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Board Resolution: Openness

Ting Chen Nov 2010 800px

Ting Chen
Fri, 8 Apr 2011 19:35:17

Dear community,

on the IRC board meeting at April 8th 2011 the board approved unanimously the following resolution:

We, the Wikimedia Foundation Board, believe that the continued health of our project communities is crucial to fulfilling our mission. The Wikimedia projects are founded in the culture of openness, participation, and quality that has created one of the world's great repositories of human knowledge. But while Wikimedia's readers and supporters are growing around the world, recent studies of editor trends show a steady decline in the participation and retention of new editors.

As laid out in our five-year Strategic Plan, and emphasized by these findings, Wikimedia needs to attract and retain more new and diverse editors, and to retain our experienced editors. A stable editing community is critical to the long-term sustainability and quality of both our current Projects and our movement.

We consider meeting this challenge our top priority. We ask all contributors to think about these issues in your daily work on the Projects.
We support the Executive Director in making this the top staff priority, and recommend she increase the allocation of Foundation resources towards addressing this problem, through community outreach, amplification of community efforts, and technical improvements.
And we support the developers, editors, wikiprojects and Chapters that are working to make the projects more accessible, welcoming, and supportive.

The Board resolves to help move these efforts forward, and invites specific requests for Foundation assistance to do so. We welcome and encourage new ideas to help reach our goals of openness and broader participation.

We urge the Wikimedia community to promote openness and collaboration, by:

  • Treating new editors with patience, kindness, and respect; being aware of the challenges facing new editors, and reaching out to them; and encouraging others to do the same;
  • Improving communication on the projects; simplifying policy and instructions; and working with colleagues to improve and make friendlier policies and practices regarding templates, warnings, and deletion;
  • Supporting the development and rollout of features and tools that improve usability and accessibility;
  • Increasing community awareness of these issues and supporting outreach efforts of individuals, groups and Chapters;
  • Working with colleagues to reduce contention and promote a friendlier, more collaborative culture, including more thanking and affirmation; and encouraging best practices and community leaders; and
  • Working with colleagues to develop practices to discourage disruptive and hostile behavior, and repel trolls and stalkers.
Resources
Wikimedia_Movement_Strategic_Plan_Summary
2011 Editor Trends Study (Executive Director's summary, ideas)

--
Ting Chen
Member of the Board of Trustees
Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.


Dror Kamir
Fri, 8 Apr 2011 20:16:23

Hello,

This resolution is a very positive step. I hope we will soon be updated about practical steps to implement it.

Two such practical steps that are easy to implement and would make a significant difference, in my opinion:

(1) Administrators' decisions about bans, sanctions etc. should be made more public. They are, of course, accessible to anyone as a policy of all projects, but they are often "hidden" in many pages with non-intuitive titles (for detailed analysis of the problem, see Ayelet Oz's presentation in Wikimania 2009 http://wikimania2009.wikimedia.org/wiki/Proceedings:149). Had someone followed the administrators' decisions on the biggest projects, and publish a monthly newsletter with copies of the most prominent decisions about bans and sanctions, it would increase transparency and make administrators much more careful about checking cases and providing justifications for their actions, especially in what concerns treatment of new users. It would also give a better picture about disruptive behaviors of users.

(2) Appealing sanctions should be made much easier. I would even go as far as opening a special small wiki for such complaints. Reply should be provided within a limited period of time, and refer specifically to the new user's arguments. This may sound trivial, but projects often fail to do so.

Dror K


Wjhonson
Fri, 8 Apr 2011 20:23:05

While I am all about openness and journalism, I had a recent incident which made me re-think something on these lines. I had a few years back, started creating an open visible search-indexed index to ArbCom proceedings.
Some editors however edit using their real names, not something I would necessarily recommend if you end up at ArbCom and then a search on your name, get's a top Goog because of an index like mine.

People will common names could simply say it's someone else, but people with rare names like Dror Kamir for example, might have some intrepid employer say, "Oh Gee you were involved in that whole xxxx versus yyyy big controversy in Wikipedia, I don't think your personality would be a good fit here...."

I can see it happening in this connected age, I have done it myself when propositioning a new client, to see what's out there on them. I decided to make my index invisible temporarily while I mull this over more.

Will Johnson


Fred Bauder
Fri, 8 Apr 2011 20:50:45

I've noticed that old crap from years ago doesn't show on on your eBay feedback rating. I appreciate that. And, frankly, if someone is doing good work on Wikipedia now, who cares about some big blowup years ago?

Fred


Phil Nash
Fri, 8 Apr 2011 20:57:09

An excellent point. Someone please let ArbCom know this.

User:Rodhullandemu


Marc Riddell
Fri, 8 Apr 2011 21:02:39

on 4/8/11 3:35 PM, Ting Chen [...] wrote:
[...]

Thank you, all, for this. This resolution is great news; and a great commitment of support for the Wikipedia Project, as well as for the individual Community Members who are at the heart of it.

Marc Riddell, Ph.D.
Clinical Psychology/Psychotherapy


Samuel Klein
Fri, 8 Apr 2011 21:27:29

That's welcome feedback, Marc. Half of the board meeting in Berlin two weeks ago was devoted to discussing ways to better help the community and contributors; this point was important enough to have a separate meeting about it today.

There is now a page on the strategy wiki to summarize and link to related proposals and essays. Please feel free to add to it:

http://strategy.wikimedia.org/wiki/Openness_and_Participation

Sam.

PS - I would like to give props to the Audit Committee, which does great and sometimes less visible work -- they compile an annual risks assessment, which thoughtfully addresses things far outside the realm of financial risk. "Declining participation" was the top risk in late 2009, and helped drive related strategic research and discussion. Thanks to that group for helping to focus attention on this. (http://strategy.wikimedia.org/wiki/Top_risks_2009)

--
Samuel Klein
identi.ca:sj
w:user:sj
+1 617 529 4266


Amir E. Aharoni
Sat, 9 Apr 2011 07:43:12

2011/4/8 Dror Kamir [...]:
> Had someone followed the administrators' decisions on the biggest projects, and publish a monthly newsletter with copies of the most prominent decisions about bans and sanctions, it would increase transparency and make administrators much more careful about checking cases and providing justifications for their actions, especially in what concerns treatment of new users. It would also give a better picture about disruptive behaviors of users.

The Wikimedia Signpost, the English Wikipedia's de-facto newspaper, publishes something like this in every issue. AFAIK it's published by volunteers and i salute their perseverance. Every Wikipedia edition can do this with a little motivation and persistence.

--
Amir Elisha Aharoni · אָמִיר אֱלִישָׁע אַהֲרוֹנִי
http://aharoni.wordpress.com


Dror Kamir
Sat, 9 Apr 2011 09:05:13

Thanks for this input, it seems like the right direction, but it is not enough. Administrators' decisions should be followed much more closely in order to prevent misuse of administrative power. It is crucial that people who are not too involved themselves in the projects would do it. Collecting information from open pages and summarizing it in a way that would make it accessible to the general public is very much in line with the "non-intervention" policy taken vis-à-vis the projects. That's my idea for the Foundation or anyone else in the Wikimedia movement who is looking for ways to make the projects more welcoming.

Dror K


Milos Rancic
Sat, 9 Apr 2011 12:46:12

On 04/08/2011 10:16 PM, Dror Kamir wrote:
> This resolution is a very positive step. I hope we will soon be updated about practical steps to implement it.

> Two such practical steps that are easy to implement and would make a significant difference, in my opinion:

> (1) Administrators' decisions about bans, sanctions etc. should be made more public. They are, of course, accessible to anyone as a policy of all projects, but they are often "hidden" in many pages with non-intuitive titles (for detailed analysis of the problem, see Ayelet Oz's presentation in Wikimania 2009 http://wikimania2009.wikimedia.org/wiki/Proceedings:149). Had someone followed the administrators' decisions on the biggest projects, and publish a monthly newsletter with copies of the most prominent decisions about bans and sanctions, it would increase transparency and make administrators much more careful about checking cases and providing justifications for their actions, especially in what concerns treatment of new users. It would also give a better picture about disruptive behaviors of users.

> (2) Appealing sanctions should be made much easier. I would even go as far as opening a special small wiki for such complaints. Reply should be provided within a limited period of time, and refer specifically to the new user's arguments. This may sound trivial, but projects often fail to do so.

Besides that, there should be limits on sanctions. For example, I think that we should limit all non-spam as well as some troll-like behavior blocks to, let's say, two years.

All civilized places on Earth have restrictions on punishment system if it is about minor offenses. And our system is dealing with minor offenses, as all major offenses should be handled by judicial systems.

And that's Board's job, too.


Sarah
Sat, 9 Apr 2011 16:52:18

On Sat, Apr 9, 2011 at 06:46, Milos Rancic [...] wrote:
> Besides that, there should be limits on sanctions. For example, I think that we should limit all non-spam as well as some troll-like behavior blocks to, let's say, two years.

