Sorry for the late reminder, but just wanted to let everyone know that the
IRC office hours with Wikimedia Foundation Executive Director Sue Gardner
will be happening as planned at 00:00 UTC on the 25th (or the
afternoon/evening of the 24th, if you're in our end of the world.)
The agenda is open, and as usual times and conversion links can be found on
Meta at: http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/IRC_office_hours
Fellow at Wikimedia Foundation
Recently a friend of mine submitted a comment on the blogpost about "9 reasons women don't edit.."
While I understand it's Sue's personal blog and therefore the expectations of transparency and openness are not the same as with a true Wikimedia blog, but her post was rejected by moderation.
I acknowledge she raised several controversial points, and possibly mistaken. however she's quite direct and frank at expressing her ideas, which may cause them to come across as non politically correct..
She has this feeling that her comment was rejected not due to form but due to substance, that the statements made Sue uncomfortable and tried to hid it. I try to assure her that's not the case, that it was a sort of misunderstanding.
In any case, I promised her to repost the comment here (in case comment got moderated by a third person and Sue never got the chance to see it or reply).
----- Begin post ----Sue, can you please explain how the Foundation will change the wikipedia culture without any involvement of the communities in this change?
Sorry to point at the emperor's new clothes but, AFAIK this initiative is not a grassroots initiative coming from the communities, but something coming from the outside and driven by (sorry to sound unrespectful) paid staff, and very well paid (it reminds me a lot to the last member of the wikipedia paid staff, Larry Sanger, trying to tell communities how they should behave...), and not by leader wikipedians (sorry Sue, but you're a mediocre wikipedian, with less than two hundred editions).
The problem you point out is real. The alleged reasons behind that problem are a clear sample of amateurism. Coming here, cherry picking among the mails you've received and trying to come out with a conclusion is low-quality original research. I understand that the WMF has to justify somehow why most of the money donated to wikipedia goes actually to pay salaries of people that is unable to do anything for the communities and not to the maintenance of the project. And last but not least, try to say English Wikipedia whenever you now say Wikipedia. The Wikipedia projects are far more than the English Wikipedia. Best regards
--- end post ---
The main reason why Wikipedia seems unfriendly to beginners is the
reduction in the assumption of good faith. A lot of this could be
resolved simply by creating large numbers of new admins. This should be
done automatically. So why not just do it?
Argument and proposal:
Many admins and edit patrollers find themselves forced into an
aggressive stance in order to keep up with the firehose of issues that
need to be dealt with, a surprising amount of which is fueled by
deliberate malice and stupidity and actually does require an aggressive
and proactive response.
This is not the admins' fault. The major reason for this is the broken
RfA process, which has slowed the creation of new admins to a trickle,
and has led to an admin shortage, which in turn has led to the current
whack-a-mole attitude to new editors, and a reduction in the ability to
assume good faith.
I'd like to move back to an older era, where adminship was "no big
deal", and was allocated to any reasonably polite and competent editor,
instead of requiring them to in effect run for political office.
If, say, over the next three years, we could double the number of
admins, we could halve the individual admin's workload, and give them
more a lot more time for assuming good faith. And, with the lesser
workload and more good faith, there will be a lot less aggression
required, and that will trickle outwards throughout the entire community.
I can't see any reason why this shouldn't be done by an semi-automated
process, completely removing the existing broken RfA process.
Now it might be argued that this is a bad idea, because adminship
confers too much power in one go. If so, the admin bit could be broken
out into a base "new admin" role, and a set of specific extra "old
admin" powers which can be granted automatically to all admins in good
standing, after a period of perhaps a year. For an example of the kind
of power restrictions I have in mind, perhaps base new admins might be
able to deliver blocks of up to a month only, with the capability of
longer blocks arriving when they have had the admin bit for long enough.
All existing admins would be grandfathered in as "old admins" in this
scheme, with no change in their powers. Every new admin should be
granted the full "old admin" powers automatically after one year, unless
they've done something so bad as to be worthy of stripping their admin
None of this should be presented as a rank or status system -- there
should only be "new admins", and "old admins" with the only distinction
being the length they have been wielding their powers -- admin "ageism"
should be a specifically taboo activity.
