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Wikimedia Rolls Out Its WYSIWYG Visual Editor For Logged-in Wikipedia Users

Soulskill posted 1 year,22 days | from the what-you-sing-is-what-you-get dept.

Wikipedia 71

An anonymous reader writes "The Wikimedia Foundation has finally enabled its long-awaited VisualEditor for all logged-in users on the English-language version of Wikipedia. The classic Wikitext source editor will remain available to edit both pages and page sections, and the organization stressed there are currently no plans to remove it. This is because VisualEditor doesn't yet support the broad range of functionality that Wikitext allows, and Wikimedia further notes it is aware some editors may prefer it. Nevertheless, the organization is hoping to the majority of editors will transition to VisualEditor, which is why it is slowly becoming the default." In other Wikipedia news, reader GerardM writes "Today the 'Universal Language Selector' premiered on the English Wikipedia. There is a ton of functionality in there and it has a lot of potential. The one thing that may prove to be a game changer for people with dyslexia is the inclusion of the OpenDyslexic font. Once people with dyslexia start to adopt this font, chances are that they can actually read/use Wikipedia. A lot of people are dyslexic; to quote the en.wp article on the subject: 'It is believed the prevalence of dyslexia is around 5-10 percent of a given population although there have been no studies to indicate an accurate percentage.'"

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71 comments

wysiwigging wiki (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,22 days | (#44170803)

phat

TLDR: it's shit n/t (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,22 days | (#44170859)

n/t

Awesome Job (1, Insightful)

theArtificial (613980) | 1 year,22 days | (#44170897)

Lowering the barrier for contributing............. will ensure more user edits will never see the light of day! More contributions and a lower percentage of them getting through the winding colon of wikipolitics. It sounds like everyone wins!

Re:Awesome Job (0)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | 1 year,22 days | (#44172403)

Management has reached the conclusion that there isn't a management problem.

Re:Awesome Job (2)

martijn hoekstra (1046898) | 1 year,22 days | (#44173907)

Management has reached the conclusion that there isn't a management problem.

As a long-time contributor and administrator I am painfully aware how we are screwing up the experience for new editors. This is ironically possibly due to our culture of self-empowerment: we give too little feedback for moderately experienced Wikipedians who decide to lay down the law for new Wikipedians. We let them discourage newcomers, because probably mean well in their endevour to keep Wikipedia clean, and the line between the right thing and not the right thing in practice is often blurry. Much of this problem comes from relatively new Wikipedians, who are seen by complete newcomers as authority figures because they act as such, without the new editor realising that there really are no authority figures ( if anyone ever uses the phrase 'will report you to the admins' you know they are full off it, and have no clue how Wikipedia works). While our editing model and attitude certainly needs improvement, the visual editor is at least a step in the right direction. Fixing the problem posed by the arcane invocations that make up MediaWiki WikiText and templates by using a visual editor is a good thing, and shouldn't be blocked because we have behavioural problems within our community.

Re:Awesome Job (1)

jbolden (176878) | 1 year,21 days | (#44175711)

The visual editor will help some as it lowers the barrier for small edits. Small edits can make a huge difference to articles so that's a good thing.

You do have authority figures.
the victory of deletionists 5 years ago
the change of admin from being a shop keeping function to a privileged clique
summary bans instead of arbitration committee process

etc... has turned Wikipedia into a thoroughly unpleasant community. And there is no question there is a hierarchy in place and cruel indifferent one at that. Wikipedia was growing incredibly 2004-8. It aimed to change the world and it was. 2008-2013 it is a pretty cool website.

Re:Awesome Job (1)

martijn hoekstra (1046898) | 1 year,21 days | (#44177031)

The visual editor will help some as it lowers the barrier for small edits. Small edits can make a huge difference to articles so that's a good thing.

agreed

You do have authority figures.

who?

the victory of deletionists 5 years ago

it's slowly turning around, fortunately. Check AfD and compare to say 3 years back.

the change of admin from being a shop keeping function to a privileged clique

I still generally find it mop-up-on-isle-5

summary bans instead of arbitration committee process

are you pleading for authority figures now? While ArbCom was given the ability to ban users in case the community can't figure out whether or not to ban, that responsibility lies primarily with the community, not with ArbCom. Letting ArbCom decide on all possible bans is exactly the power that we don't want to give it, but want to retain with the community

etc... has turned Wikipedia into a thoroughly unpleasant community.

No argument from me that we are not going in the right direction, behaviourally. That's basically what I am saying above.

And there is no question there is a hierarchy in place and cruel indifferent one at that. Wikipedia was growing incredibly 2004-8. It aimed to change the world and it was. 2008-2013 it is a pretty cool website.

Wikipedia has more readers than ever. An optimist could say it aimed to change the world and it has. But there is a long way to go. Broader inclusion criteria and a better editing climate is certainly part of that.

Re:Awesome Job (1)

jbolden (176878) | 1 year,21 days | (#44177245)

jbolden: summary bans instead of arbitration committee process
Martin: are you pleading for authority figures now? While ArbCom was given the ability to ban users in case the community can't figure out whether or not to ban, that responsibility lies primarily with the community, not with ArbCom. Letting ArbCom decide on all possible bans is exactly the power that we don't want to give it, but want to retain with the community

3+ years ago if a person was going to be banned there was either an extensive community process (very rare) or an arbcom ruling. They got due process. Today admins apply indef bans rather freely. I don't mind arbcom doing bans they showed discretion and insured due process, I do mind indef blocks to well established editors under almost any circumstances.

Similarly admins sent stuff to moderation in 2007 they didn't ban people for "edit warring". If an admin was going to get involved in an article they had a responsibility to ensure the process was followed. The number of articles that was locked was like 20-100 not thousands.

jbolden: the victory of deletionists 5 years ago
Martin: it's slowly turning around, fortunately. Check AfD and compare to say 3 years back.

