> OH MY!!!! Sorry Stephen, but if 24 weren't clearly on the loony
> fringe, this would be funny. Speaking of which, I really do
> wonder where it lives and if it's loony enough to seek out those
> of us nearby.
Well he's pretty pissed at me too, and I, as a "transparency"
advocate, am pretty easy to find (I use my real name, my
address is on my web site, etc.) I'll let you guys know if I
come home to find "imperialist pig" painted on my door.
>Well now, someone seems to be ever-so-slightly pissed at me. ;-)
>- Stephen G.
One should consider that a good sign.
In general I agree with Jimbo that we should take extraordinary
measures against a crank who isn't clearly a vandal, but there
is one danger I can see from him in our present state: our current
community of editors may not alsways have someone of sufficient
knowledge to correct his nonsense. When he screws up something
about science, or math, or economics, I can pretty confidently
identify it as nonsense and remove it. But when I read some of
his stuff about green politics, even if it looks like nonsense,
I'm not entirely sure, because I'm just not up on that topic.
So I think there is a danger of some of his stuff slipping through
the cracks until someone with particular expertise can repair it.
Hopefully that's a short-term concern, but it does worry me.
From: "Guardian Tor " <guardian-tor(a)operamail.com>
Date: Mon, 08 Apr 2002 23:09:46 +0900
Subject: [Wikipedia-l] Our latest guest
Well now, someone seems to be ever-so-slightly pissed at me. ;-)
- Stephen G.
OH MY!!!! Sorry Stephen, but if 24 weren't clearly on the loony fringe,
this would be funny. Speaking of which, I really do wonder where it
lives and if it's loony enough to seek out those of us nearby.
Date: Mon, 8 Apr 2002 08:34:56 -0700
From: Jimmy Wales <jwales(a)bomis.com>
Subject: Re: [Wikipedia-l] 24 is driving me nuts
Is 24 aware of the existence of this mailing list? The mailing list
format is much better for discussing these meta-issues.
Perhaps, but it seems to want to preserve its anonymity... And I'd
rather read less of his crap than more.
Daniel Lee Mayer wrote:
> 24 also created [[wikipedia:Natural Point of View]] as some type of
> replacement of NPOV,
I'll have to read this, but NPOV is non-negotiable. So long as stuff
like this is on the meta wikipedia, that's fine, though. He's entitled
to his opinions, and we're entitled to ignore him or learn from him, as
may be appropriate.
Fine in theory, but his Natural POV permeates everything he writes -- of
which there is far too much, IMHO
> makes other articles that are improperly capitalized,
> such as [[Green Movement]], after he/she is made aware of naming
> he/she also makes improperly pluralized pages such as [[Eco-villages]]
> knowing about that policy etc., etc., etc., etc.
Improper capitalization is bad.
> An analogy, would be a news agency that is more concerned with making
> than reporting it. Should wikipedia become a place where crackpots can
> their views and gain unwarranted exposure? Should we be in the
> legitimizing terms and definitions that Google can only find a small
> of examples of? Do we want wikpedia to become a soapbox?
I would say "no", "yes" and "no". :-) Let me explain.
Let's say there is a term -- "military fiat" which is not widely used,
but which does have a fairly consistent usage when it is used. Then,
our article on it should describe what the term means, and who uses it
The particular article, [[Military fiat]] is pretty bad currently, but I
don't think that the existence of the article is problematic. A quick
search of google reveals that "military fiat" is not a common
expression, but when it is used, it does mean "a process whereby a
decision is made and enforced by military means without the
participation of other political elements."
This is true, and topics that are recognizable should be included as
articles. BUT -- isn't this an encyclopedia? The last time I looked,
and encyclopedia was a place where one could find introductory overviews
and summaries of topics, much more than a dictionary, but less than
journal articles and original research. Never have I seen an
encyclopedia where the purpose was to co-opt old phrases into the sole
(and solely defined by one user and/or his like-minded, one-track mind
associates) purview of a particular group. Take, for example, military
fiat -- the article should FIRST, describe the most common meaning and
origins of the term, THEN (and only then) describe how that term has
been co-opted by the new group (and given new interpretation). That's
if this is really an encyclopedic article and not a dictionary
The problem here is that 24 makes assertions that words mean what IT
says they mean, and often denies that common usage is legitimate. The
purpose of any encyclopedia should be to let people know what is
GENERALLY meant and agreed-upon, and then other views or
> I do believe that 24 is harming the project - at the very least this
> person is causing unproductive angst among longtimes users. The
> actions of this person is probably also giving visitors and newbies
> the wrong idea about the project.
