I hope this is a good place to send a weighty message to Wikipedia.
You’ll want to read all through.
I am a scientist who has always liked the Wikipedia idea, and I like
your implementation. Lately I’ve started making contributions.
Although I’m a cognitive scientist who taught biological psychology at
degree level for several years and have done AI research since the
‘80’s, I’ve diverted for a decade or more to resolve a set of major
Fairly peripheral but within the overall project was an investigation
of bird breathing, and I decided to piece together the research into
it, and deliver it properly to the public. Trust me, the finer
details were obscure. On the way I discovered why penguins’ lungs
don’t collapse even at 500m when whales’ lungs collapse by 100m; I
found out what the neopulmo did (though not why) and why penguins
don’t have it, and I changed our understanding of flow within it; I
also resolved the old chestnut of whether birds had counter-current
exchange in their lungs. That is, completely discovered, not just for
myself. By careful editing and addition including the long overdue
diagram the subject needed, I converted the two Wikipedia pages
dealing with bird breathing from an incomplete mire to a place of
revelation (though the German version needs starting afresh, and
Duncker agrees). But it was an honour do so.
More central to my overall project was cladogenesis, the heart of
palaeontology and just the thing that I, as an MSc in info. sys.
engineering would be expected to get into. I’ve written my own clad.
software, invented and implemented my own heuristic version, proved
the theorem in graph theory that resolves an issue in checking
evolutionary trees by time and rooting them, and highlighted a serious
statistical fallacy invalidating another major current of work in the
time-checking of trees.
In these activities I was almost entirely alone as regards other
workers in the overall field, since that field, dinobird
palaeontology, is notorious for its abuse of the lack of scientific
and indeed academic constraint that all historical disciplines are
prey to. Applicants for research positions into that biological
science, which relies heavily on computer science and statistics, are
usually accepted with just a geology first degree. Put succinctly but
honestly, the standard of science amongst professional dinobird
palaeontologists is crap, so much so that I’ve never taken the idea of
publishing formally in the field very seriously. I do from time to
time in AI, but any scientist with something sensible to say in
dinobird palaeo will always be violating sacred errors and be blocked.
Although useless, the field is very proud and stubborn.
But there is a layer of humanity too stupid even to become
professional palaeontologists – and guess what? They’ve established a
self-aggrandising population in the basement of Wikipedia, grooming
their egos by becoming gatekeepers. I’m sick of the sight of their
pathetic award stars.
I wasn’t surprised; in fact I’d been surprised by the ease with which
my bird-lung editing had been accepted, which is why I’d turned my
attention to another problem page that was actually even more of a
Most people, even those interested in the subject, have no idea why
dromaeosaurs had such strange claws, teeth and tails. Many even doubt
that the special foot claw was a weapon. And because they have no
understanding of the vital importance of backtracking in knowledge
engineering, they can’t escape the rut of believing dromaeosaurs were
“pre” flight (“pre” of course being a very dodgy evolutionary
concept). But solving this kind of thing was easy compared to related
subjects, and other visionaries such as Paul and Osmolska had made
their contributions and published some of the basics. The four-winged
flight of volant dromaeosaurs was harder but I found a solution to
that too (...though you’re not going to like it; even I didn’t).
I know what you’re thinking – Original Work. But of course that was
taken account of: much of the problem with the Velociraptor page was
balance – some theories had been simply ignored, even though works
mentioning them were already in the citation list. Other problems
were solved by pointing out glaring illogicalities: ensuring the
explanation of a difference between two things must be based on some
other difference applying to them. Things like that don’t need
citations, things that needed them were given them, and when necessary
I cited my own book. That after all is very common in Wikipedia, and
there’s no point frowning on the basic principle (especially when it’s
a good book!).
As you may have guessed or already knew, anyone bringing much-needed
but unfamiliar and unwelcome science (i.e. any science) to dinobird
palaeontology is automatically put on the hate list and from then on
it’s just sociology. Pointing out that modern science knows better
than to talk of “facts”, is the kind of thing that sets the idiots
off, but is one essential principle Wikipedia needs to take on board.
