Wikimedia Foundation elections/Board elections/2007/Candidates/^demon/questions

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Office Evolution[edit]

In what way do you forsee the office (and staff) evolving under your tenure as a board member, should you be elected? i.e. would you be in favor of expansion, contraction, status quo, more interns, new positions, less, what? Swatjester 13:46, 19 June 2007 (UTC)[reply]

A: I believe that as the Wikimedia-related projects increase in use and popularity, expansion is a natural progression. If we were running 500 projects in 500 languages each, it would be unrealistic to believe that the current staff (both administrative and technical) could run it with any semblance of smoothness. However, the rate at which we expand as an organization must directly correlate in terms of proportion. In saying that, I mean if we need to expand, we need to do it at a rate which satisfies the needs of the projects, but without getting "too large too fast" if you will. As far as what positions those would be, I feel that would be a question to answer when--as it doesn't appear to be a matter of if, but when--that expansion must occur. From a management and logistical standpoint, I would see no issues with having interns, as it could be a marvelous learning experience for other young people to A) See how a non-profit organization is run, and B) Have a part in helping with what is quickly becoming (if it isn't already) the largest repository of free information to be found. ^demon 13:53, 19 June 2007 (UTC)[reply]


By nature and design, wiki communities are an amateur, unstable amalgam of widely differing perspectives and agendas. There is no individual or collective responsibility and no competence test for participation. Yet, the board of the ever-expanding and legally constituted foundation that runs one of the world’s top websites, needs to be highly professionally, highly competent, collectively coherent and responsible. It must have business savvy, and be willing to make hard-nosed and even unpopular decisions. In your opinion:

  1. Is the current board, vision and structure fit for that purpose?
  2. Are you? (Would you be a competent candidate for a board in any non-profit venture?)

(same asked of all candidates)--Doc glasgow 14:45, 19 June 2007 (UTC)[reply]

A1: A loaded question with a loaded answer, so please bear with my as I try to explain. The short answer is this, yes and no. Yes, the current Board's is working hard towards meeting those needs you outlined above. Working hard, but not meeting them one-hundred -percent, I must say. I believe we have hit a point where we need to expand and bring additional experts on board who specialize in fields that help us meet the needs of such a large organization of this. Be that lawyers, marketing experts, contracted programmers, et cetera. I suppose that answers the third part of your question, which I must say no, our current structure does not fit the need fully. Not in terms of who is involved, per say, or even the roles they play, but merely the existing structure needs expansion as the Foundation's projects have expanded. In terms of vision, I have not and do see any issues in terms of people who have conflicting visions. I believe that all of us are here for the same goal, and in that respect, we are all equally qualified if Board membership was based on vision alone. ^demon 20:39, 19 June 2007 (UTC)[reply]
A2: I would like to think so. While I may have no experience in running such a large non-profit venture, my ideologies align themselves closely to that of the Foundation and that I will be able to perform the work needed to keep us running strong towards our common goal. ^demon 20:39, 19 June 2007 (UTC)[reply]

Checkuser policy[edit]

What is your opinion of the privacy policy, particularly relating to checkusering of adminship candidates? Majorly (talk) 15:33, 19 June 2007 (UTC)[reply]

A: I believe that privacy is something we all have a right to as human beings, even if we choose to edit a publicly accessible website such as Wikipedia. This is why from the beginning, we've never required the public disclosure of contributor's names. I believe the privacy policy does a good job with protecting the privacy of contributors to the Wikimedia Foundation projects. When it comes to CheckUser, I believe it is a very powerful tool that has a very important role to play in both curtailing vandalism eliminating sock puppetry and vote fraud. However, due to the concerns of privacy for each individual, I believe it is a system that needs to be used "only when necessary." For example--in a routine sock puppetry investigation on the English Wikipedia--if you have other solid evidence to link a case of sock puppets (be it editing style, similar account names, etc), then the CheckUser should be deemed as unnecessary. In regards to your last question, the running of CheckUser on individual adminship candidates, I believe this is an area we should tread lightly. The blanket statement that "all potential administrators must go through CheckUser" is an invasion of that privacy I mentioned above. However, if serious concerns are raised about the authenticity of an individual, and CheckUser would confirm or deny those concerns, it should be used, keeping in mind the principle of "only when necessary." ^demon 16:57, 19 June 2007 (UTC)[reply]

Wikimedia Foundation and Wikimedia Chapters[edit]

Taking into account the growing importance of Wikimedia chapters in furthering our common goals on the one hand and the impact the decisions made by the Wikimedia Foundation have on the work (if not existence) of the Wikimedia Chapters on the other hand: What do you think about the idea of giving the chapters a formal say in WMF's decision making process? What do you think especially about a) letting the chapters appoint one or more board members (beside the ones elected by the community) and/or b) changing the WMF back to a membership organization (with the chapters as members)? Do you have any other ideas to achieve more checks and balances between Foundation and chapters? On top of that, would you care to elaborate on your vision about the current and future role of the Wikimedia chapters? Thanks in advance, Arne (akl) 15:44, 19 June 2007 (UTC)[reply]

A I have often viewed individual chapters of the WMF to be akin to how the Red Cross works. There is an umbrella international organization in which individual countries have a chapter and are a part of. As far as adding them into the Board and/or decision-making process, I believe that is a change we would have to discuss both within the Board and within the individual chapters themselves, as well with the community at large. Such a change would be a major restructuring of how the Foundation is organized, and should not be taken lightly. To state my personal opinion on it, I believe that yes, individual country chapters could play a significant role within the Foundation's organization, including Board membership. I think though that the overall Foundation and the country chapters have two distinct yet complimentary goals, which are as follows. The Foundation is and should continue to be, tasked with the guiding principle of providing free content to whomever wishes to access it; this includes server and MediaWiki maintenance, budgets, hiring of professionals in expert professions--such as law--to aide and advise the Foundation and to maintain the overall image of Wikipedia and its sister projects. The individual country chapters have an equally important role, and I believe that to be advertising. I mean this in the sense of "getting our name out there" if you will. They should be promoting free content within their country, and encouraging local users to not only read, but to contribute and expand. They also should work with local governments, organizations and corporations to encourage their acceptance and adoption of free content--stories such as this are inspiring towards what we can achieve through the local organizations. ^demon 20:57, 19 June 2007 (UTC)[reply]

Project policy involvement[edit]

What are your views on board involvement in writing and implementing policy for the various projects, especially in controversial areas where it appears that community consensus will be difficult to establish, such as on the "attack sites" [1] and biography of living people (BLP) [2] issues? Cla68 15:58, 19 June 2007 (UTC)[reply]

