Talk:Requests for comment/Remove Founder flag

Active discussions

Jimbo was appointed by virtue of having founded the English Wikipedia communityEdit

Jimbo was not elected as a steward, he was appointed by virtue of having founded the English Wikipedia community (and therefore the Wikimedia community as a whole). His current "Founder" status reflects these facts.  — mikelifeguard@meta:~$  01:48, 25 March 2010 (UTC)

I am not involved anymore, but as an outsider I suggest that a project definitely needs leadership. If you treat it only as a community, then the participants will behave like they are exactly that, and progress is halted. At the same time though, mr. Wales doesn't seem the right person for the job. Leading a project requires different skills than initiating one. Wishing you all the best, Guido den Broeder 15:59, 26 March 2010 (UTC)
A large part of the problem, as such, comes from the difference between being a "founder" and having superceding rights over others as a result. One who has such special rights ought reasonably be held accountable for any overzealous usage of them. Most organizations do not grant such perpetual rights to the founder, no matter how beloved. Collect 17:08, 26 March 2010 (UTC)
  • Without arguing whether Wales founded, co-founded, or hired somebody who founded Wikipedia, Wikiversity was founded by our fellow Wikiversiters and welcomed into the Wikimedia family by a vote of the trustees. Other than that, Wales' key contribution was the decision of kicking Wikiversity out of Wikibooks. As Wikimedia Foundation maintains that they want to focus on the site maintenance and coporate level problems and distance themselves from the day-to-day community business, this founder flag is something pointing to the past. Hillgentleman 17:17, 26 March 2010 (UTC)
    What? He didn't decide to separate Wikiversity from Wikibooks, the community did. See Wikiversity/Vote/en. Is this discussion about Jimbo's role throughout Wikimedia, or about the English Wikiversity specifically, anyway? --Yair rand 19:34, 26 March 2010 (UTC)
    Did I say he alone made the decision? There is no question he finalised in the decision though. And, to your second question, I thought the title is clear enough. It reads "Remove Founder flag". Hillgentleman 19:40, 26 March 2010 (UTC)
    I don't see much of a list of crimes committed by Jimbo as you might expect on this page. All I see is, "He didn't ask us first." Is it really fair to claim Jimbos input is more harm than good until it is? I think it is healthy to have someone with founder access so long as they are not a raving lunatic. All countries have a president of some sort. I don't see any candidates so rather than a vote to change hats it's a vote to cut off your own head. Bit of a tantrum isn't it? ~ R.T.G 10:32, 27 March 2010 (UTC)
    Head? You really should look into the history of Wikiversity. From the beginning, spiritual leaders of wikiversity are fellow wikiversiters like Cormaggio, Sebmol and John Schmidt; it is these people who envisioned wikiveresity and drafted the proposal which the board of trustees approved. There is a place for Jimbo Wales, and it is called community member. Hillgentleman 12:27, 27 March 2010 (UTC)
    I'm sorry Hillgentleman but I read all the original missions of Wikipedia. To gather the sum of human knowledge. To disseminate it effectively and so on. Why should I look into the history of Wikiversity when it is covered and predated by all these foundations? Come off it. The site is a part of Wikimedia and that is a good thing, right? ~ R.T.G 20:31, 27 March 2010 (UTC)

User:EME44 - sock puppet?Edit

User:EME44 seems to be a sockpuppet of User:Wikademia ~ R.T.G 10:10, 27 March 2010 (UTC)

already considered a sock ~ R.T.G 21:08, 28 March 2010 (UTC)
for the record, he only voted once.Hillgentleman 20:12, 29 March 2010 (UTC)


contributors to deleted pageEdit

I've tried to keep up with the many threads relating (broadly) to the wikiversity matter, and having reviewed this one, I don't really feel like diving in substantially - but I have seen a few people commenting to the effect that the project was clearly trolling, and perhaps either implying, or understanding, that editors blocked or banned on other wmf projects were active at wikiversity. I don't think anyone who was blocked or banned on any wmf project edited the project - here is a list of contributors;

  1. v:User:Privatemusings
  2. v:User:JWSchmidt
  3. v:User:Crochet.david.bot
  4. v:User:SB Johnny
  5. v:User:RTG
  6. v:User:Darklama
  7. v:User:Adambro
  8. 80.176.82.42, which is often used [1][2] by w:User:JzG

See here for the full log. Privatemusings 01:57, 29 March 2010 (UTC)

As a note, JWSchmidt, Privatemusings, and RTG were the users to edit the pages before Jimbo deleted them the first time. The other editors (besides the bot) edited between the recreation and the redeletion. Ottava Rima (talk) 02:06, 29 March 2010 (UTC)


Looking back at Jimbo's bad pressEdit

The Fox News piece is not the first time Wikipedia's public image has been hurt by an alleged Jimbo-related scandal.

