Wikipedia:Village pump (news)/Archive B

Wikimania media comp

Wikimania Media Competition

Hello Multimedia-Friends! In honor of Wikimania 2005, the first international Wikimedia-conference (August 4-8 in Frankfurt), a widespread media competition is taking place this month.

A few important notes: all content submitted to the contest must be licensed under the GFDL, CC-BY, or PD; must be uploaded to WikiCommons and must be in use on at least one other Wikimedia project. --+sj+/Bdk

More information: Rules and submitted media on WikiCommons

The closing date for entries for content created before the conference is now 3rd August 2005 24:00 UTC (extended).

If you have any questions, please contact Sj or Bdk, the Competition organizers. You could advertise Media Comp using {{WikimaniaMediaCompetition}} and help Wikimania. Cheers, --Aphaea* 15:14, 20 July 2005 (UTC)

Heading text

Help needed at WikiReader Frankfurt

A WikiReader on the topic of Frankfurt is being prepared for distribution at Wikimania, the first International Wikimedia Conference being held next month. A list of articles has been chosen by who are going to print this. Improvements to the articles are needed over the next few days before the printing starts. Any help is very welcome. Angela. 21:21, July 19, 2005 (UTC)

Requested templates

I created the Wikipedia:Requested templates if anyone wanted to request other wikipedians to create a specific template. Please could you expand the introduction part? 500LL 18:19, July 17, 2005 (UTC)

Wikimania:Competitions call for nominees


In less than a month, the first WIKIMANIA wiki convention will be held. During the convention, they will award "best of" prizes for the diffeerent projects. Be sure to click the above link to nominate Wikipedia articles you think are worthy of consideration. Deadline is Aug 1, 2005 DAVODD 18:00, July 16, 2005 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Mind Benders

Only a few hours remain before the pre-round closes and round one opens! If you've got an artistic entry, you better submit it soon! The pre-round will close once the UST clock turns to July 16, 2005; round one will open then as well. Anyone can vote on the entries, and anyone can try out the mind-bending questions in round one. So why not check it out? Flcelloguy | A note? | Desk 19:23, 15 July 2005 (UTC)

Well, it's open! While most of the questions have been answered correctly, there are a few that remain. In addition, always feel free to challenge yourself to the questions that have been answered already. Finally, anyone can vote for an artistic entry (we have nine great ones!)! So check it out... Flcelloguy | A note? | Desk 22:21, 16 July 2005 (UTC)

Turning Wikipedia into an Asset for Schools

Andy Carvin in Digital Divide Network has an article called ,"Turning Wikipedia into an Asset for Schools " which talks about using Wikipedia as a basis for a school project to validate the facts in an article. This could be a way of developing childrens research skills as well as improving Wikipedia. July 11th, 2005 @ 10:14PM

  • "Get enough classrooms doing this, you kill several birds with one stone: Wikipedia's information gets better, students help give back to the Net by improving the accuracy of an important online resource, and teachers have a way to make lemons into lemonade, turning Wikipedia from a questionable information source to a powerful tool for information literacy. "

Lumos3 08:33, 12 July 2005 (UTC)

  • And on top of that it teaches people not to trust what they see on the net without verifying it. - Mgm|(talk) 09:57, July 13, 2005 (UTC)
    • Are you suggesting that the great Wiki isn't always reliable? Don't we have like a wiki-spanish inquisition to to make correct use of a thumb-screw in cases like this? gkhan 12:34, July 13, 2005 (UTC)

Wikipedia Alexa Rank 50

Today Mon July 11, 2005 Wikipedia Alex Rank is 48, this is the fist time Wikipedia got in 50 rank mark

See Graph

-Bijee 23:17, 11 July 2005 (UTC)

Link to Next section

This is actually a surprisingly useful footer. lots of issues | leave me a message 22:42, 11 July 2005 (UTC)
If it would remain a footer. -- Jmabel | Talk 05:29, July 12, 2005 (UTC)
Yes, that's the problem... Can we do something tricky with a category... JesseW 05:58, 13 July 2005 (UTC)
Yes, we can, I have, see the links To Village Pump (name of next section) in the category list. Let me know if I've been too bold. JesseW 06:57, 13 July 2005 (UTC)
  • Wouldn't it be easier to make it a header rather than a footer? This category trick is a rather ugly hack :). Clever though. Radiant_>|< 11:19, July 13, 2005 (UTC)
    • A footer is useful for when you have finished reading a section you don't have to scoll up to the top to get to the next section. It is a terribly ugly kludge, but it works- if possible, feel free to implement a better one! JesseW 21:02, 14 July 2005 (UTC)

Multilingual statistics

After 6 months of pause, the Rankings table in Wikipedia:Multilingual statistics are updated again! Enjoy. Alfio 20:39, 10 July 2005 (UTC)

Mind Benders

A reminder that the Mind Benders pre-round artistic competition will close in a week! It will close on July 16, 2005. At that time, all users are invited to vote on the entries (three so far), and round one, a mind-boggling compilation of ten challenging questions, will open. Why not check it out? Flcelloguy | A note? | Desk 9 July 2005 18:41 (UTC)

Half a week left... Check it out! Flcelloguy | A note? | Desk 20:00, 13 July 2005 (UTC)

AllyUnion's bots

My bots are down until the pywikipedia framework can work out all its bugs due to the MediaWiki 1.5 upgrade and I will be forcibly required to rewrite and rework a lot of code. Until then, my bots are currently not functioning. --AllyUnion (talk) 6 July 2005 06:46 (UTC)

Hear ye, Hear ye

Note that on this day (July 01, 2005) User Jaberwocky6669 became a complete a totally addicted wikijunkie. That is all, goodday! Jaberwocky6669 July 1, 2005 12:03 (UTC)

New page started - compare against the EB!

I have started a new page, Wikipedia:Articles that are more comprehensive than on Encyclopedia Britannica (yes, a mouthful I know). I really would like to know which articles are more comprehensive than the EB! - Ta bu shi da yu 30 June 2005 12:30 (UTC)

Nice! The Swedish Wikipedia already has a page like this (though comparing with Nationalencyklopedin). Shall we start with Category:Pokémon? - Fredrik | talk 30 June 2005 12:37 (UTC)
lol! - Ta bu shi da yu 1 July 2005 07:44 (UTC)
Been a while since you posted this note, but I just discovered the Village Pump. Just want to say that I think this is a great idea, and has fantabulistic propaganda/media potential for Wikipedia. One small thing: I think I understand why you want to restrict listed articles to Featured Articles; my gut feeling though, is that there are legions of very good but unfeatured articles that are significantly better than their EB counterparts. Anyway, good luck! Babajobu 18:36, 26 July 2005 (UTC)

University of Würzburg survey, 2005

The Department of Psychology at the University of Würzburg asks regular contributors and/or administrators to take part in an online survey (until August 3, 2005) on what motivates people to work for Wikipedia. Details can be found here.

Over the past few days this announcement has been moved around and deleted several times, and it has been suggested to me that this is the place to put it. I'd greatly appreciate it if you could just leave it here. Thanks. <KF> 03:20, July 15, 2005 (UTC)

Summary of some older announcements

Village pump in Portuguese

pt: Caros lusófonos, do Brasil, Portugal e outros lugares do mundo, estava pensando em criar uma Esplanada dentro da EN.WP em português para que possamos nos ajudar na colaboração da EN.WP, o que acham? um abraço! --FML   hi me at pt 21:14, 26 July 2005 (UTC)

en: Hello people, can I create a village pump to the Portuguese users in the EN.WP? thx bye, --FML   hi me at pt 00:32, 27 July 2005 (UTC)

You probably want to create a Wikipedia:Portuguese Wikipedians' notice board or whatever that translates to in Portuguese, along the lines of the Wikipedia:UK Wikipedians' notice board. If you do choose a title in Portuguese I reccomend you set up a redirect from the English title. Thryduulf 01:04, 27 July 2005 (UTC)
Then, no problem with that? Can I do? thanks, --FML   hi me at pt 06:07, 28 July 2005 (UTC)
Nobody has objected to it, so go ahead. Thryduulf 08:57, 28 July 2005 (UTC)
Thank you! Now is here: Wikipedia:Portuguese-speaking Wikipedians' notice board or Wikipedia:Espaço lusófono na EN.WP. --FML   hi me at pt 22:12, 28 July 2005 (UTC)

RFC splitting

I've split WP:RFC into subpages by subject matter (e.g. "politics", "science", "economics" etc); the idea is that this would allow people to watchlist the area(s) they're knowledgeable in, and keep track of any developments relating to those. I'd like to have people's input on whether they find this more convenient or awkward. Radiant_>|< 10:26, August 8, 2005 (UTC)

Good job! I like it! I even think that you could have gone further and put the user-pages in a subpage (though you'd have to fix the links). I've been thinking for a long time that WP:RFC looks like crap, but haven't been bold enough to redo it. Maybe I'll be inspired now :P. gkhan 11:28, August 8, 2005 (UTC)
  • User complains and policy pages are next. I've been meaning to streamline the five different mediation-type processes and merge a lot of them, anyway. I'll get around to that one of these weeks. Radiant_>|< 11:31, August 8, 2005 (UTC)

Wikipedia appears in Encarta

[1] "In the early 21st century a new type of online encyclopedia, known as Wikipedia, enabled readers to create and edit encyclopedia articles. A wiki is a type of server software that enables users to create or alter content on a Web page. Wikipedia was closely associated with the open source software movement and rapidly expanded to include hundreds of thousands of articles, many on popular culture topics, in a number of languages. The philosophy behind Wikipedia was that a community of volunteers could pool their knowledge and crosscheck their work to create a free encyclopedia. Due to Wikipedia’s openness, it is often the target of vandalism." Old news? lots of issues | leave me a message 22:31, 7 August 2005 (UTC)

Yeah, but it doesn't have an actual article for it yet. I guess that would be news. — Ambush Commander(Talk) 23:32, August 7, 2005 (UTC)
Does it even have an article about Encarta? — David Remahl 23:38, 7 August 2005 (UTC)
That's the difference between Wikipedia and Encarta I guess. We've had an article on them since early 2003, they just got one on us now :P gkhan 07:49, August 8, 2005 (UTC)
Isn't an encyclopedia supposed to be full of "old news"? There's no point in an encyclopedia cataloging every crazy flash-in-the-pan internet fad, so I guess they waited to see if it was going to stick around before devoting space to it. PhilHibbs | talk

Welcome Template

Oleg Alexandrov has proposed a trimming down of the current "welcome" template. The proposed version can be viewed at Template:Welcome/Proposed version 1. We are seeking input on the proposed version; please leave your opinion at the talk page. Thanks a lot! Flcelloguy | A note? | Desk 18:43, 7 August 2005 (UTC)

Navigation popups

Ever hankered after popups which give you one-click access to many Wikipedia editing functions? Well you need wait no longer... navigation popups are here. I think they're pretty slick. Please give them a try and let me know how you fare. (I'm also interested in whether they work in Internet Explorer or other non-Mozilla browsers).

A popup with navigation links and an article preview

To install it you just have to edit one page in your user space and refresh. Details and a list of features are at Wikipedia:Tools. Lupin 01:22, 7 August 2005 (UTC)

Pictures and updates from Wikimania

There are a lot of Wikipedians who are not attending the Wikimania conference, and who would really appreciate more photos and impressions from the conference.

Wikis is about sharing with others. Those who are in Frankfurt are strongly encouraged to make use of their cameras and upload at commons (see the Wikimania category) and help updating the Wikimania Blog.

New Wikistress meter

Current Boschmeter Wikistress level:
In WikiHell

If anyone cares, I've created The Bosch Wikistress Meter as an alternative to the usual Wikistress meter. It could probably do with a better outline/design. -- BRIAN0918  15:48, 2 August 2005 (UTC)

{{Boschmeter|3|180|In WikiHell}}

  • I think it's hilarious! Very cool. --Zantastik talk 22:31, 3 August 2005 (UTC)
  • There should be something like this relating to Divina Commedia! Didn't William Blake paint funky illustrations for it? "In Wiki-hell, 7th circle" is a common-wikipedia state, "Purgatoria, Wrath" might suit people calming down :D gkhan 22:37, August 3, 2005 (UTC)
  • I would use it, but it changes size a lot, so it's not as "static" as the other wikistress meter. — Ambush Commander(Talk) 14:03, August 8, 2005 (UTC)

Nobody had noticed it?

It's weird that nobody had noticed that according to Special:Statistics, some hours ago, the English Wikipedia has reached 2,000,000 pages and 20,000,000 edits since July 2002. It should be put in the Annoucement page. CG 08:14, July 28, 2005 (UTC)

Wohoo! gkhan 08:28, July 28, 2005 (UTC)
Raw page count isn't very important. -- Cyrius| 15:57, 28 July 2005 (UTC)
That's some cool information. Thanks CG! -- flipjargendy 21:28, 10 August 2005 (UTC)


My sidebar offered me the chance to remove protection on Template:Infobox Pope. I took that to mean that the page was protected. Yet an IP user has just reverted the page (I agree with the change they made, BTW). Two questions: Can IP users have admin powers? If not, how could they revert (albeit correctly) a page that supposedly is protected? Or is my Wikipedia screen misleading me about the status of the page? (It says this one is protected too, BTW) FearÉIREANN\(caint) 00:58, 12 August 2005 (UTC)

I am not an admin, and I can (if I wanted) freely edit the page, so it is not protected. Judging from the edit summaries it has not been protected or unprotected, either. -Splash 01:39, 12 August 2005 (UTC)
Move protection, probably. -- Cyrius| 01:58, 12 August 2005 (UTC)
Ah yes, Cyrius is correct. I do not have a 'move' button for this template. -Splash 02:00, 12 August 2005 (UTC)

Wikipedia in The Guardian

Did no-one else spot this? Worldwide Wikimania

Free to use and free to edit, Wikipedia is growing fast. Now its founder has announced a series of new projects, writes Sean Dodson Steve block talk 21:45, 11 August 2005 (UTC) Never mind, caught it on Wikipedia:Press coverage. Steve block talk 21:47, 11 August 2005 (UTC)

Non-admins with high edit counts

By comparing the Wikipedia:List of Wikipedians by number of edits to the list of current admins, I've come up with some users who should be considered for adminship based on their edit counts alone (of course, other factors should also be considered). If you recognize someone in this list, and you feel they would make a good admin, you might consider nominating them for adminship. Because this was automated, there are likely to be mistakes/omissions. — BRIAN0918 • 2005-08-15 17:49

This list was moved to Wikipedia:List of non-admins with high edit counts

Air Force Overseas Short Tour Service Ribbon Assistance Needed

I'd like to know if ANYONE can help me with the specific guidelines pertaining to the Air Force Overseas Short Tour Service Ribbon. I believe I am due one from my time spent in England in the early 90s. However, guidance has changed and we have a VERY new individual working in our Awards & Decs office who cannot help me with specific guidance. I have been denied this ribbon, but feel I am qualified for it for my 1 year overseas. I was told that it wasn't in the right area and England doesn't qualify. However, I have a friend stationed w/me then, and he received one. Does anyone know where I can go for specifics? It's bad when your own base can't give them to you! :) Thanks, Beth (email answers to: PLEASE!!!)

It's official: we DOSed OpenFacts

A fifteen minute downtime on English Wikipedia resulted into massive floods of people streaming to OpenFacts. Subsuquently, we DOSed (Denial of service) OpenFacts. I mean, come on. We're more powerful than Slashdot. If you let the server go down, and put a link to this little website and say, "Hey! You can find out what happened here!" You are going to DOS them. The reason for the downing of OpenFacts appears to be an overloaded MySQL database, so it's likely it will be up again fairly soon. In other news, the #wikipedia channel was flooded, to the point where no one could send messages on even the #wikipedia-overflow channel. These problems highlight major problems with Wikipedia's infrastructure, and I hope we do something about it. Hmph. — Ambush Commander(Talk) 23:35, August 12, 2005 (UTC)

--Logs removed, they were really unsightly--

OpenFacts is now viewable, but only with purge added: [2]Ambush Commander(Talk) 23:43, August 12, 2005 (UTC)
OpenFacts is back. Seems like one soul managed to comment before everything went kablooie. — Ambush Commander(Talk) 23:49, August 12, 2005 (UTC)

This isn't the first time this has happened, see Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2005-01-24/Performance improvements for example. Thryduulf 23:59, 12 August 2005 (UTC)

Oh. I didn't know that. Why don't we have more links on that error page, if this has already happened before? — Ambush Commander(Talk) 00:04, August 13, 2005 (UTC)

Okay, Wikitech-l has the explanation [3]:

We just had a 10-minute outage on the apache cluster due to heavy
swapping on albert, due to a freak memory leak. It took less than a
minute for apache network to drop to near-zero. This wasn't really meant
to happen in MW 1.5, since the parser can theoretically be completely
independent of NFS, requiring access only during upload.

The thing I was forgetting is that this independence only occurs when
you use thumb.php to generate thumbnail images. The general idea is that
instead of having the apache cluster scale images, it just serves links
like <img src="/thumb.php?name=thing.png&w=100">. The client will
request the thumbnails it needs directly from the image server. Scaling
can be done using its currently mostly idle CPU. Then if albert goes
down, the effect will be broken images and uploads, rather than failure
of all squid misses.

Are there any comments on this? Am I missing something, or should we
implement this soon? I guess the biggest question is whether albert's
CPU will be able to handle it, but we can test that by phasing in.