A: I believe that for the most part, individual projects and their respective communities should be allowed to form and revise their own policies as they see fit. That being said, there is both a time and place for Board intervention. While an intervention merely due to consensus deadlock is not something I directly approve of, in situations where there are potential legal ramifications is a time when the Board can most certainly step in, and in fact should step in if the community in question cannot formulate a policy that adheres to the legal system. Basically, in regards to the two situations you mentioned above, the Board should play a careful advisory role in establishing those policies, carefully soliciting the advice of the project they would affect. When the Foundation could be accused of libel because an anonymous contributor said "So-and-so sucks at life and I hate them," the Foundation very clearly has a responsibility to maintain the integrity of the projects as a whole; if that means they need to write a policy to that effect, then by all means, they need to do so. ^demon 16:49, 19 June 2007 (UTC)[reply]
Does this reasoning apply to your promise to review the policy governing open proxies—which has no legal ramifications and is being productively discussed—, or will you make exceptions for any policy you personally disagree with? —{admin} Pathoschild 02:18:30, 29 June 2007 (UTC)
A: If the community can come to a consensus on that policy--or any policy for that matter--then the Board has no reason to step in. While I may view the policy in its current form as flawed, I would not overstep my authority and attempt to trump community consensus in a non-legal (i.e. licensing, libel, et cetera) situation. In short, I stand firmly behind my first answer, and I would not make exceptions for policies I completely disagree with. ^demon 04:14, 29 June 2007 (UTC)[reply]
Despite the ongoing discussion and the lack of legal implications, you nonetheless called for a board review of the policy ("If I am elected, I would like to have the issue visited at a Foundation-level"). Doesn't that action belie your answers? —{admin} Pathoschild 17:24:39, 30 June 2007 (UTC)


You operate a bot, recently I saw your bot removing bullet points from articles (after a interwiki template was converted to a "box")... the issue was hotly disputed, and also at a TfD... yet you proceeded to have your bot non-consensually remove bullet points to allow the spam-box to function properly. You then closed the mother template as "no consensus - keep" several days later. Clearly external influences played a part in your decisions... how can you be trusted to operate as a member of the WMF board? MatthewFenton 16:54, 19 June 2007 (UTC)[reply]

Clarification: Could you provide links to this situation? I do not recall it directly, and I would hate to answer a question based off of misinformation or lack of understanding on my part. Thanks. ^demon 17:00, 19 June 2007 (UTC)[reply]
Re: the bot and and example bot edit. Oh, why did you call a highly respected user a troll? Not once but thrice? MatthewFenton 11:21, 20 June 2007 (UTC)[reply]
Nudge nudge nudge. MatthewFenton 15:42, 22 June 2007 (UTC)[reply]
A: Sorry for the delay in replying. I hadn't noticed the reply up here yet. As far as the bot edits are concerned, I was politely asked for those edits to be made. If they were made against consensus, I am very sorry for that happening. I hadn't noticed the dispute surrounding it, so when I was asked by someone to do it, I assumed good faith and went ahead with the changes. If this is a major mistake on my part, I apologize unreservedly. As far as calling Jeff a troll, I will leave it at this. I was hot-headed at the time about the issue. I have since spoken to Jeff off-wiki and apologized for my actions. ^demon 14:49, 24 June 2007 (UTC)[reply]

Ads, branding, business dev., GHGs.[edit]

  1. On the board, will you vote for ads on Wikimedia sites?
    1. yes
      1. pop-ups/flash/banners/graphics
      2. flash/banners/graphics in skin whitespace or at bottom
      3. company logos in site notices
      4. prominent text ads
      5. company names in site notices
      6. text ads in skin whitespace or at bottom
      7. opt out
      8. opt in
      9. other
    2. maybe
      1. only for a huge amount of money
      2. only during budget emergencies
      3. only if editors support it
    3. never
    4. other
  2. What are your thoughts on Wikimedia branding?
  3. What are your thoughts on the foundation's hiring of a business developer?
  4. How would you vote on the board about the foundation reducing or offsetting anthropogenic greenhouse gases, e.g. power used by hardware, flights, etc.?

Thanks. -- Jeandré, 2007-06-19t18:18z

A1: I consider advertising on Wikimedia Foundation sites to be incompatible with our founding principle of a Neutral Point of View. Advertisements, by their very nature, are intended to present a specific viewpoint on a product, service or group of people. That viewpoint cannot be neutral, or they would cease to be an advertisement. Even symapthetic points of view, such as "Cancer Awareness" are not neutral, as they promote a cause. However, in the event of a funding emergency, only with the consent of the project they would affect, I would consider advertising a possible option for the Foundation. This is not a decision to be made lightly, though. ^demon 19:57, 19 June 2007 (UTC)[reply]
A2: I think the brands obviously need protection. They are highly recognizable and need to be shielded from potential misuse. That being said, I think they should not be changed, as they are so recognizable. To change the well-known Wikipedia logo would be a mistake, in my opinion. ^demon 06:45, 26 June 2007 (UTC)[reply]
A3: I hadn't previously read this discussion, but after looking into it, I see that it is a course of action that is entirely understandable and acceptable given that this is a quickly growing non-profit organization. I can see why it could be met with some reservations by the community at large, but provided the developer's suggestions are taken in an advisory role, I do not personally see how it would conflict with our mission of providing free content. As long as we're here pursuing that goal, I see no problems in expanding our expertise by bringing on marketing professionals who are designed to help us maintain a positive public image and increase our income, which can always be funded into new and exciting projects, consistent with our primary objective.
Note: My answer near the top about expanding the staff may be good additional reading on this subject
A4: While I do believe that private individuals, governments, companies and independent organizations need to take measures to reduce greenhouse emissions, I do not personally believe that we need to make huge sacrifices to what we do in order to help this cause. Our goal is to provide free content, and if that means running 9000 servers concurrently to do so, then I feel we should continue to do just that. However, where reasonable measures can be taken to help in the global effort, I do believe we can play our part. If cutting off a few extra un-needed servers would help, they why leave them running? As far as displaying the logo to help promote the cause of reducing emissions, I do not see how we can do that and remain strictly adherent to our policy of a Neutral Point of View. While helping global warming is an admirable cause, it is not a neutral cause.
Note: My answer just above about advertising may be good additional reading on this subject
Do you consider the image licensing policy neutral? Miss Mondegreen talk  11:32, June 27 2007 (UTC)
A: Yes. I think it promotes the use of free content whenever possible, which is ideally what we should use, but it does allow caveats for having fair use items when the need requires it. As I've said before, putting a non-free publicity photo of a celebrity in the encyclopedia when a free image of the person could be found or made is contrary to our goals of creating free content, and I believe the licensing policy goes a long way to fixing that. ^demon 04:11, 29 June 2007 (UTC)[reply]
Can you explain how it's contrary to our goals to use a non-free image when a free image is not currently available? — Omegatron 01:39, 2 July 2007 (UTC)[reply]

What if[edit]

What would you do/recommend when elected and faced with 40% budget deficit? Absolwent 18:35, 19 June 2007 (UTC)[reply]

A: While I hope this is a situation which we do not ever face, it is most certainly a reality that all non-profit organizations must deal with and have plans in place to deal with. I believe that first and foremost, asking our contributors to help would be a logical decision. We have found from past fund raisers that the anonymous people who make the Foundation projects what they are. Notwithstanding that, there is plenty of money to be had by other non-profit and government organizations and programs that exist to give grants in the fields of research and promotion of education, which is exactly what we're doing by providing freely accessible content. ^demon 21:03, 19 June 2007 (UTC)[reply]


What is your experience with management and fundraising, particularly for non-profit organizations? Have you held such a position before? Seraphimblade 00:46, 20 June 2007 (UTC)[reply]

