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Request for Comment on Cloudflare Controversies section[edit]

The following discussion is an archived record of a request for comment. Please do not modify it. No further edits should be made to this discussion. A summary of the conclusions reached follows.
There is a consensus to condense, but there also is consensus that "condense" is too vague and specific proposals for what to remove/condense should be put forth. Aaron Liu (talk) 22:57, 26 April 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Is the current version of the Cloudflare#Controversies section disproportionately long?

A. Yes, the section needs to be condensed

B. No, it’s fine as-is.

Ryanknight24 (talk) 20:34, 5 December 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

So I am unclear about the rules and cultural norms around RfCs, but the Ryanknight24 user account that has initiated this proposal very much appears to be a single-purpose account, based on looking at their contribs; a vast majority of the 51 total contributions from the past several years with this account are all in relation to Cloudflare.
It's cool that a conflict of interest has been acknowledged, but I'm not sure about the precedents that have been set in relation to SPA accounts exerting influence in this manner. What do more experienced editors know about this? Thanks everyone. Cheers! (talk) 06:02, 11 December 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Ryanknight24: I also have a related question for you. Is monitoring the Cloudflare page here on Wikipedia a part of your job duties there at the company, either officially or unofficially? Or is this just something that you do "for fun" in your free time while away from the office etc? Thanks for any clarification. Cheers! (talk) 06:13, 11 December 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
As (Redacted) I guess we can assume that this is a part of your paid job duties. Cheers! (talk) 05:30, 20 January 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
This violates WP:COI#Avoid outing. Please take the link down. Cessaune [talk] 05:13, 30 January 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Condense. Please note I am an employee of Cloudflare who has been tracking this page for several years, abiding by WP: COI policy. Cloudflare is a publicly traded NYSE company founded in 2010 that provides proxy and reverse proxy servers to cache content and applications hosted elsewhere. As of 3 October 2022, it protects approximately 19% of the entire internet.[1]

The Controversies has been disproportionately long for several years, suffering from WP:RECENTISM, WP:NOTNEWS, and WP:UNDUE. While the content in Controversies is based on press coverage, a tendency toward sensationalism has overwhelmed its prominence and tone on the page, and it’s been getting progressively worse. On November 7, 2017, for example [1], the Controversies section took up 34% of the text of the article. On January 25, 2020, the Controversies section took up about 41%. [2] As of Nov. 7, 2022, Controversies took up more than 57% of the body of the article. dif

What’s more, almost all the controversies are variations of the same theme. Critics ask Cloudflare to cease providing services to specific clients engaged in hate speech. Cloudflare defends its policies of providing its services to controversial clients based on free speech and because it says its services are an internet utility, akin to phone service or electricity. This debate and criticism can be fully represented on Wikipedia, with many specific examples, but without the excessive detail that is coming close to turning this into an attack page.

Also, it is not true that the page is simply reflecting the press coverage. As the market leader in its field, Cloudflare has generated many hundreds if not thousands of WP:RS articles unrelated to controversies, as can be seen in the results of a simple Google search], Cloudflare publishes links to stories concerning non-controversial press coverage, which can be found here: In the past three months alone, over a hundred such stories were published.

As a discussion starter only, to show the criticism can be detailed in full while still reducing the percentage of the article to about 21% of the body, I have posted a condensed draft revision here: User:Ryanknight24/Sandbox.

