Could the whole discussion on Erik issues over Mother
Teresa MOVE to the english list where it is relevant
The whole discussion on watch list issues move from
the english list to the general list, where it is
could we just swap mailing list names since
discussions relevant on english matter are on the
general list, while discussions relevant to the whole
community are on the english list ?
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One of our frequently banned users is making a variety of legal and
financial accusations that I wanted to respond to early and firmly
lest any of these things take root in any way shape or form as
reflective of reality in any way.
1. First, the Wikimedia Foundation is currently in full compliance
and more with all legal requirements for filings, etc. It is my
intention that we remain so, and that indeed, we are proactive about
doing whatever is necessary to go above and beyond what is required of
us in terms of organizational transparency, etc.
I am always eager to hear suggestions for improvement in this regard.
2. Second, there are no plans of any kind to release a 'for-profit'
version of the Wikipedia, for the separate benefit of me or Bomis or
any other company that I own, control, work for, etc. We *will* be
working to release Wikipedia on CD-ROM, in paper format, etc., but
these will be projects *of the foundation*, carried out with perfect
consistency with our nonprofit mission.
Such efforts will necessarily and properly involve the work of
for-profit publishers, but of course any contracts entered into will
be to the benefit of the Wikimedia Foundation.
3. There are no current plans for salaries for anyone. In the
future, I do intend that as we grow, we will become a large
organization patterned after the National Geographic Society, the
International Red Cross, and so on. This will eventually necessitate
employees, etc. But for now, any suggestion that I am personally
trying to get money from Wikipedia is beyond ludicrous.
It is commonly thought that I'm a wealthy person, but I'm not really.
I'm a very committed person who drives a 4 year old Hyundai and lives
in an ordinary middle-class American home in an ordinary neighborhood,
while spending far more in the last 5 years on my dream of a free
encyclopedia than I have on my own salary, none of which, of course,
is derived from Wikipedia in any way.
I do this because it matters to me. There are lots of ways to spend
money in life, some frivolous, some meaningful. To me, doing
something meaningful is the best reward.
4. As of June 1, 2004, I am resigning as CEO of Bomis, and my partner
Tim Shell will take over that role. This is primarily to reflect the
reality of the situation, which is that I spend virtually all my time
on Wikipedia and non-Bomis work. But it is also in part to further
emphasize and underscore the fact that the two are unrelated. Bomis's
ongoing provision of free hosting for the Wikimedia Foundation as a
gesture of appreciation of "giving back" to the free software
community whose software has helped us to do so much is not going to
change. But that ongoing gift is the only relationship between Bomis
and Wikipedia, period.
5. One troll has suggested that the Wikimedia Foundation needs to
disclose something about it's relationship to Bomis. This is a
classic propaganda technique: to demand the disclosure of some shadowy
secrets, with ominous overtones, when there is actually nothing to
disclose. I am happy to answer any questions that anyone has about
it, but there's not much to say.
While I was a futures and options trader, I founded Bomis partly as a
sideline hobby. It was eventually successful enough for me to retire
from trading and do it full time. The company rode through the
dot-com boom with good times and bad, and has always prospered enough
to provide me with a decent living.
I eventually became consumed with the passion to create a free and
freely licensed encyclopedia, and started to spend money on it. In
the early days, I thought of it as a possible business venture like
RedHat. Nupedia was an expensive failure, Wikipedia was a big
But through that process, it became apparent that in order for
Wikipedia to achieve it's full potential it needed to be owned by a
non-profit organization. I promised then to give it all away to the
non-profit organization, and I did. I did so fully and completely and
with no regrets. My reward will be a Nobel Peace Prize, ha ha.
Why has Bomis funded Wikipedia? Because my partners in Bomis shared
my vision and let me do it. Bomis had servers, technical employees,
etc., and was the original owner of Nupedia/Wikipedia. The transition
was natural and spontaneous, and that's where things are today.
6. I have said before that although there are no plans for it at the
current time, and no need for it, it would please me greatly to have
the Wikimedia Foundation grow into a large enough organization that it
would be sensible for me to accept a salary for running it. If and
when that time comes, of course my compensation will be decided
according to the standard practices for charitable organizations, i.e.
through a vote of the other members of the Board of Directors, and in
accordance with the advice of an independent outside compensation
In short, if anyone has *any* questions or concerns about legal or
financial matters, I ask you to please write to me privately and
express those concerns openly and honestly, so that I can resolve
anything of this sort to everyone's satisfaction. If, after you've
talked with me privately, you find that you have any remaining issues
that you don't feel I've addressed, then by all means I encourage you
to go public with your complaints.
That's my biggest problem, really, with what this troll is doing.