A: Funny you should ask. I was previously a member of a local non-profit organization dedicated to helping students (particularly in early high-school age) raise money to travel on educational trips. While I worked with this group, I helped organize many successful fund raisers through which some students were able to cover the entire cost of their trip. I no longer work with them, as I am no longer a high school student, but I do feel I learned some valuable lessons in terms of organizing a group of volunteers. ^demon 12:38, 20 June 2007 (UTC)[reply]


What do you see, right now, as the most significant challenge that Wikimedia as a whole faces? How would you address that issue? Seraphimblade 00:46, 20 June 2007 (UTC)[reply]

A: I believe that a major issue we face is accountability. By our nature of allowing anonymous contribution (even behind a pseudonym), we give users this false sense of "nobody knows me, so I can do what I want." Now, I am not referring to blatant vandalism, such as changing a TV show's article to say "This show sucks zomg lol," but rather more subtle vandalism, especially libel in biographies of living persons. As a major publication, we have a responsibility to report the facts and only the facts. If we begin to allow point-of-view related edits--such as libel--we become nothing better than the tabloids. ^demon 12:43, 20 June 2007 (UTC)[reply]


Hi Micael,

What is the top 3 things you want to have changed in the current strategy of the foundation? Thanks, Effeietsanders 08:06, 20 June 2007 (UTC)[reply]

A: First and foremost, speed. Unfortunately the Board is not always prompt in responding to issues surrounding the projects, and I believe it leaves something to be desired. By no means should the Board ever rush into anything, but occasionally issues are raised that need the Board's input, and it seems like they tend to sit on the issue for a bit too long. Secondly, I would love to see the Board and Foundation get "back to their roots," if you follow me. By this I mean I would love to see Board members and other members of the Foundation staff actively working with the communities they are representing. Be that in debates, policy discussions, et cetera. Finally, I would like to see the Foundation pursue a two-pronged goal of increasing our reputability with our current projects, while at the same time expanding to new ventures to provide more free content in different ways. ^demon 19:03, 20 June 2007 (UTC)[reply]

Added Value[edit]

Hi Michael,

What kind of value do you add to the current set of boardmembers in the area of Legal, Financial, Accounting etc expertise? Thanks, Effeietsanders 08:06, 20 June 2007 (UTC)[reply]

A: While I may not be formally trained in any of those fields, I take a great interest in the first two of legal and financial. I am currently an undergraduate Economics major, and plan to pursue my law degree after completing my bachelors. In terms of Accounting, I managed the finances for a (now defunct) web hosting company for some time from late 2003 to late 2005. The management was terrible, but I must say I managed what money we had very well and kept us afloat for quite awhile, despite management's bad ideas for rapid expansion without a proper client base to support us. ^demon 12:53, 20 June 2007 (UTC)[reply]

Cash & users[edit]

We need money and people. We have lost users (for a while) after this event. Nobody expected it, but... the same was in 2006. Do you want to talk about money (with these wealthy guys) and what's your opinion about that event ;)? Przykuta 11:55, 20 June 2007 (UTC)[reply]

A: Honesty. Honesty is one of my core values as a human being, and I believe it extends quite well into this. We are supported by our contributors--both content wise and financially. To try and hide the truth about our financial situation is unwise; I believe they are the first people who should be notified, so they can begin to support us again. I believe the issue of losing contributors is natural, and happens with any organization or website. With websites, you see it happen constantly, because groups of users may not necessarily like the direction that the community is taking things, and depart. However, there will always be that new user who eventually becomes a major contributor, and I think that is something we need to remember when saying to "not bite the newbies."
To try and hide the truth about our financial situation is unwise; I believe they are the first people who should be notified, so they can begin to support us again - So, we need good translation team. On meta that team is weak - for example a few users translate from en to pl. What can you do to change it? Przykuta 13:44, 20 June 2007 (UTC)[reply]
A: Unfortunately, this is a very real problem which I see loads of potential for, could we solve it. Imagine if we had large and dedicated teams who are focused solely on translation. Just imagine how much the non-English Wikipedias could grow with such a huge influx of translated content. In terms of increasing our abilities to translate, I think greater effort to gain translators needs to be taken. I'm sure there are many bi-lingual and multi-lingual people on many of the individual projects who simply do not know about Meta and its translation services. Notification should be sent out to each wiki in its language, asking for additional help. This should not be limited to official Foundation events that need translating, but for content as well. ^demon 19:09, 20 June 2007 (UTC)[reply]

Wikinews and Accredited reporters attending events[edit]

Wikinews may be one of the lesser-known projects, but we recently managed to get a contributor entry to the G8 conference. Efforts were made to get the Board involved in the drafting of a letter for the reporter's entry to the G8, but these received no response. As an involved party there is more about this issue on Eloquence's questions page [3]. What is your opinion on this, it is - I believe - an issue the board should take seriously. Those of us who contribute on Wikinews are ambitious enough to think that we can overtake the Wikipedia article count (although I may be retired before we manage it there are new news stories every day). As we really want to be able to do truly original reporting we need people who can "almost" say they represent us. Do you support this, and do you believe the board should have been involved for something as important as sending a reporter to the G8 conference? --Brian McNeil / talk 21:07, 20 June 2007 (UTC)

A: I had not previously heard about this, but after reading the information you provided (and doing a bit of digging), I must say that while it is of course not the Board's responsibility to do something about this, they most certainly should have helped. Helping to get accredited reporters in the field would only improve Wikinews' coverage and credibility. This is something the Board is in a very good place to assist with. ^demon 11:41, 21 June 2007 (UTC)[reply]

Non-free images and other media[edit]

What are your opinions on the use of non-free images and media on Wikimedia Foundation projects? Should they be used at all, or disallowed completely? And what do you think about the 23 March board resolution on this issue? Is it sufficient, too much, or does not go far enough. Thanks. Zzyzx11 00:44, 21 June 2007 (UTC)[reply]

A: Personally I feel the resolution did a good job of clarifying how free and non free images are to be treated. It allows each project to provide a limited Fair use policy for exceptions to the "free media only" policy of the Foundation. This works especially well in the English Wikipedia where we have well over 100,000 non-free images currently. My personal belief is that non-free images should be used as a last resort, when no free image exists or can be created, and the image is absolutely essential to the understanding of an article. ^demon
It allows each project to provide a limited Fair use policy
Note: The exceptions are not just limited to fair use. That's an enwiki-specific restriction. — Omegatron 01:36, 2 July 2007 (UTC)[reply]

Instead of fair use, would you be opposed to using non-free images with the permission of the copyright holder (assuming no free equivalent exists and the copyright holder refuses to freely license)? In my opinion, this would be preferable to restricting to only fair use, which is shaky legally and morally.

