User talk:Robertmharris

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Welcome to Meta![edit]

Hello Robertmharris, and welcome to the Wikimedia Meta-Wiki! This website is for coordinating and discussing all Wikimedia projects. You may find it useful to read our policy page. If you are interested in doing translations, visit Meta:Babylon. You can also leave a note on Meta:Babel or Wikimedia Forum (please read the instructions at the top of the page before posting there). If you would like, feel free to ask me questions on my talk page. Happy editing! James (T C) 23:43, 30 June 2010 (UTC)[reply]

G'day :-)[edit]

I've replied to your foundation-l post, and dropped some notes in at Talk:2010_Wikimedia_Study_of_Controversial_Content - so I thought I'd complete the hatrick by swinging by here and saying a warm G'day too :-)

You may wish to drop some info in about yourself at your userpage (User:Robertmharris), and I'm sure if you have any questions about any technical wiki editing stuff, a note here (or anywhere) will get you some handy advice / help :-) cheers, Privatemusings 00:16, 1 July 2010 (UTC)[reply]


Hi there.

I read about what you were doing, and read your user page here.

Apart from all that strikes me that you are a new Wikipedia editor, like all others, and what I personally mostly do is, I help new editors get the hang of things, on the English Wikipedia.

I appreciate the cross-wiki nature of your work, but given the sheer proportional size of enwiki, I imagine you will be getting quite involved in it - and I think the best way to do so is to edit a bit, like all the rest of us.

So - I've just added a 'welcome' to you, over on you English Wikipedia talk page - en:User talk:Robertmharris. Hopefully that will be useful. If I can help at all, please ask.

One quick first tip; when you write messages on a discussion page, it's useful to put ~~~~ at the end, which will add your username (and links), and the date and time. I thought that a 'sig'(nature) would be a useful addition to your user page, so I added the same here; if it isn't wanted, of course, just 'undo' it.

Hope to hear from you. I don't monitor my pages on this wiki, so please do use en:User talk:Chzz to get hold of me.

Welcome, and best wishes.Chzz 00:31, 3 July 2010 (UTC)[reply]

Dear Chzz -- Thanks for the welcome and the tutorial over at Robertmharris at en.wikipedia Robertmharris

  • I replied, and left a note saying that I'd replied on your en user talk page, en:User_talk:Robertmharris.
  • When users are on several wikis, unfortunately, there is no easy way to check your talk pages on other wikis. If you go to any random page on EN before looking at your talk page on there, it will say "you have new messages". But, note: in this specific case, I thought I'd better put a note here, so that you noticed it. However, generally, people will not do so.
I don't know of an easy answer to that problem, other than checking your talk page occasioally.
On some (most?) wikis, it is possible to set your preferences to send you an email when your talk page changes, but that functionality has been disabled on English Wikipedia. So, to the best of my knowledge, you'll need to somehow check the talk page on there every so often.
Similarly, I hardly ever check my talk page here on meta, or indeed on Japanese Wikipedia, French Wikipedia, Wiktionary, etc etc. -So, I have put mesages on those asking people to 'please see my page on EN' - eg ja:user:Chzz
Hope this makes sense. Talk pages take a bit of getting used-to.
The reply is on User talk:Chzz#Thanks for Your Help. Chzz 05:43, 4 July 2010 (UTC)[reply]

WSCC presentation[edit]

I was puzzled by : « By reaching out as much as I can to non-English speaking communities within Wikimedia and non-European cultural communities. » You said you came from Canada, right ? Or you work in Canada and came from Europe ? I don't get it. Zil 13:27, 23 July 2010 (UTC)[reply]

Comment on current discussion[edit]

Talk:2010 Wikimedia Study of Controversial Content has attracted a small number of commentators, but hundreds of serious readers. It is worth repeating that some of the highly respected people reading but not commenting (those strongly against filtering or censorship) feel that the current discussion isn't reasonable enough for them to engage at all, and are separately discussing what it would mean if unwanted recs resulted in a fork. (I wonder if people in favor of filtering or removing content feel similarly left out of the conversation. My first impression is 'no'...)

