The following request for comments is closed. Neither "invalid" nor "unsuccessful" quite captures this. In reality, this request is now moot (in the US sense of the word), as the project is closed. StevenJ81 (talk) 19:19, 23 September 2019 (UTC)
Recently, an editor in BG Wikipedia opened a voting in BG Wikinews. In its description, he specified that editors in Wikipedia will also be eligible to vote, even if they don't have contributions to Wikinews. I believe that this is a violation of the established practices in WMF projects - to require contributions to a project in order to be eligible to vote in it.
I kindly ask for your opinion on that matter. -- Григор Гачев (talk) 23:50, 19 July 2019 (UTC)
It would be fair to let the people also know the context: the voting in question itself and also Proposals for closing projects/Deletion of Bulgarian Wikinews. And it would also be fair to point out how three months ago you counted as “valid” some of the same votes you now claim to be “[in] violation of the established practices in WMF projects”. Granted, back then those votes were in support of your proposal. Last but not least, speaking of “established practices”, it is, in fact, a de facto practice on the small Bulgarian-language projects—at least on bgwiktionary, bgquote, and bgsource (I think it's safe to add bgbooks too)—to allow and accept the votes of the editors who are eligible to vote on bgwiki. BTW, this is also how I was elected as a sysop on bgnews as well. — Luchesar • T/C 16:54, 20 July 2019 (UTC)
A note: As Luchesar knows, I violated the WMF practices three months ago for a reason: I was the only editor in bgwikinews then, and considered too authoritarian to vote just myself. So I invited editors from other projects, without knowing if their votes will support the proposal. Now bgwikinews already has active editors, and I see no need anymore to invite non-contributors - eg. to decide on deleting over 1200 articles from it. (The motive of the editor who defined the voting as open to non-contributors was "due to the fact that the project is in practice dead". This is not true: its mainspace activity for the last couple of months is rather good for a wikinews project.)
Another part of the context: The current voting, at this moment, shows why allowing non-contributors to vote is generally not a good idea:
all voting editors who contribute to bgwikinews are against the deletion of the articles
all voting editors who support the deletion of the articles have no contributions to bgwikinews, prior to beginning of the voting (one since then made some edits, to demonstrate that he is able to circumvent the contributions requirement "in just 1 minute")
most voting editors who are for the deletion of the articles also backed several months ago the notion to terminate the project without giving it a chance to be revived (Luchesar was one of them)
I wanted to keep the question clearly defined and about the principles, but if context is to be given, I believe that it should reflect all sides of the situation. -- Григор Гачев (talk) 15:32, 21 July 2019 (UTC)
Cannot disagree with “it should reflect all sides of the situation”. But withholding the context “to keep the question clearly defined and about the principles” remains—given the case specifics—misleading at best. And for those who would find the linked discussions above too TL;DR-ish, here's a (relatively) brief comment to put everything into perspective:
“all voting editors who contribute to bgwikinews are against the deletion of the articles”
That's true. But it is worth explaining who these—all in all three—“contributing editors” are:
Stanqo has a long history of deliberate efforts to abuse the projects, particularly bgwiki in the past, using them to spread false news and disinformation. The details are in the comments section of the project deletion proposal.
You, Grigor, have admitted to being connected with the speshno.info website:
Your bot, Ботчо, has uploaded in 2009–2013 at least 1239 articles from the said site, which also link back to it.
The voting in question is exactly about these articles, the proposal being for them to be deleted from bgnews.
speshno.info has been banned on bgwiki alongside numerous other sites as an anonymous, unreliable news source. These bans were introduced in response to the revelations of Stanqo's abuse of Wikipedia.
The latter also begs some questions, as even with a rel="nofollow" attribute the links from Wikinews still generate impressions for speshno.info when the visitors click on them. It's not unreasonable to expect that bg.wikinews.org is (much) more popular (~20K monthly views according to WMF stats) than the 6,701,732nd Alexa-rankedspeshno.info. This means that apart from the other problems, the site may also be benefiting unfairly from Wikinews popularity.
Worth noting is that speshno.info lists cross-bg.net (which redirects to cross.bg) and glasove.com as its partner websites. Both sites have been listed as spreading Russian state-sponsored propaganda in the blog of Ivo Indzhev, a notable Bulgarian political journalist and author, specializing in the Bulgaria-Russia relations, who has also contributed to the EEAS East StratCom Task Force disinformation reports.
A relatively less important, but still notable problem was the fact that the articles apparently were copied in violation of the website copyright: as late as 2016, articles copied 7 years earlier, in 2009, still had only the “All rights reserved” notice in the website's footer. Because the archive.org snapshots are rather sparse, it's hard to tell when the CC-BY license was finally added, but I have reasons to suspect it happened only after George Ho had noticed and reported the problem a few months ago (I'd like to once more express my gratitude to him for being the first to publicly raise the issue with the long-neglected problems of the Bulgarian Wikinews and for his continuing efforts to solve these problems ever since).
Finally, as noted by StanProg—who has initiated the voting—some articles copied to Wikinews had been previously copied from ekipnews.com. This makes the licensing problems even more complicated, but also, while ekipnews.com itself is slightly less anonymous (they give a postal address), it still seems far from a trustworthy news source. The website also makes rather dubious claims, like listing the European Commission and the European Union (!) as “[its] partners”.
Zelenkroki is the only editor who opposed the proposal whom I can't really criticize (although she was, in fact, the author of an article on Wikinews that in my opinion constituted an unfair and rather pitiful attack—effectively coming from Wikinews itself—on the Bulgarian News Agency). I've met her a couple of times and know her as a very kind and intelligent person. But I think she's also rather close friends with you, Grigor. While I'd like to think that this friendship has not affected her judgement, I cannot entirely exclude this possibility either—and can't even blame her if it is true, as this is quite normal (one may even say “noble”) and expected human behaviour that I can largely at least empathize with.
As for Stanqo, he is eligible to vote under the voting conditions of StanProg, but is not under the voting conditions requested by me. How's your opposition to his participation justifying the former rules and discounting the latter?
I intentionally disclosed in bgwikinews several times my involvement with speshno.info, to show that its legitimacy is effectively mine. If these news were written by me, that would cause no problems. The case is the same.
Being involved with speshno.info is how I was able to negotiate a licensing of its own news under a Wikinews-compatible license. The benefit I sought was for Wikinews, not for the site.
speshno.info has a very low Alexa rank, since it is abandoned for half a decade already. (And nobody benefits from it in any way since then.) When I negotiated the news copying, it had higher ranks than bg.wikinews.com - another illustration who benefited from the arrangement.
While speshno.info has listed a lot of sites as affiliated (normal business practice for such sites), no news except its original ones were transferred to bgwikinews. I challenge you to show any Russian state-sponsored propaganda in these articles. As a person who volunteers time and efforts to uncover and rebuke this propaganda, I would absolutely love to delete such articles.
A site doesn't have to explicitly list all licenses it permits for its content. Thus, speshno.info didn't had to announce that its news are also available under CC licenses. I have noted several times on bgwikinews that they are.
StanProg never showed articles originally from ekipnews.bg uploaded in bgwikinews, as these were never uploaded there. It is possible that news originally by speshno.info, uploaded to bgwikinews, were also published by ekipnews.bg, as they had a permission to republish our news. (Sometimes we even held the news at speshno.info to allow ekipnews.bg to publish them first, as to compensate for the far bigger amount of their news we were publishing.) However, that is a very different thing.
“As for Stanqo, he is eligible to vote under the voting conditions of StanProg, but is not under the voting conditions requested by me. How's your opposition to his participation justifying the former rules and discounting the latter?”
I think you are beginning to insult the intelligence of the people who read these discussions. Half a year ago, in the deletion proposal discussion, you wrote“A lot of people in BG Wikipedia - including you [Luchesar] - know very well that at least two of these [editors] (me and Stanqo) are around [in bgnews] and active.” (emphases are mine). Now, when Stanqo's long history of abuse of the projects is once again brought up, you suddenly back off and start claiming that Stanqo actually doesn't have anything to do with this and that he—in your opinion—is not even eligible to vote? Really, Grigor, do you think we have such a short memory?
And this is even before we consider the fact that those “all voting editors who contribute to bgwikinews” above, who “are against the deletion of the articles”, are, in fact, just three people—namely, Stanqo, you, and Zelenkroki. So, if you haven't had Stanqo in mind—as you now claim—this “all” must consist of just you and Zelenkroki. Why would you use “all” then—if you haven't meant to include Stanqo as well?
These are rhetorical questions. I'm not even going to respond to the other “explanations”. — Luchesar • T/C 00:10, 22 July 2019 (UTC)
Oh, and this, too, deserves a comment:
“While speshno.info has listed a lot of sites as affiliated (normal business practice for such sites), no news except its original ones were transferred to bgwikinews. I challenge you to show any Russian state-sponsored propaganda in these articles.”
