At http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Cool_Wall we had a complete list
of cars which appear on the BBC Top Gear "Cool Wall". I removed this
as being almost certainly a violation of copyright. It is now being
argued that reproducing the list in full does not violate copyright,
because it is not published in the show's magazine or on the website
and has been compiled by collating the lists from numerous shows. It
is further asserted that compiling the list from these shows does not
constitute original research, although there is no known reliable
secondary source for any of the data, let alone the complete collated
Original research? You decide.
Copyright? I think so, but what do I know?
Fancruft? Ooooh, tricky :-)
It worries me a little that I can spot Wikipedia text a mile off - our
house style isn't that obvious, is it? - but it seems to be one of
those little skills you pick up after a while. Very useful for marking
school essays, I'm sure.
Anyhow, I was packing up some boxes today, and happened across the box
for the Nokia 770 (a really useful little bit of kit, incidentally),
which shows someone merrily using the device to chatter away to a
friend on an instant messenger. For some reason, the friend is writing
something to them about poetry.
I looked at the sentence. Something went click.
"Kim: A poem is a composition usually written in verse. Poems rely
heavily on imagery, precise word choice, and metaphor, may be written
in measures consisting of" [...]
I'm used to seeing our content reused all over the place, but somehow
I didn't expect to see fragments used as lorem-ipsum filler on a box
- Andrew Gray
So, for anyone who doesn't know, it's now come out that there was
basically a citizens "militia" of sorts that created secret mailing
lists where they coordinated their actions and presented secret
evidence against those suspected of being affiliated with a BADSITE.
There's an arbitration on-going that is looking into the behavior.
Durova has resigned as an admin. A good user appears to have left the
project after being falsely accused of being a sleeper puppet.
This is a LOT of drama.
At this time, I can't help but point out that this could have been
prevented. The names of the militia haven't yet been made public, but
they won't come as a shock to anyone. We've
all known about the existence of the rabid Pro-BADSITES crusaders
willing to bend or break the rules in order to "defend the
encyclopedia". This milita of dedicated troll fighters has been a
growing problem here, leading to rampant incivility and massive rifts
in the community, and bad feelings all around.
Not long ago, I asked the community (through an RFC) and then Arbcom
to intervene to help rein in this behavior. Neither group did so--
Arbiters expressed the belief that it would " cause too much drama".
I understand nobody wants to deal with "drama"-laden cases, and I
don't question their motives. Bu with the wisdom of hindsight, I think
we've often seen that procrastinating-- putting this problems off and
not confronting them immediately-- leads to the problems getting worse
and worse, as people become embolden by the community's unwillingness
to place checks on unacceptable behavior. I think that in the end,
letting these problems continue inevitably causes far more "drama".
I can't help but think that if we had dealt with the incivility and
edit-warring issues in a timely fashion, this whole "secret evidence"
mess might never have occured, and Wikipedia wouldn't have lost one
valuable admin and another promising editor.
Alec Conroy alecmconroy at gmail.com
Fri Nov 30 04:33:08 UTC 2007
... Now at least two arbiters decided, long before this case started, that
not only was a "secret investigations" list appropriate,but they
actively participated in it. Any ruling against addressing whether
"secret investigations lists" are appropriate is commenting just as
much on Flonight and Morven as it is on Durova ...
Members of hte Secret Investigations List shoudl have been recused
from the get go. They shouldn't have been even participating, they
should have been parties.
Alec, you're mixing up so many issues, it's hard to know where to
begin. Some points:
1. There is no suggestion that Durova, or anyone else, mentioned !! on
the Investigations list.
2. I can confirm that no ArbCom member took part in the thread that
Durova started with her case study of !! on the cyberstalking list.
There is therefore no evidence that ArbCom members even saw it. The
list can sometimes be high traffic, and not everything gets read. You
wouldn't want to be held responsible for everything that happens
subsequent to posts on this mailing list just because you subscribe to
3. I'm again confirming that Durova didn't propose to block !! on the
4. You're trying to create a "secret lists" meme, just as others tried
to create a BADSITES one. Fact: there are no secret lists. There are
public ones and private ones. The existence of the private ones is not
a secret. It's just that the membership and the discussion is not
posted. Just as your private inbox not being open to the public
doesn't mean that your use of e-mail is a secret.
