Where Free Speech is Just Cheap Talk II: You will be afraid!

Well, the blatant censorship and childish behavior of some of the ops and regulars on the semi-official Wikipedia IRC channels continue, like a cheap horror franchise that just doesn’t know when it’s past its prime.

I think the real disappointment here is that we’ve all seen this flick before. A group of teenagers come to what they believe is a secluded place where they can party, only to find out that they aren’t alone. There’s a slight twist in this script, however: I’m no monster. In fact, I’m no threat to them at all. I’m just another person who would like to be treated fairly. That leaves the question of whether these kids are going to figure out what the real monster is by the end of the story.

[12:38pm]denza242:Chess: pls
[12:38pm]Chess:you’re an op?
[12:42pm]Chess:hey wllm do you want a pizza
[12:42pm]Chess:with xxxtra pepperoni?
[12:42pm]Chess:extra sausage if u know what I mean bae
[12:44pm]denza242:chess pls
[12:44pm]denza242:ur drunk
[12:44pm]denza242:go home
[12:44pm]Chess:denza242: he public logged in #wikipedia and #wikipedia-en and he’s banned from both now
[12:45pm]wllm:Yes, please take a look at those logs.
[12:45pm]wllm:Chess had some very interesting things to say.
[12:45pm]denza242:wllm: can i see
[12:45pm]denza242:gimmie gimmie
[12:45pm]Chess:yeah sure bae
[12:45pm]wllm:Here ya go: https://wllm.com/2015/11/16/where-free-speech-is-just-cheap-talk/
[12:46pm]Chess:I can link its pretty funny
[12:46pm]Chess:I’m an internet famemoose now
[12:47pm]wllm:Yeah, Chess, you have a lot to be proud of.
[12:47pm]wllm:But those are your own words.
[12:48pm]wllm:So, I’m glad to see that you’re proud to see your name next to them.
[12:48pm]Chess:super proud
[12:50pm]denza242:Chess: idoh is in there but not here
[12:53pm]Chess:boom chikka bow eow
[12:54pm]denza242:bumm13: can you summon idoh
[12:56pm]Chess:bumm13 is an OP right
[12:57pm]wllm:Well, kicked from #wikimedia-ops.
[12:57pm]slakr joined the chat room.
[12:57pm]wllm:Hey, look, it’s the person who did the honors!
[12:57pm]wllm:Howdy, slakr.

Let me prefix this comment by making it crystal clear that I never said this or would say anything like this. I think Chess may have sourced it from an article about Gorilla Warfare on Encyclopedia Dramatica. Since I’m no fan of the stomach-churning and ruthless harassment that takes place on that site, I’m not about to link to it from here.

[12:57pm]Chess:wllm: What the fuck did you just fucking say about me, you little bitch? I’ll have you know I graduated top of my class in the Navy Seals, and I’ve been involved in numerous secret raids on Al-Quaeda, and I have ov er 300 confirmed kills. I am trained in gorilla warfare and I’m the top sniper in the entire US armed forces. You are nothing to me but just another target. I will wipe you the fuck out with precision the likes of which has never
[12:58pm]denza242:ay lmao
[12:58pm]wllm:Guess you just kick a problem away when you don’t like what’s being said, too.
[12:58pm]wllm:Yeap, Chess.
[12:58pm]Chess:slakr: we need to cut a promo on him
[12:58pm]wllm:I read that on GW’s ED page.
[12:58pm]wllm:Any idea why I know what’s on her page?
[12:58pm]wllm:I’ll tell you.
[12:59pm]Chess:it’s a public webpage
[12:59pm]denza242:slakr: are you by chance
[12:59pm]Chess:oh em gee
[12:59pm]wllm:Cause I had the really bad one taken down.
[12:59pm]denza242:and correct me if i’m wrong
[12:59pm]denza242:slakr: slacker on wikipediocracy
[12:59pm]wllm:Cause I didn’t like how it clearly harrassed her.
[12:59pm]denza242:slakr: k
[12:59pm]wllm:And I felt GW was being attacked.
[1:00pm]wllm:I knew someone who could do it, and I asked for that favor.
[1:00pm]wllm:Was I thanked?
[1:00pm]wllm:Not by a long shot.
[1:00pm]RD joined the chat room.
[1:00pm]wllm:But I didn’t ask for the favor to be undone. . .
[1:01pm]denza242:Chess: you summoned the wrong people
[1:01pm]Barras2 joined the chat room.
[1:01pm]Chess:you came to the wrong place wllm
[1:01pm]wllm:Cause, regardless of whether GW appreciates what I did for her- and she expressed a lot of gratitude privately- it’s the right thing to do to stop harrassment.
[1:01pm]Chess:let me cut a promo on him
[1:02pm]wllm:Chess: That’s what it’s like to walk to walk.
[1:02pm]wllm:It takes some courage.
[1:02pm]Chess:because, you see, you might walk the walk
[1:02pm]wllm:I do. . .
[1:02pm]Chess:but after I’m done with you
[1:02pm]wllm:Excuse me?
[1:02pm]•Chess drops mic
[1:02pm]wllm:Threatening me?
[1:03pm]wllm:Or just trying to be funny again?

To be clear, I don’t and never did believe Chess was making a real threat, here. I think it was just a lame attempt at a joke. It’s hard to tell, s/he’s just not that funny.

[1:03pm]Chess:it’s not a threat
[1:03pm]Chess:ITS A PROMISE
[1:03pm]denza242:Barras2 RD hi
[1:03pm]wllm:Chess, I’d happily meet you in person. Not to fight, to understand that we’re both people.
[1:04pm]wllm:People that want to be treated fairly.
[1:04pm]Chess:wllm: I know that
[1:04pm]wllm:And you treat people unfairly anyways?
[1:04pm]Chess:wllm: to be honest I never agreed with your mute but the ban for public logging is legit
[1:04pm]Chess:wllm: it says right there in the MoTD
[1:04pm]Chess:”No public logging”
[1:04pm]wllm:Would you be willing to walk the walk right now?
[1:04pm]Chess:how so?
[1:05pm]wllm:Will you go in to #wikipedia and #wikipedia-en and tell everyone that you didn’t agree with the mute?
[1:05pm]wllm:And tell them why?
[1:05pm]Chess:lol sure
[1:05pm]wllm:Do you have that much courage?
[1:05pm]Chess:I’ll go ahead
[1:05pm]wllm:I can’t check myself, of course.
[1:05pm]Chess:slakr: witness this
[1:05pm]wllm:But if you say you did it, I’ll believe you.
[1:06pm]wllm:If you’re going to put me down again, it’s predictable and frankly pretty cowardly to do in a place where I can’t respond.
[1:06pm]Chess:I did it
[1:06pm]Chess:ask RD or Barras2 if you want
[1:07pm]wllm:Copy it in here?
[1:07pm]•denza242 hides under HelixFossil
[1:07pm]Chess:So I don’t agree with the muting of wllm. I think he should’ve been warned first.
[1:07pm]Chess:that’s the message I sent
[1:08pm]wllm:Did you follow it up with anything or introduce it with anything?
[1:08pm]Chess:denza242: is in #wikipedia if you want verifications
[1:08pm]Chess:not really no
[1:08pm]wllm:Or was that the only thing you said?
[1:08pm]Chess:it was one message
[1:08pm]Chess:only thing
[1:08pm]slakr:actually, like I repeatedly said, #wikimedia-ops was the place to go to discuss bans and mutes–not #wikipedia–but seeing as you ignored that *and* you have no desire to quit logging the channel or rescind threats of doing so, there’s clearly not much more we can do.
[1:08pm]wllm:Then, thank you, Chess.
[1:08pm]wllm:I appreciate you having the courage to do that.
[1:08pm]Chess:still think the ban was justified
[1:09pm]Chess:but anyways I’m going to express my opinion that muting someone for bad etiquette is kind of BS if they weren’t warned about it
[1:09pm]Chess:but you were warned about public logging its right there in the MoTD
[1:10pm]RD:There are rules for a lot of channels that are posted in the topic (it’s not the MOTD).
[1:10pm]RD:Probably including the one(s) you were banned in
[1:10pm]wllm:No, I broke the rules.
[1:11pm]wllm:And I knew the consequences.
[1:11pm]wllm:Justified? Questionable.
[1:11pm]wllm:Against the rule? Not at all.
[1:11pm]wllm:That is, banning me.
[1:11pm]wllm:I broke the rule.

