Wikipedia:Village pump (idea lab)

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The idea lab section of the village pump is a place where new ideas or suggestions on general Wikipedia issues can be incubated, for later submission for consensus discussion at Village pump (proposals). Try to be creative and positive when commenting on ideas.
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Files, Templates, and CategoriesEdit

I just realised that this is going to get confusing fast, so I have split this topics into sections, and moved the comments to match,

Hi, I was wondering about the number of edits being an incentive. We seem to have many pages in various namespaces that serve little purpose.

1. TemplatesEdit

  • 740317 Templates of which 593177 have no redirects
  • 475061 Templates of which 366069 have no redirects Wakelamp d[@-@]b (talk) 04:11, 20 August 2022 (UTC)
  • The standard has always been that if you see a need for a template, make a template. As a result there is some amount of duplication and redundancy. Over time templates can also be superseded or lose their original purpose. Superfluous templates are mostly harmless, there are editors who work on merging, redirecting, or deleting templates where beneficial. 74.73.224.126 (talk) 14:52, 19 August
I'll note as I have recently started working on creating and consolidating certain templates, it's a difficult process without a bot to run with you. I haven't put in a request yet per just the scope of my project, but in the meantime the consolidation has required supporting aliases and features that I then deprecate with plans to quickly drop. (And these are low-use templates, but I'm not manually converting 100, 50, or even 12 page usages just to consolidate, especially when I know I'll need a bot later anyway). Also, there's a matter of the dormant template creators you may risk offending. An essay of recommendations of good behavioral/deletion/consolidation practices in template space might be worthwhile (I can't find one on quick search, but I should search harder to not contribute to essay bloat (you forgot complain about that one, OP!) SamuelRiv (talk) 15:56, 23 August 2022 (UTC)
Well done! 100 K templates definitely needs a bot, and that's one edit count increase I would be very happy with. :-) Essay bloat now added, although I expect the numbers are small, and I do like reading them as they give hints to past issues.Wakelamp d[@-@]b (talk) 01:27, 25 August 2022 (UTC)
Please note also that for historical reasons, DYK pages are created as templates, which would account for several new ones every day. My thumbnail estimate is that there are about 75,000 of these. BD2412 T 20:39, 25 August 2022 (UTC)
I count ~60,000 nompages, but six o' one :) theleekycauldron (talkcontribs) (she/her) 23:16, 12 September 2022 (UTC)
Could we move DYK and similar noms to WP: or even WT: namespace (since they're discussions)? That would tidy things up a lot. Certes (talk) 10:36, 13 September 2022 (UTC)
I think this is a very good idea, and that we should have done it years ago. The next-best time is now. WhatamIdoing (talk) 18:53, 13 September 2022 (UTC)
Agree. Very good idea. Jason Quinn (talk) 14:10, 22 September 2022 (UTC)
@74.73.224.126. It should be that if you see a need for a template, create it but reality is that there are editors who seem to jump on the chance to delete newly created templates. So creating a new template is not a user-friendly process and can turn into opening a can of worms. Jason Quinn (talk) 14:14, 22 September 2022 (UTC)

2. FilesEdit

  • If they are a copy of Wikimedia commons, why do we have 705271 talk pages?? Wakelamp d[@-@]b (talk) 04:11, 20 August 2022 (UTC)
  • Categorization, most of these have one or more templates that add them to tracking categories. This may not be all that helpful, but it's not harmful either so is mostly ignored. 74.73.224.126 (talk) 14:52, 19 August

3. User Talk has 6 time as many pages as UserEdit

  • Not surprising at all. I don't have a link to the research handy but the vast majority of accounts never make a single edit on any wiki; the second most common number of edits per account is one, after that two, etc. If an account reaches autoconfirmed it's already part of a tiny elite. While it doesn't make sense to track IPs with zero edits a similar pattern emerges; IPs with one edit are most common followed by two etc. This was true even before the introduction of IPv6. Hence most of those user talk pages are just template messages, often added by semi-automated tools, welcomes, warnings, deletion notices etc. For accounts or IPs that will never edit again. At one time it was common to delete temporary user and user talk pages for accounts after a set period, but this has long-since fallen by the wayside. Deletion of old IP user talk pages was also carried out under an alleged CSD that never actually had consensus, but that too was halted. Since there's no value to deletion this really isn't surprising, though a bot is now tasked with blanking old IP talk messages. 74.73.224.126 (talk) 14:52, 19 August
  • Yes, especially if these figures include archives & other sub-pages. I have 46 talk archives & at least 20 sub-pages for drafts etc. Johnbod (talk) 20:05, 25 August 2022 (UTC)
    • Same. BD2412 T 20:45, 25 August 2022 (UTC)

4. CategoriesEdit

  • In 2010 we had 638,834 Categories
  • In 2022 we have 2,188,563 Categories
  • Category talk is 1865015 pages
  • I have raised a Quarry request for the breakdown by month. I would also like to find out how many times that readers actually click on a category Wakelamp d[@-@]b (talk) 04:11, 20 August 2022 (UTC)
  • As with templates the idea is that if you see a need for a category you should go ahead and make it. Many categories are just for tracking or maintenance. The number of articles has more than doubled since then so the increase in categories isn't really that surprising. Category talk pages mostly function as file talk pages do (i.e. see above). 74.73.224.126 (talk) 14:52, 19 August
    • I would add to this that there are certain maintenance categories for which a new subcategory is generated every month, for instances of the categorized issue arising in that month. BD2412 T 20:46, 25 August 2022 (UTC)
Also is there any objection to me asking for the following changes to WIkimedia statistics or should I move it as a proposal
  • Change Top Edits to Most Edits
  • New Editor type semi-automated to pick up Hotcat etc. (They are currently part of user) Wakelamp d[@-@]b (talk) 01:56, 25 August 2022 (UTC)
    I have updated my query request to ask for chars, as well as counts. I have been advised is not possible to get the number of times a reader clicks on categories. Wakelamp d[@-@]b (talk) 04:57, 1 September 2022 (UTC)

5. New StubsEdit

  • A lot of stubs would seem better suited to Wiki species or wikidata, and may be being created semi-automatically *Many have 1 ref to amateur web sites. Wakelamp d[@-@]b (talk) 04:11, 20 August 2022 (UTC)
  • There's a lot of history and controversy here. Suffice it to say that the communities views on notability have shifted over time, and many current articles exist as a legacy of earlier times. Semi and even fully automated article creation was tolerated in the past, Rambot created a large number of American county and municipality articles. Wikispecies has a different purpose than Wikipedia, and some of the information here would not be suitable there. Wikidata didn't even exist until 2012 long post-dating many of the mass database style stub creations. 74.73.224.126 (talk) 14:52, 19 August
Are these past/current discussions consolidated/linked somewhere? It looks like all the minor asteroid and sky survey object bot-created stubs have been cleaned up into lists since the last time I checked many many years ago. Municipalities are somewhat different because people live there (though arguably it may be a greater incentive to try editing Wikipedia if your municipality had no page than if your municipality had a terrible bot stub, although the barrier to entry is far greater (the Draft/AfC structure did not appear to affect retention, though I'd like to see a well-designed comparative study on retaining new editors whose first experience is editing existing articles versus creating new ones -- and now I'm off-topic). SamuelRiv (talk) 15:38, 23 August 2022 (UTC)
I think the asteroids have been added to,
Going off topic is always allowed :-) My User_talk:Wakelamp#IP_editing_research has a list of the Portuguese/Farsi trial of no IP edits and I think the results of edit vs create. I think the faiure rate on new articles is more then 95% for new editors. Most are killed off by speedy. Wakelamp d[@-@]b (talk) 01:49, 25 August 2022 (UTC)

6. Why Recent Changes are so big?Edit

  • Apart from the above, we also have some editors constantly doing multiple edits on the same page within seconds Wakelamp d[@-@]b (talk) 04:11, 20 August 2022 (UTC)
  • I seem to remember a proposal in the past to combine multiple edits made by the same user to an article over a short period of time which was shot down for both technical and practical reasons. Anyway unfiltered recentchanges has moved too fast to be a useful tool since at least when Rambot got up and running; filtered versions are still quite useful. 74.73.224.126 (talk) 14:52, 19 August

7. Weird Stuff on UserEdit

  • There's a lot of weird stuff in userspace, for the most part it's best ignored. 74.73.224.126 (talk) 14:52, 19 August

8. ArticlesEdit

  • Zero-indexing is the norm in the world of computation.74.73.224.126 (talk) 14:52, 19 August
  • Apologies - It wasn't the zero index that confused me, it was the mismatch between the numbers. I have corrected it. I now realise that the official number is the one without redirects Wakelamp d[@-@]b (talk) 04:11, 20 August 2022 (UTC)
  • Correct. Separately, try to remember to add an additional line break or use a template to create paragraphs for unindenteded text (see previous rendering here). Finally when revising your own comments after they've been responded to try to adhere to Wikipedia:Talk page guidelines#Editing own comments, I've fixed it for you in this instance, but some people may get irritated when those are not followed. 74.73.224.126 (talk) 06:09, 20 August 2022 (UTC)
    Thank-you for that information. After 13 years I am still learning how to do things, and I appreciate others tolerance. Wakelamp d[@-@]b (talk) 09:43, 1 September 2022 (UTC)

9 OtherEdit

Taking a stab at this 74.73.224.126 (talk) 14:52, 19 August
I have moved your comments to match the new topics, although I have 2sections in categories. Please feel free to correct. Wakelamp d[@-@]b (talk) 04:11, 20 August 2022 (UTC)
  Done; probably should've copyedited earlier for concision and ease of reading, but it is what it is. 74.73.224.126 (talk) 06:09, 20 August 2022 (UTC)

9 OtherEdit

Wikipedia:Village pump (proposals)/Archive 157#Hiatus on mass creation of Portals Wakelamp d[@-@]b (talk) 08:45, 25 August 2022 (UTC)

10 EssaysEdit

Wakelamp d[@-@]b (talk) 08:45, 25 August 2022 (UTC)

11 Comparison with other WPsEdit

The enWP ratio of article to other seems high.

https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/List_of_Wikipedias]]

Wiki Articles Total Ratio Edits Admins Editors
Vietnamese 1,275,834 19,379,100 15.189 69,010,746 20 878,846
English 6,547,077 56,453,893 8.623 1,103,443,021 1,033 44,103,225
Arabic 1,184,731 7,823,043 6.603 59,044,611 26 2,296,556
Chinese 1,301,037 7,136,541 5.485 73,182,372 66 3,257,536
French 2,451,972 12,172,803 4.964 196,184,858 158 4,456,210
Portuguese 1,094,746 5,409,706 4.942 64,143,753 55 2,799,931
Spanish 1,799,230 7,720,543 4.291 145,274,893 63 6,628,458
Italian 1,770,143 7,504,894 4.240 128,815,061 122 2,288,917
Russian 1,850,168 7,425,382 4.013 124,938,187 76 3,239,213
Ukrainian 1,191,225 4,134,757 3.471 36,916,450 45 641,531
Japanese 1,340,684 3,961,526 2.955 91,074,155 41 1,973,889
German 2,720,855 7,513,224 2.761 224,347,581 190 3,986,231
Swedish 2,552,658 6,123,318 2.399 51,047,790 66 833,574
Polish 1,534,468 3,560,050 2.320 67,762,113 101 1,189,135
Waray-Waray 1,265,944 2,881,790 2.276 6,287,722 3 53,040
Dutch 2,100,091 4,470,660 2.129 62,554,195 36 1,227,293
Cebuano 6,125,805 11,232,244 1.834 34,883,660 6 93,899
Egyptian Arabic 1,597,655 2,013,586 1.260 7,347,014 7 189,801

Wakelamp d[@-@]b (talk) 03:09, 3 September 2022 (UTC)

Your list says "readers" and "edits", but the table you've copied from says "edits" and "editors" for those fields. ;) AddWittyNameHere 19:40, 4 September 2022 (UTC)
Thank-you. Sorry for the delay

Unedit/Unsend And Incognito mode - Anonymous experienced editors, and UnEditEdit

If there was a way for an editor to choose to post, add watch, or edit incognito using their exisitng account would you use it? (Checkuser could see the link, but not Admins)?

Sort of related. Sometimes I see people regretting their edit or email. If you could unedit/unsend (so it was deleted off your history) would you use it? (Subject to no one editing after you, and the User not opening the message? Wakelamp d[@-@]b (talk) 02:04, 25 August 2022 (UTC)

It's perfectly fine to use an alternate account to go "incognito", as long as you don't do so in a deceptive or disruptive way. – Joe (talk) 09:07, 25 August 2022 (UTC)
True. But isn't that inconvenient to log in and out? Wakelamp d[@-@]b (talk) Wakelamp d[@-@]b (talk) 13:20, 25 August 2022 (UTC)
As regards your second question, I'm sure that anyone who has regularly edited Wikipedia is embarrassed by something they have done, but such a feature would just make us less careful in the first place. Phil Bridger (talk) 09:34, 25 August 2022 (UTC)
I was mainly thinking about editors being angry rather than careless Wakelamp d[@-@]b (talk) 13:09, 25 August 2022 (UTC)
Simple rule… don’t post when angry. Problem solved. Blueboar (talk) 13:27, 25 August 2022 (UTC)
Possibly not quite so simple. Unfortunately, there are things that can make one angry or frustrated in any collaborative workplace, whether online such as on Wikipedia, or in the office or in the factory, voluntary or salaried and feelings get blurted out. Wikipedia is however the least tolerant of places and where the slightest lapse can have devastating consequences; mean spirited, governance obsessive people will gang up and get productive editors sanctioned, blocked, or even banned. It's easy when everyone is just a user name. It's harder for those however who were known personally for their highly motivated work for Wikipedia in real life such as organisers and leaders of editathons, for example. Understandably, after years of service they just give up and don't come back. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 13:36, 25 August 2022 (UTC)
@Kudpung That was exactly the situation was I was concerned about. There was some research I can't find that disucsses that experienced productive editors often leave after an angry email or comment on their talk page. I think @Blueboar sadly may be unique in never having regret.
I just through of another use - Both people in a conflict could agree to withdraw (rather than delete) their comments. It was normal in duelling :-), but I think it is a good process,
With the people highly regarded for editathons etc, maybe a modification of the anonymous idea would help. The Editor name would stay the same, but there would be an option to link a second private Editor name. Wakelamp d[@-@]b (talk) Wakelamp d[@-@]b (talk) 01:02, 28 August 2022 (UTC)
In RL Blueboar has an admirable career and pursuits which call for people management and a calm disposition, and on Wikipedia he appears to eschew the contentious areas which we often refer to as 'the coal face' or 'working in the trenches'. He may therefore not be familiar with the challenges of maintenance work or the Wiki kind of dispute resolution. Those who choose to be active in the contentious areas here have a Sword of Damocles hanging over them and their position is often precarious - even acting in the very best of good faith in the interest of Wikipedia can get them scolded or sanctioned to the extent they will just walk away and end their years of excellent contributions. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 01:39, 28 August 2022 (UTC)
Thanks for the kind words… FYI, I’ve done my time “in the Wikipedia trenches”, and have faced all the aggravating situations you are talking about. I have learned from experience that, when angry or frustrated, the best thing to do is… not type. I take a break and address the issue later, once I have calmed down. Blueboar (talk) 02:19, 28 August 2022 (UTC)
People seem to also use IP accounts to go ingonito< I owonder what Portugal did after they turned off [|IP Editing.
I have looked through Wiki and their seems to be 4 case with a few cases why IP is used
  • Can't be bothered, don't think it is needed,
  • Privacy (even though they are private with an account)
  • Permanent IP editors
  • Editors going anonymous to avoid controversy. I imagined an incognoto made mode that still added to history, and both Ip and normal (or even alternate id) would still come to the main account Wakelamp d[@-@]b (talk) 04:49, 1 September 2022 (UTC)
There are many reasons to edit without logging in. To your list, off the top of my head, I'd add "don't want to type my password on this shared computer", and I'd split your last into two. There's the "don't want controversy (I really shouldn't be editing this, but I know enough to know that nobody will object to this edit as long as they don't know who's making the edit)" case and the separate "don't want this controversial content associated with my real account".
More broadly, almost everything listed under Wikipedia:Sockpuppetry#Legitimate uses is also an expected use case for people editing while logged out.
I don't know what work is being done on the Portuguese Wikipedia, but I have of two other Wikipedias that considered requiring registration: The Persian Wikipedia was following in ptwiki's footsteps until they figured out that what they really wanted was an anti-vandal bot, so they voted to keep IP editors. The French Wikipedia recently had a big RFC that ended with a decision to keep IP editors (I don't happen to know the main themes of the discussion, just the outcomes).
I also ran across an interesting, if old, bit of research that determined the most productive editors were the people who first made an edit as an IP, and then (within an hour) decided to create an account. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 22:03, 7 September 2022 (UTC)
"I also ran across an interesting, if old, bit of research that determined the most productive editors were the people who first made an edit as an IP, and then (within an hour) decided to create an account. " That makes sense - It is easier to not create an account To explain
When you choose to edit an articles
  1. Popup saying welcome to WP (only happens once)
  2. "This is a talk page. Please respect the talk page guidelines, and remember to sign your posts by typing four tildes: ~~~~. You are not logged in. Your IP address will be publicly visible if you make any edits. If you log in or create an account, your edits will be attributed to a username, among other benefits."
This goes against the standard UI experience for login (Popup giving options to Login, or create account, (or in our case do an Ip edit with warnings)). So the question is why hasn't the WMF done this? Wakelamp d[@-@]b (talk) 01:58, 10 September 2022 (UTC)
Would you like the editing workflow to be a bit more aggressive about getting people to login? I could be wrong (I am not an engineer), but a box that says "Please log in or create an account", even if it has a small "skip this and display my IP address" option for those who don't want to be bothered creating an account, doesn't sound like a ton of work to me. (It might require a ton of double-checking that it won't break everything, and they might want to run A/B tests, but we're still talking about months, not years.)
Are people interested in this? If you are, I'm willing to present it to a team and see if they'll do it. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 19:20, 12 September 2022 (UTC)
I think it would be a good idea. It's also got the advantage that it isnt a exisiting editor Use case don't use this part. Wakelamp d[@-@]b (talk) 07:57, 19 September 2022 (UTC)
@WhatamIdoing Is it worth a go as proposal. or should I let it disappear into archive land for the moment? Wakelamp d[@-@]b (talk) 07:40, 26 September 2022 (UTC)
I've started asking around internally. It's much too soon to see whether anything might come of it, but there's no need to worry about whether this discussion gets archived. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 21:18, 28 September 2022 (UTC)