Maybe I am so bitter I don't invest any energy anymore. And some of the problems were compensated for by wikias. The 200 articles on Ashley Simpson would now be on a dedicated Ashley Simpson wiki. That being said the fights over linking to these resources are still rather common. I'd say in general deletionists win most battles. In 2007 the assumption was all content was good and the burden was to prove otherwise.

Wikipedia has more readers than ever. An optimist could say it aimed to change the world and it has. But there is a long way to go. Broader inclusion criteria and a better editing climate is certainly part of that.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Size_of_Wikipedia#Annual_growth_rate [wikipedia.org]

Re:Awesome Job (1)

martijn hoekstra (1046898) | 1 year,21 days | (#44177809)

3+ years ago if a person was going to be banned there was either an extensive community process (very rare) or an arbcom ruling. They got due process. Today admins apply indef bans rather freely. I don't mind arbcom doing bans they showed discretion and insured due process, I do mind indef blocks to well established editors under almost any circumstances.

Similarly admins sent stuff to moderation in 2007 they didn't ban people for "edit warring". If an admin was going to get involved in an article they had a responsibility to ensure the process was followed. The number of articles that was locked was like 20-100 not thousands.

I'm not sure what you mean by 'send stuff to moderation'. Also I see no significant difference between ANI in 2007 [wikipedia.org] and ANI now. Also, show me the most recent indef block for edit warring that wasn't repealed on request, and you think shouldn't have happened. I have no metrics for number of protected articles, and sadly, this isn't easily queryable for historical data, but if you do, that would be an interesting metric. Did you get that somewhere, or is that from memory?

In 2007 the assumption was all content was good and the burden was to prove otherwise.

2006 begs to differ [wikipedia.org] Quick anecdotical evidence from AfD logs (looking back to 2004) doesn't show what you are saying.

Are you using a page that indicates the growth in number of articles is slowing down as an argument against that the readership is still growing? That doesn't make sense.

Re:Awesome Job (1)

jbolden (176878) | 1 year,21 days | (#44180631)

I'm not sure what you mean by 'send stuff to moderation'.

Frequently 2006-7 if an admin got involved and saw a disagreement they would encourage or outright file a request for Mediation Committee or Mediation Cabal (which I notice is now shutdown). Mediation Cabal ran about 80-90 in getting success.

Also I see no significant difference between ANI in 2007 [wikipedia.org] and ANI now.

I suggest you look at how often articles won at ANI and how infrequently it was used against quality articles. Having to get through ANI has become a standard process for every article. In 2007 most articles (that were sane) didn't go through ANI at all.

Ask anyone who was editing then. The stuff that happened in 2006 / 7 never would be allowed today. I was constantly able to get good quality articles from knowledgeable insiders and later get them properly referenced. Today that's simply not allowed.

Also, show me the most recent indef block for edit warring that wasn't repealed on request, and you think shouldn't have happened.

I don't know anything recent. I don't even know how to query indef bans. Just look at indef bans for long standing users those were mostly non existent 6 years ago.

Did you get that somewhere, or is that from memory?

From memory. I noticed the huge differences starting in 2009. I had to work very hard to get: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bristol_Palin [wikipedia.org] even when it became clear she was remaining a national figure well after the election. I had a friend that wanted to right a good article (obituary more or less) and she couldn't without a huge cleanup. BLP wouldn't apply since the person writing the article was a disciple so it wasn't going to be negative.

Are you using a page that indicates the growth in number of articles is slowing down as an argument against that the readership is still growing? That doesn't make sense.

No I'm using it to indicate that the surge in readership is not a sing of a healthy community. That's the point under discussion. Wikipedia might surge in readership for a very long time as the ability of wikipedia to go and thrive dies. Wikipedia has just gotten OS level support in iOS. That's going to send hits through the roof. So what? The issue is whether Wikipedia has a poisonous relationship with its editors. The relationship with the readership is still quite good, no one is arguing that point.

Re:Awesome Job (1)

martijn hoekstra (1046898) | 1 year,21 days | (#44181811)

Ask anyone who was editing then. The stuff that happened in 2006 / 7 never would be allowed today. I was constantly able to get good quality articles from knowledgeable insiders and later get them properly referenced. Today that's simply not allowed.

This is the important part. I think the Wikimodel is an amazing model at creating content to solidly mediocre to pretty decent levels. To a very good level, not so much. Maintaining a very good level, even much less so. When we started getting more articles across that line (and I'm not fooling myself thinking that a significant fraction is, but a significant absolute number certainly is), the Wikimodel started breaking down, and the community slowly moved away from it. Maybe it will please you to know the jubilant spirit of ~2008-2010 where we felt we were invincible is gone, and many acknowledge we do indeed have a problem with our community. The threshold for joining the community has almost certainly risen. We're working on it though, and to attempt to steer back to the original topic, making at least one hindrance easier to overcome - the arcane editing interface.

With the increased readership and social relevance of Wikipedia, the community started to care more about the overall quality of the project. A bad article was more and more seen as a problem, rather than as a start for something great. It was pretty much the price of success; one could even argue that as much earlier Wikipedia was better for its community, so much better is it now for its readers. How we can get the energy and spunk of the earlier years back, while maintaining the relevance and overall higher quality of the more recent years is the great challenge Wikipedia currently faces.

At the same time, while I agree there is a lot of bad, the situation isn't quite as grim as you make it out to be. I think that your picture of Wikipedia of 2006-2007 is a little too rosy too. Maybe the ugly was already there, or was at least there in part, but you just hadn't really run in to it. I created my account in 2005 and ran for admin in 2008, so I was certainly around during those years. When I look over the history of the Bristol Palin article, I see a prod, which was removed by the very next editor (not you), and an AfD [wikipedia.org] which, well, saying one had to fight ones way to keep it is not really the reality of that discussion.

Re:Awesome Job (1)

jbolden (176878) | 1 year,21 days | (#44182839)

When I look over the history of the Bristol Palin article, I see a prod, which was removed by the very next editor (not you), and an AfD [wikipedia.org] which, well, saying one had to fight ones way to keep it is not really the reality of that discussion

You are looking too late. The discussion was getting the article off 6 months of semi-protection and getting the right to create it and.... I'm glad after having to put up with all that nonsense the AN/I was a non event. The article was on my userspace during that early time so there wasn't going to be an AN/I.