. . .and I just keep on truckin’. . .

[1:11pm]wllm:It’s just that I’d like to change the rule.
[1:12pm]wllm:And I’d like to change the behavior in those channels.
[1:12pm]slakr:…a little too eagerly, it would seem
[1:12pm]wllm:Maybe others do, but I’m not concerned with the screwing around or whatever.
[1:12pm]Chess:I don’t really think he did break a rule in constantly talking about the gender gap and making people uncomfortable

Hold the phone! That is a very interesting comment that I somehow missed the first time round:

“talking about the gender gap and making people uncomfortable”

What is there to be uncomfortable about? I wasn’t actually talking about the gender gap; I was asking whether and where it had been measured since 2011. But beyond that, the gender gap is a well recognized and publicized issue that the Wikipedia has been facing for years  and now I’m just writing stuff so I have more words that I can link to all the articles about it. Believe me, I could easily go on. . .

In short, the gender gap is a fact. And how ironic is that? Apparently facts can make some Wikipedians uncomfortable.

[1:12pm]RD:WHen your ban expires, fresh start
[1:13pm]RD:But all this chat surely isn’t helping

If by “isn’t helping,” you mean “isn’t helping you to make the Wikipedia community look like a bunch of intolerant children,” then, no, you’re right, it’s not helping at all.

[1:13pm]wllm:But I’ve very concerned with the treatment of people who just want to be part of the conversation.
[1:13pm]Chess:Too subjective
[1:13pm]wllm:Are you going to kick me from this channel, too?
[1:13pm]Chess:yeah but you weren’t really PART of a conversation
[1:13pm]wllm:No, Chess, I was.
[1:13pm]Chess:at the time, IIRC, you were just copy and pasting statistics into chT

Actually, no. I was answering whether the Wikimedia Foundation had delivered on targets for 2015 that were set in a 5-year strategic plan back in 2009-2011: a “vast undertaking” that consumed untold (Or told, maybe? Link, anyone?) amounts of time and money to come up with 5 strategic priorities and those 5 targets I’ve already mentioned. Given the investment made, one would think it’s worth checking in on how the WMF did. As it turns out, not very well.

[1:14pm]wllm:And I’ve been in there long enough to see others go on for much longer with much more comments with no responding.
[1:14pm]wllm:So, yeah. It’s hard to justify that I somehow broke implicit rules.
[1:14pm]RD:Was there something being talked about before all this started?
[1:14pm]Chess:very true, but at the same time, there was an actual conversation going on

You can check out that “conversation” in my first post. You can decide for yourself whether it is more relevant to Wikimedia than talking about how the WMF is doing on its 5-year plan that is ending in a little over a month.

[1:14pm]slakr:interestingly, this follows the same pattern that occurred on-wiki, and resulted in the same actions:  people disrupting things, tenaciously, to advance an agenda
[1:14pm]wllm:And where is the rule that you’re citing for kicking me?
[1:14pm]RD:Something more related to Wikimedians or something relevant
[1:15pm]Chess:public loggimg
[1:15pm]wllm:No, before that.
[1:15pm]wllm:NOt the ban.
[1:15pm]wllm:The kicking me. Before I pubished anything.
[1:15pm]wllm:Maybe that rule exists. Where is it?
[1:15pm]Chess:the one in the MoTD
[1:15pm]Chess:RD: nothing at all relevant to wikimedia
[1:15pm]slakr:yes. trolling.
[1:15pm]RD:Preventative, wllm

Sorry, that one’s a bit lost on me. Are you talking about preventative justice?

[1:15pm]Chess:RD: the chat in #wikipedia-en and #wikipedia
[1:15pm]Chess:wllm: you threatened
[1:15pm]wllm:Please, where is that rule.
[1:15pm]wllm:Cite it.
[1:15pm]Chess:ahem I mean *promise*
[1:15pm]RD:The no logging rule?
[1:15pm]wllm:Before I was kicked the first time.
[1:16pm]RD:That’s a network wide policy
[1:16pm]wllm:No, Chess, that was after I was kicked the first time.
[1:16pm]wllm:Please, cite the rule for kicking me.
[1:16pm]Chess:first time you were muted
[1:16pm]wllm:RD: Where is that policy?
[1:16pm]RD:It’s more of a strongly worded guideline
[1:16pm]Chess:Plan or incite actions against Wikipedians, trolls, vandals, Wikipedia critics, or anybody
[1:16pm]wllm:I mean, some link.
[1:16pm]wllm:Where is it?
[1:16pm]RD:The staff of this network leave channels to run themselves

Yes, but unlike most channels, #wikipedia-en and #wikipedia have enjoyed some special treatment on Wikipedia. Maybe it’s time for that treatment to come to an end.

[1:16pm]RD:Google it
[1:16pm]Chess:Publish logs of the channel
[1:17pm]wllm:No, Chess, *before* I told you that.
[1:17pm]RD:And that ^ is linked in the topic of the channels you were banned in
[1:17pm]slakr:not like I’m going to lawyer on the rules, These limits are largely “common sense”

Whose “common sense”, slakr? What you people were saying here makes no sense whatsoever to me. Frankly, it’s the weakest of weak-sauce rationalizations for treating a person unfairly in censoring him because he was saying something you don’t want others to hear.

[1:17pm]Chess:If somebody appears unwilling to talk to you, it’s best to leave them alone.
[1:17pm]wllm:Chess: Case in point.
[1:18pm]wllm:I wasn’t talking to anyone in particular.
[1:18pm]wllm:I wasn’t addressing anyone with my comments.
[1:18pm]wllm:It was certainly relevant to the channel topic.
[1:18pm]Chess:Wikimedia supports free speech but some statements can be disruptive and are usually inappropriate in Wikimedia IRC channels.

Ah. Here’s where we get to the crux of the matter. Any statement of fact that isn’t flattering to the Wikimedia Foundation or the Wikipedia community is “disruptive” and “usually inappropriate” in Wikimedia IRC channels. Got it. . . but don’t think I’m about to accept it.

[1:18pm]wllm:So, please, *where* is the policy.
[1:18pm]RD:Guys, I think that this discussion is about done
[1:19pm]wllm:About to get kicked again. . .
[1:19pm]RD:These types of discussions are supposed to take place in -ops
[1:19pm]wllm:Where they kicked me, too.

What can I say? I wasn’t allowed to bring up issues with the behavior of ops there. I guess I was “off-topic” on yet another Wikipedia channel.