-- Tim Starling

Ambush Commander(Talk) 00:23, August 13, 2005 (UTC)

Once again, this demonstrates we need to put this project on a firmer financial ground. It is long past time to quit playing as though we were a little cottage industry, a private in-joke in the corner. We are well up the Alexa ratings -- ranked #57 as a site, in all languages, over the last 3 months; and up to #50 "now". This is not your Dad's home page.
I've tried, in a very small way, to bring more money into the project and been directly threatened -- with the claim that such efforts were hazardous and illegal. This is bunk. Like it or not (and truthfully, I don't), the only robust, efficient model of large-scale enterprise in the 21st Century has proven to be the corporation -- whether for- or non-profit. Corporations are businesses and the more money that flows through them, the healthier they are, all other things being equal. No matter what we think, feel, or desire, it is essential to see this project is adequately funded.
Some claim that money will not cure our technical ills. This is bunk. They say nothing will be resolved by throwing money at the problem. These critics are perhaps unaware that the entire project is upheld, in large part, by a single paid worker and a number of volunteers. Google does not have problems with uptime -- not on our scale. They have enormous sums of money and several thousand employees who come to work more or less every day and get it done.
They're #1, we're #50 (out of a possible 63 million); we're moving up; and we're unprepared for the big leagues. — Xiongtalk* 00:35, 2005 August 14 (UTC)
A very strongly worded statement. I was hoping someone would reply, although I was going along the lines of "We need more contingency links, lest we DOS OpenFacts." I'm not sure if I have an opinion on this matter yet, but I'll throw in my two cents.
Google has it easy. They don't have to handle both lots of reads and edits. Their index is updated at their leisure, and they have strict control over that process when propagating it throughout all their servers. Wikipedia does not have this luxury. I am unfamiliar with how Wikipedia current handles its load balancing, but most of the magic happens within Squid caches. When it comes to writes, everything must go past the master server (or at least, that's my impression of it's inner workings. Feel free to correct me.) Personally, I think more money also has to be thrown at the development effort, because in many ways, Wikipedia is the first-of-it's-kind.
Your proposal that a corporation is the only way to make sure we get money probably isn't too far off the mark. Look what happened to the Mozilla Foundation, only recently they made a Mozilla Corporation. Could this translate into a Wikimedia Corporation? — Ambush Commander(Talk) 16:29, August 14, 2005 (UTC)
Google does not have it "easy"; they just face a different set of problems. Constant editing need not interfere with service. One fast way to ease the burden would simply be to abandon the commitment to invariably serve the most recently-edited version of a page. Easy enough to serve, by reflex as it were, cached versions of pages to readers, while edited versions "catch up" gradually. Of course when an editor desires to edit, he needs the current version. But it's much easier to distribute "dirty" tokens than entire pages.
A not-for-profit foundation is a corporation. I don't demand that WMF go public -- might be an idea, but maybe not. I only suggest that "hey, dood, spare any change? -- no? -- well, that's cool, man" is a business model that does not scale. "Not-for-profit" means not for personal profit -- shareholders do not invest, nor expect a return. Many not-for-profits are quite profitable -- and in this age, profitability is a basic criterion of success. It is much like life -- if you are still breathing, you are doing well; if not, then in some way, you have failed to continue to live.
I don't doubt that love of money is the root of all evil. And love makes the world go 'round. But money greases the axle upon which it turns.Xiongtalk* 06:17, 2005 August 15 (UTC)

A new collaboration

I've created the Unusual collaboration of the forthnight to conduct efforts to improve the quality of unusual articles. At this time, some issues about its name, policy and templates aren't solved yet. Please check its Talk page and add your comments. Thank you. CG 06:49, August 16, 2005 (UTC)

Longest page

I have created it! At 540KB in size, List of places in Alabama takes a while to load, but it's a nice addition to the billion other articles in Category:Lists of places, the only difference between this article and those being that this list is actually complete, whereas all the others are desparately lacking. I've got ~50 more of these lined up, although I'll probably wait for the obligatory unfounded VFD. — BRIAN0918 • 2005-08-16 05:16

Why not break it up by letter? That is the standard for long lists. - SimonP 13:28, August 19, 2005 (UTC)

WikiProject Sound

I've created a new WikiProject focused on improving the provision of sound files in Wikipedia. the wub "?/!" 15:11, 18 August 2005 (UTC)

Wikipedia:WikiProject Wikipedians for Decency


Take a look at the above, then vote at Wikipedia:Votes for deletion/WikiProject Wikipedians for Decency

CensorshipOfCensorship 07:08, 18 August 2005 (UTC)

Congratulations are in order for the Winter article

Before it was tagged for attention, the article on Winter was quite short and was only seeing a few minor revisions a month.

After User:Njaard tagged it on 20 July 2005, the article has blossomed. It is amazing to see how a simple request for attention can make all the difference in an article.

I'd like to recognize the following users for their work on the article since July 20:

User:~shuri, User:Aeryka, User:Alex.tan, User:Andycjo, User:Banana04131, User:Bmicomp, User:Brandon 4417, User:BrokenSeque, User:Canderson7, User:Circeus, User:CoolFox, User:DPWester, User:Fenice, User:Fredrik, User:Harro5, User:Karl Meier, User:Lexor, User:Live Forever, User:Lotsofissues, User:Magicmonster, User:Merovingian, User:Mirage5000, User:Njaard, User:Olleicua, User:Plutor, User:Qwerty2, User:Rdsmith4, User:RJHall, User:Rmhermen, User:Robchurch, User:Sentience, User:StarWoman, User:ZeWrestler, User:Zxcybnm

If you'd like to see the difference a bit of attention can make, go to the article on Winter, view its History, and see how much it has changed since User:Njaard tagged it.

Paul Klenk 02:25, 21 August 2005 (UTC)

Good work to all the above, but I think it being on COTW for an unprecedented two weeks might have something to do with its expansion. - SimonP 14:56, August 21, 2005 (UTC)

Wikipedians against censorship WikiProject

A new Wikipedians against censorship WikiProject has been launched. Kaldari 21:11, 20 August 2005 (UTC)

To everyone: please do not proliferate discussions. Take any comments on this to Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Wikipedians against censorship. JRM · Talk 21:52, 20 August 2005 (UTC)

For paedophile-loving, bestiality fans wherever they are in Wikipediadom? Strewth, this place is already not child-safe, do we really need to make it a sicko's playground? jguk 22:28, 20 August 2005 (UTC)

A Wikipedia Page has been greenlit on Fark

Watch the David Hahn page, the thing has just been greenlit on, so you'll get an influx of people there. I'd watch it for a few days if I were you. Someone is bound to upload a Fark cliche onto the page. Also, this is my first post on Village pump news, is it the correct place to post this? - Hahnchen 00:15, 21 August 2005 (UTC)

Thanks for the heads up. This is a fine place to post this, although mentioning it on Wikipedia:Vandalism in progress might also be worthwhile(although some people might say you should wait till there's been some vandalism before listing it there). I've put it on my watchlist, even though this is a few days later... JesseW 08:03, 24 August 2005 (UTC)

Greatest thing on Earth

I'm finally getting around to getting this posted here. The August '05 issue of Linux Journal contained the annual Editors' Awards. WP won for Best Community Site, but the notation also included this comment from Linux kernel developer, Robert Love: "...probably the single greatest thing on earth."

Finally... ww 22:56, 6 September 2005 (UTC)

Pages for deletion

Where was the announcement made that a major page like Wikipedia:Votes for deletion was going to be moved to Wikipedia:Pages for deletion? Where was the announcement made that there was going to be a vote to do this? Zoe 21:28, August 26, 2005 (UTC)

I found it at Wikipedia:Village pump (proposals)#Renaming Votes for deletion Steve block talk 21:43, 26 August 2005 (UTC)
D*mn, thanks, Steve, how did I miss that? :( Zoe 22:00, August 26, 2005 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Non-main namespace pages for deletion

To help to obtain consensus in an extensive discussion on renaming at Wikipedia talk:Votes for deletion, Wikipedia:Non-main namespace pages for deletion (with a shortcut of WP:NFD) has been created. The purpose of the page is to hold the deletion discussions for pages in namespaces other than the main article namespace, that heretofore would have been taken to Wikipedia:Votes for deletion (e.g. project pages, user pages, portal pages, and so forth). The discussion area is ready to go live. The deletion discussions of non-main namespace pages that were currently open at WP:VFD have already been transcluded there. Uncle G 01:43:10, 2005-08-29 (UTC)

Recent media article on Wikipedia problems

Dunno if this has been posted yet, there's an interesting article on some mainstream Australian news sites that goes over some recent problems on Wikipedia that most of us probably already know. One interesting excerpt:

One anonymous reader contacted Boingboing telling them he worked at a marketing company that uses Wikipedia for its online marketing strategies.
"That includes planting of viral information in entries, modification of entries to point to new promotional sites or 'leaks' embedded in entries to test diffusion of information. Wikipedia is just a more transparent version of [online meeting place] Myspace as far as some companies are concerned. We love it.
"On the other side, I love it from an academia/sociological standpoint and I don't have a problem with it used as a viral marketing tool. After all, marketing is a form of information, with just a different end point in mind (consuming rather than learning)."
But as Jardin says: "I imagine quite a few Wikipedia users would beg to differ."

Gee... ya think? Is there any way of identifying the aforementioned companies that engage in such activity and doing something about them? -Loren 10:47, 28 August 2005 (UTC)

Urgh. That's just real classy. Frankly, when people describe what they do as 'online marketing', I notice that I become extra leery with them. In my experience online marketing too often just boils down to the manufacture of differing variants of spam.--T-Boy 04:27, 29 August 2005 (UTC)

I don't see "viral marketing" as any different than a very large percentage of what comes into Wikipedia. Probably 10-20% of all edits are either deliberate POV-pushing, efforts to publicize something, etc. The fact that someone is being paid for it really doesn't change the equation much. For some examples:
  1. Wikispam links tend to be out of here pretty fast, unless people decide the link is actually useful in the particular article (in which case who really cares if wikispam is how it got there)?
  2. Semi-vanity articles about TV shows, bands, etc., tend to be deleted pretty soon if the topic in question is actually non-notable; if it is notable, well, of course this isn't the ideal way for an article to start, but it's probably the way a lot of them start -- again, the only difference is that instead of the lead singer's boyfriend, or some such, it came from a paid marketing agency.
  3. Tourist brochure-style writing about places tends to have a pretty short half life.
"That all this good of evil shall produce/and evil turn to good; more wonderful/than that by which creation first brough forth/Light out of darkness!" -- Jmabel | Talk 17:17, August 29, 2005 (UTC)

Portal Namespace

The Portal: and Portal_talk: namespaces have been created, as per Wikipedia:Portal namespace. – ABCD 02:19, 27 August 2005 (UTC)

Licensing selector

The new selection dropdown

Ævar Arnfjörð Bjarmason has added a cool new feature to MediaWiki: When you upload a file, you now have the option to choose the license you want to use from a dropdown box. The licenses available can be edited at MediaWiki:Licenses, as a structured list which lists licenses in the form template name|descriptive label. Please help to complete this list to include the most important image copyright tags.--Eloquence* 21:49, August 30, 2005 (UTC)

It's a pretty neat feature, I agree. No more digging up Help pages to find out what the image copyright templates are. — Ambush Commander(Talk) 20:17, August 31, 2005 (UTC)

Change in the Announcement and Goings-on page

After some discussion (see here, the Announcement and Goings-on have had a change in page design, and in policy. Please check these two pages. CG 18:48, September 6, 2005 (UTC)

Barney article alteration

I visited our article Barney & Friends today and someone replaced the middle of the article with nothing but a list of Barney episodes!

Atomic Reference Desk!

Check out the new RSS feeds of the Reference Desk. Thanks to User:Talrias for helping me a LOT on this:

These will be updated hourly starting eventually this week, but right now they're just one-time snapshots. — Ilγαηερ (Tαlκ) 00:32, 6 September 2005 (UTC)

Article on Jimbo, from FloridaTrend

[4] Some inaccuracies, but it could be lot worse. Interesting read for me, since I'm a comparative newbie. Zora 10:26, 3 September 2005 (UTC)

UK Newspaper Mentions

You have been mentioned twice in The Guardian recently. The first article was in fact on the "front page" of the Online section (though actually the back through the way it's printed!). The second is feedback contributed by a reader. Article 1; Article 2.-- 05:49, 2 September 2005 (UTC)

More than 1,250 new articles - over 500 an hour - are added every day - Hm, those numbers don't seem to add up. :) Zoe 21:01, September 2, 2005 (UTC)
If you factor in all the speedy deletes from newpages patrol, I wouldn't be surprised at 500 pages an hour. --Carnildo 22:37, 2 September 2005 (UTC)

Thanks for linking us to the two most recent mentions. The Guardian has been the strongest Wikipedia supporter of major world newspapers. We have been mentioned and linked in the print edition 67 times since January 30, 2003. lots of issues | leave me a message 08:21, 2 September 2005 (UTC)

Italian Wikipedia

Has anyone noticed that the Italian Wikipedia has passed the 100.000 articles barrier? Thanks to using (ro)bots they've managed to make more than 50.000 articles in just two months. Boy they're nuts. 10:23, 11 September 2005 (UTC)

Science pearls

I would like to propose the above project. I'll be happy to get help in this project. Any comment is welcomed too. Thanks, APH 06:03, 11 September 2005 (UTC)

problem to find the right word

I want to know what's the name of that kind of "logo" formed by using the first letters of two names. I think it was "anagram" but not. If someone knows I really thank you.

Monogram? (Btw, this sort of query is best dealt with over on Wikipedia:Reference desk. Those guys are smart.) Hajor 17:32, 9 September 2005 (UTC)

Daily Rotten

The Daily Rotten (a undertaking) appears to have taken a leaf out of Yahoo's book and started linking the difficult words in its news stories to Wikipedia articles. None of your rubbish either -- top-notch articles like Spider Monkey and Capybara. And, from the "comments", it seems their readers are clicking through to us. It'll be interesting to see whether those two articles get an upswing in editing traffic over the next 48 hrs or so. Hajor 03:45, 8 September 2005 (UTC)

Portuguese version

Dear responsible First of all, I would like to introduce myself. My name is Evandro Gimenez and I am Brazilian. I live in the city of Sao Paulo, one of the biggest cities in the world. I am writing to point my complain about Wikipedia. I would not want to say something unpleasant, because it has helped me a lot, relating to assignements to school, or only for curiosity. Wikipedia is a huge place for and of information. I really appreaciate it. It contains a very specific and well written texts in English, which is meaningless to say, and a surpring and detailed source in French and Ialian, wonderful. However, I have noticed that the information in Portuguese is no longer good or precised. Besides, it is presented in a Portuguese that is not close to Brazilian neither to the one from Portugal. I wonder how some other Portuguese based sources are - there more eleven Portguese speaking countries! Although I do not know how the information is processed, I beg a concernement about it. I would be very glad if I could help Wikipedia in some way. A sencond point might be in the organization. I have written this letter but I do not know if somebody will read it, nor if it is written in correct section, neither if there is somebody to register my complain, though I hope a reply soon. Claiming my rights of Portuguese Language in Wikipedia, sincerely Evandro Gimenez

Archive after 14 days on Wikipedia:Village pump (news)

I've been bold and amended the archiving period to 14 days for this page. It doesn't really get that much traffic and so I can't see it hurting that much. Steve block talk 22:12, 3 September 2005 (UTC)

Not that you need it, but I agree, and support you. If you get tired or indisposed for some time, and need someone else to take over archiving, just let me know. JesseW, the juggling janitor 23:47, 8 September 2005 (UTC)
Thanks Jesse. And, yes, I will let you know, cheers. Steve block talk 20:11, 11 September 2005 (UTC)

Spammy message

Is there any way to get rid of ther spammy message displayed on our watchlists. I read it the first time, and it OTT to get iot every time one goes to one's watchlist, and interferes with the page layout (you have to scroll to lopok beyond the 1st change, SqueakBox 01:40, 25 September 2005 (UTC)

I just added a span id to the notice on MediaWiki:Watchdetails, so now you can hide it by adding:
#watchlist_notice { display: none; } 

to your monobook.css (or respective one for the other skins) file. JesseW, the juggling janitor 23:00, 25 September 2005 (UTC)

Free temporary access to biographical dictionary

Hi, for anyone writing biographies, the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography will be free from September 23 to 25; normally it costs 200 pounds a year. It contains 55,000 biographies of British people who died before December 2001 and looks like a great resource. If interested, sign up here. NicSix 01:12, 24 September 2005 (UTC)

Improve this article about Wikipedia!

We need your help to improve an article about Wikipedia to appear in a magazine! A journalist has written an article about us for an upcoming story and wants to print the before and after versions. Please help improve this article in any way you can, and maybe you'll see your changes in print...

Here's your chance: Wikipedia:Improve this article about Wikipedia. Mindspillage (spill yours?) 17:06, 20 September 2005 (UTC)

And time's up: visit the page to see how it turned out and a thank you from the reporter. Mindspillage (spill yours?) 05:13, 23 September 2005 (UTC)

Comics Collaboration

WikiProject Comics has started a new Wikipedia Collaboration of the Fortnight. If you're interested in it please start voting and/or nominating articles and help us improve them to featured article status. You can also join WikiProject Comics here. Thank you for your time. Steve block talk 11:55, 20 September 2005 (UTC)

English Professor sets his students homework to add dictionary articles on made-up words to Wikipedia

See the University of South Florida entry at Wikipedia:School and university projects. Uncle G 19:18:00, 2005-09-08 (UTC)

This is deeply tiresome. I suppose all these will have to go through AfD, unless they border the wrong side of patent nonsense? I found a list of IP addresses [5] which might help with the clear up, though there'd be an awful lot of them to look through for contribs. -Splash 20:09, 8 September 2005 (UTC)
Agreed. Now, this might be a case where a quiet call to the university might of help. Wikipedia is not a joke, and not a place for "reality questioners". JesseW, the juggling janitor 23:51, 8 September 2005 (UTC)
Block all of USF for the duration of the assignment. If they complain, direct them to this teacher. --Golbez 23:53, September 8, 2005 (UTC)
Agreed, this is clearly a violation of Wikipedia policy. By allowing this professor to encourage his students to misuse Wikipedia, the university is tacitly condoning this behavior. Block them all and send a politely worded message to this professor and the dean of his department requesting that they stop. -Loren 00:38, 9 September 2005 (UTC)
Also agreed. Stick the teacher in the block summary, then they'll know why they've been blocked and who to complain to. the wub "?/!" 17:43, 9 September 2005 (UTC)
Note that the professor has posted there and responded partially to concerns. --Dhartung | Talk 19:25, 21 September 2005 (UTC)

Mexico Collaboration

Hello, all! I just wanted to tell everyone about this new Wikipedia Collaboration. If you're interested in it please start nominating articles and adding your name to the participants list :)--Fito 04:02, 19 September 2005 (UTC)

Wikiproject Game Theory!