Aside from working to cluster existing discussions (daunting!) you may want to directly engage some of the most outspoken people with concerns about this process (Milos, David Gerard, DGG) to help make the language used in questions and answers less polarizing. You have been quite successful in reaching out in an open way; thank you. I think it is possible to bring all sides of these issues to a shared discussion, even though it is harder than engaging each respectfully one-on-one. Regards, SJ · talk | translate 03:22, 24 July 2010 (UTC)[reply]

Tangential, but important[edit]

G'day Robert - and first let me thank you for your efforts thus far in the realm of 'controversial content' - it'll be interesting to see how things settle in over the next few days / weeks, and I particular wonder whether or not you might be able to share further detail of the ideas and opinions you've heard from the various external folk / experts / stakeholders you've had the chance to talk with. There's a great deal to think about even thus far, which is partly why I've simply tried to absorb what you're saying :-)

I did, however, want to follow something up which I consider to be a very important tangent to your work. In 'Part Two' you wrote 'In particular, images of child pornography as defined by US law are not permitted on Wikimedia sites, and to the knowledge of the Foundation (and ourselves) no such images exist within the projects. They would be speedily removed if encountered, and their presence reported to the appropriate authorities.' and I wanted to follow this up.

Back in April, I dropped a note into the then Vice-Chair of the board, Jan Bart that commons had had an image uploaded of a 16 year old girl masturbating (alse see here for my note to foundation-l, and here for Mike G.'s response that he felt if there were any problem, the external agency would contact him). I referred him to a conversation I'd had with User:Lar (currently serving on the WMF Ombuds. commission). As part of my follow up to that conversation, it emerged that the image was not, in fact, reported to any external authority, and it is my understanding that to this day, it remains on WMF servers, though only available to those with the 'oversight' flag on commons (this is a very small no. of volunteers, all of whom, I believe, have confirmed their identities with the WMF office).

Further; as part of a now deleted conversation here on meta, User:Coffee wrote 'From my experience, the devs have no issue permanently deleting child porn from the servers, it just takes going on IRC and asking them to do so' - and User:Gmaxwell followed up 'I think I'm only personally aware of ~two such cases in my many years of tenure'. These are both pretty active users, and both seem aware of specific instances of child pornography being uploaded to WMF servers.

I remain greatly concerned that reports are not, in fact, being submitted to appropriate authorities ( to quote Lar, 'No, I've never reported material uploaded to any external authority. No, I'm not aware of other volunteers doing so. Although it may have happened.' ) - I asked Jan Bart for some reassurance on this matter, and I also mentioned that I'd personally believe it to be a good idea for the image of the 16 year old girl masturbating to be permanently removed from servers, rather than remain accessible to 'oversighters' - I received no response, although Jan Bart's user talk page here on meta was subsequently (and likely unrelatedly) blanked and protected.

Have you established whether or not the foundation has previously reported child pornography to external authorities? Is it clear to you by what process a volunteer should notify the foundation of such material in order to be confident of such reporting? - and does the above tally with your understanding of practice / policy? - Please do ask for any more information, or raise any further points if you'd like to know more, and I would sincerely appreciate any response you may have to the above. Best, Privatemusings 04:52, 23 September 2010 (UTC)[reply]

Two points. Many of the conversations I had for the study were, if not confidential, certainly not had with the suggestion that individual opinions, connected to individual speakers, would be part of the study. So, other than to summarize these conversations, I would need to go back to these individuals and get their permission to quote them, which I'm happy to do. However, what I found in the external community around these questions was of almost exactly the same range of opinion that I found within. As to your last point, I do not know if the Foundation has reported child pornography, or the procedure for volunteers to employ when they think they have. I will find out Robertmharris 05:25, 23 September 2010 (UTC)[reply]
Thanks heaps :-) - I suspect I'm not alone in Wikimedia in being a bit of an information junkie, so the more background material relating to the study you feel able to release without compromising any confidentiality (of course) the better :-) - I'd read it with great interest - your work has already pointed me in the direction of some very interesting material - so thanks for that too. I'll watch this page, and the other current ones, for an update on either current, or suggested WMF practice in regard to suspected child porn. Cheers, Privatemusings 01:43, 24 September 2010 (UTC)[reply]
Just following up :-) Privatemusings 21:27, 3 October 2010 (UTC)[reply]
I'm not aware whether the law requires police to be informed but the point about oversighters is completely valid. Such material (or any other actually illegal material) should be removed, not merely made "almost completely inaccessible". This isn't part of the study but is an important point to cover - oversighters need to know to forward the case to, if potentially illegal (illegal material would automatically be a WMF issue as WMF hosts the wikis, so the community/WMF divide isn't a concern here). Oversight-l members would also need to have directions what is potentially illegal as many oversighters are not US resident. Finally where contentious WMF's internal process should include review by Mike Godwin to confirm whether in his view it is in fact illegal or not. FT2 (Talk | email) 23:54, 3 October 2010 (UTC)[reply]
following up again :-) Privatemusings 08:46, 11 October 2010 (UTC)[reply]

