Wikipedia:Village pump (news)/Archive H

Comments Welcome: A content-based reputation system for the Wikipedia

We have worked on a content-based reputation system for the Wikipedia. The basic idea is to track, via an analysis of the versions of an article, which edits are long-lived, and which are reverted in short order. Authors gain reputation when the edits they perform to Wikipedia articles are preserved by subsequent authors, and they lose reputation when their edits are rolled back or undone in short order. Thus, author reputation is computed solely on the basis of content evolution; user-to-user comments or ratings are not used. We have evaluated the performance of this idea on the Italian and French Wikipedia (our algorithms are improved now, but at the time, we could not handle the larger English Wikipedia). The results are reported in a paper in WWW2007.

We are aware that our system is far from perfect; in particular, in its current incarnation, it is not robust to gaming (authors can increase their reputation while giving little lasting contributions, by playing appropriate edit strategies). We are working on improving this. Nevertheless, we are curious to hear if there are any reaction to this from the Wikipedia community. Peter il Pinguino 00:45, 10 March 2007 (UTC)

Interesting. How would you handle reverts? a revert by percentage will last for a very long period of time, while not contributing anything in a very narrow sense of the word. And If I don't like someone, why wouldn't I track their edits and re-word what they said ever so slightly rewording thier comments to hurt thier reputation? --YbborT 00:24, 10 March 2007 (UTC)
Reply: a revert adds no text (so you get zero reputation for the text added), but is a reorganization that stays (so you get reputation due to the edit). This gives a prize to people that revert inappropriate content. However, if A adds something, B reverts A's addition, and C reverts B's reversion reinstating A's contribution, B's reputation suffers. So you cannot simply go to a random page and revert it to a previous version to get reputation. You need to make sure that future visitors won't revert your edit. Peter il PinguinoT 00:52, 10 March 2007 (UTC)
I had a brainstorm about watching a revert war: rubberwiking. Not bad, I think. --SwingLowSweetDeej 03:58, 10 March 2007 (UTC)
Doesn't this hurt people who edit contentious subjects (like David Irving, or Neuro-linguistic programming or John F. Kennedy assassination) - where people sometimes remove even well sourced statements) relative to those who stick with more factual, science-based ones? Coricus 19:45, 10 March 2007 (UTC)
When user A is reverted by B, A's reputation is diminished in proportion to B's reputation, so the penalty for being reverted by anonymous users is not great. This said, yes, one of the things we need to look at is to renormalize the results according to the underlying "variability" of each article. Very good comment. Luca de Alfaro 06:35, 13 March 2007 (UTC)

What Happened with Essjay?

You don't log in one day, you miss all the news. So, Essjay left because of some huge scandal, which apparently occurred entirely during the day I took off Wikipedia to do something else. Since this has spawned miles of comments on various talkpages that would take a few hours to read, can anyone fill me in on the details? GhostPirate 18:11, 5 March 2007 (UTC)

Fortunately we have (uh, had) a good article about the whole deal. It can be currently found here.  Grue  19:05, 5 March 2007 (UTC)
We still have see Essjay controversy. Lumos3 13:18, 8 March 2007 (UTC)
Or you could listen to the wikipedia weekly podcast special episode about Essjay. It's slightly outdated now, but it gives a good rundown. Witty lama 21:36, 5 March 2007 (UTC)
Or you would even read the BBC's article on it. Warofdreams talk 16:50, 6 March 2007 (UTC)
It's for that that we have the Wikipedia Signpost. It's the first article on this week's issue. --cesarb 17:02, 6 March 2007 (UTC)
Thanks for the help, everyone. It seems that news spreads quickly. GhostPirate 17:08, 6 March 2007 (UTC)
The Louisville Courier-Journal is also covering it. I was contacted for a phone interview, apparently because I'm a major editor and I live in Louisville. :) Stevie is the man! TalkWork 00:51, 7 March 2007 (UTC)

ABC News had a pretty critical report on Wikipedia and Essjay tonight: http://abcnews.go.com/US/story?id=2928756&page=1 Corvus cornix 02:38, 7 March 2007 (UTC)

The ABC report was pretty lame. The New York Times did a pretty good job. -- Ned Scott 05:35, 7 March 2007 (UTC)

There is also this AP report that seems to make some surprising claims about the future of anonymous editing. TimVickers 21:32, 7 March 2007 (UTC)

Honestly, I think the only thing this whole affair does is cast doubt on the usefulness or legitimacy of "credentials" such as college degrees and what-not. If what the guy wrote is correct in all particulars, then what does it matter if he has someone standing "over there" saying "yeah, we taught him that - we'll vouch for him." It's obvious he didn't need anyone to "vouch" for him, or validate his "credentials." Someone once said, "It ain't braggin' if you can DO IT." And if you can DO IT, then who cares how or why? I support EssJay. Let his work stand or fail on it's own merits, not on the merits of whether or not someone else issued a statement and a piece of paper about him. 68.99.76.43
Amen. Corvus cornix 02:56, 8 March 2007 (UTC)
I pretty much agree, but I also agree with the seemingly contrary idea that lying about one's achievements is flat-out wrong. Stevie is the man! TalkWork 23:40, 8 March 2007 (UTC)
I second this statement. How many editors boast degrees in their user pages? How often are they used in winning disputes? And again, if we are going to check credential, how are we going to deal with degrees from degree mills? Either we admit that wikipedia is deeply flawed at its core, because issues are mostly resolved by appeal to authority rather than by consensus or else we candidly admit that everyone is entitled to his or her own on-line persona because that has no influence whatsoever on the quality of the editorial work. 194.94.96.194 00:13, 9 March 2007 (UTC)
I'm in favor of simply letting an editors own conduct and edits speak for themselves instead of appeals to degrees and "expert status". AgneCheese/Wine 05:23, 9 March 2007 (UTC)
Here, here, I second the motion. To me it's best not to take a user's degree listings on faith alone. Usually one can tell fairly quickly, though, based on the quality of their replies and edits—at least in areas where one knows something about the subject matter. :-) If credentials were required at some point, however, I think I'd then insist on seeing Wikipedia's privacy policy statement. (Some of us just prefer maintaining our privacy.) — RJH (talk) 19:17, 12 March 2007 (UTC)

Unusual Articles in the Wikipedia store

I've made some merchandise based on Unusual articles -- the full section is here and if you want to comment, suggest new stuff, etc., the meta page is here. Tlogmer ( talk / contributions ) 01:27, 12 March 2007 (UTC)

Gene Weingarten

In March 11's column, Gene Weingarten announced that he intentionally vandalized his Wikipedia article, then sat back and chuckled as it wasn't caught. Then when it was caught and the User who caught it chided him for vandalism, he attacks the User in his column and reveals the User's Real Life personal information. Corvus cornix 19:29, 11 March 2007 (UTC)

Could you providea likn to the story? --YbborT 19:38, 11 March 2007 (UTC)
It isn't online yet, I looked. His most recent column online seems to be three weeks old. Corvus cornix 19:49, 11 March 2007 (UTC)
It's online, the link was provided on Weingarten's talk page. I think it's important to rembember that it's a humor column and not take it very seriously. Weingarten, Gene (March 11, 2007). "Wiki Watchee". --JayHenry 21:19, 11 March 2007 (UTC)
Yeah, lighten up. He says "All in all, the system worked. I'm impressed" and then adds that he wanted to be known as the father of Anna Nicole Smith's baby, so it's not like this is the editorial page of the Economist or something. - DavidWBrooks 21:50, 11 March 2007 (UTC)

Request for Comments

I just updated my blog with an essay "Wikipedia burnout: an analysis", & with tredipation I am soliciting feedback. -- llywrch 22:16, 25 February 2007 (UTC)

I thought it was interesting. As you say, regrettably a few people have been driven away permanently. However, I think Wikibreaks are a good thing. They can be quite useful when the stress level gets too high ("I can't leave now! Wikipedia NEEDS me! Gotta check my watchlist!"). You made a good point about the retention rate, we do lose a lot of people. However, this is an online project, and editors don't necessarily feel obliged to stay on. To put it in different words, "Old Wikipedians never die, they just fade away." GhostPirate 21:49, 1 March 2007 (UTC)
Nice paraphrasing of Douglas McArthur in above comment, GhostPirate, and nice essay on the blog, Llwrch. Very interesting. It kinda makes me not want to be an admin when I hear these tales of admins asking to be de-synopsed. Captain panda In vino veritas 04:20, 2 March 2007 (UTC)
It may be significant for some of your analysis to take note that Fred Bauder appears to have created Wikinfo in 2003. Wikinfo currently largely imports articles from Wikipedia. Hence in a way Fred Bauder has harnessed Wikipedia to Fred Bauder's own project. This may serve as a possible explanation why Fred Bauder does not burn out. Itayb 13:52, 2 March 2007 (UTC)
Fred did respond in an email to my analysis (but has not yet given me permission to reprint on my blog), & mentioned Wikinfo as one reason he is not as active on Wikipedia as before. Nevertheless, he still makes a surprising number of edits even now, when other Wikipedians who have moved on to other chores have all but stopped editting. -- llywrch 01:02, 12 March 2007 (UTC)
Old wikipedians never die, they just revert. — RJH (talk) 19:36, 8 March 2007 (UTC)
The best way to keep stress levels down is ensuring civility. When new users join there're often told about the Five Pillars of Wikipedia, How to edit a page, Help pages, Tutorials, How to write a great article, Manual of Style -- that's a lot of information! Given how many members of this Web site are teenagers, how likely is it that it all gets read? And even if it does... etiquette is a long way down the list. Maybe when you sign up to jin you should be asked your age. Older users could be given all this info and younger ones might have something smaller with WP:TEA, WP:DBAD or WP:TIGERS near the top of the list. Pitch your message to your audience? Coricus 19:26, 10 March 2007 (UTC)

Use of a wikipedia image without any notice

Hello, just wanted to bring your attention to the following : this site: http://www.militantplatypus.com/blog/884/animated-stereogram/ uses this picture: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Stereogram_Tut_Animated_Shark_Small.gif

.. Is that ok ? The site bears a "CC" notice, but still.. shouldn't he mention where the image is from ? I have no idea what to do here, so i'll just mention it and let you guys deal with it :) —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 82.66.108.69 (talk) 20:13, 10 March 2007 (UTC).

