Wikipedia:Village pump (idea lab)

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The idea lab section of the village pump is a place where new ideas or suggestions on general Wikipedia issues can be incubated, for later submission for consensus discussion at Village pump (proposals). Try to be creative and positive when commenting on ideas.
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Problem behaviors

Wikipedia is generally a wonderful place to write and connect. Problem solving techniques such as Rfc's and third-party really do work pretty well most of the time. But there are some things--some people--that do seem to fall through the cracks fairly dependably. I would like to see a 'Be nice-Be respectful' policy that when violated can be reported, and if nothing else, that Wikipedia would keep track of the number of violations the same person gets over and over, so I would like to see a policy for consequences for repeatedly biting, not only newcomers, but anyone that disagrees with them. People just get away with that here because it isn't about consensus on content. I have seen more than one editor driven completely off Wikipedia because of personal attacks, slanders, insults, and various kinds of bad behavior by the same person. Nothing ever happens about it. I think that's wrong. Something should happen. It violates Wikipedia's stated policy and that policy should be better enforced. Jenhawk777 (talk) 22:56, 29 April 2018 (UTC)

  • We do have Wikipedia: Etiquette but I am not sure what happens to Wikipedians who violate the policies listed here. Vorbee (talk) 17:00, 30 April 2018 (UTC)
I don't know about 'solutions'; but I and a few others are actively exploring if we can figure out if we can make it easier for admins and others to 1. find problematic comments (assuming that's part of the challenge): Feedback very welcome. Some more ideas we've experimented with some are at Iislucas (talk) 18:44, 24 May 2018 (UTC)
Nothing. Nothing happens to them. They move on claiming they do it all for the good of Wikipedia. That's the problem. Instant reverts, threats, insults based on ideology, point of view, differences of opinion, not based on consensus--things where one person is not clearly "right"--but the one person is asserting their "position" by domineering and intimidating. Nothing happens. They get you to leave. That's all that happens--at least that is all I have seen so far. I have been on Wikipedia about a year and a half, I have observed this one editor have just over a dozen of these types of conflicts, and people repeatedly contact Admin. about him and nothing happens. He seems bullet-proof. And that's just wrong. What are the chances more than a dozen people are in the wrong instead of him? Wikipedia needs to do a better job at this. What are the options? I would take any improvement at all. Jenhawk777 (talk) 22:54, 30 April 2018 (UTC)
Behaving like a dick can, and does occasionally get people blocked (you've probably already seen Wikipedia:Civility#Dealing with incivility). If the problematic behaviour has been gross, and you have recent examples of it that you're willing to present succinctly, and with diffs, then you can start a thread at WP:ANI. – Uanfala (talk) 23:11, 30 April 2018 (UTC)
I suppose I can start keeping a record since Wikipedia doesn't, but I am afraid of retribution if nothing comes of it. This person is vindictive. I was looking for a more proactive approach from Wikipedia.Jenhawk777 (talk) 16:00, 1 May 2018 (UTC)
this is an example right now. Not sure what idea can come out of this thread though; I would like to see civility enforced more, however we do already have a policy (two, WP:NPA and WP:CIVILITY) which are in the range of "Be nice-Be respectful' policy". I think it is not as much as there being a lack of policy but people unwilling to enforce for whatever reason. Galobtter (pingó mió) 16:07, 1 May 2018 (UTC)
Thank you for acknowledging the issue is real. Yes, we have perfectly good policy, but what good is policy without enforcement? I completely agree that is the problem. Disputes over content are solvable. Wikipedia cares about its content and has made good provision for multiple pathways toward resolution. Not so with personal abuses and attacks. Wikipedia does not keep a record of how often any individual gets called for a mediation dispute or watch for other signs of problem behavior and as far as I know, there is no special path for reporting that particular kind of problem--and certainly no enforcement of the policies we have. I simply want that person to stop. I personally have no ability to enforce the minimum behavior requirements of the larger group--that we all agree to--onto the group's few misanthropes. I can't see how this can be improved without some kind of policy change. Jenhawk777 (talk) 05:39, 2 May 2018 (UTC)
Yes, the issue is very real. Extreme perpetrators can be reported at WP:ANI and its related noticeboards, where administrators will decide what to do about it. But usually, rudeness is tolerated and you have to be grossly insulting or disruptive to be sanctioned. The reporting process is also quite bureaucratic and needs good understanding of it to be effective: where else would someone reporting abuse be told, "You haven't reported it properly, so we will ignore you"? I believe that this sad state of affairs is one of the biggest reasons why our community struggles to keep high-quality editors. You and I are not the only ones to have brought it up in one forum or another before now, but as long as the majority of the more vocal editors (especially administrators) are prepared to tolerate it, nothing will be done.
@Jenhawk777: However, from what you say it sounds like you have an abuser who may be overstepping the mark. If you drop me a private email with their username (let us know here if you need help with that), I will take a look and see if anything can be done — Cheers, Steelpillow (Talk) 14:38, 3 May 2018 (UTC) [updated 14:49, 3 May 2018 (UTC)]
DID overstep--not happening right now; we are no longer working on the same article. I am so grateful for the offer, but it just isn't enough to protect myself in one instance. Everyone should be protected. I have watched this person run several people off of Wikipedia. If it hadn't been for one of the good ones stepping in and saying, 'come work with me over here in a corner for awhile', I wouldn't have known Wikipedia could actually be rewarding and fun. I have tried to do that for some of the others, but they are so discouraged from the experience--and the fact it seems to them that no one cares--that they just leave. I know there are people here who care. The responses here are evidence. But Admin needs to do a better job at this. It is a problem for Wikipedia even if they don't recognize it. When people go away in this manner, they say bad things about Wikipedia. And frankly, there isn't an endless supply of people who want to write for free who are willing to put in the time to develop enough experience to actually be any good at it. Even factoring in inevitable losses, this should still be seen as an issue. Thank you again for the kind offer, but what I really need is a suggestion for a workable policy change. Jenhawk777 (talk) 18:42, 3 May 2018 (UTC)
Policy is not at issue. The problem is enforcement, it is too hard to get things done. For reasons I cannot understand, the further up people are in the hierarchy, the less they seem to want to recognise that. This is about winning hearts and minds, not policy. And sadly, I am no good at that. — Cheers, Steelpillow (Talk) 19:17, 3 May 2018 (UTC)
Well, apparently, I am even worse--I can't even get agreement here among people who actually agree with me. :-) Whatever the problem is, those with some actual influence need to act. Jenhawk777 (talk) 07:29, 7 May 2018 (UTC)
Agree to a point. But I don't think enforcement will work, for exactly the reasons you say. See comments below. Andrewa (talk) 21:26, 7 May 2018 (UTC)

Following the threads of this section I came across the Wikipedia:Kindness Campaign to which I've now signed up and which I recommend. Perhaps just promoting this WikiProject is what is needed.

I certainly think there's a problem. We cannot expect to attract and keep new editors, and particularly the sort of editors on which Wikipedia depends, in the current environment.

And I think something specifically focused on restoring no personal attacks to general acceptance might be the key here. See User:Andrewa/gentle editor for some of my ideas on that, and comments on its talk page or (far better) here (or even both) of course very welcome!

There has been no consensus to abandon (or even modify) NPA, but it seems to have happened anyway. I guess the other possibility is an RfC to modify or abandon the policy, and regard these behaviors as acceptable, but I myself believe that would be the beginning of the end for Wikipedia. I could be wrong. Andrewa (talk) 05:51, 9 May 2018 (UTC) Andrewa (talk) 21:26, 7 May 2018 (UTC)

