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Hi there,

Not really for me to say (that's what the election committee is there for), but the candidate submission you just published exceeds the guideline of about 1200 characters by far, encompassing about 5000 characters. Please note. Harel 20:46, 10 May 2008 (UTC)

EmailEdit

I have sent you an email relating to your candidacy for the 2008 Board Election.

For the Election Committee, Daniel 23:15, 10 May 2008 (UTC)

Apparent typo at candidate statementEdit

However, I wand to make sure, on behalf of the community, that this growth is not taking place in a fashion that jeopardizes its viability.

Good luck. I'm impressed by your idea to form committees for determining policy. I'd be happy to help. User:Kevin Murray at WP aka: --67.119.90.98 19:44, 12 May 2008 (UTC)

Hi there, good luck on your candidacy.Edit

Good luck in the elections for board of trustees. Would you like to comment on the chronic lack of database dumps of the English language wikipedia? -- Cimon Avaro 18:21, 15 May 2008 (UTC)

G'day Candidate!Edit

First I thought I'd offer a thank you for being brave / foolish enough to put your hat in the ring as a candidate for election to the Wikimedia Board of Trustees! - I wonder if you might have any time, interest, and enthusiasm to record a brief 10 / 15 minute audio interview about yourself / the reasons for your candidature / your wiki philosophy etc. etc. ? - I've been promoting a project on the english wikipedia called NotTheWikipediaWeekly - which is a grassroots effort to promote good communications through (semi) regular 'podcasts'.

If you have a couple of moments free, would you mind taking a look at this page and signing up if you're interested! It'd be great to chat with each and every one of you, and I hope you'll be amenable to this idea! Let me know if you've any questions at all, thought perhaps my english wikipedia talk page is the best spot.

The best of luck, and kind regards,

Privatemusings 03:29, 23 May 2008 (UTC)

thanks for the response, Steve - Skype is a pretty easy thing to setup really (and the wiki page is, as ever, a great way to quickly get your head around what it is exactly!) - you can pretty quickly and easily download it from the skype homepage - it's available on Linux, Mac, and Windows, so I'm sure you'll be right..... once you've installed it, it'll walk you through creating an account - you will then be able to 'add contact' - and add me, Skype ID : Privatemusings. You'll need a mic plugged in - but don't worry too much, 'cos the setup process walks you through all of that....
Skype has an inbuilt text messaging system too, which is pretty handy - and I'm happy to try and help you out with any other aspect too! good luck - and hopefully we'll chat on skype before too long! cheers, Privatemusings 06:29, 23 May 2008 (UTC)

Plannning the 'real world' conversationEdit

Thanks for both your interest and patience in setting up an audio conversation - I'm afraid I've found myself both 'real world' busy, and it took me a moment to figure out what the best way forward in organising these conversations could be.

I've created a 'sign up' sheet over at User:Privatemusings/ElectionDiscussions - which it would be great if you could peruse, and sign up at a suitable time. The times are in 'UTC' (which I gather is the official 'wiki' time) - but if you have any problems converting, there's a seperate section for you to simply drop the appropriate information in. I already have many of you as Skype contacts - but if you haven't forwarded this information so far, you can submit that at this time also.

I'm aiming to publish this podcast on 6th June - and believe (and hope!) that it might raise the profile of the election a little bit, as well as humanising the people behind the screen names a little. Thanks for your willingness to engage with this - head over here as soon as possible, and let's get chatting! cheers, Privatemusings 05:21, 29 May 2008 (UTC)

ThanksEdit

For ranking me so high, I take it to be a real compliment. I entered this race not knowing at all what to expect, and up till now it has been a rewarding and teaching experience and I'm grateful for some of the positive feedback I got. Lest I be suspected of some sort of secret dealings, I'll just say that our appreciation is mutual. Cheers, Harel 08:38, 4 June 2008 (UTC)