Now, we could quite easily use a computer program to make a
pre-qualified list of editors who have edited a wide variety of pages,
interacted with other users, avoided recent blocks, etc. etc., and then
from time to time send a randomly chosen subset of them a message that
they can now ask any "old admin" to turn on their admin bit, with this
request expected not to be unreasonably withheld, provided their edits
are recognizably human in nature. (The reason why "new admins" should
not be able to create other admins is to prevent the creation of armies
of sockpuppet sleeper admin accounts riding on top of this process -- a
year of competent adminning should suffice as a Turing test.)
So: unless there is a good reason not to, why not do this?
I am really happy to announce that the Narayam extension is installed and
running at translatewiki.net. Currently it provides input methods for the
Malayalam and Bangla languages. It has been enabled so that Narayam can be
tested both for its functionality and for these input methods. We expect
that many more languages need support for the input methods for their
language. As Narayam is intended as a framework solution, it will allow for
a solution that can easily extended.
The status of the software is "functional" but it needs more tender loving
care from Junaid PV and other developers to before it is ready for the
Wikimedia Foundation. When you want support for an input method for your
language, please contact Shiju Alex who manages this project.
As always, we welcome it when you localise this and other software at
In Berlin, in parallel to the MediaWiki <http://mediawiki.org/> hackathon,
members of the language
Foundation <http://wikimediafoundation.org/> will meet for a first time in
As I read the roster of the people who may attend, I am amazed at their
qualifications. All people are involved in their
Incubator <http://incubator.wikimedia.org/wiki/Main_Page>, they are
linguists, standard people, a script expert, Wikimedians.
The first line of our business will be to evaluate what we do. We will get
to know each other better and we will talk endlessly about language,
Wikipedia and what not.
You can help us be more focused by suggesting topics to our agenda. Anything
goes and when we understand the issue raised, we will attempt to formulate
an opinion. When such an opinion is actionable, we will raise it with the
people that can make a difference.
The topics may be all over the map and they do not need to be confined to
the language policy<http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Meta:Language_proposal_policy>or
even the Wikimedia Foundation. When there are issues in MediaWiki, we
pop over to the people at the Hackathon and ask their opinion.
In a message dated 2/23/2011 11:16:00 AM Pacific Standard Time,
> To belabour the videogame analogy a little further: Zack Exley and I
> were talking about new article patrol as being a bit like a
> first-person shooter, and every now and then a nun or a tourist
> wanders in front of the rifle sites. We need patrollers to be able to
> identify nuns and tourists, so that they don't get shot :-)
New Article Patroller Fatigue or NAPF is that disease characterized by
bleary-eyed snipers jacked up on caffeine and cheetos attacking the slimy
monsters they imagine are in their sights.
Each NAP should be instructed that after every day or week of patrol they
are required to take an equal amount of time ... off.
> When I talked to the Tropenmuseum about licensing their material, I asked
> Mike Godwin about this and I put this scenario explicitly to him. Material
> is licensed by a copyright holder, he can do it repeatedly in different
> for different levels of quality.
As I read this, Gerard represents my view accurately. It's important to
remember that one aspect of (most) free licenses is that the original
licensor retains many rights with regard to the copyrighted work. Granting
multiple licenses to facilitate re-use in different contexts -- or different
media -- seems to me to be one solution to the problem that Birgitte raises,
which is that copyright is an area of law that treats very different media
as if they were the same (it's a "kludge," all right), which means there are
almost always going to be edge cases (statues, architectural plans, etc.) in
which meeting the explicit requirements of a particular free license (such
as CC-BY-SA) is going to be tricky.
That said, the efforts of Creative Commons to try to standardize on basic
licensing language have done very much to make free culture freer -- by
giving creators and licensors easier ways to talk about what kinds of rights
they are trying to grant, and by increasing "interoperability" among freely
In a message dated 2/22/2011 10:16:25 PM Pacific Standard Time,
> There's a shortage of core developers. There are quite a lot of PHP
> developers who have built some sort of MediaWiki extension, or
> otherwise hacked on it to make their own fork, however. We have some
> opportunities here to recruit more of them as well -- some way of
> encouraging each downloader to get involved, or one-click sharing of
> their local hacks with a global community? I'm not sure; but this is
> certainly another case of "how can we embrace people who take the
> first step to join us" worth solving.
The ability for a MediaWiki install (retroactive to earlier releases) to
stick Adsense ads in where they want.