Are WMF and WP too different to ever get along ?Edit

WMF (non developers) and WP are very very different Using Hofstede's cultural dimensions theory#Dimensions of national cultures just as a model for discussion to show how different they are

  • Power distance index (PDI): WP -medium (new editors), WMF low
  • Individualism vs. Collectivism  : WP 50/50 , WMF - Very Collective
  • Uncertainty avoidance  : WP - High, WMF - Low
  • Masculinity vs. Femininity : WP : More Masculine , WMF Very Feminine (see article for explanation)
  • Short (tradition) vs Long (Change) ; WP S, WMF L
  • Indulgence vs. restraint ; WP : High R, WMF HIgh I

And bonus DIversity : WP em/en dash preference; WMF people not like WP editors Wikipedia is : for WP it's the editors, for WMF it's the readers whose desires are only known to WMF Countries : WP is Samurai Japan plus California hippies, WMF is Sweden :-) Wikipedia exists to ; WP - create Wikipedia,free speech, an NPOV WMF -as a cash cow

I think we suck on a few things (mercilessly, no long term planning, ..), but based on this I suggest we need a divorce. WMF can have the $100 M, but we want tbe Kids (WMF developers, IT, organisers, and the person from fundraising who was brave enough to ask about the emails 13:02, 27 August 2022 (UTC) Wakelamp d[@-@]b (talk) 13:02, 27 August 2022 (UTC)

It's difficult. Wikipedia, especially enwp, is the WMF's cash cow. In return, WMF provides useful functions such as legal and administrative services, a hardware platform, maintaining the software and (slowly and reluctantly) adding a few requested features. On the other hand, the vast majority of the money goes elsewhere with no direct benefit to editors or readers: interference in government, global diversity workshops, unwanted technical changes, financial trusts with no clear aim. Splitting could benefit Wikipedia in the long run, with a lower level of income spent in a more focused way, but is hampered by the stupid decision to give Wikpedia's domain names and trademarks to a WMF which has a strong incentive to withhold them. Certes (talk) 13:41, 27 August 2022 (UTC)
I think the Wikimedia foundation is a bit like NASA: slow, bureaucratic, resistant to change, with its reputation primary provided by its early glory years. I don't have the solution here, but it is imperative that the WMF must become nimble if it wants to survive for the next 10 years. CactiStaccingCrane (talk) 17:22, 27 August 2022 (UTC)
Also, technologies have improved, and it is not out of a question for an individual or group of individuals to fork Wikipedia for the community, like the second reincarnation. To me, this is absolutely not an ideal situation, but will eventually happen if the WMF continues to be aloof with important issues and toying with random things. CactiStaccingCrane (talk) 17:24, 27 August 2022 (UTC)
Splitting worked for LibreOffice and others but it's very much a last resort, because we'd leave behind integration with other WMF projects and the excellent reputation of the Wikipedia brand. The best option is for the WMF to revert to its previous narrow role which has community consensus. However, that would put a lot of people who out of a comfortable job, and we can't expect turkeys to vote for Christmas. Certes (talk) 18:50, 27 August 2022 (UTC)
A fork is a bad idea, but you also can't put the cat back in the bag. The only way out is through, and continuing to move forward. Andre🚐 19:57, 27 August 2022 (UTC)
A fork of Spanish Wikipedia happened in 2002, you can read about it in meta:Spanish Fork. ~ 🦝 Shushugah (he/him • talk) 18:53, 4 September 2022 (UTC)
I wouldn't count the developers as on the community's side rather than the WMF. I don't dispute there are exceptions, but consider how many clashes between the WMF and the volunteer community have been IT focussed (the premature release of V/E, that viewer experiment, the reader comments box etc etc). Mixing volunteer and paid staff on the same project is not easy, especially if you want to maintain volunteer motivation and self respect. There are models that can succeed longterm such as "staff are employed to do the things that volunteers want to happen but aren't volunteering to do". However I don't see the WMF agreeing to adopt any of the viable models that could lead to a stable and successful movement for the longterm. Less than a decade ago part of the tension between the community and the WMF was over civility and harassment issues, but with the WMF as the less "woke" side of the equation. One reading of the UCOC dispute is that the WMF has gone from taking such issues less seriously than the community to taking them more seriously. Another reading, and one I find more convincing, is that the WMF's commitment to wokeness is barely skin deep and ill thought out. The UCOC is more about an old fashioned power grab, a secretive and centralised solution by people who neither respect nor understand the way the community works. If the WMF was really as "woke" as the community they wouldn't have been so resistant to the Portuguese language community ending IP editing, and they'd be using their real world influence to get IP companies and Police forces to deal with the people who make death threats against members of our community. To me the divide between the WMF and the volunteer community is cultural, but I don't see it through the lens of Hofstede's theory. I see one side of the divide looking at the Movement in silicon valley terms as one of the top ten internet sites, where the volunteers and the product is all subject to a "move fast and break things" mindset and standardisation and centralisation are key, And the other side of the divide a group of people who have taken the dream of "making the world's knowledge freely available to all" or "making the internet not suck", and found a way to make that a reality in a radically decentralised wiki way... I agree that the two groups are close to needing a divorce, I'm not 100% convinced it is inevitable or unavoidable. ϢereSpielChequers 19:49, 27 August 2022 (UTC)
This is very insightful. My thoughts, inspired by this comment: Volunteers give their blood, tears, and sweat equity as early stakeholders in open-source projects. Governance is tricky when it becomes top-down. To the extent the foundation can listen to community feedback and be on the side of the "workers," it will be less of a scab to "management." The startup mentality has always been a part of Wikipedia, the trouble is when control and predictability become more important than spontaneity and creativity in problem-solving. The foundation may not understand the community ad hoc self-organizing systems, and instead try to use a regular hierarchical corporate directive, which won't work. It's about servant leadership, retrospectives, being open-minded on the details but focusing on principles, values, and making sure the specifics remain negotiable and you don't over-plan. Andre🚐 19:56, 27 August 2022 (UTC)
Thanks. I agree that top down v bottom up is a major faultline in the divide between the WMF and the community. I don't accept that it is inevitable that governance moves from a bottom up philosophy to a top down one. ϢereSpielChequers 20:04, 27 August 2022 (UTC)
I agree. There are certain objectives and key results that may come from the top-down, but the solutions and the approaches should be determined by the community. Andre🚐 20:08, 27 August 2022 (UTC)
I am certain that NPP will get their developer, that WMF will tone down their donation approach, and that there will be a community outreach with lots of t-shirts. But I can't see that WP Meta or WMF are prepared to move on root issues for another few years until the lobster heats up a bit more, so I think the best thing is to create our own interWIki council. It's diversity, so it must be good. Wakelamp d[@-@]b (talk) 02:40, 28 August 2022 (UTC)
I think the developers are very much like us based on what they write. It has all the same issues we have been discussing Wakelamp d[@-@]b (talk) 08:05, 28 August 2022 (UTC)
@WereSpielChequers: a clarification, if I may: "Mixing volunteer and paid staff on the same project is not easy" (agreed wholeheartedly, but...) "especially if you want to maintain volunteer motivation and self respect." — I'm not sure I follow here? — TheresNoTime (talk • she/her) 03:12, 29 August 2022 (UTC)
As a volunteer on software development for the project, I, like TNT, would also appreciate some clarification on this sentence. —TheDJ (talkcontribs) 11:11, 29 August 2022 (UTC)
I'm reasonably sure either this post is satire, or one or several of the replies are satire, or all of the above. Otherwise, I'd be significantly more fearful of the future of the project, but of course the posters on meta pages are not really a representative sample of editors. SamuelRiv (talk) 01:16, 28 August 2022 (UTC)
@SamuelRiv In any satire there is some truth. I don't think a divorce is inevitable (But didn't eswp do that?) With whether it is representative, I suggest you look at the discussion on Wikimedia donations emails on Proposal, Then hav search for #wikipediascam, google trends, google news for wikipedia and donation, quora, reddit, and it is worth getting a login for this ycombinator thread Wakelamp d[@-@]b (talk) 02:24, 28 August 2022 (UTC)
There was another, bigger ycombinator thread before that one. Andreas JN466 10:16, 28 August 2022 (UTC)
At least there's a few good points raised. I did comb the donation threads. I refuse to touch q***a on all principles -- if WMF-WP has integrity problems, q'a is satan incarnate. It would be good to collect links to key threads and points in one essay so that we don't have to refer people to all corners of the internet for this grand controversy. I don't know what substantial issue I should look for in particular through the noise, but I do find it funny that most of these threads begin with complaints about the endowment and management bloat, when the 2007 whistleblower thread (also brought up in complaints) was about financial mismanagement which was, as described, due in large part to lack of logistical staff. The logical remedy is to hire competent logistical staff, whose overhead increases with the size and scope of projects and their finances.
I don't know how WMF decided on their endowment goal, but as WMF operates globally and often has to deal with government legal threats directly I imagine a substantial hedge is justifiable. I also don't know how they are perceived as an investment in terms of risk, should they need to leverage funds, which would also substantially influence their endowment goals. Maybe there's some new grand project being planned that hasn't been revealed, who knows, but for an org of this size and scope I fail to see how a $100m endowment is inappropriate. It's also common in reaction threads that commenters will list expenditures that are a waste of money, then immediately follow with an alternative wishlist that is comparably or far more expensive yet always objectively more prudent.
Orgs aren't perfect, and nonprofits and NGOs in particular are notorious for inefficiencies that expand with size (independent audits and open donation ratings help mitigate this, but it seems there will always be at least some baseline inefficiency that is in part intrinsic to the nonprofit and/or donation incentive model). None of this is to suggest there is something wrong with vocally complaining -- it is essential to an open audit system -- but can we at least separate the realistic substance from the cruft from the plain ridiculous? SamuelRiv (talk) 15:28, 28 August 2022 (UTC)
The key issue is quite different from the money amounts per se – it's about how the money is brought in. It's about making people think you are struggling to keep Wikipedia online when in fact you have $400 million in assets and reserves, have reached your $100 million endowment target in half the time planned, enjoy huge annual surpluses and have steeply rising executive salaries.
Add to that the fact that the Endowment has never to date published audited accounts or disclosed any of its expenditure. Andreas JN466 22:39, 28 August 2022 (UTC)
??/ Where does the 400 Million come from?/ (I couldn;t work out a definite number :-)). I have no problems in paying staff. If they help WP, and make editors life easier then go for it. And Strongly agree about the [1]], It has some clever people on it, but I think it has one editor on it, and I didn't realize that their were no reports. I would prefer that there was an editor appointed audit expertWakelamp d[@-@]b (talk) 03:03, 29 August 2022 (UTC)
It's an estimate of financial status at the end of the third quarter of the 2021/2022 fiscal year (i.e. status at the end of March 2022). It is based on the following:
Net assets in June 2021: $231.2 million ($51 million up on year prior)
Endowment in June 2021: $100 million ($37.1 million up on year prior)
Increase in net assets as of 31 March 2022: $51.9 million
Increase in Endowment as of January 2022, the most recent figure available: $13.4 million
So, adding together, we have $231.2 million + $100 million + $51.9 million + 13.4 million = $396.5 million. There are another $3.2 million left in the m:Knowledge Equity Fund, earmarked to go to non-WMF organizations.
Note that the WMF had a total surplus of $88 million in 2020/2021 (Endowment growth included). (For more on Endowment transparency, see Wikipedia:Wikipedia_Signpost/2022-05-29/Opinion.) Andreas JN466 06:38, 29 August 2022 (UTC)
I was wondering who WMF funds. Please look at page 69 of their IRS 990, i don't understand why we are getting other organisations to do WMFs charity work.
  • Tides $5.5 M
  • yale $260 K (but the last mention is 2017)
  • Peace Development Fund 150 K - no mention
  • Black Lunch Table $168K but i can't find a mention that we donate
* We also seem to give grants to a Wikipedia DC, which I assume is to get around the non-profit lobbying rules
Also have a look at the breakdown by country for funding and spending and staff, page 41 Schedule F part 1 and 2 11:03, 29 August 2022 (UTC) Wakelamp d[@-@]b (talk) 11:03, 29 August 2022 (UTC)
Pretending that money is needed to keep the servers running then diverting it to political pressure groups is a gross breach of trust, however noble the causes being advocated. It leaves me with a serious ethical conflict: I want to continue helping our readers, but each article I improve makes me feel like an accessory to fraud. It seems that every time I log in, there's a new proposal to hijack another part of our encyclopedia's governance. I want to continue contributing, but we're very close to the last straw. Certes (talk) 12:20, 29 August 2022 (UTC)
Sorry, which political pressure groups are being funded? I don't see any listed above. I'm not sure how the Yale grant is any more controversial than any other major WMF grant. The reason you partner with outside institutions is because outside institutions are more established and experienced with the infrastructure to do it better and cheaper than if you did every little thing in house. Should we establish the "WMF office of janitor development" to fund our own office cleaning staff, or just pay a company to do it? For comparison, Google and other companies donate to WMF, a nonprofit, not because they're being nice, but because WMF projects are extremely important to their own R&D and business development, and it makes far more sense to support WMF than to start a "WikiGooglePedia" clone that is identical in every way -- donation based, etc. -- for the sole purpose of being an in-house operation, just to satisfy a handful employees who don't like the idea of outsourced interests.
Tides Advocacy according to the FAQ is distributing the Equity Fund, not simply being given money to spend on their own lobbying. I'm not quite sure I understand the model of Tides Advocacy still, as OpenSecrets isn't really open about its data -- Tides Advocacy is responsible for lobbying money, but that's part of what it's explicit purpose is -- to spend lobbying money on behalf of other nonprofits. It's hard to gather how much, if any, lobbying it does on behalf of its own interests. Regardless, this isn't about Tides lobbying, as WMF's explanation suggests. I don't know what Sched. F is supposed to indicate -- are you surprised $11m is spent in the entirety Europe in this breakdown? If the amount is what surprises you, why is it not the total -- why Europe specifically?
Finally, I've seen it argued in these same threads that WMF should do more government lobbying on behalf of, say, IP (and typically open source advocacy slips in there too -- some people also voice concerns about China and Russia policy). Would it make more sense for Google to hire, in-house, the dozen or so expensive people needed who specialize in high-level IP lobbying (IP lawyers are not a sufficient substitute), something that would only be really needed to be working on all engines a handful of times every decade when major legislation comes up, or just outsource to a lobbying firm? SamuelRiv (talk) 15:37, 29 August 2022 (UTC)
@SamuelRiv Lobbying removes our tax exemption. I agree Tides is very confusing (note only the 2019 990 returns are available
  1. The [[Tides Foundation] companies include Tide Advocacy, and is interlinked with many WMF projects
    • There are many issues (See signpost for more information).
    • “The Wikimedia Foundation, the non-profit organization which manages Wikipedia, is closely tied to the Tides Foundation."
    • "The general counsel of Wikimedia, Amanda Keton, is the former general counsel of the Tides Network, the former head of Tides Foundation, and the former CEO of Tides Advocacy."
    • “The multimillion-dollar Wikimedia Endowment, created in 2016, is managed by the Tides Foundation and has an advisory board appointed by Tides. In 2020, Wikimedia established the multimillion-dollar Wikimedia Foundation Knowledge Fund to be run by Tides Advocacy”
    • There is no mention of Tides on Wikimedia Endowment
    • I found a few other people that overlapped with both companies.
    • There is no conflict of interest is not broke as the WMF counsel is a past employee.
    • The Tides Foundation are not involved with education
    • They support only Democratic candidates, but | not that much directly, and instead via PACs and small organizations
    • tides makes no mention of wikipedia or wikimedia or education
  2. Tides Advocacy is not involved with education
    • [| IRS 990] states "TIDES ADVOCACY MAKES CONTRIBUTIONS TO ORGANIZATIONS THAT SUPPORT POLITICAL ACTIVITY, CONDUCTS INDEPENDENT EXPENDITURES, AND MAKES PARTISAN COMMUNICATION TO EXPRESSLY ADVOCATE FOR THE ELECTION OR DEFEAT OF A CANDIDATE."
    • They funded a Democratic candidate and did 800 K of lobbying
    • There is one mention of education on their 990 – A grant of 10 K to North Carolina A Philip Randolf Educational Fund Inc for the purpose of environmentalism.
    • No grants have a purpose of education.
    • Their [[The Advocacy Fund - Tides website make no mention of education - but specifies their purpose as "civic participation, Healthy Individuals and Communities"
  3. Some of their consultants actual work seems to differs from that on the IRS form   (company, IRS stated work, their website, $)
    • KIVVIT, Consulting Services (Issues Campaigning) $505,022
    • BASE BUILDER Payroll Services (Mailing lists) $386,373
    • THREE POINT STRATEGIES Staffing services (US Electoral Strategy),
    • | Natasha MINSKER Consulting Services (Actually "Skilled in Public Policy, Politics, Lobbying, Non-profit Management, Community Organizing, and Criminal Law. Graduated from Stanford University Law School.")
  4. Certain accounts on Tide Advocacy seem very high - especially per employee - bracketed amounts below. ( I think they have 20 employees (p/t and f/t ) but they also hire temps).
    • Travel $1.76 Million (90 k)
    • Other Employee expenses $1.6 million (80K)
    • Office Expenses $1 million (50 K per employee -which does not include occupancy of $534)
    • Conferences 900 K (wow)
    • IT is 260 K (13 K) But they only have 7.3 K of equipment??? ( See P 51 of 990}
    • Political Donations 800 K
  5. Tides Network is mentioned on  the Tide Advocacy  990 (p 72), but as unrelated.  On the Tides Network 990 it supports Tide Foundation, Tides Centre, Tides inc. It pays $13 M of network fees and “Tides Network supports the operating Organizations and appoints board members for Tides Foundation, Tides Center, Tides Two Rivers Fund and Tides, Inc. Tides Network sets the direction and policy orientation for and has economic interest in all of Tides organizations.” Wakelamp d[@-@]b (talk) 06:47, 30 August 2022 (UTC)
Giving money to Yale, funding the Black Lunch Table in Chicago, earmarking $4.5 million for non-Wikimedia organizations (more than half the grant money so far going to US orgs) etc. is all very well, but then you shouldn't tell people in India and South Africa that you urgently need their money to keep Wikipedia online. Andreas JN466 10:19, 30 August 2022 (UTC)
And Agreed we are telling whoppers
??? Does anyone know which months the banner ads have run. I would be interested to know whether they have increased up the number of times the ads appear,
I turned off the don't show banner ads a few dsays...But they didn't appear :-( But when I logged out, I got an awesome message of doom that took up the whole screen. It hasn't happened again.
Asides
Hmmm. ,,,It would be quite amusing to copy all their banner ads to one page, and have the editors descend to tag it :-) The media would find that amusing :-) Wakelamp d[@-@]b (talk) 11:59, 30 August 2022 (UTC)
The ads appear in different regions at different times. There's a list at m:Special:CentralNotice – filter on Campaign type = Fundraising – but it seems incomplete: I recall a campaign last December. At least the perpetrators recognise that Users already hate these banners. Certes (talk) 14:00, 30 August 2022 (UTC)
m:Fundraising has an overview of current_fundraising_activities. In addition to the scheduled campaigns listed on that page there are sometimes low-volume campaigns run for testing purposes, where banners only appear for a small subset of users. That's why people sometimes see a fundraising banner appearing "out of season". Andreas JN466 14:26, 30 August 2022 (UTC)
Thanks for that I wanted to find out if WMf had increased the frequency, because one of the fundraising staff wrote [this] saying it was a bad ideaWakelamp d[@-@]b (talk) 13:36, 31 August 2022 (UTC)
@Wakelamp: The $5.5 million to Tides are the annual $5 million paid into the Endowment (and included in WMF "expenses"), plus planned gifts, all of which have been diverted from the WMF and redirected into the Endowment since the February 25, 2021 board resolution. So any money people have left to Wikimedia in their wills in the past today goes into the Endowment. Andreas JN466 08:33, 30 August 2022 (UTC)
They are the 2019 numbers, but it still means that we are funding a Democratic Party fund raiser???
As far as I can see Tide (which was co-created in '72 by the heir to a cigarette fortune has taken us over),the trustees are toothless, and the WMF will keep on increasing up its staff :-(
Vivat Tidepedia! Wakelamp d[@-@]b (talk) 09:27, 30 August 2022 (UTC)
It's amazing to me the WMF doesn't fund more software projects. When a proposal was made to create a citation database it was rejected. Just one example. I understand they tried this with VE and got kind of burned, but that was a white whale project from the start. Smaller more doable projects that have a big impact. For example let's get a really good version of what reFill does to get our citations standardized. And make the tools cross-language. -- GreenC 04:46, 28 August 2022 (UTC)
I agree keeping it small and attainable, with frequent iterative deliveries, and user testing and feedback, is the way to go. The visual editor citation toolbar works pretty well, if you're citing a standard URL or a DOI or ISBN, I mostly use that now instead of reFill and CitationBot, and you can enable it in the beta settings for the wikitext editor as well. Andre🚐 05:04, 28 August 2022 (UTC)
@Andrevan @CactiStaccingCrane I would like a way of reducing down the time/friction to find and cite articles. Reading references is fun, but it's multi step, so it's a pain for new editors
  • A curated reference (NPP reputation tools) search engine similar to the film project's. ability to exclude self published, google books without preview, check for AKA names from articles.
  • JSTOR is mentioned in the missing ref for cites is restricted to 500 edits, so excludes new users that know citations
  • Google Book cite is not context sensitive (so manual entry of chapter name, page, chapter author, we don't use Google books API google site is missing data references ), and no image ocr to text tool, Ideally, it would be nice to get special approval from Authors' Guild & Google to have full or at least text access to the snips.Wakelamp d[@-@]b (talk) 07:49, 28 August 2022 (UTC)
@GreenC WMF doesn't fund things because there is no upside for them.I asked for the road-map the other day, and got pointed to this, and it makes sense because we have no roadmap ourselves:-( Wakelamp d[@-@]b (talk) 07:20, 28 August 2022 (UTC)
So, let's make a goal for ourselves. What specific goal would we want to achieve by 2023? CactiStaccingCrane (talk) 07:22, 28 August 2022 (UTC)
Change the proposal process. All proposal are created as an article. Editors comment on the article talk, and write an evidence based article. Results are fed back to the proposal page. 07:59, 28 August 2022 (UTC) Wakelamp d[@-@]b (talk) 07:59, 28 August 2022 (UTC)
Changed my mind again :-) Create a WP Development board. Have elections. - all active editors vote. They can work out what their job is, but they have to report to ALL active editors Wakelamp d[@-@]b (talk) Wakelamp d[@-@]b (talk) 08:17, 28 August 2022 (UTC)

