_editing&diff=406897536&oldid=406816915 Can you articulate a precise reason why this needs to be completely deleted instead of being modified? Ghostofnemo (talk) 14:02, 10 January 2011 (UTC)
I support the current page (i.e. do not add "editors should not act as censors ..."). First, we do not spell out every way someone can be disruptive. If someone were to literally do what was suggested in the new text (delete sourced and due material with no good reason), that edit could almost be reverted as vandalism, and could certainly be undone as unexplained deletion of sourced material. Second, the mention of "censors" is inappropriate: if editor A removes material, they need a reason other than the material is offensive; likewise, editor B needs a reason to restore the material, other than to claim A was censoring the article (an unsupportable and frankly absurd claim—governments censor, editors edit). Johnuniq (talk) 22:47, 10 January 2011 (UTC)
So it's your personal opinion that tendentious deletions and censorship are not a problem on Wikipedia? Some observers beg to differ...
Of course every form of tendentious behavior is a problem here. However, per WP:BURO we don't document these. Also, "censor" is an emotive term which as I pointed out is not appropriate (we all know censorship is bad, but what needs to be shown is that a particular removal was bad—not that the removal was what another editor thinks is censorship). If someone starts removing pictures of birds claiming that such images are prohibited by their religion, we will just revert as yet another misguided editor. Saying the editor was "censoring" would not be correct (they were just editing). You might claim that the editor was motivated by a desire to censor, but that sort of thinking is unproductive and unnecessary. Johnuniq (talk) 02:56, 11 January 2011 (UTC)
Sorry, I don't see the line you are referring to at WP:BURO - can you point it out for me? To change the subject, so if an editor is removing a bird picture, for example, claiming it's "undue weight" to display bird x's picture instead of bird y's, or that "there's no consensus" to display a picture of bird x, or that bird x is not a notable bird, there is nothing in this policy to protect bird x's photo from being deleted, even if the other editors knock themselves out trying to convince the bird x hater that he is mistaken. No matter how many reliable sources you produce, no matter how many times you explain there is room for pictures of bird x AND bird y, no matter how obvious it is that the editor just wants bird x out of the article no matter what, for no articulable or defensible reason (perhaps the picture of bird x disproves some point of view he or she is trying to defend), he or she can keep deleting the photo and not be accused of disruptive editing, because according to the current page, it's only disruptive to keep adding inappropriate stuff to articles, but not disruptive to delete good material. But if my line is restored, both are considered disruptive. Ghostofnemo (talk) 11:18, 14 January 2011 (UTC)
Edit warring and ignoring consensus is disruptive. If an editor other editors who argue that the image is relevant in order to delete the image he is edit warring. The current guideline states this cleary: A disruptive editor is an editor who: ... Does not engage in consensus building.Taemyr (talk) 13:27, 14 January 2011 (UTC)
Taemyr has covered the matter. One aspect of WP:BURO is that policies do not attempt to spell out exactly what is good and exactly what is bad. In real life, the legal system can put a person in prison, so laws have to be very precise. The cumbersome and expensive nature of a legal system is not needed here. Repeatedly doing anything unhelpful (after being advised to stop) is disruptive. We do not need to point the offender to a precise rule saying that their action is not allowed. Johnuniq (talk) 03:27, 15 January 2011 (UTC)

There are all kinds of very useful, expilict rules on Wikipedia regarding neutral point of view, reliable sources, and so on. This page is about disruptive editing, what it is, and why editors should not do it. It seems really odd to exclude tendentious deletions from an article on disruptive editing. According to this article in the Economist http://www.economist.com/research/articlesBySubject/displayStory.cfm?story_id=17911276&subjectID=348963&fsrc=nwl "The number of regular contributors to Wikipedia’s English-language encyclopedia dropped from around 54,000 at its peak in March 2007 to some 35,000 in September 2010. A similar trend has been visible in some foreign-language versions of the encyclopedia. Wikipedia’s leaders say this reflects the fact that the large majority of subjects have now been written about. Perhaps, but some evidence suggests that neophytes are being put off by Wikipedia’s clique of elite editors. One study by researchers at Xerox’s Palo Alto Research Centre looked at the number of times editorial changes were subsequently reversed. It found that roughly a quarter of the edits posted by occasional contributors were undone in late 2008, compared with less than 2% of those posted by the most active editors. And it noted that this gap had widened considerably over time." Now, I'm not saying bad edits should be allowed to stand unedited, but I've noticed a definite pattern of complete deletions of apparently neutral, well-sourced, relevant material (as opposed to rewording them to bring them into line with various policies, policies that may or may not be cited by the deleting parties). I think it needs to be pointed out to editors that completely deleting another editor's contributions is disruptive if it is not being done for a valid reason. This is the policy, after all (see my citations on the deleted lines of my proposal). Ghostofnemo (talk) 08:37, 16 January 2011 (UTC)