Grigor, you apparently forget about the existence of web archives (emphases in the quotation above are, as usual, mine). Random captures from archive.org clearly show that speshno.info has always listed as its “partners” on the front page just these two sites—cross-bg.net and glasove.com—implicated in spreading Russian state-sponsored propaganda and disinformation. As for you challenging me to prove something, if there's any burden of proof here, it isn't on me. You are the one who has been uploading thousands of news stories to Wikinews from a suspicious, anonymous website, apparently affiliated with other clearly unreliable websites, which you want us to blindly trust just because you had “disclosed yourself as being behind it”. By the way, it is rather strange why you also seem to have a problem putting your contact information on that website. Not that you need to, but, again, it is you who are trying to convince us of something—not the other way around. — Luchesar • T/C 09:56, 22 July 2019 (UTC)
It is not acceptable for people who do not edit in Wikinews to vote in the project. --Stanqo (talk) 17:06, 20 July 2019 (UTC)
As the contributor, who initiated the voting I would like to add few comments:
The subject of the voting are 1239 news which source is highly unreliable, already banned in Wikipedia. The problem is not specific to Wikinews, but to violation of a basic principle, and having in mind that at the start of the voting the Bulgarian Wikinews had only 3 active editors (5 contributions in the last 30 days), one of them Григор Гачев, and the 2nd one was with total of 6 contributions since the registration, it seems pretty normal to invite contributors that have already voted in the Bulgarian Wikinews. Also there is no specific rule voted in the Bulgarian Wikinews, so it's normal to allow contributors of Wikipedia that have right to vote, to do so in Wikinews
8 (from total 9) of the contributors that voted in favor, have already voted for an administrator on Wikinews, which ended on 6 November 2018
All of the 9 which voted in favor are experienced Wikipedia editors, 3 of them administrators
After there was 9 of 9 votes in favor of the proposal, Григор Гачев decided to force rules, requiring 10 contributions in the main namespace during the last year, which basically means that only he and one other contributor to Wikinews can vote. Having in mind, that the voting is related to news from external website, for which he does most of the PR activities & administrates (conflict of interest), this way he basically stops the voting that could cause news copied from a highly unreliable website that he is directly involved with to be deleted.
Thank you, Stan. I didn't want to get into this as well, but since you mentioned it and since Grigor had also presented it as something which “Luchesar knows”, I probably have to add this too:
“ As Luchesar knows, I violated the WMF practices three months ago for a reason: I was the only editor in bgwikinews then, and considered too authoritarian to vote just myself. So I invited editors from other projects, without knowing if their votes will support the proposal.” by Григор Гачев
Григор, I cannot judge directly if “not wanting to be authoritarian” had indeed been a motive—I would still very much like to assume good faith—but here are some relevant facts for everyone else to draw their own conclusions:
When requests like these are made in Phabricator, the tech people always ask that a discussion is held in the community. So, asking the people to vote on phab:T222044 has never been just an option for you—it was a requirement.
When you announced the voting on bgnews' village pump, you wrote: “All users with contributions to Wikinews are invited to participate in the voting” (the emphasis is mine). And on bgwiki's VP you stated this even more explicitly: “All interested parties are invited to share opinions on the village pump, and editors with contributions to Wikinews are [also] invited to participate in the voting”. I'm sure I'm not the only one to notice the difference with what you claim now.
Finally, what StanProg shared is probably the most important to consider. Once the votes in support of the proposal we discuss here began pouring in, you wrote: “In response to [what I see as wrong in the proposal], as the administrator of the project, I hereby change the rules for voting eligibility in order for them to adhere to the established practices in WMF projects” (the emphasis, again, is mine). Since when did the administrators on any WMF project gain the authority to “change the rules” on their own?
It is also not the first time that you refer to yourself as “the administrator” of the Bulgarian Wikinews. It had been a very wrong way to see oneself even before, but nowadays it is not even technically correct, since you are not the sole administrator any more.
To conclude, with everything said and seen since October, I find this story becoming more and more disturbing. — Luchesar • T/C 22:07, 21 July 2019 (UTC)
At the moment of that voting start, I effectively was the community. That requirement of Phabricator intends to make sure that nothing is done behind the backs of some editors. If I requested the change by myself, or organized a parody voting where only I vote, that rule would be adhered to. So no, formally it was not a requirement for me. I did it for the reason I stated.
At the moment of the voting start, StanProg had no contributions to bgwikinews. So, technically he shouldn't be able to propose a voting there. Had I wanted to suppress the pro-deletion votes, I could just declare this voting null and void, and the stewards of WMF would support me. Instead, I decided to re-frame it early in compliance with the WMF established practices. Do you blame me for that?
Yes, I made a technical language mistake. My apologies for English not being my native language. Are your suspicions allayed?
The opinion of StanProg that speshno.info is highly unreliable due to no information who is behind it insistently omits the fact that I have disclosed multiple times that I am behind it - including a few times in a talk with StanProg and you. I am saying it once again: I am a part of this team, and it is as legitimate as I am. -- Григор Гачев (talk) 22:58, 21 July 2019 (UTC)
I completely agree with you that since October this story becomes more and more disturbing. -- Григор Гачев (talk) 22:58, 21 July 2019 (UTC)
“The opinion of StanProg that speshno.info is highly unreliable due to no information who is behind it insistently omits the fact that I have disclosed multiple times that I am behind it”
Who exactly do you think you are that “disclosing yourself as being behind” an anonymous news website suddenly makes it a reliable source? Either you have no clue how the WMF projects work, or you are taking us for complete idiots. — Luchesar • T/C 00:46, 22 July 2019 (UTC)
Shall the Bulgarian Wikipedians be notified about this RfC yet for their input? George Ho (talk) 21:51, 23 July 2019 (UTC)
I see that most people who support the deletion of these articles, say that the problem is that they originate from the speshno.info website, and could potentially be used to boast its reputation, and / or that they might contain fake info (eg. Russian state-sponsored propaganda). Let's see if that is really what motivates them.
(Some openly say that they just want bgwikinews closed - I believe them, but don't accept it. Some insist that it is because they don't know who is behind speshno.info, despite that I have disclosed multiple times that it is me - the only way I can interpret that is as an omission that they will notice.)
I propose to delete from these articles all mentions of the speshno.info website, as a source or in any other way. Furthermore, if we agree on this, I will happily take that website down - I am still keeping it online only because it is listed as a source in these articles.
If someone believes that there still might be confusion as to who is responsible for them, I will either mark these articles as mine in an agreed way, or will delete them and then re-upload them from my account, whichever of the two allays best the concerns of the deletion supporters.
If someone manages to find in articles from that set Russian state-sponsored propaganda, or any other untrue information, I will only be happy to delete these articles.
“Let's see if that is really what motivates them.”
Григор, this isn't a game, and you are in no position to make demands on the community. Here is also not the place to make such proposals, anyway. Take this back to bgnews. And make it fast: the voting ends on 24th. — Luchesar • T/C 00:30, 22 July 2019 (UTC)
Now, I am making demands on the community too. Did I also sank Titanic, Luchesar?
As for making the proposal here: People who would like to comment the situation might also like to be aware what offers are made, in order to know the real positions of everyone in that... But you are right about one thing: I will copy the proposal on the bgwikinews voting page, too.
As for the deadline you are pushing: no responsible administrator will take action from voting whose legitimacy is disputed. -- Григор Гачев (talk) 10:04, 23 July 2019 (UTC)
People who have no contributions to Wikinews can not vote in the project because this is contrary to the established practices of the Wikimedia Foundation. --Stanqo (talk) 16:04, 22 July 2019 (UTC)
This is not completely true. What is completely true is that
In 99.9% of cases, WMF prefers individual projects to set their own rules.