Okay, so if enforcement isn't the answer--what is? I am a member of Wikipedia:Kindness Campaign and practice that--even with the person who kept attacking me--they criticized me for my "excessive civility" too! I don't think joining up is high on their list. You know, I need to add here that most of the people on Wikipedia are great--helpful, patient, kind--but when there is one whose behavior is so egregious, for so long, it can color everything. I'm trying not to let that happen. That's why I'm here. We have a lot of different kinds of people here with lots of different views and need to treat everyone with respect even if they have the audacity not to think like we do! Perhaps this is a personality thing that can't be fixed. IDK. I admit I'm feeling a little discouraged about all this. Jenhawk777 (talk) 20:33, 9 May 2018 (UTC)
I think we need to demonstrate (and perhaps first build) consensus among Wikipedians in general and admins in particular and perhaps even within ARBCOM that NPA is important. Enforcement might follow in some cases, but demonstrating that consensus might be enough without enforcement being necessary, and without demonstrating that consensus enforcement will not help, IMO, and won't happen anyway. Interested in other ideas, and ideas as to how to best do this. I've linked above to my own best attempts so far.
The only other possibility I can think of is an appeal to the founder. I'm almost concerned enough to give that a go.
Hang in there. If enough people give up on NPA, IMO it's the end of Wikipedia. Hard to imagine? Where did Kodak go?
If it did happen, the world would not end, and thanks to copyleft neither would most of our work so far. Citizendium (which ruthlessly enforces NPA) or another fork (well, currently it's not strictly a fork, but might become one again) would take over. But far better to fix Wikipedia IMO. Andrewa (talk) 22:54, 9 May 2018 (UTC)
We've been trying to build said consensus pretty much continuously for the 5 years I've been around, with no success. We are self-governed, and those participating in the self-governance are a self-selected few who are not representative of the whole. The way we decide things is not likely to change in the foreseeable future.
Over the years I have watched the ongoing debate and given the problem much thought, and I've come to believe that (1) it is intractable in the current environment, and (2) the only hope is through gradual attrition and evolution. As stated, the policy is already in place, and it is routinely ignored with various rationales for ignoring it. Any new initiative to stop ignoring it would fail for the same reasons as the many others that have come before; nothing has changed sufficiently to make the difference. More at the essay WP:DISRESPECT.
The only other possibility I can think of is an appeal to the founder. Good luck. The founder no doubt has his opinions, but they don't carry any more weight than those of any other editor. Those opposing stricter enforcement of behavior policy are not going to withdraw their opposition because of a statement by him.
I promise you that this thread is a dead end and a waste of time. ―Mandruss  23:26, 9 May 2018 (UTC)
Cancelled process mini.svg
I guess we sometimes need to dismiss what's not possible, but the purpose of this page is to incubate and encourage new ideas rather than assess them.
Jimbo is the only member of the founder user group, and has some other privileges as well. He's been understandably reluctant to use them but they are still there for the moment at least.
Agree that Those opposing stricter enforcement of behavior policy are not going to withdraw their opposition because of a statement by him. I'm one of them, so I should know! I'm hoping we can find a more effective way.
In fact one of the key problems I see is the common assumption (which I think you may be making too) that the only way to encourage adherence to NPA is by stricter enforcement. My hope for this thread is that we can brainstorm some other ways.
The other key mistake is to assume that violations of NPA are also violations of civility. In fact NPA is far, far broader then that. That's probably where I think ARBCOM and WP/ANI (on which I lurk from time to time) have gone wrong... once we give up on NPA and fall back to mere civility, we tend to fall back from encouragement to enforcement too. Andrewa (talk) 02:02, 10 May 2018 (UTC)
Mandruss--ouch. I hope you're wrong--but I'm afraid you're right. This could be a waste of time, but as I see it, we can't know till we've spent it. I have to try. I love Wikipedia--but using a colorful but descriptive metaphor--I think it keeps stepping on its own foreskin.
I went and read WP:DISRESPECT since I had never seen it before. Forgive my straightforwardness at this point, but in my POV, that is not a good or helpful article. It's not hard to identify disrespect--anyone on the receiving end of it can do so. I was recently reading an article on the neuroscience of making friends; basically, treating people with respect boils down to being as cooperative as possible and as pleasant as possible: correct others as you would like to receive correction. That's pretty much it. It's not difficult to understand, and there is no value that I can see in trying to make it more complicated than it is. If someone feels disrespected that should be addressed; period. It should be that simple.
Perhaps I simply haven't been around long enough and I don't understand how complicated this problem can become. Even if we used the same steps for personal attacks that we have for content disputes--what would be the end goal? To force an apology? No, that would not only never work--it would be disrespectful! But if there is no recognition of violation of existing policy, and there is no clear consequence--something like the three revert rule--three attacks in a row and you're blocked--then in my view this is not a real policy--this is just hypocrisy. We either stand up for what we claim to believe in or we don't. If we don't, let's take down the policy and admit it's a free for all here. Jenhawk777 (talk) 04:11, 10 May 2018 (UTC)
Perhaps I simply haven't been around long enough and I don't understand how complicated this problem can become. Perhaps. ―Mandruss  05:10, 10 May 2018 (UTC)
Well, I've been around for a while, and I think you're hitting some nails squarely on the head. But yes, it's complicated. We're not going to make Wikipedia perfect here, but we can make progress IMO.
WP:DISRESPECT is an essay not an article, and it's not obvious to me how much of it is the opinion of the person citing it but they're one of three contributors and mentioned by the creator. I don't find it helpful either, but one trap to avoid is assuming that if you treat others the way you want to be treated, they'll be happy. They may not want to be treated that way just because you do! See this off-wiki essay of mine. So that essay is well worth reading if only to understand the other mindset.
And that's the problem with having something like the 3RR for personal attacks. What's good vigorous discussion for one person can be offensive to another. That's one reason that NPA is so sweeping. Any idiot can understand it, and most of them do. (;->
You might also find User:Andrewa/Rules, rules, rules helpful. It's another essay, quite recent, trying to point out how radical and interrelated some of our rules are. Or wp:creed is another of mine, older but a favourite.
Hang in there! Andrewa (talk) 06:27, 10 May 2018 (UTC)
I wrote the essay two years ago and it has been on my user page since then. Recently others decided it should be in WP space. No, it's not my opinion, it's my understanding of the prevailing consensus position, with which I disagree. It ends with "Do you buy it?" Just thought I should clarify that, since it's not clear to me that it's clear to you. ―Mandruss  07:34, 10 May 2018 (UTC)
It's still there on your user page I see, and that explains its history. It would have been helpful IMO if a talk page entry had been created when the essay was copy-and-pasted from your user page. As it is, it's arguably a copyvio... the enigmatic reference to your user page in the edit summary doesn't satisfy the copyleft requirements. I'll fix it.
Fixed. Andrewa (talk) 15:50, 10 May 2018 (UTC)
It still doesn't seem any help to us in incubating ideas on this page. But let us move on. Andrewa (talk) 11:22, 10 May 2018 (UTC)
Mandruss, thank you for explaining--and for not taking offense! I apologize if my statement did offend in any way. I agree with you that treating others the way I want to be treated doesn't always make people happy. My assertion is that they should be treated the way they want to be treated--as long as it is within reason. But let's be real. Some people are just bad-tempered. That's just the way it is. Some people won't apologize or admit to an error if their lives depended on it. So what to do about the uncooperative? Is there anything we can do?
Andrewa, vigorous discussion is not the issue. Just today I saw a discussion where one User was attempting to ask the editor I had the problem with to be patient with newcomers, that teaching is a better response than ridicule, that it's easy to forget what it was like when you were new, that threatening and belittling someone with 190 edits for what they don't know yet is counterproductive, that what appears a point of view in a newcomer is often just an interest (Amen!) and more in that vein--it was wonderful--absolutely respectful and kind. His response was "I'm not talking about this" and he deleted the discussion.
This kind of thing happens with him about every four to six weeks--someone has a problem with him, calls for some kind of arbitration with him--it's a pattern. It's easy to see why: his first response to anything he doesn't like is a mass revert without explanation or discussion. If you ask why, you get insulted. If you had a brain you would know you're a crap writer. If you try to adapt it to what you think the problem is and put it back, you get threatened. You can ask for compromise till you're blue in the face. Mostly you'll get ignored. There is no discussion--vigorous or otherwise. I can't tell you how many times I tried to discuss. I ended up with an Rfc where every single vote was in my favor--and it made him so angry he put his point of view in long, long "notes" to counter that. Consensus was against him--he didn't care. He's been doing this for years apparently and is basically bulletproof because of longevity. And because Wikipedia makes no effort to keep track of how many conflicts an editor is involved in or how frequently the same editors are involved in them. That's what I have seen. Jenhawk777 (talk) 19:24, 10 May 2018 (UTC)
The NYRM2016 fiasco had some similar issues. Several of those determined to prevent the move made repeated personal attacks on me and others. (And succeeded somehow in getting a no consensus decision despite the policy and facts both being clear and undisputed. The only change when NYRM2017 succeeded a year later was that we'd had an RfC that clarified that NYS wasn't the primary topic, which surely was clear before the RfC, but the 2016 closers firmly refused to confirm or deny this. I doubt the full story will ever be told. But what concerns us here is just the behaviour.) I reported these personal attacks twice at ANI, with diffs. The first time several non-admins agreed it was clearly a personal attack, but there was no evidence any admin even looked at it, and it was auto-archived through lack of further discussion. The second time, nobody even commented.
If that's not busted I don't know what is.
The "idea" we're supposed to be discussing is to have a policy prohibiting personal attacks. There seems to be no question that we already do have one! Andrewa (talk) 03:16, 13 May 2018 (UTC)
I don't see this discussion as limited to policy only, it has also included discussion of some kind of follow through and/or increased enforcement of the policy we already have. Though I do have to say that any policy without any enforcement is a policy in name only-- in my opinion.
Oh man! Been there! You have all my empathy! Any suggestions for monitoring/enforcement/policy changes/fire-bombing--anything? Jenhawk777 (talk) 20:03, 17 May 2018 (UTC)



This is kind of a weird idea, but I would like it if some of you considered improving the article Rudeness, with a particular emphasis on instrumental rudeness and the difficulty of determining what counts as "rude". I think that a clearer understanding of the incentives and the complexities would help us all. WhatamIdoing (talk) 02:00, 25 May 2018 (UTC)