In evaluating Jimbo's future, we should absolutely recall all the positive press he's brought to the Wikipedia image. But we need to also remember all the bad press too:

  • Wikipedia Founder Hit With Relationship Trouble, Allegations of Excessive Spending, Wired News
  • Wikipedia's Jimmy Wales accused of expenses rort, Syndey Morning Herald
    Wales was publicly humiliated by estranged girlfriend Rachel Marsden. While Wales denies he broke Wikipedia's conflict of interest rules by helping Marsden clean up her Wikipedia entry, the leaked transcripts, published by Silicon Valley gossip blog Valleywag, suggest otherwise.
    They show Wales, who is currently going through a divorce, apparently using his influence to improperly make changes to Marsden's entry.
    In one transcript, Wales tells Marsden he wrote an email to Wikipedia's internal editor's list recommending changes to her biography. The chat transcript shows Wales going through proposed changes to Marsden's Wikipedia entry. "Let's actually do this right now," Wales allegedly wrote. "Because the last thing I want to do is take a break from f---ing your brains out all night to work on your wikipedia entry."
  • Wikipedia founder accused of agreeing to alter page, CBC News
    A former Novell software creator has accused Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales of agreeing to edit a page of the online encyclopedia in exchange for a financial donation, the BBC said Wednesday.
  • Allegations swirl around Wikipedia's Wales, San Francisco Chronicle
    A former Wikipedia employee is alleging that Wales misused money from the Wikimedia Foundation. [According to the employee], Wales was [...] often asking the San Francisco foundation to pay for personal expenses. The expenditures piled up as Wales' celebrity grew, prompting the foundation to take away his credit card.'
  • Insider Editing at Wikipedia, New York Times
    Mr. Wales made the changes to play down the role of his former editor, Larry Sanger, by deleting references to him as a co-founder. When other volunteer editors undid his edits, Mr. Wales repeated them twice.
  • Know It All, The New Yorker
    Wales has been caught airbrushing his Wikipedia entry—eighteen times in the past year. He is particularly sensitive about references to the porn traffic on [his 1996 business "Bomis"] . “Adult content” or “glamour photography” are the terms that he prefers, though, as one user pointed out on the site, they are perhaps not the most precise way to describe lesbian strip-poker threesomes.

This list is by no means exhaustive-- just a very quick sampling.

The various allegations that have been made against him should absolutely not be read uncritically. Some of the accusations appear, to me, to be outright lies, others make me think there might be a kernel of truth in them.

But, the point is-- all of these articles depend upon the fact that Jimbo was (at the time) a God-King on Wikipedia. To discredit the project, all our critics needed to do was discredit him.


If one of our admins has a bad breakup, nothing happens. When a God-King has a bad breakup, he gets accused of making changes to the woman's biography article in exchange for sex. It's a headline, and it hurts Wikipedia.

If one of our admins likes to pay for Russian prostitutes , that's not a problem. If a god-king is accused of using foundation money to pay for prostitutes, it's a headline, and it hurts Wikipedia.

If one of our admins is accused of editing in exchange for donations, we just recuse them. But if a God-king is accused of that, it's a headline, and it hurts Wikipedia.

Again, do not assume the allegations are true-- but true or not, the stories DID run and they did hurt us. If we were to reinstate Jimbo as god-king, we should expect more of this sort of press in the future.

I apologize in advance for the need to bring these regrettable issues up. But the situation necessitates this discussion so that everyone can make an informed choice about the future of our project. --Alecmconroy 05:52, 9 May 2010 (UTC)


This poll is now outdated by eventsEdit

First update (flag permissions)Edit

If there ever was any point in having this poll, it has now been outdated by actions taken by Jimmy Wales himself. Since the ability to do potentially controversial actions (blocking, deleting) has been self-removed, any !votes cast before information about that was added to the page has to be disregarded. Finn Rindahl 11:42, 9 May 2010 (UTC)

Disagree - Since he has kept globalpermissions, the situation remains virtually the same, as he can reinstate his "self-removed" rights at will.--Darwinius 11:48, 9 May 2010 (UTC)
That's a question of interpretation I guess - the point I was trying to make is that most of those who have expressed themselves did so before this development. "Virtually the same" is not the same(!) as "the same". Finn Rindahl 12:19, 9 May 2010 (UTC)
Well, at least to me what they are asking opinion for here is a different thing, the complete removal of the founder flag. I can't speak for others, of course, but to me the situation remains indeed the same.--Darwinius 12:36, 9 May 2010 (UTC)
I agree with Darwinius. Hégésippe | ±Θ± 12:55, 9 May 2010 (UTC)


Jimbo has NOT given up anythingEdit

Jimbo claimed that he has given up "virtually all' of his powers. Upon inspection, it was revealed he had kept his power to "do whatever he wants and give himself whatever rights he wants".

