"Thus, to avoid future problems, Wales plans to bar anonymous users from
creating new articles; only registered members will be able to do so.
That change will go into effect Monday, he said, adding that anonymous
users will still be able to edit existing entries."
Why were Wikipedians the last to know about this? I only saw some
discussion on the mailing list about this, but nothing final. Why do we
have to learn of this from the media instead of straight from Jimbo?
This is really disturbing.
David's original point is a valid one and is an excellent example of the
fact that failing internal processes do affect the success of Wikipedia.
AFD, RFA, the AC election, and the AC itself are examples of processes
that are not scaling well, and they are also examples of the way that a
changing editor and administrator base is affecting the quality of
processes throughout Wikipedia. There's no one minding the store
anymore: Jimbo, Angela, and Anthere have minimal engagement with the
community itself, having instead chosen to look outward and emphasize
publicity and financial matters. Recent policy initiatives, such as
the deletion of unsourced images and the restrictions on anonymous
creation of articles, have been driven by legal, financial, and public
relations concerns rather than anything that any contributors to the
project have said.
One thing that is clear is that the community can't make any
nonincremental changes to policy itself without solid leadership, and
there are any number of contributors with social insight who have quit
even discussing meaningful change (as well as those who have quit the
project entirely) because of the impossibility of accomplishing it.
The reasons for this have to do with the size of the contributor base,
the fact of the developers not being accountable to the community, and
the presence of many contributors who are perhaps excellent writers and
editors but who lack skills and experience in group decisionmaking.
The Uninvited Co., Inc.
(a Delaware corporation)
It is natural that as we grow our values take more certain form, and our
understanding of them, and the reasons for them, develop.
I believe that Verifiability and No original research are two policies
essential to the future of the project, which is to produce a high-quality
encyclopedia. If other encyclopedias are not rigorous on these matters, it
is because their articles are generally written by PhD.s or graduate
students, and are peer-reviewed. I do not want our articles to have to be
written by PhD.s or go through mandated and rigorous
peer-review. Therefore, I think these two policies are necessary. And
hand-in-hand with them, our Cite sources guideline is just as important.
If I have been following this discussion adequately (and I admit I often
miss things) many people have concerns about how realistic it is to expect
every editor, especially newbies, to comply with these standards. And I
appreciate these concerns. However, I do not think the issue is compliance
with these standards as such. I think there is a different issue.
Specifically, it is our articles that must comply with these
standards. This I think is important for one simple reason that gets at
the heart of our project: it is a collaborative work in process.
If Wikipedia is as I believe it is and ought to be a collaborative work in
process, then our policies are ideals to which we expect our articles to
aspire, but no one editor can bear the full responsibility of achieving this.
This, at least, has always been my understanding of our prized NPOV
policy. For example, I just added considerable material on the role of
"love" in Judaism in the "Judaism and Christianity" article. I have no
doubt that I have failed to express the full range of Jewish
views. Moreover, I am not qualified to explain the Christian views. Does
this mean I have violated NPOV? I do not think so, because I have
identified which point of view I have represented (and here, citing sources
is practically a requirement). And I have left notices on a variety of
talk pages, of both articles and users, inviting them to add more Jewish
views and Christian views. This is what I mean by a collaborative
effort. It may not be this week or this month but I have no doubt that in
a year this section of the article will represent a variety of views fairly.
In other words, I wrote my contribution so as not to break our NPOV policy,
and so as to leave room for others to contribute.
I just think we should take the same approach to Verifiability. No one
should deliberately add unverifiable information in an article, and if they
do, it should be deleted. Moreover, no one should bear the bull
responsibility of providing all sources. In the Capitalism article someone
has made claims about communism. I did not immediately demand that they
provide a source. I first when to my books by Marx, Engels, Lenin,
Trotsky, and Mao. I could not find confirmation in any of the books for
some of those claims added by another editor. Had I, I would have added
the sources myself -- this is what I mean by collaboration.
In one case I could not find a source and said so, and another contributor
provided the source -- this is what I mean by collaboration.
I would demand that the specific editor adding specific information provide
the source only if I could not find the source myself and suspected that
the information were unverifiable. If the contributor in question, as well
as other contributors, cannot find a verifiable source, I do believe that
warrants deletion. But my point is this: I believe verifiability should
and will be achieved through a collaborative process.
That said, I also insist on the corollary: our collaborative process should
be dedicated to producing articles based on verifiable sources. A
collective process requires a collective commitment.
Steven L. Rubenstein
Department of Sociology and Anthropology
Athens, Ohio 45701
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Apparantly people who think that consensus on AfD means "70-75% with at
least 10 clear non-sock/meatpuppet votes, with votes without clear
reason being disregarded" aren't suitable to be admins.
AfD is evil. Long may it and the people who play there burn in wikihell.
Alphax | /"\
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OpenPGP key ID: 0xF874C613 | X Against HTML email & vCards
http://tinyurl.com/cc9up | / \
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Here's something that crossed my mind:
As the number of userboxes continues to increase, I am starting to see a
number of them that are currently NOT being used by ANYONE. So in a couple
weeks from now, if these same userboxes are still not being used on any
userpage, shouldn't they be put on TFD like any other unused, orphaned
template? Why or why not?
