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The future of the Arbitration Committee and its role in dispute resolution[edit]

I've been wanting to comment on this topic for a few days, so I'll post here. I was a party to two arbitration cases pre-2009. During the first case (2006), I largely did not have the ability to participate or give input due to Internet issues, and I know that would never fly during the "modern" ArbCom era. At that point, ArbCom took the approach of sanctioning everyone, and I don't think that was effective, though of course I am likely biased. My second case was in 2008, and the problem with that one was that it took suuuuupppper long. By the time that ArbCom got to the proposed decision stage four months later, it was such a convoluted mess that the decision said practically nothing. So no, I don't think the days of 100+ cases a year were a good thing; ArbCom had too much going on and couldn't keep cases straight. I had a case in 2011 that I think ArbCom got largely right (minus the references to the maligned Highways 2 case), although I more or less served as an auxiliary party there.

From the beginning of my time here on Wikipedia in March 2005, I've been a roads editor; while meta-processes fascinate me for some weird reason, and while I have been an admin since late 2005, I am first and foremost a roads editor. Throughout my seven-and-a-half year tenure, I've had to deal with plenty of editors who are not willing to work with others. Be it WP:CIR, WP:POINT, WP:3RR, WP:CIVIL, WP:CCI, WP:ANI, WP:SPI, WP:TOV. etc., I've had to deal with it all. (Maybe not that well in my earlier years; I started editing at the age of 15, meaning that I was a party to Highways at the age of 16, and some of my earlier decisions were inexperienced). But all of this disruption results in everyone having to take time away from writing articles to deal with a) cleaning up the damage and b) trying to restrain the editor from causing more damage. During the years of 2007–2009, the California roads articles were decimated by three editors who brought the project to complete ruin. I spent most of my on-wiki time cleaning up after those editors; I barely had time to do anything else, and there was little that I could do to stop it from happening (until finally I got some outside help in 2008/2009). I'm going to "closely paraphrase" Courcelles' statement made elsewhere, since he expressed a similar sentiment very well: [1] Editors that actively damage this project must be sent away, not hid behind friendship and an "anyone can edit!" mentality as a shield.

All this to say that I'm 22 now, I've been here for 7.5 years, and I'm more experienced now. I've started a FA binge lately and am hoping to get 2 more FAs before the year is out, so the road article editing is still there. U.S. Roads does not have project coordinators like WP:MILHIST does, but a few of us take initiative and deal with a lot of the meta-issues that come up on a regular basis. As an admin and as an editor who has survived three arbitration cases, one of my goals the last year or so has been to take intiative resolving these complex issues that affect the U.S. Roads project where others cannot do so without a massive time investment, be that improper GAN reviews, another editor trying to delete all the road articles, sockpuppetry, or other disruption. And in a sense, that's largely what I see ArbCom as; the community delegates the issue of solving difficult and complex issues to them so that the community can get on with other things.

I think it's fairly clear what my views are regarding the threshold of taking issues to ArbCom, as the filing party of both the Featured article process request and the soon-to-be-rejected Youreallycan request. The Committee is not a first resort for resolving disputes; that is something I firmly believe. But is it necessary to exhaust every single possible venue for resolving a dispute before the Committee will accept a case? Is it necessary to have the RFC or AN discussion just to check the box? (That's not to say that RFC/AN is never productive; that's how one of the aforementioned CA editors got sent away). Is it worth the community's time to have said discussion, when it will only increase drama and take away editors' time, when we could be writing articles instead? Will the community always make the "right" decision, especially in complex issues where the history goes back years, possibly before 75% of the commenters started editing?

Taking a look at the Featured article process/Jack Merridew case request, for example: I realize there were other issues, such as my poor scoping of the case request; it would have worked if either Raul or Jack had posted a coherent statement, but neither did, so the whole thing fell apart. Jack wound up banned anyway, which might have happened in a case; but Raul has not edited in over two months; I wonder if he will ever return. I get that he had little respect for ArbCom, with the discussion regarding Jack's return in the spring; I also get that he lost his functionary status after ArbCom removed it, so that probably didn't help either, and I don't endorse everything Raul did. But I wonder if this all could have been handled differently, so that the man who contributed so much to the featured article process didn't feel like he was being trolled off Wikipedia with nobody willing to do anything about it, and leaving us with only one editor who is semi-active who is "constitutionally" allowed to schedule TFAs. (Which, if Raul never returns, is going to be a serious constitutional crisis in the short-to-long term, depending on the fluctuating activity of Dabomb87; yet almost nobody is aware of this).

Two primary things motivated me to make the two declined case requests (which I'm using as examples since I don't know much about some of the others; I don't have an ax to grind or anything): First, a comment made by Risker made a while back. Unfortunately, I don't remember the page or the exact wording, but it went along the sentiment of "We wish that people would bring these sort of issues to us, because we can't intervene in them otherwise." Secondly, the concern about a complex and high-drama issue being resolved at a high-drama noticeboard, ANI. I've been the subject of an ANI before; it ain't pretty, and makes some of my arbitration cases look placid. I've seen plenty of ANI threads spiraling out of control, and it concerns me that the community might be making a biased and/or uninformed decision in particular cases. Add to that the time cost of the editors participating: time spent arguing, and time lost should editors get offended and leave over the dispute. So I largely disagree with SilkTork's comment regarding case requests [2], though in this case I agree with the decline as the interaction ban does reasonably need to be tried.

I've rambled on at a length possibly rivaling Newyorkbrad's original post, so I'm going to close with this concluding thought: Is it always best for an issue to have exhausted every possible venue before it is brought to arbitration, no matter what the cost may be? --Rschen7754 05:04, 3 November 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I'm not sure if this answers the question you asked, but arbcom needs to take more issues up. In the YRC example you posed, for instance, one could argue that the interaction ban the two parties agreed to worked in the short term -- but given the fact that both prime disputants in the case (YRC and Prioryman) have a history of blocks, one could probably argue that the case is "capable of repetition, yet evading review" and thus should have been reviewed. Hot Stop (Edits) 14:50, 3 November 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Just a hopefully helpful note: I believe Risker's quote was during a discussion I started at WT:RFA (which eventually led to the WP:RRA proposal which is still under construction...) - jc37 11:28, 13 December 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

As I've said in other places, one of the biggest problems Arbcom has is assuming good-faith towards those brought before it. Competence is required and the right answer to a request like this is for the first Arb responding (in this case, you) to tell the person to withdraw the request or be indef blocked for maintaining a frivolous request (yes, even naive people should be sanctioned for abuse of process when they won't listen). Frivolous requests are as disruptive as poor conduct in other parts of the project and the Arbs have shown too great a willingness to hear everyone out, presume everyone can become a good editor, and assume that everyone is due his day in court. Starting with a presumption that if a dispute has made it to Arbcom, at least one person has done something wrong (either bad conduct, stupid filing, inability to communicate) and needs to be sanctioned would greatly improve the climate of Arbcom requests and discourage frivolous filings. If people are aware that Arbcom is the absolute end of the line and that their behavior in it will be scrutinized for the strictest compliance with policy, they will be far less likely to abuse the process. MBisanz talk 18:44, 3 November 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

As a longtime ArbCom follower, I have enormous respect for you and considerable skepticism for the institution. There's no real need to discuss ArbCom's weaknesses since they're all well-known to you, but in a nutshell, the issues are mainly structural (since the vast majority of arbs have been reasonable, well-intentioned individuals) and serve more as a symptom of Wikipedia's more general disease. Wikipedia's dispute resolution mechanism, from ArbCom and AN to RFC/U and other venues, ties up Wikipedia's leadership and most of the passionate users of the website in a great deal of hateful nonsense. In the ongoing struggle to define "civility," which you'll agree stands as one of the community's major political issues, the ever-decreasing ranks of this community's leaders have mostly spent their time nursing long-time disputes and splitting off into factions when they're not actively just shouting at one another.

Your questions can broadly be answered by saying that both ArbCom and the administrators have failed in maintaining anything like collegiality on Wikipedia. A stronger ArbCom that swiftly dispatched cases could maybe address some of these problems, but I don't think it's politically feasible when you are all so evidently divided on many issues and when the community doesn't seem to want your opinion. Administrators could have a clear, open process on the noticeboards, but if you lot haven't figured out that kind of process by this time, I doubt one is forthcoming. The poisonous atmosphere usually serves to distract from real problems, including BLP vandals, massive content issues, and the role Wikipedia plays in the real world.

The point here is that you and most of the other passionate users of this website pour all of your volunteer efforts into barely controlling the Dispute Resolution beast, if they're not being swallowed up by it through one firestorm or another. I'm not sure what the solution is (I personally prefer a separate-but-equal GovCom, ArbCom, and an editorial board, but that probably isn't very likely), but however you answer the questions posed at the end of your article, that answer must address the time-sink DR represents to Wikipedia's most valuable community leaders. They have important things to sort out. Archaeo (talk) 08:07, 12 November 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Question: As a fairly new observer to ArbCom cases, what's struck me most is the pattern of accepted cases -- some initial comments that are possibly unique and thoughtful followed by degradation is the usual suspects spouting the usual rhetoric, over and over. It's like watching a merry-go-round. Do ya'll actually read all that stuff? NE Ent 23:23, 30 November 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

It's always worth being aware of who made what comment and hence get some idea of where they're coming from, yes, and alotting a correspondingly appropriate amount of time in digesting it according to its value. Casliber (talk · contribs) 03:38, 1 December 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

One factor contributing to the fact that arbcom is getting fewer case requests is that people have learnt just how stressful and hellish participation in a two-month or four-month arbitration case is. In addition, history has shown that often parties on both sides end up sanctioned (and rightly so): entering an arbitration case in pursuit of a foe is taking a 50% chance of finding that one has inadvertently committed harakiri.

In fact, arbitration should not be called arbitration. What arbcom does is not arbitration. Arbcom's own remedies, aside from referring things back to the community via discretionary sanctions or an RfC, are largely limited to issuing admonishments and sanctions to individual editors, up to elimination from the topic area or the project as a whole. Arbitrators are judges pronouncing sentences. Andreas JN466 11:16, 13 December 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

On having an article deleted[edit]

  • At least the article will have referenced, briefly, the marvelously titled and probably short-lived radio show: "Toilet Bowl of Tone-Deaf Tunes". What better name could there be? Binksternet (talk) 22:44, 6 November 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Shirley, it passed AfD. It'll be kept. Lament not on your article looking like Merv Griffin. --Hammersoft (talk) 21:36, 30 November 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • You are living on borrowed time. Your blog has just been discussed as a candidate for submission to "Miscellany for deletion".[3] Fortunately, you may be safe for now because it "doesn't really look like a blog". Beware, the vultures are circling! Thincat (talk) 17:22, 21 January 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Help pick Newyorkbrad's FA project[edit]

Would it be good to force each prospective admin to write 1FA? Probably. Would this lead to additional FAs. Some, sure, but maybe not many. Writing an FA doesn't seem to be best done as a solitary effort. If you haven't (co-)written an FA before, you would be well advised to work alongside a practiced FA writer. This may not initially and directly lead to an extra FA, but it would be a good thing for multiple reasons.

A deceased former Justice of the United States Supreme Court

So, someone in Category:United States Supreme Court justices but not in Category:Living people. Or even better, are there any missing biographies? Probably not, List_of_Justices_of_the_Supreme_Court_of_the_United_States#List_of_justices has a feel of completeness about it. There seems to be 100 deceased justices, finishing with William Rehnquist, which is not even GA.

Warren Burger or Potter Stewart, Oliver Wendell Holmes or John Marshall Harlan?

