Talk:May 2011 Update
The sceptical movement stop people who oppose the sceptical movements ideas. They want articles to be written according to their own agenda, and for example critiscism against Stephen Barrett is not allowed on english wikwpedia. SB have sued 40 people most likely because that hi is a lobbyist for ACSH( read about it on source watch and no one are aloud to make an article about the personns he had sued. Ask some one less famous tan you to try to make an artickel on Ilena Rosenthal (http://humanticsfoundation.com/quackwatchwatch.htm) on English wikipedia, and see what happen. I am swede myself, and in sweden they block people from writing on wikipedia, if people not are in favour of this quasi-religious group they get problem and wikipedia a reputation to be controlled by them. They systematicly check artiicles that they feel are important to them, and things tat are not according to their view are harassed.
Thank you for stating this.
Because my expertise is in the areas of religion, folk magic, spirituality, and divinatory customs worldwide, i have had to face the sketical cabal on many occasions. They employ sock puppets, they have embedded themselves with friendly admins who support their ideologies, and they have page-watch systems in place which allow them to delete, often within a few hours, any material -- whether biographical, anthropological, or generally historical -- which is not openly critical of religious beliefs.
They are particularly fond of "owning" articles about minority religions or historical religious figures associated with non-mainstream religions.
Once they "own" a page or series of interlocking pages, they insert sleptical and contentious opposition to the beliefs espoused by religious figures in the lead paragraphs of biographical articles, in contravention to normal biographical standards.
They label articles on the divinatory and liturgical customs of minority Americans and non-American cultures "pseudo-science" or "pseudoscience," usually in the lead paragraph.
They almost always use either JREF (James Randi Educational Foundation) or CSICOP (Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal ) / CSI (Committee for Skeptical Inquiry) as footnotes sources to defend their contention that various beliefs are "pseudo-science" or "pseudoscience." They cannot understand that believers in certain faiths do not pit themselves, their beliefs, their customs, or their faith against "science" nor pose as "scientific" -- and therefore cannot logically be labelled "pseudo-scientific." To these fanatics, it is not enough to ignore science or laugh at it or shrug one's shoulders at it. Anything short of athetistic scientism is, to them, "pseudo-science" or "pseudoscience."
They delete scholarly references (usually by contending that they are not "reliable sources" and in some cases by false claims that the sites cited are "commercial," when they are not) and then tag the previously reffed sentences and paragraphs as uncited, and follow this up shortly by deleting the cited sentences and paragraphs from articles on historical topics that describe people or movements that favour spirituality over skepticism.
They delete dozens of new articles on religious, mystical, occult, supernatual, anthropological, and liturgical subjects either by declaring them "not notable" and getting their cabal and their socks to vote for deletion or, in some instances, by merging articles with others similar to them and then deting the portions of the dmerged article which dealt with matters of religious belief, especially minority faiths.
The reason they attack minority faiths is not that they are more opposed to them than they are to mainstream faiths, merely that there are fewer writers to defend and re-write pages on minority faiths.
I used to write for Wikipedia regularly. I no longer do so, and 90% of the reason is the organized interference i have had to endure from the skeptical cabal and the admins who support their edit wars (at east one of whom runs a sock puppet edit-warrior).
220.127.116.11 04:42, 18 May 2011 (UTC)
According to prof. dr. Bart van Heerikhuizen, "science is organized skepticism". Therefore, skepticism does render the mainstream scientific position, i.e. that all scientific theories are open to criticism and must be so in order to be considered scientific. Reliable sources are defined by the Wikipedia policies, in this case they are print-published, peer reviewed scientific articles from mainstream scientific journals. Just because you call something "anthropology" it is not necessarily science or a reliable source, especially if it is self-published. Please mind that anthropologists cannot claim that spirits exist, that magic works (as it is supposed to do), that drugs open doors to higher realms of awareness, since these claims cannot be scientific. All that anthropologists could claim if that "this or that group of people believes in spirits and uses magic in order to appease/control these spirits", describing their ritual without making any claim that spirits would be real.
Yes, but Wikipedia is not supposed to present the Truth. It is supposed to be a reference, where you can look stuff up. There is no call for articles to repeatedly emphasize a particular pont of view, when that point of view does not contribute information. All things in moderation. - Brya 04:52, 19 May 2011 (UTC)
Let me restate it: the scientific consensus is based on skepticism. Wikipedia renders the scientific consensus, so it inherently has a skeptical bias. There is absolutely no problem with such bias. Such bias is required of any academic contribution: listen only to persuasive evidence, take heed from Ockham's razor and doubt everything you can reasonably doubt. This is how scholarship works, and Wikipedia is based upon scholarship.
This statement "Wikipedia renders the scientific consensus" seems confused, and certainly cannot be found in any of the policy pages. Wikipedia is supposed to offer information; and "scientific consensus" (or any of several scientific consensus-ses) is only part of that information.
This "Wikipedia renders the scientific consensus" is indistinguishable from "Wikipedia renders the Truth", which pretty explicitly belongs with "What Wikipedia is not". - Brya 18:00, 19 May 2011 (UTC)
Wikipedia never was supposed to be made of scientific consensus. Therefore if some somebody is deleting/tagging no-scientific parts or whole articles following this narrow-minded practice then he is corrupting Wikipedia and he should be cast out from Wikipedia. Wikipedia it is not what most people think. Wikipedia it is an encyclopedia, not a compendium of exclusively scientific articles. That means every thing of historic/current notability can be and should be inside of Wikipedia. That is to say: fiction, music, poetry, painting, cinema, dance, theatre, TV, folklore, religion, myths, doctrines, magic, science (physics, medicine, mathematics, biology, psychology, history, …, etc.), etc, etc, etc, etc, etc… should be present in Wikipedia. None of these articles are expected to tell eternal truths but only supposed to be a display of historic and notable ideas/events, sometimes embodying truths or lies or both. Even scientific articles which today are current and accepted ideas, a true scientist knows that in the future those current theories can be changed. It is not clear yet? I will elucidate: Wikipedia it is about what has popular and unpopular notability. That is to say, Wikipedia it is an ENCYCLOPEDIA.
What Ilena Rosenthal & co. did was advocate the cause of alternative therapy (read: fringe theories). Wikipedia is not a platform for spreading fringe theories, and of course science and fringe theories are treated unequally. It would be irresponsible to treat them equally, i.e. giving them equal weight and equal respect. Barrett has answered on http://www.quackwatch.org/11Ind/bolen.html and he stated he was never delicensed, but has simply retired. Therefore he is not a quack by his own definition.
Last edit: 06:17, 15 March 2012
Tgeorgescu is ignorant . Who not HAVE READ THE INFO on Ilena Rosenthals homepage. <wikieditor-toolbar-tool-file-pre>http://www.humanticsfoundation.com/QuackWatchWatch.htm]] It is important TO KNOW WHO STEPHEN BARRETT IS. See this link http://www.bolenreport.com/feature_articles/Doctor's-Data-v-Barrett/moneytrail.htm and http://buggesblogg.blogspot.com/2011_09_01_archive.html S. Barrett is a "Scientific advisor " to ACSH( See: http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=American_Council_on_Science_and_Health ) read lobbyist. ACSH is spreading industries viewpoint to the public if they get "donations" from the company. The producers of leaking breast implant could hire an ACSH "advisor" to attack ilena R. in order to stop her working to help women who were injured by leaking breast implaants. S Barrett sued ilena because she had sent links to Bolen Report. Why did S. Barrett not sue Tim Bolen? he was not paid to sue Tim Bolen. But the breast inplant industy was scared that they would have to pay for the damage they had caused these women. Thats the reason SB sued Ilena. but Ilena won http://www.bolenreport.com/feature_articles/follow%20the%20money.htm and Barrett lost. Read on Tim Bolens home page he has links to the court decisions(Ilena as well) ACSH use "The sceptical movement" as a front organisation. ACSH foul thoose poor bastards, who think they protect SCIENCE. But what they do is spreading lies that the companies not could spread themselfs. Because they would be sued.But these ignorant belive in the lies and work for free to stop thesee injured women to get their rights! What a heroes!
See also: http://www.acsh.org/about/pageid.89/default.asp Here is the latest chapter in the struggle between AMA and ACA(ACA have the law on their side.):http://www.acatoday.org/press_css.cfm?CID=2737 Stephen Barrett try to hide the fact, that he is a lobbyist for different industries, because the thruth will make it less likely people will spread the companies views without payment.( http://www.bolenreport.com/feature_articles/feature_article038.htm ) That is the reason S. Barrett not want to see the truth about Ilenas victory in the court written in wikipedia.
Stephen Barrett is lobbyist for ACSH. http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=American_Council_on_Science_and_Health He put his name on articles written by other people(READ PEOPLE FROM DIFFERENT INDUSTRIES.)
ACSH is active then the industries get in to problems. Like the fluorid sellers. They have problem because of this : http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,190977,00.html and: http://curezone.us/upload/pdf/Fluoride_exposure_in_drinking_water_and_osteosarcoma.pd: ACSH gave life to one of their old "organizations": " http://www.scienceinmedicine.org/ " and what are they selling? http://www.scienceinmedicine.org/policy/statements/fluoridation.pdf and http://www.scienceinmedicine.org/policy/papers/AntiFluoridationist.pdf The first document say fluroid is a nutrient . That´s not correct and the reference do not say it is. The second document is for use on the internet by debunkers. Here are the people that are responsible for these articles: http://www.scienceinmedicine.org/fellows/
I thought NEW IDEAS is a NO!,NO! NO! in Wikipedia. That Wikipedia relies on Others-- Reliable Source.
I would like Administration to Clarify this Matter.
Yes, the Wikipedia community has a policy against original research. However, the Wikimedia Foundation (the 'administration') plays no role in determining community policy or content.
No, just a rule that isn't relevant to the people who are responsible for keeping our servers running. If we were a hierarchical organisation then presumably the Foundation would be ultimately responsible for such things, but we aren't so it isn't.
If there was significant support to change the five pillars to allow original research then I think a site wide poll would be needed.
T Think that ORIGINAL RESEARCH SHOULD BE ALLOWED provided that the RESEARCH is BASED ON TRUE FACTS AND COLLOBORATED BY OTHERS.If needed,Site Wide Poll is welcomed. New Ideas which are imaginary,fantasies,illusions and etc. should not be accepted as original research.
That depends. The No Original Research-policy has nothing to do with research. If an idea is recent it depends on the support with reliable sources. What is not allowed is really new/original stuff (whether research is involved or not) that is, not supported by reliable sources. So it all comes down to sources/references. - Brya 05:27, 14 May 2011 (UTC)
Only reliable sources can tell you what is real and what is fantasy. Otherwise a lot of people will tell you: "This is real, I guarantee!" and the replies would be "Not, it's not!", "Yes it is!", "No it's not!", etc. and there would be no way to decide who is right. If you have new ideas, get them published in peer-reviewed, print-published scientific journals. Wikipedia is not a substitute for peer review.
Secondary research is allowed in Wikiversity. Source: Wikiversity
So if the Idea has no source but you can infer it using existing sources, then (unless the idea is wrong) You can eventually prove it on Wikiversity.
If it is actually a little original, you can publish it in a journal, and link to it from Wikipedia.
If we wish to move forward as scholars and historians we must accept new ideas generated through independent research. That is to say that Wikipedia eventually will have to undergo a schism where one encyclopedia will be dedicated to verified facts and become more and more reliable and the other will be more experimental and avant-garde if you will, the middle ground usually represents the advancement of human knowledge, progress.
I agree to your suggestions. Inorder to move forward we must accept Independent Researches provided that their authors are qualified to do so in their own specialty.
Reliable sources SHOULD NOT BE LIMITED ONLY from famous people,institutions,journals and others but also to INDEPENDENT RESEARCHES.
I think too it should not be limited to just a few institutions and independent/original research should be possible. but it still must be peer reviewed. so my idea would be to add original research to some other non-mainspace wikipedia part, where it will be independently reviewed by other registered members of the wikipedia community. when enough members accepted it and not rejected it. it can be used on the main article space, and properly referenced. so what I mean is, that there is a open, wikipedia like, peer review network, which is open to anyone to submit and review. maybe similar to arxive...
Thanks for this,
Wikipedia eventually will have to undergo a schism where one encyclopedia will be dedicated to verified facts and become more and more reliable and the other will be more experimental and avant-garde.
This seems to lead us towards treating WP and WU as two separate-yet-related entities. The first is already quite avant-garde. It has served it's role in establishing a new global institution. I'm a little surprised though, if the aim was to be more inclusive, why WMF wouldn't see social networks (and others) as natural complementary tools which would more encourage people to get involved. This goes to the heart of the need to b inclusive. I don't see tools like e.g. ideascale being used which might offer new viewers a more attactve and intuitive overview of this kind of conversation. That's one issue; so experimenting with other communities & their tools is something I'd encourage. E.g. A google/WMF tie up of some description may be useful.
Re: the other considertion; WU as a more separate entity with different policies (e.g. original research, peer review). I've made a suggestion over at [discussion] which will require an alliance with a group of NRENetwork managers. They are presently talking about confederating their National services. e.g. WP is one service, WU is another. It may be useful to work through aligning the attributes allocated to institutional wikiuni contributors. Eventually, if WU is to be a referenced resource in research and academia, the institutions (via their networks) must provide the credentials. If you want an intro use my firstname.lastname@example.org Simonfj 06:51, 9 August 2011 (UTC)
Now, you have seen some of the answers. If one thing you should be more obvious than another, it is that the very concept of original research as in the term NOR, is incoherent, poorly defined, and meets with largely ineffectual, counter constructive response. I think I have pointed out somewhere else that in "real" (as in paper) encyclopedias, original research never really was anathema; invited articles often contained unverifiable assertions, which sometimes were wrong, and sometimes were advances in the field. In that connection I mentioned Maxwell's article on "wave theory of light" sometime in the late 19th century. It is all very well saying that such things belong in the technical journals, but we do not live in a universe split into technical journals and the rest of the world. Also, the sheer interest, excitement if you like, of finding material that may be novel, original, or creative in Wikipedia is likely to be more of an attraction than a basis for derogation.
Some of us have been saying that original research should be permitted as long as the perpetrator is a recognized authority. Nonsense, I say! In science, and ideally in other nontrivial disciplines, there is no such thing as a Pope. The criterion should be non-triviality, not infallibility. The nearest I have come to finding anything like a meaningful criterion for original research in Wikipedia so far, has been some vague idea that material is acceptable as long as the reader can look up the citations given, and find that someone somewhere, presumably someone reliable because what he said is in print, (HA HA!) Has said something of the type before. In fact, we are not supposed to cut and paste nontrivial source material into Wikipedia which implies that if we are to convey any sense into our articles, we have to do some creation, some synthesis, at least. I personally have already bad experiences with an admin who seemed to think that long words constituted original research.