There's a bit of a contradiction here, Milos. If we want to attract new editors and keep existing ones, the way to do that is to reduce the trolling and disruption, not welcome back people who've caused it. The trolling and general silliness is (anecdotally) one of the main reasons established editors have been leaving, and it must be incredibly off-putting to new people too.

Sarah


Fred Bauder
Sat, 9 Apr 2011 18:44:49

We need to do both things at once: near-zero tolerance AND ready, indeed, near automatic, coded, forgiveness.

And, of course, that should not apply to people who cause serious problems, or their facilitators.

Fred


Mike Dupont
Sat, 9 Apr 2011 17:09:25

About the foundation openness, I wanted to write a comment on the foundation page, but it was not open. So I wrote my comment on SJ talk page, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User_talk:Sj#Openness

Here is what I have to say about wikipedia and openness:

HI, I wanted to comment on http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Talk:Resolution:Openness

I have lost interest in wasting my time on wikipedia after being harassed by WhiteWriter and his friends while editing articles related to kosovo. The serbs are stalking and harassing anyone who even wants to add simple facts and make life difficult for anyone. It is a real pain. I hope that you will get them under control some day, they are really messing wikipedia up. thanks, mike
James Michael DuPont<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Mdupont>(talk <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User_talk:Mdupont>) 21:54, 8 April 2011

Mike


Fred Bauder
Sat, 9 Apr 2011 18:47:56

Was there an arbitration case? Or other dispute resolution events? If so, could you share your reactions to the fairness and comprehensiveness of what happened? Please give us some links...

Fred


Dror Kamir
Sat, 9 Apr 2011 20:33:47

I cannot comment on the case of Kosovo, because I have no information about this case (as far as Wikipedia is concerned, that is), however, phenomena which resemble this description are very common in articles about conflicts, especially the Middle East conflict. There are groups of editors whose aim is watching an article so it would represent their political view, and these groups often file complaints about editors who try to edit the certain article in a different way, in order to have them blocked or the article put under special protection. The current administrative system of Wikipedia cannot handle these phenomena. Various attempts were made in order to handle this problem, but unfortunately, they just added damage rather than ease the problem. I can understand why Wikimedians with influence are reluctant to deal with problems related to politics. The Wikimedia projects are not political, and any decision about this kind of issues might be perceived as political decision. And yet, the problem is there and it grows and it cannot be avoided forever.

Dror K


Fred Bauder
Sat, 9 Apr 2011 20:57:17

This seems to have happened at the article "Astrology" where the astrology advocates were suckered by the skeptics into an edit war over astrology being characterized as "pseudoscience". The POV editors even cite my words to justify their nonsense, see the top of Talk:Astrology

What I say now counts for nothing of course.

Fred


Dror Kamir
Sat, 9 Apr 2011 20:59:57

בתאריך 09/04/11 21:47, ציטוט Fred Bauder:
> Was there an arbitration case? Or other dispute resolution events? If so, could you share your reactions to the fairness and comprehensiveness of what happened? Please give us some links...

> Fred

Fred, arbitration doesn't help in such cases. The arbitrators are not in a position to make editorial decisions. All they can do is tell the parties to control themselves, reiterate the principle of NPOV and decide upon further sanctions, which usually just add fuel to the fire. That's exactly what I was talking about in my previous message. Furthermore, the arbitrations are often conducted like a trial, and anyone who is not too acquainted with the legal language and procedures gets lost there.

As for sanctions against disruptors - Clearly, a person who deletes paragraphs or adds f-words is a vandal that should be blocked. The problem is, that most blocked editors are not like that. Wikipedia used to have too major rules that are totally ignored today, namely _assume good faith_ and _ignore all rules_. The former rule means that any user has the right to be considered as a good person who came to enrich Wikipedia unless clearly proved otherwise. In most cases today, administrators assume that users (particularly new users) came to make disruptions unless proven otherwise. The latter rule means that Wikipedia is not about technicalities. If your actions are against the rules but derive from a sincere intention to improve Wikipedia, than you should not be considered a disruptor. Today, for example, a violation of the 3-revert rule is considered a justification for a ban, even if the user had a good reason to violate the rule. Even in the most harsh legal systems people are not always punished for breaking the law, because circumstances are also taken into account. It is quite awkward that Wikipedia, that started with the "ignore all rules" principle, has become even harsher with regards to users' violations of rules.

Dror K


Fred Bauder
Sat, 9 Apr 2011 21:59:38

That's what we're talking about...

Fred


Dror Kamir
Sun, 10 Apr 2011 03:03:32

Are there people who would like to help me collect such cases like those of Astrology, Kosovo, the Middle East etc. and/or cases that were sent to arbitration which didn't help much and the like, and productively analyze them in order to think of better ways to treat them and the users involve? I am going to talk about the issue on Wikimania 2011 (in Haifa), but there is no reason to wait. I believe that this is one of the major reason why potential users are reluctant to join and new users are driven out.

Dror K


Risker
Sun, 10 Apr 2011 03:20:08

Getting back on topic, the board's resolution says:

We urge the Wikimedia community to promote openness and collaboration, by:

  • Treating new editors with patience, kindness, and respect; being aware of the challenges facing new editors, and reaching out to them; and encouraging others to do the same;
  • Improving communication on the projects; simplifying policy and instructions; and working with colleagues to improve and make friendlier policies and practices regarding templates, warnings, and deletion;
  • Supporting the development and rollout of features and tools that improve usability and accessibility;
  • Increasing community awareness of these issues and supporting outreach efforts of individuals, groups and Chapters;
  • Working with colleagues to reduce contention and promote a friendlier, more collaborative culture, including more thanking and affirmation; and encouraging best practices and community leaders; and
  • Working with colleagues to develop practices to discourage disruptive and hostile behavior, and repel trolls and stalkers.


This is an area where every project is going to have its own take on things, and we can probably learn from each other's experience; however, what information there is seems to be housed on the strategy wiki, which many users avoid because it's not part of the WMF matrix (i.e., SUL doesn't apply). With that in mind, I wonder if there can be a place where projects discuss what has helped and not helped, located somewhere on Meta.

Coming from the behemoth English Wikipedia, where I make most of my contributions, I know that communication becomes increasingly difficult as size increases, and that there is a tendency to "standardize" messages and processes to the point that they begin to immobilize sensible action.

I'm particularly interested in policy simplification; I know our project has far, far too many complex and even contradictory policies, guidelines, and miscellaneous pages that result in "alphabet soup" messages that even experienced users find almost impenetrable. I pity the newbie who gets a "welcome" message that leads them to the Manual of Style, for example. Featured article writers "discuss" what it really means on a regular basis, so there's little hope an inexperienced editor will be able to follow the contradictions in it.

A few thoughts to bring us back where we started.

Risker/Anne


Andrew Garrett
Sun, 10 Apr 2011 03:21:37

On Sun, Apr 10, 2011 at 1:03 PM, Dror Kamir [...] wrote:
> Are there people who would like to help me collect such cases like those of Astrology, Kosovo, the Middle East etc. and/or cases that were sent to arbitration which didn't help much and the like, and productively analyze them in order to think of better ways to treat them and the users involve? I am going to talk about the issue on Wikimania 2011 (in Haifa), but there is no reason to wait. I believe that this is one of the major reason why potential users are reluctant to join and new users are driven out.

I don't mean to minimise the importance of keeping our established users happy and free from harassment, but I want to caution against the biases that we will undoubtedly have in considering our focus.

Anecdotally, we tend to hear a lot more about established users picking up and leaving, because these are our friends — we work with them, chat with them on IRC, and whatever else. But for every story we hear about an established user leaving because of harassment, there are ten new-ish users who encounter the same hostile environment and stop editing without all the pomp and ceremony that necessarily accompanies the departure of a popular or well-known member of the community.

So let's make sure we deal with the factors that make our overall editing environment conducive to hostile conduct. I don't want to see us fall into the trap of thinking only about long-term established users who are harassed in the long term, rather than the newer users who don't get a chance to be harassed in the long term because they pick up and leave straight away.

--
Andrew Garrett
http://werdn.us/


Casey Brown
Sun, 10 Apr 2011 03:27:29

On Sat, Apr 9, 2011 at 11:20 PM, Risker [...] wrote:
> This is an area where every project is going to have its own take on things, and we can probably learn from each other's experience; however, what information there is seems to be housed on the strategy wiki, which many users avoid because it's not part of the WMF matrix (i.e., SUL doesn't apply). With that in mind, I wonder if there can be a place where projects discuss what has helped and not helped, located somewhere on Meta.

Since when does SUL not apply on strategywiki?