This is the important part. I think the Wikimodel is an amazing model at creating content to solidly mediocre to pretty decent levels. To a very good level, not so much. Maintaining a very good level, even much less so.

Well that wasn't wikipedia's goal. Wikipedia was supposed to be an almost infinite collection of so/so article. Nupedia was supposed to be the collection of awesome articles. http://en.citizendium.org/ [citizendium.org] could play that role. Wikipedia even today isn't great content and can't be because of the "no original research" strictly applied combined with anonymous editors. Good encyclopedias have a few true experts write great articles with a professional editing team. Wikipedia changed the world by writing about the 10m topics for which there weren't true experts.

The threshold for joining the community has almost certainly risen. We're working on it though, and to attempt to steer back to the original topic, making at least one hindrance easier to overcome - the arcane editing interface.

I agree fully that's a good thing. A person's wikipedia interaction starts with them making minor changes to articles correcting a fact here or adding a reference. The next phase though is usually an overhaul or creation of an article and that's where they are likely to get turned away. My first article was: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caldera_OpenLinux [wikipedia.org] . It never would have written under today's rules.

A bad article was more and more seen as a problem, rather than as a start for something great.

Exactly! People don't even use redlinks anymore to indicate "you should put an article here". The idea was that all articles started as stubs and grew.

so much better is it now for its readers.

I don't know about that. If wikipedia had kept on growing it could have something like 200m articles and hundreds of thousands of editors. I'd love to be able to get a good or even so-so quality article on every piece of networking equipment. Get a good or even so-so quality article on every command in every programming language. Get a good or even so-so quality article on every major building in the world. How are the almost 200m articles better for me?

How we can get the energy and spunk of the earlier years back, while maintaining the relevance and overall higher quality of the more recent years is the great challenge Wikipedia currently faces.

You can't. The more wikipedia requires great quality the more it becomes a job and not a hobby. People get paid to do work. In the case of wikipedia after 2007 the payoff has been for many people being able to be cruel and crush other people. By 2010 there was no group of newbies left in large enough numbers. So suddenly the community wasn't big enough.

Re:Awesome Job (1)

martijn hoekstra (1046898) | 1 year,21 days | (#44186399)

I don't know about that. If wikipedia had kept on growing it could have something like 200m articles and hundreds of thousands of editors. I'd love to be able to get a good or even so-so quality article on every piece of networking equipment. Get a good or even so-so quality article on every command in every programming language. Get a good or even so-so quality article on every major building in the world. How are the almost 200m articles better for me?

It was a direct result on the ~2006-2010 "lolwikipedia so unreliable" what was getting heard more and more (notice how you rarely hear this anymore), for better and for worse.

You can't.

We might. Vast changes will be needed though, and in a manner that is carried by the current community (or else everyone will leave, and the current content will also start to degrade rapidly. Say what you want about the current community, but they are excellent at policing stuff). The idea for a separate draft namespace has been floating around. I don't really mind the idea of making the main mainspace less Wiki, wiki isn't the right model for mature articles anyway. Getting back a 'real' wiki with all its pros and cons where Wikipedia (which will then be a 'fake' wiki; it will run wiki software, but not a wiki philosopy) can cherry pick from isn't so bad. Maybe this could even be its own project. I'm not sure yet. As long as that wiki/namespace is not scared of being called unreliable and won't think they have to respond to that they'll be fine. Being unreliable is fine, as long as you're clear about it, name the pros and cons, and people know where they stand when using the content. Spam might still be a problem. I'm not sure how big of a problem. As long as you're relatively invisible, spammers don't take interest.

Re:Awesome Job (1)

jbolden (176878) | 1 year,20 days | (#44186657)

It was a direct result on the ~2006-2010 "lolwikipedia so unreliable" what was getting heard more and more (notice how you rarely hear this anymore), for better and for worse.

At the time there was competition from mainstream encyclopedias. In particular and last to go was Britanica. Britanica had a large number of excellent articles written by experts. Wikipedia beat them when they were unreliable: 20x the size, free, better web interface, more up to data. People valued that more than accuracy.

But I would agree that this push is often what drove the deletionist victory. This was their argument and it did win the day. But it also devastated the community.

Getting back a 'real' wiki with all its pros and cons where Wikipedia (which will then be a 'fake' wiki; it will run wiki software, but not a wiki philosopy) can cherry pick from isn't so bad. Maybe this could even be its own project. I'm not sure yet. As long as that wiki/namespace is not scared of being called unreliable and won't think they have to respond to that they'll be fine.

I think having the more reliable project takes the pressure off. Larry Sanger was right about that. On the other hand once the "wiki" gets to be 20x or so the size of the "authoritative" site then the pressures will repeat. People will start switching their primary encyclopedia over to the new site because a few million articles doesn't compare to a few hundred million articles. Wikipedia will become Britannica and the new site will get the attention. For example, having a good quality article on every restaurant in the United States along with their menu, their reviews, their delivery policy... is going to get used a lot. And that's going to carry over when it comes to articles on more authoritative topics where wikipedia can be too short.

The nice though is these articles create a starting point. The way the free britanica, Catholic encyclopedia, free mathematical encyclopedia.... did for early wikipedia in the early days. But wikipedia is going to have to decide if they can move articles over from the new "liberal encyclopedia". The current crop of admins would treat it like a blog and not allow content to move over.

Let's take an example. There are several good books that came from the translation of the records of the consistory under John Calvin that speak to the history of how low developed in early protestantism. Essentially when the philosophy of law shifted between Protestant and Catholic Europe. This is an important article and there are good quality sources. There is nothing on wikipedia on this. Now there is good reason for them not having a long article. Any sort of statistical analysis of those records is "original research" and any detailed conversation isn't encyclopedic. Wikipedia typically in these sorts of situations wants to wait for more academic research for a long article. And that's reasonable in keeping with NOR. But I think there is enough well references summary material for a 2000 word article even today. I think most wikipedians would want that kind of article. Now normally I'd write it because I think the encyclopedia needs a good article on the consistory and the changes in the philosophy of law between Protestant and Catholic Europe. So assume I write this article for the freer encyclopedia, what happens?

