Open main menu

An administrator "assuming good faith" with an editor with whom they have disagreed.

Diversity surveyEdit

There is a survey accessible by clicking on the "Diversity" option here and then on the arrow at the bottom of the page. Sorry if this has been raised here before but it looks like potentially more WMF encroachment on areas traditionally managed by the community. Eg (my bolding):

  1. Which safe space policies and decision-making processes, both on and off Wikimedia platforms, do you think need to change to make sure we have a diverse representation and foster a safe environment?
  2. Do you think there are ways our open knowledge movement can bridge gaps and eliminate barriers by accepting a broader definition of reliability and neutrality in sources?
  3. What do you think about starting a paid contribution model for those whose voice is not represented, but can't afford to give their time to the Wikimedia projects?

The launch page itself is off-putting: corporate twaddle that will make little sense to most readers unless they are already in the WMF loop. Should we be concerned or do you think this will end up being a white elephant of a survey? It looks like it ends in the next month or so. - Sitush (talk) 16:58, 16 July 2019 (UTC)

Special paid editors operating under "broader" reliability and neutrality standards. This is some next level stuff. Haukur (talk) 17:16, 16 July 2019 (UTC)
I'll participate. I am wary of judging the eventual effects of a survey when it hasn't completed yet, dismissing it as white elephants out of hand sounds like wishful thinking to me. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 19:43, 16 July 2019 (UTC)
Yeah, it's a good idea to participate - and in good faith too. This is obviously well-intentioned but it is unlikely to work and might well lead to another civil war. Haukur (talk) 20:07, 16 July 2019 (UTC)
Anyhow took part and wrote a couple of points:
  • "Safe space" cannot become a synonym of "no criticism space". We are working on developing a product, not merely talk at each other (Opabinia regalis said something about this a while ago if memory serves), assessing the quality of contributions is important.
  • We cannot randomly pick someone's definition of "safe space".
  • Such efforts need to be coordinated with communities.
  • The special paid editors and loosening reliability and neutrality points are a bad idea.
  • This is a point I recall Iridescent make a long time ago, partnerships with museums may be a good idea.
Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 20:21, 16 July 2019 (UTC)
Fwiw, I haven't had a chance to look at this deeply, but from my quick look "special paid editors" sounds like a really poorly phrased version of "Wikipedian in Residence", some of whom are excellent. Some of whom are less than excellent. TonyBallioni (talk) 20:26, 16 July 2019 (UTC)
Isn't the result aimed at by the WMF for the 'diversity' all prefigured in this amazing tract by Jake Orlowitz et al, Our Stories - Our Knowledges,' Shuttleworth Foundation with WMF input 2018?
If so, then there's absolutely no hope for Wikipedia. It's one of the crassest documents I've read in its utter conceptual confusion over how to write anthropological articles, though no doubt the people writing it were well-intentioned. Perhaps this has already been discussed, if so, apologies for the intrusion. Nishidani (talk) 20:58, 16 July 2019 (UTC)
Page 66 is interesting, where we have "sourcing oral citations" and "traditional knowledge" pitted against "Toxic, long-time Wikipedian reviewers". Haukur (talk) 23:12, 16 July 2019 (UTC)
Anyone who has some Indian articles on their watchlist knows that anything to do with castes is a bubbling toxic stew of gossip, dubious references, and prejudiced myth, or for that matter prejudiced history. If the "toxic, long-time Wikipedian reviewers" weren't battling against this, the "higher" castes, with more English-speakers & better access, would dominate even more than they do at present. Johnbod (talk) 02:43, 17 July 2019 (UTC)
(+1) The net output of the event about Dalits/Bahujans, mentioned over the document, has been (to an extent) documented by Sitush over here. ~ Winged BladesGodric 06:21, 17 July 2019 (UTC)
  • I will just leave a comment by a member of the Diversity-Strategy-Committee (which's concerned with that particular page of survey):-

    My observations are that the WMF has for many years been monitoring content gaps, which editors have not addressed ..... To my knowledge the WMF has not stepped (yet) into policies on article creation, but it might do so, if we continue to ignore these problems.

    ~ Winged BladesGodric 05:11, 17 July 2019 (UTC)
That the WMF is monitoring which topics have good and bad coverage isn't surprising, but what they have in mind is such things as recruitment drives in countries that are underrepresented on Wikipedia (see the troubled history of WP:IEP for some previous history). Don't take the idea of them imposing direct rule on content policies as anything other than posturing. Abandoning NPOV or formally supporting paid editing—one or the other of which would be necessary were they to try to forcibly "rebalance" Wikipedia—would trigger instant intervention by the Board to reverse the decision and dismiss whoever was responsible. (They've seen what happened with Fram, where the principle at stake was a relatively inside-baseball one about the right to overrule dispute resolution processes and where the target was a fairly unpopular character; an attack on NPOV would be an attack on every existing editor and the target would be every existing editor's work, so all but the most extreme loyalists and the snouts-in-the-grant-trough payroll vote would oppose it.) It's rare for me to hail Jimmy as a force for good, but he was there to witness why Nupedia and Citizendium failed, is fully aware of what happens when management try to impose their particular point of view on what volunteers should write about, and won't let it happen again. I'd imagine that if the "Wikipedia should have a house point of view" faction—on either side—ever did manage to take control, he'd lead the fork himself, and he has the brand recognition to get publicity and the industry contacts to persuade Google, Microsoft and Amazon to switch their search results—and the big donors to switch their grants—away from Wikipedia and to the new fork (I assume he still owns the name "Nupedia", which would be somewhat appropriate), leaving Wikipedia to become a low-traffic American-left version of Conservapedia. ‑ Iridescent 06:55, 17 July 2019 (UTC)
I would not hold my breath waiting for Jimbo. He probably agrees with the greater social goal, and the flow of money to favoured individuals and groups. It's consistent with what T&S is doing, both ways it is a heavy thumb on one side of the scales in favour of another LH against another Fram.--Wehwalt (talk) 07:20, 17 July 2019 (UTC)
In this case, I'd actually trust him do the the right thing on good Objectivist grounds of enlightened self-interest. He knows that alienating volunteers means losing volunteers means losing grants means losing his importance means losing his minor-celebrity friends. If there's one thing he's been absolutely consistent in since the early years it's been the principle that management should stay out of content even when the ungrateful rabble are doing the discourtesy of writing something he'd prefer not be said, or deleting something he'd prefer to be kept. Someone will probably pop up to correct me, but AFAIK the only time the WMF have ever intervened directly in the content policies of English Wikipedia was to impose Resolution:Biographies of living people and Resolution:Images of identifiable people.
I imagine that the life cycle of this survey will be:
  1. Draw a wildly unrepresentative sample of participants to the initial consultation because most editors outside assorted special-interest groups are unaware that it's going on;
  2. Have the conclusions announced at Wikimania, an event which by its nature draws a wildly unrepresentative sample of editors. (Wikimania is an event which is invariably held during the northern hemisphere's summer vacation—when travel costs are much higher, it's more difficult to get time off work, and arranging childcare is far more difficult—and as such is pretty much set up from the start both to exclude as far as possible anyone other than dilettante professional-students, retirees, self-employed "consultants" and socially inadequate rich kids living off daddy's shares, and to set up a hefty financial barrier to entry against anyone Not Of The Body who can't politick their way onto the 'scholarship' gravy train. Even the most enthusiastic Wikipedian is likely to have a better use for ≈$1000 than spending three days locked in a room with the sort of people who think this program of events looks interesting.);
  3. Be greeted with polite applause by the aforementioned unrepresentative audience;
  4. Announce the conclusions, and a set of proposed actions to address them, to the broader Wikipedia/Wikimedia audience to a chorus of disapproval;
  5. Never be heard of again.
The WMF's grand initiatives always follow the same announce-and-abandon pattern; all that differs is how much time and goodwill they burn up in each case prior to grudgingly admitting that there's no support for it. (Remember when Flow was going to save us all? Project Winter? The Great Purge of Toxic Personalities?) ‑ Iridescent 13:05, 17 July 2019 (UTC)
"Project Winter" does not ring a bell for me—I must have missed that one. Newyorkbrad (talk) 13:10, 17 July 2019 (UTC)
Probably this one. ~ Winged BladesGodric 13:25, 17 July 2019 (UTC)
NYB, please don't tell me that after all these years you aren't aware of 'if you're unsure what a piece of wiki-jargon is, put "WP:" followed by the word in all-caps'! WP:WINTER, the WMF's grand scheme to redesign the entire appearance of Wikipedia which was somehow going to lead to a wave of new editors. ‑ Iridescent 13:33, 17 July 2019 (UTC)
"a better use for ≈$1000": I'll almost certainly be at home in Bangkok when next year's Wikimania is on, but I'll have a better use for the couple of hundred it would cost to get in. And even if I could get in for nothing, I'd have a better use for the time. Boing! said Zebedee (talk) 13:31, 17 July 2019 (UTC)
Boing, I'm sure we'll find something to do with the time - Chang and Leo are still only ฿35. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 13:56, 17 July 2019 (UTC)
After more than 30 years, I'm still a Singha man :-) (though it's not as good as it used to be). Boing! said Zebedee (talk) 14:02, 17 July 2019 (UTC)
I didn't attend Wikimania when it was held ten minutes from my house. As you say, I have a better use for both my time and for the entrance fee. (If admission had been free I might have popped my head in to put faces to names.) ‑ Iridescent 13:36, 17 July 2019 (UTC)
Points 1 through 5 are of course spot on - again ::sigh:: (how do you do it Iridescent?) all that differs is how much time and goodwill they burn up... and money for their junket. I've heard that over 100 of the staff will be flying to Sweden this year and staying in luxury hotels for 7 days, plus around 40 more 'privileged' paid volunteers, leaving just over 90 scholarship awardees, some on their 3rd or 4th free trip. I can understand why one junior WMFer once told me it was his dream job. Some of them spend 200 days a year in airplanes - not that I envy them their airline food - unless they are not travelling in cattle class (they can always use their air miles to upgrade). Join the WMF and see the world for free (Berlin is a great place, I lived there for 9 years).
While I was of course grateful for the WMF's generosity in 2016, after arriving there I found that my accorded talk slot had been conveniently usurped by the WMF. All in all, I rather felt that the WMF had wasted their money on sending me there. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 13:51, 17 July 2019 (UTC)
They must have changed since I attended my only Wikimania, when it was held in Boston (2007? 2008?).(I remember witnessing Richard Stallman crashing one of the events.) Nevertheless, I don't see how attending one would aid in my primary interest in Wikipedia -- writing content. Lastly, even if I had a free ride & wanted to attend one I couldn't: I have a family to tend to & I can't afford to take off that much time from work. -- llywrch (talk) 16:05, 17 July 2019 (UTC)
Yeah, see my point #2—the Wikimania setup, and in particular its scheduling, couldn't be more designed explicitly to exclude people with jobs and families if they'd intentionally set out to do so. Even if you can afford to go, and can get the time off work to go, it falls smack in the middle of the busiest holiday season, and even the most loving and understanding family is unlikely to appreciate it if you cancel your family vacation in order to spend three days listening to someone talk about identifying how we need to adapt our structures and maximize our movement’s potential in the fields of Roles & Responsibilities, Revenue Streams, Resource Allocation, Capacity Building, Partnerships, Diversity, Product & Technology, Community Health, and Advocacy. ‑ Iridescent 16:23, 17 July 2019 (UTC)

That survey is appallingly bad. I just asked for the governance section and found I didn't actually want to answer any of the vague, open-ended questions. --Dweller (talk) Become old fashioned! 13:42, 17 July 2019 (UTC)

Appalling. Who ever designed it doesn't have a clue on designing polls or surveys. But that's the way the WMF works - wrong people in the wrong jobs - and too many of them. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 13:51, 17 July 2019 (UTC)
  • They need not intervene directly in content. Anyone who Fram would normally check on has been having a free ride the past five weeks ... and it strikes me a warning letter, not specifying grounds, could make an editor/admin very leery of controversial areas, or areas in which the sources are dubious by our "patriarchy" standards. Easy enough to remove the disfavoured from the fray.--Wehwalt (talk) 15:01, 17 July 2019 (UTC)
Yeah, but also every crook and con-artist trying to scam donor funds out of the WMF for their personal benefit, every righter-of-great-wrongs determined to bludgeon their pet POV into Wikipedia and abuse process to keep it there, and every high-ranking trustee or employee trying to use their position to shield their friends and family from criticism, has presumably learned the lesson that people are watching and they'll ultimately be found out. It evens out. It's not right that when someone trying to uphold basic ethical values challenges an outright crook the result is the person trying to uphold values being punished while the crook is allowed to quietly vanish and slink away and those who protected her keep their positions, but trying to impose a code of ethics when the most unethical people are those at the top is always going to be a fool's errand.
One lesson I have taken away from Framageddon is that the underlying issue isn't just one of different priorities, but that when it comes to Wikipedia the True Believers literally have a different worldview to everybody else. In the immediate aftermath of the Fram incident I had a lengthy correspondence with someone at the WMF (the five point summary I made last week originally came from it), which I eventually completely gave up on and stopped responding when every single comment of mine was met with some variation on "but Jan Eissfeldt/Sydney Poore/Katherine Maher says so and they can't possibly be wrong because they're perfect". I've no doubt at all that the person I was speaking to wasn't stonewalling but genuinely did believe this, and couldn't understand why I, and everyone else, could possibly be disputing a decision if the Politburo had approved it.
If you've never read it—and there's no reason why you should have—I highly recommend this blog post by Kelly Martin; it's well over a decade old but sums up the twin cults of personality and paranoia that define the upper echelons of the WMF, and the underlying assumption that every problem can be solved if sufficient Suppressive Persons are purged, as accurately in the day of a 350-employee WMF as it did in the day when the WMF was Carolyn, Danny and a filing cabinet. ‑ Iridescent 15:59, 17 July 2019 (UTC)
  • (delurk) Concerning diversity, I'll simply repeat here the point I've made time & again: one way that this could be improved is to improve access to sources. One chronic problem I faced in writing articles on Ethiopia was that I struggled to find material I could use. (This problem eventually led to my burnout, & my end of writing on that topic.) African subjects are simply not that high of a priority to US audiences, so my local public library was unsurprisingly skimpy in its relevant holdings. I had alumni access to my college library for a few years, but when the PTB decided to raise the cost of an alumni library card from $20 to $200, I lost that resource. I was forced to spend in the end about $500 on books & photocopy to obtain material on the subject. Lastly, while there is some very useful information on the Internet about Ethiopia, it's the equivalent of a jumbled second-hand bookstore with the occasional gem surrounded by endless tattered copies of obsolete almanacs & bestsellers from 1990. Although the Wikipedia Library is a very useful tool to help with this, it's the only tool the Foundation has so far provided -- & was the result of a volunteer taking the initiative. There are many more ways the Foundation could help meet this need, all without adding even a single sentence to any article. (I could list a few, but I'm not interested in boring anyone.) -- llywrch (talk) 15:52, 17 July 2019 (UTC)
  • One entirely legitimate use of paid editing I can imagine is paid translation. I imagine we could greatly improve our coverage of Ethiopia with minimal effort if we hired some translators either to translate existing Wikipedia articles from Amharic to English, or to be on call to translate existing books or chapters on books from Amharic to English so existing editors could use them as sources without relying on Google Translate or the wretched WP:CXT setup; likewise, we could greatly improve our service to Ethiopian readers if we paid some professional translators to translate existing articles from English (and German, Spanish etc) into Amharic and the regional languages. (Before she came to the WMF Katherine Maher worked on the Africa desk in the World Bank; I imagine she knows perfectly well that what serves the people of Africa best is equal access to existing resources, not woolly diversity initiatives.) But that kind of prosaic initiative might be useful, but doesn't provide any opportunity for Jimmy to stomp around Addis Ababa being photographed with comely Ethiopian maidens, so is unlikely ever to happen. ‑ Iridescent 16:07, 17 July 2019 (UTC)
  • Maybe this merits as little more than evidence that the Foundation lacks any sort of institutional memory, but at the one Wikimania I attended, one of the presentations I watched was about his experiment paying people in Chad to write articles in their native language for the relevant Wikipedia. When you consider that the world minimum wage is $1/day, you can get arguably high-quality writing in, say, Maba or Mundang for as little as 10,000 words for $5 (or €3, or ₤2). In short, this very experiment has been made & the results are available. -- llywrch (talk) 16:34, 17 July 2019 (UTC)
  • So did you intentionally pick a topic that mirrored one of my better contributions to en.wikipedia? Or was that just synchronicity? -- llywrch (talk) 16:48, 17 July 2019 (UTC)
  • Entirely by intent, as I thought it would illustrate better than a random example just how far the AI has to go before it's ready to start overwriting existing text. ‑ Iridescent 16:54, 17 July 2019 (UTC)
  • Well you didn't need to try to convince me, because I've suspected it all along. (And I also suspect that not a few Wikidata people are angry at the Foundation for seeing only that use of their work.) Doing that would, in theory, solve the NPOV issue & eliminate most conflicts over article content. However, AFAICS Wikidata will never totally replace existing text for one simple reason: it cannot answer questions based on opinion. Examples include, "Why is the Mona Lisa considered a great painting?" "Why is Augustus considered a model ruler?" "Why is the 'Tao Te Ching the Chinese text most translated into European languages?" Not that the average Wikipedia article currently answers those questions, but human-generated text has a greater capability to answer this challenge than any database. -- llywrch (talk) 17:28, 17 July 2019 (UTC)
After reading that plaintive screed I alluded to above, I went immediately to the Kumeyaay article mentioned there, and examined it, and the sourcing. Whatever the perceived need to 'change' Wikipedia to allow greater 'indigenous' participation to get in 'our knowledge', whoever edits it ignores dozens of prime sources readily available - Amerindians have a vast literature covering each group. The problem is simply a lack of Sitzfleisch by potentially interested editors who, at a click or two, would find themselves surrounded by a siege of readily accessible high quality sources. That could be expanded 3/4-fold in a few days, by whoever. Minority status has nothing to do with it.Nishidani (talk) 16:13, 17 July 2019 (UTC)
Pedantic, but a siege of readily accessible high quality sources is more likely to scare me off. As I alluded to this page, to write African humid period (~2600 sources, of these ~110 with AHP in the title) I sacrificed all my Christmas holidays and the prospect of expanding Mount Etna (~83000 sources, of these ~5560 with "etna" in the title) made me faint. Writing comprehensive articles is hard, and cleaning them up afterwards to get all the typos and images and lead section and what not ship-shape isn't much easier.
The Wikipedia Library was a godsend IMO - the problem with using physical libraries is that it adds a tremendous amount of travel-time to the article-writing process. I have begun using them lately but that is a big hinderance. And sometimes you can't get to a library publication without intercontinental travel as I noticed with Nevado Sajama.
It's a pity that "paid editing" almost always entails corporations or individuals paying for articles on themselves rather than say ISPRA or INGV funding an one-time job to bring it:Etna or Mount Etna up to a good shape. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 17:29, 17 July 2019 (UTC)
If there was a will at high levels, there could be modest sponsorships for writing, enough to pay expenses and dare I say a modest stipend. That was one thing that pained me about this whole thing, seeing that while content contributors are out of pocket almost constantly, there are those who use the Foundation as an ATM for exotic travel on dubious excuses, plus receiving other moneys that do not seem to benefit the reader in the slightest. To say nothing of the COI and other matters of which we are all aware.--Wehwalt (talk) 18:07, 17 July 2019 (UTC)