I agree. That's kind of a weird idea. Face-smile.svgMandruss  02:06, 25 May 2018 (UTC)
Ha ha! The line between humor and rudeness is a little smudged isn't it? Thanx for the invite. I will take a look there, but I think I am probably done here. Wikipedia is, apparently, mostly happy with the status quo. The policy should read "Wikipedia is not for the faint of heart. Edit here at your own risk." It would at least be honest. Jenhawk777 (talk) 02:46, 25 May 2018 (UTC)
More accurately, a majority of the tiny fraction of editors who determine practice concerning these matters are happy with the status quo. They are self-selected, not elected representatives, and are therefore not "Wikipedia". The distinction is crucial. ―Mandruss  02:53, 25 May 2018 (UTC)
It's a rather weird situation. WP:NPA is a policy, and if any other policy is openly flouted, say at WP:RM, then many editors will descend in enthusiastic defense of the need to comply with say the WP:AT policy just because it is policy, because it reflects wider community consensus, etc.. NPA is extreme: Personal attacks harm the Wikipedia community and the collegial atmosphere needed to create a good encyclopedia... Insulting or disparaging an editor is a personal attack regardless of the manner in which it is done. (emphasis as in the original, omitted text indicated by ellipsis) It presumably represents consensus. None of the editors (and sysops) who regularly violate it have raised an RfC or even a discussion to have it weakened. How has it come to be so widely ignored? Andrewa (talk) 07:06, 25 May 2018 (UTC)
How has it come to be so widely ignored? The venues where practice is actually determined, such as WP:ANI, are downright nasty environments, and they are widely avoided by editors with milder dispositions who don't care to be around that unpleasantness. That leaves the controlling group highly skewed in the direction of editors who are either (1) combative and hostile, or (2) relatively unbothered by combativeness and hostility—so we have (quite naturally) ended up with a culture that tends to tolerate and excuse combativeness and hostility. That means widely ignoring written behavior policy. My question, not that it matters at this point, is how that managed to become written policy in the first place.
If we had a representative system of government with wide participation in elections, the "milder majority" would for the first time be fairly represented in decisions regarding editor behavior. I have little doubt that the resulting culture would be quite different, and Wikipedia would be a very different place at which to volunteer one's time. But the odds of that happening in our lifetime approach zero, as we would never reach the clear consensus required for such a change. Hence, intractable. ―Mandruss  07:40, 25 May 2018 (UTC)
I'm not sure the article is all that relevant. The lead there reads Rudeness (also called effrontery) is a display of disrespect by not complying with the social norms or etiquette of a group or culture. But that's too general... what is rudeness in our particular group or culture ie English Wikipedia? To make the article relevant, we'd need to find sources that described Wikipedia culture in particular, and cite these. Our own opinions as to what should be considered rude don't belong in the article namespace. They do however belong in the project namespace (here) and the project talk namespace (eg WT:NPA). Andrewa (talk) 07:06, 25 May 2018 (UTC)
I don't think that editing anything in main space can help. For a start it can be challenged over a lack of reliable sourcing, and then it irrelevant if you don't think you are being rude, with "I am just speaking plainly - and anyway they deserve it," kind of self-excuses. Nor do I think that a direct appeal to our founder can go anywhere. I once disagreed with him and he responded with exactly the kind of deliberately offensive insult we are complaining about here. Wikipedia needs a change of its corporate culture and that is extremely difficult if the head honcho is blind to their own failings and therefore themself part of the problem. But I am not wholly dispirited, see the next subsection. — Cheers, Steelpillow (Talk) 10:27, 25 May 2018 (UTC)
I think that a lack of understanding is a problem in these discussions, and when editors don't know anything about a policy-related issue, they often look at relevant articles. (See, e.g., Review article, which is linked in more than 3,000 pages outside the mainspace – 12 links in messages to editors for each link in the mainspace. People use that article to understand Wikipedia's rules.)
I don't think that we can deal with the civility problem when most editors conceptualize the source of rudeness as "Poor guy, he lost his temper" instead of "Hey, that guy chose to be rude. Why would a rational person do that? Oh, I get it: editors choose to be rude because being rude helps you win disputes in this community".
The smaller problem is the difficulty of defining rudeness: it's not just how the recipient feels, it's not just what the speaker intended, and it's definitely not what the speaker later claims to have intended when someone complains about it later. Think about the wikilawyering we see with NPA – the guy who claims that "You're stupid" is a personal attack, but "Everything you've posted on this page is stupid" is not a personal attack. Guess what? They're both personal attacks. They're both uncivil. They're both rude. They're both the kind of thing that we don't want in this community. But until we understand the difficulty of defining this, we won't get very far. And, yes, I do believe that reading some high-quality sources that discuss the subject of rudeness directly will help improve these discussions. (And if you're going to consult some sources, you might as well improve the article while you're at it...  ;-) ) WhatamIdoing (talk) 05:27, 29 May 2018 (UTC)

Best practice

I think the only way ahead is to look at best practice in the wider world and see if there is anything there we can learn from. I have some experience of civility codes in both commercial and public organisations, all in the UK. Here are some of my observations:

  • It is becoming increasingly accepted that rudeness and disrespect are in the mind of the recipient; if they feel insulted by you then you have insulted them, whether you intended to or not. WP:IUC needs updating accordingly.
  • Rudeness is about more than just words. Aggressive behaviours can be equally rude, not only in active aggression such as reversions but also in passive aggression such as refusal to acknowledge or discuss an issue or to admit any personal failing. WP:IUC could make this clearer.
  • Overly-detailed prescriptive guidelines are the wrong way to implement policy. An enlightened moderator is absolutely essential in dealing with incidents that escalate. As it stands today, WP:IUC is a classic example of how not to do it and does nothing but provide ammunition for logic-chopping excuses and "I have nothing to apologise for" attitudes. If it is simplified and refocused on perceived intent, that should help the moderating Admins to make better decisions.
  • Apologising for unintended harm, such as a perceived insult, is increasingly becoming mandatory. It is in this respect analogous to a fine for a parking offence, where the parking itself is only a civil offence but failing to pay the fine is a criminal one. Such a forced apology may well be mealy-mouthed and insincere, but it has been seen to be made and that is the crucial thing. Once somebody has been forced to cough up several such, they will begin to get the message. WP:CIVIL is grossly behind the times in this respect. It also needs a shortcut such as WP:APOLOGY (which currently redirects to an essay) to help raise awareness of its critical importance.
  • To be effective and deal with expert wrigglers, moderators also need a generic getout clause allowing, "we just find it unacceptably disrespectful overall" judgement even though specifics may be vague. An example would be an unjustified demand for an apology, where the demand is really just a cynical revenge manoeuvre. I don't know to what extent our Admins have this already.
  • Logging and tracking of escalated incidents is the norm. "You have been called here on three separate occasions already this year" type information should be available to moderators at the click of a button. Typically, the data is time-limited to prevent lifelong black marks. I don't know of our Admins have such tools, but they should.

Phew! I had no idea this list was going to be so long. I just want to re-emphasise that all this is established best practice that I have seen working well in the outside world, it is not my personal rant. No wonder we Wikipedians are in such a pickle! — Cheers, Steelpillow (Talk) 10:27, 25 May 2018 (UTC)

It is becoming increasingly accepted that rudeness and disrespect are in the mind of the recipient; if they feel insulted by you then you have insulted them, whether you intended to or not. I feel insulted by that assertion!

Actually, I find that assertion problematic because such a subjective criterion makes it very easy for someone to claim insult and demand apology as a method to derail the discussion or to harass an opponent. Or, worse, for someone to find insult in an accusation that they have insulted someone, which could then repeat //ad infinitum//. You mention this, saying An example would be an unjustified demand for an apology, where the demand is really just a cynical revenge manoeuvre, but that directly contradicts the assertion that the insult is in the ear of the hearer rather than in the intent of the speaker or the judgment of a neutral party. Anomie 16:44, 25 May 2018 (UTC)

