"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.
>From time to time, I come across complaints about the "admin subculture" at
Wikipedia, and there are times when I've been struck by the fact that while
som/most admins make a sincere effort at applying policy, guidelines and
their judgment consistently, others seem to have absolutely no difficulty
abandoning any semblance of fairness if other considerations are more
People who raise the issue in this forum are typically frustrated - they are
told that either being an admin is "no big deal," or that "the system works
pretty well," or "stop being a malcontent," all in so many words.
At the same time, there is an ongoing debate about the various trends
(userboxes, lawsuits, editors with inferior intellects) that threaten the
existence of Wikipedia.
I have my own opinion about what threatens Wikipedia most (a decay of
intellectual integrity for the sake of conventional wisdom, SPOV, and
appeals to authority that in turn breed slovenly thinking), but I really do
want to weigh in on an appeal that the admin community - whether it is a
subculture or not - give some serious thought to how the reinforce
accountability around the WP core standards.
Being an admin is a big deal whether we want it to or not, because admins
have it in their power to do really really annoying things to editors. Aside
from 24-hour blocks, locking articles in various ways, closing discussions
on AFDs, CFDs, etc., they also seem to enjoy a certain level of immunity
against complaints. There is, as far as I can tell, a presumption that
anyone who complains about an admin is a bit of a narcissist or
troublemaker. There are also constant allegations that some admins are
softer on people whose POV align with theirs, etc.
I think that the open source philosophy should be preserved, so I'm
reluctant to add more rules and processes than absolutely necessary.
However, I do think that some principles should apply, whether they are
instituted formally or not:
* Admins should be able to defend their actions in light of Wikipedia
policy, guidelines, or accepted practice. In other words, if an editor
protests a decision made by an admin, it should be incumbent upon (and easy
for) the admin to point to a clear precedence for his/her decision. And
these precedents should be developed by some level of consensus that at
least meets the standard applied for everything else.
* Admins should strive to be role models in their roles as editors. There
will be people who are better suited as admins than editors, and we all have
content issues we're passionate about; but I believe there is plenty of room
within policy and guidelines to expresss passion without being uncivil,
dishonest, flip, or offensive.
* Admins should strive for transparency in their workings. Backchannel
communications should be an exception limited to very specific problems.
I could think of more, but this is plenty for now.
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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Should any of us declare war on vandals?
Aren't most vandals people who are just being juvenile, and likely if
shown how much fun being a productive contributor to Wikipedia is,
would rather have their edits last, influencing others?
Shouldn't we distinguish between fighting vandalism and fighting
vandals? It's not personal -- it's business. Right?
Isn't declaring war a gross violation of assuming good faith?
Please tell me why "declaring war" on vandals is a good idea.
On 2/27/06, Steve Bennett <stevage(a)gmail.com> wrote:
> On 2/27/06, Daniel P. B. Smith <wikipedia2006(a)dpbsmith.com> wrote:
> > > That's an extreme interpretation of that rule. We should shy aware
> > > from removing information simply because it is unsourced. We should
> > > only remove it if it is unsourced *and* we find it suspect.
> > In short, you do not agree with the verifiability policy, http://
> > en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WP:V
> You may see comments from me on the talk page there. I actually think
> people reworded it more strongly than they meant to. Verifiability was
> never, IMHO, intended to mean "delete everything that isn't sourced",
> or else 95% of the encyclopaedia would be wiped tonight. It should be
> a way of resolving disputes about accuracy, and improving the quality
> of our material.
> If the verifiability policy currently says (I can't check it right
> now) that all unsourced material should be removed - end of story -
> then yes, I disagree with it.
That is very nearly exactly what it says:
2. Editors adding new material to an article should cite a reputable
source, or it may be removed by any editor.
3. The obligation to provide a reputable source lies with the editors
wishing to include the material, not on those seeking to remove it.
(It doesn't say "should" yet.)
I added "3. If an editor adds something controversial, the obligation
to provide a reputable source lies with the editors wishing to include
the material, not on those seeking to remove it."
I can't stand "reputable" either, but that's another discussion.
What I'm interested in is the behavior that the new policy permits and
encourages--namely, aggressive deletion of other people's
contributions, which can be backed up by The Official Policy.
From my Talk page, if anyone can give me an answer:
Hi. I'm working on KLF discography. To aid with formatting, I created
two templates. The image thumbnails I am using get passed as arguments
to the templates. I've noticed that, presumably as a result of the use
of a template, the Image page doesn't know that the image is being
used in an article (see e.g. Image:The KLF- Burn The Bastards.jpg).