What I strongly, passionately if you like, feel is that there should be no restriction on opinion or research at all, except for peer or reader challenge. The normal challenges of vandalism by bots or marshals should certainly be continued, perhaps with a more transparent, possibly faster, ombudsman facility, but that is all. The original research problem has very little to do with vermin of that variety. A slightly more difficult problem is the question of non notability, quackery and fringe science, inappropriate advertisement, etc.. For such things, other current mechanisms probably are more or less adequate, and possibly even satisfactory. Most such things after all are based on common sense and good will.
But what about matters of technical substance, where either I make an assertion as an expert in a field, possibly of something new, or possibly of a truism that happens not to be easily verifiable by citation, or as an intelligent layman, I recount an observation. Any such contribution might be valuable, whether at face value or in some other context.
There are a few possible consequences.
Firstly no one might challenge such a statement, simply because it looks good (and presumably In such a case it usually would in fact be good).
Secondly, someone might in fact challenge it. If the author retracts, which well he might, it might after all have been a simple error or even a typo, end of problem. Same as at present.
Thirdly, the author might admit that he could not produce verification, because what he had been describing was an unusual observation, not to be repeated on demand. This sort of thing happens all the time, and I could weary you with examples. And yet such examples could be of great value to intelligent readers, with a qualified or not. To suppose otherwise would be to exhibit a severe misunderstanding, both of the role and nature of observation, and of formal research. In fact in formal research, there are well established conventions for dealing with such observations (pers. ob.) etc. When such observations are properly observed, there is no difficulty about allegations of acceptability, or about contradiction, with proper observation of the civilities of course.
Naturally one gets cases, either where there is flat contradiction and rigid disagreement. When this happens they are a few possibilities, variously acceptable, partly depending on the circumstances.
One possibility is to ask the warring parties, plus any other participants with opinions, please to come to some agreement as soon as might be. More often than not, but should suffice. If it does not, then participants or Wikipedia authorities could have recourse to external opinions as appropriate. In such a matter there is no blame attached if they elect either to omit the entire body of material or to accept the prevailing view.
However there is yet another possibility, which I have not seen in Wikipedia yet, and which I think would be valuable. When we have a situation in which, to recall an old expression, doctors disagree, there would be a great deal to be said, either for having separate sections in the same article, or separate articles linking conspicuously to each other, each giving one view. If appropriate and both parties agree, there could be a shared, or independent, review of the prevailing status of the matter. Such material is out of sight more valuable than sterile restriction to established and incontrovertible doctrine. By way of example, consider the EPR/Bohr hidden variable controversy in its day; to wait for it to be resolved before publishing anything would be a great disservice to the user.
Well, of course, I could continue in this vein as long as most of us, but I do beg everyone wedded to the NOR policy in whatever form they understand it, to think and rethink before it leads to too much harm.
As to this last suggestion, also see this proposal.
- BTW: the statement "Firstly no one might challenge such a statement, simply because it looks good (and presumably In such a case it usually would in fact be good)." looks counterintuitive. I have found time and again that an general and accurate statement will be attacked and replaced by a detailed, but wrong statement. On Wikipedia there is a general hatred for precision and a predilection for detail. If it looks detailed it must be true, even if very little checking shows it to be wrong. - Brya 10:24, 17 May 2011 (UTC)
I wonder if you bothered to read http://en.wikiversity.org/wiki/Wikiversity:Publishing_original_research before advocating the case of original research.
Never going to happen, and for good reason. It's usually the most unscientific, ideological, or self-promoting editors who have the patience to scream "it's true!" until they're blue in the face. And if original research is allowed, who are you to tell them they're wrong? If you don't have a reference, truth is measured by popularity and zeal, and the encyclopedia is stupider for it.
So far, the only way to be able to settle disputes about truth has been to verify it in a source of sufficient reliability.
If you want to advance the pool of knowledge, write a paper and get it published in an academic journal.
Last edit: 13:20, 28 July 2011
It would be nice if there's an official list of on which the community can suggest feature requests.
A large number of the problems mentioned in these update discussions could be ameliorated by term limits for admins. Something like a three-year term followed by a one-year break and two-year terms followed by one-year breaks after that. 18.104.22.168 22:28, 31 July 2011 (UTC)
For a position that isn't based around terms, adding a term limit is generally unnecessary overhead, especially on smaller wikis where there might not be someone who asks for the position. If you're worried about bullying issues listed elsewhere, term limits don't protect against groups of people exploiting a system and cycling administrative privileges among themselves.
Also, there's already means to remove administrative powers if they're abused or unused.
1 Constitution of one Wikidémie whose role is to verify the accuracy or reality of the statements introduced and giving notice to integrate close to this statement.
2 Only if they are not clearly prohibited, Only the editor can delete his text of user that he introduced on the advice he received.
3 Statements prohibited are the affirmations recognized illegal, false, incorrect, improper, unfair or secret by the Committee of users created for this purpose.
4 After a number of statements introductions banned, a user may be denied access to the site.
5 Users who attempt to destroy one text, will be denied access to the site, legally, by justice of the country of the user, who can thus benefit from the legal rights of appeal under the supervision of the Legal Committee of the association "Wikidemie" created for this purpose.
6 Erasure of all interventions of a user not allowed to access the site, will be awarded by the Legal Committee of Wikidemie.
7 The action of the director will be subject to review by the Board of Directors, which in turn will respect the decisions of three Wikidémie committees.
8 In each country, the three Wikidémie committees,(the Committee Control, that of the users and the Legal Committee ) consists of nine users each, drawn at random from the list of accepts candidates after the filing of an application from 100 to 150 original lines
9 In order to have all their civil rights and to ensure their consequences, these users share their personal corrdonnées on Wikipedia.
Projet de développement de Wikipedia, afin d'élargir l'accès et l'impact.
1 Constitution d'un Wikidémie dont le rôle est de vérifier l'exactitude ou la réalité des déclarations introduites et avec un préavis d'intégrer près de cette déclaration.
2 Uniquement si elles ne sont pas clairement interdit, seul l'éditeur peut supprimer son texte d'utilisateur qu'il a introduit sur le conseil qu'il a reçu.
3 Déclarations sont interdites les affirmations reconnues illégales, faux, incorrect, inapproprié, injuste ou secret par le Comité des utilisateurs créés à cet effet.
4 Après un certain nombre d'introductions déclarations interdit, un utilisateur peut se voir refuser l'accès au site.
5 Les utilisateurs qui tentent de détruire un texte, se verront refuser l'accès au site, légalement, par la justice du pays de l'utilisateur, qui peuvent ainsi bénéficier des droits de recours légaux, sous la supervision de la commission juridique de l'association "Wikidemie" créé à cet effet.
6 Effacement de toutes les interventions d'un utilisateur non autorisé à accéder au site, sera décerné par le Comité juridique de Wikidemie.
7 L'action de l'administrateur sera soumise à un examen par le conseil d'administration, qui à leur tour respecter les décisions des trois comités Wikidémie, et de la Commission juridique de la Commission.
8 Dans chaque pays, les trois comités Wikidémie, (le Comité de contrôle, celui des usagers et le Comité juridique) se compose de neuf utilisateurs chacun, tirés au hasard parmi la liste des candidats accepte après le dépôt d'une application de 100 à 150 lignes originales
9 Afin d'avoir tous leurs droits civils et de veiller à leurs conséquences, ces utilisateurs partagent leurs cordonnées personnelle sur Wikipedia.
Going to courts of law for obtaining/denying access to Wikipedia? God forbid! The last thing Wikipedia needs is getting involved in legal battles about access to it and about the contents of its articles. Besides, the servers are American, so US laws apply, how could a Dutch court rule on American publications? The proposal is Utopian. Every editor has a right to check the verifiability of information from the articles and may delete unverifiable information as provided by the official policies.
Other users have noted several problems with quality: the mountain of junk drifting into English WP, the re-slanting of articles by entrenched w:WP:OWNers, and the bullying to ban editors by cliques/cabals of hive-mind editors. Simply put: w:Quality Control requires control, to stop the junk, to stop the re-slanting, and to stop the packs/cliques of hive-mind editors who all arrive within 2 days "mysteriously" to vote the same opinion on issues. I have started other threads about Quality Control problems:
However, this topic focuses on solutions to the above problems, with some suggestions which might work to reduce the low-quality articles:
- Steer new editors into welcome-teams: Have new editors join one of "87" welcome-teams to develop requested articles, rather than creating new articles about favorite pet subjects, pet people, or new words just invented. On enwiki, w:Special:NewPages shows a large number of non-notable bio-pages, destined to be deleted. Instead, invite the new editors who would be willing to help and learn, first, before insisting on creating a new article about some rare topic.
- Force per-article edit-timeouts: I am seriously suggesting automatic read-only, 3-month lockouts for editors who play "keep-away" by controlling and reverting all changes to their "favourite" articles. The rationale has been used for years: if new changes were reallly bad for an article, then other editors would come to rescue and revert the article, without the need for a pack of w:WP:OWNers to jealously guard and watchdog an article to keep all other editors away. Perhaps allow 6 continuous months of control (or 9 months, but not 22 solid months), then those editors would see "view source" (formerly "edit" tab) for the next 3-month period, allowing other editors to alter the article into other directions. In some cases, a w:see-saw effect might emerge, when an article is reverted after 3-month updates in each direction. For efficiency, not all articles (nor all editors) would be restricted, but a user could "nominate" an article, and then nominate some editors to restrict, after their 6-month domination had been reached, allowing a small group of people to offset control by a large group, but not restrict all new editors, some of whom might just oppose the fresh new direction of the article, effectively stopping the changes, if bad enough, as the large group would have done.
- Punish user offenses by demerits not votes: Rather than allow a pack (or clique) of special-interest editors to "!vote" an editor into a topic-ban or edit-block, an editor could be subject to accumulating demerit points, such as 100 demerits for a w:WP:NPA personal-attack insult, but no harsher than that. An apology could partially offset the demerits, with perhaps 50 merits subtracted. Stop the current practice, where an editor can post one negative remark, and then be shut-out with a 1-month edit-block, issued by an admin with a bad attitude. Instead, an editor would need to repeat offenses, to collect enough total demerit points to reach a level of edit-block, due to having excessive demerits.
In general, institute various forms of control, such as welcome-teams to guide new users into helping develop requested articles, rather than filling Wikipedia with non-notable junk pages. Also, use 3-month edit-timeouts to limit the power of groups who play "keep-away" with articles where other people have been denied edits. Plus, control the punishments allowed by packs of like-minded people, who want to ban or ostracize an editor who disagrees with the pack's hive-mind bias of issues. Such controls could be monitored by quality inspectors, who would note the impact for improving the quality of articles.
Each individual inspector could be issued demerits, by other inspectors, for improper conduct. It would take some months to determine what the types of conduct problems would be, and how many demerits, such as 100 points for a 3RR sequence of 3 reverts to other changes in a 24-hour period. Admins would have less power, on a daily basis, as merely issuing demerits or adding the opposite merits points, and so blocking of users would be relatively rare. Also, to reduce gangs, inspectors could volunteer into inspector pools, as inspector juries to be assigned, at random, within various topic areas they like. Only some inspectors, from a "physics pool" would be assigned to judge the quality of article "w:Isaac Newton" during the current quality period. I think inspectors should get mandatory 3-month time-outs from articles, just as the editors would be denied talk-page edits to an article for 3 months, once their 6-month? domination limit had expired. Private discussions could be encouraged, using outside email accounts, to debate issues without people being "shown wrong" in talk-pages viewed by thousands. A lot more chit-chat hashing of issues could be promotedly, without clogging the servers, if outside email/IM were used more. Being chosen from random pools, there would be less chance that inspectors were the current POV-pushing w:WP:OWNers of the articles.
Meanwhile, I think the idea of new editors joining a welcome-team would scare away many would-be troublemakers, so the current blocking of corporate-gogetters would be reduced, as they would quickly leave once they knew their company products were off-limit articles. Also, outside inspectors could monitor how many users were getting demerits within certain welcome-teams, and perhaps the "top-ten most demeriting" teams could be checked for overly-hostile treatment of other editors. By "quantifying" disagreements as edit-war demerits, or name-slur demerits, rather than capricious blocks, at the whim of irritated admins, then patterns of conflicts could be better spotted as patterns in the numbers assigned to editors (and articles) in each team. Once the quality of articles is quantified as specific quality metrics (number of words, number of grammar errors, number of prepositions, number of footnotes, etc.), and the quality of user actions is quantified by adverse demerits or rewarded merits, then the system would begin to reveal obvious patterns in the numbers being measured about those qualities.
BOTTOMLINE: Quality control requires control, but such control should be randomized from pools of interested users, where editors could no longer just gang-up on a particular article because they have buddies to force their POV onto the article. Hence, an organized system of measuring article qualities and user-action qualities would be instituted to replace the current winners-take-all games which play "keep-away" with articles, where new editors are denied from making the changes.
The idea is that admins do such sort of jobs, and inspectors would be placed above the admins. Now, there are not many admins, and the things would get excessively complicated in order to pamper the users who cannot adapt to the Wikipedia editing climate. You ignore how much work have to do the people who check the recent changes. They do not seek to bully others, but simply keep the articles free from spam, rants, vandalism, fringe theories, racism, insults, libel and so on. Wikipedia articles would degrade considerably in several days if these people would not do their job. Wikipedia has clear policies about what can be added or removed from the articles and has arbitration committees and mediation procedures. These should be enough to any person who is prepared to abide by the rules.
A month or so ago I did a study on the fall-off rates of new editors - in particular looking at the sharp decline in new editors from April 2007. The study disproved my tentative hypothesis that there was a rise in new editors being choked off by some changes within WP itself and consequently I haven't yet written up the results properly. But my (unproved) conclusion was that the biggest cause was probably the rise of Facebook at about the same time - affecting undergraduates in particular who were also subject to restrictions in a number of universities. It's probably significant that Ted Stevens implicitly lumped WP together with MySpace as a social networking site in his Senate bill and that the now largest Wiki encyclopedia (Hudong) is deliberately one.
It hardly needs saying that WP isn't aimed at that market (viz. the Notability guidelines), but I wonder if some people haven't taken on the full implications of that stance. The web has changed enormously since 2004/5 and projections of the future from that era are pretty irrelevant, though they're still being touted. We're not in competition with Twitter or Facebook etc and that means that comparisons with their market share in contributors is also irrelevant.
So I'm glad that we're concentrating on issues that make WP easier to maintain and contribute to.
Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, not a social network site. Needs to be clear, yes, I support. Same for advertising, although that's already known.
I take the point and agree that WP isn't anything like FB, MS and the like, but it would be dangerous if anyone assumed that it would be more consonant with the dignity of an encyclopedia, and equally effective, to ignore the benefits of a smoothly communicating, attractive, inviting, and effective community, such as works for the social sites. Networking sites still are in their infancy, and one might unkindly observe that their intellectual content shows it, but some serious professional networking sites are emerging, and there have been companionable and constructive technical forums for decades. If WP can harness that sense of companionship and constructiveness, it could make the difference between flourishing and failure.
The challenge is to achieve and maintain an atmosphere in which participants are proud to contribute and participate to enjoy the company. In such a forum you will find that many of the most productive contributors are so thoroughly hooked that they get withdrawal symptoms during vacations. That is a lot better than having such people drop out during the familiarising phase, because of unfriendly receptions and regulations.