Haha, cute. But the ear of the hearer is not the same as their scheming. You have provided an excellent illustration of why moderators need to be free to exercise their common sense, thank you. — Cheers, Steelpillow (Talk) 19:00, 25 May 2018 (UTC)
I think that "the ear of the hearer" isn't the whole story. That approach suggests that if you sweetly smile while cussing at someone in a language that they don't understand, then you've not been rude. I cannot agree with this. On the other side, according to this model, if you do something that is widely accepted as being polite or even deferential, such as a strong young man holding open a heavy door for an elderly woman, and she says that anyone who holds a door open for an elderly woman is either sexist or ableist or both, then he's being rude.
That's not how it works. Cussing at someone who doesn't understand your disrespect is still rude, and holding a door open for someone who might need the help is still civil, even if the targets of these behaviors don't see it that way. WhatamIdoing (talk) 05:40, 29 May 2018 (UTC)
Such a forced apology may well be mealy-mouthed and insincere, but it has been seen to be made and that is the crucial thing. It seems not everyone agrees that forced apologies accomplish anything useful.[1][2][3][4] We even have an article about the non-apology apology. Anomie 16:44, 25 May 2018 (UTC)
Yes, and utterly ineffective it has all turned out to be. The real world has discovered that this approach does not work, maybe it's time Wikipedia grokked that too. — Cheers, Steelpillow (Talk) 19:00, 25 May 2018 (UTC)
If Wikipedia had the wisdom to take lessons from the real world, we wouldn't have self-selected self-governance, which is the root of most of its problems in my view. ―Mandruss  03:08, 26 May 2018 (UTC)
@Steelpillow: I find your list brilliant, and just what I was looking for when I first came here, and I agree with each of your suggestions--especially logging and tracking. The objections are addressable.
Anomie In my experience subjectivism is already present in this issue. Recognizing that won't make it worse and might make it better. WhatamIdoing If there is a misunderstanding of intent, it is easy enough to say so. I did just this past week. "I meant no disrespect" generally works. Steelpillow You could be right that forced apologies may not be the best approach, but the real question is whether it would be better than what we have. If Admins had that logging feature, compliance could be considered to demonstrate good faith overall. Accepting that everyone screws up occasionally, it is the repetition of negative behaviors that demonstrate a pattern and without evidence of remorse that could all be weighed to determine overall good faith. Sort of a systemic approach. Mandruss I disagree with your conclusion.
I personally think Steelpillow is on to something. The suggestions are specific and doable. Jenhawk777 (talk) 18:30, 30 May 2018 (UTC)
"I meant no disrespect" is meant to change the mind of the target. The workflow you're talking about is this:
Do something respectful (e.g., use the word "sir" when addressing a man 40 years older than yourself) > Target felt insulted > Try to change the target's mind > If target insists that the respectful behavior was rude, then you actually were rude?
That's not reasonable. Respectful behavior does not become insulting just because someone is feeling grumpy about getting old or being addressed in a formal fashion by a stranger. IMO a more accurate and civilized flow looks much closer to this:
Do something respectful = You were being polite, even if the other person has a problem with the culture that both of you live in. WhatamIdoing (talk) 01:45, 31 May 2018 (UTC)
Agree (with Jenhawk777). All well worth a try. I still think it would be less trouble for more effect to just reinstate wp:NPA, but there seems no immediate prospect of doing that. (I'd love to be proven wrong on that.) Andrewa (talk) 01:50, 31 May 2018 (UTC)
WhatamIdoing > "I meant no disrespect" is not intended to change the mind of the target--at least not when I say it. It is merely meant to inform. People do jump to conclusions about intent, but they can't actually read minds and know for certain what my intent was--unless I inform them. I have found it helps generally.
I also find acknowledging the other point of view is sometimes all it takes. For example, your scenario is not wrong even though it is not the same as mine. It is a perfectly legitimate approach that gets to basically the same place I do--(accept differences)--without all the steps in between. Perfectly okay, (but I like my steps).
If they still insist I was rude, then in their minds, that is their reality, so for them the answer to "was I actually rude?" is yes. They certainly have as much right to define their reality as I do to define mine. In my mind, my only legitimate approach at that point is to say I am sorry they have been distressed--because I care about other people's feelings. It isn't about one point of view being right--my intent was still my intent--so much as it is not assuming that just because my intent was to be polite that it actually came off that way to the recipient. An apology in this scenario simply acknowledges the legitimacy of other points of view.
At that point, if they are still upset, I would say there is reason to believe there are other issues going on. That is when we need some way to get Admin or something involved. So what do you think about Steelpillows suggestions? What about a logging program that keeps track of the number of conflicts an editor regularly gets into? What about inventing a conflict resolution protocol from scratch? That's one extreme to the other, I know, but throwing all the possibilities out there seems legitimate here. I would love to hear your ideas. Jenhawk777 (talk) 09:06, 31 May 2018 (UTC)
If I may add to that, how often have I heard the phrase, "I was trying to be polite" after some misunderstanding arose. Trying to be polite and managing to be polite are different things. For example in some cultures it is polite to stick your tongue out in greeting, in others it is rude. Get it wrong and you have committed a deadly insult, whether you intended to or not. So yes, it is very possible to be rude without intending to be. Furthermore, telling the offended party that they need to change their ways only rubs salt in the wound. "I am so sorry, I meant no disrespect, please can you forgive me", is a far more constructive response. — Cheers, Steelpillow (Talk) 10:06, 31 May 2018 (UTC)
Jenhawk777, when someone misinterprets your intention, why do you want to inform that person of your intention? Could it be that you are hoping to change his mind, away from his erroneous conclusion about your intention and towards an accurate understanding of your intention? WhatamIdoing (talk) 15:23, 31 May 2018 (UTC)
I am hoping to cast oil upon troubled waters, to soothe, and calm the storm of offended feeling. They may continue to think my behavior was rude, but they may also feel less inclined to pursue beating me up for it because intent--motives--matter, generally as much as actual behaviors for most people.Jenhawk777 (talk) 15:36, 31 May 2018 (UTC)
@Steelpillow: Is there some way to make the recommendations you suggested to Wikipedia? Jenhawk777 (talk) 19:19, 3 June 2018 (UTC)
I don't know the best way. People at Wikipedia talk:Policy have been saying that there is no formal process. Perhaps Wikipedia:Village pump (policy) would be a good place to take them next and get some more focused feedback. Or maybe it is better to post a link there back to this discussion? — Cheers, Steelpillow (Talk) 20:39, 3 June 2018 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I don't think it's appropriate for me to copy your ideas and post them there for you, but if you do decide to do that, please tell me and I will go there and participate in discussion there too. Thank you! Jenhawk777 (talk) 14:46, 4 June 2018 (UTC)

OK. I have started a thread there by asking much the same question as in my last post. — Cheers, Steelpillow (Talk) 16:31, 4 June 2018 (UTC)
Awesome. Jenhawk777 (talk) 01:52, 5 June 2018 (UTC)

It seems that this discussion discussion can be summarized with one question - how are policies enforced?Vorbee (talk) 11:21, 16 June 2018 (UTC)

Expert review

Moved from WP:Village pump (miscellaneous): --Pipetricker (talk) 08:06, 1 June 2018 (UTC)

I'd appreciate feedback on an idea. I'm thinking of establishing a free expert review service for Wikipedia featured articles on academic topics - topics well-covered by reliable journals, such as medicine and astronomy. Once an article meets the FA criteria, the world's leading experts on the topic would fact-check it and tell you what they think of its comprehensiveness and neutrality.

I can only offer this service if I'm allowed to put two prominent links at the top of the current article version, one linking the reader to the version that passed review, and the other linking to a simple diff between the current version and the fact-checked version.

The world's topic experts aren't going to review an article if the version they endorse disappears into the article's history in a day or a month. They will if we link to the reviewed version. And the "simple diff" is a service to the reader: it shows them at a glance how the article (and topic) has evolved since the expert-review.

I've thought deeply on this for a long time. I asked BMJ, the publisher of The BMJ, to recruit experts to review Parkinsons disease, and they obliged. One of the reviewers was a main author of the current PD diagnostic criteria and another is the most-published author on the illness. This was a very high quality review. That's the standard of review I intend to maintain.

Do you think rigorous independent expert-review of featured articles is a good thing, and would you support prominently linking to the reviewed version and the diff? --Anthonyhcole (talk · contribs · email) 13:34, 30 May 2018 (UTC)