Should we mention

that if I try to imply someone is disruptive, or if I use sarcasm in a strong tone of self-confidence, I might and probably will turn someone with good intentions disruptive because I'd seem to be purposely making it too difficult, or rather, embarrassing, for the editor to "get the point?" 173.183.79.81 (talk) 04:01, 11 March 2011 (UTC)

WP:DRN

Hi everyone, I have been going over the steps in the "Dealing with disruptive editors" section, and it occurs to me that we should probably put the new dispute resolution noticeboard in there somewhere. What do people think about this? — Mr. Stradivarius 13:17, 8 July 2011 (UTC)

Just drop it? Okay.

I'm overwhelmed by the bureaucracy necessary to stop a simple edit warrior. As a consequence, I will now let the case in question slide, and leave the article with unsourced info. You don't care, you say? Well, imagine this happening thousands of times per day. In the words of GWB: the edit warriors has won.--Anders Feder (talk) 12:15, 21 October 2011 (UTC)

A suggestion

People have suggested this before, and it has been dismissed, but I always thought it had merit. Is there any interest in establishing an editors'/writers' guild (for the want of a better phrase) -- an association of some kind to promote the interests of content contributors and the content they create?

There was an incident last year that concerned me. A company started offering print-on-demand books at hefty prices that were just Wikipedia articles, including FAs, bound with a nice front cover. What bothered me was this: first, that the prices were high ($50 or so), and the Wikipedia connection was not made clear enough. Secondly, the books had a byline of three non-existent people, which suggested they had actually written the content. And third, when a journalist in the UK asked whether Wikipedia objected to this, they were told by a spokesperson (David G), no, it's fine, we welcome it.

I found this objectionable. Yes, we agree to free licences, but that doesn't mean we cease to exist as writers. The attitude that we don't matter as individuals feeds into Brian's point about how many/most editors use Wikipedia as a plaything or weapon, not as a serious place where they can write. It's also directly connected to the disruption factor, where the person who writes an FA/GA is seen as having no more moral rights over his creation than someone who wanders past to introduce errors into it.

Creating a guild specifically for content creators (with the stress on "creation") will give us a voice. We could deal with our own civility issues (and there are issues, though it's more complex than a lot of the discussions about it imply), without it needing to be addressed by admins. And we could create guidelines about how to deal with disruption to content creation.

I'm not suggesting setting something up that would be oppositional and divisive, but something that would focus on writers' interests, which are currently completely unrepresented. In fact, at the moment, we don't even have any concept on Wikipedia of "writers' interests."

Is there any interest in doing this? SlimVirgin TALK|CONTRIBS 01:14, 30 October 2011 (UTC)

