From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    I collect stuff.

    Talk to me, baby![edit]

    I'm currently at work on a project compiling The Selected Works of Eugene V. Debs (in six volumes) with David Walters of Marxists Internet Archive for Haymarket Books. This is an enormous six year project and the time commitment will necessarily reduce my participation at WP to a fraction of what it has been in recent years. Each volume will run 700 pages long.

    Volume 1: Building Solidarity on the Tracks, 1877-1892 released in March 2019. It is swell. LINK

    Volume 2: The Rise and Fall of the American Railway Union, 1892-1896 released in May 2020. It is swell. LINK

    Volume 3: The Path to a Socialist Party, 1897-1904 released in February 2021. It is swell. LINK

    Volume 4: Red Union, Red Paper, Red Train, 1905-1910, is in the process of being copyedited. I'm still hanging in limbo, this is definitely back into 2023 at this point.

    Volume 5: Breakthroughs and Breakdowns, 1911-1916, is currently being researched and content added, with about one-third of the Debs material finished.

    Volume 6: The Perils of Pacifism, 1917-1926, will be the sixth volume, eventually.

    There is also a small general introduction to Debs slated, working title This Is Debs. We haven't decided yet how that fits into the release schedule.

    The website relating to this project is:

    My previous book, co-edited with Paul LeBlanc, is The "American Exceptionalism" of Jay Lovestone and His Comrades, 1929-1940, first published by the Dutch academic house Brill in 2015 at a ridiculous price and now finally in print in paper through Haymarket Books in Chicago. I was definitely the second chair on this project and it's not the book I would have written if I was in a position to make all the calls. The Debs Selected Works volumes? THOSE I like...

    My main website, dealing with the history of American radicalism from 1877 to the 1930s, is This site is moribund for now but remains a great resource for the 1916-1924 period of American radicalism, which I hope to return to when I am done with Debs.

    I'm also a volunteer with Marxists Internet Archive, whose website is I put up enough stuff at that I consider myself a volunteer there, too, although they may differ with that assessment.

    I collect books, pamphlets, and other radical ephemera. I've got a big ass library. Seriously, big ass — five thousand pamphlets, a thousand reels of microfilm, the whole works. I guess that makes me a nerd.

    I'm a member of the Organization of American Historians, Historians of American Communism, Society for Historians of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era, and an honorary life member of the American Tax Token Society, having co-authored the current standard catalog on that numismatic topic.

    I'm a fan of poppy punk rock, the National Football League, India Pale Ale, strong Nicaraguan cigars, and stupid and silly golden retrievers, of which I have two.

    Here's my email in case anyone wants to get in touch with me about anything: Don't be afraid to write if you have a comment or a question — direct contact is probably quicker and easier than the Wikipedia discussion pages.



    Tim Davenport
    5010 NW Shasta
    Corvallis, OR 97330 (USA)


    Attention one and all. I've never (previously) accepted money for editing at Wikipedia, but I do have an ad up now on oDesk and will eventually do a total of three (3) "paid" jobs, with any money made to be donated to the Heartland Humane Society of Corvallis, Oregon or Safehaven Humane Society of Albany, Oregon. I'm am being very selective and am only going to do jobs which (a) meet notability guidelines, (b) improve the encyclopedia, (c) are written in accord with NPOV, (d) which have a COI declaration on the talk page, and (e) which are scrutinized by at least one long-term Wikipedian with no financial conflict of interest. Afterwards I'm going to write about my experiences as a "paid editor." The political point I am making is this: yes, it can be done. Carrite (talk) 18:55, 23 January 2014 (UTC) Amended: Carrite (talk) 17:58, 4 March 2015 (UTC)

    Getting out in front of what seems a forthcoming set of ex-post facto rules about paid editing, THIS is a link my UpWork page. Carrite (talk) 19:21, 18 December 2017 (UTC)

    Number 1 of 3...
    The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.

    After more than 13 months I'm about ready to take on my first paid piece of an eventual three — looking to improve Wikipedia and write about my experiences as a "paid editor" down the road. The piece will be CyberArts International, employer R. Gelman via oDesk, rate $20/hr. capped at two for a rewrite of a standing WP article on a notable topic under GNG to get to WP style, improve sourcing, and satisfy flags that have been bombed on top of the established piece. Hike. —Tim. Carrite (talk) 01:27, 4 March 2015 (UTC)

    Permalink to the first stable version, passed through Articles for Creation is HERE.

    What anti-paid editing hardliner OrangeMike had to say about the original version of the article is HERE. (He left this very bitey message on the talk page of a new editor, for what it's worth).

    Permalink to the state of the article before I touched it is HERE.

    Permalink to prereview "finished" state of the article after I fixed it is HERE.

    Request for independent review for any potential NPOV violation: HERE.

    Version after independent review is HERE.

    What's in a name?

    Some of the pages to which I've made measurable contributions[edit]

    The 326 articles which I started marked with *
    Complete rewrites marked with †
    Those to which I only contributed a graphic marked with #
    Those for which I received compensation marked with $
    Future article topics marked with x.

    Political and academic biographies[edit]

    Organizational Histories[edit]

    Specific histories[edit]

    Publications and media[edit]


    Sports stuff[edit]

    Music stuff[edit]


    Oregon and Washington history[edit]

    Native American history[edit]

    Pumpkin farmers, peanut vendors, and other miscellaneous stuff[edit]


    Technical pages and templates[edit]

    Localities to which I included local history book links[edit]

    Mississippi Delta High Schools[edit]

    The shared floodplain of the Mississippi and Yazoo Rivers.
    ...I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.... —Martin Luther King, Jr., August 1963.

    The Mississippi Delta has been called "The Most Southern Place on Earth." In terms of public education, that's not a good thing — mass exodus to segregation academies and systemic underfunding of public education in the state seem to have left secondary education as separate-and-unequal as it ever was. Wikipedia is a mass of redlinks for the public high schools of the region. Here are a few that I've started and others that need to be started.

    Mississippi has more school districts with greater than 30% of their student body below the poverty line (63) than any other state in the country.[1] According to a report published by the Education Law Center, Mississippi's state and local spending per pupil is the lowest of any state in the union ($7,102).[2] Even this amount has been the subject of additional cuts by the state's conservative government.


    1. ^ Bruce D. Baker, David G. Sciarra, and Danielle Farrie, Is School Funding Fair? A National Report Card. Newark, NJ: Education Law Center, Sept. 2010; pg. 3.
    2. ^ Baker, Sciarra, and Farrie, Is School Funding Fair? pg. 17.


    School list[edit]

    I also basically wrote a new version for Germantown High School (Madison) in Madison County, which is not part of the delta.

    Stuff needing remedial attention which I haven't worked on yet[edit]

    And a shout-out to the coolest motherfucker on the planet[edit]

    Cartella verde.jpg
    Nuvola apps kdmconfig.png
    GA participation

    I believe that the good article process is one of the most worthless and counterproductive time-sinks at Wikipedia — a lightweight process of homogenization by Manual of Style-obsessed copyeditors on the make... This is a comprehensive list of the so-called "Good Articles" to which I have contributed:


    This user is a member of the Association of Inclusionist Wikipedians.

    The motto of the AIW is conservata veritate, which translates to "with the preserved truth".
    This motto reflects the inclusionist desire to change Wikipedia only when no knowledge would be lost as a result.


    Others who sometimes work in my field[edit]

    Specialized graphics licenses[edit]

    For Soviet stamps and banknotes  : { {PD-RU-exempt} }

    Great wisdom[edit]

    Antandrus' observation No. 59[edit]

    "When an editor ceases to contribute to articles, but instead writes only in the Wikipedia space, on talk pages, and arbitration cases, and when more than half of that editor's contributions are in conflicts, either beginning or prolonging them: then that editor is very close to departure. As with stars on the main sequence, some departures are shrinkings into dwarf states, with ever diminishing contributions, giving little light, and with a long decay; and other departures are violent supernova explosions, spewing waste matter and hot gas in all directions."

    For the complete list, see User:Antandrus/observations on Wikipedia behavior.

    BMK on BLP[edit]

    "We are not a social services agency, here to make everyone feel better about themselves, we're here to write an encyclopedia in a neutral, straightforward, non-judgmental manner, with our information supported by citations from reliable sources. When we fulfill those requirements, we have fulfilled our obligations to our readers and to the subjects of our articles, to whom we owe nothing more than that: accuracy and neutrality. To say that we have another, overriding obligation, a blanket proscription to "do no harm" is a egregious misreading of the intent of the BLP policy, one that, if widely believed, would cripple our ability to do what it is we're here to do." Beyond My Ken at AN/I, 08:27, 7 November 2013 (UTC)

    Liz's Law of Longevity[edit]

    "Longevity on Wikipedia is 40% not pissing people off, 20% having friends come to support you when you are in a dispute, 30% having reliable sources on your side and 10% just plain dumb luck." Liz at AN/I, 01:53, 6 June 2015 (UTC)

    Timbo's Rules[edit]

    Inspired by Antandrus, here are a few observations about Wikipedia of my own.