Thomas Todd or Gabriel Duvall, each of whom was named as "The Most Insignificant Justice". Intriguing. But probably a bad place to start. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 05:33, 3 November 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Charles Evans Whittaker would make me happy, given the strong connections to Kansas, which is severely deficient of featured articles (only 4 FAs out of over 4000 articles in the project). Surprisingly Brown v. Board of Education is not one of those featured articles, though it is a good article. Ks0stm (TCGE) 10:30, 3 November 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • Email privacy -- This doesn't fit the mold of 'deceased fomer Justices of the United States Supreme Court' but it is a topic which has relevance to disputes on Wikipedia and is of current public interest. If you took on this topic you might choose to cover the legal aspects and leave technical matters to others. The topic leads to interesting paradoxes. EdJohnston (talk) 03:13, 5 November 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Thurgood Marshall is beyond ripe for improvement—he was the chief counsel for NAACP then he became the first African American Supreme Court justice. The article is only "start" or "C" class right now, but the topic is assigned annually as schoolwork for thousands of students (which is probably why it is currently protected). Binksternet (talk) 23:03, 6 November 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Personally I'd support a Homles FA run, given his long service and 'stache. Wizardman 00:54, 12 November 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Oppose the deceased former justices[edit]

Newyorkbrad should absolutely try his hand at writing an FA, because it's an experience and an intellectul adventure. Notice how I don't say "because we want more FAs" or "because, Brad, it's your duty to share your specialist knowledge about American judges and related subjects with Wikipedia and everyone on the planet"? You've done enough duty; remember Wikipedia is a hobby, do something for you! And, on that theme, the times when I used to write FAs (long ago), I always most enjoyed researching and writing up some subject that I was far from knowledgeable about to begin with. Your mileage may vary, but it felt like a more dynamic process that way. I found it exhilarating to flounder about at random at first, and then gradually, if I was lucky, be able to zoom in on a useful selection of sources, structure, etc. And on that principle, why not let the judges and even Nero Wolfe fend for themselves and click around on "Random article" until you find an intriguing stub that'll bear expanding? Or, oh, I don't know, maybe write about some 19th- or 20th-century artist, writer, philosopher, or crank that you've always liked the look of? Or, a little nearer to your own specialty, why not take the Watergate scandal to featured status? While there's a lot of good stuff in the article already, it certainly needs work: more research, more structure, etc etc. And if you dive in there, and pull gently at a few people, you may well be able to rope in others, with complementary skills to your own. (And, you know, if you insist on helping Wikipedia, Watergate is obviously a top-importance subject that deserves one of our best articles.) Bishonen | talk 00:50, 7 November 2012 (UTC).Reply[reply]

Watergate scandal would be a good one, or perhaps related Supreme Court cases, New York Times Co. v. United States or United States v. Nixon. :) — Cirt (talk) 00:57, 7 November 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
My only FA, pigeon photography, is so quirky that it was a lot of fun to write. I know that there are similarly funny topics in law, which often require a lot of research in sources that aren't easily accessible to non-specialists. I have even written about some such topics myself: Mundat Forest#Anomaly after World War II features a case German Reich v. Federal Republic of Germany. (Some nutcase objected to a trade in which Germany gave some territory to France in exchange for precisely the same territory.) The wife of Nazi criminal Hans Ernst Schneider had him him declared dead so she could marry him again as Hans Schwerte, who again got a PhD (in the same subject) and went on to become an influential left-wing university rector. When his past came out (his colleagues must have known about it all the time), he didn't just lose his pension but had to pay back his entire lifetime salary. The boy Jones was another interesting criminal -- turns out that stalking the Queen isn't a recent invention at all.
I am sure you must have come across similar cases which would make great entertainment. Surely they are more fun than the average (or even above-average) dead judge. Or maybe you know an interesting legal tradition similar to wife-selling.
Of course taking Watergate to FA would be great, but it would also be a lot of work and would likely involve interaction with POV warriors. I wouldn't want to risk getting you frustrated over it. Hans Adler 01:30, 23 December 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The choosing process[edit]

(belatedly) What I find interesting about the whole shebang is when writing it can be fascinating how some articles come together well and some just...don't. What I recommend sometimes is just having a tinker with a few possibles..until one you see you'll just go, "yeah, I can do this." You won't know till you examine the article in detail and then with some, the Big Picture will crystallise and a path will become clear. Enthusiasm also plays a big part. So get the list of possibles and cull using the Enthusiasm and Big Picture Clarity criteria...and just go from there. don't be afraid to leave something half done if something else seems more interesting either. easy peasy. Casliber (talk · contribs) 04:18, 16 November 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

A surprisingly missing article[edit]

A redlink? Fancy that. If I didn't know better, I'd think something happened three years ago that drastically slowed the development of Wikipedia's coverage of 17th-century English literature. – iridescent 2 02:32, 6 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Iridescent, your point is of course well-taken, and I very much regret the events that caused Geogre to leave the project. Regards, Newyorkbrad (talk) 03:41, 6 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I've blued the link. Turns out there was a surprising amount of material on the web. To make you happy, Brad, I've mentioned and linked to the carpe diem song you quoted. But take a look at the man's productivity here! And those are only his "chief" works! (If you want to believe that. I don't.) What a content contributor he would have made, assuming he could have left those unblushing plagiarisms behind. Bishonen | talk 16:10, 2 April 2013 (UTC).Reply[reply]
    • I like this article very much, and I had no idea that there was such a colorful individual behind this particular poem. I'll do some poking around and if I find more information to add to the artcle, I'll do it. Meanwhile, I appreciate your taking the time to write this after I mentioned it. Regards, Newyorkbrad (talk) 17:49, 5 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • And now mainpaged. :) Thanks again. Regards, Newyorkbrad (talk) 21:33, 5 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Not really sure how I ended up here, but it seems to me that this section and the section above are kind of made for each other in the opposite of an O Henry way.  The Potato Hose  08:01, 18 May 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

A question about searchability, robots.txt, and NOINDEX[edit]

I answered you on VP/T. Hope it helps —TheDJ (talkcontribs) 09:00, 9 August 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

You mention proposals to noindex user talk pages have not found consensus. Nonetheless, user talk pages are currently noindexed by default anyway. See Wikipedia:Controlling search engine indexing#Namespace control. You can allow indexing on your own user talk page by adding __INDEX__ to it.

As TheDJ said at VP/T, a robots.txt entry prevents Google visiting a page at all, whereas NOINDEX lets them read the page but not include it in public indexes. (Google must read a noindexed page to see the NOINDEX instruction.) Robots.txt only stops Google from reading a page; it says nothing about indexing. Google don't normally index pages in robots.txt because they can't see what's in them. However, Google have a little trick to surprise you: if many other pages link to a page in robots.txt, Google use the context around those links to figure out what the page is about and index it anyway! Since they don't visit the page itself they won't see any NOINDEX on it. Hence, placing a noindexed page into robots.txt can cause it to become indexed.

Hence, NOINDEX is more reliable than robots.txt at blocking indexing. If a page is in robots.txt, putting NOINDEX on it makes no difference; it can still be indexed if enough other pages link to it. – PartTimeGnome (talk | contribs) 21:56, 9 August 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Forgery and Wikiality[edit]

Obligatory links to the section on Wikiality, and xkcd's Citogenesis (which we also have a redirect for, Citogenesis). :) –Quiddity (talk) 06:39, 31 August 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Clear warnings, arbitration decisions, and AE[edit]

This is great in many levels. I enjoyed the "(G) Mr. G, who walked across the park carrying a chicken sandwich?". This explanation is of utmost importance. Have you perhaps thought about making it more standard? Maybe under a Wikipedia:Arbitration enforcement interpretations (shortcut WP:AEINT or WP:AEI). Regards.--MarshalN20 | Talk 16:39, 1 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The message typically used when discussing potential ambiguity v. common sense is "Dogs must be carried". The phrase has a surreal beauty. SilkTork' ✔Tea time 16:47, 1 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Lovely essay, and I really enjoyed the linked law review. (Was I the only one who immediately assumed Supreme Lawmaker to be mom?). I think your essay points to a system where arbitrators serve a supervisory role for administrators with discretion, especially vis-a-vis enforcement, rather than writing an enforcement script to be followed mechanically. That is to say, more like the relationship between the Courts of Appeal and trial courts than between the legislatures and the court. For that matter, we're probably better off looking at administrative agencies than the judiciary per se.--Tznkai (talk) 20:17, 18 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

For a locus classicus of this sort of ambiguity, see the passage under "FROM 'THE READER OVER YOUR SHOULDER'" and the following analysis in terms of symbolic logic here. Deor (talk) 21:06, 16 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Hi. Regarding: "If anyone wants another example of his clear-cut rules prove ambiguous in the real-world, please read and enjoy the best law-review piece on statutory interpretation ever." I think there's a typo' in there somewhere. :o) --Anthonyhcole (talk · contribs · email) 00:05, 23 July 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Fixed, thanks. Newyorkbrad (talk) 22:00, 2 February 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
(I) Blind person with a guide dog. Jehochman Talk 01:01, 2 December 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Good point, although that's usually carved out as an exception under a different statute these days. Regards, Newyorkbrad (talk) 01:13, 2 December 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Some of Dyson's thoughts on Wikipedia can be found here (on page 2). Among other things, he describes Wikipedia as "totally unreliable and surprisingly accurate". MastCell Talk 18:15, 21 April 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

An interesting blog post. As a non-attorney, I cordially disagree with the likelihood of Wikipedia obtaining any satisfaction under the law for a socking editor's transgressions. I feel it would be a sad day for freedom (defining freedom as the ability to swing our elbows freely from side to side) if merely violating a website's TOS Terms of Service) and causing problems for site administrators were to be used to constrain the physical or financial liberty of a human being. Note: as a website administrator, I do have insight into the aggravation user actions can cause. StaniStani  04:13, 22 April 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I think a point might be being missed here. Even before going to the courts, the next logical step would be speaking to the ISPs. Kumioko should consider the implications of that. Risker (talk) 05:15, 22 April 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Kumioko (as Kumioko) can't really reply here, and I wouldn't want to 'proxy for a banned user' or whatever they call that in NewSpeak currently, so I won't copy-and-paste his responses here. If anyone is interested, he (and other less-banned Wikipedia editors) are engaging this blog post at Wikipediocracy here. StaniStani  05:52, 22 April 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes, I noticed that thread the other day when looking at something else. Seems to me that there are many Wikipediocracy members who are wondering more or less the same thing that Newyorkbrad is. Risker (talk) 15:13, 22 April 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Stanistani - I think we all want freedom in the general sense. However, some people seem to mistake Wikipedia for a public space. It is, in fact, a privately owned endeavor. If I want to exclude someone from my house, they are not free to keep trying to break in. If the Wikimedia Foundation wishes to exclude someone from the web site they own, it is almost certainly unlawful to knowingly attempt to force the way back in. If someone had acted with the same level of purposeful disruption against the web site of a major national bank, is there any question but that they would be investigated? (talk) 04:48, 24 April 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Comment Redacted by Choess
Blogs that are purely about WP matters are generally considered not NOT. All the best: Rich Farmbrough01:50, 26 April 2014 (UTC).
There are doubtless laws broken on both sides of the Atlantic (I can't even comment on more far-flung places) by many editors in both high and low places on the Wikipedia non-hierarchy. I have even hinted (as did Elen of the Roads) at some of the areas that are troublesome.
As to specific blocked/banned users, there is an almost vanishingly small number that have caused significant problems for the community purely by their actions on-Wiki. (As for actions off Wiki, these fall into three categories, two of which are easily dealt with.)
These "problem" blocked editors can always be dealt with either socially or technically. Unfortunately, while we have a coterie of technically capable folk "in charge" of technical areas, we all seem to think we are "socially able". No one is, or has been, forced to respond to or even read what a blocked/banned editor says, or in most cases any editor, and if this choice was exercised more widely we might have a lot less conflict. All the best: Rich Farmbrough01:50, 26 April 2014 (UTC).