Luckily the pseudo-scientists usually give themselves away, as they
did on the Velociraptor page most bizarrely. First, they insisted the
tail couldn’t bend vertically, alongside a picture showing the last
two-thirds bending up through 60º. Then they insisted its prey only
had one leg whereas two could be seen even in the thumbnail. No
accusations of original work at risk there. Nonetheless they kept on
reversing EVERYTHING I’d written – the illogicality-busting, the
theory-balance restoration, and even corrections to their crap which
was contradicted by the images in front of their eyes.
The result? Someone’s stopped the repeated reversals, and of course,
they chose to stop it on the lunatic side. Irrespective of the
“Protection is not an endorsement of the current text” message, this
“temporary” status is a massive insult to science, which is why it’s
important, and a massive insult to me which has ensured my action.
I’m going to find the 100 most influential loud-mouthed Wiki-haters on
the net, show them the crucial photos, and the illogicalities, and I
hope I’m going to be able to say: “Look – some tiny-minded
pseudo-scientists started to infect Wikipedia filling even science
pages with blatant rubbish, but see how good it is? It put them in
I know an organisation of your size won’t bother with anything that
can’t affect it, and I haven’t time to dissolve you with charm. I’m
considering removing all the good work I’ve done in the bird breathing
pages, and their talk pages that explain it, as a token of what you’ll
lose if you reward my kind of work with insults. I was happy to give
it free but people can always buy the book. Put it back if you want,
but if you don’t, the pages will lose a lot and if you do you’ll
underline my value. And of course there’s the stuff above that could
go one way or another depending on you. Much will be done before the
election and as much as is necessary when it’s over. Don’t just hand
this over to another of the dinosaur Wiki-wankers, and don’t let them
keep spuriously using the word “source” to justify feeding the world
John V. Jackson.
Request for help by Wikimedia Deutschland also posted on
of relevance for all Wikimedia projects users.
-------- Messaggio originale --------
Oggetto: Information on Tool Labs/ Your help needed
Data: Thu, 7 Mar 2013 10:26:51 +0000 (UTC)
Mittente: Silke Meyer
You are getting this e-mail because you have an active or expired
account on the toolserver.
As you might know, Wikimedia Foundation is building a cloud-based
infrastructure (Labs/Tool Labs) that - in the long run - will be a
replacement for the toolserver. Don't worry! The toolserver will be not
just be switched off. WMF and WMDE would like to support you as good as
possible when it comes to migrating tools. There will be enough time for
this process. We will offer different forms of support which you will
hear of soon.
Right now, Tool Labs is not ready. WMF staff, mainly Marc Pelletier is
building it. You might have seen the general list of needed and wanted
features . For many of you crucial features are database replication
and user databases. Both are upcoming features in the nearer future.
Your tools and their dependencies are taken into account to build the
new infrastructure. This is why I am asking you for help:
Please provide information about your tools! I started an incomplete
list at  (http://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Toolserver/List_of_Tools,
based on the wiki and jira).
Personally I was really impressed about its length and diversity - how
cool! Several people said there was so much missing in this list - so
please help me to complete it!
Here is what I'm asking you to do:
* Please check if your tools are on the list (correctly).
* Please fill in your software dependencies, data dependencies, use
patterns (are they running continously? or webservices? Batch runs?
etc.), the license.
* If you have not given your software an explicit license, please note
that only free software can migrate to Labs. Consider putting your stuff
under a free license.
* If you have already migrated your bot or tool to Labs and it is in the
list, please say so in the last column "status".
* If your toolserver account has expired and/or your tool is not active
on the toolserver right now, please add it to the second table at the
bottom of the page. In the last column write that it is not running
currently and if you want to revive it. If you are considering to revive
it, please fill in all the details, too, so that your needs will be
taken into account.
* Please follow the toolserver-announce list for more information to come.
Thanks for your help! If you have any questions, please don't hesitate
to ask me, to ask on toolserver-l and/or on labs-l.
 List of Tools:
Systemadministratorin und Projektassistenz Wikidata
Wikimedia Deutschland e.V. | Obentrautstr. 72 | 10963 Berlin
Tel. (030) 219 158 260