--
Casey Brown
Cbrown1023


Fred Bauder
Sun, 10 Apr 2011 03:37:57

[On Sun, Apr 10, 2011 at 03:03, Dror Kamir wrote:]
> Are there people who would like to help me collect such cases like those of Astrology, Kosovo, the Middle East etc. and/or cases that were sent to arbitration which didn't help much and the like, and productively analyze them in order to think of better ways to treat them and the users involve? I am going to talk about the issue on Wikimania 2011 (in Haifa), but there is no reason to wait. I believe that this is one of the major reason why potential users are reluctant to join and new users are driven out.

> Dror K

What I remember about the worst of these, perhaps the eastern Europe and Balkans, the Armenia-Azerbaijan cases, Pakistan-India, was that it was hideously difficult to sort out all the different editors, many socking, and really do justice in each individual editor's case. That resulted in blanket remedies where the article, or even the whole geographical area was put on "probation". This gives administrators considerable power and discretion. This was part of a movement empowering administrators, based essentially on the realization that careful consideration of each detail by a small central group was so difficult as to be impossible. The hope was that the administrators would grown into the enlarged responsibility.

I have a feeling that thinking of "better ways to treat them" may be quite difficult. Aggressive edit warring drives people away, but often the people being driven away have point of view agendas of their own, they are just not knowledgeable enough about Wikipedia techniques to get away with it. Right there I think there might be some progress made...cutting some slack for new editors who engage in naive point of view editing. From my experience, I doubt the other side of that equation, griefing experienced editors who aggressively bully is very practical.

Fred


Risker
Sun, 10 Apr 2011 03:40:10

On 9 April 2011 23:27, Casey Brown [...] wrote:
> Since when does SUL not apply on strategywiki?

As far as I know, since always, Casey. One must log in separately there; going from another WMF project, one's login doesn't follow. One of the main reasons for the creation of SUL was so users could go from WMF project to project without having to log in again; partly for ease of use, but also because there are an awful lot of editors who don't want to link their usernames to their IP addresses, even accidentally. Especially now that most experienced users take SUL for granted, it's a barrier to participation when a link to a WMF project seeking broad participation requires editors to log in again, and hope that someone else hasn't created an account with their username first.

Risker/Anne


Sarah
Sun, 10 Apr 2011 04:25:29

On Sat, Apr 9, 2011 at 21:37, Fred Bauder [...] wrote:
> I have a feeling that thinking of "better ways to treat them" may be quite difficult.

I fear the Foundation is making a mistake by focusing on quantity, not quality. The last 10 years has seen the creation of a very experienced editor and admin base. It's still not large (speaking now of the English Wikipedia), but jointly it has a huge amount of really valuable experience -- in writing, research, sourcing, achieving neutrality, negotiating, compromising, managing crowds -- that companies around the world would give their eye teeth to secure for free. And yet we see so little focus on how to stop those volunteers from leaving.

My own view is that if we focus on quality, new editors will continue to arrive, because they'll see this as something worth being part of.

Sarah


Dror Kamir
Sun, 10 Apr 2011 04:34:47

בתאריך 10/04/11 06:20, ציטוט Risker:
> Getting back on topic, the board's resolution says:

[...]

I can give plenty of problematic behaviors of veteran users toward new users on the English Wikipedia. I don't know whether simplification of rules and guidelines are the way to deal with them (although I'm all in favor of simplification). Here are just a few of these behaviors as examples (and I might repeat things I wrote in my previous messages). I don't know if these issues have been addressed on the strategy project. There are so many subjects there, that we might have lost the forest for the trees.

1. A new user provides new information without adhering to the recommended style. Most chances that the edit be reverted by a veteran user rather than stylized to be in line with the rest of the article.

2. New user provides interesting new information without providing sources. Most chances that this edit be reverted and the user considered disruptor, rather than someone check the new contribution against sources. The new user might have read this information and lost access to the source, he might know something from personal experience, but don't know how to source it. The right move on behalf of a veteran user would be to find a source, or at least move the new information to the talk page with a request that anyone who has access to a relevant sources would provide them, but this seldom happens.

3. A veteran user does not like the contributions of a new user. S/he files a complaint about the new user being a sockpuppet. The new user is almost immediately blocked without knowing why (as s/he doesn't even know what sockpuppet it), without being able to defend himself, and without knowing to whom s/he can appeal.

4. A veteran user "hijacks" an article (either because s/he feel attached to it, seen many vandalism on this article before or even have a certain political opinion which s/he wants to promote). S/he prevents edits to this article from new users. Most chances are that the new users would be the ones blamed for disruptive behavior than the veteran user.

Dror K


MZMcBride
Sun, 10 Apr 2011 04:36:22

[On Sat, Apr 9, 2011 at 03:20], Risker wrote:
> I'm particularly interested in policy simplification; I know our project has far, far too many complex and even contradictory policies, guidelines, and miscellaneous pages that result in "alphabet soup" messages that even experienced users find almost impenetrable. I pity the newbie who gets a "welcome" message that leads them to the Manual of Style, for example. Featured article writers "discuss" what it really means on a regular basis, so there's little hope an inexperienced editor will be able to follow the contradictions in it.

I agree that the collection of policies, guidelines, etc. has grown too large and too complex, but I'm not sure it's a particular problem (at least in the sense that you seem to be describing).

I think most users don't pay any mind to the Manual of Style or the featured article requirements or anything like that. They might be inundated with too many links in welcome messages (which I view as a largely separate issue from policy creep), but I don't think the vast majority of editors pay any mind to the details of policies and pages that even established users can't be bothered to keep up with. This is what some argue is the actual meaning behind "ignore all rules." :-)

The people who are obsessed with dashes and serial commas and date linking will pay attention to the surrounding arcane, contradictory series of policies and guidelines, to be sure, but I'm not sure I see a great connection between their behavior and ill effects on new users. There might be a reasonably good argument for their behavior having ill effects on the more established members of the community and overall community health, but someone would need to demonstrate this a bit more clearly (for me, at least).

MZMcBride


Virgilio A. P. Machado
Sun, 10 Apr 2011 04:43:41

I know that nobody has the guts to do it, but I wonder... I wonder what would happen if all administrators, bureaucrats and so on where told to take a hike. What would happen if new requirements for being administrator and so forth included assuming real identities, and a set of real world qualifications. What it would be like to grant amnesty to all that are currently banned and/or blocked. What it would be like if there was separation of powers, and secret balloting. I wonder what it would be like if Wikimedia projects would borrow a little more from democratic principles. Yes, I wonder... Scary thoughts aren't they? No surprise though, coming from someone who is the scourge of countless Wikimedia projects and a troll according to many.

Sincerely,

Virgilio A. P. Machado


MZMcBride
Sun, 10 Apr 2011 05:08:31

[On 10 April 2011 03:40],Risker wrote:
> As far as I know, since always, Casey. One must log in separately there; going from another WMF project, one's login doesn't follow. One of the main reasons for the creation of SUL was so users could go from WMF project to project without having to log in again; partly for ease of use, but also because there are an awful lot of editors who don't want to link their usernames to their IP addresses, even accidentally. Especially now that most experienced users take SUL for granted, it's a barrier to participation when a link to a WMF project seeking broad participation requires editors to log in again, and hope that someone else hasn't created an account with their username first.

You're both right. In a literal sense, strategy.wikimedia.org doesn't work with unified login. That is, when you log in through en.wikipedia.org or elsewhere, you won't be logged in to every place where you have a Wikimedia account of the same name. (Though I think if you log in through strategy.wikimedia.org, you get the cookies for that site and the other sites, but you still wouldn't get the cookies for other *.wikimedia.org wikis.) A lot of people say "unified login" to mean you don't need to re-register your account and that your account will be linked to a global account of the same name, not that it will be automatically logged in, however. That was Casey's confusion.

This particular issue is the subject of bug 14407.[1] Whether it's a real barrier to entry, I don't know. The people involved in content work really don't need to be sucked into the kind of place that strategy.wikimedia.org is, in my opinion. :-)

MZMcBride

[1] https://bugzilla.wikimedia.org/show_bug.cgi?id=14407


Virgilio A. P. Machado
Sun, 10 Apr 2011 05:37:44

At 19:47 09-04-2011, [Fred Bauder] wrote:
> Was there an arbitration case? Or other dispute resolution events? If so, could you share your reactions to the fairness and comprehensiveness of what happened? Please give us some links...

>Fred

What is the purpose of all those questions? I've always provided that information to this list and if anything ever come out of it, besides being scolded by the list masters for making off-list posts, was to gain a new following of admirers.

Sincerely,

Virgilio A. P. Machado


John Vandenberg
Sun, 10 Apr 2011 05:54:28

Fred,

links here

http://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/foundation-l/2010-December/062911.html

see also this thread

http://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/foundation-l/2010-December/062860.html

--
John Vandenberg


Nikola Smolenski
Sun, 10 Apr 2011 06:49:43

Дана Sunday 10 April 2011 06:36:22 MZMcBride написа:
> featured article requirements or anything like that. They might be inundated with too many links in welcome messages (which I view as a largely separate issue from policy creep), but I don't think the vast majority of editors pay any mind to the details of policies and pages that even established users can't be bothered to keep up with. This is what some argue is the actual meaning behind "ignore all rules." :-)

I too loathe the wall of text displayed to new users and believe it is highly ineffective. Some possible solutions I thought of are:

Perhaps each newbie could get a short welcome message from "their" experienced Wikipedian who will later mentor them with specific errors the newbie made.