It is a lot harder to win back the lost sheep than to domesticate them properly in the first place.
Agreed: Wikipedia is not a site whose primary goal is social networking, but it clearly functions in an extremely social way, so it could benefit from techniques used in other sites to make the social side more functional and more pleasant.
For example, it might help if Wikipedia software implemented something like reputation (as in techie sites like Slashdot, Perl Monks, or Stack Overflow) or a Like button (as in Facebook). More "objective" criteria for ranking quality, skill, experience, or popularity among contributors, articles, and edits might help resolve disputes. For example, newcomers might find it less arbitrary to have to acquire "experience points" than to have to please faceless administrators who derive their authority and powers from mysterious processes.
I'm sure such ideas have already been discussed (not here though), and there may well be good reasons why mechanical means of assessing quality are not currently emphasized.
Sounds good to me in principle at least. JonRichfield 17:18, 9 May 2011 (UTC)
There need to be more forum-type, open, rambling communications allowed. One of the key techniques, used by deletionists, is to suppress conjecture by editors who might openly discuss an issue as discovering an entire new section to add to an article, or (God forbid) "16" spin-off articles needing to be created. To prevent their own heart-attacks when avoiding "too much truth" I think some people instantly bark, "This is NOT a forum, either propose a specific edit (of "5" words) or else [ShutTFUp implied]". Naturally, such venomous, negative people are the cyber-poison which will drive away some (many?) would-be active contributors. Those negative not-a-forum shutup orders need to be stopped. Also, some polite ways should be encouraged to say, "Thank you for wanting to add another 13th-century Persian poet, but there seem to be few sources about that poet; instead, consider working on some user-requested articles from this list of 450,000 empty articles which millions of readers have been wanting for months." In the process of working on other articles, then new users might meet someone who has detailed sources about 13-century poets, and a en:synergism could occur which would help many people and make the original user happy to be a part of the larger group. Some level of forum-type discussions should be encouraged, and the prior not-a-forum shutup orders need to be stopped.
I disagree, and here is why: Bible scholarship is unpopular: the fundamentalists bash it, because it goes contrary to their literalism; the usual believers ignore it; the fanatics think it is a trick of the Devil. So, the popularity of a viewpoint in matters of religion does not prove that it is academically sound. If all those who don't care or bash Bible scholarship would be allowed to vote on it inside Bible scholarship articles, they would ruin it. Wikipedia is not a democracy.
I agree popularity does not prove anything. But it's an interesting data point. So popularity should not decide anything (and let's not talk about "wisdom of crowds"), but it could be a tool. A way to express positive or negative feedback could increase granularity of communication, i.e. add a little oil to the mechanism of Wikipedia.
I often like individual things on Wikipedia and would like an easy way to express that, where an actual message would be overkill (example). And I wouldn't mind having things I do on Wikipedia be Liked or Unliked. Feedback can be useful. As an inexperienced editor, sometimes I follow the "Be bold" motto, but I wonder if I should or shouldn't have. If I saw an Unlike from someone who seems to do good work, I would ask them why. If I saw a Like, I might not do anything, but I would feel less isolated and more part of a community.
That this would not be a help in all areas, and especially not in areas where controversy escalates and tempers flare, doesn't mean it wouldn't be useful in some. I don't know whether Wikipedia is a democracy or not, but I am talking about something else, a small feature to add civility and communication in day-to-day matters, often more useful as an individual expression (User A Likes/Dislikes Item X) than as an aggregate (Popularity of X).
PS: The article feedback tool is definitely not the kind of thing I am talking about. "Please rate the article on a scale of 1 to 5 in the following areas: Trustworthy, Objective, Complete, Well-written" (example). It's too heavy-handed, bureaucratic, confusing, single-purpose: "Let's stick loaded questionnaires everywhere! They'll help us produce unreadable reports 6 months later!". Wikipedia can learn from the simplicity and power of successful social networking tools.
I think this is a great point.
In 2003, Wikipedia was ahead of the curve. In the world of hotmail, geocities, and vbulletin, the community that stood out was Wikipedia.
In 2011, Wikipedia is far, far behind the curve. Facebook, Twitter, and even LinkedIn are all more attractive for first time users.
I don't think we can ever make Wikipedia as fun or universal as social networking. Social networks appeal to all kinds of ages, and can meet all kinds of individual needs. Wikipedia is going to be more exclusive because you need to sign onto a collective mission that requires a lot of time, skill, and intelligence.
But interface wise it's in the dark ages. Aesthetically it's even worse.
The problem with aesthetics is that there is no particular agreement on what looks good. Also, readers won't be seeing the same thing, as any page will be rendered differently to different readers, depending on screen size, screen settings and browser used. But, yes, the overall impression is that Wikipedia only barely tolerates text: text is there to be drowned out. - Brya 05:10, 11 May 2011 (UTC)
There's no accounting for taste. But show anyone the editing interface for Wikipedia, and then show them Facebook or Twitter, and they'll tell you which is more inviting.
WYSIWYG would go a long way. As for aesthetics, almost any change would be an improvement, so long as it were undertaken by someone with a mind for usability.
Encyclopedic articles are best presented in modest formatting. We do not need eye-catching graphics in order to publish encyclopedic articles. E.g. textbooks for university students have a rather simple formatting, they don't have to have lots of fonts, lots of colors and so on. I spend more time on Wikipedia than on Facebook, although Facebook looks more attractive, visually.
When I was involved at Wikipedia, I was the same way. But if we want to broaden our audience, a little more attention to design would help. I don't imagine the design would have a lot of bells and whistles. I figure it would be minimalist, but just a little less drab.
"textbooks for university students have a rather simple formatting". Yes, but textbooks for middle/high school are waste of good paper IMO. I would disagree with Randomran's premise in "if we want to broaden our audience". We don't want. The audience is here and expands. The discussed problem is the number of active editors and the quality of articles grows slower.
All considerations must be aimed at the main goal: to collect and disseminate knowledge efficiently.
My daughter was very happy when she got her iPhone, with all things one-touch. But after a while she started craving for my Android, where you may have to do 3 touches instead of 1, but with way higher flexibility. I don't know whether newer iPhones cach up with this, but this was and is the point: after a very quick while the focus changes from "how easy I can do things" to "how many things I can do".
Cliques, bullying, use of "policies" as a weapon, and the tyranny of the administration system
I have been an editor/reviewer since 2005 and in the early days helped create hundreds of articles.
However, I have found the main problem for me has been, frankly, BULLYING by a clique of administrators who want to enforce their own hypotheses on others.
Editors who research and add information (and by this I mean properly sourced information) which adds to the content of an article find their work is routinely deleted by what I call "non-contributory editors" (who are often acting in cahoots with Administrators) who never or rarely ADD content to the site but only edit what others add. These self appointed guardians of the truth often hold their own views on subjects and seek to impose these views using powers given to them and their knowledge of the many "policies" that exist that can be used to justify just about any amount of unreasonableness if you know how.
One such dispute has been going on in the category of British/Welsh history for a long time. Certain individuals have managed to ingratiate themselves with the bigwigs in charge and have become "administrators" and the like. They share a common "revisionist" hypothesis that basically says any discussion of Welsh history before a certain date is by definition flawed, made up and bogus. I wont go into the details, but based on this opinion they destroy, delete and revoke any content added by editors, new and old, on this subject however well it is resourced. Anyone who attempts to resist their edits is usually hounded off the site because they can bring up any number of Wikipedia "policies" to support their actions. And these people are the same people who create these "policies".
I myself have been dragged before various kangaroo courts to answer charges of "etiquette" and other such nonsense by these bullies purely for complaining that I was being persecuted and victimised by certain individuals. It has become circular and I and many others have given up.
Wikipedia has become a war of attrition between those who still want to develop and expand the site, and those who have carved out their own realms of power within the site (as administrators etc) and seek to control access and decide what should be in and what should be out.
I have not had the energy to play their games and hence I - and many others I know from the early days - hardly ever edit or contribute anymore. Aetheling1125 15:58, 11 May 2011 (UTC)
Whomever has the most time, energy, and can quote the most WP:BS using the most pedantic chain of logic will win at wikipedia, and those are the ones policing the pages. New editors do not have the time or inclination to get into edit wars with people living in seclusion with nothing to occupy their time other than to protect their turf.
I know of three very qualified possible editors who were unable to make any change to the Oxyhydrogen page....the two dominant editors systematically blocked everybody else using the excuse of sock puppet, disruption, legal threats. They called me kook, stupid, fringe, out of whack etc...Who needs this type of treatment? They never read what other people said, except for disparaging, at the end....who cares???. These two guys, RKLawton and SteveBaker said that they were going to say whatever they wanted since it was difficult in USA to demonstrate or win libel suit or defamation suit. Everybody ran away from the article which is sad and pitiful and full of incivility.
My attempt to edit have been frustrated , like yours...my experience is very recent and I see that I am not the only one that is running away from editing because of the behavior of the so called "administrators' who love their power and probably, some of them, vicariously live their experience in Wikipedia as powerful individuals, since their life is different. I hope that this exercise of receiving input and comment is getting somewhere. I see that great charts have been created, statistic are cited, powerful data inserted in this report but the substance of the reason of the decline of the quality of Wikipedia is in these comments. I see that there is a lot of agreement on the topic of the civility and the abuse of the editors administrators. Maybe we are venting our frustration and, personally, I am writing only because I hope that this time RKLawton and SteveBaker will have no power to shut me down and say to each other "Ignore the OP, keep the article on track. If he continues to be disruptive, we can block him from further editing......." and the " tut...tut....he is gone, good bye". Then remove immediately my long , sourced and well researched discussion without even replying.
I took a minute to look into this, and this is what i found:
- Your account was registered at 12:03, 10 May 2011 ()
- Less then 20 minutes after you registered , you make a long comment on the talk:oxygen page.
- In this comment you are supporting a users statement who had been blocked, and who had threatened to create sockpuppets right before he was blocked 
Now, what is the chance an entirely new user without previous experience register, and find himself involved in a discussion on a talk page, fully knowing what is happening on that specific page? I'd say that chance is slim to none, and I equally say that this is simply not in line with the sockpuppetry rules. I am not saying admin abuse does not exist, but in your case a block was definitely warranted, as you quite clearly and knowingly went over the line.
I was following Verderosso discussion and I was not planning to log in until SteveBaker and Lawton said that nobody was writing in support of Verderosso and I thought they gave no space to any type of discussion and only threatened to block so i decided to log in.... is there a rule against that? Where did I cross the line? Hope you had the chance to read everything that was erased. There are several people who are stockholders of companies where Santilli is involved and know Santilli peer-reviewed work and books . One is a public company with 3,000 stockholders. Are they all sock puppets and banned from writing in Wikipedia ? Also there are a couple of dozens of people attending workshop, organizing conferences and publishing with Santilli and about Santilli in peer-reviewed journals. Are they all banned from participating? There are also people self-publishing with Santilli. What is wrong with that, as long as it is not cited in Wikipedia as published work..Glad you are admitting that there could be some irregularities in that page and in the absolute power of the editors there. If everything were perfect in Wikipedia editing we will not have had these discussions.
Editors should not edit Wikipedia when they have conflicts of interest (as in promoting shares of a certain company through editing Wikipedia articles).
THis is not promoting shares.....they do not need promotion. I am simply presenting who I am and Santilli does not need promotion as you well know. Please say now who you are! And this discussion is not editing but replying to a real problem of Wikipedia identified by many. ! I have not been bloked yet....so I can write Also there is no violation when there is a description of possible linkage. Are you saying that 3,000 shareholders cannot ask to be editors? What kind of interest do you have in calling Santilli fringe? Now is your turn.Interesting also that like some other editors you are not engaging in discussion, just some brief sentences that do not reply to the messages... common technique.
On en.wikipedia, I have essentially the same observation. I edited for many years. Then I edited pages that people were protecting as if Wikipedia was another advertising mouthpiece. My edits were accurate, supported by many, and resulted in the pages becoming more Wiki compliant. But enough individuals who opposed my edits worked together to get me indefinately blocked. Even people who spoke out in my favor simply gave up when the individuals simply repeated the same arguments again and again and wore people down, and some were even directly involved in restricting my ability to edit, even on my own Talk page. So I no longer edit, simply because a few people worked together to make it happen. Wikipedia is wonderful, but there is nothing stopping politically motivated people from ganging together to remove people they view as inimical to the interests they promote. To this day I am not editing as a direct result of a few politically motivated people who always claims it has nothing to do with any political motivation. But a review of my work shows quite a number of pages that used to be advertising pieces, even including wholesale copying from certain web pages, that are now more Wiki complaint as a result of my being willing to try to stand against the protection racket to apply Wiki policy. I simply annoyed too many people in being successful in doing that, and they got me indefinitely blocked. So there's one problem for Wikipedia to resolve. --LegitimateAndEvenCompelling 02:03, 16 May 2011 (UTC)
I have tried to create an article once but was scared away by the editing police. To summarize my experiences: 1. I used facts reported in another story (not on wikipedia). Question comes up : who owns historical facts? I think noone does as long as sources are mentioned. 2. my attempt to do something for Wikipedia was smuthered and my story was removed without having the decency to mail me a copy of the source, so I was not able to re-edit it. 3. I think it is hyprocrite to think one can always be authentic. Isn't it more important that articles contain true facts than that they are authentic? AV
I agree with this comment. I have written articles on the subject and one of them is posted at my own user page. See: "what is Wikipedia" here: 
Another artcile i wrote about this issue is here
Many, many of us who used to volunteer at Wikipedia more than once a week, such as myself, have cut our volunteer time down considerably or departed for months at a time, frustrated by the wiki-lawyering, the "kangaroo courts" and the run-arounds that we are given by hand-in-glove editor-admin tag-teams who believe that they "own" certain topics.
The gist of these articles, should you not wish to look them up, is summed in this paragraph, which i wrote in 2009:
"The 'democratic experiment' inherent in WP is going to continue to run its full and entropic course. Like Usenet, and like the ODP/DMOZ, Wikipedia has peaked as a social network for intellectuals and is on the downward slide. Bandwidth is now so cheap that any author worth his or her salt can create a relevant domain name and host essays and topical articles that will easily be found by google's search engine. Why would any writer donate writing to WP, where writing is called 'editing" and bozos can abort an entire page and admins can "own" a topic and destroy content at whim?" 22.214.171.124 05:03, 18 May 2011 (UTC)
Wikipedia is a collaborative project. If you cannot collaborate with others, you do not belong here. It is like in If by Kipling: "But make allowance for their doubting too". This is especially relevant since quoting reliable sources does prove that a certain viewpoint is at least minority opinion, when there is no consensus (I am not speaking of fringe theories). Of course, it takes some critical judgment and some education in order to recognize a reliable source, especially when it is not published in peer-reviewed, print-published mainstream scientific journals. E.g. a Time interview with prof. Michael Coogan about his recent book summarizes the results of sound scholarship, although the interview is not itself peer-reviewed. This is due to the fact that Coogan is a respectable academic, and he can be trusted to render sound scholarship during interviews, debates, conferences and so on.