Zzyzx11 at en.wikipedia.orghttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Zzyzx11
Dont just search. Find. Check out the new MSN Search!
Tim Starling wrote:
>Michael Snow wrote:
>>Bryan Derksen wrote:
>>>My secret dream is to see the United States Congress hauled up before
>>>the Arbitration Committee. Maybe we could get them to pass clearer
>>>fair-use legislation as part of their parole.
>>Clearer fair use legislation is not likely to do us any good. What we
>>want is *more generous* fair use legislation.
>US fair use legislation is already among the most generous in the world. Coupled with US-centric
>Wikipedia policy, this has the effect that anyone attempting to distribute Wikipedia offline outside
>the US risks being sued for copyright infringment. I'd prefer it if US fair use legislation was
>brought into line with the rest of the world, i.e. made more restrictive not less.
You mean this seriously? You'd rather make fair use in the US more
restrictive than make fair use/dealing/practice/whatever in other
countries less restrictive?
I understand the concern about Wikipedia policy vis-a-vis the laws of
nations generally, and personally I think we should avoid relying on
fair use if at all possible, but that's not what I was getting at. The
point was that asking for more clarity on these issues from Congress, or
any other body where rights organizations wield their influence, would
likely only result in making it more clear when the answer is "No."
>Or, you know, they could just give us money. Whatever.
Now there's a question - if the US government offered us money, no
strings attached, how would people respond?
This is an interesting one. An article "List of state-named Avenues in
Washington, D.C." was listed for deletion recently but kept because of
no consensus. Someone thought "dang it, AfD is supposed to be a
discussion, not a vote", and went to Wikipedia:Deletion review (DRV)
to try to overturn the result for what he thought were weak arguments
Well that's all very well, but DRV (perhaps uniquely in all Wikipedia
forums) does not operate by consensus but by majority vote. So it
looks to me like we've got a possible loophole where someone
dissatisfied with an AfD result can go and have the article deleted
anyway on a straight majority vote. As it happens a lot of people who
looked at the article in DRV thought it should be deleted (which isn't
unusual--it's part of the culture in DRV)
So, I thought I'd give a second AfD a go. If the first AfD wasn't
clear enough, let's try for a second. I accordingly relisted the
article for deletion, explaining the circumstances and recommending
Six people promptly said "keep".
Whereupon someone involved in the attempt to overturn the first
deletion discussion and delete the article "unlisted* the article from
This is quite a quandary.
I've no doubt that this fellow is acting in good faith and genuinely
believes that we cannot have a second AfD while the first is being
reviewed, but I cannot see why not especially if (as seems here) it's
clarifying that yes, Wikipedians really do want this article to be
However he's not really granting good faith, is he? He's removed the
second AfD listing. I restored once but I don't edit war so I'm not
going to get into that stuff.
So I turn to you, dear readers.
How am I to ensure that, if this article is deleted, it is only
deleted on the basis of consensus?
[also originally sent yesterday but didn't seem to get through the
moderator, perhaps due to my mail server?]
I'd like to undertake a more thorough survey of wikipedia
referencing standards, but I've started with a quick "pilot" study.
Methodology: Click "random article". Discard results which are not
articles. Count the number of "external links", "references",
Terms: A bit fuzzy, I'm treating a web page which gives more
information as an "external link", and a page or book or whatever
which is claimed to be the source of the information (or is clearly
the source) as a "reference". Paragraphs are, well, paragraphs, but it
must be said that longer articles generally have longer paragraphs
than shorter ones do. So lines would probably be better...
Sample size:30 pages, of which 17 were stubs.
Number with no links: 21
Number with no references: 24
Average number of links: 0.67
Average number of references: 0.54
I found very few book references, one of which was patently false
("James Maxwell's book of James Maxwells not as cool as me, by James
Maxwell"). Similarly a list of newspaper articles turned out to all
have been written by the subject (a journalist). One page (out of 30)
actually gave ISBN references (Chepstow Bridge).
None yet, really, since the methodology isn't very solid and the
sample set is small. But notably: More than half the articles were
stubs. Hardly any articles had any real "references". Most of the
external links were band websites, company websites etc. Of the few
refernces, one was blatantly false and a few were "bad". So it's
probably a little early to be claiming that all material added to
Wikipedia MUST be sourced or it will be removed. Because based on
this, only around 15% of Wikipedia would survive. (Which is more than
I would have predicted).
Any suggestions for improved methodology? It might be nice to harness
the wikipedia population to collect some more general article quality
My reaction seems to be unique so far. I would think it much better
for the Wikipedia project that we do not publicise that we know
exactly who is doing this. It is fascinating to watch the congress
staffers at work. It is just a pity that shortly they will smarten up
and be doing this with proper accounts via different IPs.
If there have only been a thousand changes so far, most of which were
positive, this does not seem to be a "major" problem. Certainly not
compared to the information we're gleaning from this. So, by all
means, let's continue to revert the particularly obnoxious changes,
but asking them to "stop it" will simply make it invisible.
[originally sent yesterday but didn't seem to get through the
moderator, perhaps due to my mail server?]
This is the deletion paradox as I see it:
1) Wikipedia has nearly a million articles. A very large number of
them are crap. The more articles we delete, the better.
2) Deleting articles causes unhappiness and tension. The more articles
we delete, the more unhappiness and tension.
Anyone have a solution?