ease-of-editing break: Inter-library loansEdit

Jo-Jo Eumerus, if you have access to a good public library, their ILL department may help you obtain some of the materials you need. However, it can come at a price: I needed to access Ladislav Vidman (ed.), Fasti ostienses (Prague, 1982) to provide reliable sources for List of Roman consuls. For Duke University to loan me their copy, I had to pay $15. And then if I wanted a copy for future reference, I would need to spend about $20 to photocopy the book. (Of course, anyone who respects intellectual property would not photocopy entire books. One might get in trouble with the Foundation were one discovered to do just that.) On the other hand, the Smithsonian loaned me one of their books at no charge.
Wehwalt, I almost submitted a request for reimbursement for some of my ILL charges to the Foundation. Unfortunately, the language concerning "Quick Grants" (or whatever the program is called) is so sketchy that I can't determine whether such a request could be approved. If only I had a spouse connected to the Foundation to help me navigate these processes. -- llywrch (talk) 19:44, 17 July 2019 (UTC)
I did look into that at one time but as you say, it is vague and I did not want to be refused. Yes, such a connection would be nice, though needless to say any COI would have to be dealt with above board and forthrightly, as you would expect. Anyway, I have an idea about who should be on the fundraising banner this year instead of Jimbo. After all, we could show the folk where contributor dollars (and pounds) go.--Wehwalt (talk) 20:03, 17 July 2019 (UTC)
With regards to ILL (and with the proviso that I have the luxury of living within 30 minutes of three of the best libraries in the world), I've fairly consistently found that the hassle isn't worth the effort; unless the book is spectacularly obscure, it works out cheaper and easier to buy a second-hand copy on Amazon Marketplace and then sell it on once you're through with it. Doing it that way also takes off the time pressure, as it allows you to hang on to the book for years if necessary and to work at your own pace. If I remember correctly (which I may well not), one of the chapters—I believe WMUK—used to operate a scheme where if you could convince them you needed a particular book that wasn't available in convenient libraries, they'd buy the book and loan it to you; because they were nominally buying the book for themselves, it didn't have the same COI and ethical issues as giving out grants. I have no idea if they still do this or how one went about convincing them that you were a deserving cause, but I'd like to think it was more transparent than the parent WMF's approach, which I'm sure is perfectly ethical and above-board but certainly gives the impression that question #1 on the application form is "how many WMF staff members have you met?". ‑ Iridescent 21:04, 17 July 2019 (UTC)
Yes, WMUK do this (they weren't asked that often). The one time I did it I bought the book (2nd hand - Amazon) & they paid me, but that may have changed. Apply here See this proposal from January (fate unclear). Art history books are often still very pricey 2nd hand (or sometimes absurdly cheap). Uk residents only normally, I'd imagine. Johnbod (talk) 02:03, 18 July 2019 (UTC)
For the art history books, if you live within travelling distance of west London by far your best bet is to sign up to the NAL who not only almost certainly have what you want, they likely have a dozen other books on the topic that you didn't know you wanted; they also have staff who actually know what they're talking about. The downside is that they're reference rather than lending, so be prepared either to bring in a laptop or to spend a lot of time photographing pages. (Because of the nature of their collection, they're also ultra-paranoid about anyone potentially defacing their books—they'll quite literally frisk you for pens as you go in if they see a suspicious bulge in your pocket, and will refuse you admission if they think you're chewing gum.) ‑ Iridescent 06:40, 18 July 2019 (UTC)
Yes, I've belonged for some time, though I don't often use it in fact. Too much information! Johnbod (talk) 12:06, 18 July 2019 (UTC)
I have ILL available through the university library but I haven't found it worth the effort either. And yes, I'll do the same, or sometimes go over to whatever library has it and use my cell phone camera. I did that on the Chinese painting article, another university library had it and they could have gotten it for me in three or four days, but I didn't want to wait so I went over and got what I needed. It was too expensive on Amazon.--Wehwalt (talk) 21:13, 17 July 2019 (UTC)
I, however, find ILL very useful. But I'm not within minutes of a big university library (in fact, I've just moved much further away from one... now I'm a good two hours from UW Madison instead of an hour from U of I Urbana), so for me, it's a significant bother to go to the university library - when instead the local library can do ILL for me. And then I can photocopy the relevant parts I need to keep on hand for later referal. But not everyone lives in the country, I know. Ealdgyth - Talk 21:19, 17 July 2019 (UTC)~~
I don't think I've ever tried an ILL, mostly because the procedures sound fiendishly complex. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 17:20, 18 July 2019 (UTC)

───────────────────────── I know that some of the Scandinavian Universities have excellent libraries covering some developing nations, especially East Africa. (This, since at least the 1960s the Scandinavian (and Dutch) government have been heavily involved with giving developing aid to East Africa (If you go to some East African countries, you will find the size of the Scandinavian or Dutch embassies are among the largest).

Alas, the local Scandi WMF chapters have only, AFAIK, been involved in getting "local" material online. Perhaps they could/should be "nudged" getting info about developing nations online? (info "mined" from the local libraries?) Eg, Here is the result of the search for "Ethiopia" on Norwegian libraries, Huldra (talk) 22:26, 17 July 2019 (UTC) (PS: from what I heard: people sat partly in Scandinavia, using local libraries, researching the background for the new constitution for South Sudan. Not that that helped... :( )

I must be very lucky with my local public library: I can fill out a request online for any book or article I need, & within a few days I can download the pdf (in the case of an article) or in a week or two walk to the local branch of my library & pick up the book. It almost makes me feel as if I'm living in the First World.
Huldra's note reminds me: there used to be a very useful online collection of materials at one Swedish university, which I used to flesh out more than one article on Ethiopian towns. Now I understand how this collection came to be located there. It would be a shame if this resource has gone away. -- llywrch (talk) 23:30, 17 July 2019 (UTC)
Oh, it's the same here: I can go to my local library and order any book in any library in the country and get it in a week (at least if its after 1900: earlier they send photocopies). I even got a rather rare 1860s book from outside the country once (hmm, I suspect I was the first one asking for it in decade or two ;)). As for the online collection at the Swedish university: I suspect it is still online somewhere: more and more gets online these days....hardly anything is taken off line.) Huldra (talk) 23:47, 17 July 2019 (UTC)
  • Johnbod, thanks for the above. I remember discussing the WMUK grants with someone, it may have been at the meetup we both attended. If I absolutely have to have it, fortunately the DC suburbs are rich in libraries, hopefully I will be spared having to go into DC which is a bit of a production whether I drive or take transit.--Wehwalt (talk) 06:48, 18 July 2019 (UTC)
  • Indeed. I expect that the authors of most FAs have had to shell out for access to decent sources. I do know that at least one UK editor was given funds to buy books on the understanding that they would be forwarded on to form part of WMUK's library, but I doubt that ever happened. Eric Corbett 21:26, 4 August 2019 (UTC)

Another WMF surveyEdit

meta:Research:Understanding content moderation on English Wikipedia, just posted on WP:AN. Sample sizes... Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 17:18, 18 July 2019 (UTC)

Well, if the aim is to codify the existing custom and practice into a written Wikipedia Constitution—which is what all the WMF's highfalutin' "universal code of conduct" corporate-speak boils down to—it makes sense for them to study how the rules are applied in practice as opposed to what they say on paper. I have no particular objection to the principle which for once actually sounds like a valid use of funds, although I'd like to hope that this is just a first tranche and they aren't seriously intending to extrapolate from a self-selected sample of ten. ‑ Iridescent 17:25, 18 July 2019 (UTC)
Well, I did answer with some observations, including the one that making it easier to identify potentially harmful content (e.g hidden vandalism) might be the part that needs most help. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 14:35, 22 July 2019 (UTC)
The 'With the guidance of the Wikimedia Trust and Safety Team, we will post a call for volunteer interview subjects on the administrators’ noticeboard and are reaching out to individual administrators.' gives me pause. Shouldn't all WMF departments in the position to conduct a survey of admins be aware of WP:AN? Why is Trust and Safety invoked here? Dialectric (talk) 17:35, 22 July 2019 (UTC)
I read that as "we'll consult with T&S as to what questions to ask" rather than "we'll consult with T&S as to who we'll approach". I don't have an issue with that; whatever you may think of Jan and friends, they're presumably better placed than most to understand which issues are currently generating complaints that the existing consensus model isn't working as it should. ‑ Iridescent 20:48, 22 July 2019 (UTC)
The researchers (whose names and affiliations are in the infobox-looking bit on the top of that Meta page) look like non-Wikipedians. They are not WMF staff. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 17:37, 26 July 2019 (UTC)
If the purpose is to help the Wikimedia Foundation to identify the strengths and weaknesses in the community’s efforts to moderate content, to support Wikimedia’s efforts to educate lawmakers about the scale and efficacy of its community-driven model of removing harmful and illegal content and to provide a benchmark which can be returned to in order to better understand the effects of content removal laws and other regulatory trends on these community processes, then presumably someone at the WMF is behind it, even if it's been subcontracted out. (If it's not an initiative of the WMF, then that casts it in a decidedly creepy light; researchers are free to analyze us—our history is freely available—but why should we be expected to take instructions from a bunch of complete outsiders. As you're fond of pointing out, for all its faults the WMF at least does contain a core of current or former Wikipedia/Wikimedia editors on the staff who have at least some understanding of how the internal dynamics of the projects work and the understanding that on a collaborative project the lines separating "robust debate" from "toxic environment" aren't necessarily going to be in the same places they are on something like Facebook. ‑ Iridescent 18:29, 26 July 2019 (UTC)

Another WMF thingyEdit

meta:Strategy/Wikimedia movement/2018-20/Working Groups/Community Health/Recommendations/Rules and regulations, decision making processes and leadership. I am in particular amazed by the - apparent - total absence of a "is any of this actually a good idea" mechanism and the total lack of any mention of "competence". Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 18:07, 10 August 2019 (UTC)

Looking for helpEdit

Hello, Iridescent and talk-page watchers,

I'm looking for examples of people using article talk pages to collaborate on text. I'm specifically looking for a "sandbox" in the middle of a single ==Section== on a Talk page, which has been significantly edited by multiple people. I know that it used to happen occasionally, but I can't remember the last time I saw it, and I haven't been able to find any recent examples of this. (I've already found several hundred /sandbox subpages.) Have any of you run across this kind of workshopping on an article talk page during the last year or so? Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 15:35, 17 July 2019 (UTC)

The same text-block over a t/p, edited by multiple folks? I think that to be a discouraged practice; it's typically that I propose a version of content over the t/p and then, another editor posts a modified version below my version, rather than editing my original text. The cycle proceeds, unless there's a consensus. But neither edits others' text-blocks. If this kind of collaboration suffices for your purpose, I can provide links. ~ Winged BladesGodric 15:42, 17 July 2019 (UTC)
No, I'm looking specifically for someone posting an original and other people changing it. Like "Here's my first draft – feel free to just change this one if you can improve it", right on the article's main talk page. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 16:44, 17 July 2019 (UTC)
Yes, and very often the work would be done on a sub page, either in user or talk spaces. Johnbod (talk) 15:48, 17 July 2019 (UTC)
Paging SlimVirgin who IIRC has used this approach in the past on potentially contentious topics. It's not quite what you're looking for, but this kind of "shall we try this wording?" discussion is fairly commonplace at FAC if you want to go through recent nominations. I agree with WBG that you're much more likely to find "Alice's version; Bob's version; Carlos's version; discussion between the three over which aspects of which to use" than you are to find a block of text being collaboratively edited in talkspace, which if nothing else would tend to fall foul of "don't edit other peoples' comments". ‑ Iridescent 16:10, 17 July 2019 (UTC)
(adding) If it doesn't need to be about an article, there are some good examples of "everyone propose their preferred wording and then we'll discuss" with regards to policies and guidelines, such as the assorted rejected wordings at Wikipedia talk:Five pillars. ‑ Iridescent 16:15, 17 July 2019 (UTC)
I think that seeing this on an article talk page might be a stronger example. I'm definitely looking for something that goes against the "don't edit other peoples' comments" normal behavior (but with permission, of course, and not changing the 'comments' part so much as the 'proposed article content' part of the talk page). Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 16:47, 17 July 2019 (UTC)
There's probably nothing like that recently. Attribution is such a big issue nowadays, I imagine most editors would be very wary of engaging in such a thing, since as-and-when it was transferred from the talk page to the article it would break the attribution history and result in the mover being blamed for any errors. There have certainly been cases in which a group of editors have rewritten an article in a sandbox (as opposed to on the main talk page) and then used the sandbox contents to overwrite the existing article once agreement was reached—Talk:Bengal famine of 1943/attribution is a recent example—but I don't think that's quite what you mean. ‑ Iridescent 16:51, 17 July 2019 (UTC)
I'm not sure that Bengal Famine article is a great example to use if you're intending to use it as an introduction to new editors or as an example of collaboration at work, as What Happened Next was a screaming match between advocates of the two versions of the article that was so vicious T&S would have probably started disappearing the participants if they'd spotted it, but it is a good example of sandbox collaboration. ‑ Iridescent 16:58, 17 July 2019 (UTC)
No, this is related to the upcoming talk pages work. I'm making a list of Things To Not Break. It's sounding like this one isn't likely to be a significant priority. (It'd still be nice if they didn't break it, of course.) Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 17:26, 17 July 2019 (UTC)
Honestly, I'd personally consider breaking it as a feature not a bug, as IMO the "here's your version, here's my version, which parts of which do people think we should keep?" approach makes more sense as it lets people coming to the page in future see how and why the wording was decided. If WMF staff are able to talk to Toxic Personalities without bursting into flames, you might want to ask Eric Corbett, as he probably has more experience than anybody else when it comes to multi-editor collaborations at the higher quality levels. ‑ Iridescent 18:33, 17 July 2019 (UTC)
WAID, thanks for asking. Every link at User:Dank/Sandbox/5 is to a page of collaborative editing on a talk page. But they aren't article talk pages, they're the talk pages of FAC nominations (although the blurbs there are meant for the Main Page, and the Main Page has some similarities to article space). I don't know if this is what you're looking for. - Dank (push to talk) 18:45, 17 July 2019 (UTC)
User:Dank, thank you for that! This [1][2] is the kind of thing that I'm looking for. I suppose if they did break it, that FAC could transclude a subpage, but it seems like a bit of needless bother over one paragraph. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 19:06, 17 July 2019 (UTC)
Great. If you need anything else ... percentages, more detail ... let me know. Roughly 50% or 60% of those pages have at least two people participating ... but that's the tip of the iceberg. The leads that John and I started from were the end result of an extensive collaborative process, of course, and then there are often more edits after the blurb is scheduled for its Main Page appearance. - Dank (push to talk) 19:49, 17 July 2019 (UTC)
Ah, the talk page revamp... So that was the reason Fram was moved out of the way for a year! 🤔 <evil laugh>  — Amakuru (talk) 19:25, 17 July 2019 (UTC)–—(This message is humorous and not to be taken seriously)
@Whatamidoing (WMF): If I may, I've seen people list sources for future use on article talk pages. That might be another thing to keep in mind. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 12:24, 18 July 2019 (UTC)
I've worked on articles where we put a To Do list on the talk page, and multiple people would edit the To Do list to mark individual items as being done or in progress. A couple of examples are here. Cheers, Clayoquot (talk | contribs) 05:26, 21 July 2019 (UTC)
If we're not specifically talking about article talk pages, then WP:CCI is a good example of the "checklist" approach in action. Presumably, when Niece of Flow is introduced (which I assume is the elephant in the room here), such things will need to take place in the Wikipedia: namespace in future (already the case with CCI) as it will be much more difficult if not impossible to edit other peoples' comments on talk pages. ‑ Iridescent 05:40, 21 July 2019 (UTC)
The first mini-presentation at is about the Talk Pages Consultation. The Phase 2 report is barely past the vague outline stage, but this should give you a brief overview of their thinking. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 18:25, 25 July 2019 (UTC)
Uggh, do the WMF publish transcripts? This may just be me showing my age, but the "Youtube videos are always better than boring old text and images" mentality is one I particularly dislike, and to see the WMF of all people—who surely ought to be the standard-bearers for "written text with accompanying illustrations is almost always the best way to convey precise and unambiguous information"—going down that route grates on me more than it should, particularly when the video in question is 36 minutes long. ‑ Iridescent 18:29, 26 July 2019 (UTC)
Not just showing your age; I am almost certainly much younger than you and I heartily despise this tendency to use videos to show text and images in lieu of actually using text and images, and nothing about this video justifies it being in video format. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 18:46, 26 July 2019 (UTC)
I never guess anyone's age right, but I agree on the "pivot to video" thing. I'm sure it's easier to just record what was already a video meeting, and it's a pain to make transcripts, but there is nobody on this earth who should have the time to watch a 36-minute video of a webex about text. Opabinia regalis (talk) 09:35, 27 July 2019 (UTC)
That thing is useless to me because the subtitling doesn't work properly. - Sitush (talk) 10:07, 27 July 2019 (UTC)
I forgot that I meant to be helpful here - it's far from a single talk-page section, but you might want to look through the archives/history at Talk:Genetically modified crops, where the original conversations took place to develop the proposed wordings in this big content RfC. (Alternatively, you might want to run away screaming...) On looking at that it occurred to me that "things to not break" in changing the talk page system, even more so than collaborative editing, is the ability to include references, preferably with as close to their appearance and formatting in the article as possible.
I missed the bus on this talk page consultation thing, but FWIW: top priorities for a more structured discussion system IMO are ability to watchlist specific sections/threads, and ability to search and sort by author or date. That's it. Things not to break: revdel/suppression. Things I'd want to see more data about: the apparent implicit premise that editing others' comments is generally to be avoided. Yes, it's sometimes malicious and more often just a mistake, but preventing it on a technical level risks the unintended consequence of leaving BLP violations, libel, personal information, and other things that need immediate removal exposed for longer than they currently would be. Opabinia regalis (talk) 20:14, 27 July 2019 (UTC)
OR mentions the ability to include references, preferably with as close to their appearance and formatting in the article as possible, but I'd go further than that and add the ability to include sections of article text complete with images and complex markup, preferably with as close to their appearance and formatting in the article as possible. It's not particularly uncommon for people to park a paragraph or two of the article onto the talkpage so people can discuss how best to format it; it's not at all uncommon for people to use examples of article markup on talkpages, particularly for explaining to new editors or people unfamiliar with an obscure piece of formatting what the effect of a particular change will be. (A good example of the latter would be the discussions that took place during the ceasefire negotiations for the Infobox Wars; it's not uncommon to see a talkpage with an annotated lead image without an infobox, a minimal infobox, an every-field-filled-out infobox, and a collapsible infobox, all lined up one after the other so people can see what they actually look like and make suggestions for what should and shouldn't be kept without having to edit-war on the article itself. ‑ Iridescent 20:26, 27 July 2019 (UTC)
Other PITAs
PITA and the Wolf
St. PITA's Basilica
PITA Pan -EEng
Oh, I agree. The references stood out because they're a PITA even on current talk pages, and you often have a few stray ones clumped at the bottom of the page if you forget the {{reflist-talk}}, so that's a place where more structure would help. But yeah, you need a place to mock up article text, show the effects of different formatting choices, pull out a specific snippet for discussion, etc., whether that's in a talk-page post or in some other format. (Like a structured talk page plus a plain-wikitext sandbox page for each article? Though I guess then you'd just get the holdouts using the sandbox as a talk page, and you'd have two places for people to put their dumb stuff that needs to be reverted. Er, nevermind, maybe not that.) Opabinia regalis (talk) 06:03, 28 July 2019 (UTC)
See, if I were to design Flow or its replacement, I'd make it so that every post is editable & has a history, that it uses the same markup as a Wikipedia page to the same effects and that the references display at the bottom of the post. I know it can be done since that is essentially how a TV Tropes forum post works (minus the post history). Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 08:40, 28 July 2019 (UTC)
You don't need to look as far as TV Tropes for examples of an overall discussion page comprised of multiple transcluded discussions, each individually watchable; we have plenty of examples here already. Doing it this way brings its own issues in terms of changes to the individual discussions not appearing on your watchlist if you've only watchlisted the page as a whole rather than each thread separately, and a vastly increased risk of hitting the template limit (something which regularly crashes DYK), and it obviously does nothing to address the "to those new editors who only know VisualEditor the markup is totally incomprehensible" issue, but it's technically possible; all it would take is a .js hack to replace the "start a new section" tab with a "create a new subpage and transclude it under a new heading" script, and we could have even the cesspits like WP:ANI and User talk:EEng running in such a manner within a matter of seconds. ‑ Iridescent 14:46, 28 July 2019 (UTC)
Er, I was only using TV Tropes to illustrate how a discussion thread would operate, an overall discussion page comprised of multiple transcluded discussions, each individually watchable is a discussion of how a list of discussion threads would operate. Slightly different thing. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 15:06, 28 July 2019 (UTC)

───────────────────────── Thank you all for the examples.