Well, that naughty site really should credit Wikipedia. But the use of Creative Commons or other Gnu-licensed content by third parties is perfectly kosher, as long as they pass on the freedom from copyright. Rhinoracer 21:57, 10 March 2007 (UTC)

Just to be clear (I'm not a copyright expert but I think this is correct). That image was licensed under the GFDL. Ergo if republished, it should be licensed under the GFDL. I'm pretty sure the GFDL is not backwards(?) compatible with any of the CC licenses (hence you can't take a GFDL licensed image and re-licensed under the CC). I believe the GFDL requires attribution to the original author which would be Fred Hsu. I'm not sure but I don't think a link to Wikipedia (or more accurately the wikimedia commons) is strictly legally necessary in this case although it helps to fulfill the GFDL requirements. The GFDL also requires the license to be published on the site. You may be interested in Wikipedia:Copyrights#Reusers' rights and obligations which will intended for articles is mostly applicable in this case as the image is GFDL licensed. If the original image were published under CC, it would depend on the specific CC used. While the non-attribution licenses are being phased out (because no one uses them) people of course are still perfectly entitled to use them. If there is no attribution required then no credit to anyone would be necessary. Finally note that it is possible the person who owns the site is Fred Hsu or got permission from him to license the image differently (or acquired the images from a different source). The best thing to do would probably to contact User:Fredhsu and ask him to look into it Nil Einne 14:35, 11 March 2007 (UTC)
Actually this is a better place to read Wikipedia:Verbatim copying#Verbatim copies of images Nil Einne 14:37, 11 March 2007 (UTC)
Edit 2: Since anon said they'd just let us deal with it, I contacted Fred Hsu myself Nil Einne 14:41, 11 March 2007 (UTC)

Thank you, Nil, for bringing this to my attention. I created this animated autostereogram for the Autostereogram article. And people have posted it ever since on many websites, often without attribution to wikimedia. I don't really care that they mention 'my' name, but at the least the website should clearly indicate that this file came from the Commons and include a link to the Commons page. Of course, I am not a lawyers and I really do not know what free legal recourses we have as contributors to Wikimedia. In the past, I have posted protests to 'blog' type pages, and add links to the Commons page. But I don't really have time nor resource to track down and remove every infringement :( I'll try to send an email to the admin of this site (militantplatypus) to alert them to this problem. Fred Hsu 15:34, 11 March 2007 (UTC)

Planet Wikimedia launched

Planet Wikimedia is now live. It is an opt-in blog aggregator for weblogs about Wikimedia projects, wikis, and MediaWiki. If you have a relevant blog, please consider adding it (see instructions); hopefully, this will become a useful cross-project communication tool.--Eloquence* 03:03, 11 March 2007 (UTC)

Arbcom announcement

The Arbcom is soliciting requests for checkuser access. See Wikipedia:Arbitration Committee/Checkuser requests Raul654 03:40, 28 March 2007 (UTC)

Vandalism Study results

Oh so long ago, User:Remember posted a proposal at the VP for a Wikipedia:WikiProject Vandalism studies (post), and low and behold it took roots and about four months later we've finished Study 1.

The first study analyzed a randomly sampled pool of 100 random articles. Within these 100 articles there were a total of 668 edits during the months of November 2004, 2005, and 2006. Of those 668 edits, 31 (or 4.64%) were a vandalism of some type. The study's salient findings suggest that in a given month approximately 5% of edits are vandalism and 97% of that vandalism is done by anonymous editors. Obvious vandalism is the vast majority of vandalism used. From the data gathered within this study it is also found that roughly 25% of vandalism reverting is done by anonymous editors and roughly 75% is done by wikipedians with user accounts. The mean average time vandalism reverting is 758.35 minutes (12.63 hours), a figure that may be skewed by outliers. The median time vandalism reverting is 14 minutes.

It's nice to see something from start to finish that's taken so long, and that started merely as an idea posted on VP Proposal. Anyways, further discussion is currently happening for Study 1. Also Study 2 is being planned out right now if any are interested in helping our or just peeking around and leaving some thoughts. JoeSmack Talk 05:20, 27 March 2007 (UTC)

With a tiny sample and a dubious methodology, I don't think this study should be taken very seriously. Still, it's better than guessing from one's impressions. _R_ 23:35, 28 March 2007 (UTC)
My thought is that the study should be taken seriously, but that the results need to be considered in light of the sample size and methodology. It is a start and subsequent studies will no doubt benefit from this first one - including constructive criticism of the first. --User:Ceyockey (talk to me) 00:56, 29 March 2007 (UTC)
That's more or less what I meant. I should have written "the results of this study", sorry. _R_ 01:30, 29 March 2007 (UTC)
Criticism welcome; we had to start somewhere, and I think the data still has some important things to say. JoeSmack Talk 16:18, 29 March 2007 (UTC)

Resignations

The recent resignations from the Wikimedia Board of Danny Wool and Brad Patrick have hit wired news. Night Gyr (talk/Oy) 22:05, 23 March 2007 (UTC)

Well, the news reports news and that is news I suppose. Captain panda In vino veritas 12:21, 25 March 2007 (UTC)

Sinbad (actor)

The fact that Sinbad (actor) was vandalized to falsely report that Sinbad had died is being discussed on television (it made the "crawl" on Fox News Channel and was talked about on "Live with Regis and Kelly"), yet I can't find any discussion on Wikipedia of the fact that this is giving Wikipedia a bad reputation. Where, if anywhere, are people discussing this as a general concern to Wikipedia? (I don't mean just as a topic of discussion at Talk:Sinbad (actor) but as a WP-wide issue.) --Metropolitan90 14:42, 16 March 2007 (UTC)

Sinbad, Dave Grohl... man, we're killing people on a regular basis around here. =P Unfortunately, one such occurrence probably spurs on more vandals to kill off thir favourite (or less than favourite) person to see if they can make the news. It's something that responsible editors have to keep an eye on, and try to deal with as soon as possible. Why it keeps hitting the mainstream news, I've got no idea. Slow news day, I suppose. "Hey, people vandalize Wikipedia. Shocking!" (The big media obviously needs something to do while they wait for Anna Nicole to rise from the dead.) If we're vigilant and check up on such claims when they're made, it should be something we can deal with as part of the usual vandal fighting process. Tony Fox (arf!) 17:23, 16 March 2007 (UTC)
Indeed, most vandalism is reverted in a few minutes, the fact that vandalism lasting 72 minutes is newsworthy is probably a good sign. --YbborT 21:44, 16 March 2007 (UTC)
I suspect it depends on the time of the vandalism, the popularity of the article, the number of watchlists it's on, and a bunch of other factors as to how quickly it gets reverted. RC patrol quite likely has gaps in coverage - this one probably just slipped through one of them, and unfortunately, someone decided to make it a news item. (I'd have spiked it, personally, if I were the editor in charge, and told the reporter to get a real story.) Tony Fox (arf!) 22:13, 16 March 2007 (UTC)

I'm experimenting with the article being unprotected; so far it's worked. Everybody keep an eye out on it, though. -- Zanimum 19:53, 19 March 2007 (UTC)

The news outlets aren't quite sure yet how to handle Wikipedia-related stories. Wikipedia's too big and too obviously a real breakthrough in information technology for them to just ignore stories, but then they tend to run the other way; they get fad-addicted and report on things like e-vandalism that will later be recognized as the ephemera they are. I used to work in a local television station's news department and every newsroom has its occasional newsgasm and its periodic mountains being made out of molehills. Vandalism of Wikipedia articles will continue to occur to some degree, despite the watchdogs' best efforts, but eventually the news outlets will see it for the non-story it is. --Molon Labe 07:02, 26 March 2007 (UTC)

Arbcom announcement

The Arbcom is soliciting requests for checkuser access. See Wikipedia:Arbitration Committee/Checkuser requests Raul654 03:40, 28 March 2007 (UTC)

Vandalism Study results

Oh so long ago, User:Remember posted a proposal at the VP for a Wikipedia:WikiProject Vandalism studies (post), and low and behold it took roots and about four months later we've finished Study 1.

The first study analyzed a randomly sampled pool of 100 random articles. Within these 100 articles there were a total of 668 edits during the months of November 2004, 2005, and 2006. Of those 668 edits, 31 (or 4.64%) were a vandalism of some type. The study's salient findings suggest that in a given month approximately 5% of edits are vandalism and 97% of that vandalism is done by anonymous editors. Obvious vandalism is the vast majority of vandalism used. From the data gathered within this study it is also found that roughly 25% of vandalism reverting is done by anonymous editors and roughly 75% is done by wikipedians with user accounts. The mean average time vandalism reverting is 758.35 minutes (12.63 hours), a figure that may be skewed by outliers. The median time vandalism reverting is 14 minutes.

It's nice to see something from start to finish that's taken so long, and that started merely as an idea posted on VP Proposal. Anyways, further discussion is currently happening for Study 1. Also Study 2 is being planned out right now if any are interested in helping our or just peeking around and leaving some thoughts. JoeSmack Talk 05:20, 27 March 2007 (UTC)

With a tiny sample and a dubious methodology, I don't think this study should be taken very seriously. Still, it's better than guessing from one's impressions. _R_ 23:35, 28 March 2007 (UTC)
My thought is that the study should be taken seriously, but that the results need to be considered in light of the sample size and methodology. It is a start and subsequent studies will no doubt benefit from this first one - including constructive criticism of the first. --User:Ceyockey (talk to me) 00:56, 29 March 2007 (UTC)
That's more or less what I meant. I should have written "the results of this study", sorry. _R_ 01:30, 29 March 2007 (UTC)
Criticism welcome; we had to start somewhere, and I think the data still has some important things to say. JoeSmack Talk 16:18, 29 March 2007 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Miscellany for deletion/Wikipedia:Attribution/Poll

Per comments on the Talk page here, and in other locales, it appears groups of editors are specifically against Jimbo's specifically requested public poll to gauge thoughts/support on the idea of the ATT merger. As it has been stated that the Poll is "dead" per users such as User:WAS 4.250, I am nominating this. If there is wide spread support to run this poll, this page should be kept. The MfD is here:

Wikipedia:Miscellany for deletion/Wikipedia:Attribution/Poll

Thank you. - Denny 16:16, 30 March 2007 (UTC)

Call for Volunteers

The Wikimedia Foundation is looking for volunteers to contribute to forming the Communications Projects Group, for the purpose of acting on specialized communications requests, such as researching press lists, analyzing media coverage, as well as other functions not presently covered under ComCom.

This committee will be made up of translators, wiki liaisons and consultants, from a variety of countries, including graphic artists. We are looking for volunteers who are willing to make CPGroup their first priority.

CPGroup will be responsible for executing and carrying out PR campaigns. Members of CPGroup will also be given the opportunity for training and eventual entry into the Communications Committee.

Interested parties should contact Sandra Ordonez or myself with your details and/or specialties.