Collaboration is a two-way road. The complain here seems to be about poor desire to collaborate from the side of old-timers. Therefore, without judging the merits of the complaining person, I would suggest Tgeorgescu not use phrases like "if you cannot collaborate". Although I understand that "you" here is a placeholder, synonymous to "one", but the post reads more like turning tables than addressing the grievances.
The complaining person actually says that he did produce references. And here is the crux of the problem: while the facts come into wikipedia from sources published by experts, it is wikipedia community who has a power to decide who is expert and who is not. Of course, there is a policy/guideline w:WP:RS, but again, its implementation is by wikipedians.
That recognized, a human factor comes into play. Certain topics are of permanent controversy. There are millions of potential newcomers. And "old guard" becomes tired to repeat the same arguments again and again, becomes frustrated, speaks in terse bordering with brisk language, and thus antagonizes the likes of PRGuisi instead of educating them.
The solution is already known in wikipedia. I've seen that some (but unfortulately a woeful minority) talk pages briefly summarize major decisions about the content, sources, and counterarguments. However most of them simply store mile-length archives of bickering only dedicated pedantic historian would want to read. So when a newcomer sees the reply "We already discussed this and decided that...", it is just a hearsay difficult to verify, and since "wikipedia... anyone can edit", the newcomer even does not have to question the authority, since an individual opponent has none.
The only authority is the community w:WP:Consensus based on arguments. The consensus is supposed to be reconsidered when new arguments arrive, but the problem is that very often it is very difficult to verify that the new argument is new.
Therefore I would suggest to make it a policy to summarize arguments in controversial article talk pages. Once a summary is in place, it becomes a very simple touchstone to decide whether the new editor is worth of a new discussion or of a simple reference "see Section 3.1.7b of 'Decisions and Amendments, Part 4' ".
I realised the same thing happening to articles referring to war crimes committed by israel and terrorism committed by israel. I remember there once was an article about state terrorism, all "controversial" information has been removed from it, even if sourced.
Reduce the sandcastle-stomping actions: Some hostile editors seem to delight in destroying article contributions, just as a bully enjoys stomping on w:sandcastles at the beach. There needs to be some type of automatic per-article editing restrictions, where a long-term editor must get a forced delay of "3 months" (or similar duration), after 6 (or more?) continuous months of editing the article, or talk-page. The article (and related talk-page) would simply display "view source" mode, rather than the "edit" tab, and a long-term editor would be given a break (from editing that article) to allow time to think, and allow other editors to act, if changes to the article are warranted. Some cliques, of user gangs, seem to collaborate, among themselves, but they are more likely colluding to prevent other editors from joining the effort to truly change an article. Force them to take a 3-month timeout, denying them edit-access to that article or talk-page, and if changes really need to be stopped, then other editors will step in, to prevent changes which are truly a negative impact to the article. However, more likely, other editors would be allowed to improve an article, formerly held stagnant by a clique which refused to allow others to play in their "keep-away" game with the article. A 3-month break can seem an eternity to editors who are more interested in gaming the article than in considering the options to improve the text.
What a bunch of bullshit we read in this discussion. Wikipedia never was supposed to be made of only scientific articles. Therefore if some somebody is deleting/tagging no-scientific parts or whole articles following this narrow-minded practice then he is corrupting Wikipedia and he should be cast out from Wikipedia. Wikipedia it is not what most people think. Wikipedia it is an encyclopedia, not a compendium of exclusively scientific articles. That means every thing of historic/current notability can be and should be inside of Wikipedia. That is to say: fiction, music, painting, cinema, dance, theatre, TV, folklore, religion, myths, doctrines, science (physics, medicine, mathematics, biology, psychology, history, …, etc.), etc, etc, etc, etc, etc… should be present in Wikipedia. None of these articles are expected to tell eternal truths but only supposed to be a display of historic and notable ideas/events, sometimes embodying truths or lies or both. Even scientific articles which today are current and accepted ideas, a true scientist knows that in the future those current theories can be changed. It is not clear yet? I will elucidate: Wikipedia it is about what has popular and unpopular notability. That is to say, Wikipedia it is an ENCYCLOPEDIA.
All the listed items can be studied scientifically (or academically: fiction, music, poetry, painting, cinema, theater, TV, folklore, religion, myths, doctrines, magic, science -- yes, even science can be studied scientifically!). When talking about science I also mean literary critique, film criticism, critical-historical method, psychology, sociology, religion studies and so on. If you do not like the term, replace scientific with academic: Wikipedia renders the academic consensus (or lack of it), since reliable sources express it (or its lack). This of course does not apply to news items, which are not studied academically, but reported by journalists. Simply, reliable sources are either mainstream academic sources or mainstream newspapers. Therefore Wikipedia renders the viewpoints of either academic papers or news items.
So, you think that Wikipedia can not describe, say, Aikido? And that, unless these are of a scientific nature, there can be no reliable sources on Aikido? - Brya 05:27, 22 May 2011 (UTC)
Explain knowledge as Arts, Sciences, Humanities and others - As a portion of a broader introduction to Wikipedia, some essays could explain the concept of "knowledge" and traditional views. Physicist Albert Einstein noted the core values of w:Truth, w:Kindness, and w:Beauty, which are basis for Science, Religion, and Art. The core values need to be reviewed so that new editors have a better understanding of the range of ideas in traditional views of knowledge. The older principles of Science are based on the notion of "objectivity" so that Laws of Physics are essentially the same for all; however, with the Arts, "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder" and there is less certainty for issues there. Complicating the whole, since the 20th century, is the awareness from the en:General Theory of Relativity of how reality is in the eye of the beholder, where time slows down in a strong gravitational field, just as the passage of time slows at high velocities. The notions of absolute right and wrong must give way to en:Relativism: "Everything is relative" or almost everything, so there should be a wide variety of articles on a given subject. Hence, some point-of-view POV-forks, as multiple articles viewing the same topic, are needed to overcome a more limited and absolute view of subjects. Due to the likely confusion from such ideas, then new editors should be presented with various essays to help explain those issues about multi-faceted ideas of what a subject encompasses. At some point, every editor should be aware of the en:Theory of Knowledge (en:Epistemology) to keep them open-minded and more accepting of broader viewpoints.
All what you wrote does not contradict the current rules of wikipedia. In addition to w:Truth, I would recommend us to review w:Wikipedia:Verifiability, not truth, which I believe addresses most issues of the thread. For example,
Relativism of knowledge in sciences (i.e., changing of the "absolute truth" of science with time) is covered by historical articles, which explain what "truth" was 500 years ago, in articles, such as w:Alchemy, w:Aether, w:Flat Earth. We have articles about "not-so-absolute-truth" (such as fringe science and fraud), e.g., Time Cube.
Relativism in Arts is covered by recognition in wikipedia that an opinion of a person of repute in particular area is a fact of note an encyclopedia. Yes, corpulent women of Rubens will fail to be w:supermodels today, but an encyclopedia may explain how the concept of 'beau femme' changed in time and around the world.
And so on. Therefore I don't quite understand why we have to redefine wikipedia, per original poster and what opinion s/he argues with.
Fundamentally, Wikipedia is presented to newcomers as "anyone can edit" but with numerous (unknown) restrictions and entrenched groups who foster the 6-year Clique-opedia mindset. The basic management has been self-organizing groups who rewrite policies to protect self-interest. The invited masses are also, likewise, self-interested (mostly) in their pet subject or pet person, or more likely(?) pet-products to advertize. When telling the newcomers, "No, no, there are some (many) restrictions here..." then the no-no-no dialog becomes very anti-social, as a core group of mop-carrying admins must quickly, directly say, "No means "no" and I do not have time to discuss while telling thousands more to not try it".
Now that so many rules have been set, the dialog is mostly, "No, No, that violates WP:NOT#92345 as Wikipedia is not Aardvark clothing". Instead, change the structure to invite discussions first, not edit-edit and then get screams. Instead, invite newcomers to work on old, reader-selected articles, at first, with established groups, plus a full introduction to house-style typesetting. Stop the current game of "Welcome, because I am supposed to want you here, and enough said, good luck". Instead, "Welcome, there are currently 87 teams of people who will welcome new members; if interested, then click for list of 87 and choose one". Also, there could be "950" senior teams looking for experienced editors, on advanced articles. Change most power structures into formal teams, based on protection of written individual human rights (to a fair hearing), as the "responsibility" of the team ("Jonny, we cannot write that"), allowing some team members to be more socially interactive than others. Guided by teams, then users will see less anti-social "no" and more "let's try this".
Punishments should be changed into simple demerit/merit points, where multiple violations, earning totals of demerit points will lead to a block or sanction. If someone in anger posts an insult, then give 100 subtracted demerits, plus for an apology, award 50? added merits, and issue other merits for helping reach the group goals (not merits for changing just 1 word in 50,000 articles). When demerits total to critical levels, then a user sanction-hearing discusses sanctions based on the escalated behavior, not because 7 users have been growing angry and (surprise!) all show up at en:WP:ANI to say "block this user" (when WP:IDONTLIKEIT if he disagrees). If the sanctions must be severe, then get a randomized jury vote about which sanctions, and stop the anti-social WP:ANI witch-hunts that currently pit Joe-Bob Hatfield against all the McCoys and "their cousins". In general, Wikimedia projects must diffuse power into randomized juries, and stop the anti-social wiki-family-feuds which quickly vent (canvas?) the gunny-sacked hatred of a particular clique against an individual being accused without due process, and lacking right of counsel with his chosen team, before being judged by a randomized jury, never by an entrenched special-interest group who have signaled the hunt to track down and eliminate their prey. Such hunting parties have attracted sociopaths to be judges. If a sanction is very complex, then discuss again, with a re-hearing and re-vote.
End the current era of en:The Lord of the Flies, where people fall victim to en:mobocracy as they face the torches of the angry mob in the current Franken-wiki. If the accounting of demerits (and merits), plus forum-style friendly discussions, require too much storage space, then consider purging some types of data, after a few years. Stop the current anti-social barking of "propose-a-specific-edit" or shutup orders, and if chit-chat dialogs produce too much clutter, then post them in special chat-pages which can be purged after some years. For every aspect of anti-social networking, then find an opposite social, friendly alternative to turn people away politely, not as a nuisance mass of unwanted strangers, who enter an ominous, dark cave where "anyone can edit" in total darkness [but beware clans of cave demons].
I think we all agree that we don't just need any new editors, but subject matter experts and good writers like Spinningspark's sister. Such people don't just participate because they are attracted by the concept of an encyclopedia anyone can edit, at least not anymore, now that the novelty has rubbed off. As Xiong wrote in his excellent, albeit cynical, note: "Those of us who wanted a society based on merit are disappointed." It would be unrealistic to ask for a whole new society, but we should think about the role of merit in our project.
We have barnstars and related rewards, which work as a merit system to some extent, but they have a number of shortcomings: They are generally awarded by individual editors, not by the community, which encourages favoritism, which in turn takes away from their trustworthiness and thus decreases their value to the awarded editor. Barnstars in themselves don't empower users. They may impress some other editors, but they have no effect whatsoever on exactly the worst kind of editors: Those who only care about their own opinion. Every editor constantly runs into these troublemakers, and we react differently: Some try patience, some try to use authority (such as WP rules) or intimidation or other forms of aggression. Of these, patience takes enormous amounts of time away from editing, and ultimately the motivation to keep contributing. I've seen this happen to some of the best editors. WP rules have been discussed elsewhere on this website, such as here, but that discussion is inconclusive with regard to "Resolution: Openness". One thing we can say for sure is that a situation where everyone has to fend for themselves, and where good editors regularly feel the need to assert their status is not good for any community.
Another system that can be seen as a merit system is that of administrator and similar roles and rights. Once a person is an administrator, there is practically no risk of losing that role. Unchecked power can corrupt and lead to groupthink, as in the incident I mentioned in my RfA. Some non-admins react to that by condemning all admins, lock, stock and barrel, or at least by insisting that admins have no more say than non-admins, which undermines the admins' ability to intervene in conflicts. More sensitive editors react by retiring. Neither is good for the community.
In conclusion, I believe that any community project can only deliver results effectively if it has a relevant, functional, and trusted merit system. I don't have a concrete idea for that, but I hope that can emerge from this strategy discussion website. SebastianHelm 21:30, 24 May 2011 (UTC)
Thanks for the link. That proposal is unfortunately very vague, and almost describes what we already have, apart from the demand for more teeth. I don't see much use in the distinction between "not be a mere matter of popularity, but a proven track record should be there"; that is already taken into account in current RfAs. (Mike seems to raise this point below, and I will respond to that there.) SebastianHelm 02:26, 26 May 2011 (UTC)
It does not describe what we have, it describes something that does not exist, and, yes, the details have not been filled in (that would be premature). The basic problem is, firstly, that it can be gamed (becoming a popularity contest), and, secondly, that Wikipedia users tend to hate anything that smacks of authority. I suppose it could be made to work, but it will be a time-consuming process. - Brya 06:04, 26 May 2011 (UTC)
More than a novel idea. Incentives for your workforce must be aligned with your strategy. If they are not, people may be motitvated to execute tactics that are completely detremental to strategic success. They may execute those tactics brilliantly and be rewarded for doing so, but because they are not aligned with the strategy, they contribute nothing to strategic success.
For discussion sake, if one does view Administrator tools as a merit reward, then our RFA process should 100% aligned with our strategic goals. In other words, how well has the candidate contributed to the advancement of those goals--expansion of content, improvement of quality and diverse contributor growth. Today, our RFA criteria is so ill-defined, ad-hoc and whimsical that almost any reasonable behavior will succeed, and any marginal behavior (even if it is furthering strategic goals) will cause no end of angst. I suspect there are a great many Rewards in the WP realm that reward behavior that IS NOT aligned with the overall strategic goals of the project.
In any strategic endeavor, workforce incentives must be aligned with the strategy for strategic success.
I generally agree with your post. I don't agree with the demand for "100% align[ment]" with WP's goals, because I think it is illusory to believe that anything humans do could be 100% free of self interest, and I for one wouldn't want to be part of such a totalitarian system, but I agree that improving that alignment would be worthwhile. However, that seems to be the subject for a different topic.
More to the point of this discussion is the question to which degree adminship is perceived as a merit reward. What interests me even more than the average perception is the variance, because I think part of the problem is that the perception is very different from editor to editor. If an admin who believes (even subconsciously) that adminship is a merit reward clashes with a non-admin who believes it isn't, there is conflict in the air. (I am speaking from my own experience; I learned that the hard way when I was closing "articles for deletion" discussions.) This is another area where people's understanding needs to be aligned. SebastianHelm 03:19, 26 May 2011 (UTC)
I don't believe I was advocating that the WP community demand 100% alignment, but rather that the community should recognize that failure to align incentives (even percieved ones) with strategic goals has consequences. Aligning 1000s of volunteers so that their tactical actions are consistent with and do not impede strategic goals is difficult as best. That said, if basic processes such as RFA, Deletion, Dispute resolution, etc. are not designed to function with strategic goals in mind, then strategic alignment is near impossible. As a community, our processes must be aligned with all our strategic goals in a harmonizing manner and as a community, we must accept the fact that what might seem to be a perfectly acceptable tactic actually impedes overall strategic progress. Even the activity and discussion that would be necessary to harmonize community processes with strategic goals would in itself be an aligning activity. My overall point being that our strategy should be driving our tactics and that our incentives, whatever they may be, must be aligned with that stategy.
