Andries wrote passionately and eloquently about the difficulties of
writing a Wikipedia article about a controversial New Religious Movement
(or "NRM", as sociologists like to say).
The chief problem he mentions is "satisfying the ex-followers" who
regard the group founder as a charlatan.
I have also tried several times to intervene or mediate between
pro-Rawat and anti-Rawat contributors, but I guess the article keeps
getting locked due to edit wars.
I can only suggest that we continue to try coaching the contributors in
the skill of "writing for the enemy". That is, ensuring that the article
as a whole, as well as each paragraph and sentence, is organized and
worded so that ANYONE, no matter how sharply polarized their opinion,
will agree that the article is accurate.
I wish the [[Sun Myung Moon]] and [[Unification Church]] articles could
be models for this. I have worked hard over the past 2 or 3 years to
ensure that they always kept a balance between "raving loony support"
and "rabidly adamant denunciation". The mainstay of my strategy has been
to EDIT SLOWLY.
When someone trashes the article (as I conceive it), I avoid wholesale
reversion -- because I am an interested party. Instead, I discuss (most)
changes on the talk page and (usually) make one small change at a time.
I avoid buzz-words in edit summaries like 'NPOVing the text' in favor of
specifics, like "attributing claim of divinity to his right-hand man Bo
Hi Pak" or "attributing claim of corruption to Congressman Donald
Sometimes it can help to mention the controversy in the introduction to
the article. Like:
* Prem Rawat was called "the perfect spiritual master" by his followers
in the 1970s, who gave him the title Guru Maharaj Ji (or Maharaji).
Ex-followers criticize him vehemently as a charlatan who has misled
thousands of people with [[cult]] propaganda and complain bitterly that
many people, deluded by his claims about saving mankind, wasted many
years of their lives."
Please don't give up! I know it's hard and frustrating, but it really is
possible to bring peace to a war-torn article. A prime example is the
[[Chilean coup of 1970]]. No action by the Arbitration Committee was
needed to settle that, and it's been stable for the last 2 months!
Let's keep at it, buddy!!
I have an IP address 188.8.131.52 with an IP address that has been recently and consistently used for vandalism and has been banned for successive 24 hours by first Dysprosia and then Davidcannon. I am sure that these decisions were fair and reasonable: however I would like some information on the track record of the vandalism and the addresses so I can take it up with my ISP.
Alternatively, would the problem end if I changed my ISP.
Thanks for any help you can give me.
Find local movie times and trailers on Yahoo! Movies.
On Fri, 23 Jul 2004 17:12:07 +0000 (UTC),
wikien-l-request(a)wikipedia.org <wikien-l-request(a)wikipedia.org> wrote:
> Message: 6
> Date: Wed, 21 Jul 2004 17:43:49 +0100
> From: sean.clarke(a)guardian.co.uk
> Subject: [WikiEN-l] a proposal: wikigenealogy
> To: wikien-l(a)wikipedia.org
> Message-ID: <OF0F941193.3D44E948-ON80256ED8.005B988E(a)int.gnl>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii
> I've long wished there were a genealogical database of European monarchs
> etc, where for instance Charlemagne exists as an entry with his wives
> listed in one column, his sons in another, his daughters in another, his
> known mistresses in another and his mother and father in two more.
> as it grew (wikistyle) you could then see things like: all male descendants
> of Charlemagne (or whoever) or choose to display the information in all
> sorts of ways.
> but I don't know a) how to do it or b) if wikipedia is the right place for
> any thoughts?
Yes, that is a good idea. However, it should not be on Wikipedia,
according to [[Wikipedia:What_Wikipedia_is_not]]. Maybe if some big
Wikimedia person (like Jimbo, maybe) sees this a consideration for a
project may be started.
Encoded with Double ROT13 - circumvention will be prosecuted!
As far as Jeronim is no longer admin of the list, i would like to know
if there is another person who would like to keep up the list and
I would of course explain the things what a list administrator should do
to the user(s?) interested in it. The main - activity is spam-deletion
I receive an email from somebody who expressed his disappointment with
Wikipedia, especially with regards to the article on the controversial
inspirational speaker and former guru Prem Rawat
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prem_rawat. The person who intends to write
a critical article about Wikipedia is an ex-follower and has a good
reputation. I do not like Wikipedia's reputation to get hurt because of
his article on his website but I cannot do anything for three reasons.
First, the article is locked. Secondly, I will be away from the internet
for some time. Thirdly, the situation is still highly polarized as can
be read on the talk page.
I have to admit that some ex-followers of Prem Rawat will only be
satisfied if you start the article with something like "Prem Rawat is a
charlatan cult leader who has misled thousands of people with his
propaganda and who claimed to God almighty to save mankind. Due to this
many people wasted many years of their lives." Though I feel strongly
that the ex-followers are partially right due to my own experience with
a charlatan guru aka cult leader, I understand that this can never be
written down following NPOV guidelines.