Using the CFAA or some similar statute against serious WP abusers was on the roadmap in the early days of the project, but for whatever reason was judged improper or unworkable, or anyway it was never pursued AFAIK. Daniel Brandt used to harp on the topic though finding his scattered diffs would probably be difficult. It would certainly be awful to pull the legal guns on someone like Kumioko, whose issues seem to revolve around childish petulance and relatively routine bad editing judgement, while far more evil and abusive violators are ignored despite their efforts to subvert the project almost since it started. It's like the complaints against the US Government going after various small fry while turning a blind eye to the big kahunas. I wonder whether the WMF proposed paid editing policy is setting the stage for going after some of the long term COI editors. I've always felt the problem could be handled by technical rather than legal means, but the WMF and the editing communities have too much of their own COI to consider such measures. (talk) 19:03, 29 April 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I wonder if using the PP-vandalism template is going a little far. I seem to remember that vandalism is very clearly defined, and even when I used the word firmly within the definition, I got scolded, to say the least. All the best: Rich Farmbrough15:40, 30 April 2014 (UTC).

Earlier discussion with some citations about someone evading a Craigslist block being pursued under the CFAA. (talk) 07:48, 10 May 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Also should have mentioned: the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act was notably used to prosecute Aaron Swartz. That's one of the issues that creeped me out about the blog post and the current discussion surrounding Kumioko. It hits kind of close to home. (talk) 18:54, 20 May 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Indeed. Also Jimbo Wales's comment "A report to Kumioko's ISP, whether an employer or not, is long overdue." especially in the context of how he says "Good luck coming after us." to a ruling that fits with BLP, yet kow-towed to pressure from Giovanni DiStefano to whitewash his article. All the best: Rich Farmbrough21:05, 24 May 2014 (UTC).
Oh and just a quick query. What is the copyright status of material from Wikipediocracy? All the best: Rich Farmbrough22:37, 26 May 2014 (UTC).
Material from Wikipediocracy is copyrighted by its respective owners. Allowable use is in play, as you can quote a snippet to use for critical or illustrative purposes. Some authors are willing to allow republication upon request. Further information can be obtained at support @ wikipediocracy dot com, or by contacting the authors themselves onsite. StaniStani  06:45, 27 May 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

My thanks to everyone who has commented. The reference provided by the 70... IP is especially appreciated. Newyorkbrad (talk) 14:10, 30 May 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Wiki users might appreciate an update to your post with information on the Court of Appeals' decision and currently ongoing appellate litigation in the Raphael Golb case. See the documentation at: (talk) 18:01, 6 September 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Thanks. I posted a link to the Court of Appeals decision on my talkpage when it came down, but I probably should have done it here too. Regards, Newyorkbrad (talk) 18:08, 6 September 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

RFA reform[edit]

@Newyorkbrad: You asked here for comments on promoting a random editor to admin. Coincidentally I saw such a proposal today, somewhere, but I don't recall where - I think it was in the sea of chaff on Jimbo's page, but I won't search for it. While I think I could live with a properly constructed variation (random choice from a pool with at least some minimal criteria), I have a better idea. That isn't what you asked for, so feel free to ignore, but I hope you won't. I've actually written this up before, and it was ignored, so rather than link to that failed approach, I thought I'd try a different write-up.

Imagine that we decided to use the RfA approach to vet Supreme Court Judges. (I have the minor disadvantage that I do not know the actual process, so I'll make the heroic assumption that it is a sensible process.)

A decision is made that we need a new Supreme court justice and a name, NewJerseyJanet is proposed. We need to determine whether this is a viable candidate.

So how do we proceed? We ask roughly a hundred people to investigate this candidate and respond with a simple yes or no. Then we tally the yes votes, and see if there are enough.

This lawyer happened to be involved in a well-known case, so almost every one of the 100 people pores over the complete transcripts to see what they can glean. This lawyer also accepted money for a boondoggle trip to the Cayman Islands, but no one picked up on that incident.

I hope we can agree this is an incredibly inefficient use of resources. Extreme duplication of effort in some areas, while leaving other areas untouched.

I hope the actual process is more sensible. I imagine that areas of review are identified - cases litigated, law review articles written, law school transcripts, interviews with professors, interviews with peers, review of public and private speeches, and that these would be allocated. A few work on cases litigated, and divide them up, maybe making sure that at least three read each case, but making sure that every case is reviewed. Etc. I trust I don't have to spell out the process. Then each person or group reports back on the facet they have investigated and a composite recommendation is given.

Far more thorough, with far fewer resources.

I contend that something like this could be done for RfA. While the real-life SC appointee situation involves someone in charge who can make assignment, very unwiki like, I don't think it would be hard to devise an organized way to look at a candidate. Make a list, and volunteers can sign up. The list might include:

  • CSD nominations
  • AfD nominations and !votes
  • Interaction with other editors
  • Contribution to AN/ANI/3RR etc
  • Cohorts of edits

If a volunteer already see that five have signed up to look at AfD contribution, but none are looking at interactions with other editors, they should realize they contribute more to the process if they concentrate on that. Then they can do a reasonably thorough review of that aspect, and report on that aspect.

I used to be active in RfA, but I've stopped. Unless I know the candidates, I feel I need to look at too many things to feel comfortable supporting. In contrast, under my scheme, I would be happy to, say, review one aspect of the candidate, and opine on that aspect.

I actually envision a 2 step process, where an initial review is done, and then potentially problem areas are investigated more thoroughly by a larger group, but that's a detail.

Other than inertia, and the initial work to set something like this up, what's not to like? It would not preclude anyone from checking every box and reviewing everything, just as they do now. But many would be happy to spend less time, and do a more thorough review of one aspect of a candidate. I contend it would both save valuable time, and produce a more thorough review.--S Philbrick(Talk) 17:23, 1 August 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The new Google book[edit]

OK, I'll bite (with the caveat that I managed to read only one chapter of the Google book before leaving it in an airplane seat pocket...)

I think that "symbiosis", such as it is, is much more important for WP than for Google. For Wikipedia, it has both increased its reach and relevance, as well as increased battleground conflicts with spammers and crackpots who expend more effort trying to insert their preferred narrative on WP when it has a systematically prominent place on Google searches. It increases information channel concentration and we are more the pinch point. But for Google, I think it merits at most a footnote. Clearly Google is exploring a strategy where they don't just index information and prioritize paid placement, but also where they prioritize selected sources of credible third party content to increase the relevance of search results. In a different Monte Carlo iteration of the internet universe where WP would not exist, Google would just use a greater number of more fragmented such sources. Martinp (talk) 20:38, 30 December 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

"Wikipedia's notoriously gangsterish back channels"[edit]