Perhaps it would be helpful if, when creating a new account, a user could write a short message about what would they like to do on Wikipedia (this would become their user page). It would give us an idea on what part of guidelines to present to the new user, and also very needed insight on why do people just create account and leave.

And I believe the most helpful, but the most difficult, would be the ability of on-site chat. If I see a new user making a rookie mistake, I open a chat window, the user sees "someone would like to chat with you" message, and we could talk about the mistake. Bonus point: there is no good free software on-site chat that I know of so we give one to the world :)


FT2
Sun, 10 Apr 2011 09:14:12

Both excellent ideas.

To which I'd add - a lot of websites have live chat support, "click here to chat to a customer service agent".

A *"click to get help from an experienced editor"* button, along with the reverse suggested *"An experienced editor would like to talk to you, click to accept"* popup/notice, would probably work wonders in terms of support and perceived friendliness.

You'd want user groups for "respond to request for help" and "initiate dialog", and then to leave it to the community how those are given - whether either is bundled with adminship, or handed out like rollback and reviewer rights. Also you'd want "chat logs" as an item in *Special:Log* so that all chats of this kind are "on the record". As a bonus feature, the infrastructure to invite other users to join a chat (eg to add extra expertize or to mediate a minor disagreement) would be worth noting for future.

FT2


Fred Bauder
Sun, 10 Apr 2011 11:31:59

[On 10 April 2011 04:43, Virgilio A. P. Machado wrote:]
> I know that nobody has the guts to do it, but I wonder... I wonder what would happen if all administrators, bureaucrats and so on where told to take a hike. What would happen if new requirements for being administrator and so forth included assuming real identities, and a set of real world qualifications. What it would be like to grant amnesty to all that are currently banned and/or blocked. What it would be like if there was separation of powers, and secret balloting. I wonder what it would be like if Wikimedia projects would borrow a little more from democratic principles. Yes, I wonder... Scary thoughts aren't they? No surprise though, coming from someone who is the scourge of countless Wikimedia projects and a troll according to many.

> Sincerely,

> Virgilio A. P. Machado

We have real world experience, building and maintaining Wikipedia; attaching a name to most of us is rather immaterial, it just invades our privacy. We do need to welcome back users who have had trouble for one reason or another, including you, and assure them that their contributions to editing and policy deliberations is welcome. Wikipedia really is open to anyone who is patient enough to work with us.

I've repeatedly advocated for second chances for some of our more serious banned users, and occasionally unblocked them, resulting in general dismay, "What are you thinking" is one of the kinder responses. However, even given a second chance in good faith, nearly all revert to what got them banned. Once a strong commitment has been made to be oppositional it is rare to see a turn-around.

Fred


Ilario Valdelli
Sun, 10 Apr 2011 11:39:01

On 10.04.2011 05:03, Dror Kamir wrote:
> Are there people who would like to help me collect such cases like those of Astrology, Kosovo, the Middle East etc. and/or cases that were sent to arbitration which didn't help much and the like, and productively analyze them in order to think of better ways to treat them and the users involve? I am going to talk about the issue on Wikimania 2011 (in Haifa), but there is no reason to wait. I believe that this is one of the major reason why potential users are reluctant to join and new users are driven out.

> Dror K

I have a big list of "frequent" and "continuous" control of articles.

But we need to face before all the problem to understand which is the truth.

A person who lives in a continuous and frequent "wrong" campaign of communication is absolutely sure that what he is going to defend is the truth.

In my opinion the arbitration committee should face this big problem.

If I am daltonian, I will defend with all my efforts that this object is brown and not green.

I will accept that this object is green only if someone could explain me that I am daltonian.

Ilario


Fred Bauder
Sun, 10 Apr 2011 11:50:56

Yeah, the practical question is how to separate the sheep from the goats. Some will fight to the death, sacrificing everything else on Earth, including Wikipedia, unless their "Truth" controls. Others come to realize there is more than one way to look at things; those folks we want, even if they initially present themselves as having some point of view.

We need to be forgiving, but not stupid.

Fred


Fred Bauder
Sun, 10 Apr 2011 11:57:49

[On 10 April 2011 05:37, Virgilio A. P. Machado wrote:]
> What is the purpose of all those questions? I've always provided that information to this list and if anything ever come out of it, besides being scolded by the list masters for making off-list posts, was to gain a new following of admirers.

> Sincerely,

> Virgilio A. P. Machado

The reason to ask is because if there is a problem we might be able to resolve it. At this point I don't know what your problem was or is. You seem to be nursing a grievance; trying to milk it rather than solving it.

I'm sorry if I've not paid perfect attention, but I don't think I've got the tone wrong.

Fred


Pharos
Sun, 10 Apr 2011 18:50:03

On Sun, Apr 10, 2011 at 2:49 AM, Nikola Smolenski [...] wrote:
> Дана Sunday 10 April 2011 06:36:22 MZMcBride написа:
>> featured article requirements or anything like that. They might be inundated with too many links in welcome messages (which I view as a largely separate issue from policy creep), but I don't think the vast majority of editors pay any mind to the details of policies and pages that even established users can't be bothered to keep up with. This is what some argue is the actual meaning behind "ignore all rules." :-)

> I too loathe the wall of text displayed to new users and believe it is highly ineffective. Some possible solutions I thought of are:

> Perhaps each newbie could get a short welcome message from "their" experienced Wikipedian who will later mentor them with specific errors the newbie made.

> Perhaps it would be helpful if, when creating a new account, a user could write a short message about what would they like to do on Wikipedia (this would become their user page). It would give us an idea on what part of guidelines to present to the new user, and also very needed insight on why do people just create account and leave.

This is the best actually-practical idea I've seen in a long, long time!

++to making user page info for new accounts a simple box to fill in at registration

Thanks,
Richard
(User:Pharos)


phoebe ayers
Sun, 10 Apr 2011 19:54:40

On Sat, Apr 9, 2011 at 9:36 PM, MZMcBride [...] wrote:
> [On Sat, Apr 9, 2011 at 03:20], Risker wrote:
>> I'm particularly interested in policy simplification; I know our project has far, far too many complex and even contradictory policies, guidelines, and miscellaneous pages that result in "alphabet soup" messages that even experienced users find almost impenetrable. I pity the newbie who gets a "welcome" message that leads them to the Manual of Style, for example. Featured article writers "discuss" what it really means on a regular basis, so there's little hope an inexperienced editor will be able to follow the contradictions in it.

> I agree that the collection of policies, guidelines, etc. has grown too large and too complex, but I'm not sure it's a particular problem (at least in the sense that you seem to be describing).

> I think most users don't pay any mind to the Manual of Style or the featured article requirements or anything like that. They might be inundated with too many links in welcome messages (which I view as a largely separate issue from policy creep), but I don't think the vast majority of editors pay any mind to the details of policies and pages that even established users can't be bothered to keep up with. This is what some argue is the actual meaning behind "ignore all rules." :-)

Here's my personal take on the complexity of policy/process, and why it is good to try and simplify, clarify, condense, and otherwise make it easier to use.

Some things are complicated by nature. Serial commas, citation styles... I haven't met a style guide yet where such things weren't spelled out in great and boring detail. Style guides should be easy to find, easy to refer to, contain clear explanations and non-contradictory advice, but... we also assume that not everyone will follow them at every pass, which is just fine; people can still add citations to articles and other people can fix them according to the MoS.

But procedure that *impedes* normal, everyday editorial work because it is so complex, so hard (because of the amount of time it requires to implement, or because of difficult markup/templates, or difficulty in finding consensus), so hard to interpret, or so unfriendly is a problem. Think about these everyday questions and their policy/procedure page answers:

  • "how do I delete an article?" and its counterpart: "why was my article deleted?"
  • "how do I merge/split an article?"
  • "hey, can I reference a blogpost in this article?"

There are formatting questions that aren't so easy to figure out either:

  • "how do I put a footnote in an article?"
  • "how do I find and insert an infobox?"

For any of these (and dozens of others) the official answer is pretty much "Well, got an hour or three?"

We all know these are trouble spots; if you're like me just looking at these questions raises the ghosts of a thousand mailing-list and on-wiki discussions past. ("Nooo! Not blogs again!") But I think it's useful to sometimes go back to an area of procedure that you don't use or apply much yourself, and look at it with the eyes of a newbie. Does it make sense? Sense in context? Is it doable? Is there a simple version and a more complicated version, and do they contradict each other? Etc. And then use the same principles to simplify, clarify, and condense the areas of procedure that you do regularly use and know well.