@Guy had a similar better expressed [[2]] "the idea is basically to give a wider group of stakeholders a voice in setting development priorities and approving feature changes. In business this would typically include development leadership and business stakeholders, and the idea is to make sure that effort is spent where it will have the most impact on organisational priorities. Normally we'd handle this through RfCs at Meta and the like, or by meetings between WMF and devs I guess, but the meta discussions tend to attract only people with detailed interest in things like microformatting, much of the discussion is arcaqne and they run on geological timescales."

"They can work out what their job is": Is this satire again?
If there's already proposal pages that editors can amend and discuss, and the proposer can submit grant applications and would do/coordinate the implementation, and WMF reviews the grants... what's a board for? (aside from whacking ideas for bloating the WP bureaucracy over the head, Stooges-style.) SamuelRiv (talk) 15:42, 28 August 2022 (UTC)
Not Satire -All the committees started with vague responsibilities, which we then coloured in as we went.
I disagree that the proposal/grant process works well.
  1. After the proposal is approved, then it falls down. No one is respsonsible for testing, reporting back, supporting the chage, and testing, Our process at the moment is proposal approved, WMF start work, ask for comment directly, install, RfC complaining, testing, modifications, complaints about defaulting it to all.
  2. Gold Plating. The pareto principle applies to software in that 80 % of the cost is the last 20 % of work. Our current process causes large expensive projects, with many features that are unused, becuase multiple voices demand without triage
  3. Planning. We have no forward plan for how we think WP will work, which means WMF have no roadmap. We have no risk reduction or proacive planning. For instance, what do we do if
  • We have a Denial of service attack type attack on the NPP, through an AI creating thousands of articles.
  • Google/Facebook creates an AI generated 'pedia
  • Our tired UI encourages Generational change - The continuing decline in admins, 100 K editors leavihg per year
$ Proposals and System changes are papering over conflict and editor resource issues,
  1. Proposals are solutions, but there is no list of problems, and there is no data analysis to verify opinions.
  2. Benefits of Change. There is no checking of whether the proposal acheived it's goal.
  3. The Content creators (mostly new editors) are not involved. Wakelamp d[@-@]b (talk) 07:12, 29 August 2022 (UTC)
These are great points. If development on WM software is not currently managed well, how would proposing changes through a WP bureaucracy be different from proposing changes through a WMF bureaucracy? You still have to go through the participation of the entrenched volunteer WM programmers, which through divorce of projects you have suddenly fragmented. I don't know how the addition of additional input of WP editors into the process (there's phabricator, WMF project pages, emailing WMF people directly, proposals through WP, and more currently that you can do to raise these concerns or search for whether they are already being addressed) is supposed to help anything except possibly an editor's self-esteem, briefly, until they are ignored. It reminds me of the story Richard Feynman talks about of receiving messages from the public, even after filtering for those who aren't cranks -- he's busy trying to decode the combination lock on a safe, using some tools to make the process more methodical, and comments come in like "did you try 21-3-49? How about the bank manager's birthday?" There's a good case to be made that WM coding should have a better management structure, but in the end that will probably require hiring at least a project manager and principal coder, which means yet more $200k+ salaries to shell out. SamuelRiv (talk) 15:56, 29 August 2022 (UTC)
I believe I am correct in stating that most WMF staff (employees + contractors) work remotely, i.e. from home. So why do they have to be in the US? There are many parts of the world outside the US where competent coders can be hired for a fraction of the cost. Andreas JN466 14:56, 30 August 2022 (UTC)
WMF funds some grant requests and not others, and they give reasons why. I have wondered about some of their rejections, whether it is due to being beaten out with a limited grants budget (all departments anywhere have limited budgets) or if they lost on merits or prospects for completion. Could you link the specific proposal you are referring to? SamuelRiv (talk) 15:35, 28 August 2022 (UTC)
When did WMF and WP start to diverge? Was it after the 2015 Harassment Survey? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Wakelamp (talkcontribs) 07:00, 30 August 2022 (UTC)
I have been editing for 14 years and have been an administrator for five years. I have always tried to develop friendly relationships with WMF staffers and still have some friendships though far less so than in the past. I used to live about 32 miles from WMF headquarters in San Francisco, and was always willing to drive there, pay for bridge tolls and parking, and meet with the staffers to share the perspectives of highly productive volunteer editors who are essential to the success of the encyclopedia. As the years have gone by, the staffers that I knew and who paid attention to what I had to say as a highly active encyclopedia editor have moved on, presumably to even better jobs in the software industry. A few remain who I interact with, but it seems that the WMF is determined to throw its cash resources at "pie in the sky" efforts to draw in editors from poor countries without fixing the fundamental flaws with the mobile sites and apps that such potential editors are most likely to use. The WMF takes in the massive amounts of cash that poor people worldwide donate, and instead of spending that to allow people to truly collaborate on smartphones used by billions of people worldwide, they squander the money to keep overpaid and unproductive code monkeys prosperous for more and more years to come, to the detriment of the encyclopedia. The desktop site works just fine on modern smartphones. Why not shut down all mobile sites and apps, and lay off all of the developers who have utterly failed to make these mobile sites and apps fully functional for over a decade? Why should people who have failed for so long stay on the payroll? I hate to be mean but no profit making business would tolerate a dozen years of complete and utter incompetence from a project team, when the free alternative works just fine as I have proved over and over and over over the years. It is nest feathering behavior by human beings who should know better. Their excuse boils down to "it's hard". Not acceptable when the cash donations of poor people are at stake. Cullen328 (talk) 07:48, 30 August 2022 (UTC)
User talk:Jimbo Wales/Archive 241#Newbie and IP edits should be vetted delayed before they go live " But we have a situation ongoing for a very very long time now that there is a disconnect between the community and the developers... a lack of trust is part of it... so that experimentation and rollback (something that we as Wikipedians should be super comfortable with) isn't allowed to happen. Any change to software is much much harder than it needs to be.-" Wakelamp d[@-@]b (talk) 13:36, 31 August 2022 (UTC)
Like you, I always switch to desktop view on mobiles and tablets; it's perfectly fine unless you have a 3-inch iPhone screen. It would be nice if the desktop view option were more prominent, or indeed the default setting.
Fundraising squeezing money out of poor people: See the current discussion/RfC over on the Proposals Village Pump, reviewing the Wikimedia fundraising emails about to go out. It touches on that.
As for throwing money at the developing world: While I think there may be some problems with spending decisions (see Wikipedia:Village pump (WMF)#Should the WMF have rules or policies for when banned users apply for or are part of the team that administers grants?), I looked at the Form 990 a while back and found that claims the WMF is spending large amounts of money in the developing world are merely a convenient PR meme. In reality, the amounts have been absolutely minuscule to date – less than 2.5% of revenue. See Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2022-06-26/News and notes#Where does the Wikimedia Foundation spend its_money? for a breakdown. Andreas JN466 08:25, 30 August 2022 (UTC)
@Kudpung , @Cullen328 Your posts made me wonder where the WMF developers spend their time
Exhibit 1 - fund raising Full board- 5 members
Exhibit 2 - Community Wishlist All in backlog
@WereSpielChequers You are correct - they aren't on our side - They can have the kids as well
??? Can we ask the trustees for the breakdown of costs by project ??? Wakelamp d[@-@]b (talk) 13:03, 30 August 2022 (UTC)
Your "Exhibit 2 - Community Wishlist" link doesn't seem to work — I think you may have meant phab:tag/Community-Wishlist-Survey-2022? If so, that board appears to be a little misleading, and you might find phab:tag/community-tech a little more helpful in gaining an insight into how this specific team is spending their time   In the interest of transparency, I work on the Community Tech team as a software engineer, though I consider myself a volunteer first and foremost. — TheresNoTime-WMF (talk • she/her) 16:38, 30 August 2022 (UTC)

@WereSpielChequers, Cullen328, and TheresNoTime: Some people are conspicuous by their absence from this list, maybe it's because they are concerned about landing in the Foundation's bad books. Not that it would matter, the WMF doesn't appear to give a hoot because the SF cabal, or at least its management class, is a classic example of groupthink. I've often wondered what it's like to split one's personality between being a volunteer and accepting pay at the same time. Personally I don't think it's possible but I do admire the tiny handful of those who straddle the Great Divide and who are able to remain on the side of the volunteers. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 18:49, 30 August 2022 (UTC)