Probably true. It's wasting our time and energy, to say the least, and
I think its antisocial attitudes are off-putting at best
> I think it is time to warn 24 to cease many of the above activities.
Well, warn seems to imply an "or else". Or else what?
Unless his actions rise to the level of vandalism, I don't think we'd be
wise to ban him. That would be a horrible precedent, I think. Very
I'd say that the only "or else" that's validly open to us is "or else
we'll continue to edit the hell out of your articles until they are
NPOV". There's a lot more of everyone else than him.
I think you're right on one level -- banning is very extreme. However,
I think we need to consider whether community standards and etiquette
play any part. There have been lots of situations where peer pressure
has helped to tone down disagreements between Wikipedians -- but even in
cases where there was clear animosity, I've never seen it get so bad
that the disputants wouldn't put common goals first (given encouragement
;-) ). With 24, we see a person who denies that there is a community,
and therefore has no obligation to work within the standards we've set
for ourselves. Moreover, one of 24's aims is to change the goals of the
project and tell us what we 'should' (in his twisted world-view) be
writing about. In my opinion, he IS vandalizing the project by creating
tons of pages that are really indefensible from a NPOV-encyclopedia
standpoint. Banning him would certainly result in tirades of "those
people/that clique doesn't like what I say, so they're oppressing me",
but this may be the point where we have to make a call on policy. I'm
all for peer pressure and heavy editing, but I just don't know if it
will be effective against someone who considers us all less than his
Wikipedia-l mailing list
End of Wikipedia-l Digest
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Get your free @yahoo.com address at http://mail.yahoo.com
"The wikipedia article database seems safe from any concerns, but on
March 1, 2002, the wikipedia lost its chief editor?, [Larry Sanger]?,
and has no clear or obvious way to make certain policy decisions
critical to its future."
I am now fulfilling the role formerly held by Larry. When it comes
down to the wire, I'll be the one making final policy decisions.
Fortunately, though, essentially all policy decisions of major import
have already been made and will not be changing.
NPOV is non-negotiable. And also, perhaps to the chagrin of longtime
contributors, the policy of not banning people unless they are
absolute vandals, is non-negotiable unless we get such a massive
influx of anti-NPOV authors that the project is starting to degenerate
into something other than what it is intended to be.
I don't think 24 or anyone else should get the idea that since Larry
is gone, we can turn Wikipedia into a humor site, or a Libertarian
rant, or a Green advocacy site, or a "Natural point of view" site.
(I am trying to re-read "Natural Point of View", so that I can
understand 24's perspective, but it is mostly incoherent. I was
unsure who wrote what, and so went into this history. Apparently,
even the parts written solely by 24 are incoherent.)
p.s. I think 24 vastly overestimates the power of indymedia, and also
overestimates the "threat" of bringing them in. 24 may think they are
all a bunch of anti-NPOV biased policial operatives -- I think they
are just regular people with political leanings far different from my
own, but who can fully buy into our NPOV goals. I think I'll submit
an article to them myself.
24's (User:22.214.171.124) activities are beginning to become a real nuisance.
He/she continues to create new entries that really appear to be idiosyncratic
nonsense that Google consistently only can find a handfull of examples of.
The terms that 24 comes up up, and then creates articles about seem to be
used by a very small group of like-minded people.
For example: military fiat (his/her term for military control over a monetary
system) = 160 hits, verbal rape = 136 hits, social rape = 99 hits, Earth rape
= 95 hits, eco-rape = 97 hits. Given the fact that Google tracks literally
billions of webpages, such a small number can easily be explained by chance.
24 also created [[wikipedia:Natural Point of View]] as some type of
replacement of NPOV, makes other articles that are improperly capitalized,
such as [[Green Movement]], after he/she is made aware of naming conventions,
he/she also makes improperly pluralized pages such as [[Eco-villages]]
knowing about that policy etc., etc., etc., etc. A partial list of what 24
has been up to is on [[Wikipedia utilities/Pages needing attention]].
Frankly, I am sick of having to be drawn into discussion with this person and
clean of his/her messes. By posting these idiosyncratic articles and ideas on
wikipedia this person is magnifying their exposure and importance beyond what
is warrented by the number (and arguably quality) of people who actually
believe this stuff.
An analogy, would be a news agency that is more concerned with making news
than reporting it. Should wikipedia become a place where crackpots can air
their views and gain unwarranted exposure? Should we be in the business of
legitimizing terms and definitions that Google can only find a small handfull
of examples of? Do we want wikpedia to become a soapbox?