[1:19pm]RD:If you blew your chance there it does not mean you can just go into other channels and complain
[1:19pm]wllm:You guys need to have the courage to use your words.
[1:19pm]RD:Even though this channel has no posted official guidelines, this discussion surely does not belong and is off topic here
[1:19pm]wllm:Instead of your op commands.
[1:19pm]RD:I just used many words
[1:19pm]RD:Please read them.
[1:19pm]wllm:You are really afraid.
[1:19pm]wllm:Aren’t you.
[1:19pm]RD:Do you have any questions?
[1:20pm]wllm:Yes, I asked them above.
[1:20pm]RD:I told you that’s off topic here
[1:20pm]wllm:Why was I silenced, then kicked before I said I’d publish the logs?
[1:20pm]wllm:Is it?
[1:20pm]wllm:What’s the topic here

Looks like asking what the topic is here is off-topic, too. . .

[1:20pm]RD:Anything else?
[1:20pm]Chess:social stuff wllm
[1:20pm]wllm:Yes, I just asked.
[1:20pm]RD:Not quite sure, but surely not complaining about bans.  That’s #wikimedia-ops
[1:20pm]wllm:And what is that?
[1:21pm]wllm:I’m not complaining. . .
[1:21pm]wllm:I’m asking questions.
[1:21pm]Chess:The topic is An unofficial social channel for wikimedians! | Idling: mandatory | Public logging prohibited (think of the trees!) as set forth by bumm13
[1:21pm]wllm:Are you afraid of answering my questions?
[1:21pm]Chess:social in this case
[1:21pm]wllm:Are you afraid?

And that’s when I was kicked by the honorable Barras2. I gotta say his/her timing was excellent. It was very satisfying to go out asking the most important question of all.

So, in this sequel we find out that some facts-Wikipedia’s massive gender gap, for one- aren’t welcome on Wikipedia channels, that Chess may not be as 2 dimensional as s/he first seemed but still struggles to find something to say that is actually funny, and that these op-enabled petty tyrants think that the best way to address the biggest issues facing Wikipedia is to ignore them and mute, kick, and ban anyone who brings them up because they make them “uncomfortable”.

I’ll go out with the only last words fit for such an unoriginal, immature schlock-fest:

The End?

Where Free Speech is just Cheap Talk

There are a lot of diverse viewpoints in the Wikipedia community- not surprising considering that Wikipedians come from all walks of life. Sometimes- well, pretty much all the time- Wikipedians find their opinions and values at odds. Take, for example, the issue of Free Speech. The Wikimedia Foundation lists Freedom of Speech as one of its Guiding Principles. Considering the substantive actions the organization has take in the past like Wikimedia Foundation v. NSA, it looks like they mean what they say. Others in the community point out that Wikipedia itself is not the place to practice Free Speech. And still other Wikipedians are only concerned about Free Speech when it comes to their own. You might be surprised to learn that there are some Wikipedians who take great pleasure in silencing others, and not all of them are third-string Wikipedians; in fact, some of the most recognizable Wikipedians in the community indulge in this kind of behavior.

Let’s take a look at one case-in-point for that last group. The following is an annotated transcript of a conversation I had on the #wikipedia-en IRC channel:

[6:43pm]wllm:Does anyone know if there’s a report card in the works for the 5-year plan ending in 2015? https://strategy.wikimedia.org/wiki/Main_Page
[6:44pm]wllm:There are some very specific targets along with the softer targets, and I’m wondering if they’ve been met.
[6:46pm]wllm:There’s this: https://reportcard.wmflabs.org/
[6:46pm]wllm:But anything specific to the 5-year plan?
[6:50pm]wllm:Here’s what I get:
[6:51pm]wllm:Increase the total number of people served to 1 billion? Yes, if “people served” is defined as monthly uniques and mobile visitors are counted, too.
[6:53pm]Shirik:on a totally random note, what happens on commons every september?
[6:53pm]Shirik:there’s a massive spike on editors every september
[6:53pm]enterprisey:Eternal September
[6:54pm]SigmaWP:the goal of the five year plan is to transfer our backward and medieval technology on to the lines of new, modern technology
[6:54pm]wllm:Increase the number of Wikipedia articles we offer to 50 million? No. There are currently about 38M articles.
[6:55pm]SigmaWP:heavy industry, with machine building as its core
[6:55pm]wllm:Yeah, there’s a lot of talk about that.
[6:56pm]SigmaWP:an iron and steel industry, a tractor industry, an automobile industry, a machine-tool industry, a chemical industry, an aircraft industry
[6:56pm]wllm:But there are also targets set out in the summary (and more in the body, no doubt): https://strategy.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia_Movement_Strategic_Plan_Summary/Summary
[6:58pm]wllm:Ensure information is high quality by increasing the percentage of material reviewed to be of high or very high quality by 25 percent? Having a hard time finding the page that aggregates articles by quality. I know I’ve seen one before.
[6:59pm]Stabila711:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Statistics <–The pie chart is broken but the table shows articles by quality.
[7:01pm]geniice:Shirik wiki loves monuments
[7:01pm]wllm:Any idea what the bar is for “high” quality articles?
[7:02pm]Stabila711:I would have to say GA or higher.
[7:03pm]geniice:Either way we’ve done that one no problem
[7:04pm]wllm:Then that one would be a big No. We have less than 1% that meet that bar.
[7:04pm]wllm:Ah, NM.
[7:04pm]wllm:That’s *increased* by 25%.
[7:06pm]wllm:I don’t see any historical data on that page to verify that one.
[7:07pm]geniice:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Good_article_statistics bit over a 100% increase
[7:07pm]geniice:wllm anyway why are you asking?
[7:08pm]wllm:Personally? Because I’m curious.
[7:09pm]wllm:But, in general, because it’s important to understand whether that plan was successful.
[7:09pm]Stabila711:Multi-year plans are rarely fully successful. They are meant to be ambitious.
[7:10pm]wllm:I gather we’re going in to another strategic plan right now.
[7:10pm]wllm:Well, ambitious is great.
[7:10pm]wllm:Yes, we.
[7:10pm]wllm:But it makes no sense to set targets that aren’t achievable.
[7:10pm]geniice:you have less than 20 edits this year. There is no we
[7:11pm]wllm:It’s been a busy year.:)
[7:11pm]wllm:And I am part of we.
[7:11pm]wllm:Sorry to break it to you.
[7:12pm]wllm:Or do I not have the right to ask such questions unless I’ve edited WP more than 20 times in the past year?
[7:14pm]wllm:So, going by the number of FA’s, we’ve missed the target for increasing high quality articles by 25%, too.
[7:14pm]geniice:wllm you’re entire involvement with wikipedia has been to generate drama. Combined with your lack of edits there is no reason to consider you when dealing with strategic planning
[7:15pm]wllm:geniice, I’m going to avoid drama by not reacting to that.:)
[7:17pm]wllm:Next: Encourage readers to become contributors by increasing the number of total editors per month who made >5 edits to 200,000. . .
[7:20pm]wllm:There’s an outdated chart tracking this one: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Wikipedians#/media/File:ActiveWikipedians.PNG
[7:21pm]Chess:hey guys lets talk about our favorite swords that we like to keep
[7:21pm]Chess:and how we never like sheaths

Now, if you’re the suspicious-type, you might start wondering if some of these distinguished Wikipedians might be raising issues that- while important- don’t have much to do with Wikipedia in hopes of distracting others from what they wish weren’t being said in the first place.