Hello all - Although its been going for a little while now, I would like to announce a new WikiProject on game theory. This is a relatively new area of study that is being used in several different disciplines (including economics, biology, political science, computer science, and even philosophy). Although the article on the Prisoner's dilemma is very good, many other articles on game theory are incomplete or missing altogether. If you're interested, please stop by our project page, we could use your help and/or input. --best, kevin ···Kzollman | Talk··· 20:21, 17 September 2005 (UTC)

New interlanguage link feature

With my assistance, User:Zscout370 added a feature to Wikipedia tonight for users of the monobook skin, stolen from the French Wikipedia. By using {{Link FA}} it is now possible to insert a small star next to interlanguage links where the matching article has been featured. You can see this in action on Bassoon and Hugo Chavez (you may need to ctrl-shift-reload). The feature isn't automatic: you must identify which articles are featured using this template. Although this will probably be of the greatest interest to editors which are a part of WikiProject Echo, all editors can use it to mark featured interlanguage links as they run across them. --Gmaxwell 08:19, 11 September 2005 (UTC)

Great feature. It could help to complete the project page Featured articles in other languages. CG 17:10, 16 September 2005 (UTC)

New Centralized Discussion

A new centralized discussion has been started due to the repetition of reasonings given in no-consensus WP:AFD nominations of lists of songs. It is at Wikipedia:Centralized discussion/Lists of songs and all are invited to participate. -The Literate Engineer 05:39, 8 September 2005 (UTC)

New speedy criterion

We can now speedy delete some copyright infringement material! (rather than tag as {{copyvio}}). Please read Wikipedia:Criteria_for_speedy_deletion#Articles carefully before doing so though! -- thanks Martin 19:27, 1 October 2005 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Article rescue contest

There are plenty of people who vote keep on WP:AFD with the reasoning that there is the potential for an article to be encyclopedic - even brilliant prose and "featured article"-worthy - even though the article in its current state is in serious need of cleanup, and frankly, is usually downright awful. Then the AfD is closed, the article is kept, and nobody touches it ever again.

The Wikipedia:Article rescue contest gives you the chance to put your money where your mouth is and prove an article can indeed be a great article by improving it until no one would think of deleting it. So get writing! You know you want to! Entries will be judged by Mindspillage and me and other judges who've yet to be announced. - Mgm|(talk) 15:26, 1 October 2005 (UTC)

English Wikipedia has just passed the three quarter millionth article

Does anyone know which article was the one which crossed this milestone? Lumos3 22:36, 29 September 2005 (UTC)

National Public Radio's Morning Edition uses Wikipedia as a source

In a Morning Edition story on the death of actor Don Adams, National Public Radio included a list of Get Smart! catchphrases that was sourced from Wikipedia.

"Don Adams, Missed by THAT Much and So Many". National Public Radio. September 28. Check date values in: |date= and |year= / |date= mismatch (help)

Epolk 17:29, 28 September 2005 (UTC)

Wikibooks mentioned on CNET

Wikibooks takes on textbook industry ~~ N (t/c) 13:41, 28 September 2005 (UTC)

Counter Vandalism Unit

Counter Vandalism Unit formed! It is a gathering place for RC patrolers. It is intended to increase our capabilities when dealing with vandalism. Newer members are welcome with open arms. --Cool Cat Talk 19:06, 15 October 2005 (UTC)

Requirements to be a member:

  1. Must have a username
  2. Must not be a vandal (obviously)

American - Southwest battle on Wikipedia?

So the corporate battle over Wikipedia's content begins? See this Dallas Business Journal article about our Wright Amendment article: Tfine80 01:17, 15 October 2005 (UTC)

Interesting. Note that they named both IP who made the POV changes and Cleared as filed. I wonder if we'll see more specific reports of content disputes and vandalism as we grow?--Sean Jelly Baby? 06:08, 15 October 2005 (UTC)

European Union collaboration

I'm announcing the launch of a new fortnightly collaboration which aims to improve articles related to the European Union. If you're interested in the EU, its institutions or other related stuff, please nominate an article and/or help out with the current article (the first one is Eurobarometer).

The collaboration overview page is Wikipedia:European Union collaboration. Talrias (t | e | c) 12:27, 13 October 2005 (UTC)

Jimbo Wales to Attend San Diego Meetup on October 18 2005

Hello, Jimbo Wales will be in San Diego to attend OOPSLA and has agreed to come by and visit with the San Diego wikipedians. If you are interested, you will find more info on my talk page. Johntex\talk 00:54, 13 October 2005 (UTC)

WikiProject Featured Article Drive

I'd like to announce that the Featured Article Drive has now been cleaned up, re-organised and re-launched with a new role. The new 'Drive is a help desk for those who would like to see a particular article promoted to featured article status, but don't know how to go about it, or would like some assistance. We'll lend a hand with sorting out future featured article candidates or those which are already nominated or have just failed the process. Rob Church Talk | FAD 22:34, 9 October 2005 (UTC)

Jimbo Che

File:Jimbo che.jpg
¡Viva La Revolucion!

Using my weak Photoshop skills, I've created an image that Wikipedians can and will follow. See other Jimbo pics at User:Jimbo Wales/Funny pictures. If anyone can improve on this image, feel free. — BRIAN0918 • 2005-10-9 15:59

Greatest thing on Earth

I'm finally getting around to getting this posted here. The August '05 issue of Linux Journal contained the annual Editors' Awards. WP won for Best Community Site, but the notation also included this comment from Linux kernel developer, Robert Love: "...probably the single greatest thing on earth."

Finally... ww 22:56, 6 September 2005 (UTC)

  • Found this posted in the archive's history, don't think it ever made it here. Have thus updated the archive notices of all pump pages to warn against posting in them. Steve block talk 14:24, 5 October 2005 (UTC)

Wikimania 2006 in Boston

Wikimania this past August was a joyful event. It was remarkable above all for the geographic diversity of its attendees... out of 380 attendees, over 50 countries were represented.

The second Wikimania, next summer, will take place in Boston, Massachusetts. You can help make it another amazing event, and even more international and multilingual. Please translate this message and pass it on to other mailing lists and wikis...

How to get involved :

  1. Come to an IRC meeting next week in #wikimania. We will be discussing conference dates, among other things. Note what times you can make it, or add to the agenda.
  2. Volunteer your time, language skills, and enthusiasm
  3. Sign up for Yet Another Mailing List (wikimania-l). It is currently low-traffic and primarily English-language; two things you can help change.
  4. Plan carpools or offer crash space for the event. (harder to do before the date is fixed, of course): Attendee list

Organizing Wikimania is both demanding and rewarding; and a chance to learn about the inner workings of a large conference. Please join us on IRC, or on the wiki, to find out more. +sj +

Russian internet award for Russian wikipedia

Please vote for wikipedia by choosing vote here

Wikipedia:Requests for arbitration/Template/Workshop

Any Wikipedia user, can contribute their suggestions and comments to the /Workshop page of any active arbitration case. Comments on evidence or proposals can help in understanding the import of evidence and in refining proposals. Proposed principles, findings of fact, or remedies may be listed on /Proposed decision and form part of the final decision. Fred Bauder 19:48, 26 October 2005 (UTC)

WikiSort Project

This is just a quick note to say that the WikiSort Project has begun! Come on over and check it out!the1physicist 03:25, 24 October 2005 (UTC)

Advertising on Wikipedia

Despite strong opposition from the community in the past toward any form of advertising, without ever posting a budget that donations were unable to meet, and without discussion with the wide community, the Wikimedia Foundation has been privately considering a deal which would involve advertising on Wikipedia and the use of the project to promote proprietary software. Please see Wikipedia:Tools/1-Click Answers for more information. --Gmaxwell 01:26, 24 October 2005 (UTC)

Also see the message from User:Angela slightly further up on this page: and Wikimedia Foundation to Form New Partnership. -Splashtalk 01:29, 24 October 2005 (UTC)
Also please see This petition to stop ads. ♥♥purplefeltangel 01:31, 24 October 2005 (UTC)
Oh wow, I completely missed that. Read four other VP sections. I guess I'm a little upset about the whole thing. --Gmaxwell 01:40, 24 October 2005 (UTC)

Russian internet award for Russian wikipedia

Please vote for wikipedia by choosing vote here

Blocked in China?

Wikipedia may be blocked in Shanghai now Wikipedia inaccessible in Shanghai I certainly hope this isn't the case... cohesion | talk 09:51, 21 October 2005 (UTC)

Is it going to be blocked in other cities too? Permanently? --Banana04131 00:57, 23 October 2005 (UTC)



I guess I am the last person on the planet to discover Wikipedia...Wowzers!

Okay, was going through acronyms and forgot how I got there, but there is no listing for Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome--which is rare and horrific condition that results after a simple bruise to surgery---also known as RSD

See web site medical journal also lists it if you want further verification.

Would love to find some very basic instructions to utilize your web site.

Thank you............Ali~

Thank you for your suggestion! When you feel an article needs changing, please feel free to make whatever changes you feel are needed. Wikipedia is a wiki, so anyone can edit any article by simply following the Edit this page link. You don't even need to log in! (Although there are some reasons why you might like to...) The Wikipedia community encourages you to be bold. Don't worry too much about making honest mistakes—they're likely to be found and corrected quickly. If you're not sure how editing works, check out how to edit a page, or use out the sandbox to try out your editing skills. New contributors are always welcome. Evil MonkeyHello 03:10, 21 October 2005 (UTC) and Wikimedia Foundation to Form New Partnership

In a press release today, we announced a new partnership with This is news, but could equally appear in the proposals section of the village pump. The proposal was made by Answers Corporation to add a link in the sidebar of the English Wikipedia to the Wikipedia:Tools page. That page will highlight the "1-Click Answers, Wikipedia Edition" software. Revenues from this will be split with the Wikimedia Foundation. The Board have signed up to a 60-day trial of this proposal. Comments before the launch, and during the trial period are very welcome. To keep discussion in one place, and to avoid it being archived after a few days, please comment at Wikipedia talk:Tools/1-Click Answers rather than here. Angela. 19:54, 20 October 2005 (UTC)

Tampa Tribune lengthy and glowing about Wikipedia Not a SUGGESTION of inaccurate content, lack of reliability, ANY potential problems. lots of issues | leave me a message 07:12, 20 October 2005 (UTC)

The Register

According to the Register [6], Wikipedia is finally showing signs of leaving the "Quality Denial" stage. I believe at the core of this is some smart-assed blogger-pundit noticed that Wikipedia features horrible prose [7]. The humanity! The Register is of course right in sensing fanatism within teh cabal, and I do think that we need to think more about how to get quality as opposed to an exponentially rising article count, and how to combat the osmosis of perfectly good articles back to "your average anon hack" level. dab () 07:51, 18 October 2005 (UTC)

It mentions Jeanette Washington as an example of a poor article. Efforts to improve that "to make a point" might be worthwhile. violet/riga (t) 08:20, 18 October 2005 (UTC)
Yes, but recognising that they have a strong point to make and the establishing of a proper debate on how to raise overall quality and protect the quality of existing good articles would be even more worthwhile. Filiocht | The kettle's on 09:06, 18 October 2005 (UTC)
It certainly would, but Wikipedia 1.0 is the way we're progressing with that, I thought. violet/riga (t) 12:08, 18 October 2005 (UTC)
Well, I started to contribute to Wikipedia since I had repeatedly found useful articles on the most diverse subjects. And I'm not sure if critizism from The Register should be taken seriously - they rarely take things seriously themselves, trying to be perpetually funny. Just look at the articles they selected. Why not an article like Golden ratio? Of course there are quality problems, but on Wikipedia at least you can do something about it yourself. Hawklord 20:49, 19 October 2005 (UTC)
I think it is always usefull for us to be honest with ourselves about what we have, and how it works. I think it unwise to ignore negative feedback that is found (despite, in this case, being from The Register, which has a tendency to really stick with something they are unhappy with for long periods of time (such as the Steve Balmer cursing/chair throwing thing)). In short, let's not throw the baby our with the bath water: there are some valid, and sound criticisms laid at the feet of wiki (even if the tone of the criticism is fairly extreme). Let's look at them, think about them, and try to take away some insight into what common issues we can find throughout wikipedia that are worth discussing and addressing. Dxco 01:07, 25 October 2005 (UTC)

Dutch Wikipedia Reaches 100,000th Article on 14 October, 2005

Hello, I am from the Dutch Wiki and would like to let you know that we have become a BIG WIKI now. Please check here. Will you please be so kind as to adapt your Main Page accordingly? Thanks a lot. Algont

That's quick, Thanks, that's Great! --Algont 18:05, 17 October 2005 (UTC)

Simplifying the Upload page

As I assume many people are aware, Wikipedia has a considerable problem with people uploading images that we are not able to use. Various people have commented that the upload page is very unreadable, and looks like fine print, which most people just ignore. There is a nice, simple alternative proposed on the talk page, which I am trying to get implemented. Please go to MediaWiki talk:Uploadtext#Simple_version and express your support, if you feel so moved. JesseW, the juggling janitor 20:30, 7 October 2005 (UTC)

  • It appears to have changed. Looks clear to me. Let's see if it helps. - Mgm|(talk) 20:50, 8 October 2005 (UTC)
  • I have noticed and appreciated the simplification over the past several days. It is certainly true the the previous one kept growing, with more colored boxes being added and other visual noise increasing to the point where it had gone far beyond legibility. (The more there is to read, the less people will read it.) I think the design problem is to provide a page that will make critical information available for new uploaders but get out of the way for people who just want to upload a file and already know about licensing etc. However in the current version, that "Your file will be deleted..." part with the red type right at the top of the page looks quite forbidding. Why not show the rules, and at the botttom say something like "files which are not accompanied by licensing and source info will be deleted"? The "For more information, see Wikipedia:Uploading images." text should be part of the box and more prominently presented to attract the attention of new users. (Its present location and treatment pretty much guarantees that many people will not even see it.) This is the key link for new users, so put it first, with text something like "If this is your first time uploading files, or need more information, see Wikipedia:Uploading images." JShook | Talk 12:58, 21 October 2005 (UTC)

Wikifun Round 10

Wikifun Round 10 has just started. The object of the game is to answer the questions using only Wikipedia content. The questions were prepared by ESkog and me. Have fun.  Grue  19:05, 30 October 2005 (UTC)

The Great Wiki Raid of '05

See this press release. It seems we're going to be overwhelmed with even more new pages and edits for a short time. Excellent - expansion of our encyclopedia, but a few concerns:

  • What do these people understand of policies like WP:NPOV an WP:ISNOT?
  • What is this going to do to our servers?
  • What about all the junk that will fly in?

Of course, all that is small potatoes compared to our chance to have the encyclopedia expanded with no additional effort on our parts, right? What do people think? Rob Church Talk | FAHD 15:33, 30 October 2005 (UTC)

Yes, this is great. It is, of course, no reason to lower standards for 24 hours. We will want to be particularly vigilant about WP:NOR and WP:NOT, and will need to acknowledge that nominating articles that are irredemably either for deletion is fine, as well as hammering WP:NPOV. WP:V will likely need to be wheeled out as I would guess many people will write from their personal knowledge rather than sources. I imagine the servers will handle it — futures studies isn't such a hot topic with Joe Public. It will be interesting to see what happens, although we get school projects fairly regularly and they are really not much more than a ripple for a few days.
That news article speculates on the possibility of knowledge wars....the author should call be WP:AN/3 and WP:RFPP! -Splashtalk 15:42, 30 October 2005 (UTC)

The raid appears to have begun. See Special:Contributions/Phayward. It looks like this will be a very interesting event. ᓛᖁ  22:34, 30 October 2005 (UTC)

Are they going to be improving the articles or are they going to try and do a massive vandelism campaign? I would hope for the former but prepair for the latter.--Rayc 05:02, 31 October 2005 (UTC)

Considering that it's a bunch of acedemics, I highly doubt that it will be the latter :).--Sean Black | Talk 05:14, 31 October 2005 (UTC)
There's been a little vandalism so far. See [8], [9], and [10]. ᓛᖁ  10:54, 31 October 2005 (UTC)
But the quality isn't always so good, with dumps of text (eg 15 Global Challenges Technology Forecasting and Social Change) where everyone else is expected to wikify, categorise and properly source it. Personally. I find much of it a porridge of corporate-speak with very little real information. Tearlach 14:15, 31 October 2005 (UTC)
It's interesting to contrast the progress of the raid with the criticism Wikipedia receives regarding amateur authorship. We've received about sixteen hours of expert input, and now a few newly created articles need cleanup work, two have been erased over copyright concerns (Integral Futures and Cross impact analysis), and Future studies itself is still generally considered to need extra {{attention}}. The press release gives the impression of a broad, large-scale effort, but that doesn't seem to be happening. ᓛᖁ  14:59, 31 October 2005 (UTC)

I like the thought behind all this, but today's raid seems to have been less effective than intended. So I've been toying with the idea "what if this sort of thing was an organized challenge?" As a result, a very tentative (and not altogether serious) WikiProject is now at Wikipedia:WikiProject WikiRaid, for any who may be interested. ᓛᖁ  19:39, 31 October 2005 (UTC)

Michael Savage

Michael Savage read the article about Valerie Plame on air October 28, 2005 at 7:10 EST -- without citing it. :) Tfine80 23:16, 28 October 2005 (UTC)

Wikimania 2006 in Boston

Wikimania this past August was a joyful event. It was remarkable above all for the geographic diversity of its attendees... out of 380 attendees, over 50 countries were represented.