Last edit: 15:44, 27 May 2011
Just a small comment on the idea that there is no risk of admins losing their role; On commons they lost half their admins by introducing a policy of desysopping any admin who fails to do two admin actions every 6 months; Whilst on EN wiki we have a desysop rate of 1% of active admins per year - pretty high in my view. WereSpielChequers 15:44, 27 May 2011 (UTC)
I pray to disagree that without merit system the project is doomed or suffer. Please allow me to draw a comparison with the open source/free software movement.
If you disregard all socialist and hippy proclamations, in a nutshell the goal was extremely selfish: people didn't want to spend huge bucks on software. You either buy or steal or write it yourself. Pretty quickly it became very clear that if you write a program and I write a program and both give theirs away, pretty soon you have 1000x good stuff compared with your own coding efforts. The next step, to coordinate the development is trivial for engineers. Of course, along the road some made a really big buck off the common good (like RedHat and others), but overall all contributors were gratified, and the gratification of the rest was but a byproduct. (Sorry, I don't believe in pure altruism on big scale. Like, Donations are tax-deductible and good for PR :-)
In exactly the same way I am looking at wikipedia: The only gratification I seek is that the whole project is useful for me. Someone wrote something I found useful for my research. To keep this person doing this I wrote something that might be useful for his girlfriend. And this is how it works. Of course, some people have other goals in mind, like promoting their business or political or scientific agenda, etc., but all these spurious (ab)uses of wikipedia are well recognized and fought with. And there are people who have a knack and will to fight the abusers, just as there are people who want to be left alone and just write, write, write.
I see an repeated opinion that facebook and twitter drew many editors off wikipedia. I say good riddance. I've seen plenty of editors whose 80% of editing was socializing, exchanging barnstars, creating userboxes, playing chess and whatsnot. I suspect that it was these who drifted away to facebooks.
Concluding my rant, a Wikipedia's mission must be to retain editors who want to freely give and take knowledge, with no additional strings attached. I have an impression this was so from the very beginning, and I hope this will continue, without any carrot or stick.
Well, people are motivated differently. I agree with you that some people won't need anything more than the satisfaction to see something they wrote help others, and it appears you're one of them. Good for you! Maybe you're right that we should focus more on helping such people. So, what do you feel would be needed to keep people like you? (Please don't describe it here, just link to it, since I'd like to stick to the topic of this thread.)
For me, motivation depends more on the interaction I have with others. I'm not much of a writer, but I think I have been helpful in other areas, such as organizing categories and templates and as a mediator and admin.
But this thread is not just about how people like you or I feel. It is about empowering everybody to help with what they're good at. Ultimately, all of us depend on respect from others. If your edit gets reverted by someone who rather thinks he's right than taking the time to understand others, then it will come at a cost, regardless how you feel about it, because it will take your precious time away from what you're good at. Now, if we had an institutionalized form of empowerment that gives you some authority especially over such thoughtless editors, that would help both you and Wikipedia, wouldn't it?
- satisfaction to see something they wrote help others, and it appears you're one of them
Sorry, I was too verbose and probably not clear enough. I don't write something to help others; more precisely, writing to help others is not my goal. My goal was to help myself, by taking part in creation of an infoportal from which I tap various knowledge. Like, today I had a fun to learn from wikipedia that "Mi cucu" is "My toot-toot" from 1985. For me, writing wikipedia is like paying taxes, only voluntarily.
- "reverting", "empowerment":
unfortunately this is tough. I am sure you don't think that you are alone who is unhappy with this. But a simple and clean-cut solution is not found yet.
Thanks for the clarification. I see the difference you are making; it's really amazing how differently people are motivated - I think one of the main reasons for failure of organizations is that well meaning people assume everyone is motivated by the same things as they are. So, if I understand you correctly, you're saying while it may be nice to have some solution, it doesn't really make a big difference for you, because you feel you can do your part regardless. Correct?
You are right that finding a solution is tough, especially one that's fair. We could have readers vote on how helpful contributions are, but that only works in systems that prevent sockpuppet and map contributions to individual editors, which both isn't the case for us.
I do think we should be looking for such a solution. Any organization that doesn't work hard to connect their work with their clients' expectation will fail in the long run. That wasn't much of a problem for us in the past when a significant portion or our readers also joined in the editing. But the proportion of editors is shrinking, and readers are increasingly asked to contribute by donations instead. Which leads me to money, our most common (and often misused and and abused) reward system. I think we should openly discuss all these options.
The Foundation, with the help of a great many Wikipedia contributors have developed a sound Strategic Plan with five complementary objectives that are reasonably clear, concise and measurable. But the biggest knock on Strategic Plans is that once they are developed, they usually collect dust while the enterprise the strategy was developed for returns to business as usual. Strategies fail, not because they are poor strategies, but because the enterprises (all levels) to which they apply don’t understand them and don’t execute against them.
It is evident in a great many discussions on Wikipedia—policy, guideline, process and content—that many of the participants in those discussions, collectively the enterprise known as Wikipedia, are either unaware of the strategic objectives or even worse, don’t think they apply to them or the discussions they are involved in. This can be fatal to the successful execution of the strategy.
Here’s where I think it is essential that the Foundation take a serious leadership role in promoting all the strategic goals extensively throughout the encyclopedia and its underlying policies, guidelines and processes. The Foundation must ensure that the strategy, and more specifically the complementary nature of all five strategic objectives, is always top of mind for all contributors and readers as they navigate the pages of Wikipedia. Equally important, the Foundation must continually remind participants in the Wikipedia enterprise that they play The critical role in executing the strategy and achieving strategic success.
The methodology for doing this is less important—banners, sidebars, infoboxes, et. al—can all be exploited to further the strategy. But what is critically important is that relevant aspects of the strategy—objectives, progress, significant initiatives, etc. are always being displayed on discussions, histories, talk pages, policy and guideline pages, etc. A long time contributor or newcomer or even anyone contemplating becoming a contributor should never be able to lose sight of the strategy.
This will take leadership from the Foundation, who must resist those who chose to ignore the strategy and would prefer not to even know it exists. If the Foundation and the Wikipedia community want to achieve strategic success as outlined in the current Strategic Plan, then that strategy cannot be left to collect dust. It must be executed by the community and for the community to do so, it must be top of mind at all times. This is the leadership I believe the Foundation must take to ensure Strategic success.
Thinking about strategy is only useful if the results are implemented top-down. If the Foundation does not take action (of some sort) there is no point in thinking about strategy. That is basic.
Given the nature of the Wikimedia enterprise there is not all that much that the Foundation can actually do, but probably more than it is doing now. - Brya 06:04, 3 June 2011 (UTC)
Management by suggesting and hoping does not work: Instead, management requires direct leadership to develop "implementation plans" to turn broad goals into tangible milestones, which can be tracked on "en:milestone charts". Setting the strategic goals is an important first step, but there must be active leaders, to convert the goals into actual front-line results. Wikipedia is not an "adminocracy" of busy mop-sweepers who, suddenly, become experienced leaders of implementing major changes in Wikipedia (or other project) structures. Specific leaders must be designated, within the total management structure. Recall the major activities of management:
- Planning - such as strategic planning
- Organization - to define workable structured groups
- Control - by defined lines of control and responsibility
- Staffing - to assign leaders and workers into specific roles
- Directing - to remind people of the tasks (or milestones) to be accomplished.
Getting experienced people to participate, as assigned leaders, is crucial to turning wishful goals into actual front-line results.
Hi, I've been a wikipedia user since the end of 2005, but I think I still count as a noob.
Recently I received a notice on my talk page about a proposed deletion of an article I created in the beginning of 2006, saying "No sources mentioned, just an external link that fails WP:RS rules quite spectacularly. The source used doesn't even meet our requirements to even being mentioned anywhere in Wikipedia".
I tried to ask on irc how I can respond to this kind of message, but I didn't get any answer. Then today (several days later) I decided to reply on that user's talk page; this is what I wrote:
- Hi, I have no idea how to reply about your "Proposed deletion of (article)" on my talk page (thanks a lot wikipedia for being so user-friendly) so I'm replying here.
- First of all, I found your message quite arrogant; I don't know if you wrote it yourself or comes from a template, but it is not very nice.
- Second, I don't think the article should be deleted, but I don't have the time and motivation to go through the legalistic rules to understand why it deserves to be deleted or to find reasons that it shouldn't. If you really want it deleted, then go ahead, I'm not gonna fight you. (The article already got deleted since then)
So anyway, I'm not really upset, and I'm sure it doesn't compare with what others went through, but I found this unpleasant and I thought I'd share it here.
I was previously miffed at the speedy or slow deletion for no justified reason of much of my work. However, when I saw that Jimbo Wales user page (the founder of Wikipedia) had been nominated for speedy deletion I was incredulous, and so I am taking things less personally now. It's going to be a tough problem to solve, but worth it.
History Link here, unbelievable: Jimbo speedy deletion
- A lot of the user talk pages I have visited have a finality to them, with editors retiring from Wikipedia. All with a shared common experience. I saw a great comment from w:A C Grayling on the development of knowledge gathering - "At times sceptical challenge has been seen as a serious threat to the project of attaining knowledge."[ref1] He was talking about progress in the middle-ages. It appears Wikipedia finds itself maturing through its own dark ages.
[ref1] Ideas that matter, by A C Grayling (2010), Page 168.
- One thing is certain. Something must be done
Proposed deletions are for uncontentious stuff that no-one is likely to disagree with, so if you do disagree you can get it back. If it is a proposed deletion all you need do to dispute is remove it from the article, though I'd recommend doing so with an edit summary such as "disputing proposed deletion". If it has already been deleted and the 7 days have long gone, then just ask for it to be restored at WP:Refund. Hope that helps.
Thanks - I didn't know about WP:Refund There's also the "no loss of knowledge when doing edits" campaign, which is a good stance to hold.
As other editors have suggested, there is no point in trying to fix anything now. Nothing can be done.
Wikipedia is not an encyclopedia; it is a grand social experiment. Experiments don't "fail" and I won't say WP is a failure. I'm not sure Jimbo had much of a goal in mind at the time of foundation so WP can hardly be said to have failed that, either. Various editors have had goals and some of them have been fulfilled; others have not. But WP was designed as a bus without a steering wheel and this cannot be bolted on retroactively. The experiment cannot even be terminated.
The results of the experiment, so far, are unastonishing:
- Humans, on average, are mediocre; if we are allowed to build without direction, we create mediocre works. If we are allowed to build for a long time, we create very large works, still, mediocre.
- Humans are contentious. We don't all agree on much; perhaps not on anything. We tend to meet disagreement with hostility and we would rather fight than compromise. We collude more than we collaborate.
- Humans are self-organizing and exclusive. Left to our own devices, freed of overlords and governments, we will create for ourselves the hells we have been spared. Given freedom, we enslave. If given a house of infinite size and no doors, we will erect doors, elect guards, and enact restrictions on entry, on movement, and on every activity. The house will be carved into gang territories, each bent on domination of the whole.
- Technology does not alter human nature. If you gather a large group of people on a plain with many stones and no plan, they will build a great heap of stones and many small, neat piles; but never a cathedral. If you gather a large group of people in a building with much high tech equipment and no plan, they will build a great, massive, inefficient machine and many small, neat toys; but never a Space Shuttle. If you gather a large group of people in cyberspace with many servers and virtual tools and no plan, they will build a great, huge pile of words and many small, neat process pages; but never an encyclopedia.
Those of us who wanted a free source of general information are content in inverse proportion to the standard of quality we desired. Those of us who wanted a society based on merit are disappointed. Those of us who wanted to build little cliques of ruthlessness are delighted.
WP cannot be fixed -- not the corpus of information, not the technology, not the community of editors. All suffer the accumulation of time. The editors who are most experienced with the technology are the ones who have invested most in creating and leading cliques. The technology which is most obscure shoulders the greatest burden of rendering the process workable. The sheer mass of information crushes any effort to improve quality or raise standards. And at this point, any initiative whatsoever will be hijacked by those who have the greatest skill at hijacking initiatives -- and the least interest in anybody else's goals.
Quite a few editors have seen all this and tried to start over again, elsewhere, with improvements of one sort or another. Many have seen the harsh truth: Humans are not basically good (or basically evil); we are mediocre in the mass. High quality and lofty goals must be built into a project at its very foundations; they cannot be expected to emerge, by magic, from ylem and chaos. These alternative projects have failed, or limped along on the margins, because the sheer mass and notoriety of Wikipedia excludes competition.
We have met the enemy and he is us.
The best thing that WMF could possibly do to further the stated goals of openness and, generally, breathing new life into the concept of a free, open encyclopedia would be to shut down Wikipedia. Get out of the way and let somebody else take a crack at it. Perhaps some other group will establish a project on a solid foundation, with some unalterable ground rules and some real leadership. If not today, then perhaps tomorrow.
However, even this is quite impossible. WP cannot be fixed; it cannot even be destroyed from within. The Tower of Babel was not torn down by repentant creators; it was destroyed by an external force. Eventually, one might hope, an external force will destroy WP. Until then, we all must suffer in the hell we have constructed for ourselves.
I did not get it: you are for or against freedom?
Anyway, I found many good articles on Wikipedia and this is why: the sources make the article. No sources, bad article; many good sources, good article. Of course, this is somewhat of an over-generalization.
The truth (such as it is) is out there. But in many articles in WP it does not seem to be there. Dispelling myths is good. Repressing those who know something? I would agree with the original author of this piece. WP is not about sharing but regression to the mean (whatever that is). One of the reasons why I left as a contributor is that I prefer to work in an enviroment where my contributions are reviewed by my peers rather than "anybody". Good luck WP. It is still a good idea. But wether it will succeeed? Only time will tell. 126.96.36.199 22:05, 12 May 2011 (UTC)
Xiong, Great analysis. I love the smell of jaded cynicism in the morning. Your philosophical views remind me of the parable of heaven and hell - we have the opportunity to use the technology (long spoons) to help nourish each other, but the problem, as Rabbi Haim astutely points out, lies in how we treat each other. Geoffjw1978 01:28, 13 May 2011 (UTC)
- Hope is a knave befools us evermore
- Which till I lost no happiness was mine.
- I strike from hell's to grave on heaven's door:
- All hope abandon ye who enter in.
-- Beckett, translation of:
- L'espérance n'est qu'un charlatan qui nous trompe
- sans cesse. Et pour moi, le bonheur n'a commencé
- que lorsque je l'ai eu perdue. Je mettrais
- volontiers sur la porte du Paradis le vers
- que le Dante a mis sur celle de l'Enfer :
- Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch'intrate.