Spam might still be a problem. I'm not sure how big of a problem.

Spam was tasteful in the old days. Generally the attitude was conflict of interest is bad, not having an article is worse. Obvious bad spam got deleted. Biased articles that conformed to wikipedia except for Neutral Point of View got revised. And BTW I have articles where I've had obvious spammers For example one of my articles: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Educational_programming_language [wikipedia.org] had serious spam problems and there I couldn't get much help regarding posters with obvious commercial interests.

Anyway. Today the attitude has shifted and wikipedia would rather not have an article than have one with COI.

When does /. get WYSIWYG (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,22 days | (#44170913)

That would make reading much more enjoyable.

Will it have a button... (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,22 days | (#44171003)

...to automatically roll back any contributions that disagree with the administrator's politics?

Because that seems to be the feature most Wikipedia administrators would use most...

Re:Will it have a button... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,22 days | (#44171253)

Example please. I'm fed up with these accusations. Just about every time it turns out the whiner is sour just because he/she couldn't get his/her own political agenda into the article.

Re:Will it have a button... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,22 days | (#44171335)

You sound like a Wikipedia admin.

Re:Will it have a button... (0)

NeverWorker1 (1686452) | 1 year,22 days | (#44171503)

I can give you an example. There was what seemed to be to be an outlandishly strange interpretation of Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" included in the song's page. I joined a discussion in the comments (not in the page proper!) advocating removing it. Turns out, it was added by a wikiadmin and he liked the pseudo-intellectual veneer it added, so, rather than admit he's super-outvoted in the comments page, he accuses me of running sockpuppets (because, of course, there's no way multiple people could think he's wrong!). I had to write a responses defending myself. The "case" against me stalled for lack of evidence, but it was never officially dismissed and can be reopened. Since then, I've mostly stuck to typo-fixing, because, frankly, improving wikipedia isn't worth that sort of time and aggravation.

Re:Will it have a button... (3)

imsabbel (611519) | 1 year,22 days | (#44171673)

Of course, if it was YOUR fringe theory that people want deleted, you would be the one crying about deletionism and relevance criteria.

Re:Will it have a button... (1)

NeverWorker1 (1686452) | 1 year,22 days | (#44172651)

Quite possibly, but I wouldn't be trying to get the banned for sockpuppetry on the basis of "there's no way three people could disagree with me." Also, I'm not an admin, so there's that.

Re:Will it have a button... (1)

martijn hoekstra (1046898) | 1 year,21 days | (#44174143)

Disclaimer: I am a Wikipedia admin, and my view may be colored
I have a view issues with your analysis here.

I can give you an example. There was what seemed to be to be an outlandishly strange interpretation of Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" included in the song's page. I joined a discussion in the comments (not in the page proper!) advocating removing it. Turns out, it was added by a wikiadmin and he liked the pseudo-intellectual veneer it added,

How do you know his motivations?

so, rather than admit he's super-outvoted in the comments page, he accuses me of running sockpuppets (because, of course, there's no way multiple people could think he's wrong!). I had to write a responses defending myself.

yeah, not so pretty. While I understand his feeling there might be something fishy going on there (in most cases where an issue is brought up, and new editors show up to join the discussion, there is either sockpuppetry going on, or recruitment of people to join the discussion to support a particular point of view off wiki), I wouldn't have given some more consideration to the decent chance that while it raises some yellow flags, an SPI wasn't immediately needed, especially since there had been 3 months between the start of the thread and your comments. In this case, you said you didn't, there was no further evidence, and this case was closed. I particularly dislike the way he claims it can't be a content dispute because the has been peer-reviewed though, I don't know if that held back in 2009, but it certainly wouldn't now (the SPI is here [wikipedia.org] by the way if anyone wonders).

The "case" against me stalled for lack of evidence, but it was never officially dismissed and can be reopened.

I understand the distress here. To explain, Wikipedia is very very conservative in accessing possibly identifying information, and we consider the data used in these cases just that. Because there wasn't really any evidence that you were the same people, no check was run to protect the privacy of you and of Annie.barber. I understand how this can feel as the case being left open and could be picked up again at any time, particularly in the light of the comment 'Lack of evidence has led this case to languish; closing this case without prejudice against the opening of a new one if further evidence should present.', but this should actually be read as 'We're not going to dig up possibly identifying information when there is really no evidence. Come back when you have something more solid'. Rather then 'you're off the hook for now but we're keeping an eye on you'.
The discussion thread ended with Annie.barber saying

My final conclusion on the matter, after reading the entire article slowly and carefully with a refreshed mind is as follows: Some of what Whitely and Periano are cited as saying is perfectly objective and belongs exactly where it's at. However, some parts are very objective and would be better suited in a separate section where they would better complement each other, anyway. If need be, I'll pull aside the statements that are overly interpretive and compose a proposition for a new section, but I won't have time until after school starts back if I want to do a good job writing it. Annie.barber (talk) 5:18, 1 August 2009 (UTC)

which was uncontested. This was never done by that editor though (or you). I doubt it would have raised much dust if it had been.

Since then, I've mostly stuck to typo-fixing, because, frankly, improving wikipedia isn't worth that sort of time and aggravation.

Well, I'm glad you're at least still helping out with that stuff. I can see how that has been an aggravating experience. On the other hand, I want to stress that although an SPI was opened, it was pretty much dismissed as having a complete lack of evidence, and there was no reason from Wikipedias side to block you or want you to stop contributing to that talkpage or article. On the third hand I fully understand that the experience was so disheartening you didn't feel like contributing any more at all.
I'm hoping you can help me out though. Say, I find myself in the same theoretical situation: I think that some accounts are related and vote-stacking. What should I do that can both relief my concerns and not scare away the new editor(s) in case I'm wrong? After being a Wikipedian for quite a long time, it becomes increasingly difficult to properly understand the environment for new users. Your perspective could really help me out here.