Iri, you get to skip the first four minutes entirely, and the relevant bit is only 10.5 minutes long. Also, you can put the speed at 1.5x or 2x if you want. Danny's intelligible (for native speakers, anyway) at that speed. It looks like they haven't uploaded the slide deck yet (it should be in this category). I don't expect a transcript.

Alternatively, you could wait until the report gets published. I don't expect the Phase 2 report to involve either a slide deck or a video (and if the former, then the answer may be "WhatamIdoing, in San Francisco, with a spare copy of The Cognitive Style of PowerPoint". Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 22:10, 29 July 2019 (UTC)

I have followed Flow and the Talk Page Consultation extremely closely. I opened the first deletion discussion on an EnWiki Flow page, I ran the final RFC that effectively resulted in terminating any new Flow deployments, and I've been involved in almost everything in between. I think the best way to explain the current state of the Talk Page Consultation situation is to contrast it with Flow development history.
In 2011 the Foundation published a strategy to deprecate wikitext. The first half of this strategy was a project, VisualEditor, intended to replace wikitext on article pages. (Note that this resulted in a severe VE design error. Wikitext was to be deprecated, so VE was built with no ability to edit wikitext. Instead they built a Visual-HTML-editor. Parsoid was built as a temporary hack to get VE to work with existing pages. Parsoid translates wikitext to HTML for VE to edit and then translates HTML back to wikitext for saving. The goal was to dump wikitext, dump Parsoid, and ultimately store articles in HTML for VE. Almost all problems with VE are a direct result of this design error.) The second half of the strategy was a project, Flow, intended to replace wikitext on Talk pages. The lead manager of the project, Jorm, explicitly declared that he wanted to kill off wikitext. He made it clear that he considered it a waste of time trying to discuss the project with us, and told us to seek "Zen acceptance" that he was going to build what *he* wanted to build and that deployment was the Foundation's decision, whether we wanted it or not. Flow of course lacked any genuine wikitext support, it used a vastly buggier Parsoid hack to simulate wikitext support.
In 2018, after the third major wiki issued a formal consensus to uninstall Flow, the Foundation finally got the message. There was an admission that the Foundation's strategy had been to deploy Flow where they could, intent on improving it to the point that Flow would inevitably be accepted everywhere. (That strategy had long been painfully clear, but the admission was a breakthrough in honesty.) There was also an admission that strategy was clearly not working. DannyH took charge of running a Talk Page Consultation, with an explicit goal that it would have no predetermined outcome, and of actually listening to what we wanted. Based on past history I was skeptical of the Foundation's ability to listen, but I've been pleasantly surprised at how DannyH has handled things. There were clearly still Flow-evangelicals on the team and the Phase-1 questions looked (intentional or unintentionally) designed to produce a Flow2.0 result, but they heard us despite the those poor questions. They heard that we highly value the power, flexibility, control, and functionality of wikitext Talk pages. The "design direction" is to improve Talk pages rather than replacing them. We will still be able to edit Talk pages as wikipages. I might have forgotten one of the planned new features, but the new feature list basically consists of: The ability to watchlist a section. Automatic indenting for comments. Automatic signing for comments. Interface features for new users to comment more easily, without having to click the full edit button. They still don't understand of the importance of NOTHERE and NOTFORUM and are dismissive/disdainful on that point, but overall it has been going quite well. We're awaiting the imminent release of the Phase 2 report. When it comes to implementing new features the devil is always in the details. The Phase 2 report should give a lot more clarity on how they plan to pursue the new features, and whether there will be any nasty problems. There was supposed to be a Phase 3 to the consultation, but the consultation is being ended early and the project is being handed over to a new team. Presumably Phase 3 was cancelled because we avoided the complex question of trying to define a replacement for Talk pages. According to DannyH the new team is supposed to continue the process of engaging and listening to the community, and I'm cautiously optimistic that it will be a genuine improvement from past models of "engagement and listening". However I don't know whether DannyH will still be in charge of the new team. Alsee (talk) 08:03, 5 August 2019 (UTC)
"Deprecate wikitext"? I've heard of the story about killing the goose that laid the golden egg, but this takes the allegory to a new level. After all, this the equivalent of Microsoft deciding to phase out Windows in favor of FreeBSD. Not to bad mouth FreeBSD -- I think it is a pretty good OS -- but such a move would only upset all parties involved, & lead to the end of Microsoft. (And the story about Wikimarkup being difficult is a crock of shit. If one can learn punctuation, one can learn HTML markup; if one can learn HTML markup, one can learn Wikipedia's own wikimarkup. The problems lie in details such as manipulating images, creating tables, & using templates -- none of which Visual Editor was initially addressed to make simpler. And had it made those parts simpler, people would have embraced it & praised the developers.) -- llywrch (talk) 16:50, 5 August 2019 (UTC)
llywrch, I think he just means that the enormous community consultation at strategy: wiki concluded that it should be possible to edit without learning wikitext, and that the WMF ought to build a visual editing system, just like people here had been asking for since at least 2004. The original design for VisualEditor showed wikitext and a live rendering of that wikitext in side-by-side columns. They scrapped that (for performance reasons, but can you imagine only having half your screen to edit in, especially on a smaller screen?), but there's never been a plan to stop us from using wikitext to edit articles.
VisualEditor was released too soon. The ability to insert templates and refs was added just before its release. And, of course, they released it here, where the articles are the most complicated in their formatting and therefore it's most likely to break things. I think you are entirely correct that public sentiment changed as soon as people learned that the visual editor can add and delete columns from tables in three clicks. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 19:12, 5 August 2019 (UTC)
Regarding can you imagine only having half your screen to edit in, especially on a smaller screen? yes I can, as I'm old enough to remember the days before Microsoft's world domination. "Two-thirds of the screen showing the document in wysiwyg, the remainder showing the same text with the markup codes, with the ability to toggle the twin-display on and off if it's causing clutter" is exactly the way WordPerfect and software based on used to function; it was invaluable for people making the transition from markup-based systems like Wordstar to full-blown wysiwyg as it allowed people to work in whichever format they preferred without messing about toggling codes on and off. ‑ Iridescent 19:27, 5 August 2019 (UTC)
'Show codes', which I loved and sometimes still miss, never took up half my screen. Perhaps more importantly, it never took up half the width of the screen, which is what the first VisualEditor design had. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 01:01, 13 August 2019 (UTC)
Sure, but the specific position at which the programmers chose to put their dividing line isn't relevant to my point. The feature that the devs claim was too difficult to implement—toggleable split-screen to show raw markup alongside wysiwyg output on request—is functionality that has been in common use right back to MS-DOS days. ‑ Iridescent 12:22, 13 August 2019 (UTC)
(edit conflict) @llywrch, the document in question is (I assume) mw:Feature map from 2011. The smoking gun as regards the WMF's intentions back then is Technology to deprecate wiki syntax as the primary input method used to create content in Wikimedia projects, and to instead make it possible to compose complex pages using a rich-text editor which also intuitively represents templates, magic-words and other wiki-specific paradigms. That entire page is a fairly convincing piece of evidence when it comes to just how detached the WMF had become from the editor base under Sue Gardner; almost every entry there is a case of "nobody actually wants this and it will probably be actively damaging, but implementing it will give the programmers something to do". One of the people who worked hardest pointing out the flaws in the more harebrained WMF schemes was Fram, which is why the "it's not a coincidence that T&S banned him a matter of days before the latest round of announcements of forthcoming 'improvements' to the software" has a degree of plausibility. For the record, I don't in the slightest believe that particular conspiracy theory. The high-level discussions about changes to the software take place on Meta, not here, and Fram wasn't banned from Meta. ‑ Iridescent 19:20, 5 August 2019 (UTC)
Ping Whatamidoing (WMF) - I've seen the kind of edits you're looking for many times, although off the top of my head I only have one.... make that two... links handy. There was a messy RFC about Macedonia_(ancient_kingdom) that I closed. Prior to my arrival there had been several edits to the page which would have been difficult or impossible without the free-edit ability of Wikipages. The topic was a nationalistic battleground. Off-wiki canvassing brought in a bunch of IPs and new SPA accounts. At least one response was a duplicate !vote, and the duplicate was edited to strike-through the entire response. Several responses were individually wrapped in a collapsed {{hat}} labeled as SPA votes, and later all of the SPA of the responses were cut from the page and all pasted together into a single SPA-{{hat}}. As a closer I found those edits helped me assess the situation more easily, to do my work resolving the conflict. Here's a two-edit-diff showing the main edits to reorganize the discussion. If you dig around there might be other edits of interest before or after that, but that diff largely covers it. Another kind of case I recall seeing many times is shared editing of a table on a talk page. I'm pretty sure I've seen it several times at WP:RSN.... and OH! I just remembered a specific case. There was an extremely ugly mess, involving a far worse flood of SPA-warriors, at Neil_deGrasse_Tyson's biography. During the process someone posted this initial table of sources, it's the bottom section of the page. It was subsequently edited by at least of six people. You can see the the final version of the collaborative-table if you open the collapse-box at Talk:Neil_deGrasse_Tyson/Archive_10#Resources. Note that I consider it a bit unusual that the table was given a column for people to sign their additions. For that kind of data-gathering work it is generally unhelpful-clutter to include our usernames in the table. Alsee (talk) 09:22, 5 August 2019 (UTC)
The progression of this comment seems to be typical for all of us: I know it happens a lot – wait, um, there was this one time – maybe I can find – um, here's one diff. The fact that we're all saying something similar makes me think that this particular form of collaboration may be something that happened more in the past than it does now.
The copyright/licensing concerns mentioned above are also potentially serious, and they're not really solvable on the talk page. I can post something, you can change it, a third person can post it – but the history of who wrote which bits gets lost. The same problem appears if I post something, you copy mine into the next comment with your changes, and a third person posts your version to the article. It's cleaner from the POV of reading the talk page archive, but it doesn't solve the CC-BY-SA problem in practice. The traditional BRD recommendation to let the other person post your compromise proposal also introduces attribution challenges. I wonder if we should somehow be encouraging more drafting in the article (maybe some sort of a special sandbox that could be merged directly to article history if wanted, or tentative/suggested edits or something). Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 19:26, 5 August 2019 (UTC)


How do you remember these things? It's impressive.--Bbb23 (talk) 21:08, 19 July 2019 (UTC)

That one in February left a particularly bad taste in the mouth, as he literally couldn't have been more blatant had he just turned up saying "I have no intention of doing anything but there's nothing you can do about it". Don't take my comments on the current request that the 'crats have no alternative but to accept as any kind of endorsement of the ridiculous inactivity policy—it's patently ludicrous that someone with a total of 23 edits in the past decade who has made 37 talk edits and three WT: edits in their entire history, has made a grand total of zero WP:-space edits in the past 13 years, and hasn't replied to any query on their talkpage since 2005 should be considered "trusted" whilst editors who are actually experienced and qualified are routinely rejected for a perceived lack of experience—but we can't pick and choose which policies we like, and the wording of this particular policy is unambiguous. (There remains the possibility that no 'crat will be willing to flip the switch—although they can't formally refuse the request, none of them can be compelled to be the one to accept it—but I wouldn't hold out much hope of that.) ‑ Iridescent 21:28, 19 July 2019 (UTC)
Despite my critical comments of UninvitedCompany, which their subsequent comments only reinforced, I also think that Yelyos should not be re-sysopped, but unless the community can get their act together about policy, there's nothing to be done. I too would be surprised if no bureaucrat re-sysops them. Good news is it seems unlikely they'll do anything much. They never did before. We'll just have another inactive admin.--Bbb23 (talk) 22:06, 19 July 2019 (UTC)
The odds of someone posing as an old admin at a picnic, getting encouraged to go to BN, and then deciding to go for it after sitting on an account for who knows how long are pretty low. I’m all for a logged actions criteria of some sort, but the loophole here around WP:ADMIN isn’t really a loophole as much as wishful thinking. TonyBallioni (talk) 22:15, 19 July 2019 (UTC)
@TonyBallioni: I'm much more comfortable criticizing you than UninvitedCompany.Face-smile.svg There's no way I can disprove (even a check would only show where the user is editing from now) the charge, but I don't think people should be making this kind of accusation absent anything but their own cynical speculation. In addition, I don't see it as accomplishing anything but smearing the user.--Bbb23 (talk) 22:28, 19 July 2019 (UTC)
I am eminently criticizable, I’ll give you that Face-wink.svg Yeah. We’re in agreement here. Unless you’ve revealed your identity to someone else you can’t prove lack of compromise, and unless there’s good reason to speculate about it, I think people should avoid it. TonyBallioni (talk) 22:40, 19 July 2019 (UTC)
Technical arguments about potential compromise aren't even relevant in this particular case, since someone with enough knowledge of Wikipedia to successfully bluff their way through a WMF meetup would probably be better qualified to be an admin than someone who's been effectively inactive for 13 years. In Wikipedia terms, this is practically a geological timescale (at the time of their last WP:-space edit, foundation:Resolution:Biographies of living people was still three years in the future); this is akin to a Spitfire pilot turning up at their local airbase and requesting the keys to an F-22. ‑ Iridescent 06:36, 20 July 2019 (UTC)
I think you meant to say 'archeological' rather than 'geological'. As a pilot and Spitfire fanatic (never flew one though), I congratulate you once more for making a brilliant analogy. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 02:27, 4 August 2019 (UTC)
If you have a spare $165,000 lying around (or more likely, if your flying club has 165 members who each have a spare $1000 lying around) and a shed to self-assemble the kit, Supermarine Aircraft will happily flog you one. If you just want to tick the experience off the bucket list, there are still quite a few WWII survivors in the UK that can be hired out but because the 'corporate reward for best widget salesman of April' and 'birthday present for the overprivileged boy who already has everything' markets have discovered them, they don't come cheap. ‑ Iridescent 13:58, 4 August 2019 (UTC)

BN + 1 sectionEdit

Your 'moment of cynicism' is noted, and I think perhaps not without reason. I do appreciate the advice and will think about it and make a decision within 24-48 hours. Thank you very much for the time, consideration, and advice. I hope all is well with you and yours. — Ched :  ?  — 22:33, 19 July 2019 (UTC)

  • Is this flurry the equivalent of the people who rejoined Communist parties after the Hungarian Uprising? Johnbod (talk) 23:00, 19 July 2019 (UTC)
1848?, 1918-20? 1956? .... but perhaps 1989 is more apropos. :) — Ched :  ?  — 00:29, 20 July 2019 (UTC)
1956 was intended. Johnbod (talk) 14:02, 20 July 2019 (UTC)
Maybe more like everyone who made a new year's resolution to be more healthy, shuffling into McDonalds on January 12th, although I could make a reasonable AGF argument that the flurry of attention has prompted a lot of retired users to look into Wikipedia again out of curiosity, and they've been reminded that despite all the negatives some parts of it were fun. (Or, there's always the possibility that Jan Eissfeldt was right, and now that the Great Dragon Fram has been slain, all those people who were cowed by his toxic presence are finally daring to return.)
Despite the recent uptick in resysop requests, Framageddon is having a measurable impact. Since there's always a slight downtick in activity in late July and August owing to the US/UK summer vacation, barring extraordinary circumstances we're about to drop below the 500 active admin mark for the first time since records began in 2007, even by the WMF's very loose "30 or more edits during the last two months" definition of "activity". (The figure is already less than half what it was at its peak in early 2008.) The current (number of pages) / (number of active admins) ratio is going to hit 100,000-to-one within the next few weeks. ‑ Iridescent 07:24, 20 July 2019 (UTC)
Milestone duly passed. ‑ Iridescent 16:30, 27 July 2019 (UTC)
It's difficult to find an optimistic shred to hold on to. — Ched :  ?  — 22:44, 27 July 2019 (UTC)
Oh, there are certainly still reasons to be cheerful.
  • Wikipedia is still functioning, which a decade ago few would have predicted;
  • The infighting is at nowhere near its former level of intensity;
  • The quality of Wikipedia articles is generally improving; compare an article to the same page 10 years ago and it will either be unchanged or improved, there's very little that's gone backwards. (In some cases that's a bad thing as an unchanged article is an out-of-date article, but at least the war against the 'poop' vandals has largely been won.);
  • The most abusive of the admins are gradually being weeded out and their replacements are (generally) more competent;
  • The WMF may be bloated and inefficient, but is at least trying to act as the servants of the communities. WP:FRAMBAN may have got a lot of people extremely annoyed, but it's now fairly clear that it wasn't the abusive action it initially appeared to be, but instead a well-intentioned but extremely incompetently executed attempt to be helpful. I'd rather have incompetent staff who are trying to help, than go back to the Sue/Lila days when the WMF treated us as their personal sandbox for their favored programmers to play with;
  • The WMF is more responsive than it used to be. Sure, a lot of them are extremely detached from the community and most of those who got their jobs on the basis of Wikipedia experience have long-since ceased to be active on English Wikipedia if they ever were and their knowledge is based either on the Wild West Wikipedia of years ago or of the smaller wikis, not the relative mature and stable project of nowadays (Trust and Safety, I'm looking at you). But, at least they do try to listen; can you imagine a 2010 equivalent of WAID wandering around asking people for input on the talk page redesign before they start work, instead of the WMF foisting a redesigned talk page system on everyone and then sending their emissaries out to explain to everyone why they'd have to learn to live with it?
TL;DR summary; we've got this far without the sky falling when everyone (including me) thought it would have fallen by now. (Remember just how many earnest discussions there used to be about what Wikipedia's replacement would look like and how we'd go about deciding what would be salvaged?) ‑ Iridescent 06:24, 28 July 2019 (UTC)
Thanks for saying this. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 08:42, 28 July 2019 (UTC)
Agree with all this, but noting that articles becoming outdated is probably especially a problem in science articles, where we have fewer expert editors than 10-12 years ago, and those we do have are tending to be told they should be writing more frigging biographies. Johnbod (talk) 16:16, 30 July 2019 (UTC)
I agree with this, keeping science articles up-to-date is a pain, especially if you have written a lot of them or if there is some new discovery - 1257 Samalas eruption was discovered only six years ago and so far 173 sources have been published on African humid period this year, updating this all will be hard. Where are people told to write more biographies? Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 16:29, 30 July 2019 (UTC)
The WMF say they want editors to "Write and edit biographies about women" and "Improve content on feminism, gender and the arts", while Katherine Maher has explicitly said that "To fix Wikipedia’s gender imbalance, we need our contributors and editors to pay more attention to the accomplishments of women". AFAIK this instruction is being largely ignored, and most people are continuing to write about what they consider best qualified to write about and if that happens to be about a woman, all well and good; however if you either want grant funding or are angling for one of the back-slapping "Wikipedian of the Year" awards or similar recognition, that's a hoop through which you need to jump. If you have a particular desire to look down that particular rabbit hole, head on over here and start clicking links. ‑ Iridescent 17:37, 30 July 2019 (UTC)
Indeed (thanks for finding the links). And the great majority of editing training events are targeted at creating biographies of a "diverse" type, also many meetups - see Category:ArtAndFeminism. While "most people" of the old school do as you say, there are a number of prolific editors (varying greatly, from Dr Laura Hale to Dr Jess Wade BEM, UK Wikipedian of the Year) who mostly create new biographies of women, and new editors are encouraged to follow this path. Given the greatly reduced number of editors who actually add sentences to articles, compared to 10-12 years ago, I suspect this has a significant impact on the amount of editor time spent keeping non-biographical articles up to date or improving them. Johnbod (talk) 11:05, 31 July 2019 (UTC)
Iridescent, could you check your math? 5M pages into 500 admins is 10,000:1 not 100,000:1 ☆ Bri (talk) 15:44, 30 July 2019 (UTC)
Where are you getting "5M pages" from? You can get the figure from the {{NUMBEROFPAGES}} magic word, which at the time of writing gives 48,247,155. Remember, admins have to patrol the whole of Wikipedia not just the public-facing parts, so the headline 5,896,521 {{NUMBEROFARTICLES}} figure isn't particularly relevant here. ‑ Iridescent 15:50, 30 July 2019 (UTC)
...the Sue/Lila days when the WMF treated us as their personal sandbox... - at least Gardner knew what was going on on the factory floor. Something that is hard to see from 38,000 feet. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 03:29, 4 August 2019 (UTC)
Sometimes I suspect that when Sue Gardner left & the WMF stopped "helping" the volunteers, this neglect actually proved to be benign: since then, the falloff of active volunteers halted & according to some there has even been a slight uptick. (Lila may have been a long-term risk to the projects with her interest in the Knowledge Machine, but in the short term her ignoring the communities proved more helpful than forcing Visual Editor & Media Viewer on us.) -- llywrch (talk) 04:05, 4 August 2019 (UTC)
"Active editors" (English Wikipedia editors with >100 edits per month)
See the graph to the right, using the WMF's own published figures. Take note of the fact that Sue Gardner was appointed in 2007 and departed in 2014, and draw your own conclusions.
I refer you to the comment I made further up this page: "One of Wikipedia's strengths is that Jimmy, the Board and the WMF management generally have the sense not to try to interfere unless they feel they genuinely have no alternative". I'm firmly convinced that the reason Wikipedia survived while Nupedia, Citizendium, Google Knol et al. withered and died is that whilst Jimmy likes to shoot his mouth off he is actually acutely aware of his limited abilities and has the sense to leave well alone, whereas Larry, Google etc can't resist the urge to try to push things in their preferred direction. Pretty much every significant setback in Wikipedia's history can be traced directly to someone at the WMF who thinks they're being helpful trying to force their preferred change rather than just suggesting a broad direction and allowing the cats to herd themselves. The traditional ineptness of the WMF's senior management isn't a flaw, it's a feature. ‑ Iridescent 07:05, 4 August 2019 (UTC)
The only reason I do not assert a causal relationship is the possibility of confirmation bias. Many statements have been made about Wikipedia that are repeated endlessly (foremost of which is "It shouldn't work in theory, but it does in practice") which upon either closer examination or objective analysis either prove wrong, or an illusion -- yet because the truth would cost a number of jobs, are repeated endlessly. -- llywrch (talk) 07:14, 4 August 2019 (UTC)
Oh sure, and there's also the possibility that the causal relationship went the other way—the WMF were aware that retention was about to crash off a cliff, appointed Sue to stop the rot, and she left in 2014 having put the procedures in place to get things growing again. One could make the case that the 2007 slump was inevitable, and that Sue's top-down approach provided the stability for Wikipedia/Wikimedia to survive at all instead of breaking up completely. ‑ Iridescent 14:11, 4 August 2019 (UTC)
The number of volunteers was bound to peak in any case. Back in 2006/2007 being part of Wikipedia was all the rage; wikis were everywhere, & believed to be the Next Big Thing. Then these new converts discovered that being part of Wikipedia required one to spend time researching & writing -- the same activities that made their time in school tedious & unbearable. And so many of these new recruits decided Wikipedia wasn't so cool after all. After all, writing an encyclopedia is truly an odd hobby, shared by very few. -- llywrch (talk) 18:29, 4 August 2019 (UTC)
Absolutely - far larger factors were at work. WP has not been "hot" for a decade now, and grad & post-grad academics etc interested in spreading knowledge of their subjects through tech have been trying to do so via a variety of other platforms, none of which are remotely as far-reaching and semi-permanent as WP has proved to be. WMF CEOs have had a minimal impact on this, for good or bad, with the the possible exception of the push for diversity. Johnbod (talk) 12:59, 5 August 2019 (UTC)
The number of volunteers was bound to peak, but the crash was still spectacular. Normally when something drops like that it's because something else comes along (cf Myspace being eclipsed by Facebook), but we didn't have any rivals at that time other than the risible Google Knol—all things being equal one would have expected the peak to be a sigmoid curve, gradually levelling off, rather than the sudden loss of ≈30% of the editor base in a single year. Some of it can be explained away by increased semiprotection and improved bots leading to less vandalism and a consequent drop in vandal-patrollers, and by the introduction of AWB meaning a handful of editors correcting typo fixes that used to take dozens of editors to do, but that can't account for all of it. There's also no satisfactory explanation for why the decline suddenly reverses in 2014; WAID will presumably pop up shortly to point out that it coincides with the rollout of Visual Editor but while I can believe that VE had some impact on the retention of new editors it seems unlikely to be that substantial.
Not really - there was an upwards blip lasting less than a year at peak hotness, then we came back to roughly where we had been about 2 years before. The seasonal volatility was especially savage around this time, I expect because we had lots of people avoiding writing their academic stuff. Then a relatively slow decline started. Perhaps fortunately, WMF seem to have trashed the old stats, so I can't give more detail. Johnbod (talk) 23:39, 5 August 2019 (UTC)
For anyone not aware, the Signpost piece has now been published and there's a parallel discussion to this going on at Wikipedia talk:Wikipedia Signpost/2019-07-31/Special report. ‑ Iridescent 19:50, 5 August 2019 (UTC)