  • It's partly such a bizarre statement because to the best of my knowledge, Adrianne was rather famously skeptical of closed communication channels. She repeatedly refused entreaties to run for adminship, despite the fact that I am certain she would have passed RfA easily and even won election to ArbCom if she wanted it. She didn't make use of IRC, and I hardly would count Skype or one-to-one email as "backchannels". Regardless of whether they are "notoriously gangsterish" or not, what are these backchannels that Ms. Heffernan is referring to? NW (Talk) 16:10, 29 December 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I mostly agree with NW on this; Adrienne eschewed any hint of "back channels" to the best of my knowledge (and I'd be rather spectacularly amazed if there was a back channel for 19th century children's literature, anyway). I think the "back channels" are getting a bad rap here; there's more than enough of what could be perceived as gangsterism in the publicly accessible areas (Jimbo's talk page, ANI, SPI and the publicly accessible mailing lists, to name just a few) that there's hardly any motivation to keep things in a back channel. The private mailing lists to which I am or have been party over the years look like a toddler's tea party compared to what's out there publicly. Risker (talk) 16:29, 29 December 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • This does look quite a bit like the author was basing commentary on either personal experience, possibly of a prejudicial kind, or on some comments on the less reliable sites or articles written or maintained by less than reliable critics of wikipedia. The "backchannels" referred to are I think likely to be the internal mailing lists, and some of them have been justly criticized, like the EEML, and some of them are even quoted at length elsewhere or here, often in perhaps prejudicial ways, but those problematic mailing lists seem to be few and far between. In this context, "notorious" seems to be perhaps vaguely synonymous with "legendary," "overstated," and "conspiracy-theorist-speculation," rather than really dealing with reality itself. Having said all that, I wonder what the others here might think of maybe doing some sort of firm tribute to AW here. Among the possibilities, I guess, would be maybe helping to bring one of the articles she worked on but didn't get up to FA at that level, or maybe getting one of the books she wrote articles about, or material related to them, finished at wikisource, or maybe gathering together a full wikibook based in part on her work at wikibooks or wikiversity, perhaps in the latter cases some material related to Mary Wollstonecraft as one possibility. I'd at least be willing to help in the wikisource aspect, where I have a little experience, at least in proofreading if not directly loading up new works on my own. John Carter (talk) 18:04, 29 December 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • I wouldn't call the EEML an "internal mailing list" rather a "private (clique) mailing list". All the best: Rich Farmbrough23:53, 2 January 2015 (UTC).
  • I wonder if the author was merely referring to the various noticeboards and such - ANI, AN, 3RRV, AIV, VPP, VPT, ARBCOM, COIN, AE, RFC/U(RIP) and so on - which to new editors are at least "behind the scenes". Or he might simply have been scared by Baseball Bugs Malone. NebY (talk) 18:58, 29 December 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I would call those places less gangsterish and more of a mêlée, personally. Gangsterism implies a level of organization and sharing of a common goal that is emphatically not present on most noticeboards... A fluffernutter is a sandwich! (talk) 19:16, 29 December 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • It's not usually present - except as a general desire to improve, maintain and protect the encyclopedia - but there are some long-term battle-lines, old enmities and even organisations. I'm not saying the author was right, simply wondering if they might have been using somewhat hyperbolic language to describe the back-of-the-scenes public boards and knew nothing of the mailing lists or IRC. NebY (talk) 19:59, 29 December 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • It is a rare journalist that "get's" anything about Wikipedia. However the user's posture of standing off from the mine face was a statement of alienation from what goes on, and probably must go on. User:Fred Bauder Talk 20:57, 29 December 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • As I interpret the essay, the author isn't saying that Adrienne used any of the backchannels, rather they seem to indicate that she is one of the few who didn't get their status by using them. I do believe however that she was on a couple of mailing lists and she was known to attend meetups and the like. So although she wasn't known to frequent IRC, that is not the only back channel on this project. Generally though, it is very difficult for regular editors to influence change on this project. They are restricted to channels that are 100% public unlike admins and functionaries, they can attend meetups, but then those are generally run by admins, arbitrators, functionaries or WMF staff who rarely have any desire or reason to change from the status quo. You may not agree with what I am saying, but there are restricted mailing lists, IRC channels and even edits that the regular user cannot see that is frequently used against them. So IMO, if you do not like articles like this being written criticizing the unfair and biased administration of this site, then you are in the position to change it to make it more fair and unbiased. I doubt any of you are willing to do that, and more than likely you will revert this comment since it doesn't agree with your sentiments, but I present that challenge to you in the interests of making Wikipedia better again. (talk) 00:47, 30 December 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • The illogic of the above comment stuns me. Evidently the IP believes that it would improve the encyclopedia to allow material which has been deleted because it violates policies regarding OUTing of editors and other serious problems to not be deleted would somehow make wikipedia better. And, actually, as someone who has never looked at the restricted or unrestricted mailing lists, or atttnded any meetups, or even used IRC more than two or three times, I have to say that the almost paranoic belief that private material can be used against them raises questions whether the IP is someone who has had personal experience of being sanctioned for such activity. And if the IP can actually provide any rational reason to believe that such things as he apparently supports, like apparently ending meetups, and mailing lists, and whatever, would somehow actually succeed in any way in making wikipedia better, I would love to hear it. John Carter (talk) 01:06, 30 December 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • No one is saying that everyone should have access to all deleted material. But when that material is used in cases against editors at ANI, Arbitration discussion or elsewhere without it being allowed to be even seen by the one they accuse, it's hardly fair. You are also not an admin as far as I can tell nor do you have any "authority" of any kind on Wikipedia. You comment, sure, just like everyone else, but many discussions happen offwiki on the "backchannels" that you are desperately trying, and failing to, dismiss. The Arbitration committee has them and frequently uses them and oftentimes its for good reason, sometimes its for convenience and sometimes its for personal gain and to get the upper hand. We all know this, its no big secret. There are a multitude of IRC channels both known and secret. Meetups are a frequent venue for swaying votes and passing favors and if you had ever attended one, as you said you have not, you would know that. So I am not looking for your "approval" or agreement in what I am saying because I know better than to believe the dismissive tones of the comments above that these venues "don't exist" and the mentality that that "these are not the droids you are looking for" coming from mostly those that have access to those venues and know exactly what I am talking about. An arbitrator who has commented on this page herself released some pretty strong evidence a while back about the goings on of the Arbcom mailing list and a very long time ago Durova, who has since stopped editing and been desysopped, also asserted claims complete with links that secret mailing lists where being used from the Wikia site, which is what caused many of the mailing lists to be created and publicly logged. Of course at the same time they also created Private and restricted lists but because they made some public, now the community feels better about it. If you want some proof though, just take a look at the IRC list yourself and see all the restricted ones that are listed and there are several others that aren't listed both public and private. Then you could take a look at the mailing lists here, several of which are restricted access and yes, here too, there are some that are not listed and kept secret. There are also individual emails, etc. So my point is this, Wikipedia has a problem with some of its people, whether you choose to believe it or not is on you, it's a fact that's been proven in multiple ways and venues and you choosing to ignore it and trying to discredit my comments doesn't hurt me, it hurts this project. So rather than continue to argue that there is no problem when you state yourself that you have no knowledge of the subject, you should go and look and do some research. (talk) 01:30, 30 December 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I don't think such terms as "back channels" and "gangsterish" can be taken literally. The NY Times article could just as well referred to smoke-filled room. The article also refers to "hacker jargon and the techie proceduralism". We have to concede there is some truth to this. We know not to bite the newcomers and I think this is in the same ballpark. I wasn't aware of Adrianne Wadewitz until after her passing. I think the point is simply that she prevailed against difficulties. Maybe there is more to it but I think the NY Times article is simply trying highlight one facet of her many accomplishments here at Wikipedia. Bus stop (talk) 01:39, 30 December 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
(e-c) Your obvious errors seem to continue unabated, and it becomes I think perhaps even more obvious that your objections are based on personal experience. Durova is still active here as can be seen here. Over at wikisource, they have only recently removed from the scriptorium something of an article related to her work there being made a DYK here. Your pointing her out in particular, and mentioning her loss of sysop privileges, seems to be a strong indicator that she might be one of the personal bases for your grudge. And I have been an admin, and actually have seen others post over at wikipediocracy, where I am somewhat active, comments that they have seen from mailing lists that they have access to. Honestly, I really am not even remotely interested in looking over what you apparently consider damning evidence, even though you personally apparently don't know what it even says, because even without reading the mailing lists I am aware of what they say. I regret to say based on your own comments and your obsession with "secrets" that you do seem to come across as one of the conspiracy-theorist types who see the new world order hiding behind every parking ticket.
No one here has by the way ever argued that some people do not create problems, we know otherwise. No system is perfect, even the one which you apparently seem to be judging from the eyes of someone who has been possibly sanctioned for being less than perfect yourself. John Carter (talk) 01:46, 30 December 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It is well known (and well documented) that at one time a Wikia mailing list was used to conduct some Wikipedia/Wikimedia conversations. I doubt that there was any ill intent, though it was a Very Silly Idea. Very Silly Ideas continue to occur at regular intervals, that is human nature. What is a pity, though, is that people aren't more willing to move on from them - which can be widely sped up by admitting that the Idea was Very Silly.
All the best: Rich Farmbrough00:01, 3 January 2015 (UTC).
Why not ask the author what she meant? Here, for example. ---Sluzzelin talk 01:48, 30 December 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Brad, I find it astonishing that you could not know about these shenanigans during your long tenure on the ArbCom. Isn't the ArbCom mailing list itself a "notoriously gangsterish back channel", after all? I mean, I don't know how you guys engage amongst yourselves, but the results of your discussions often do look a bit like the St. Valentine's Day massacre. Everyking (talk) 01:50, 30 December 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I've seen excerpts of, and heard of, some of the discussions there. Having been involved in some other non-profits over the years which once in a while use computer discussion, at least the material I've seen doesn't look much worse than some of the comments I've seen there. Granted, I have a really sick sense of humor, and have tried to "liven up" some otherwise deadly dull conversations with a bit of humor, which has often been taken the wrong way. And, like with any other similar internet attempt to reach consensus among people who know damn well that they do not necessarily even remotely agree on anything that they have been tasked to make decisions about, the attempts at plea bargains and compromises and whatever can sometimes get strained. John Carter (talk) 02:30, 30 December 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I suspect this is just an issue of word choice. "Back channels" is likely Heffernan's shorthand for Wikipedia's internal politics and power structure, which are notoriously Byzantine and insular, if not "gangsterish". MastCell Talk 03:44, 30 December 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • My guess is that by "backchannels" Heffernan is simply referring to anything that is not article-space. A few years before I created an account and started editing here, I recall discovering the Talk tab on article pages and emailing a friend about the "secret and juicy behind-the-scenes discussion" on wikipedia, and Heffernan may well be coming from the same place. To us wiki-regulars calling these open discussions backchannels may appear bizarre, but it is a useful reminder on how the wiki-environment can appear mysterious, clique-y, and hostile to the uninitiated. Abecedare (talk) 04:15, 30 December 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Yes, we do, and Awadewit participated in them. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 05:28, 30 December 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • I think you're looking at a writer who (like all hip writers these days) must look down on Wikipedia for a variety of reasons, and who like all hip writers finds our power structure to be the easiest target. So the problem is to make her special status (as subject of the article) agree with a possible complicity in the power structure of which she, as an editor with so many edits and so many FAs and GAs was a part as well; the answer is to propose these backwaterish channels and then keep Adrienne out of it. Little does the author know that Adrienne and I actually hashed out the current five-year plan of the WMF from a backroom in Boston, on a trip paid for by our respective employers.

    To put it another way, Sandy is right, of course. Adrienne was as much part of all we are as most of us are. Some of us are deeper in the muck than others, and I have no dirt on Adrienne nor did I ever see any, but suggesting that an editor with so many years and 50,000 edits is somehow not part of something that is claimed to be so entrenched in Wikipedia, that's rhetoric. Drmies (talk) 02:46, 31 December 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • This is merely hyperbole: "Wadewitz, against the odds, rose to command authority in Wikipedia’s notoriously gangsterish back channels." Chuckle, chuckle. End of story. Go back to work. Bus stop (talk) 12:58, 31 December 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • The line is a bit of hyperbole but, hey, the underlying truth is obvious. You're working on an Arbcom case now on a two-sided gangland war over "Gamer Gate." Try posting something NPOV there and see what happens. Back channel gangsterism, indeed. Carrite (talk) 17:26, 31 December 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • OT: Sorry for sounding nasty, but the article Adrianne Wadewitz was AfDed and kept as a close call, with the main objection being insufficient amount of reliable sources. Brad found an excellent source, and the article badly needed it, but within almost a day of his blog post nobody managed to add this source to the article.--Ymblanter (talk) 19:55, 31 December 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • NYB, remember, my RfA was torpedoed through the use of a secret mailing list after I messed with a BLP that was under protection of WP's then ruling-cabal. Later, I was blocked by an admin after I questioned the behavior of a friend of his who was active in maintaining a cabal's control of the Race & Intelligence topic. Just recently, I was blocked without being given a chance to defend myself after criticizing WP's failure to resolve problems with the GamerGate topic. It was one of the admins I criticized who blocked me without giving me a chance to respond. Are there gangsterish backchannles in WP? There definitely are and it's the reason why I, once a prolific content contributor, now spends my time spinning my wheels with criticism and suggestions for reform. The NYT reporter hit the nail on the head with that phrase. The editors who are going to show up here and disagree with it are likely going to be WP kool-aid drinkers, POV pushers, activists, and their administrative supporters. Cla68 (talk) 23:06, 31 December 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • My own experience with Wikipedia's back channels, namely #wikipedia-en-help, could be described as "gangsterish". The now mysteriously banned Dcoetzee pointed me to a tool whose results would only be useful to those deep into Wikipedia's inner workings, and was told to shut my pie-hole by a Wikimedia Foundation employee. Subsequent events could be described as "notorious", i.e.: this same Wikimedia Foundation employee was found to suggest that an editor could be set alight after being doused in oil, and stated that punching a Peter Damian RealDoll "feels like punching the real thing!". I would similarly describe Sue Gardner's comments about Ironholds pinning Mindspillage "up against the wall, as Ironholds likes" as back channel-ish, if not notorious. (talk) 23:27, 1 January 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • One thing I've learned from watching the ArbCom's work over the years is that no matter how much mischief its "backchannel gangsters" get into, they're not nearly as bad as those damn content editors, who have the audacity to spend their time writing encyclopedia articles for free. Often, you'll find these "gangsters" were provoked into misbehaving by content editors. That's why Brad and the ArbCom have been so focused on booting out content editors, while the gangsters are usually just admonished. Everyking (talk) 23:46, 1 January 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
      • And what is really terrible are those editors who take WP:NPOV seriously. They are the real "gangsters" of this project. Some of them even go so far as to take WP:UNDUEWEIGHT seriously. They really make my blood boil. Bus stop (talk) 01:50, 2 January 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • "Gangster" is such a harsh word isn't it? On reading the nice obituary of Adrianne, a person I never met, but wish I had, my assumption was that she was the source of the remark, with the wording being Heffernan's, our processes seen through an orb darkly. As Sandy and Drmies pointed out, you are unlikely to become a content creator with 50,000 edits and a stacks of FAs without complicity in, or at least knowledge of, the labyrinthine ways of Wikipedia. It's hard for me to imagine Adrienne not getting blocked and banned if she had been the strident feminist some of her obituary writers claim. Although "toddler's tea party" may be a bit of an understatement from someone who once engineered a shut down of the whole site. Actually, I think I'm in one of those back channels right now... Hawkeye7 (talk) 05:15, 2 January 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Well, there was that time we coordinated drug trafficking on arbcom-l, remember? Fair comment. But in all seriousness, there are cabals, but I get your point about connotation.
    (Incidentally, not sure I can imagine ArbCom without you. You had all the mafia hookups.) Cool Hand Luke 16:43, 16 January 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • How amusing. Use a phrase like this on long-time editors, and they usually reach for a story of how A slandered them on IRC to B, but then it all came out at A's RfA and they did him brown, but someone needs to rein in C, who is still using mailing lists to bla bla bla. When casual editors refer to "backchannels" and "gangsters", it usually refers to "AfD" and "people who sententiously quoted policy with many acronyms", respectively. Choess (talk) 05:09, 3 February 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

A reference librarian reviews Wikipedia[edit]