The second Wikimania, next summer, will take place in Boston, Massachusetts. You can help make it another amazing event, and even more international and multilingual. Please translate this message and pass it on to other mailing lists and wikis...

How to get involved :

  1. Come to an IRC meeting next week in #wikimania. We will be discussing conference dates, among other things. Note what times you can make it, or add to the agenda.
  2. Volunteer your time, language skills, and enthusiasm
  3. Sign up for Yet Another Mailing List (wikimania-l). It is currently low-traffic and primarily English-language; two things you can help change.
  4. Plan carpools or offer crash space for the event. (harder to do before the date is fixed, of course): Attendee list

Organizing Wikimania is both demanding and rewarding; and a chance to learn about the inner workings of a large conference. Please join us on IRC, or on the wiki, to find out more. +sj +

List of high schools

I've put together this list of high schools as part of WikiProject Missing Articles. The list still needs to be trimmed of verified blue links. — BRIAN0918 • 2005-10-28 19:03

Wikipedia Usability Group

The Wikipedia Usability Group has been started this week, with the aim to make Wikipedia easier to use for everyone. It's an open project and anyone is welcome to join.

The group's first project is looking into refreshing the Main Page's design. Please come and help! Thanks, Tom- 03:01, 4 October 2005 (UTC)

And we still need help polishing up the design! Getting close to something great... +sj + 19:27, 28 October 2005 (UTC)

Webster, Britannica owned dictionary, starts "open dictionary"


lots of issues | leave me a message 23:51, 6 November 2005 (UTC)

Wikimania 2006 discussion

There will be an IRC meeting today (at 1700 EST / 2200 UTC) in #wikimania. We will be discussing conference dates, among other things. You can add to the agenda, or discuss it, on the page above. +sj + 17:05, 5 November 2005 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Newspapers and magazines request service

Use it.

lots of issues | leave me a message 02:08, 5 November 2005 (UTC)

Sweet+! +sj + 17:05, 5 November 2005 (UTC)
I just extended it with ProQuest's Historical New York Times database, covering full text of the New York Times from 1853 to 2002. AxelBoldt 18:42, 5 November 2005 (UTC)

High schools

There is now a [more] comprehensive 22,000-entry list of high schools at en:Wikipedia:WikiProject Missing encyclopedic articles/High schools. — BRIAN0918 • 2005-11-4 16:56

May I respectfully suggest that you qualify the word "comprehensive"? This list does not include any high schools from non-AngloSaxon countries. GeorgeStepanek\talk 17:40, 4 November 2005 (UTC)
By "comprehensive", I meant "more comprehensive" than our previous list, which had only 450 entries. — BRIAN0918 • 2005-11-4 17:42
Ah, yes. In which case it is certainly a fine piece of work. I might see if I can find a similar list of New Zealand schools to put there... GeorgeStepanek\talk 17:50, 4 November 2005 (UTC)
Feel free to add your own section in the same fashion as the others. — BRIAN0918 • 2005-11-4 17:52

Wikipedia goes to print on CNN

CNN had an article on wikipedia going to print [11], bascially rehashing everything said about going to print before on this site. I like how the picture caption is "Wikipedia is a free encyclopedia logging over 140,000 articles sent in by people from all over the world." Yes, I would think the number 2 million is "over 140,000". Must of been an old caption--Rayc 20:30, 1 November 2005 (UTC)

That "140,000" articles caught my eye too (and made me laugh). Unfortunately, their web site was unequipped with an "edit this page" button. They evidently got the number from their 2003 story [12] (it's a sidebar link to the current story). Antandrus (talk) 00:06, 2 November 2005 (UTC)
For pedantry's sake: just over 800 000 articles (as of last night), but over two million pages in all namespaces. See Special:Statistics. — mendel  01:24, 2 November 2005 (UTC)
800,000 in the English wikipedia. Probably close to 2 million if you count articles in every language. thames 17:47, 4 November 2005 (UTC)

Slashdot too. ~~ N (t/c) 00:51, 2 November 2005 (UTC)


I'm concerned about this template - which states that works produced by the State of California are in the Public Domain. I have not been able to identify any such statute; and have found various statutes to the contrary(some of which I mention in the link above). We need to review this tag, and decide what should be done with it. Please publisize this notice wherever you think it should be known. JesseW, the juggling janitor 17:42, 31 October 2005 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Arbitration Committee Elections December 2005/Straw poll

  • This is intended to gauge public opinion on whether ArbCom members should be elected or an appointed. Radiant_>|< 19:36, 10 November 2005 (UTC)

adjusting entries

If I understand your question correctly, you would benefit from reading Wikipedia:Introduction and Help:Editing.--Sean|Black 02:22, 18 November 2005 (UTC)

Ionic Bonding

I searched for "Ionic Bonds." Didn't match exactly, but "Ionic Bonding" was the top result and I clicked that, but for some reason it's linked to the article on Dogpile.

Thanks, fixed now. Martin 16:25, 17 November 2005 (UTC)

Template:Language acquires new flexibility

Over the last few days I've developed {{language}} to meet some longstanding needs. The template is designed to provide an infobox at the top right of every Wikipedia article about a language. The template can easily be adapted for the following:

The template also incorporates a more helpful way of defining the genetic classification of a language, inputing single/multiple ISO 639-3 codes, removing unwanted sections, supplying default entries for unspecified parameters and allowing the incorporation of small images into the template. Full inxtructions on how to use these new capabilities can found at the top of template talk:language. --Gareth Hughes 14:38, 17 November 2005 (UTC)

WikiTrust Redux

It seems criticizing Wikipedia is becoming increasingly popular. South Africa's Mail and Guardian Online has published an article in the same format as The Guardian's Can you trust Wikipedia?, and having the same name. [13] They've also said Wikipedia "did not respond to the M&G Online's queries", which doesn't sound too good. Who did they attempt to contact, and shall we have a response to the Mail and Guardian Online? ᓛᖁ  07:22, 8 November 2005 (UTC)

The title of the article should have been Can you trust Wikipedia's South African related articles?. The quality of these pages are not of the same standard as other Wikipedia pages. This is mostly due to Hellkom's insanely high internet costs limiting the number of ZA Wikipedians as well as all other online content on South African topics. (Nonetheless, Wikipedia is by far the best online source for all things South African.) They should have had some of the European history or science articles reviewed, or better yet compared to Encarta / Britannica's. - syndicate t 14:11, 17 November 2005 (UTC)

I've started a miniproject

Wikiprojects are far too much effort, I'd rather just write about a topic (they are good for longer term things - like whole topics like places such as Melbourne). As such, I've started Wikipedia:Miniproject USA PATRIOT Act. Anyone who wants to join in, please feel free. - Ta bu shi da yu 09:56, 16 November 2005 (UTC)

Wikimania program meeting

There is a Wikimania program meeting in one hour, at 2200 UTC, on #wikimania in irc. +sj + 21:03, 23 November 2005 (UTC)

Your watchlist wanted

We're doing some work at [GroupLens research] on encouraging people to contribute to communities. Right now we're looking at Wikipedia, working on the problem of trying to tell whether a given edit indicates interest in a topic (as opposed to little corrections, vandalism reversion, etc.) It would be super-helpful if you could

  1. go to your full watchlist
  2. select the text that starts with "My watchlist" (or all the text on the page), and
  3. (optionally and preferably) remove items that don't represent your interests
  4. mail it to [[14]] or drop it on a page of watchlists.

The conversation below has pointed out that a lot of items on watchlists don't really indicate interest. A list of articles you explicitly say you're interested in would be much better, although I realize that may be more work. Thanks, hopefully, for your help.

-- ForteTuba 20:07, 22 November 2005 (UTC)

A lot of editors choose to add every article they edit to their watchlist, I am one of those. As a lot of my contributions here are minor corrections, and edits related to pictures or categorisations I have a very large watchlist of articles where I don't really have an interest. I keep an eye on these to watch out for vandalism or edit wars, etc. Some examples of this are:

  • Bud Abbott and Abbott and Costello.
    • I read these articles to find out who these people were (I'm 25 and from England), and spotted that the two articles gave different dates of birth for Bud Abbott. I posted a note about this to both talk pages, and sure enough somebody came along and corrected the one that was wrong. The articles remain on my watchlist as every extra pair of eyes helps, and these articles are not busy ones. I don't have an interest in the subject matter though.
  • Apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic science fiction
    • This remains on my watchlist after I protected the page due to an edit war.
  • Baltic Cable
    • I wikified this article many months ago, and keep an eye on it as not many people watch it. I have no interest in cables at all!
  • Many user talk pages
    • If I post a message on a user's talk page (often regarding vandalism), it gets added to my watchlist. This way I can follow if they choose to reply on their own page, as some people do. It also acts as a reminder of people whose contributions I'm keeping an eye on.
  • Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Society for the Preservation of Waffle Irons and other X for deletion debates.
    • If I contribute to a debate I watch it so I know how it ends. After it is closed I keep it on my list to watch out for poeple editing it in violation of policy. In one instance this enabled me to spot vandalism on a debate that was closed over 3 months previously, but most will sit there on my watchlist never to appear again. The same is true for debates that I have done closing duties on.
  • Old requests for arbitration/comment
    • Similar to the above, I like to see how things turn out, and if anything gets changed after the fact.

Yes, I do have articles on my watchlist that I am interested in, but I don't think that you could accurately determine my interests from my watchlist. You could tell I'm interested in railways (I have many tens of related articles on my watchlist), but you could not separate something like Cheddar (where I live) from Biloxi, Mississippi (on which I disambiguated one link) from Tullyhogue Fort (an article I completely rewrote to save from being deleted). Thryduulf 22:57, 22 November 2005 (UTC)

It gets worse. My watchlist contains articles that do not in fact exist (mostly from my pre admin days when I listed them for speedy deletion).Geni 13:37, 23 November 2005 (UTC)

I noticed that there's an option to watch every edited page, which for people who use it does make it hard to use their watchlists as tokens of interest. (It will be reasonably easy to filter out that kind of watchlist, as well as articles that don't exist, etc. -- though the idea that a watchlist contains items of anti-interest is a little scary.) I didn't want to ask people to send a list of "articles they're really interested in" because I figured that would be a lot of work for them. But anyone who's willing to send a list of articles of interest, that would be super-grand as well. I have seen that some people post such lists on their user pages and I imagine we could grovel around for these lists and extract article titles semi-automatically, but there's something to be said for the people making the lists to be the ones to judge. Thanks for the feedback.

-- ForteTuba 21:55, 23 November 2005 (UTC)

New Data for the Interwiki-Link-Checker

As you might now, there are lots of articles in en:Wikipedia which have the same name as articles in other Wikipedias, but are not linked by an Inter-Wiki-Link (e.g. en-de: ~5000 articles, en-sv: ~4300 articles, as of November 2005).

These articles have been listed for many language combinations by de:Benutzer:SirJective. But not all articles with identical names are about the same subject, so human work is needed to decide whether an Interwiki-Link can be automatically generated by a bot. In order to make this decision easy and comfortable, there is a brilliant tool called Interwiki-Link-Checker written by de:Benutzer:Flacus.

It's worth mentioning that through the help of dozens of users from different Wikipedias more than 30.000 new Interwiki links have been established during the last 3 month. Brilliantly done, everybody! And here is the news (which hopefully makes this post appropriate at this position:-)):
There is new data available for lots of Wikipedia languages, including en:.

Now, you might want to check the FAQ or just try it at Please notice that Javascript again has to be disabled (see FAQ).

Thanks for your time and (maybe even) help, I can just invite you to try the tool, it's fun and you're reading (and editing) quite a lot of stuff you wouldn't stumble upon otherwise.

Cheers, --InterwikiLinksRule 20:48, 24 November 2005 (UTC)

Guardian article

Youch. Wikipedia gets reamed in this Guardian article:,,1599116,00.html Babajobu 08:28, 24 October 2005 (UTC)

I think you mean [15] Martin 08:47, 24 October 2005 (UTC)
Oops, yes, as far as I know Wikipedia is not mentioned in the Hariri article. :) Link corrected. Babajobu 08:52, 24 October 2005 (UTC)
That guardain article is crap. I like the guardian but some of it is stupid, on TS Eliot it gives it 6/10, without giving any reason other than "It's purely factual and not in any way analytical" (which is a good thing) and "It doesn't list my book in the bibliography" which is not a bad thing. The critique of Encyclopedia was from the editor-in-chief of the Encyclopedia Britannica from 1992 to 1997, thats not exactly NPOV is it. Martin 09:02, 24 October 2005 (UTC)
On the countrary: that could perhaps be a valid criticism of an article. As I always say, you don't explain to someone what a radio is, what it's significance is, and just what it's all about, by simply listing every dial, diode, crystal, and LED that goes into making it. Dxco 01:10, 25 October 2005 (UTC)
Not so bad really, they love to make it look bad, but other that the haute couture article there are no big errors found. I wonder why media loves to run these every so often? - cohesion | talk 09:07, 24 October 2005 (UTC)
The Guardian has been fairly pro-wiki in the past, so I don't think it's any sort of a conspiracy. Some of the complaints were reasonable and fairly constructive (for example, all of the articles mentioned were culture and humanities subjects, which we really lack knowledgeable editors for), whilst some where just silly. (The fact that the Encyclopedia article is 2000 words long and not 26,000 (!!!) words long is definitely not a bad thing.) The Guardian has a 'Right of Reply' thing as part of its editorial policy, however, so if we write a reasoned and well-argued response, it is guaranteed to be printed. How about we draft a rebuttal somewhere here, to give our side of the story? -- 18:21, 24 October 2005 (UTC) (User:Fangz)
I agree. We should send them a copy of {{sofixit}}. -Splashtalk 18:25, 24 October 2005 (UTC)
Most of the criticisms seem to be spot on, though the haute couture bit seemed odd (hopefully we aren't making ANY value judgments!). I can't imagine what rebuttal we would make, other than to fix the articles. Christopher Parham (talk) 18:37, 24 October 2005 (UTC)
I love the idea of a communal rebuttal produced in the same manner as was employed for the Vanity Fair piece. Jimbo would need to organize it. Jimbo, where are you?? Babajobu 19:54, 24 October 2005 (UTC)
I think we may be able to do well on a rebuttal too. I think I've found an innacuracy with the Guardian's Basque criticism, as I outline at Talk:Basque_people#Review_of_this_article_in_the_Guardian_newspaper but I would really need someone to look at that and check I'm not missing something. A chap on Encyclopedia seems to make some good points here Talk:Encyclopedia#Guardian_criticism. Do we have anything else we can say? I totally disagree that we got reamed. 6 out of 8 score us 6/10 or above. The second lowest score comes from an ex-Britannica employee. Given the frankly ludicrous way we've all made this thing, we've done incredibly well. --bodnotbod 22:11, 24 October 2005 (UTC)
Other points I would add: what would have constituted a score of 10? The article would have made more sense if we'd been rated v Britannica and Encarta with their articles on those subjects getting a score out of 10 too. Without that you have to wonder whether it's something as nebulous as "the author's book on the subject" or "10 then -1 point for every innacuracy" (which would unduly punish a long article). So the scores are rather nebulous. --bodnotbod 22:18, 24 October 2005 (UTC)
I think in any rebuttal, we also need to be broadly tackling the issue of value judgements - explain NPOV fully, I mean, and justify basing articles on facts over subjective impression from a moral perspective. We also have to discuss the issue of unevenness - i.e. the impression that we have too much information on X instead of Y - having more information on something, so long as it is relevant and well organised, is always a good thing. Also, we could always ponder at the motives of including "The largest general encyclopaedia in English is the Encyclopædia Britannica", a blatant factual error, in the second paragraph of [16]...--Fangz 22:36, 24 October 2005 (UTC)
what I want to know is why didn't they help fix the mistakes! Arniep 00:39, 25 October 2005 (UTC)
Two reasons: it isn't their job to fix Wikipedia's errors, and they don't consider Wikipedia a serious reference work. ᓛᖁ  13:01, 25 October 2005 (UTC)
it isn't anyones job to do anything in Wikipedia. The more knowledgable people help with it the more it will improve. Arniep 20:36, 25 October 2005 (UTC)
Journalistic codes of ethics generally say you observe and report without interfering unless it is a matter of life and death. -- Jmabel | Talk 06:58, 26 October 2005 (UTC)
Of the people being interviewed, none were the journalist(s) working on the story. (The Vogue editor was quoted, but was not the article's author or the interviewer.) By the reasoning you cite, any journalist ever quoted by another journalist in an article about Wikipedia could never edit a Wikipedia article without violating a journalistic code of ethics, and would make this post journalistically unethical. 06:13, 28 October 2005 (UTC)
:) :) That actually would have been a much more interesting and funny article!! If they'd gone in and edited the articles. Maybe then the Britannica guy would start to get wikipedia. (Of course, we'd have to go back and fix some of his errors!) flux.books 15:54, 26 October 2005 (UTC)
Matthew Buckland posted an item to The Poynter Institute's "E-Media Tidbits" blog on Oct. 27 linking to the Guardian critique. The blog, and Poynter, are aimed at journalists. 06:13, 28 October 2005 (UTC)

"What emerges is a somewhat lukewarm impression of Wikipedia's entries from the panel of experts. The scores by the judges range from 0 out of 10 to 8 out of 10 for the various wiki entries, with critiques varying from "inaccurate and unclear" to "reasonably comprehensive."