That having been said, what is also true is that in the majority of language communities having one or more small, neglected projects, people participating in the active projects of the language community are usually allowed to express an opinion. WMF and stewards tend to be suspicious in situations where there are only a (literal) handful of contributors and where that handful is not open to a broader discussion. StevenJ81 (talk) 14:12, 29 July 2019 (UTC)
One other thing that is completely true is that changes in voting rules during the middle of a vote are never allowed. StevenJ81 (talk) 18:33, 29 July 2019 (UTC)
I want to remind the editors that Jimmy Wells distinguishes Wikinews from Wikipedia by saying: "Every story should be written as news, not as an encyclopaedic article, on Wikinews." Unlike most Wikimedia projects, Wikinews allow original work in the form of original reports and interviews. So please the editors who have an internship in Wikipedia only to refrain from interfering with the work of a news site. --Stanqo (talk) 21:55, 23 July 2019 (UTC)
Okay. I think we have reached the point to where local bg-WN admins have not yet reached a compromise. Rather this needs stewards intervention, especially via SRM. Comments? George Ho (talk) 11:36, 23 July 2019 (UTC)
Let's see first what happens with Grigor's new proposal (and, anyway, the stewards are not—and I guess wouldn't even like to become—arbitrators). As far as I'm concerned, I'd like to see the Bulgarian community content with whatever decision is taken. — Luchesar • T/C 14:56, 23 July 2019 (UTC)
No intervention on SRM needed IMHO. Rather, if needed and justified per meta is not an appeals court (where there is gross misuse of administrator tools), then file a request on SN for a steward to close this RFC and then do the necessary or rather, let us allow the situation to play out then see if this can be resolved without Steward interventon. --Cohaf (talk) 15:24, 23 July 2019 (UTC)
We're going to let this play out a little longer. StevenJ81 (talk) 14:13, 29 July 2019 (UTC)
StevenJ81: Five days after the voting ended, the result is not announced and the actions are not taken. We have 2 administrators: Iliev and Григор Гачев. Iliev (who accepts the result as valid) has given a carte-blanche to Григор Гачев to announce the result. Григор Гачев is in conflict of interest, because articles copied from his external project (website) are voted to be deleted. Two days after the voting started and there were 9/9 votes supporting the deletion, Григор Гачев tried to enforce a new rule (10 contributions in the main namespace in the last 1 year), according to which only 2 people can vote: Григор Гачев (himself) & Zelenkroki. You can clearly see that he's basically blocking the deletion only with his vote, and he's not even accepting the other administrator as eligible for voting. The votes at the end of the voting are 9/4 for deletion. I don't see how this can be resolved, unless Григор Гачев rethinks his decisions/behaviour or we have a steward intervention. --StanProg (talk) 15:37, 29 July 2019 (UTC)
Well, I was exactly hoping that once actions got involved—where the responsibility is much higher, compared to mere talking—Григор would feel himself pressed to seriously reconsider whether the concept he and Stanqo had been presenting continuously as „established WMF voting practices“—and which, in fact, contradicted the long-standing practices in basically all other Bulgarian-language projects—was really that sound and well-substantiated.
For one reason or another, however, Grigor is obviously avoiding such action (his explanation that he doesn't want “to be seen as authoritarian” is at least plausible, I guess). But, yes, the problem is that he also repeatedly threatens that ‘if actions are taken in violation of [these “established WMF practices”], I will immediately refer the case directly to the stewards [on Meta]’. Obviously, this doesn't sound very encouraging to anyone willing to step in and close the voting—or at least to those who would also take into account the votes, the validity of which Grigor and Stanqo contest.
As I think I know the real practices reasonably well, I'm not that much worried personally by such threat per se. I would be rather surprised if the stewards considered such decision on a voting a “blatant misuse of administrative powers” or, if you like, “gross misconduct”—if it were taken by a non-sysop. But it would still waste the stewards' time, and while more drama is a possible way of solving hard problems, it usually isn't the most efficient or overall desirable solution.
So, I told Grigor that I find such attitude unethical, since it effectively blocks the process (I didn't mention this, but another unethical aspect was that such deadlock suited Grigor—even if unintentionally—as “no decision” had the same end result as a “reject” one). To this he replied that “it's a high-time, indeed” to refer the question about the voting rights of editors with no contributions “and with an agenda to have the project closed” to “an official arbitration”.
In the light of those endless circular discussions, I thought it was futile to try explaining to Grigor that there isn't exactly such arbitration procedure (unless, of course, things get badly out of control). Plus, he had pinged some people, saying he was going to ask them for advice on such arbitration. So, I just urged him to go on and explain what exactly he expects from them.
And that's all. Of course, the whole discussion is constantly growing, nearing ~200K already, and I'd advise anyone who wants to get the complete picture to at least skim through it (and through the other linked discussions above). It's in Bulgarian, which makes it harder to comprehend for non-speakers, but at least I have tried to pass my comments through Google Translate to make sure they convey the meaning in English reasonably well. — Luchesar • T/C 17:46, 29 July 2019 (UTC)
Typically stewards have to chime in if there is an election for a sysop, on a wiki without bureaucrat. Many wikis have restrictions on who can take part in such discussions (or vote, when they are actual elections). When a discussion is the suspected target of sockpuppeting or meatpuppeting, it can happen that ex post solutions need to be found. Not that it's easy! It can be quite tedious. Nemo 11:23, 1 August 2019 (UTC)
I'm 100% certain—without even a shadow of a doubt—that Cary, Spiri, and Bobby acted in absolute and sincere good faith at the time, and I totally understand their motives. Yet the fact remains: in the end, Grigor went as far as to announce that “as the administrator of the project, I hereby change the [voting] rules”. In the middle of a vote—on which he had a conflict of interest—and in a way that would've made only his and one of his supporter's votes valid.
This actually isn't as important as the general “ownership mentality” issues, mentioned by StevenJ81 below, and the inherent problems with the voted articles themselves (by the way, if somebody else than Grigor asks, I will provide examples of clearly “not uncontroversial” pieces; the reason why I won't respond to Grigor's “challenges” to prove that his own news site is unreliable is that the burden of proof is—and has always been—on him).
But then Grigor went on to make false statements how, supposedly, he had reached some kind of “agreement” with me, while vaguely pointing to possible “administrator war” that “nobody needs”. I made it very clear what I actually think and plan to do: if, by early September, the decision of the vote, which was also supported by the “arbiters”—that Grigor himself had chosen—isn't complied with, I will see no other choice but to enforce it myself. — Luchesar • T/C 10:35, 7 August 2019 (UTC)
If Grigor is unfit to be an admin, then why not have a vote discussion @bg-WN on desysopping him? George Ho (talk) 07:40, 8 August 2019 (UTC)
The Wikinews' RfA rules actually are quite clear that sysop rights are granted “if after 7 days there is unanimous agreement on an application”. So, as Grigor had been granted rights without even a notification, that alone may be enough to desysop him, even ignoring his less-than-ideal conduct. But I'm not a big fan of drastic and forceful actions if they can be avoided. Plus, August is the time when everyone takes their long-awaited and well-deserved rest. Who knows, this might even help the common sense prevail in the end. Of course, that's just my personal view. By the way, the RfA rules also state that “every user has the right to vote”. That's correct, there are no contribution requirements for RfA votes (somewhat strange, I'd say, but that's how it is). — Luchesar • T/C 09:46, 8 August 2019 (UTC)
After some time pondering, I believe that voting to desysop Grigor at either bg-WN or Meta is one of alternatives to closing or deleting the whole project. There are other alternatives, like deleting content from and/or copied into speshinfo. I'm not saying that they are better than simply deleting or hard-closing the project. I think it doesn't hurt much to exhaustively perform the alternatives. Thoughts? George Ho (talk) 09:25, 16 August 2019 (UTC) Per Iliev's comments below; see my reply at the closure/deletion proposal discussion. George Ho (talk) 22:02, 16 August 2019 (UTC)
George Ho, I've also thought about this and I absolutely support examining alternative solutions that could possibly save the project from being closed (I'd say deletion has been effectively eliminated as an option almost from the start and we should probably update the proposal to reflect this). That being said, at least the way I see it, hard-closing the project still seems the only viable solution. Here's my reasoning:
Even though I wrote that I find it impossible to continue assuming good faith on part of Grigor, I still don't consider him “evil”. I think that he is well-meaning—but in his own way and with his own methods. I won't go into further details, since Grigor isn't the one to be discussed here, but suffice to say that IMHO he isn't the problem, but rather a manifestation of a deeper problem. Desysoping or even banning him wouldn't solve that underlying problem.
The past months have convinced me once more how difficult it is to write news—and how different from everything else we do in all the projects.
It's totally OK to write an article about one notable person, and not write, in the same very moment, articles about other, even more notable people. Same with a word in Wiktionary, or a place in Wikivoyages, and so on. But if you tend to cover specific events, especially when they are controversial, at the expense of other, clearly more notable events, this does bring questions.
Worse yet, this is news, and you can't just “fix” them later, as we're accustomed with the wiki technology. The latter is, indeed, one of the fundamental ideas of Wikipedia: anyone can edit boldly, because, hey, we can always fix it later. And it makes sense—but not with the news. Sure, they could also be developed over a couple of days or so, but then it's over and they must stay the way they've been written—true or false, impartial or biased, objective or suggestive. Amazingly or not, Grigor's supporters hadn't realized this and were under the impression that they could freely “improve” even 10 years-old news.
And so we return to one of the key points I made in the proposal: the lack of resources. If anything, Grigor's attempt to revive the project—and it is obvious how extremely motivated he is—has only proven that finding capable contributors is, sadly, a lost cause. I regret to say this, but I'm not surprised. Speaking of which, take a look at this comment. It's rather personal, so I don't want to discuss it in detail, but apparently—if it's genuine—the attempts to find “volunteers” have degenerated into force-recruiting family members and at such cost, that those relatives ask the project to be closed just to keep the sanity of the involved.
The lack of reasonably strong and diverse local community—and the now even more obvious difficulties and pitfalls in any efforts to create such community—IMHO is the essence of the problem (I'm emphasizing “diverse”, as the current example of “Grigor & friends” community is a far cry from what a healthy wikicommunity is expected to be).
To sum it up: while there is always hope, the reality is that Wikinews will, because of its specifics, remain a highly vulnerable and risky project for the foreseeable future.
And let me just add a few additional bits from whatever experience I have as a sysop on the other Bulgarian projects.