Possibly. Though what about the idea of a location specifically to deal with content disputes related to featured articles? And to ask for help with vandalism or to ask for a featured article to be put on a watchlist if no-one is maintaining it any more? I think this has been suggested before, but I can't remember the arguments advanced against it (if any). An actual guild of writers, though, how would you set that up? Would it be modelled on existing structures (there are some guilds around already) or be something completely new? Carcharoth (talk) 11:33, 30 October 2011 (UTC)
SV's proposal has more merit than suggestions of walkouts or protests. It offers, if nothing else, the framework for a way forward. Initial thought: I wouldn't call it a "guild". That name is a kiss of death, vide the "Guild of Copyeditors", the "Editors' Guild", etc. "Association of Content Editors" (ACE) might sound less pompous. It should have at its core a simple and strict code of principles that reflect its objective (protecting content quality and supporting the rights of content creators). Membership could be open to anyone who has steered an article through GA, FAC or FLC – and through any other criterion that indicates a commitment to quality content.
Bear in mind, however, that Wikipedia is what it is, and we all began our participation with our eyes open to its flaws – or if we didn't we soon learned. Also, the perspective of the quality content creator (for want of a better term) may be at times blinkered by self-interest. Reform initiated in the way that SV suggests will not be a giant leap forward, rather a small step, perhaps along the lines of the mild reform, a couple of years ago, of WP:OWN by the introduction of the principle of "stewardship". I have had many an occasion since to bless that modest reform. Brianboulton (talk) 14:15, 30 October 2011 (UTC)
Sounds good (though WP:ACE redirects to the arbitration committee election pages). I think a potential sticking point is this: "Membership could be open to anyone who has steered an article through GA, FAC or FLC – and through any other criterion that indicates a commitment to quality content.". You will get numerous people arguing that almost any activity that aims to improve Wikipedia 'indicates a commitment to quality content'. The critical points being 'commitment' and 'quality'. (How much commitment is needed?) You may get people arguing that nominating articles for deletion (or bringing substandard FAs to Featured Article Review, to make this more relevant) helps improve the overall quality of the encyclopedia, so should the focus be purely on content creation? You will also get people saying that suggesting or adding minor changes to existing featured content is a commitment to quality, but there is a valid argument that endless discussion over the addition of a sentence here or there (or, capitalisation in an article title as I saw in a recent FAC) is just as 'valuable', when I would say that such discussions are more a timesink than anything else. The other sticking point is how long ago does having steered an article through (say) FA count? Though actually, that is not really a problem if GA is included. The biggest problem will be when someone notices that people are being excluded and says "hang on, this should be open to everyone!". And I can't really say they would be wrong to say that. All you can do is encourage people to sign up with a summary of their wiki-writing credentials, and let the chips fall where they may. You may end up with a group with good working dynamics, or it may all fall apart really quickly. You can never tell. Carcharoth (talk) 15:15, 30 October 2011 (UTC)
I have to go offline in a minute, but just some thoughts (sorry if I'm being repetitive).
My thinking is that a lot of the problems we see (experienced editors leaving, reducing their input, or angry; and the content contributor-versus-admin tension) can be attributed to not being able/allowed to take pride in what we do. We write articles that get lots of readers. But at the same time we're told it doesn't matter who does the writing, do not act as if you're an owner, and if an anon arrives to revert you at an article you've spent months or years on, you must discuss his concerns politely, even if they're nonsensical. And the more experienced we are, the more we risk being seen as "vested contributors".
This is not humane. No ordinary voluntary organization treats its volunteers as dispensable. Wikipedia does, because some people think there is an endless supply of good volunteers, but I think they're wrong about that.
An Association would help us in several ways. We could make it formal, with a membership and elected directors, or keep it informal, as we chose. We could open it to anyone who takes their writing on Wikipedia seriously, with FA/GA/FL participation as one of the criteria (we can come up with others). It wouldn't have to be elitist, aggressive or divisive. It would just have to be something that allowed us to feel that content creators on Wikipedia were actually valued. SlimVirgin TALK|CONTRIBS 16:07, 30 October 2011 (UTC)
Agreed. A critical point about the belief that a stream of new good editors will replace frustrated good editors is that if the Facebook or 4chan crowd ever establish a significant presence, any new good editors would find an unwelcoming community where good edits are overwhelmed by bad, due to the diluted efforts of the remaining good editors. Now that Wikipedia is Number 1, it is attracting people who normally would have little interest in contributing to an encyclopedia. Also, the WMF is spending serious money on attracting passers by, with no commensurate effort to manage the new arrivals. Johnuniq (talk) 03:07, 31 October 2011 (UTC)
Having done my [tiny] share of AfC patrol, I respectfully disagree. Missing articles on important topics are still being submitted by people with no Wikipedia experience, and they are sometimes being rejected for not conforming to WP:REFB even when their writeup could well be published by a journal (they use parenthetical referencing etc.) See some examples on mw:talk:Article creation workflow. ASCIIn2Bme (talk) 18:05, 31 October 2011 (UTC)
Related to my involvement at the WikiProject Council, I have spent a lot of time thinking about whether a group can reject participants. The thought experiment works like this: A WikiProject is (exactly) a group of editors who voluntarily want to work together. Alice and Bob and Chris and Daisy are productive, useful members whose utility to the encyclopedia is increased by working together. Ed wants to join, but the first four member do not want to work together with Ed. Should Ed be able to demand that the group want to work with him, over their objections?
There are two questions: Is it even possible for Ed to force inclusion? If it were possible, should he do that?
I think that the answers are no and no: Even if he posts to the project page, the first four can WP:SHUN him, and there is zero possible method of preventing them from doing that. Also, forcing them to permit his involvement is likely to destroy the functional working relationship that the first four members have.
IMO the right answer is that the group should be able to directly reject a would-be member (for sufficiently serious reasons), because, in the end, the practical alternatives are (1) that the group rejects Ed and (2) the group disbands to avoid working with Ed. The cost to the encyclopedia for option 1's rejection is smaller (though not zero) than the cost for option 2's forced inclusion.