Re:Will it have a button... (1)

NeverWorker1 (1686452) | 1 year,21 days | (#44175721)

I would have liked it had one of the other admins investigating the sockpuppetry allegation would have taken a moment to say, "this guy is clearly out of line; maybe we should address this somehow." Basically, I'm left with the impression that admins (or at least certain ones) view their articles as their own private turf and use their positions as admins and their better knowledge of the system (or appearance of better knowledge) to bully people trying to help. Some sort of pro-active check on this would be a nice start. I know I'm not the first person to experience this, but I still have no idea how to file a complaint against an admin, nor do I have any reason to assume it would be handled in an open and impartial manner.

Re:Will it have a button... (1)

martijn hoekstra (1046898) | 1 year,21 days | (#44176717)

Would it had helped if the almost legalese of "Lack of evidence has led this case to languish; closing this case without prejudice against the opening of a new one if further evidence should present." would have been phrases differently, possibly something along the lines as "there is insufficient evidence to justify opening checkuser records for this case. A new request can be made, but more solid evidence have to be presented to make it plausible these accounts are connected"? This is almost certainly also how the requesting admin had read it.
This has nothing to do with their position as admin by the way, a non-admin could have done exactly the same, with pretty much the same traction (a very very new user, say, less than 100 edits might be looked at with a little more reserve, even if that is against policy, but a editor with some 1000 edits would have been treated the same as an admin), but the knowledge of the system certainly is an issue.
As far as addressing behavioural issues, we have hardly anything in place, which is an acknowledged problem all round, from admins who get too little feedback on what they are doing wrong, to fringe nutcases who know their way around, but are still fringe nutcases and push all sorts of nonsense. We're unsure how to address the problem, as our system is supposed to be self regulating, but really isn't. What should happen, is that we should stop being scared of telling others in good standing when they make mistakes, without it becoming a lynch mob. That's easier said than done though, and we have unintentionally harbored a situation where criticism on an action is easily interpreted as an attack to a person. That's a culture that is not easily broken.

Re:Will it have a button... (1)

NeverWorker1 (1686452) | 1 year,21 days | (#44177939)

That would have helped, but I would have still walked away upset that basically an admin can try to abuse the system without any sort of consequence. I think a more appropriate response would have been, "here's a pretty baseless accusation of sockpuppetry; let's look into this some more."

Re:Will it have a button... (1)

martijn hoekstra (1046898) | 1 year,21 days | (#44178343)

That would have helped, but I would have still walked away upset that basically an admin can try to abuse the system without any sort of consequence. I think a more appropriate response would have been, "here's a pretty baseless accusation of sockpuppetry; let's look into this some more."

On the other hand, when an editor has genuine concerns someone might be abusing the system by sockpuppeting, even is misguided, we shouldn't be discouraging them of expressing them, and having someone take a look at that. There should be no consequence on being mistaken, and acting upon it. There is a lot of funny business going on. A problem is that the request for a check in itself feels like an accusation. An apology from the admin in question, or the denying SPI clerk might have been ice though. I'm going to give this some thought, and see if I can come up with something reasonable.

Re:Will it have a button... (1)

NeverWorker1 (1686452) | 1 year,21 days | (#44182637)

I absolutely agree that there shouldn't be repercussions for mistakenly reporting somebody as a sockpuppet. However, if an accusation appears baseless and motivated by personal feelings (and this guy's accusation clearly was, based on his absurd portrayal of my "edit" as being "an attack on the legitimacy of scholarly interpretation"), somebody should look at the entire situation. In a case like this, where it was pretty clearly an admin abusing his status and better knowledge of the system to coerce a result, there should be an official response in the form of a public reprimand/apology with the admin potentially losing his status. Having an elevated status means that admins should have to behave better.

Re:Will it have a button... (1)

jbolden (176878) | 1 year,21 days | (#44175781)

. Say, I find myself in the same theoretical situation: I think that some accounts are related and vote-stacking. What should I do that can both relief my concerns and not scare away the new editor(s) in case I'm wrong? After being a Wikipedian for quite a long time, it becomes increasingly difficult to properly understand the environment for new users.

I've been around a while. The way this was done was genuine consensus. A well regarded established editor who disagreed was not disciplined and there was not a majority rules coalition. The downside was that fringe material got into articles, though usually marked as fringe. The upside was that articles reflected the wikipedia community. Today articles more closely represent the academic / business / mainstream context and that's accomplished by threatening editors.

Re:Will it have a button... (1)

martijn hoekstra (1046898) | 1 year,21 days | (#44177263)

. Say, I find myself in the same theoretical situation: I think that some accounts are related and vote-stacking. What should I do that can both relief my concerns and not scare away the new editor(s) in case I'm wrong? After being a Wikipedian for quite a long time, it becomes increasingly difficult to properly understand the environment for new users.

I've been around a while. The way this was done was genuine consensus. A well regarded established editor who disagreed was not disciplined and there was not a majority rules coalition. The downside was that fringe material got into articles, though usually marked as fringe. The upside was that articles reflected the wikipedia community. Today articles more closely represent the academic / business / mainstream context and that's accomplished by threatening editors.

so... what should I do that can both relief my concerns and not scare away the new editor(s) in case I'm wrong?

Re:Will it have a button... (1)

jbolden (176878) | 1 year,21 days | (#44177555)

Take away the incentives for sock puppets and you take away the existence of sock puppets. Sock puppet accounts exist because consensus has been abandoned. In a consensus environment sock puppets don't accomplish anything. They aren't (generally) well established editors and the well established editor isn't asked to yield. Rather a consensus is aimed for.

If you mean individually what can you do. Nothing. There have been widespread rules and cultural changes which are new user hostile. The board is aware the culture sucks but isn't willing to make the changes they need to get a healthy culture. This would be easy to do, but they want other things more. Jimmy Wales' crack down on any hint on wheel warring being a good example that they want admin unity more than a friendly culture. Admins used to be able to disagree and thus well established editors, even those who weren't admins didn't end up isolated and indefblocked.