WMF QuestionEdit

Back in February of 2017 the goals of the WMF were changed (in the article, I'm not sure when they actually changed in practice) to include "political advocacy".[3] Do you remember (or know) if there were any extended discussions on this around that time? I understand that the intent there is to establish some legal protection from lawsuits and copyright issues - but it is a rather open ended way of stating it.

Also the Guardian article had a quote from Katherine "...This is a community with a foundation, not a foundation with a community.”[4] which struck me as something that may be changing, but perhaps that's just me going about with blinders on. Anyway, thanks for your (or tps) time. (again) — Ched :  ?  — 07:41, 20 July 2019 (UTC)

That diff appears to be Katherine Maher expressing a personal opinion about what she thought the WMF should be doing, rather than a formal change in the party line—this is the WMF's official position on advocacy. Looking at Foundation:Policies, there doesn't appear to be a formal policy either for or against political advocacy; I'd assume that what Katherine was doing was clumsily restating the existing (and non-controversial) position of "the WMF only gets involved in lobbying if it's on an issue that directly affects the WMF's activities", rather than trying to make up a new policy on the hoof. Here's every resolution the Board has ever passed, and while I have no intention of reading all of them I don't see anything that's immediately obvious as a change of policy. (Aside from anything else, getting involved in lobbying on any issue other than those like copyright or censorship that potentially directly affect the functioning of WMF activities would likely compromise the WMF and its affiliates' charitable status.) Either Doc James or Whatamidoing (WMF) would be able to tell you what the current official position is and whether it's changed. ‑ Iridescent 08:00, 20 July 2019 (UTC)
The statement "...This is a community with a foundation, not a foundation with a community.” is defensive - it would not be necessary if the WMF weren't such an ivory tower. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 09:37, 20 July 2019 (UTC)
It might only be lip service, but I'd still prefer she be saying that than the alternative. As you may have noticed recently, a certain department at the WMF appears to have forgotten that the WMF was set up to serve Wikipedia, not the other way around. ‑ Iridescent 13:07, 20 July 2019 (UTC)
That should keep me busy reading for a while, but there's information there that I've been curious about. Thank you. — Ched :  ?  — 19:02, 20 July 2019 (UTC)
Well, I'd prefer to hear people say that the foundation is merely one part of a large and complex movement, since there are a lot of groups that aren't what we (that's the volunteer-we) think of as either being "the community" or "the movement foundation". I'd also like people to remember that there's more than one community involved. You could also say that it's a foundation with a mission, because that is indisputably true, independent of its relationship to any other part of the movement. (Whether this community has one mission or multiple missions is something y'all could settle here and ping me when you've sorted out the answer. ;-) )
As for the "political advocacy" thing, I gather that Legal is in favor of freedom and privacy and all the good things, and against politicians harassing editors and all the other bad things, and that they have a "public policy" project to do stuff related to that, e.g., the annual transparency report (the next edition of which is probably due soon). Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 23:28, 21 July 2019 (UTC)
I know in your work capacity you're not allowed to say this—or even think it—but realistically when it comes to The Community then English Wikipedia and the WMF are first among equals. If even one of the big other language Wikipedias were to shut down tomorrow (say, if the WMF annoyed WMDE enough that they actually made good on their regular threats to secede) it would be bad PR but readers who don't speak the language in question would barely notice, and even the shutdown of Commons would be an inconvenience rather than a disaster; if English Wikipedia were to be shut down or if the WMF were to be slashed to a server-maintenance-only function, what would be left would drift apart within weeks. For better or worse, this is where both the written policies and the unwritten codes of conduct that set the direction for the other WMF projects, and the broader open editing culture in general, are set. (One-third of all edits to all Wikipedias are made to English Wikipedia.) So yes, we're a part of a large and complex movement, but it's the dynamic between en-wiki and the WMF that sets the direction for that entire movement. (To be clear, I don't believe that this position is what Katherine was trying to articulate—I'm sure she was just trying to summarize a complex situation in a pithy one-liner for a journalist, whilst paying lip-service to the "the Party exists only to serve the masses" line—but it doesn't mean she's wrong.) ‑ Iridescent 20:45, 22 July 2019 (UTC)
IMO the German-language Wikipedia community (which generally considers itself quite a separate thing from WMDE) would probably disagree with the idea that their departure would be barely noticed by the rest of the world. There are other projects that take relatively little from this community (e.g., the Japanese Wikipedia) or which actively resist importing enwiki's approaches.
Within the WMF, I agree that this community might get more than its "fair share" of attention and support in some respects (e.g., all official announcements are made in English). It likely gets less in other ways (e.g., some categories of WMF funding). I think there is also a strong awareness of the problem of assuming that the core community at enwiki is representative of the entire movement. We're the loudest and best connected, but we're not everyone. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 18:23, 25 July 2019 (UTC)
I'm sure the German Wikipedia community would be horrified and offended by my suggesting that de-wiki could be shut down tomorrow and no non-German-speaker would even notice, but I'm equally sure that it's true. For better or worse English and to a lesser extent French and Spanish are where the action is and where it will remain for the foreseeable future. Ultimately, English Wikipedia is the site speakers of other languages check when the article in their own language doesn't give them enough information or doesn't exist, and as long as English Wikipedia has as many active editors as every other Wikipedia combined, that isn't going to change any time soon. ‑ Iridescent 18:28, 26 July 2019 (UTC)
Absolutely correct, but the Germanophone Wiki ain't just Germany but all it's chapters and users have one thing in common: German language region cultural reputation for efficiency (I do know - I spent the best part of 20 years in the region). Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 07:14, 28 July 2019 (UTC)
@Kudpung The Swiss maybe, but the rest of the German-speaking world not so much; currency manipulations around the Euro have kept German productivity at an adequate level (at the price of ripping the guts out of the Mediterranean economies), but the legend of Teutonic efficiency has had a Brandenburg Airport shaped hole punched through it in recent years. In the country that made the trains run on time, Deutsche Bahn is now such a laughing-stock (at one point last year the proportion of trains arriving on time dropped below ​13) that neighbouring countries are formally complaining that their late-running trains are messing up their own timetables,[5] the proportion of homes with access to high-speed broadband is below such high-tech powerhouses as Italy and Cyprus (and well behind the legendarily inefficient British Telecom)[6], and that's before we get on to such things as Deutsche Post; meanwhile Austria has an unemployment rate not only higher than Britain but higher even than Poland and Hungary, and their last presidential election came down to a straight vote between the Greens and the neo-fascists as to which fringe party the voters least mistrusted. Europe is not a great advert for itself at the moment. ‑ Iridescent 20:50, 29 July 2019 (UTC)
Interesting, but the people involved there are probably not quite representative of the kind of people who are generally Wikipedia volunteers. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 03:26, 30 July 2019 (UTC)
Wow. And I thought the US was alone in its unrelenting march towards a third-world stature. (Having the largest stockpile of nuclear bombs only helps so far in our claims to being "Nummer Wun".) -- llywrch (talk) 15:42, 31 July 2019 (UTC)

Stained glass PendaEdit

Panda :)

Might there be someone here knowledgeable about English artwork who could help identify the artist behind the lead image at Penda of Mercia? More here. Haukur (talk)

Archibald John Davies (A. J. Davies), working for the Bromsgrove Guild of Applied Arts, just before World War II. (That one's not difficult; pretty much every piece of pre-war 20th-century glass in the Midlands is either Davies or Burne-Jones, and this definitely isn't Burne-Jones.) ‑ Iridescent 15:52, 21 July 2019 (UTC)
Just as a note, someone's disputed this so don't add it to the article as fact. The Worcester City Art Gallery & Museum has the full archives of the Bromsgrove Guild if someone wants to get a definitive answer, or if you have a spare £3.50 floating around the Cathedral sells a gazetteer of their stained glass. ‑ Iridescent 16:40, 21 July 2019 (UTC)
Thanks for looking into it. I'm happy to pay a few quid for things like this but it seems they don't ship out of the UK. I'll send them a nice e-mail instead. Haukur (talk) 18:00, 21 July 2019 (UTC)
Haukurth, you may be able to get someone from WP:WORCS to get one and send it to you. Perhaps Peterkingiron or PBS. Don't ask me though, I'm a native of Worcs but I live 8,000 miles away. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 03:17, 30 July 2019 (UTC)
Thanks for the suggestions! The Cathedral hasn't replied to me but User:Serial Number 54129 has kindly offered to help. Haukur (talk) 11:39, 31 July 2019 (UTC)
@Haukurth: Anything else you want from them, or is it just the stained glass catalogue? ——SerialNumber54129 11:45, 31 July 2019 (UTC)
@Serial Number 54129: Just the catalogue! Haukur (talk) 14:15, 31 July 2019 (UTC)
Wikipedia really is not a bad place to hang out at. Thank you so much, Serial Number 54129! Haukur (talk) 12:32, 6 August 2019 (UTC)
While we're all still here anyway ;) no problem at all, Haukurth ——SerialNumber54129 13:15, 6 August 2019 (UTC)
So, at least take a look in it and see who the window was by in the end… ‑ Iridescent 17:50, 6 August 2019 (UTC)
@Iridescent: Err...I don't think it's in there! The book doesn't cover the cloister... which is where the window is?! Crikey! What a cock up! ——SerialNumber54129 18:05, 6 August 2019 (UTC)
Hahaha, oh dear! But maybe we can still mine something useful from it. Haukur (talk) 18:11, 6 August 2019 (UTC)
There are only four names I recognise at Wikipedia:WikiProject Worcestershire#Participants, two of whom no longer live in the area and the other two are both people with whom I don't particularly want to risk a Beetlejuice situation by mentioning by name, but it might be worth asking on the talkpage there; the University of Worcester is only a ten minute amble down the river from the Cathedral, so you might hit lucky and find a bored student. Tip to the bored student: if you go by way of Broad Street, then Baguette Man a couple of doors down from the Crown does a mean egg butty. RexxS, do any of the Wikimedia West Midlands lot live in Worcester who could go and take a look? ‑ Iridescent 18:30, 6 August 2019 (UTC)
None that I know, sadly. However, my wife used to work at Christopher Whitehead School and I know my way around Worcester, so I could take a trip there and investigate. If anybody can give me any concrete directions on where best to search for the information, that would make it easier. Cheers --RexxS (talk) 18:44, 6 August 2019 (UTC)
It would probably just be a case of popping into the Cathedral and looking to see if it has a label (from experience pretty much everything in Worcester Cathedral has an explanatory sign on it), and failing that asking the verger, since presumably whoever's there will know who to ask even if they don't know the answer themselves. The entrance to the cloister is on the south side, next to the path that leads up from the river-bank, or just follow the signs to the gift shop as that's in the corner of the cloister. Since whoever it's by they're long-dead, attributing it is a case of "it's nice to know" rather than anything that will get us in trouble.

DYK hooksEdit

"For once, Cwmhiraeth isn't to be blamed for this one, ...". I happened to come across this recent comment of yours on TRM's talk page in connection with the football mascot DYK. Are you implying that a disproportionate number of errors in DYK hooks are in hooks promoted by me? If so, please provide evidence, and if not, please stop making such aspersions. (You need to demonstrate that if I promote 60% of hooks, a pretty fair estimate of my activity, these hooks contain a higher proportion of errors than those promoted by others.) Cwmhiraeth (talk) 09:29, 22 July 2019 (UTC)

Because WP:ERRORS isn't archived it's virtually impossible to search, but as far as I can tell from the history, the ten most recent errors of fact (as opposed to stylistic problems regarding non-adherence to formatting rules, ENGVAR etc) were
  1. Template:Did you know nominations/Episcia cupreata (you're not involved)
  2. Template:Did you know nominations/Gloucester tabula set (promoted by you)
  3. Template:Did you know nominations/Raja Harishchandra (promoted by you)
  4. Template:Did you know nominations/Libro de los Epítomes (you're not involved)
  5. Template:Did you know nominations/James H. Stark (you're not involved)
  6. Template:Did you know nominations/Eddie Gallagher (soldier) (hook approved by you) Symbol question.svg
  7. Template:Did you know nominations/Chowkidar Chor Hai (promoted by you)
  8. Template:Did you know nominations/The Twin Miracle (promoted by you) Symbol question.svg
  9. Template:Did you know nominations/St Maurice's Church, Soultz-Haut-Rhin (promoted by you) Symbol question.svg
  10. Template:Did you know nominations/Ahmad ibn Ibrahim al-Naysaburi (promoted by you)
That's either six or seven (depending on how you count it) of the ten most recent mistakes to make the main page, directly attributable to you being sloppy, and I'm in little doubt that this isn't just a recent blip and if I went further back I'd see the same pattern. So yes, I am implying that a disproportionate number of errors in DYK hooks are in hooks promoted by me. (If you—or anyone else—thinks I'm cherry-picking, you can repeat the exercise for yourself; look at the history of WP:ERRORS, view the versions before each occurrence of "Clearing DYK, no longer on main page", and note the occasions on which the item being complained about was a demonstrable error of fact rather than either a case of stylistic preferences or where the complaint was found not to be valid.) ‑ Iridescent 20:21, 22 July 2019 (UTC)
Oh, SNAP, found out... (and Iridescent's research didn't go back through WP:TRM either where we find rich pickings.......) The Rambling Man (REJOICE!) 21:40, 22 July 2019 (UTC)
What was supposed to be the issue with Template:Did you know nominations/Gloucester tabula set, which I reviewed, and where the original hook was used? I can't see it there. Of course no one ever tells the creator, nominator or reviewer of these alleged problems - that would spoil the fun for TRM & others. Johnbod (talk)
That one was an extremely petty matter of a misplaced comma—"Looking at the images in the Gloucester tabula set I discovered that the copulating couple mentioned in the hook are actually not a hanging man and a manticore. A serial comma would remove this ambiguity.". (In TRM's case, then AFAIK he can't notify the creator, nominator or reviewer when he thinks he's found an error; his topic ban says he's only allowed to discuss DYK at "User:The Rambling Man/ERRORS and its talk page".) ‑ Iridescent 06:08, 23 July 2019 (UTC)
Yup, bingo. And finding errors isn't fun, it's tragic and pathetic really that so many are allowed in the first instance. The Rambling Man (REJOICE!) 10:14, 23 July 2019 (UTC)
Johnbod How about simply adding ERRORS to your watchlist? Seems a sensible thing to do if you work on featuring content to the Main Page.-- Pawnkingthree (talk) 12:27, 23 July 2019 (UTC)
Restraining the urge to tell you firmly to f**k off, I'll point out that covering all the places where post-promotion fiddling with DYK's takes place would involve watching pages going into double figures, many highly active. I already have enough crap on my watchlist. There's no excuse for never notifying creators or reviewers. Johnbod (talk) 12:48, 23 July 2019 (UTC)
In this case prohibited by ban. So not an excuse. While its no doubt annoying, this is the consequence of the shoot-the-messenger attitude DYK adopted. Only in death does duty end (talk) 18:40, 23 July 2019 (UTC)