  • Fairly accurate but bland view of wikipedia really. Can cite to set version though, which is not mentioned. What I tell people to do is this - if a neophyte on particular topic X, then read the article. If a professional in the field, may be more economical time-wise to jump to the bottom and go to the references directly. This is pretty true for well-developed articles and would be the mid-term goal of the joint. Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 00:25, 6 April 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I'd say the librarian gives a very fair summary. As for what we can do to make Wikipedia more useful and point people to other sources, I'm not sure we can do that given the present structure of the project. Essentially this would mean having articles that correspond to review papers on given topics. Any good review paper will give its author's views on which sources are better than others, and we're not allowed to do that. Short Brigade Harvester Boris (talk) 01:08, 6 April 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • MEDRS and the editing that goes on around it has been a great success. But that's not the general rule. Try doing the same in climate change or other controversial fields outside of medicine, if you have the patience. Short Brigade Harvester Boris (talk) 01:36, 7 April 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Admittedly it's easier to do it there given how articles outside WP are ranked etc. Though I don't think it can be as thorough I think we can make some headway elsewhere....Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 05:36, 7 April 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I'm rather startled to discover that there is such a thing as a "books and mortar" bookstore.  :-) And yes, I think this librarian gives a fair assessment, on the whole, although for most articles the majority of edits do not affect content; they're things like adding tags, categories, or formatting. Risker (talk) 01:20, 6 April 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I just took the liberty of fixing that—but now I’m having second thoughts, seeing that you didn’t and especially considering your handle. ;) I never thought of myself as particularly WP:BOLD … apologies to NYB if my assessment was wrong. (Donning raincoat in case of incoming salmonids.)Odysseus1479 01:42, 7 April 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It was indeed a typo; thanks for fixing it. Newyorkbrad (talk) 03:28, 8 April 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • A much more positive review than I was expecting based on past discussions with him. He does a nice job of explaining how to use a non-authoritative source like Wikipedia in your research. Wikipedia's overall quality and coverage has improved considerably since I started editing in 2010, with more citations. Evidently this has not gone unnoticed. However, as the author reminds us, Wikipedia gives just a faint indication of the depth of information available in academic and research libraries, and in subscription databases.
Two possibilities for making authoritative materials more accessible to readers would be partnering with initiatives like the Digital Public Library of America, or creating more visiting scholar arrangements. In essence, the access problem is a problem of user affiliation; the user must be affiliated with a group or organization that has a subscription or authorization to access the information. --Djembayz (talk) 14:57, 9 April 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Or try The Wikipedia Library. Nikkimaria (talk) 15:41, 9 April 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Another option is to, well, find the good sources, like those PD documents prominently included in bibliographies in encyclopedias, and try to add them to commons and wikisource. Particularly for some broadly "historical" topics, having the sources easily available on the same site might help a lot. John Carter (talk) 17:12, 9 April 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I think he makes a very good assessment of Wikipedia. The only bit that jumped out at me was While it is technically possible to call up earlier versions of the same article, the fact that the earlier versions had to be changed is in itself good reason to avoid citing them, I couldn't help thinking that's like saying you shouldn't cite a 2015 Biology textbook because it's going to be changed in the 2017 edition. In most cases cites really should go to the sources that *we* cite, but if someone is careful I could imagine cases where it could be useful to cite our summary of what various sources say. That would need to be a link to a dated-version of the article. In a way that would be a cite with a unique added value, anyone following that cite could simply load the current article and instantly see if any corrections or updates had been made. When cites are made to dead-tree sources and that information is revised in a later edition, there isn't any easy way to catch that correction.
As for what can we do to make Wikipedia a more useful resource, that's a tough one. That's pretty much already the goal of our policies. If there were any easy changes we probably have already made them. In many cases we allow unsourced material because it's clearly valuable, and it's often an essential part of the process of building articles towards an "ideal" state. There is the perennial idea of having "approved" versions of articles but it could retard further development, and the work required badly competes with all the other work that needs to be done here. Wikipedia is a truly unique resource with unique properties. I think it's necessary to just accept that it has a unique set of strengths and weaknesses. Alsee (talk) 07:45, 5 May 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

A troubling New York court decision about privacy[edit]

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Books inspired by information found and connections made on Wikipedia[edit]

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A test of Wikipedia quality improvement[edit]

  • Just a quick comment, I will note that since his two articles, Cuozzo since ended up with an article of his own. On the surface (I've only given it a skim) it appears well done, but I wonder if he's aware of that and would have any issues with it. I also did a spot check of a couple things from the 2008 article and no longer saw the problems in the articles in question, which is promising (his NY Post concerns were removed the morning of publication, for example), but then again would it have been fixed had Cuozzo not mentioned it? Probably not, to be honest. Wizardman 19:09, 19 April 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Are we allowed to mention Greg Kohs experiment here? On the Cuozzo article, I got half way through before I realized it was late 2013. All the same, it was revealing how much needed correction. The hostile comments were also revealing. "So fix it". The problem is that if I test 10 of the cars off a production line of 1,000 cars, and three have faults, I don't fix the problem by fixing the 3 faulty ones. The problem is much deeper, no? Peter Damian (talk) 18:43, 21 April 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • Heh. I absolutely agree with this commentary: "If you properly format nonsense inserted into Wikipedia and especially include a reference source (even a bogus one) that conforms to Wikipedia’s style guidelines, there is a very good chance that your vandalism will persist indefinitely." Unless you are posting a politically charged topic, editors likely don't look at the source. Cool Hand Luke 23:29, 27 April 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • We tolerate a certain level of vandalism as the price of allowing the encyclopaedia to be readily edited. In the case of people who just want to write obscenities, patrolling bots generally revert it quickly. But if we were really serious about it, we could lock down the pages, and we do in cases where the level of vandalism on a page becomes unacceptable. It becomes more difficult though, when we are dealing with misinformation. A bot will not do. The most common form is the vandal who changes some figures. The scale goes from there through more elaborate forms such as the insertion of hoax sentences or paragraphs, all the way up to the creation of entire hoax articles. The solution is always the same: the article needs to be checked by a subject matter expert. Again, we have mechanisms for this; the only question is how much error we want to tolerate. Hawkeye7 (talk) 06:15, 25 April 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Cuozzo's paper and Greg's experiment suggest that subject matter experts aren't checking articles. I go back to my example of quality control in a factory environment. It is not enough to fix the errors you found in the random sample. On the question of 'how much error we want to tolerate' that presumes a mechanism for monitoring error, measuring it. Only then can one fix a threshold beyond which error is unacceptable. Even then, who would decide? Peter Damian (talk) 06:47, 25 April 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
When we think of the way we handle vandalism, we have already achieved a consensus, and the admins who handle RfPP have norms that they follow in protecting pages, which also have broad consensus. So we have standards, albeit subjective ones. This is common in a factory environment. Products are inspected for defects. Just because defects are found does not mean that the product is rejected. In many cases, a certain number of defects or a certain level of defect is acceptable. The level is set externally. In some industrial environments, every item is checked; in others we resort to sampling. Now, when it comes to article quality, we already have mechanisms in place to grade the articles against strict standards. Those rated less than GA are generally considered defective. There is currently a working bee under way to re-check all the featured articles from before 2009. The featured standards have been refined over time, so they are stricter now than they were. Hawkeye7 (talk) 08:43, 25 April 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Okay, I'm taking a look now at Mr. Cuozzo's 2013 article:
    • The reference to Chelsea Market as a "22-building complex" was deleted the day Cuozzo's article appeared. It looks like this reference was inserted in 2006, by an editor familiar with that part of Manhattan, who seems to have conflated the history of how the square-block parcel was originally assembled with the structures currently on the parcel. Thus, the confusing statement was introduced in perfect good faith, but it would have been better if it hadn't taken 7+ years for us to clarify or correct it.
    • The outdated history of the Tavern on the Green restaurant has been updated.
    • Cuozzo asks, "Did you know that Time Warner Center, a twin-towered building, is 'a pair of interconnected' skyscrapers?" The article currently uses the phrase "twin-tower building" as Cuozzo prefers.
    • "Or that its Jazz at Lincoln Center facility’s three distinct performance halls seating nearly 2,000, plus a huge event space, are a single “1,200-seat theater?”" The article contains a subsection listing the various performance spaces, which addresses Cuozzo's concern.

I'll stop there, at least for the moment, and see if anyone else picks this up. But based on this article so far, it looks like Wikipedians did a reasonable job in correcting or updating an article when an error or outdatedness or incompleteness is picked up in the press. Of course, a critic might ask why it takes a negative piece in the outside press to flag errors or outdatednesses or incompletenesses that require our attention. The counterpoint is that given Cuozzo's thesis that Wikipedia is error-laden, only instances of problematic content—not those of good and well-written and reliable content—made his cut to begin with.... Newyorkbrad (talk) 17:59, 26 April 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

In law school, a contracts professor asked my section to come up with a clear industrial definition of "hard red winter wheat" (her overall point is that there aren't as many unambiguous terms as you might think and that the UCC is unrealistic in supposing there are generally agreed definitions among merchants). Knowing that my classmates would turn to Wikipedia, I decided to deliberately insert a false piece of information, attributing it to USDA, with proper Wikilink. I was unsurprised that the edit stuck, and was delighted when a gunner recited the definition in class. I happily revealed that I had invented the fact the gunner just recited (my overall point being that whether the UCC is good or not, you really shouldn't cite Wikipedia in court cases). I assume the wiki-statute of limitations on this vandalism has run. I wish I found out how long it would take to be corrected, but a friend of mine just couldn't bear living with knowledge of the falsehood and removed it a couple of weeks later.
More serious than wheat specifications, from my perspective, is backwater BLPs, which can get absurd claims put into them. As long as there's a "reference," nonsense can persist for years. Four years, for example. Cool Hand Luke 23:24, 27 April 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Wikipedia should set a goal of reducing its number of BLPs by 90% before year end 2015. Short Brigade Harvester Boris (talk) 00:03, 28 April 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
This could get bloody. Hawkeye7 (talk) 10:00, 28 April 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Could it be a problem that many of our automated anti-vandal tools, like Huggle and STiki, filter out edits which aren't clear vandalism, which makes the insertion of deliberate errors harder to catch? As a recent changes patroller, I don't use either of the tools; I just check random mainspace edits. Usually I flag unverified suspicious information with "citation needed", ask the editor to provide a source, and then check the article again a few weeks later. If the information is still unreferenced, I'll then remove it. I've also found that monitoring the new talk pages feed is also useful. Many well-meaning IP editors who spot errors will report them on the article's talk page, but sadly they usually go unnoticed. Altamel (talk) 03:35, 28 April 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • I think a lot of this falls under "Wikipedia can't work in theory, but it does in practice". The Kohs experiment demonstrates that we seriously suck at catching innocuous looking misinformation skillfully inserted into relatively obscure articles. On the other hand "innocuous looking misinformation skillfully inserted into relatively obscure articles" ranks somewhere around twelve thousand on the list of problems that we actually face. Alsee (talk) 08:55, 5 May 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • Check out Selection bias. (1) If your universe is 'picked up by Wikipedia', then of course the fact they were picked up means they were picked up. What you don't know is the size of the universe not picked up. Thus this does not prove Wikipedia 'works in practice'. (2) Kohs' explicitly says he did not go for 'obscure' articles. (3) I'm interested that the potential magnitude of errors ranks "somewhere around twelve thousand " on your list. That you are so unconcerned about quality of Wikipedia speaks volumes. Peter Damian (talk) 10:51, 16 May 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Posner quotes Wikipedia on Weed[edit]

  • Regarding Congratulations to the editors on that article, the lesson I take from this isn't the "Wikipedia is a place of continuing improvement" moral we're presumably supposed to draw, it's that of the 10 non-bot editors with the most edits, seven of them have either retired altogether or had no significant activity in the last 12 months ([4], [5], [6], [7], [8], [9], [10] if anyone wants to check for themselves), and one of them was hounded off Wikipedia by Betacommand (this version of his talkpage should be paraded under the noses of all those people currently claiming that Betacommand wasn't a disruptive influence and should be invited back), and that almost every recent edit has been vandalism, reversion and minor maintenance with the last substantive edit of any kind made in July 2014. ‑ iridescent 17:02, 29 September 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • Actually, this was meant just as an "FYI, this is interesting" post rather than a piece of cheerleading. But your point about turnover is depressing nonetheless. Newyorkbrad (talk) 18:12, 29 September 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
      • If you feel like embracing "What would Jimbo do?" as a lifestyle, explain it as "Wikipedia's article is so good, it reached a point last year where it couldn't be improved further". Regarding editor turnover, I recently re-discovered WP:WBE, which now has all the editors who are no longer active marked (the inactive ones are plain text, the active ones are linked) and am shocked at how few inactive editors there are—it looks like there are quite a few, but when you look a sizable proportion of the inactive ones are either abandoned accounts for people who are still active under another name, or blocked. Of course, this list does show a fairly huge selection bias—people who are inactive are by definition going to drift off it over time, plus some of those with the highest edit counts are also those who Wikipedia could more than happily do without—but it's interesting nonetheless. (You rank #1565, FWIW.) ‑ iridescent 19:36, 29 September 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
        • It's sorta good and sorta not. One of the reasons I push the core contest is to rekindle interest in an article like weed, which is woefully short on references and makes a bunch of suppositions that really need sources. But anyway....Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 20:44, 29 September 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Thoughts on the "monkey selfie" debacle[edit]