More details may be found at Communication Projects Group Cary Bass demandez 14:13, 30 March 2007 (UTC)

Jimbo Wales's requested poll nearly done - please see

Jimbo Wales requested a poll to gauge community thoughts on the Wikipedia:Attribution merger. A poll for this is being crafted, and is somewhat close to done. Concensus for the past 24 hours (with the occasional dissenting voice of course) that the thing is close to done. Only the main question is still heavily debated. A pre-poll straw poll is here:

Wikipedia_talk:Attribution/Poll#Q1_Straw_poll_duration

To sort that out. Accepted group concensus seems to be to pre-poll to 4/1/07 22:00 and then launch a site-wide poll (again, as implied/requested by Jimbo) at 4/2/07 00:00. Please help hash out the wording for that last quesion. - Denny 13:31, 29 March 2007 (UTC)

  • For some values of "done" and "consensus". 62.73.137.190 08:15, 30 March 2007 (UTC)

Robert Mugabe's daughter - news story originating from Wikipedia?

Yesterday in the House of Commons, James Duddridge MP asked the following question of Ian McCartney, government minister. [1] (link will change soon)

"Can the Minister confirm that Robert Mugabe’s daughter, Bona Mugabe, is currently studying at the London School of Economics, and if so, can he say who is paying?"

The reply "On the first part of the hon. Gentleman’s question, I understand that that is the case. On the second part, I am not certain so I cannot answer. I will write to the hon. Gentleman and place a copy in the Library of the House. In response to the hon. Member for Cotswold I said, without prompting, that we should seriously consider extending the travel ban to children and other members of the family."

This made the news, with several dozen stories [2].

Subsequently, it appears this is completely false. Here's an account which shows the retraction and also official anger from Zimbabwe [3],

  • "Sikhanyiso Ndlovu, Zimbabwe's Minister of Information told New Zimbabwe.com that the original claims by McCartney were "part of the many lies they have been peddling about Zimbabwe".
  • He said: "This is just one of a thousand lies they have been peddling against Zimbabwe. The British government continues to make so many statements which are untrue, obnoxious and concocted.
  • "I am glad to note that the minister has withdrawn his false claims. He should be embarrassed with himself and his government. But we prefer to let him stew in his malicious lies which must be positioned in the bigger plot to unsettle the elected government of Zimbabwe."

The story has been officially denied by the London School of Economics - she is not studying there, but nonetheless the result of the false story is that [4] the travel ban against Mugabe's family will be extended.

Now this part is somewhat speculative, but it appears likely, given that the story is entirely false, and that Mugabe's daughter is NOT studying at LSE at all, that the original source of the false information is Wikipedia. An anonymous IP, using the Swedish ISP Labs2 inserted the following text on 4th November 2006:[5]

"Their children however are not included to the EU travel sanctions, in fact Bona Mugabe has entered an elite social sciences university (London School of Economics) in the United Kingdom in September 2006 Formerly LSE Student Email Directory now only accessible through LSE for You "

In fact the student directory is fully publicly accessible - "LSE for You" access isn't required, and Mugabe's name is not there.

This information remained in the article, untouched until it was removed by another anonymous IP with no other edits [6], on March 15th. But this time the anon IP was in the LSE itself [7], and likely able to verify the truth of the Swedish IP's claim.

The information is still still in many wikipedia mirrors, such as answers.com[8]

In summary, it appears that we have an entirely baseless claim that remained in wikipedia for five months (the information was added back yesterday, but following the initial news stories, not the dodgy claim about the email directory), and is still extant on the web in mirrors. This claim has I believe led an MP to make a question in Parliament, followed by a false statement by a minister, and now a minor diplomatic incident. This is the only plausible explanation, as statements in wikipedia tend to be treated as knowledge, so anyone reading the article (such as an MP) between November and March 15 (or still now, on mirror sites), would 'know' that Bona Mugabe was at the LSE, handy 'knowledge' for use in Parliamentary debates on Zimbabwe.

The other explanation, that LSE is lying, and that Bona Mugabe is actually studying there, is implausible as there are thousands of students there, and it would be implausible that following an official denial, one of those students (at what is a Universities known for its politics) would not call their bluff. There's just no way they could lie about this. Nssdfdsfds 08:38, 27 March 2007 (UTC)

And the other other explanation is that there are vast potential sources of misinformation in the world outside of Wikipedia. It does not seem unlikely that this is just a rumor which both the article poster and the MP heard.--Pharos 01:10, 29 March 2007 (UTC)
It is also of course possible that the IP was going off of a rumour on another website or thought he'd seen her, or whatever, rather than that he deliberately made it up. But we probably are the ones incidentally to blame for publicizing it. Not really much we can do about that sort of thing though, other than try futilely to convince people that we aren't supposed to be perfect. --tjstrf talk 01:10, 29 March 2007 (UTC)
A google search shows no sources for the information outside of Wikipedia. Nssdfdsfds 13:04, 29 March 2007 (UTC)
Even in this day and age, every random piece of gossip does not turn up in a Google search. The fact that Ian McCartney himself was also familiar with the rumor suggests that it came from British politicians' gossip, not the Internet. There is no evidence at all that this should be attributed to Wikipedia.--Pharos 08:28, 30 March 2007 (UTC)
My suspicions were correct. It does appear that incorrect information on Wikipedia has caused a minor international incident. Here are the relevant letters, the first Duddridge's letter, the second from minister Ian McCartney immediately following the incorrect information given in Parliament, and the third response 2 days later at which time McCartney was better briefed. Nssdfdsfds 14:00, 2 April 2007 (UTC)

James Duddridge's letter of 26th March 2007 to Ian McCartney

'I am writing to inquire about the veracity of a rumour I have come across that relates to a member of Robert Mugabe’s family travelling to the UK.

I have heard from two separate sources that Robert Mugabe’s daughter, Bona Mugabe, is currently studying at the London School of Economics (LSE). One source comes from a newspaper with whom I have been in contact, who received an anonymous call from an individual with a southern African accent. The other is the fact that the entry for ‘Robert Mugabe’ on the website Wikipedia carried a clause stating that “Bona Mugabe entered an elite social sciences university (London School of Economics) in the United Kingdom in September 2006“. This clause was added to the site on 4th November 2006 and removed on 15th March 2007.

I have sought to verify this information from other sources but been unsuccessful. However, I strongly feel that it may well be the case that Bona Mugabe is studying at the LSE, and I should therefore be grateful if you could shed any light on this matter. I understand that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office does not usually comment on individual cases, but given the current situation in Zimbabwe and the issues surrounding the travel ban and frozen assets I believe that this is truly a matter for the public interest.

I hope to raise this matter with you during the Statement on Zimbabwe that you will be delivering to the House of Commons today.

I look forward to hearing from you.'

McCartney's reply (partial) to James Duddridge following the initial incorrect statement to Parliament, dated 26th March 2007

"You asked about whether the daughter of Robert Mugabe was studying at the London School of Economics. I said that I understood that to be the case. I mis-recollected an earlier briefing. I intended to re-affirm an general point I had already made to the House that we are looking at tightening up the targeted measures on the regime to include the offspring of regime members including where appropriate those in education. I apologise for this incorrect answer."

McCartney's letter of 28th March 2007 (partial)

"Our Embassy in Harare has now been able to confirm that Bona Mugabe attends a high school in the city, where she is in the Upper Sixth studying for A-Levels this year. A teacher at the school has confirmed that Bona has been a pupil there since the first grade."

He also added that Bona was not planned to be subject to any restriction on her movements, as these restrictions only are applied to family members in the Mugabe government. Nssdfdsfds 14:00, 2 April 2007 (UTC)

Google Maps Mashup tool released

[9]. It's at http://code.google.com/. Corvus cornix

google maps are non free.Geni 11:33, 8 April 2007 (UTC)
Mashups would be free depending on the release given by the creator, wouldn't they? Corvus cornix 17:56, 9 April 2007 (UTC)
No. They would be derivative works of the original map data. -- Beland 01:44, 10 April 2007 (UTC)
OK, thanks. Corvus cornix 18:59, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

New integrated cleanup template for trial

I've just put the new integrated template {{Articleissues}}, designed by User:Mr.Z-man, for trial on the article parapsychology. The purpose of this template is to reduce the pile-on of excessive cleanup templates (cleanup, restructure, NPOV, etc.) You are more than welcome to apply this template to articles with multiple issues. WooyiTalk, Editor review 22:55, 7 April 2007 (UTC)

It could also use the addition of more issues, using the current format. Also, have any bots been reprogrammed to date it yet? Mr.Z-mantalk¢ 23:11, 7 April 2007 (UTC)

Current wikihalos nomination

I want to inform editors that there are currently two nominations for a Wikihalo, Wikipedia's highest award.

The two users currently nominated are User:Raul654 (nom) and User:Radiant! (nom). Your opinion and vote is very welcome, since the Wikihalo page is quite forgotten.

Happy editing everybody,

Snowolf (talk) CON COI - 22:28, 8 April 2007 (UTC)

BLP recentchanges

A link to Special:Recentchangeslinked/Category:Living people has been added to the RecentChanges page under the "Utilities" row, titled BLP. This can facilitate the finding of vandalism to biographies of living persons to avoid a "Sinbad-type" incident happening in the future. Cross-posted to WP:VPN, WP:AN, WT:BLP, #wikipedia, and #wikipedia-en. Mr.Z-mantalk¢ 18:29, 9 April 2007 (UTC)

How has Wikimedia Changed your Life?

This message is being crossposted around village pumps and mailing lists - apologies if you receive it more than once!
Have any of the Wikimedia projects had an effect on you in real life, or do you know of someone, or some group of people, who use our projects in real life? If so, we want to hear from you at m:Success Stories - How has Wikimedia Changed your Life?. The hope is that this page can become somewhere to which we can point members of the press so that they can immediately get an idea of the usefulness of our projects. Please, take a look, and add your stories! Martinp23 16:01, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

Recent Bio Errors On Wikipedia

As a user of this encyclopedia I'm concerned about the recent felonious biographical articles about people being put into Wiki. First their was the misinformation about the golfer (sorry I don't have his name)in the news, where a writer claimed him to be a alcoholic and a wife abuser. This was untrue and the man is now suing.

Now there is the false information about comedian Sinbad having died of a heart attack, that was posted/added to his bio on Wiki. This too was false, since the actor, comedian spoke to the Associated Press, just today, to confirm he is still quite alive. He thought it was humorous, I find it professionally and morally reprehensible.

This is an encyclopedia not a blog, networking, chat room. The people who post here should be serious students, professionals or educated people who want to share knowledge and information. Not childish pranksters who want to hurt, in some cases, the careers or reputations of others.

I hope Wikipedia is doint something about this misuse of it's web site. This can only damage their credibility as being a online encyclopedia.