[7:22pm]wllm:67120 active editors in 9/2015: https://stats.wikimedia.org/EN/TablesWikipediansEditsGt5.htm
[7:22pm]Chess:gorillawarfare: 1v1 me csgo
[7:23pm]geniice:Chess https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seax
[7:23pm]wllm:67120 < 200000, so no on that one.
[7:24pm]wllm:Actually, the number of active editors has gone down since that plan was finalized.
[7:24pm]slakr:huh. I had no idea that [[Sherlock Holmes (play)]] existed
[7:24pm]wllm:~73k to ~67k
[7:25pm]wllm:Last one: Support healthy diversity in the editing community by doubling the percentage of female editors to 25 percent and increase the percentage of Global South editors to 37 percent
[7:26pm]Chess:can we get people who are both genders
[7:26pm]Chess:one bird with two stones
[7:27pm]slakr:you do realize the other portion of that phrase is “kill,” right?
[7:27pm]geniice:Chess Narrowing it down to two would be kinda dicey
[7:27pm]Chess:yeah I sexually identify as an attack helicopter
[7:27pm]Chess:please respect that
[7:28pm]slakr:I just don’t understand love between rotors–but I’m trying.
[7:28pm]slakr:it seems like the discussion goes round and round
[7:28pm]Chess:yeah well THE BIBLE says that two rotors can NEVER connect
[7:29pm]slakr:dude, choppers don’t read the bible, they shred it.  Literally.
[7:29pm]geniice:One of the reasons I’m looking forwards to good cyborg argumentation is that precedence against baseliners will provide an nice cyberpunk ambiance to things
[7:29pm]Chess:oh god not this body argumentation
[7:29pm]geniice:slakr they don’t so much fly as beat the air into submission
[7:29pm]Chess:or whatever
[7:30pm]Chess:you know what’s interesting is that once brain computer interfaces are up we will have LITERAL thought police
[7:30pm]geniice:well yes. How else you stop the malware?
[7:31pm]Chess:”you just thought of something racist you’re going to jail”
[7:31pm]geniice:But the sooner they can work out how to build filters into my airways the better. I don’t like wearing resparators
[7:32pm]geniice:Chess baseliners are not a race. They are simply people who have made different life choices
[7:32pm]Chess:I’m still wondering why I can’t hallucinate at will
[7:32pm]wllm:Hmmm. . . it’s harder to get stats on gender of editors.
[7:32pm]Chess:mind over matter rjght
[7:33pm]slakr:on the upside, you’re not in direct danger of being schizophrenic
[7:33pm]wllm:I guess it is measured by survey, and the last one was in 2013?
[7:33pm]Stabila711:Chess: Your upper brain functions and your conscious mind won’t allow it.
 [7:33pm]Chess:Stabila711: yet why won’t it allow it?
[7:34pm]Chess:Stabila711: is there an evolutionary reason?
[7:34pm]Stabila711:Chess: Survival mechanism I guess.
[7:34pm]Stabila711:Everything evolutionary based is based on survival.
[7:34pm]Chess:based on reproduction actually
[7:34pm]Stabila711:Well…survive long enough to pass on your genes though reproduction.
[7:34pm]slakr:because the luxury of being able to sit around and hallucinate at will is a relatively recent thing to come about.
[7:35pm]slakr:the luxury, not the ability
[7:35pm]Chess:why can people control their body temperature and pain at will them
[7:35pm]wllm:Last survey I can find is the one from 2011: https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Editor_Survey_2011
[7:35pm]Stabila711:Chess: Different parts of the brain perhaps?
[7:36pm]slakr:because ignoring pain, on the other hand, is something that is and has always been evolutionarily advantageous
[7:36pm]slakr:–in certain situations
[7:36pm]Chess:slakr: not really
[7:36pm]Chess:slakr: pain is evolutionarily advantageous because it communicates something is wrong
[7:37pm]slakr:pain’s a notice that something’s gone wrong, but usually it’s only something that’s not life threatening.
[7:37pm]wllm:That survey found that women editors make up 8.5% of all editors.
[7:37pm]slakr:and in cases–wllm, are you just talking to yourself?
[7:37pm]Sir_Designer:slakr not really.  pain is a wonderful diagnostic and compelling agent.  the injured (pained) unit goes off line and takes it easy to heal itself.  Or withdraws from the open flame.  YMMV
[7:37pm]Chess:if you couldn’t feel pain you’d be fucked, see people who genetically have a defect that they can’t feel pain
[7:37pm]Chess:wllm: you are man sorry
[7:37pm]Stabila711:Ever heard of CIPA? Genetic inability to feel pain.
[7:37pm]geniice:Chess  Pain, even agony, is no more than information before the senses, data fed to the computer of the mind. The lesson is simple: you have received the information, now act on it. Take control of the input and you shall become master of the output.
[7:37pm]wllm:Yes, I am indeed.

OK. Duh. I read Chess’ comment above as “You are a man sorry”, and there’s no point in denying that. I don’t agree, however, with what was actually said; there’s a difference between talking to oneself and talking to others who may or may not be listening. Especially when they respond from time to time.

 [7:38pm]Chess:geniice: yeah but the computer of the mind is simply a complex collection of rules that takes inputs and creates outputs
[7:38pm]slakr:Sir_Designer: yeah, but if your child is in danger of being burned, it’s advantageous for you to ignore the burn
[7:38pm]Chess:slakr: which is why love can overpower pain
[7:38pm]slakr:as opposed to being crippled by it
[7:39pm]geniice:wouldn’t it make more sense to make your child flameproof in the first place? The flesh is weak. Embrace the tungsten carbide
[7:39pm]slakr:well, yes.
[7:39pm]Chess:ok i know the solution
[7:39pm]slakr:actually, I had a friend called “T.C.”
[7:39pm]slakr:now I know why.
[7:39pm]slakr:he was made of metal.
[7:39pm]Chess:what if I made it evolutionarily advantageous to hallucinate?
[7:40pm]Chess:at will
[7:40pm]slakr:some people can
[7:40pm]Chess:but why can’t I?
[7:40pm]wllm:Did the editor surveys stop in 2012?
[7:40pm]geniice:Didn’t know this was at the british museum https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seax_of_Beagnoth
[7:40pm]slakr:because you’re not one of those people.
[7:40pm]wllm:How is the gender gap measured?
[7:41pm]wllm:Seems odd that we wouldn’t measure something that’s listed as a strategic target.
[7:41pm]kikichugirl:wllm: I’d say it’s measured by the amount of women vs. the amount of men, in terms of active editors

Funny, I was told that no one was responding to me to justify what happens in 2 minutes.

[7:42pm]wllm:Where can I find that?
[7:42pm]Sir_Designer:geniice wow.  thank you for a new word, seax.
[7:43pm]Sir_Designer:kikichugirl I was able to play the MAYBE YouTube video you asked us about yesterday.  It is Chinese Pop, with a little mit of false-metal thrown in in the instrumentals.  But the vocal styling is mainstream pop.
[7:43pm]Chess:rip wllm

And. . . this is where I got silenced. 19 minutes later I was banned for threatening to repost channel logs. Parenthetically, one has to wonder why they are so concerned with people reposting logs of a public forum; may be they not very interested in associating their names with this kind of behavior- even if it’s their own. In any case, what follows is the conversation in which I supposedly threatened to repost the channel logs, as taken up in another official channel by the name of #wikipedia. As you can see, the ban was made on false pretenses. I never threatened I’d post them here; I promised them I would.