Hi Kudpung, I've been a volunteer since 2007, and was a WMUK part time staff member from 2013 to 2015. I can remember leaving the room for one WMUK AGM (I didn't have to be in the room as either a volunteer a member or an employee, and would have been in an odd situation if I'd been in the room for a particular item). Mostly though I thought it worked, and I think my history of being a volunteer for six years before I joined the staff was a big advantage in my GLAM role. As for your letter, I suspect I'm not the only Inclusionist who was put off by the sewer analogy. If I'd agreed with the letter a bit more I would have signed it, as we both learned many years ago when we and ScottyWong looked into the block logs of the most active editors, discreet and diplomatic approaches are not the best way to influence the WMF. ϢereSpielChequers 19:05, 30 August 2022 (UTC)
@WereSpielChequers:, I wasn't alluding for a moment to your salaried role in a Wikipedia chapter. I will also never forget the one-to-one meeting we had in Oxford a great many years ago that inspired and encouraged me to become so active on NPP issues for over a decade. NPP has been without any coordination for a couple of years until MB stepped in recently. He and Novem Linguae are doing a grand job which partly includes doing some of the paid WMF's work for them for free. I thouroghly agree that discreet and diplomatic approaches are not the best way to influence the WMF. The new NPP oodinators' initiative with their letter is urgent and admirable although there might be some very minor turns of phrase that in hindsight could just possibly have been differently worded. I don't think they are a deal breaker though, and NPP certainly needs a lucky break soon. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 02:56, 31 August 2022 (UTC)
  • There are clear culture-clashes between Wikipedia (enwiki in particular) and the WMF; and I definitely agree that some of the stuff they've spent the money enwiki (largely) generates on could have been more productive. But at the end of the day operating a site with the size and prominence of Wikipedia is going to require a sort of legal, financial, and bureaucratic overhead that cannot (currently) be done through enwiki's methods. I think we can and should push for better communication between the two and more input and influence from Wikipedia in the WMF's decision-making process, but I don't think it's realistic to suggest separating the two; we'd just need another WMF eventually. And at the end of the day, while I disagree with some of what the WMF has done, they've done better than the people who run any other high-profile website I can name - would you want to replace the WMF with the people who run Twitter? Google? Facebook? At the end of the day, outside of a tiny number of clashes that ended up having little impact in the grand scheme of things, the WMF has mostly allowed enwiki to do its thing, and enwiki has largely done all right by that arrangement. --Aquillion (talk) 03:14, 31 August 2022 (UTC)
Aquillion, the difference between the WMF and 'big tech' is that Twitter, Google, Facebook, etc., pay salaries to the people whose work generates the huge corporate profits. This sets the paygrades for the staff at the WMF, several of whom are on celebrity salaries. This is what causes miscontent. The WMF expects, yea, demands, that not only do we accept their wasteful, unrequested software 'enhancements', but that our volunteers who have enough to do also do the engineering on projects that the paid devs don't find sexy enough.
The case of the NPP tools is rather essential and without the new articles being promptly and accurately patrolled, Wikipedia will loose the very reputation for clean articles that the Foundation boasts about. Indeed , it's already happening.
We are down to barely 10% of the supposed 750 reviewers, and of that 10% only a tiny handful are doing 90% of the work, and backlog drives are proving largely ineffectual. In the worst case scenario, the reviewers will simply down tools. I wouldn't exactly call ACTRIAL, for example, a clash that ended up having little impact in the grand scheme of things. It had an immediate effect that worked wellmfor a while, but its usefulness has since expired. It was extremely useful in one respect however: it proved loudly and clearly just how totally wrong the WMF can be. They may have forgotten it in the grand scheme of things, but we haven't. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 07:00, 31 August 2022 (UTC)
As Kudpung says, staff at Twitter etc. work for the company and can be expected to follow all reasonable orders in exchange for a salary. At Wikipedia, money flows the other way: unpaid editors create and curate content, which attracts donations, which WMF takes from Wikipedia. Effectively, Wikipedia is buying services such as hosting and legal from the WMF. Even though the transfer of Wikipedia's brand made the WMF a monopolist, it should still act more like a supplier than an employer. Certes (talk) 10:15, 31 August 2022 (UTC)
Actually, "unpaid editors create and curate content" exactly describes the business model at Google, Twitter, and Facebook. Why do you think those companies give away their services for free? Because then their users generate content for free. Which those companies monetize by selling ads. If you're not the customer, you're the product. -- RoySmith (talk) 21:47, 2 September 2022 (UTC)
I'm going to have to think about that one. If Wikipedia is really run like Facebook, this will be my last contribution. Certes (talk) 22:51, 2 September 2022 (UTC)
@Aquillion: Are you aware by just how much WMF revenue has increased over the years?
As for WMF salaries, compare some of the entries here to the corresponding entries two years prior. You've got the CEO's compensation increasing by 7%, the DGC's and GC's by 10%, the CFO's by 11%, the CAO's by 22%, the CCO's by 25%, the CT/CO's by 28%, and the CPO's by 32% over a two-year period when US inflation was at 2%.
Meanwhile, WMF fundraising messages ask donors – including in places like India and South Africa – for money "to keep Wikipedia online". Andreas JN466 11:12, 31 August 2022 (UTC)
@Aquillion I don't really wish a seperation, but a rebalancing of the relationship. I do think that WMF has changed it's philosophy Wakelamp d[@-@]b (talk) 22:57, 31 August 2022 (UTC)
Has there ever been a proposal to message Spotlight to all active editors? I ask becuase it might correct the WMF and WP imbalance because most editors will never go near pump, For instance the discussion on the WMF emails only involved 20 editors (plus lurkers) Wakelamp d[@-@]b (talk)

Arbitrary breakEdit

What a tangled web the WMF weaves: A recent, long comment from a senior Foundation employee, goes to demonstrate once again the reasons for the community's long-ingrained distrust of the Foundation's use of the huge surplus money generated by the free work of volunteers, and the claims the Foundation makes of supporting the volunteers with the required software. The comment comes across as a rather poorly worded hurried attempt by the WMF to justify itself but it clearly contradicts that department's own mission statement.

The community has previously been told quite clearly that the maintenance of the essential PageTriage software is not within the remit of the WMF's Growth Team (although it was a WMF creation). At the same time they are telling us that there will be no action until a request is submitted through their annual Wishlist Survey. Maintaining the features and addressing the bugs in the various elements of the NPP tools is clearly beyond the scope and purpose of Community Tech as described on their own web page. Even if the community were to assume a huge dose of good faith, what is it supposed to believe?
The appeal addresses precisely that question. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 00:25, 1 September 2022 (UTC)

Well, what else can we do? I predict that once the letter is sent, a similar response to the above will be made. I suppose we need some other big idea if we are to improve the program. Perhaps something for me to mull over for a while. Even if the letter does succeed, it wouldn't hurt to devise an alternative solution to the problem. CollectiveSolidarity (talk) 03:23, 1 September 2022 (UTC)
@CollectiveSolidarity Your user name is very appropriate for a possible solution; have The Spotlight sent to all active editors with editorials explaining the issues, or at least emcouraging connectivity/editor retention/community/article improvement. Wakelamp d[@-@]b (talk) 03:50, 1 September 2022 (UTC)
@Wakelamp, @CollectiveSolidarity, in regards to your question, what can we do to create a semi-permanent resource, where these concerns could be aired? yes, we could send the Spotlight to all active editors. that is one option. are there others? let me ask, is it possible to create a user essay in the "Wikipedia:" namespace, to articulate and summarize these concerns? Sm8900 (talk) 13:39, 9 September 2022 (UTC)
@Sm8900 I have had difficulties working out another alternative for the essay, because everywhere I looked within WMF, I found reasons for major concern, and a clear policy of avoiding oversight.
What I am very uncertain of, is what the appetite for change is at the moment. if we wish to change them, then we will have to address/disprove some of their issues (as they use them to justify thier mission), and create an alternate structure that represents the editors, with the media, and in decision making Otherwise, I expect even if there was a scandal, or major media attention, that changes would be superficial. Wakelamp d[@-@]b (talk) 06:05, 19 September 2022 (UTC)
hi @Wakelamp. ok. I appreciate your reply on that. thanks. Sm8900 (talk) 15:03, 19 September 2022 (UTC)
@Wakelamp, general question, how do I find the "Spotlight"? I'm sorry for my basic question. thanks. --Sm8900 (talk) 13:42, 9 September 2022 (UTC)
Apologies. Freudian Slip. I meant The SignpostThe Signpost Wakelamp d[@-@]b (talk) 00:19, 10 September 2022 (UTC)
I have an Option 4 which would solve your NPP issue.
  • Define what changes you want,
  • Ask for a ball park quote from an external Wiki developer,
  • Do a press release. But require they do the interview in a way not to reveal your identity - the Secret Wikipedia.
  • Get Ask EFF agreement to help , and to use one of thier bank accounts.
  • Get agreement from Gutenberg, Open ID, Apaches, Free Software foundation, celebrity to put up banners for us
  • Get a | quote
  • Have the developer do a detailed quote
  • Create a kickstarter (after asking EFF to verify whether statements are legal) explaining our plight. and advise that x % will go to Support EFF and to review our management documents. Any over will go to the supporting charities.EFF will disburse the cash at development milestones. Kickstarters can also get t-shirts with 2005 Wikipedia Slogans @Jayen466. This was my Option 4). Wakelamp d[@-@]b (talk) 06:44, 1 September 2022 (UTC)
Option 4.1 Is similar, but we sell the T-shirts on wikipediocracy. Wakelamp d[@-@]b (talk) 07:06, 1 September 2022 (UTC)
Send a notice that 'The Spotlight' is available to all editors that have logged on in the last 12 months. If we want change then we need to organise, otherwise they will continue to increase in size, and ignore us.Wakelamp d[@-@]b (talk) 03:46, 3 September 2022 (UTC)
Wakelamp, let no one doubt for a moment that the required changes to NPP have not been thoroughly researched, discussed and defined by the NPP team. It's a lot of ongoing, dedicated work here and on its sub page. The scope of the work is such that paradixically, some of the Growth Team's members are telling us it's too big for the current pool of WMF developers, while other members are insisting the changes should be appealed for at their Wishlist. This obviously casts further doubts as to the professionalism and seriousness of those in charge of the Foundation's technology, and puts their sincerity in question. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 22:37, 5 September 2022 (UTC)
On the Org chart they show 4 developers assigned to the project - have they been assigned elsewhere?
Chris Albon Director of Machine Learning
Kevin Bazira Software Engineer III
Aiko Chou Software Engineer III (Contractor)
Tobias Klausmann Senior Site Reliability Engineer (contractor)
Luca Toscano Senior Site Reliability Engineer (Contractor) Wakelamp d[@-@]b (talk) 23:55, 5 September 2022 (UTC)
https://wikimediafoundation.org/role/staff-contractors is famously out of date, if that's where you got the above from — TheresNoTime (talk • she/her) 06:21, 6 September 2022 (UTC)
Yes - that's where I got it. Is there a better one? I thought of scraping Meta user, but only IT staff seem to have user pages. The web estimates 900 staff and growth rate of 35 %
WMF is incredibly opaque compared to others Wakelamp d[@-@]b (talk) 08:51, 6 September 2022 (UTC)
I'm not aware of a more up-to-date global list like that (and I believe that one is slated for removal) — for the Growth team, their team listing on MediaWiki.org may be more helpful? — TheresNoTime (talk • she/her) 12:37, 6 September 2022 (UTC)
With Growth, the page states it is only for mid-sized wiki.
Thank-you for the tip about the possible upcoming deletion, and. I have now downloaded it just in case
There is nothing elsem so i have already converted it to Excel for the other analysis I am doing,
As an aside,Glassdoor (employee reviews) has been an eye-opener, as it indicates that the WMF internal structure is fiefdom/divisional silos (each has it's own section, often a profit centre linked to a porject), with absent central control, unquantified goals, and with every dfficulty factor turned to 11
Conway's law states that organisations create computer systems that reflect their internal communication,which explains a lot about the WP and WMF systems,
 
"Org charts" comic by Manu Cornet
Wakelamp d[@-@]b (talk) 13:50, 6 September 2022 (UTC)
Wakelamp's option 4 proposal is phrased as if its some radical view, but if it was rephrased as: start a wikimedia affiliate, raise some money (or maybe just get a grant from WMF), and hire a developer to do the things you want - that proposal would be a pretty normal proposal. Bawolff (talk) 05:41, 12 September 2022 (UTC)

Incentivize WP:Vital article improvementEdit

It's been a few week since a series of threads popped up about this issue, and it's pretty clear in these discussions that improving Vital articles is important. I tried to apply that to practice with the WikiProject Vital Articles, but it seems to me that we can do more than that. Should a contest like WikiCup be set up? (like WP:The Core Contest but year-long) CactiStaccingCrane (talk) 14:33, 4 September 2022 (UTC)