For instance, I rarely put articles up for deletion anymore or otherwise participate in this process, since my editing time is limited; occasionally I participate in an AfD, occasionally I feel the need to prod something or rescue a speedy deletion. But every time I do this these days, I find myself totally daunted and confused by English Wikipedia deletion procedure -- and I wrote a book on the subject. That's a pretty high bar to set!

-- phoebe

p.s. I am curious, too, if all languages have the same trouble spots -- what are the most complicated, confusing, perhaps contentious areas of process in your wikis? This would be a great cross-wiki embassy topic.



Sarah
Sun, 10 Apr 2011 20:05:44

On Sun, Apr 10, 2011 at 13:54, phoebe ayers [...] wrote:
> * "how do I delete an article?" and its counterpart: "why was my article deleted?"
> * "how do I merge/split an article?"
> * "hey, can I reference a blogpost in this article?"

> There are formatting questions that aren't so easy to figure out either:
> * "how do I put a footnote in an article?"
> * "how do I find and insert an infobox?"

In fact a lot of those issues are spelled out very clearly. See [[WP:BLOGS]] for whether you can reference a blogpost. See [[WP:INCITE]] for a quick way to add a footnote. See [[Category:Infobox templates]] for how to add an infobox.

The deletion process does look daunting, but actually if you just clunk through the instructions, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:AfD#How_to_list_pages_for_deletion it's pretty easy, and I say that as someone with a template phobia.

We work on a complex website that caters to lots of different needs and skill levels, so there's a limit to how simple these processes can be made.

Sarah


phoebe ayers
Sun, 10 Apr 2011 20:16:24

On Sun, Apr 10, 2011 at 1:05 PM, Sarah [...] wrote:
> On Sun, Apr 10, 2011 at 13:54, phoebe ayers [...] wrote:
>> * "how do I delete an article?" and its counterpart: "why was my article deleted?"
>> * "how do I merge/split an article?"
>> * "hey, can I reference a blogpost in this article?"

>> There are formatting questions that aren't so easy to figure out either:
>> * "how do I put a footnote in an article?"
>> * "how do I find and insert an infobox?"

> In fact a lot of those issues are spelled out very clearly. See [[WP:BLOGS]] for whether you can reference a blogpost. See [[WP:INCITE]] for a quick way to add a footnote. See [[Category:Infobox templates]] for how to add an infobox.

I am pleased that all these areas have been so well documented (I have a hard time agreeing that AfD is easy to use, though!) Is that true for everything, though? Would it be worthwhile to fix up other procedure pages?

I didn't list these particular examples because I thought they were necessarily the hardest problems on the wiki; I listed them because they're common questions and have historically been the source of a lot of discussion. This is by no means an exclusive list :) And guidelines need to be thought of in context too -- how do you get from someone asking about their citation to the guideline above? Is there a clear path? Is it easy to find? Let's think big here about improving the help pages in general.

-- phoebe


Sarah
Sun, 10 Apr 2011 20:27:10

There are clear paths to the ones I listed above, yes.

The problem with the policies and guidelines is one of too many cooks. This can be a good thing for editing articles, but it's almost always a bad thing for editing policies. Everyone who comes along has her own idea of what needs to be added, and soon the policy's too long and complicated to read, and doesn't reflect what actually happens. So no one reads it. So everyone's confused.

Many suggestions have been made over the years: protect policies against editing; create a policy committee and all substantive change has to go through them; merge some policies and try to clean up the writing. All are unsatisfactory or won't fly for various reasons.

Part of it is just the personality of Wikipedians. We have lots of editors who like increasing levels of complexity and categorization. It's that precision of mind that makes the project a success in many ways. But it can go too far. The thing is, you can't turn it on and off as needed.

Sarah


FT2
Sun, 10 Apr 2011 20:28:47

On Sun, Apr 10, 2011 at 9:05 PM, Sarah [...] wrote:
> In fact a lot of those issues are spelled out very clearly. See [[WP:BLOGS]] for whether you can reference a blogpost. See [[WP:INCITE]] for a quick way to add a footnote. See [[Category:Infobox templates]] for how to add an infobox.


> The deletion process does look daunting, but actually if you just clunk through the instructions, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:AfD#How_to_list_pages_for_deletion it's pretty easy, and I say that as someone with a template phobia.

> We work on a complex website that caters to lots of different needs and skill levels, so there's a limit to how simple these processes can be made.

> Sarah

I disagree strongly. They are spelled out *as well as we can using current, one-flat-page methods*. That isn't the same as easy, intuitive, inviting, or comfortable, for most people. We expect a lot from newcomers. Too much.

When a user can click a button and type *"I want to delete an article"* and get a step by step helping hand (wizard fashion), or an experienced user to chat to "on the spot", or a newcomer typing an edit has the (disable-able) software popup *"You look like you're trying to reference a blog post. Here's the 3 bullet point summary on that, and a link to the current policy. Click OK to confirm if you mean to do this or HELP ME to talk to an experienced user"*...

... *then* I will agree we are making progress.

FT2


Risker
Sun, 10 Apr 2011 20:28:59

On 10 April 2011 16:05, Sarah [...] wrote:
> On Sun, Apr 10, 2011 at 13:54, phoebe ayers [...] wrote:
> > * "how do I delete an article?" and its counterpart: "why was my article deleted?"
> > * "how do I merge/split an article?"
> > * "hey, can I reference a blogpost in this article?"

> > There are formatting questions that aren't so easy to figure out either:
> > * "how do I put a footnote in an article?"
> > * "how do I find and insert an infobox?"

> In fact a lot of those issues are spelled out very clearly. See [[WP:BLOGS]] for whether you can reference a blogpost. See [[WP:INCITE]] for a quick way to add a footnote. See [[Category:Infobox templates]] for how to add an infobox.

See now, this is exactly what I'm talking about. Look at that lovely alphabet soup. I bet nobody can explain why the shortcut to the page on how to add references sounds like something involving rioting in the streets.

And how would a new user even have the funniest idea about categories, let alone templates?

Actually, there's a huge bugaboo - all the templates that are used all over the place. Most users aren't able to write them, and we get back to the WSIWYG issues of unclear information on the editing screen when they're used. Between templates and wikitables, there are big parts of the project that turn into absolute mysteries when the user clicks "Edit".

Incidentally, part of the [[WP:INCITE]] page is incorrect: List defined references don't look like that in the editing screen.

> The deletion process does look daunting, but actually if you just clunk through the instructions, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:AfD#How_to_list_pages_for_deletion it's pretty easy, and I say that as someone with a template phobia.

Keeping in mind that I too am an experienced editor, it still took me nearly 5 minutes plus several open tabs to file an AfD the other day. I keep being told "just install Huggle/Twinkle/Friendly/some other script" but because I work on a wide range of browsers, these cause problems for me. Having said that, the main issue was time and number of steps, not legibility or physical difficulty.

> We work on a complex website that caters to lots of different needs and skill levels, so there's a limit to how simple these processes can be made.

Agreed, but the things that we expect even a beginning editor to do should be as simple and easily found as possible. Citing references, in particular, is buried in bits and pieces all over the place. A newbie who manages to find [[WP:INCITE]] and follows its instructions is still just as likely to be trouted because they didn't use the "right" style of references for the article ("Sorry, Wikiproject:XXX requires that only Harvard style references be used in articles under our aegis. Please resubmit your edit, properly formatted.") We can do better.

Risker/Anne


Virgilio A. P. Machado
Sun, 10 Apr 2011 20:29:03

My apologies for not posting in the proper sequence. This is in reference to John Vandenberg's post of Sun Apr 10 05:54:28 UTC 2011, under this same subject. [Please see above]

The two links provided are just the tip of the iceberg. My unwelcome posts to this list go back, as far as I can tell, to May 2009. I am therefore about to celebrate two years of being an inconvenience and a nuisance to this list Masters. With so much material readily available, a narrative of all those events will be initiated very soon.

Sincerely,

Virgilio A. P. Machado (Vapmachado)


You are reading that "narrative of all those events."


Sarah
Sun, 10 Apr 2011 20:43:16

On Sun, Apr 10, 2011 at 14:28, Risker [...] wrote:
[On Sun, Apr 10, 2011 at 20:05, Sarah wrote:]
>> In fact a lot of those issues are spelled out very clearly. See [[WP:BLOGS]] for whether you can reference a blogpost. See [[WP:INCITE]] for a quick way to add a footnote. See [[Category:Infobox templates]] for how to add an infobox.

> See now, this is exactly what I'm talking about. Look at that lovely alphabet soup. I bet nobody can explain why the shortcut to the page on how to add references sounds like something involving rioting in the streets.

These are all just shortcuts within [[Wikipedia:Citing sources]] (which, I agree, is far too complex, but trying to cut it down always leads to shouting):

  • WP:INCITE (what an inline citation is)
  • WP:INTEXT (when you need to add the name of your source to the text too)
  • WP:INTEGRITY (why text-source relationships matter)

It's intended as a memorable way of pointing out three of the key rules of sourcing, i.e. it's intended to to help people make their way through the Citing sources guideline mess.