[7:43pm]wllm:So, I was just asking if we met our strategic goals on #wikipedia-en, and being very nice and data-driven about it, and one of the admins silenced me.
[7:43pm]wllm:I don’t think that’s what the Wikipedia community is all about.
[7:43pm]wllm:If there is an admin here who is also an admin there, I’d sure appreciate it if you’d unsilence me.
[7:44pm]Chess:sometimes you need to learn that people don’t care about what you have to say
[7:44pm]wllm:So, then I can’t say it?
[7:44pm]Chess:say it somewhere else
[7:44pm]wllm:Is that what Wikipedia is all about?
[7:45pm]Chess:irc is “internet relay chat”
[7:45pm]Chess:no this is IRC
[7:45pm]wllm:Yes, about wikipedia.
[7:45pm]Chess:it’s for conversation
[7:45pm]Chess:not really about wikipedia a lot of the timr
[7:45pm]wllm:And I was talking about something very on-subject.
[7:45pm]Chess:true, but nobody really wants to talk about it with you
[7:45pm]wllm:So, it’s not OK to talk about wikipedia on #wikipedia-en?
[7:46pm]wllm:OK, so that’s how you handle it?
[7:46pm]Chess:it’s not OK to talk to yourself in an irc channel
[7:46pm]wllm:You silence those who are saying something you don’t like?
[7:46pm]wllm:HOw do you know others weren’t silently listening
[7:47pm]wllm:Did someone ask them before silencing me?
[7:47pm]Chess:conversations are two sided
[7:48pm]Chess:irc is for conversations
[7:48pm]Chess:you were talking in a one sided manner
[7:48pm]wllm:Yes, and people were replying to me.
[7:48pm]Chess:not really no
[7:48pm]wllm:Really, Chess?
[7:48pm]Chess:yeah kikichugirl did
[7:48pm]wllm:Please, look at the transcript.
[7:48pm]wllm:Chess: Do you think you’re being fair right now?
[7:49pm]wllm:Are you holding up Wikipedia’s ideals?
[7:49pm]Chess:think of a different topic man
[7:49pm]wllm:Silencing people saying something you don’t like?
[7:49pm]Chess:hmm lets see wikipedia’s ideals
[7:49pm]wllm:O, I see. . .
[7:50pm]wllm:So, it’s OK for me to talk, as long as it’s not about something you don’t want me to talk about?
[7:50pm]Chess:it’s OK for you to have conversations
[7:50pm]wllm:And I was.
[7:51pm]Chess:not really, no
[7:51pm]Chess:lets see
[7:51pm]Chess:when you joined
[7:52pm]Chess:wllm: There’s an outdated chart tracking this one: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Wikipedians#/media/File:ActiveWikipedians.PNG
[7:52pm]Chess:22:20 you said that

Of course, you already know this. It’s all in the transcript above. Feel free to help out me and our friend Chess get the story right with some independent fact checking.

[7:52pm]Chess:wllm: That survey found that women editors make up 8.5% of all editors.
[7:52pm]wllm:Chess: There’s no justification for what y’all did over there.
[7:52pm]wllm:It was pretty lame.
[7:53pm]Chess:17 minutes into you talking to yourself
[7:53pm]Chess:nobody acknowledged you
[7:53pm]Chess:for 17 minutes
[7:53pm]Chess:slakr: and in cases–wllm, are you just talking to yourself?
[7:53pm]Chess:literally the one time you’re acknowledged
[7:53pm]wllm:I wasn’t talking most of the time.
[7:54pm]slakr:guys, if you want to discuss bans, please use #wikimedia-ops
[7:54pm]wllm:Chess: Do you believe in free speech?
[7:54pm]Chess:no but you honestly need to learn social skills
[7:54pm]Chess:I love muh free speech
[7:54pm]wllm:Yours. I see.
[7:54pm]Chess:Start your own irc if you want to rant to yourself all day
[7:54pm]Chess:that’s freedom of soeech
[7:55pm]wllm:I’m not ranting.
[7:55pm]wllm:I’m asking you a fair question.
[7:55pm]Chess:I believe in freedom of speech
[7:55pm]wllm:After having been silenced in a supposedly open forum.
[7:55pm]Chess:not an open forum
[7:55pm]Chess:it’s a discussion channel
[7:56pm]wllm:Chess: You’re a hypocrite.
[7:56pm]Chess:freedom of speech means you are legally allowed to say whatever you want
[7:56pm]Chess:honestly I was in your position at one time
[7:56pm]wllm:Best of luck to you. I’ll exercise my free speech on my blog.
[7:56pm]Chess:I didn’t know when to let something go
[7:57pm]wllm:I’m letting go now.
[7:57pm]Chess:just remember that if nobody replies to you, they’re probably not interested
[7:57pm]Chess:the quiet is only for 24h iirc
[7:58pm]wllm:I’m not going to wait that long.
[7:58pm]Chess:come back, and you can try to discuss the gender gap if people want to
[7:58pm]wllm:It’s all going on the blog.
[7:58pm]Chess:neat i’d love to check it ot
[7:58pm]wllm:Along with this discussion.
[7:58pm]Chess:awesome I’ve always wanted to be internet famous
[7:58pm]Chess:give me my big break bb
[7:58pm]wllm:You’ll be anonymous.

Chess, I decided to oblige you and keep all the names intact instead of anonymizing everything. You’re welcome.

As you can see, there are people who believe in Free Speech and stand up for it, there are people who don’t believe in Free Speech and stand up for that conviction, and there are people who say they believe in Free Speech when it is convenient for them and stand up for nothing at all. After all, why bother standing up if you don’t have the courage to walk the walk anyways?

My Musical Mid-life Crisis

For a change that I hope is as refreshing to everyone reading this as it is to me, this post has absolutely nothing to do with Wikipedia. It’s also refreshingly short, probably because the subject isn’t very interesting. It’s mostly about me. So, without further ado, let’s get personal.

I turned 40 on October 17, 2014. Like a lot of folks, I’ve decided that my second 40 years will be better than the first. I’ve overcome a lot of challenges that sent a lot of headwind my way in the first 40. But I won’t stop there. I refuse to settle for anything less than complete satisfaction. And what I find most satisfying is making music. So, to kick off my next 40 years, here’s an IDM-ish track I produced over the last couple of days:

I’m not exactly a mainstream kinda guy, and you’ll probably notice that this goes for my musical taste (if one can even call it that), as well. But I hope all the musically like-minded people find it worth a listen all the way to the end. On the off-chance that you’re curious, the image was made from a bad 3D scan of my head.

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A Fork in the Road?

Fork-In-The-RoadI’ve been watching the MediaViewer debate unfold with uncharacteristic silence. I figure every point to be made has been made by others far more eloquent than I. Just to get my opinions out of the way:

  • I share most of the concerns with MediaViewer.
  • I believe that the way the WMF and the broader community collaborate to develop and release software going forward is the bigger issue by far.
  • I don’t think that adding another level of privileges to Mediawiki is a good solution to any problem.
  • Having had to make go/no go decisions on software releases myself, I reserve rollbacks for releases that break existing use cases with no workarounds. Since users can opt out of MediaViewer, I don’t think that a rollback is called for where it has already been deployed.
  • I believe that MediaViewer can and will be a great addition to Mediawiki.
  • I know that development cycles are long, that big changes have been made at the WMF since the MediaViewer project was kicked off, and that Lila was appointed specifically for her expertise in managing software releases. Patience may pay off now, even if it hasn’t before.

As far as I can tell, with the possible exception of the necessity of a rollback, my beliefs are consistent with those of most people speaking up on wikimedia-l and elsewhere. If this post were just about these issues, I’d leave it at “+1”.