Harel, before you get too excited because you are #2 on his list, have a look who's ranked #3 ;-) Stefan64 15:27, 4 June 2008 (UTC)
Stefan, Steve did explain his ranking me #3:
The only further justification of my votes that I'll make at this time is an explanation of why I ranked Greg Kohs so high: despite disagreeing with him strongly on ad questions, and despite being concerned that he would be too interventionist, he's one of the few candidates who I think has shown any interest in tackling the WMF projects' serious problems head-on. His solutions are too radical for me, but I've learned over my career as a voter that it's usually better to vote for somebody more radical than you'd like than for somebody less radical than you'd like. Of course, he has a spotty on-wiki history, but I take him at his word when he says that he's running to help the WMF, and not to torpedo it; hopefully I'm right about that.
Just so the final outcome doesn't come as a surprise to you, I have now tallied eleven different trusted members of the editor and admin communities on various Wikimedia projects who have said they've ranked me among their top 3 choices. This will be interesting. -- Thekohser 03:06, 15 June 2008 (UTC)

Reply to your noteEdit

Thanks for your long note on my talk page. I spent a few minutes after I voted to review platforms. I think I may have rated Dedalus a little too high and Eclecticology a little too low, but it's close enough. I don't intend to change my vote.

I think you have to realize that it's not so much about you being a weak candidate, but rather you are part of a very strong field. I honestly wish we could choose more than one candidate from this field. I just think there are stronger candidates than you. I think you understand why I feel that way.

I realize that some of the candidates I'm voting for have very contradictory platforms with one another: some advocate for more foundation involvement in local projects; others prefer a hands-off approach. I'm looking for someone whose heart is in the right place. I think personal integrity can trump some of the actual issues that arise in discussions. I acknowledge your lapse in judgment which you admitted, and I'm not particularly bothered by it. As long as you learned from your mistake, that's good enough more than a year later. Look at User:Shalom Yechiel/Drafts and archives/Revelations and you will understand why I feel that way.

Regarding the final paragraph of my statement: this is actually a very serious problem waiting to happen. Just to make sure I wasn't fooling myself, I actually tried to hijack an eligible account and succeeded in doing so. On English Wikipedia, the archives of WP:CHU are readily accessible, so all I had to do was to find a user who had 600+ edits including 50 edits between March 1 and May 31, 2008, and who had been renamed to another account. I succeeded in doing so. w:User:Ohyeahmormons renamed himself to w:User:Irk but did not create his old account to prevent impersonation. I just now created that account and logged into Special:BoardVote. I am in fact able to vote from that account even though the edits attributed to that account belong to someone else. I have far too much integrity to double-vote on a board election, but if there is a hole in the voting security system, someone is likely to exploit it, especially since I already spilled the w:WP:BEANS. I assume you have the ear of the Foundation representatives who are managing the election. Do me a favor and tell them about this security hole, and see what can be done to rectify the potential problem. I would summarize it like this: even when edits have been attributed to a new username on a local wiki, they are still attributed to the old username on the election software, and the old username can be created by anyone who wants it. I have no way of knowing how many accounts can be hijacked in this manner by someone determined to rig the election: probably a couple dozen. Certainly that's enough to warrant notification to the election governing body.

I'll sleep better at night if you can tell me that you've forwarded this concern to someone who can act upon it. Thank you. Shalom Yechiel 20:32, 5 June 2008 (UTC)