You miss (intentionally or not) the point that a showdown is precisely what the "information has a right to be free" hardliners, are hoping for, and in that context ethics doesn't come into it since whatever damage (reputational or financial) is caused is in their eyes a necessary sacrifice towards the greater goal. There's a small but vocal minority on Wikipedia who believe that WMF projects should disregard IP rights altogether, and welcome any step towards that end. With that in mind, the bullying and goading of Mr Slater is completely rational; by forcing him into a position where he feels he has no option but to take legal action, it sets the WMF up for a win-win position in their eyes. Either the photographer loses, and the enforceability of online IP rights takes a serious blow; or, the photographer wins. and Wikipedia becomes a martyr and a rallying point. This is just the latest incarnation of a campaign to try to force Wikipedia into a position in which its resources are used to fight the EFF's fights for it; you presumably remember the previous chapter in this saga. ‑ Iridescent 17:02, 18 January 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

NatGeo routinely publishes photos, cited as copyright, taken by use of trip-wires for wildlife - the fact is that some folks think "everything should be free and intellectual property does not exist" which is the crux here, and clearly so at the Commons discussion. US law specifically recognized the validity of UK copyright - there is no possibility of the "intellectual property should not be recognized" being a result in any US court as a result. The court case at hand only ruled that a monkey could not hold copyright, but the US copyright law only requires that a human be involved in the taking of the image (just as a human must be involved in computer-generated images, which are decidedly copyright). The NPG precedent is off point entirely. Collect (talk) 17:47, 18 January 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Perhaps I am a liker of answers but, it seems -- 'whether an animal presser of the button, taking a picture of a pose/setting wholly within the animals' control, means the person who got the camera to the non-human has some right' -- should be decided, which means, yes, a case would be helpful - on the other hand, if the risk of damages is real - settlement would be good - and, of course, the goading was immature and wrong. Alanscottwalker (talk)

I should qualify, that I don't know whether all the persons who took the "selfie" with the purported "selfie", intended to goad anyone, but if any did, those would be the ones whose act was immature and wrong. Alanscottwalker (talk) 11:20, 19 January 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I think there is a significant difference between trip-wire and motion sensor photography, where the photographer deliberately set up the equipment to take photos under certain conditions defined by them, and something that was, essentially, a pure accident like a monkey grabbing a camera. In "animal copyright" cases before now, it's generally been ruled that even significant effort on someone's part to get an animal to create something, like providing supplies and possibly even some demonstrations on how to use them, does not entitle a copyright claim. In the case here, it doesn't even go that far; this was, as far as how the photographer describes it, an entirely unplanned incident. In tripwire/motion sensor cases, the animal didn't create anything, the photographer just used a variant on a time release. Those are entirely separate things.

That being said, I do find the goading and taunting to be entirely inappropriate. But I still would approach it just like the Dcoetzee image case above—"I'm sorry, and I understand why you're upset, but this does still appear to be a clear case of the work being uncopyrightable and in the public domain based on existing law." We should be reasonable and decent to people, but we should draw a firm line against people expanding copyright beyond what it actually legally covers. I see this as a reasonable decision from the WMF given existing law and the statements made by the Copyright Office.

The part that I strongly disagree with, as stated above by Iridescent, is that any outcome in this case would have the result that "...the enforceability of online IP rights takes a serious blow." If a court rules against the photographer, that would mean he was trying to enforce a "right" that he never had to begin with, just like the National Gallery. You're already not allowed to enforce copyright claims when you don't hold a valid copyright in the first place, so that would change nothing. Regardless, I think this is probably much more of an unusual edge case than the museum one. Seraphimblade Talk to me 19:45, 18 January 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

When you suggest doing something simply because it's the right thing to do, you're playing Hawkeye7's tune. You don't hear it from Wikipedians much though, especially when it relates to "freedom". Hawkeye7 (talk) 01:36, 19 January 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Newyorkbrad points out that if Slater had not told the world that the monkey had pressed the button, no one would have known. However, if he had claimed to have taken the photos himself, they would not be particularly valuable. Their value lies in being "monkey selfies" rather than in any photographic merit.-gadfium 05:01, 19 January 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

This misses the point. The inherent value is irrelevant. We have grabbed it as if it were "free beer" when in fact it's not. There is no question Slater invested himself in the photographs and the question is about ownership not value. I find little difference in the "selfie" vs. photographing the monkey's playing with a ball provided by the photographer. If we value free content, it's very important to recognize what isn't free. I am less inclined to share knowing that Commons will just as soon steal it. --DHeyward (talk) 10:55, 19 January 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The point is, it is "free beer", as in, it's uncopyrightable and in the public domain. Or at least, that's what the US Copyright Office has unambiguously stated. [11] So there's no "stealing" of anything, any more than Commons hosting any other public-domain, copyright-ineligible work. Seraphimblade Talk to me 15:51, 19 January 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I don't think it's unambiguous at all. The copyright office confirmed the same thing as the 9th Circuit and said the monkey cannot hold copyright. The question is how much artistic input is credited to the human photographer who CAN hold copyright. A monkey-selfie, absent any human input, is not copyrightable but it's far from clear that this case is absent human input. If I train a monkey to push the record button on a video camera at a Major League Baseball game, it's not public domain without the "express written consent of Major League Baseball." Such a view that the act of recording supplants all things including venue, human staging and other artistic input stands copyright on its head. Regardless of who/what presses the record button on the baseball game, the copyright is held by MLB. The same analogy is true for the monkey. The photographer rented the venue, set the stage, provided the equipment, etc, etc. No different than any live sporting event. If copyright were so easy to violate, I'd train monkeys to push all sorts of buttons and treat each output as "free." "My monkey did it, so it's free" is probably as dead-ended a defense as the PETA lawsuit. --DHeyward (talk) 21:41, 19 January 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I'm afraid I disagree with Brad's main points here. These points add up to the effort that Mr. Slater took. Well, Mr. Slater is not unique in taking a great deal of effort in making a public domain photograph. Consider all the museums of the world, who search for, preserve, protect, pay for, restore, and scan ancient manuscripts. They took orders of magnitude more effort than Slater, if nothing else because a museum is multiple professionals, rather than just one. Their effort is much more valuable than Slater's - because if Slater hadn't set up the monkey selfie, the monkey would still be there, or another monkey would be there, and someone else could have set up a very similar shot; if a museum doesn't preserve a crumbling manuscript, the manuscript decays into nothing, and often can't be replaced by another. And yet, those museum scans of ancient artwork are public domain. The public domain is a much more powerful concept than "free beer" as others seem to be comparing it too. Public domain means the work belongs to everyone, forever. Brad's claim that it's "the right thing to do" to take the work away from everyone in the world because of the request of Mr. Slater, just because he worked hard for it, is not the right thing to do. It's taking away something that rightfully belongs to everyone, which is not the right thing to do no matter how much effort one person puts in. --GRuban (talk) 22:00, 19 January 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • Noting that an updated version of my essay will be appearing in this week's Signpost, by invitation of its editor. Newyorkbrad (talk) 16:41, 20 January 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • go for throat. It's not "free beer" and there is only one answer to protect editors. --DHeyward (talk) 06:01, 21 January 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Notes on notability[edit]

  • Appreciate you advancing the notability conversation on judges. As I said in my recent DRV edit, I'm very much on the side of adjusting the WP:USCJN standards to presume notability for state appellate judges. The comparison to state legislators, I think, is an important guide for this conversation, since state legislators and state appellate judges are both empowered to decide matters of state-wide effect, whereas lower level judges are more akin to county officials. --Asdasdasdff (talk) 07:06, 27 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Newyorkbrad, thanks for your discussion. I too feel that the notability guidelines are sometimes difficult to "fully" interpret and that an article should survive in an encyclopedia if it has enough coverage and addresses the topic directly and in detail. In the case of George W. Blunt, No. 11, the article has significant coverage in primary sources and is talked about in several secondary sources, e.g. Charles Edward Russell, From Sandy Hook to 62. So, this should be enough to keep or incorporate USS G. W. Blunt (1861) as a merge. From a sometimes COI editor, Greg Henderson
  • I think an experienced editor's gut on whether something should be included has a place in deletion discussions. Which might help explain why Just Peck ended up being closed keep. I actually think that's the least interesting of the three you list. I think you raise some interesting questions about how we add color to the encyclopedia. Should it be with an independent article or are there other ways we can add richness and depth of the kind you're effectively arguing for with the judges and the ship? Best, Barkeep49 (talk) 02:24, 1 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Notes on notability: A long response[edit]

I came into AfD discussions less than a month ago. Before I voted on any AfDs I read all of the policies I could find and analysed arguments in archived AfDs. Often WP:GNG was cited as a reason to keep or delete an article. The first GNG criteria is, "Significant coverage: addresses the topic directly and in detail, so that no original research is needed to extract the content. Significant coverage is more than a trivial mention, but it does not need to be the main topic of the source material." What should we do if an article seems like it should have significant coverage, but editors cannot find it?
One of my favourite games is The Legend of Dragoon. When I joined Wikipedia in the 2000s, there were many articles on the lore and fiction of the game, like the game's main character [12] or a major event in the game's mythology [13]. Back then, when I wanted to learn cool information about these characters, I would go to Wikipedia which would have the lore and detailed plot summaries that reminded me of what I loved about the game. Recently, I have a lot of free time because of COVID, so I played the game again. This time, when I wanted information about the characters or the story, I started at Wikipedia. However, the articles I read 10 years ago about the lore and insignificant details had long ago been deleted, including the articles above. When I wanted a refresher of the lore of the game, I closed my Wikipedia tab and went to a fan-made Wikia site.
The MOS:PLOT states, "Because works of fiction are primary sources in their articles, basic descriptions of their plots are acceptable without reference to an outside source" By itself, this sentence means Wikipedia can have an article without reference if the article is about a work of fiction with only the plot in the article space. However, Wikipedia is not WP:INDISCRIMINATE, which says "Wikipedia articles should not be...Summary-only descriptions of works" so Wikipedia articles can't just be about the plot. This is where editors need to engage. Many articles with notability issues were created in the 2000s before these policies and guidelines were set up. Editors need to find sources to add and expand upon these articles. The two articles I cited above only contained fictional information from the game when they were deleted and redirected to the game's article; no development info, no reception, no analysis from secondary sources, no citations. Deleting these articles means fewer clicks for the site, but Wikipedia kept its dogma that information on its cite is verified. It was correct to delete these articles because the likelihood of finding significant coverage on the main character of a cult-like video game is pretty low, and even lower for a video game's mythological event. Wikipedia didn't get my click, but it did keep my trust that whatever I read on the site about the game would be true.
I voted "delete" in the Just Peck AfD cited in NYB's essay. Before I vote in any AfD I look for sources on Google, JSTOR and ProQuest. Google found articles that mentioned the movie, but mostly in relation to the actor's career or as a question in an interview with an actor. I made a judgement call based on WP:GNG and WP:NFILM that these sources did not significantly mention the movie, and thus the movie did not have significant coverage to warrant its own article. My major concern about the sources I found was that they did not provide significant coverage of the plot, creation or development of the film. I thought instead that the information in the sources should be included in the actor's article. Yes, I believed significant coverage on the movie could be found eventually. But since I could not find it, and I assumed the nominator of the AfD could not find it because of WP:BEFORE, I thought it was better to follow Wikipedia's policy and vote delete. However, maybe delete isn't the best outcome for articles that could become notable and encyclopedic in the future. Maybe NYB is right in his instincts that this article has encyclopedic value, and we need to acknowledge this.
Here's a proposal: A bot should draft articles that have 0 citations or references, with a redirect on the article page to the draft. Draft pages would also have a different colour background by default (like a pale blue or green) to distinguish it from Mainspace articles. This would make it clear to the reader that this article is unverified and does not meet our standards. NYB said in his essay, "[M]y encyclopedic instincts have some value too, and they tell me that deleting would be a mistake." Although editors can re-create an article that is deleted once they find appropriate references, NYB also notes, in speaking about recreating articles about Wisconsin judges, that, "There can be obstacles to such re-creations, including...The reasonable fear that even if the new article isn't G4'd, the fact that it's been deleted once suggests that it's at risk of being deleted again, so why risk doing the work for nothing; and [t]he greater "barrier to entry" when instead of adding text to an existing, perhaps well-formatted article, one starts with the blank screen." Deleting an article makes it daunting for some editors to re-create an article from scratch. Moving unreferenced articles to drafts, but still making them easy to find, gives readers and editors the chance to fix them and get them back to the mainspace. This process would not stop editors who, after a thorough search for references, determine that an article will probably never be encyclopedic and nominate it for deletion. Editors can then find consensus on if the article can ever become notable enough for inclusion in Wikipedia.
Looking at the AfD, commentators have found sources for Just Peck that I was unable to find. I will take a look at them, and consider changing my vote. If this bot is ever created, I think Just Peck would be ignored from this drafting bot. Z1720 (talk) 23:15, 27 August 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