In practice, however, the accept-all-comers ideal is so strong that you'd probably have to proceed to AN or ARBCOM and get Ed formally topic-banned from the group's pages. So if you want a group with some sort of controls on who can join, I honestly believe you are best advised to find an off-wiki host for it. WhatamIdoing (talk) 18:33, 31 October 2011 (UTC)
Should it matter at all who joins and makes suggestions as long as those suggestions forward the aims of helping to increase content quality on WP? There are editors who do not have FAs/GAs to their names but who do high-quality work. There are editors with FA credit who have been among the most disruptive I have ever encountered. Content editors need to be represented in some way, but we need to be very careful as the perception will be that this is another cabal to protect vested contributors no matter what. Because of that, I am hesitant of any idea of a noticeboard to post individual issues with FAs. I'm personally more interested in discovering where we can change WP attitudes - to make it easier to block for disruption, to make changes to streamline policies and guidelines, etc - so that we can get broader buy-in to some of these attitude shifts. Karanacs (talk) 19:02, 31 October 2011 (UTC)
Membership ultimately determines the group's activities. If your primary goal is a sympathetic ear (and perhaps a little practical support) from people who share your concerns about the great unwashed mass of editors being permitted to "destroy your work", then you pretty much need to restrict the group's membership to people who are likely to be sympathetic to that feeling—ideally, people who fundamentally trust you, so that whatever your position is about a proposed change, they'll defaultly believe you're right.
Given that this isn't a culturally approved attitude on the English Wikipedia, an open board isn't going to achieve that. An open board is likely to attract more people complaining about your "elitism" and "ownership" and "refusal to hear" critics than anything else. WhatamIdoing (talk) 21:44, 31 October 2011 (UTC)
NB that I'm not making a recommendation that anyone create a limited-membership group: I'm only saying that, based on what I know about group dynamics and the en.wiki culture, if you want to achieve this un-en.wiki result, you need an off-wiki tool. You may be used to wielding a hammer, and hammers work fine for pounding in nails, but that comfortable hammer isn't going to drive these screws. WhatamIdoing (talk) 21:47, 31 October 2011 (UTC)
Re "off-wiki tool": What you're suggesting sounds much like the Megaphone desktop tool. Wasn't there an arbitration case about something like that, WP:EEML? ASCIIn2Bme (talk) 22:20, 31 October 2011 (UTC)
The basic principle is open editing, and it has gotten us to the present degree of importance and usefulness, and given us who do it a great deal of satisfaction. It has also given us a considerable amount of friction and unpleasant and misunderstanding, but that's the nature of human activities. If we abandon openness and become exclusive, the friction within the group will be replaced by the friction with those outside it. Most of us engage in a mix of activities--in most cases, as we gain experience, including more than content editing, because there is also the satisfaction of teaching others--as well as trying to influence the encyclopedia come closer to whatever our individual vision of it is. I think any exclusive group will be against the entire purpose here. In the extreme case, an individual who is disruptive only in a certain activity can be banned from it, and that gives the necessary protection to particular activities.
this isn't the only way to do things. It isn't the only way to write a general encyclopedia . It almost certainly isn't the way to write a high quality scholarly encyclopedia, which needs strong authoritative central editing. But its a way which has yielded surprisingly excellent results, and made something that is, in its way, better than has ever been done before. We should keep it, and experiment elsewhere. Wikipedia would be all the better for some viable competition.
As for the concerns listed in the first paragraph: if you are an expert writer, you will know how to deal with difficulties, and know how to express yourself so clearly and source so carefully that your position will be obviously correct,and will prevail in discussions. The problem is exactly the opposite of that proposed there: the experienced people here can protect themselves, the beginners are the ones who need the assistance. Society of New Member's Advocates is what we need, more than a Society of Experienced Writers. DGG ( talk ) 23:41, 31 October 2011 (UTC)
The basic principle is open editing, and it has gotten us to the present degree of importance and usefulness, ... Are you confusing open editing with Google's ranking algorithm? The discussion here started because the experienced people are not in fact protected from the "Society of New Member's Advocates", (whose ranks include increasingly younger and less experienced editors). I'm aware of your long-standing support for the notion that children who haven't learned to write, research or paraphrase in their own words or deal with conflict can contribute meaninfully to a reference work, which may explain our differing viewpoints. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 03:15, 1 November 2011 (UTC)
The basic principle seems to be "to be an encyclopaedia." I can tell you from an analysis of systematic bias, that we don't have open editing from technical, nationalist, gendered, language, class and poverty bases. USENET also had an equivalent system of "open" editing. USENET doesn't seem to be an encyclopaedia. USENET still has "open" editing. The communities behind the text based sections of USENET have largely evaporated, being replaced by high volume binary pornography trading and automated robots talking to one another. I don't, and won't, produce high quality content here because I prefer to experience systematic and ritualised abuse of finely crafted detailed work from people with an ideological unwillingness to meet common standards of proof by reference to text in offline spaces only. Fifelfoo (talk) 04:00, 1 November 2011 (UTC)
I meant that as our distinctive principle. there have been other encyclopedias. Open editing of a general encyclopedia is essentially distinctive to us. In my experience, the experienced people here who want to be protected include some who want their ownership of an article or topic protected, or want to justify their long-standing idiosyncrasies or even patterns of disruption. As for children, I know personally of some who have made excellent contribution as young as 11. I can't name them, as most of them do not want the ages public, in order to avoid the prejudice mentioned above. What I also know about children is that they are capable of learning. That ability seems often to decrease with age. It is certainly true there are unconstructive editors at early age groups, but they are much easier to deal with than the ones who have more experience and sophistication at it. DGG ( talk ) 20:38, 2 November 2011 (UTC)