He's issuing a lot of lies (anonymously of course) and insinuations,
attempting to make a public stink, rather than honestly and simply
raising the issues with me in an appropriate manner. I don't actually
fear any actual legal action, because in order to file a legal action,
he or she would have to reveal his or her true identity, which would
then enable us to finally take legal action to permanently ban them
from the website, as well as providing an opportunity for me to file a
libel claim against him.
Anyhow, really, I wanted to say all this because I want you you all to
know my keen interest in openness, transparency, fairness, etc. I
want to do whatever I need to do to make sure that the Wikimedia
Foundation is looked to as a shining example of how a nonprofit should
be run, with tight attention paid to expenses, good stewardship of
donor money, etc.
I've been pondering this issue a bit, and briefly looking through
articles on Wikipedia, and I agree series boxes are overused, but think
they are valuable in some places. The basic crux of the matter seems to
be that they are useful when the article is integrally part of a series,
but are often used to essentially construct series where no actual
series exists, and where things would be better served by a "see also"
box. This has some point-of-view implicates as well as simply being
irritating, because "claiming" things as part of a particular field or
line of work is often not uncontroversial. It's also nearly impossible
to do in a clean and universally-agreed-upon way (are articles about the
human mind part of a psychology series or a cognitive science series?)
and clutters up the articles, so is best not done, I think.
Examples where I think a series box is a good idea are the country
history articles, which are broken down into periods. These are clearly
part of a series, as there is basically one very long article on the
history of the country that is broken down largely for convenience.
[[History of the United States (1789-1861)]], [[History of Poland
(1939-1945)]], and so on.
Here are some where I think it is bad:
* [[National Rifle Association]] -- This should be a stand-alone
article. If you want to link to other pro- or anti-gun groups, that
should be at the end, in a "see also" section.
* [[Electronic music]] -- Again, this is properly a "see also" matter,
as classification of music genera is hardly as straightforward as the
* [[Cultural studies]] -- Arguably large parts of cultural studies
aren't even part of [[critical theory]]; at the very least, it's not a
clear hierarchical relationship.
In short, I think we ought not to use series boxes except in very
isolated cases where there is very clearly an unambiguously actually a
series of articles. In other cases, the old standby of "see also" links
is much better and makes fewer controversial claims of subject hierarchy.
In response to Denni and Christopher,
I have been in my company's mentoring program for over two years,
providing guidance to high school students at LaGuardia High School,
which prepares public high school students for professional careers in
dance, music or drama (the movie and TV series Fame both dramatized
student life there).
Now in it's 14th year, it is the longest running and most successful of
my company's volunteer programs.
The key is sponsorship and organization.
First of all, New York City _has_ a mentoring program for its schools.
There are mentoring coordinators both at my company, and at the local
high school. We organizers all meet each other at least three times a
At Wikipedia, I used to follow newbies around and offer them help, but
then I got swept up in Jimbo's proposal to have a Mediation Committee
and an Arbitration Committee. I agreed to serve as a mediator, both on
the official (appointed) committee and later in Alex's grassroots
(elected) Member Advocate project.
These things didn't bear much fruit, because they are "courts of last
resort". Advocacy, mediation, arbitration -- these are all legal
mechanisms by which we turn the gears of justice.
Wouldn't it be better to plant seeds? And water them? And give them
sunlight and fresh air? (That is, guidance and praise and
My response to the Six Month Experiment of having committees is that it
takes a lot of the work load off of Jimbo's shoulders and that it
performs a necessary task rather well. But it is not sufficient, in and
of itself, to provide the nurturing and nourishment needed for Wikipedia
to grow to full flower.
We need something more, like a Mentoring System.
Ed Poor, aka Uncle Ed
There seems to be a tendency amongst some users to e-mail using attachments.
Could I remind them that this will produce irritating "An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
" error messages? Just send them in plain text.
Find what you are looking for with the Lycos Yellow Pages
I do not want anyone to be denied the opportunity to participate in
Wikipedia to its fullest extent, except for three groups of people: the
presently banned, anons, and newbies (he said, seeing keyboards around
the planet ignite spontaneously).
I have no great sympathy for most of those banned; while mistakes
happen, MNH and friends are "away" for good reason. However, anons and
newbies have, as a group, no less ability to create havoc.
I come at this as remembering my own first days here - trying to find my
way around, trying to navigate what appeared to be darkness, editing a
bit here and a bit there until I had the nerve to do my own userpage or
submit a small article (can't remember which came first). Yes, I screwed
up, not through bad intent, but through ignorance, and posted a couple
of articles that got me leapt upon by irate sysops. There are also those
"anons" who are only anonymous to us. They know who they're dealing
with, and sock puppetry is the least of their bad manners sometimes.