There is also a recurring, general problem with writing about new
religious movements (NRMs) and that is to what extent criticism of the
critics of NRMs should be allowed in the articles. I am hoping for
general guidelines. Here is what I wrote on the talk page, "I only said
that a person who chooses to pose as a guru and teach meditation
techniques is open and should be open for public scrutiny. The people
who believe and have followed this person and found him wanting and then
openly criticize him are open to scrutiny, in so far, their involvement
with this guru was serious, genuine and sincere. Their criticism of the
guru is, of course, open to scrutiny too. Apart from the authenticity of
their involvement with the guru, one could ask whether some of them have
an ax to grind but this should not be based on mere speculation or
conspiracy theories. There should be some strong documented indication
that they had an ax to grind otherwise no suspicions should be
mentioned. With regards to the same thing with my former guru, this was
a comparison that may give others more insight into my point of view and
into the fact that this unfair, insulting character assassination of
critics is very common by supporters of controversial new religious
movements. The defenders have to resort to ad hominem attacks on the
critics because they ran out of reasonable or logical ways to defend
their guru. Andries 07:44, 24 Jul 2004 (UTC)"
I also wrote a satirical article about Wikipedia being a cult
See you later. Bye. Andries K.D
I have blocked User:JBOC for one year. His harrassment of User:Roozbeh is
utterly unwarranted, and should be a warning sign for us. I do not want to
discuss this on the mailing list any further. If anyone has a problem with it, i
invite you to take it up with me in a personal email.
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.
On 07/23/04 16:41, David Gerard wrote:
> I've been thinking about it and reading and researching about it and
> talking incessantly on IRC about it and writing on the lists about it.
> This sets out a concise action plan for a paper Wikipedia 1.0, letting
> the wiki do the work. It sets out milestones and what is needed for
Mark Ryan said on IRC, 'huh, I didn't see the page. I thought the email
was a bit short for an action plan ...' So I'm sending it to the list too!
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
We've wibbled on the mailing lists and various wiki pages about Wikipedia 1.0
for over a year now. We now have an actual publisher asking us for a paper
version. We need an action plan.
The key to success will be to harness dilettantism and let the wiki do the
work. That's what got us this far.
The plan below includes milestone versions 0.7, 0.8, 0.9 and 1.0. Please think
of earlier milestones. To get milestone 0.7, we need a distributed rating system.
"We learned from Nupedia that excessive a priori formalization is a killer.
Better to start from a very open point of view, and then upon review, if our
end product is starting to be bad in some way, make adjustments based on what
we've learned." 
Note that this plan is concerned with the single-volume paper Wikipedia 1.0,
not the possible CD-ROM plan. (The main difference is we don't need to cut
subject areas for the CD-ROM — we have a lot more space.)
(Feel free to edit this. Discussion to the talk page.)
Table of contents
1 Action plan outline
2 Paper Wikipedia will not be a fork
3 Rating systems
4 Selection is the hard part
4.1 Letting the wiki give us milestone 0.7
5 Stand-alone lead sections
6 Non-free images
8 A paper Wikipedia in every classroom in Africa
9.1 1.0-specific (Jimbo)
9.2 Selection process
9.3 Rating mechanisms
9.4 Bringing areas up to scratch
1. Action plan outline
* Jimbo has stated that he doesn't want a fork from the current content,
except at the last moment before preparing for print.
* We have various plans for rating articles or versions of articles,
which we can use to see what's up to scratch.
* We have various lists of what should be in a single-volume
encyclopedia. Completing these lists would be a fine program for volunteer
recruitment, by the way.
* In a lot of cases, the [[Wikipedia:lead section]] is going to become
the print article. We need stand-alone leads.
* We have too many articles with images that are fair-use,
permission-granted, non-profit or of other non-free status.
* We have an interested publisher, one who actually gets it, waiting in
* We want a paper Wikipedia in every classroom in Africa.
|Milestone| Result | Work to get | Prerequisites |
| | | there | before starting |
| | |Just set a | |
| |A book's worth of |minimum rating |A rating system |
|0.7 |sufficiently highly-rated |and then pull |running for a |
| |articles. |from the |month or two. |
| | |database. | |
| | |Writing | |
| | |articles of |A plan of space |
|0.8 |A more balanced selection of|sufficient |per topic, so we |
| |coverage. |quality to fill|know where the |
| | |gaps - heavy |gaps are. |
| | |lifting. | |
| | |More heavy |Enthusiastic |
| |Coverage-complete, with the |lifting. More |determination. |
|0.9 |right selection of |polishing than |Grim |
| |tolerable-to-good articles. |writing. Fact |determination. |
| | |checking. | |
| | |Improve |Good writing. |
|1.0 |Polished 0.9. |tolerable |Proofreading. |
| | |articles to |Editing. Patching|
| | |good. |remaining holes. |
|Paper | | |Precise |
|Wikipedia|1.0 prepared for print. |Prepress work. |requirements from|
|1.0 | | |the publisher. |
2. Paper Wikipedia will not be a fork
Jimbo has decreed that we are to fork for print at the last second, rather
than fork now and polish. I suggest we trust his vision.