I'm pretty confident in my abilities to keep the vandalism at bay and to protect the atmosphere of civility. While, especially with the latter, there sometimes still are “gray areas”, it isn't rocket science either, and applying common sense, reasonable AGF, and patience can go a really long way. But news—again, because of its specifics that I outlined above¸ and even more so because of its appeal in the modern information wars—is a totally different kettle of fish. Who is really going to invest hours and days in verifying those “lost in translation” stories that Stanqo publishes, for example? Sure, I could simply indef block him, but others like him will undoubtedly come.
And then we have the emerging “deep fakes”, which would require even more effort. Not to mention that anyone indulging in such fact-checking will inevitably also be pressed to extensively explain their findings. The EU, the US, NATO, and other immense organizations already find this a challenging task, even though they can afford to hire tens, hundreds, or even thousands of highly-skilled staff. What would be the chances of the Bulgarian wikicommunity?
Last, but not least, come the even more ubiquitous problems with editors who, while well-meaning in general, are biased in their edits, either consciously (e.g. because they believe the people need to hear what the editors think is “the truth”) or unconsciously (failing to realize one's own biases is fairly common). Bias is rarely a problem with Wiktionary, Wikisource, and even Wikibooks. Wikiquote poses some problems, but nowhere near the potential of Wikinews.
Wikipedia is probably the only project comparable to Wikinews as we speak of these risks. I think we're doing a pretty good job in the Bulgarian Wikipedia, and I've even heard praises from colleagues from other wikipedias. But, again, in bgwiki we already have that strong and diverse community—and with many years of experience behind it. — Luchesar • T/C 12:52, 16 August 2019 (UTC)
Bottom line: Delete the pages. Here is my reasoning.
These pages are old for a news page. I don't quite understand why anyone is working so hard on keeping these, anyway. It has been conceded that these articles are generally five years old or older. (See Proposals for closing projects/Deletion of Bulgarian Wikinews#5yo.) If they were originally written for Wikinews, there might be a value in having them available for archive lookup. But they should be available elsewhere for that purpose, even if only on something like the Wayback Machine.
The provenance of the pages is, at best, controversial. It is true that news sources that are unacceptable for Wikipedia can be acceptable for Wikinews. But on the whole it's still not a good idea to use them unless the facts they are supporting are pretty uncontroversial. This seems not to be the case here.
Grigor's handling of the voting is, at best, suspicious, and at worst, invalid. I would summarize some points that I made above.
It is true that WMF normally wants its projects to be autonomous and to make their own rules.
At the same time, WMF and the stewards tend to be suspicious when communities that are extremely small (only a "handful" of users, you might say) are not open to opinions from the outside. This suggests an ownership mentality that is entirely against WMF rules and standards. Accordingly, the most common approach to discussions on such wikis is that they are open, at minimum for discussion, to other interested parties. In particular, people who are active in other projects in the language community (Bulgarian Wikipedia, for example) are normally allowed to get involved because there is no language barrier there.
It is just about a universal rule that voting rules cannot be changed after the start of a vote. So if the prohibition against votes of people not directly active on Bulgarian Wikinews was not an established policy before the vote, you can't change the policy in mid-vote. (And any existing policy must have been general or RfD-specific. A policy that only addresses RfA discussions does not automatically apply.)
If voting rules cannot be changed, then there is clearly a consensus here to delete. And if there was an existing policy, deciding to keep the pages against the advice of the discussion is at best a decision that will make outsiders extremely suspicious of the responsibility and neutrality of the project.
Some additional points
The above reasoning should be sufficient on its own. But I will add a couple of additional points.
I do not recommend creating a new voting policy excluding non-contributors going forward, for the reasons I stated above.
I really don't like to threaten. But I am already heavily leaning toward recommending that this project be hard-closed. The main reason for that is that the relatively little recent activity has been heavily biased. Trying, then, to strong-arm a vote is no way to make me feel comfortable that there are real efforts being made toward reviving this project as neutral and responsible. I make no promises that if you delete the pages I still won't recommend closure. But keeping the pages is just about an absolute guarantee that I will recommend closure. I hope that is clear.
I am willing to help you move content to a non-WMF wiki (like the new Incubator Plus on Miraheze) if you really want to run this project in a more closed way. To a great extent, you can do what you like there.
What is the default (or established) policy of WMF in principle, for a project with no established rules yet - to allow, or to not allow non-contributors to start votes about deleting big amount of information from it, and to vote in these? (Not to discuss, for which they have always been welcome in BG Wikinews - again, to start votes about important things and vote in them. I think that the two activities differ.)
My responses in blue, which I will sign at the end. There are no specific established policies, as far as I am aware. I will say that this sort of thing does not really happen with new projects, only with old projects that go inactive, and that people then start to reactivate.
In this specific case, should the decision be affected by the following facts:
All who voted for deleting this information had no contributions to BG Wikinews - and most of them are vocal supporters of the destroying of the project. They include almost everyone who campaigned for that destroying several months ago. Not a single person who was or is against closing BG Wikinews voted for deleting the information.
The founder of BG Wikinews and all active editors with contributions to it voted against the deletion.
Thus, things are very far from a consensus - and there is a very clear demarcation between the sides. People who contribute to the project want to keep the info, those who don't contribute to the project and want it closed want to delete the info.
As far as I can tell, most of the "supporters of the destroying of the project" (sic) have been very willing to give the project a chance. I assume good faith on their part, as well as on your part.
It would certainly be best if everyone involved were also contributing content to the Wikinews project, of course. That having been said, where there are really only a few true contributors, as is the case here,
People who contribute strongly to related projects (like bgwiki) are not really going to be seen as interlopers, and
Your ability to establish hard-and-fixed rules in your project is going to be limited
because you are not really allowed to "own" the project. If anything, you should be encouraging the "supporters of the destroying" to contribute, rather than trying to strike their votes.
Response in green, signature at the end: Initially, I assumed a lot of good faith on the part of the BG Wikipedia community - I have been a member of it for years. It was me who decided first to ignore the contributions practice and to invite them to vote in BG Wikinews. Unhappily, the discussion few months ago about the fate of the project left me with the impression that this assumption was a mistake, at least about most of those who would show interest towards the fate of the BG Wikinews. (That is the cause for my reaction that Luchesar quoted below.)
Reading that discussion in full, even through an online translation service, gives the most complete picture of my reasons for this impression, and an opportunity to decide oneself whether they were actually well-founded. Reading the discussion about the current voting enhances that picture. If you don't have the time and/or the desire to deal with this all, tell me and I will try to make a translated short precis about the positions during these discussions.
Also, you wrote that it seems that the facts in the information to be deleted appear to not be uncontroversial. This is a serious accusation - could you please support it, by pointing controversial articles among what is proposed for deletion, or whatever else appears to you controversial in them?
(I challenged several times those in support of that deletion to show cases where this source provided to BG Wikinews controversial information. So far, no such case has been shown. Having personally written almost all of these news (except the financial exchange news), I don't expect controversial ones to be found.)
"Controversial" was probably too strong a word. But most political issues are contentious enough that it's best to be pristine in one's choices of sources—or else to provide contrasting points of view.
Very few of the news in question are political at all, and while writing them, I took care to make them carefully balanced. Also, as I already mentioned, I challenged those who want them deleted several times to find any news among these that is fake, unacceptable or controversial in any other way. They weren't able, and I think they will not be - one or two unavoidable mistakes in over 1200 articles maybe, but not more. I believe that the few political news there strongly adhere to your counsel of providing all important points of view, or presenting the facts only, in a way that does not give room for any bias.
Also, you are right that these news are over 5 years old, and thus not actual anymore. I find in them mostly historical value, maybe due to my propensity for preserving history and archiving stuff. (Probably a bit of emotional value too: I wrote them with the awareness that they will be articles in BG Wikinews too, and sacrificed some things to receive the right to re-license them under a CC license and add them to BG Wikinews.) The other active editors in BG Wikinews might have other motives for being against the deletion.
The only motive for the deletion I could find any truth in was that my site, from which they are copied, hadn't explicitly listed its team. (I had disclosed multiple times in BG Wikinews that it is me behind it, but this didn't changed the position of those who supported this motive. It only brought accusations that I am using BG Wikinews to promote my site - despite that during the time of the news transfer, my site had a much higher rank and hundreds of times more visitors than BG Wikinews.)
So I came up with a proposal for resolution - to either delete from these news all mentions of my site and bring that site down (it is abandoned for already half a decade, I acquired from the others in the team all rights to it and all its content and keep it up only as a source for BG Wikinews), or to delete the news and re-upload them through my own account, to remove any doubts about who contributed it and is responsible for them. Of the 9 people who voted for deleting them, only Luchesar was willing to discuss the proposal. He came with some additional requirements. I showed willingness to comply with these too and asked for his preference about which of the two ways described to use, but never received it. What is your opinion on such an offer - do you find it anywhere near acceptable, possibly with additional conditions?