    Rule 1. The more important the topic of a Wikipedia article, the higher the probability of conflict over content. (Feb. 2012)

    Rule 2. So-called "anti-canvassing" rules are a mechanism by means of which a narrow clique can avoid broad discussion and decision by a larger and more inclusive group. (Feb. 2012)

    Rule 3. The slogan "The threshold for inclusion in Wikipedia is verifiability, not truth..." is an Orwellian idiocy. The threshold for inclusion in Wikipedia is actually veracity and verifiability. (Feb. 2012; modified Jan. 2016)

    Rule 3½. The flipside of rejecting the Orwellian idiocy of "verifiability-not-truth" is acceptance that there is such a thing as objective truth — a House POV, if you will — which must be defended. (March 2020)

    Rule 4. Starting articles on Wikipedia is like building sandcastles on the beach. Down by the surf the sand is nice and wet and the building is easy, but your work will soon be wiped out by an incoming wave. For your work to last, build farther up the beach. (Feb. 2012)

    Rule 5. There are five basic types of participants at Wikipedia: content creators, copy editors, vandal fighters, problem solvers, and people who are just there for the perpetual soap opera. The first four of these groups are useful, the fifth is not. (Feb. 2012, modified June 2013)

    Rule 6. Wikipedia says of itself that it is "not a democracy" and "not a bureaucracy." That is half right. (Feb. 2012)

    Rule 7. Honest people may differ about matters of interpretation. Dishonest people are unable to admit this. (Feb. 2012)

    Rule 8. Everyone has bias, both conscious and inherent. The doctrine of Neutral Point of View doesn't legislate human nature away, it simply requires that one be fair and proportionate to all sides of a debate and dispassionate in the delivery. (Feb. 2012)

    Rule 8½. In the long run Neutral Point of View will always triumph over the tendentious distortions of the moment. (Feb. 2012)

    Rule 9. Without the doctrine of Neutral Point of View Wikipedia would have disintegrated long ago. It is the glue that holds The Project together and as such it is the single most important creation of Messrs. Sanger and Wales. (Feb. 2012)

    Rule 10. Anyone who says "Wikipedia is not censored" has never paid particularly close attention to the way talk pages are treated by third parties. (Feb. 2012)

    Rule 11. Starting an article at Wikipedia is like raising a kid. You try to set them up on a good foundation and hope they'll develop and progress in the right way, without getting mixed up with the wrong people and getting themselves killed. Ultimately, however, all you can do when you post a piece is wave goodbye and hope for the best. (Feb. 2012)

    Rule 12. Most vandalism is caused by anonymous IP editors. The only reason IP editing is allowed at all is that it makes vandalism easier to spot. (Feb. 2012)

    Rule 13. Since such a high percentage of anonymous IP editors are vandals, they are all treated like shit. Trying to make serious edits to Wikipedia as an IP editor is like blindly blundering through the countryside on the first day of hunting season dressed like a moose. (Feb. 2012)

    Rule 14. Whenever you see multiple stacked footnotes in a lead to document a subject phrase as encyclopedic, it probably isn't. (March 2012)

    Rule 15. There's unnecessary confusion about how a paid Conflict of Interest editor can edit successfully at WP. It's actually as easy as one-two-three... 1. Declare your COI on the talk page. 2. Commit no spam — stick to uncontroversial, sourced content. 3. Invite scrutiny. (April 2012)

    Rule 16. The slogan "Adminship is No Big Deal" is a joke. Actually, RfA is a 7 day proctological exam conducted by a tag team of 150 people of differing intentions — some of whom wish to subject the patient's rectum to blunt-force trauma during the process. Only people who REALLY like proctologists would be advised to run. (July 2012; modified Jan. 2016)

    Rule 17. Then again, proctological exams do help ward off certain types of cancer. (Oct. 2012)

    Rule 18. Content should be content, in accordance with established policies — factual accuracy, verifiability, neutrality of tone. The desires and whims of biographical subjects should be completely separated from this; their concerns may be voiced and taken into consideration in debate, but content absolutely needs to be independently derived. (June 2013)

    Rule 19. Having underwent the RFA process through no fault of my own (trying to get temporary reading rights for deleted material in connection with an ArbCom case) I can say this with authority: "Yes, Virginia, there is a cabal." (July 2013)

    Rule 20. Nobody ever accused the cabalistas of being active builders of Wikipedia, speaking as a caste, just like nobody ever accused John D. Rockefeller and his cronies of being oil workers. (June 2014)

    Rule 21. The wise slogan "Don't feed the trolls" has a corollary: Don't feed the grouches. (Sept. 2014)

    Rule 22. There will always be drama at Wikipedia. Whereas writing articles, correcting grammar, tagging new submissions, and rolling back vandalism can be boring, drama is usually fun and people like to have fun. (Dec. 2014)

    Rule 23. Wikipedia has a voluntary allocation of duties in which writers write, copyeditors edit, administrators administrate, and it takes a lawyer or a lunatic to want to serve on ArbCom. And there sure as hell aren't enough lawyers... (Nov. 2015, revised Dec. 2015, Sept. 2019)

    Rule 24. Having closely watched a number of ArbCom cases, with different defense strategies and different results, I think that we can generalize as follows: if a person is brought before ArbCom, they should admit error, apologize and promise to do better, and shut the fuck up. (Jan. 2016)

    Rule 25. Biographies of Dead People are easier to source out than Biographies of Living People. The subjects also tend to complain less about the content. (March 2016; revised April 2019)

    Rule 26. It's not about the race or age or gender of the editors or where they live or whom they sleep with. Demographics, schmemographics... If you want better content at Wikipedia, write better content for Wikipedia. (June 2016)

    Rule 27. The drama pages (including ArbCom) are a cross between Game of Thrones and The Godfather, Part 3. Fortunately, all one has to do to avoid the circus is not go to the circus. (Aug. 2016)

    Rule 28. The only way administrators can actually end edit warring is by sending all warriors from the battlefield. (June 2017)

    Rule 29. The whole notion of a "reliable source" is a false one, implying that historical sources in their entirety are either a 1 or a 0. In actuality, no source is perfect, no source is without value, evidence can be gathered and marshaled leading in a multiplicity of directions. The bottom line is that writers need to be intellectually honest and to properly exercise editorial judgment. (Feb. 2019)

    Rule 29½. Wikipedia needs artificial rules like those governing "reliable sources" since there is no barrier to entry and publication — Any Opinionated, POV-pushing Fucktard Can Edit™, I think that's the official company motto. So rules have to exist to reign in abuse — to stop those who are not intellectually honest, those who do not properly exercise editorial judgment. This is fine as long as that nonsense is only enforced against those for whom the somewhat arbitrary and ridiculous rules about so-called "reliable sources" have been crafted, i.e. those who are not intellectually honest, those who do not properly exercise editorial judgment. (Feb. 2019)

    Rule 30. Edit-a-Thons do not work. Long-term Wikipedian content people are simply not "made" by assembling random crews at a university for a few hours one afternoon and feeding them pizza. (Sept. 2019)

    Rule 31. As topics at Wikipedia become more esoteric, factual accuracy and reliability increases correspondingly. (Sept. 2019)

    Rule 32. Don't bite the newbies, Wikipedians. Some of them will stick around and bite you back. (May 2020)

    Rule 33. Wikipedia is not censored,™ except when it is. (October 2020)

    Rule Infinity. - Let the stupid people congregate among the widely read, News of the Day, general interest type pages and fight amongst themselves. Find something unwritten and write it and improve the encyclopedia on the edges. That's the secret to life at WP. (July 2016) Renamed June 2017.

    ...and a couple filched from former ArbCom member and Wikipediocracy Trustee Kelly Martin:

    Chicago Kelly's Rule No. 1. Any time you have to beg for the assumption of good faith is an indication that you probably do not deserve it. (Jan. 2016 on Wikipediocracy)

    Chicago Kelly's Rule No. 2. Battles over the appropriateness of a source for use in Wikipedia have always been settled through collateral attacks such as accusing one's opponent of incivility or other violations of the rules. This is largely because Wikipedia has no mechanism at all for authoritatively deciding disputes over content, but does have mechanisms for settling disputes over conduct, which causes disputes over content to be transformed into disputes over conduct. (March 2016 on Wikipediocracy)

    Chicago Kelly's Rule No. 3. - It's my belief that Wikipedia's ready enabling of undisclosed "point of view warriors" to advance their preferred positions is what makes Wikipedia the lasting success it has been. Any successor that attempts to mediate or interfere with that will not win out against a successor that embraces it, at least in terms of attracting editors to write content in quantity. (Aug. 2016 on Wikipediocracy)

    Chicago Kelly's Nonchronologically Sequential Rule No. 4. - The ArbCom is in fact the disciplinary committee of an unincorporated voluntary association, so calling it one would be far more appropriate than its present name, which is indeed quite misleading. (Feb. 1, 2015 on Wikipediocracy)

    An essay by Chicago Kelly: "Arbcom as it really is, and how to fix it..."
    The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.


    Vigilant: I'd prefer that there were some people on ARBCOM with actual successful arbitration experience from the real world...

