wikiPhilosophy, or, There And Back AgainEdit


  • Iи Sоviэт Яцssiд, Цsэяьож дdd УОЦ!! — NTLJ4A[1]


Ignorance is infinite,
but patience is not.

Quote 1 of 3.

  • It's no exaggeration to say that millions of eyes[2] throughout the whole country, and the entire world, are watching. — Mikhail Khodorkovsky


  1. Wikipedians will crusade for the most insigificant and misguided causes.
  2. The more obvious it is that a viewpoint is odious, ignorant, wrong-headed, or obscure...
  3. ...the more likely its adherents will perceive Wikipedia as their best opportunity to promote it.
  4. Ultimately, you will lose patience with the unchecked flow of ignorance.
  5. At which point, inevitably, you'll be blocked for incivility.
  6. The goal then, is to accomplish as much as possible, before that comes to pass.

Quote 2 of 3.

  • Facts, they found, were not curing misinformation. Like an underpowered antibiotic, facts could actually make misinformation even stronger. — Boston Globe


  1. Anything truly insightful has been said better, and earlier, by someone else.
  2. If your edit sticks close to the original source, you will be accused of plagiarism.
  3. If your edit is paraphrased to avoid plagiarism, you will be accused of straying from the original source.
  4. GOTO 1
  5. On Wikipedia, any form of real-life expertise is a serious handicap.
  6. One would think a project to sum up human knowledge, ought to value people having knowledge.
  7. One would be abysmally mistaken.
  8. Wikipedia tends to attract obsessive amateurs — people who are deeply interested in arcane topics.
  9. As amateurs, they lack qualifications and/or recognition, and thus, view such things as suspect.
  10. Wikipedians have "really strange"[3] ideas about self-interest.
  11. A physician has a conflict of interest, when writing about topics related to medicine.
  12. A programmer has a conflict of interest, when writing about topics related to computers.
  13. A physicist has a conflict of interest, when writing about topics related to science.
  14. A pornstar has a conflict of interest, when writing about topics related to porn.
  15. A published author has a conflict of interest, when writing.
  16. Making edits related to something, when you demonstrably know something about the field in question, is suspect.
  17. Experts are blamed as the problem: called arrogant, called entitled, called too-uncollaborative-to-meet-the-double-standard.
  18. All this frustrates the experts. They tend to leave.
  19. A reasonable person will, at some point, decide that they have better things to do than argue with pathological obsessiveness.
  20. Wikipedia lacks any mechanism to ensure that reason triumphs over pathological obsessiveness.
  21. Our processes favor pathological obsessiveness over reason. Thus, the contents of our articles, reflect this reality.
  22. If you wrestle with a pig, both of you will get muddy.
  23. And the pig will enjoy it.
  24. Anyone who edits policy pages to favor their position in a specific dispute has no business editing policy pages.
  25. These are the only people who edit policy pages.
  26. Our processes favor pathological obsessiveness over reason. Thus, the contents of our soup, reflect this reality.
  27. If a person edits Wikipedia largely or solely to promote one side of a contentious issue, then the project is almost certainly better off without them.
  28. Because, simply by behaving naturally (see above), and by following our rules (see above), they will inherently drive away reasonable people.
  29. Most people edit Wikipedia largely or solely to promote one side of a contentious issue, as of 2013.
  30. Only a dumb-ass argues with a dumb-ass.[4]
  31. This is why editor-count has been steadily falling for five straight years.[5]
  32. This is why so few people are willing to edit articles about controversial topics.
  33. Yet, those articles are the most important[citation needed] leading-indicators of wikipedia's overall health.
  34. Wikipedia herself is ill.
  35. The cure is a vast influx of additional active editors: one million Good Eggs.
  36. Surely at least one-half-of-one-percent of our hundreds of millions of readers every month, is a Good Egg.
  37. So mote it be.

Quote 3 of 3.

Codified Authoritah.

Quote 4 of 3.