In addition, you write that "the relatively little recent activity has been heavily biased" - could you please point to the bias you see there? (I admit that the recent activity is still small, though it is bigger than that in many other Wikinews projects.)
This whole discussion/vote issue has been problematic. That's above all what I'm thinking about.
I misunderstood these words as an evaluation of the news being added to the project. My apology about this.
The way we who contribute to the project see it, my actions haven't been about closing the project from external opinion, but about protecting it from destruction by external people, while still trying to be as civil to them as possible. For example, I decided to change the rules of a voting started by a non-contributor, to make it require some minimum of involvement with the project, instead of to just declare it invalid. Hope that this explains my attitude towards the matter.
Words like "destruction" are not helpful. And you just can't change the terms of a vote in the middle.
More importantly, though, let's move away from the mechanics and validity of the vote. If the deletion of five-year-old news articles will really result in the "destruction" of this project, I question whether the project is viable.StevenJ81 (talk) 14:27, 2 August 2019 (UTC)
Yes, a deletion of these articles definitely will not destroy the project. However, after having seen the attitude to BG Wikinews of many of the supporters of the deletion, we the active editors in the project are a bit wary when these people are involved in votes to delete a big amount of content from the project. And of creating a precedent allowing them to do so again, and / or to enforce decisions leading eventually to closing the project.
Imagine such a situation in Wikipedia - a prevailing number of people who don't contribute to it and want to see it closed, and one of them suddenly opening a vote to delete a big amount of content from it, with rules that allow the other non-contributors who want it closed to vote too, and with motives that mostly do not appear convincing. (To get the perspective, imagine that Wikipedia still has no accepted rules limiting who can start a vote and who can vote.) As an editor in Wikipedia, would you consider logical and / or reasonable to accept such a vote as valid? If yes, will you expect that there will be no next votes by that group, eg. deleting more content and / or requesting the closing of Wikipedia?...
That is the situation we the contributing editors in BG Wikinews are in. -- Григор Гачев (talk) 22:56, 2 August 2019 (UTC)
Rather, the question is why editors with zero real contributions to the project, and a history of previous attempts to shut it down completely, continue to try to harm it. Earlier, the argument was that there were no editors. Now [they] seek to delete content [copied] from [my] website, masking [that effort] with 5 lies out of the total of 5 arguments. I wonder what the real motives behind this are. [diff]
The group of Wikipedia editors that is now voting here does not mean Wikinews any good—it is looking for a way to close the project, and demands to [be allowed to] vote precisely with the intent to move the project towards that goal. If they were people I could trust—to mean only good for the project, as I naively believed [they could] when some time ago I also invited wikipedians to vote here—I probably wouldn't have opposed [their right to vote now]. But they are just the opposite—the perfect example of why this should not be allowed. I am confident that the majority of responsible editors in the Wikimedia Foundation projects will understand this position of mine and will support it. [diff]
StanProg, as I said before, I used to be naive to believe that the non-contributing to Wikinews editors from Wikipedia aim to help Wikinews—and not to shut it down no matter if it was good or not [diff]
I can't help but draw the conclusion that your [StanProg's] attack against these articles [from the website] actually has a different target. After you failed to close the project—and [Wikinews] starts, little by little, to attract editors, to be viable, and to create a community—you're now just attempting to damage it with whatever and however you can. [same diff]
I was quite clear about the other. From the positions and the actions of the people without contributions to Wikinews, who have participated in this vote, it is clear that their goal is not to help the project, but to eliminate it. (...) That they simply want this project to be destroyed, or at least to destroy whatever can be destroyed, at any cost and with no concerns for anything else. In this situation, to allow them to "vote" in this project is unequivocally unacceptable to anyone who shares and supports the principles of the Wikimedia Foundation. [same diff]
I rather realize now that I have made a mistake to invite them to vote in the previous votes. My naivety... If I have to ever raise the problem with this vote with the Foundation, I will accept the responsibility for this mistake before [WMF]—and [will] warn [the Foundation] never to make it [too]. [same diff]
It is true that the key message has always been “editors with no contributions are not allowed to vote”, and not “are not allowed to discuss”. But constantly pointing at such people as “the group that only means evil to the project and nothing else”—especially when you are an administrator and therefore supposed to hold to a higher standard of behavior and even serve as an example—isn't exactly how I imagine a meaningful and productive discussion.
By the way, I think Bobby might want to know that he's being mentioned here (I'm referring to your enigmatic “The founder of BG Wikinews”). — Luchesar • T/C 01:00, 2 August 2019 (UTC)
Grigor asked me also about the matter. I replied that steward intervention may be needed. However, after reading Steven's above opinions, I begin to concur the suggestion that the pages copied from or into speshno.info be deleted ASAP. George Ho (talk) 19:49, 1 August 2019 (UTC)
For all those 1239 news copied from your site (speshno.info), can you point us how many of them have sources, and how many of the ones that have sources, have verifiable sources (at your site, where they are copied from)?
Am I wrong, to say that for the last 10 years, that you are contributing to Wikinews you have exactly 13 articles/news, written explicitly for Wikinews that are not copied from other sites and 1 translated from the English Wikinews?
These news are voted to be deleted because they are copied from a highly unreliable source, not because they are fake. This is what I wrote as a reason for deletion and this is what the community voted for. The so called "active contributors" (one of them with very bad reputation at bgwiki and the other one started contributing on November 2018 in Wikinews invited by you i.e. unexperienced in the WMF principles) do not have more than 100 articles (in total for all of them) written for Wikinews - including your 13 + 1 translation. I even doubt that the whole project have more than 100 articles that are not copied from other sites for the last 10 years of "active adiditing". --StanProg (talk) 12:24, 3 August 2019 (UTC)
Most are based on press releases (which the site got by e-mail, so it is physically impossible to publish links to them). On some events I was present, and wrote the news on the basic of what I witnessed. So, all of them have sources. It is true that verifying their sources might sometimes be impossible for a reader - but that is due to the press releases distribution technology. (During the time of the site activity, practically no source of ours published their press releases in Internet. In fact, to my best info most of the press releases are still being sent to news outlets by e-mail.)
Yes, you are wrong. To my best information, contributions to a project are still counted as contributions even if they are published also elsewhere. So, I have also 1239 other contributions. (Your first question creates the impression that you know about them.)
You have your answers. Now, I have one question back.
I notice that you don't object to the quality or the reliability of these news by themselves - only to the reliability of their source (which you insist to be highly unreliable because it is anonymous, even after I disclosed several times that I am behind it, and you also ignored my offer to put that information on the site explicitly in order to dispel any doubts). But isn't the entire idea for taking the source into account all about the quality and reliability of the news coming from it? If yes, I am at a loss why indisputably good news should still be deleted, even if the site they were published on was really anonymous. If they themselves aren't under doubt, what is the actual motivation to delete them? Moreover, if the source is not anonymous (anymore), why you insist it still is, and ignore an offer to publish on it the information who is behind it, if that will allay your fears?
(I can live very well without these news and the conflicts around them. But if there is some other motivation to delete news from the project, eg. a drive to close it despite anything, it will likely persist and continue to motivate actions there. So, I ask this because it is useful for all BG Wikinews contributors to know what to expect about the work they put in there.) -- Григор Гачев (talk) 19:50, 10 August 2019 (UTC)
“Yes, you are wrong. To my best information, contributions to a project are still counted as contributions even if they are published also elsewhere. So, I have also 1239 other contributions.”
Okay, let me see if I got that correct.
You started a business—a news website—with the usual commercial model of selling ad space on it.
“Most” of the website content was “based on press releases”, though “some events” were also personally covered by you.
You've been uploading the articles from the website to Wikinews (~1200 of which are still online) with your website linked as the source.
Press releases or original content, the materials have been copyrighted on the website, but you claim to have arranged an exception for Wikinews.
“I am at a loss why indisputably good news should still be deleted”
I think everyone here will appreciate if you provide some independent proof that this website of yours has attested itself as a source of only “indisputably good news”. I don't question your statement “I stand behind the website—and I stand with my reputation”, mind you. This isn't the point, even if we assume completely spotless reputation on your part. The thing is that our readers need credible evidence for the trustworthiness of the used sources. No offence, but 99% of them likely haven't even heard of your name.
“So, I ask this because it is useful for all BG Wikinews contributors to know what to expect about the work they put in there.”
What the contributors should know, is that Wikinews is not their personal blog. Nor is it the website that you've created, where you may write whatever and however you like.
The guy with “Putin stops CIA”—whom you vehemently defend—repeatedly claims that “unlike Wikipedia”, in Wikinews “the authors are free to present POV” and “that's okay” because “the news can be viewed, commented on, and analyzed by all participants” (“NPOV-ed”, intentionally or not, isn't being mentioned). The other active contributor admits that everything they write “comes out of greatest emotions”. Commendable, but in the wrong place and time it just leads to badly biased articles.