Ryanknight24 (talk) 20:34, 5 December 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • Condense - I agree that multiple instances of a very similar story can and should be handled in a summary fashion. This stuff just builds up incrementally in the raw over time and should be processed by editors. The question I have is, who is willing to do it? ~Kvng (talk) 22:01, 6 December 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Mixed/Oppose - I agree that we should condense the section somewhat, since it has redundancies, but I think there should otherwise be no loss of information. In particular, the draft at User:Ryanknight24/Sandbox is unsatisfactory since it loses crucial information.
For example, it mentions the Electronic Frontier Foundation defending Cloudflare in one controversy, but does not mention GLAAD (one of the most notable LGBTQ+ advocacy groups in existence) criticizing Cloudflare in another controversy. As another example, the draft does not mention that the CEO of Cloudflare defended hosting 8chan even after the second mass shooting, before switching course.
The draft's subsection title is also inaccurate for two reasons. First, Cloudflare's controversies extend beyond just hate speech content. Second, I changed "free speech debate" to "far-right content" a few months ago, because the latter is a factual description of the controversies at hand, while the former puts undue weight on the supposed existence of an equal debate rather than the controversies themselves.
Because of all this, I think the Controversies section should still have at least three sub-sections at the very least. PBZE (talk) 07:19, 8 December 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Condense – Yes needs to be condensed. At the moment this article is acting as a WP:coatrack. Best way to begin the process is to either propose one whole draft change and then see if someone will make the change. Or provide draft changes for each subsection and see if someone will make the change, and then when finished perhaps remove the subsection headers. --Guest2625 (talk) 11:47, 9 December 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Expand – The editor who works at Cloudflare and proposed this RfC stated: "Also, it is not true that the page is simply reflecting the press coverage. As the market leader in its field, Cloudflare has generated many hundreds if not thousands of WP:RS articles unrelated to controversies ..." If this is the case, then please work to expand the article rather than purging relevant historical information and background. I understand that removing information is a lot easier than doing the hard work of researching sources, and proposing specific additions with citations, but this is the more appropriate path to take if we want the article to be balanced and informative. Let's please include more information in the article (not less!), rather than doing the lazy thing of simply removing content. Cheers! (talk) 09:47, 10 December 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Condense, or split off to another article. It's too long.--Ortizesp (talk) 04:04, 12 December 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Splitting the content into a companion article seems like a good compromise as well. Cheers! (talk) 19:12, 12 December 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • Condense and create a separate article for the controversies. Don't agree with removing the part about Switter. Alaexis¿question? 10:09, 13 December 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I support this proposal Aaron Liu (talk) 15:27, 2 January 2023 (UTC) Actually, I agree with Firefangledfeathers below. There are way too many issues this premature RfC tries to address that can't be funneled down into two simple options. Plus the condense option isn't very clear either, this might quickly turn into a battleground. Aaron Liu (talk) 21:04, 15 January 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • (Summoned by bot)Mu what the article really needs is a rewrite that provides information chronologically rather than having 4 sections that say everything good about the company followed by 2 that say all the bad. signed, Rosguill talk 05:44, 11 January 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Agreed. That would also be good solution. Cheers! (talk) 05:50, 11 January 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Hi, I am new to RfCs. What does Mu mean? Aaron Liu (talk) 13:22, 11 January 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I was also wondering! :) Hehe. (talk) 18:55, 11 January 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
According to the User:Pythoncoder/Scripts/voteSymbols script, Mu may stand for Moot which means Unnecessary or something. Aaron Liu (talk) 22:25, 11 January 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Not the original commenter, but I read it as a non-dualistic "no" challenging the frame of the question. DefaultFree (talk) 17:00, 12 January 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose - I agree with @PBZE: that there should be no loss of information. Moreover, I think it's inappropriate for a Cloudflare marketing employee to be driving these changes for fairly obvious WP:COI reasons. DefaultFree (talk) 16:55, 12 January 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Actually, this is the exact way a COI editor should be doing things, based on WP:COI. Cessaune (talk) 19:54, 18 January 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Condense Wikipedia is not a repository of every controversy that's been talked about in a reliable source. That violates the due weight policy, the NPOV policy, WP:VNOT, and others. The Controversy section should be an encyclopedic synthesis of the neutral carrier vs deplatforming debate surrounding Cloudflare, which has been extensively covered in the published literature. So we should base that section on published scholarly sources; they covered the topic with far more intelligence and depth than the tech news sites. DFlhb (talk) 20:08, 15 January 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Let's start over. This RfC has a very low likelihood of leading to any actionable consensus. Even if a closer finds consensus to condense, there's no specific removal or shortening that couldn't be reverted with "Yes, there was consensus to condense, but we shouldn't remove this bit." Some participants have proposed to split out a sub-article, but this is not the correct process for such a proposal (it's explicitly included in WP:RFCNOT). There was no WP:RFCBEFORE-style thorough discussion, which likely would have identified areas that can be removed/condensed uncontroversially and others that need further discussion or dispute resolution. We should close this RfC, or just let it die out, and start some issue-by-issue discussion. Firefangledfeathers (talk / contribs) 20:50, 15 January 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    It's also problematic that the person who posted this RfC hasn't been engaging in the conversation at all, and hasn't responded to a single one of my questions that were posted above, even though I attempted to ping them. Cheers! (talk) 03:34, 16 January 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Given WP:ONUS, wouldn't it be on those who support certain passages/paragraphs' inclusion to do that? Requiring a discussion before any specific part is removed seems to go against the spirit of WP:STATUSQUO, which isn't meant to preserve any content, only to prevent edit-warring during discussions. DFlhb (talk) 07:04, 30 January 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Comment Hello all - want to thank everyone for their input and discussion. It seems the initial answer to my response is A - yes, the section needs to be condensed, though a bit more complicated.