It would have been even more interesting if Guardian Unlimited had gone a step further with its judges, giving scores and critiques to the same entries in a traditional encyclopedia, and then comparing the scores."

Wikipedia:Let's work on a common response to the Guardian lots of issues | leave me a message 09:19, 27 October 2005 (UTC)

Yes, comparison to Britannica etc. would be interesting; so would comparison to web sites that are generally considered to be maintained by experts in their respective fields. -- Jmabel | Talk 01:17, 30 October 2005 (UTC)

Important factors to take into account:

  • Accessibility via article length. Wikipedia deliberately sets limits on article length since it is accessed across the internet, a medium that (due to network connectivity and computer speed issues) does not always handle large pages well for all people. This is important in particular when ensuring adequate accessibility to developing countries.
  • Wikipedia is also not commercially funded, nor does it sell its products.
  • WP's development model is perforce "many articles which over time become more complete and of higher standard". Traditional encyclopedias model is "fewer articles to a high standard and add more articles over time"
  • It is not clear how effective Brittanica's system of maintaining all thousands of its articles to cutting edge information is, but it is unlikely to be a fraction of the capability of the Wikipedia community's.
  • WP is in early development still, and is creating its own policies and editorial methods appropriate to a system having a million articles edited by half a million people of varied understanding. The model works however it would be naive to expect no learning curve. WP has only been in existence a few years.
  • A strength of WP's system is similar to comparing Linux to Microsoft (sorry for any flames this causes!) in this sense: proprietary and corporate funded and managed, versus lay-enthusiasts. The advantages on the one hand are slickness, completeness and corporate style overview of the product (at least to the average non-technical user). The advantages on the other are that WP will identify information (by user contribution) that Brittanica will not, cannot be subject to "behind the doors" manipulation or slanting of fact, users are not dependent upon trust in a proprietary fact finding and selection process, cannot be denied access in future due to local government censorship or publishers pricing policy, and over time, when WP has been going another few years, will probably outdo many other sources of information on many scales: completeness, neutrality and immediate ongoing updating of latest information (WP articles as a source of news and analysis during the election or Jackson trial) being main ones.

FT2 04:09, 30 October 2005 (UTC)

The South African Mail & Guardian just released a similar study, focusing on South African topics. We did surprisingly well, especially considering our generally poor coverage of Africa. The worst score was 2/10 for Media in South Africa, but journalism professor Anton Harber acknowledged that the article was still in its infancy. The highlight was sports journalist Andy Capostagno, who gave South Africa national rugby union team and South Africa national rugby league team 10/10. Congratulations to those who worked on those articles. - SimonP 23:30, 7 November 2005 (UTC)

As a general principle i would just like to higlight that criticism at this level (ie a national newspaper, including using a former editor of Britannica), could be considered a postive sign in itself, of how far wikipedia has come in just a short time.--Clover catcher 01:42, 14 November 2005 (UTC)

Interesting, and it struck me they made some valid criticisms. Particularly, that wiki deliberately does not express opinions. Their choice of articles was perhaps biased by what experts they had available to check articles, but they all were disappointed that wiki did not express a view about literary merit, or -essentially- the informed opinion of the writer. Some editors are happier to include their own views than others, but some are very rigid in demanding outside references for any view. This is certainly sometimes used as a weapon for inserting ones own view of an article, when a conflicting view is hard to prove. The demand for references inevitably reduces the quality of wiki in this respect. (Yes, I know it is also used to minimise disputes and edit wars). Literary criticism is a problem area for wiki under the current policies.

There was also a suggestion that articles might be too short. I agree, wiki has many many incomplete articles, which must therefore be a valid criticism, but once again length is sometimes used as a tool by people wishing to keep certain things out of articles. Even when specific articles are quite small, editors come along arguing that they are too detailed. What is needed is better organisation, not less content.

Anyway, 7/10 would get you the top grade in most public examinations. Sandpiper 14:00, 22 November 2005 (UTC)

I found quite amusing that chick from Vogue is looking down her nose at Wikipedia. I think it's safe to say you'd learn a lot more in an hour of random reading through Wikipedia than you would learn in an hour of random reading through Vogue. What is Vogue? Nine hundred pages of ads, most with anorexic models, and a little bit of editorial thrown in, which is mostly just pandering to their advertisers. How many trees are killed to make that magazine versus how many trees are killed to make Wikipedia? JuanOso 06:57, 25 November 2005 (UTC)

  • Well, note that these critics you are making for vogue are quite the same as the 0 she gave for that article on wikipedia. I mean, even if it's a waste of trees, some people will buy it, just like some people will visit wikipedia, you don't have to be that harsh (even if the magazine really IS a waste os trees - I have never read it - that's just not NPOV... lol) Algumacoisaqq 13:03, 25 November 2005 (UTC)

Last call for arbcom candidates

(CC'd from Wikipedia talk:Arbitration Committee Elections December 2005/Candidate statements) - Anyone wishing to be a candidate in the 2005 arbcom election/appointment process should list themselves on Wikipedia:Arbitration Committee Elections December 2005/Candidate statements immediately. Raul654 23:13, 26 November 2005 (UTC)

Semi-automatic image categorisation on commons

Some people are interested in Wikipedia:Moving images to the Commons (if the images are free use, ie. not fair use) in order to allow them to be used by all wikimedia projects. One of the pains of using commons is the need to categorise images so that they aren't "orphaned" ("what links here" only shows links within that project, ie on commons it only shows links within commons). Commons:User:Duesentrieb has made a tool that suggests categories based on what the image links to within other wikimedia projects and keywords you put in.

This Public Service Announcement was made by pfctdayelise 05:28, 29 November 2005 (UTC)

WikiStatus: the new OpenFacts

OpenFact's Wikipedia Status page has many problems. For instance, updating the status is very unwieldly. In times of great crisis, it's really difficult to stop edit conflicting.

I don't mean to advertise or anything, but I do have a solution for our dilemmas. It's called WikiStatus. I finally had the last straw with this OpenFacts page, and decided to code an application entirely for reporting Wikipedia's status myself. This is the culmination of that effort. The source code is available and licensed under GNU GPL (tell me if I'm doing anything wrong as this is the first time I've released any sort of application).

Take a look for yourself and judge which is better. Comments would be greatly appreciated, you can reach me via my talk page. Thanks! — Ambush Commander(Talk) 02:19, 26 November 2005 (UTC)

  • Hey, looks great. All I need to do now is bookmark it.  Denelson83  00:33, 29 November 2005 (UTC)

WikiProject Distributed Indexing

I've created a new subproject to the Missing articles project that will coordinate efforts to create editable-text indexes to the several scanned, online, public domain encyclopedias. These will then become lists used in the main project to determine missing articles/redirects/content. — BRIAN0918 • 2005-11-29 21:42


I'd like to announce the opening of Featured article review, a project to identify featured articles in need of attention and provide input on the further improvement of featured articles. Please consider contributing in this important area of quality control. Tuf-Kat 04:19, 2 December 2005 (UTC)

New edit page text

With a recent MediaWiki update, the edit page text that everyone loved to ignore has been moved above the Edit summary field. Because that is bound to drive most people insane, it has been temporarily shortened to a quick one-liner until discussion decides what it should contain. The original content has been moved to MediaWiki:Edittools, so that it appears just like it did before. — BRIAN0918 • 2005-12-2 04:03

German Wikipedia disaster

Oh man, poor de:. Someone has flooded the German Wikipedia with copyrighted material from communist East German reference books. How many articles are affected? [17] ᓛᖁ  03:42, 2 December 2005 (UTC)

19th century on WP:COTW

I've nominated 19th century for COTW. Since this will be a very broad article, it's important to make sure things are fairly covered. So, I'm posting here to get others' attention about the article (which only has 2 sentences), and to let people know that if they want to make sure a certain topic is adequately covered when this article is expanded, they should add their support to this nomination (please note that any votes for support are also indications that you will help expand the article if it wins). Thanks. — BRIAN0918 • 2005-12-2 01:40

Also, to compare to a lengthy century article, see 20th century. — BRIAN0918 • 2005-12-2 01:41

Development suggestions

Cross posting to VPT, VPM and VPN.

Hi there, I'm a MediaWiki developer who amongst other things made the Cite tool and the license selector on the upload page. Since I can't figure out anything to do development wise right now I thought I'd invite people to make suggestions, big or small, for things to work on on my talk page. Note that your idea has a greater likelyhood of being implemented if it isn't taxing on our already overloaded databases. Suggestions might be proposals for new features, improvements of existing ones, fixing of filed bugs or anything else that comes to mind. —Ævar Arnfjörð Bjarmason 07:55, 3 December 2005 (UTC)

Wikipedia status

The usual Wikipedia Status page at Openfacts doesn't seem to be updated often, and the site is slow. I found another one at, people may want to use that instead. It seems automated, because you can't edit the page, but there are some interesting statistics. 18:58, 2 December 2005 (UTC)

Dorkswithoutfaces review

I found this review to be amusing in a lot of ways. For one, Dorkswithoutfaces was nominated for deletion on the basis of being non-notable. Secondly, the creator of wrote in the AFD that he didn't think it was notable either. "I Honestly Don't Care I'm the guy who owns the site, I was just told about this thing today by the guy who posted it. Wow, what a pile of crap he wrote. Anyway, do what you want boys & girls, gave me some material to write about today anyway. Although a little commentary, for a site that offers encyclopedia entries for Chat Rooms & a guy who legally changed his name to Optimus Prime because his wife divorced him, it seems highly dubious for you guys to be put in a position where you make that sort of call? Well either way, it's all in good fun! There is quite a lot of interesting stuff to read!"

The review actually isn't all that bad, and I thought it was funny that he'd done it during the deletion process, especially since his page is almost certainly going to be deleted.

Anyway, without further adieu, I give you the article: Zordrac (talk) Wishy Washy Darwikinian Eventualist 22:46, 3 December 2005 (UTC)


The Seigentaler issue was part of Scarborough Country yesterday Dec 2. The progam was not very flattering for wiki. af:Gebruiker:Jcwf 21:36, 3 December 2005 (UTC)

John Seigenthaler Sr. Slashdotted

Just so people know that this article is currently on the top of slashdot. No doubt this will lead to many edits to the page that will need the usual scrutiny by the community. If we're lucky it may also lead to new members of the community. -Splashtalk 13:21, 1 December 2005 (UTC)

Ditto "usual scrutiny", the comments on Slashdot are disheartening. I don't see one thread started by an intelligent look at the issues involved; they seem to think criticism by an First Amendment expert is ironic. ᓛᖁ  14:32, 1 December 2005 (UTC)
I saw this news at linuxinsider. Is there any action from wikimedia to fix these kind of errors? If yes could you provide a link so I could follow the progress. Thank you. roscoe_x 06:36, 4 December 2005 (UTC)
You can begin by pressing the "edit this page" button up the top of your screen... -Splashtalk 06:49, 4 December 2005 (UTC)

Kate's tool alternative

Since Kate's tool is going to be down for quite a while, someone has created a very cheap, slow alternative. — BRIAN0918 • 2005-12-5 07:16

New York Times

We are in the New York Times for the John Seigenthaler Sr. fiasco. Not fun. You can see it here. Broken S 05:57, 4 December 2005 (UTC)

It quotes Jimbo as saying that Wikipedia may start blocking unregistered users from creating new pages. Overall it wasn't as bad (negative) as some of the articles. Broken S 06:01, 4 December 2005 (UTC)

Is anyone shocked that USA Today has readers? We should see JS as a leading critic of Wikipedia, our new enemy. Lotsofissues 06:52, 4 December 2005 (UTC)

Oh please. Leading critic? Just a little hyperbole there. —Matthew Brown (T:C) 07:19, 4 December 2005 (UTC)
Multiple MSNBC shows, CNN on Monday, (anyone know about Fox?)--this man is at the forefront of Wikipedia opponents. Compare to McHenry, who only managed to publish articles online. Lotsofissues 09:29, 4 December 2005 (UTC)
I don't think Wikipedia needs enemies, frankly. I'd much rather Siegenthaler was regarded as a friendly critic. The Land 16:19, 4 December 2005 (UTC)
Diplomatic of you. But, he thinks you are either a defamer or protecting them. Lotsofissues 22:30, 4 December 2005 (UTC)
He wouldn't be able to criticise us if we didn't leave ourselves open to us. Attacking him for highlighting our deficiencies is a classic case of blaming the messenger. We needed someone like him to point out our own failings. Maybe now we'll actually realise that WP is not just a game but something that has responsibilities. As if this case wasn't enough we have now also apparently reported someone as being a convicted rapist in a list when they are not. It is on the wikilist. Luckily that vandalism or incompetence only lasted for 5 hours. FearÉIREANN \(caint) 00:29, 5 December 2005 (UTC)
USA Today is the top newspaper in the US in terms of circulation. I still don't know anyone who actually reads it, though. — BRIAN0918 • 2005-12-4 07:21

Moral: we should be merciless in removing each and every unsourced, or unreliably sourced statement from articles. Of course, an editor has two choices: either find a source, or remove the statement to the talk page and say why. Oh, wait. WP:V already says that. Why don't we do it? -Splashtalk 07:25, 4 December 2005 (UTC)

Another article referencing the controversy. Is it just me or does anyone agree that this article is deficient in organization or a point? Shreveport Times Lotsofissues 09:30, 4 December 2005 (UTC)

This NY Times article is very fair, even ending with experts and librarians speaking positively about Wikipedia. Anyway, in the end people use WP for the same reason we do; it's immensely useful.--Nectar 13:02, 4 December 2005 (UTC)

The Seigenthaler thing was the top story on the Google News Sci/Tech section earlier, but now seems to have disappeared completely. the wub "?!" 23:53, 4 December 2005 (UTC)

USA Today Editorial: Wikipedia is full of bullshit

Well it was for the writer and he has a right to be indignant. Before reading, remember, this was published because in the popular perception Wikipedia is considered a favored source.

Lotsofissues 03:04, 30 November 2005 (UTC)

I must say, I laughed my ass off :) --Fito 03:10, 30 November 2005 (UTC)
I'd be mad if I was him also. Large blocks of unwikified text should be speedyable (exaggerating of course, slightly). We need to remember, it's more likely that someone will come around and add more text than it is for people to delete old text (because it's harder). Broken S 03:15, 30 November 2005 (UTC)
While it's unfortunate that this caused him personal distress, I'll say the same thing I've said before: {{sofixit}}.--Sean|Black 03:54, 30 November 2005 (UTC)
Anyone writing an editorial response:Please do not use the sofixit answer. The public expects a reasonable reference or else many of them would find it pointless to use. To them, pinning personal responsibility to stabilizing an article sounds absurd. No matter what you think, don't even hint at this argument because it is ineffective to an audience unprepared to accept the premises. Lotsofissues 04:00, 30 November 2005 (UTC)
Upon reflection, that response was inappropriate. I believe, however, that Wikipedia is an "encyclopedia-in-progress". It's not perfect, nor is it complete. If we need an unfortunate incident like this to point out one our failings, that's unfortunate, but that failing will be fixed, and future failings prevented in the future.--Sean|Black 04:32, 30 November 2005 (UTC)
Eh? What's so funny? Our encyclopedia contained patently false information on a subject. Worse yet, it implied that he may have killed his friend, which unsurprisingly hurt him. We are trying to write a good encyclopedia here. This sort of thing is exactly what we want to avoid, and when somebody finds cases like this we ought to be worried. I am. --best, kevin [kzollman][talk] 04:09, 30 November 2005 (UTC)
Yes, we need to consider becoming a more selective encyclopedia. There are far too many authors and journalists who are not well known. These articles can be taken advantage of for vanity and malice. Since there is nothing to verify claims against, readers can not police the articles--the working principle behind Wikipedia fails. Lotsofissues 04:23, 30 November 2005 (UTC)

But remember we are still a media darling (I think)! Evidence Lotsofissues 05:13, 30 November 2005 (UTC)

Well, the guy has a point over there. I don't think we can just ignore that our review sistem is flawed. Of course, I have no idea how to fix it... Algumacoisaqq 17:03, 30 November 2005 (UTC)

Wikipedia influences reality. Anyone can influence Wikipedia. Therefore, Anyone can influence Reality. — Ambush Commander(Talk) 01:21, 1 December 2005 (UTC)
Whoah. Cosmic. :)--Sean|Black 01:25, 1 December 2005 (UTC)
So in other words, if you spend 72 hours locked in a closet by yourself editing Wikipedia articles, you aren't really disconnected from society: You are molding society? It gives new meaning to the invisible hand. —Mike 08:23, 1 December 2005 (UTC)
Have you read Kojo Annan recently? It not only makes no mention of his libel settlement, but seems to repeat the libel. Susvolans 08:27, 1 December 2005 (UTC)
Fixed. The page still needs heavy reworking; everything after the first paragraph seems to be trying to make a case against him, which is plainly not encyclopedic. --Aquillion 04:16, 2 December 2005 (UTC)

It is not just that. An IP user has been posting defamatory edit summaries accusing two named people of child sex abuse, along with an address and telephone number. Luckily the number is ours, and the two people named, Bush and Jimbo, aren't likely to sue, but if he had named anyone else and giving their name, address and telephone number, the embarrassment over accusing someone of being part of a conspiracy to murder a friend would have been small fry in the resulting media furore.