In short, quoting one of the reasons in the deletion proposal, “Bulgaria is already facing serious problems with (...) its media. Another source of bad journalism—whether intentional or not—is hardly needed.” — Luchesar • T/C 11:32, 11 August 2019 (UTC)
Grigor: Regarding the two questions I see that all the news that you have copied directly or with your bot are practically not verifiable, because we don't know if you were there and you have not cited any source. We can verify them only if we google them and search sources ourselfs for those 1239. Regarding the second question, please read it again - you've obviously missed part of it.
I (and the others which voted for removing this content) object the reliability of the news, because they are copied from highly unreliable and are not verifiable. I object both the quality and the reliability of the news. The anonymity is the smallest problem, that was indicated, and I have no problem data for the editorial team to be added, but this does not change anything (as I have probably mentioned this few times in our conversation). Who said that these are "indisputably good news"? Also I still don't see any information on it about the editorial team, address, the company, etc, the site is still anonymous. My motivation was provided when I started the voting and based on it the majority of the editors voted for deletion. We have a majority vote, you requested a comment from 2 meta contributors, chosen by you personally, and they both commented that these news must be deleted. What else do you need, so you can execute the community decision and the opinion of the requested commenters?
In your latest comment at the Village pump you said "Regarding the voting - when it becomes normal in Wikipedia, people without contributions there to propose voting, define the voting conditions and vote, then I will accept non-contributors to Wikinews to propose voting, to define the voting conditions and to vote.", so my question is: Do you consider yourself as the Bulgarian Wikinews sole owner? --StanProg (talk) 19:59, 14 August 2019 (UTC)
I am sorry to say it, but always assuming bad faith prevents one from getting the things right.
Luchesar, Google Images project donated a lot of images to WMF. You can find them on Commons. So yes, according to your logic, all employees of Google who helped arranging this donation are in a conflict of interest, if they also assist a WMF project. By the way, every editor in a WMF project who donates money to WMF would be in a conflict of interest too. That is why this logic appears shaky to me, to put it mildly.
There is also the hypothesis that the BG Wikinews editors would like to use it not for their personal blog, but - surprise! - to contribute news there. That is some work. And if the goal of some group is to close the project despite anything, these editors would have the right to know that some people want that work of theirs destroyed. Am I wrong?
The guy (w:bg:User:Stanqo), whom you say I am "vehemently defending" (in fact I say that he has both bad and good contributions), knows - as you do, I hope - that opinion sections in news are OK, as long as they are clearly marked as such and separated from the facts sections. This is the practice of agencies like BBC, CNN, FoxNews, DW - I believe that it is good enough for Wikinews too. You also know perfectly well that "the other active contributor" means not that they spill their emotions in the news they write, but that it is an emotion that drives them to contribute to Wikinews. (Much like it is for many other editors in WMF projects.) It is hard to me to imagine that you might have mistaken the meanings - but why do you have to misrepresent her and mine words here?!
As for your hint that BG Wikinews is, or will be a source of bad journalism - I would ask anyone to see what news are being contributed for eg. the last year, and to say whether these news appear to be a bad journalism. For those who do not know Bulgarian, Google Translate provides good enough translation to discern that.
StanProg, I heard many times that "there are other motives too to declare that site as unreliable", other than it lacking a published editorial team, but never those other motives themselves. (You can't have the physical address or the company behind the site, because it never had these. Had they been needed, for example if it had attracted paid advertisements, it would have them - but that never happened. The team behind it was informal right until we decided to abandon it.) So, if such motives exist, could you please finally give them?... And yes, I insist that the news on it are indisputably good, because I happen to know if they are, having written them myself. And also because none of them so far has been disputed - and there appears to be plenty of desire to paint them as bad.
I am thoroughly convinced that I am the sole owner of my own opinion and what I consider acceptable, and the sole person with any right to determine these. In this particular case, the validity of a voting in BG Wikinews where all voters for the one outcome have no contributions to the project (well, one or two of them might have a single edit), and all regular contributors to the project vote for the other outcome. I will probably never understand what motivates you to so insistently distort my opinion - but also will never tire to point out that fact.
If I was the only editor in BG Wikinews who can do something on it, adhering to my opinion would indeed look like I feel the sole owner of the project. However, then my responsibility would be indeed close to that, as long as WMF doesn't decide to intervene - that is why I then wouldn't permit myself the luxury to adhere to my opinion... As you have been told more than once, I am neither the sole editor nor the sole administrator in it. That is why I can and do afford to not do things according to a vote that I deem illegal (as there are no voted rules that determine this). I am very intentionally not obstructing anyone else from doing them - for example, if the other administrator (Luchesar) decides to delete the articles in question, I am not going to prevent him, or revert that later... So, I will let the others decide what is the answer of your question - and why actually you are asking it. -- Григор Гачев (talk) 19:42, 18 August 2019 (UTC)
Григор Гачев I have already pointed the motives in the initial voting reasons and in the discussions. Here are the two major ones.
1. The news do not have verifiable sources. Cite sources: 1. You must cite your sources, 2. Your sources must be verifiable. You can't confirm a news copied from your website with link to your website - it's like the news is confirming itself.
2. Your news site (speshno.info) is banned in Wikipedia via the abuse filter: Forbidden sources for non-autoconfirmed. This means that the news from it are highly unreliable.
“And yes, I insist that the news on it are indisputably good, because I happen to know if they are, having written them myself.” You have written them, but you haven't provided a single verifiable source. You claim that you have been on some of the events and others are based on a press releases send by email, but all this is unconfirmed. You must provide your sources.
You don't have to change your opinion, because an opinion is one thing, performing actions based on a community-made decision is another.
Regarding the sysop actions, it would have been good if after the voting ended, you ask Luchesar (as the other administrator) to announce the result (without any consequences from your side), because you are in conflict of interest regarding the issue. That would have solved the problem. I see that in your latest comments you mention something similar to this. Maybe Luchesar will take this in his hands, if he's sure that there will not be any consequences related to your sysop status. --StanProg (talk) 21:18, 18 August 2019 (UTC)
How exactly you envisage me providing my source when I have been at an event personally, or I have gotten a press release by e-mail? I am not aware of a way to post a link to either of these.
Also, your insistence that I am in a conflict of interest is, I dare to say, a lie that you try to repeat a thousand times. I will refute it again here, for the case one hasn't read it elsewhere.
Yes, I used my position in speshno.info to convince the project to donate these news to BG Wikinews. However, a donation is not a conflict of interest, at least not before BG Wikinews / WMF. Had it been, any editor in a WMF project who donated content or money to WMF, would be in a conflict of interest.
I hope that people who read this will make conclusion about your position and integrity in matters related to BG Wikinews, and will make their conclusions. -- Григор Гачев (talk) 18:40, 22 August 2019 (UTC)
Well, Stanqo has already demanded that I give up my sysop rights—and, seeing how he gives examples from bgwiki, he wants me to do this in all projects where I'm a sysop—to “prove” that I'm “not do[ing] these biased things”. So, I'd say his “oppose” vote is now all but guaranteed and that will be enough to block my re-election. I don't actually have a personal problem with this—I've been reluctant to even apply, to begin with, but what is the problem, IMHO, is that after 11 November, when my rights expire, Stanqo and Grigor will be free to perceive themselves again as “the hosts” of Wikinews, who decide whom “to invite” to the project, and whom “to refuse". — Luchesar • T/C 12:40, 19 August 2019 (UTC)
most of the video is about immense tectonic processes, that allegedly are going to collapse most of Western Europe and the US (this is the reason for the plenitude of images of sinkholes and similar stuff);
“Bulgaria is intentionally kept unaware of these processes”, which had also been “the reason to destroy the Bulgarian science [after 1989]”, “once strong for its tight connections with the [Soviet] one”;
the video also condemns “the destruction of the armed forces”, giving examples with people, indicted of murder (on somewhat controversial cases), who “were not criminals, were not recidivists, but the ideal soldiers!”;
“the same people”, continues the video with fitting illustrations, “were the [soldiers] of Arkan, the special forces in Serbia”, where “a single American didn't [dare to] enter”, because “[the Americans] were scared [to death] by [these] soldiers... because [these soldiers] are natural-born killers, they are natural-born soldiers”;
Just in case you didn't know who Arkan was: “war criminal and commander of a paramilitary force in the Yugoslav Wars, called the Serb Volunteer Guard. He was on Interpol's most wanted list in the 1970s and 1980s for robberies and murders committed in a number of countries across Europe, and was later indicted by the UN for crimes against humanity for his role during the wars. [Arkan] was, up until his death, the most powerful crime boss in the Balkans.”
the video also explains why “this information is suppressed in Bulgaria”—it is because “Bulgaria is sabotaged by foreign security services that have installed themselves throughout the country”;
it is then claimed that the Bulgarian emigrants to Western Europe had actually been “taken out [forcefully from Bulgaria] as hostages”;
finally, “as you cannot simply shoot all those [immigrants from Bulgaria who are held as hostages]”, “the way this is done in Western Europe” is by “spreading diseases: Ebola, things like that”, or “staging martial law, mass riots, in which situations [these] people [can be] just killed”.