"Unencyclopedic"?

The sections Dealing with disruptive editors and Signs of disruptive editing refer to "unencyclopedic" edits: "First unencyclopedic entry by what appears to be a disruptive editor", "revert uncited or unencyclopedic material", and "cites unencyclopedic sources". My question is where is the term "unencyclopedic" defined in WP policies/guidelines? If it isn't, who decides what "unencyclopedic" means in discussions? Shirtwaist 22:52, 31 October 2011 (UTC)

It isn't defined. You must use your Best Editorial Judgment in deciding whether something is encyclopedic. Your judgment would ideally be informed by both common sense and major content policies like WP:NOT. WhatamIdoing (talk) 00:39, 1 November 2011 (UTC)
Seems a bit too vague to be part of a guideline that's telling us what we're supposed to do. What should we make of this, for example? Shirtwaist 02:50, 1 November 2011 (UTC)
It's not rocket science. An encyclopedia is a repository of knowledge, not opinion or prejudice. It needs to be factual and verifiable. It needs to be in plain language, not in jargon. Its prose needs to be authoritative, not journalistic or magaziney. Any edit transgressing these broad principles might be termed "unencyclopedic". If you are making this charge against an editor, you should say why the edit is unencyclopedic, rather than using the term as a blanket condemnation. Brianboulton (talk) 12:42, 2 November 2011 (UTC)
you should say why the edit is unencyclopedic, rather than using the term as a blanket condemnation - Absolutely, and so should this guideline. Shirtwaist 20:44, 2 November 2011 (UTC)
"Unencyclopedic" is useful shorthand. It refers to material that does not belong in a serious, respectable reference work. MastCell Talk 21:36, 2 November 2011 (UTC)
I agree with Shirtwaist here. If this word is being used as a standard in a guideline, it needs a definition--one communally agreed upon. It's confusing and circular to use a word most readers are unsure of.
I use the word to describe edits that change the tone of an article to make it seem more melodramatic or...less like an encyclopedia. --Moni3 (talk) 21:40, 2 November 2011 (UTC)

Wikipedia needs a wake-up call

We can chip away at the edges, but until there's an obvious ground swell of opinion then nothing will change. So let's pick a day that every editor agrees not to edit, and let's see what the result is. Malleus Fatuorum 06:56, 29 October 2011 (UTC)

