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.
The arbitration dispute: [[Wikipedia:Requests for arbitration/User:Guanaco
versus User:Lir]] has the potential to affect all Wikipedia administrators
(sysops). Please see the proposed decision at [[Wikipedia:Requests for
arbitration/User:Guanaco versus User:Lir/Proposed decision]]. It would
require any administrator who blocks a user to set forth at least a
reference to the section of [[Wikipedia:Blocking policy]] on which they rely
in order for the block to be presumed valid and not subject to immediate
reversal. Reasons like "troll", or "disruptive" would not be acceptable.
Please place comments on the talk page of [[Wikipedia:Requests for
arbitration/User:Guanaco versus User:Lir/Proposed decision]]
Stan Shebs shebs at apple.com wrote:
And the bulk of the content is from - you guessed it - 172! This
is the hallmark of his style; while there are usually no gross
misrepresentations of fact, the wording is so relentlessly slanted
it would take a week to clean up, at the end of which he would just
revert it all in one fell swoop. It's completely exasperating; I
finally stopped looking at anything he touches, scrubbed it all
out of my watchlist, and regained Wikipedia-nirvana. Even so, I still worry
that the unabashed socialist viewpoint will
hurt WP's credibility as an impartial recorder.
None of the sources are "socialist" by any stretch of the imagination. Go
check them. All of them fall with in the mainstream of the academic
literature, in the mainstream of Western political science and Russia
studies, which you'll find is quite often far harder on Yeltsin than this
article. (see, e.g., the analyses of democratization inspired by Guillermo
O'Donnell's "delegative democracy").
All fair minded users will recognize that Stan Shebs, along with Fred
Bauder, have been haplessly sniping at me for over a year and a half. As
usual, not one iota's worth of evidence is offered, but Stan launches into
the ad hominem bluster. This will be my final comment to them regarding this
issue. This time I will not overreact to Stan's defamation. His unwarranted
(and confused) personal attacks are a dishonor only to him, not to me.
I will discuss this, though, with a user demonstrating good faith and a
satisfactory command of the facts. To quickly address some of the other
charges of bias, perhaps some of the others are confusing the 10/93 crisis
with the August 1991 coup, which was a hard-line Communist coup attempt. If
that's the case, I suggest they do some more reading; these two incidents,
though separated by only a couple of years, were quite distinct.
And I sincerely hope that this does get other users into the fold on recent
Russian history. Our articles in this area are very underdeveloped and I'm
not getting very far very fast being virtually the only one making
substantial contributions to them.
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> Why does the Arbitration page list only one party to
> arbitration issue. It would seem that it should list
> both (all) parties. No?
If there is a dispute between two or more editors, then this
is called a "Mediation" issue and is listed on
[[Wikipedia:Requests for Mediation]]. In the case of charges
against one editor, it goes on [[Wikipedia:Requests for Arbitration]].
The person or persons making the charges need not have been
involved in any direct disputation with the person they are
charging, but they might have been. In your case, Viajero charged
you with repeated disservice to Wikipedia over many months and
I plan to support that charge with many examples when the
arbitrators decide to hear the case.
I notice you just added an example in [[Israeli West Bank barrier]]
where your edit summary "replace image with one agreed to in
talk on 26 Jul 2004" shows your lack of integrity since two
complementary images were agreed to after a long negotiation,
and you know that. Next stunt like that and I will block you again.
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So, it seems that this Harry Smith guy has once again gotten himself
blocked. Current events, this time.
However, it's also worth noting this guy's record. He's attempted to
add POV material and subvert consensus that had taken a long time to
work out on numerous articles. Indeed, before his previous block, I
believe he'd assaulted not one, not two, but five disputed Middle
Eastern articles [[UNRWA]] and [[Tali Hatuel]] being two, causing the
former to be re-protected. He doesn't seem to discuss edits, just
reverts, or if he does anything, will not give any ground from his
(usually hardline) position. Thus, if he's getting blocked, this
shouldn't be much of a surprise - and please don't judge it purely on
the basis of his latest actions.
So many emails, so little time to respond to them all . . .
On Wed, 28 Jul 2004, Ray Saintonge wrote:
> People could have fun with, "acquitted murderer, O. J. Simpson."??? :-$
I thought about this very example after I sent my email off. Remember, while
Simpson was found not guilty at the criminal trial, a subsequent civil trial
did hold him responsible for the murder.
How, then should we treat this particular case? Did he do it or not?
We have 2 authoritative opinins here, so both should be mentioned in the
article, with the qualifier "he is commonly believed to have killed his wife."