Theresa Manley --16:44, 16 March 2007 (UTC)Theresa Manley

The nature of Wikipedia is a double-edged sword. Because it can be edited by anyone, that means all of us can add our own knowledge to articles, and articles can be updated instantly when something changes. This is one of the great strengths of Wikipedia. On the other hand, Wikipedia can be vandalized and things like this can occur. We do a pretty good job of taking care of the vandals, and most of Wikipedia's editors act in a very serious and professional matter. 99% of vandalism is removed a few minutes after it is added. The issue of who should be allowed to edit is a point of contention, however in my opinion, we would lose more than we would gain by restricting editing rights. GhostPirate 21:54, 16 March 2007 (UTC)
Doing a "pretty good job" was adequate with 100,000 articles seen only by a relatively small number of people. Now that wikipedia dominates Google, it may or may not still be adequate. The problem is how to reduce the problem without destroying the whole concept of anybody-can-edit, because nothing short of verifiable registration will stop the above-listed problem. Maybe that's going to have to happen, though. - 21:59, 16 March 2007 (UTC)
It's not really that hard to reduce the vandalism effects by a huge amount: just institute "sighted versions", which means edits by new or anonymous editors don't get presented to readers until an experienced editor checks them out. Anybody can still contribute, they just can't share the results of their vandalism right away, if ever. -R. S. Shaw 04:16, 17 March 2007 (UTC)
Just implement a major change in procedure which would require a few dedicated editors to spend all of their time "checking out" the hundreds of thousands of edits that are made daily? Wikipedia would be unusable in less than a day. Not to mention the thousands of edit conflicts which would arise. Corvus cornix 17:11, 20 March 2007 (UTC)
It wouldn't work like that. There would be no more edit conflicts than now (only one version would be editable at any one time, just as now). No one would need to hurriedly "check out" edits; it can be done more in the normal course of editing, unlike today, where many dedicated editors spend much of their time trying to quickly erase the large volumes of vandalism. (Details here) -R. S. Shaw 02:47, 24 March 2007 (UTC)
I agree with Corvus Cornix - that would quickly turn into Nupedia II, meaning growth would grind to a halt. But maybe wikipedia has reached the point where that would be acceptable. - 12:00, 24 March 2007 (UTC)
Why would growth slow? Anons could still add at any time, month-old editors could ok the current version for general visibility. It would allow anons to add to pages that have to be semi-protected now. -R. S. Shaw 00:24, 25 March 2007 (UTC)
If I understand your idea, I think the number of anon-edited articles awaiting review would pile up and up and up, swamping the number of editors willing to OK them. - DavidWBrooks 17:41, 25 March 2007 (UTC)
Perhaps for obscure articles, but articles with activity would likely soon get the anon edits made visible, simply because non-novice editors would typically (perhaps) want their own new edits to be visible, and to make them visible they would need to (checkbox) OK the current version. If the piling-up were really a problem, there could be an automatic OK after say a month of no edits, or the visibility-delay could be applied to a subset of pages (such as those now semiprotected). -R. S. Shaw 17:33, 29 March 2007 (UTC)
This may be hard to swallow, but usability and practicability are far more important than credibility. Wikipedia is not and never has been aiming to take over the full market share of information available to all; therefore, it has no special responsibility. Wikipedia, like all encyclopedias, is a secondary source of info, not a primary one. Therefore, it never needs the pure credibility that the primary sources require. "Credible enough" is all right as long as everyone is made to understand how the information in this work is constructed, i.e, via an open, rather than very controlled process. After my three years as a Wikipedian, I have only seen quality go UP UP UP, despite the openness, messy spots and occasional bad press. Stevie is the man! TalkWork 02:20, 23 March 2007 (UTC)
I second that. If people are irresponsible enough to treat Wikipedia as a definitive source on anything...anything at all...then that shouldn't be the concern of Wikipedia or its users in general. It's credible enough to be what it is, which is a source for quick reference about a broad variety of topics. It's made pretty clear...and should be made even clearer perhaps...that this is not a peer-reviewed scientific journal, nor the world's foremost authority on any given topic. On a very, very big scale, using Wikipedia is not unlike asking everyone you meet what they happen to know about a topic you're curious about. Some individual pieces of information might be questionable, or even outright lies, but from the aggregate of the answers you get, you can get a general sense of the matter. If you want more information, the whole Internet is at your disposal, and ideally you might even go so far as to pick up a book. Expecting Wikipedia to be infallible is simply absurd. Mjj237 03:29, 4 April 2007 (UTC)


Re: False information on Wikipedia −Just to add my two cents...I think people get too worked up over such trivial things, such as an online biography of Sinbad having false information on it....I mean honestly, don't we have better things to do than sit around getting pissed off because there's a few incorrect bits of information on this website.

-D.J.C.- 3/31/07

Wikipedia isn't catching more attention from the media now because there are more errors, its because Wikipedia is bigger than before. While Wikipedia may be slightly more error prone than an regular encyclopedia (there was a study done to this effect), it is still much more accurate than the rest of the internet. Mr.Z-mantalk¢ 02:48, 10 April 2007 (UTC)
Being "more accurate than the rest of the Internet" is like being handsomer than the Elephant Man - damned with very, very, very faint praise. - DavidWBrooks 10:16, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

Google Maps Mashup tool released

[10]. It's at http://code.google.com/. Corvus cornix

google maps are non free.Geni 11:33, 8 April 2007 (UTC)
Mashups would be free depending on the release given by the creator, wouldn't they? Corvus cornix 17:56, 9 April 2007 (UTC)
No. They would be derivative works of the original map data. -- Beland 01:44, 10 April 2007 (UTC)
OK, thanks. Corvus cornix 18:59, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

Wikipedia articles translation

Hello,

I want to annonce that the site can help to translate Wikipedia articles. If there is a page about translation tools it would be a good idea to add it.

Dom 04:03, 12 April 2007 (UTC)

Cost of textbooks and open alternatives

At Harvard University, the Dean of Harvard College and Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences have asked[11] the faculty to reduce the cost of students' textbooks. The main thrust of the effort seems to be to get professors to put more original course materials online, and to use online textbooks. Apparently some legislatures are also getting involved, putting pressure on textbook publishers to release editions without unnecessary add-ons like CD-ROMs and workbooks.

This seems like an excellent opportunity to remind educational institutions about the potential to develop open educational materials, using projects like Wikipedia and Wikiversity. Developing Wikipedia articles can also be an educational experience for students. -- Beland 05:26, 12 April 2007 (UTC)

Wikibooks would be applicable too. Unfortunately, much content in wikimedia has some way to go before it can be used at college institution like Harvard. --YbborTalkSurvey! 23:12, 12 April 2007 (UTC)

Sock puppetry cases

I have created a new article: Wikipedia:Sock puppetry cases. All those who know funny cases of sockpuppetry here in Wikipedia are invited to contribute to this article.--MariusM 18:02, 21 April 2007 (UTC)

I don't think this is a good idea. You'd give sock puppeteers too much attention (see WP:DENY for some ideas about the negative consequences of that) and give others some nice ideas on how to proceed (WP:BEANS). --JoanneB 19:24, 21 April 2007 (UTC)
Those are NOT policies or guidelines of Wikipedia, only essays.--MariusM 19:52, 21 April 2007 (UTC)
I know. I'm just pointing them out because they make a lot of sense to me. And to others, apparently, as I've seen it mentioned by quite a lot of people around here. I just don't think a sock puppeteer how-to is what we need. --JoanneB 20:21, 21 April 2007 (UTC)
I agree with Joanne. The article should be deleted. Aviara 21:02, 21 April 2007 (UTC)
Anyhow, the sockpupeteer from this case didn't want to become famous, he wanted only to use Wiki as a soapbox. I think this case study is good for Wikipedia community to understand how some fake appearances can be created in Wikipedia. Those who want to cheat will anyhow find ways, at least the community should be aware of some techniques.--MariusM 21:51, 21 April 2007 (UTC)
The case of this sockpuppeteer is still pending at the arbitration comitee [12]--MariusM 22:41, 21 April 2007 (UTC)

I've listed this page for deletion: Wikipedia:Miscellany for deletion/Wikipedia:Sock puppetry cases. --JoanneB 22:52, 21 April 2007 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Brazil Collaboration

Wikipedia:Brazil Collaboration was created!!! JoãoFelipe   ( Let's talk! ) 18:24, 27 April 2007 (UTC)

  The current Brazil Collaboration is Brazil.
Every month a different Brazil-related topic, stub or non-existent article is picked.
Please read the nomination text and improve the article any way you can.


Reason

In the latest issue of Reason (Free Minds and Free Markets), Jimbo is on the cover, and there is an extensive article about him and Wikipedia. It's very positive in overall tone, though it mentions some of the controversies such as the Siegenthaler incident and the squabble between Jimbo and Larry over foundership credit. *Dan T.* 23:10, 28 April 2007 (UTC)

Jimbo in poll for Time 100 Most Influential People list

See list of candidates with chance to vote on them here. So far he doesn't have all that many votes (not as many people seem familiar with his name as with the various celebs there). *Dan T.* 19:06, 24 April 2007 (UTC)

He's at position #38 now, tied with Oprah Winfrey... maybe if he gives every Wikipedian a new car, his ranking will go up? *Dan T.* 23:08, 28 April 2007 (UTC)

Citizendium copying Wikipedia content?