I think the problem goes far beyond incentives. Wikipedia has milions of articles and the attention and energy of most editors gets wasted on non-vital, rarely-viewed articles. The Wikimedia presentation is extremely clear on that. The Wikipedia:WikiProject_Vital_Articles isn't being promoted enough; only a minuscule minority of editors will ever visit the Village pump, WikiProjects, or any of the sort. I think the Vital Articles WikiProject should be made very prominent in all the places where people learn how to edit Wikipedia, like the the "How to contribute" guides, Help:Introduction, the Edit an Article section on Help:Contents. Ideally the Wikiproject would be permanently linked in the sidebar, and would be promoted in a sitewide banner like the ones we regularly see. There needs to be some kind of large, central effort; right now barely more than a dozen have joined the Vital articles project. A lot of vital articles are languishing; most of them haven't seen a truly significant revamp in more than a decade. It's perfectly fine that editors create articles for high schools or TV show episodes, but I wonder how many of them would continue if they knew about the poor quality of many vital articles. DFlhb (talk) 19:39, 13 September 2022 (UTC)
Adding to this: I think Help:Introduction and Wikipedia:Task_Center (linked to in Help:Introduction) in particular need to make the WikiProject Vital Articles extremely prominent. The task center should be simplified to the bare minimum: when you want help on where to start, and are met with an enormous list, that can be extremely discouraging. Move most of the Task Center contents to Wikipedia:Maintenance (which is linked at the top; and should also be simplified, BTW), and only list the most important things: contributing content, fact-checking, and copy-editing.
I generally think the entire non-content part of the encyclopedia (everything [[Wikipedia:]] ) should be dramatically simplified and cleaned up, since it overwhelms newcomers and makes them feel lost. There's further things the Wikimedia people can do to encourage quality contributions, like gamification, but I just don't think they have the right focus. Poach Duolingo's staff, hire a hundred academics fulltime to contribute to articles, and watch Wikipedia get revitalized in just a few years. DFlhb (talk) 20:10, 13 September 2022 (UTC)
DFlhb, I don't feel comfortable promoting the Vital WikiProject, but given that the first GA drive has lots of trouble gathering members even after MassMessages, I guess that there is no other choice... In my opinion, some of the proposals would be easy as pie to impliment (Intro, Task center, etc.) while others would be neigh impossible (add the project to the sidebar for example). There should be a fair amount of discussion about this given the scale of the proposal. I'm gonna ping User:Sdkb as they has done work at rewamping these sort of pages. CactiStaccingCrane (talk) 11:12, 14 September 2022 (UTC)
Good points, and good idea on the ping. Editors' efforts being spread too thin and concentrated in the wrong areas seems like a major Wikimedia Foundation viewpoint, so I hope this can be addressed both comprehensively and (hopefully) promptly by the community here. DFlhb (talk) 11:37, 14 September 2022 (UTC)
To address the deeper point:
I don't want to be pessimistic but as a newcomer (who probably won't have much time to keep contributing so much) I get the strong impression that Wikipedia is collecting dust. The Technology page was absolutely dreadful, below the quality of a high school essay in some sections before I revamped it (still not done).
I checked, and the page has basically only received minor improvements since 2008-2010. It seems that when it comes to Vital articles, most people are more interested in minor changes, grammar, etc than in actually improving content quality (likely due to lack of time). Getting Vital articles to encyclopedia quality is a lonely effort. WikiMedia has remarked on the decline of active editors, but I'd also guess that there's also been a shift from major content-based contributions to more minor spelling, grammar, or maintenance edits. I'm becoming skeptical that a volunteer effort can properly prioritize efforts and achieve high quality. Only 70 of the 1000 vital articles are Featured articles. There are more Vital articles that were delisted from Featured article status (89 total), than there there are Featured Vital articles in total (70!). Looking at the Featured Article log, the number of monthly promotions is way down since 2008. And of the 205 articles that became Featured Articles this year, only 6 were Vital articles. Last year, 9 out of 325 newly Featured Articles were vital. That's way down from 2008, when 33 articles were promoted to Featured that are considered Vital today. I used Petscan to compile all these numbers.
An incoherence I see in the Wikipedia model is that collaboration and "free knowledge" doesn't necessarily mean zero central coordination; yet Wikipedia's managers seem to confuse the two ideas. I don't think you can have a ship without a captain. If Linux wasn't heavily coordinated, with domain experts in charge of certain parts of the code, it might flouder similarly.
At this point, I think the changes I proposed above, while crucial, won't be enough to fix the problem. The main problem I see is people's lack of desire to take hours and hours to improve contents of articles they might not be personally interested in; resulting in a focus on irrelevant articles or minor maintenance changes. The only true solutions I see are:
1. Wikipedia hiring and paying a few hundred academics to revamp all vital articles
2. Developing GPT-style AI that's advanced enough to read the major literature, summarize it, cite it and format it well, follow the MOS, and let it become the predominant contributor to Wikipedia. Doesn't exist today, but companies like Meta Platforms are working on this. Should exist within the next 5 years; and Wikimedia should make developing this its number 1 priority.
Option 1, Wikimedia can do today; they have the funds. Option 2 is a long-term investment the Foundation should make that will comprehensively fix Wikipedia's coverage and quality issues, far better than any of their proposals that I've seen. I have very few hopes they'll listen. DFlhb (talk) 12:38, 14 September 2022 (UTC)
Thanks for the ping, @CactiStaccingCrane! I don't think emphasizing vital articles in onboarding pages can be the solution — space on those pages is extremely tight, given all the information we need to teach there, so there's not really room, and many people don't read those pages anyways.
I think the solution needs to come in the form of tools that make it easier to see one's impact, which will then lead to a culture that values that impact. Right now, our best metrics are things like edit count and GA/FA count, which are extremely crude. When at RfA, I'd much rather be able to know how metrics like an editor's authored words  ×  pageviews on those words. The Growth Team's impact module is a rudimentary form of those impact metrics, but I've been encouraging @Trizek (WMF)/@MMiller (WMF)/@KHarlan (WMF)/KStoller-WMF to improve it and make it more useful for experienced editors as well. Making it work well will take some technical effort, but I think it could have a transformative impact on Wikipedia's culture, as it'd incentivize editors to make meaningful contributions to important articles rather than just gnoming. Fundamentally, right now it just doesn't feel any different to edit an article with 50 pageviews a month vs. one with 50,000, and until it does feel different, no amount of pleading to go edit important articles instead of niche ones will have enough impact to truly move the needle. Cheers, {{u|Sdkb}}talk 23:20, 14 September 2022 (UTC)
Although I think it is harder to make substantial contributions to articles for major topics, I think it can in some cases be easier to find editors interested in them than it is to find editors interested in making tidy-up edits, which go largely unheralded. As long as the Wikipedia community is welcoming to anyone to edit, it needs gnomes to shape the raw content added by editors unfamiliar or uninterested in Wikipedia standard writing conventions. I agree that ideally major topics would get more attention, but I disagree that we should be trying to get editors to edit them by dropping their tidy-up efforts. isaacl (talk) 23:57, 14 September 2022 (UTC)
Fair point. But I disagree gnoming is currently unheralded — it puts you on a million watchlists, making your username more recognizable, and it rapidly boosts your edit count (which despite all protestations to the contrary does mean something to most editors). We need both gnomes and writers; we have enough of one, but definitely not the other. {{u|Sdkb}}talk 00:23, 15 September 2022 (UTC)
I wonder if it would be feasible and useful for a tool to show "viewed edit count" or similar. Each edit would be multiplied by its pageviews before summing, rather than edits to Charles III and Lake Charles (Nova Scotia) each counting once as in the standard edit count. Of course, not everyone skimming a huge article will reach the typo I fixed on line 1234. The score probably needs to be something like sum of (pageviews × Levenshtein distance) of unreverted edits, which is getting complicated and computationally expensive – but this is an idea lab! Certes (talk) 11:18, 15 September 2022 (UTC)
I actually like this idea... It needs to be weighted though, so for example, adding/removing these [[]] should be weighted less than fixing typo for instance. There's a small dataset that you can toy your algorithm with at WP:30 kB drive; you just need to compare the old and new version, churn out a score and sort the articles. If the metric makes sense, so be it. CactiStaccingCrane (talk) 14:03, 15 September 2022 (UTC)
P.S., I think we can make do with a very crude metric for the Levenshtein distance using diffs, which it equals to the number of chars highlighted. CactiStaccingCrane (talk) 14:06, 15 September 2022 (UTC)
Quarry:query/67384 attempts to measure contributions to level 1 and 2 vital articles. For the simplest types of reversion, I've excluded both edits, but some of the contributions may be multi-edit vandalism or reversion of multi-edit blanking. I may also be ignoring good contributions which were reverted either in error or maliciously. I've arbitrarily assigned level 1 articles twice the weight of level 2. We could probably add level 3, but checking all 50,000 vital articles might set the servers alight. Certes (talk) 00:44, 16 September 2022 (UTC)
Weighting edits by their impact is certainly a good idea. I think there are 4 things Wikipedia should weight:
  • edits to popular articles as opposed to unpopular articles, pure pageview metric (their Impact module seems to fix this)
  • edits to vital articles, as a separate and additional weight factor to the one above. Popular but non-vital pages should get weighted less, popular and vital, more. Special attention should be dedicated to this, as we certainly don't want to disincentivize people editing currently-trending articles like the Elizabeth II page; but we also want to strongly incentivize people to work on lower-views, but vital articles; and to incentivize vital articles over equally-popular non-vital ones.
  • edits that don't get reverted (weighted by how long they've lasted) versus edits that got reverted; Levenshtein addresses this
  • edits that contribute content, as opposed to style/grammar/MoS edits (as you're proposing, and I agree). "% of mainspace, non-talk page article written by [USER]" weighted by that article's pageviews. XTools already has authorship percentages, so it's clearly possible through the Wikipedia API. That way, not only would unreverted edits be weighted more, people would also be incentivized to contribute lots of content rather than to make minor fixes. This should be combined with the Levenshtein metric since we don't want to incentivize fluff or non-encyclopedic essays; so the metrics shouldn't just be added. For example Page-popularity-metric + vital articles metric + Levenshtein + Levenshtein * (content contribution * pageviews).
It would be best if this were combined into a single metric; and maybe if they were also each placed in a single place on a dashboard to "break down" the single metric (highlighting vital articles contributed to, etc.) The community could discuss the different weights to give to these elements.
When it comes to changing culture, I'm hopeful that this will have an impact, but there's obviously always inertia when trying to change incentives. I'm not sure how to ensure that people don't keep valuing raw edit count as the "main" value to increment, as opposed to a weighted alternative count. A good start would probably be to remove "edit count" from Preferences and replace it with the new metric; and to shift the autoconfirmed, extended-confirmed, etc thresholds to a corresponding value in the weighted metric. A big thing to do would also be to create something like WP:WBE, for the "highest achievers/most competitive", so they can compete on that more complex/nuanced metric in a straightforward, easy way. Creating a central acknowledgement would increase the incentive.
Also I'm not aware of any userpage templates that update dynamically (for example, and edit count userbox that updates itself); would be nice to create one for the weighted metric that autoupdates, that people can add to their page. DFlhb (talk) 16:22, 15 September 2022 (UTC)
Do you want to target popular articles or vital articles? User:HostBot/Top 1000 report lists this week's 2204 most-viewed articles (those in the top 1000 on at least one day). That includes 1/10 level 1 vital articles (Earth), 4/100 level 2 and 69/1000 level 3 articles. So there's not much overlap between what readers choose to read and the topics marked as vital. Certes (talk) 10:20, 16 September 2022 (UTC)
Incentivize content edits to vital articles; incentivize correctness, proper sourcing and neutrality for popular articles. I mention 4 factors; but you can play around with weights on each factor, or have some factors be absolute numbers (can't drag the overall metric down, just bring it up). Those are implementation details. DFlhb (talk) 10:50, 16 September 2022 (UTC)
@DFlhb: FYI, your link to the presentation is broken. This works: File:Wikipedia’s poor treatment of its most important articles.pdf. Qzekrom (she/her • talk) 05:05, 15 September 2022 (UTC)
Thanks DFlhb (talk) 14:50, 15 September 2022 (UTC)
I think editing existing articles can be intimidating, especially if they already seem pretty comprehensive and well put together. It takes a lot to make substantial edits to an article: you need to go dig into reliable sources, either ones that are already used in the article or new ones. This requires having access to the sources and the time and skill to pore through them. Then, you need to add missing information to the article. This requires finding a place to insert the information, paraphrasing the source without plagiarizing it, and making the inserted content flow with the rest of the article. There's a lot to get right, and if you get it wrong, you run the risk of your edits getting reverted (although it's probably more likely that other editors will either improve upon your work or do nothing for fear of "messing it up"). I think we need to make users more comfortable making substantial edits so they don't all become WikiGnomes like me.
I think it could be useful for WikiProjects to conduct scrum-style "sprint planning" meetings, in order to prioritize tasks and allocate them among project participants. For example, one person could specialize in adding information from sources, another could focus on organizing content, and another could focus on polishing articles. Specialization requires accountability (or redundancy), but it would allow us to work together more efficiently. If we're not comfortable with paying people to edit, WMF could hire scrum leaders to help WikiProjects coordinate. Qzekrom (she/her • talk) 04:33, 16 September 2022 (UTC)
Practically speaking, the WP:PVITAL WikiProject is already doing that. But we need more people. It is mentally tolling for me to see almost no activity on the WikiProject. CactiStaccingCrane (talk) 06:58, 16 September 2022 (UTC)
The absolute last thing Wikipedia needs is to hire more non-contributors, especially bureaucratic nightmares like Agile leaders being paid to waste unpaid volunteers' time in Zoom meetings. Did you know Wikimedia Foundation spent $70 million on its own salaries in 2020, $10m in grants, and $2m on internet hosting? That these salaries constitute 60% of the Foundation's expenses, and that by policy none of these people are allowed to contribute to Wikipedia anyway? (struck through 20 September 2022; I was imprecise, see below) Where's the evidence of impact for anything these people do? It's mindblowing that a "charity" is funneling money to "consultancies" for "strategic planning" (see: williamsworks) or "brand strategy" (Snohetta Design). Keep the devs and server farms, hire 100 academics to contribute content while staying away from controversial BLPs to avoid Section 230, and fire everyone else. The WMF people are making the same mistake Evernote made, wasting money while the core product (which is Wikipedia's written content) languishes. I'd like to remind them that once someone invents a more advanced GPT-3-type AI to write an encyclopedia, there is strictly nothing obliging them from giving that output to Wikipedia, or producing it under an open license. I wonder what an endowment would be useful for in that scenario (again, remember Evernote, the "100-year company" that may well die in the next recession?). DFlhb (talk) 08:07, 16 September 2022 (UTC)
But, you kinda need to shot on the WMF arms in order for them to do work though... I personally see that nothing will change unless there's a significant push to do so, i.e. competing encyclopedias or AI stuff. CactiStaccingCrane (talk) 09:53, 16 September 2022 (UTC)
DFlhb, what makes you think that by policy none of these people are allowed to contribute to Wikipedia? Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 16:41, 19 September 2022 (UTC)
I got that from the EFF [3]: In fact, the Wikimedia Foundation does not write or edit any of the content found on the Projects
From this Quora comment from Mark Hetherington: [4] The WMF has about 290 employees, and will probably grow to about 300 in 2017–18. These employees support Wikipedia indirectly. They don't create or edit content, because not doing so helps the WMF maintain its legal immunity as a “service provider” under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act
And from Wikipedia:Wikimedia_Foundation that says: The WMF does not edit Wikipedia content (except for occasional office actions). "The community" (largely volunteer editors) handle content, because if the WMF did take responsibility for content, it would introduce liability issues per section 230 of the Communications Decency Act..
I'm assuming you're saying this is false? DFlhb (talk) 20:32, 19 September 2022 (UTC)
I'd say that it's incomplete, rather than completely wrong. As part of my job, I don't write articles, or otherwise create copyrightable content that isn't related to my job. This means that they don't want me writing whole articles for work but, e.g., that I can edit Wikipedia articles if I'm cleaning up a wikitext problem caused by a software bug. I personally tend to do that from my volunteer account, so that nobody's confused about whether it's okay to revert me, but the WMF has no concerns about me doing that from my work account. As an example, these edits comply with WMF policy.
But WMF staff are also welcome as volunteers, and volunteer-me has made more than a hundred thousand edits at this wiki. Dozens of WMF staff have made thousands of edits as volunteers, and many are admins at this and other WMF-hosted wikis. It's good for WMF staff to edit from a volunteer account on their own time (or during a designated training program; everyone wants new staff to learn the basics if they weren't hired out of one of the communities). Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 23:02, 19 September 2022 (UTC)
I see, I should have recognized that those statements were a little lawyer-y and that "WHM doesn't edit" meant something quite specific. It's good for WMF staff to edit from a volunteer account on their own time Absolutely agree, and it builds ties with the community. I'll strike through my comment above so no one gets misled.
I also hope you can relay my suggestion to the rest of WMF to hire some (ideally domain-expert) editors to contribute to making more Wikipedia:WikiProject_Vital_Articles Featured-quality, and I hope they consider the idea. I'm sure some would complain that it would unfairly advantage the English wikipedia, but a) there's no reason national affiliates can't do so too and b) that won't be a problem very shortly[5] DFlhb (talk) 02:14, 20 September 2022 (UTC)
AIUI the WMF never hires people to create article content, and the rules about getting grant money for content creation seem to have some limitations. I'm not involved in the grants process, so I am not a reliable source ;-) but my impression is that they are much more likely to fund an event during which volunteers create content than to pay directly for content creation. You could request a grant, if your group wanted to do something along those lines. Maybe invite an expert or two and a reference librarian to meet a handful of Wikipedia editors in a university library to work on a pre-determined set of vital articles? Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 23:12, 21 September 2022 (UTC)
There are many flaws to the idea of throwing together an event for domain experts to volunteer. AIUI, the grant money can't be used to actually pay contributors, just to pay for the costs of managine and hosting events. Even if it could, this effort would be far more effective if centralized.
A major issue with Wikipedia is domain experts feeling overwhelmed at the poor quality of major articles, and just quitting. These are exactly the kinds of contributors that Wikipedia needs, and they may be less incentivized to contribute than anyone else. I feel like such efforts may be asking far too much of overwhelmed volunteers who are for the most part already overworked at their actual jobs. Hiring a few of them full-time and paying them is the only good solution I can think of; I don't believe it would detract from Wikipedia's volunteer ethos; if anything, it has a good chance of increasing academics' faith in Wikipedia and reigniting their interest in volunterring their edits. I'd also expect such an initiative to receive positive coverage in mainstream press.
Asking you to relay my suggestion to WMF might have been a reach (it would be perfectly appropriate for you to only do so if you actually agree with the idea, frankly) so I'd like to ask instead if this is the right place to discuss WMF-related suggestions like that (which strays quite a bit from the overall Vital Articles discussion); is there another place I can ask this that would get the WMF's attention? Best, DFlhb (talk) 18:41, 22 September 2022 (UTC)
Are you familiar with the m:Wikimedian in residence idea? Other organizations hire Wikipedia editors. It appears to mostly be museums or cultural organizations, though volunteer-me is more likely to see John P. Sadowski (NIOSH) and others who work for public health agencies, since I'm more active in the health-related articles than art-related ones.
(I am happy to pass along ideas that have a chance of being useful or interesting, even if I don't agree with them.) Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 00:46, 23 September 2022 (UTC)
Interesting, glad you linked me to that. It unfortunately doesn't seem to include very many editors, though it is a step in the right direction. I expect WMF may be somewhat averse to hiring editors themselves, mainly due to fear of community backlash; but frankly I'd expect the community to be relieved, based on the commonly reasons behind profilic editors' departure (burnout, overwhelm at poor quality of important articles, etc). Maybe making these hires subject to community recall would ease the WMF's concerns re: a potential community backlash. DFlhb (talk) 07:50, 23 September 2022 (UTC)
The movement has traditionally separated its organizational side from its editing side. For example, m:Affiliates can host events that encourage people to edit, but they can't make "official" edits.
I could be wrong, of course, but I have the impression that a separation suits the WMF's Legal team at least as much as it suits the editors here. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 21:22, 28 September 2022 (UTC)
I don't think sprints are a good model to follow for the type of volunteer writing work done by the English Wikipedia community. I appreciate, though, that some editors are motivated by seeing continual progress towards some goal. Perhaps tools to automate updating pages such as User:Ravenswing/Hockey Mountain would be helpful in encouraging ongoing improvements. isaacl (talk) 15:52, 16 September 2022 (UTC)

Regarding the ideas above regarding motivation via pageviews/impact. Don't we kind of already do that? That form of motivation already exists, but it doesn't push people towards, say, The arts, it pushes them towards current events, sports, movies, video games, youtubers, internet memes, actors, musicians, etc.