Symbol redirect vote 4.svg The reason I was looking at TRM's talk page in the first place was because I was wondering why his name was piped to "REJOICE!". It's probably because so few errors are reported at DYK these days! I have been through your list above and struck the ones that are not errors (such as a missing comma, or whether "colour" or "color" should be used in a hook, or whether "chowkidar" is singular or plural). I have also struck the final example as that one was correct when I promoted the hook and the error was introduced later with this edit. The remaining three refer to the precise wording of the hook rather than being factual errors. In the month covered by your error survey listed above, I've promoted 133 hooks and reviewed about 30 DYK nominations. It would be nice if you would admit that you are wrong about my error rate, but failing that, you can at least stop making derogatory remarks about me. Cwmhiraeth (talk) 09:35, 23 July 2019 (UTC)

Look out Iridescent, you could be in a whole heap of trouble here.... The Rambling Man (REJOICE!) 10:14, 23 July 2019 (UTC)
@The Rambling Man: Excuse me? you are forbidden to express any opinion whatsoever on anything whatsoever, as per WP:AE. In your face, WP:TEACE! Whatsover. ——SerialNumber54129 10:27, 23 July 2019 (UTC)
Cwmhiraeth, if you don't want to have a reputation as the one who keeps making errors, stop making errors. It's not like your reputation for sloppiness should be a surprise to you, given that it's been being pointed out for years; if you think I'm being unfair to you I imagine you know how to find both ANI and Arbcom. With regards to me, I think you're wildly overestimating my interest in either DYK, WP:ERRORS, or you, given that I've been on the record for years as a vocal advocate of deprecating the separate en-wiki Main Page altogether and replacing it with something akin to Wikipedia's main page, I've made 32 edits to WT:DYK and 165 edits to WP:ERRORS in my 13 years on Wikipedia, and prior to this thread the only occasion on which you've ever been mentioned on this talkpage was to complain that it was becoming virtually impossible for any normal editor to participate in DYK because anyone trying to participate there ended up being forced to "act as ammunition for one side or another in whatever fuckwitted game TRM and Cwmhiraeth are playing in any given week", a sentiment with which I suspect you and TRM are the only people on the whole of the wiki who would disagree. ‑ Iridescent 18:27, 26 July 2019 (UTC)
Only just noticed this: I'm not going to disagree with you Iridescent, but just don't become another statistic here. The fallout from Framgate will have far-reaching effects, and I'm afraid your contributions in this kind of section constitute "prime material". Just a friendly warning. The Rambling Man (REJOICE!) 09:58, 1 August 2019 (UTC)
Ritchie333's "disappearance" is almost exactly what my previous warning was about. There's some head-hunting happening, so be careful. The Rambling Man (REJOICE!) 09:17, 6 August 2019 (UTC)
Indeed; I'm starting to get the feeling that we may as well add "thou shalt not disagree with anyone connected to WP:WMDC" to official policy and at least be honest about what's going on here. ‑ Iridescent 09:25, 6 August 2019 (UTC)
Ah yes, a classic example of an error introduced by a regular fiddler - I hope both ways it's wrong were caught. Johnbod (talk) 12:52, 23 July 2019 (UTC)
Yow, that's embarrassing! -- regular fiddler 13:07 31 July 2019 (UTC)

Re: databases and private wikisEdit

Saw this when I clicked on Risker's contribs and wandered over there based on her edit summary, but replying here since I don't really know Kafka Liz that well: ArbCom still handles all the disclosures, though from a practical point of view, most of us look at the behaviour of the accounts before blocking, and if I see two longstanding editors with different personalities editing kinda similar topics but also acting differently, I'd either assume family members or I'd just ask them directly the relationship and tell them they could email me or ArbCom if they didn't want it public.
The bigger issue, imo, is with "clean starts" that are disclosed to ArbCom, which per policy can't grant permission so they just note it in their records, and then the account gets blocked for actually violating the clean start policy in some way, and gets mad because they told ArbCom. Zawl is probably the most recent high-profile version of this. That is something that I would like to see devolved from the committee somehow in at some point in the future, even more than family things since those honestly don't cause many issues. TonyBallioni (talk) 04:49, 31 July 2019 (UTC)
CU is largely irrelevant in that case. While spouses are not prohibited from editing in the same area, for the purposes of consensus discussion they will/should be treated as one voice, as it's impossible to determine who is actually in control of the user accounts at ant one time. WP:Meat lays this out clearly. So yes telling someone they can't contribute to an rfc their partner is involved in is wrong, but it's pointless doing so if you are going to be treated as one person anyway. Only in death does duty end (talk) 10:29, 31 July 2019 (UTC)
I liked Risker's suspicion of who it may have been...I doubt you'll get great odds ;) 4-1 on?! ——SerialNumber54129 10:38, 31 July 2019 (UTC)
You know, I was surprised that in 2019 two married people with separate accounts would be considered sockpuppets in an RfA... Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 10:45, 31 July 2019 (UTC)
There was an RfC a few years ago about it, specifically to do with that specific couple. TK. Victoria (tk) 13:06, 31 July 2019 (UTC)
I don’t read FAMILY as applying here: they’ve made the disclosure and it’s so well known that even I know about it, and I’m not a part of the FAC-regulars crowd. That’s just my reading of the policy. TonyBallioni (talk) 14:39, 31 July 2019 (UTC)
I knew something rang a bell about this, turns out I commented extensively at that RFC... Only in death does duty end (talk) 19:37, 31 July 2019 (UTC)

Because Iri is better than Cent.Edit

An RFC on the interpretation of the wording of ARBPOL has been opened here. Only in death does duty end (talk) 21:24, 31 July 2019 (UTC)

I won't clog the RFC with a wall of text, but here's my take:
If the purpose of the RFC is just to clarify what the intentions of the drafters of WP:ARBPOL were when Wikipedia:Arbitration/Policy#Forms of proceeding was written, have you tried just asking Roger Davies, who wrote the section in question? If you haven't already, you probably ought to read Roger's lengthy explanation of why this clause is worded as it is at the time of the original public vote on whether to include it, which makes the intent behind the wording used fairly clear.
As you may know, I was one of the original signatories to the current wording—the wording prior to that was the even vaguer Arbitrators take evidence in public, but reserve the right to take some evidence in private in exceptional circumstances. (The full list of the original signatories—whom I won't mass-ping as quite a few are no longer active—was Casliber, Cool Hand Luke, Coren, David Fuchs, Elen of the Roads, Iridescent, Jclemens, John Vandenberg, Kirill Lokshin, Mailer diablo, Newyorkbrad, PhilKnight, Risker, Roger Davies, Shell Kinney, SirFozzie, Xeno.) Speaking with the "2011 arbcom" hat on, I think the intent was clearly "in exceptional circumstances Arbcom reserves theoretical powers to do whatever it wants within its narrow remit no matter how arbitrary it may appear, and if the community feel they've acted inappropriately the community can then choose to vote the arbs out". Remember, neither the 2004 or the 2011 drafters were trying to write a Wikipedia Constitution from scratch, but trying to address a practical problem of how the absolute powers inherited from the days when Wikipedia was literally Jimmy Wales's private property could be translated into a community governance system without tying the entire project up in "technically according to paragraph Q subsection 4.19 I was within my rights" arguing. (Have a read through some archives of what pre-ARBPOL arbcom activity looked like; it was bureaucracy and point-scoring taken to insane extremes.) If you read the "oppose" section of the public vote which brought that policy into wiki-law, it's clear that this wasn't an "arbitrary powers" clause which Arbcom was trying to slip through, but that the community was well aware that this was granting the theoretical possibility of Arbcom conducting cases without 'due process', yet the broader community vote still passed this wording by a 134–20 supermajority.
There's certainly a legitimate case to be made that WP:ARBPOL itself needs rewriting to reflect modern Wikipedia—there has now been more time elapsed since its ratification, then there was between the creation of Arbcom and the ratification of the current wording, and it's open to question whether something written to address the problems of Wikipedia 2011 is still relevant to Wikipedia 2019. But if the question you're asking is specifically "when that section was written, was it with the intent of allowing Arbcom the theoretical power to take action against an editor without that editor seeing all the allegations that had been made against them", my answer is an unqualified "yes". Remember, at the time we ratified that neither Trust & Safety nor SuSa existed yet, and we had some very nasty cases in recent memory of wiki-related disputes spilling into real-world actions. Since we didn't at that time have the safety net of the WMF imposing SanFranBans, we needed some kind of mechanism by which we could say "you may not like this action but we're not going to discuss it with you as we feel the risk that we've unfairly banned you is outweighed by the risk of you knowing who complained about you".
With regards to the specific case which I assumed prompted this, this is not my saying that Fram compares in any way with the violent criminals and genuine lunatics which that star chamber clause was intended to address—unless there's something in the T&S dossier that's particularly troubling that the rest of us aren't aware of, then the way the WMF are refusing to allow Arbcom to disclose the details of the dossier to Fram is troubling overreach—but in my opinion the committee are operating both within the wording and the intent of ARBPOL, and those issues raised are issues of wiki-ethics rather than wiki-legality as everything the committee is doing is permitted by the wording of existing policy. ‑ Iridescent 10:35, 2 August 2019 (UTC)
Thank you for your expert insight on this. In a way, although it looks like some were hoping to hang their hat on the notion that secret Arbcom hearings aren't allowed, your interpretation here is actually the only one that can allow the Fram case to move on. Arbcom really has three options here:
  1. Quash Fram's conviction, which would probably close the immediate controversy (although it would cause deep dissatisfaction amongst the minority who feel Fram's conduct is unacceptable, and would need a detailed post-mortem to ascertain how we avoid similar mishaps in future).
  2. Uphold or extend the ban (or reduce it, but not to zero) based on the redacted evidence, of which they would only disclose high-level summaries to Fram or the community. This outcome would annoy very many people, although how far they would take their annoyance remains to be seen.
  3. Abandon the case and push the ball back into the WMF / Jimbo's court. This would IMHO be the inevitable result if the RFC's interpretation of ARBPOL were to be upheld.
The one option they don't have, and based on their musings so far I don't believe they will ever carry out, is to publish any of the detail of the evidence to Fram or the community. Whoever it was that complained about Fram did so under the assumption that their identity would be protected, and whatever the rights and wrongs of the complaints, I don't think it would be fair on those individuals to retrospectively de-anonymise them. It would probably raise legal headaches too. Cheers  — Amakuru (talk) 11:23, 2 August 2019 (UTC)
I think that #3, if not properly justified, would simply result in T&S re-taking the case. And they would probably interpret the quashing as evidence that we can't keep our house in order. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 11:48, 2 August 2019 (UTC)
If Arbcom quashed it with detailed reasoning, T&S might grumble but would accept it. What would provoke a crisis is if Arbcom chose to disclose all the allegations in the T&S dossier after promising they wouldn't, since the WMF would quite reasonably conclude in those circumstances that Arbcom are a bunch of liars who can't be trusted to keep their word. I imagine that once they'd had a chance to reflect, most of the community—including even the hardline "editors' rights" hotheads—would think the same, since the implications of "we reserve the right to publish anything you've told us in confidence even if we'd promised we'd keep it confidential" aren't pretty. ‑ Iridescent 12:42, 2 August 2019 (UTC)
Yes, that's my interpretation too. IIRC it's been made very clear by both Jimbo and the WMF board (and I think also the WMF executive, under advice from the board), that Arbcom have the right to quash the conviction if that's what they conclude is correct, and that if they do then the WMF will accept it. If Arbcom decides to abandon the case without reaching a conclusion, though, it's back in the WMF's court and they are unlikely to quash the conviction of their own volition.  — Amakuru (talk) 12:55, 2 August 2019 (UTC)
I wish I shared your confidence about the hardline "editors' rights" hotheads. I fear we have a growing "no compromise" faction who could end up being the downfall of community self-governance. Boing! said Zebedee (talk) 13:30, 2 August 2019 (UTC)
Quite possibly. The paranoid would say that the situation is being engineered as such by the WMF. I'm not in that bunch but I am very unhappy with the recent usurpations of established processes and now with various CHI proposals which, it seems, are driven by a very small group of people who are working in the SanFran bubble and will brook little criticism if only on the grounds that such stuff makes them feel unsafe. Now who's paranoid? - Sitush (talk) 14:08, 2 August 2019 (UTC)
What's CHI? WBGconverse 14:40, 2 August 2019 (UTC)
Community Health Initiative, I believe. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 14:44, 2 August 2019 (UTC)
You? ;-) If we wish to continue as a self-governing community of the freest degree practical, we simply have to compromise with WMF's plans for the future. Those who can't see that are the ones who worry me most. Boing! said Zebedee (talk) 14:24, 2 August 2019 (UTC)
To work for the WMF, get a grant from them etc, you pretty much have to have a certain cultural mindset and we know that the mindset in question is not one that often aligns with consensus on en-WP. Given the WMF tendency to impose stuff, conduct pseudo-consultations on meta where criticism is stamped upon, and use poor research papers etc, the outcome is always likely to be a form of cultural imperialism driven by a very small number of people who are increasingly extending their remit, as any bureaucracy tends to do. Not everything they do is bad, not every they propose is bad but "compromise" is a two-way street and your presentation that we (ie: en-WP) have to compromise to remain self-governing seems a little contradictory to me: if it becomes a situation of being self-governing as long as we do what the WMF wants us to do then that is not self-governance. - Sitush (talk) 22:27, 2 August 2019 (UTC)
No, my "presentation that we (ie: en-WP) have to compromise" is solely based on the fact that we are en-WP and we can't do both sides of the compromising. I'm not suggesting that WMF don't need to compromise too (and they have expressed a willingness to over the issue of behavioural office bans like Fram's). My suggestion is simply that if we (because we is who we are) allow the "no compromise" faction to dominate our consensus, then we're going to lose more of our self-governance than we otherwise would regardless of whatever compromises WMF are willing to make. Boing! said Zebedee (talk) 09:09, 3 August 2019 (UTC)
Oh, and I'll add that I don't share the extent of your negativity towards WMF. Yes, I agree there's been a cultural mismatch and they've become out of touch and aloof. But they're not the evil power-seeking conspiracy that so many people are making them out to be - they're essentially a good bunch of people trying to do the best they can. And we do need them. Boing! said Zebedee (talk) 09:16, 3 August 2019 (UTC)
The hardliners aren't asking for any agreements regarding privacy to be broken; they're asking that any such evidence not be considered in the case. Now the community can insist that the arbitration policy first be modified based on the acceptance of new procedures to handle anonymous complaints, and then the arbitration committee can deal with the current situation. But this will mean leaving the editor in a state of limbo for some time. So it's a question of which seems more urgent to resolve. isaacl (talk) 17:43, 2 August 2019 (UTC)
Yes, and if the hardliners win and prohibit ArbCom from considering private evidence that they can't share with the accused, then they'll eliminate the community's ability to govern itself in cases where such evidence is necessary - they'll be few, but there will be such cases. Boing! said Zebedee (talk) 09:09, 3 August 2019 (UTC)
Yes, if the community is unable to enact new procedures to handle anonymous evidence, it will have failed in its protest that it can indeed manage these cases within the arbitration committee. It will be yet another example of how real-world consensus doesn't scale up as a decision-making mechanism to anything beyond a small group, since it requires strong alignment of goals to get a high level of agreement. isaacl (talk) 15:18, 3 August 2019 (UTC)

This may sound ironic coming from me, but over the years ArbCom made a concerted effort to move away from criminal-justice terminology (such as "parole" and "probation"). In that spirit, we must be able to come up with a better wording than "quash the conviction." Please also note that "to quash a conviction" is BrE and might confuse some US readers. (Even in American legalese, a conviction may be reversed or vacated; it is not "quashed," although a subpoena can be.) Regards, Newyorkbrad (talk) 16:39, 2 August 2019 (UTC)

I must say that I thought that even in the UK "quashing" was mediaspeak rather than actual legal terminology, but it turns out it's actually used in legislation. Johnbod (talk) 16:45, 2 August 2019 (UTC)
Some terms could come in handy:
WMF: Bill of attainder
enWP: Quo warranto?
WMF: Ipse dixit (or ukase, if you please).
Kablammo (talk) 19:25, 2 August 2019 (UTC)
Also of note: Dipsy brexit (or uk arse, if you please). Martinevans123 (talk) 21:46, 2 August 2019 (UTC)
Sure, although while we're in this subject I'd like to register a protest at the use of the term in camera by ArbCom for this case. To someone untrained in legalese, that sounds like the opposite of what it means, as "in front of the camera" would denote a public hearing. Just saying the case will be held in private would be enough.  — Amakuru (talk) 08:22, 3 August 2019 (UTC)
A process which, if not carefully confined, can lead to s modern-day version of Camera Stellata. Kablammo (talk) 12:23, 3 August 2019 (UTC)
  • I'm going to mostly agree with Iridescent's description of the history on this. I'd add that I believe this is still a needed "power", although of course it should be rarely used. There are still plenty of situations that call for an "arbcom block" to immediately deal with a situation while information collection and analysis is carried out by T&S. I might have said otherwise, except that just in the past few weeks I've had to defend an arbcom block that I made well before T&S handled certain cases (in fact, it was one of the cases we used to push the WMF to assume some responsibility for these sorts of blocks), and I still believe to this day that, while the block was absolutely right, handing the party the case against them would have resulted in far, far more disruption and risk of harm to third parties. The number of situations like this are few and far between, but they exist. I'll point out in passing that addressing harassment is not the first reason on the list of why this ability needs to be remain, although it may apply in some situations. Risker 18:17, 2 August 2019 (UTC)
  • So to give an extended and delayed response: The point is not necessarily that of preventing or overturning the current process, but like most policy-based RFC's to clarify exactly what the community understands the policy to mean. If, as many above here (and there) state, the intent of that particular section of ARBPOL is that Arbcom can operate behind closed doors, sanction a person, label them a harrasser (because lets face it, thats what the T&S have done) and not even disclose the full details of the information they are working from to the person they have accused... Then so be it. The community can then suck it up when its abused in the future. It doesnt really matter at this point what the result is anyway, Arbcom will just be seen as a pawn of the WMF. There is no compromise here from the WMF, Arbcom are doing what T&S say, by their rules. I reject totally any excuses for not obeying the principles of Natural justice - a cornerstone of modern justice and fairness. The right to a fair hearing is a right given to *everyone*. What arbcom have done in kowtowing to the WMF is removing that right from Fram. I reject their authority to do so. I reject the argument that there is any legitimate reason to not provide a person with the full details of the allegations against them, who made them, and the evidence used. One person's request for anonymity does not supersede another person's right to a fair opportunity to respond to the allegations against them. The only compromising here is on Arbcom's end. Arbcom have compromised their morals, they have compromised every single editor's ability to defend themselves against anonymous complaints made by insiders, and they are themselves, compromised. Its not a compromise when they get everything they want, and you give up your most prized posessions. As an aside, I want editors and admins to get upset they are being accused of affording fellow editors less rights than those afforded the worst in society. I want them to feel uncomfortable that someone who rapes children will still see the evidence against them, and Fram wont. I want every single person who argues against the principles of natural justice to know that when its their turn to be smeared behind closed doors by anonymous manipulative cowards, *they will have no one else to blame*. I find the entire concept of secretly trying people based on second-hand evidence a despicable position and I will never accept it as having any place in modern society. No Boing, there is *never* any excuse for "such evidence is necessary". It is never necessary. Given the members of T&S include amongst their number people who are amongst the least trustworthy, there is zero gurantee anything Arbcom have received is not tainted. What ARBCOM should have done is said to the WMF 'We will hold a hearing in private, any evidence you submit will be shown to Fram'. Then if they choose not to submit anything, and keep Fram banned at an office level, thats their mistake. Instead we have capitulation, abrogation of Fram's rights and little confidence in any result that comes out. Only in death does duty end (talk) 20:59, 14 August 2019 (UTC)
  • The RFC isn't asking about justice, though; it's asking what the intent behind the wording of ARBPOL was regarding these circumstances. I've explained (and AFAIK everyone who was there at the time has concurred) that when Roger wrote that clause it was with the specific intent of allowing the theoretical possibility of secret tribunals, and demonstrated that when the broader Wikipedia community voted that clause into policy the implications of it were public knowledge and discussed at length, and the voters consciously chose to accept them.