For our readers on mobile devices: a request for input, a need for action?[edit]

  1. Yes.
  2. Nothing that I know of.
  3. I doubt it; I don't think the WMF will listen.

I always convert to desktop when trying to view on mobile, the mobile interface is horrible, and things have only gotten worse lately. I'm an experienced editor who won't even try to edit from mobile. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 23:08, 29 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  1. Yes, this is a major problem with impacts far beyond the specific problem you identified. The mobile site is an impediment to collaborative editing.
  2. A few people have tried to call attention to this chronic, long term problem, but we are effectively ignored by the WMF. I wrote my smartphone editing essay way back in 2015 and have had negligible feedback from the WMF.
  3. I have been editing on Android smartphones using the fully functional desktop site almost exclusively for nearly twelve years, probably making about 80,000 edits on my various phones. I've answered thousands of questions at the Teahouse and the Help Desk, written many dozens of articles including Good Articles and expanded hundreds of other articles and became a highly active administrator, all on my phone. Through all those years, there has been a team of well-compensated programmers assigned to improving the mobile site, and it still sucks. If the WMF just admitted that the mobile site sucks and shut it down, and that the desktop site works fine on smartphones, they would be admitting that the whole thing had wasted many tens of millions of dollars, and it seems that they prefer to continue wasting money than to face facts. That's my sincere opinion based on contributing to the project almost every single day since 2009. Cullen328 (talk) 04:28, 30 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I more or less agree with SandyGeorgia. The first thing I do on reaching Wikipedia on mobile is to hit that "Convert to desktop" link. The failure to show notifications and messages is, itself, a massive failing, and one that should have been urgently addressed by now. But WMF has been told that many times; the problem is not that they are unaware of the issue. Seraphimblade Talk to me 04:37, 30 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

What Sandy Georgia and others said. I also instantly convert to desktop both for viewing and editing, whether I’m on a mobile device or not. Volunteer Marek 05:00, 30 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Always desktop view. I hate it when something goes wrong and I start seeing mobile view. SmokeyJoe (talk) 06:29, 30 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yesterday, when using Google Chrome on my Samsung tablet, I clicked "Desktop site" under the upper right three dots button. I habitually have to do this (or sometimes "Desktop view" at the bottom of the Wikipedia page, I don't know why). This time, to my joy, I got a little popup box saying this option was now sticky. And it seems to be. I see Chrome updated itself on my tablet yesterday so I'm hoping things stay this way. Thincat (talk) 15:18, 30 March 2023 (UTC).Reply[reply]
I feel compelled to offer a data point in the other direction. As a mobile-only user, I stopped using desktop mode to edit once I figured out how to modify the editor URL so I could make changes to multiple sections in a single edit. Now I use desktop mode only for diffs or viewing navigation templates. For reading, I never switch to desktop mode. The text is too small and too many. I like to keep as much text collapsed as possible so I don't have to keep track of where I am in the twenty-five scrolls full of tables or LaTeX or two editors making the same point at each other a dozen times each or whatever. I do agree that the "Desktop view" link is well hidden, but I hadn't thought the blank subsection heading names — clearly inviting a tap to expand — might be an unintuitive interface element. In any case, the Foundation will ignore any feedback beyond minor tweaks and refinements to what they've already decided to do. Folly Mox (talk) 17:39, 30 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
... once I figured out how to modify the editor URL so I could make changes to multiple sections in a single edit ... not something the casual users NYB mentions in his original post will understand (in fact, even I don't know what this means). SandyGeorgia (Talk) 18:08, 30 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Mobile does not provide a link to edit the entire article wikitext anywhere on the interface that I've found. While in the editor, replacing the section number at the end of the URL with the string all provides this functionality. Of course this does not have relevance to the casual reader. Apologies if I construed otherwise; I meant to describe personal experience. Folly Mox (talk) 22:02, 30 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
For example: is equivalent to clicking the section-editing button for the fourth section, and is equivalent to clicking the edit button for the whole page. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 23:49, 30 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • 1. Yes; 2. Probably not, at least not anything I am aware of; 3. I would guess yes but some backing, possibly even ArbCom, would be needed. 4. We do have active users around here who are technically oriented and either work for WMF or used to work for WMF or are WMF-related volunteer developers, they certainly must know better (and might form the group in 3).--Ymblanter (talk) 18:26, 30 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • 1. Yes; 2. No clue; 3. With all due respect, this is not in arbcom's remit; this is well outside of what's described in WP:ARBPOL#Scope and responsibilities. I know that arbs (which I'm not) and more generally, the functionaries (which I am) do have more open channels with WMF than most editors. This appears to be encouraged and facilitated by WMF, but I think that's based on a misunderstanding on WMF's part of what arbcom's role is. I can see how arbcom's role can legitimately be expanded to include talking to WMF about harassment and abuse. But, not the design of the mobile apps. That's not to say the community doesn't need to be talking to WMF about the mobile apps. It's just that arbcom is not the right entity to be representing the community on this issue. That being said, yes the mobile experience sucks and needs to get fixed. -- RoySmith (talk) 21:00, 30 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I don't think Brad was suggesting that arbcom should be representing the community on this issue, rather using arbcom's existing channel to facilitate the creation of a new channel where a group of community members (not arbcom or functionaries) liaise with relevant people at the WMF (who probably aren't the same people arbcom liaise with) about issues with the mobile site. While liaising with the WMF to (try and) facilitate a community resolution to a technical issue they've been unable to solve up to now is technically not within arbcom's remit I don't think that it is outside the spirit. Thryduulf (talk) 21:31, 30 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    @RoySmith and Thryduulf:. Thanks for the input. Actually, I wasn't suggesting involving ArbCom at all, but simply mentioning their communications with the WMF as an analogy. I was suggesting we consider creating a new committee or group of representatives who could communicate directly with the WMF on these issues. I don't think I suggested, and certainly didn't mean to suggest, that ArbCom take on this role, as (1) they are busy enough already, and (2) they are selected for completely different skills. Newyorkbrad (talk) 22:36, 30 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Fair enough, my apologies for misinterpreting what you wrote. -- RoySmith (talk) 23:19, 30 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I think the Foundation would love a group that could make binding commitments on behalf of the community around development. That is make it a community problem to establish what is wanted at places like Vector2022 and then to have a group of people that could credibly iterate and say "good enough" or "not there" etc etc. ArbCom isn't that. As for mobile I think we need to be helping that experience - because it already is where our readership is at and if it's not where our editing base can be we're really going to suffer. This isn't to say that the foundation hasn't done work there - I know they have - but it is hard when the noisest users are ones that aren't using that interface (even when on mobile). Best, Barkeep49 (talk) 21:50, 30 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I'm not sure I would go so far as to suggest that a new group be empowered to make "binding commitments" on behalf of the community, but their input could certainly give the WMF staff more information than they have now on what some community leaders, chosen for their experience and their technical expertise, think about the current state of the interfaces and the best path for them going forward. Newyorkbrad (talk) 22:36, 30 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    The WMF has tried focus groups with experienced editors (i.e., existing, experienced editors, largely from the English Wikipedia, who were chosen for their experience and relevant expertise, but with no power to make binding commitments for any particular community) in the past. It was most notably used during the early work on mw:Media Viewer. If you were around in 2014, then you probably don't need any further explanation. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 23:55, 30 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  1. I'm bothered by readers who can't figure out that things that look like they're collapsible and default to closed can be uncollapsed. I honestly don't know what to think of that. The idiom our mobile site uses on the point is one you can find elsewhere on the Internet (most commonly on "FAQ" pages). That aside, I would find it entirely reasonable to file a task with this exact story in Phabricator asking for a reassessment of the discoverability of mobile uncollapsing. (@Whatamidoing (WMF):)

    While I appreciate that there are editors willing to stomach Vector (2010 or 2022) on mobile for editing, I'm not one of them. As they exist today, they are not suitable for basic reading on mobile (font too small is the overwhelming reason, and my eyesight is your average middle-adult's), never mind editing. That's because they aren't responsive. If I need access to all the buttons on mobile resolutions, I use Timeless, and indeed the alternative account I use for mobile work has Timeless as its skin. (My primary account did also until Vector 22 more or less finalized its shape.)

    The discoverability of the desktop site is something of a red herring to me; see next bullet.

  2. I think the ideal is that there is one site, not two. A lot of editors above and in the past have said "fix mobile site (skin) so I can do X", which I think misses the point: we shouldn't have two sites (skins) at this point! The technology exists to make this a realistic goal! I have advocated such in the comments section of this blog post on how responsive Vector 22 should be (and at other times with other people), written by one of the WMF engineers who worked on Vector 22 (and before that, on the mobile website among other efforts). He makes it seem like they would be open to flipping the relevant switch (to make it responsive, not to make it available on the mobile domain), but would need community consensus first because previous deployments of similar functionality (Monobook, notably) have had community pushback. I'd like to see it enabled, and then it would be a(nother) viable alternative to Minerva, as one step toward having one site.

    Probably someone should spend some time enumerating the other things necessary for a one-site approach. The assumptions MobileFrontend makes about the skin it functions with have come up and been fixed in some cases (I know that a few 3rd party wikis use Timeless for their websites). It would need some stress testing, but I don't think MF is that far off from being used with arbitrary skins. That would probably be a second step in that mission, and would at least get us to one skin on two sites. (There's another highly technical task about having only one domain—i.e. removing the m. in the URL—and serving mobile or not-mobile friendly chrome from behind the one domain, which I think is tangentially interesting but not relevant here for what's being discussed.)

  3. I have been involved in recent discussions in a personal role and with an arb hat on that have touched on how technical decisions are made and "agreed to", and I know several others have as well (sometimes in the context of other efforts like WP:TCHY or the efficacy of CommTech and sometimes by their lonesomes). One of the issues that at least one of the WMFers I've talked to has highlighted is that we-the-community have no central (technical) decision making body/authority, trusted to make decisions/agreements on behalf of the community (and I assume the audience on this page is aware of the background of why; that person was not), which means all we have to resort to are RFCs which are basically always shitshows for anything of a major nature, and which can't be trusted to remain the final decision (you can see that in recent efforts regarding Vector 22 particularly).

    I do not think ArbCom, while they have the general trust of the WMF at this point (which goes both ways), is the right general body to do any work on this problem: they don't have sufficient knowledge of technical sides to advocate sensibly for one technical decision or another, so it would just be a smaller group of your average Wikimedians saying "do X or Y".