An attempt after 12+ hours to respond, with relevant information, and
Many thanks for your consideration in allowing this post to be submitted to
To Guy - but really addressing my views on the core of the current painful
I feel that your responses typify the core of the problem - not just between
you and I, but between what could sadly be described as the 'two camps'.
When I sent you private information, asked you honestly and politely not to
share it - what you failed to respect was my trust in you. The rights and
wrongs and subsequent findings of fact do not alter the fact that you
behaved unethically in breaching that trust. The ends do not justify the
Durova has fallen foul of this also - of course a 75 minute block hasn't
harmed anyone's actual editing, but it does enormous harm to the culture and
atmosphere of all editing to think that a 'trusted' admin is prepared to
write and distribute such material. Enourmous harm, Guy - surely you can see
that, befuddled as you may be by it?
In actual fact, you move a step beyond befuddlement, I kinda sense a
righteous indignation which again is entirely misplaced, devoid as it is of
any reflection, or true self-awareness.
I am not questioning your sanity, character, good faith or editing - I'm
questioning your approach to an issue you care deeply about - harassment of
others - because I sincerely believe that you are doing more harm than good.
You shouldn't have shared private information that was submitted to you in
Please consider the self-evident truth of that statement.
here's a copy of the email for the sake of openess;
I would ask you to treat the following with the utmost discretion, I'd feel
it to be a violation for this to be discussed with anyone (particularly
other wiki editors) except those named below, and at the moment I really am
trying to do the right thing.
what follows is an email I sent El_C when he or she made a similar request
to find out a little more about where I'm coming from;
Just off the bat, my name is Peter - I don't think we've met before, but I
have had some interactions with Geogre and Bishonen (whom i respect
enormously) and have noticed you at their talk pages, as well as at various
places throughout the wiki. Please treat the following information
confidentially, but feel free to forward / discuss any aspects with Bishonen
or Geogre privately if you'd like (they are aware of my editing history up
to, but not including the 'Privatemusings' account, which I'm happy for you
to discuss with them)
Here's the rundown on my editing history at wiki with the reasons behind it;
First account : Petesmiles
A nickname I've used for many years, so the name I used when i signed up an
account in mid 2005. This account is fairly easily traceable to my real
I became interested in the wiki political world through the essjay incident,
and was concerned enough about his behaviour to try and urge him to attend
to the matter before it exploded - because of the likely heat of the
situation, i created my second account : 'Purples' (the name of a long
standing stuffed companion of mine, if that's not too much information!).
I let Bishonen, Georgre, and Paul August know that Purples was also
Petesmiles, and asked for their discretion because of the ease of connection
between Petesmiles and my identity.
Purples was therefore a role account at that point, but I eventually decided
to retire Petesmiles all together a couple of months ago, and continue my
wiki gnomish activity as Purples (it was nice to meet FloNight, another
current Arb. whilst editing the Jonathan King article).
Purples having become my sole article account, I decided when getting more
involved in the external link issues ('badsites' etc.) to create a sock,
Privatemusings, for the reasons stated on the PM user page.
Before creating this role account, I had posted one small comment on the
arb. case here;
I hope you'll agree that that post doesn't represent a substantial muddying
of the waters......
So that's me in a nutshell - do feel free to get in touch for any reason,
privately if referring to any specific information, or on-wiki would be
preferred. Bishonen was kind enough to drop this note as a reference in the
past, which really helped keep the discussion on the rails - but I'm not
sure that any such step is required at the mo......
On Thu, 29 Nov 2007 13:45:16 +1100, "private musings"
< thepmaccount(a)gmail.com> wrote:
>The fact that you were 'right' about my misdeeds in no way alters the
>nature of your unethical behaviour.
No, my behaviour was ethical. I asked a few trusted friends for advice
before blocking one of your accounts. That is a sane and reasonable thing
>Nor does it excuse the Arb.s currently voting from failing to disclose
>any prejudicial discussion (is it really due process to expect Arb.s
>who have already 'sanity checked' your decision in advance of your
>block, to then 'review' that block, and further 'vote' in the arb case?