    The only point that's really debatable is exactly what The parties will be notified of the private hearing and be given a reasonable opportunity to respond to what is said about them before a decision is made means, and whether "you have been accused of being a violent lunatic" is sufficient or whether "you have been accused of being a violent lunatic by Joe Schmoe of 123 Main Street, Anytown" is necessary. Here, I think the analogy between Arbcom (and T&S, come to that) and real world court hearings for rapists, murderers and child abusers falls down. It's not as if T&S have executed Fram; the most extreme thing either Arbcom or the WMF can do is restrict somebody's user permissions on a website, whereas there have been—and will be again—situations where disclosing to someone exactly which named individuals have complained against them would have potentially serious real-world consequences. When you have 121,815 people active at any one time, a tiny but non-negligible proportion of them are going to be genuinely vile people, and situations do arise in which we'd be failing in our duty of care if we gave a potentially violent criminal, an agent for a hostile intelligence agency, or a member of one of the crazier extremist cults, the names of those people who'd raised concerns about them.

    Per my original comment this is not to say I don't consider the particular case of Fram to be an abuse of these procedures. Unless there's something far more serious in the secret dossier than either T&S or Arbcom are hinting at, they're abusing what was supposed to be a procedure of last resort to settle a relatively routine interpersonal dispute. However, I don't dispute that the existence of a mechanism for "you're out and we're not going to give you the names of the people who complained or anything that would allow you to identify them" banning is necessary; statistically, at some point we're going to have another Luka Magnotta and we need a way to deal with it when it happens. Since the existence of such a mechanism will remain necessary, and Legal would veto any attempt to remove it altogether, then by stripping the power from Arbcom you're not preventing secret cases, but you're instead taking the power to hold secret cases away from the elected Arbcom—who can all be kicked out if people genuinely feel they've got it wrong—and transferring it to the totally unaccountable T&S and Legal. ‑ Iridescent 06:08, 15 August 2019 (UTC)

What would be more productive than trying to deprive Arbcom of jurisdiction entirely is to craft a package of standards and protections for a private case. State that a public case is the default and that a private case shall only be opened under limited circumstances, including, let us say, that the complainant have relatively clean hands. If one is opened, the person against whom it is brought gets certain disclosures. I'd also like to see a limit on the remedies in a private case, say, to a 90 day block. If something beyond that is needed, it can always be referred to T&S.--Wehwalt (talk) 07:43, 15 August 2019 (UTC)
I don't think a "clean hands" requirement would work. In order to have a process that can handle a potentially violent criminal, an agent for a hostile intelligence agency, or a member of one of the crazier extremist cults it needs to promise privacy and confidentiality up front; this will constrain any evaluation of clean hands. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 10:35, 15 August 2019 (UTC)
I did say "relatively". The idea is to prevent someone partially to blame from evading community scrutiny and possible remedies by invoking the super secret process. I'm just making a general suggestion; obviously tweaking would be needed to deal with that and possibly other problems. But the general idea would be to provide standards, and also protections.--Wehwalt (talk) 10:43, 15 August 2019 (UTC)
Perhaps we need a general rethink of how to handle disputes where both parties have done something wrong. Right now the processes are very adversarial and often become either an exchange of accusations or a "no, you did worse"-slinging fest, and it seems like the processes often end up being ineffective at solving the problems. I'll admit though that I don't know how to do this. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 11:28, 15 August 2019 (UTC)
Well yeah, but you can't get there from here. An obvious solution in public cases would be mini-committees—either subject-specific, or selected randomly from the pool of active arbs—who would fully examine the conduct of both parties rather than relying on diffs (because they'd be mini-groups of three or four people it wouldn't be the timesink that every arb examining the full recent history of every party would be), with disputes only bounced up to the full arbcom if the mini-committee were unable to come up with a workable solution or if a large number (say 50+) complained that the decision was unfair. For private cases where there's a genuine need for privacy, I can't see how we could do better than what we have despite the obvious drawbacks; the only possibilities are "decision-making by a select group of elected volunteers" or "decision-making by an unelected but likely better-trained group of paid employees". (Call them "paid moderators" or "Trust & Safety", they're the same thing.) Neither is ideal but what we have is probably the best we'll get. ‑ Iridescent 14:16, 15 August 2019 (UTC)


.... Wikipedia:Village pump (miscellaneous)/Archive 62#OpenStreetMap..--Moxy 🍁 14:12, 4 August 2019 (UTC)

Commented there. ‑ Iridescent 14:17, 4 August 2019 (UTC)

Patronage pie chartEdit

The IP did this on all the line articles, plus London Underground. --Redrose64 🌹 (talk) 08:24, 7 August 2019 (UTC)

I raised it at WT:LT rather than bulk reverting; I can't see any conceivable useful purpose, but someone might think they're worth keeping. The one on Metropolitan line I removed, as adding to the clutter there its indefensible. ‑ Iridescent 08:27, 7 August 2019 (UTC)
OK. --Redrose64 🌹 (talk) 08:28, 7 August 2019 (UTC)
Seems ok at London Underground, with a better caption & placing, imo. Not that I want to disagree with the train buffs, but over 50 years of (not quite continuous) season tickets etc must be worth something. Johnbod (talk) 12:26, 7 August 2019 (UTC)
I won't remove it myself, but I'm not convinced. London Underground lines aren't really comparable to each other; with the exceptions of the Victoria Line, which is both a part of the interchange route between Victoria and Waterloo where the trains arrive from the South and Kings Cross, St Pancras and Euston where trains arrive from the North, and a part of the route from many of the busiest mainline termini to the West End, and consequently will inevitably have increased traffic—and of the Hammersmith & City and Circle lines, which share a route for their busiest Liverpool Street–Kings Cross–Baker Street section so will necessarily have disproportionately low traffic individually—all that chart is demonstrating is "lines with more stations have more passengers". ‑ Iridescent 20:05, 7 August 2019 (UTC)

Image at the page topEdit

My first arbitration
My second arbitration
What is this about? Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 12:31, 7 August 2019 (UTC)
(talk page stalker) That they approached their first arbitration with a keen sense of duty and responsibility, but that by the second one had come a sneaking suspicoin that it wasn't worth the candle...? I'm sure if Millais had ever completed his triptych with "My Resignation and Abrupt Departure from the Sermon", Iridescent would have that up there too :) ——SerialNumber54129 12:53, 7 August 2019 (UTC)
(tps) could also be "awaiting arbitration", expecting fair treatment, and "after notification of the decision". It doesn't take even two cases. As I wrote elsewhere today: you can laugh or cry or retire or think Mozart. I chose Kafka (see further up here, pictured, or in the archive). "Hope is precious ..." --Gerda Arendt (talk) 13:08, 7 August 2019 (UTC)
What SN54129 said; Millais's My First/Second Sermon is an IMO apt illustration of someone who approaches a process for the first time believing that it's an important and necessary ritual which needs to be approached with utmost care, quickly realising that it's actually a tedious process of little value. It may be slightly unfair—in reality unless and until someone can come up with a better alternative the arbcom case process is a necessary evil and certainly an improvement on the hurling-thunderbolts-from-Olympus approach—but the images and captions are there for vaguely comic effect, not some kind of biting social commentary or in-depth analysis. ‑ Iridescent 20:04, 7 August 2019 (UTC)
Ah. Shows that I am not acquainted with the interpretation of art, there - I didn't notice any difference between the two expressions. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 23:05, 7 August 2019 (UTC)
One's clearly asleep. --Redrose64 🌹 (talk) 07:24, 8 August 2019 (UTC)
Yeah; she's marked as "Currently inactive" :) ——SerialNumber54129 09:24, 9 August 2019 (UTC)
I thought this was a thread about the Jimmy & Lila image at the top of the page. Liz Read! Talk! 15:19, 11 August 2019 (UTC)
Nah, it was about the two images of children below the header here. Although now that you say, my curiosity has been stoked about that image as well. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 15:25, 11 August 2019 (UTC)
See User:Iridescent/Talk header, where a formula is used to calculate a pseudo-random number that is then used to select one image (or image pair) from the 24 that are presently configured; Iri occasionally adds more, or removes some. IIRC the original was this one. --Redrose64 🌹 (talk) 18:14, 11 August 2019 (UTC)
The first one was actually this one (which is largely why I still keep it in the rotation despite it being unfunny and confusing to anyone unfamiliar with 19th-century High Church iconography), although for some reason the Fierce Bad Rabbit is the one people tend to remember. If you want to achieve the same effect without the somewhat confusing Jack Merridew code I'm using, head on over to Wikipedia:Today's featured article/September 12, 2013 and use the code which randomised the images there, which is much neater. (The disadvantage to doing it that way is that every image needs to be on a separate subpage.) ‑ Iridescent 10:44, 12 August 2019 (UTC)

Withdrawing inappropriate NPA commentsEdit

Suggesting that I'm having "a multi-month tantrum" and asking WP:OTHERPARENT are both in violation of WP:NPA, and I'm politely going to ask you to withdraw that. The wider context of fan art in articles is I feel important, and appropriate consensus on this issue must be reached. Tony May (talk) 08:38, 9 August 2019 (UTC)

What you mean by "appropriate consensus" is "consensus that matches my own opinion" by the looks of it Jeni (talk) 08:51, 9 August 2019 (UTC)
That comment is unhelpful. Tony May (talk) 10:18, 9 August 2019 (UTC)
As is pretty much every comment you make. (I'll put Special:Contributions/Tony May here—along with Wikipedia talk:WikiProject UK Railways#Use of fan art diagrams to illustrate liveries already illustrated with photographs, Wikipedia talk:WikiProject UK Railways/Archive 45#Continual criticisms by Tony May User talk:Redrose64/unclassified 23#Indept Pedantry, Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Trains/Archive: 2019#Dispute resolution needed and Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Trains/Archive: 2018#Standard practice to use abbreviations in locomotive article titles—in case any of the assorted watchers of this page want to have a look and see if they disagree with my assessment.) If you don't want to be accused of disruption, don't be disruptive, and if you don't want to be accused of having a multi-month tantrum don't have a multi-month tantrum. It has surely not escaped your notice that no matter which venue you've tried to raise your complaint at, every single person has disagreed with you. People are generally being too polite to you to put it bluntly, but I will; your "the only person who's opinion matters is mine and when everyone else disagrees then everyone else is wrong" attitude is fundamentally incompatible with multiple core values of Wikipedia, and if you're not willing to change your approach then eventually people will decide to stop giving you second chances; the fact that you're still able to edit Wikipedia at all is a result of people extending a huge amount of WP:AGF towards you in the hope that you'll stop fucking about, not the fact that anyone supports you. Wikipedia thrives on having people with a broad range of interests and with a broad range of views, but people who aren't willing or able to appreciate the fact that other people will sometimes disagree with them aren't welcome here. ‑ Iridescent 19:04, 9 August 2019 (UTC)
I haven't looked at the details of this, and neither do I care to, but I worry that unpopular editors - speaking as one myself - often get a hard time and accused of things that they simply haven't done, or being unwilling to appreciate constructive criticism. I'll freely admit though that I have no clear idea of where the setting should be between disruptive/constructive/challenging. Eric Corbett 19:27, 9 August 2019 (UTC)
This one isn't a case of popularity or otherwise (I'd never heard of Tony May before this), but of straightforward disruption—Tony May feels that he should (for reasons that are never made clear) have a veto power over which images are used to illustrate Wikipedia's articles on trains, and is throwing toys out of the pram in the general direction of all the people who are trying to explain that's not how Wikipedia works. The current thread is here (permalink). ‑ Iridescent 19:45, 9 August 2019 (UTC)

Information icon There is currently a discussion at Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard/Incidents regarding an issue with which you may have been involved. The thread is Tony May and persistent criticism and belittling of other editors on British railways. Andy Dingley (talk) 12:23, 14 August 2019 (UTC)

Replied there. ‑ Iridescent 13:46, 14 August 2019 (UTC)

Interesting times, we live inEdit

You might be interested to see this thread .... Face-wink.svg WBGconverse 18:02, 10 August 2019 (UTC)

Which relates, I presume, to meta:Talk:Strategy/Wikimedia movement/2018-20/Working Groups/Diversity? See also #Another WMF thingy above... Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 18:45, 10 August 2019 (UTC)
Yeah but spread over other working groups, too. Did not spot your post or I would have appended this note over that subsection:-) WBGconverse 18:58, 10 August 2019 (UTC)
I see. Normally I don't follow these meta level discussions that much but while waiting for someone to assess whether Talk:Neolithic Subpluvial has a consensus for a merge I might as well read some of this stuff. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 22:36, 10 August 2019 (UTC)

"Multiple studies have determined that extant movement policies don’t just reflect the systemic biases, they make biases against marginalized communities worse, in effect, re-colonizing and oppressing diverse knowledge." Wheeee! Haukur (talk) 19:08, 10 August 2019 (UTC)

I'll believe all that bullshit when I see from the fissure in my grave some Wikipedia event (like that in Haifa in 2011) taking place in Hebron or Nablus, in response to the fact that over the past 15 years, we've had one Palestinian editor, who mostly works on Syria, vs hundreds of editors from the other side of the conflict (most of whom, with good reason, stay clear of the topic area, to their credit).Nishidani (talk) 20:24, 10 August 2019 (UTC)
Systemic bias is totally a real thing. History of Greenland gets through 63,144 bytes without giving the reader the name of a single Inuit. And I really wish that something in that WMF verbiage was going to help us even a little bit with this. But there isn't some "diverse knowledge" out there that is somehow incompatible with NPOV and needs special policy exemptions to work in. There are plenty of good reliable sources out there. We just have so much work left to do in so many places. Haukur (talk) 21:13, 10 August 2019 (UTC)
It has been stated by numerous editors that historical sexism/racism means that there is far less material and sources on women and minorities than on men. And that thus we cannot have as many articles on women and minorities as we have on majority men. I think this might be the point behind "diverse knowledge". Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 22:06, 10 August 2019 (UTC)
A propops of nothing, but "history is written by the winners. That's why there are so many blank pages in French history books." Eric Corbett 22:14, 10 August 2019 (UTC)
Ever read any, Eric? They won (nearly) everything. Where was that thread/edit war a few days ago where a point by Norman Stone or some such was being taken in & out, saying the French were the most successful military nation over the long term? Ah, yes, clinging on for now at Military history of France:

"According to historian Niall Ferguson: "of the 125 major European wars fought since 1495, the French have participated in 50 – more than Austria (47) and England (43). Out of 168 battles fought since 387 BC, they have won 109, lost 49 and drawn 10", making France the most successful military power in European history—in terms of number of fought and won.[1][2]"

  1. ^ John Lloyd and John Mitchinson and the QI team (22 October 2010). "Quite Interesting: the QI cabinet of curiosity". Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 24 February 2018. Retrieved 6 May 2018.
  2. ^

Johnbod (talk) 01:19, 11 August 2019 (UTC)

France advances to the next round to take on the North American champion. Randy Kryn (talk) 03:03, 11 August 2019 (UTC)
... whose leader does not appear to note the irony in suggesting that mentally ill people should not bear arms when he himself has control of the most significant arms button in the country. - Sitush (talk) 04:09, 11 August 2019 (UTC)