However, consensus approaches the idea of rating particularly good versions of
3. Rating systems
Various of these are being floated. Current consensus is approaching rating
specific versions on four or five criteria; either yes/no, 0-4 points or 0-10
This is good because it will be easy and people will do it casually.
Harnessing dilettantism, that's the wiki way.
(For edit war hot spots, expect vote spamming.)
4. Selection is the hard part
[[Wikipedia:List of encyclopedia topics]] gives us some idea of what should go
into a single-volume reference. We also need to work out roughly how the
Columbia or Concise Britannica break down into space per topic area. (Do we
have any work in this area already?)
I predict the all-in shitfight will be in turf wars. Selection, as every
partisan editorial group tries to get its articles into the final cut. Not at
the level of editing the articles themselves — an approval mechanism will
handle that — I'm talking about telling people that their area won't get all
the articles it might want in. If *any*.
The worst thing is that we'll have to cut back the areas we're actually really
4.1. Letting the wiki give us milestone 0.7
The peer-rating system for article versions (as is mooted on the mailing list)
which looks likely to happen anyway, will help 1.0 a lot. Rather than set some
poor bastard to rating thousands of articles, we let the wiki do the work for us.
1. Wait till a lot of articles (or a fair few) have been rated.
2. Set a cutoff level that gives you a book's worth of articles.
3. Examine just how imbalanced we are.
This will give us Wikipedia 0.7, let's say. 0.8 can be better, 0.9 can be
area-selection-complete, 1.0 can be a polished 0.9.
What we need is a way to let the wiki do the work for step 3 above. Is there a
way to harness dilettantism to achieve consensus on what to cut and what to boost?
Bringing areas up to scratch will still be real heavy lifting. How much real
work, we can't know until we get 0.7.
5. Stand-alone lead sections
These are currently optional (according to the MoS), but will become very
important because for long articles, we may just pull the lead section as the
print article. [[News style]] and [[Wikipedia:summary style]] are your friends.
6. Non-free images
These should be cleared and replaced where at all feasible.
Note, by the way, that the publisher would probably have a much easier time
getting copyright clearances for a fixed paper volume than we do for a
changeable open-content encyclopedia (e.g. [[Tube map]], where not having the
map would be ridiculous) — though I don't expect anyone to agree this is a
We need to know precisely what they require from us, so we know what to aim for.
* Size in pages, translate to bytes
* How much space for images
* Format for publishing
A lot of the prepress gruntwork can likely be done by Wikipedia volunteers for
free. Also, we should be able to test automated systems on 0.7 onwards.
8. A paper Wikipedia in every classroom in Africa
How do we get a list of schools? How many copies is that? How cheaply can we
print a usably good book?
We can almost certainly hitch a ride with other charities for the distribution.
9. Links (external and internal):
9.1. 1.0-specific (Jimbo)
* [[m:Wikimedia#Wikipedia_1.0]] - Jimbo's dream of a copy in every school
* [[User:Jimbo Wales/Pushing To 1.0]] - Jimbo's official page, lots of
Wikipedia v. Britannica] - ideas about 1.0
edition] (Jimbo, 26 Feb 2004) - first bite from this publisher
9.2. Selection process
* [[Wikipedia:List of encyclopedia topics]] — this list is key to giving
us balance. Need someone to abstract it.
* [[Wikipedia:Topics where Wikipedia is weak]]
Wikipedia v. Britannica] (Tarquin, 18 Aug 2003) - editors as selectors rather
than text editors
9.3. Rating mechanisms
* [[m:Article validation]] (current discussion)
* [[Wikipedia:Approval mechanism]] - proposed ideas for a review method
* [[User:Andrewa/Wikipedia approval mechanism]] - long rambling on
* [[m:Referees]] and [[m:Referees/1]]
9.4. Bringing areas up to scratch
* [[Wikipedia:WikiProject Aircraft/Strategy]]
* [[Wikipedia:Math 1.0]]
* [[Wikipedia:Topics where Wikipedia is weak]]
Anthony DiPierro wrote:
>As for Jimbo's comment (he apparently doesn't know the full story) that I
>should have used the mailing list, I have had nothing but trouble with the
>mailing list. I'm not even sure if this will go through. The mailing list
>is a terrible place to run a wiki. The wiki should be run on the wiki
>Instead of inserting a conclusion here, I'm going to take another day or
>more to think about things first. I'm seriously disturbed by the hypocrisy
>of this organisation right now.