    Carrite/Randy from Boise: The name of the committee is a misnomer. In the words of Kelly Martin, posted at WPO on Feb. 1, 2015: "The ArbCom is in fact the disciplinary committee of an unincorporated voluntary association, so calling it one would be far more appropriate than its present name, which is indeed quite misleading." Ideal experience for Arbcom isn't real world arbitration experience, it would be more along the lines of having worked for 20 years as a junior high school vice principal.

    (another user): This is quite correct. Arbitrators listen to both sides and possibly independent witnesses, yes, but they then try to find a solution reasonably acceptable to both parties. ArbCom rarely does this. More importantly, arbitrators do not punish either party, still less any independent witnesses. That is the function of a court or a disciplinary committee.

    Kelly Martin's post

    More significantly, an arbitrator is charged with finding a solution that is maximally acceptable jointly to the parties of the dispute (either by finding in favor of one or the other, or by finding a middle ground that both parties are at least partially satisfied with), without any obligation to considering the impact of that solution on third parties not part of the dispute (except insofar as such an impact might relate back to one of the parties). This does not describe the behavior of the ArbCom; the ArbCom has fairly frequently issued "a pox on both your houses" decisions which leave neither party remotely satisfied. An arbitrator who resolves the dispute he is charged to resolve by maximally screwing both parties has completely failed in his duty as an arbitrator.

    A disciplinary committee, on the other hand, is charged with dealing with individuals whose conduct disrupts the purpose of the wider body it serves, by finding solutions that mitigate the effects of such disruptions and seek to prevent their recurrence. This is exactly what the ArbCom does. A disciplinary body has no obligations to the interests of the parties before it, other than to refrain from manifestly unfair behavior; its duty is to maximize the interests of the larger body it serves.

    There isn't really a need to make real-world analogies here, because the ArbCom actually is the disciplinary committee of the (at best vaguely organized) "Association of Wikipedia Editors". It's not analogous to one; it is one. There is no need to use analogies to judicial courts when we already have countless examples of other disciplinary committees to look for for guidance. Nearly every long-established voluntary organization has a disciplinary committee of some sort, and anyone familiar with parliamentary law is aware of this concept. I suspect that the main reasons Wikipedians reject this model is that legitimately operated disciplinary committees of these bodies tend to operate behind closed doors, generally seek to minimize drama, and usually issue mostly-opaque rulings.

    The fact that the ArbCom persistently fails to conduct itself as a proper disciplinary committee ought doesn't make them not one; it just makes them one that is very poorly operated. This could be mitigated if the "Association of Wikipedia Editors" would acknowledge its own existence and organize more formally, such by electing a governing board, setting down proper bylaws, and establishing committees related to its broader purpose; this would relieve the ArbCom from its dual role as both disciplinary committee and "highest governing body", and allow the ArbCom to actually act as a full-time disciplinary board.

    I also agree with "Randy" that the people most qualified for this role are those who have spent years finding ways to minimize and mitigate disruption. Middle school vice principals are a good example; another good example would be those with experience as community moderators on online services such as Steam or reddit. It's not the job of a vice principal to decide who of two fighting seventh graders was in the right, but rather to terminate the disruption their fight causes to the educational environment and take steps to ensure that it doesn't happen again. Similarly, the job of a Steam content moderator is to try to ensure that Steam's product is enjoyable to the bulk of Steam's users, and to remove from that environment influences that make that product unenjoyable to Steam's customers. Often, this will mean ejecting both disputants from the fray, even when one of them has the merit of being right, but that's often how it works in civil organizations. Wikipedia is not, as presently constituted, a civil organization.

    Experience with mediation or arbitration would be better utilized on Wikipedia's committee for resolving editorial disputes, except (of course) Wikipedia doesn't have such a committee. The failure of Wikipedia to establish any sort of meaningful process for systematically resolving editorial disputes in its nearly twenty years of existence, to me, leads me to conclude that the core of Wikipedia's committed members is not actually all that interested in "knowledge".

    Of course, the reason why the ArbCom is so important is precisely because Wikipedia lacks any meaningful way to resolve editorial (that is, content) disputes; the ArbCom has long insisted that it has no authority to resolve content disputes. The way to win an editorial dispute on Wikipedia is therefore to transform the content dispute into a behavioral dispute, typically by egging one's editorial opponent into some sort of misbehavior that can then be used as the basis for a disciplinary action that, if parlayed correctly, will result in one's editorial opponent being silenced. This can often then be parlayed into silencing everyone else who tries to advance the same editorial position as a proxy for the restricted individual. This has turned the ArbCom into a de facto editorial board, even as it refuses to acknowledge that it is doing so, but with editorial decisions made not on a sober evaluation of whose editorial position has the merit of appearing to be "most accurate", but rather on the basis of whose editorial position was expressed with the least raucously screeching voice, and also quite commonly on whose position was backed by the largest (or at least loudest) number of influence peddlers within Wikipedia's community. The sad thing is that committed Wikipedians generally think that this is somehow better than having a group of people who could credibly be considered subject matter experts examine the facts under dispute and issue a ruling based on what appears to them to be the most factually accurate representation of the matter under dispute; that somehow a mudslinging competition is a better way to determine truth than a panel discussion among generally acknowledged experts.

    If Wikipedia had a functional content dispute resolution process that could resolve content disputes before they became behavioral disruptions, there might possibly be fewer behavioral disruptions. Or, more likely, not, since, in my experience, at least, the vast bulk of Wikipedians who are not willing to compromise on content issues are going to become behaviorally disruptive when they don't get their way. But I'm not convinced that this is obligatory in a project like Wikipedia; the fact that it has evolved to that state may simply be a consequence of the decisions made early in Wikipedia's life. A project with different core principles would attract different participants.

    And a couple swiped from others...

    Beeblebrox's Law of File 13. Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained as one just doing a half-assed job when they're in too big of a hurry. (Dec. 2, 2019 on Wikipediocracy)

    • Beeblebrox's Concise Summary. The job of the [Arbitration] Committee is to stop disruption to the project, not to punish the wicked. (June 20, 2022 on Wikipediocracy)
    • Eric Corbett's Arbcom Law 1. Every Arbitration Committee is as bad as every other, just in different ways. (Feb. 20, 2020 on Wikipediocracy)

    Timbo's GNG for Beginners[edit]

    "A topic meets the General Notability Guideline if it is substantially covered in multiple, independently published sources of presumed accuracy."

    a. SUBSTANTIAL coverage, not a mere passing mention — more than a couple words.
    b. MULTIPLE instances — bare minimum two (Ignore All Rules), generally a minimum of three.
    c. INDEPENDENTLY — not a house publication or personal blog.
    d. PUBLISHED — newspaper, magazine, book, online news source, even a video of a documentary or TV show with time notation made (not an email etc.)
    e. PRESUMED ACCURACY — not the fucking Daily Mail, Sun, or Enquirer.

    It's not that difficult a concept and works well if honestly applied by AfD closers...

    (Jan. 2015, revised Nov. 2015)

    For Jargon Translation[edit]


    Guy Macon on Wikipedia's biases[edit]

    "What we won’t do is pretend that the work of lunatic charlatans is the equivalent of 'true scientific discourse'. It isn’t." --Jimmy Wales[21][22]

    So yes, we are biased towards science and biased against pseudoscience. We are biased towards astronomy, and biased against astrology. We are biased towards chemistry, and biased against alchemy. We are biased towards mathematics, and biased against numerology. We are biased towards cargo planes, and biased against cargo cults. We are biased towards crops, and biased against crop circles. We are biased towards laundry soap, and biased against laundry balls. We are biased towards water treatment, and biased against magnetic water treatment. We are biased towards electromagnetic fields, and biased against microlepton fields. We are biased towards evolution, and biased against creationism. We are biased towards medical treatments that have been shown to be effective in double-blind clinical trials, and biased against medical treatments that are based upon preying on the gullible. We are biased towards NASA astronauts, and biased against ancient astronauts. We are biased towards psychology, and biased against phrenology. We are biased towards Mendelian inheritance, and biased against Lysenkoism. --Guy Macon on Jimbotalk 03:04, 25 October 2018 (UTC)


    Some on-point comments from the feedback section of the Aug. 13, 2014 Signpost, taking aim at Jimmy Wales' Wikimania Civility-Purge rumblings...

    • Re: "kindness, generosity, forgiveness, compassion", - that effort would convince me more had it not been accompanied by the phrase "incredibly toxic personalities" which I believe expresses a way of thinking about other people or a group of people that contradicts the goal. I learned that the phrase was already used in 2009, see my talk. Room for improvement. --Gerda Arendt (talk) 11:02 pm, 17 August 2014 (UTC−7)
    Gerda, you need to readjust your priorities: we are no longer interested in creating an encyclopaedia, full of ("allegedly") high-quality content. Instead we are now more interested in a nice fluffy environment when we spend so much time stroking each others egos or drawing up a Black Book of people who don't think fluffy thoughts, that nothing ever actually gets written. I felt decidedly uncomfortable watching the [Wales speech] video stream: despite intentions, or the claims to the contrary, it does create a climate of fear, a toxic environment for people to work in. Incivility I can ignore or laugh at: a reign of fear whereby good editors are "encouraged to leave" is a depressing and worrying development. - SchroCat (talk) 9:41 am, 18 August 2014 (UTC−7)

    The method by which POV Warriors fight at Wikipedia[edit]

    The basic steps of disruptive POV pushing on Wikipedia when faced with well sourced material one doesn't like are:

    1. Try to delete it.

    2. If that fails try to delete it again.

    3. Try to hide it — this works with text in articles where you stick the stuff you don't like in the most obscure corner of the article where no one will see it.