  • ...those who think that any association with money is necessarily corrupting. I can't really help that, and I can only state for the record that I think such people are seriously mistaken in many aspects of their world view. — DahFounder


Could you please figure out why she posted the same thing twice? See history for Wikimedia Forum. PiRSquared17 (talk) 16:03, 24 January 2014 (UTC)

"P.S. Who deleted this entry yesterday without any comment or message???? Is that how you welcome your new female users?" Who deleted it? I don't understand this, but maybe you would know, as you are better with new users than I am. PiRSquared17 (talk) 16:11, 24 January 2014 (UTC)
see also [7] PiRSquared17 (talk) 02:31, 25 January 2014 (UTC)
I think the Miriam came to look for her 9kb post, and expected to find three or four one-sentence bangvotes in reply. In our enthusiasm, we replied to each portion, and thus separated her sections a bit dramatically. :-)   When she came back, all she saw was TLDR perhaps? I'll paste a history-summary over there on her user-talkpage, for her to see what's going on.
  p.s. Alternatively, perhaps she had multiple tabs open in her browser, and when she clicked over to see who had responded, she was viewing a non-refreshed copy of the forum-page, before she had posted her first message. p.p.s. Or maybe some kind of 503 mess up, or ISP caching, or browser kerfuffle. But I'm guessing either TLDR 90% chance, outdated-tab 9% chance, mysterious other malfunction 1% chance. 13:05, 25 January 2014 (UTC)
p.p.p.s. She posted back on the 9th, but her message was blanked... error sending, or maybe the listserv wipes HTML emails, or who knows. Maybe you can ping her, and explain that the email got mangled somehow, but that her talkpage proposal was moved-then-buried-in-replies, not deleted. HTH. 13:40, 25 January 2014 (UTC)
[8]??? PiRSquared17 (talk) 14:51, 25 January 2014 (UTC)
I believe she has not made edits elsewhere on the project, and therefore is trying to follow msft-outlook-email-inbox conventions, where by default new messages are at the top (reverse chronological order). However, she self-reverted; maybe she noticed our inline commentary? Since then, radio silence. Hard to decipher exactly. 14:02, 29 January 2014 (UTC)
@PiRSquared17: Is that from an email you received from this user? Perhaps you should best tell her calmly to use her talkpage for discussing these things and give her a plain hyperlink to it in your email response if you get the chance. TeleComNasSprVen (talk) 04:10, 26 January 2014 (UTC)
No, it's from this diff, toward the bottom, in the "Conclusion: STOCK MARKET LAUNCH" section. PiRSquared17 (talk) 04:17, 26 January 2014 (UTC)
Well, shows you how obscure our commenting and messaging system (edit summaries and talkpages) really is, new users can't figure that out. We could really use some work improving on that front. On the other hand though, I have trouble believing people don't see the OROD at the top of the page. Maybe they think it's a message from Yahoo!? P.S. She self-identified as female, perhaps it's a good time to bring in the gender gap elephant-in-the-room question WMF keeps bringing up alongside the declining-editors issue with Wikipedia. TeleComNasSprVen (talk) 05:22, 26 January 2014 (UTC)
I addressed the discussion system and mentioned the gender gap in my replies to her on the Wikimedia Forum. ;) (Edit 05:36, 26 January 2014 (UTC): want to move the section back where it belongs? I don't understand why she keeps top-posting it, even after she should have read my messages about top-posting per OBOD, like you said.) PiRSquared17 (talk) 05:32, 26 January 2014 (UTC)
Though it pains me greatly to say this, I think that TeleComNasSprVen has hit the nail on the head... the trouble is entirely the baroque nature of our commenting-system.
  Anyhoo, I think that collaborative editing is a hard problem. Article-talkpage-syntax may need some help... or at least, we need to have on-wiki chat to supplement the talkpage stuff, for giving beginning-editors an easier way to contribute (but we need on-wiki chat to be integrated with the talkpage or else old-school folks will never notice the messages). Similarly, there needs to be a wordpress-style-forum, where beginners with Big Ideas can appear, and offer them up for consideration. And in fact... we have exactly that, already. Miriam has tried email which was too technologically old-school,[9] and talkpages which again were too technologically old-school,[10] but she has not yet tried — which *is* a wordpress-esque commenting system.
  Therefore, I suggest that we point her towards which currently has no comments, and is reasonably related to the *scope* of changes Miriam is suggesting (i.e. the end result of a changeover from non-profit-status into a for-profit-status-with-immediate-IPO-under-ticker-symbol-W). PiRSquared17, would you like to send her an email[11] with this venue-suggestion? Or is this a Bad Idea™ do you think? 14:02, 29 January 2014 (UTC)
She did reply, actually. She asked my name. Might I suggest you email her instead? I'm not good with new users. PiRSquared17 (talk) 17:04, 29 January 2014 (UTC)