Jimbo can't always be expected to investigate every dispute, and there's
nothing wrong with his suggestion that people try the mailing list in
this kind of situation. It's not the only option, but plenty of options
are better than provoking an edit war to make a point. The thing is,
trying these options takes time, and apparently some people lack the
patience and self-discipline to wait more than a few minutes to
accomplish what they want.
Part of the problem is that quite a few people (Anthony is certainly not
the only one - others have been debated here on the list as well) seem
to feel perfectly justified in violating the 3-revert guideline. Not
only do they blatantly exceed the limit, but in most of these cases they
don't even pause before crossing the line. They make no attempt to get
more of the community involved, which is the only way consensus can
develop when issues are contested. Instead, they should be trying a
number of other options, of which posting to the mailing list is merely
one. There is also IRC, contacting other users who are on the wiki at
the time (especially those who have edited the article before),
mediation, [[Wikipedia:Requests for comment]], etc. I might entertain an
argument that more than 3 reverts can be justified, but _never_ if you
haven't tried other means of dealing with the situation first.
What's really appalling is that in many instances, not even the talk
page of the disputed article is being used. The only communication going
on is through edit summaries, and since those typically consist of "rv",
accusations of vandalism, snide remarks, or the pre-filled edit summary
from an admin using the rollback button, it's worse than useless.
shebs at apple.com wrote:
I have indeed compared your wording with the purported sources
(not on this article, but on others that we have discussed
previously), and there are significant differences.
Stan Shebs claims that there is a discrepancy between my work on Wikipedia
and my sources, yet he insults the intelligence of mailing list readers by
only offering this as evidence, "For instance, there was the episode where
Somoza was a dictator but Stalin was not, and then
where the Berlin Airlift was mainly a publicity stunt." [I've made over
10,000 edits to Wikipedia, so it's easy for someone with an ax to grind to
cherry-pick examples and then throw in gratuitous accusations]
(1) Stan Sheb's disingenuous claims of bias on the Berlin blockade and
airlift are emphatically refuted by Wikipedia's article on the Berlin
blockade (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berlin_Blockade), which I wrote.
(2) I shy away from the term "dictator" altogether on Wikipedia (see, e.g.,
I also changed the reference to Pinochet as a "dictator" to "military ruler"
on the in the news box on the main page several days ago. Yet, this matter
is more complicated than Stan Shebs is making it out to be (as usual).
Notice the following conversation taken from Talk:Fidel Castro:
::Not exactly. Dictator is not a matter of opinion, it's a matter of fact,
so it's not POV (though some try to twist the facts). While Batista is
called a dictator in Britannica, BSE and probably other encyclopedias, Fidel
is not. Fidel is not a dictator, because no matter how popular he is, he
doesn't rule Cuba, the party does (and people too). Batista, on the other
hand, was clearly a dictator (the second time he was in power) because of
the way he ruled. So I think we should call Batista a dictator, but not do
the same for Fidel. [[User:Paranoid|Paranoid]] 06:56, 23 Jul 2004 (UTC)
:::Good point, Paranoid. Cuba is a single party state, not a personalistic
regime. (Not to say that this is mutually exclusive. Ceausescu's Romania and
North Korea, where the power of the party was strongly subverted by the
leader, are considered "sultanistic" and "personalistic" regimes by a number
of prominent comparativists, e.g., Linz and Stepan, who have drawn from Max
Weber's concept of personalized power in a "sultanism.") However, many
Wikipedians aren't going to grasp these nuances, and will be suspicious that
the term is being applied arbitrarily. So, it's best to just shy away from
the term altogether, even in obvious cases, like the Somozas, Idi Amin, Papa
Doc and Baby Doc, Bokassa, Saddam Hussein, Mobutu, etc. [[User:172|172]]
07:38, 23 Jul 2004 (UTC)
Perhaps I might have slipped up a few times and referred to the "obvious
cases" (personalistic leaders) as dictators over the past year and a half
that I've been working on Wikipedia. Fair-minded users will put this in
context, tough, and note my substantial contributions to this site; note
that my articles tend to make the best use of references on Wikipedia (e.g.,
history of post-Soviet Russia has over 30); and note that I have garnered
praise even from fair-minded, conservative U.S. users for being able to
write neutrally on difficult, controversial topics (e.g., Franco-U.S.
In close, Stan is only bringing up these red herrings to distract everyone
from the real issue. He launched into a personal attack against me over my
work on Russian constitutional crisis of 1993 on the mailing list with no
evidence, no command of the facts, and no inclination to do any reading or
check the list of sources I added to the article. Once again, his
unwarranted defamation is a dishonor only to him, not to me.
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