As to the newspaper column complaint over our disgraceful article, IMHO he was dead right. Bullshit is all over WP. I recently found a claim that a friend of Diana Princess of Wales claimed that she believed that her ex-husband was an eight foot high lizard from outer space who drank blood!!! It was in an out of the way article that obviously wasn't visited very often, and had sat there for months. That one was crazy, but how many real cases are there like John Seigenthaler's on there in Wikipedia-land? As we get bigger, how many articles are not being checked often? I've noticed that whereas before almost every IP edit had a named editor afterwards who made changes or if necessary reverted, some articles seem to have been edited by only IPs for weeks on end. Were they checked? Recently a serious article was found to have had areferences to fæces added in and to have survived numerous edits, because the vandalism had survived a series of IP edits and users (including myself) then came in weeks later to edit other bits without spotting a reference buried in the text weeks earlier. Eventually, another IP found the reference and deleted it. We do have a problem here guys. We need to face up to it. WP gets an easy ride in the media because of the novelty factor. But when(and it is when) people focus on content rather than existence that good press could easily evaporate. The honeymoon period every new idea gets only lasts so long before the hard questions start being asked. Are we really up to that tough examination? FearÉIREANN \(caint) 14:56, 1 December 2005 (UTC)

If you are concerned, there is a stable article project proposed. Now might be as good a time as any to support this! - Ta bu shi da yu 02:37, 2 December 2005 (UTC)
The short answer is we aren't. I have to say that I think the guy has a really good point to make. Imagine if a "Top 50 Web site" accused you of murder. I certainly wouldn't be happy. An we really have no way of knowing how much of this kind of thing is going on. Filiocht | The kettle's on 15:29, 1 December 2005 (UTC)
  • Probably to achieve true encyclopedic quality we'd have to have some type of "gold standard" for well-researched, properly edited pages that are essentially frozen, subject to periodic reviews and updates. Changes can then be run through an draft page/update review, similar to what we have for AfDs. But I'm not sure that'd be workable. My sense is that at the moment wikipedia is still in the process of maturation, and that when we reach a point where all the imporant stuff is covered in depth then more of the focus will be on quality. Or at least I hope so. Or maybe high standard pages can be off-loaded to a more stable version of wikipedia that can be referenced academically? — RJH 23:57, 1 December 2005 (UTC)

Siegenthaler is a crybaby. That's all I have to say. — Stevie is the man! Talk | Work 02:02, 2 December 2005 (UTC)

Yes, you're right. Totally unreasonable to be offended when an encyclopedia article implicates you in the death of a close friend. Show a little sensitivy, dude.--Sean|Black 02:08, 2 December 2005 (UTC)
I understand your point, but absolutely will not oblige your request. This is all really a case of "thin skin-ism" and I will not tolerate suggestions by Siegenthaler that freedom of expression be suppressed. If this happened to me, I would just work behind the scenes to correct the articles, and laugh it off. This is a big blow-up by a big baby. — Stevie is the man! Talk | Work 02:20, 2 December 2005 (UTC)
I tend to agree. As much as I agree Seigenthaler was libeled, I wonder if part of the reason he's ticked is that the fact that no one noticed for four months shows that he's not as big and important as he thought he was. Hell, I didn't even know his son was a "Jr." Frankly, it seems that it just exposed that he's better known today as the father of an NBC News reporter than for anything he did in the past.
I also believe, as a not-quite-former journalist myself, that his article is rife with the kind of irresponsibility he's accusing us of. He says all Wikipedia "authors" are nameless and hard to trace. Uh, I use my own name here and I'm hardly the only one.
He says he only learned of this biography from his son and then went to Jimmy Wales to complain. Couldn't he just have edited it out and left a message complaining on the Talk page? Instead, so to speak, he's got to make a federal case out of it.
Just because of one scurrilous poster, everything in Wikipedia is thus "gossip". Who's recklessly generalizing here?

Daniel Case 02:36, 2 December 2005 (UTC)

"Why doesn't he just edit?" He's a 78 year old man. Give him a break. Look at his newly assembled biography--quite a remarkable life. Lotsofissues 02:51, 2 December 2005 (UTC)
Yeah, and practically a hagiography at that. The way it's written now you fully expect it to end with him getting canonized. Why don't we just change the article title to "We're sorry"? Or make it a featured article — as is. Daniel Case 14:51, 2 December 2005 (UTC)
Oh, and give him a break because he's 78? If he can write (or have his personal assistant write) an op-ed for a national newspaper, he damn well can edit (or have his personal assistant edit) his Wikipedia article. Daniel Case 14:53, 2 December 2005 (UTC)
From the executive editor of commentary at CNet, Charles Cooper: ᓛᖁ  18:00, 2 December 2005 (UTC)
Of course, Seigenthaler might have registered as a user with Wikipedia and corrected the article himself. Failing that, he could have posted comments to the article correcting the mistakes. The reality is that this is asking too much. We're talking about a 78-year-old guy who came of age when state-of-the-art was defined by 78 rpm records, tube radios and black-and-white televisions. And with so much stuff out there--and more getting created each day--was the burden on Seigenthaler to know he was the subject of a Wikipedia article? I'm sure his first question was, "What in the heck is a Wikipedia?"

Daniel, you are being grossly unfair. The problem wasn't that page. It was that we published bullshit about him. It isn't HIS job to fix it. It is OURS. Not only did we not fix it, and left it there for months but it was then copied all over the internet. So possibly hundreds of thousands of people now believe that that man was responsible for his friend's death, all through OUR incompetence. You may think that it is no big issue, but how would you feel if there was an article here about you, and someone doctored it to say Daniel Case was convicted of raping two seven year old girls in France but fled to the United States where he works for a journalist. and that was then appearing on websites all over the net, being read by thousands, maybe millions of people. How would YOU feel walking down the street not knowing if the people in the queue around you who know your name now think that you are a fugitive child molester who rapes seven year old girls? Would YOU be quite so blasé about it if a Wikipedia article claimed a member of your family had criminal convictions, or suspected links with Al Queda? I don't think so. He has every right to be very pissed off. At his time of life he should be enjoying his life, not trying to undo the damage done to his reputation by a disgusting lie that WIKIPEDIA SHOULD HAVE SPOTTED AND FIXED. We are 100% in the wrong. It is astonishing that there are some people who don't grasp that and try to blame him.

WE fucked up. If WE get grief and if OUR reputation is damaged then it is no more than we deserve. It should serve as a wake-up call to Wikipedia. Too many people treat it all as a bit of a game here. But when we get it wrong it isn't just a game, it is someone's good name we are damaging. We may be destroying a lifetime of someone's work in earning respect. If WP can't stop such things as happened to this gentleman happening then it shouldn't exist. WP has power but with power comes responsibility. Blaming him for OUR screw-up is a cowardly cop-out. FearÉIREANN \(caint) 03:13, 2 December 2005 (UTC)

Eireann, I think that you've spoken quite eloquently about this issue and I agree with everything you've said, but also can identify with the sentiment Daniel seems to be expressing, even if I'd express it in another way. Seigenthaler does seem to write off all of Wikipedia as unfounded gossip perpetuated by a bunch of rogue, computer-loving criminals. Or at least defamers. The fact of the matter is that this was a huge oversight on our community's part, and likely is reiterated countless times over in this encyclopedia, but his op-ed is a highly emotional piece diatribe that's low on reasoned analysis. Does he have reason to be highly emotional? Absolutely - we need to be sensitive to that. Do I think that he even attempts to give Wikipedia a fair shake? Absolutely not; the man comes off like a 78-year-old print media luddite. I'll close, however, by saying that no if's, and's, or but's; we need to glean a lesson from all this.
Forgot to sign above: Coolhappysteve 07:57, 2 December 2005 (UTC)
Look, Eireann, I tend to agree that this points to problems here. And I have a solution I'll propose later. But all the same, I'm glad Coolhappysteve saw my point.
To it I'd also add that he really should direct most of his ire at BellSouth, who don't seem to have thought about this sort of thing happening and how best to handle it. Jimmy gave him the information he could to help him confront whoever did this. And I would bet, if BellSouth is like most IPs, a simple lawyer's letter whether he files a John Doe suit or not would be all it would take to cough the information up (This points to the need for some legal reforms in how we handle such suits, and again I have ideas but Wikipedia is not the place for them). Since he couldn't get that from BellSouth (and someone with his connections can't or won't find a lawyer who could do this with just a phone call? Please) he blamed us.
We have some lessons to learn, to be sure, but we are not the only ones. Daniel Case 14:33, 2 December 2005 (UTC)
Further addendum: Seigenthaler would have a legal case but not a financial one. I would bet very few people looked at the article, or it would have been corrected sooner. Thus, while the original poster was unquestionably posting information that was defamatory, and seemed to have no discernible basis in fact, Seigenthaler really couldn't prove any measurable injury to reputation. I honestly think more people became aware of this attack on him when he repeated it in USA Today than ever did through Wikipedia (and smart defamation lawyers usually advise their clients exactly the same thing: more people will usually hear about this when you sue whoever said it than ever read or heard the original attack). Again, smart thing to do would have been to handle this on the down low. Daniel Case 14:48, 2 December 2005 (UTC)

he could have corrected the article with a simple edit. Or even just told somebody, on Talk:Main Page, or via email, and we'd have obliged him within the minute. But no, he drags it to USA Today, and now to CNN. ffs, the only lesson in this is one for vandals, namely, you can be famous (like Herostratus) for vandalising Wikipedia. I mean, he is a victim, but he is a victim of defamation by some anon jerk on the internet, what's the point of making this a national crisis? I refuse to admit that "I" am, or "we" are "100% in the wrong" for not spotting this. Nobody ever claimed we can spot all vandalism, so guess what, we didn't spot this one, and he didn't help us spotting it, that's all there is to it. That said, if all publicity is good publicity, here we have Jimbo on CNN, so I don't think Wikipedia will lose from this. dab () 14:41, 2 December 2005 (UTC)

i'm essentially clueless about WP's underpinnings though i'm familiar with WP as an occasional user; nevertheless, i signed up with WP just to ask the following question: what does this page -- User talk: -- mean? the ip address for this entry corresponds to the ip address cited by siegenthaler. the entry date -- or is it last revised date? -- also corresponds to that which siegenthaler cited as the creation date for his erroneous biography. does the following "diff" page -- User talk diff=prevoldid=17571250 -- mean that a WP sysop (robojames) replaced a blank entry (submitted by anonymous user @ with a standard WP boilerplate message, i.e., "Thanks for experimenting with Wikipedia..."? sorry for the bother if i've violated any rules or posited this in the wrong place. thank you in advance - Breathe agm 03:50, 3 December 2005 (UTC)

Yes, you have it right, though doesn't seem to have written anything on that talk page (of course, all their contributions have also been deleted). It would be interesting to know which edit Robojames (not an Admin) had responded to.
This isn't a bother at all, and here is probably as good a place to ask as any. ᓛᖁ  04:19, 3 December 2005 (UTC)

OK, here's my proposal for how we might deal with this problem in the future. Daniel Case 04:29, 3 December 2005 (UTC)

Re the comments up a bit: Hold on a moment guys. Of course he went public with it, for two reasons: firstly, he is a writer, and if we writers fart perfectly in the key of C we write about it. It is what we do. But secondly, and more seriously, this rubbish was all over the internet. Changing the article months later isn't going to correct a false impression that probably thousands, possibly millions, of people formed about him. Be realistic, guys. If a serious piece of defamation is perpetrated against you, you do one of two things. One, you go to court, not for the money though that helps (but most give it to charity) but so that it can be said in open court, and reported in all the media, that what people had read was lies. Not that that ever undoes the damage completely. There will always be people who will think that there is "no smoke without fire" so there must have been some truth in it, just no-one can prove it. In true conspiracy theory style, they won't accept that some son-of-a-bitch made the story up. They'll believe "oh well that is what the police and the media really believe."

If you can't go to court (and you can't against the net for defamation) then you stand up and scream at the top of your voice, to make sure everyone hears you, "that's not true". Yes that means more people hear the allegation, but it also means that everyone hears the truth. You don't know if it is still being repeated somewhere on the net. You don't know if your grandson's girlfriend, browsing the net, won't come across it and think when she is meeting you that she is meeting a murderer. You don't know if a businessman you meet next week, next month or next year won't read it and believe it. Or whether, when you and he meets, and he goes back to the office that his secretary won't say "you know that man you met for lunch. Wikipedia says he was linked to the murder of the Kennedys."

In 1979 the then President of Ireland, Patrick Hillery called journalists together to brief them that a rumour going around was not true. He had no mistress living with him in his official residence. He and his wife weren't splitting up. It was a complete fabrication. In reality few of the media and none of the public had heard the rumour yet. But he didn't want months or years down the line to find that as he travelled Ireland doing his job that the rumour was spreading and people were whispering "did you hear that Paddy's got a mistress living with him in the Áras?" So he killed the story by going public and saying in a loud voice — whatever you have heard, or will hear in the future, about my having a mistress, is not true. It is a made-up smear.

People here don't realise how much power we have. A year ago some asshole made up a bit of fiction and sneaked it into the article. Most readers would have believed it: it was totally believable. I happen to know that it is complete bullshit because I know the factual details. When I saw it I deleted it. But today a google search turns up hundreds of references to that rubbish all over the net. It isn't major, but a complete bit of garbage that was cleverly sneaked in and which never existed before it was written on us. But today a google search can "prove" its true, all because it has been repeated over and over, and copied over and over. Deleting the fiction from our article, the original source, won't kill the myth. It is out there and probably always will be. (It was about a ficticious title for a particular royal.) So yes we have power. But also, once we start a rumour, a claim or a myth we no longer can kill it off. So his changing our page would have made no difference. The story was out there, and probably on hundreds of pages and mentioned in thousands of chatrooms where people were talking about the Kennedys. That is why he had to go public.

One final point: you may think this is old news, but it isn't. When he dies the ridiculous claim we made about him may well feature in his obituaries in newspapers worldwide. He'll never live this down. He'll always be known as "the man that Wikipedia said killed Kennedy". At least by going public the papers will write it in the form "he was the victim of a sickening hoax" rather than, as could have happened if he had not denied it so publicly, obituaries researched over the net and seeing the calumny saying "Rumours in the 1960s suggested that he was involved in the Kennedy killing, but nothing was ever proven". He will always have that story associated with him. And when he dies, thousands of people who read the original story on us or on the sites which repeated it, and who either never heard his denials or didn't believe them, when they notice his name in the obituaries are guaranteed to say "Isn't he the guy who was involved in the plot to kill the Kennedys? And he was supposed to be a friend of theirs. He was a fucking scumbag." In life and in death he will now forever be associated with that story, a story that was 100% fiction and 100% our fault. Remember that when you criticise him for going public. And ask yourself the question: how would YOU react, what would YOU do, if vast numbers of people worldwide believed that you were a murderer, or a child rapist, or whatever, all because a website you never even heard of published a maliciously made up story about you? FearÉIREANN \(caint) 04:54, 3 December 2005 (UTC)