Miriam *is* figuring out how to reply on our old-school talkpages, now, so I think the need to fallback to email is averted. She's still thinking that top-posting is okay, but I'm inclined to be lenient with her. If you are otherwise inclined, do as you see best. I have pinged Davidwr and Nemo and Jacek, so that they realize she is a bit new here. I suggest we wait until she agrees to stop moving stuff around, before cleaning up the mess. 04:18, 4 February 2014 (UTC)
She's moving things around again, see Jakec's talk page. She removed all our comments from the one at the bottom, but the top-posted copy (which should not even exist) still has the comments (she might have modified them, idk). This is getting quite nix to be honest, but I know she is probably quite confused by our system. Have we not explained it well enough? Maybe Flow will help with this... PiRSquared17 (talk) 02:10, 4 February 2014 (UTC)
Yes, she's getting the hang of things. I have asked her to let "David" win since he was the first to move stuff around. But in the meanwhile, I suggest letting her "win" and just leaving it messed up. Once she agrees to let us fix things, then we can fix things once, with her agreeing *not* to keep fighting about the positioning. I think the watchlist-"beeping" from the positioning-edit-war is prolly more annoying to the regulars, than having the stuff chronologically in the wrong location and/or duped. But you've got the sysop powers, if you want to put the page at fullprot, so she will stop moving stuff, you can. Prolly bitey, tho, and I don't see much *actual* harm in her antics. Not counting class-actionable wikiStress. :-)
  As to your suggestion that w:WP:FLOW would fix Miriam's learning-curve problem, the answer of course, is that it depends. I've seen promises that Flow-pages will still allow others to edit comments (and also the opposite promises). But the main thing that seems guaranteed to my mind, is that, quite quickly after launch, Flow-features that permit users to behave flexibly will be locked down, so that only w:WP:REVIEWER-caste people will be permitted to move stuff around, delete other people's comments, and such. Of course, my own preference is for Wikimedia_Forum#On-wiki_chat as a way to eliminate the need for beginners to immediately learn about edit-summaries, template-spams, and talkpages at all. There is an interesting project called EtherPadLite, perhaps you have heard of it? :-)   — 04:18, 4 February 2014 (UTC)
I'd like to talk to you on IRC (or etherpad /p/foo if you prefer). PiRSquared17 (talk) 15:59, 4 February 2014 (UTC)
Try here... 22:55, 4 February 2014 (UTC)
She has been blocked for 6 hours to cool off. After this and calling me a stupid bastard idiot on her talk page, I'm not sure I want to spend time trying to help her... PiRSquared17 (talk) 16:51, 4 February 2014 (UTC)
I have no fixed idea as to whether assisting Miriam will produce any benefit. I do think we have some level of obligation to help newcomers, but when they blow off the help, the obligation is extinguished, and attempts simply clutter up Recent Changes. I also have no idea who 74 is. Highly knowledgeable, but not a familiar style, specifically. And I don't have any investment such that I'd be motivated to investigate. Nothing here seems seriously disruptive. Once one knows that material triggers the Edit Filter, it can be disruptive to continue to trigger it. It's better to leave that investigation to edit filter managers, there are reasons why people can be blocked for deliberately triggering the edit filter. Small point, though. I spent some time on WP triggering the edit filter, but never deliberately. I was actually trying to avoid it, I wasted a perfectly good IP every time. So I'm not about to take the blame for that! Long story, to be found at [12]. --Abd (talk) 20:28, 4 February 2014 (UTC)
Hello Abd, nice to meet you. :-)   I'm pretty insistent on helping the beginners, to include Miriam, just on general principle. Tha includes helping them learn not to insult global sysops who are trying to help them. Sorry about the names you got PiRSquared; they aren't true. Miriam was actually trying to top-post, whereas I thought she was just confused (wish I'd grokked that sooner). With luck the realities of the need to stay w:WP:NICE at all times, will sink in, and there will be no further mistakes like that.
  As for myself, I wasn't trying to be disruptive either, I was trying to add myself to the list of metapedians (which I've recently decided was worth doing), and was prevented by an abuseFilter. Then, trying to ask for *help* with that abuseFilter, triggered another abuseFilter. :-)   So I went to ask for help from MF-Warburg and PiRSquared over on enWiki, which worked. Later, I *tried* to post the info from those enWiki threads here... and got caught by yet a third AbuseFilterBohtRegex. Maddening. I'm working on a scheme for friendlyizification of all the abuseFilter messages, template-messages, and such. That's slow going, though. (As for the enWiki filters... those I trigger all the time, but only recently. Methinks they are significantly ramping up the anti-anon-regex, is why, in the past six months... there is some server-capacity to spare, now that wikiDate is handling most of the interwiki stuff, is plausibly the reason.) In any case, I'll check out your own edit-filter-saga, thanks. 20:46, 4 February 2014 (UTC)

