Corporate Representatives for Ethical Wikipedia Engagement.Here's the
I see a pile of Wikimedians engaging with them, which is promising.
I visited WMUK on Tuesday and chatted with Stevie Benton (the new
media person), Richard Symonds and Daria Cybulska about this topic.
The approach we could think of that could *work* is pointing out "if
you're caught with *what other people* think is a COI, your name and
your client's name are mud." Because in all our experience, even
sincere PR people seem biologically incapable of understanding COI,
but will understand generating *bad* PR.
Those of you who have been around for a few years may remember
user:Tlogmer, aka Ben Yates -- co-author with Charles Matthews and I
on "How Wikipedia Works."
I got an email from his mother this morning with the very sad news
that Ben passed away yesterday. I do not know the details. He was in
his 20s and lived in Michigan, USA.
There will be a memorial service in Michigan on Friday; contact me if
you want that information. His userpages are
For several years Ben wrote a blog about Wikipedia that was incisive
and widely read. Older posts can be found here:
He also designed the Wikimania logo with the two "w"s; originally
designed for Wikimania 2006, we use it to this day:
Ben was a skilled artist and designer and was responsible for all of
the figures in "How Wikipedia Works." He also designed posters and
graphic materials for Wikimania and proposed many other merchandise
designs to promote Wikipedia.
He was funny, smart, and shy; I never had a bad interaction with him.
I worked with him intensively for many months but never got a chance
to meet him in person, but I counted him as a friend long after we
finished the book. He will be missed.
If you have any comments that you would like to be given to his family
or read at the service, please post them on Ben's talk page or send to
me directly. Wikimedia was meaningful to Ben, and it would mean a lot
to let his mom that people cared about her son as a colleague and
Just a quick straw poll:
When was the last time you looked at the Wikipedia Manual of Style for
use in your own writing? And not to tell someone else they were wrong
Me, I can't remember. I think I *have*, but it would have been years ago.
I'm posting here an argument I made in a recent AfD, explaining why I
think more stringent notability requirements are needed for
"The right point to assess someone's notability and write a definitive
article about them is at that point (or sometimes when they retire).
Any BLP is only a work in progress until that point is reached. [Some
say] "Notability, once attained, does not diminish." That might seem
true, but what is being assessed is not the subject's true notability,
but a fluctuating 'notability during lifetime' that can wax and wane
over time, with the true level of notability not being established
until someone's career or life is over. Some people gain awards and
recognitions and have long and diverse careers and have glowing
obituaries written about them, and pass into the history of the field
they worked in. Others have more pedestrian careers.
The point is that it is rarely possible to make an accurate assessment
until the right point is reached. What you end up with if you have low
standards for allowing articles on BLPs is a huge number of borderline
BLPs all across Wikipedia (heavily weighted towards contemporary
coverage [...]), the vast majority of the subjects of which will not
have prominent (or any) obituaries published about them, and in 50
years time or so the articles will look a bit silly, cobbled together
from various scraps and items published during the subject's lifetime,
but with no proper, independent assessment of their place in history.
It has been said before, but that is why specialist biographical
dictionaries often have as one of their inclusion criteria that
someone has to be dead before having an article. I'm not saying we
should go that far, but there is a case for many BLPs of saying 'if
there is no current published biography, wait until this career/life
is over and make an assessment at that point', and until then either
delete or have a bland stub."
The above is why I rarely edit BLPs. It is far easier (and more
satisfying) to edit about a topic once it is reasonably 'complete',
not ongoing. The latter statements applies to more than BLPs
(biographies of living people), for example it applies to any 'news'
topic, but it does apply especially to BLPs as they are a minefield
because they require careful maintenance.
To give some examples of articles I've edited or created that are BLPs:
Those aren't very good examples. What I'm really looking for is a way
to illustrate how some people become notable, and then fade into
obscurity, while others maintain notability and accumulate coverage in
reliable sources throughout their lives, rather than only briefly. The
latter are good topics for encyclopedia articles, but the latter tend
not to be. Is there a way to argue for more stringent notability
requirements that won't get shot down? Essentially, what I'm saying
Wikipedia needs to avoid is bequeathing a lot of stubby articles to
future generations of editors who will get stuck trying to find out
anything more about people who have faded back into obscurity and for
whom it is often difficult to ascertain if they are still living.
Saudi Arabian authorities censor certain articles on the English and
Arabic editions of Wikipedia. A Saudi volunteer did a great job
making a list of these articles.
On the English Wikipedia, all currently-known articles are related to
sex education, but notability on the Arabic Wikipedia, the article
about evolution is censored!
Here is the list:
There are reasons to disambiguate article titles, and reasons to
disambiguate categories. But should the category system simply mimic what
the articles do? I was surprised to find at a current CfD discussion (on
Category:Matrices) that there are supporters of this idea, which I don't
see mentioned on [[Wikipedia:Category names]].
We don't disambiguate article titles until we have to, as a general rule.
It seems to me a major shift in thinking that we should not apply the same
logic to categories.