Very likely I've missed more of this bulshit, but I just couldn't endure more, I'm sorry. And let me just repeat and emphasise this again...
I'm terribly sorry for pinging you at the the peak of the season of vacations, guys, but I really beg you to at least take a look when you can find the time. It's already almost a year of this, sorry to put it that harshly, but unbelievable, utter crap. Please, do something about it, put this abomination to rest finally, and spare the Bulgarian wikicommunity the need to waste more of its resources—not so abundant, anwyay—on such totally senseless things.
Yep, claiming how this information is “hidden away from the Bulgarian citizens”, alongside the “tectonic processes”. I have to admit that using the climate change as another source of FUD—instead of denying it, which rather used to be the norm—is a new tactic to me. But it's more likely that I'm just failing to keep up with the novelties. Anyway, even for people who don't speak Bulgarian, the part where Arkan is praised will probably be understandable enough.
Actually, that part of the video continues how here in Bulgaria we must also build such forces (of “natural born killers”).
“Now“, says the host, “when it becomes clear that other countries want to take our [Bulgarian] territories, it turns out that there's nobody to fight [to defend us]. Our intelligence agencies realized the truth, they received information on these [tectonic] collapses [in Western Europe and the US], but there is no one who can [defend] Bulgaria. They sent those [indicted/convicted of murder] people to jail. Who is going to fight now? (...) All those who are not prepared to fight, who don't want to fight (...) they are the saboteurs [of] Bulgaria.” (emphasis by me)
“So what is the exit out of this situation (...) if there's nobody who can defend Bulgaria, who can organize this [defence]?”, asks then the woman in the video, to which the host replies “No, wait, wait. It is already been worked on. In Bulgaria there are already people who organize this (...) and although it isn't known to the public (...) the things are already [set up]”.
I'm not sure even if some of those shots in the video weren't of the infamous, often clandestine, far-right paramilitary groups in various other Balkan countries, known to be secretly supported by the current Russian authorities.
So much for the “literary works”. — Luchesar • T/C 17:24, 19 August 2019 (UTC)
Any reasonable person would only use information that is essential and extremely important - it relates to catastrophic problems of a planetary nature. Leave the abducted literary works that are not relevant to the subject. --Stanqo (talk) 09:19, 20 August 2019 (UTC)
The people don't want war, but they can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. This is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and for exposing the country to danger. It works the same in every country.
“Catastrophic problems of a planetary nature” works just as well, especially when the affected “want to take our territories”. After so many years, I still can't decide if you are so naïve, or you think the others are. — Luchesar • T/C 18:49, 20 August 2019 (UTC)
“Any reasonable person would only use information that is essential and extremely important”
Forgot to also point out how you urged the people specifically to “изгледайте например това видео”, “watch this video from start to end for [an] example [of what information is being suppressed]”.
I edited my comment above to expand the translated transcript of that part of the video. This video, again, has been presented by Stanqo as a proof how the media in Bulgaria “restrict information” and why, thus, a place (like Wikinews) to share this information is needed. He also has just added another comment on bgnews' VP, where he apparently likens my colleagues and me to the Inquisition, which “rightfully fears the Bogomil heresy” (it seems Stanqo likens his group to it), that is “not just humanity, courage, higher intelligence, but also a prophetic insight” and “an active factor and creator in the shaping of those standards that determine the development of civilization”.
I think this seems rather indicative of what would happen to Wikinews if it is left in the hands of people like Stanqo and his buddies. That's exactly what happened with his “Recent events” project in bgwiki (see here, here, and here).
As this really begins to waste time in a most regrettable way, and also to not pester during the summer holidays those who follow this discussion, I'll mostly refrain from commenting further till September. I may, however, take these Stanqo's “revelations” to the Bulgarian wikicommunity, and while the community in general is very reluctant to ban people, Stanqo may very well become the only second person to get a permanent community-ban on bgwiki. — Luchesar • T/C 09:39, 20 August 2019 (UTC)
And I even missed those words of Stanqo: “in this atmosphere of [free] media being suppressed (...) several administrators with a fixation on perfect [sic] information just want to destroy Wikinews”.
I don't know if you'd believe me how hard it becomes to still hold on to a polite tone—and people usually know me as almost pathologically patient. Well, anyway, sorry for this personal remark. — Luchesar • T/C 15:29, 19 August 2019 (UTC)
We know you as extremely manipulative. --Stanqo (talk) 09:25, 20 August 2019 (UTC)
No doubt you do. — Luchesar • T/C 09:39, 20 August 2019 (UTC)
“As for your hint that BG Wikinews is, or will be a source of bad journalism - I would ask anyone to see what news are being contributed for eg. the last year, and to say whether these news appear to be a bad journalism.”
That has been said, Grigor, and quite a few times, but, apparently, you prefer to turn a blind eye to it.
Then there was this case, where an article mocked the Bulgarian News Agency for having outdated copyright years on their website and, “as expected” the article said, for improper use of dashes and hyphens. Later, off-wiki, it was admitted that the article had been written out of frustration, caused by BNA's lack of response to the request to share their news feed “freely” or for “a humble sum”. It turns out there has been a recent attempt to silently cover this up.
And then we have that blatant misuse of Wikinews to promote a certain youtuber, presented as “the most influential teenager in Bulgaria” (practically everyone commented that they hadn't even heard of him before). And, note this, Wikinews was used to announce his “event”, which was organized in violation of the rules of Rila National Park, and for which the youtuber had even been warned by park authorities to not do it. The second article “wondered” what “could be the crime of that young person”, presenting, alongside, the really many people who criticized the youtuber as “vicious attackers of an enterprising young man” (yes, if you find the style familiar, so do I), and, finally, announcing how the vlogger was seeking donations to pay his fine (never mind that he actually earned plenty by the publicity alone), even helpfully providing the name of the guy's YouTube channel (thankfully, it didn't go as far as to directly link to it).
Sure, these are not some blatant “fake news”, but, hey, these are articles that have been written under the presumption that they would be seriously scrutinized.
“according to your logic, all employees of Google who helped arranging this donation are in a conflict of interest”
Those Google employees haven't attempted to strong-arm a vote to have their “donations” kept, despite the significant majority of the wikicommunity finding the “donations” unacceptable.
Oh, and do you really consider your anonymous website, “partners” with known propaganda sites, to be comparable to Google? If you do, I tip my hat to your self-confidence. — Luchesar • T/C 12:03, 19 August 2019 (UTC)
For those who don't follow the discussions in bgnews, they now have shifted to the Village Pump. If you want to check them yourself, please see the link in the notice at the top of the page. Google Translate sometimes produces garbage, but still allows to get at least a general idea of the meaning. You might notice that my comments tend to be better translated—that's because I make sure to check (and, if necessary, change) them in GT before posting. A few of my comments are also directly written in English.
To sum it up, here's what Grigor has said recently about this RfC (which became to be known as “the arbitration”, but let's forget that it isn't exactly such):
You might ask “So, you're a sysop too, why don't you just delete those pages and be done with this?” The answer is that besides what I wrote above how Grigor (and, by extension, the news from his website) are not really the problem per se, I think this might turn out to be a very short-term solution. See this reply of mine for details, but, basically, my sysop rights will expire in November, and the RfA rules in Wikinews are such that even a single “oppose” vote would block possible re-election.
At the same time, however, Grigor, despite being appointed a sysop in violation of those rules, enjoys indef rights. Before you tell me that I'm assuming bad faith, please bear with me a little longer. So, I asked Grigor (see the same reply of mine that I linked) if he would accept to have both of us relinquish our sysop rights and run for election anew, in accordance with the existing RfA rules (that is, where editors from the other Bulgarian projects would be allowed to vote too).
on 15 August Grigor wrote “You [StanProg] have voted for [Luchesar to become] an administrator here after you had been explicitly invited by an [active] editor [in Wikinews] for this purpose. There has been a reason for this invitation—the fact that there was only one [active] editor in Wikinews at the time and that active editor [Grigor] didn't want to act as a sole owner of the project. Now the situation is completely different and I haven't noticed anybody of the [active Wikinews] editors to have invited you. (...) Do you think that after you were invited [just] once this gives you the right to self-invite yourself any time you wish, and even invite other people [to vote], and that the hosts [sic] don't have the right to refuse you [this]? I wouldn't think so.” (paragraph 3, sentence 1, and the following)
then, when I pointed to him that there are RfA rules and that these rules state that “Every user has the right to vote when deciding whether someone should be made an administrator.”, on 17 August Grigor wrote “There are RfA rules and I abide by them. You might have noticed that when you were voted [an administrator] I didn't have any objections to have people without contributions [in Wikinews] voting.” (second reply, paragraph 1, sentence 1, and the following)
yet, in the very same comment Grigor also wrote (emphasis is mine) “As for your proposal [to have both of us relinquish our sysop rights and run again for election]—I already told you that to me a vote according to these rules would be illegitimate; if not for this, I wouldn't have a problem doing it.” (second reply, last paragraph, sentence 2)
Perhaps I'm wrong—I will actually be grateful, just as I asked here, to have more people take a look and share their opinion. To me, this now really begins to look like some théâtre de l'absurde, including the fact that Grigor, apparently, prefers to mostly ignore the discussions here on Meta (he hasn't made a single comment on the proposal page since 20 January). If I really am seeing the problem the wrong way, I'd gladly step back—my goal has never been to prove anything to anyone.