    Is there potential for another group to do things here? Sure. I find it hard to believe that group wouldn't be immediately voted out of power (as I assume it would be democratically selected) for agreeing, more than not, with what the WMF thinks the WMF should do. Or otherwise be a totally useless body with users who don't know splitting the energy from users who do know how things should work. Or some group of users that spend a lot of time yelling into the sky rather than working with the WMF to come to reasonable agreement about how things work.

I can probably be prodded for other thoughts on the specific questions, if that wasn't enough.

I did want to make a minor note about We all know that an increasing percentage of our readership is on phones or other mobile devices. Mobile has accounted for about 63% of page views for a couple years now, so it would be more accurate to say that it's a larger percentage than desktop and that it has plateaued. Izno (talk) 23:30, 30 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The last time that I asked, which admittedly was several years ago, edits made using mobile devices on the "desktop" site are not classified as mobile edits but rather desktop edits. So, unless things have changed, the roughly 80,000 edits I have made on my phone in the past dozen years are not included in that 63% figure. The same for other editors like me. I would also like to comment on the "font too small is the overwhelming reason" concern. I was born with amblyopia and very poor vision in one eye. I have had cataract surgery in my good eye, and a laser procedure for low tension glaucoma. I had a posterior vitreous detachment in my good eye a few years ago, which resulted in intense floaters so disconcerting that I ended up in the emergency room. Despite all of my ophthalmologic problems, I have zero problem reading Wikipedia text on my phone. I know how to use two fingers to zoom in and out as needed, as billions of other smartphone users do. Cullen328 (talk) 00:57, 31 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
You are correct: they're counting the site you're using, not the device you're using. If you want to know more about devices, then has numbers for web browsers and OSes, from which we should be able to infer something about devices. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 02:15, 31 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Cullen328, that's page views, not edits. For order of magnitude comparison, we're somewhere in the realm of 1.14 billion revisions; English Wikipedia does the equivalent number of total user page views in 4 days and the equivalent number of user mobile views in 7. Yes, "I'm on a mobile device using the desktop website" is not easily accounted for in those counts, but I think you are the exception, not the rule.
I think "I have to zoom in and out" is a shitty mobile experience and if we were to put Vector up on the mobile domain as is right now, it would not be the nothingburger the rest of the world perceived the rollout of Vector 22 to be on desktop. I'm glad you think it's good enough, but it really isn't (see also survivorship bias; we're trying to get more people to edit and/or read here, not fewer). As I said, Timeless would be a satisfactory replacement today with all the desktop bells and whistles, and Vector 22 is probably more on the way rather than less to being supported at the mobile resolution, but it's not there yet. Izno (talk) 02:16, 31 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Izno, thanks for correcting me on the edits/page views distinction. I am used to being called an outlier and basically a freak of nature because I use the fully functional desktop site on my phone instead of the far less functional mobile site that actively impedes collaborative editing. I didn't say that I "have to" zoom in and out. I do so because it is intuitive and almost instant, and I do not consider it a burden at all. When an inferior solution is the default and it is very difficult for mobile editors to find the fully functional solution, it should not be surprising that relatively few people end up trying it and using it. Cullen328 (talk) 02:43, 31 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I've heard from several community organizers in developing countries (where smartphones are more common than personal laptops) that they also recommend that editors switch to the desktop site on smartphones. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 03:44, 31 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Whatamidoing (WMF), that is the most friendly thing that a WMF staffer had said to me in many years. Thank you. And I was always willing to drive to San Francisco for meetings with staffers, but they mostly ignored or belittled my concerns. Some of the old time outreach staffers were very friendly, but they are all long gone. But I still keep contributing to the encyclopedia, almost every single day, despite instead of because of the WMF. Cullen328 (talk) 06:52, 31 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
If we instead take WAID's source as meaningful (just a different view over the data), Chrome Mobile doesn't even chart on the desktop website. Yes, you are the decided exception. Izno (talk) 02:18, 31 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Everyone in this discussion is a decided exception. I've lost count of the times I've told a dev team something, and then felt compelled to follow up with "but I'm not normal". None of us here are average users. The average registered user makes zero edits. If you make just a hundred edits, you are in the top 1%. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 02:31, 31 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
In terms of the specific problem, the Web team, aka the people who are dealing with Wikipedia:Requests for comment/Rollback of Vector 2022, would be the people who could both verify whether the problem is common and, if it is, address the problem (after they hire a new designer).
In terms of the "how to talk" question, I think that the WMF would be willing to have such a discussion. Speaking only for myself, I'm not sure that communication channels per se are the main problem. Consider this trivia question:
  • For which item did editors at the English Wikipedia give feedback that there was "too much whitespace"?
  1. 2004 Main Page redesign
  2. Vector 2010
  3. VisualEditor 2013
  4. Special:Watchlist on Mobile 2013
  5. Flow 2014
  6. Typography Refresh 2014
  7. Interaction Timeline 2017
  8. Vector 2022
  9. All of the above
If the problem were just needing someone at the WMF to hear that some editors dislike whitespace, then we could solve that problem quite easily. We could just put a note in onboarding docs for designers and product managers that says "Sign here to acknowledge receipt of the following message: 'All designs have too much whitespace. Sincerely, The Community™'" and be done.
But I think the problem is not really with telling relevant people my opinion; the problem is that we expect them not just to hear our opinions but also to agree with them, and, as it turns out, editors' opinions don't fully align with each other, much less with more typical users.
For example, I personally don't like websites the width of, say, articles at But other people, especially people who have dyslexia, really benefit from this. To be clear: People with dyslexia benefit from short line length even if they don't like the way the page looks. Should my aesthetic preference be prioritized over others' accessibility needs? I doubt it.
Also, I don't think people are as good at knowing what we want as we think we are. I've had the experience of "It's just what I asked for, but not what I want!" before (e.g., phab:T50274, which I pushed for, and which resulted in volunteer-me habitually using nearly pointless edit summaries). I've also had the experience of wanting a particular solution, but being delighted by a different solution that I would never have thought of.
So now let's put these two points together: Let's say that I hate fixed-narrow-width text, and that someone else gets a headache from the whitespace, that the 10% of our editors (and readers) who are dyslexic are benefitting from it, and that research shows you can read faster if the text column is narrow. Is the solution to pick one or the other of us, and make the others lose? I don't think so. I think the solution is to find a way that accommodates everyone as much as possible. Maybe that means the width changes, some customization options are added (e.g., Vector 2022's toggle switch, the TOC collapsing option, which is now my default), and the whitespace on the sides gets toned down a bit. Maybe there is some other option that I wouldn't expect to help at all, like re-sizing or re-locating images. The solution, in other words, is to have discussions in which people find out what the problems are, instead of arguing about who has the moral right to make a decision or to advocate for a particular solution.
One thing that's amazed me during just the last couple of years is the number of editors who have been willing to try out a change before they make up their minds. Maybe it works for you, and maybe it doesn't, but if you try it out long enough to get past the confusing initial stage, then I think you're in a better position to know whether something is functional. I think we need to prioritize functionality over ILIKEITs. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 02:05, 31 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Whatamidoing (WMF), this is not a discussion about white space in Vector 2022 or white space on websites in general. This is a conversation about the glaring long term shortcomings of the mobile site, which remains an active impediment to collaborative editing. Has any experienced long term productive editor stepped forward to say, "YES, the mobile site is an outstanding site for collaborative editing and communication among editors. Users of the mobile site have no obstacles at all to full partipation in the Wikipedia editing community." Of course not, because that would be false and we value truth. So, why do these severe problems persist when so many years have gone by with negligible improvements? Cullen328 (talk) 07:14, 31 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think that the third question was meant to be less about the mobile site, and more about the general problem of getting information and ideas between different groups? Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 17:48, 31 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I always use "desktop view". However, back when I was working for a certain web-synonymous company, which I understand is reputed to know something about usability, there was a whole discussion where the Wikipedia mobile view was used as an example of how important it is to design a separate view specifically for mobile, and almost everyone was shocked that I didn't like to expand sections all the time. --GRuban (talk) 18:06, 31 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Mobile site discussion: arbitrary break[edit]

For emphasis: My purpose here is not to evoke unhappy memories or unpleasant feelings about any disagreements or negative interactions people might have had about prior issues other than the mobile site.

I come to this discussion with an admittedly inexperienced perspective compared with most of those who have commented. Unlike many of you, I was not involved in prior disputes over the visual editor, the media viewer, the notification system, or anything similar. (An exception was the media viewer arbitration case, where I did my best to defuse the drama.) As for the new Vector skin, I initially didn't like it, but said to myself "let me try it for a month and see what happens," and by the end of the month, I'd adapted to it. In short, I'm not a technically oriented user or a web design expert and I don't claim to be.

I'm raising my concern about the mobile interface because as I've described, just last week, in a real-world setting, at a table at which no one knew I had any connection to Wikipedia, I found myself having to explain to non-editor readers how best to use to site to find the information they needed. Whatever the merits or demerits of visual editor, media viewer, changes in the Vector layout, etc., none of those changes led anyone I know to have trouble reading a mainspace article they were interested in and finding the information they were looking for. This is why I, who am normally uninvolved in this sort of discussion, have raised my questions about the mobile interface now. Newyorkbrad (talk) 22:45, 31 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

As for me, this is not at all an unhappy or an unpleasant subject, and I just forge ahead happily pretty much every day doing my best to improve the encyclopedia using the desktop site on my Android smartphone, because that is what works best for me as an individual in April 2023. After I wrote my essay years ago, I only comment when other editors initiate a discussion about this topic, as you have done, Newyorkbrad. I am 100% in favor of any editor using whatever site or app that best meets their needs as they define their needs. I just think that people should be informed of viable options that are suppressed by the default settings currently. But I am not on any sort of campaign, because I know that at the Wikimedia level, I am very weak and the WMF is very strong, and they simply do not care about my concerns. I accept that. Cullen328 (talk) 06:47, 1 April 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I just came across this discussion while browsing my watchlist on my smartphone. I’m using the mobile view which seemed reasonably intuitive for reading and replying to the discussion. But perhaps it helps that I have reply tools enabled? I’m not quite sure as it’s hard to keep track of the options and variations. We should give the KISS principle a high priority…
I've now traced back to Brad's original post about the expansion of sections and the link to the desktop view. There are obvious solutions to these issues but, whatever you do, there will still be issues. I was trying out an iPad yesterday in an Apple store because I'm thinking of buying one and there are many choices of model. I was puzzled how to get to the home screen as there's no home button on the latest models. A genius explained to me that you have to swipe up on a black line at the base of the screen. This is easy when you know how but too subtle to be obvious. My favourite paradigm for such modern mobile interfaces is that their reliance on gestures is re-inventing magical prestidigitation. The iPads even come with a magic wand attached – the Apple Pencil.
Now you can't expect to master such magic without going to Hogwarts or the like. Me, I'm planning to attend one of the store's training sessions. People naturally need training to master Wikipedia too. But I was recently reading that children are no longer being taught cursive writing. What will they be doing with their magic wands instead? Times change and so it goes...
Andrew🐉(talk) 12:49, 1 April 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Brad, do you happen to remember whether the article in question had a long infobox?
I have wondered occasionally whether the location of the infobox could be a challenge. Back in the day, on mobile (as, technically, it happens on desktop), the infobox is the first thing you saw. You had to scroll past the infobox (and some of them, e.g., Hydrogen, are pretty long. Then you could see the first sentence.
They changed it so that now you see the first paragraph, and then the infobox (with its all-important picture) and then the rest of the lead (if any), followed by the rest of the article. I wonder if long infoboxes affect reader behavior, and if they do, should we consider editorial changes? For example, should the Template:Chembox Properties sub-template get split out of the main infobox, and all of that "properties" information be re-located to a separate box at the top of the Hydrogen#Properties section? Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 20:33, 3 April 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]