    4. If you can't hide it, try to rephrase it in a way which is favorable to your side.

    5. If you can't rephrase it, slap it up with tags to make it look "dubious" and "controversial" and "fringe."

    6. If it's shown tags are unwarranted then make it seem controversial by "attributing" the text. I.e., every piece of text you don't like starts with "According to (if you can put something dubious here do it) X, ..." whereas every piece of text you agree with is given in Wikipedia voice.

    7. If possible try to insert just plain ol' bad grammar, bad writing edits into the section you disagree with so that it will "look like" it was written by a 7 year old, i.e. not credible.

    8. Wait a month or two and then try to quietly do 1 again. At worst you just go through the list again and "correct" anything you missed.

    At each step of the process, ensure as much as possible that "your" version is the actual one, while discussion over each step gets bogged down in the, ahem, "dispute resolution process" (which of course has to be renewed at each point). That way "your version" slowly becomes the 'status quo' version which means you can start reverting people per "no consensus to change" or "stable version". And those who disagree with you will become tired and bored and you might win. Then wait a little bit and try to go up the steps backward. If you've hidden it, now try to delete it again, etc.

    All the steps, and the algorithm as a whole, are actually intended to frustrate the person who is disagreeing with you, bore them, annoy them, irritate them, provoke them, until they get fed up and... "say something incivil." At which point you can go running to the drama boards screaming "OMG! This person is uncivil!" It's even better if the article is under "discretionary sanctions" so you can bring it to WP:AE and then it's more or less guaranteed that some banhammas come down.

    There's a couple of other tricks that I'm forgetting right now, but that's basically how it works. I'd like to thank User:Skapperod for his help, over many years, in compiling/establishing the above checklist.

    Posted by User:Volunteer Marek at Wikipediocracy, April 24, 2013.

    The reasons people don't edit at WP[edit]

    Reasons why editors lose interest: One of the user surveys confirmed the problems in editor retention are mainly due to the common-sense reasons. So, answer the basic question: What factors would cause more people to drift away the fastest? Answers:

    • Not knowing where help would be most valuable, as no priorities given.
    • A feeling that contributions would be discarded, or not needed.
    • Disputes with people who quarrel over edits or details.
    • Not knowing the techniques to edit (lowest of reasons, as 9% of concerns).

    Many people expected WP to be run as an organized system, which called for participation and directed efforts into specific areas, as might be common practice in a workplace. Because of the lack of positive reception to contributions, people obviously felt their work was dropped into a vacuum, or bottomless pit. That could be the result of posting to forums where many messages are rarely displayed, and without seeing a tangible response, people imagine the text goes into the "bit bucket". We often have people request the pageviews or search-counts of pages they write.

    Meanwhile, the level of hostility in disputes has been cited as a reason why many female editors leave soon, as they preferred to chat about several subjects rather than fight endlessly about one pointless issue. Imagine what many university-educated people think when they read the disputes. Considering all the big factors where people lose interest, no wonder the new users rarely consider the editor-tool technology much of a concern, especially since over 95% of text is easily edited in some form, or ask for help to update 99.9% of pages.....

    —Wikid77 on Jimbotalk, 9:47 pm, October 13, 2013.

    Wikipediocracy's infamous "Vigilant" on the problem with WMF Engineering[edit]

    America's snarliest tech expert speaks... Read and heed...

    A short synopsis of why the WMF fails at engineering:

    • Jimmy Wales has NPD and was given pretty much free reign to select the initial employees - bad
    • They hired out of the cesspit of en.wp, primarily from ANI and IRC
    • They had/have no idea how to hire engineers or anyone, really
    • The Dunning-Kruger effect manifests so strongly at the WMF that they will likely be a future case study in a business textbook
    • They pay less than the prevailing rate
    • They have no stock options
    • They headquartered themselves in the most expensive tech market in the country
    • The valley is booming (I turn away > 20 recruiters a week these days - hand to god)
    • The engineers hate their customers
    • The customers hate the engineers
    • The "support" people they hire seem to come from some "aggressive sociopaths anonymous" meeting
    • Nobody inside understands regression testing and bugs from years past are routinely introduced back into release code
    • There don't appear to be even basic specifications, requirements, test specifications
    • They reorg constantly
    • They can't hire competent C-level managers because they are a dumpster fire of bad press and corruption
    • Who, from the tech industry, would want to be "CEO" of the WMF after the way the WMF board treated Lila Tretikov?
    • The board is staffed with morons, sycophants and grifters
    —From Wikipediocracy, June 25, 2017.

    The staff of Nupedia and Wikipedia parent company Bomis in the Summer of 2000.

    Standing, left to right: Tim Shell, Christine Wales, Jimmy Wales, Terry Foote, Jared Pappas-Kelley, Liz Campeau, Rita [Sanger], Jason Richey, Toan Vo, and Andrew McCague.
    Seated, left to right: Jeremy Rosenfeld, Larry Sanger. Not shown: Edward O'Connor (photographer).

    Ben Kovitz on the origins of Wikipedia[edit]

    The conversation at the taco stand[edit]

    There's been a fair amount of talk about the conversation between me and Larry Sanger that led to the creation of Wikipedia. Here is my memory of it.


    Larry had been working for a while on Nupedia, a free on-line dictionary written by credentialed experts and following a strict review and certification process to ensure that every article was high quality and, above all, factually reliable. A lot of Larry's thought since I first got to know him back in 1994 had been devoted to how sources of knowledge can be reliable and unbiased. I believe he was always looking for foundational knowledge: something solid to build on, or at least as close to that as we can practically achieve. Nothing much had come of Nupedia, though. There were hardly any articles completed.

    The previous several months, I had been participating heavily on two wikis: Ward Cunningham's original wiki and one called "Why Clublet", run by Richard Drake and Keith Braithewaite. I'd become interested in the way wiki pages would grow in directions that none of the contributors had anticipated, and sometimes with writing clearer and better than any one contributor was capable of. I was especially interested in how conflicting ideas could be explored in depth by separating discussion of them to different places. No back-and-forth head-on "debate", just parallel exploration of opposing ideas. I saw it work especially well when people focused on improving the quality of the writing and poorly when people tried to make the wiki officially declare their preferred view as the correct one. I had also been experimenting with Extreme Programming at work, and had discovered amazing synergy in pair programming. I liked how these structures enabled people working together to actually be smarter than people working alone--the exact opposite of "committee"-style collaboration, and also opposite from the kind of collaboration where each person "owns" a sectioned-off piece of the whole.

    That night[edit]

    On January 2, 2001, Larry and I ate dinner at the taco stand at 1932 Grand in Pacific Beach, San Diego. I believe this taco stand had no name, just the words "MEXICAN FOOD" written on a window. (I have a picture of it.)

    The conversation started with Larry telling me about Nupedia's progress since the last time we'd talked. Not many articles had been completed, but he was optimistic about Nupedia's future. He wanted to speed it up, though, and said he'd been looking at technological ways to speed up editing. I said that I knew of a really neat tool for fast collaborative editing: a wiki. Larry hadn't heard of wikis, so I told him all about them at great length.

    I suggested that instead of just using the wiki with Nupedia's approved staff, he open it up to the general public and let each edit appear on the site immediately, with no review process. Instead of preventing error and bias, I said to openly invite error and bias and make it very easy for people to correct them. My exact words were to allow "any fool in the world with Internet access" to freely modify any page on the site. Also, I said that on wikis, there are no "completed" articles, there is just endless chaos and conflict. I suggested that this might actually lead to better reliability and richer content than the careful, circumspect approach.

    Larry raised some objections and we debated a bit. Couldn't people just vandalize the site? I said yes, and other people could then repair the vandalism. Couldn't total idiots put up blatantly false or biased descriptions of things, to advance their ideological agendas? I said yes, and other idiots could delete those changes or edit them into something better.

    I told Larry about some of the conventions on Ward's Wiki, like running words together to indicate a page name. I mentioned that this required me to give the Ward's Wiki page about Aristotle the name "MrAristotle." Larry cringed at that.

    Larry was not completely convinced by my answers to his objections about quality, but he definitely liked the way the wiki concept enabled a great increase in editing speed, and he was eager to try it. We went over to his apartment, and he tried to call his boss at Bomis, Jimbo Wales. Jimbo didn't answer, so Larry left voicemail. Larry and I talked about philosophy for a while, and roughly half an hour later Jimbo called back. They talked for ten or fifteen minutes. After the conversation, Larry had a big smile on his face. Larry said that he felt very optimistic that the idea would proceed, and that Jimbo was quite open to it.


    Within a couple weeks, Wikipedia had gone live, and Larry had posted the WikiPedia page on Ward's Wiki, inviting people to come contribute.

    It's a rare thing to tell someone to do something exactly the opposite of what he's been doing and get a fair hearing. It almost never happens that someone actually takes the suggestion. But Larry listened to what I had to say, let his imagination engage, and ran with it. Back then, wikis were a very hard concept to "get", but Larry's mind began percolating immediately, and he got things started that very night.

