[WikiEN-l] Userboxes: A radical proposal

geni geniice at gmail.com
Sat Feb 18 23:53:32 UTC 2006

On 2/18/06, Jimmy Wales <jwales at wikia.com> wrote:
> I agree.  The more I think about this, the more I refine my view of what
> I think is "the problem" with these userboxes.  "The problem" is not
> people's self-expression, the problem is that by having these things in
> the Template namespace we are implicitly suggesting that these are
> endorsed by the Wikipedia community,

The evidence suggests they are accepted

> and that plastering a bunch of
> advocacy stickers on your userpage is the right and normal way to be a
> good Wikipedian.

Admitting your POV is the first stage towards atchiveing NPOV.

> One of the reasons we've always been so successful is deep and profound
> respect for individuality, *mostly* manifested by a willful abandonment
> of advocacy in our interactions and work.

Generaly I've found it's more that the advocates are outnumbered by
those who don't care enough to form a POV but do want the advocates to
stop being anoying

> This is why I've become more and more convinced that the right thing to
> do is to take any and all userboxes which don't fit some very very
> narrow "practical" uses into people's personal userspace.  If you want
> to decorate your userpage with your advocacy for the death penalty and
> support for animal rights and so on, well, you know, whatever.
> I think it's lame, but whatever.
> However, that does *not* mean that I am complacent about having these
> things in a common space which seems to suggest not just "well,
> whatever" but "here's the thing you're supposed to do!"

Do you have any evidence that it does? Most new editors are not really
up to speed on the template namespace anyway.

> If I wasn't such a slow editor, and if I knew how to run a bot, I'd be
> likely to create a huge massive stir by going through every single
> template in the problematic categories and edit every single user page
> to subst them and/or move them to user space, deleting them all as I go.
> Please no one else do this... yet. :)

They can't. Running an authorised bot will get you blocked. Deliberate
attempts to make fair use vios harder to trace are also not


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