Re:Will it have a button... (1)

NeverWorker1 (1686452) | 1 year,21 days | (#44185159)

Out of curiosity, can somebody please explain why this was modded "troll?"

Re:Will it have a button... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,22 days | (#44171411)

It's funny because Wikipedia administrators already have the ability to do this with the "rollback" tool. Except its not just limited to administrators, many vandalism patrollers use it too.

Re:Will it have a button... (1)

Le Marteau (206396) | 1 year,21 days | (#44174135)

> It's funny because Wikipedia administrators already have the ability to do this with the "rollback" tool

Anyone logged on can roll back an article to an arbitrary point in time using "Twinkle"... it just needs to be enabled, which is not hard.

Re:Will it have a button... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,21 days | (#44174501)

So damn true. Wikipedia is definitely not a good place for politics. Once I tried to make some changes to a page, through discussion first I must add, and one administrator said that wikipedia articles should only be about mainstream opinion. What the hell? Mainstream opinion is not always right!

I'll drink to that!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,22 days | (#44171163)

I'll drink to that!!

http://youtu.be/ACgJhE2L7Ms?t=46s

Useless (0)

Russ1642 (1087959) | 1 year,22 days | (#44171441)

There's probably only a hundred or so people that are able to successfully edit Wikipedia pages, and they're ok with the code. Everyone else gets their edits rolled back without a glance.

Re:Useless (4, Interesting)

wallsg (58203) | 1 year,22 days | (#44171557)

There's probably only a hundred or so people that are able to successfully edit Wikipedia pages, and they're ok with the code. Everyone else gets their edits rolled back without a glance.

I didn't realize that I was so special. I've made a dozen edits to Wikipedia entries, including one that wasn't trivial...

Re:Useless (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,22 days | (#44172141)

I didn't realize that I was so special. I've made a dozen edits to Wikipedia entries, including one that wasn't trivial...

Same here, I edit articles related to my engineering specialty and don't recall ever being rolled back. I normally only add changes that I have references for, and usually leave a short comment that mentions where I made the changes...

I don't log in to Wikipedia, so I suppose someone energetic could ID me?

Re:Useless (1)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | 1 year,21 days | (#44174403)

Adding new rules to the Meta pages doesn't count.

Re:Useless (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | 1 year,22 days | (#44172313)

Or, try editing pages nobody else is really editing. I have some automotive-related edits which have been successful, even including a media upload. Even better, I have been cited in a Wikipedia article which cited the article which cited it. And I cited it first and included an entry in, IIRC, MLA format at the foot of my article where it belongs. Winning!

Re:Useless (2)

Patch86 (1465427) | 1 year,22 days | (#44173697)

I've made dozens of edits over the years, some big and some small- and never had my changes rolled back unreasonably.

Might I suggest that if your edits are continually being rolled back then it might have more to do with the quality of your edits, rather than the editing process as a whole?

Re:Useless (1)

jbolden (176878) | 1 year,21 days | (#44175825)

Look I hate wikipedia's culture it is dreadful. But there are tens if not hundreds of thousands of people who edit articles successfully. I'd say 90-95% of my edits to an article are not rolled back and I hate the place, I'm certainly not one of the special 100.

Well... (0)

Skiron (735617) | 1 year,22 days | (#44171543)

..reading anything on wikipedia that is wrong, and then correct it, immediately gets reverted. So I wouldn't trust this at all. It's a shame that sheeple believe a lot of the tripe on there.

Re:Well... (2)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,22 days | (#44172215)

You know you can trivially link to any edit on Wikipedia. Linking to some examples of your edits would go a long way towards proving that you're not just slinging some BS here.

Re:Well... (1)

martijn hoekstra (1046898) | 1 year,21 days | (#44174361)

..reading anything on wikipedia that is wrong, and then correct it, immediately gets reverted. So I wouldn't trust this at all. It's a shame that sheeple believe a lot of the tripe on there.

If you have examples for me, I'll make sure to fix it, and set blind reverters straight.

Not the biggest problem (5, Insightful)

evilviper (135110) | 1 year,22 days | (#44171983)

I'm reasonably impressed with what they've got, except that the performance blows, and slows editing way down... It at least allows using existing references (which most people don't know how to do), and will try to auto-complete links to other articles, but that's about it.

With references in particular, it only inserts the <ref> tags, leaving you complete freedom to type anything, or nothing, in there. Compare this to ANY of Wiki reference templates, where references are named, and there's a strong syntax enforced for dates, names, titles, publisher, and tons, tons more. eg.

<ref name=ebu_surround_test_2007<{{Citation | last = B/MAE Project Group | title = EBU evaluations of multichannel audio codecs | pages = | date=September, 2007 | publisher = [[European Broadcasting Union]] | url = http://www.ebu.ch/CMSimages/en/tec_doc_t3324-2007_tcm6-53801.pdf [www.ebu.ch] |format=PDF| accessdate = 2008-04-09 }}

The big problem with Wikipedia is the HUGE number of tags, templates, categories, etc., and the editor does nothing to introduce you to them when you don't know about them, nor help you find and insert the one you're looking for.

When editing, I'd be constantly doing free-form searches, to find useful tags, syntax, and just exploring around similar pages to find good categories.

Rather than WYSIWYG, they'd do far better just to have a few hierarchical menus, that'll insert the proper wiki code for you, rather than constant copy/paste from template pages... For example, the ref button is pretty useless... But a ref drop-down, with sub-options like "Book" "Web" "Magazine" etc., would be far more useful. Of course if they could make a pop-up form, with fields for all those values, and automagically guessing which type of ref you've input, and which template is best, would be far better still.

Re:Not the biggest problem (1)

martijn hoekstra (1046898) | 1 year,21 days | (#44174179)

[snip]For example, the ref button is pretty useless... But a ref drop-down, with sub-options like "Book" "Web" "Magazine" etc., would be far more useful. Of course if they could make a pop-up form, with fields for all those values, and automagically guessing which type of ref you've input, and which template is best, would be far better still.