Including both verdicts is important because they show that numerous POVs
exist on the matter.
> The terms need to be kept simple and generic. "Accused" and "alleged"
> can probably be merged. "Indicted" may be a term that depends on the
> nature of the legal system, but where applicable lends itself well to
> precise definition. "Convicted" is easily understood.
On Wed, 28 Jul 2004, S. Vertigo wrote:
> Hmm. It would seem to me that some would consider even
> the rather bland term "alleged" as biased.
I'm treating both of these comments together because they touched on soemthing
that I said which left me unsatisfied: overuse of the word "alleged" can
backfire, & make it appear what is an opinion actual fact. (_Spy_ magazine
years ago managed this very feat when they printed an index to Andy
Worhol's gossip-filled diary: when it came to the entries about Bianca
Jagger, all of the incidents were qualified as "alleged" -- & she was the
only figure for whom this was done. Mush was said with the use of that one
Because of that connotation, I tend towards using the word "accused" when
possible: more than "alleged", "accused" indicates that an opinion has been
expressed; & since "accused" does not fluently fit into the passive voice,
it encourages a other Wikipedians to make a contribution & identify _who_
the accuser is.
On Wed, 28 Jul 2004, Christopher Larberg wrote:
> I'm not attempting to railroad this discussion off-track, but perhaps you
> could find better places to post your sarcastically anti-American
This one caught me off-guard & took me some time to compose a response.
The point of my examples was to select some that were not as emotion-laden
as the other ones we've discussed on this list: killings related to the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict, White Supremacy, German-Polish relations. In
trying to frame how to explain the facts & opinions, we too often get
distracted by repeating the "facts". I had tried to pick some examples
that would allow me to help everyone see where I was going, rather than
become distracted with the ladder I was using to get us there. I obviously
failed at this by my selection of controversial examples, & I'm sorry
However, as a U.S. citizen, I was under the impression that I was free to
criticize any public figure, as long as I did not indulge in slander or
libel. None of the things I wrote were either, & I am deeply offended that
by exercising my right to free speech I am seen as being unfaithful to my
country. Especially as that email has been the only time I said anything
on this email list that could be considered critical of my country. And
for the record, away from Wikipedia I am far less kind & restrained about
what I say about the goofballs who are unashamedly grinding my country into
Once again, I'm making a plea that we all work together toward the
common goal of making an encyclopedia of useful human knowledge.
Let's not use Wikipedia as a forum to spread our own views and discredit
the views or reputations of others.
But let's ensure that _all_ points of view relevant to any given topic
are fairly and accurately represented. When public opinion (or even
expert opinion) is divided on any matter, lofty or trivial -- then we
need to step back from making any pronouncements of fact. In such a
case, we need to _include_ every relevant POV (i.e., Point Of View).
I'm seeing far too many objection to including POV in articles. "That
was a POV edit, etc." Nonsense! When an article is one-sided, the _only_
way to balance it and make it neutral is TO INCLUDE ALTERNATE POINTS OF
The very definition of an edit which promotes the NPOV is to DESCRIBE
SOMEBODY'S POINT OF VIEW.
It would help if people would stop using "POV" as a synonym for bias.
The trouble with using "POV" as a slang term for "biased" is that it
blurs the distinction between bias (which does _not_ belong in articles)
and Points Of View (which _do_ belong in articles, properly described,
attributed and sourced).
I'm really tired of hearing criticism about "POV edits" or "adding POV"
to an article, as if these were obvious violations, meriting little more
than an instant revert. Well, it's obvious to everyone but me and
I ask Jimbo Wales to comment on this disturbing trend. Please, Jimbo,
settle once and for all whether the project you and Larry founded
APPROVES or DISAPPROVES of putting POV (i.e., points of view) into
articles. I don't expect a quick answer, because it's such a big and
crucial question, but I look forward to discussing this at the meeting
in Boston tomorrow.
The fate of Wikipedia hangs on it. We must all "hang together" on the
question of how to deal with multiple or conflicting points of view
(POV), or we'll all "hang separately" (as Ben Franklin put it) --
destroyed one at a time by our enemies.
It is NOT necessary for there to be so much bickering, so many edit
wars, so many settled questions rehashed. That's why people leave, they
can't stand the heat. So I would like us all to chill out about all
Let's remember why we were attracted to Wikipedia in the first place. To
help create useful and accurate articles. (If there's a dispute about
any point, we apply the NPOV policy and say "According to A, B is true;
and according to X, Y is true" and leave it at that. What could be