Portraits of living notable individuals and other similar images are routinely deleted because a free image could theoretically be created, at some point in the future, leaving lots of biographies indefinitely with no images of their subject. The rationale I've seen is that including a non-free image prevents free ones from being created. I somewhat agree, but think the harm done to our educational goals by deleting the images outweighs the potential benefits, and that there are plenty of better ways to encourage the creation of free content that don't destroy information. What are your thoughts? — Omegatron 03:53, 27 June 2007 (UTC)[reply]

A2: If they're willing to give permission with no restrictions on redistribution (for our downstream mirrors), then I don't see why not. I just prefer to avoid the legal muckyness of fair use. ^demon 14:25, 30 June 2007 (UTC)[reply]
So you are ok with permission to redistribute, but not to modify? What if the permission was only to use on one particular site? (This is all assuming no free equivalent exists, of course.)
Note that fair use is the only type of non-free content currently allowed on English Wikipedia. — Omegatron 01:18, 2 July 2007 (UTC)[reply]
A3: Modification as well. I meant essentially allowing us to use the image as we need without further hassle (including redistribution without restrictions). Sorry if I wasn't clear. ^demon 12:58, 6 July 2007 (UTC)[reply]

Impending failure[edit]

The Wikimedia Foundation at a corporate level is soaked in its own drama and if conditions don't improve soon, it will crash and burn. I want the newly elected trustees to act as catalystic mediators to simply and peacefully transform drama into productivity and then success for the foundation. How do you plan on doing this? Signed, your friendly neighborhood MessedRocker. 06:10, 21 June 2007 (UTC)[reply]

A: I think having a board that doesn't care so much about WMF politics would help for once. Other than meeting Jimbo in passing once, I have never even met any of the Board. I also don't even know most of the Board--outside of their names. I know there was some major controversy surrounding Erik's (or was it Oscar?) election to the Board, but I honestly couldn't tell you what that was about; I'd have to make something up. That all said, my being an outsider to upper-level politics I believe would help to reduce the drama at corporate level, given that I don't know about it, nor care. The Foundation isn't there to play politics, it's there to support the distribution of free content. Any Board member with ulterior political motives needs to be out, immediately. ^demon 14:56, 24 June 2007 (UTC)[reply]


How would you respond to the view (frequently expressed in private, though curiously, not here yet) that you are simply too young to take on such an important role? --Cyde Weys 05:40, 22 June 2007 (UTC)[reply]

A: I believe serving a community in a role such as this is not an issue that should be limited by age (beyond the legal requirements of being an adult). I strongly feel that this position is one of dedication to the community and personal abilities, not necessarily being much older. ^demon

Smaller Wikis[edit]

Within the Wikimedia Foundation, there are multiple smaller wikis such as the Simple English Wikiquote, the Romanian Wikisource, and the Cherokee Wiktionary. All of these wikis lack local communities, and many go for long periods of time without any improvements made. Most also lack any active admins and 'crats and are prone to vandalism. First, do you think it is worth keeping these wikis, or do you think we should close them down until there is more active? Second, if they were to be kept, what would you do to improve the local communities? Wikihermit 20:39, 22 June 2007 (UTC)[reply]

A: I think as long as valid contributions are outweighing vandalism, closing them down should never be a consideration. However, if absolutely nothing is happening save vandalism, then the vandalism should be cleaned up and the wiki should be locked in read-only mode, allowing what material is there to be usable to at least someone until such a time when there is a community ready to take up the project again. As to your section question, I think this is something that falls to the communities themselves. Without a strong community to support a language, there cannot be substantial growth. I believe it is up to the speakers of that language to branch out to other members of their families and local communities to encourage participation. ^demon 06:27, 26 June 2007 (UTC)[reply]

IRC Debate[edit]

This is a mass question being posted to all candidates. A couple days ago there was a proposal to hold an all candidates debate on IRC at a time TBD. The planning page is at ElectionDebate07 - please indicate if you are interested and if so, a time that would work for you. -- Tawker 23:05, 23 June 2007 (UTC)[reply]

A: Answered on that page. [4] ^demon

Wikipedia Quality[edit]

What is your opinion about the increasing amount of poorly endorsed articles on en.wikipedia? Particularly, what do you think about en:WP:BIO and en:WP:MUSIC, which are not appropriately enforced?. en:Rjgodoy 07:21, 24 June 2007 (UTC)[reply]

A: I have never made it a secret that I am a stickler for notability guidelines. I have gone on the record before saying that "just because someone has sources about them doesn't inherently make them notable." If we followed that logic, we could easily give every person listed in the obituaries their own article, which would be madness. I personally believe that those two policies should be enforced more strictly than they are, and we would greatly see the number of vanity articles drop. ^demon 14:53, 24 June 2007 (UTC)[reply]

Experience and Qualifications[edit]

Your platform makes no mention of any relevant experience to running a major organisation; please detail what experience you have in the running of corporate organisations, specifically regarding their finance, management, marketing, and human resources. --Alison Wheeler 11:56, 24 June 2007 (UTC)[reply]

A: At this time, I do not have any experience running a major organization. I don't believe any of the candidates or board members happen to be Fortune 500 CEO's either. I have however been involved with the Mediation Committee on the English Wikipedia and acted as a chair for that so I do not lack organizational experience or management experience. I am not well versed in finance, or marketing beyond what I have done myself in balancing a checkbook. As I mentioned above, I helped in the management and operations of a small start-up for some time, which gave me some well-learned lessons. In short, I believe my qualifications for Board membership lie in my abilities to communicate, to work with others, and most importantly my dedication to the project. ^demon 06:43, 26 June 2007 (UTC)[reply]

Open proxies[edit]

Hello ^demon, your candidacy statement seems to center about the policy regarding open proxies, and the way the Foundation handles the discussion about open proxies. I have two questions about this.
1. Since you don't mention other issues, do you feel that the policy regarding open proxies is the most (or only?) important issue the Foundation faces?
2. Why do you feel that the issue you are addressing should be solved by the Foundation, instead of by the community?
Thank you for your answers. Fruggo 13:12, 24 June 2007 (UTC)[reply]

A1: I believe there are many issues the Foundation faces--namely funding, copyright issues, credibility. However, I believe our internal policy open proxies is a policy that needs major work and the Foundation is in the place to examine the evidence and potentially reconsider its current stance. ^demon 15:01, 24 June 2007 (UTC)[reply]
A2: I personally think that the community is deadlocked on the issue. I know that on en.wikipedia, anytime the idea of lowering our stance on proxies to a more friendly level is mentioned, there is a block of users who immediately cry foul, say that it's beyond discussion since it's a Foundation policy, and basically halt discussion there. I believe for any progress to be made on this, the Foundation needs to step in and revise their policy; which as I wrote in my statement, I believe is highly flawed. ^demon 15:01, 24 June 2007 (UTC)[reply]


Most Wikipedia users are technically inclined, but usability studies have turned up serious problems for non-geeks, and many of these problemsd remain uncorrected.

Have you read these usability studies? Do you consider them to be important? Would you commission more such studies? How would you implement their results?

Here's an example from just a couple months ago: a journalist working for a major newspaper thought that "there's no way to tell who wrote the entry or how many people contributed to it" until one of his readers corrected him -- he works for the media! How many regular people know how to check an article's contributors? If i might be permitted to opine for a second: the fact that you can view the revisions of an article should be obvious from the design of the webpage, but it's not: "history" is a terrible, non-obvious name for the function.

Put yourself in your parents' shoes: you're reading a page about Thailand that you found through Google, and you see a square that says "history". You click the square expecting to read about the history of Thailand and suddenly you're faced with a long, mysterious list of nonsensical words and numbers. You click the back button. Aaron Swartz gave one of the best summaries of the issue that I've seen:

"The page design the site uses encourages specific actions by making some links clear and prominent. Software functions like categories make certain kinds of features possible. The formatting codes used for things like infoboxes and links determine how easy it is for newcomers to edit those pieces of the site.