In short, I'll greatly appreciate your thoughts, guys.
First, part of what has been seriously disturbing me in Grigor's rhetoric, were also those false statements about having reached, or being close to reaching, some sort of “deal” with me on the news from his website. (I had already mentioned this in #Need steward intervention? briefly.)
Second, while StanProg and my other colleagues are invariably presented as people who only seek destruction “at any cost and with no concerns for anything else”, the attitude towards me periodically shifts, which begins to look like divide et impera to me:
here Grigor asks me Beyond your general desire to eliminate Wikinews as a project, do you have any other motive for allowing [the other editors from Wikipedia] to vote without [having] contributions [in Wikinews]?
in his last comment,, however, he now writes “my personal judgment of your work on Wikinews, especially lately, is very good”; mind you, this is less than a month time difference, and—also—you be the judge of my “very good work”
By the way, this painfully reminds me of Grigor's praises for the contributions of Stanqo (yes, the guy with the “Putin kicks CIA's ass” stories), where he was claiming to have been “carefully follow[ing] his contributions” for ”the last half a year”, but in the end it turned out that Stanqo had had exactly two edits for that period, both of which were on an “open letter to the institutions”, which Stanqo had basically published on Wikinews' behalf, without asking or notifying anybody.
Finally, in the same comment, Grigor also writes “Unless things change suddenly, for now my plan is to propose a vote for indef sysop rights for you, once your current [temporary] ones expire.”, adding ”I hope you won't interpret this (...) as an attempt to bribe you or something”. I need not tell you that Grigor's proposal is hardly needed here and that asking the stewards for indef rights in this project would be a waste of time. But this isn't the important part.
What bothers me, really, is that this very much looks to me like an insincere, sly, crafty behaviour that kills all possibilities for a meaningful discussion. I know, “assume good faith”—and I cannot, as I wrote in Stanqo's case, entirely rule out ”good faith”, especially if each such case is considered in isolation. Yet that's exactly the problem for me: each of these things may be fine on its own—but there are already too many of them and for too long a time. — Luchesar • T/C 17:40, 18 August 2019 (UTC)
Again, you are strongly manipulating - I have never written “Putin kicks CIA's ass” I wrote Putin rescued Erdogan by informing him of the military coup, citing this news "По информации источников, национальная разведка Турции получила сведения о готовящемся военном перевороте от Министерства обороны России." --Stanqo (talk) 15:55, 20 August 2019 (UTC)
One of the reasons we never banned you on bgwiki was that sort of—sorry to be direct here—innocent naïvety on your part, which has always elicited indulgence, and even human sympathy, including in me. But sometimes I'm really thinking if that's not a clever trick (because it obviously works) to evade a ban or an indef block, which would've been inevitable, were you more unrestrained.
I again skimmed through your “recent events” project and again saw the familiar pattern: each time Donald Trump attacked his opponents in the presidential race, you'd cover it; for some reason, however, there's not a single critical news of Trump himself.
You also wrote of the “fleeing Ukrainian soldiers”, who had participated in the “forceful operation” (the Bulgarian word could also be interpreted as “violent” and even “oppressive”) “of Kyiv” against the “people's militia of Donbass” (“опълченците”, people's militia, has very strong positive connotations in Bulgaria, being associated with the Bulgarian Volunteer Corps), after their ass was kic... Sorry, after “the successful military actions of the people's militia of Novorossiya against them”.
“The Ukrainian army”, meanwhile, “shells civilian buildings in Donetsk”, while “in Mariupol, the Ukrainian authorities shoot at peaceful demonstrators” and “in Kramatorsk 11 [civilians] were killed in operation of the Ukrainian special forces”. No wonder that “200 people protest before the embassy of Ukraine in Moscow, chanting ‘Shame on the Ukrainian Junta’” and “Russia's Attorney General Yuri Chaika described the events in Ukraine as a genocide against the Ukrainian people”.
Of course, you never claimed anything of this yourself. You had just been reporting the events, like the “successes of the Syrian army, aided by the Russian forces, against the terrorists”, while, again diligently citing your sources, informing the readers about the fact that “Syria condemns the act of aggression by the coalition forces, led by the US, in violation of the UN Charter”. It was a fact, indeed. Syria did describe this as “an act of aggression in violation of the UN Charter”.
That article from Der Tagesspiegel, “Europe must kneel before Moscow and beg”, and the statement of Rep. Gabbard, were also genuine. Well, never mind that the Bulgarian translation—with “kneeling” and “begging”—was a tad off. Nothing's perfect.
Why am I taking so much time to point to all this? Because, yes, you are the second most active editor in Wikinews of a total of three “active editors” in the so-called “revival attempt”. And your “invitation” is needed for anyone to have a say there.
And because it really took us years on bgwiki to finally realize the insidious bias in your news. The examples above were just distillate, essence; one literally needs to read—and then again—the whole ~1.5 megabyte (!) project of yours to see how even the more or less factually correct stories might, in fact, be painting a biased image of the world. Whether it's just your personal bias—which you might not even realize— or an intentional manipulation, I don't know. And it doesn't matter.
What matters is that you're absolutely not the “conscientious and valuable” editor, which Grigor claims you are. I'm really sorry¸ there is indeed nothing personal in this. You may very well be an otherwise fantastic person and human being.
But here, in the projects, I'm afraid you do much more harm than good—even if you do not mean it. — Luchesar • T/C 11:06, 21 August 2019 (UTC)
Luchesar, I again have to ask you to not distort my words in order to make your position appear valid. I have never said that "Stanqo is a conscientious and valuable editor" - I have said that he has bad contributions, but also good ones, and that with some help he might be a good contributor.
Everyone can see here all of his contributions to BG Wikinews and decide on that - and whether Luchesar or me are truthful about them.
BTW, open letters are newsworthy too. Most news outlets, including all that are considered to be the gold standard on journalism, publish such ones, partially or in entirety. They might not be the most important news to publish at the moment, but that is up to the editor.
Yes, I value your sysop skills and envy the time you are able to devote to WMF projects. However, repeatedly and intentionally distorting the truth to support your agenda is something that can undermine your usability as a sysop and a community member, and not only in BG Wikinews. Please, don't do this anymore. -- Григор Гачев (talk) 18:40, 22 August 2019 (UTC)
“‘I have never said that "Stanqo is a conscientious and valuable editor"’”
I'm sorry, Grigor, but this really is the reason why I always give those diffs. You did write this here, second to last paragraph, second to last sentence. “At least for this time and to this point he has emerged as a bona fide and valuable editor”, as Google translates it. Yes, you always insisted that you were talking only about Wikinews and only about his recent contributions... But do I really need to repeat all this? As for the rest, I've nothing to say. — Luchesar • T/C 18:49, 22 August 2019 (UTC)
For those who do not read Bulgarian, I'm translating the mentioned second to last paragraph in entirety:
About Stanqo - I haven't followed his activity in Wikipedia, here he had years ago also some contributions that were not good. For the last half year however I track his contributions here, and they are completely OK. I haven't noticed even a single hate material, or attempt to indulge in politics. At least during that time and until now, he behaves like a conscious and valuable editor. I do not know what he will become in the future, exactly as I don't know it for anyone - but by now, I have no reason to behave badly to him.
Let the readers make their own conclusions about which one of us tells the truth about what I said. -- Григор Гачев (talk) 17:46, 9 September 2019 (UTC)
Right, you also had “carefully track[ed] his contributions” (yes, you did also write “carefully”) for that “last half year”. Except that, as it turned out, those “carefully tracked” contributions were just two—and, again, both on an “open letter to the institutions”, which Stanqo had published on behalf of Wikinews, without asking or informing anyone. So, no, absolutely no “attempt[s] to indulge in politics”, indeed.
That's why I totally agree with you that it's best to leave the readers to draw their own conclusions. — Luchesar • T/C 18:30, 9 September 2019 (UTC)
Here is the "open letter" you mention. Everyone can decide for themselves whether it is published on behalf of Wikinews, or as a news about this open letter. Given that the authors of the open letter are clearly named there (and Wikinews is not listed among them), and the source used to write this news is given in the appropriate section, to me personally it looks like news. -- Григор Гачев (talk) 21:58, 9 September 2019 (UTC)
News? Just the plain text of the letter; absolutely no commentary? Not to mention the article being named, literally, “An open letter to the institutions”. I'm sorry, Grigor, but apparently you and I have very differing views on what journalism is. Sadly, I find these same problems in many other, even very recent, news—like the strange decision to cover the small “anti-Istanbul Convention” protests in Bulgaria at the expense of many other, much more significant, stories. — Luchesar • T/C 22:41, 9 September 2019 (UTC)