Is it normal for Citizendium to directly copy content from Wikipedia? See Citizendium: Atheism, which is a direct copy of this older, poorer quality version of Atheism. — BRIAN0918 • 2007-04-22 16:15Z

Yes. Citizendium calls itself a "responsible, expert-managed fork of Wikipedia", and about 662 of their articles are derived from Wikipedia (383 of which are "checklisted"), while about 1045 checklisted articles are internal to CZ. As for the Atheism article, it was copied on April 4, and that's why it doesn't reflect Wikipedia's newer revisions. Λυδαcιτγ 16:40, 22 April 2007 (UTC)
On the other hand, CZ says, "Citizendium is not a mirror of Wikipedia. Absolutely do not simply copy content from Wikipedia to Citizendium without working on it. If you wish to import material from Wikipedia, it must be because you have immediate plans to improve it [...] Articles copied from Wikipedia without any substantive revisions after one week ago are subject to deletion." The Atheism article should be deleted under that guideline, as it's only been de-Wikipediafied. Λυδαcιτγ 16:53, 22 April 2007 (UTC)
After a little more exploring, it appears that CZ is "unforking" from WP, though perhaps only as an experiment. Λυδαcιτγ 17:38, 22 April 2007 (UTC)
While it does look pretty unprofessional (what with all the redlinks, especially with images) they link back to the WP page and license it under the GFDL, so it is all legal. I did remember reading somewhere (Jimbo's talk page?) that some of their WP copies are not attributed to Wikipedia, which is a problem. Mr.Z-mantalk¢ 21:10, 22 April 2007 (UTC)
There are more articles than are obvious that are "mirrors" of Wikipedia articles at Citizendium. You should remember that under the GFDL a contributor retains the copyright to their original work. If you start an article on Wikipedia, you retain copyright to that version of the article and can license that version of the article anywhere you want without attributing Wikipedia. Citizendium does take such articles without requiring that they be marked as being from Wikipedia. Dsmdgold 15:10, 23 April 2007 (UTC)
Mr. Z-man: Citizendium doesn't license their material as GFDL. Pizzachicken 23:23, 29 April 2007 (UTC)
Right — as of now, they don't license them at all. Λυδαcιτγ 00:12, 30 April 2007 (UTC)

Wall Street Journal article

The front page of today's Wall Street Journal has an article about me and Kaiser Permanente. This isn't the first time that there's been media coverage of this, but this article mentions my editing on Wikipedia, and I wanted to clarify that particular part of the story. This is the only place I could think of, so I apologize in advance if the Village Pump isn't quite the best place, and would welcome any suggestions on where it might better fit. That being said, the part of the article in question says:

While at Kaiser, on his own initiative, he edited Kaiser's listing at the online encyclopedia Wikipedia.org -- until a public-relations manager asked him to stop. Known to embellish Kaiser's listing with positive fodder, he also got into skirmishes with a company basher who posted criticism about the HMO on the site.

I edited and wrote most of the Kaiser Permanente article before I was hired by Kaiser Permanente. It was never part of my job, whatsoever. It was a topic I was interested in, the article was a sentence or two stub when I came across it, and I had checked out some books from the library on KP and decided to put the information I had collected to good use.

As to "positive fodder." I always strived to achieve NPOV, and I think the same can be said for the "company basher." She and I certainly had our "skirmishes," but we were both interested in improving the article, and I think, ultimately, we had some success.

When KP's PR department became aware, early last year, that a KP employee had been involved in maintaining the article, I was asked to stop editing it. Their reasoning was that if I allowed to article to become overrun with criticism (some of which was factually inaccurate), then they could simply say the article was not trustworthy and outright incorrect. I knew Wikipedia didn't work that way, but I also knew it would take a while for others to notice the degrading state of the article and help fix it. Ultimately, I wanted to keep my job, and I knew Wikipedia's processes would ultimately prevail even without me (and the "company basher," incidentally).

I have continued to contribute Wikipedia to some extent, and I consider being NPOV a critical part of being a good editor. That particular part, of what was otherwise a very fair article, was a ways away from the kind of Wikipedia editor I consider myself and strive to be, and considering a lot of fellow Wikipedians will probably come across it, I wanted to try and be clear. Justen 08:07, 24 April 2007 (UTC)

And I thought I had a stressful year. MoodyGroove 15:48, 1 May 2007 (UTC)MoodyGroove

Virtual Communities research

The internet is still a fairly recent phenomenon. Whereas communities and groups enjoyed thorough research, theories and knowledge about virtual communities are relatively limited. I am busy with researching how virtual communities communicate, interact and exchange knowledge and information. Most importantly, I am interested in the relation between virtual communities and knowledge creation.

As Wikipedia is one of the biggest and most popular virtual communities, and as it is focused on knowledge creation and knowledge exchange is it perfect to contribute to this research.

I can get lots of data and information from the site it self. But in this context, people are crucial. Crucial for understanding the motivators and visions which are necessary to have a website as successful as Wikipedia.

I am therefore looking for people who are active on Wikipedia who would find it interesting to give interviews. These interviews are necessary to complete this research successfully. Obviously you will be able to express your own opinion and illustrate Wikipedia as you see it.

Greetings NeniPogarcic 19:29, 7 May 2007 (UTC)

Jimmy caught on the Chaser

Jimmy Wales has been "attacked" by Andrew Hanson on the chaser's war on everything. You can see the vid at http://www.videowikinews.spaces.live.com/ --talk to symode09's or Spread the love! 13:20, 2 May 2007 (UTC)

Grading Wikipedia

Just to inform all that they are doing a great job here is a nice bit of info:

"The Denver Post asked five Colorado scholars to review the Wikipedia entries on Islam, Bill Clinton, global warming, China and evolution. The results? Four out of five agreed their relevant Wikipedia entries are accurate, informative, comprehensive and a great resource for students or the merely curious. The fifth scholar called his chosen entry "not very good," found some details to be inaccurate by omission, and said similar entries in more accepted encyclopedias like Encarta do their job better. "[13] Nomen NescioGnothi seauton 08:47, 2 May 2007 (UTC)

Research on demographic spread of Wikipedia users

Just published is a paper on the demographic spread of people who use Wikipedia conducted by the Pew Research Center. More than a third of American adult internet users (36%) consult it. 50% of those with at least a college degree consult it. See Pew Internet & American Life Project (pdf). Lumos3 07:59, 27 April 2007 (UTC)

I wouldn't be surprised about its adoption by graduates, since Wikipedia's becoming more and more accredited and widely used. It is unlikely that any graduate student would have passed the site if computers are easily accessible.--Kylohk 16:43, 2 May 2007 (UTC)

Digg Revolt

Anyone following the controversy over Digg's removal of user-posted software code that unlocks copy-protected DVDs? Interesting story with implications for WP. Here's the LA Times account of it: [14]. —ACADEMY LEADER FOCUS!

Actually this issue as it affects wikipedia is being discussed at AACS encryption key controversy and there is still no consensus on whether to add or leave out the number. The foundation appears to have expressed the opinion that they don't care the current time whether we post it. While the article was protected and is not semi-protected, it appears to have been resonably orderly on the whole Nil Einne 03:47, 11 May 2007 (UTC)
Actually looking further it appears to have been less orderly then I at first thought. There have been several issues including an arbitration case which has arisen. If you are interested, I suggest you take part in the discussion the in the appropriate pages Nil Einne 04:03, 11 May 2007 (UTC)

Virtual Communities research

The internet is still a fairly recent phenomenon. Whereas communities and groups enjoyed thorough research, theories and knowledge about virtual communities are relatively limited. I am busy with researching how virtual communities communicate, interact and exchange knowledge and information. Most importantly, I am interested in the relation between virtual communities and knowledge creation.

As Wikipedia is one of the biggest and most popular virtual communities, and as it is focused on knowledge creation and knowledge exchange is it perfect to contribute to this research.

I can get lots of data and information from the site it self. But in this context, people are crucial. Crucial for understanding the motivators and visions which are necessary to have a website as successful as Wikipedia.

I am therefore looking for people who are active on Wikipedia who would find it interesting to give interviews. These interviews are necessary to complete this research successfully. Obviously you will be able to express your own opinion and illustrate Wikipedia as you see it.

Greetings NeniPogarcic 19:29, 7 May 2007 (UTC)

Akcam vs. Wikipedia: POV in articles

The Independent's article - The newest Seigenthaler controversy so far. But it is more serious. Maybe it also lights, that a lot of other pages are also abused, mainly politics and history related articles, but those abusers are not so organized like these radical turks, whom occurred on Wikipedia, they are just some notorious POV (or personal agenda - depends how you like to call it) pusher users. --91.120.98.165 11:16, 7 May 2007 (UTC)

It's difficult to tell since some of the stuff was (understandably) either oversighted or perhaps just deleted but from what I can tell, the worse stuff didn't last long so mostly BLP worked in this instance (yes ideally this stuff should never appear but as with general vandalism, we just have to deal with it). This isn't to say the incident doesn't raise concerns about wikipedia moving forward but the far, far bigger issue here is not related to wikipedia but is instead related to the thrust of the Robert Fisk article. Who in their right mind would detain someone based on unsubstained allegations in wikipedia, or any other similar website for that matter... That of course is something best discussed elsewhere not here Nil Einne 03:33, 11 May 2007 (UTC)

Digg Revolt

Anyone following the controversy over Digg's removal of user-posted software code that unlocks copy-protected DVDs? Interesting story with implications for WP. Here's the LA Times account of it: [15]. —ACADEMY LEADER FOCUS!

Actually this issue as it affects wikipedia is being discussed at AACS encryption key controversy and there is still no consensus on whether to add or leave out the number. The foundation appears to have expressed the opinion that they don't care the current time whether we post it. While the article was protected and is not semi-protected, it appears to have been resonably orderly on the whole Nil Einne 03:47, 11 May 2007 (UTC)
Actually looking further it appears to have been less orderly then I at first thought. There have been several issues including an arbitration case which has arisen. If you are interested, I suggest you take part in the discussion the in the appropriate pages Nil Einne 04:03, 11 May 2007 (UTC)

Vandalism Study

My recent vandalism study indicates that it takes, on average, 10 hours to revert vandalism other than ordinary juvenile "your mom..." vandalism in Featured Articles. Please direct questions, comments, and discussion to the associated talk page. Colonel Chaos 22:51, 1 May 2007 (UTC)

Wikipedia:WikiProject Vandalism studies covers similar ground without vandalizing themselves and using powerful statistical methods. Just FYI for anyone interested, including Colonel Chaos. JoeSmack Talk 18:39, 2 May 2007 (UTC)

I helped run the school newspaper last year and we did an article on vandalism. I decided to run a poll and the question was "Why? Why vandalize?"

More than half had no real rationale. It was really sad. The teacher wanted to keep doing a monthly story on vandalism. Then I dropped the journalism class. Lolahothot 01:21, 8 May 2007 (UTC)

There's an essay called Motivation of a Vandal that examines their psychology and such, and the main reason is: For their own amusement!--Kylohk 14:06, 11 May 2007 (UTC)

New namespace

The developers have recently created a new namespace Table: (Special:Prefixindex/Table: Special:Prefixindex/Table talk:), apparently to implement step 1 of this proposal. This is just a for-everyone's-information post. --ais523 16:28, 8 May 2007 (UTC)

... and it was deleted again yesterday ([16]). --Dapeteばか 19:11, 11 May 2007 (UTC)

questions about your community and the product you create

Dear English Wikipedia community,

my name is Kurt Jansson, I have been a contributor to the German language Wikipedia right since its start in 2001. I am also the president of Wikimedia Germany, the German chapter of the Wikimedia Foundation.

I'm currently writing a diploma thesis about the Wikipedia project and its editions in different languages. It's a qualitative study based on interviews with six different Wikipedia communities. I hope you to answer eight questions concerning your community and the encyclopedia you've created. I have put the questions on a subpage of my user page and would like you to answer them there. You can use the discussion page to discuss your answers within your community and agree on your joint answers.