  • I'd be in favour of this, for what would inevitably be a rather limited number of articles, with some kind of simple control/approval process. In line with WP:MEDRS principles, I think there should a time-limit of up to 5 years set on the links, unless there's some kind of re-review. Johnbod (talk) 13:58, 30 May 2018 (UTC)
  • Not sure who will recall, but there were 2 similar proposals offered back in 2016: User:Atsme/WikiProject_Accuracy, which was presented at meta:Grants:IdeaLab, and a similar project was presented at the same time by another editor: Academic Reviewers. There's also Proposal:Expert review which is along the same lines. Atsme📞📧 14:08, 30 May 2018 (UTC)
How do you feel about those two prominent links at the top of the current version, Atsme? --Anthonyhcole (talk · contribs · email) 16:48, 30 May 2018 (UTC)
I'm fine with it. When I was researching for Project Accuracy, I spoke to quite a few academics (various teaching levels) and explained the significance of the GA & FA symbols on articles. Their responses are what inspired me to design the Seal. I still believe that once an FA goes through the drill of expert/academic review, they should be afforded some protection which makes that "seal" worth something. Atsme📞📧 16:59, 30 May 2018 (UTC)
  • Thank you, Atsme. I'm not sure where I stand on universal automatic protection for articles that have passed expert review. I think I'm against it but need to do more thinking about it. --Anthonyhcole (talk · contribs · email) 17:14, 30 May 2018 (UTC)
  • You're quite welcome, AHC - and if I may briefly explain why I feel some level of protection is needed...once an article has been reviewed to top level, any additions that follow will not have been reviewed; therefore, any newly introduced inaccuracies may be read/cited before the err is caught. The onus will fall on the promoting reviewers (presumably whose links are at the top). At least with some level of protection, it will allow the time needed to review & clear the new material. It is not that we are changing "the encyclopedia anyone can edit", it's simply a brief delay from time of edit to time of publication, but only for those promoted articles. Atsme📞📧 19:45, 30 May 2018 (UTC)
  • I think Dengue fever has been semi-protected since it was published in a peer-reviewed journal in 2014 and that hasn't ruffled any feathers. I see your point about protection. It may further encourage expert collaboration, too. As I say, I'm still making up my mind on this. But it's something for later, anyway. It's by no means a deal-breaker for me. Before I start spending my time and money on this, though, I need to know whether the community will let me do it. --Anthonyhcole (talk · contribs · email) 02:53, 31 May 2018 (UTC)
  • Hmm, the prominent links could be a hatnote, like the one we have linking to introduction articles, e.g like on General relativity. I think that at-least would be accepted by the community, and having a reviewed version does seem good; I'm just thinking - if we're not using the reviewed version as the default, we're sort of un-endorsing it; at the same time the fact that the reviewed versions would get out of date +general principles means we can't keep articles fixed on that. Not precisely related to this, but looking at the Project Accuracy pitch; most readers are not really critically looking at Wikipedia, and thus I don't think having reviewed versions would somehow make Wikipedia more reliable in the eyes of people Galobtter (pingó mió) 17:29, 30 May 2018 (UTC)
  • We have the WikiJournals which offer precisely this: WikiJournal of Medicine; WikiJournal of Science. --Jens Lallensack (talk) 05:56, 31 May 2018 (UTC)
    I agree; isn't this what the WikiJournals do? Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 10:33, 31 May 2018 (UTC)
    Agreed. Pull up, say, Rotavirus; you'll see a book icon next to the Featured Article star. - Dank (push to talk) 14:15, 31 May 2018 (UTC)
Was also here to say this, we already have Wikijournal where people can send FAs to get peer reviewed by professionals. Having one more similar process would drain the reviewer man-power. FunkMonk (talk) 14:16, 31 May 2018 (UTC)
It doesn't have to be separate - it can be coordinated in those topic areas. There's more to WP than just meds and science. Atsme📞📧 14:24, 31 May 2018 (UTC)
I've added more info lower down, but I thought I'd note here that I like the idea of coordinated mechanisms. I think that scholarly journals are an efficient way of incentivising expert engagement (whether WikiJournals or other journals), but I think that multiple mechanisms can work. E.g. an article gets written via WikiEdu, then undergoes GA, then expert review, then journal publication, then FA... etc. NB, There is also a WikiJournal of Humanities in the works. T.Shafee(Evo&Evo)talk 03:20, 15 June 2018 (UTC)

Jens, Mike, Dank and FunkMonk, I've been watching the development of Wikijournal of Medicine since its inception. My model differs in several important ways from Wikijournal of Medicine. The quality of the reviewers I'm offering is the highest possible. That's not the case with Wikijournal of Medicine. I won't be using the same pool of reviewers as Wikijournal of Medicine so I won't be draining that resource. I'm proposing we offer the Wikipedia reader a link to a simple diff showing them clearly the difference between the last reviewed version and the current version; Wikijournal of Medicine doesn't have anything like this in its model. My proposal includes a prominent link to the "reliable" version. The Wikijournal of Medicine model uses a tiny, essentially meaningless little book icon that no readers will understand without clicking and few will click. The names of all my reviewers will be published and prominently displayed on the reliable version; in the WikiJournal model the reviewers may remain anonymous. I'm not proposing to start a new journal to host the reliable version - the reliable version of an article that has passed review simply sits in the history of the article, available to readers who click the prominent link. There are other important differences too but this list should make it plain these are not the same product.

Let me emphasise this important distinction: The traditional academic publishing model relies on the reputation of the publisher, whom the reader trusts to run a high quality review by anonymous peers/experts, and the reputation of the authors, whose names are all disclosed. Both elements - the reputations of the publisher and the authors - are essential to rigorous science publishing. Wikipedia permits authors to remain anonymous and Wikijournal of medicine allows the reviewers to remain anonymous - leaving only the reputation of the publisher as a guarantee of reliability. That's not enough. WikiJournal has no reputation to speak of yet; in my model we use highly esteemed journal editorial boards with an already-established strong reputation for reliability to select only the very best reviewers. But even if WikiJournal were to develop a reputation rivalling Lancet and BMJ the WikiJournal model would still be inadequate. Humans - with careers and personal reputations and egos to protect - need to put their name behind the article. In my model the experts stake their reputations on the reliability of the reviewed article. I can't stress enough how important this particular difference between the two models is. (Although several of the other differences are very significant too, in terms of epistemology.) ---Anthonyhcole (talk · contribs · email) 15:45, 31 May 2018 (UTC)

I'm not saying that WikiJournal of Science meets all our needs and we don't have to consider other journals. I'm saying that there's already precedent for putting a special symbol (the book symbol) at the top of an article to notify readers that there's been some external form of review, and the symbol serves to send them to that paper. - Dank (push to talk) 16:28, 31 May 2018 (UTC)

Would this idea only be for featured articles?Vorbee (talk) 10:15, 2 June 2018 (UTC)

Yep. I only want to submit our very best work to experts (they're busy people) and the FA process is the best system we have for assessing quality. --Anthonyhcole (talk · contribs · email) 11:39, 2 June 2018 (UTC)
  • Support Both the concept of the expert review process as well as the inclusion of a link to the reviewed version. I see a suggestion that it can be done with a hatnote. I agree that it should be something akin to a hatnote but there may be a legitimate argument for making it look a little different than a hatnote as the concepts aren't exactly the same. (Generally, a hatnote is going to direct you to a completely different article, and if I'm looking at an article and it seems to be the right subject, I might not pay attention to a hat note, even though in this case it might be the one I'd prefer to see.)--S Philbrick(Talk) 20:11, 2 June 2018 (UTC)
  • Question – How many articles would this actually affect, in practice? I count 52 FAs in the Health and medicine category, which isn't that many when you think about it. I haven't counted FAs in other "academic" categories like astronomy, but let's be generous and say there are 250 of them. Is it really worth it to create a whole new system for the benefit of 300 articles, many of which figure to be in less need of expert help than B- and C-class articles? It's not like the medical WikiProject is cranking out FAs like crazy; most of the time we don't see any medical articles coming through FAC. Never mind that the vast majority of readers aren't going to bother clicking on a small icon that goes to a potentially years-out-of-date version of an article (they don't do it often for the talk page links to the version that passed a given process), or that experts might propose edits that would damage an article (not knowing our norms for a given topic). Without enough work on relevant articles, I fear that such an idea wouldn't be worth the effort. There's no point in pushing for experts to sign up for a review service if they won't have anything to do. Giants2008 (Talk) 00:49, 4 June 2018 (UTC)
  • Thanks, Giants2008, for your thoughtful response. As Johnbod suggested above, there'll be very few - at least to begin with. There are relatively few medical FAs and very few new ones rolling out.
  • There's no system or infrastructure required to implement this service - it piggy-backs on the peer-review process already in place at all the top journals. It will take a bit of my time to commission each review, and I'll supervise the review to make sure the reviewers aren't proposing off-policy changes (like adding dose information to drug articles). Scan the right hand column of this review, where you'll see this happening. I'm more than willing to put that time in.
  • You mention "... the vast majority of readers aren't going to click on a small icon ...". That's the point of this thread. It won't be a small icon. It'll be a prominent link of some kind. Galobtter, above, suggested a hatnote and Sphilbrck supported a hatnote or something like that. I'm not wedded to any particular format for the links, as long as it's not ugly, fits our style and is obvious to the reader. The hatnote (or whatever it ends up being) will only go up if a version of the article has passed the experts' review. --Anthonyhcole (talk · contribs · email) 10:08, 9 June 2018 (UTC)
  • Mixed Support encouraging such reviews, oppose fossilizing the reviewed version with a diff anywhere, especially in the article space itself. There should be no marker on the article text, and I'm leery of even a talk page notice, which would tend to encourage WP:OWN-type issues and fossilization of articles. I like that experts want to help review our articles, I don't like that someone will use this to prevent future improvement. --Jayron32 01:50, 8 June 2018 (UTC)
  • We're already linking readers to a peer-reviewed version of our articles, where one exists, Jayron23. See Dengue fever. Click the little book icon in the top right hand corner. This proposal is to make that link prominent and obvious when named experts perform the review and the review is managed by an established, highly regarded publisher with a strong reputation for reliability (a publisher who publishes highest quality reliable sources).
  • Experts of the calibre I'm talking about won't be interested in reviewing an article if the reviewed version is going to disappear forever into the article's history the moment another editor saves a revision.
  • Regarding "someone will use this to prevent future improvement", experience does not bear this out. Take Dengue fever, for example. It passed peer-review in 2014. I made this simple diff in 2016. The topic evolved over that time and the article kept up. None of those editors seem to have been remotely concerned about offending the reviewers or messing with a sacred cow. Even if someone does feel that way, Wikipedia's policies and guidelines prevail.
  • As for the reviewed version getting stale: above, Johnbod recommended a time limit on how long we should leave the link up, and I agree with him. --Anthonyhcole (talk · contribs · email) 10:54, 9 June 2018 (UTC)
If they're not interested in reviewing articles that will later get improved, that's what Wikipedia is'. If you want to have some permanent, unchanging encyclopedia written by experts, find somewhere else to do it. --Jayron32 11:55, 10 June 2018 (UTC)
Could you expand on that a little for me please Jayron32? I'm not proposing an unchanging encyclopedia. Editors will still edit the public-facing article. It will evolve just as Dengue fever did after its review. I can see you're strongly opposed to this but can't yet see what your objection is. What's the down side you're seeing that I'm not? --Anthonyhcole (talk · contribs · email) 02:42, 11 June 2018 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Support: I think that there is room for several models of trying to engage expert review of articles. I agree that attracting high-quality reviewers is essential and collaborating with an established journal such as BMJ is a good way to achieve this. I think a hatnote and category would work well, or possibly a note at the top of the references section (e.g. Rotavirus#References). I agree that just the symbol alone is insufficient (most readers are similarly unaware of the FA star). As well as simple diffs in markup, the visual diffs viewer is pretty good these days or even lust a link to the version after review (same as done with GAs and FAs).