>- that's a real triple whammy.)
No such declaration is necessary. I asked a simple question: in your
opinion, is this valid use of an alternate account? Having ventured an
opinion once does not disqualify them form venturing the same opinion again,
especially when more evidence of even more accounts is brought to the table.
You seem to think that restricting someone who has used multiple accounts
disruptively and made careless and controversial edits to sensitive articles
in some way damages the arbitration committee's credibility. I would argue
that the opposite is true: failure to do so would damage their credibility.
WikiEN-l mailing list
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User:Andplus posted an excellent analysis of the disproportionate level
of proposed remedies in this whole affair on [[Wikipedia talk:Requests
for arbitration/Durova and Jehochman/Proposed decision]] which I shall
quote for ya all to consider.
"The attack on !! in the email was a pretty through job, and one that
would seem to breach many of the policies and guidelines that Giano is
accused of breaching. In my opinion, it is worse than anything Giano
did, as while I can see many of his comments resulting from a rush to
comment before the discussion was sidelined, the mail was obviously
complied at leisure (and distributed to a wider audience with at least
two weeks to be considered and revised before it was made public).
Unfortunately the character assassination of !! occurred off-site, so
the Committee has no authority to issue sanctions against its author.
Giano's offence was to post his comments on-site. Had he gone to another
site, he could have viciously attacked all and sundry, and the community
could have shaken its collective head in disgust and gone back to
editing, safe in the knowledge that such horrible behaviour was outside
the Committee's jurisdiction.
Unfortunately, the case came to Arbitration in this unequal state:
Giano's actions could be dealt with because he kept his argument
"in-house", Durova's could not because she took advantage of off-site
As a result Durova escapes any meaningful sanction for her actions. The
argument from her supporters seems to be that she was punished in having
to resign her admin bit and being made to look foolish. An admin bit is
not some shield that can be used to deflect a blow, something we can
drop in lieu of a sanction. Should we issue Giano with an admin bit so
he can be forced to give it up as punishment? As for being made to look
foolish, I dare say that has happened to all of us at some point, but it
is of our own making. That somebody points out how foolish we have been
is perhaps unkind, but had we not been foolish they would not have had
the opportunity. Aside from that, I would hope that the Committee is in
the business of remedies rather than punishments.
For Giano, on the other hand, the Committee has almost unlimited scope
to apply remedies. He has no admin bit to strip, he has no "off-site"
justification for his actions, his actions clearly fall under the remit
of the Committee. He can be banned, blocked, restricted and probably
more. This does not mean it is right to apply such sanctions in the face
of such an obvious deficiency the Committee's authority. Balance is
important here, as is the message sent to the community by the decision
(see my questions to Mackensen for the message I perceive as being sent
from the proposed decision). I do not wish Durova punished: a remedy
should not be a punishment. Instead, I would urge the Arbitrators to
vote against any remedy for Giano that applies a more rigorous sanction
to him than those applied to Durova, and I applaud those who have
already done so.
As a side note, I found this while looking at Wikipedia:Former
administrators, which seems to point to action being possible even when
posting takes place off-site . On the Former administrators page it
says the action was carried out per an ArbCom decision. Perhaps one of
the Arbitrators could clarify their jurisdiction. Andplus (talk) 11:09,
30 November 2007 (UTC)"
Experience is a good school but the fees are high.
- Heinrich Heine
And an excellent analysis by User:WAS 4.250 on what all the fuss is
about regarding the initial block, the private/secret list etc.
"People here who don't understand why the Durova incident was a big deal
for some need to understand that it precipitated a crisis of confidence.
A year ago (27 December 2006) we were told on by Kelly Martin on
It seems that people have forgotten (or perhaps even never
known) why #wikipedia-en-admins was created. The purpose was to
have a forum where Foundation people (Jimbo, Brad, Danny, et al)
could discuss high-priority issues requiring urgent action with
trusted admins in a non-public place. Why non-public? Because
these issues generally involved matters which were the subject
of press attention or of threats of litigation, or otherwise
prone to creating difficulties for the Wikimedia Foundation if
not dealt with quickly and, as much as possible, quietly.