Regarding high-level vital articles in general, while an article like food or the arts may get a lot of pageviews, I have a sneaking suspicion that people aren't going to the article with the intent to read those articles. I suspect that more often they're looking for something more specific that the higher-level article brings them to, or perhaps even an outline of articles about that subject. It seems to me that something which might benefit readers and editors would be to try pushing for people to work hard on outlines of big topics (on a talk page), with the idea that implementing it will ensure readers get what they want while at the same time providing structure for editors to fill in without overhauling the whole article. YMMV. — Rhododendrites talk \\ 12:29, 16 September 2022 (UTC)

Personally, I think that a good article would also serve as a good outline of the topic. Sure, I'm all for making a comprehensive outline for further reading purposes, but outlines should not be an excuse for poor content. CactiStaccingCrane (talk) 13:56, 16 September 2022 (UTC)
If I understood the suggestion correctly, it was to make an outline of how the article should be structured, rather than an outline of the article's subject. It would help interested editors co-ordinate their work on the article. isaacl (talk) 15:36, 16 September 2022 (UTC)
Right. So if one of the primary functions of high-level articles is as an outline of the topic, it shouldn't take the form of an outline but a good first step might be to come up with an overall outline. That way the outline function is satisfied and those who want to contribute have a structure to address parts of. A big issue with the big articles is that they're often clumsily organized, with big parts missing and others lumped into an overly broad header (for example)... — Rhododendrites talk \\ 19:03, 16 September 2022 (UTC)
I have four points here:
1. I am strongly opposed to the idea of using pageviews as any kind of metric of worth. It works against improving vital articles, not for it. For example, the article for Gigi Hadid has almost 20 times the pageviews than the article for Hippocrates. The article for the pornographic act of creampies has the same amount or more pageviews than the article for diabetes. Chasing pageviews was an abysmal idea for the media, and we do not need to adopt their abysmal idea.
1a. Using GPT-3 or any form of AI for this is an even worse idea; it should be self-evident why. A lot of machine learning is trained in part on Wikipedia anyway, as the content is free.
2. The problem has to do in part the fact that a lot of these things are very abstract, high-level concepts. Take "the arts," for instance. People have tried for millennia to define what "the arts" are and its scope; it's a known difficult problem. Given that many generations of the greatest thinkers the world have produced have, thus far, failed to settle the question, I don't think individual Wikipedia volunteers, or even Wikipedia volunteers en masse, can be faulted for also doing so. By contrast, an actor (for instance) has a narrow existence and a clear biographical framework. There is also the issue of sourcing. The larger the topic, the more difficult it is, paradoxically, to source, because coverage is likely to be piecemeal or flooded by hundreds of thousands of possibilities.
3. Given my name it's probably unsurprising what my stance is on this, but I do not think "minor changes, grammar, etc." are invalid edits. The average person reading an article is much more likely to see bad writing, shoddy formatting, and the like as an indicator of poor quality than an article being a short but clean stub or start-class. I've even found multiple cases of blatant, juvenile, easily findable vandalism existing in vital articles, and persisting through large content additions/overhauls; if we truly had such an imbalance then I wouldn't keep finding shit that's lasted 10 years ago in high-profile pages.
4. Finally, at the risk of upsetting people, if we are going to talk about wasted energy by active editors, then we should talk about the supposed "crisis" some people have made of inobtrusive stub articles that already exist -- i.e., are no longer wasting anyone's time, if they ever did -- which sucks up seemingly bottomless time and energy by active editors that could go toward actually improving content. Either these articles matter or they don't. Gnomingstuff (talk) 16:17, 23 September 2022 (UTC)
I don't agree with the first point. Obviously in looking at pageviews you have to compare like with like, and not worry about popular culture, sex and geography being waaay high. But page view comparisons between articles one might expect to have similar figures often reveal very different numbers, and are useful for directing editing effort. As someone who has been editing The arts since 2008 (I see, without apparently adding much) I'm fairly happy with the article being a rather simplistic listy mess that gets readers to more specific pages reasonably efficiently. "What is art?"-type debates belong at Art, Visual art and other pages. Johnbod (talk) 17:02, 23 September 2022 (UTC)
Note on 4 I forgot -- It also disincentivizes people to work on vital articles by creating an artificial sense of urgency elsewhere. As much as Wikipedia touts WP:DEADLINE, this is not evenly applied. The existence of an article like the arts is not up for debate, and its content is generally "good enough" to not seem to need immediate attention. On the other hand, if a possibly notable subject (or unquestionably for that matter; there was recently a Jorge Luis Borges book up for deletion!) has its article up for deletion, the research, which is non-trivial (and routinely isn't done well), then needs to be done as soon as possible, within a week and ideally early in it. That research may be wasted/demoralizing effort if it turns up nothing or if the article is deleted anyway. It incentivizes only partial research and improvement -- usually solely online and English-language sources, exacerbating recentism and Western-centric bias -- and the process attracts generalists: it's impossible to specialize in the hundreds of topics that come up, subject-matter experts for those hundreds cannot realistically be expected to show up on a procedural project page within a week, every week, and people have lives and schedules and can't drop everything to access library archives on short notice. As another example, I recently started sourcing articles from the Unreferenced Articles wikiproject, which have been in that state for over a decade and are often quite expandable -- but the only reason I did that was the recent proposal to nuke the whole thing. Gnomingstuff (talk) 17:08, 23 September 2022 (UTC)
  • Thanks for your thoughtful reply; I'll try to address your points methodically.
1. Fair; I think my "metric" idea should overwhelmingly prioritize Vital articles over popular ones. By definition, vital articles are vital. They are of highest importance to the encyclopedia audience, from schoolchildren to the elderly, regardless of pageviews. Other types of contributions are already implicitly incentivized without needing to be incentivized further. People are already editing popular articles (people want their edits to be seen; and further; further, the higher the pageviews, the more editors the article will have, since some of these viewers will go on to edit). My idea of having a single metric that doesn't just reward Vital articles, but also copyediting, popular article editing, etc stems from a desire to have that metric become the metric, i.e. a metric that can completely replace raw "edit count" when it comes to gatekeeping Wikipedia:User access levels, or when it comes to users judging their own contributions and trying to gamify their Wikipedia experience, like trying to compete for highest edit count. But this new metric should absolutely incentivize Vital articles explicitly, since, again, people are already creating articles on each random high school or road without needing to be incentivized, and no metric will change that.
1a. I would never suggest unleashing GPT-3 onto Wikipedia. But it's clear that, no matter how long it takes (5 years? 20 years?), one day, AI will be able to read every book and study in existence, synthesize them, and make high-quality encyclopedia articles about them. I was merely suggesting that the Wikimedia Foundation either fund R&D into such AI themselves (likely too early), or at least collaborate with private organizations who have the funds to do so. Meta Platforms has already created an AI for Wikipedia that can check if a citation truly backs up a claim[6]. I think this stuff is coming faster than people think, and it would be good to make sure these AI get built with input from the community and WMF rather than get "thrust" upon Wikipedia.
2. Vital articles may be more difficult to edit, sure; I think that strengthens my point that they should be strongly incentivized. Harder to source (and scope) doesn't mean impossible; and with more eyeballs, these articles could truly thrive.
3. Also fair. But wouldn't you say that this constitutes content edits/copyediting, as opposed to minor formatting changes, fixing link-pipes, and script-aided MoS compliance? I think my idea would actually help address what you point out. Taking the Technology article as an example, there were dreadful passages that remained for years or even a decade because most edits barely ever touched the actual content. And to others reading this who might be concerned: people will still use scripts; the ease of making mass edits is already an implicit incentive. But there's "friction" to making substantive copyedits or content contributions, which is an implicit disincentive; and I think that should be addressed.
4. Definitely. I think it's a problem when stub or niche articles get deleted along with their contents; if they remained, many of them might eventually get merged into a more major article, or at least help editors with content contributions to other articles. A good recent example is the Singularity (system theory) article; basic but decent enough, and quite a bit of effort went into it. Deleting it, instead of merging or expanding, just means duplicating efforts later on when having to recreate some of that content from scratch in other articles. AfDs should have a somewhat high bar unless the topic is clearly not notable, copyvio, or an advertisement, to avoid wasting editors' time. DFlhb (talk) 20:48, 23 September 2022 (UTC)

Biology articles and human focusEdit

There's currently no standard for how to divide humans, other animals, and other living organisms in biology articles (especially in anatomy and medicine articles). A few examples:

  • Articles such as Heart are nominally about the entire topic, but the vast majority of the content is about how they occur in humans and an "Other animals" or "Other organisms" section covers all other examples.
  • Articles such as Brain and Human brain have both a general article about the topic and a specific article about the human version.
  • Articles such as Digestion and Human digestive system similarly split the article, but they follow WP:SUMMARIZE and have a section in the parent article summarizing the child article.
  • Articles such as Sleep and Sleep in animals treat the human aspect as the default with a separate article for all other occurrences.
  • Articles such as Anatomy#Human anatomy and Human body#Anatomy intersect and talk about the same subject relative to two different ideas.
  • Articles such as Tissue (biology) discuss all forms without making any distinction between different types of animals.
  • Articles such as Health lack information on the subject in the context of any living thing— animal, plant, or otherwise— except for humans.

Each of these formats seems to have different drawbacks. How can we come up with a method to determine which formats to use and when they should be applied? Should there be a codified standard that's used? Thebiguglyalien (talk) 06:00, 8 September 2022 (UTC)

Thebiguglyalien, a couple of months ago I was working in translating the articles about the human body and the heart and noticed more or less the same thing as you do. It left me in a confused state: Is this anthropocentrism? If it is, is it coming just because humans tend to write articles about themselves more than animals do about themselves and humans will join them later and help or because it is a current global practice in anatomy that it should deal only with humans unless otherwise specified? If it is not, maybe tissues and organs don't change THAT much between all species as to warrant different articles beside some exceptions? Between those 3 options, judging by the rather-chaotic (at least for my eyes) appearances some of the anatomical articles tend to have, I believe it is most likely that we've fallen in anthropocentrism just because there has, naturally, been more interest to write for ourselves than for animals. If that indeed is the case, I'm glad for this discussion and I believe we should act on addressing this problem. — Klein Muçi (talk) 09:09, 9 September 2022 (UTC)
Inconstistency is a pretty inevitable feature of Wikipedia, given its model. This is probably best discussed at Wikiproject level, maybe Wikiproject Biology. I would say here that Wikipedia's job is to reflect what independent reliable secondary sources say, so if much of the research into subjects is about humans then we reflect that. Phil Bridger (talk) 09:20, 9 September 2022 (UTC)
The article Baylisascaris shroederi is prime example of inappropriate focus on humans. It's a parasite of giant pandas and there are NO known cases of humans being infected by it. But it's written primarily as a medical article with sources about a related species that does infect humans. Plantdrew (talk) 20:09, 9 September 2022 (UTC)
I would not say that it's primarily written about humans, although it contains some information about us. There's more content in the article about giant pandas than humans. I have no idea whether the article conforms to WP:DUE, which expects that articles will be written in a way that reflects the amount of content that exists in independent reliable secondary sources. As I said above, this is better discussed at a Wikiproject, such as Wikiproject Biology, where you should find subject-matter experts. Phil Bridger (talk) 20:28, 9 September 2022 (UTC)
As a possible solution the article could be divided into two sections, one of which would be about human and another would be about pandas. But if the sources describe that parasite separately in human and pandas so we should also do so. The current article is mixed up, especially with Prevention section about humans and epidemiology about pandas. The article can be split into two different articles, one of which would be related to medicine and another would be related to biology or veterinary. D6194c-1cc (talk) 15:30, 10 September 2022 (UTC)
And also more appropriate name for the disease article would be Baylisascaris schroederi infection. And the article about parasite in context of biology could be called just Baylisascaris schroederi. D6194c-1cc (talk) 15:45, 11 September 2022 (UTC)
Oh dear. I hadn't really read the B. shroederi article when I brought it up (it's just something I'd noticed awhile back that had a bizarre focus on humans for something that has never been reported to infect humans). The B. shroederi article is mostly a clumsy copy of Baylisascaris procyonis, with some words replaced (e.g. racoon->giant panda). And the B. procyonis article has more content on humans than I think is appropriate (but at least it does infect humans), which could be split to Baylisascariasis. Going back to B. shroederi, I think the article may represent a hoax or breaching experiment (I have difficulty imagining that incompetence alone could account for the medical misinformation in that article, and if it was a breaching experiment it succeeded; Doc James edited it without noticing any red flags (and neither did I when I first edited it)). Plantdrew (talk) 01:28, 18 September 2022 (UTC)
I think that part of the inconsistency is due to our system for naming articles. For the first article, someone starts an article about ____, and says "Okay, this page is about _____, so I'll name it that". The contents are a few human-centric sentences. Then the next person comes along, and has to choose between:
  • expanding the existing article (e.g., adding non-human information);
  • renaming the existing article to "Human ____", so that another human-centric page can be created about ____ in general; or
  • starting another page about ____ in general, and naming it something like "____ in animals".
(Some of this is outlined in the Wikipedia:Article titles and scopes.) Different editors will choose different answers, based on both their personal preferences and the specific facts and circumstances (e.g., whether that infection or bit of anatomy is more of a human disease or more of a livestock problem). Sometimes the differences in the names just hint at which article was written first.
Also, as a side note, it is not unreasonable for an encyclopedia that is written by humans, for the purpose of being read by humans, to focus on humans. There might be something like 500,000,000,000,000,000,000 individual bacteria for every human on Earth, but that doesn't make them the focus of every article. WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:11, 12 September 2022 (UTC)
I have given some thought to the issue myself, and brought the topic up at WikiProject Palaeontology, and I am of the opinion that having two separate articles on each anatomical structure is the most appropriate, with one article on the structure in human anatomy and another article giving an overview of the structure across the animal kingdom. The needs of an article giving a general overview of the structure across all animals and the needs of a more medically-focused article on the structure in humans are just too distinct to reconcile them into a single well-formatted article. I am undecided on whether it would be more appropriate to treat human anatomy as the primary topic (e.g. "Femur" and "Femur (vertebrate anatomy)") or not (e.g. "Femur in human anatomy" and "Femur"). My instinct, as a paleontologist, is to favor the general topic as the primary topic over human anatomy, but I suspect that many readers may expect otherwise. Ornithopsis (talk) 23:54, 12 September 2022 (UTC)
I largely agree with Phil Bridger's opinion - I tend to find that most of the academic articles I find on a topic are about humans rather than animals, and this is reflected in the content that I can possibly write in articles. This is mainly in relation to anatomy, but probably applies to other fields. Bibeyjj (talk) 09:33, 13 September 2022 (UTC)
It depends on what sources you read. As a paleontology-focused editor, I am familiar with many sources on various bones in non-human vertebrates, for instance. In any case, I would argue that the fact that there are so many sources specifically on anatomical structures in humans further emphasizes my point that human anatomical structures are a specific case of general anatomical structures that are notable enough to merit separate articles. I just don't think there's a good way to create a single article that adequately covers the needs of both. Ornithopsis (talk) 00:31, 14 September 2022 (UTC)
I agree with Ornithopsis here that the two concepts are not reconcilable into a single coherent article, and need to be separated. Hemiauchenia (talk) 00:39, 14 September 2022 (UTC)
I have to say I agree with the observations above. A lot more content is uploaded about humans and present here than other animals. In my experience to date there's a lot of discussion about why, but discussions don't usually end up resulting in more non human content that actually gets added. Most articles seem to follow the general WP principles where if there's lots of content it gets split; otherwise articles get merged. It's a pity because some big areas (including culinary, history and symbology) are often completely missed. Tom (LT) (talk) 11:09, 14 September 2022 (UTC)
This is my concern. There doesn't seem to be much will to address this issue, and as a result we get gaps in coverage if not totally misleading articles. For example, the article on Heart says in the lead that "The heart beats at a resting rate close to 72 beats per minute", claiming this as a fact about hearts in general. I'm hoping that raising this issue here can bring about some sort of improvement, but I'm not optimistic. Thebiguglyalien (talk) 21:55, 14 September 2022 (UTC)
I think that one of the reasons these discussions don't lead anywhere is that nobody knows how to write a good article that effectively balances both medical/human-focused and zoological/paleontological perspectives. This is exactly why I think we need to just go ahead and make the split. Otherwise, the lack of clarity on how to structure these articles is going to keep holding them back. I suggest we treat the zoological article as the primary topic and title the human article either "[X] in human anatomy" or "Human [x]". Ornithopsis (talk) 00:11, 16 September 2022 (UTC)
That's the conclusion I came to as well, but it seems to be controversial. The discussion on Talk:Injury proposing such a split is what prompted me to make this post here, as I realized it was a site-wide problem rather than an issue with one specific article. Biology, anatomy, and medicine articles are only going to get more muddled until there's an active push to fix them. Thebiguglyalien (talk) 00:48, 16 September 2022 (UTC)
Good idea to try - I suggest pick one or two articles to see how it goes. If you're adding content and the changes are an improvement, mainspace is a good idea. Please do add content rather than reorder things, as otherwise you're not really helping fix the underlying problem of editors not uploading non human content. Once you have a few articles of a high standard in the way you want it'll provide a template for future editors to model their own articles on. Preferably don't start with FA or GA class articles as they're at least somewhat polished. You can also trial it out in draft space or sandbox. You can get feedback from the related Wikiprojects - WP:ANAN and WP:ANAT if it's anatomy, or others depending on what you're editing. Tom (LT) (talk) 00:08, 18 September 2022 (UTC)

New essay: Wikipedia will exist in the far futureEdit

Apologies if this is not the right place to notify, but I have created a new essay: Wikipedia:Wikipedia will exist in the far future. It started out as just a fun idea but I thought there was some value to writing it up, although you might disagree! Barnards.tar.gz (talk) 12:10, 9 September 2022 (UTC)