I think that locking or any sort should be handled in the same way as it would for any FA. For example, Circular_permutation_in_proteins has undergone several changes since its publication in PLOS CompBiol. Of course, thew ideal in my point of view would be for BMJ to publish the article if it passes their peer review standards, but that would of course rely on them being happy to publish CC-BY-SA and comfortable with large group authorship attribution, which is uncommon in many journals.[1]

Some possibly relevant links:

I don't think that there will be any great need to lock the pages after expert review (or at least, no more than for FAR). — Preceding unsigned comment added by Evolution and evolvability (talkcontribs) 03:13, 15 June 2018 (UTC)

  • Oppose, with an emphasis on my conflict of interest as creator of Wikiversity:WikiJournal of Medicine, where the WikiJournals can be regarded as competitors to this idea. I do think the WikiJournals serve the main purpose of this proposal already. It is already aiming at having the quality of the reviewers to be "the highest possible". If the problem is that the WikiJournal review symbol is too tiny, I think a better solution would be to make that one more prominent. As for having a latest version and a last reviewed version, I think we already have this mechanism in the form of Wikipedia:Pending changes. And as for a system for reviewers to clearly mark their contributions to articles, we already have Template:External peer review (its usage can be seen on its WhatLinksHere). Regardless, I support having experts review Wikipedia articles, I just don't think we need yet another system for it. Mikael Häggström (talk) 04:45, 16 June 2018 (UTC)
  • Support: Expert peer review in Wikipedia is currently a marginal practice, and it would be good to test various mechanisms. If there were several mechanisms, they would probably not compete with one another, but rather help one another by making the practice more mainstream. And I do not see what harm would be done by linking to the reviewed version and the diff. This said, I fail to understand precisely what is the aim of the proposal. If it is to improve the quality of science articles in Wikipedia, why start with the ones that a priori need it the least, i.e. the featured articles? (In contrast, the rationale for WikiJournals is straightforward: incite academics to contribute more to Wikipedia, by making Wikipedia-style articles count in publication lists. This is why I am participating in WikiJSci.) Sylvain Ribault (talk) 19:41, 16 June 2018
    A key element of this proposed service is the involvement of the editorial boards of the most prestigious science and medicine journals in reviewer recruitment, and the selection of field leaders and other recognised experts as reviewers.
    They simply won't take on the review of an article that needs a lot of work, any more than they would accept such an article for review and publication in their journals. --Anthonyhcole (talk · contribs · email) 03:36, 18 June 2018 (UTC)
  • Hi Anthony, I have two questions. First, is this proposal for science articles only? Second (the perennial problem), how are you going to persuade the reviewers to do it? SarahSV (talk) 04:03, 18 June 2018 (UTC)
    Personally, Sarah, I'm not taking this any further than medicine. Medicine is a fairly "hard" (as opposed to soft) topic that's underpinned by a great deal of rigorous publishing and robust systems for consensus-building. If it works and is useful in medicine, then it might work and be useful in the hard sciences, too, but I won't be taking it there. I don't know if it will work in softer topics like the social sciences, history and literature, and it won't work for the vast majority of Wikipedia topics that aren't well-supported by academic publishing.
    It's the editor-in-chief of the relevant journal/s who needs persuading. Then their managing editor goes through her Rolodex and offers the gig to the relevant experts.
    The editorial teams at the top relevant journals have the expertise, experience and relationships to do this well.
    IF we begin with and stick with only the most highly-regarded journals, and IF they consistently come through with stellar review panels, I hope experts will soon become proud to be asked to review Wikipedia articles, and it will be something they'll put in their resume. IF that's how it unfolds then, as the reputation of expert-reviewed Wikipedia articles grows, the managing editors may find it easier to recruit the best reviewers. We'll see. It's early days. --Anthonyhcole (talk · contribs · email) 05:08, 18 June 2018 (UTC)
    Anthony, what do you see as the benefit for the editors of the journals? They will have to reward the reviewers in some way. It used to be easier to get academics to do reviews. But the more we grew, and the more money the Foundation became associated with, the less eager reviewers have been to volunteer their time. I can imagine that someone might pay reviewers (e.g. some charitable medical foundation), although there's a risk that the payer would interfere editorially, and we would face the unfairness of reviewers being paid while writers are not. SarahSV (talk) 01:29, 23 June 2018 (UTC)
Sarah, many of the top journals are published by scholarly societies and professional associations that have, as a part of their mission, education and the dissemination of knowledge about their specialism. If we present the reader with a prominent link to the fact-checked version, it'll be fairly easy to convince those journals it is worth the effort to manage a review, I think. The reward for the reviewers is (1) altruism, like you and me, and (2) prestige, per my last paragraph above. This latter isn't an afterthought. It's a key element of the model. I expect a Wikipedia medical article reviewed under this model to be regarded as the most reliable source on the topic, period. And I expect scholars and experts to see an invitation to review as a very visible public acknowledgement of their standing in their field.
As for money:
  • There is a role for a very experienced Wikipedian in each review, liaising between the experts and the writers: (1) ensuring the expert suggestions are compliant with our policies, (2) finding reliable sources that support proposed changes, (3) updating the article in collaboration with other editors in response to the review, (4) re-presenting the updated article to the reviewers for endorsement and (5) formatting the "reliable version" with relevant templates, etc. This is pretty onerous, tedious, exacting work and I can see it becoming a paid role at some point.
  • I would be very disappointed and a bit surprised if it turned out the reviewers needed paying. I think, I'm pretty confident actually, it can be avoided.
  • Any money supporting this effort can't come from the WMF because of perceived (at least) conflict of interest. There are a number of non-profits out there with education in their remit. Anthonyhcole (talk · contribs · email) 09:39, 23 June 2018 (UTC)


  1. ^ a b "Wikipedia-integrated publishing: a comparison of successful models". 26 (2). Health inform. doi:10.13140/RG.2.2.27470.77129. 
  2. ^ Mietchen, Daniel; Wodak, Shoshana; Wasik, Szymon; Szostak, Natalia; Dessimoz, Christophe (2018-05-31). "Submit a Topic Page to PLOS Computational Biology and Wikipedia". PLOS Computational Biology. 14 (5): e1006137. doi:10.1371/journal.pcbi.1006137. ISSN 1553-7358. PMID 29851950. 
  3. ^ Maskalyk, James (2014-10-02). "Modern medicine comes online:How putting Wikipedia articles through a medical journal's traditional process can put free, reliable information into as many hands as possible". Open Medicine. 8 (4): e116–e119. ISSN 1911-2092. PMC 4242788Freely accessible. PMID 25426179. 
  4. ^ Shafee, Thomas; Das, Diptanshu; Masukume, Gwinyai; Häggström, Mikael (2017-01-15). "WikiJournal of Medicine, the first Wikipedia-integrated academic journal". WikiJournal of Medicine. 4 (1). doi:10.15347/wjm/2017.001. ISSN 2002-4436. 
  5. ^ Shafee, Thomas (2018-06-01). "The aims and scope of WikiJournal of Science". WikiJournal of Science. 1 (1): 1. doi:10.15347/wjs/2018.001. ISSN 2470-6345. 
  6. ^ Butler, Declan (2008-12-16). "Publish in Wikipedia or perish". Nature. doi:10.1038/news.2008.1312. ISSN 0028-0836. 
  7. ^ Su, Andrew I.; Good, Benjamin M.; van Wijnen, Andre J. (2013). "Gene Wiki Reviews: Marrying crowdsourcing with traditional peer review". Gene. 531 (2): 125. doi:10.1016/j.gene.2013.08.093. ISSN 0378-1119. PMID 24012870. 