I quite like Wikipedia and don't expect it to be anywhere near perfect.
Excellent, and I'm dying of envy this tower of thoughts isn't built by me. Except that I think the WP may has became too big and worldwide network is really worldwide. There will be no external force, as long as there is no external space. May be WP will become a stone that humans can't lift. It would be quite interesting, though there is always outer space than one can imagine.
Xiong Talk - Well said. Though quoting the sign on the entrance to hell is pretty pessimistic don't you think? I have to admit, I have only briefly attempted to edit pages in Wiki and found myself quickly challenged, "undone", and threatened by the persons who had spent the most time building these same pages. After about 6 days using various constructs and approaches attempting to correct the same simple paragraph, I realized I had entered some kind of hell. The pride of ownership can be a hellish thing to encounter. No amount of citations and truth seems to assuage the desire to destroy any challenger, no matter how well armed that challenger is with the truth and with authoritative citations. One's intellectual baby cannot be corrected or you will have hell to pay. Let the truth be damned.
I think the solution is a referee. I had attempted to engage some disinterested third parties as observers or referees to instill a sense of truth and fairness, but none wanted to get involved. Their disinterest was the very thing that made them spend no time at all on my dilemma. Wiki has been built by people with a passion for their subject, not necessarily a passion for the truth or fairness about all subjects.
So if Wiki is going to survive and be respected, it seems that there need to be people who will take the time to referee edits, who are skilled editors and writers themselves, and who DO NOT AUTHOR these same pages BECAUSE they are engaged as referees and must remain truly neutral. Their only role is in ensuring that claims have been properly cited and are appropriate to the topic at hand. And they should be skilled enough in Wiki markup to fix the technical markup without casting out the intellectual property due to technical markup errors. Along with this, there would need to be random audits of the referee's decisions to ensure that they are truly neutral.
As others have observed, declaring markup errors or policy violations is the current favorite tactic for protecting one's passionately held though mediocre intellectual baby. Some common tactics: a) Declare a technical markup error and send the editor back to study the markup language, b)Keep undoing the edits and threaten that the new editor will be blocked because they have created an "edit war" which is against the policy, c)Throw out citations as against the citation policy, d) Refuse to read the citations and continue to claim the citations are missing. I had one example of an editor who insisted that the documents from the Bishops and the Vatican were not authoritative sources on what the Roman Catholic Church believes and therefore did not meet the criteria for the citation policy. Really? He insisted on citing an anonymous web author who claimed to be a Catholic somewhere in the U.S. and he continually undid my attempts to cite official Vatican documents and Bishop's letters. I had met a real "devil's advocate" in this Wiki hell.
Most new editors who know they are right and on the side of truth won't bother with this childish behavior. These tactics are an extremely effective deterent to acquiring or retaining new editors, particularly those who know the subject they are editing and don't really care about Wiki's success, accuracy, internal policies, or markup language. We can publish in other publications and respected journals in much less time. And the Wiki mediocrity will continue until there are neutral referees truly committed to publishing what is true.
There is more than a little truth here. Indeed, I am wondering if Wikipedia has not passed its peak already when it comes to quality: there is a lot of persistent garbage and it does not appear to be decreasing (one can remove misinformation, but it always appears to return). The www is full of junk, and it appears to drifts into Wikipedia again and again.
On the upside, cathedrals were built using not all that much in the way of planning. They were built by craftsmen, under whose hands the cathedral grew organically. However, many a fine cathedral has been destroyed by envious people ("not our cathedral!"). - Brya 10:42, 17 May 2011 (UTC)
Yes, it does take time, decades/centuries. I saw a great comment from w:A_C_Grayling on development of knowledge gathering - "At times sceptical challenge has been seen as a serious threat to the project of attaining knowledge."[ref1] He was talking about progress in the middle-ages. It appears Wikipedia finds itself maturing through its own dark ages. Just a few centuries for you to wait. A lot of the user talk pages I have visited have a finality to them with a shared common experience of their work deleted over time.
Suggestion: The "no loss of knowledge when editting" campaign should get higher visibility.
[ref1] Ideas that matter, by A C Grayling (2010), Page 168.
I am speaking from en: wikipedia experience. A good deal of new user's frustration arises when them suddenly find themselves in a rejective environment, and quite often this is not entirely their fault. It is possible to compile a long list of scenarios how this can happen (or it already exists somewhere?). When the topic is rather active, them can quickly run into rather balanced numbers of "friends" and "foes", and their point of view may be quickly defended or at least reasonably discussed, so that there is no outright and complete alienation. However I strognly suspect that with the growth of wikipedia the ratio of "bubbling active" topics decreases, and the numbers of "walled gardens" and "owned" (or "abandoned") articles increase. It is increasingly often that nontrivial contributions of a new user (even not so new; just a "newcomer" to the subject) are reverted with edit summary of type "IDONTLIKEIT, discuss in talk page first". (Needless to say, if you are so smart and I am so freshman, then why don't you start the talkpage discussion yourself and thus show a good example?). I can go on with such scenarios. And in these situations the newbie more often than not finds themselves alone against the alphabet soup of rules they violated in the process of a dispute.
While "Wikipedia is not any of a very long list of terrible ideas", it increasingly becomes a cross-section/snapshot/mirror/etc. of the whole wide world. An important trait of a mature society is specialization of its members. In wikipedia, some are good at deletion of bad articles, while others are good at making bad articles into good ones. Some find fun in frequenting policy pages, while others prefer to write content nonstop and hate policymakers either for their alleged putting policy sticks into the wheels or for their alleged failure to write good policies to protect "good guys" (depending on the side of the fence :-).
Just the same, time has come to introduce a new specialization: an advocate for poor, wronged, and depraved (or not). Until now only punisment has been "swift and just". An advocate must be a "speaker for a defendant" He must be of calm and polite demeanor, well versed in policies. Quite often a newcomer, unaccustomed to slow pace of discussions, and other peculiarities of wikipedia, gets frustrated and quickly shoots themselves in the foot. Quite often he is skilfully goaded into this, by a rather large number of ways, ranging from logical blunders via ignoring of arguments to outright demagogy. Relegating the interaction with the opponents to an advocate would have prevented this.
Notice that this office is distinct from that of "mentor" or "mediator".
OK. I have written a lot, and possibly not very coherently. Does anyone else see some reason in my suggestion? Altenmann 23:46, 5 May 2011 (UTC)
I agree with your point. At times I've tried to side with the new editors, but it is difficult to do so one on one. They can be very active, or very annoyed, or drop out of sight, and even when you side with them, it is still only an argument. I feel like it would be better to have a group of advocates who can take up a cause and agree on principles, facts, and outcomes (much as ArbCom does, but obviously ArbCom won't be involved if the advocate is even slightly successful) Wnt 00:05, 6 May 2011 (UTC)
I am glad that you agree with whatever point you see in my suggestion. However this is not what I meant. I am not suggesting "a lower circuit court" or "miniArbCom". I am suggesting an Advocate, who speaks for someone. Example: A newbie wants to say "Keep your islamic bullshit off this page" Advocate actions: (1) translate: "While the islamic viewpoint does exist, in this article it must be clearly described as such, rather than as an unambiguous fact". (2) explain to the newbie the translation, i.e., which wikipedia policies are involved and (3) Explain the newcomer what was wrong with his text. EXCERCISE: Can you? Are you fit for the bar? Altenmann 00:40, 6 May 2011 (UTC)
Altenmann, the research we've done at the Wikimedia Foundation supports what you're saying here -- your description of new people's frustrations is accurate.
I like your Advocate idea, for a couple of reasons. First, lapsed editors have told us that one of the reasons they leave is because Wikipedia doesn't feel sufficiently welcoming or personal: as new editors, they felt isolated, alone, unnoticed. On the flip side, successful editors have often told me that one of the keys to their longevity may have been the fact that they were noticed and spoken with early by a more experienced editor -- someone who commented on their work, helped them do something they were struggling with, or praised them for something they did well. Even interactions that we might define as neutral rather than supportive ---like being taught a particular piece of wiki-syntax, or being nudged towards a helpful policy page--- people have experienced as encouraging and helpful, when they happened one-on-one rather than via a template. People like to be noticed by other people, they like to feel like their work matters, is wanted, and is taken seriously :-)
It's also obviously true that editing Wikipedia today requires much greater policy knowledge than it used to (the alphabet soup that you mentioned). Currently it's tough to edit Wikipedia in part because the editing interface is so complex. But usability improvements won't help with policy complexity. So yes, I agree that one-on-one coaching and hand-holding WRT policies is valuable to help new editors as they get acclimated, and it will continue to be valuable.
Great idea! but why stop there. As a mature society specialization is indeed called for. Why not also reduce the power of anyone to delete or vote on deletions? Create a specialized group of deleters, a police force for wiki that is trained in helpful editing and allow only them to delete and propose for deletion, with special tools at their disposal. Advocacy and help is great, but restrict the power of deletion to specialists!
I also side with this, though I am not actually wedded to the details as yet. I am not sure that the advocate should be the most important office; maybe a sort of backstop though.
I dunno. What I am beginning to say here is not yet even a half-baked idea, but... Maybe most of what we want could be dealt with on a blogging basis. Blogs can be very constructive places, even if most of them are a waste of time. I wonder whether we could not encourage a format in which writing and discussion are encouraged on each topic, everyone interested contributing what he pleases and arguing as he pleases, until something emerges suitable for retention?
Have a look at the likes of http://www.physicsforums.com/ Some quite high-powered stuff appears there with little policing. I realise the the results don't look like WP, but they don't try to make it look like that. If we can achieve some of the merits of both systems...?
Your example of physicsforums seems to agree with the main point: specialization. You can get powerful stuff when you have specialized experts. In a wide ranging common sense database there are no experts on everything, and so you need a specialized constabulary and judiciary to keep order. This is particularly true when deletions are the main source of frustration and emigration. The rules need to be applied fairly and consistently, so that the rest of the public citizen editors can harmonize communally and enjoy each other's contributions without fear.
Well, I can largely go with that. Minor res... well, make that "substantial reservations...
- Practically every article is a specialist article. (Same for threads. eg in physics forum I have contributed to threads in the biology sub-forum, as well as threads in other sub-forums, and never the twain did meet (weeeellll... haaardly ever...)). One of the strengths of WP is that specialists can write semi-literate articles that can be tidied up by literate non-specialists in the relevant disciplines, and be corrected and updated by the semi-literates in turn. (Not all specialists are semi-literate of course; it would be an ambitious English major who would fiddle with anything written by say, Medawar or the best of Dawkins! In other disciplines, I might mention say, Tyndall, Wells, Julian Huxley, Faraday... never mind -- let's just say that knowledgeable people can be good writers but some of them are not, but can be helped out in the WP environment.)
- The mere fact that it can take specialists for meta-tasks like policing, means that they are likely not to be specialists in the content of the primary material being policed. This makes it very important that access to ombudsmen (specialists of course, if possible) should be at once easy, reasonable and obvious.
- Bottom line is that "reasonability" is most important, far more so than consistency and perceptions of fairness. The latter can be patched up in due course if people are reasonable; the converse is less often true.
Well anyway, I reckon we are largely on the same wavelength.
An interesting slip of the tongue ("In a wide ranging common sense database"), which is quite revealing. Very many users would not know what an encyclopedia was even if they were hit over the head with it, but are working on a database (something else entirely). Also, the "common sense" has little enough to do with an encyclopedia: "common sense" is often a synonym for "misapprehension".
But, yes, an Advocate might be a good idea, in theory. In practice I expect any Advocate to be inundated with the querulous and naive, while any genuine issues may well be very labour-intensive. - Brya 05:56, 8 May 2011 (UTC)
Agree with your critique and observations, but would like to add, that EVERY admin SHOULD be an advocate
Sorry, but there is no SHOULD can be. Everybody has specific skills and inclinations. (Not to say wikipedians are volunteers) Some people just hate to babysit, but this does not make them bad admins. The position that wikipedians must have a reasonable "degree of adulthood" and be ready to answer for themselves is valid. But some are willing to help others to reach this "degree", while others have skills only to assess it.
On the other hand, your statement may be read as "EVERY admin SHOULD possess traits you listed for an advocate". Then I cannot help but agree. And even more: "EVERY wikipedian SHOULD possess traits you listed for an advocate". But this is but an unreachable ideal.
Oh my, I am becoming senile. w:Wikipedia:Association of Members' Advocates existed during 2003--2007, but failed. Is anyone willing to analyze the history?
Good ideas can be implemented badly; and it may take many tries to get an Advocate project right. There seems to be an unfounded dislike of lawyers for Wiki. How is it that there are so many lawyers in the US? They must be doing something right. Surely no one wants to return to the era of personal revenge ala Hatfield and McCoys, but it seems we have a little of that in Wiki; and I suggest it stems from an absence of the Rule of law or in our case, rule of regulations. WE need a way to make existing regs work, and lawyers and a judiciary and constabulary (or their Wiki versions) are really needed. Imersion 15:27, 15 May 2011 (UTC)
That is a good point. Wikipedia prides itself on having central policies (NOR, NPoV, etc), but I have never seen anybody blocked for violating them, no matter how bad the transgression. On the other hand I have seen admins violating these central policies, more often than I like. There is no rule of law on Wikipedia, only interpersonal politics.
(Some things are acted against, such as overly flagrant copyright violations, but it is form which is being guarded, not content) - Brya 15:40, 15 May 2011 (UTC)
Instead of rigorous discussion Wiki relies on consensus, and most of the time it works fine. However, a consensus of fools is still foolish. A consensus of well - intentioned, studious novices can reach workmanlike conclusions. But really, it takes some expertise adn a consensus of experts to produce high quality work; and they have to work at it, not just throw it away. Just as academia and the world of work is specialized, so shoudl Wiki strive to create specialists as well. There should be training programs; self assessment tools; and a whole blackboard of materials to help those who want to reach greater expertise. If they do, they should be rewarded with certificates and access to power tools commensurate with their higher status. This is not a simple process, but Wiki has reached a state of excellence where it is needed if continued high quality is the consensus need. I disagree with those who say the low hanging fruit has been harvested: there is still lots more; but for those areas that need sustained improvement and maintenance, a new system is, in my opionion, now needed.
For some topics consensus does work, especially where there are many who are knowledgable on the topic. For other topics it works poorly or not at all ("We hold this Truth to be the Consensus").
It is disappointing to see this argument crop up again, of Wikipedia as a society on its own, with a better breed of man, closed off from the Bad World Out There. Not the best encyclopedia that could be built, but the best encyclopedia that Wikipedians can build. Knowledge on specialized topics is not so easily gained, and it is pure arrogance to claim that Wikipedians are an exception. Isolationism (the Cult of the Amateur, which proves to lead to a real horror show, in not so few places).