Well, Jo-Jo Eumerus, lack of information -- or at least information Wikipedian editors can work up relying on their own resources -- is a very real problem. Have a look at Ignota Plautia, a well-born Roman woman who is notable primarily because she is surmised to have existed, yet we don't even know her name. And as it has been pointed out, WMF policy proclamations concerning diversity don't solve the problem of information access. -- llywrch (talk) 06:48, 12 August 2019 (UTC)
Well, 50% female biographies for historical figures would be a completely unrealistic goal. Ignota Plautia seems like a reasonable article but we sometimes get articles saying A was the wife of B who did X, Y and Z which isn't really helpful. Here's a case fresh off AFD: [7] Haukur (talk) 08:03, 12 August 2019 (UTC)
Indeed; "historical institutional sexism means there are more men than women in the historical record" is just straightforward fact. Not only were large numbers of professions which generate a lot of biographical articles (politics, the military, priesthoods of most major religious across the world, professional sports…) formally off-limits to women, the admission practices of most educational institutions made many other biography-heavy fields like science, engineering and law off-limits to women. Even in traditionally progressive areas like the visual arts you see the same divide; without formal training an artist would be less likely to acquire the abilities in the first place and without formal qualifications they'd be far less likely to get commissions, and even in Victorian England (which despite its subsequent reputation for formal stuffiness was the world's vanguard of free-thinking and social radicalism) the first woman wasn't admitted to the Royal Academy until 1860. Even after equality of opportunity was written into law across Europe and North America, the persistence of the "woman's place is in the home" attitude made (and still makes) women less likely than men to work. Couple that with straightforward practicalities such as maternity and childcare making women statistically more likely than men to take time off work, and consequently women having a shorter total career than men and consequently less opportunity than men to do something 'notable' in Wikipedia's terms, and even today you have a statistically significant imbalance. (Pick the most earnestly and sincerely progressive newspaper you can think of, and count the names it mentions. I just tried the experiment with the UK edition of the Guardian; the current front page—excluding the authors' bylines—mentions 16 men and 7 women by name, and if you exclude fictional characters and members of the royal family the figure is 15 men and 3 women.) The gender gap in terms of editors is a legitimate concern, but for better or worse reality still has a sexist bias even today, let alone in the past. (The "other cultures are underrepresented" argument, I don't really buy and I'm not convinced the WMF believe it deep down either. That English Wikipedia has more detail about topics in which English speakers are more likely to have an interest is a feature, not a bug.)
On the general issue of what the WMF is up to (the discussion seems to have moved to Wikipedia:Community response to the Wikimedia Foundation's ban of Fram#"...tensions might emerge...", incidentally), I would think we need to wait for the WMF to say something to clarify whether this is a suggestion they're actually taking seriously. "Thank you for your concerns, we are setting up a think-tank to engage in blue-sky thinking and imagine the unthinkable and we want you to be on it, here's a desk and a fancy-sounding title, go write a long report about all your concerns and come back and report in three years" is a well-established tactic used by organisations of all varieties to manage people the governing body privately think are nuts but who need to be kept inside the tent because they're connected to a powerful lobby group or a wealthy donor.
Unless and until the WMF clarify whether they have the slightest inclination actually to act on the recommendations of these working groups, or whether they were just creating a fuckwittery heatsink in which people unhappy that Wikipedia's deleting the article on their cousin's band is obviously an example of systemic bias could gripe about it without disrupting the work of everyone else, I'm inclined to assume the latter. Despite appearances the WMF aren't actually stupid, and they're well aware that Wikipedia only survives because its readers generally respect its reputation, and its editors generally respect its internal culture. Framgate pissed off a few people but didn't affect most editors or readers so few outside the bubble were even aware it was happening or had a strong opinion if they did. Any one of the three proposals: forcing editors to provide detailed self-identification on their user pages; forcing editors to sign loyalty oaths to be permitted to edit; or deprecating verifiability and notability as principles and allowing "I don't have a source but I definitely heard this someplace" as a legitimate citation, would have the potential to destroy Wikipedia's editor base within days owing to mass resignations, and destroy Wikipedia's reader base shortly afterwards as the spammers moved in. I can't believe the WMF would allow this to happen on their watch. Indeed, I'd go so far as to say that if it did happen, Jimmy Wales would likely lead the fork and mass exodus himself. (Normally the "it'll never work" arguments against forking are valid, but per my comments a month ago with Jimmy's defection it's a different prospect. He has the profile to convince readers and convince donors—and crucially, convince Google—that the fork is the legitimate successor and that "" should be allowed to fade into obscurity.) ‑ Iridescent 10:10, 12 August 2019 (UTC)
Two thoughts.
First, Wikipedia's coverage of non-English, non-Western subjects is actually better than we give it credit for -- although there's no denying that it could be much, much better. Case in point: Last night I was looking for articles as part of prep work for re-writing Tao Te Ching. Amongst many items in need of improvement in this article, there is no discussion of the date this work was written, a matter which was fiercely debated in China during the 1920s & 1930s. Of the 4 major figures who participated in this debate, I was pleasantly surprised to find usable articles on three of these personages. (I ran out of time before I could look for the fourth person.) If nothing else, Wikipedia serves as a tool to help individuals gauge how obscure a given subject is: if there is no article on a given subject, it is more likely that finding information on that subject will be difficult.
I'm becoming more convinced that the end of an institution -- be it an empire or a community -- comes when a sufficient share of its members operate on the assumption that it is permanent & nothing they can do will destroy it. This happened to the Roman Empire, both in its Western & Eastern versions: when enough of the elite decided it would not undermine the existence of the Empire to involve elements outside of it in their political intrigues for increased power, this allowed external forces to overcome that polity & rip it apart. (I fear we're witnessing the same thing happen with the United States.) This very thing can happen to Wikipedia. While I hope Iridescent is right about those working groups being "a fucktwittery heat sink", they can still snuff out Wikipedia if the wrong people are unaware their results are properly directed to the circular file. And even the possibility of Jimmy Wales leading an exodus from Wikipedia may not save the project. It's been many years since anyone considered him "God-king" of Wikipedia; he lost a big chunk of his influence when he tried to ram thru "flagged revisions" based entirely on his subjective opinion. While he still has more influence than any single other Wikipedian, I don't know if he'd understand that the situation called for him to lead a fork instead of going down with the Wiki. He might actually think one of these suggestions is a good thing & must needs be implemented. -- llywrch (talk) 16:00, 12 August 2019 (UTC)
For what it's worth it seems like the feedback on the Meta talk pages so far is overwhelmingly negative. I'd also like to know whether this has some kind of official imprimatur or whether they are fringe opinions that won't have any substantial effects. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 23:38, 12 August 2019 (UTC)
You have the person who will have to sell any future changes to the en-wiki community already on this page a couple of threads up—you could just ask. While she presumably can't second-guess decisions that haven't been made yet, I assume she could give an indication of whether this is just blue-sky spitballing or whether Community Engagement are under orders to start preparing defenses for the forthcoming culture war. ‑ Iridescent 13:10, 13 August 2019 (UTC)
I consider it unlikely that there will either be a fork, or that Jimbo will do anything useful in that direction. First of all, anyone who has hoped for help from Jimbo in these crises has mostly been let down, and second, major funders probably agree with this claptrap. Jimbo may agree with it himself. And the idea of deciding a new site's policies, refighting every battle since 2001, is a bit frightening.--Wehwalt (talk) 02:33, 13 August 2019 (UTC)
A fork wouldn't be a case of refighting every battle—if a sizeable portion of the community came across it would mean forking the existing policies as well as the existing content, and just deviating from en-wiki from Independence Day forward. Thanks to two centuries of corporate mergers and demergers, and of local branches of parent bodies such as universities and charities becoming fully independent, the technical aspects of breaking up an institution are well understood by now. Per everything else I've said on the matter I think forking would be a bad idea except in the most extreme circumstances given how much time it would waste and how much bad feeling it would generate, but we do have secession both as a viable last resort and as a credible negotiating position if it ever does come to a showdown.
I believe both that a fork is unlikely, and that the WMF trying to implement any of these recommendations in anything more than the vagueist "make more efforts to recruit editors from underrepresented groups" way is unlikely. Assuming the WMF actually believe the "only 15% of editors are female" figure they keep claiming, and assuming they're not going to suddenly triple the number of female editors overnight, then the only way a demographically balanced Wikipedia could happen is through a Great Purge. I assume they don't want all their key metrics to drop by 50% instantly across all projects in all languages. Plus, you'll likely know more about this than me but I'm not convinced that imposing formal gender and ethnic quotas would even be legal in California (it would certainly be illegal in all four nations of the UK).
Stating the obvious maybe, but the WMF might even welcome and actively facilitate and support a fork, maybe even continuing to host it and keep it within the SUL ecosystem. The WMF's declaration of war against en-wiki five years ago is (understandably) remembered most for "Toxic personalities should be encouraged to leave" and "We'll ban a few of them. That's always a good thing.", but it also included "go and make your own website, release it under Creative Commons license and we'll try to use some of that material, because it's just not working out"—someone, somewhere, at the WMF has obviously been thinking about the viability of separating out the content creation and the finished product. (Since that's the original Wikipedia/Nupedia model, it would hard for the old-timers not to remember it.) ‑ Iridescent 13:10, 13 August 2019 (UTC)
(adding) Jimmy's take on the matter—"The idea that we are going to discard the classic notion of an encyclopedia and universal knowledge is ludicrous. Never going to happen. The WMF is not supporting such an idea. We are a diverse and open community, and a group of people (largely community members) got together and talked among themselves and came up with some ideas that simply aren't going to fly. Blaming the WMF for this is backwards - they have merely facilitated a strategy process which has come up with many recommendations, most of which aren't ever going to happen (for better or worse - better in this case)." is worth reading in full. It seems like the "fuckwittery heatsink" hypothesis is correct. ‑ Iridescent 13:27, 13 August 2019 (UTC)
If my department has any significant role in this, then nobody's told my team about it. Strategy is the CEO's problem area, and as far as I can tell, this phase is volunteer-driven. I suspect that the recommendations will be revised and submitted to the CEO and thus to the Board, and that some will be accepted and some will not, and many will die in that awkward "Good idea, but not top priority" space.
I have glanced at the recommendations from this group, and so far I think that (a) there are relatively few surprises for a diversity-focused group, and (b) the recommendations, possibly because of the lack of explanation, have been interpreted by some worried editors in a rather extreme way. For example, they said something about the idea of an encyclopedia and universal knowledge being uncomfortable to them. We seem to be interpreting that as assuming that some ancient guy's belief that the Sun revolves around the Earth should be given equal validity as the scientific facts. But maybe we should be asking which meaning of "encyclopedia" they intended, and whether it really is reasonable for us to declare that articles about some countries are WP:VITAL and articles about other (most) countries aren't.
When I consider traditional, paper-based encyclopedias, with editors sitting down and deciding what to include and exclude, and I think about the results from the POV of a person from a developing country, the "universal knowledge" includes stuff I wouldn't care about and excludes stuff that I would care about. Why would you need long articles about livestock that your native country doesn't have and statistics about how common they are in the UK? And where is the article about the livestock that you do have? Declaring, say, the contents of Encyclopædia Britannica to be all the (general) knowledge that everyone needs doesn't sound like a good idea. People in different places/cultures/circumstances need to know about (some) different things.
To be clear, it's not just the question of which articles exist. It's also questions like why the body of Breast cancer doesn't mention male breast cancer (it's linked in the infobox and the invisible-on-mobile navbox) or acknowledge the existence of trans men with breast cancer. I imagine that trans men are even more uncomfortable than average with the hyper-feminine pink-slathered breast cancer treatment centers. We've got 149,000 bytes in that page, but we apparently didn't think that we could spare a paragraph about men (cis or trans) with breast cancer. Maybe we should have. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 15:42, 13 August 2019 (UTC)
OK, thanks. I take it though that meta:Office actions/Community consultation on partial and temporary office actions/draft is an official thing? Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 16:21, 13 August 2019 (UTC)
Not exactly - the lead ends with "[it] is more than 100 times more common in women than in men.[15][17]", and the linked NCI rather suggests there is a certain shortage of research evidence on male BC, with a lot of "is assumed/thought to be similar" to female BC. But a para on it would be good, certainly. On the main topic, I hope many of these ideas will die in the "terrible idea" space. People aren't worried about "some ancient guy's belief", but some modern people/"community leaders"/"activists"/"oral historians" sitting around somewhere. Of course nobody much will read the Inuit oral history group's view of the world, but developed countries, certainly the UK, have vast hordes of family and local "historians" piled up like an orc army, desperate to get in and lay waste to WP. Johnbod (talk) 16:14, 13 August 2019 (UTC)
I'll admit that I sometimes wonder why Wikipedia didn't adopt the FreeBSD model of two branches -- one "current", the other "stable", perhaps comprising only the most vital 1000 articles or even as many as the most vital 10,000 articles. Maybe it was impractical, or maybe it was just another blue-sky idea that evaporated with the optimism that once pervaded Wikipedia as late as 2009.
As for the "fucktwittery heatsink" theory, such heatsinks are fine & good (no sarcasm intended) as long as the fucktwittery is contained in the heatsink. Elsewhere I've alluded to the fact that the draft proposals seem different from what the volunteers on the ground actually suggested. If my initial reading is correct, this proposed strategy may be an attempt to gain a purchase in order to improve one faction's position within the Foundation. Which would clearly be a bad thing in the long run. -- llywrch (talk) 16:26, 13 August 2019 (UTC)
If my understanding is correct, that a) was the approach taken during Nupedia days, b) empirical evidence suggests that putting constraints on adding content degrade the quality and usefulness of an encyclopedia as the tendency of such constraints to reduce participation outweighs any quality benefit they would induce and c) WP:VITAL is not really representative of anything. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 16:35, 13 August 2019 (UTC)
Some ideas will doubtless die. I would not be surprised if most go through a process of refinement and partial adoption. IMO some of those ideas would be positive contributions, under appropriate circumstances. For example, there's nothing wrong with a group starting a separate oral history project, and there's not really even anything wrong with Wikipedia using those oral histories, so long as the uses are limited to appropriate ways (e.g., to illustrate an article with audio instead of photography, or to link to it the way we link to Wikisource or Commons categories or even external websites). Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 16:52, 13 August 2019 (UTC)
@Whatamidoing (WMF): I thought it was the WMF that ranked article topics by degrees of "vitalness", while content creators largely ignored it as just one of the ways the WMF gets in the way? I am happy to see the WMF recognizing on the one hand that such attempts at ranking are foolish, whether from the outset or as orthogonal to the needs of a diverse readership, while seeking to meddle in other ways. We are volunteers. We write about what we wish to write about, which includes many things the WMF does not necessarily know about. Is there any way to convey the message that "vital article" rankings were meddling and to stop the meddling, rather than replace it with different meddling? Yngvadottir (talk) 18:27, 13 August 2019 (UTC)
AFAIK the Wikimedia Foundation has nothing to do with the various "vital article" lists. Those seem to be created by volunteers. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 22:49, 13 August 2019 (UTC)
Sort of. The lists are updated by volunteers, but were created on the orders of the WMF as part of the Wikipedia:Version 1.0 Editorial Team scheme which per my many previous complaints about it, serves no useful purpose now the CDROM release plan has been abandoned, but which it appears nobody at the WMF has ever bothered to officially terminate so it continues to waste volunteer time arguing about 'importance ratings' despite them having no actual relevance to readers or editors. ‑ Iridescent 23:48, 13 August 2019 (UTC)
The difference between "Jimmy" and "the WMF" back in 2003 might be difficult to divine, but at this point, I doubt that the WMF could terminate it even if they knew it existed and wanted to. Volunteer-me largely solved the |importance= fights at WPMED a long time ago, and I don't remember seeing anyone complain about them recently. User:Walkerma knows more about its current status than I do. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 01:18, 14 August 2019 (UTC)
A few years ago, when I was waggling WP's bottom for the Charity Commission, some time after the CDROMs had been stopped, you could still download the Version 1.? package & apparently many African schools etc were doing so - useful if you don't have permanent web access etc. Don't know if that's still the case. But I think that package doesn't change, so the endless discussions at pages like Wikipedia talk:Vital articles/Level/4 - "Remove Kiri te Kanawa, add Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau" (passing) or "Remove Margaret Atwood, add Ayn Rand" (failing) are indeed entirely pointless, afaik. Johnbod (talk) 02:06, 14 August 2019 (UTC)

Hello - I saw my name linked, so thought I should update you on WP1.0. We haven't made a CD-ROM since 2011, but that doesn't mean offline work is dead. Some of the things you mention are certainly archaic, though! The "most important" lists ceased to be relevent to the project after 2006, but people unconnected to the 1.0 project still wanted to argue about them. IMHO they are a big time waster. Re the history, the WMF largely ignored 1.0 back then, and indeed tried to do their own top down assessment scheme, but it wasn't scalable. They (he?) certainly didn't tell us to do those lists! I've long felt that such lists were subjective, which is the whole reason we came up with more objective methods. The same can be somewhat true (though less so) for importance assessments, but often WikiProjects find it helpful to tag for importance anyway. The Kiwix people now regularly put out collections which are quite popular, and they compile lists based on quality/importance data once a month. The problem for us has been with the main 1.0 bot, which has harvested the quality/importance data since 2006. It wasn't well supported from 2011-2018. I'm glad to say we now have an excellent programmer (User:Audiodude) working on it, with help, and he's rewritten a lot of the code and eliminated a lot of the bugs that had accumulated since 2011. He's in Stockholm at the hackathon getting a lot done, and testing out the new code. I spoke with him and User:Kelson earlier today about the code. Once we know the bot is working well, I'll update the 1.0 page (which is very out of date) to reflect the new situation.

Interest in offline content has picked up since 2016, and that led to a successful gathering in 2017 of Wikipedians, non-profits and programmers. With now having (fingers crossed) a working bot, we're planning to use the assessment information much more, and produce custom collections for different countries/end users - and aiming (longer term) for users to create their own collections, possibly including other OER content. So please keep assessing those articles, even if it's just a quality assessment! Cheers, Walkerma (talk) 04:41, 14 August 2019 (UTC)

Interesting & thanks for that, and yes please update the page before long - I think all this is very little known to most editors. Someone should do a Signpost article/WMF blogpost when the situation is settled. Does this mean that the "normal" wikiproject talk page quality data are actually used, or just the "vital articles" ones? The "Version 1.0" ratings are now dead/closed, yes? In reality, are "low" importance articles ever likely to be selected for anything? Johnbod (talk) 13:22, 14 August 2019 (UTC)
  • So I was right, classing articles as "vital" or otherwise was originally a WMF initiative. No comment on offline uses, but my point remains: the impetus for these value judgements came from WMF not the community, so they should learn from their later discovery of their inevitable subjectivity not to meddle in such ways in the first place. Yngvadottir (talk) 09:16, 14 August 2019 (UTC)
As I recall, I don't think the WMF scheme was concerned with importance, it was more of a "rating" scheme like on Amazon. But I wasn't on WP in 2003, so they may have had earlier schemes I don't know about. Walkerma (talk) 12:19, 14 August 2019 (UTC)
I also wasn't there, but as far as I can see the whole "vital articles" notion was specifically a baby of the WMF's, and not Jimmy's whim. If you look at the original history of the list Danny Wool is all over it and Jimbo doesn't appear once. (It would also be out of character for Jimmy. He was always a firm proponent of "the most important topic is the one you're currently interested in"; Nupedia and Wikipedia both had articles on Hydatius before they had articles on Europe.)
I'm interested that there's still interest in offline versions—as Risker will point out if I don't, nowadays "that girl in Africa who can save the lives of hundreds of thousands of people around her, but only if she's empowered with the knowledge to do so" is far more likely to have ready access to an internet connection than she is to have a CD-ROM drive, and I would have expected interest in offline versions to have died out long ago. However, I don't believe the "importance" ranking has any useful part to play. Technology has moved on; the full text of every article on English Wikipedia will fit on a $20 USB stick. ‑ Iridescent 13:30, 14 August 2019 (UTC)
Yes, but that would take how long to download in Africa? Maybe some people are prepared to forgo the Australian fungi, ancient Scottish footballers, and Japanese train station articles (between online access sessions) for something that fits on a $5 USB stick. Johnbod (talk) 14:59, 14 August 2019 (UTC)
Text is very data-light; the full article text of Wikipedia takes up less storage space than 10,000 decent-quality photographs, or a 3000-song library of MP3s, and one could store the whole thing on the SD card of any reasonably modern phone. At 1mbps—the download speed of the six African countries with the slowest internet access—it would take roughly 36 hours to download the entire text of Wikipedia, but I'm thinking more in terms that distributing pre-loaded USB sticks would be more sense than the obsolescent technology of CDROMS. Presumably the holy grail would be a sync function to allow the offline version to update itself in the background when connected to an unmetered data connection, and to allow the user to choose which image files are downloaded at anything more than tiny-thumbnail resolution. ‑ Iridescent 15:31, 14 August 2019 (UTC)
  • Returning to the article rating system, as someone who has been contributing to Wikipedia for probably far too long, I remember that it grew out of the concern circa 2003 of how to evaluate articles & figure out which ones still needed work. (One could browse thru the EN-Wikipedia mail list to get the precise details.) The first few versions, written by volunteers, were based on asking readers to rate the article & provide feedback, but these versions were just too unwieldy to work. About this point the Foundation evolved into something more than a bank account to take donations & pay for bandwidth & the tiny group of sysadmins, so this project was given to them. It then split into two projects: one part of was Danny Wool's pet project of creating "100,000 Featured Articles" & targeted random readers to provide feedback on the article they had just read; the other part was the article importance/quality campaign described above. Then Danny got into a fight with Jimmy Wales & left the Foundation, & the reader feedback effort sorta faded away; I guess Sue Gartner decided that Visual Editor needed the resources more. (I remember being puzzled why none of the reader feedback was shared with us editors, the ones who could use the information to improve the articles.) Which leaves the problem remaining unsolved: how do we know that our articles cover the subjects adequately & contain correct information? (One idea I've thought about would be for the Foundation to hire adjunct professors to review their expert areas & critique the most important articles for coverage & quality. Use of the information would not be mandatory, but I suspect there isn't one editor who wouldn't welcome attention from an expert in the field. It would improve my experience here.) -- llywrch (talk) 16:56, 14 August 2019 (UTC)
  • Regarding the reader feedback effort sorta faded away, as someone who had the good fortune to be absent during the implementation of the disastrous Wikipedia:Article Feedback Tool but nonetheless heard the horror stories, I assure you those efforts didn't fade fast enough; it was probably ahead of ACPD and LiquidThreads on the all-time list of "really stupid attempts to impose a radical change on Wikipedia from the top down". It's long but Wikipedia:Requests for comment/Article feedback is an interesting piece of wiki-archaeology. ‑ Iridescent 17:11, 14 August 2019 (UTC)

    (add) Regarding There isn't one editor who wouldn't welcome attention from an expert in the field, I think you're possibly a bit rose-tinted. Once you get up to FA level maybe because at FAC sources and sloppiness get challenged, but Wikipedia is full of editors who are bullshitting and misrepresenting sources in the hope that nobody will actually check their work (see Talk:London in the 1960s#Removed material for my go-to example), who would be horrified at the thought of subject-matter experts actually checking their sourcing, accuracy and balance. The ultimate cause of Framageddon was that Fram caught out too many well-connected people doing precisely this. ‑ Iridescent 17:18, 14 August 2019 (UTC)

  • One thing I've learned over several years of involvement in or observation of attempts at getting expert reviews going is that they only work when the stuff is already pretty good - FAC standard say. Experts can't be bothered giving feedback on the articles that need it most, not that I really blame them. Johnbod (talk) 18:13, 14 August 2019 (UTC)
  • If it weren't for my bouts of optimism, I would have quit Wikipedia long ago. -- llywrch (talk) 20:40, 14 August 2019 (UTC)
  • Yes, it makes sense it was Danny Wool, as I think he was trying to achieve a similar thing with Veropedia after he left the WMF. As for those collections, everyone uses memory sticks/cards now, either for phone or computer. One popular configuration is by Internet-in-a-Box, which uses a Raspberry Pi with a WiFi transmitter to create a local classroom (or clinic or library) "net" containing Wikipedia, Khan Academy, Open Street Map, etc. Students can then access all the material for free via a phone, tablet or laptop. And I'm glad you're an optimist, User:Llywrch - we need more of them! Walkerma (talk) 22:00, 14 August 2019 (UTC)

Since oodles of admins watch this pageEdit

I finally got around to the most important task I'd had to shelve when reducing my activity to ridiculously low levels so as not to give the WMF my data point as an active editor for the month. I'm still trying to stay under 100 edits for August, and I don't know which admins are still active in copyvio, so: Germania Bank Building (New York City) (recently in the news) was a blatant copyright violation at its creation in June 2011, from the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission (footnote 2; MS Word so presumably the bot(s) couldn't read it). Someone please check that I have adequately cleansed it with the first of my three edits, and I believe all those preceding that edit require revision deletion. Unless NYCLPC pubs are copyright-free? Yngvadottir (talk) 09:16, 14 August 2019 (UTC)