>> The deletion process does look daunting, but actually if you just clunk through the instructions, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:AfD#How_to_list_pages_for_deletion it's pretty easy, and I say that as someone with a template phobia.

> Keeping in mind that I too am an experienced editor, it still took me nearly 5 minutes plus several open tabs to file an AfD the other day. I keep being told "just install Huggle/Twinkle/Friendly/some other script" but because I work on a wide range of browsers, these cause problems for me. Having said that, the main issue was time and number of steps, not legibility or physical difficulty.

Yes, it does take time. I agree with you about templates, so don't think I'm defending the template culture. I just think AfD is not the worst of them. There are a few processes I've never managed even to complete.

>> We work on a complex website that caters to lots of different needs and skill levels, so there's a limit to how simple these processes can be made.

> Agreed, but the things that we expect even a beginning editor to do should be as simple and easily found as possible. Citing references, in particular, is buried in bits and pieces all over the place. A newbie who manages to find [[WP:INCITE]] and follows its instructions is still just as likely to be trouted because they didn't use the "right" style of references for the article ("Sorry, Wikiproject:XXX requires that only Harvard style references be used in articles under our aegis. Please resubmit your edit, properly formatted.") We can do better.

I agree. There are too many options, too many entrenched views about them, though the guidelines are clear that editors can choose whichever style they feel comfortable with (so long as they're not changing a pre-existing style). A lot of the problems stem from established editors not following the policies and guidelines -- and not only about sourcing, but everything. We get endless inquiries from new editors to the effect that "guideline X says I can do this, but I'm being told I can't."

Sarah


Sarah
Sun, 10 Apr 2011 21:24:33

On Sun, Apr 10, 2011 at 16:16, MZMcBride [...] wrote:
> The entire deletion process is broken and needs to be fixed. Werdna was working on an extension to make nominating a page for deletion less horrible (<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Werdna/dev>), but I don't believe there has been any recent activity on this.

What is the problem with allowing editors to do this kind of thing manually -- open AfDs and RfCs, and the like? Why does there always have to be a template, just as a matter of interest?

I remember we used to be able to do these things by hand. Then we had templates introduced as options. Then the manual options were removed. If you try to open an article RfC manually nowadays, the RfC bot reverts you when you add it to the list.

Sarah


Sarah
Sun, 10 Apr 2011 21:44:28

On Sun, Apr 10, 2011 at 2:14 AM, FT2 [...] wrote:
> A *"click to get help from an experienced editor"* button, along with the reverse suggested *"An experienced editor would like to talk to you, click to accept"* popup/notice, would probably work wonders in terms of support and perceived friendliness.

Just adding on to MZMcBride's response (which was great, if everyone took mailing list suggestions and turned them constructive action like filing a bug, that would be awesome...)

If you're interested in all the different areas that could be worked on to do something about issues like this, a good first step is browsing through the product whitepaper built by Erik, Howie, and others.[1]

It specifically outlines some of these things -- include a sort of live help system -- for new editor support in terms of their potential impact and how easy they are to implement.

If any of those ideas jump out at you as particularly good ones, please be bold and say so (maybe on the talk page of the whitepaper?).

1. http://strategy.wikimedia.org/wiki/Product_Whitepaper

Steven


Jim Redmond
Sun, 10 Apr 2011 21:54:11

On Sun, Apr 10, 2011 at 15:28, Risker [...] wrote:
> A newbie who manages to find [[WP:INCITE]] and follows its instructions is still just as likely to be trouted because they didn't use the "right" style of references for the article ("Sorry, Wikiproject:XXX requires that only Harvard style references be used in articles under our aegis. Please resubmit your edit, properly formatted.")

Uh, wow. Not to mince words, but any Wikiproject that gets that snippy about citation formats is a shameful, ridiculous joke, and anyone who posts anything like that on any user talk page should be immediately blocked for newbie-biting. (As you can probably tell, I have strong opinions on this topic.)

The *entire point* of any wiki is that it should be easy to fix most problems quickly. If a newbie makes mistakes - and they always will, no matter how awesome our policies and tools are - then experienced editors should just fix the mistakes and gently (!) inform the newbie why they did what they did. Not only is that approach faster and easier and less bite-y, but it also makes our content better *now*, and it gives the newbie a chance to learn how we work.

--
Jim Redmond


MZMcBride
Sun, 10 Apr 2011 22:06:43

[On Sun, Apr 10, 2011 at 09:14], FT2 wrote:
> To which I'd add - a lot of websites have live chat support, "click here to chat to a customer service agent".

> A *"click to get help from an experienced editor"* button, along with the reverse suggested *"An experienced editor would like to talk to you, click to accept"* popup/notice, would probably work wonders in terms of support and perceived friendliness.

This is filed as <https://bugzilla.wikimedia.org/show_bug.cgi?id=16982>.

There are large technical and social hurdles to overcome in order to implement such a feature properly.

MZMcBride


MZMcBride
Sun, 10 Apr 2011 22:16:28

[On Sun, Apr 10, 2011 at 20:28], Risker wrote:
[On Sun, Apr 10, 2011 at 20:05, Sarah wrote:]
>> The deletion process does look daunting, but actually if you just clunk through the instructions, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:AfD#How_to_list_pages_for_deletion it's pretty easy, and I say that as someone with a template phobia.

> Keeping in mind that I too am an experienced editor, it still took me nearly 5 minutes plus several open tabs to file an AfD the other day. I keep being told "just install Huggle/Twinkle/Friendly/some other script" but because I work on a wide range of browsers, these cause problems for me. Having said that, the main issue was time and number of steps, not legibility or physical difficulty.

The entire deletion process is broken and needs to be fixed. Werdna was working on an extension to make nominating a page for deletion less horrible (<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Werdna/dev>), but I don't believe there has been any recent activity on this.

MZMcBride


MZMcBride
Sun, 10 Apr 2011 22:45:52

[On Sun, Apr 10, 2011 at 21:24], Sarah wrote:
> On Sun, Apr 10, 2011 at 16:16, MZMcBride [...] wrote:
>> The entire deletion process is broken and needs to be fixed. Werdna was working on an extension to make nominating a page for deletion less horrible (<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Werdna/dev>), but I don't believe there has been any recent activity on this.

> What is the problem with allowing editors to do this kind of thing manually -- open AfDs and RfCs, and the like? Why does there always have to be a template, just as a matter of interest?

Well, you hit the answer to your second question in your second paragraph: templates have been implemented largely to appease bots/scripts and to make the processes (and their related pages) more standardized and consistent. I think templates make much more sense in the context of something like speedy deletions: you want a consistent banner that auto-categorizes the page so that admins can review the queue later.

The problem with templates from a usability/user interface perspective is that they're arcane and needlessly confusing. "{{subst:afd1}}" is gibberish. I know what adding that code does and where the names come from better than most, but I think that expecting users to have to deal with it is unacceptable. The project that Werdna was working on was a system in which users could nominate pages for deletion without needing templates. They would instead have a "delete" tab or a sidebar option that would allow any user to nominate a page for deletion and have the votes for deletion tracked properly in the database. (Freeform wikitext is almost impossible to parse.)

There is an idea that power needs to be distributed; e.g., not just a few power users should be able to figure out that adding "{{csd-r1}}" to the top of a page means that you've come across a broken redirect that should be deleted. (And if you went the manual route and put a nice note at the top of the page, who knows what would happen, but likely nothing good or expected.) Following this idea, a proper system for nominating pages for deletion would allow for more users to get involved in the process, could include automatic notification to the page's creator/watchers/major contributors, and could even possibly eliminate the need for admin intervention altogether in some circumstances.

The difficulty of using templates and some of the current processes does come with an advantage or two, namely that there is security through obscurity. It's rare to see frivolous nominations for deletion with a system that's so complex and confusing. If you implemented a one-click system, you'd have to also develop means to prevent people from trying to nominate "Abortion" and "Barack Obama" for deletion every few minutes.

MZMcBride


Andrew Garrett
Sun, 10 Apr 2011 23:53:04

On Mon, Apr 11, 2011 at 7:54 AM, Jim Redmond [...] wrote:
> The *entire point* of any wiki is that it should be easy to fix most problems quickly. If a newbie makes mistakes - and they always will, no matter how awesome our policies and tools are - then experienced editors should just fix the mistakes and gently (!) inform the newbie why they did what they did. Not only is that approach faster and easier and less bite-y, but it also makes our content better *now*, and it gives the newbie a chance to learn how we work.

Sadly, as long as there are buttons that let you revert an edit in one click (and requests for adminship that count the number of times you do so) people are going to click the button instead of fixing templates.

--
Andrew Garrett
http://werdn.us/


Virgilio A. P. Machado
Mon, 11 Apr 2011 03:36:10

> > At 19:47 09-04-2011, [Fred Bauder] wrote:
> >> Was there an arbitration case? Or other dispute resolution events? If so, could you share your reactions to the fairness and comprehensiveness of what happened? Please give us some links...