The problem with this is that the VisualEditor software is a general purpose part of the MediaWiki software, and that those templates are templates used locally on the English Wikipedia, and the VisualEditor doesn't have any knowledge of them (and it shouldn't. If you run your home wiki on MediaWiki, why would you want it to know about the templates used for citations on the English Wikipedia?). I really can't quickly think of a good solution to this.

Re:Not the biggest problem (1)

evilviper (135110) | 1 year,21 days | (#44174239)

It should be possible to query the database to dynamically determine what templates (or categories, or anything else) are defined.

Wikimedia is far too free-form and untyped, so if there needs to be a back-end change to improve this, it would be a great benefit even without the editor.

Re:Not the biggest problem (1)

martijn hoekstra (1046898) | 1 year,21 days | (#44174319)

keeping backend changes backwards compatible (a newer version of MediaWiki should still be able to parse the entire history of an article) is a massive massive undertaking, way larger than this visual editor - and that already took way too long. That said, there has been talk of a hypothetical MediaWiki 2.0. I won't say it's vaporware on forehand, but if it does get serious, it's going to take a long time to deliver. And than it will be just as long before all current templates have been migrated. And then all articles using those templates must be updated. You're still right in principle though.

Re:Not the biggest problem (1)

jbolden (176878) | 1 year,21 days | (#44175843)

I can. The drop downs are editable as well. The visual editor is based off editable templates. Those probably should be locked to admin only but there is no reason that adding a new template in common usage couldn't result in a visual editor change.

Re:Not the biggest problem (1)

yusing (216625) | 1 year,21 days | (#44184173)

"a ref drop-down, with sub-options like "Book" "Web" "Magazine" etc., would be far more useful."

That actually exists It's part of the editing bar that appears at the top of each edit box, when you have that enabled.

But it (was at least) a preference, and there's (was at least) more than one to choose from. In Preferences>Editing select "Show edit Toolbar". Then when editing, find the toolbar at the top of the edit box, Click on "Cite" over on the right side, and then on the left side (lousy UI) a "Templates" box appears. Viola, more options than you'd ever want to enter.

been using beta for a while (1)

xombo (628858) | 1 year,22 days | (#44171995)

This has been available to registered user in their options for some time in beta status. I've had it enabled for some time and it really makes it worth logging in to make the little edits here and there. I hope that they plan to enable it for everyone by default.

Re:been using beta for a while (1)

crackspackle (759472) | 1 year,22 days | (#44173095)

Here's the VisualEditor FAQ [mediawiki.org] which states:

  • 24 June: A/B test on the English Wikipedia. VisualEditor is released by default to 50% of newly registered accounts.
  • 1 July: Deployment of the VisualEditor to the English Wikipedia, available for all logged-in users.
  • 8 July: Deployment of the VisualEditor to the English Wikipedia, available for anonymous and logged-in users.
  • 15 July: Deployment of the VisualEditor to most large Wikipedia wikis, available for all users. Which wikis are in this list is still to be determined, but will definitely include Wikipedia in German, French and Italian.
  • 29 July: Deployment of the VisualEditor to all other Wikipedia wikis, available for all users, minus a few wikis (such as the Chinese Wikipedia) where the VisualEditor does not yet work.

Also of interest from that FAQ is that the VisualEditor can be installed on any MediaWiki installation, including personal wikis. As a MediaWiki user at home, I've found it a cool way to journal and track a lot of personal projects but the limit to using it has always been remembering wiki markup. This will go a long way to eliminating that problem.

Re:been using beta for a while (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,21 days | (#44185779)

I had been wanting to join the GNAA [gnaa.us] for quite some time. However, because of my lack of being either bisexual, or of African descent, my membership was continually rejected. Frankly, I felt like an outcast.

The officers of the GNAA seemed to be eluded as to why someone like me, a heterosexual white male, would want to become a member of their organization. I suppose I just loved the idea of being a part of sometime. One day while searching for pornography, I found something odd. It was a large breasted, skinny woman, but she had a penis! I strangely found myself aroused, and began masturbating furiously. I couldn't get enough of this shemale porn!

I immediately contracted the GNAA. It turns out that this fetish for shemales does in fact allow you membership into the organization!

I encourage all of my brothers out there that may be in my situation to immediately give this a go. If you like it, you can finally become one of us!

Time will tell (0)

Trax3001BBS (2368736) | 1 year,22 days | (#44172411)

See this picture http://i44.tinypic.com/j7ffoz.jpg [tinypic.com] (picutre: bust of the Kennewick Man located at the entrance of the Kennewick Library).
belongs here wouldn't you think http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kennewick_Man [wikipedia.org] not so says wikipedia.
Jumped the barrels and did the hoops, still a copyright issue that shouldn't be.

For me the wikipedia is just to hard to use - I know there are programs to help but I don't wish to make it a profession, just add an entry or two. I'd hope
VisualEditor would make it easier to edit the wikipedia without becoming part of my browser in the process.

Re:Time will tell (4, Informative)

similar_name (1164087) | 1 year,22 days | (#44172853)

At least in the U.S. pictures of copyrighted work can be considered violations of copyright. An obvious example is a cam copy of a movie in a theater violates copyright law. Even if it's not for monetary gain. Your picture clearly shows a copyright and date that shows it is still under copyright. Why would Wikipedia risk any problems?

Re:Time will tell (2)

ArsonSmith (13997) | 1 year,22 days | (#44172865)

I don't know who the Kennewick Man is but that's a bust of Sir Patrick Stewart.

Re:Time will tell (1)

Trax3001BBS (2368736) | 1 year,21 days | (#44174431)

I don't know who the Kennewick Man is but that's a bust of Sir Patrick Stewart.

When I saw the Kennewick Mans bust my very first thought was why is a star trek figure being featured so prominently.