Unfortunately, the channel was quickly compromised (there have
been several instances of logs being leaked to various
unscrupulous parties who have used them to try to create
embarrassment or otherwise complicate the Foundation's efforts
to avoid being embroiled in negative publicity or litigation),
and as a result, such situations are now managed through other,
even more secret, forums.
We could shut down the #wikipedia-en-admins channel, but that
wouldn't get rid of the nonpublic backchannels. It would just
change their names and disperse the participants somewhat. At
least #wikipedia-en-admins is an obvious channel name; it is
certainly more informative than one of its progenitors,
Major administrative decisions have been made, at times, in
these backchannels. Some of them have been quite momentous. In
most of those cases, the decisions that have been made have been
decisions that could not possibly have been discussed, let alone
made, on the public wiki, but nonetheless have had to be made.
This is a situation where the exigencies of real life, a
universe which is replete with dastardly beasts such as
reporters, pundits, and attorneys, force us to dispense with a
full and open public discussion because doing so is the only way
to avoid a vicious nasty lawsuit that would at best cripple and
at worst utterly destroy Wikipedia. You don't have to like this.
I'm not really all that happy about it either. But it's the way
things are, and it's not something that's going to go away any
So, anyway, that's the "vital information" that gets passed
through IRC backchannels like #wikipedia-en-admins, and why it
cannot be passed through the public noticeboards. If you're not
an admin doing crisis management for the Foundation, then you
probably don't need to be there. But it would rather nice of
those of you who are not doing crisis management for the
Foundation to at least afford the assumption of good faith to
those who are. And keep in mind that there's always the chance
that if you do see an admin do something inexplicable, it might
be a crisis management action, and that perhaps a polite private
inquiry should be your first line of action, instead of an
incendiary post to one of the noticeboards. Kelly Martin (talk)
02:51, 27 December 2006 (UTC)
The Durova incident email we read, the description of its having been
reviwed and approved, the agreement by many admins in the first hour
that the block should not be overturned except by arbcom and that the
evidence was such that it could not be given to the community for
evaluation, and the frantic efforts to delete evidences needed by the
community to evaluate the situation; all led people to doubt what we
have been told about what goes on behind closed doors around here. It
led to a crisis of confidence, a doubting that we were being told the
truth, a doubting in the judgement of the people in charge of what goes
on behind closed doors. Efforts to say take my word for it and to delete
evidence strengthened the appearance that the words were different than
the facts. You must understand that when someone questions whether you
are lying saying "I am not lying" does not help. Evidence is needed.
That is what is going on. WAS 4.250 13:55, 30 November 2007 (UTC)"
Experience is a good school but the fees are high.
- Heinrich Heine
I'm not so interested in the whether the "Sooper Seekret" mailing list
is evidence for a cabal, regardless how suspicious it looks. What does
jump out at me is how it essentially demolishes all of the
circumstantial arguments made to justify sockpuppetry blocks.
I think there more to add to the 2 million words already posited on this
topic. To wit:
> Earlier: "... how the community treats
> its members as opposed to [how the
> community treats] outsiders..."
Peter Blaise responds: I don't think there ARE any outsiders, actually,
just those who haven't used (or been used by) Wikipedia in any way, and
those who have (or will). Unless you mean spammers, vandals and
off-topic posters as the "outsiders"?
> "... punished ..."
Peter Blaise responds: The concept of "punishment" is absurd, and should
never be a part of any community. Anyone who has committed a crime
against the community does three things to remedy their actions, or we
arrest / banish them until they do:
1 - stop
2 - fix
3 - prevent
... and those are things the "transgressor" does, not things the
"punisher" does! "Punishment" only makes those who are saddled with the
responsibility of punishing others into mean and base people, trains the
offender to further disconnect, only more surreptitiously, and wastes
> Earlier: ... if two people transgress equally ..."
Peter Blaise responds: ... an impossibility. Take each case on it's own
Perhaps someone could summarize, condense, and release a "Reader's
Digest" version of this thread and the supporting documentation ...