User:Money emoji is usually quite good on this kind of thing. I tend to be fairly relaxed on removing copyright violations from the history (as opposed to the live text) unless they have the potential to actually cause commercial damage if they're left live. ‑ Iridescent 13:35, 14 August 2019 (UTC)
Yngvadottir, I've removed the remaining copyvios from the article. NYCLPC content is surprisingly not copyright free (most states .gov material is public domain). I didn't mark the article for revision deletion because it's already had it's entire history chopped up; Feel free to mark it if you want to. I'll be framing "User:Money emoji is usually quite good on this kind of thing". 💵Money💵emoji💵💸 15:53, 14 August 2019 (UTC)
Money emoji,

most states .gov material is public domain

That comment surprised me. I have often thought we ought to have a page identifying which states fall into which category (maybe we do?), but it was my impression that this was rare, rather than common.S Philbrick(Talk) 22:08, 18 August 2019 (UTC)
I did find Copyright status of works by subnational governments of the United States, but it is surprisingly incomplete.S Philbrick(Talk) 22:34, 18 August 2019 (UTC)
most states .gov material is public domain is blatantly wrong. Works of the Federal Government, governments of US unorganized territories, and the governments of the states of California, Florida, and Massachusetts are public domain. That's it. Some other states release specific works, but many emphatically claim copyright over their works (even when they definitely shouldn't). The best list I know of for what is and is not public domain is c:COM:US#US States and Territories: if it's not on the list, it's not public domain. --AntiCompositeNumber (talk) 00:16, 19 August 2019 (UTC)

I want to piggyback on this excellent section heading, although my question is both unrelated to the foregoing and not just for admins. Do we have a WP:TLA to describe editors who, if an admin or other equally well-established editor happens to hold a different opinion, sidetrack the discussion with persistent demands to "Please declare your relationship with the subject, please state for the record whether you have a conflict of interest, please disclose your connection to the subject" ...even when the likelihood is high that an accurate answer is "None"? "Hi, you and I have different opinions, so somebody must be paying you" is not a collegial assumption. WhatamIdoing (talk) 02:50, 18 August 2019 (UTC)

None that I can think of. It falls into the same specialist sub-niche of Wikipedia:Civil POV pushing as "I note that you're from Hiland and as such nothing you say can about Loland can be considered neutral", so if anyone has been writing essays about it it would probably have been from the time of the EEML investigation. NYB might know. ‑ Iridescent 06:41, 18 August 2019 (UTC)
I can't think of any essays on this topic; the closest thing I can recall, by me and others, is occasional cautions against expanding the wiki-definitions of COI and paid editing to an overbroad extent. Newyorkbrad (talk) 21:07, 18 August 2019 (UTC)
If we have actually managed to miss an opportunity to create another opaque shortcut, then I'm not going to suggest it. I feel like we're seeing more of that behavior in situations not involving promotional-sounding articles. Here's hoping that it's just a temporary blip. WhatamIdoing (talk) 03:57, 19 August 2019 (UTC)


Regarding Americanizers, perhaps requesting that {{British English|form=editnotice}} be placed in Template:Editnotices/Page/Tarrare will slow them down? Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 18:15, 17 August 2019 (UTC)

I doubt it—unless they're so intentionally obtrusive they're actively annoying (User talk:RexxS/Editnotice, I'm looking at you), I'm not convinced anyone in the history of Wikipedia has ever actually read an editnotice, since people are so used to tuning out whatever rectangles are at the top of the page. How well do Template:Editnotices/Page/Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard/Incidents or Template:Editnotices/Page/Talk:Main Page—which literally couldn't be more in-your-face unless we persuaded the developers to undeprecate the <blink> attribute—work? ‑ Iridescent 18:42, 17 August 2019 (UTC)

Strong supportEdit

for this edit at the EC case request.S Philbrick(Talk) 21:40, 18 August 2019 (UTC)

@Sphilbrick, the cynic in me says that at least with regards to Eric Corbett, EEng and MJL, having a Sword of Damocles hanging over them is exactly what the arbs who are voting to accept the case want. They know that there's insufficient evidence in this instance to justify actually taking any action stronger than "admonished" against any of them, but are hoping that by suspending the case they'll be priming a mousetrap ready to catch any of them the next time any of them does anything remotely controversial. Bear in mind that arbs of necessity see Wikipedia through a filter of the noticeboards and complaints, as they don't generally have time to immerse themselves in the ongoing debates; seen through that prism Eric Corbett is just "that asshole who keeps getting into arguments", EEng is just "that asshole who constantly tries to escalate tempers by posting obnoxious comments" and MJL is "that asshole who keeps making things worse by making stupid comments about topics they don't understand". ‑ Iridescent 2 09:28, 21 August 2019 (UTC)

Your work is in the AV ClubEdit

Make of it what you will... [8] Waltham, The Duke of 21:53, 19 August 2019 (UTC)

I'd say that's a pretty good job of summarizing "here's why this thing you almost certainly never heard of is of interest". They get Etty's motivations slightly wrong - general consensus is that he wasn't gratuitously painting smut but genuinely felt he was celebrating God by showing off His designs and spent his entire life confused and upset that the church didn't see it that way - but I can't really fault them for that. The only query I'd have is why an article about a painting doesn't include an illustration of the painting. ‑ Iridescent 2 09:39, 21 August 2019 (UTC)
And more to the point, a skim through their archives shows that they list me as the author of "the best final sentence I have yet to encounter on a Wikipedia page". #JustSaying. ‑ Iridescent 2 10:46, 21 August 2019 (UTC)
Perhaps they didn't find the painting photogenic enough? It does have to appear in the upper-left-corner preview around the site.
As for that final sentence... "A better one was never found." Waltham, The Duke of 12:42, 21 August 2019 (UTC)

Taylor SwiftEdit

Today's featured article represents an interesting failure mode in lede-writing. Taylor Swift makes songs. She's a big deal. She's made this song and that song. She's got awards. She's made some albums. She's very important. She makes songs. Nothing intriguing to make me want to continue reading. What are her songs like? Why do people like them? We get all of ten words: "She is known for narrative songs about her personal life". That's something I'd like to hear more about while all the "fifth act overall to win Album of the Year twice" stuff is a total sleeping pill. Haukur (talk) 22:33, 23 August 2019 (UTC)

I agree. This is a common problem with how Wikipedia articles are written. Benjamin (talk) 01:31, 24 August 2019 (UTC)
Lead-writing[1] is tricky to get right. It's not the job of the lead to sell the article, it's the job of the lead to summarise why the topic is notable and summarise the most important aspects of the article. For someone like Swift, the commercial and critical success is the be-all and end-all of notability, (the interpersonal stuff would be irrelevant if she were a struggling indie act with half a dozen Twitter followers) and thus is where the lead should correctly focus.
As such, I'd have to disagree with both of you and say that this is actually quite a good example of a well-written lead in the specific terms of a Wikipedia BLP. Remember, we're not writing a tabloid here and it's not our job to encourage people to continue reading; we work on the assumption that someone on a particular page is there because they want to read about that topic, and consequently don't need to have their attention grabbed. (That latter point is particularly true when it comes to a topic like Taylor Swift; the overwhelming majority of people reading that page are already aware of who she is and why they're interested in her, and are coming to Wikipedia precisely because they want a neutral summary of her career rather than celebrity froth and PR puffery.) ‑ Iridescent 07:27, 24 August 2019 (UTC)
  1. ^ "Lead", not "lede". That particular—and AFAIK unique to Wikipedia—affectation is one that's always especially grated on me. This is the internet, not the Chicago Tribune circa 1940; if I say "there's a problem with the lead" there's no risk that someone will think I'm concerned that the lead–antimony–tin alloy in the linotype machine is contaminated.</rant>
But but! It's important to signal in-group membership with unmotivated inscrutable spelling conventions! Fine, 'lead'. I don't object to some commercial success stuff in the lead but I feel this goes overboard and actually risks sounding promotional rather than neutral. It's like the article is worried I'll vote delete if I'm not immediately informed of every award and record. But the lead should summarize the article and the article has lots of other stuff going on including some analysis of her songwriting, mentioning strengths like "verse-chorus-bridge architecture". Haukur (talk) 09:10, 24 August 2019 (UTC)
Ha. I've been always been writing leads as summaries, as on African humid period. Now I wonder how that should be done... JoJo Eumerus mobile (talk) 13:14, 24 August 2019 (UTC)
Good lead, good article. Happy I read it just now, it cleared up a lot of confusion for me. Haukur (talk) 13:49, 24 August 2019 (UTC)
It depends on the topic. For something like African humid period, there's a reasonable assumption that the reader will have no idea what the AHP is so the lead needs to explain the topic in enough detail such that readers can figure out if this is actually the topic they were looking for. For something like Taylor Swift, there's a reasonable assumption that the reader will at least vaguely know "she's an American singer" even if they don't know much about her. ‑ Iridescent 15:29, 24 August 2019 (UTC)
Regarding I don't object to some commercial success stuff in the lead but I feel this goes overboard, I disagree. What needs to be communicated is that Taylor Swift is a rare example of someone who's hugely commercially successful but isn't a faceless doll from the Syco assembly line. Listing both the critical accolades and the commercial records broken is the most NPOV way of saying "this person is hugely significant both culturally and commercially", since we're not actually using any peacock terms ourselves but allowing the reader to make the connection for themselves. ‑ Iridescent 15:39, 24 August 2019 (UTC)
  • I'm pretty sure Taylor Swift is Iri's go-to example of what a BLP FA should look like... TonyBallioni (talk) 13:43, 24 August 2019 (UTC)
  • Good memory; yes, this and (until his death) John McCain have long been my go-to examples of how Wikipedia can cover contentious BLP subjects without descending into pro/anti sniping or excessive puffery. ‑ Iridescent 15:21, 24 August 2019 (UTC)
  • It lacks a single word on her style or genre, which isn't good enough. Johnbod (talk) 15:01, 24 August 2019 (UTC)
I'm not surprised, considering it's an 8,000-word monster but had a pretty mediocre prose review @FAR. ——SerialNumber54129 15:13, 24 August 2019 (UTC)
You need to look at the history and not just the FAC page itself; the reason little was said about the prose at the FAC was that the candidacy came immediately on the back of Wehwalt dissecting the prose with a fine-tooth comb at Wikipedia:Peer review/Taylor Swift/archive1 with other prose review regulars like Brianboulton looking on. ‑ Iridescent 15:25, 24 August 2019 (UTC)
Yes, I saw the PR. ——SerialNumber54129 15:27, 24 August 2019 (UTC)
She is known for narrative songs about her personal life, which have received widespread media coverage. Born and raised in Pennsylvania, Swift moved to Nashville, Tennessee at the age of 14 to pursue a career in country music. I'd add something about her being more pop than country now if it were me, but I'm also not an expert on Taylor. My favourite work of hers is the goat song parody, which in memory of Fram I will not repost (but I highly encourage everyone to youtube.) TonyBallioni (talk) 15:10, 24 August 2019 (UTC)
I should have specified "musical" style/genre. So she wanted to be in "country music" when she was 14, but/and .....??? Johnbod (talk) 15:16, 24 August 2019 (UTC)
Taylor Swift doesn't really have a definable genre as such; recordings from different periods of her life have virtually nothing in common other than the same voice. Other music biographies of people who were equally genre-hopping, such as John Lennon and David Bowie, follow the same pattern of omitting genre and influences from the lead entirely and instead covering it in the body where it can be discussed at leisure. Bear in mind that—along with The Beatles—this is probably the showpiece music article on Wikipedia (184 people actively monitoring changes) and not a word on it gets changed without dozens of people considering whether the change is appropriate. ‑ Iridescent 15:20, 24 August 2019 (UTC)
That's probably why it contains meaningless stuff like inspired by Shania Twain's songs, which made her "want to just run around the block four times and daydream about everything" and fancruft such as Church jokingly told Swift she should give him her first gold record as thanks for getting fired. She sent him her first gold record with a note that said, "Thanks for playing too long and too loud on the Flatts tour. I sincerely appreciate it. Taylor." She's so folksy! She remembers the little people she met on the way up! EEng 15:41, 24 August 2019 (UTC)
I don't personally see an issue with either of those. Sure, they could be reworded into some piece of dull wikispeak like "she admired Shania Twain and considered her songs influential", but I see no harm in leaving some froth and direct quotations in a biography provided it doesn't overwhelm the content. Contrary to popular belief, the ideal of Wikipedia writing isn't to suck as much style as possible from the content and leave a dull stream of "and then this happened, and then that happened"; it does no harm and some good to remind readers that each of these biographies is an article about a genuine human being with thoughts and opinions of their own, not some kind of interchangeable creation off a media conveyor belt somewhere. ‑ Iridescent 15:53, 24 August 2019 (UTC)
"Contrary to popular belief, the ideal of Wikipedia writing isn't to suck as much style as possible from the content and leave a dull stream of "and then this happened, and then that happened" A common misconception, perhaps? Benjamin (talk) 19:22, 24 August 2019 (UTC)
See, that makes me think of "colour in a white salty desert landscape under a bright blue sky." which is not how I normally write articles. <Sighs wistfully at the time that will need to pass before my article writing can re-commence> Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 20:06, 24 August 2019 (UTC)
I'm all for the genuine human being and personal expressions of influence stuff if you can make heads or tails of it; but what's "want to just run around the block four times" mean? As for the first-gold-record tidbit, if what she'd written was some really insightful quip that would be one thing, but since according to the anecdote it was someone else's idea that she send the gold record, it really tells us nothing about her. I'll add that I can only imagine what an artist development deal is, and even less idea what a Maybelline compilation CD is, and was quite startled to learn of the 2008 murder of Larry King. EEng 16:31, 24 August 2019 (UTC)
"A Maybelline compilation CD" is exactly what it sounds like; a compilation CD published by Maybelline (yes, the same company that does the makeup); they sponsored the Chicks With Attitude tour back when touring multi-artist mini-festivals were the Next Big Thing. I'm not sure what's particularly startling about Murder of Larry King (something I admit I hadn't heard of before); it looks tragic but no more so than any other homophobic murder case, something of which the US currently has no shortage. ‑ Iridescent 20:08, 24 August 2019 (UTC)
But to me "a Maybelline compilation CD" doesn't sound like anything; to me it makes only slightly more sense than "An Exxon-Mobil compilation CD". The strings CD and music don't appear at Maybelline so if this career accomplishment is significant enough to include in the article I humbly submit that a brief explication is needed.
Larry King is one of the best-known American media personalities of the last 40 years, but he's been out of circulation for ten years so when one sees a reference to the 2008 murder of Larry King one thinks, "Oh, um, wow, so that's why you don't see him on TV anymore." Imagine reading in an article a reference to the 1992 murder of Benny Hill.
If you want to hear one of the funniest stories ever, click here. EEng 21:19, 24 August 2019 (UTC)
Ah; the ascendancy of CNN was long after I left. (It's now available here on satellite, but given its reputation—whether fair or not—for USA-USA-USA tubthumping, I doubt it's ever been watched by anyone other than homesick American tourists.) FWIW, when it comes to anyone under the age of 50 Americans are about a hundred times more likely to get your Benny Hill reference as well. AFAIK none of his TV shows have ever been rebroadcast in the UK since his death, even on the nichest of niche satellite channels, other than as brief clips in "look at the crap people watched in the 70s" Channel 4 sneerathons. ‑ Iridescent 17:55, 25 August 2019 (UTC)
(edit conflict) I think you're being overly picky to there. If we said that about someone who hadn't moved from country to "undefined loosely pop country but really just a style to herself" and said that they were interested in X music at age 14 and started a career in it, we'd assume our readers are intelligent and could deduce that the artist likely was still involved in country music. The issue with Swift is that she randomly decided not to be it anymore at one point and just generally sells to everyone. That's hard to define in prose. Like I said, I'd expand a bit on how she is more pop now than country, but your characterization is not fair.
Also, at the risk of igniting a third world war: there's also the infobox on the side which is all that the overwhelming majority of readers for her article are going to look at. This isn't even wading into the standard infobox vs. no infobox debate, where I don't really care. She's arguably the most significant musical artist of her generation. When people come to her article they aren't going there to read it. They're going to look at the infobox to see her age and/or settle an argument about her genre quickly. This is one of the few cases where the infobox actually serves an unequivocal public benefit in distilling the information more clearly for every day that the article isn't on the main page. TonyBallioni (talk) 15:29, 24 August 2019 (UTC)
No doubt it is true that most readers already know an awful lot of Swift's music & life, but there will be the odd reader like myself who knows nothing at all, and could barely pick her out in a line-up, let alone think of a song. I might be wrong, but is she less of a fully global star than Britney, Madonna, Beyonce are/were? Johnbod (talk) 15:58, 24 August 2019 (UTC)
Pageviews are unscientific, but still revealing in terms of what the readers are looking for; Swift and Beyoncé (and Elvis) are virtually neck and neck with Swift very slightly ahead, but leave Madonna and Britney for dust. The only music biography who consistently gets more interest than Taylor Swift is Michael Jackson, and he really is a special case. ‑ Iridescent 16:16, 24 August 2019 (UTC)

"lede" vs. "lead"Edit

I think "lede" is more common in American journalistic usage than you suspect; it's a relative neologism, but it's certainly well beyond the "Chicago Tribune circa 1940" stage, and probably more common in the U.S. by now in its specific context than "lead." It's pretty well confined to the U.S., though, so perhaps you could make a case against using it on-wiki as an ENGVAR matter. Regards, Newyorkbrad (talk) 12:49, 25 August 2019 (UTC)

So then is "lead" the preferred usage throughout? Hmm. I'll try to keep that in mind. I had gathered the impression years ago that we use "lede" in US centered articles (NASCAR), and "lead" in UK centred (Ian Fleming) articles. (ty Brad) — Ched (talk) 15:42, 25 August 2019 (UTC)
I don't know what the preferred usage here on-wiki is, actually, though I've always used "lede" myself. Newyorkbrad (talk) 16:29, 25 August 2019 (UTC)
Officially, we never use "lede"; the only time term appears at any point in Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Lead section is to explain that it should never be used as it gives the misleading impression that a Wikipedia lead section serves the same function as a lead section in American journalism (the only context in which 'lede' is ever used in a non-Wikipedia context). In practice, it's a bad habit that's probably become too embedded to be easily weeded out, if even an editor as conservative in approach as NYB is using it. In the unlikely event that anyone actually wants to hear chapter-and-verse of the debates then SMcCandlish can probably point them all out SMcC can definitely point them out, as he's put a link to every previous discussion at WP:NOTALEDE, but be warned that MOS discussions typically make arguments about Polish history or the gender gap look concise and thoughtful. ‑ Iridescent 16:49, 25 August 2019 (UTC)
As a Brit, I always thought it was a wikipedia invention, but it has never really bothered me (much less than false titles, say). MOS:COMMONALITY would apply. Johnbod (talk) 16:53, 25 August 2019 (UTC)
TY - and having witnessed the dash - hyphen wars, yes I know to avoid MOS discussions on their talk pages. Polish history? I must have missed that one — Ched (talk) 17:58, 25 August 2019 (UTC)
If the current Wikipedia:Arbitration/Requests/Case/Antisemitism in Poland doesn't do it for you, head on over here, here, here and their respective talkpages, and experience your brain trying to crawl out through your nostrils to avoid having to absorb any more semicoherent rambling. ‑ Iridescent 18:10, 25 August 2019 (UTC)
Yeah, since some time topics relating to Poland and The Holocaust have become a war zone. It's probably become worse because of the Act on the Institute of National Remembrance and in general due to the (to put it euphemistically) re-discussion of National Socialism related topics in the last few years. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 18:22, 25 August 2019 (UTC)
Come 31 October, Brexit will also re-ignite assorted disputes that we've just about managed to suppress on-wiki up to now. Anyone who wasn't around back then, and doesn't believe people like Risker when they point out that Wikipedia now is actually considerably less stiflingly bureaucratic than it was back then, would do well to read Wikipedia:WikiProject Ireland Collaboration/Poll on Ireland article names and consider that yes, that actually happened. ‑ Iridescent 18:29, 25 August 2019 (UTC)
Return to the user page of "Iridescent".