Actually, I'll take care of that last part myself. Daniel Bryant seems like a good guy to ask. Shalom Yechiel 20:35, 5 June 2008 (UTC)
Re the RFA thing: yeah, I've thought about applying again for RFA. I did promise not to apply again for adminship via the RFA process for the next five years (it's linked from the word "post-mortem" in the "Revelations" essay). I wouldn't renege on that promise without a very good reason. I would be willing to apply for a limited adminship, in something similar to Wikipedia:Requests for adminship/Badlydrawnjeff 2 (which failed), but I'm not sure the community is ready for such a radical idea even with satisfaction of the current RFA process at an all-time low following the dramatically disastrous RFA for Dihydrogen Monoxide. The reason I would ask for limited adminship is to help me respond to administrative queries, such as at w:WP:SSP, where I am already highly active as a non-admin, and where these tools would help me fulfill tasks more efficiently without having to ask Rlevse every time I need someone to do a block. Specifically for dealing with sockpuppets, I would need blocking and unblocking, protecting and unprotecting, and the ability to view deleted revisions. I would not need deletion and undeletion, the ability to edit protected pages (including the Main Page and the Mediawiki namespace), the ability to grant rollback to users, or the ability to move pages that non-admins can't move. With the blocking and protecting tools I could also help at RFPP, AIV, UAA, and AN3RR, but my primary motive for requesting tools would be SSP. I've been active there almost a full year, and it's getting frustrating not to be able to close cases on my own, especially because some of them have waited two weeks or more without a response. (I can show examples if any are needed.)
My idea would be to seek a mentor, probably Rlevse, for a provisional period where I would have permission to use the tools I need but not the deletion or undeletion tools. After the provisional period, let's say 3-6 months, I could apply for full adminship in a second RFA. It's not so much that I think RFA is broken, but I said I wouldn't use it again, so if I want the ability to block users on SSP, I need to find some other method that the community can be happy with.
I still don't think it's quite time yet. I've been involved in some other controversies apart from the vandalism, which will be a full year in the past in another two days. (I vandalized the editthis.info wiki in July 2007, so if you want to count that against me, wait another month or so, and it will be a year after that incident.) I just don't think the community would give me even a provisional adminship only one month after I returned from a 6-week hiatus in which I promised on my blog not to return. Now threats of leaving Wikipedia are not new, and people have returned afterward, but it would be better to let that regrettable incident lapse into the past for a little longer. I'll get enough oppose votes for the vandalism without having to worry about other issues.
Just for the record, if you look at Kathyrn NicDhana's oppose and questions on my RFA as Shalom, she says I lied. I was dishonest and evasive, as one of the opposers noted, but none of the statements I made was factually untrue in the strictest sense. I did not deny vandalizing from an IP address once I was asked about it, and I also admitted to other vandalism of which I had not been directly accused. (In other words, I partially "came clean" in June 2007, and I finished the job in March 2008.) She also says I vandalized during an RFA as YechielMan. I checked and double-checked edits I made from IP addresses and sockpuppets, and none of the bad edits occurred during the days when the first or second RFA was open. It is true that I vandalized less than five days before my second RFA, and less than two weeks before my first RFA, but I did not vandalize while those RFAs were open. I mention this not to defend my behavior, which was totally unacceptable, but to respond to claims that I lied in such an egregious manner as never to deserve passing an RFA in my lifetime. If you believe the vandalism itself is grounds for a permanent opposition to sysopping me, you are entitled to that opinion. Indeed, nobody who has done as much vandalism as I did has ever come close to passing an RFA. However, I suspect, based on reading the oppose votes to my RFA as Shalom, that people are not so concerned with the vandalism itself, but with how I secretly vandalized under alternate accounts for months until I got caught red-handed. It's the cover-up, not the sin itself, that lingers in people's minds. My commitment to ethical integrity in real life, which casts a shadow over the way I write on Wikipedia, should eventually shine through the confusion and will become apparent to those who question it. Even in my darkest hour I didn't literally tell a false statement, and now in a much brighter hour I am not ashamed to own up to my past.
So you seem confused by what I wrote. I'm not surprised. It's hard to explain what motivated me to do what I did. The short answer is that I was mentally ill, and I needed an outlet to unleash destruction upon the world without causing irreparable harm. I knew that vandalism to Wikipedia could be repaired, so it wasn't as bad as destroying property or injuring myself. But it was at that point where I could not simply go on and live life normally. I was seeing a psychiatrist twice a week, and I was on two medicines concurrently in an effort to treat bipolar disorder. I almost failed all of my courses: at the last minute, thanks to some outside intervention, I was given permission to withdraw from one course and take three incomplete grades, the last of which I completed at home during the following semester. The worst period of my vandalism spree, between mid-April and late May 2007, corresponded with the most difficult period of my life. I had been mugged entering my apartment at about 1:00 AM (eastern U.S. time) on April 16, 2007–a date which lives in infamy because of the w:Virginia Tech Massacre which began about six hours later. The assailant wielded a butcher's knife, at least a foot long, and threatened to stab me if I did not cooperate. It turns out he got no benefit from mugging me: the cell phone he wanted was not on my person, and the wallet I gave him had no cash in it. Though it didn't benefit him, it hurt me a lot. The knife never came closer than about six inches from my clothing, but I can never forget the terror of thinking I was about to die. The whole incident was over in about two minutes, but after the guy ran out of the building, dropping my college ID card from my wallet in his haste to run away, I climbed up the stairs because he had chased me up to the second floor and warned me not to come down. I had no way of knowing if he was still hiding downstairs waiting to kill me if I made a move. So I kept knocking on doors at 1:00 AM until I found a Hispanic family on the fourth floor that happened to still be awake, and I asked them to call the police, and another 15 minutes later a police car drove up to the door of my apartment; by that time, someone from that family had verified that the man had left and it was safe to go back downstairs and enter my first-floor apartment. In the best of circumstances, it is extremely difficult to move forward after such a horrifying incident. In a delicate situation where I was already taking medicine and seeing a doctor for a disorder that had been bothering me off-and-on since late 2005, and had worsened from November 2006 until that point in time in Spring 2007, I was not able to recover quickly. Since for other reasons I was very active on Wikipedia, I lashed out at Wikipedia. Although I do not condone my actions, I understand them. There was a definite cause and effect, and the cause has more to do with mental health problems and external stresses than with any fundamental desire I might have had to destroy Wikipedia.
With the passage of a year, I have healed. A year ago, I had almost failed out of school in my last semester. Now I have graduated, and I am completing work in an elective course in order to close my transcript file. I have been accepted to the State University of New York at Stony Brook for this coming autumn to begin a five-year Ph.D. program in chemistry. I have spent much of the last year reuniting with my family and healing the emotional wounds I had, not with a therapist (which thank God I don't need anymore) but just by spending time with them and being active in my community. I look upon the past with regret and sadness, but I look upon it as the past, not the present. Those days of hell will not return, and the next time I face adversity, I will be more mature and better prepared to cope.
If you seriously want to nominate me for administrator on Wikipedia, you need to be aware of these issues. I won't decline a nomination indefinitely; at the right time, under the right circumstances, I would give it a try. I hope this clears up some of the confusion you described when responding to that essay. Shalom Yechiel 21:49, 5 June 2008 (UTC)