I love the optimistic view. CactiStaccingCrane (talk) 12:46, 9 September 2022 (UTC)
Agreed! Sm8900 (talk) 14:00, 9 September 2022 (UTC)
+1 Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk) 15:24, 9 September 2022 (UTC)
Most interesting part:
The 21st century may be as relevant to the 301st century as the year 27,978 BC is to us.
Gave me a new point of view about history in general and more. — Klein Muçi (talk) 15:30, 9 September 2022 (UTC)
ok, that's one way to look at it. but I have a slightly different view on such things. here is my version of that; Winston Churchill, Franklin Roosevelt, Hitler, and Mussolini, as the major leaders of the World War II era, may be as relevant in 2,000 years as Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, and Octavius are to us today. Sm8900 (talk) 15:49, 9 September 2022 (UTC)
Sm8900, they certainly may. The interesting part was in regard to how history gets compressed with time. Consider how we talk about the past elections or all the elections that have happened in this decade and how we treat whole periods spawning centuries in the Ancient Rome that get summarized in 2-3 sentences. This most likely holds true even for Wikipedia and inclusionist/deletionist parties will have their fun forever and ever over this aspect. The good thing though is that the information is still there if someone wants to decompress it. Be that for Ancient Rome or for Wikipedia archives. — Klein Muçi (talk) 16:14, 9 September 2022 (UTC)
But those people are much closer to the present time than they are to 30,000 years ago. Phil Bridger (talk) 17:33, 9 September 2022 (UTC)
true, but look at the different nature of the replies, on an intrinsic level. since our history currently does encompass several time periods of 2,000 years in length, it is possible to extrapolate, on that basis, what might be the relevant significance of events and figures from our own time, once another 2,000 years have passed.
however, for a period of 30,000 years, we have no comparable time period within recorded history to compare that to; therefore, any analogies, assumptions, extrapolations, might be better off if applied to periods for which we already have some example.
of course, i think that in 30,000 years, the Internet will be built into every streetlight and bus stop, and wikipedia will be sentient being that is friendly and helpful, but that's just me. [citation needed] [clarification needed] [who?] [when?] [how?] [why?] lol   Sm8900 (talk) 13:56, 14 September 2022 (UTC)
I really enjoyed this. Two things came to mind while reading it. First, there have already been efforts to preserve Wikipedia. There are many physical copies floating around, including one on the Moon. Second, regarding language change, it presents a good reason why we should use standardized language, but it's also a good reason of why we should record and describe non-standardized language. Thebiguglyalien (talk) 18:31, 9 September 2022 (UTC)
Any chance you'd be alright having this republished in the Essay section of The Signpost? Adam Cuerden (talk)Has about 8.1% of all FPs 18:22, 11 September 2022 (UTC)
Thank-you so much for sharing this. It reminded so me of the optimism I felt reading Isaac Asimov 's /Heinlein's/Douglas Adams'/Encyclopedia Galactica (and maybe a little of Multivac in the The Last Question ). Your essay led me to a List of fictional computers and Time formatting and storage bugs, and List of IP version numbers(of which I understand little. Wakelamp d[@-@]b (talk) 04:47, 17 September 2022 (UTC)

Repeatedly Deleted DraftsEdit

I often get notices that drafts that I have created have been deleted as G13, expired drafts. I didn't create the drafts. I moved them from user sandboxes to draft space, and Twinkle notifies me rather than the real originator. That isn't the primary issue I am identifying here, although I would like to see it notify the real originators of the drafts. However, sometimes, I see that the draft topic has been repeatedly deleted as G13. I think that we have a minor persistent problem, which is proponents who repeatedly create a draft, either in a sandbox or in draft space, and then don't do anything with it. For example, see Draft:American Cochlear Implant Alliance, which has been created four times, and deleted once as spam and three times as expired. In its case, the drafts are probably being created by the alliance, and so are straightforward COI, which is probably the most common reason for repeatedly created and abandoned drafts. Does anyone have any ideas as to anything to do about repeatedly created and abandoned drafts (either than delete them repeatedly)? Robert McClenon (talk) 18:54, 10 September 2022 (UTC)

WP:Salt? ϢereSpielChequers 17:50, 22 September 2022 (UTC)

Wikipedia should be redesigned into a much more user-friendly and dynamic site...Edit

Currently, Wikipedia is a plain static site that can be expanded in a pre-determined format. It would be more helpful to the reader, if Wikipedia is redesigned in such a way that it can attract more people to read and contribute.

  1. Complex articles, that have lots of technical terms, should be simplified much further (I'm well aware of the Simple Wikipedia project, the problem is that it does not cover all information in all languages). We must also remember that a vast majority of users are students who might not know the terms but have to cover upon the specified section. (For eg:- The Human Brain)
  2. A small summary of the article should be provided at the top of each (Proposed title: In a nutshell...), which should be more descriptive than the one-line summary but not bigger than 4 paragraphs. It can be in a card that is just a curved rectangle which stands out from the rest of the page.
  3. I love the MinervaNeue interface. If it's functionality is expanded, then it could prove to be a better interface than the Vector (2022). Don't take me wrong, but not everyone likes detailed views.

Please feel free to voice your opinions below! Sugeeth Jayaraj (talk) 17:38, 11 September 2022 (UTC)

For 1, there's 6 millions+ articles out here. Feel free to start.
For 2, that's what the lead section already does.
For 3, what skin is best is subjective. That's why we have preferences.
Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 19:00, 11 September 2022 (UTC)
Well, according to the Wikipedia:Make technical articles understandable guidance introduction articles could solve the problem with complex topics. So probably Introduction to the human brain could solve the problem. D6194c-1cc (talk) 19:53, 11 September 2022 (UTC)
I agree. Too many math articles on Wikipedia are just making me crazy by overly-difficult explanations. CactiStaccingCrane (talk) 10:54, 13 September 2022 (UTC)
If anyone is interested, a WikiProject:Introductory articles (doesn't exist yet) would be very beneficial given how much Wikipedia is used in school and to discover new topics. I don't have the time for that though, but that addresses point 1. DFlhb (talk) 09:23, 14 September 2022 (UTC)
Also an "Introduction" section might be a good idea in complex articles. Such a section may lead to the main introductory article. D6194c-1cc (talk) 15:15, 14 September 2022 (UTC)
Sugeeth Jayaraj, I've already created such a discussion in the past here and I doubt I've been the first. I hold a lot of wikisessions on real life and this was a request brought up by a lot of students we interacted with which had "left Wikipedia for Britannica" because of these "problems", which Britannica didn't have because of the many ways it allowed to manipulate information parsing for students. Unfortunately nothing was done about it in the end because such proposals usually get automatically piped to "you can create a new WMF Wikipedia if you want" and good luck with that. — Klein Muçi (talk) 11:50, 13 September 2022 (UTC)
I’m not looking for a separate Wiki… The thing is that Wikipedia’s main aim is to make information accessible for everyone. This is just an expansion on that…
Since it’s inception, Wikipedia has been very busy creating new articles. So, it is natural that not all articles can be quality-checked and simplified.
Most contributors, like Indians (just an example), are non-native English speakers, including me. We are ‘taught’ English rather than it being an natural inclusion in our lives. (We usually speak our native knowledge for example)
No other Wikipedia, other than the English version, has all the info we need. Every other version is usually very basic / stripped down.
If we can somehow raise this issue to the core team at Wikipedia, then maybe we can achieve our request.
Millions of people will be saving atleast 5 minutes to an hour of research, hunting for in-depth knowledge. Sugeeth Jayaraj (talk) 16:20, 13 September 2022 (UTC)
Yes, it's exactly the same request as mine for the exact same reasons only changing India with Albania. The problem I believe is that generally speaking Wikipedia is mostly concerned with how content is written, not consumed. If it is formatted properly or if it is citations are correct, for example. For as long as the content is correct, not much more is done for articles. We generally "don't care" about how that content is consumed, by who is consumed and why and we certainly don't provide any facility for that apart from the occasional accessibility for people with visual impairments (spoken articles). I, same as you, think we should be able to provide the same information styled differently for different types of "consumers", targeting their needs. But not many people think the same apparently.- Klein Muçi (talk) 16:47, 13 September 2022 (UTC)
There should definitely be a section on the front page, like with featured articles or image of the day, that promotes introductory articles to complex ideas. Since so many people like to go down the rabbit hole and learn new things from Wikipedia, it would encourage people to participate in writing those articles, and might even influence some young people’s career paths. The fact that there aren’t many Intro articles currently would get fixed over time by increasing attention to this Wikipedia initiative, would cater to a younger audience that might otherwise leave Wikipedia, and would reallyhelp underserved countries where the education might not be the best. Maybe a partnership with Khan Academy wouldn’t be a bad idea either. DFlhb (talk) 15:55, 14 September 2022 (UTC)
  • I think Headbomb sums it up best with his answer to #1. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 12:29, 13 September 2022 (UTC)
  • If the article is too difficult, maybe there is a reason for this? Not everything can be explained in easy terms (ELI5), but simplicity would kill all the meaning that will be perfectly understandable for an appropriate audience. (I wouldn't understand an article about chemistry/abstract math/etc, but my unpreparedness is mot the reason to cut the article and explain it shallowly). Artem.G (talk) 19:47, 13 September 2022 (UTC)
With regards to point 1. It is true that some articles' lead sections (and sometimes the whole article) may benefit from simplification and pruning in general, but this simplification should not be at the expense of removing technical information that will be useful to experts within that particular field. Often, there is simply no way to compress an article any further without losing crucial technical precision. Additionally, many extremely technical articles (for example, articles dealing with genes, specific organic/inorganic molecues etc) are almost exclusively accessed by readers who have at least some expertise in their relevant field, so there is little need to simplify the article for the general public. Rob3512 (Talk) 07:02, 14 September 2022 (UTC)
We already have a guideline for point 1: WP:TECHNICAL. CMD (talk) 11:21, 14 September 2022 (UTC)
  • Two statements above by Sugeeth Jayaraj: "a vast majority of users are students" and "Most contributors, like Indians (just an example), are non-native English speakers..". I'm pretty sure neither of these is true overall, although in both cases it will be true for some articles. Johnbod (talk) 12:57, 15 September 2022 (UTC)
    Yes, I did mean for some articles, not all of them! Thanks for pointing me out! Sugeeth Jayaraj (talk) 07:49, 17 September 2022 (UTC)
    I suspect that there are more student-readers in India than any place else in the world. Some reader-focused research a few years ago showed that in most of the world, people wanted shorter articles with more pictures. In India, far more than anywhere else, readers wanted long, detailed articles. I suspect that many Indian readers were using Wikipedia as an opportunity for in-depth learning. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 17:26, 22 September 2022 (UTC)
  • I love this idea. I really wish Wikipedia could know what I'm interested in, based on reading history and edit history, and better help me navigate areas I'm interested in. I think there's a lot of social good in keeping people in the Wiki longer, IMHO it's better than getting sucked in by the Instagram or Facebook algorithm. I really agree that the Wiki is too static, and represents a one-size-fits-all approach which is rather too rigid compared to it's contemporaries. I don't think it needs to look and function like a social media, but I really wish it at least partially represented 'me', when I am logged in.
On the edit front, we could make it much easier with dynamic tutorials, or tools to point out really easy spots in the articles that could use some help. Using a native language ML we could point out to users what sections are too difficult to read, easily present what other closely related articles look like, and suggest edits that could be made. Right now, the barrier to entry here is rather high, with all kinds of disparate tools, plugins, scripts, etc. We could do a much better job of embedding tooling directly into the platform to make the learning curve much better. I'm thinking like a 'help out' button of sorts on an article, that can provide a list of ways a non-seasoned editor can dive in and assist. Think "These top 5 paragraphs have no references, heres an inline tutorial on how you can add a reference", "There's no short description, click here to add one", "This area has a poor readability score, can you help reword it?", "These are the potential spelling errors"...Mr.weedle (talk) 01:18, 18 September 2022 (UTC)
Yup, that's a great idea. Do you think that I should proceed to request on the main village pump? Sugeeth Jayaraj (talk) 12:43, 21 September 2022 (UTC)
The whole point of Wikipedia is to not collect user data. I don't think that is going away anytime soon. Sungodtemple (talk) 00:37, 22 September 2022 (UTC)
We can try to implement this in a user friendly way without data collection. Sugeeth Jayaraj (talk) 12:49, 24 September 2022 (UTC)

Reduce Non Notable/Junk Article creationEdit

Problems are new editors rage quit after we delete their articles, we need to encourage more people to become editors (because it's nice), reduce excessive workload on NPP, create start class not stubs, reduce AfD conflicts, and do something about the diversity complaints that WMF is trying to address in the Endowment . Also World peace.

That the Create Article Process (which includes the Wizard) has problems is a truth universally acknowledged; the navigation is confusing, it teaches rather than trains, and it provides too much information (links to 300 sections and more than 10k words) repetitively and at the wrong time. It is actually not really a Wizard as nothing is added to the page - more like a disclaimer, or a health warning.

Suggestion is

  1. We give the new editors free choice - to only choose the New Article Wizard
  2. Simplify navigation They are currently on various notices, on the search screen, and in the Wizard
  3. Provide only enough information to avoid 80% of the AfD reasons, so editors do that. If they screw up a citation format, then it's minor.
  4. Warn Editors that 95% of new articles are speedily, or AfD deleted, and that a new article needs 2 to 3 hours of their time, "normally" 3 quality references, and a few paragraphs of referenced non plaigarisied texts.
  5. Ask about the most likely problem for deletion first, on one screen. When they go to publish ask them the same questions again, and have it one document that is linked in the article they create, or maybe as a checklist in the article, Have one link from that document to further information.
  6. Have them enter their 3 references (for new editors better more than less) in the Article Wizard (yes @Kudpung you knew it was coming) and have the NPP notability reference check them. BUT If it is a bio, then ask them the diversity questions about the Bio, so we can funnel/invite them to Women in Red. Otherwise advise them that help is needed on FA, Core etc.
  7. General Area.The submit to AfC from draft asks them to enter a general area, and project tags. I think AfD does this automatically. Standardize the process and make it part of the Article wizard, and use it to create an infobox. Depending on the Infobox, then bring up the relevant warnings - why warn someone creating a Pokemon defamation?
  8. Create a desire path called Vote for an article. Say we will contact them , if they stay logged in, when the article is created, or if we decide that it doesn't meet notability. Suggest they help somewhere
  9. Change "More" on the Taskbar to Editor, and make it greyed out unless you are logged in. Add Redirect under this, and insert common templates. Add something snazzy such as a deletable user path network. Suggest they work on FA.

Wakelamp d[@-@]b (talk) 08:11, 19 September 2022 (UTC)

Ability for users to change their edit summariesEdit

It would be very helpful if editors could have the ability to edit their own edit summaries they made. I personally know of many times I've made errors when describing an edit summary I made, or wish I could go back and make changes or grammatical corrections to particular edit summaries. Helper201 (talk) 22:25, 19 September 2022 (UTC)

You can make a WP:dummy edit to accomplish that. Sungodtemple (talk) 13:15, 21 September 2022 (UTC)

Adding a Clock to the front page and or users' homepagesEdit

I don't know if this is implemented somewhere else on Wikipedia but I was thinking that having a clock on the main page and or each users' homepage might be a usual tool for editors. It might be more useful on users' homepages as it would tell time but also show new users the time zone Wikipedia uses. Thank you for time, have a good day! DiscoA340 (talk) 01:08, 21 September 2022 (UTC)

There is a gadget that puts a clock in the upper-right of all pages. Any logged in user can enable it for themselves via Special:Preferences#mw-prefsection-gadgets, in Appearance... "Add a clock". Does that do what you are envisioning (so your idea is just to make it default-active for everyone)? For the record, it's broken under the new Vector2022 skin. DMacks (talk) 01:14, 21 September 2022 (UTC)
@DMacks I was thinking of it only being added to those two pages and it would look like an analog clock (like the clock app on Apple devices) but that works too, Thanks for showing me that. DiscoA340 (talk) 01:29, 21 September 2022 (UTC)
You may also be interested in some of the templates here: Category:Time, date, and time zone user templates. For the most part they are static (they only update when the page is purged/reloaded). We are very unlikely to put "dynamic content" like a moving clock on the main page or default userpages, as could spoil caching (here or downstream). — xaosflux Talk 13:54, 21 September 2022 (UTC)
There probably isn't an operating system anywhere that doesn't include a clock. I've got two on my desktop (local and UTC). What functionality would having a clock on the main page serve that isn't already handled by the OS or by some browser plugin? -- RoySmith (talk) 14:13, 21 September 2022 (UTC)

Lighter page colours in dark themeEdit

I've been using the new-ish dark theme for a while now, and it has a slight problem where the page colour and background colour are the same pitch black. Having pitch black sidebar and page contents is not good for contrast, and in my opinion makes it harder to distinguish foreground elements from background ones. I would suggest taking inspiration from Apple's UI to improve the look of the dark theme. -A Fluffy Kitteh | FluffyKittehz User Profile Page 13:40, 21 September 2022 (UTC)

@FluffyKittehz: I moved this to Idea Lab for now, this would need to be fleshed out a bit before a community proposal would be needed (and it might not even be needed). There are several "dark" modes/themes/skins - can you be specific about which one you are referring to? (e.g. is this the IOS App Dark Mode, Android Darkmode, the enwiki Gadget for desktop, etc) ? — xaosflux Talk 13:52, 21 September 2022 (UTC)
We don't have a dark "theme". If you're talking about the dark mode gadget, calling it an inverted filter would be more accurate. As discussed here, if someone comes up with neat CSS to make it less dark, we can make it an option. Nardog (talk) 22:01, 21 September 2022 (UTC)

Faciliate access to article historyEdit

This is a technical idea, but it's preliminary enough that it belongs here and not in the Technical village pump.