There is one plot twist here that I’d like to add something to. In my opinion, the Letter to the Wikimedia Foundation is the best thing to come out of the MediaViewer debate by far. The letter is very well written, and it captures the sentiment of many members of the community. I think it’s possible to misread “for the first time, a software feature has been designed to take the ability to edit pages away from Wikimedia project communities,” as the new superprotect privilege having been introduced to prevent edits to articles. As far as I know, it has only been applied to a JavaScript file. Of course, JavaScript files are a part of the software as opposed to content served by the software, but I’m sure the supporters are aware of that distinction.

It’s the number of those supporters that really blows my mind. 500 and counting! This is exactly the kind of community engagement and outreach that can revitalize the project. That’s 500 voices rising in unison to say that the Wikimedia Foundation should 1) remove the “superprotect” status recently enacted on the German Wikipedia’s “MediaWiki:Common.js” JavaScript page and 2) clearly assert that it will permit local projects (such as German Wikipedia, English Wikipedia, and Wikimedia Commons) to determine the default status of the Media Viewer, for both logged-in and non-logged-in users, uninhibited. This specificity really gives the community something of substance to rally around.

Where this letter comes up short, however, is in consequences. A fork is mentioned somewhere. That’s one possibility. Or maybe mass retirement? Another option would be that everyone who signs the letter will refuse to donate money to the WMF going forward. Or maybe it makes sense to leave the negotiating table by refusing to discuss further collaboration until these demands are met? There are lots of candidates, but the letter ends on a rather weak “but we need the Wikimedia Foundation to act decisively before it is possible to move forward effectively.” If I’m asking what exactly this means, my guess is that the WMF isn’t sure either.

When I created a petition to allow Greg Kohs to attend all open Wikipedia conferences, I wrote it as a pledge that supporters would refuse to attend any event to which Greg was banned. Of course, it can be harder to get signatures that way; after all, the signees must accept some consequences for themselves, too. For example, since I created that petition, Greg revisited a statement that would have been a showstopper for the petition if not for what seemed to be a very sincere apology. Suffice it to say, I wouldn’t create a petition supporting Greg by name now, but I still believe that Wikipedia conferences should be open to all and I committed to my beliefs by signing the petition along with some 30 others. Just imagine what could be accomplished with 500 community members deeply and demonstratively committing to a cause like we have!

However this plays out, we’re at a turning point for both the WMF and the community. The WMF has new leadership. The community has proven that it can rally significant support around a cause, although more needs to be done to clarify the members’ commitment to that cause, IMO. The question now comes down to whether they will be navigating this tricky terrain together or turning their separate ways.



Has Wikipedia Been Running with the Wrong Crowd?

In response to my last post, Captain Obvious came swooping in to point out what had been hiding in plain sight. While I was focussing on the potential dangers of predators lurking in the darkest shadows of the Wikipedia community, I failed to see the very real danger right in front of me: Wikipedia itself.

Could all the free, multilingual, educational content Wikipedia provides, paired with underdeveloped judgement, put children at risk? As a former bored, judgement-impaired, pubescent boy, I knew exactly what how to find out. I searched on “Sniffing glue“. And here’s what I found:


Kids Huffing Glue


WTF? There is absolutely nothing OK about this picture. These are children. I understand that there is a problem with children huffing on the streets in certain parts of the world. It needs to be acknowledged and addressed. But I will thank you as a father for not spreading that problem around by showing smiling, relaxed, seemingly “mature” kids sticking faces in a bag and casually flipping off the photographer. If this article on such a dangerous act was incomplete without a visual aid, couldn’t you at least have looked for a picture of an adult to kick things off? Maybe a picture that reflects the incredibly destructive aspect of huffing would be more appropriate. And, while we’re at it, we should probably dig up something that doesn’t make huffing look cool to kids. Maybe this?


Gold Paint Adult Huffer


What follows amounts to a manual on huffing all kinds of extremely dangerous gases. If my son looked this up, he wouldn’t just figure out the best technique to sniff glue, he’s also be turned on to:

The Smorgasbord

Grab a bag and take your pick.

  • Gasoline
  • Kerosene
  • Propane
  • Butane
  • Toluene
  • Xylene
  • Acetone
  • Hydrofluorocarbons
  • Chlorofluorocarbons
  • Trichloroethylene
  • Alkyl Nitrites
  • Nitrous Oxide
  • Diethyl Ether
  • Enflurane
  • Methylene Chloride
  • Carbon Tetrachloride
  • Benzene



After going over this smorgasbord of inhalants, the article covers a few pro-tips for abusing them:

Inhalant users inhale vapors or aerosol propellant gases using plastic bags held over the mouth or by breathing from an open container of solvents, such as gasoline or paint thinner. Nitrous oxide gases from whipped cream aerosol cans, aerosol hairspray or non-stick frying spray are sprayed into plastic bags. When inhaling non-stick cooking spray or other aerosol products, some users may filter the aerosolized particles out with a rag. Some gases, such as propane and butane gases, are inhaled directly from the canister. Once these solvents or gases are inhaled, the extensive capillary surface of the lungs rapidly absorb the solvent or gas, and blood levels peak rapidly. The intoxication effects occur so quickly that the effects of inhalation can resemble the intensity of effects produced by intravenous injection of other psychoactive drugs.

The article wraps up its description of the whole experience by mentioning that all of these substances are at best dangerous and at worst fatal. Cross your fingers that your child look below the fold before they stick their face in a bag.

Safety concerns aside, it’s a pretty good article. For a responsible parent, it might provide some desperately needed answers to the problems created by a child’s abuse of inhalants. For an irresponsible child, it could create the problems themselves.

There’s only one thing we can be sure about. Whatever happens, Wikipedians won’t be taking responsibility for it.

I think it’s time we did.


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Does Wikipedia Protect its Children?

It’s been said that a community is measured by how it treats its most vulnerable members. When it comes to online activities, none are more vulnerable than our children. The thought that there are thousands- if not millions- of predators lurking in the dark corners of the internet makes a parent lose sleep at night. Many parents even separate their children from the greatest educational resource known to man at all costs.

But it’s a futile effort. The internet pervades modern society. Kids are increasingly encouraged to use it at school, for example. And no site is used as an educational aid more often than Wikipedia. For summarized knowledge, sources, supplementary materials, and, all too often, plagiarism, Wikipedia is the go-to resource our children are using to do better in school.

It begs the question: how well does Wikipedia protect its Children? Let’s start with what they are reading on Wikipedia. We all know that every bit of information on Wikipedia is accessible without an account. But it will be a surprise to many of us that Wikipedia can be edited without an account. And those edits are not vetted by editors- adult or otherwise- so vandalism is a fact of life on Wikipedia. Often foul language and fouler ideas are inserted along with false “facts” on the pages of Wikipedia. Most of this vandalism is caught within a few hours, but some isn’t detected for months- or even years.

Most acts of vandalism are perpetrated anonymously with so called IP edits. So can parents at least trust logged in users to take act responsibly towards their children? We should start with how much Wikipedia knows about their editors. The answer might surprise you: practically nothing. In fact, it is one of the few major internet sites that doesn’t require email verification to establish an account. That’s right parents, your children can create an account using their own name or an alias, and they are off to the races. You’d be hard pressed to find a more permissive site in the top 100- or even top 1000- most frequented online destinations. According to itself, Wikipedia running a very competitive #6 in the global race for the most online traffic.