All of these things are political choices, not technical ones. It's not like there's a right answer that's obvious to any intelligent programmer. And these choices can have huge effects on the community.


One presentation was by a usability expert who told us about a study done on how hard people found it to add a photo to a Wikipedia page. The discussion after the presentation turned into a debate over whether Wikipedia should be easy to to use. Some...questioned whether confused users should be allowed to edit the site at all -- were their contributions even valuable?

As a programmer, I have a great deal of respect for the members of my trade. But with all due respect, are these really decisions that the programmers should be making?"

How would you solve this problem?

Tlogmer 00:12, 25 June 2007 (UTC)[reply]

A: As a programmer myself, I can clearly empathize with the situation you present above. Unfortunately, most programmers are not necessarily brilliant when it comes to intuitive interfaces and general usability. I personally have never found MediaWiki difficult to use, but I am coming from the biased perspective of being a programmer. After reading the information above, and trying to visualize the site from their perspective, I could see how something as simple as the history tab could confuse a user, much less more intricate things such as images, table syntax or templates. I believe that the software does make good efforts to make the editing of Wikipedia as simple as possible (the edit tool bar helps, I'm sure), but bringing in outside people to help with our usability couldn't hurt, of course. ^demon 06:38, 26 June 2007 (UTC)[reply]

Recruiting expertise[edit]

Danny Wool has proposed replacing the current board with "a professional board consisting of captains of industry and academia" -- presumbaly, web leaders and information academics, etc. Do you agree? What do you think Wikipedia can learn from, for example, professional writers of paper encyclopedias like Britannica? How should the foundation best recruit their advice and put it into practice? Tlogmer 00:12, 25 June 2007 (UTC)[reply]

A: I see advantages and disadvantages to this proposal. While such a Board would present a more visibly strong leadership, I believe it would lack much support from the communities, as they might feel less-than-represented? Perhaps a combination of half the Board being elected from the community, and half being leaders in technology and academia? In either case, a major rewrite of the Foundation's bylaws would have to occur first. ^demon 06:30, 26 June 2007 (UTC)[reply]

Appropriate conduct for Board members[edit]

Recently, in a non-Mediawiki forum, Erik Moeller made the following comments: "Cyde's and Kelly's arguments are on the same level: they are driven by blind hostility, not thoughtful analysis." [5] Do you believe that responding to criticism of one's credentials and conduct as a member of the Board with personal attacks such as these is appropriate for a member of the Board of Trustees? Kelly Martin 00:53, 26 June 2007 (UTC)[reply]

A: Absolutely not, and I'm appalled that a member of the Board would make such candid remarks in such an open forum as that. ^demon

Wikiquote & copyright[edit]

What's your stance regarding Wikiquote and copyrights? As it is, most wikiquotes depend and extensively use fair use content, which is contrary to the philosophy of most other projects. What are your views on this? Should wikiquotes move to only free content? Should resolution on fair use have a special exemption for wikiquote? Should fair use quotes be removed from Wikiquote after deadline for the resolution? drini [es:] [commons:] 16:06, 26 June 2007 (UTC)[reply]

A: WikiQuote is an interesting scenario in regards to our stance on free content, and fair use only when necessary. Well, I believe WikiQuote falls obviously into the latter of the two. Most quotes on the site are--as you mentioned--not free and we are essentially a repository of fair use quotes. Even as much as I believe in the distribution of free content and avoiding fair use if at all possible, I believe our overall mission to provide valuable content to our readers must see this as an exception to making our content free. In all sincerity, an exception to our rules is the only way to make WikiQuote a viable resource. ^demon 11:21, 27 June 2007 (UTC)[reply]


Dear ^demon, talk please about fighting the vandalism. Did you participate in reverting vandals or another forms of antivandal actions? Best regards, Incnis Mrsi 20:36, 26 June 2007 (UTC)[reply]

A: Yes. It was one of my first non-article-editing activities I ever took place in. This is also before I knew about all the various tools (and indeed, before many of them existed, this was in the days when godmode-light still worked), so I did it all by hand, watching recent changes and hoping to beat TawkerBot2 on reverting a vandal. ^demon 11:17, 27 June 2007 (UTC)[reply]

IRC Debate[edit]

Hi, as this seems to get closer to the time that the elections are to start, I thought it would be best to go ahead and attempt to get the unofficial IRC debate a time and a place. By the time analysis on the talk page, the best time for the debate appears to be 1800 UTC, to 1900 UTC. As it would be best for this debate to occur before the elections, June 27 was chosen as the day. I know that this is short notice, but the whole unofficial debate thing was on a very short notice to start with. I hope that you are able to attend. Again the time is 18:00 UTC, June 27, 2007, it will be held at ##wikimedia-debate. Please do note that this debate is unofficial, and you are not required to attend. —— Eagle101 Need help? 20:41, 26 June 2007 (UTC)[reply]

A: I will make ever effort to be there this evening. Note for EST people, that's 2200, or 10pm tonight for us. ^demon 11:18, 27 June 2007 (UTC)[reply]

Donors and scope[edit]

Asked of all candidiates: Okay, I'm not naive so yeah, it follows that large donors will probably get some pull when policies, direction and the scope of the foundation get decided, but what's your take on it all? How far do we bend to satisfy our donors, and to what extent are ideals of the foundation non-negotiable? In five years say, would you expect the foundation to still exist in the same legal fashion as now and assert ownership over the assets it currently has? Steve block 20:43, 26 June 2007 (UTC)[reply]

A: The goals and the ideals of the Foundation are non-negotiable. Period. Full stop. If an organization wishes to donate to us on the condition that we pursue another free endeavor which aligns itself with our goals--as was the case with WikiSpecies, if I remember correctly--then we should of course accept the donation and expand our portfolio of projects. However, if there is even the most remote mis-alignment between a stipulation on the money and our mission, then the organization or company should find a new group to donate to, as their money is no longer welcome here. As far as how the Foundation will look in five years on this aspect, I can only say that I hope it does and does not cave in to corporate pressures. I don't foresee that happening, but it's always a possibility. Let's pray not. ^demon 11:26, 27 June 2007 (UTC)[reply]
Thank you for your answer. Steve block 15:45, 29 June 2007 (UTC)[reply]

What do you do when faced with a difficult decision to take ?[edit]

I saw in the recent irc debate the following question. Would you support releasing the state of the foundation's finances quarterly? Why or why not.. Of course, making such a decision is a matter of board-level policy. Now, the job of the board is also oversight. So, let's imagine the hypothesis that the board made a policy for quarterly release, the staff was asked to provide the statements according to the policy... and in spite of this, the report does not come. As board, you are embarassed. First because the policy is not respected. Second because the community is complaining. And third because, with no financial statements, there is no oversight possible. Please imagine you are facing this situation, reminded the staff once, then twice, then three times, and still no report.

What do you do ?