Major issues that this idea aims to address:

  • Article decay (experts get article to Featured status; the quality starts decaying after they leave from cumulative non-expert edits). Addressing this will have positive knock-on effects on retention of domain-expert Wikipedia contributors.
  • Article decay may also result in expert contributors being turned off from editing Wikipedia, since edits they invest a lot of time and effort into may be reverted one day, and those reversions may not be adequately reviewed by enough editors. Removing disincentives to domain-experts contributing to Wikipedia would go a long way to improve the encyclopedia's quality, expand the number of contributors, and reduce knowledge inequity.
  • Low scrutiny for many edits, combined with Warnock's dilemma (WP:WEAKSILENCE). Many editors may assume that "others have reviewed and agreed with various changes and haven't found a need to comment" in instances where no one has reviewed anything. This lack of scrutiny is compounded for articles that are edited frequently (dozens of times a day), or very infrequently (a few times a year).
  • Using WikiBlame to find the relevant edit summary for an addition is exceedingly time-consuming, since any sentence has likely been repeatedly reworded; editors need to repeat the WikiBlame process multiple times to distinguish the "insertion" of a rewording with the insertion they are looking for, that of the original addition of the sentence, if they want to read the corresponding edit summary to gain context.
  • New contributors may be intimidated by the idea of editing an article they've never worked on before, because they missed out on old discussions in talk pages and edit summaries (that may not have been read or acknowledged by any other editor, see "scrutiny" above). As a result "newbies" prioritize copyediting over content edits due to lack of confidence, which results in fewer contributions to Wikipedia than if newbies could feel that they can easily access the proper context.

Description of the idea:

  • It would be nice to add a mouse hover action while in the Visual Editor, that shows the edit summary corresponding to the latest time the highlighted word or sentence was changed; as well as being able to easily enter a "paragraph history mode" that would make it easier to see when a paragraph was first inserted started, and how it evolved. I would assume there are ways to optimize this, in order to minimize server load (for example, for every word in an article, pre-computing the date of the last revision in which that word was edited; this would only need to be done once per article and could be kept up to date with minimal resource usage upon each subsequent edit).
  • It would also be nice to have a feature in the revision history that adds icons to the left of "significant" revisions, for example highlighting a revision that was peer-reviewed by 2+ editors (see Wikipedia:Peer review), or a revision that passed a Good Article review or Featured Article review. Revisions that implement an article review's suggestions shouldn't look indistinguishable from other revisions. Being able to easily see side-by-side Visual Editor/wikitext comparisons between the current revision, and the last reviewed revision would make it far easier to focus copyediting and review efforts on newly added content, and would be a huge step in addressing article decay. Article decay is a major concern, since for example, there are more Vital articles that were delisted from Featured article status (89), than there there are Featured Vital articles in total (70); preventing decay would lower the maintenance burden, improve the encyclopedia's quality massively, and may help reverse both the decline in overall editors, and the skepticism of some domain-expert contributors who currently see contributing to Wikipedia as a waste of time (see issue #2 above). I've personally witnessed genuine experts retiring from Wikipedia due to being overwhelmed by article quality decay issues, so I feel this is a very important issue to address.

Examples of use cases:

  • If I come across the "citation needed" template, it would be nice to see the original edit summary for the sentence's addition, which could contain more context or detail, or would allow me to contact the editor that added the claim. I am sure that many domain-experts have had the experience of adding an unsourced but worthy-of-inclusion claim to scientific articles, and having that claim removed after a few years because non-domain-experts reasonably but inaccurately thought the claim is unsupported by evidence (maybe the claim can be reliably sourced from a book or non-open-access study that is hard to find using Google). This would also make newbie contributors far more comfortable when editing major topics.
  • If a sentence has been repeatedly reworded as a result of an edit dispute, or if it's been reworded following a talk page consensus, my proposal would make that far easier to see within the Edit view. If a sentence has been added 3 days ago and never copyedited, it deserves more strutiny than a sentence that was added 8 years ago after a talk page consensus and has been copyedited and improved a dozen times since. My proposal would allow for editing and content review efforts to be more concentrated on passages that need it most; largely addressing the "low scrutiny" issue.

DFlhb (talk) 18:12, 22 September 2022 (UTC)

Some of this is already available via mw:Who Wrote That? -- RoySmith (talk) 18:36, 22 September 2022 (UTC)
Brilliant; I just added a link to this discussion on that tool's talk page. I hope it gets rolled out more widely. It unfortunately doesn't include a "paragraph history viewer" that would be a true godsend. DFlhb (talk) 19:58, 22 September 2022 (UTC)

Ask Top sources for Share Cite OptionEdit

Problem : Wikipedia:Bare URLs

But : They should use {{cite web}} or one of the Browser addins such as Except they don't

Proposal : Approach the content providers and ask for Cite to be added to their share option. Stop Bare Url at software, by asking developers of popular Github projects eg Social Share Privacy

In Australia, our National Archive has this option already as an alternate to Template:Cite Trove newspaper Wakelamp d[@-@]b (talk) 07:15, 23 September 2022 (UTC)

Signpost for all (second time)Edit

Could the Newsletter Extension be used to do this? Wakelamp d[@-@]b (talk) 03:07, 24 September 2022 (UTC)

@Wakelamp The newsletter extension is unsupported and will not be installed on any new wmf sites. See meta:Limits to configuration changes#forbidden-extensions. 192.76.8.81 (talk) 10:35, 25 September 2022 (UTC)
And, we would never forcibly subscribe 44million+ users to a notification. — xaosflux Talk 11:23, 25 September 2022 (UTC)
Many people deeply resent any bulk message that can be perceived as spam. Cullen328 (talk) 01:56, 29 September 2022 (UTC)

Proposed mandatory admin recall proceduresEdit

Any editor may open a petition to recall an admin, unless the admin in question has passed an RfA or recall RfA within the past year.

If the petition receives more than twenty signatures in thirty days, the admin in question would be required to open a recall RfA within thirty days of the twentieth signature being applied. This recall RfA would function in the same manner as a standard RfA but with reduced requirements; the discretionary range would be between 50 and 55 percent support.

Admin's who don't open a recall RfA within the thirty days period are automatically desysopped, but this period may be extended at the discretion of the bureaucrats; admins who are granted an extension may not use their admin powers during the extension period.

This was prompted by the recent restoration of Staxringold's permissions, but I hope it would also lower the stakes at RfA. I also believe it will, through the use of reduced requirements to pass the recall RfA, and through limiting recall RfA's to one per year, address past concerns about mandatory recall procedures. BilledMammal (talk) 02:15, 28 September 2022 (UTC)

A spicy topic, to be sure. No comment on your proposal because I haven't thought about it enough, but onlookers not familiar with the history may want to check out some of these RfCs, especially the latest one in 2019. Enterprisey (talk!) 06:41, 28 September 2022 (UTC)
I would suggest the wording to be changed to "recieves more than twenty signatures from editors in good standing in thirty days". I would support this proposal, but I think if the proposal applies to current admins, it would probably result in opposes from some admins. However, only having this for future admins seems a bit unfair and will take a long time before actual solving the problem suggested by the recent event. 0xDeadbeef 09:25, 28 September 2022 (UTC)
  • This will never fly. Smacks to much of mob justice, and we already have enough of that: peanut gallery at the gutter level and from a coven of governance obsessives at the highest coveted rank. Even a solution launched by me and Worm That Turned was turned down.Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 11:11, 28 September 2022 (UTC)
    I'm not sure I'd call myself a governance obsessive, despite being entrenched in said coven.
    Regarding the proposal though, @BilledMammal, the community has recently stated clearly that The atmosphere at RfA is deeply unpleasant at the most recent RfC last year. Every individual who would go through your proposed process would be divisive, simply by getting to the point that they are in the recall RfA, meaning that they would instantly be put through a massively unpleasant process. I cannot get behind a process which is designed to humiliate and I struggle to see that using RfA in these circumstance is anything else WormTT(talk) 14:07, 28 September 2022 (UTC)
  • Mandatory recall is not the way to go about admin accountability. If someone is able to get 20 signatories for demotion, there is enough for an ArbCom case. I'm not saying that requiring ArbCom is a good process, but this proposal seems redundant. Anarchyte (talk) 14:05, 28 September 2022 (UTC)
This isn't a solution it just means that "unpopular" admins have to jump through hoops every year until they don't want to be an admin anymore. Terasail[✉️] 14:10, 28 September 2022 (UTC)
If someone breaks policy without a good reason then make it easier to remove the admin, this could impact people who are not breaking policy but a group of users just doesn't like them, which is entirely unproductive. Terasail[✉️] 14:13, 28 September 2022 (UTC)
  • I am leery of this. A lot of admins already clearly avoid closing contentious discussions because they know that no matter how the discussion is closed, it will be challenged with recriminations against the closer. I can imagine how much more stressful those closes would be if the closer faced the prospect of a desyssop effort. BD2412 T 23:35, 28 September 2022 (UTC)
    • Welcome to Wikipedia, where the reward for someone with decades of experience doing disagreeable work for free is a week-long bout of criticism and dug-up grudges, but it'll be ok because it can "only" happen once per year. —Cryptic 23:57, 28 September 2022 (UTC)
  • It would be useful to have a standard recall procedure. As it is, it is up to each admin to create their own. Hawkeye7 (discuss) 00:07, 29 September 2022 (UTC)

Editing of a template before postingEdit

Sometimes , I feel some templates are harsh. I remember in Corrosion Engineering an editor put "Need attention from an expert". I know the person and did my Masters with him at a prestigious university. He is Managing partner in a corrosion engineering company. He is an expert! --- in corrosion engineering. Perhaps not in all the WP policies about formatting, reference format and citations etc. I recently had an editor put a very harsh message about an edit I made in all innocence. Here it is:

Extended content

Copyright problem: Corrosion engineering

  Hello GRALISTAIR! We welcome and appreciate your contributions, such as Corrosion engineering, but we regretfully cannot accept copyrighted material from other websites or printed works. This article appears to contain work copied from https://dokumen.pub/practical-power-plant-engineering-a-guide-for-early-career-engineers-9781119534983-1119534984-9781119534990-1119534992-9781119535003-111953500x-9781119534945.html, and therefore to constitute a violation of Wikipedia's copyright policies. The copyrighted text has been or will soon be deleted. While we appreciate your contributions, copying content from other websites is unlawful and against Wikipedia's copyright policy. Wikipedia takes copyright violations very seriously, and persistent violators are likely to lose their editing privileges.

If you believe that the article is not a copyright violation, or if you have permission from the copyright holder to release the content freely under license allowed by Wikipedia, then you should do one of the following:

It may also be necessary for the text to be modified to have an encyclopedic tone and to follow Wikipedia article layout. For more information on Wikipedia's policies, see Wikipedia's policies and guidelines.

See Wikipedia:Declaration of consent for all enquiries for a template of the permissions letter the copyright holder is expected to send.

Otherwise, you may rewrite this article from scratch. If you would like to begin working on a new version of the article you may do so at this temporary page. Leave a note at Talk:Corrosion engineering saying you have done so and an administrator will move the new article into place once the issue is resolved.

Thank you, and please feel welcome to continue contributing to Wikipedia. Happy editing! BalinKingOfMoria (talk) 00:06, 23 August 2022 (UTC)

So even a suggestion I could get banned from editing!.

Am I missing something? Is there already a way where templates such as this can be toned down and less harsh?

GRALISTAIR (talk) 14:58, 28 September 2022 (UTC)

This is hardly harsh. A WP:COPYVIO is very serious and requires this tone. Meanwhile, {{uw-test1}} has a light tone. Sungodtemple (talk) 15:32, 28 September 2022 (UTC)
Fair enough if I am over reacting GRALISTAIR (talk) 19:02, 28 September 2022 (UTC)
@GRALISTAIR: This may feel harsh and I understand why. Coming from someone whose first (and only) article was on the verge of speedy deletion due to it. See, as copyright violations can cause legal issues, it is seen as a very serious issue on Wikipedia, more so than minor editing disputes. Basically, you need to rephrase anything you write in your own words and you're fine. You can use copy-paste material only if certain specific copyright licenses have been used by the original creator/publisher, which might not have been the case here. CX Zoom[he/him] (let's talk • {CX}) 19:43, 28 September 2022 (UTC)
While it's certainly intimidatingly long, at least it starts with We welcome and appreciate your contributions, such as Corrosion engineering, but we regretfully cannot accept copyrighted material from other websites or printed works. I'm sure efforts to shorten it while preserving meaning would be welcome. Enterprisey (talk!) 01:47, 29 September 2022 (UTC)

As I did this inadvertently, is there any easy way to check any article for copyright violation. GRALISTAIR (talk) 22:29, 29 September 2022 (UTC)

Capital letters in titles of entriesEdit

This is a proposal for all wikipedias. Would WMF consider: The titles of entries at Wikipedias, to be written exactly as they are written in their languages.

  • No uppercase initial letter without grammatical reason.
  • Case sensitive (in unison with the Wiktionaries of the same language).

Thank you. From el.wiktionary, Sarri.greek (talk) 18:31, 29 September 2022 (UTC)

@Sarri.greek: note, I moved this to VPI, as it is not a ready-to-go policy proposal specific to the English Wikipedia. — xaosflux Talk 18:40, 29 September 2022 (UTC)
There are technical reasons why titles start with capital letters; see WP:NCLOWERCASEFIRST. This change would also mess up a bunch of links with words at the start of sentences that are capitalized; it currently doesn't matter if the first letter is capitalized, but this change would break that. To me, it would cause too many issues to make the change worthwhile. RunningTiger123 (talk) 21:22, 29 September 2022 (UTC)
It would be a major upheaval but might still be worth discussing. It might not affect too many articles. I just clicked Random article twenty times and none were within scope (18 were or began with proper nouns; two were genera). There are advantages: apple could be the fruit and Apple the company. There are, of course, also disadvantages: most affected pages would need a new redirect from initial capital (to avoid millions of sentences needing piped links: [[pear|Pear]]s grow on trees.) Finally, having an article titled pear rather than Pear would be unconventional and take some getting used to. Certes (talk) 23:11, 29 September 2022 (UTC)
@Sarri.greek, what problem would this be trying to solve? What would be the point of this major change? Schazjmd (talk) 23:18, 29 September 2022 (UTC)
[answers by Sarri.greek]: I started a discussion here, a) because this is the largest and most infulential WPedia, with the most experienced editors. And b) I wouldn't know where in WMF I should have asked: also, the upper 'administration' would not be the first, but the last level to approach, after hearing from the front line.
Technical issues for case-sensitivity (@RunningTiger123:, thank you for the link), are outside my knowledge, but we know (from Wiktionaries) that it is possible. Anyway, even if we forget case sensitivity, the lemmata can be changed to lowercase, redirects updated, etc.
Yes, @Certes:, I am aware that it is a «major upheaval». So, why? («what is the point?» @Schazjmd:). Because the spelling of a word should not be a lie, should not be 'not true'. It misleads the readers.
  • the first sentence of all lemmata entries (often, I see, called 'articles') desperately tries to 'fix' the problem by stating the correct spelling. Example apple (Thank you Certes for the handy example): «An apple is...»
  • a lemma, an entry, is not a book, is not a treatise, is not a PhD, ... to have a title (with uppercase initials). It is just an entry, exactly as a lemma in a dictionary. It should not be different.
    I confess, that I have not done any research to existing encyclopaedias (printed) to see their style-rules. But even if they had uppercase for all their entries, I would still disagree.
Coming from a wiktionary, my training and 'ethics' are lexicographic and not from WPedia. But why these should be different? The word! the word! (words, words, words and not Words, Words, Words) are the beginning of everything! Thank you all. Sarri.greek (talk) 01:36, 30 September 2022 (UTC)
Implementing a change is a balancing act; do the benefits of the change outweigh its harms? Here, it's weighing the benefits of showing article titles in lowercase versus updating hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of article titles and millions of links within pages. I would argue those downsides are far, far greater. I have reasonable confidence that most readers recognize capitalized titles for words that are not normally capitalized as a stylistic choice, not as the actual use of the word(s), which renders the change generally unhelpful. RunningTiger123 (talk) 01:44, 30 September 2022 (UTC)