Foundation-imposed creation of committeesEdit

Hi! I read your candidacy text, but got a hard time understanding the list about local policy committees. Because it's rare me having a hard time understanding things, there must be some deeper analysis behind your statements, which then (according to my mind) must be important.

  • What problem, according to your experience is this committee organisation intended to solve?
  • Is it kind of an intermediary between WMF and the grass-root-level, that half of the other candidates hint to be lacking contact? I.e.: is it intended to balance the organization in a certain way, and then by policies only?

Greetings! rursus 11:26, 8 June 2008 (UTC)

I read your answer at my talk page, thanks a lot! I think it seems like an important idea. So, now I have to revote. But, there are some similar problems with certain topics, that become kidnapped by sects, let's just mention Scientologi, so that the articles cannot converge to acceptable quality. I have no proposal to solve this, I'm just noting that sometimes topics don't converge to consensus, which leaves for small holes here and there in the knowledge coverage. Good luck, and cheers! rursus 16:06, 15 June 2008 (UTC)
FYI, your answer got you a (shared by 1other) first vote. Your ideas are good! rursus 16:14, 15 June 2008 (UTC)

Attribution of GFDL-licensed content on Wikipedia for SchoolsEdit

Hello Steve,

I am following the foundation-l discussion about this issue and I will put it on the IRC-board-meeting at nov. 3rd. Thank you very much for the remark.--Wing 14:59, 27 October 2008 (UTC)

Andrew Cates from SOS childrens village is now on wiki-en-l and talking with the community now.--Wing 21:42, 27 October 2008 (UTC)

RivalsEdit

Hello, Mr. Smith!

We are rivals, right?

Hmmm? What should I do if I have been elected for the election?

Relly Komaruzaman Talk 12:00, 10 July 2009 (UTC)

Thank youEdit

Thank you, Steve - I enjoyed your contributions to the debates, and I hope you will question and suggest improvements to the Board, and help it avoid passivity. -- sj | translate | + 20:46, 12 August 2009 (UTC)

Thank you! As mentioned on foundation-l I will try to make different mistakes at least this time... Cheers, Kat Walsh (spill your mind?) 21:45, 12 August 2009 (UTC)

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