A: Find new staff, plain and simple. This same logic would apply to a Fortune 500 company who's finance department didn't release their quarterly earnings report; they would be released. As a Board member, I would hold any staff we have to that same high standard of accountability, especially if it's something that directly correlates to a promise to the community. ^demon 03:57, 29 June 2007 (UTC)[reply]

fund raiser and chapters[edit]

do you support to facilitate fundraising by offering a direct link to country specific donation possibilities? an example woulde be medecins sans frontier's donation page. in wikimedia's case the donation page for the year end fundraiser would contain flags, and the links behind the flags would go to the donation page of local chapters, for two reasons:

  1. local law (which donators know and can make use of) strengtens donators feeling, that their donations are used at their will
  2. local tax exemption allows to donate up to 50% more without paying more

--ThurnerRupert 12:02, 28 June 2007 (UTC)[reply]

A: While I don't know the specifics of law in this field, it seems like it would be a very productive idea. If the overall Foundation could earn more money without incurring significant expense increases, I see no reason why anyone would say no. ^demon 03:59, 29 June 2007 (UTC)[reply]

Fair use and unlicensed media/professionalism[edit]

Hello there, this is Mac Davis from, just asking a few quick questions. The first is: Are you more strict or lenient about fair use and licenses in uploads to the wikipedias and sister projects? The second is: What is your opinion on professionalism in the projects? I've seen almost every other candidate specifically mention a need for these two things: strictness and professionalism on the projects and behind the scenes. Do you think this is what Wikipedia should be, or needs more of? If you would like more clarification or I just didn't make any sense ask. I expect a "full answer," of course, without any bullshit or overly vague sound-good phrases like "uphold humanitarian values" I've already voted for only you, congratulations, and have a nice day :) Mac Davis 17:58, 28 June 2007 (UTC)[reply]

A: As the users of know, I am among those people who are very strict in my enforcement of fair use. If it's not legitimate fair use, it's gone, plain and simple. I do feel that fair use has its place, but using it to get a poster of your favorite movie when it adds no encyclopedic value is a complete abuse of the process. In regards to professionalism, I believe it is something we need to see both on and off the Board. We're not just some website with a forum, we're creating free content, most notably a free encyclopedia. That's not a playground, it's not Slashdot, it's a job--albeit unpaid. The Board needs to be held to the same high standards I expect of all contributors, higher even. We need a Board who is not only committed to our values--we do need that--but who is also willing to exhibit the professionalism to run an organization such as this. ^demon 04:04, 29 June 2007 (UTC)[reply]


The committee system has been around for roughly a year and a half now, not counting previous initiatives. Several of the committees are now dormant and some never got off the ground. Some, conversely, have done fairly well.

I know this is a long-standing and groan-inducing topic of debate, but what is your view on the committee system? Do you have ideas for reviving the current committee system or making it more functional? Do you think there is a place in the Foundation, in theory at least, for community-based committees to do some of the day-to-day work or oversee certain areas? Who should the committees report to, ideally? Are there new committees that should be formed, or old ones to be reworked?

Sorry about posting my question(s) so late! -- phoebe 00:40, 29 June 2007 (UTC)[reply]

A: I think this is a fairly simple problem to solve, and quite frankly I don't see why more isn't being done about it. If a committee is dormant or no longer necessary (i.e. they filled a one-time function), then they need to be dissolved. Leaving open committees with no purpose and no activity not only jumbles the organization, it also gives a slightly skewed view of the meta activity of the Foundation. I think committees certainly have their place in the Foundation, and it gives a way for normal users to contribute to the running of the Foundation without being on the Board or working in the office. ^demon 04:08, 29 June 2007 (UTC)[reply]
I assume you meant "why more isn't being done about it"? At any rate, thank you for your reply. I should clarify a bit that some people on the committees [in full disclosure, I am an SPC member] and who worked with the committees thought that some of them were ineffectual when active, as well, so I was wondering if you had any thoughts on general reforms. best, phoebe 18:50, 29 June 2007 (UTC)[reply]
A2: Thanks for the grammar fix. Really misconstrued my answer. In response to your second query, I think that we need to be willing to reform ineffectual committees. If one is not meeting its designed goal, or the scope of what it does changes, then perhaps it needs to be revisited, reformed, or renamed. ^demon 13:50, 30 June 2007 (UTC)[reply]

Free resources[edit]

Wikipedia, being one of the ten most visited sites in internet, has some negotiation power. I believe we should be able to use this power in order to increase both the freedom and quality of the encyclopedia. In example, the board could contact copyright holders of promotional images (places, objects, models, singers, bands, etc), and convince them to release their items under a free license. I have been doing this myself, but I believe the Board could have better chances than a single person, a WikiProject or even a Wikipedia project. What do you think, do you think this could be a priority? And good luck! -- ReyBrujo 18:40, 29 June 2007 (UTC)[reply]

A: Yes, very much so. I suggest reading answer #7 in the section below, as it outlines my feelings on this issue. ^demon 14:13, 30 June 2007 (UTC)[reply]
Thanks for the answer. I would like to hear if you, at this time, have any idea of what the board could do to enhance our free resources. I have suggested press releases, however I would like to know if you think something else could work as well. Thanks again. -- ReyBrujo 21:50, 30 June 2007 (UTC)[reply]

Several questions[edit]

I am asking these exact same questions of you and all your opponents so I can make an apples-to-apples comparison.

  1. Do you think the Wikimedia Foundation should invest in stocks and bonds so that it has a source of income if donations dry up? If so, should its investment strategy be active or passive, diversified or focus, value or growth?
  2. Do you think the Foundation's spending on travel and conferences before it has a long-term source of income is responsible?
  3. Should some of the Foundation's major financial decisions, such as expansion of the paid staff, be subject to referenda of the editors and donors?
  4. The oversight function -- where edits are hidden even from admins -- has legitimate uses, but the potential for misuse is Orwellian. How can abuse be avoided?
  5. Do you believe control over Wikipedia content policy should ultimately rest with the man who created the skeleton of the site, or the editors who create its flesh and blood and/or their elected representatives?
  6. What is your position on freedom of expression in the User namespace?
  7. Where U.S. copyright law unfairly impedes Wikimedia Foundation projects, should the Foundation lobby for the law to be changed? If so, how should it do so without spending money it can't afford?
  8. To what extent is Wikipedia yet reaching the developing world, and what could you do during your term to speed that up?