(sigh) I sort of thought this thread was dead, and I was hoping people would move on to discussing my proposal for how to deal with potential libel problems in the future.
But I highly doubt this will chase him for the rest of his life. The edits are gone the way of deletion now, they certainly won't turn up in any search for facts of his life when he dies (any reference to him in connection to the assassinations is in connection to this controversy and nothing else, according to Google). In fact I would consider the allegation ludicrous on its face, especially given that the libeler was clever enough to phrase it as if it were an allegation later found unfounded instead of a unresolved question, which may have deterred the people who did read it from editing it out. Lord knows enough people have been accused of involvement in the assassinations, some with more support, and gone on with no apparent injury to reputation.
That it hurt him personally I don't deny, and I would feel the same way. But who frustrated him more in his attempt to find the SOB who did it: Wikipedia, which gave him the editor's IP and permanently removed the offending edits from public view; or BellSouth, which lawyered up and sent him on a bureaucratic runaround? And which of them does he blame?
Yes, as a Wikipedian I will take the heat due Wikipedia, and try to improve the way we do things. But I will not take it all when there are other equally deserving parties. Daniel Case 22:52, 3 December 2005 (UTC)
BTW, here's a blawgger, Daniel Solove, who says exactly what I've been saying:
I certainly am sympathetic to Steigenthaler's [sic] plight, but his essay demonstrates how he attempted to take the wrong approach. First, the minute he found the false information on Wikipedia, he could have corrected it himself or had a friend do it. However, I don't know what process is available on or for making corrections. Second, if he wanted to sue the author of the entry for defamation, he could have done so by first filing a John Doe lawsuit in court. Courts provide special protection for anonymous speech, but that protection isn't absolute. For example, if Steigenthaler can establish a case sufficient enough to withstand a summary judgment motion, he will be able to unmask his defamer.
And another:
As an old-media guy, the nature of editors at Wikipedia is probably completely alien to Seigenthaler. The ability of Wikipedia, like the blogosphere, to self-correct is proportional to the number of eyeballs that view the page with sufficient interest to do something about it. Also, he is understandably upset. He was one of RFK's pallbearers and this scurrilous attack must be especially painful. But that last sentence was still jarring, coming from the founder of a center on the First Amendment.
Same blawg, later post:
Congress and the Courts weigh the privacy concerns of the users, but they are not absolute protections. If Seigenthaler wants the name of the anonymous Wikipedia editor badly enough, he can file a suit, and he'll get it if the Court says it's appropriate. In this case, the identity sought would be of the actual defendant, not a witness, and even though he's a public figure, the stuff posted to Wikipedia could be within the standard set by the court.
Populated by?!! Like many of the critics of the new media, Seigenthaler is ready to paint with a very broad brush ... this is like saying newspapers are populated by lying fabricators because of Jayson Blair, Walter Duranty , Mary Mapes ... oh, never mind.
Seigenthaler gets some slack for being distraught ... yes, it's a lot easier for me to be high-minded ... I wasn't accused of being a murderer. But he had a golden opportunity to explain why protecting speech is worth the cost of having to protect the due process rights of even those as warped as whoever posted his now-deleted Wikipedia entry ... and he whiffed on it.
Daniel Case 23:11, 3 December 2005 (UTC)
You know, maybe those blog posts belong in the article in some way. Or a separate article about this little controversy.
And did it ever occur to Seigenthaler that by doing this yet not filing a lawsuit, he may actually have increased the chances that some future historian/conspiracy theorist will think there might have been something to it? Consider the following sentence that could come out of this controversy: "In 2005 Seigenthaler was angry when an article in Wikipedia suggested he had been suspected of involvement in Robert Kennedy's assassination. But while he claimed his character had been defamed and that the accusation was untrue, he declined to file a lawsuit that could have identified the article's editor — a curious decision for a man who claimed to be so defamed by the accusation. Why? What was he afraid of? If you were defamed, wouldn't you want to sue the defamer to the end of the earth?"
All undeniably true, and now it gives anyone wanting to repeat the allegation a surefire way to do so without fear of libel, as it's now an opinion, an interpretation of facts.
If I weren't such an honorable person, I'd head on over to some conspiracy site with a drawer full of socks and start talking this one up. Daniel Case 23:29, 4 December 2005 (UTC)
The accusation was not even sourced from conspiracy theories. There isn't anythng pinning this guy. Nicely simulated, but your hypothetical world, where a historian would even make that point, will only exist in your imagination. Lotsofissues 00:04, 5 December 2005 (UTC)
Historians, conspiracy theorists ... who knows the difference anymore? In any event you're not totally getting my point. Conspiracy theory is mutable. Just because someone hasn't been a suspect in any conspiracy theory doesn't mean they can't be at some point in the future. I mean, did anyone ever suspect Edward DeVere of writing Shakespeare before J. Thomas Looney in 1920? But now, for the so-called Oxfordians, he's a prime suspect. Believe me, if you wanted to validate this somehow by making it look retroactive, you could find ways to do it. Anybody's life can be used to open the doors to suspicion. And it's not just hypothetical. Prosecutors do it with defendants all the time. And win. Daniel Case 06:16, 5 December 2005 (UTC)
My 2 cents here is that I think that Seigenthaler over-reacted in a dramatic manner. For one thing, I don't think that there is any evidence that anyone thought less of him because of someone saying that he was "rumoured to be one of the suspects in the JFK assassination", indeed I doubt that anyone besides him even noticed that it was in there (until now, of course). Secondly, as a lot of people have stated, he could have just cleaned it up himself and saved the trouble. I mean, put simply, Wikipedia got their facts wrong, yes, and it was over something that text-wise was so tiny that nobody noticed. Had anyone noticed, they would have fixed it. Whilst to him it might be significant, to us it is not. I think that his threatening to sue over it is silly. Wikipedia is not intended to be taken as 100% verified fact - it is intended to be a resource to be used to help with things. It is not as good as Brittanica in terms of factual accuracy, and never will be. However, one of the benefits is that it is constantly updated - whilst Brittanica has to wait 12 months to get an update, Wikipedia can be done immediately. Another advantage is that it is not limited to the sphere of knowledge of Brittanica authors, and can be about absolutely anything (which leds to suggestions that support a Inclusionist point of view). I don't think that he has a case that he has been slandered, as it didn't ever assert that he had done anything - all that it asserted was that he was rumoured to have done something. If someone wrote a page about Bill Gates and wrote on there that "Bill Gates was rumoured to have been involved in Watergate" then its not slander, because its only a rumour. There are arguments that rumours should not exist in an encyclopaedia, and in most cases they shouldn't. However, it was never stated as fact that he was involved in the Kennedy assassination - it was only ever stated as a rumour. So, in short, I think that he should just calm down and make peace and be at one with the world. That being said, I have to say that I don't think that Wikipedia is ideally all that great. However, look at the article I've been working on: Peter Falconio disappearance. It is the most well-researched, well-referenced and detailed account of events that is available anywhere on the internet. Things like that (patting myself on the back here) is why Wikipedia can beat a regular Encyclopaedia. It also beats all of the news stories on the topic as well. Pity that it needs a massive cleanup though. Zordrac (talk) Wishy Washy Darwikinian Eventualist 06:55, 4 December 2005 (UTC)

Over 100 newspapers pick up AP story on controversy

Not good.

Lotsofissues 09:32, 6 December 2005 (UTC)

Ugh... the number of articles about this doubled yesterday, then increased sevenfold today, to about 200. You can see them all at Talk:John Seigenthaler Sr./Fallout... ᓛᖁ  15:53, 6 December 2005 (UTC)

Local media coverage

I was just contacted (on my talk page) by a reporter for the Contra Costa Times, a San Francisco Bay Area newspaper. She interviewed me, and wanted to know about the recent controversies and changes to wikipedia. (I told her only good things, and was honest too! ;) I imagine other users in other places may be contacted by local media also, after the recent national attention. For media people interested in Wikipedia's limitations and unreliability, a very helpful resource may be Wikipedia:Researching with Wikipedia—it explains how to critically evaluate the reliability of Wikipedia material, and is our counter to complaints that not everything is accurate. (I.e., "we never said it was, and here's what to do about it!") -- SCZenz 01:58, 6 December 2005 (UTC)

The nytimes article is less harsh on wikipedia and seems well researched. --PamriTalk 04:50, 6 December 2005 (UTC)

Seigenthaler doubles the size of his original critique

What the article would have looked like without the benefit of an editor Lotsofissues 22:05, 4 December 2005 (UTC)

See legal blog posts quoted above. They're still applicable, if not more so now. Daniel Case 23:32, 4 December 2005 (UTC)
Amazing. Evidently written in the height of anger. I wonder if he'll regret it? - Ta bu shi da yu 07:15, 5 December 2005 (UTC)
Just seems to confirm that people are okay with the idea of free speach until someone says something they don't like. This does not of course, excuse our failure to catch the error, however considering the fact that tons of biographical (and other) articles are vandalized everyday the error in his article was not unique and our failure to catch it was not part of some massive conspiracy against him as he seems to allege. Additionally, I find his broadbrushing of all Wikipedia editors as being on a quest to get him as offensive, inaccurate, and irresponsible. -Loren 23:15, 5 December 2005 (UTC)

Want a laugh? Its about Wikipedia but on an entirely different thing entirely. I just found it on the Sunday Independent website. Enjoy FearÉIREANN \(caint) 00:22, 5 December 2005 (UTC)

login: password:cathithiko — PhilHibbs | talk 12:37, 6 December 2005 (UTC)

Wales and Seigenthaler, CNN, Monday 14:30EST

According to Danny, Jimbo will be "facing off" with John Seigenthaler over the recent USA Today debacle on CNN at 2:30pm EST. If I find out differently, I'll correct the image. — BRIAN0918 • 2005-12-2 07:10

  • Nice bit of graphics work! Bit dramatic though - I am sure John and Jim will find lots to agree on. Pcb21 Pete 09:21, 2 December 2005 (UTC)
    • Yeah, it's not supposed to be serious, just funny. It'll probably be a productive discussion. — BRIAN0918 • 2005-12-2 14:08
  • I am not opposing Seigenthaler at all. I consider him a hero and we are on the same side, not in opposition. --Jimbo Wales 14:26, 2 December 2005 (UTC)
    • I didn't think you were opposing eachother either. It (the image) was just an attempt at humor. — BRIAN0918 • 2005-12-2 19:53
    • You aren't hostile to him and you don't want to be confrontational but of course you will oppose him. He wants ppl to know that Wikipedia is rubbish. I'm sure you will argue otherwise? Lotsofissues 10:29, 3 December 2005 (UTC)
      • Nah, I pretty much think that Jimbo will agree with him that Wikipedia is rubbish. algumacoisaqq 11:02, 3 December 2005 (UTC)
        • From a public relations perspective, I think talking to him on air is exactly the right thing to so. The public still don't particularly understand Wikipedia, and this is an opportunity to explain it. Does CNN make it shows available online after transmission? 12:14, 3 December 2005 (UTC).. .sorry, that was me The Land


The transcript of the interview can be found here. I think Seigenthaler comes across as pretty reasonable: thing I'm not interested in in any way is giving the government more power to regulate any form of media -- new media, old media.
I've always thought the best answer to bad speech was better speech. And I hope the column I wrote in "USA Today" was a better speech than what I found on Wikipedia. The problem that I think is that first of all, the disclaimer, if you read it says, we're not accountable.

Unfortunately, he saw some of stuff that those nice people at Slashdot added to the article; at least they gave us plenty of opportunities to show Wikipedia can usually remove vandalism quickly.

There are a couple of places [Wikipedia] mixed up my son John's name with mine. But I don't worry about that. What I do worry deeply about is the fact that during those five days, some vandals came online, contributed to that biography of encyclopedia, that biography of me, and it was -- I'll tell you, it was salacious, homophobic. It even took me from the position of being a suspected murder to being a murderer. And all of that can be found by any school child that knows how to work Wikipedia in the history today.
Could I just ask, Jimmy, with all respect, the day before yesterday, a fellow put on the Web site three times, your editor's reverted it, which means they put it in history, where it can be found. He said 20 times, more than 20 times: he killed Kennedy, he killed Kennedy.
He said it over again and then concluded with the words, "murdering expletive." And that's in the history, as of right now. I think. It was there this morning.

Interestingly, the interviewer also has some things to say about misleading information:

I have to say, my producer's, we even logged on, I ran my name. I was shocked to see what was under my name. I was pretty disappointed.
I saw that my bio was on there, which of course comes from CNN. But then there was stuff about how liberals -- I'm accused by liberals of showing right-wing bias, and then it links onto other blogs with a bias, and I look like a right-wing commie, if you were to look at my name on this Wikipedia site.

Is it known whether we have permission to copy CNN's transcript? ᓛᖁ  01:17, 6 December 2005 (UTC)

One thing I'm pleased about

Britannica has not been asked to comment! EVER! :-)

Lotsofissues 11:53, 7 December 2005 (UTC)

New page for anons to request articles

I added Wikipedia:Articles for creation (WP:AFC) as a page for anon. users to request that an article be created. This will hopefully tone down the impact of the recent policy changes on legitimate article additions. I encourage other users to help out with the task of watching this page, and to edit the page to make it more friendly. This page is currently linked from the default message that anon users see (at Mediawiki:Nocreatetext). -- Creidieki 22:00, 5 December 2005 (UTC)

There should probably be some big, bold text (both at WP:AFC and on the "Page creation limited" page) telling users to make sure that the article they want doesn't already exist. This seems to be a problem, judging from the requests received so far! HorsePunchKid 2005-12-06 00:36:27Z

How does this differ from Wikipedia:Requested articles? User:Zoe|(talk) 03:53, 6 December 2005 (UTC)

  • The difference appears to be that anonymous editors can post a stub of their article there and a registered user can create it for them, however useful that may or may not be. ESkog | Talk 03:56, 6 December 2005 (UTC)
    • If you look at the stuff on that page that won't be created, it seems like it's pretty useful to me. -- SCZenz 03:58, 6 December 2005 (UTC)
      • At a cursory glance it looks like 1/4 mispelled redirects, 1/4 copyvios, 1/4 request for infor that should go to Reference Desk and 1/4 useful stuff. About half of the useful stuff has been created, and I'd be suprised if any useful article posted there will be lost for long. And besides, when people register there are more likely to return then not. PS. What a shame that stuff like 'Since then, Dyson's luck, like his hair, is running out.' won't be in our new articles...--Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus Talk 16:33, 6 December 2005 (UTC)
  • Looks like from the list that wikipedia lost all of 65 good faith artiles. Of course, if each of those were users who would of started editing wikipedia but didn't due to the block, we could of lost 65 X 11.20 edits per page.--Rayc 16:35, 6 December 2005 (UTC)
  • The basic difference is that Wikipedia:Requested articles asks for someone else to write an article. Wikipedia:Articles for creation is for when an anon has already written something, and simply wants it posted. We've been fairly good about leaving talk page notes for the users who post there, and we're absorbing a lot of the useless requests and petty vandalism that New Pages Patrol used to. And we've created several good stubs and redirects. -- Creidieki 19:02, 6 December 2005 (UTC)

Back to the old (new!) Drawing Board...

There are many new articles that are being created that appeal to a wide audience. Likewise, there are many people with good ideas for new articles that might interest other people but they want to thrash it out with others first.

The Wikipedia:Drawing board is a new page for discussing ideas you have about articles. It's mainly for people that have an idea but are not really able (for whatever reason) to create or expand on it. It's also for interesting new articles that other people might be able to come up with ideas about. violet/riga (t) 12:02, 8 December 2005 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Wikifun: Round 11

Round 11 IS NOW OPEN will start at 09:00 GMT (UTC) Thursday 8 December. Dmn 09:16, 8 December 2005 (UTC)

Hooray for wikifun :) +sj + 20:52, 7 December 2005 (UTC)

New York Times newsroom loses confidence in Wikipedia

See reported memo: [18]

Lotsofissues 20:43, 7 December 2005 (UTC)

I think they just finally realized what was going on. If they had done their homework, they would know that Wikipedia is not a primary source. --DanielCD 22:29, 7 December 2005 (UTC)
    • We shouldn't be using it to check any information that goes into the newspaper. - Wow. They were using Wikipedia to check information? Maybe we should issue a memo not to use the Times. Dystopos 22:42, 7 December 2005 (UTC)
Dystopos: The meaning of what you said just struck you said way more in one sentence than what I said in the whole paragraph below. Sweet comment...really. --DanielCD 23:37, 7 December 2005 (UTC)
I think all this publicity is to the good. When the dust settles, everyone in the world will know about Wikipedia and how to use it correctly. -- SCZenz 22:57, 7 December 2005 (UTC)
I see the issue being brought up over and over (often by ppl who never heard of Wikipedia before last week) that Wikip. and Ency B. are not equivalent and how Wikip. is innaccurate. Well...I don't think we EVER claimed to be a primary source. Good grief, when I write an article, such as Fifinella, I use several refs for the info, right? By definition thats NOT a primary source. No one mentions the dynamics of the community, of having to support claims, about removing unreferenced material...heck I read in one article the claim that (paraphrase mind you) "unreferenced material in Wikipedia is always added. If no one can find a source, then no one can refute it, and it stays there forever." Are these people for real? Did this guy hear about Wikipedia for the first time yesterday reading the news on his cellphone? I've removed tons of material that had no reference, in fact, I believe it's policy to do so.
End rant. I'm going to take a long break now. One wonders how some ppl can chew gum and breathe at the same time. --DanielCD 23:35, 7 December 2005 (UTC)

Recent press

I'd just like to get on my soapbox and make a comment about the recent press and a lot of the bunk that being written in editorials. If nothing else, Wikipedia is providing a service by putting the ideas of Accountability and Bias on the table for public examination. I think places like the USA especially need such ideas re-examined, as much of the population there and elsewhere simply don't know how to evaluate resources because they are used to having so much information canned and spoon fed.

As Al D'Amato would say (at least the D'Amato I remember from my younger days)...What do you think? --DanielCD 18:50, 7 December 2005 (UTC)

  • I think what you think. :) — BRIAN0918 • 2005-12-7 18:56
  • I live in the US and think what you think. Excellent point. - Lucky 6.9 09:01, 8 December 2005 (UTC)

Continent in topic

I've created Template:Africa in topic, Template: Asia in topic, Template:Europe in topic, Template:North America in topic, Template:South America in topic and Template:Oceania in topic, which can be applied to almost any series of articles about nations. For instance, using the argument "Geography of" ({{Asia in topic|Geography of}}), it produces the box below. All suggestions for making them clearer or prettier are very welcome; and please add them to any relevant articles. Warofdreams talk 16:41, 7 December 2005 (UTC)

Jimmy to be on NPR this hour!

Listen to Talk of the Nation live at

--mav 19:15, 6 December 2005 (UTC)

Thanks...I have it playing right now. - Lucky 6.9 19:22, 6 December 2005 (UTC)

You can also stream the audio here [19]Deathawk 16:37, 7 December 2005 (UTC)

There has been much talk on Wikipedia about being sued, mostly by "experts" without a law degree. The question of whether or not Wikipedia can be sued is secondary to:

  1. the further massive damage to credibility that the filing of such a suit would do, or even just being named a party to the case if someone sued a contributor, and
  2. the cost of high-powered legal representation just to win it or even just getting it dismissed.

Perhaps another lesson to be learned in terms of credibility is that in libel cases the Courts have ruled that deliberate quoting out of context so as to mislead is part of libeling someone. At Wikipedia, we have used the fact that someone is deceased as a license to say almost anything, or quote any rumor because we can't be sued for libel. That is not acceptable to anyone. Now that Wikipedia has been subject to public ridicule, sooner or later some reputed biograper or scholar will undoutedly attack this in a public form as another example of Wikipedia unreliability. To restore Wikipedias reputation, James Wales must resolve the problem with the Wikipedia Arbitration Committee and editors must step back and examine encyclopedic quality. Talk pages need to be cleaned up on a regular basis as is done here at the Village Pump as some of them are disgusting, childish, obnoxious or plain spamdexing when they appear on Google searches and are demeaning to the subject and to Wikipedia as a whole, adding to our now tarnished image. I think they call it "cleaning up your act." Show we are serious about quality and integrity, and public opinion can change. - Ted Wilkes 23:11, 6 December 2005 (UTC)

Anon page contributions

Real nice article about that Seigenthaler fellow. Saw it in USA Today. I just love vandals, don't you? Which brings me to my point: Having the database locked out to anon users is now creating a slew of first-time users whose contributions are nothing but vandalism. I've blocked at least three of those idiotic bot-type vandals who don't put anything more in the article space other than the title...and these ridiculous things now have user names! Yes, our vandals are now establishing accounts! Vanity articles? No problem. You can spot them a mile away. The user name is often the same or damned close to the nonsense he/she leaves. I've welcomed several; almost none have returned for further edits. I say "almost" because those who do return invariably add more vanity and/or nonsense. Fun, eh? - Lucky 6.9 16:27, 6 December 2005 (UTC)

Yes, we have to consider what's worse: a bunch of IP's vandalizing, or the creation of a large number of vandal accounts, clogging up our system and taking up usernames. Someone above suggested dumping all anon-created pages into a category. That seems like a great idea: that way they can easily be reviewed and speedied. —thames 15:10, 7 December 2005 (UTC)
  • Ooh, Daddy like. Monitoring those would take some serious manpower, though. Could such a system be computerized, I wonder? - Lucky 6.9 09:00, 8 December 2005 (UTC)

Should Wikipedia be distributing in permanent form?