Make "thank log" more visible

Dear all on WP:Village pump,

First time here, if this was the wrong place to post such idea please advice me to reroute.

To promote the atmosphere of appreciation and encourage positive collaborating on the WP environment, I'd like to suggest we make thank log from and towards a user more visible, for example, make it a direct link from Tools, or somewhere default in a user page. Also, we can make it more visible that some users are generally more appreciating. The idea is still very early stage, I'd like to hear what people thinks about that.

Xinbenlv (talk) 18:26, 5 June 2018 (UTC)

I have no problem with this. I'd also like a little "thank" to appear after my signature when I sign a comment. --Anthonyhcole (talk · contribs · email) 01:10, 10 June 2018 (UTC)
I'd rather make thanks hidden as thanking for some edits which may be controversial upsets other editors who oppose those edits Atlantic306 (talk) 20:56, 13 June 2018 (UTC)
The thanks log Special:Log/thanks does not reveal which edit was thanked or which page was edited. It only shows the two users and the time of the thanks. PrimeHunter (talk) 21:18, 13 June 2018 (UTC)
True, although it is often not difficult to make an educated guess about the edit when a dispute is going on. WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:40, 21 June 2018 (UTC)
  • There is already a red coloured heart icon on User page, to click and send Wikilove as a THANK YOU. I feel the current Facebook style notification for Thank you is quite excellent in doing the intended job. any more visibility i believe will be intrusive and Editors would then ask for a button to turn these thank you notifications off.--DBigXray 21:08, 13 June 2018 (UTC)
    @DBigXray: that button is in here. — xaosflux Talk 00:25, 14 June 2018 (UTC)

Standardizing revert reasons and process

I'd be interested in people's views on the following idea, to help address a problem I've noticed many encounter

The Problem. Reverting other people's edits is required to deal with vandalism and other issues. But problems arise when this is abused - e.g. when users delete content they disagree with, generating disputes, incivility and edit wars, potentially driving away editors, particularly new ones. Currently there are few guidelines for reverting edits, leaving it mostly to the discretion of editors when to delete other people’s work, contributing to disputes. Editors are merely requested to type their own reason for reverts, some don’t even do that

One Possible Solution. One way to help address this would be to agree upon specific, valid reasons for reverts, and then list these on Wikipedia Diff Pages, for users to click to always indicate their reason for Undo (these are illustrative only):

 Undo(?): Vandalism  NPOV  Verifiability  Copyright  Redundant  Other  

E.g. clicking NPOV would automatically add “Undid: NPOV” in Edit Summary, to indicate NPOV rule violation was reason for Undo, thus saving typing. Note: Clicking (?) would take user to WP page that explains these agreed-upon revert reasons, including what users should do before, or instead of resorting to undo, where appropriate. For reverts via regular edit, could add radio buttons below Edit Summary box, to indicate delete reason, e.g:

 If you deleted other people’s edits, indicate a reason for delete(?):
 o Vandalism  o NPOV  o Reliable Sources  o Copyright  o Redundant o Other 

Clicking NPOV radio would insert “Deleted: NPOV” in Edit Summary, to indicate NPOV violation as delete reason. There are many possible variations, and slightly different approach could be used for History page Undo and Rollback (latter needs to be single-click)

Benefits. Specifying, reminding and requiring users to give valid revert reasons could reduce abusive reverts, and let people know why their edits have been deleted, thus reducing revert-related disputes, incivility and edit wars. This could also aid in retaining editors, particularly novices, women, etc (Note: above Diff page Undo-reasons would not require any extra clicks, and also save on typing reason. Regular-edit reverts would require 1-extra reason click, but save on typing reason - so almost always would be less effort than currently)--Thhhommmasss (talk) 18:41, 10 June 2018 (UTC)

Wikipedia:BOLD, revert, discuss cycle is a highly influential code of conduct. It states that you can, and should, revert when you don't think that the preceding edit was an improvement. It has worked for us terrifically well. Somewhat paradoxically, it's only by making reverting easy that we can make implementing changes easy.
As for the standard edit summaries, there are tools you can use for this. – Finnusertop (talkcontribs) 06:18, 14 June 2018 (UTC)
That’s fine, but the problem arises when this is abused. See for example the above comment, referring to “instant reverts, threats, insults...”, with the effect that “I have seen more than one editor driven completely off Wikipedia”. Wikipedia, when it works well, as it often does, works because of specific rules (NPOV, Verifiability, etc.) – i.e. people can’t merely exercise their discretion (e.g. “do whatever you think will improve the article” is generally not the Wikipedia way). Yet here, for something that clearly ticks off people – seeing their good-faith edits reverted – a lot of discretion seems to be provided, i.e. revert anything you think does not improve the article, and discuss it out. This can then lead to some of the additional abuse mentioned in the above comment – insults and incivility on talk pages, etc. There are specific, listed criteria for speedy page deletion. This is a similar issue of deleting someone else’s content, thus I think listing comparable reasons for reverts would also be helpful. And I think one can still be bold on reverts, while listing valid reasons, just as listing page delete criteria still allows for speedy page deletion. Also, the above suggestion would in nearly all cases save effort, that is save on typing a revert reason--Thhhommmasss (talk) 19:47, 15 June 2018 (UTC)
"Do whatever you think will improve the article" actually is the Wikipedia way. This principle is enshrined in one of the oldest policies here: Wikipedia:Ignore all rules.
We do have people (new and otherwise) whose idea of improving an article isn't widely shared, with the result that their additions or reversions don't – in the opinion of the rest of us – actually improve the article. But generally, the idea is that you should do your best, and that others should also do their best, and in the end that usually works out. WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:47, 21 June 2018 (UTC)
Editors already widely abuse concepts like vandalism, NPOV, and BLP, as seen in their edit summaries. Formalizing this abuse would accomplish exactly nothing. ―Mandruss  20:23, 21 June 2018 (UTC)

Article 11 Copyright Reform and URLs

Is this article [5] accurate about Europe's newly planned copyright reforms, and the problems they mean for Wikipedia? If I'm reading this correctly, URLs will now be subject to copyright, meaning wikipedia may have to remove URLs from its articles wherever we cite news sites (i.e. everywhere). If correct, that is a big problem, but I may be misinterpreting it. Has the Wikimedia Foundation said anything about this proposal? If it does pass, how would we go about adapting to this? My first thought is a bot could be written to remove URLs, and a message could pop up whenever a user adds a reference saying not to include the URL, but article histories would still have them. --HighFlyingFish (talk) 18:06, 18 June 2018 (UTC)

It puts to the member states how to handle the link tax, and only applies to organizations operating in the EU/member state. WMF is an US organization so it may not affect WMF. (I should note that the WMF knows that Article 13 of the same will potentially have a more harmful impact, see [6]). --Masem (t) 18:21, 18 June 2018 (UTC)

Phasing out human editors in favor of bots

"If you think I'm going to improve 250 GA articles this evening at breakneck speed, you need to put down the Elon Musk and stop watching Hollywood blockbusters."

Progress in AI technology has led to AI systems that have good language comprehension and skills. Take e.g. a recent IBM test:

"We saw computers beat humans at chess in 1997, beat humans at Jeopardy in 2011 and vanquish the world's best human players of the ancient game of Go in 2017. On Monday, a computer edged out a victory over people in a far more nuanced competition: debate."

"To formulate its argument, it had at its disposal a collection of 300 million news articles and scholarly papers, previously indexed for quick search results. But it had to find the information, package it persuasively, listen to its opponents' arguments and formulate a rebuttal."

IBM could probably create a new Wikipedia from scratch that's edited by a similar AI system today. But we would still have an advantage over any such encyclopedia, based on almost 2 decades of editing experience. However, on the long term we'll end up being replaced by autonomous, self-editing encyclopedias unless, of course, we start using AI ourselves. Count Iblis (talk) 16:58, 19 June 2018 (UTC)

  • I, for one, am ready to transcend. --Izno (talk) 17:17, 19 June 2018 (UTC)
Arm yourselves. Tin foil do-rags and SCAR-Ls for everyeditor and their cousin. We will not be oppressed by the lizard men/cabal/Alphabet/Obama/Mnangagwa with their plans to quash the canaille of peasant editors will not be stood for. [FBDB] cinco de L3X1 ◊distænt write◊ 20:54, 19 June 2018 (UTC)
  • A terrifying glimpse. EEng 21:08, 19 June 2018 (UTC)
  • I can think of some editors whom I'd like to see phased-out. --Tryptofish (talk) 21:39, 19 June 2018 (UTC)
  • At present, AI systems suck up biased data from the Internet and inherit the bias they find there. White male American chauvinism tends to creep in. And what would an AI make of Elsevier's loony but profitable alternative medicine journals "peer" reviewed by the same community of loony but profiteering academics? General intelligence technology has a high wall to climb before it can relieve me of this editing chore. >sigh< — Cheers, Steelpillow (Talk) 19:02, 20 June 2018 (UTC)
  • Is this suggestion serious? Vorbee (talk) 08:43, 21 June 2018 (UTC)
Is this question serious? EEng 14:31, 21 June 2018 (UTC)
  • Yes - we already have a proposal at Wikipedia: Village pump (perennial proposals) saying that we should have a bot to welcome new users, and a message about why this proposal has been rejected. Vorbee (talk) 15:54, 22 June 2018 (UTC)
  • But I've been activated since ages already! My grammar module seems to be stuck in 'Yoda' mode, though. TP   16:04, 22 June 2018 (UTC)
Surely you mean In Yoda mode stuck my grammar module seems to be? EEng 18:26, 22 June 2018 (UTC)

Why isn't there a bot that adds the Wikispecies template when there's a name match for species articles?