Obviously I would like you to answer my questions the wiki way: You may edit the existing answers that are already there, but try to find consensual answers that the core community can agree on. If there are controversial points of view: say so, elaborate on them and point out if one of them represents the majority's opinion.

Deadline for the answers is April the 29th. Of course I will make the results of my study public and publish them under a free license. I am sure this is a great opportunity for every Wikipedia community to tell others about their project and also to learn from others. But of course this will work best if the answers of other communities don't influence your own answers. So if you have to peek, please try nevertheless to focus on an answer that fits best for your own project.

I'm using mailing lists and village pumps to call attention to the interview questions. If you know other or more appropriate places to raise people's attention, please put this notice there.

Thanks for taking part!

Best wishes,
Kurt —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Kurt Jansson (talkcontribs) 20:37, 17 April 2007 (UTC).

Fundraising and financial status of Wikipedia

How are Wikipedia's finances? When is there going to be another fundraiser? Hawkestone 20:46, 25 May 2007 (UTC)

The Wikimedia Foundation's financial reports can be found here. x42bn6 Talk Mess 14:50, 26 May 2007 (UTC)
I read those months ago. There never seems to be any up to date information. You here a news report that there may be looming financial problems, and then nothing happens for months, not even a "quarterly" fundraiser. Hawkestone 12:05, 27 May 2007 (UTC)
I think people would lose generosity if fundraisers happened too often. They try to keep the to annual events for that reason. But you are right about the delay in updating financial info. This is really something you should take to Meta-Wiki as it concerns the whole foundation not just en.wikipedia. Witty Lama 23:03, 27 May 2007 (UTC)

New Task Force!

Dear Wikipedians,

Another Wikipedian and I just created a Salem Witch Trials task force. If you are interested in history, Massachusetts, colonial America, witchcraft, or instances of religiously motivated violence, then this is the task force for you!

So please check it out!

Psdubow 18:53, 25 May 2007 (UTC)

Fundraising and financial status of Wikipedia

How are Wikipedia's finances? When is there going to be another fundraiser? Hawkestone 20:46, 25 May 2007 (UTC)

The Wikimedia Foundation's financial reports can be found here. x42bn6 Talk Mess 14:50, 26 May 2007 (UTC)
I read those months ago. There never seems to be any up to date information. You here a news report that there may be looming financial problems, and then nothing happens for months, not even a "quarterly" fundraiser. Hawkestone 12:05, 27 May 2007 (UTC)
I think people would lose generosity if fundraisers happened too often. They try to keep the to annual events for that reason. But you are right about the delay in updating financial info. This is really something you should take to Meta-Wiki as it concerns the whole foundation not just en.wikipedia. Witty Lama 23:03, 27 May 2007 (UTC)

Magic Exposure on Wiki!

As a magician of many years I have noticed constant exposure of many of the tricks I perform such as: the balducci levitation, king rising, elevator levitation, and many more. I feel that we need to stop this. This exposure is available to laymen and hecklers that enjoy ruining the tricks that we magicians perform regularly. This has cost me a lot of my tricks and I am getting tired of it. I tried politely editing the articles to not include the exposure, but I was told that I could not do that because "I did not have a good reason" or so I was told. So, how many of my fellow magicians will help me fight this injustice and exposure. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 72.173.120.134 (talk) 01:49, 13 May 2007 (UTC).

Wikipedia is an encyclopedia. As such we strive to summarize and report all notable knowledge in the world in a neutral manner. An important part of neutrality is that we do not alter the content of articles to suit the commercial or personal interests of individuals or groups. Since the methods of magic tricks cannot be copyrighted, your claim that you were removing copyrighted material is incorrect. Please don't continue to attack these articles by removing legitimate, well sourced and relevant information. Gwernol 01:54, 13 May 2007 (UTC)
certian description wordings can be protected by copyright although I doubt that has been an issue. Tricks can also be protected by patent the classic example being Pepper's ghost. I suppose names of the tricks could also be protected by trademark but that is about it.Geni 02:29, 13 May 2007 (UTC)
True, but one is still allowed to write about patented inventions and trademarked things. Trademarks and patents limit other things. Jeltz talk 19:19, 13 May 2007 (UTC)
I know I was just covering all the standard IP stuff.Geni 02:14, 17 May 2007 (UTC)

This exposure is costing many magicians money, spectators, and performances. When I performed the balducci levitation, the spectator searched for levitation on wiki and found out how I performed this trick. Exposure to laymen and hecklers is unethical therefore this site is unethical and the Admin should seriously consider the controversial issues they are creating. And I did not "attack" the articles. I was simply removing unethical content from an unethical site. Many performers of the art of magic are seriously concerned about the exposure on the internet. This is not an issue to be taken lightly. It requires immediate attention and action from fellow magicians and spectators alike. Please consider every angle before simply brushing off such an important and controversial issue.

We're an encyclopedia. We're here to impart knowledge, not hide it. Xenu, Pay Lay Ale, the Balducci levitation, Spoon bending: they're all here. That secrets, having been exposed, can no longer be used to pretend to powers not possessed is a good thing, not a bad one. That David Blaine will be less likely to be able to hornswaggle some wide-eyed teenager into believing in the paranormal is one of the positive benefits of having that information here. - Nunh-huh 02:10, 13 May 2007 (UTC)
This needs to be addressed. There is a fundamental difference between spoon bending and the balducci levitation, which is the intent behind the performance. The most famous practitioner of the first was explicitly and deliberately trying to convince people that it was not a trick and that he was really psychic and really performing supernatural stunts, while the practitioners of the second are entertainers. Some magicians, particularly Blaine, may try to sell an image of themselves as strange and mysterious persons, but by simply putting the label of magician on themselves they remove all doubt that they are claiming to be anything but entertainers. To confuse entertainers with charlatans is dangerous, particularly to those who tend to take the skeptical side of things. Having said that, the information still belongs on wikipedia. I do believe that there is an unethical act going on here; however, it is not being perpetrated by wikipedia but rather by those magicians who let their secrets out after promising not to. Bgruber 03:34, 4 June 2007 (UTC)
It is your personal opinion that this is unethical. While I can understand the position you are in, it is not Wikipedia's role to protect your livelihood. If you make a living from obscuring what you do, it is an occupational hazard that people will find out how your tricks work. Its also important to note that the information published in Wikipedia articles must have already been published elsewhere. With effective search engines like Google available, even if you succeeded in removing this information from Wikipedia, it would be trivially available elsewhere. Removing the information from our articles would only weaken Wikipedia, not help you at all. I suggest, in my capacity as an administrator, that you stop attempting to censor articles, since the neutrality of content is one of our core rules, and we will not compromise it. Sorry, Gwernol 02:12, 13 May 2007 (UTC)
unethical? The tricks are know by those who wish to exploite people. By makeing the information on the tricks availible we give people the ability to protect themselves. Thus it could be argued that hideing the information is unethical. Others would argue that any restiction on the free flow of information is unethical. While I would not go that extream they do have a point. The increaseing speed of flow of information has changed many things conjuring will likely be one of them.Geni 02:26, 13 May 2007(UTC)

Magicians do not exploit, we entertain. I would like to share a quote off of a well reputed site that offers magic tricks to magicians only after they have proved themselves to be magicians."Exposure in magic refers to the practice of making magical methods (the "secrets" of how magic tricks are performed) available to those who are not magicians." This is a definition of exposure and the magicians oath "I will never expose a magical method to a non-magician unless they promise to uphold the oath in return" is a code that magicians have lived by for years. the breaking of this oath is looked upon as unethical by magicians and spectators alike. Therefore if the method was exposed on the internet than it was breaking th oath which is unethical therefore putting it on this site is unethical. You are ruining the art of magic. Just because you do not enjoy magic does not mean that you should ruin it for everyone else by supplying hecklers with the information needed to expose a trick to many people at a time.

I have one final thing to add tonight. You guys suck. You expose and think its a good thing. You are the worst kind of slime there is because you do not care that you are taking away tricks that many magicians have practiced for months at a time. And I can tell you right now that if any of the tricks I have created and sold come on here (and I will check) I will sue this site for everything its worth and have it permanently shut down. So in conclusion, to avoid any further action I suggest removing exposing pages from your "archives" or whatever you want to call them, that expose the methods behind illusions.

It has become clear that this user has no intention of entering into a productive and civilized discussion, so this IP has been blocked for 1 week. Legal threats, personal attacks and vandalism are not acceptable. Gwernol 02:45, 13 May 2007 (UTC)
"Magicians do not exploit". I never said Magicians. Others however. Con-artists suposed mediums. Spoon benders. Simple tricks used to exploit people.Geni 02:59, 13 May 2007 (UTC)

All human beings have a right to know everything. Obscuring information that floats one profession or industry to the detriment of everyone else is ultimately unacceptable. Stevie is the man! TalkWork 20:51, 13 May 2007 (UTC)

All human beings have a right to know everything. Ah, to have such certainty! I have a right to know your sex habits, your father's bank balance, and what movies your sister rented last year? But that's different! you cry. - DavidWBrooks 23:00, 13 May 2007 (UTC)
I cry nothing. If you don't know what I mean, you're playing a semantics game. Stevie is the man! TalkWork 00:31, 16 May 2007 (UTC)

Is this Magician for real? Attacking WP for revealing magic tricks. This is so silly.Gaff ταλκ 16:26, 15 May 2007 (UTC)

There is a strong bias against revealing Magic tricks among the Magician community so quite probably.Geni 02:14, 17 May 2007 (UTC)
That's close to the traditional oath of secrecy, and why I won't reveal the tricks I've been taught (although there were not many and they were long ago.) As an audience member, I enjoy the demonstration of skill, whether or not I "know" how it's being done -- and I understand that my knowledge may not be the method being shown. I watch, enjoy, and sometimes learn. I'm not going to begin editing magic articles to remove (or add) trick methods (and won't be looking at them for hints -- the puzzle is the fun!) I don't make my living at it, though, and I can understand his anger about the secrets being published. htom 04:18, 17 May 2007 (UTC)

Someone mentioned "entertainment". Let's mention it again. First and foremost, a magician is a showman. I once saw a magic show that I greatly enjoyed, despite the fact that I could figure out how all the tricks were done. A good entertainer is a good entertainer, regardless of "magic secrets", and a poor entertainer is not going to become a good one simply because he knows some secrets. So let's understand that this notion of secrets is simply not a very important one. --Tugbug 18:12, 18 May 2007 (UTC)

*sigh* Does it really matter? If they really want to know, they look it up. Something tells me that the audience you perform to (I.E, little kids) doesn't even know what Wikipedia is! Still, we shouldn't remove that information from the article. If people want the info, it stays. If a single person says they don't want it, well, discuss it on the talk page of the article before removing it. Does it really matter? --Thekittybomb 15:55, 22 May 2007 (UTC)