24's activities are similar to what User:QIM has done with his Masculism
article - except 24 is truly prolific in the amount of material that he/she
is submitting (and at least "Masculism" gets about a 1000 hits - mostly
emails and personal pages though). I do believe that 24 is harming the
project - at the very least this person is causing unproductive angst among
longtimes users. The actions of this person is probably also giving visitors
and newbies the wrong idea about the project.
Don't get me wrong, I am not indicating that the merit of a term is not to be
solely based on the number of hits on Google. However, when the content or
title itself is questionable, surprising or really not at all NPOV (that's
neutral point of view, not natural point of view), then Google can be used as
some sort of objective measure of merit.
I think it is time to warn 24 to cease many of the above activities.
Hello all, I just wanted to drop a note saying that I'm leaving early
tomorrow (tuesday) morning for L.A. and won't be back until late on
the 16th. So if you drop me a line & I don't respond, I'm not
ignoring you. :-)
I think the only thing limiting amount of articles is our ablity to
maintain them. I suppose that would scale though, with the exception of
adding information from outside sources which would allow a growth in
content without necesarly a growth in the amount of man power needed to
maintain the content. If there about subjects which need little maintance,
I suppose it won't be too much of a problem.
The Enciclopedia Universal Ilustrada handle their 70-volume encyclopedia
by just adding supplements and never updating anything, so its actually up
to 116 volumes now ( http://www.libroantiguo.org/obr/euiea.htm ). This is
not a good tactic. It has become historical in its own right.
The Swedish dictionary is bigger then the OED? A lot of words in the
latter are not used anymore. I like looking through it and picking out odd
sounding words to impress others with my "English" vocabulary even though
whether the words have much to do with the English we all know and love is
negotiable. Its handy if to have if you need to read Old English, I
suppose - probably ditto for the Swedish dictionary. American ditionary's
usually will throw out old words, though our dictionaries are not really
old enough to have any words (or at least so much words) that absolutly
nobody uses anymore like the OED.
On Sun, 7 Apr 2002, Lars Aronsson lars(a)aronsson.se XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX wrote:
> Jimmy Wales wrote:
> > I would never have thought that someone would interpret the 100,000
> > figure as the _maximum_, as part of a critique of us that we are
> > nearly 1/3 of the way "done" and yet don't cover X, Y, and Z.
> One thing that Britannica (or any printed encyclopedia) "has" is a
> limitation in space. This forces them to set a maximum (above 66,000
> articles, the printed work might be so expensive to print that its
> market starts to diminish), and within this maximum they must
> prioritize what to write about. Wikipedia has totally different cost
> structure (neither print costs, nor author costs), so there is no need
> to set a maximum. Even if the article count is half or double that of
> some well-known printed encyclopedia, the openness is worth more, and
> should be the envy of any encyclopedia publisher.
> As a non-native speaker of English and a newcomer to English-language
> culture, it strikes me that the most hailed reference works of this
> gigantic language group, the Oxford English Dictionary and the
> Encyclopedia Britannica, seem rather small. The Dictionary of the
> Swedish Academy (SAOB) is bigger than the OED and the Swedish National
> Encyclopedia (NE) is about the size of the Britannica, based on a
> language community of less than 10 million. We envy the Meyers
> and Brockhaus Encyclopedias of the ten times bigger German-speaking
> crowd, and when I learned about the Spanish "Enciclopedia Universal
> Illustrada" (70 volumes) I felt like I came from a little country
> village to a big city for the first time. It is clear, however, that
> the Swedish projects would never be completed on a true commercial
> basis, but needed (and still need) substantial governmental
> The first major Swedish encyclopedia was "Nordisk familjebok"
> published in 18 volumes (1876-1894). On 14,000 pages with an average
> of 7 articles per page, this is an estimated 100,000 articles. This
> Easter I just finished scanning the remaining 5 volumes, so it is now
> online, free for all, on http://www.lysator.liu.se/runeberg/nf/
> in facsimile, with a short English preface. Have a look!
> The work is free from copyright, so you can use its illustrations.
> I already used one for http://www.wikipedia.com/wiki/Gatling_gun
> So, despite the smallness of the Swedish Wikipedia, there are already
> 100,000 Swedish articles online, just a century old, and hard to edit.
> Lars Aronsson (lars(a)aronsson.se)
> Aronsson Datateknik
> Teknikringen 1e, SE-583 30 Linuxköping, Sweden
> tel +46-70-7891609
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