> >>Fred

> [On 10 April 2011 05:37, Virgilio A. P. Machado wrote:]
> > What is the purpose of all those questions? I've always provided that information to this list and if anything ever come out of it, besides being scolded by the list masters for making off-list posts, was to gain a new following of admirers.

> > Sincerely,

> > Virgilio A. P. Machado

At 12:57 10-04-2011, [Fred Bauder] wrote:
> The reason to ask is because if there is a problem we might be able to resolve it. At this point I don't know what your problem was or is. You seem to be nursing a grievance; trying to milk it rather than solving it.

> I'm sorry if I've not paid perfect attention, but I don't think I've got the tone wrong.

> Fred

Of course there are problems, some of them in plain English. Is anybody on this list able to do anything about them? I'm sure there is. That is why I have posted here so many times asking for help. Have I received any help? None whatsoever.

It's kind of hard to believe that any assiduous member of this list is totally unaware of my "Request for assistance" posted Jan. 5. That's already more than three months ago. Have I seen any results? You bet. You can see by yourself looking at my Meta talk page from http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/User_talk:Vapmachado#Block all the way down to the declining of my request to unblock "with an expiry time of infinite", on Jan. 16.

Am I nursing a grievance? You bet I am. For three months and still counting. Will I ever forgive? There's nothing to forgive. Will I ever forget? Never. I can assure you that is not in my nature. Once someone gets on my ignore mode it stays there until chickens grow teeth.

Am I trying to milk it? There's nothing to milk. I'm not sure of the exact meaning in which that expression was used, but anyway I look at it, it does not seem very relevant. Nevertheless you can bet that I believe that one day the chickens will come home to roost.

Except for overlooking a bunch of my previous requests for help, including the one above, it seems you were paying perfect attention and you got my tone wright: "I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore! I want you to get up right now, sit up, go to your windows, open them and stick your head out and yell - 'I'm as mad as hell and I'm not going to take this anymore!' Things have got to change. But first, you've gotta get mad!... You've got to say, 'I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!' Then we'll figure out what to do about Meta, the Wikipedia and the Wikimedia Foundation. But first get up out of your chairs, open the window, stick your head out, and yell, and say it: 'I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!'

Sincerely,

Virgilio A. P. Machado (Vapmachado)


Sarah
Mon, 11 Apr 2011 05:16:59

On Sun, Apr 10, 2011 at 16:45, MZMcBride [...] wrote:
> [On Sun, Apr 10, 2011 at 21:24], Sarah wrote:
>> What is the problem with allowing editors to do this kind of thing manually -- open AfDs and RfCs, and the like? Why does there always have to be a template, just as a matter of interest?

> Well, you hit the answer to your second question in your second paragraph: templates have been implemented largely to appease bots/scripts and to make the processes (and their related pages) more standardized and consistent. I think templates make much more sense in the context of something like speedy deletions: you want a consistent banner that auto-categorizes the page so that admins can review the queue later.

I wish we could introduce a rule that, whenever a process like this is automated, a manual way of doing it has to be allowed to co-exist. Consistency is good, but so are other things, like sanity.

We used to be able to file an article RfC manually, but now as I said if you try to add one to the page yourself, the bot reverts you. It would be a trivial matter to stop that from happening, but there's no will. Bots rule. :)

And RfC is one of the simpler processes (except when the bot isn't working, in which case everyone's stuck). But there are processes that really are impenetrable. Try opening a sockpuppet report. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Sockpuppet_investigations/SPI/Guidance#How_to_open_an_investigation

Sarah


Quim Gil
Mon, 11 Apr 2011 17:43:40

On Sun, 2011-04-10 at 14:50 -0400, ext Pharos wrote:
> On Sun, Apr 10, 2011 at 2:49 AM, Nikola Smolenski [...] wrote:
> > Perhaps it would be helpful if, when creating a new account, a user could write a short message about what would they like to do on Wikipedia (this would become their user page). It would give us an idea on what part of guidelines to present to the new user, and also very needed insight on why do people just create account and leave.

> This is the best actually-practical idea I've seen in a long, long time!

> ++to making user page info for new accounts a simple box to fill in at registration

Agree. Feature request created, otherwise it risks being forgotten:

https://bugzilla.wikimedia.org/show_bug.cgi?id=28494

Please discuss there, vote, and eventually fix it. Thanks!

--
Quim


phoebe ayers
Mon, 11 Apr 2011 19:17:33

This all seems rather closely related to the work going on at the Accounts Creation Project: http://outreach.wikimedia.org/wiki/Account_Creation_Improvement_Project

Which is being actively worked on -- cc'ing Lennart who is leading it.

best,
Phoebe


Sue Gardner
Tue, 12 Apr 2011 17:36:23

On 9 April 2011 20:21, Andrew Garrett [...] wrote:
> I don't mean to minimise the importance of keeping our established users happy and free from harassment, but I want to caution against the biases that we will undoubtedly have in considering our focus.

> Anecdotally, we tend to hear a lot more about established users picking up and leaving, because these are our friends — we work with them, chat with them on IRC, and whatever else. But for every story we hear about an established user leaving because of harassment, there are ten new-ish users who encounter the same hostile environment and stop editing without all the pomp and ceremony that necessarily accompanies the departure of a popular or well-known member of the community.

> So let's make sure we deal with the factors that make our overall editing environment conducive to hostile conduct. I don't want to see us fall into the trap of thinking only about long-term established users who are harassed in the long term, rather than the newer users who don't get a chance to be harassed in the long term because they pick up and leave straight away.


Thanks Andrew: this is an important comment and I'm glad you made it. We do all see the world from where we sit, and we interact with the people we already know ... so, experienced editors will be more exposed to the kinds of concerns shared by other experienced editors, and those concerns will instinctively resonate more for them.

This isn't a problem necessarily, it just means that we all need to try hard to imagine the world through other people's eyes, to listen to what other people say, and to not over-generalize from our own experiences and the experiences of our friends.

To that end ...... with help from others on the staff, a few weeks ago I took a crack at creating a framework for understanding the kinds of problems faced by editors at various stages of their 'life-cycle.' You can see it in this Google spreadsheet here: https://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?key=0Aq_nhKkb7L-OdG5uWlJLT25TZkZ3MzdSeUNqZnZqY2c&hl=en&authkey=CP3O_PgO -- it's publicly viewable but not editable.

There's also this spreadsheet, which people may find interesting: https://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?key=0Aq_nhKkb7L-OdFdzTG1KTUxVeXBOS0hhdWZMVmtxNUE&hl=en&authkey=CNK2oI8G -- it's a documentation of all the decline theories I know about it, tested against the available research. Also publicly viewable, also not editable.

Both of these are just first stabs... probably they will want to be moved to wiki pages and further fleshed out. But not by me: my table-making skills aren't up to the task :-)

Thanks,
Sue


Fred Bauder
Tue, 12 Apr 2011 17:57:32

[On Tue, Apr 12, 2011 at 17:36, Sue Gardner wrote:]
> You can see it in this Google spreadsheet here: https://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?key=0Aq_nhKkb7L-OdG5uWlJLT25TZkZ3MzdSeUNqZnZqY2c&hl=en&authkey=CP3O_PgO -- it's publicly viewable but not editable.

Brilliant! One point though, every item on that list has a meta solution of better information regarding how Wikipedia editing works and better understanding by the editor of their own emotions, and, of course, determination to not be a victim of your own emotions, or those of others.

Fred


Quim Gil
Tue, 12 Apr 2011 18:46:32

On Tue, 2011-04-12 at 10:36 -0700, ext Sue Gardner wrote:
> We do all see the world from where we sit, and we interact with the people we already know ... so, experienced editors will be more exposed to the kinds of concerns shared by other experienced editors, and those concerns will instinctively resonate more for them.

Fully agree. About "from where we sit", 5 and 10 years ago Wikimedia was basically 'a sitting user experience' both for readers and contributors, just like any other online project at that time. This defines the vocal community we have today, but things have changed and now communities like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and etc can't be conceived without all the users and contributors doing whatever NOT sitting in front of a computer.

In fact Wikimedia content is also popular among mobile users (directly or through apps), but what about mobile contributions?

After a decade swimming in free software development communities one can't avoid seeing the parallelism on this and on another important topic:

- Editing is not the only way of contributing, therefore it's good to think explicitly of 'contributors' beyond 'editors', and think of contributions that don't require editing.

Which is parallel to the well known

- Developing is not the only way of contributing, therefore it's good to think explicitly of 'contributors' beyond 'developers', and think of contributions that don't require coding.

A very promising land can be found precisely (paradoxically?) in the crossroads between editors and developers. Editing is mainly a manual task, requiring a higher community involvement as your edits grow. Software won't write articles for you anytime soon, but it can help channeling the unilateral input of zillion users doing each a small contribution. Busy editors know where that input is most needed and in which form it's more useful for the project. Inspired developers can make these contribution tools seamless and even fun to use - and rewarding.