Re:Time will tell (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,22 days | (#44172881)

Wikipedia's servers and headquarters are, from what I understand, located in the US. As such, they must follow the copyright Nazism laws.

Re:Time will tell (5, Informative)

kpmlrtx (2965719) | 1 year,22 days | (#44173103)

This is a copyright issue. It's stupid, no doubt about that, but the outdated copyright laws are to blame in this case, not Wikipedia.

Commons:Copyright rules by subject matter [wikimedia.org] : "If the original artwork remains in copyright a license from the artist is nearly always needed. Mere physical ownership of an original artwork such as a sculpture does not confer ownership of the copyright: that remains with the artist.
In some countries a 3D artwork that is permanently located in a public place can be photographed and the image uploaded without the artist's permission: See Commons:Freedom of panorama."

Commons:Freedom of panorama#United States [wikimedia.org] : "Artworks and sculptures: not OK."

Re:Time will tell (1)

Trax3001BBS (2368736) | 1 year,21 days | (#44174443)

This is a copyright issue. It's stupid, no doubt about that, but the outdated copyright laws are to blame in this case, not Wikipedia.

Commons:Copyright rules by subject matter [wikimedia.org] : "If the original artwork remains in copyright a license from the artist is nearly always needed. Mere physical ownership of an original artwork such as a sculpture does not confer ownership of the copyright: that remains with the artist.
In some countries a 3D artwork that is permanently located in a public place can be photographed and the image uploaded without the artist's permission: See Commons:Freedom of panorama."

Commons:Freedom of panorama#United States [wikimedia.org] : "Artworks and sculptures: not OK."

I left out a bit didn't think it would become an issue, I called the head of the library and got permission to use it, but we both felt a bit odd as there wasn't a
need to. It's a statue and a statue is free game - but I got all of the permissions.

Re:Time will tell (1)

martijn hoekstra (1046898) | 1 year,21 days | (#44174507)

This is a copyright issue. It's stupid, no doubt about that, but the outdated copyright laws are to blame in this case, not Wikipedia.

Commons:Copyright rules by subject matter [wikimedia.org] : "If the original artwork remains in copyright a license from the artist is nearly always needed. Mere physical ownership of an original artwork such as a sculpture does not confer ownership of the copyright: that remains with the artist. In some countries a 3D artwork that is permanently located in a public place can be photographed and the image uploaded without the artist's permission: See Commons:Freedom of panorama."

Commons:Freedom of panorama#United States [wikimedia.org] : "Artworks and sculptures: not OK."

I left out a bit didn't think it would become an issue, I called the head of the library and got permission to use it, but we both felt a bit odd as there wasn't a need to. It's a statue and a statue is free game - but I got all of the permissions.

The head of the library can give permission all he wants, he doesn't own to copyright to the statue, the artist does (even if the object itself was donated), so his permission is pretty insignificant. Even if he did own the copyright, since stuff on Wikipedia must be freely licensed, he should have released it under CC-BY-SA 3.0 or compatible. Copyright is a pain, and terribly convoluted and complicated to do right, but a basic value of Wikipedia. As simple as possible turns out to still be surprisingly complicated

Re:Time will tell (1)

martijn hoekstra (1046898) | 1 year,21 days | (#44174539)

we both felt a bit odd as there wasn't a need to. It's a statue and a statue is free game

Federal claims court disagrees, it's in the freedom of panorama link you replied to. I'm not sure why you would think otherwise when it has just been pointed out to you.

Re:Time will tell (1)

Trax3001BBS (2368736) | 1 year,21 days | (#44184381)

we both felt a bit odd as there wasn't a need to. It's a statue and a statue is free game

Federal claims court disagrees, it's in the freedom of panorama link you replied to. I'm not sure why you would think otherwise when it has just been pointed out to you.

Was rushed the first reply and a "canned response". This time I did take the time to read the links provided:
"For artworks, even if permanently installed in public places, the U.S. copyright law has no similar exception,
and any publication of an image of a copyrighted artwork thus is subject to the approval of the copyright holder of the artwork."

I'll get the darn photo(s) approved. I'm certain the wish of the reconstructors as well as "The Friends of the Library" was for this to be in the
public domain and why the plaque was added to the photo.

I'm sure wikipedia wished to use the photo as it was removed, replace with a pile of bones, which were replaced again
by the photo until it's deletion date. Now the wikipedia entry is drab looking, it's been cut rather heavily -a good 3/4's of it gone from when I was monitoring it,

I was going to submit this photo as a snub for the photo's rejection http://i42.tinypic.com/34xf6lj.jpg [tinypic.com] (Photo: Nature trail informative sign of the Kennewick Man); as well as upload it to Google Earth http://www.panoramio.com/ [panoramio.com] as I do many photo's I take. even it's copyright is in question at this point.

Re:Time will tell (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,21 days | (#44174519)

It's a statue and a statue is free game

This is false. The statue was copyrighted at its creation, and there's even a visible copyright notice!

I called the head of the library and got permission to use it

It's unlikely in the extreme that the head of the library holds the copyright or has the right to license it.

FP hOMO? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,22 days | (#44172429)

A previous7y

Dyslexics (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | 1 year,22 days | (#44173847)

It is believed the prevalence of dyslexia is around 5-10 percent of a given population although there have been no studies to indicate an accurate percentage.

Those numbers are out of date. The number of dyslexics has tripled in the last six months.

Atlassisn tried this and failed (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,21 days | (#44175865)

Atlassian, the vendor for Confluence, a corporate wiki, tried this and failed badly. They lost a lot of corporate contracts over it.
I hope the wikipedia method works out better.

Until they label the porn, wikipedia=sewer (1)

cellurl (906920) | 1 year,20 days | (#44192077)

Its embarrasing really. A great site, full of PORN. Why, laissez faire bullshit.
A simple label would work, but all you lib's in SF don't see the need.
Sad.

I really wanted to install on internal wiki (1)

jon3k (691256) | 1 year,19 days | (#44194821)

I really wanted to install this on our internal wiki that we use in IT, but then I saw the node.js requirement. What the fuck, man?
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