    It was extraordinarily fortunate that Larry was working for Jimbo. Jimbo had both the means and the vision to get Wikipedia moving. Jimbo had stoked my interest in the power of collective knowledge years earlier in a post to the MDOP discussion list about sports betting and how it sets the "line" more reliably and accurately than any individual bettors.

    I'm not one of the founders[edit]

    Some folks, aiming to criticize or belittle Jimmy Wales, have taken to calling me one of the founders of Wikipedia, or even "the true founder". I suggested the idea, but I was not one of the founders. I was only the bumblebee. I had buzzed around the wiki flower for a while, and then pollinated the free-encyclopedia flower. I have talked with many others who had the same idea, just not in times or places where it could take root.

    In my opinion, Larry Sanger most certainly is a co-founder of Wikipedia. Larry came up with the perfect name and got the word out. He found people who were eager to contribute and got them writing articles a matter of weeks. Larry crafted the policies that converted Wikipedia from a cool idea into a practical success: Neutral Point of View, No Original Research, and Verifiable Sources. He wrote most of the original help and policy files, showing people how to get started and what the project was all about. He did the day-to-day political work of persuading people to participate in accord with those policies, both in letter and in spirit (and took a lot of abuse for it). Without these and much more, Wikipedia might have ended up a chaotic jumble of people shouting each other down, like many pages on Ward's Wiki. It is the only case I know of where a philosopher applied his knowledge of philosophy to a practical problem to get great results, benefiting millions of people.

    You have Larry to thank for "Be Bold". You have Larry to thank for getting Wikipedia started, no less than Jimmy Wales. The only people you have to thank more are the tens of thousands of people who actually wrote Wikipedia and are still writing it every day. —Ben Kovitz, Nov. 23, 2006; as last modified Aug. 25, 2009.

    Response from Larry Sanger[edit]

    Hi Ben, I hope you don't mind if I respond on your page; we can move it to mine, if you prefer.

    You have certainly remembered some more of the details than I do, and there is one point where your memory diverges significantly from mine. You say, "I suggested to Larry that he make Nupedia into a wiki." But I don't actually recall any such actual suggestion. What I do recall is that you talked on for quite a while about wikis. I then said something like, "Wow, that's really interesting — that sounds like a piece of cheap (free), available software we could use to solve this problem with Nupedia." And then, I think, I described the problems we were having with Nupedia. And then I am very sure we talked at great length about how a wiki could be used to build an encyclopedia. I also remember that you explained and defended the idea of a wiki very well!

    Also, you say, "Larry was skeptical at first." This is probably true, because I am skeptical of everything at first, even my own ideas. But you did not have to persuade me to think about it; what I distinctly recall is that the realization that "a website anyone could write on" could be applied to the encyclopedia problem was nearly instantaneous, and I was nearly instantly excited by the idea. So I might have been skeptical at first, but I was very excited, and you didn't need to persuade me to think it through.

    I remember laughing at "MrAristotle." I still do!

    Now, you say that I called Jimmy Wales when I got home, but to be perfectly honest, I don't recall you stopping by my apartment, and I don't recall calling Jimmy Wales, either. But if you have a clear recollection of that, then it must have happened. Perhaps I do have some vague inkling of that. Anyway, what I do very distinctly recall is that I wrote a document, one or two pages long (I think it was just one page long), describing how a wiki encyclopedia would work. I believe I sent it to Wales that very night, and he had a wiki set up for me to play with either Jan. 3 (the next day) or Jan. 4. I forget; might have been two days. I was never told who actually set up the wiki software. There was a sysop who could have done it, but Jimmy has claimed responsibility for it — whatever. It was very easy to set up UseModWiki, I understand.

    Finally, let me comment on this:

    It's a rare thing to tell someone to do something exactly the opposite of what he's been doing, indeed the exact opposite of how he's been thinking and investing mentally for most of his life, and get a fair hearing. It almost never happens that someone actually takes the suggestion. But Larry listened to what I had to say, let his imagination engage, and ran with it.

    This is disappointing, Ben, because there is apparently a few things about me that you do not understand, even though we have talked so much.  :-) First, I had hoped that Nupedia would be more efficient. In fact, that was one of the aims I set myself with it; when it turned out not to be efficient, I again set myself to fix the problem. So, while Wikipedia was much more efficient than Nupedia, it was always part of the plan to create a truly efficient, productive system. Second, as anyone who observes me working knows, I am constantly trying to think of ways to make things work better. I "let [my] imagination engage"? Good lord, I have to restrain my imagination. In that regard, I am what people call (loosely) a "pragmatist": I am always thinking up and trying out new things. Moreover, I don't think that that is in any contradiction, or even any interesting tension, with my desire for a solid foundation for knowledge. Having reliable knowledge is one value; having lots and lots of knowledge is another important value, one that I have always held up. Besides, I think that imagination is one of the most important keys to knowledge, both theoretical and practical: that is the faculty we use to generate hypotheses and solve problems. With the Citizendium, I have retained what worked with Wikipedia, and gotten rid of some of what didn't work. In the long run, I expect that we will have more articles than Wikipedia, more content, and better content. If I didn't believe that was possible, I wouldn't have started the project.

    And as far as this goes — "It was extraordinarily fortunate that Larry was working for Jimbo. Jimbo had both the means and the vision to get Wikipedia moving" — this does me a disservice, I think, Ben. You weren't actually present when it happened, but as those who were generally attest, I was the one who got Wikipedia moving in its first year. At the time, Wales was (as far as I know) working full-time as CEO as Bomis, and had relatively little to do with Wikipedia's actual origins. He was pretty hard to get a hold of, and didn't do that much work on or off the wiki. He, with his partners, had the means to get it going: Bomis could pay me and could pay for the servers and technical support. But Wales' "vision" was sketchy at best, limited to a very few, and vague, guidelines. The basic principles of the project were articulated by me, and I pushed them, day in and day out. Of course, many of the regulars also reinforced these principles very well — many of them rather more than Wales himself did. Of course, again, I don't mean to criticize you, Ben — I'm just tired of Wales getting so much credit for work, and "vision," he did not do or have.

    Anyway, interesting write-up, Ben, and mostly true! —Larry Sanger (talk) 05:55, 20 January 2008 (UTC)

    The original name of Wikipedia was "Nupedia's Wiki"[edit]

    On Jan. 17, 2001, '' (presumably Larry Sanger) wrote:


    Welcome to Nupedia's wiki! This might become the "WikiPedia" since some Nupedia members have reservations about associating a wiki with the Nupedia name.

    You might have some questions; explore the links to find answers:

    • WhatIsaWiki?
    • WhatsaWikiFor?
    • WhyDoesNupediaHaveaWiki?
    • WhyOnEarthWouldIWantToContributeToaWiki?
    • HowDoesOneEditaPage?
    • CanWeAddNupediaArticlesToTheWiki?

    And of course,

    • HowCanIExploreNupediasWiki?


    • What are your NewTopics?

    If you have other questions, just ask on the NupediaWikiFaq.

    This wiki is an experiment. But, for those who might be confused about this point, it is not Nupedia. Nupedia is a serious encyclopedia project found at . This wiki is a proposed "fun" supplement to Nupedia!


    The name "WikiPedia" seems to have been adopted that same day.

    The name had previously been first used in public by Larry Sanger on Jan. 11, 2001. LINK

    On the origins of the concept of "Neutral Point of View"[edit]

    Wikipedia began in January 2001 as a parallel Web 2.0 offshoot of a more conventional expert-written-and-peer-reviewed internet encyclopedia called Nupedia. Both of these were projects of Jimmy Wales' Bomis (originally a search engine company) under the administration of editor-in-chief Larry Sanger. Sanger wrote the guidelines for Nupedia, which trickled over to Wikipedia. Here is Sanger's earliest preserved take on what we know today as the doctrine of NPOV:


    Nupedia articles are to be unbiased. There may be respectable reference works that permit authors to take recognizable stands on controversial issues, but this is not one of them.

    This question is a good (albeit not infallible) test of a lack of bias: "On every issue about which there might be even minor dispute among experts on this subject, is it very difficult or impossible for the reader to determine what side the author falls on?"

    This requires that, for each controversial view discussed, the author of an article (at a bare minimum) mention various opposing views that are taken seriously by any significant minority of experts (or concerned parties) on the subject. In longer articles, of course, opposing views will be spelled out in considerable detail. In a final version of the article, every party to the controversy in question must be able to judge that its views have been fairly presented, or as fairly as is possible in a context in which other, opposing views must also be presented as fairly as possible. Moreover, if objections to any particular views are offered (which will be an essential component to certain articles, e.g., those on philosophy and public policy), the most serious or relevant objections to other, opposing views must be offered as well. The reader should, ideally, be given the tools for deciding the issue; or, failing that, the reader should be introduced to the problems that must be solved in order to decide the issue.

    On a controversial issue, it is usually important to state which views, if any, are now (or were at some time) in favor and no longer in favor (among experts or some other specified group of people). But even this information can and should be imparted in such a fashion as not to imply that the majority view is correct, or even that it has any more presumption in its favor than is implied by the plain fact of its popularity.