Of course, it would be nice if Wikipedia could have self-assesment tools, which would help users realize what is their proper level. However, I cannot think of something that lends itself more to being gamed. - Brya 05:22, 18 May 2011 (UTC)
Imersion, "lawyers and a judiciary and constabulary" you mention are abound in wikipedia. I am of poor English, and I am worried why my term "Advocate" is confused for "a lawyer". Wikipedia does not need no more no wikilawyers. In fact, "Wikilawyering" has become an insult. My point is that there are way much more than enough people ready to punish a new newcomer, but there seems no office to defend a newcomer, to shield a newcomer from the jungle of wikilaws and from oldtimers. I am sure the latter ones mean no personal harm. It is only they are overstressed and underpaid (wait, not paid at all :-) and have no time to babysit and babytalk a newbie when their pet article is about to be vandalized by an old seasoned pov-pusher. Actual implementation of Wikipedia's "Do not bite" policy requires waste of time on non-productive efforts, not directly related to contributing. It takes a good deal of elevation in the goal recognition to understand that allowing more hands would increase the overall productivity, although your personal productivity (in your favorite subject) will be set back.
Therefore my call was for looking for people who are good at helping others. Not just good at this, but feel good when doing this. (Just like most of wikipedians feel good when editing.) This is goal of my suggested Office of Advocate is: not for enforcing the rules nor training people to follow or circumnavigate the rules, but to help people.
I don't know (and lazy to learn) what went bad with the AMA I mentioned at the top, but I see what's wrong with the current "Mediation Cabal" in en: wikipedia. Many times I saw that a completely clueless person undertakes the role of a mediator. What is worse, recently I noticed a really disturbing case. One guy (call him 'client') requested a mediation. It sat in the queue for some time, and finally was accepted. Suddenly the 'client' notices that mediator's account was created 2 days ago! What do you think the 'client' was thinking? The same stumbling block is for Advocates.
An editor has an immediate and everlasting gratification (unless his contributions are deleted :-) The one who patrols newpages and stuff has a price of a
police sorry, peace officer: Keep this garbage and vandal scum at bay. And this feeling of the power... But the work of an Advocate or Mediator, etc., seems to lack these sources of "goodfeel". In search of one, I may put forth the following suggestion:
- In applications for the admin rights, the successful work of an Advocate must count favorably and highly. This work would readily demonstrate both hands-on experience with policies and human skills expected from an admin.
OK I think your suggestion for including helping advocacy as an important criterion for admin rights seesm like a just and good step. But I think you should not disdain training and self assessment as vehicles fro getting there either. Wikilawyering is such a pejorative term in wikipedia,that creating a judiciary and constabulary probably is impractical and beyond the bounds; but that itself seems a basic problem in wiki culture: it avoids thoughtful and human solutions in favor of hip, flippant kluges that are fundamentally flawed --- and so o o o (for instance) POV deletions trump incremental aggregations and improvements.
re: "a basic problem in wiki culture": deficiency of "thoughtful and human solutions" is a basic problem of anonymous online communication culture, observed way before the advent of 'internets', not to say wiki. the problem is lies in an inherent contradiction: "human solutions" cannot be implemented in a mechanical way: humans quickly screw them up or circumvent. The only solution is to change the humans themselves. And history show this is a long, gradual evolution, over generations. This evolution can only be guided, not prescribed.
Some complain here to the end that this wikimedia statement is but waving hands and preaching. Well, wikipedia has plenty of rules and processes already. That they not always work is because they are underused, misused and abused. Do we need the policies on how to use the policies? Do we need to have a rule on how to "discourage disruptive and hostile behavior, and repel trolls"? Well, I have a good one: block for failure to "repel trolls".
Having read posts to this update for the past week, I have been struggling to identify the real problem and thus ponder a solution.
It is extraordinarily difficult for the newcomer to discover acceptable boundaries within the WP experience without first unknowingly crossing those boundaries and suffering the consequences of the community. I can compare the effects of that suffering, regardless of form to the plight of our ancestors who had to find out which plants were toxic and which were not. I suspect many suffered fatal consequences. Our boundaries deal with content, style, technique and behavior and are embodied in tomes of terms, policy, guidelines, essays and manuals of style. Collectively, they are difficult for any newcomer to fathom, let alone understand and abide by.
My recent Campus Ambassador experience made it abundantly evident that even well educated people just do not understand how WP works. I recently spent a full day with a nationally known print journalist and author, who while using WP regularly, had no clue how it works and freely admitted he wouldn’t even know where to start if he wanted to edit something.
Simplify and objectify policy
In my view, all our WP policies, guidelines and MOS should have their verbiage reduced by at least 66%. They are bloated, and collectively, I am confident, they are inconsistent. Additionally, they are way too open to conflicting interpretations of what something really means, which leads to endless and many times contentious discussions on talk pages and other venues. Our policies and guidelines need to be as objective as possible, where their interpretation by the community (and newcomers hoping to become part of that community) is consistent and stable. Nothing is more frustrating than to see a policy applied one way in one discussion and then conveniently applied differently when different editors are involved. Although clearly black and white objectivity is not possible or even desirable, we would make great strides as a community if we wrote our policies and guidelines in a manner that ensured consistent interpretation.
After ten years, you would think our core policies and guidelines would be stable and consistently understood and interpreted, but they are not. Policy and guideline pages are changed endlessly and subject to endless discussion, often contentious. We should establish routine policy review and update cycles that limit policy and guideline change to finite periods of time where the community (i.e. lots of diverse editors) can focus on needed changes. (60 days out of a year seems reasonable). When a policy/guideline is out of its review and update period, it doesn’t get changed and its interpretation should be consistent community wide.
Two of my pet peeves in WP are these ideas: Consensus can change and [en:Wikipedia:Other stuff exists]. When a small group of editors create a consensus one day and a different group can change that consensus later, community consensus has not changed. There merely never was real community consensus in the first place. Our policies and guidelines need to be subjected to rigorous, community wide review and consensus and small cabals of editors should not be changing or inconsistently interpreting policies and guidelines on a day by day basis. The other stuff exists essay is so indicative of the barriers we place in front of newcomers. Imitation is exactly how humans learn boundaries. If something works, we copy it. If it doesn’t, we don’t. Yet we explicitly tell ourselves otherwise.
As far as practical we need to simplify (66% + reduction of words), objectify (reasonably easy and consistent interpretation of boundaries) and stabilize (limit change to finite periods where maximum community participation can focus) our policies and guidelines.
This is a good idea. If we set a target of reducing the collective amount of policy, you would find that the community would rise to the challenge. That's assuming no one hijacks the process to try to eliminate good or longstanding policy. But some amount of rationalization and consistency would mean that some redundant or contradictory parts would be cut, which would only be a good thing.
I'm not sure it stability is realistic on this timeline, or if it's even desirable. But I tend to think the BRD process is pretty good at keeping the policies stable. Either way, this would be step two, after rationalizing this stuff.
I think the Stability of policy is just as critical as it Simplicity and Objective interpretation. Today, to much energy has to be spent to monitor and mitigate rogue changes or ill-conconcieved policy change. That energy would be much better spent editing articles and mentoring newcomers. Imagine WP:NPOV entering a 90 day review and update period. It could be structured and we could involve all manner of contributors in the review and update. However, at the end of the period, the new WP:NPOV would be stable for 9 months. A consistent interpretation and application would follow. Whatever we learn from 9 months of application would certainly be rolled into the next review and update period. We would be striving for stability, not static state. Day to day change is chaotic.
Monitoring and mitigating the rogue changes is where the stability comes from. It's the BRD process, and on a day to day basis the policies don't really change. It's not a terrible or even large use of time. Like so many other activities on the Wikipedia, I don't think that forcibly stopping it is going to cause other activities to flourish. People who enjoy policy-wonkery are always going to enjoy policy-wonkery. We can agree to disagree. But I see this as a much lower priority than trying to simplify/shorten/clarify policy.
I agree that very many on Wikipedia do not understand basic policies. I would say that this is mainly because:
- People do not want to follow policy, but they want to do what they want to do. They read up on policy only to bolster their position (and then cite selectively).
- Policy pages are hidden. If you start at the beginning (About Wikipedia) you are not going to find anything about Wikipedia policy, but just the sale pitch. Even digging further (at Five pillars) will find only hints at policy. Then there are all the separate 'policy' pages of Wikiprojects that override central policies, further hiding actual policies. Users will find policy pages only when these are pointed out or when they search persistently.
Some good may come of rewriting. Both NOR and NOT are really superfluous, as long as the importance of using reliable sources is emphasized, but the average Wikipedia-user will transform that in a need for citations (which in itself will not help). - Brya 05:44, 16 May 2011 (UTC)
Here's a classic example of what I believe is bad for WP and can adversely impact the newcomer unlucky enough to run afoul any given policy. WP Titles is a WP policy and you would think we would have a consistent interpretation and application of that policy after 10 years. Yet in this month alone 30+ changes have been made to the policy article.  Two or three editors are at loggerheads over adding or removing words that fundamentally change the manner in which the policy could be applied and interpreted. A lot of energy is spent in discussion, yet one editor (who I believe acts as if he owns it) won't tolerate any change he doesn't agree with. . We continue to operate on the consensus of the minority and allow the constant changing of policy, especially changes that open it up to new interpretrations, without any real discussion as to its impact and wider interpretation by the community. Slowing down and adding structure and discipline to policy and guideline change, I believe, is essential to removing some barriers that newcomers face.
Yes, such changes certainly do not help. I must say my sympathies are with Pmanderson, in resisting change; the existing phrasing is somewhat redundant, but that does not hurt: all too many Wikipedia-users are really sloppy readers and need the redundancy.
I guess this is a good illustration of the important principle that there is no bigger enemy of an encyclopedia than somebody who wants to apply logic (or uniformity), for logic's (or uniformity's) sake (OK, there are also those who want to shoot, on sight, everybody wearing glasses or reading a book. Those are worse). If those pursuing logic (or uniformity) were to be banned succesfully, quality would go up quickly and drastically. - Brya 18:08, 20 May 2011 (UTC)
I think that situation sucks. But I'm not sure just locking it down is the answer. There might be more danger in a policy that can't evolve than a policy that is too unstable.
Remember that policy is the natural outcome of practices in the community. There's no way that a few words from week to week, even major words, can reshape the broader inertia of what the community does in practice. If I were to sneak in and ass "... not!" to the end of a policy and nobody noticed for a week, I don't think it would make that much of a difference. Each policy has a certain common sense idea of what the spirit of it is.
I log in and see invitation to join the discussion. Right on time, I say.
Please take a look how I was bullied and stonewalled for my attempt to create a reasonable article from a mess. First I was called a vandal (first by a bot, then by a borg) Then I was threatened with block. Nice cooperative and productive environment you've got here.
and history of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whole_number
That is interesting, and reveals an actual flaw in the processes. The thing, as I see it, is about this: The page is a disambiguation page, which by my experience is more sensitive than other pages for no real valid reason, I triggered some such reaction myself once upon a time, but usually if one follows the disambiguation rules nothing happen. An automated bot was triggered to revert your first edit, which probably got the attention of some more experienced non-polite editors, who perceived you as a vandal by really really sloppily ignoring the policy Wikipedia:Please do not bite the newcomers. If they were experienced enough, they should have looked on your number of edits (currently less than 100), and then observed that your changes were intended to be constructive, not in the earliest stages spoken about "unconstructive edits" and "vandalism". When I first see "unconstructive edits", I use to write a personalized greeting, criticise the result and explain how to instead make constructive edits. What was lacking in your case was a pedagogical consensus building from their part, because they had all means and knowledge to see that you are still a newbie.
I find the following statement from one of the "opponents" of yours to be exceedingly annoying,
- (whether it's a commonly-used *term* is not the point. WP is not a dictionary; it's about the content, not the term. You've been reverted; take it to the talk page.)
The guy in question have a lot of university courses in maths but should also take quite a few courses in philosophy, expecially ontology: if it is a term, then it is just not a phrase, and represents something real that might actually need a Wikipedia article. The motivation for the reversion is one of the worst I've seen. Rursus 07:13, 7 May 2011 (UTC)
Max Longint, my sympathies. To me your contribution seemed mostly good, and looks like it was handled badly, or at least rather roughly.
Early on in my modest Wikipedia career, I had a new article removed, and I didn't like it. I had spent some time creating it, referencing it, etc. And it was almost immediately deleted and I couldn't get it back and I didn't understand or agree with the reasons it happened. Since then I have learned how to make changes in a way that is less likely to be deleted.
There are a few things you could have done better. You didn't fill in the Edit summary when you made your first change. Also, later on, you just put back your changes, sometimes using the Edit summary as way to have a discussion. The Talk page is a better place to do that. Even if you were in the right, this wasn't the best way to go about improving the page.
This discussion in the Talk Page seems a pretty good explanation of why the reversions happened.
So it seems to me that you, as a brand-new, inexperienced Wikipedia editor, should be more ready to accept the position of more experienced editors (even if you disagree with it), and try to learn how to get your way following usual Wikipedia practices. I know it's easy to be impatient with bureaucracy and tradition, but they do have their uses, even if they are not immediately apparent.
Also, in the end, perhaps you will agree that this seems to be no big deal, a fairly minor point of detail, so not worth getting really upset about. (Personally I'd favor a redirect from Whole number to Integer, with some clear mention of the term "whole number" in the Integer article. But I haven't thought about it much, and am not (yet?) prepared to invest the time in following all the discussions that have already occurred on this subject).
I hope you can get past this and continue making contributions to Wikipedia!
If I follow your logic Kaicarver WP is *NOT* "The encyclopedia that everyone can edit", at all, but one where the "everyone" has try to understand myriads of tribal rules before the unseen Masters let "everyone" pick even the smallest bread crumb off the table.
That everyone can edit it doesn't mean that everyone can do anything they want. This is true for any publicly shared resource.
A library is open to all, but if you decide to reorganize a bookshelf in a manner that seems more sensible to you, you will face resistance.
Thank you for your "I hope you can get past this" and go to hell. Why would I want to get past "this"? An what exactly is "this"? I've spent two days trying to figure "this" out.
Needless to say, part of "this" was my ego. But did I really have to go through humiliation of rejection, humble myself, kiss someone's ass, etc., for a dubious privilege of putting into wikipedia a piece of knowledge which is not even mine, not a matter of my possible pride of invention? I had serious doubts whether I should continue talking to you at all, since, as I explain below, you still don't hear me, even the few ones who expressed sympathy, which was mostly misdirected as well.
However my ego is irrelevant in the context of my case: I was not promoting some political agenda, or trying to publish my research, or otherwise add some glory to someone (me, my boss, my boyfriend, etc.).
No. The main problem as I see it that EVERYONE, every single person who discussed this case, both here and in w:Talk:Whole number don't give a piece of shit for two bits of new information I added to the article which were (and thanks to you all, still are) absent in wikipedia. My several requests to explain what exactly was wrong with my additions (based on book references) were shouting to deaf. In other words, all of you successfully abandoned (at least in the context of my case) the principial goal of wikipedia: to ***COLLECT KNOWLEDGE*** Yes, I know, verifiable, notable, neutral, blablabla. This is not the point: the point is NOBODY tried to discuss the knowledge I tried to add, not to a slightest extent! All efforts were to bat me as a nuisance mosquito. And when I am gone, they are happily reshuffling a meaningless formal page which is, it seems even does not conform the requirements for this type of page. They are happily oblivious to the history (I was going to add to the article, but no thank you) of the concept; that better mathematical minds of Kronecker, Lebesque, Dedekind, wasted their time on trivia which a couple smartass know-it-alls simply don't see. I cannot even write "they think it is too trivial for wikipedia"; no, they don't freaking see what I wrote at all, they are blind, busy to protect their right to ignore new content and new editors when not fit into their blindsight.