I'm worried that some bot will come along and say "right, they're not
being used", and list them for deletion.
If you can suggest a way round this or what might be causing it please
leave a message on my talk page (as I've asked several people).
[[Wikipedia:Requests for arbitration/Appeal of VeryVerily]]
[[Wikipedia:Requests for arbitration/Appeal of VeryVerily/Proposed
I'm coming to the mailing list because I don't know where else to turn.
I am asking for aid from anyone in the community, in any form you can
muster, to save me from another wrong ArbComm ruling which may
drive me off Wikipedia forever.
I hope the mailing list won't just dismiss this as some worthless
disgruntled complaint. The AC can make poor decisions, as I think all
After a self-imposed exile of *a year* (because I could not edit under
the stress of constant blocking), I returned and worked very hard to
explain in painstaking detail to the ArbComm what they overlooked before.
They accused me of reverting "without discussion" based on a handful
of edits picked from my many thousands, but I explained (again) that
I was being stalked by an auto-reverter, and also I was dealing with
someone ("Ruy Lopez") who wrecks articles in batches with the same edits
to numerous articles. I point out that I've always been responsible
about explaining edits when needed. I similarly provided another, more
detailed, point-by-point, day-by-day account of what happened in each
of the cases they mentioned in their "Finding of Fact" (which I'd done
the first time in less detail).
None have contested the accuracy of my analysis (indeed, none have even
acknowledged it). But they are not overturning the ruling that's based
on this accusation.
However, recently, all of the sudden, Raul654 tells me on his talk
page that the justification is a conflict I was in in May 2004 (!!),
seven months before the AC case, which was long since resolved and
over with, and which had never been mentioned in either case till now!
(And, as I noted, back then community norms were quite different; that
case went to a quickpoll, which voted to not take action.)
No other arbitrator will even tell me what they think I've done wrong.
I have tried to talk to them individually, and have gotten dismissive
responses, or none at all.
Jdforrester has gone so far as to apparently say that my thousands and
thousands of contributions (~12,000), the product of endless hours of
labor here, are OF NO BENEFIT TO WIKIPEDIA if I'm not willing to stay
under his conditions. What am I to make of such a callous non-sequitur?
Raul says it's "galling" that I would complain when the evidence page
on the last arbitration was a mess - even though five cases were lumped
together and dozens of people were editing it, factors beyond my control.
In fact, I made very effort to respond to the arbitrators' points, but
they never seemed to even acknowledge it. The final ruling still listed
articles which were reverted by a vandal stalking me (I reverted back)
as evidence of my "bad behavior".
This is all explained in detail in my appeal.
I once considered myself a major member of this community. I have not
earned this hate. And after more than a year, even if they're not sure,
they can't just let it be the past? WP:AGF, WikiLove, all that?
So please anyone who has time take a look and comment. I was a huge
contributor before, and I see so much that needs to be done and want
to pitch in. But they'd have me edit as a second-class editor deprived of
legitimacy and vulnerable to arbitrary blocking. With no justification
for making me one.
Thanks if you're still reading,
for some definition of "article", we're approaching 1E6 .
And we seem to have broken 1E6 user accounts today.
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: SJ <2.718281828(a)gmail.com>
Date: Feb 28, 2006 4:29 PM
Subject: Re: [Wikipedia-l] EN:WP: One Meeeeellion Articles
We could at least link to an FAQ about the counting method, and what it means.
It's certainly not meaning*less*, but does allow for confusion.
On a tangent, while naming a "millionth" article might not be terribly
meaningful, having some regular WP zeitgeist -- every hundredth edit,
every tenth article created and deleted (by namespace) -- could be
Also, today may be the last day to enter the 2-million article pool.
On 2/28/06, The Cunctator <cunctator(a)gmail.com> wrote:
> On 2/27/06, SJ <2.718281828(a)gmail.com> wrote:
> > Dear all,
> > The English Wikipedia is approaching its millionth article this week.
> > A tidy milestone.
> > We are working on a press release for the event:
> > http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/PR/1M-en
> > If you are interested in helping identify the millionth article,
> > please leave a note on the talk page.
> Wouldn't it be nice if our press release talks about how meaningless
> this statistic is, and notes, for example, how the patent office
> recently cheated in its identification of the 7 millionth patent?
> Or we could just keep on encouraging innumeracy to get the cute little CNN spot.
> Wikipedia-l mailing list