Mobile devices are very promising in this sense. People spend huge amounts of fragmented times checking/posting online stuff and playing mobile games, in situations that are *not* in-front-of-my-laptop-again. Many of them would welcome to use some of that time doing something more useful to the World, as long as it's not demanding and doesn't require sitting in-front-of-my-laptop-again.

There is a collection of proposed casual mobile contributions at http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mobile_Projects/App_Features_%26_Roadmap#New_features . Editors are encouraged to have a look, add more use cases, help prioritizing those features and of course bring amazing ideas. With a bit of luck (and persistence) those features will end up in mobile apps used by a massive and diverse wave of new contributors.

A % of those users will have a curiosity to get involved beyond the almost unconscious one-hand mobile contributions, and hopefully they will receive another hand from the established editors to get them enrolled in one of the many interesting tasks and projects around.

--
Quim


David Gerard
Tue, 12 Apr 2011 19:02:23

On 12 April 2011 19:46, Quim Gil [...] wrote:
> In fact Wikimedia content is also popular among mobile users (directly or through apps), but what about mobile contributions?

I just tried editing an article on en:wp on my shiny new BlackBerry 9300. (Which can browse Wikipedia just fine.) It was ridiculously annoying and I'm not sure I'd bother fixing typos I spotted in casual reading.

(At least Vector worked in that version of the BlackBerry browser ...)

Does anyone here edit any of the WMF wikis, or any other wiki, on their phone much? What's it like, and what's the phone?

- d.


Martijn Hoekstra
Tue, 12 Apr 2011 19:10:14

I tried it about half a dozen times on my HTC desire. The user experience is truly dreadful, and I'm not trying it again.


Chris Keating
Tue, 12 Apr 2011 19:10:36

[On 12 April 2011 19:02, David Gerard wrote:]
> I just tried editing an article on en:wp on my shiny new BlackBerry 9300. (Which can browse Wikipedia just fine.) It was ridiculously annoying and I'm not sure I'd bother fixing typos I spotted in casual reading.

> (At least Vector worked in that version of the BlackBerry browser ...)

> Does anyone here edit any of the WMF wikis, or any other wiki, on their phone much? What's it like, and what's the phone?

I've edited the occasional talk page on en.wp from my Android. However, it's really difficult - the size of the pages means there's loads of scrolling, it's difficult to find the right place, and Wiki markup requires lots of fiddly special characters which are difficult to locate on a mobile touch keyboard.

To be honest, these are all problems that affect editing from a desktop as well, unless you're used to it. Wiki markup is simple if the article contains only headings and text. But if the article contains images, conversion templates, infoboxes and reference tags it can easily appear to be a barrage of incomprehensible code. And we rely heavily on square and curly brackets, pipe characters and tildes which most people probably never otherwise use on their keyboards.

Chris(The Land)


Kirill Lokshin
Tue, 12 Apr 2011 19:41:12

On Tue, Apr 12, 2011 at 3:02 PM, David Gerard [...] wrote:
> I just tried editing an article on en:wp on my shiny new BlackBerry 9300. (Which can browse Wikipedia just fine.) It was ridiculously annoying and I'm not sure I'd bother fixing typos I spotted in casual reading.

> (At least Vector worked in that version of the BlackBerry browser ...)

> Does anyone here edit any of the WMF wikis, or any other wiki, on their phone much? What's it like, and what's the phone?

I've edited a number of times from an iPhone (both 3G and 4). It's doable, in principle -- at least for basic editing -- but I wouldn't describe it as a very user-friendly experience.

One particular issue I've encountered is that multi-line input fields (i.e. standard MediaWiki edit boxes) are fairly difficult to work with on the iOS Safari interface; scrolling through the field is either extremely slow or doesn't work at all. This isn't as big a deal when editing articles; but for talk pages -- where one normally intends to reply at the bottom of a section -- the scrolling required can quickly become prohibitively time-consuming.

(I'm not sure whether it would be possible to have the edit field auto-scroll to the bottom of the available text, at least for certain mobile devices. Alternately, LiquidThreads might solve the problem as well, assuming we ever get them.)

Kirill


Quim Gil
Tue, 12 Apr 2011 20:17:14

On Tue, 2011-04-12 at 20:02 +0100, ext David Gerard wrote:
> I just tried editing an article on en:wp on my shiny new BlackBerry

Did you read the rest of my (admittedly long) email, where I was saying precisely that there are many potential contributions not related with editing that could be done from mobile devices?

http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mobile_Projects/App_Features_&_Roadmap

Pasted here for convenience:

  • "Share this" like WikiNews does.
  • Watch an article - simple way to get readers progressively involved.
  • Patrol a new article - could be suggested by the app.
  • Geotag an article - maybe there is a way to offer suggestions.
  • Assess the relevance / importance of an article - app could suggest
  • Upload and embed a picture to a page - implementation might be tricky.
  • Add a comment in the discussion page - rather than applying templates directly.
  • Let SuggestBot to suggest me a mobile task - (with some fine tuning of the bot this could be a stand-alone mobile app in itself)
  • Spellchecking - highly automated, engine tbd.

About tricky UIs, they can be improved for mobile use. Please take the time filing feature requests and your proposals at https://bugzilla.wikimedia.org/

Thanks!

--
Quim


David Gerard
Tue, 12 Apr 2011 20:39:31

On 12 April 2011 21:17, Quim Gil [...] wrote:
> About tricky UIs, they can be improved for mobile use. Please take the time filing feature requests and your proposals at https://bugzilla.wikimedia.org/

I strongly suspect this is in the class of problem which is not going to achieve good solutions by people annoyed by the mobile interface filing incremental ad-hoc bugs. Thus, this response does not in fact seem to demonstrate awareness of the likely scope of the problem. So please don't take it the wrong way when I say that your answer comes across as glib.

Rather, it is in the class of problems that will require focused attention from a designer who understands UI issues and can focus attention on the vexed issue of designing a mobile editing interface that, as a whole, is actually functional and usable.

This may require actual focused assignment of resources, i.e., spending money. If we can do it by sheer brilliance, great! But if that were feasible, it would have happened already.

- d.


Sue Gardner
Wed, 13 Apr 2011 00:53:17

On 12 April 2011 12:02, David Gerard [...] wrote:
> I just tried editing an article on en:wp on my shiny new BlackBerry 9300. (Which can browse Wikipedia just fine.) It was ridiculously annoying and I'm not sure I'd bother fixing typos I spotted in casual reading.

> (At least Vector worked in that version of the BlackBerry browser ...)

> Does anyone here edit any of the WMF wikis, or any other wiki, on their phone much? What's it like, and what's the phone?

I edit, infrequently, from my Droid Pro. It's actually not too gruesome, because the whole phone is optimized for text input. (The Pro is the so-called Blackberry killer, the one with the excellent physical keyboard.)

It's not fun, due mostly to the small screen size, but it's possible. I do quick time-sensitive wiki-tasks from it and I occasionally fix typos, but I would never attempt a complicated article edit.

Stepping back a bit -- for anyone who doesn't know, mobile is a second-level priority for the Wikimedia Foundation right now (behind Rich Text Editor and new editor retention). You can read more here: http://strategy.wikimedia.org/wiki/Product_Whitepaper. Gist is, we want to support both low-end and high-end phones and connections, and do some experimentation with mobile contribution mechanisms -- minor edits, image uploads, article ratings, and that kind of thing. Basically the kind of thing Quim Gil was talking about, below....

>> On 12 April 2011 19:46, Quim Gil [...] wrote:
> http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mobile_Projects/App_Features_&_Roadmap

> * "Share this" like WikiNews does.
> * Watch an article - simple way to get readers progressively involved.
> * Patrol a new article - could be suggested by the app.
> * Geotag an article - maybe there is a way to offer suggestions.
> * Assess the relevance / importance of an article - app could suggest
> * Upload and embed a picture to a page - implementation might be tricky.
> * Add a comment in the discussion page - rather than applying templates directly.
> * Let SuggestBot to suggest me a mobile task - (with some fine tuning of the bot this could be a stand-alone mobile app in itself)
> * Spellchecking - highly automated, engine tbd.

Thanks,
Sue


Lennart Guldbrandsson
Thu, 14 Apr 2011 13:34:36

Sorry for the late reply. Here is the reply I sent a couple of days ago that bounced since I wrote it from my usual email account:

Hello,

Thanks for reminding me of this thread and specifically for showing me this suggestion, which I hadn't seen.

We are actually working on a similar idea. I will post a message about it in about two days' time, as I am currently working on a restructuration of the Bookshelf Project, where I also have some news shortly.

Best wishes,

Lennart

--
Lennart Guldbrandsson, Fellow of the Wikimedia Foundation // Wikimedia Foundation-stipendiat