global ban versus local unbanEdit

TeleComNasSprVen brought up something that made me curious. There is, as I understand it, the following hierarchy of w:banhammers that are available to keep order.

  1. talkpage question (helpful)
  2. talkpage advice (semi-helpful)
  3. talkpage template-spam ("informative" level zero)
  4. talkpage template-spam (formletter warning level one)
  5. talkpage template-spam (stern warning level two)
  6. talkpage template-spam (big red stop level three)
  7. talkpage template-spam (super-officious level four)
  8. taken to the noticeboards "This message is being sent to inform you that there is currently a discussion at Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard regarding an issue with which you may have been involved. Thank you. (Or RFC/U)" TeleComNasSprVen (talk) 21:05, 4 February 2014 (UTC)
  9. 1 day block TeleComNasSprVen (talk) 21:05, 4 February 2014 (UTC) nixed this one, I don't think it is substantially different from a ~3day block in my rough categorization here... 3-hr-block is intended to be a "timeout"... 1.29167-day to 3.00000-day to 6.99999-day block is intended to cause thinking... 1.5wk to 6wk block is a Serious Block Indeed....
  10. ~~3 day block
  11. ~~3 week block
  12. ~~3 hour block (aka timeout-block) Abd had moved this up, as being "less severe" than the 3-day-block, but I disagree, the 3-hour-block is in practice *very* severe, when used on longstanding editors... beginners tend to get 31-hour or 48-hour or similar... that said, agree that a ~3mo block is more severe than a 3hr slap. But the 3hr slap *is* usually more 'severe' than the 3wk block.
  13. ~~3 month block
  14. t-ban @ AN/I or AN
  15. t-ban @ RFC/U
  16. arbcom t-ban
  17. AE t-ban
  18. 1 year block
  19. AE 1 year block
  20. indef block
  21. rangeblock TeleComNasSprVen (talk) 21:17, 4 February 2014 (UTC) yeah, good one thanks
  22. s-ban @ RFC/U
  23. c-ban @ AN/I
  24. arbcom c-ban
  25. AE indef block
  26. AE c-ban
  27. global block of IPs
  28. global lock of UIDs
  29. global ban (implemented as a global lock plus moral suasion)
  30. pissing off Wikimedia Foundation staff TeleComNasSprVen (talk) 21:05, 4 February 2014 (UTC) sigh :-)
  31. blaspheming The Church Of The Great Jimbo, may he live ten thousand years
  32. daring to mention that time Bruce Lee whipped up on Chuck Norris
(Original above by IP 74, signed below, some edits above by Abd (talk) 21:58, 4 February 2014 (UTC)) -- then edited again by IP 74. --Abd (talk) 03:11, 5 February 2014 (UTC)