An editors' strike such as you suggest would in my view only be effective if all or nearly all editors supported it, and it would probably have to last for longer than a day, even to get noticed. As you know, the number of responsible editors on the project is greatly outnumbered by those for whom it is a plaything, a means of self-assertion or a destructive weapon; they're not going to stop editing. So how will things have improved for the "good" editors, when they return? Brianboulton (talk) 11:28, 29 October 2011 (UTC)
A walkout is effective when one's oppressors might actually miss you, like workers in South Africa under Apartheid, when the majority of menial labor was being done by blacks for whites.
What did it take for Wikipedia to see that BLPs needed some attention? Change that into the next step: anyone editing Wikipedia needs to know what s/he's editing about, and drive-by slackers are no longer the engine running the train. --Moni3 (talk) 14:06, 29 October 2011 (UTC)

Perhaps it would be more constructive to propose a solution before getting into a flap about the continued existence of the problem - there clearly is a problem, but what are some of the realistic things we might do about it?--Kotniski (talk) 14:14, 29 October 2011 (UTC)

It wouldn't work Malleus-- 90% of the Project has no idea what the 10% who write the thing (much less the top content) are doing, they don't know FAs exist, they don't worry too much about policy, and the absence wouldn't even be felt. It's like two different worlds in here; those who care about policy-compliant content and work it at the top level, and the rest. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 23:41, 29 October 2011 (UTC)

True, but Wikipedia has always been like that. Wikipedia is a fundamentally anti-elitist concept, and the current round of angst is nothing new. Those producing high-quality work on Wikipedia have always, at some point, woken up to the realisation that it is hard to prevent the work they produce from degrading precisely because Wikipedia supports so strongly the "anyone can edit" principle. One thing I would say, is that if this is to change there should be formal processes to identify an editor's competencies that don't just involve looking at GA and FA production. There are many areas of competency that lie outside those areas, and identifying weaknesses is as important as identifying strengths. Even the best editors here have weaknesses and areas or behaviors they really should avoid, but sometimes don't. I think a lot of the problems would go away if people were gently steered away from areas where they were causing problems, to areas where they were helping. The problem being that many people are not very good at self-assessment, and try (in good faith) to help out in the wrong areas. Carcharoth (talk) 23:59, 29 October 2011 (UTC)
... and the current round of angst is nothing new. Nope, been around for six years, it's much worse than ever. Yes, the good ones always leave when they discover that one person can't prevent the dozens of FAs that person wrote from degrading because every Tom Dick and Harry wants to chunk in some claptrap-- but the good ones leaving weren't historically being replaced in droves by incompetents, advocates, children, college kids forced to edit for class credit even though they have no interest in Wikipedia, etc. As Wikipedia became more known, the caliber of editors replacing those who give up has gone down, and the problem is far worse than ever ... and anyone who thinks that training people will help isn't paying attention-- look at how much damage is being caused by the various university (actually usually community college) projects, where we get kids who appear to have missed high school adding content to articles they couldn't care less about; perhaps Carcharoth will help gently steer these students away from the articles they're damaging (which at least aren't FAs). SandyGeorgia (Talk) 00:21, 30 October 2011 (UTC)
To be fair, that argument (about college projects) is something that should be raised on something like a mailing list, or brought to the attention of the WMF, who might be able to do something about it (I was under the impression they have a network of online ambassadors that are supposed to help with stuff like that you are describing). And I thought there were at least some good university projects? Can't those serve as a model for the other ones? And if training and mentoring isn't an answer, then what is? Protecting all the featured articles? If that's what it takes to retain content writers, and talk page requests were dealt with at least every week (with possible unprotection if no-one is able to engage with the questions), I could support that. For now, though, I'm going to try and improve an article that I tried during the week to use to look up information - I think that FA writers sometimes forget that as long as articles provide the information people are looking for (i.e. Wikipedia being used as a reference work), and people treat that information with due caution, it doesn't matter hugely whether said articles are featured or not. Carcharoth (talk) 01:12, 30 October 2011 (UTC)
The network you're describing is at Wikipedia:Ambassador. Adrian J. Hunter(talkcontribs) 06:09, 30 October 2011 (UTC)
Thank-you. I agree with what you and WhatamIdoing have said in this section, though I'm slightly confused as to whether WhatamIdoing is addressing me or Sandy. I agree with what you say about casual editors, though I don't think 'power editors' is the most diplomatic term to apply to the first group, there are some who (for want of a better word) become over-confident. The mark of the best Wikipedia editors is a constant willingness to learn and engage with the best of other editors, and to help all editors (not just new ones) improve as editors (enculturing the next generation). I usually fail miserably at that (through inaction), but sometimes people learn just by watching how others act. Direct interaction isn't always needed.