    To present a subject without bias, one must pay attention not just to the matters of which views and arguments are presented, but also to their wording or the tone in which they are mentioned. Nupedia articles should avoid describing controversial views, persons, events, etc., in language that can plausibly be regarded as implying some value judgment, whether positive or negative. It will suffice to state the relevant facts, to describe various views about those facts, and then let readers make up their own minds about what the correct views are.

    This policy does not mean that you may not, to a large extent, speak with your own voice in terms of writing style (certainly you may; and see below). Writers should avoid use of the first person, however; the third person will be expected, and if the

    first person is used, it will require editorial approval (it will have to be for a very good reason).

    The earliest extant statement of Neutral Point of View on Wikipedia itself was saved on Feb. 16, 2001. Later versions intimate this was written by Jimmy Wales. It reads in full:


    A general purpose encyclopedia is a collection of synthesized knowledge presented from a neutral point of view. To whatever extent possible, encyclopedic writing should steer clear of taking any particular stance other than the stance of the neutral point of view.

    The neutral point of view attempts to present ideas and facts in such a fashion that both supporters and opponents can agree. Of course, 100% agreement is not possible; there are ideologues in the world who will not concede to any presentation other than a forceful statement of their own point of view. We can only seek a type of writing that is agreeable to essentially rational people who may differ on particular points.

    Some examples may help to drive home the point I am trying to make.

    1. An encyclopedic article should not argue that corporations are criminals, even if the author believes it to be so. It should instead present the fact that some people believe it, and what their reasons are, and then as well it should present what the other side says.

    2. An encyclopedia article should not argue that laissez-faire capitalism is the best social system. (I happen to believe this, by the way.) It should instead present the arguments of the advocates of that point of view, and the arguments of the people who disagree with that point of view.

    Perhaps the easiest way to make your writing more encyclopedic, is to write about what people believe, rather than what is so. If this strikes you as somehow subjectivist or collectivist or imperialist, then ask me about it, because I think that you are mistaken. What people believe is a matter of objective fact, and we can present that quite easily from the neutral point of view.

    Note both NPOV as a mechanism for ameliorating disagreements between those holding divergent views on controversial issues on the one hand and the kernel of the unfortunate doctrine of "Verifiability Not Truth" on the other.

    On the origins of the concept of "No Original Research"[edit]

    "The phrase ["original research"] originated primarily as a practical means to deal with physics cranks, of which of course there are a number on the web. The basic concept is as follows: it can be quite difficult for us to make any valid judgment as to whether a particular thing is true or not. It isn't appropriate for us to try to determine whether someone's novel theory of physics is valid; we aren't really equipped to do that. But what we can do is check whether or not it actually has been published in reputable journals or by reputable publishers. So it's quite convenient to avoid judging the credibility of things by simply sticking to things that have been judged credible by people much better equipped to decide. The exact same principle will hold true for history..."

    — Jimmy Wales, WikiEN-l, December 3, 2004.

    A perspective on the emergence of notability doctrine[edit]

    "Wikipedia started without any notability guidelines. It started with a list of what WP was not and after a while guidelines grew up to codify what it was that it wasn't. Reporting by external sources was eventually agreed to be the basis for deciding which topics should have articles rather than a subjective assessment by editors of what they thought was important. This led towards some objectivity at the cost of favouring populist topics that are all too often (in my view) based on unsatisfactory journalism. So, although I would give weight to an argument "the topic passes GNG but we should delete the article because ...", the "because" has to have some cogent reason relating to our general approach. Reasons such as "from our personal knowledge we know these reports are unreliable" absolutely will not do. We surrendered our personal judgements on importance to those of people who get themselves published. Balance is achieved by referring to diverse sources, not by omitting what we happen to think is unimportant."

    — Thincat, at Deletion Review, July 7, 2014

    A couple tidbits from 2001[edit]

    In this WPO thread.

    Pioneer WMF Board member Florence Devouard on the history of the WMF Board of Trustees[edit]


    Florence Devouard
    Wed Jan 27 08:58:56 UTC 2016

    Hi Adam

    The WMF has never been a membership based organization.

    Actually, what happened (roughly) is this.

    1) WMF is created in 2003. Legal obligation is to have at least 3 board members. Jimmy create it and ask two people working with him at that time to join the board. Those were Michael Davis and Tim Shell. Fairly standard situation, that I have seen over and over, upon creation of similar organizations. So at this point, all 3 board members are appointed.

    Jimmy indicates that he thinks community members should have space on the board and that he will make sure something is done before one year to get two additional people on board. Jimmy transfers any already existing asset to WMF (that was basically a couple of servers, a couple of domain names...).

    Keep in mind that at this point... the Foundation is basically nothing except an administrative entity. And an entity to which people can send money to get new servers instead of sending money to Jimmy. But there is nothing else. And certainly no complicated procedures, no mission statement, no office, no staff. Just a paper, a couple servers and quickly a bank account I suppose :)

    Bylaws? IF there were bylaws, these were quick copy and paste of generic bylaws for the purpose of having bylaws. I am not even sure there were some back then when it was *created*... I suppose there was something...

    Honestly... that was NO ONE concern back in 2003. Our concern is that Wikipedia was Lohipedia. To be very specific... there were times where from France I could only access Wikipedia in the morning. As soon as America woke up, there was so much lag that Wikipedia was simply not accessible. Our concern was tech. And tech meant "who owns the servers" and "how do we buy servers" etc.

    2) In the following year, Jimbo set up first real bylaws with Alex. Those were not specifically discussed with community from memory. I think what happened is that Alex told Jimbo we needed bylaws. Jimbo said yes. Alex drafted something. And done. Did they get through lengthy discussions and many lenses for proofing? Not. Again... it was sincerely not the biggest concern then. And yes... these bylaws were VERY complicated with regards to membership. There were Contributing Members, Volunteer Active, Honorary etc. Why such a complexity? Absolutely not in the perspective of board elections. It was made this way because at that time, it was perceived the way we would fund Wikipedia would be by membership fees.

    We were looking for a model to fund us. First "inputs" were from Jimbo, his company and a few wealthy community members. But this was not sustainable. Original discussions included putting ads on the website (which led to the Spanish fork), selling tee-shirts, or getting fees from members...

    3) A year after the creation, as promised, Jimbo made it so that a first vote be held to elect the first two trustees from the community (Angela [Beesley] and I). Tim and Richard stayed there, so practically we have 3 self-appointed and 2 elected. That was in 2004.

    4) At the first board meeting in summer 2004, Angela, Jimbo and I discussed finances.To put things in perspective, the WMF was still pretty much a piece of paper, with a few servers, a bank account and a bunch of domain names. And bylaws of some sorts... Wikimedia DE was already created and Wikimedia FR was just starting, so we had a couple of chapters already. So logical thing to do at a board meeting... discussing those membership fees described in the bylaws and tossing figures. This page is interesting on this matter.

    At this point, who cares about "electing board members" and how members would elect or appoint board members? We just had an election. All good. What matters really is "how do we collect this cash we need to operate Wikipedia?"

    5) Over the following few months, we discuss this membership concept and basically conclude that it is simply not implementable. The discussion is not only "amongst board members", but largely on the mailing lists and meta. The membership structure is too complicated. How do we ensure privacy (most participants are anonymous) with membership and fees (which is impossible if members are anonymous). How do we manage fees in a world where 60 dollars is nothing for one but a hell of a cost for another? Do we give more decision weight to those giving more? How do we manage many members given that we have... no staff?

    Do we seek professional opinion on this? Yes and no. We have no cash to pay expert feedback.

    So is that "membership" thing implemented? No. Never.

    6) It is only when Brad Patrick joins in pro bono that the conversation about bylaws and membership came turn into something more practical. Brad proposes to rewrite bylaws and we accept this help wholeheartedly.

    By then... we are in 2005-2006 and beginning to figure out that we could manage without putting ads, without selling tee-shirts, without setting up that very complicated membership system... by simply asking for donations.

    And the membership model, meant to fund Wikipedia, never implemented, goes down the drain.

    Were those changes legal or not legal? Well... I do not really see how it could be illegal actually... Given that membership has never been implemented... in effect... either the WMF had no members... or the only members were the board members.


    PS: all of our story is colorful, not only the so-called membership :)

    A history of Arbcom, written in 2005[edit]

    Ever since Wikipedia started in January of 2001, disputes have been inevitable. As the encyclopedia — and the number of active users — expanded exponentially, the number of disputes and disagreements rose as well. It was up to Jimbo Wales, the founder of Wikipedia, to settle the disputes and to dole out punishments. In fact, only Jimbo had the authority to block users for anything other than simple vandalism. However, this posed a major problem as the disputes became more lengthy and complex; Jimbo no longer had the time to judge all the disputes. Some disputes would take months to settle, proving the inefficiency of having just Jimbo resolving disputes. Thus, the need for a "judicial branch" of Wikipedia arose. Dispute resolution process created

    In January of 2004, a dispute resolution process was proposed, and was ratified by the community in the next month. The dispute resolution process included several steps, such as requests for comments, mediation, and then finally, the Arbitration Committee. The ArbCom, as the Committee is often known, was the last step in the dispute resolution process, and had the responsibility of hearing disputes and cases, and then deciding on the proper punishments and decisions. The power vested in the Arbitration Committee was supreme; only Jimbo could override the ArbCom's decisions.