PiRSquared17, is this accurate? (Please edit in place if you wish.) In particular, if someone is global-locked/blocked, or global-banned, can they be locally unbanned? 04:18, 4 February 2014 (UTC)

I really have no idea. I don't know a lot about blocks, and tend to avoid blocking. I think someone from enwiki would be better to answer this. PiRSquared17 (talk) 05:08, 4 February 2014 (UTC)
Yeah, for the ordering-hierarchy, I'll ask somebody there on enWiki, I just figured I would write it up while I was asking questions about the top-most-banhammers. There's a special global-block thing (I think this is the same as a "cross-wiki block"), which I knew about. There is also apparently the global-ban thing, which was news to me. My main question for the folks here (related to TeleCom's proposal to create a wikiSenate over on the forum-page), was that TeleCom asserted that if was global-blocked, that the IP could not be "unbanned" on any individual wiki, without the global-block first being removed, or something like that. Presumably this is because global-block/-ban is implemented deep inside the server-software. I'll post my question over on the forum page, or (gasp!) Read The Fine Manuals, and see what they say on the subject. 20:34, 4 February 2014 (UTC)
That is not true. Local admins can disable global blocks at any time, cf. Global_IP_block_exemption#Local_unblocking. The WMF might also "block" people who request things too quickly like a bot deep inside the server, but that is not common. PiRSquared17 (talk) 20:36, 4 February 2014 (UTC)
Danke, I kinda thought that was the case, but the link helps. 22:40, 4 February 2014 (UTC)
I hope you take my "wikiSenate" idea seriously, I think the inherent bureaucracy involved would really help stemming spurious global ban request pages from being introduced. For your list I've also added categories I believe appropriate and signed to mark my additions, but you are free to remove them if you don't think them appropriate. (What's AE?) TeleComNasSprVen (talk) 21:05, 4 February 2014 (UTC)
Yeah, I take it seriously, although I don't think it's a good idea necessarily. I've thought pretty long and hard about wikiConstitutions and wikiBicameralism and that sort of thing. And my conclusion is... that more thinking is needed. :-)   The idea of wikiGovernance is not straightforward, and I think it depends on what historical moment we believe wikipedia is actually at. I'm starting to believe that we are still in the very early days, in which case, we may not be ready for a constitutional convention just yet. But I will definitely consider what you suggest.
  Thanks for beefing up my list; AE is a noticeboard on enWiki which stands for "Arb Enforcement". Any time there is a problem on enWiki that goes to noticeboards, it tends to be handled at AN/I... except for perennial problems like Global Warming and Historicity of Jesus and UFOs, which are such intractable problems that they have already been sent to arbcom at least once before, and a ruling there was delivered. The AE-noticeboard is for violations of Discretionary Sanctions at articles about the Irish Republican Army, for instance; these are not taken to arbcom each time, but instead, the AE admins (~10 versus ~100 at AN/I) can re-apply the same arbcom remedy to a new crop of violations/violators. There are special rules against *undoing* AE-related blocks. See w:WP:AE for some of the details. 22:40, 4 February 2014 (UTC)
Arbitration Enforcement. Oft abused. If a block is decided on AN or ANI, any administrator may unblock, at least in theory. If it is an AE block, and even if it was really only decided by one administrator, it is not to be reversed, without referral to the Arbitration Committee. That's because of "discretionary sanctions," and the Arbitration Committee doesn't protectively review AE to insure that the sanctions are not being selectively enforced, which they are. To see this, ArbComm would probably need to put together a study of long-term AE behavior, and the behavior of those who propose AE sanctions and those who decide them. I can see the patterns, because I studied this for years, but they won't see those patterns without study, and they are disposed to believe that wiki communities simply don't do Bad Things Like That. --Abd (talk) 21:50, 4 February 2014 (UTC)
  • (edit conflict with above) As to each situation:
  • Global block. Applies only to IP. There is a local whitelist, so a global block can be locally overturned, easily.
  • Global lock. Applies only to named accounts. This can be locally overturned by renaming the account, generally requires a bureaucrat. Historically, there has been no sanction against local 'crats for renaming. Global locks of accounts amount to a ban of the account, globally, however, they do not require a ban discussion, hence they are well-understood as allowing local bypass. It used to be possible to detach an account from the SUL by renaming, and renaming back. That loophole may have been closed. However, local renaming is still possible, the software does not automatically apply to a new account name. A user may also simply create a new account. A global lock does not, by itself, establish a ban, such that a sock would automatically be blocked on discovery if the user is not locally blocked.
  • Global ban. It used to be claimed that users X and Y were globally banned, because Someone Important had said so. That has been deprecated. It was not respected, local wikis ignored it. Global locks were used and then defeated by the crat trick. i.e., renaming. However, there was a global ban discussion, Requests for comment/Global ban for Poetlister through which Poetlister became the first and only named globally banned user, based on what was developed as policy post-facto, Requests for comment/Global bans and Global bans. Global bans are enforced through global locks.
  • Can local wikis decide to allow a globally banned user to edit? This might have been tested on Wikiversity, because Poetlister had an active account there, v:User:Poetlister1. The account was blocked without local disruption (contrary to long-standing practice), I created a discussion, and there being no consensus for the block, I unblocked and was very quickly "emergency desysopped," and, in short order, indef blocked by the same administrator (a 'crat). Rather chilling, eh? I'm fairly sure that the WV community did not and does not support the block, but I have also not raised the issue since being unblocked. Eventually that may happen. Or not. It is definitely a hot potato.
  • Meanwhile, resolve in the other direction has been tested. There was a new user on Wikiversity, v:User:Collingwood who had become a custodian, and who was standing for 'crat. This user was identified, through private process, by WMF staff, as "related" to Poetlister, and the account was globally locked. That matches what Poetlister has said privately, that the user was known to him, personally, there might have been some common internet access at some point. So, it appears, one can be banned globally, enforced through global lock, through no direct offense or disruption, but by being found as related in some way to a banned user, the alleged fact being determined privately without notice or opportunity for defense. I have no idea if Poetlister is telling the truth or not, but the history of that case is, to say the least, remarkable. The user had not actually been disruptive for years at the time of the global ban. Enforcing the ban was made more difficult because of the block of the active user account on Wikiversity (because that created IP and user agent evidence accessible to any steward). In order to identify the account as related, the WMF must have retained evidence beyond the normal period. At one time they also had received the personal identification of Poetlister, since he had been a checkuser. --Abd (talk) 21:09, 4 February 2014 (UTC)
  • Interesting, I'd never heard of the Poetlister thing. Sounds kinda complicated. I was just doing the RTFM thing, and had come back to post my findings, and ask more questions about how global-ban was implemented. But you answered that handily. Appreciated. p.s. Edit conflict with your changes to the list, I tried to manually integrate, sorry if I flubbed anything. :-)   — 22:40, 4 February 2014 (UTC)
  • That should be the mantra I recite in a letter to the WMF. "If it weren't for Poetlister, we would not have global bans. We'd stop at global (b)locks." TeleComNasSprVen (talk) 22:53, 4 February 2014 (UTC)
The WMF actually encouraged that charade. It's one of the few truly mysterious things they have done. Most of this comment archived to history. --Abd (talk) 03:08, 5 February 2014 (UTC)