Surely we can rely on Wikipedia to have established solid child protection policies against potential predators on their site, you must be thinking. Guess again. The official child protection policy arguably says more about protecting editors accused of impropriety with minors than children themselves. A committee of volunteers called ArbCom, whose members often don’t consider themselves qualified for such a task, take on triage for all reports of questionable conduct towards children. There word “parent” doesn’t even occur in this document, much less any commitment to notify authorities or parents if ArbCom finds that there is a reasonable accusation of impropriety. The worst consequences for a predator is an indefinite block from Wikipedia, which means that now the editor must go through the hassle of establishing another completely unverified account to continue preying on children at Wikipedia. It is interesting to note that this is the same consequence that any editor who brings up such accusations publicly will face. And, as a side note, this wouldn’t even be policy, had founder Jimmy Wales not unilaterally marked it so. This controversial action rocked the Wikipedia community.

Don’t get me wrong; accusations of child predation carry a heavy stigma, and editors’ reputations must be protected, but I believe this should be left to the authorities who are qualified to handle such claims discreetly. Even this wouldn’t suffice to make educational outreach to minors ethically or morally, and possibly legally acceptable. I believe that it will require nothing less than a new project aimed towards minors that uses Wikipedia as a source for vetted information. Such a project should require much more information from editors who have any interactions with potential minors. Anything less would amount to putting the most vulnerable- and beloved- members of our society in jeopardy.

As Wikipedians, we can, should, and must do better. Join me and other concerned Wikipedians at:



Greg Kohs and Bigotry

When I first created a petition supporting Greg Kohs’ right to attend WikiConference USA 2014, I did my research. I wanted to make 100% sure that I was not supporting someone who could plausibly present a threat to other attendees. What I found was a few incidents of overheated rhetoric and one thing that troubled me greatly. Greg Kohs had used homophobic hate speech to refer to a member of the Wikipedia community. It was a disgusting comment that won’t be repeated on my blog, but if you’d like to know more about it feel free to email me privately. I will send you the relevant links. It’s really not difficult to substantiate; I simply don’t care to drag this man through Greg’s bullshit again.

I’ll admit I had a hard time getting past that. But I decided that, in the extreme echo chamber that Wikipediocracy sometimes becomes, rhetoric might heat up so much that Greg’s anger could get the best of him. I told him that I didn’t believe that he was a bigot, but that another instance of hate speech would prove me wrong.

I was wrong. In the past day, he made light of that same incident referring to the same homosexual man by making an identical remark- only swapping his name out with a masculine pronoun. Here’s the final private email I will ever send to Greg Kohs:

Greg, I told you very clearly that if I ever saw any incidence of bigotry from you going forward, I’d be calling you on it. The first obvious incidence happened when you referred to a gay man by boldfacing “fae got”. Now you’ve made light of the same comment by boldfacing “he got” in a new thread, referring to the same man:

Making light of hate speech is a clear-cut case of bigotry in my book. You disgust me. I still support the right of all non-threatening people to attend Wikipedia conferences, but I no longer support your right. Bigotry has no place in the Wikipedia community.

Best to you and yours. Please don’t contact me by private email again.

Someone as self-righteous as Greg- and by that I mean big- ought to realize how hurtful such words can be. How ’bout them apples, Greg? Does that give you the warm fuzzies?

I should have practiced zero tolerance in this case. My sincerest apologies to anyone who may have been affected by Greg’s bigotry.


PS: Vigilant, why wait 24 hours? I’m not going to take this down, so do whatever it is you’re going to do. And, Vigilant, I’ve got something that no one else seems to have on you: an IP as captured by WordPress in every comment. I wasn’t sure if it was worth anything, but then you mentioned that you couldn’t post to my blog because you were blocked. So I looked it up. Used over several days at different times during the day. It’s not a name yet, and it may never be. To be clear, I have no dirt on you besides what you’ve put online yourself under the pseudonym Vigilant, and I wouldn’t really waste my time looking it all up. But lots of people would really like to know more about the person who has spent some much of his/her time finding out about them. Choose wisely, my friend.

PPS: Well, I take that back, Vigilant. Apparently a lot of people know a whole lot more about you than either you or I realized. I’ve heard from several already. Establishing your identity doesn’t seem to be as far-fetched as I once suspected. Looks like your doxxing days may very well be behind you, my friend. In fact, it might just be the case that Wikipediocracy’s doxxing days are in the rear-view mirror. I mean, how would anyone know if someone there weren’t just acting as your sock or meat puppet in the next doxxing incident? Alternatively, you can just tell us who you are and have at anyone you please.😉


Not of the Wikipediocracy body. . .

Hey friends, this one’s a quick post with a few quick updates. Some of the folks at Wikipediocracy don’t seem to be too happy about offwiki.org. Who could blame them? For years they have cornered the market on offwiki suggestions for how to improve onwiki behavior. And now here comes this new site- offwiki.org– that challenges them to practice what they preach. In fact, it’s a bit more than a challenge. I think it’s about time a lot of Wikipediocrats put the fuck up or shut the fuck up. Cause knowing such smart people are wasting their lives making snarky comments in an echo chamber in one of the more dismal corners of the web is just depressing.

Now, I believe that Wikiopediocrats have had some very useful criticism over the years that should be considered for onwiki reforms. But many of these solutions are unproven. There isn’t going to be much of a chance to convince other Wikipedians to give them a shot until they seen them working well in another wiki community, first. And that’s what offwiki.org is all about. Sure, Wikipediocracy can try some of these solutions on their own domain, but a lot of influential Wikipedians will never take part in anything sponsored by Wikipediocracy because of the persistent personal attacks. That’s exactly why we started offwiki.org. It is a true safe-space where anyone can discuss improvements to Wikipedia without worrying about being attacked.

In the end, it’s a deciding moment. Either you want to see Wikipedia prosper or you want to see it die in a fire. If you’re in the former camp, I suggest you check out onwiki reform effort or offwiki.org. If you’re in the latter camp, I suggest you do something more interesting and fulfilling with your life than talking shit about other people online. In either case, there are completely new worlds to explore. So, choose wisely.


offwiki.org is online.now

A few weeks ago, I got very real with some Wikipediocrats on my talk page:

Now I’m asking you, why don’t you stop whining for once and show people you can actually do better? On-wiki or off-, Obi-Wan certainly isn’t the first to question your self-righteous assertions on how to build an online encyclopedia better than Wikipedia. I, for one, have been wondering for a while now.

Let me be the first to point out that Obi-Wan gave them more credit than I have in the quote above. I’m not paraphrasing Obi-Wan, as much as using the assertion that the doxxing and negativity mask the insight of their ideas as a jumping point for a ridiculously inflammatory stunt designed to taunt any dedicated Wikipediocrat within sight.


I’m talking Evel-Knievel ridiculous.evel


But my little stunt didn’t come off as planned. First off, not enough Wikipediocrats got annoyed. Secondly, and more relevantly, the challenge backfired; it began to taunt me. Every comment I proofread would be read back to me in a high-pitched, nasally voice coming from somewhere in the back of my head. With unbearable hypocrisy I implied that no Wikipediocrat had ever done anything to improve Wikipedia while I somehow had. It’s plain to see how wrong I am. Many Wikipediocrats work tirelessly- and, in most cases, thanklessly- to improve Wikipedia with insightful criticism. In fact, when Wikipedia misses abuses in its own system, Wikipediocracy picks up the slack. To bring it all back home, the Wikipediocrats have done a lot to improve Wikipedia, and they have done it so well that there isn’t much more I can do on this front; the Wikipediocrats have cornered the Wikipedia criticism market.


Meanwhile, other problems were nagging me. For example, I had compiled this excellent list of solutions  from a thread on Wikipediocracy and added them to my talk page so that Wikipedians of all stripes could comment on them. There were some great discussions, yet the many of the same people who made the suggestions in the first place were- rightly or wrongly- blocked or banned from Wikipedia. Also, a lot of the suggestions dealt with governance issues and simply couldn’t be tried on-wiki in the current wikipolitical atmosphere.