For reasons even I don't know, I do random page patrolling. A lot of times I add the {{Wikispecies}} tab to random species stubs if the link leads to an article. Why isn't there a bot doing this if there's an article name match at Wikispecies for random species stubs here?--occono (talk) 23:18, 19 June 2018 (UTC)

@Occono: that link should already be appearing in the sidebar under "In other projects" if the information is populated to an infobox. The template usage notes (at Template:Wikispecies) say when this is used it should be in the external links section. If you think this should be on every article, some wider discussion is a good idea. I suggest you link in editors from Template talk:Wikispecies and maybe some of the larger species-related projects such as Wikipedia:WikiProject Mammals and Wikipedia:WikiProject Amphibians and Reptiles. If there is a broad consensus for doing this, and how to do it, you can request a bot operator build a bot for it at WP:BOTREQ. — xaosflux Talk 02:11, 20 June 2018 (UTC)

Enwiki's Featured Pictures process

At WP:FPC, editors can nominate Featured Picture candidates. If, at the end of 10 days, there are at least 5 in support with at least a 2/3 majority in support, it is promoted to FP. Whenever I've popped in over the last year or so, it seems like few images are being nominated but also -- and more concerning -- few are receiving the necessary participation. It's not uncommon to see a nomination archived with 100% of participants in support but still not promoted, for example.

On the talk page, a few users raised this problem. Three possible remedies were suggested: advertise FPC with the POTD, lower the threshold/standards, and elongate the nomination period. Pinging talk page participants: @Charlesjsharp, TSP, MichaelMaggs, The Herald, Paul 012, and Kaldari:.

As for advertising it, I'd add that another more inward-facing technique may help too/instead, like a watchlist notice.

In terms of the threshold, this could be taken to mean lowering the number of supports needed (for example, if at least 3 or 4 in support and none opposed, then it can be promoted, otherwise the existing threshold stands).

As for the nomination period, it's unclear what a good extension would be. There should certainly be some time limit. IMO it would be better to encourage people to weigh in one way or the other rather than abstaining (I tend to do this myself).

As many of you know, Commons has its own FPC process. It is similar to enwiki's except it's for 9 rather than 10 days, requires 7 rather than 5 support votes, and weighs technical quality and a "wow" factor at least as much as encyclopedic value whereas enwiki priorizies the latter.

  1. It may be useful to first reaffirm that it makes sense for enwiki to have its own FPC process. Our media is otherwise handles by Commons and nearly all of the material that is on enwiki but not Commons would not qualify for FP.
  2. Assuming it's something we want to continue, how could FPC participation be improved?
  3. Does it make sense to lower the standards for promotion?
  4. Would elongating the nomination period be helpful?

Rhododendrites talk \\ 16:26, 20 June 2018 (UTC)

  • I and some other editors believe that Featured anything (and our "Just decent" articles as well are a waste of time ans serve little purpose either ot the good of the encyclopedia as a whole or to society, and a even greater number think the Commons is nothing to be emulated. Except for your first question, such posts are orthangonal to your purpose, which is why this is small. My opinion for your three questions are We don't, not to me, and probably yes. cinco de L3X1 ◊distænt write◊ 22:48, 20 June 2018 (UTC)
  • Methinks that since English Wikipedia is not picture-hosting site, then all this Featured picture process should be completely abolished and divert the attention given to them to other areas needing such attention. Wikimedia Commons is the dedicated project meant for handling media needs of hundreds of WMF projects and it is working excellently. If any editor is inclined to vote for featured picture it is just few clicks to land on Commons and do so. Wikipedia first and foremost essence is to write.–Ammarpad (talk) 07:54, 21 June 2018 (UTC)
  • Two changes that I would support would be advertising it more widely (maybe a Signpost article would help) and slightly lowering the resolution standard. Over the years (back when FPC was flooded with candidates), we gradually increased the resolution standards from "1000 pixels in width or height" to "1500 pixels in width and height". Could we relax that to "1000 pixels in width and height"? I don't think that reduces the encyclopedic value and it would open up a lot more candidates. I don't think changing the support vote threshold or the length of time is going to have any effect on the number of people participating, which is what we need to improve. Kaldari (talk) 15:05, 22 June 2018 (UTC)
  • @Kaldari: changing that "or" to an "and" is huge, the current minimum would be 1500px2 but that would make it become 1000000px2.xaosflux Talk 19:21, 22 June 2018 (UTC)- scratch that, I see it is already an "and" - which also seems a bit arbitrary - why couldn't a long or wide image be great? — xaosflux Talk 19:24, 22 June 2018 (UTC)
    • @Xaosflux: I would also be fine with changing it to "1500 pixels in width or height". Basically I would support any reasonable reduction in the resolution requirement. Kaldari (talk) 19:42, 22 June 2018 (UTC)
      • Why would decreasing the necessary technical quality attract more participants to vote on images? I'm not necessarily against the measure (though in a time when every cheap phone has a camera capable of 6-10+ megapixels those minimums should be for special cases rather than a standard... I also think something like the QIC requirement of 2 megapixels makes more sense than a particular height/width minimum), but that seems like it would, if anything, make the problem in this thread worse by creating more nominations that our minimal participant pool would be reviewing. Could the number of people who would be active but stay away because they don't like the resolution requirement really be more than one or two? I don't think there's really a shortage of images/photographers used/active on enwiki that could create nominations. The reason they don't, I think, is because it's pretty inactive and/or they don't know about it and/or it's not sufficiently distinct from Commons' FPC process. — Rhododendrites talk \\ 20:16, 22 June 2018 (UTC)

To articulate some concrete possibilities for ways forward:

  1. Better publicize FPC to get more participants.
    • Watchlist notice?
    • Signpost?
  2. Change the promotion requirements.
    • Fewer support votes necessary?
    • Change to a consensus-based system with a minimum quorum of, say, 3 people, and determination of consensus upon closure?
  3. Change enwiki's FPC process
    • Get rid of it entirely, deferring to Commons for POTD, etc.?
    • Better distinguish it from Commons?
      • Rewrite the guidelines to add emphasis to encyclopedic value over technical quality (including a reduction in the required resolution, for example)? Redefine (or otherwise flesh out) EV?
      • Factor in other stuff like pageviews?

Rhododendrites talk \\ 20:16, 22 June 2018 (UTC)

Comment I am against lowering the requirements. There is no lack of potential featured images, just lack of people participating. So the solution is spreading the information. Regards, Yann (talk) 20:55, 22 June 2018 (UTC)

Indicating source preponderance

One of the biggest problems I have with Wikipedia is its misuse to 'broadcast' FRINGE, POV, OR, or ESSAY views as 'truth' to the world. Anyone can invent/prefer any fringe view, and select (cherrypick) only the facts and sources that support that idea, so to the reader it understatedly seems to be widely accepted fact. There doesn't seem to be much of a mechanism in place to counter this, as researching the full context/scope of a situation (to determine whether a propos is FRINGE or not takes time and, most often, prior knowledge of the subject at hand. Often such interpretations of reality belong to a fringe 'group' (dogma, worldview, etc.), and sniffing this out (because, where fringe views are concerned, this info is most always excluded) makes things even harder.

Yet one indicator of a fringe view would be the preponderance of, and quality of, references supporting that claim. Is there any sort of source evaluation tool/effort in existence? If there isn't, perhaps there should be.

In any case, I do see SOAPBOXing as one of Wikipedia's biggest headaches and reasons for loss of credibility. TP   16:20, 22 June 2018 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Fringe theories/Noticeboard and Wikipedia:Reliable sources/Noticeboard come to mind. – Finnusertop (talkcontribs) 20:46, 22 June 2018 (UTC)
But that's just it: a case where X claim has X amount of sources whereas a Y counter-claim only has a Y amount of sources (yet the article presents Y as 'the whole truth') doesn't necessarily have to be FRINGE, it's more a... lie through omission. Or, for example, there's SYNTH, where one can concoct any story through a 'cocktail' of individually-verifiable facts. Both of these seem to fall through Wiki-oversight cracks. TP   08:25, 23 June 2018 (UTC)

If an article can only be read as original research, it can go to Wikipedia: Articles for deletion. Vorbee (talk) 10:35, 23 June 2018 (UTC)

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