Seahen 05:37, 30 June 2007 (UTC)[reply]

A1: While I hadn't considered this before, I think it's an interesting possibility to entertain. At the very least, we should not rule it out as an impossibility, provided there would be no stipulations (see my answer above on corporate funding) or potential conflicts of interest. ^demon 14:12, 30 June 2007 (UTC)[reply]
A2: I believe in situations where a person can afford the travel costs themselves, they should be willing to do so. I for one wish I personally had the money to travel for Board meetings, as I would unreservedly foot the bill myself, in an effort to save the Foundation money where possible. However, I think the spending on things such as this are justifiable, but need to be closely monitored. Keeping the lights on is a bit more important than Wikimania, so to speak. ^demon 14:12, 30 June 2007 (UTC)[reply]
A3: No. In all honesty, and no disrespect to the millions of contributors (both financial and content-wise), I do not believe the massive user base is qualified to make financial decisions for the Foundation. If that were not the case, why would we even need a Board? ^demon 14:12, 30 June 2007 (UTC)[reply]
A4: So far we haven't heard of any issues with Oversight abuse. I believe by requiring those with the permission to be identified to the Foundation provides a good stopgap to preventing abuse, in that the Foundation at that point has personal contact information with which to pursue actions, were abuse identified. ^demon 14:12, 30 June 2007 (UTC)[reply]
A5: Yes and no. I believe that the decisions should largely be left to the communities themselves, but if Jimbo wants to step in and make an official decision (as he has done before), I believe he is well within his rights. After all, he did create the website (arguments of the truthfulness of that notwithstanding). ^demon 14:12, 30 June 2007 (UTC)[reply]
A6: I believe users should be allowed more latitude in their userspace than in the other namespaces, but I think that it does need to be more strictly enforced than it is now. A perfect example is people trying to use the user namespace to bypass CSD T1 on enwiki. They essentially say that it's in userspace, so the criteria does not apply. However, anything that is designed to function as a template is a template, regardless of namespace. ^demon 14:12, 30 June 2007 (UTC)[reply]
A7: I believe that the Foundation can do some good in this field, we just simply do not have the funds to do so right now. Give us 5 years and a larger budget, and I believe you'll see the Foundation doing a lot more to promote free content world-wide, not just within our own projects; with instances such as this will become far more common. ^demon 14:12, 30 June 2007 (UTC)[reply]
A8: From what I understand, Wikipedia is reaching the developing world at a surprisingly explosive rate, given the penetration of internet connectivity. Outside of funding broadband expansion in those areas, I don't see much we can do from our end to improve this. ^demon 14:12, 30 June 2007 (UTC)[reply]

Wikinews and building on an unexpected publicity opportunity[edit]

As I would hope you have seen, Wikinews has made a splash in the news as the original non-blog source for the story of a prank edit to w:Chris Benoit's Wikipedia page. Our Alexa rating has skyrocketed, Google news has hundreds of articles that mention - or cite - us. I had planned to sponsor a Writing Contest on Wikinews following these elections - but this seems like too good an opportunity to miss. I've asked a few people to contribute to the prize pot, but most of our local contributors don't have the spare cash.

  • First question, should we do things like this - we've had other competitions in the past and the daily article count has gone up significantly.
  • Second, are you prepared to put your money where our projects are and donate to the prize fund?
  • Third, if you are prepared to donate to the prize pot would you also be prepared to help out as a judge? I feel the impartial position the board should strive to take day to day would be welcome in defining rules and judging a competition. --Brian McNeil / talk 11:19, 30 June 2007 (UTC)
Comment: I've been watching the story, and I have to say I'm very excited seeing how this is all developing. WikiNews is gaining huge amounts of attention and hopefully a huge influx of new contributors and new content.
A1: I think it's a very good idea. I believe anything that can promote the creation of quality free content should be promoted, and if a contest will do it, then by all means let's have a contest. ^demon 14:19, 30 June 2007 (UTC)[reply]
A2: To be honest, I wish I could. I just don't have the money at the moment (being in college really drains your budget, ha ha). If I had the money, I would be one of the first in line to contribute to something like this. ^demon 14:19, 30 June 2007 (UTC)[reply]
A3: I would very much enjoy judging a contest such as this. However, if a pre-requisite to this is being in on the pot, then I'm afraid I have to defer to answer number two. ^demon 14:19, 30 June 2007 (UTC)[reply]

International Symbol of Access[edit]

If elected, would you act to remove the Foundation's ban on the use of the International Symbol of Access and International Symbol for Deafness outside the scope of fair use? If you are unfamiliar with this issue, it boils down to the fact that these symbols may be freely used for their intended purpose but are extremely unlikely to be released under a free license. Because they are internationally recognized symbols, no free equivalent could be created to replace them. There would be no legal risk to either the Wikimedia Foundation or to downstream users if we were to use these symbols in infoboxes to designate handicapped accessible metro stations, Disney rides, etc. I'm not asking for permission to use them in userboxes or the like. I just think that the current Foundation-level policy of lumping them into the "fair use" category is quite detrimental our goals.

There is actually general consensus to make this change on the English Wikipedia. The only thing standing in the way is the Foundation's policy. —Remember the dot 04:02, 1 July 2007 (UTC)[reply]

A: I have read this debate before, and from an outsider's perspective, I honestly don't see why the symbol cannot be used. As it is an internationally recognized symbol, you are right about the lack of ability to create our own version, as it would either A) Fail to be distinct enough as to not be considered a derivative work, or B) Be so substantially different as to no longer convey the correct meaning. This being said, I believe this symbol easily falls within the realm of fair use and should be treated as such, since the international community is unlikely to relicense the symbol under a free license. ^demon 12:36, 6 July 2007 (UTC)[reply]

"Attack site" link bans[edit]

On English Wikipedia, there has been some controversy about whether it is, or ought to be, the policy that linking to so-called "attack sites" against Wikipedia and Wikipedians is to be banned. Some administrators have (overzealously, in some others' opinions) removed links to criticism sites from such places as talk pages, evidence pages for ArbCom cases, and even in a few cases from actual articles where they were being used as a source. I wrote an essay on this issue. What is your opinion? Dtobias 04:04, 1 July 2007 (UTC)[reply]

A: I believe that having reliable sources trumps a link ban. Provided the source is accurate and relevant to the article, it should not be blacklisted; at that point it's restricting valid content. On the issue of removing them from talk pages et all, I think this needs to be closely examined on a case by case basis. Is the link being used for a valid point in discussion, or is it link spam? Essentially, an all-encompassing policy on this is a bad idea from what I can tell, but that careful discretion is needed to see if the link is indeed appropriate. ^demon 12:47, 6 July 2007 (UTC)[reply]

How will you deal with this...[edit]

Whenever I can not find the specific answer to a question in an article I turn to Wikipedia help. In many instances, however, the reply is devoid of thought or knowledge and merely a student's guess to fill blank space on the page as if to say: "Here is my guess. I've done my job. You have received my authoritative response."

Comment: I'm sorry that you've encountered this. Is there some specific question you wish to pose to me about my candidacy? Sorry if I misread something. ^demon 12:33, 6 July 2007 (UTC)[reply]

Single-issue candidacy?[edit]

Apart from your stance on Tor-blocking, what other pressing issues do you believe the WMF need to address? - Ta bu shi da yu 10:53, 4 July 2007 (UTC)[reply]

A: I think the issues of enforcement of our media usage policy (in regards to fairuse) needs a strong evaluation on how "in compliance" the various wikis are. I think its high time we began a more rigorous enforcement of the policy (as is happening on the English Wikipedia) across the Board. In addition, I believe the Foundation needs to strive for higher levels of accountability from its editors in terms of posting potentially defamatory information. ^demon 12:18, 6 July 2007 (UTC)[reply]

How to deal with consensus of uninformed editors[edit]

Sometimes a popular opinion is contradicted by scientific evidence. Majority of editors stick to the popular opinion (which is also theirs) and vote to delete all pages that contradict their opinion (intrinsic weakness of democracy). As a result Wikipedia propagates old prejudices. How would you solve this problem?