SUMMARY, the problem with wikipedia is not lack of respect of new editors. The real problem is lost respect to new knowledge; failure to see what you don't know, failure to want to see what you don't know; favoring formal structure against actual content.
The attitude to new editors is but a corollary: "What they could possibly know? Everything has been written already about! They are just screwing the perfect text!" Or, even better: "It is THEIR job to prove that they are NOT screwing the perfect text!" I see many people here talking about "low hanging fruits have already been picked", so that there is nothing else new to write in wikipedia but about new pop-stars, hurricanes, and free software for iPhones. Yeah, sure. Good luck.
- P.S. The most amazing quotation from the talk page of my case: No one is arguing against your content, and therefore the references are irrelevant. (New content deleted without arguing against, references irrelevant. Logic is unbeatable. Laugh and weep.)
The page is a disambiguation page. So it's not meant for contents, but it is simply a list of articles and a short description of such articles. You are free to add your content to the articles linked therein. Or start an article/stub on en:Whole number (perspectives of number theorists) and add a link to it in the en:Whole number article.
<Sigh> . It seems the shades of cluselessness in such a simple case are endless and boundless. So you are saying that the "disambiguationness" of the page is something sacred, ethernal, inviolate, immutable? And I cannot make it into a regular article? And you are free to delete anything from it while plainly refusing to discuss the new content? That new content is so unimportant that it may be routinely deleted in favor of some formality? Even overlooking the fact that this is a disambiguation page from hell.
That's exactly what I am talking here about: the likes of you have made wikipedia into a shooter game, not a repository of knowledge.
As for your belated advice, yes, I did think about this, but the more I read what's going on, the less I want to something in wikipedia. And I am hanging onto this thread out of mere curiosity: who will be the first reasonable person to find an acceptable solution to the issue? Hereby I solemnly declare that I will give this person $50. Furthermore, if I see three different reasonable solutions, I will donate Wikipedia $200. And I challenge you to match my pledge. May be wikipedia is not to rotting, after all.
My experience is also very negative. I have been called a kook, nonsense , fringe and more since I was not agreeing with two or three editors who dominate the discussion and block, laugh, disparage, make their own rules and are more interested in their own power trip that on the correctness of the page. I have been blocked when I worked hard on calmly and politely making my point....the two bosses of the site did not bother to reply or comment, just blocked me invoking their own ideas of troll, sock puppet, ethical rules and the like. I also take issue with damaging live persons with insults and omissions of the positive and big emphasis on the negative. I also think that there are three or four people monitoring some related pages and working together to coordinate their actions and make go away any change on what they do not like. Please look at the Oxyhydrogen page and see what I mean.... one of them RKLawton writes to the other (SteveBaker) "Ignore the OP, keep the article on track. If he continues to be disruptive, we can block him from further editing" and they blocked me because I continued to prove my point. One of them also pointed out that he was free to write whatever he wanted since it could not be enforced legally and it was impossible to prove libel and damage. This is one of the major reasons why you see problems in Wikipedia. I think i could be giving a real contribution to Wikipedia, I speak three languages, i hold two master degrees, I have long experience in editing, I know well art, music, history but from now on I will keep out. By the way, what is OP??? PRGiusi your favorite sock puppet
1. Having your edits reverted does not entitle you to sockpuppetry. It is a basic Wikipedia principle that sockpuppets are not allowed, period. Violating this principle is not done.
2. I saw that you were arguing for HHO as a fuel additive, by electrolyzing water with electric power generated by a generator using some of the force of the gasoline engine. Simple commonsense says that the energy used to split the water molecules is equal to the energy obtained by burning the hydrogen thus obtained. Since the generator has no 100% efficiency, you would lose more energy than you would gain, so it would lower the efficiency of the engine.
3. Wikipedia has a policy against original research. Fringe theories are not accepted. Therefore you should have found reliable sources in order to back up your claims. If you could not find such sources, you were not entitled to make those claims. As simple as that. Self-published pamphlets are not considered reliable sources. In science, reliable sources are print-published, peer-reviewed scientific journals.
4. I therefore guess that none of your Masters were in physics or engineering.
No, I did not argue in favor of HHO.I have no opinion on it and I am not a chemist so I do not pretend to evaluate the scientific aspect. I was taking issue with the fact that there is a distinction between people who sell devices claiming that improve the efficiency of the engine and they commit fraud, and people who are doing research on HHO and publish in peer-reviewed journals. I added the link to the peer reviewed International Journal of Hydrogen and 4 articles reporting pros and cons. I also took issue with the fact that Santilli is called a fringe physicists. The main page on Santilli says "proponent of theories some of which are called fringe theories" and I proposed to keep the same definition in order to be fair to a living person who is damaged in his name and business. They immediately cancelled everything without any argument calling Santilli a nut case and me a kook and worse. No discussion, no explanation except the The Iternational Journal has a poor reputation and therefore it was not to be cited . It has a poor reputation, they said, because publishes article by such a kook person like Santilli. Also they said that nobody came to defend my position and therefore had no value....but nobody came to defend their position either. They first ask for sources and then because they did not like the sources, they eliminate them. Note that you do not need a master in science to see that is wrong to damage a person and that is against the policies of Wikipedia. Note that the "dominant editors" of the page are one a photographer and the other a computer game specialist.... Please, read the erased discussion, if they are stlll to be found somewhere.
Ever heard of Okrent's Law? Mainstream scientists think that Santilli is a fringe scientist, and Wikipedia renders this consensus, since this is what the reliable sources say.
There were no reliable source found anywhere calling Santilli fringe. That is why the article about Santilli define him "proponent of theories some of which are called fringe" is fair in my opinion and the opinion of the editors of that article. I am instead taking issue with the definition of "fringe physicist Santilli" that is in the Oxhyhydrogen article since he has published widely in mainstream peer-refereed journals so he can be fringe in some cases but not all his work is fringe, unless you can prove that the AIP is fringe, International Journal of Hydrogen Energy is fringe, Il Nuovo Cimentio is fringe, Springer Verlag is fringe, the Open Astronomy Journal is Fringe, Plenum publication is fringe.Please present reliable sources that are not blogs or tabloids. I think in the Oxyhydrogen article there is a violation of writing about live persons and hurting them when Santilli is called 'fringe physicist" I also take issue with the fact that nobody bothered to consider the argument I am presenting here is worth some discussion instead of calling names Verderosso and any other person who tried to have a fair editing of the article and engage the editors in a fair way.
Deletion is a problem - especially regarding the notability criteriion.
Apart from the hungry deleters (dare I say it, Jackals) who hang around at the gates of new article creation, there seem to be a real need to audit the existing 3.6 Million articles regarding notability. If we are going to use an exclusion clause based on Notability, it seems to me that pre-existing articles that do not meet the current notability requirements must be addressed head on..
An alternative would be to remove the notability criterion for article existence; instead to provide some 'notable' attribution for those articles that pass a notability test; and then have notability as an inclusion criterion (eg in searches), rather than having non-notability as a deletion criterion.
Moreover, in a 'pure' sense, everything that is written is considered notable by the author of that writing. I prefer the idea of encouraging people to write articles, which can exist, be maintained, etc. and then the articles can be put forward for notability. If you have ever spent hours working on an article only to see it being deleted, called 'great, but not notable' - you may have a good idea about just how demoralising wikipedia editing can be.
The arguments for deleting the non-notable are weak - eg the database storage space - I may be wrong, but I would have thought that the discussion histories and user page histories (most of which are not notable) far outweigh the full bulk of non-notable articles that have ever been submitted to WP.
Obviously there has to be some nominal inclusion criteria - otherwise we may get jokers providing a single page of every single integer from 10^13 through 10^41 - maybe have independant 'seconders' for an article - but I believe that the Afd (notability) issue is deeply discouraging for new editors.
The notability policy has a very practical application: discouraging people to write their CVs on Wikipedia. If there were no notability requirement, I would like to have an Wikipedia article all about myself. This would make me proud to be the subject of an encyclopedic article. And like me there are perhaps millions.
Well, I'm not convinced that we don't already have some form of CV-space on wikipedia - actually every registered editor has a user page, as well as a talk page.
The point I was making is that notability as a reason for exclusion is a great way to upset a lot of people who enter into the WP world. Actually, the requirement for RS as well as an avoidance of COI should be enough to prevent self-authored vanity WP Pages.
Likewise, I know of plenty of people who do indeed have WP pages. Lots of publishers now actively encourage new authors to generate a WP page - the publications model that WP is currently obsessed by implicitly encourages such activity.
My issue is this. A bio page about me got marked. I do appreciate you protecting my integrity- but even though I replied and updated the page about me- which contained perfectly acceptable information, and I added a paragraph stating so, which I said was by me, there is nowhere to click to have my input reviewed and/or validated. I really pretty much love everything about WIKI, accept that those who don't have a problem are subject to issues that they shouldn't be. I realize that this is a huge endeavor, but a "click for validation" choice that at least changes the "warning" on the page to "being validated" would not be a huge code to write, and would give you the time you need to validate information while not making the current information look completely suspect. all the best Sally
You have a conflict of interests, therefore you should not edit the article about yourself. Only information rendered by reliable sources is admissible, and they get added by people who do not have a conflict of interests.
Like every other "should" on Wiki, this is a guideline, and not a rule. If the article requires it, then edit. On the article about me, for example, I've added cites for claims about me, deleted other uncited claims I consider wrong, added EL's for myself, and even rewritten text where it was unclear. In the spirit of the guideline, I have NOT done other things, such as writing uncited info about myself -- I haven't even added my birth date. 188.8.131.52 18:23, 14 May 2011 (UTC)
Even if you are yourself, thus in a position to know yourself better than third parties, your judgment is no substitute for reliable sources, especially if they show criticism of your person. But, according to BLP guidelines, you are free to remove criticism which is not based upon reliable sources (this is even encouraged). E.g. suppose that you are a married man who had an extramarital affair and the press reported it. In such a case, it would be in your own interest to hide this information from the Wikipedia article, but it would be probably reverted due to vandalism. I mean: once the beans are spilled, there's no way to take them back. (I don't know if this applies to you.)
I hold by the idea that notability is not practical. Everything that has enough reliable sources should automatically be notable enough. Testing for sources is much easier and more objective anyway. - Brya 05:53, 14 May 2011 (UTC)
Of course the idea of notability isn't practical. You're right. Why do I find the bios of insignificant actresses in minor roles on TV shows and can't find the bios of significant politcal/military figures, just as an example?
Because some people cared about those actresses, they found reliable sources proving their notability and they have played fairly the Wikipedia game. Conversely, nobody cared about those leaders, not in the way of making a similar effort on their behalf. Wikipedia is run by voluntaries, therefore you cannot force them to write things they do not want to write. Instead, you are free to write about those leaders, taking due care of the Wikipedia policies.
I think you'd be surprised by what isn't found "notable". A village in Pakistan, a protest in the Kashmir where 25 people are killed - these things aren't notable, indeed, they may not be found worthy of even a sentence in Wikipedia. Something is notable because it's discussed in a "reliable source", by which we mean an English-language source appealing to Westerners or Western expatriates, such as an entertainment magazine, but not local Middle Eastern sources, which may be biased, associated with Iran's PressTV etc.
In addition, there are a vast number of special notability guidelines, more every day, which say that in some areas the general notability guideline is too strict and we should have every member of a sports team, every ship in a navy; in other areas they decide it's too lax and say a prank or terror threat has to have "enduring significance". There was even an elaborate guideline, don't know whether it passed or not, explaining how a railway employee killed by accident on a train is notable, but not if he's working on the track. Essentially, there's stuff that little groups of people have decided they like or don't like, and what's odd is that they love video games and sports, and they have little tolerance for serious-sounding stuff. It is all purely the projection of personal prejudice and censorial sentiments onto the encyclopedia; you could dig to the bottom of it and not find one honest thing about it.
Tgeorgescu, I hear you - but the entire RS edifice itself can be laborious and off-putting - especially when you find editors (and editor groups) who are viciously protective (and often incredibly biased) over their own watchlists.
But there is a problem with this too - the untrained tend to go in with a great deal of enthusiasm, even if they often have a rather narrow viewpoint, and there is a definite lack of humility in certain areas of the editorial field.
Wnt's position is also a valid one - I have been told at times that such and such an academic commentator is a PS, or out of date, or whatever - just because their peer-reviewed academic publications took place in another civilisation. There are entire cultures of academic development that still have deeper analysis within their domain than the academics of the current era; this is most especially true regarding the academics belonging to the great religions, but (IMO) highlighted most by the extensive academic literature of the Tibetan monastic universities (up until the moveable type printing press, there were more publications in Tibetan than every other language put together, and yet up until 1980's 'Western' academics of Buddhism and Buddhist philosophy relied almost exclusively on Pali, Sanskrit and Chinese sources). In certain areas, most Western academics are still six centuries or more behind contemporary Tibetan academic development.
None of this really advances my view:- that NOT is unnecessary and redundant, as long as we maintain both RS and COI (20040302)
I can easily see why the English Wikipedia relies upon English language scholarship and news: it is easier to trust and understand scholars who write in English, it is easier to trust scholars educated and doing research according to the Western model, it is easier to trust mainstream English language press (instead of say the Libyan TV, since Western journalists are not forced to write patriotic or pro-Western articles, but I assume that censorship rules in Libyan press). I think that it is no secret that in many disciplines most of the cutting edge research is published in English. How about discussing Pali scholarship on the Pali Wikipedia? For translating it to English, you cannot be sure that you used the correct translation of a concept, since other Pali editors could have different translation for the same Pali word. So, in lack of English translations and English language scholarship, it is difficult to evaluate scholarship done in Pali. And there is yet another requirement, that of being verifiable. This means that secret writings cannot be trusted, since other editors cannot have access to such sources. In general, sources are verifiable if they are published, in journals, books, newspapers, websites, etc.
A serious editor spends time and effort to create an article and then somebody copies the content into another article, empities and redirects the original article. This is discouraging for those who really want to contribute. There must be more strict rules for copy and paste method.
This is called a merge. Nobody is trying to delete material or steal credit. The point is to organize the material better.
Better from a certain perspective, a certain point of view. Merging can be a very effective way to suppress topics. Not rarely, mergism is a form of deletionism.
BTW: merging is not done by copy-and pasting. - Brya 04:45, 19 May 2011 (UTC)
I also realised that too often, some "controversial" page about some topic is just "merged" with the main topic to suppress the controversial content. on the main topic page it is then just mentioned in a few lines.
That's because too often someone will create a POV-pushing non-neutral article whenever people revert them for adding a fringe view to a credible article.