To answer the various questions in this thread - as previously stated, I am an employee of Cloudflare who has tracked the page for a long time out of interest. To specifically - I don't think I need to specify anything else about my identity, as my conflict of interest is clearly expressed. Additionally, staying out of the discussion is exactly what I am supposed to do after requesting comment and consensus, based on my understanding of the guidelines.

There seems to be a general consensus the section is not feasible as-is; all commenters have agreed the content is due for a full review, and possible condensation where it makes sense (as DFlhb explained). Of the votes, 6 voted to condense, two opposed, and proposed expanding the page.

As Firefangledfeathers suggested, should we begin with an issue by issue discussion of each controversy sub-section? Or should it be moved to its own page (as proposed by Alaexis) and then a separate discussion started?

As stated multiple times, I will continue to abide by WP:COI and not edit the page myself, and am here to work with the community towards a resolution of a page more consistent with Wikipedia's guidelines. Thank you! Ryanknight24 (talk) 02:08, 20 January 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I think we should start some sort of discussion with the above involved editors. I propose something like
  1. editor proposes part to remove and adds aptly titled subsection
  2. discuss and form consensus
for each part to remove. smaller parts could be merged Aaron Liu (talk) 02:16, 20 January 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I would also like to see some effort in terms of helping to expand the page and add additional content with more emphasis about the company and it's history, business model and services etc. "Balancing" the page does not just mean removing stuff, but adding some of the positive coverage as well. @Ryanknight24: Any interest in proposing some edits that might help, by offering additional content backed up with quality reliable sources? Cheers! (talk) 04:04, 20 January 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Happy to oblige. One immediate improvement to expand the article would be to include Cloudflare's zero-trust platform, Cloudflare One, which launched in October 2020. There are existing citations about the platform, and it was also reported in December that the tools are available for free for journalists, public officials, non-profit organizations, and state/local election sites. I would assume I shouldn't be proposing content, so I will let the other editors involved determine the language of what should be added. Here are links to potential citations:[3][4][5][6]
Regarding the Controversies section, I would first request a discussion of the Stormer, 8chan, and Kiwifarms sections, and whether they can be reviewed to be combined into one section placed under a 'Customer Removals' subsection (or equivalent).
In the interest of keeping our discussion focused, I will only propose one or two items to discuss at a time. If this is not appropriate, please let me know.
Finally, to - I have made it abundantly clear my identity and my relationship with Cloudflare. I would request the LinkedIn link in your comment be removed. I don't know if you are trying to bait or intimidate me, but the assumptions are unnecessary - I have made no attempt to obfuscate my intentions or act in violation of Wikipedia's guidelines.
Ryanknight24 (talk) 02:06, 30 January 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Regarding your final paragraph, it's quite material to the discussion. There is a significant difference in COI potential between a non-marketing Cloudflare employee participating in Wikipedia on the side as a hobby, and a Cloudflare marketing employee performing their job duties on Wikipedia. You say you've been "abundantly clear" about your COI, but have failed to disclose the fact that your job duties specifically involve marketing Cloudflare products, even when directly confronted about it. WP:NOTADVERT says "Wikipedia articles about a person, company or organization are not an extension of their website, press releases, or other social media marketing efforts" and it is problematic for Cloudflare's marketing department to be influencing the contents of this article. DefaultFree (talk) 03:35, 30 January 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I don't think this is problematic given that Ryanknight is avoiding editing and directly abiding by WP:COI. Sure, Ryan's part of the marketing team, but any and all edits go through the Wikipedia community and not him. In addition, he clearly lays out his issues and gives plenty of reliable sources to provide solutions, something that most editors do not bother doing to the scale he has done.
You could make an arguement that he is being unfairly biased, but you have not done that, and instead questioned the process. You have not actually stated whether his COI actually makes a difference to the topic, and are instead disagreeing with the COI in and of itself. I urge you to look at this with a broader view, and try to find negatives in what he's saying and not the COI issue, as, at the end of the day, he is abiding by WP:COI and it is us editors who have the final say. Cessaune [talk] 05:24, 30 January 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Appreciate everyone's input here - User:Firefangledfeathers also pointed me towards Wikipedia:PAY on my Talk page, which I have reviewed. To be more explicit, Wikipedia is not considered part of my formal job duties: I read the page, and after reading some guidelines like WP:RSUW and WP:NPOV, felt the Cloudflare page was unduly weighted and outdated. As my Contribution history details, I have tried to influence the page directly in the past, but have learned the policies and rules about how to work with editors properly.