Maybe what is needed is a noticeboard where those maintaining and acting as stewards for featured articles could ask for those who are more patient to mentor and help well-meaning editors who need a bit of guidance? Though it is difficult to direct people to a place like that without seeming to be patronising. I also agree with what WhatamIdoing said here: "We're really just looking for improvements". I've been trying to add details to Challenger expedition on where the ship went during the expedition, and some of the information was in other articles. There are books in the secondary literature on the expedition, but until someone arrives with one of those books (one is mentioned in the external links) all that can be done for now is improving the article steadily, bit by bit, so that readers at least find the basic information they may be looking for. GA and FA only really kicks in at the end of a long process of article nurturing (unless we are very lucky to have someone massively improve it in one go).

But this is getting off topic. The issue being discussed here is essentially how to deal with disputes between those who think an FA needs additional changes, and the FA writers who say that the existing article is fine and the changes make it worse. It is nearly always a content dispute with the two sides disagreeing on sourcing and weighting issues. The resolution for such disputes should be: (1) Suggest change on talk page providing source and example of text to be added; (2) Discuss reliability of source and go to noticeboard if needed; (3) If source is reliable, discuss relevance to the article and either agree to add something to this article or suggest an alternative article where the material is better placed; (4) If there is agreement that the material is relevant and well-sourced, consider weighting and agree on the best way to mention in the article, whether that be a footnote, expanding an existing sentence, adding a few new sentences, adding a new paragraph, adding a new section, or expanding an existing section but spinning it off to form a subarticle to avoid unbalancing the existing article. All these options should be considered, and one of them usually works. Carcharoth (talk) 11:26, 30 October 2011 (UTC)

My intention is starting this is not to focus on FAs at all. It is to focus on people who write content. The bulk of the issues I've run into with disruptive editing are not just with my FAs but also with other articles I am improving - whether for GA, FA, or just because. We need to target disruptive editing in general, not disruptive editing in FA-class articles. Karanacs (talk) 18:50, 31 October 2011 (UTC)
The college students I've seen are usually starting with a horrible stub or a redlink, and what they leave behind is better than what they found. This is an example of what three students did to a neglected stub on their first day, and it's a clear improvement: more sources and more information. The end results are rarely GA-class, but we don't actually require that people produce excellent work, especially on their first attempts. We're really just looking for improvements, whether that is a major improvement, like tripling the length of a stub and adding half a dozen sources, or a tiny improvement, like fixing a single typo. Every improvement helps, and every improver deserves respect for their efforts to help out.
We were once all clueless newbies, and I doubt that many of us would be here today if our first efforts had been greeted with complaints about our imperfections. Sandy's earliest edits, for example, show her asking a lot of questions and complaining about a mess at an article—and getting back pleasant, helpful responses.
Compare that positive attitude to what we're saying here about the next decade's "Sandy": everyone who joins today is incompetent, immature, damaging, biased, and untrainable. Is it really any wonder that the people who could become excellent editors are choosing to find more pleasant uses for their time? WhatamIdoing (talk) 04:13, 30 October 2011 (UTC)
That doesn't account for a single example of the college students I've seen (but I'm glad to know there is a counterexample); ambassadors aren't engaging (how could they when one professor may have 200 students required to edit Wikipedia); I'd crawl under a rock and eat worms before I'd post about anything to some Wikipedia mailing list (especially when these significant problems are already being discussed on Wikipedia with even professors complaining the ambassadors aren't engaging [1] ); and finally, it's always interesting that no matter what one writes, some will read what they want to read. In my experience 100% of the time, these students do not engage either on article talk or on user talk, do not come back or stick around Wikipedia, repeatedly insert the same (reverted) content, commit significant copyvios, do not understand reliable sources, do not even post content to the right articles, and clearly have no interest in contributing to Wikipedia or learning Wikipedia policies. Comparing my initial edit history to that sort of thing is ridiculous-- my initial edit history was one of desperately trying to find someone who would talk to me so I could figure out how to make this thing go-- these kids don't even bother to respond anywhere, and don't care, because they're only doing it for college credit, not because they are committed to Wikipedia. Does anyone have an example of a single one of these students who has gone on to a really good regular contributor? This is where I was a week into editing (and I did all of that, brought TS to featured status, and cleaned up or started just about every related article)-- by all means, show me one of these editors who are contributing because they have to for college credit who is similar. My point being, we are not attracting the same caliber of editors we used to, and this resorting to recruiting and trying to train college students because editorship is declining ain't the solution.