    "The Arbitration Committee [...] can impose a solution that I'll consider to be binding," Jimbo said. "With of course the exception that I reserve the right of executive clemency and indeed even to dissolve the whole thing if it turns out to be a disaster. But I regard that as unlikely, and I plan to do it about as often as the Queen of England dissolves Parliament against their wishes, that is, basically never, but it is one last safety valve for our values."

    However, the Arbitration Committee proved successful, and Jimbo did not disband the ArbCom in the coming months. In fact, Jimbo appointed the first twelve arbitrators — Fred Bauder, Maveric149, Jdforrester, The Cunctator, The Epopt, Delirium, Nohat, Camembert, MyRedDice, Gutza, UninvitedCompany, and Eloquence. All of the twelve, with the exception of Eloquence, accepted the offer from Jimbo. UninvitedCompany later resigned, and an election was held in July of 2004, with Raul654 and Jwrosenzweig winning the two open seats out of 10 candidates.

    However, according to Jimbo, the arbitrators were not to serve for life; on the contrary, each one would serve for three years. The twelve seats would be staggered so that four arbitrators would be up for re-election every year. Thus, the annual elections for the ArbCom were begun.

    ArbCom takes office

    During this time period, the ArbCom began hearing cases. Originally, the committee would only hear cases approved by Jimbo; this added to the relative inefficiency of the committee. In fact, one of the earliest cases heard by the Arbitration Committee, that of Plautus satire, a disruptive user, took six weeks to be approved, even after intense pressure on the ArbCom. Because the ArbCom was new, and because there were no precedents or guidelines to follow, the earliest cases had lengthy delays in approving and hearing cases. Despite this, most of the earliest cases were clear-cut disputes often involving a sophisticated vandal or POV-pusher.

    As time progressed, however, the arbitration committee became an integral part of the dispute resolution process, and by December 2004, had become essential to Wikipedia. In the December 2004 elections, in fact, 34 people ran for the seven open seats. The ArbCom had been plagued by resignations, with five arbitrators either resigning or choosing not to run for re-election. Thus, seven seats were open for election. The results of the election, which used approval voting were extremely close, with only one vote separating a successful candidacy and an unsuccessful one.

    In July 2005, three more arbitrators resigned. While the December 2004 resignations did not greatly influence the ArbCom operations because of the upcoming December 2004 elections, the resignations in July of 2005 slowed down the hearings, as there were fewer arbitrators available to decide cases. Combined with several inactive or away arbitrators, the ArbCom was down to six arbitrators, a number inadequate to hear proceedings. Thus, Jimbo appointed three temporary arbitrators: Jdforrester, who had been unsuccessful in his re-election bid in 2004, Fennec, and Jayjg, and the ArbCom continued normal operations after the temporary appointments.

    ArbCom today

    A record eight seats will open in the upcoming January 2006 ArbCom elections — the four terms up for re-election, plus the three temporary appointments, as well as a position vacated by Nohat, who has indicated he will resign.

    With two-thirds of the committee's seats up for grabs, the second annual ArbCom elections are a crucial moment for the ArbCom, and will surely shape Wikipedia in the upcoming years.

    —Flcelloguy, Wikipedia Signpost, Sept. 26, 2005

    SMcCandlish defends the Manual of Style[edit]

    To catch up after a long absence, I'll mostly address all of this thread (and some older, similar ones), in something like bullet-point essay form rather than do a bunch of separate, personalized, micro-topical posts. It's more practical to produce a document that people can discuss if they want to, than get into a bunch of discussions I won't remember to participate in, since I hardly ever log in here. * * *

    • Are style disputes trivial and a waste of time? Sure they are. Which is why WP developed a style guide and people should STFU and follow it, just like they would at any other publication in the world. If anyone was working as a journalist at a newspaper following the AP Stylebook and refused to follow it in the work they submitted then they would quickly get terminated as an uncooperative pain in the ass. If you are an academic and you submit a paper to a journal that requires following AMA Manual, or Scientific Style and Format, or APA Style Guide, or MHRA Style Guide, but you submit work that does not comply then your material will either be rejected or forcibly revised to comply. If you write a letter to the editor at The New Yorker and include a note forbidding them to massage your text into their house style, then your letter will simply not be printed. Only at Wikipedia do we get this problem, and it's because WP's editorship is full of amateurs who don't know what they're talking about, don't know what a style guide is or what it is for, don't understand the rationale behind consistency within a publication, and just get pissy because things aren't always written exactly like Mrs. MacGillicuddy taught them to write in 7th grade (or because it's not what they're used to in their writing at work, or it doesn't match how the band they gush over stylizes its logo). It's an understandable initial reaction by a noob, but it has to give way to WP:COMPETENCE at some point, or the editors just become disruptive and need to be topic-banned from style disputes (or particular kinds of them, if their peccadillo is a narrow particular obsession).
    • Blaming the editors who maintain WP:Manual of Style for style disputes like like blaming Congress/Parliament for criminals and crime. The fact that rules exist and people wrote them isn't the problem, or a problem. The problem is refusal to comply (generally at someone else's expense). We don't even care in the least whether someone complies, technically speaking. Everyone is free to edit in any way they want, even in all lower-case with no punctuation, as long as their sourcing is good. Someone else will clean it up later. No one is required to read MoS or even know of its existence. What's disruptive is activism against the guidelines, reverting edits that made material compliant with them, changing compliant material to be non-compliant, and repetitively disrupting process (Requested Moves, etc.) to push for non-compliant results no matter now many times you lose these arguments and the compliant result is used. All that obsessive crank bullshit comes at the expense of other editors' time. It's one of those "your right to swing your arm ends when it hits someone else's face" matters. And of course WP guidelines are not really rules, but defaults, to which exceptions may sometimes apply. They apply when a good case is made for them, not when people whine and stamp their feet an froth at the mouth while recycling weak, already-rejected arguments.
    • Style questions are always going to be polarized; the bike-shed effect will always happen to some extent. There is no rule in any style guide ever written that is not contradicted by some other style guide. There is no line item in MoS (or any other, non-style, policy or guideline for that matter) that has 100% support from all editors. There is no WP editor who is 100% behind every line-item in MoS or the other guidelines and policies. The style stuff gets out of hand for GREATWRONGS, TRUTH, and SOAPBOX reasons. Everyone who approaches fluency in a language has an innate sense of "I KNOW this" mastery, a feeling that their version of the language is true and correct and that others are ignorant and mistaken. This seems to be an innate habit of the human mind, but from a linguistic perspective it is of course illusory. Unfortunately, it leads to a lot of emotional over-investment in typographic trivia, and a desire to force change when something doesn't match one's own personal habits.
    • The answer to this problem is "follow the guidelines", just as it is for [i]every other[/i] thing on WP for which there are guidelines, policies, or essays that have the buy-in level of guidelines (BRD, AADD, etc.). "Fight to the death forever until I get what I want" is not the answer. Fortunately, we've started topic-banning people who won't stop doing that. Just removing a single nationalistic pundit from MoS squabbles about 2.5 years ago saw something like a 25% reduction in total MoS/AT/RM-related strife, and more like an 80% reduction in the amount of churn in MoS's actual wording and related invective on MoS talk pages. If we T-banned two or three more obvious candidates, "style fights" on WP would largely dissipate. The few that still arose would most often be interesting and meaningful edge cases instead of the same tired "gimme what I want or I will never shut up" bullshit. There's a constant productivity drain at WP caused by style-related strife specifically and only because the community has not had the resolve to remove a few NOTGETTINGIT parties from the topic area. Virtually all editors either comply with the style guide or just ignore it. Only about a dozen fight, fight, fight against it, and of these only a couple are active and problematic at any given time, but these individuals personally account for a tremendous amount of pointless, life-sucking strife over things virtually no one else in the world cares about. (Interestingly, they're almost always amateur aficionados, not professionals. Why? Because professionals in various fields are well-educated people entirely comfortable with the fact that different publishers have different house styles; academics in particular write for different journals and adapt their style to the requirements of the publication as part of their everyday job. Even marketers and PR flacks are perfectly at home with writing marketing style for this, journalism style for that, formal business English for this other thing, etc. The only people who can't deal with it are people who are probably not competent, in multiple ways, to be working on an encyclopedia in the first place, and are why WP looks like an American TV guide instead of like an encyclopedia.)
    • The "just follow the sources, and write about topic X exactly like specialists in topic X write about it" idea is silly and unworkable. It's not like WP didn't try that. It's how things started, and it resulted in a farcical mess from day one. That's the very reason that MoS (and [[Wikipedia:Article titles]the article titles policy]], i.e. the MoS material that the community decided rises to full-on policy level) evolved within WP's first year. Without it, all our video game articles would be written like 12-year-olds' game forum posts, our legal articles would be impenetrable piles of obscurantist Latinisms, an article on mathematics or biology would be a mass of ponderous academic-journal lingo no one without a doctorate could understand, and articles on pop music topics would read like the bombastic crap in Rolling Stone and Vibe. Reliable sources on a topic are reliable for facts about/within that topic – not for how best to write English about the topic for a general audience. They're generally completely terrible sources for that, because specialist-to-specialist writing within a discipline is veers toward opaque gibberish to everyone else in the world. If you don't understand this idea, start with the article Jargon, then peruse some related ones, like Legal English, Journalese, Headlinese, Corporate jargon, Fedspeak, Officialese, Fanspeak, Psychobabble, Technobabble, and other articles in the same categories. Now picture Wikipedia written in all of these and 1000 other topical cryptolects all at once. If you still don't get it, oh well. Fortunately, everyone else does (otherwise we wouldn't have an MoS or a titles policy). * * *
    • Finally, if you think MoS is just the opinion of a couple of editors and they're pushing a personal viewpoint, you're just fucking high. No wording on the site, probably, has been harder fought over by more people for a longer time until it achieved stability. It's a complex, finely balanced compromise of hundreds of competing demands from thousands of editors from every field in every country, and it's based almost entirely on the world's leading off-site style guides (namely Chicago Manual, New Hart's Rules, Garner's, Fowler's, and – for technical matters – Scientific Style and Format. Everyone who works on MoS disagrees with parts of it as a personal preference matter, but we recognize that its importance is in providing a stable set of ground-rules to ensure consistent output and to end repetitive editorial strife about style trivia. The value is not in the particular rules but in us actually having a set of them at all. The ball game does not play, the players just stand around on the field and argue about what the rules should be, if the rules haven't been written yet. (That said, certain particular MoS rules are actually important for readability, technical, accuracy, and other reasons; not everything in it is arbitrary, though the average style question is.)