I put forward as a suggestion that newbie and anon postings be screened,
similarly to VfDs, for the first few weeks or first few dozens worth of
posts. The software is in place to track x number of posts and shunt
those not meeting certain criteria through to a fastedit page; while
newbies/anons can edit in what seems to be a transparent manner to them,
Wikipedia can also monitor for malicious edits, edits made out of
ignorance (an article submitted intended as a userpage, for instance,
that ends up in article namespace), or edits made similarly (as was my
error - editing the article instead of its related talk page). The
process is, of course, a tad more complicated than this - there need to
be, for instance, some fundamental criteria for holding a page back;
unlike VfD, these pages need to proceed to (mostly) articlespace without
hindrance. While this does not negate Wikipedia's promise of being able
to "edit this page right now", it does add the caveat that the edit may
not be immediately visible.
VfD has a big group of vigilant eyes, myself among them. But if I could
be of help in screening anon vandals, and helping newbies find the right
way, I'd sure rather spend my time on such a page. I propose this to the
powers that be for consideration.
"Computers are stupid They only know the answers." -- Pablo Picasso
Visit my Wikipedia user page at
Do you ICQ? I do - 276534369 Magpie
Lir is currently asking for clarification for her ban from the english wikipedia, on the wikipedia-l. I do not think this is a topic for wikipedia-l.
However, after I mentionned that to her, she answered she was banned from english wikipedia, from wikien-l and from irc, so wikipedia-l was the last place she could discuss her ban.
I am sorry to ask this, but I would prefer that Lir presents her defense on the english wikipedia mailing list, since it is an english wikipedia issue. I do not think all languages have to be involved in local issues discussion. I do not think Lir ban is a wikipedia wide topic of discussion :-)
Now, it has been going on for such a long time that I do not know what is the current status of Lir, with regards to her being allowed to edit.
Did the AC pronounced her banned ? For which duration ?
Is she really banned from the english mailing list ? Why was she ? Is it permanent ? Who decide who is banned from a list ?
Is she really banned from irc as well ? Why ? Is it permanent ?
I would have liked to go and see whether she was blocked or not on the english mailing list.
However, I do not have any admin access to the mailing lists any more since Fire reorganised everything. Not even to the lists I administrated myself for a while :-)
As far as I know, only 3 people have admin access now, brion, ed poor and jeronim.
So, brion, ed and jeronim, could one of you please check if Lir has access or not ?
If Lir does not have access, who is willing to discuss with Lir offline ?
Also, since this mailing list has now very few people able to access, I think a fair process has to be set up to decide who is banned and who is not banned from the mailing lists. It would also be nice that we are updated on this.
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Lir, you may have read Brion and Tim Starling answers about you being banned from mailing lists and irc. You are not.
Ed also wrote to me, and mentionned that he could see no evidence of you being banned from the mailing lists. He also added that till now, only Jimbo was deciding blocks on the english mailing list (though, I must admit I distinctly remember I blocked someone one day...but oh well...).
Your posts probably do not go through because you may not have any account. This is a public mailing list, *requiring* registration. It is no hassle. Administration of mailing list is a pain, because of the huge amount of spam. It is difficult to "distinguish" the "relevant" mails being blocked by "mistake", from the spam. Be nice to administrators and register please.
In short, you are not banned from the mailing lists, nor are you from irc.
As Ed put it "Please sign on and talk with us".
And as I put it "Please, discuss english banning on the english mailing list"
PS : Tim, that makes one ;-)
C A S [name omitted for privacy reasons] <a[name omitted for privacy reasons](a)msn.com> wrote:
I am also blocked from IRC.
----- Original Message -----
To: C A S [name omitted for privacy reasons]
Sent: Tuesday, June 29, 2004 1:52 AM
Subject: Re: you are very rude
do you mean then that you are blocked from the english
mailing list ?
--- C A S [name omitted for privacy reasons] <a[name omitted for privacy reasons](a)msn.com> wrote:
> No, I am not rude; I am banned without reason. I am
> a victim, and you should respect my arguments that
> wikijustice has gone haywire. I do post to the
> English mailing list; as I have stated before, they
> do not accept my posts there.
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: Anthere<mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org>
> To: C A S [name omitted for privacy reasons]<mailto:a[name omitted for privacy reasons](a)msn.com>
> Sent: Tuesday, June 29, 2004 12:47 AM
> Subject: Re: you are very rude
> No. *You* are rude.
> The wikipedia mailing list is for all wikipedians;
> poorly-english speaking as well. We do not want
> to have to spent time and energy trying to
> what really is of little if no interest to them.
> You do not have trouble on any other wikipedias
> en. Then, please stick to en per respect for the
> english wikipedians.
> --- C A S [name omitted for privacy reasons]
> <a[name omitted for privacy reasons](a)msn.com<mailto:a[name omitted for privacy reasons](a)msn.com>> wrote:
> > It is very rude of you to respond to my
> > banning, by simply asking that the discussion be
> > held elsewhere. You should be ashamed of
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