< followed up here too on the 11th, and following up again :-) Privatemusings 22:45, 20 October 2010 (UTC)[reply]

This matter was discussed briefly here with Sue Gardner - I don't feel a clear answer emerged though? - further, following a recent upload of an explicit image of a possible underage girl, I also asked this question of the deleting admin. Following up here too..... I'll flick you an email early next week to ensure this page is still monitored :-) Privatemusings 09:34, 31 October 2010 (UTC)[reply]
following up again - flicking email now too :-) - I'm really trying to find out how you went with this bit; 'I do not know if the Foundation has reported child pornography, or the procedure for volunteers to employ when they think they have. I will find out' - cheers, Privatemusings 23:19, 7 November 2010 (UTC)[reply]
still following up :-) - No reply to email, and no reply here - I gather discussions are ongoing on a board / working group level, it'd be wonderful to get an update :-) Privatemusings 22:27, 28 November 2010 (UTC)[reply]
following up again :-) - I've mentioned to Phoebe that I'm interested in helping out with the working group that's been mentioned. She indicated that things are progressing slowly (indeed!) - but perhaps we'll connect in that context at some point :-) cheers, Privatemusings 21:44, 14 December 2010 (UTC)[reply]

Comment for your attention[edit]

Just to draw your attention to this reply which may be useful or important. (It got edited subsequently, see here). Regards - FT2 (Talk | email) 12:48, 27 September 2010 (UTC)[reply]

keep up the good work[edit]

You are doing Wikimedia a great service by encouraging people to revisit the status quo. I don't know if you were warned by the Foundation that the community would be generally hostile to reading NOTCENSORED in anything less than an absolutist way, but that's the culture that's developed around here. In my view this culture is contrary to the neutral point of view which should be that our project should not be used as a vehicle for culture-challenging activism. If the Foundation ever takes a position on these issues, your work will have done a lot to ensure a more nuanced, constructive, and restrained reaction.Bdell555 22:54, 21 October 2010 (UTC)[reply]

Hours of Editing[edit]

Hello! Thanks for your report on controversial content. If you don't have any experience yet in international diplomacy you might want to consider signing up in that field! One detail I noticed in your report was an estimate of how much time people have (collectively) spent editing Wikipedia. Do you have a source or more information on that? I'd love to have an accurate or reliable number for use in my presentations on the topic, and the Shirky/Wattenberg figure of 100 million hours (as of '08) might not be accurate - or at least it disagrees with what you wrote (see post here). If you have a chance to pass on that information to here or my user talk page, I'd appreciate it!

WBTtheFROG 19:22, 10 February 2011 (UTC)[reply]


Hi Robert -- I wanted to thank you for your reasoned and well-argued report on "controversial content." I think it's about time someone looked at this issue from a principled but not dogmatic perspective, and I hope your efforts are well-received. -- Mwalcoff 01:52, 13 March 2011 (UTC)[reply]

Your qualification for the report[edit]

Hallo Robert,

I cannot find your qualification to write such a report, which is going to change Wikipedia in a serious way. Please explain. -- 05:45, 18 August 2011 (UTC)[reply]

I also looked for some background information on both authors of the report. Not that I question your qualifications, nor criticize your excellent report. It is just that it is natural (and often important) to ask who says something as well as reading what they say, even in a commissioned report.
I found what I needed in the first 4 paragraphs of the FAQ at the head of the archived version linked from part one. I think this should appear in part one of the report, or a note saying where to find it and/or you could incorporate it in your user page. I could post this on the article discussion page if you think that is warranted? Murdomck 07:30, 18 August 2011 (UTC)[reply]

Needing your input[edit]

Hello Robert, I would appreciate you reading the following and perhaps chime in.

I'd feel the community would also like to know how we are supposed to find "outside verifiable sources" when settling disputes concerning how a controversial photo should be classified. We are confused how a subjective decision can be decided by subjective sources. For example, a picture of a gay couple kissing. Baptists will undoubtedly want to classify the objectionable level of this photo differently than, say, the actual gay couple. Do we find New York Times sources that prove some Baptists are offended by gay displays of affection? Even then, how does that help us classify what "degree" or "type" of objectionable it is? Please, tell us what you meant in more practical terms! Rodgerrodger415 17:47, 20 August 2011 (UTC)[reply]

Please also look here: Talk:Image filter referendum/en#Who is_Robermharris.2C and why should we follow his opinion? Thanks, --Blogotron 16:58, 21 August 2011 (UTC)[reply]