    —SMcCandlish, Wikipediocracy, Nov. 12, 2018

    My new favorite ArbCom member[edit]

    @Fæ - as regards the Speedo account. I've looked at the edits and can see how they may be mistakes - though there are a number of them. Looking at your edits on 22 November 2009, you were editing in the morning as Ash until 12.33, then logged into the Speedo account to edit Ironmonger Row Baths at 12.56 returning to the Ash account at 12.59 to continue editing Ironmonger Row Baths. Possibly you paused for coffee, then when you went to log back in you typed the name and password of Speedo by mistake, and as soon as you realised you logged out and back into Ash. On 17 November 2009 you'd had a day editing swimming pool articles as Speedo and other stuff as Ash, crossing to and fro from one to the other. You finished the day as Speedo, crossing into the 18th where you edited Guildford Lido at 00.36, then at 00.51 edited Bude Sea Pool using AutoEd as Ash, realised your mistake, logged in as Speedo and made another edit on that article, again using AutoEd. On 7 October 2009 you were editing as Ash only - you hadn't used the Speedo account since 1 October. You edited Brockwell Lido ‎as Ash at 18.42, then logged into the Speedo account at 19.02 to make another edit to the article before resuming your edits as Ash. That one is harder to account for, and now we have three mistakes with you not taking appropriate measures to prevent these mistakes occurring. On 21 September 2009 you edited as Ash until 9.24, then you created the Speedo account at 9.45, requesting a name change to Clifton Lido and The Victoria Public House at 10.12 - logged into the Ash account to make the name change at 10.15 to return to the Speedo account at 10.18 to resume editing. Perhaps you were thinking that someone might query how a new account would know how to move a page, so you constructed a situation in which the new account asks for the name change and an experienced account (Ash) then makes the name change.* [Can newly created accounts move pages? Was it that you couldn't move the page, so you had to get the Ash account to do it?] Whatever it was, this doesn't appear to be a mistake so much as poor judgement. I don't think, however one looks at it, that the use of these accounts was malicious - simply unwise or sloppy or both. And the use of these accounts was in the past, belonging to a previous account. The Wikipedia community dislikes people using multiple accounts in a secret manner, especially when there are edits on the same articles, so this doesn't reflect well on you, but by itself I don't think is a major sin. It's when this situation is put together with the circumstances of the CleanStart and the less than clear statement in the RfA that you need to think seriously about how you explain these matters. The community do appreciate and respect complete openness and honesty and admissions of mistakes. The more you embrace and trust the community the more the community will embrace and trust you. SilkTork 22:58, 19 June 2012 (UTC)

    Jorge Stolfi on Deletionism and other failings of WP[edit]

    I have a small collection of Wikipedia commentary by Jorge Stolfi on a subordinate page located HERE.

    A dissident view of Crowdsourcing[edit]

    "It must be said that Wikipedia does not make it easy to play nicely. Its basic set-up is a bit like having people try to draw a copy of the Mona Lisa in the sand, while herds of children and strangers walk through the emerging picture, leave their footprints, or try to blank or improve bits. And you're required to assume they are all doing so in good faith. It would drive anyone mad.

    "Received wisdom is, too many cooks spoil the broth. Crowdsourcing wisdom is, the more cooks, the better. But in practice, every featured article in Wikipedia is the work of one writer...or a small team. Crowdsourcing does not result in excellent articles." —Andreas Kolbe/JN466, on Wikipediocracy, July 2012.

    Wikipedia's political situation, simply put[edit]

    "Much as a stagnant pond is an ideal breeding ground for mosquitoes and other disease-transmitting insects, so Wikipedia's governance structure promotes the cancerous growth of mini-cabals composed of POV warriors, editors using ArbCom for political advantage, abusive administrators, and anyone who has come to this encyclopedia and stayed here for the conflict and policymaking. As much as Wikipedia prides itself on having minimal bureaucracy, it only has minimal public bureaucracy — private bureaucracies are alive and well, subverting those of true value to the encyclopedia for their own ends. Unfortunately, the content builders of the encyclopedia can no longer bear this burden. Centralized governance with authority, including hiring, sanctioning, and firing of admins by an Admin Review Committee, as well as content review committees for contentious topics such as Israel, Iran, and Alternative medicine, need to be created urgently..." —Wer900 • on Jimbotalk, 6:15 pm, April 19, 2013.

    Also quotable[edit]

    "In five years I haven't noticed a sexist culture here at all but I don't go looking for it. I have noticed pov pushers, coi editors, editors who can't write a sensible sentence, editors who don't/won't/can't comprehend what they read, overlinkers and triviamongers. Perhaps that is because I usually concentrate on content not talk pages. I find it difficult to tolerate talk-page politicians, long-winded, droning-on arguments about who is and isn't civil or what is and isn't right. I don't much care for dragging up past history or picking over old wounds, settling old scores, snivelling about perceived wrongs, folks who attack others without even noticing they're doing it, pages and pages of rehashing arguments and having the last word. I can/could do/probably have done some/all of those things and more but I am not perfect and am aware when I do it. This project should be trying to retain editors who contribute decent content for the reader, not those who persist in looking for the worst in others, making assumptions and telling others how to behave. As far as attracting new editors I'd steer them right away from talk pages and encourage them towards content. Content beats politics anyday in my book and if the balance swings towards politics that's when I'll look for the exit." —J3Mrs (talk) 2:16 pm, 11 October 2014.

    Jimmy Wales: "Voting is Evil..."[edit]

    SO HE SAYS...

    I believe in democracy myself... Carrite (talk) 07:14, 16 January 2012 (UTC)

    He's also in favor of a purge of productive but obnoxious contributors. Carrite (talk) 20:51, 11 August 2014 (UTC)

    Then again, we do agree on some things...[edit]

    • (1) "You know what? I fucking love motherfucking South Park." (Feb. 7, 2012)
    • (2) "Everyone who thinks it is better to have an error in Wikipedia rather than correct information is always wrong at all times. There is nothing more important than getting it right. I'm glad that we're finally rid of the "verifiability, not truth" nonsense - but it's going to take a while before people really fully grasp what that means." (Sept. 25, 2012)
    • (3) "...I don't like the term 'canvassing', even on-wiki. I think it's more often used by people who want to shut down an open dialogue than people who have a righteous cause for concern. Another word for 'canvassing' is "engaging more people in the discussion" — it's open to all sides. The idea that it's bad to go out and recruit editors when you see a problem in Wikipedia is problematic. That isn't to say that some kinds of approaches to that aren't annoying — they are — but in general, this paranoia about it is not justified." (Jan. 31, 2013)
    • (4) "I think that Commons policy is enforced inconsistently and also needs some revision. I think that some of the people who are admins at Commons are among the weakest admins that we have in all the projects, and that this is a core part of the problem." (May 8, 2013)
    • (5) "I have personally been frustrated in the past many times with the disastrous product roll-outs that we've seen (I am not talking about MV [Media Viewer], but I'm sure we all remember Flagged Revisions and the Visual Editor). And I want that to change." (Aug. 28, 2014)

    Comedy Department[edit]

    Warning template for WP vandalism coming from the IPs of Christian schools[edit]

    ...And for those whose IP addresses indicate that they're editing from a Christian church or parochial school, we would want to display this warning:

    Tisane (talk) 18:13, 8 May 2010 (UTC)

    A couple more that need to be used..[edit]

    Stolen from Gigs' user page, it would seem.

    And from Ritchie333 (with some help from Dennis Brown), the Wikipedia Warning Template As Seen By New Users:

    Interview subpages[edit]