In light of the John Seigenthaler case, what must be considered here is not just the fact that such a character asassination of John Seigenthaler occurred on a website, but as reported by CNN [20] and other media outlets, in early November Jimmy Wales announced that the content from the Web site was going to be made available in print form and burned onto CDs and DVDs. What would have happened if Seigenthaler hadn't caught this? What about others who might have been similarly attacked or articles where the content is filled with fabrications that have not yet been discovered? A Wikipedia Internet article that can be edited is one thing, but should Wikipedia be distributing in permanent form (book/CD) something that has had no verification of any kind? - Ted Wilkes 21:30, 5 December 2005 (UTC)

Obviously nobody should be printing articles that haven't been reviewed. --Brion 21:31, 5 December 2005 (UTC)
I think that articles which have been approved formally as being quality should be able to be put in permanent form. "Complete" articles, as it were, that are well displayed, factually accurate, verified, neutral, well laid out, and everything else. These kind of articles should be able to be permanently stored. But works in progress, especially in their early stages, should not be able to. It's just too risky. Zordrac (talk) Wishy Washy Darwikinian Eventualist 21:48, 5 December 2005 (UTC)
No articles have been certified and locked from further editing. What is perplexing is that Wikipedia founder admits serious quality problems, The Register 2005-10-18 but then Jimmy Wales announces plans to print the Wikipedia content less than two weeks later. This doesn't make sense. - Ted Wilkes 21:54, 5 December 2005 (UTC)
See Wikipedia:Pushing to 1.0 -- nobody thinks of just burning the database on CD and distributing it. "WP 1.0" will in any case just be a pale shadow of the living database, but maybe useful as a collection of reviewed articles. Apples and Oranges, I'd say. dab () 21:58, 5 December 2005 (UTC)
    • Perhaps more like plucking the ripe fruit from the tree. Dystopos 22:16, 5 December 2005 (UTC)
I mean when an article is suitably good to be presented. I have seen many examples of articles that are encyclopaedia-worthy. Zordrac (talk) Wishy Washy Darwikinian Eventualist 20:02, 6 December 2005 (UTC)

I posed the question because the announcement was made more than a month ago that a print/CD etc. version would "soon" be available yet no article has been locked, not even a Wikipedia:Featured article. Or is Wikipedia going to sell someone an expensive book or CD etc. that is already vastly outdated by the time it hits the market? - Ted Wilkes 15:16, 6 December 2005 (UTC)

why would anyone lock an article? You just tag a version considered good for inclusion in the static version, the live database need not be affected at all. Just because an article makes it on WP 1.0 doesn't mean it is "finished" and shouldn't be further improved. dab () 16:02, 6 December 2005 (UTC)
Worth mentioning: the first de:Wikipedia:WikiPress edition has come out in German; with a double-layer DVD including a snapshot of the German Wikipedia (the third such snapshot) and a print version of a book containing focused German-Wikipedia content (written and edited as any other book would be; but with free content feeding back into the encyclopedia).
The book itself is about Wikipedia, and a print copy (in German, mind you) can be snagged via here. +sj + 20:51, 7 December 2005 (UTC)


I'm trying to get the steward status. Thanks to support me villy 15:04, 9 December 2005 (UTC)

South China Morning Post blasts Wikipedia for crappy Ferdinand Marcos entry

"I exercised my right as a Wiki user and edited the entry. But when I inspected the site a few hours later, I found my corrections had been deleted and the original restored. This started a two-day war that saw me and the mysterious contributor editing each other. Anybody who read the entry during that time would have blinked at how paragraphs appeared, disappeared and reappeared within minutes.

I finally had an acerbic message exchange with the poster, who seems to have based his "facts" on what he read in two books. For now, my corrections have stayed but I'm bothered that, for at least two years, the entry was read by people who used it as a reference. The same contributor has also written about Marcos' children and some cronies, so I've broken out a stack of books, documents and newsclips. There's some Wiki whitewash that needs removing."

Lotsofissues 21:53, 8 December 2005 (UTC)

Inaccurate press coverage

An article in today's Guardian newspapaer[21] about preventing anons creating new pages gives the inaccurate impression that all anonymous contribution are being prevented. I have emailed the paper's Readers Editor[22], who handles corrections & clarifications, about this; I am posting this here so that others know I have done so, so that we don't send him lots of emails about it. -- AJR | Talk 15:45, 8 December 2005 (UTC)

There's a lot of false info and heresay being passed around, a lot of it by people who've never heard of Wikipedia before last week and who've probably never visited the site. I was responding to some of it on message boards, but in the end, I think the merits of the project will speak for themselves. Not that criticism shouldn't be answered. --DanielCD 20:58, 8 December 2005 (UTC)
Have a read of Thunderer in the opinion pages of today's Times. Pcb21 Pete 11:44, 9 December 2005 (UTC)


My dear friends, [23]

You had better act soon. --VKokielov 05:47, 6 December 2005 (UTC)

Erm... That's from May.--Sean|Black 05:52, 6 December 2005 (UTC)
Of course. And we have Mr. Wales on television promising that it's gone.
What if Seigenthaler comes back tomorrow? --VKokielov 05:58, 6 December 2005 (UTC)
Good point, and I'm sorry if that souded rude. In any case, I have deleted and selectively restored the article to remove the offending revisions--Sean|Black 06:07, 6 December 2005 (UTC)
Page history is page _history_. We should not be messing with it! — David Remahl 06:51, 6 December 2005 (UTC)
Sorry, but Jimbo said to remove all the stuff that Seigenthaler objected to from the history.--Sean|Black 06:54, 6 December 2005 (UTC)
This is actually the part that worries me. Editing the history should be forbidden. It is no different from newspeak removing unfacts.--Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus Talk 16:41, 6 December 2005 (UTC)
Yes it is. Take a moment and realise that what you're suggesting is that Wikipedia admit it has no way of permanently removing defamatory content from its pages. An English court will make no distinction between the latest edit and one made four years ago, if it's still there to be accessed today. 17:14, 6 December 2005 (UTC)
The damage is already done. Seigenthaler has been checking back often enough to see the vandalism by Slashdot. ᓛᖁ  15:25, 6 December 2005 (UTC)
I don't see anything on Special:Undelete for the page. I'm lost... Titoxd(?!? - did you read this?) 06:24, 6 December 2005 (UTC)
Neither do I, and the link is not on top of the history page- perhaps someone higher up somehow got rid of it altogether? It's in the log, though.--Sean|Black 06:29, 6 December 2005 (UTC)
I glanced at the deletion log, and it seems that someone restored the article while I was in the process of selectivley undeleting those bad revisions. Why they did so is a mystery to me, my reasons were perfectly clear in the deletion summary, but whatever. I'm not doing that again.--Sean|Black 06:54, 6 December 2005 (UTC)
Fixed, now. I just deleted the first three offending edits from the history. Which was needlessly complicated and time consuming, by the way (ahem, developers: single edit deletes would be nice). --Jeffrey O. Gustafson - Shazaam! - <*> 09:32, 6 December 2005 (UTC)
Apparently, deletion of items in history is not allowed under GFDL, which says that the history section must be preserved intact. That's why it was all restored. — BRIAN0918 • 2005-12-6 12:47
But we do it for copyright violation, I don't see why the same wouldn't apply for libellous statements, which if left in any sort of archive leave Wikipedia open for a libel suit. Steve block talk 12:54, 6 December 2005 (UTC)

if people start complaining about the crap buried in edit histories now, I'll just throw up my hands in despair. What's so special about this Siegenthaler case that everybody jumps to attention if he has his article vandalized? Because he is a "hero"? What about the edit history of Alexander the Great then? Calm down, people, what counts is that the present revision is unvandalized; we really cannot oblige people who are offended by vandalism lingering in article history. dab () 13:06, 6 December 2005 (UTC)

Alexander the Great is dead. He can't sue. Everyone here is jumping to attention because eventually someone is going to sue, and then we really had better oblige people who are offended by vandalism lingering in an article history. Each time that article history is viewed, a window of opportunity (1 year) opens for someone to sue Wikipedia in England and Wales. They don't even have to appear in person to give evidence. They don't even have to prove it is false. Wikipedia has to prove it is true. If I'd reverted that piece of vandalism, I'd start to sweat that my name isn't in the suit. Steve block talk 13:29, 6 December 2005 (UTC)
remember google refusing to unlist "offensive" sites to avoid opening a can of worms? They even apologized for the Nazi site coming up #1 for a search for "Jew", but they didn't change it manually, saying "sorry, that's not the way we operate". If we remove vandalism from edit history once, just because somebody shouted at us, we can do it again, right? We would then be much more likely to be sued because we removed one offending statement, but not another. Unless you want to hire 20 people doing nothing but pruning edit histories, I say let it be. Also, you might be surprised at how many people are prepared to sue on Alexander's behalf (but Alexander was a random example, of course, pick any article). dab () 13:34, 6 December 2005 (UTC)
Comment: Various international google sites do, in fact, censor content. --Jeffrey O. Gustafson - Shazaam! - <*> 17:12, 6 December 2005 (UTC)
Like I say, you wait for the lawsuit. There's a huge difference between libelling a person and the google example. Google can quite adequately claim what they claim, but until I get a written letter from a British libel law expert that says we have nothing to worry about, I am going to worry. However, note, we already have set the precednt at [[Wikipedia:Copyright problems/Advice for admins, which directs us to remove offending material from the edit history. Your precedent has been set. Steve block talk 13:42, 6 December 2005 (UTC)
I have obviously no clue about US law, but you would expect that the worst that could happen is that they subpoena us for the IP address of the vandal, and then go sue the vandal, since he (she) is the person has done the actual libelling. As far as I heard, nobody even threatened with a lawsuit. Siegenthaler said Wikipedia is crap, and that's it. SO it is really my turn to say, you wait for the lawsuit first (or at least the threat of one). dab () 15:53, 6 December 2005 (UTC)
Litigators worldwide would be rubbing their hands together with glee to see someone attempting to dismiss legal liability by stating their belief that their activities were legal and saying "Wait for the lawsuit"... Anyway. In a British context, it's not at all clear that Wikipedia would be protected by the ruling in Godfrey v Demon Internet. I'd find it very easy to argue that Wikipedia has both knowledge of, and control over, all content posted on its website, and as such should be treated as the "publisher" of that content. If (as is being discussed in this hypothetical example) someone did decide to sue WP based on defamatory content contained in a preserved edit history, I'd be hard pressed to argue that a known defamation being left online because it was too much hassle to remove it was not negligent. A judge would also take a staggeringly dim view of the unhelpful comments along the lines of "Fix it yourself then" - it's not legal to (for instance) tack up a notice on a lamppost suggesting someone to be a child molester, and it's not a defence to argue that the victim could easily have taken it down or crossed it out himself etc etc. If someone *does* decide to sue under English law, WP looks to be riding for a fall and I've no idea how to get around it. 17:11, 6 December 2005 (UTC)
To be honest it isn't U.S. law you want to worry about, it's British law. Under British law Wikipedia is deemed to be the publisher. It's not clear whether editors who edit the page which contains the libel would also be potentially liable, since it could be argued they, in editing and then saving a page containing a libellous statement would be open to being named in the suit, since such editing and saving could potentially be deemed dissemination under British law. I've said this before elsewhere, but I'd be happy to hear Wikipedia had taken legal advice on these matters, and even happier to see that published. No, we haven't heard that Wikipedia has been threatened with a suit. Like I say, you wait for the suit. You decide what you're going to remove and what you're going to leave in a page, that's fair play. But the foundation at the very least has to consider what it wants its policy to be regarding libellous statements viewable in a page history given that each viewing in the UK opens Wikipedia up to a libel suit within a windoiw of one year from siad viewing. Steve block talk 17:09, 6 December 2005 (UTC)
IANAL (on either side of the pond)--but I remember hearing that in the UK, truth isn't necessarily a defense against a libel suit either--even if you catch someone "in the act" with their mistress, it's still libel if you should publish the details. And it seems that Australia has rather strict privacy laws, limiting what sort of private details may be published about an Australian citizen or national; and that the Australian authorities have tried to enforce such on foreign publishers. Of course, our best defense against all of this is WP:V--information which is publicly verifiable is, by definition, unlikely to run afoul of either libel or privacy laws. Which still leaves the problem of "rogue" attacks which are not vetted for conformance to WP:V or other policy, which could leave Wikipedia exposed. --EngineerScotty 00:53, 7 December 2005 (UTC)
Why should we care what British libel law says? The Wikipedia servers are in Florida, in the United States. As far as I know, Wikipedia has no physical presence in Britain. The UK has no effective mechanism to enforce a judgment against Wikipedia. We can't comply with every single set of national laws in existence. Many nations have laws forbidding any depiction of sex or nudity whatsoever - should all of that be removed too? Firebug 07:00, 8 December 2005 (UTC)
You're right. Maybe we should wait until a reuser gets slapped with a writ and everyone withdraws funding. Steve block talk 14:29, 9 December 2005 (UTC)

It is very startling to stumble onto a blank history. Article histories and discussion pages often shed more light on the nature of the information in the article. Being able to access that "black box" (in Bruno Latour's sense) is often critical to being able to trust the content -- which seems to be at the heart of the issue at hand.

Specific alterations of article history should be made as transparently as possible, perhaps leaving a notice:
Access to this portion of the page history has been removed by [[User:So and so]] because it violates [[This policy]]. Complete page histories are stored by the Wikimedia Foundation and are available to researchers according to [[This other policy]]. Dystopos 21:58, 6 December 2005 (UTC)

Does anyone think that the "Wikipedia edition" partnership will increase these liability risks significantly? Rather than simply providing space for articles and being supported by donations, Wikipedia will soon much more directly receive funding from the commercial use of the content. Many of these legal defenses will become more strained. Tfine80 23:05, 6 December 2005 (UTC)

?!! is there something wrong with the Wikipedia:General disclaimer that doesn't cover this current Situation? WP has got to have this kind of immunity. How can whatshisname complain about what's in the edit history, when he quotes it in his article? I hope the foundation can get some lawyers on this and make sure we aren't setting a very bad precedent here. On the topic of blocking anons.. I've tried to do some RC and especially NP patrol, I am mostly in favor of this change (as it will reduce noise), but it will also make sorting out bad stuff a little bit harder - anons do seem a bit more likely to create trash in their new articles than others. Not to denigrate the valuable contributions of anons in edits or new pages at all, but like any other forum where a little bit of user work is requested before more privileges are granted, it can raise the bar a bit on your average vandal. Besides, you can (and I often do) trace an IP, only admins (?) know who is behind a username. Just my Lm0.02... --Srl 03:32, 7 December 2005 (UTC) - In other news, a team of experts has come up with the startling conclusion that Wikipedia is apparently a community-written free encyclopedia. Film at 11. Srl 03:43, 7 December 2005 (UTC)
Seigenthaler can complain about the history regardless of whether he quotes the deleted material publicly. An act of libel occurred in the past; he's now explaining it was libel. His choice to repeat the libelous statements does not and should not protect Wikipedia from legal action. ᓛᖁ  04:03, 7 December 2005 (UTC)

End of year fund drive to start soon

The next Wikimedia Foundation fund drive will start on Friday 16 December and will end on Friday 6 January. There is no specific goal, but we would like to at least cover the budget for the rest of this year and the first quarter of next year. That means we need at least $500,000. Basically the more we get, the more we can do.

I therefore encourage all language communities to help make this drive a success by translating the fund drive documents and placing fund drive notices on their wikis's MediaWiki:Sitenotice page when the drive begins.

The translation coordination page is here:

The General coordination page is here:

Thank you for any help you can offer. :)

Daniel Mayer (aka mav),
Wikimedia CFO

German Wikipedia on DVD

Directmedia is now selling copies of de: as a DVD for €9.90. [24] ᓛᖁ  15:27, 10 December 2005 (UTC)

Criticisms of Wikipedia

The Wikipedia:About page has been updated. It now makes far more clear what Wikipedia is and is not, and how to use or rely upon it (caveats etc) in research.

I'd suggest link it prominently from wherever beginners usually start, and if we get any more "Wikipedia is unreliable" then the first question becomes, in a polite way, to ask them point blank, did they RTFM first? FT2 04:21, 9 December 2005 (UTC)

FT2, and everyone who's worked on Wikipedia:About - good work; it's a very nice page, with a lot of good verbiage on it. Thanks. JesseW, the juggling janitor 07:42, 10 December 2005 (UTC)

Fund drive

The start of the fund drive will be on Friday 16 December and the end will be on Friday 6 January. See the translation coordination page.

Daniel Mayer (aka mav)
Wikimedia CFO
If I do some accounting work, can I have a cool title too? 00:05, 9 December 2005 (UTC)
If you can find enough that isn't being done already, and do it well, sure. (Of course, AFAIK, mav is doing a what needs doing, and doing a fine job, so this might be pretty hard...) JesseW, the juggling janitor 07:33, 10 December 2005 (UTC)