Jimbo claimed that he had he removed "virtually all" of powers. In fact, he has given up "virtually none" or "exactly none" of his powers.

To call a spade a spade:

Jimbo's claim to have removed his powers is false. Given the past week, I believe this may be an intentional attempt to deceive the community in order to circumvent consensus

Sorry to be so blunt, but upon reflection, this action makes me even less trusting of him, not more. --Alecmconroy 11:50, 9 May 2010 (UTC)

After further discussion and reflection, I now believe it is prudent to emphasize just how critical this situation is. Given the overwhelming opposition to Jimbo, I don't think I could stay if manages to retain his special privileges. See Boycott Wikimedia. --Alecmconroy 13:20, 9 May 2010 (UTC)
now the sysadmin bit is removed as well Finn Rindahl 18:51, 9 May 2010 (UTC)

Second update: Founder flag permissionsEdit

The founder flag has been changed so that it no longer confers any 'action' permissions, only 'viewing' permissions. SJ+ 20:46, 9 May 2010 (UTC)

The current permissions applied by the founder flag are synopsized in the notice box. -- Avi 19:16, 9 May 2010 (UTC)

Then what is it that lets him delete files on projects without being an admin there? According to [3] he is not in any groups except the founder group. Regards, --ChrisiPK (Talk|Contribs) 20:35, 9 May 2010 (UTC)
Current permissions as of today, he could delete files - he can't do that anymore, Finn Rindahl 20:43, 9 May 2010 (UTC)
All I see is that the sysadmin group has been removed, but the link provided above specifies that the sysadmin group does not have the delete right. So how come he could delete until now? Regards, --ChrisiPK (Talk|Contribs) 20:57, 9 May 2010 (UTC)
Sorry, links seems to only have existed in my imagination. This is what I am talking about: Special:GlobalGroupPermissions/sysadmin. --ChrisiPK (Talk|Contribs) 20:58, 9 May 2010 (UTC)
D'oh, NVM, I get it. You removed the "delete" right from the founder group, right? --ChrisiPK (Talk|Contribs) 21:02, 9 May 2010 (UTC)
Sorry, didn't add the most relevant links... here's where Jimbo himself removed the delete & block permissions from the founder-flag, here's some later adjustment made by Avi. Laaknor's removal of the sysadmin-bit (at Jimbos request, linked above) makes it impossible for Jimbo himself to readd these permissions... Finn Rindahl 21:19, 9 May 2010 (UTC)

My congratulations to Jimbo, he blinked when it was time to blink. --Abd 01:44, 10 May 2010 (UTC)

UPDATE: Requests for comment/Restore Founder flag.--Nemissimo 19:30, 10 May 2010 (UTC)

InfoboxEdit

Timestamp the box at the top, pleaseEdit

It changed a lot in the past day; it's hard to keep track of what's going on, and newly arriving editors to this page will be even more confused otherwise. Thanks. Pohta ce-am pohtit 02:25, 10 May 2010 (UTC)

It's been changed a few times; I restored the timestamp from when that text first went up on the page last night. SJ · talk | translate 17:08, 10 May 2010 (UTC)

Info-box, who made it?Edit

Could the people who think they are responsible for the box of information on top (saying As a result of this and ..) please sign it? I couldn't figure out who they are exactly and I don't believe that this is the whole of information, there are different interpretations of the flags and it should be made clear, who's opinion this is (or remove the box). Thanks --Sargoth 16:07, 10 May 2010 (UTC)

Avraham updated it at 19:10 yesterday, and it was copyedited a few times after. SJ · talk | translate 17:07, 10 May 2010 (UTC)

I added the box originally as I made the last (minor) changes to the global Founder flag. SJ and others have been clarifying some of the points. Jimbo removed many of the permissions from the local (on Meta) Founders group, Laaknor removed the sysadmin flag, and I made some minor changes at the end. -- Avi 17:16, 10 May 2010 (UTC)
Thanks. :) --Sargoth 18:50, 10 May 2010 (UTC)
Return to "Requests for comment/Remove Founder flag" page.