(I will note that the WP:COI#Avoid outing violation still exists in this thread, which I would again ask be removed. Again, I have not tried to hide my identity or connection to Cloudflare, or other companies I've worked with).
Since my initial content requests are in various places throughout this Request for Comment thread, should I create a 'Requested Edit' section below this to re-propose the edits already suggested, along with additional items to review? (Again, I would assume the sandbox I made is invalid, as it is me directly proposing content.) Or should I reiterate those below in this same thread, and we can begin discussion of the Controversies section and citable new information? Again, thank you to everyone who has contributed to this discussion. Ryanknight24 (talk) 13:07, 6 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Reorganize. Part of the problem here is that "Controversies" sections aren't usually a good way to organize article content – see the essay WP:CSECTION. Maybe split the material into sections called "Far-right content", "Crime and terrorism", and "Misinformation", or something similar – those headings could hold most of the information currently under "Controversies". With the material organized by topic or theme, rather than in a catch-all "Controversies" section, it may be easier to evaluate whether the article's coverage is neutral and, if not, how to address the problem. Alternatively, User:Rosguill's suggestion to reorganize chronologically is a good one. —Mx. Granger (talk · contribs) 05:47, 9 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose any action based on this RFC. This proposal is simultaneously too sweeping and too vague; but at the very least, the section doesn't have such glaring issues that it would justify a broad mandate to make arbitrary cuts to it. If people think some aspects get too much focus, they should indicate what they want to remove or condense. But I would generally oppose trimming most of the stuff there - the fact is that these controversies make up a huge chunk of the coverage of Cloudflare, so having them make up a similarly large chunk of the article is WP:DUE. --Aquillion (talk) 09:35, 9 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Reorganize per Mx. Granger. Criticism sections are usually a sign of poor layout and improper application of WP:WEIGHT. If the content is due, then it should be possible to reorganize the article in a way that seamlessly incorporates it into the rest of the body. Having a separate section purely to list criticisms is almost never appropriate. Thebiguglyalien (talk) 18:42, 10 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Comment Regardless of whether the vote is 'condense', 'expand', or 'reorganize', it seems a majority consensus has been reached that changes should be made to the page and its contents. There have been many helpful suggestions made, both by myself and other editors, in this thread over the past two and a half months - are there any editors willing to begin reviewing the specific suggestions proposed to begin implementing them? Again, thanks to everyone for their input. Ryanknight24 (talk) 02:05, 16 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    can you help catch me up: what exactly do you want to happen next? It seems like there is consensus around condensing the criticism, but I'm not sure where to begin and don't see an easy starting point. one idea would be that we could de-prioritize (aka remove?) areas which quote articles that are more than 6 years old. for example, the Anonymous claims RE: ISIS from 2015, it is weakly reported, old, and likely irrelevant now. would you be willing to do a few bullets or pulls on that? open to thoughts but honestly the stuff is SO LONG now it seems hard to unravel while also respecting what other editors feel is just inclusion for outsized media coverage. my two cents and I am open to all feedback Nickgray (talk) 19:12, 23 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    (not him) Honestly, if I had time, I'd boldly rewrite it into a scholarly-sourced synthesis (not WP:SYNTH!) of the general debate between harm-reduction and free speech, that only name-drops examples for the purposes of illustrating specific points, rather than being a lazy play-by-play that anyone could get by Googling. Could likely be done in ~5-ish paragraphs. If anyone has library access and a day of free time, knock your socks off! The section should be about: here's what scholars think is important, rather than: here's what news sites and Twitter users (but I repeat myself) think is important. DFlhb (talk) 04:13, 24 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Condense It seems that these controversies are repeats of the same argument. Could the topic of controversies serve as paragraph topics with the more specific examples stated more briefly. As is, the Controversy section takes up 50% of the article. Seems ridiculous to restate this again, but, come on: WP:UNDUE. Pistongrinder (talk) 21:53, 26 April 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Thanks for the input! However, per above, we have agreed to condense and also agreed that "condense" is too vague and we need proposals on how to condense. Aaron Liu (talk) 22:49, 26 April 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]


  1. ^ Keary, Tim (3 October 2022). "Cloudflare's post-quantum cryptography protects almost a fifth of the internet". VentureBeat. Retrieved 4 October 2022.