But pls, let's stay on topic. I see all over this page several references to the need for a place where disruption on FAs can be brought. I raised that at least a year ago on WT:FAC and (IIRC) it was beaten down-- I think by some of the same participants now advocating for it here. I guess I'll start it myself somewhere, because the systemic problems on Wikipedia aren't going to be addressed, so at least we should try to get a break for FA writers. What is missing in a lot of the analysis (below) is that, once an FA writer has 20 or so FAs on widely known topics, defending those from idiots becomes practically impossible (some FA writers are more lucky than others because they write on obscure topic that get left alone). Those casual editors do not have the same problem-- they aren't going to see their years of hard work end up at FAR and destroyed. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 17:06, 30 October 2011 (UTC)

Absolutely. It seems some of Wikipedia's most senior and respected editors are forgetting that the vast majority of substantive content on Wikipedia is written by casual contributors. Don't believe the science? Take a look at a few (non-randomly selected) articles from my watchlist:
I think what's going on here is the result of a kind of selection bias. Crudely put, there are three kinds of contributors:
  1. The power editors The long-term constructive editors; (amended per Carcharoth)
  2. The destructive editors; and
  3. The casual editors.
Group (1) is highly conspicuous. You see them at WP:FAC, WP:RFA, WT:DE, and so on. Group (2) is highly conspicuous. You see them at various noticeboards, and dealing with them takes up an unfortunately high proportion of the time of group (1). Group (3) is incredibly inconspicuous. This conceals the facts that they are by far the most numerous group and that, despite what group (1) would love to believe, that they have done by far the bulk of the work that's gone into this encyclopedia.
Adrian J. Hunter(talkcontribs) 06:09, 30 October 2011 (UTC)
I think you might divide group (2) into regular and casual as well. I don't know whether the casual positives outnumber the casual negatives, but there's not a lot we can immediately do about that anyway, except create a public perception of Wikipedia that somehow attracts the right sort of people. But the question here (and recognizing that the division into two groups is very crude and simplistic) is how to stop the "regular destructives" wasting the time and negating the work of the "regular positives".--Kotniski (talk) 07:11, 30 October 2011 (UTC)
I'm largely in agreement with Adrian J. Hunter on the group 1/3 issue. No doubt there are also persistently disruptive editors in group 2 that are hard to get rid of because they do some good work. The recently semi-banned guy with 34 blocks comes to my mind. I'm sure there are others, *cough*, check recently closed RfCUs. ASCIIn2Bme (talk) 18:12, 31 October 2011 (UTC)
Before we start set up bivouacs between your three groups, Adrian, perhaps you should qualify your statement about by far the bulk of work into the encyclopedia. With 8,000 editors, by far the bulk of content added to the site is done by about 150-200 editors. Most editors add no more than a paragraph. This is reflected in a great many articles that have no cohesion and appear to be lists of stuff that may or may not be accurate. --Moni3 (talk) 21:44, 2 November 2011 (UTC)
"by far the bulk of content added to the site is done by about 150-200 editors."
What I'm trying to say is that that's an illusion. Did you read the article I linked? The crucial analysis is on the second page. Anyway, you can see for yourself that the numbers you suggest don't add up. Even if Wikipedia's 200 most prolific content writers have written an average of 200 articles each – surely an overestimate – those 40,000 articles would be barely 4% of the ~960,000 non-stub, non-list, assessed articles in the encyclopedia today (source). If I were to qualify my statement it would be to note that the bulk of the highest quality content comes from a small group of editors. But you already know that, and that's not why I posted. Adrian J. Hunter(talkcontribs) 04:09, 3 November 2011 (UTC)
Check this out.
Those statistics of Moni3 seemed pretty bogus to me as well in light of m:Research:WikiPride statistics. That is a pretty odd name for a research project, but it has good data. If there's a single identifiable large "user" group of sizable byte-count impact, it's the bots; almost 1/3 of bytes contributed are theirs. But that's across all namespaces. What's clear in main article space (see graph) is that new user cohorts contribute a sizable amount of bytes every year. So don't be that surprised that the WMF is more worried about attracting those than keeping happy the old ones; the old ones get pretty "dry" on average after a while, it seems. Perhaps they spend a lot of time in discussions like this? ASCIIn2Bme (talk) 11:43, 3 November 2011 (UTC)