Just to drop in late with my 2 "øre"... The magician certainly has a point. The community of magicians has chosen not to use legal means to hold their secrets, ie not use patent offices and lawyers, instead just agreeing on keeping their mouths shot. It's a policiy that is the best policy, when it works: the world would have been better without lawyers and courts, if we could have upheld the laws jsut without them, don't you agree? Compare this with a situation where the magic community had used lawyers and patent offices. Then we would have respected them. But they are one of the few communitys that never use the law to fight for them. I think they should get something in return for their gentlemans- behaviour. Greswik 12:12, 26 May 2007 (UTC)

Actualy Pepper's ghost did have a patent taken out on it. Magicians do of course copyright descriptions of their tricks but that doesn't help them much. They could patent them but that would involve revealing the method to the public (or at least anyone who knows how to do a patent search) and in and case that would not stop anyone describeing how to do the trick. The reason magicians don't go for lawyers is that other than trade secrets the law does not provide them with any useful protection. In adition magicians have tried to protect their tricks for far more than the life +70 that you would get under copyright.Geni 21:38, 1 June 2007 (UTC)

Can magic tricks qualify for legal Intellectual property protection as Trade secrets? ||||

yes but that doesn't really impact us since presumerbly none of the people writeing the articles have entered into a contract not to reveal how the tricks are done.Geni 21:38, 1 June 2007 (UTC)
There really is nothing wrong about writing magic techniques in Wikipedia. There are loads of books out there which tell you how to perform magic tricks and so on. As for the very significant ones, the magicians would be to blame since he should never reveal his secret!--Kylohk 13:55, 26 May 2007 (UTC)

Adding my own 2¢, I think the argument over magical exposure on Wikipedia it just silly. Mostly because it's closing the barn door after the horse has already left. If an article on a magic trick contains how the trick is done, then it has already been exposed through another published source before it was added to Wikipedia. If magicians are so worried about exposure, then they should target the primary sources of magic exposure instead of a tertiary source, such as Wikipedia. --Farix (Talk) 13:41, 2 June 2007 (UTC)

Except that, as we like to boast, there are few, if any, sources with the reach and exposure of wikipedia. Being published in some obscure book is vastly different that coming up on the first page of a Google search. But you're right - this horse is way gone, for better or worse. Just another unintended consequence of technological change. - DavidWBrooks 14:12, 2 June 2007 (UTC)

Eh, I just want to add that if it hadn't been for 72.173, I wouldn't have even known that magic tricks were revealed here on wiki. While I admire that he had to try to get wiki to uphold the Magician's Code, I find that fact ironic. -- trlkly 04:51, 5 June 2007 (UTC)

I'd like to echo what trlkly jus said. I also emailed the article on Balducci levitation to about 10 of my friends who are (were) convinced David Blaine is a god. Zain Ebrahim 12:41, 5 June 2007 (UTC)

This is an interesting problem. I believe the Wikipedia policy on spoilers for fictional works is applicable here, or at least analogous. A consensus was reached that it is unacceptable to delete "relevant and significant, neutral and verifiable information about a narrative work from an article about that work 'because it's a spoiler'." For the same reasons, information about how magic tricks could be performed should remain in place, even if it may detract from the audience's enjoyment should they choose to look it up. Smtomak 09:31, 6 June 2007 (UTC)

As far as I understand it, the more contentious issue lies around the ethics regarding the sustainability of "magicians"' livelihood as opposed to the audience's enjoyment. Unfortunately, the "Magic" industry is one of the many that have been hampered (destroyed?) by the availablity of information on the internet. Another example (though not as extreme) would be the Newspaper industry. However, in my opinion, as long as it can be called academic, it stays. Btw: quotation marks are because magic doesn't exist
Zain Ebrahim 10:40, 6 June 2007 (UTC)
Yes, if something depends on security through obscurity, it's too late to keep it a secret. This is the Age of Information. There's a tradition of secrecy in stage magic, although. really, it's been a century since there were real secrets in the field. Anybody can subscribe to Genii, and it's not hard to get copies of the The Linking Ring, the trade journals of stage magic. There are plenty of books available. Yet it's not the end of stage magic. And close up magic, done well, is a delight to see, even when you know how it's done. --John Nagle 19:39, 7 June 2007 (UTC)

Multiple edits by different users in a short period of time

It seems that people are starting the take away the NPOV in an organized fashion, by telling people they know to also edit an article, e.g. according to the IP addresses of 62.6.159.62 and 81.159.107.113 they live 46 km from each other, both made edits to Dwarf tossing to make it sound really bad, and one of them added a website (www.restrictedgrowth.co.uk), and yes, it could also be the same person making edits from different computers but imagine, for example, organized "Wikilobbying" getting popular and Greenpeace (with 2.8 million supporters) doing something like this. Jeffrey.Kleykamp 22:42, 8 June 2007 (UTC)

Election Committee announces Wikimedia Election

On behalf of the Election Committee, I post the following announcement: Philippe 23:04, 9 June 2007 (UTC)

______________________

Dear all,

We, the election committee, hereby announce the opening of a new election for members of the Wikimedia Foundation's Board of Trustees. At least three positions will be filled from this election, with the elected members serving a two year term.

It is important to note that election processes are slightly different this year than in previous years: all candidates should be certain to thoroughly read the FAQ at: http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Board_elections/2007/en

From today, June 10th, we're accepting candidates for the Board of Trustees. If you're interested, you must make a candidate statement and list yourself on http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Board_elections/2007/Candidates/en

We also need the help or translators for the elections, so if you're fluent in any language other than English, and willing to help, please list yourself here: http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Board_elections/2007/Translations

If you have any questions, please first read the FAQ, then list your questions to the talk page: http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Board_elections/2007/FAQ/en

The official announcement is available on Meta: http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Board_elections/2007/en


We are confident that this election will draw very qualified candidates, and we wish them the best of luck.

Regards,

Kizu Naoko (Aphaia) Newyorkbrad Philippe Beaudette Jon Harald Søby

Policy shopping essay

Not sure if this is the correct forum to announce such, however I've been working on a new essay entitled Policy shopping. Of course, this is a neologism, and the intent is simply to argue that editors should propose all justifications for a particular change at one time, instead of incrementally trying policies (i.e. if this policy/guideline fails, let me try another one to effect the same change). It is still under construction, but I think at this point it is a rough inclusion of all the points I'm trying to make. I request the community's input... please give it a read and post your comments on the associated talk page. Thanks! /Blaxthos 12:04, 10 June 2007 (UTC)

Endorsements now open for Wikimedia Foundation Board

The Wikimedia Board Election Steering Committee invites all community members to endorse candidates they support. Endorsements may be submitted on meta now till next Saturday, 23:59 June 23, 2007.

Each qualified community member can submit up to three endorsements. Please note several things:
- Only confirmed candidates are listed, so the list can be updated during the endorsements phase.
- You need an account on meta, not just the project that you are qualified to vote under, unless you meet the criteria on meta too.
- Please link your meta user page and your home wiki page. Detailed procedure can be found on the meta endorsement page.

All information is available on meta at:
On endorsements: http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Board_elections/2007/Endorsements/en
On candidates each: http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Board_elections/2007/Candidates/en
Election general: http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Board_elections/2007/en
FAQ: http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Board_elections/2007/FAQ/en

Questions about election are welcome at:
http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Talk:Board_elections/2007/FAQ

Thanks to devoted volunteering translators, those pages are also available in some languages other than English.

Thank you for your attention, we look forward to your participation.


For the election committee,
- Philippe | Talk 00:35, 17 June 2007 (UTC)

Privacy report on WP

The BBC had a story on the privacy ranking of various websites compiled by Privacy International. Overview is at http://www.privacyinternational.org/article.shtml?cmd[347]=x-347-553961 (WP can't parse the url correctly., so copy and paste) and the detailed chart. Wikipedia ranked among the best, but still fell in the "generally privacy aware, but in need of improvement" range. I'm not really sure if there is anything we can change to address their concerns though. --PS2pcGAMER (talk) 11:20, 11 June 2007 (UTC)

But "generally privacy aware, but in need of improvement" is the best rank they gave out, at least in the chart, also it makes three points:
  1. You can't delete user names after creating them.
  2. There is no real contact information (and other important unspecified information).
  3. Deleted information isn't really deleted but kept in the logs.
Jeffrey.Kleykamp 15:07, 11 June 2007 (UTC)
...And since #1 and #3 are basically functions of the GFDL license, they're not going to change.... -- MarcoTolo 02:53, 12 June 2007 (UTC)
But to solve #2 we simply need to add a Wikipedia:Contact us link to the bottom of the pages because right now you have to click About Wikipedia then scroll down to feedback questions and at the bottom of that section it says "For a full list of contact options, see Wikipedia:Contact us" which is a bit complicated. Jeffrey.Kleykamp 14:07, 12 June 2007 (UTC)
isn't there a link on the left?Geni 01:20, 13 June 2007 (UTC)
Yes, I didn't see that, I guess that proves that it's a badly written report, or something. Jeffrey.Kleykamp 10:17, 13 June 2007 (UTC)

Wikipe-tan featured in German newspaper

Wikipe-tan is riding on a wave of popularity. Just a week ago, she was recognized as a community mascot by Jimbo Wales,[17] and today she is used on the front page of a German newspaper, Dresdner Neueste Nachrichten, circulation ca. 31.367: Wikipedia_talk:Wikipe-tan#Oh_ho --129.241.214.239 10:34, 15 June 2007 (UTC)

Knowledge Contribution in Wikipedia

This might be old news by now, but please take a look at this interesting paper derived from surveys of Wikipedians, in particular Table 5.9. Its main conclusion is that vociferous editors are motivated primarily by the desire to acquire reputation in the community, and not so much by other factors such as reciprocity, altruism, self-enhancement, and intrinsic motivation (although altruism and intrinsic motivation do affect the propensity to contribute in the future). See also section 6.3, Implications for Practice, for some ideas that might be useful to consider in policy decisions. Dcoetzee 21:08, 15 June 2007 (UTC)

Endorsements now open for Wikimedia Foundation Board

The Wikimedia Board Election Steering Committee invites all community members to endorse candidates they support. Endorsements may be submitted on meta now till next Saturday, 23:59 June 23, 2007.

Each qualified community member can submit up to three endorsements. Please note several things:
- Only confirmed candidates are listed, so the list can be updated during the endorsements phase.
- You need an account on meta, not just the project that you are qualified to vote under, unless you meet the criteria on meta too.
- Please link your meta user page and your home wiki page. Detailed procedure can be found on the meta endorsement page.