Most of you probably see where this is going, but I needed it all spelled out for me. There is a vast dialectical no man’s land that neither Wikipedia nor Wikipediocracy can fill. In fact, they have created it through mutual hostilities. This is what I can contribute! A neutral zone in Wiki War II. It clearly needs to be demilitarized. Sharp tongues should be checked at the door. And it needed to be a safe place: no bullying,  doxxing, talking shit, or ganging up on other members. If you have the impression that I’m just talking about Wikipediocracy here, guess again. I’d say if they do a lot more of it per capita, at least they do it openly.


Short story long, I needed to start a wiki. So I did:




Any body can participate on offwiki.org as long as they follow a few simple rules. It’s an experiment in wiki governance. It welcomes content that has been created with alternative methods to Wikipedia’s, but it isn’t a fork, and it doesn’t aspire to be a Wikipedia alternative. It’s just a place to talk about stuff and try out some of it. If you’d like to join the party, we’re (right now that’s the royal we) holding a constitutional convention to define a fair and just system of governance to add to a Constitution. We call these people “flounders”. Are you interested in being a flounder, too?


Hope to see all of you there.





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Wikipediocracy’s List of Demands

Every time I witness the almost reflexive reaction of some Wikipedians when the word “Wikipediocracy” comes up in polite conversation, I’m left in disbelief. To some, we might as well be talking about a full-fledged terrorist organization. I checked; they’re not. Despite all the doxxing, shit talking, personal attacks, and scandalizing they do over there, the guys and gals on Wikipediocracy are pretty fucking smart, and they spend much more time than a lot of Wikipedians might realize actually talking about ways to improve Wikipedia. In fact, some of the worst perps provide some of the most productive comments if asked. Early on in my Wikipediocracy days, I created a new thread and asked a very simple question: What would you do if you were emperor of Wikipedia for a day? That thread was several pages long by the time I left. Initially, I promised to send the list to Lila after I had collated and cleaned it up a bit. Alas, it was a promise I felt I could no longer keep around the 857th time someone told me how freaked out everyone was that I might be providing some special channel to Lila. Sorry, Wikipediocrats, my eardrums just couldn’t take it anymore. What these concerned Wikipedians haven’t realized is that Lila doesn’t pay attention to me all that often. In fact, she never bothered to read anything I put online until she started getting briefed on every comma I would post to Wikipediocracy by WMF staff. So, who knows? Maybe she’ll get briefed on this list, too. As you go through these solutions, please keep in mind that I do not necessarily support solutions on this list; they are suggestions from one or more Wikipediocrats that I have collected, hoping that more Wikipedians will see what Wikipediocracy is all about when they are in the zone constructive-criticism-wise.


  • Comprehensive Child Protection Policy across all projects with no volunteer triage
  • Comprehensive Harassment Policy across all projects with no volunteer triage
  • Acceptable Content Policy for Commons
  • Policy-streamlining task force, whose mission is to eliminate redundancy, bloat, size, and quantity of policy, including, but not limited to, policyish essays such as “WP:DUCK.” “WP:ROPE,” “WP:DICK,” “WP:DIVA,” “WP:DENSE,” etc. to create one Standard Guidelines document.


  • Article accuracy above all else
  • Article quality, including pertinence, clarity, concision, comprehensiveness, and style, along with appropriate success metrics
  • Call out articles on a company or organization that have been edited by principals, employees, or agents of that organization with a potential Conflict Of Interest
  • Acknowledge the amount of adult material on Wikimedia projects and comply with all applicable laws and rulings for the jurisdictions under which it is collected and distributed
  • Establish a workflow to ensure that content problems are promptly addressed
  • Address article ownership by the WikiProjects
  • Redesign the main page with more relevant content and a more engaging design
  • Prepublication review of all article submissions by at least one other editor
  • Articles that attain Featured Article and Good Article status should be vetted by experts and kept in a “stable” state with a badge or banner calling them out, backport critical updates if necessary, creating a reference version alongside an unstable, possibly more up-to-date version
  • Quality control initiatives in cooperation with academic institutions
  • Reduce systemic bias for developed nations and dedicate more effort, funds, and awareness to developing nations
  • Consider new sister projects of Wikipedia that are appropriate for children and/or optimized for accuracy
  • Establish editorial boards with the authority to resolve content-related disputes
  • Opt-in, or even opt-out, search filter on Commons for potentially offensive or age-inappropriate material
  • Guaranteed reliability and quality of medical articles as a public safety measure, along with a prominent disclaimer


  • Annual or biennial election of all advanced permissions, including but not limited to admin, project admin, bureaucrat, checkuser, and steward
  • Admin tools more easily granted and taken away
  • Eliminate “founder” status
  • Allow for content editors of a given category to petition for independent administration
  • Whistleblower complaints process with anonymity protection for the whistleblower and no intervention by admins
  • Amnesty for all blocked editors, except for those blocked threatening violence or raising child-protection concerns
  • Make checkuser logs publicly searchable by target, checkuser, and mandatory policy-backed rationale
  • Every block automatically forwarded for appeal via random selection of any three admins, who are to review the evidence at hand, including violated policy, relevant diffs, and an explanation for the block with no interference from the blocking admin


  • Opt-out BLP Policy for people of marginal notability
  • End anonymous editing on and add pending changes to certain sensitive articles like BLPs and commercial enterprises


  • Comprehensive review of chapter grant program and mission
  • Define the purpose of chapters, establish reasonable governance to facilitate that purpose, and limit each chapters’ activities to that fill that purpose


  • Biennial election of WMF Board of Trustees
  • Discontinue the Wikipedian-in-Residence program
  • WMF employees hired with arbitration experience to replace AN/ANI/ARBCOM and other drama boards, who can also police the admins
  • Raise average pay for employees at Wikimedia HQ to SF Bay averages or above to attract top-notch talent
  • Programs of outreach to active editors who are not active in governance to make them aware of decisions they can help decide in community-wide votes
  • Programs to build trust with the larger community
  • Hire staff at the WMF who have credentials and experience in information science, knowledge management, machine-based text recognition and content recognition
  • Review priorities of all current and future engineering projects in collaboration with the community, along with potential features going forward
  • Be honest about financial status during fundraising

Alternatively, Just Fork It

  • A Wikipedia 2.0 fork administered by an international academic umbrella organisation that gradually takes on real editorial responsibility for the content

Again, I do not necessarily support all of these demands. More accurately, these are less demands than suggestions. Good suggestions on the whole, as far as I’m concerned. And I hope that after you’ve seen the brighter side of Wikipediocracy- and you’re one of the 3 Wikipedians who isn’t already lurking, if not posting there- to take a closer look at the site. That said, there is a threatening aspect to these solutions. It’s no secret that Wikipediocracy can inflict great harm on the project. Of the last 100 controversies, I think that Wikipediocracy and/or Wikipedia Review have been responsible for researching and publicizing about 100 of them. So, I’d say it’s less of a threat than a statement of the obvious: if Wikipedia doesn’t start addressing its biggest issues with some solutions like those above, the folks at Wikipediocracy will continue to publicize Wikipedia face plants that result from continually punting on them. Ultimately, we should address these issues because it’s the right thing to do. But if we can’t motivate ourselves to address them any other way, we should remember that Wikipediocracy has given us all fair warning with many precedents of what will happen if their demands are not met.


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