All information is available on meta at:
On endorsements: http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Board_elections/2007/Endorsements/en
On candidates each: http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Board_elections/2007/Candidates/en
Election general: http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Board_elections/2007/en
FAQ: http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Board_elections/2007/FAQ/en

Questions about election are welcome at:
http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Talk:Board_elections/2007/FAQ

Thanks to devoted volunteering translators, those pages are also available in some languages other than English.

Thank you for your attention, we look forward to your participation.


For the election committee,
- Philippe | Talk 00:35, 17 June 2007 (UTC)

Attacks on Wikipedia in the news media and elsewhere

I have recently noticed an increase in articles crtical of Wikipedia appearing in various newspapers and magazines (see for example recent article in The Sunday Times June 3 2007). There appears to be an 'unofficial' consensus developing amongst some academics and journalists that Wikipedia needs some sort of quality control, or that submitted articles need some kind of 'peer review'. (Wikipedia already has lots of peer review) We need more 'experts' and academics to oversee articles and improve accuracy. However, history shows us ,many examples of 'experts for hire' and dishonest academics. Many traditional encyclopedias and information sources are no more accurate or truthful than information sources available on the web. Political and other ideologies are contained in many standard texts in the domain of the Humanities and Social Sciences, including slanted versions of history with omissions and unverifiable additions, and politically tainted social science and sociology. Traditional Universities across the world have their share of compliant academics and trusty 'professors' who can be wheeled out for media appearances when needed. Given a platform, they will readily trot out the appropriate party / government / in-group propaganda as required, without qualms about 'ethics' 'accuracy' or 'truthfulness'. In the area of hard science. it was the 'experts' who told us it was safe to eat meat from animals fed on other animals, until it was obviously risky to long-term human health. Other scientific 'experts' spend much of their careers researching and developing new ways to wage war. We have to use our own rational minds to wade through all the information, lies, and rubbish we are presented with from numerous sources, hard and soft copy, in our daily lives and separate out the nuggets of (possible) truth from the waste material. It can be very difficult, but real knowledge and accurate information is always hard-won and hopefully, worth the mental and physical effort. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Thelasthippy (talkcontribs)

Virtually every institution seems to be under some type of attack these days. I suppose it attracts readers. But I do find that a certain amount of expert oversight of wikipedia pages, in combination with dedicated volunteers willing to maintain page quality, does seem to produce better output. — RJH (talk) 19:38, 7 June 2007 (UTC)
Of course, it needs quality control; it's called editors adding sourced facts. All the professionals and academics could write on Wikipedia and improve it if they really wished so. Otherwise, their opinion is a lot of bullshit.--Svetovid 11:21, 15 June 2007 (UTC)
List of media personalities who have vandalised Wikipedia is an interesting read and gives an idea of what else may be contributing to Wikipedia's image in the media. -- Jreferee (Talk) 20:44, 16 June 2007 (UTC)

Yes, information sources should be subject to quality control, but I don't see why we have to have the traditional bandwagon of editors, journalists, publishers, agents, career academics, shopkeepers, advertisers, marketers, etc, before we can have access to information. Of course there are brilliant and straightforward academics as well as hacks out there, but we should not always assume that certificates and diplomas equate to intellectual ability or superior judgement. I think some of the main critics of web-based knowledge sources feel that their roles may be undermined by newer non-traditional pathways to information and, eventually,knowledge.

'wiki' among the top list of hated Internet words

Source: http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20070621/tc_afp/britaininternetlanguage_070621120604

"LONDON (AFP) - "Blog", "netiquette", "cookie" and "wiki" have been voted among the most irritating words spawned by the Internet, according to the results of a poll published Thursday.

Topping the list of words most likely to make web users "wince, shudder or want to bang your head on the keyboard" was folksonomy, a term for a web classification system.

"Blogosphere", the collective name for blogs or online journals, was second; "blog" itself was third; "netiquette", or Internet etiquette, came fourth and "blook", a book based on a blog, was fifth.

"Cookie", a file sent to a user's computer after they visit a website, came in ninth, while "wiki", a collaborative website edited by its readers, was tenth...

Read more from the original article on Yahoo! News Jacnoc (Desk | Contribs. | Talk)

Apparently the survey hasn't been published by YouGov, so we can't see the methodology. I wonder if the options were chosen from a list of a limited number of words? Or if participants were simply asked to think of words which they were familiar with? Either way, it sounds as though people are becoming increasingly familiar with the word "wiki". Warofdreams talk 18:47, 21 June 2007 (UTC)

It's not the first time that this sort of thing has happened. It won't be the last. And Wikipedia already documents other cases. For some perspective, see LOL (Internet slang)#Analysis and Internet-related prefixes (the backlash against "cyber-"). Uncle G 15:23, 22 June 2007 (UTC)

Wikipedia in Sally Forth

This morning's Sally Forth comic strip has a Wikipedia mention.

The family is watching a fireworks display, and the little girl is talking about American history:

  • "Hey, did you know that the Declaration of Independence was such a big hit Jefferson was quickly signed to write a sequel, Declaration II: Philiadelphia Nights?"
  • "And that the Second Continental Congress was originally established as a "senior executive golf and spa retreat" for the colonies' richest leaders?"
  • "And that John Hancock became the first signer of the Declaration of Independence only after besting the other representatives in bare-knuckle boxing?"

Mom: "Sweetie, have you been reading Wikipedia again?"

Corvus cornix 18:49, 1 July 2007 (UTC)

Amusing. :-) — RJH (talk) 14:46, 5 July 2007 (UTC)

German Wikipedia receives state funding

Doesnt this raise the same issues as commercial intrests paying people to edit a Point of View? Lumos3 17:00, 26 June 2007 (UTC)

  • "For the first time, the German edition of the open Internet encyclopedia Wikipedia will be receiving state funding. Germany will be setting aside part of its budget to improve information about renewable resources in Wikipedia. Over the next few years, several hundred articles will be written on this issue."

I think this is definitely a major COI issue. Rider of the StormAftermath|Thunder 17:39, 26 June 2007 (UTC)

I believe the initiators are aware of the possible problems and are committed to follow German Wikipedia policies. A number of more or less known Wikipedians have already joined the WikiProjekt Nachwachsende Rohstoffe (Wikiproject "renewable resources" or more specifically "regrowing resources"; don't know if that's even an established term in English) forming the core of this project, and I'm confident they'll address COI issues appropriately. --Dapeteばか 18:33, 26 June 2007 (UTC)

Links to wikipedia / wikimedia (all in german):

--129.217.129.133 19:56, 29 June 2007 (UTC)

Wikipedia on South African Television

Carte Blanche (TV series) had a feature about Wikipedia tonight at 19h30 South Africa Standard Time. If there is an influx of new users from Africa and especially South Africa or a increase in the number of edits relating to Africa over the next few day, this will probably be the reason why. --NJR ZA 18:11, 8 July 2007 (UTC)

Note of murdered family posted on Wikipedia before bodies were found

Police are investigating the murder of the family of wrestler Chris Benoit, and his apparent suicide, which seems to have been noted on Wikipedia before its discovery. Lumos3 08:43, 29 June 2007 (UTC)

  • Covers the discovery that someone posted news of Chris Benoit's wife's death to the article on him (this edit) before police discovered the bodies at his home.
  • Wow. Chris Benoit is #2 in the most viewed page with 501,400 views per day.[18] #1 is the Main Page (3,944,000 views per day) and #3 is Wiki (127,000) views per day. -- Jreferee (Talk) 04:12, 2 July 2007 (UTC)

BAG News

Discussion going on at Wikipedia_talk:Bots/Approvals_group#BAG_Joining. Thanks! ~ Wikihermit 20:14, 4 July 2007 (UTC)

Wikipedia in Sally Forth

This morning's Sally Forth comic strip has a Wikipedia mention.

The family is watching a fireworks display, and the little girl is talking about American history:

  • "Hey, did you know that the Declaration of Independence was such a big hit Jefferson was quickly signed to write a sequel, Declaration II: Philiadelphia Nights?"
  • "And that the Second Continental Congress was originally established as a "senior executive golf and spa retreat" for the colonies' richest leaders?"
  • "And that John Hancock became the first signer of the Declaration of Independence only after besting the other representatives in bare-knuckle boxing?"

Mom: "Sweetie, have you been reading Wikipedia again?"

Corvus cornix 18:49, 1 July 2007 (UTC)

Amusing. :-) — RJH (talk) 14:46, 5 July 2007 (UTC)

Wikipedia on South African Television

Carte Blanche (TV series) had a feature about Wikipedia tonight at 19h30 South Africa Standard Time. If there is an influx of new users from Africa and especially South Africa or a increase in the number of edits relating to Africa over the next few day, this will probably be the reason why. --NJR ZA 18:11, 8 July 2007 (UTC)

Corporate PR smooths over Wikipedia's embarrassing bits

Just so we know how the Corporate PR people are dealing with problems from Wikipedia. Lumos3 15:50, 27 June 2007 (UTC)

  • Bowman, Jessica (June 27, 2007). "What To Do When Your Company Wikipedia Page Goes Bad". Search Engine Land. Retrieved 2007-06-27. Cite has empty unknown parameter: |coauthors= (help)
    • This article gives five tips to companies who find that factually true but embarrassing things are appearing on their Wikipedia article:-
      • Push negative content down the page.
      • Reduce the numbers to text equivalents so they dont catch the eye
      • Bury the bad stuff in noise. Put positive content at the beginning and end of a paragraph, and place the negative comments in the middle.
      • Fill the entire page with content. People do not like to read a mountain of information...
      • Include pictures.. .. if you place the right photos at the right place on the page, you can divert eyes from negativity.

Interesting. Now we know what the plan is we can take steps to deal with this sort of carefully managed manipulation. This probably needs a wider audience within the community. Sjc 08:45, 28 June 2007 (UTC)

They cite the page on Starbucks several times, too, making me think that they've used those methods there, or seen them used there. --Aquillion 17:37, 5 July 2007 (UTC)
I noticed one image there had no fair use rationale. That should cut down on at least one picture that can "divert eyes."--YbborTalk 16:19, 17 July 2007 (UTC)
See also "Get Noticed on Wikipedia", an instructional video available for purchase online. I watched the free preview version, and it'd hard to tell just from that whether or not anything unethical is advocated, but I am a bit concerned.--Pharos 09:14, 11 July 2007 (UTC)

Because of this, there's now the new busness FAQ at WP:BFAQ. Might be helpful to direct people to this. Nathanww 01:30, 12 July 2007 (UTC)

We could call this fig leafing. Lanfear's Bane