Supporting evidence for the problem: Once I wrote several pages on Einsteinian physics (I'm just doing my PhD on it) and all of them were deleted by consensus of editors (9:1) who preferred their old high school physics :-). Unfortunately their high school physics was invalidated about 100 years ago by Einstein. Yet till today one can read as the first statement of Wikipedia's Gravitation: "Gravitation is a natural phenomenon by which all objects attract each other". According to contemporary science objects don't attract each other they just look like they do. Similarly as the Sun looks like running around the Earth while it doesn't and there exists a simple explanation in both cases. So I just explained the simple Einsteinian mechanism of this apparent attraction, since I thought it may be interesting to Wikipedia's readers. All those pages were deleted by consensus of editors cooling my enthusiasm for Wikipedia. So the issue of propagating old prejudices, because of democratic process involved in editing, seems to be very real in Wikipedia. JimJast 14:16, 4 July 2007 (UTC)[reply]

A: While I understand your frustration, on the English Wikipedia there are several policies that must be upheld at all times when writing articles. No original research, reliable sources and verifiability are all things that must exist in an article. While you may know a lot of information in a field--and that is good--we can't know that for sure, because we don't know who you are. That being said, when writing an article, it needs to cite credible third party sources to back up the information. It's perfectly okay to say "The sun is really a monster with thirty arms and a green head which spits out the sunshine we see daily," provided you have reliable sources (such as an academic journal, or a published research study) to back up this information--although in this case, it'd be impossible, I was just using it as an example. ^demon 12:42, 6 July 2007 (UTC)[reply]
The policy is clear but unfortunetely it doesn't work when over 99.9% of editors don't accept Einstein as a reliable source. They are biased in favor of Newton whom they know from their high schools. According to them their "knowledge" contradicts Einstein's. That's why a cultural prejudice is a tough issue. JimJast 18:00, 6 July 2007 (UTC)[reply]
Comment: Without specific diffs about this situation, I'm afraid I can't really comment too heavily, as I'm not actively aware of individual scenarios of it happening. ^demon 00:31, 7 July 2007 (UTC)[reply]
You had a quote from Wikipedia's Gravitation: Gravitation is a natural phenomenon by which all objects attract each other. Doesn't it look to you like pre-Einsteinian gravitation? And shouldn't we learn from Wikipedia what is the actual state of affairs? So why the page explaining why according to Einstein all objects look as if they attracted each other while they don't, explaining it at a high school student level, were deleted by consensus 9:1 (suggesting that it was not Einstein's discovery but mine :-) and why the error in original "Gravitation" page couldn't be fixed, because of the resistance of the same consensus? Not to mention the problem of removing cultural prejudice page by which Wikipedia propagates a belief that there are no cultural prejudices despite that it keeps alive an almost a cetury old cultural prejudice about "gravitational attraction" itself. JimJast 13:46, 7 July 2007 (UTC)[reply]
The problem is even worse because of snowballing effect: now only a few specialists around the world understand Einstein's discovery and know why gravitational force is not an attractive but an inertial force. Unfortunately, since they don't have time to bother with popularizations, even a majority of physics professors don't understand the mechnism of gravitational force. And since, as Landau once said "it is difficult to explain something that one doesn't understand himself", this ignorance of physics professors is reflected in ignorance of their studens if they aren't specializing in gravitation (over 99% of all physicists). This way if Wikepedia is going to act as it does the whole generations of physicists won't understand gravitation despite the full knowledge of it existing already for almost a century. The sad thing is that Einstein's discovery can't be popularized in Wikipedia so that any high school student could understand it in a few minutes and then dedicate her time to more interesting things instead of thinking that science is too difficult for her to understand. JimJast 14:45, 7 July 2007 (UTC)[reply]

Majority biasing the facts[edit]

12:33, 6 July 2007 (UTC)

Dear Candidate,

it is an increasing frustration to me that a supermajority of wikipedians has apparently decided to defend their common view of the world as the only truth. All minority views are blocked. This goes so far as to not allow facts, which are acknowledged to be true, on article pages when they are seemingly at odds with this view. This tends to make the articles POV and destroys the knowledge and hard work brought together by many, many editors in this unique enterprise. It makes wikipedia a very unreliable and biased source of information. Subjects are e.g. terrorist attacks. Will you make an effort to change this trend? It is imortant to us that the guidelines are upheld fairly and equally, and not just to defend a single viewpoint.


Comment: Is there any way you can give me some specific instances of this happening? If I'm reading this correctly, my answer in the above section may be of relevance to you. Thanks, ^demon 12:49, 6 July 2007 (UTC)[reply]


How would you deal with people using Wikimedia for spambot posted articles e.g "PENIS ENLARGEMENT HERE!!" OR "GAMBLE AT 888POKER.COM" etc. Spamming is a tough thing to deal with, do you allow advertising or not?? should there be advertisements on wikimedia sites?>? --Shaynarbs3 13:47, 6 July 2007 (UTC)[reply]

A: I don't believe this is an issue for the Board to deal with, as spam is dealt with on a by-project basis, some being more strict than others in their blocking policies on it. However, in regards to advertising, I believe that advertising in and of itself is a bad idea for Wikimedia wikis, as I explained above. Reading up there might give some further insight. ^demon 15:56, 6 July 2007 (UTC)[reply]


Please contact me at - thanks. This is important! --Norwegianoxford6060 13:50, 6 July 2007 (UTC)[reply]

Comment: I've been receiving a very large amount of spam from someone e-mailing me as the list coordinator for mediation-en-l. Given that this user is obviously a single-purpose-account, I am not e-mailing them. If they wish to contact me for legitimate purposes, they can do so by using the "E-mail this user" link on the left hand bar. ^demon 15:58, 6 July 2007 (UTC)[reply]

Who Writes Wikipedia?[edit]

Late question: do you have any thoughts on this essay (and if so, what)? It suggests that Jimbo formed a radically false picture of anonymous users and contributions to Wikipedia. This may have far-reaching implications. Dan(pedia) 20:56, 6 July 2007 (UTC)[reply]

A: I read it and I have to say I found it very intriguing, but not at all surprising. We've long known that anonymous contributors are a valuable source of information to the project (which is why any proposal to eliminate them is always shot down immediately). In regards to Jimbo forming a radically false picture, I think he simply looked at it differently. If you look simply at numbers of edits, of course the most active contributors contribute the most, it logically follows. However, if you look at it the way the author of the essay did, then you see why he came at the result he did. It's not that either of them are wrong, merely that they looked at two different sets of data and came to two different--yet perfectly valid--results. As far as having far-reaching implications, I don't honestly see that. I believe the contributions to the sites will continue much in the fashion they always have...anonymous users contributing raw material, with the dedicated ones cleaning it up, sourcing it, and making it easier to read--in addition to the tasks of "running the place" so to speak. ^demon 00:43, 7 July 2007 (UTC)[reply]
That was one part of a longer essay. The author points out that our format discourages people from editing (though as a semi-nerd I found this surprising), and that programmers have questioned the wisdom of making the sites easier to use. I assume this stems from a dismissive attitude toward anonymous users and a belief that stopping vandalism outweighs the loss of contributions, since without this assumption it obviously hurts the mission. Requiring 400 edits in order to vote seems like a no-brainer if anonymous users do nothing vital to the survival of Wikipedia, less so if you know the truth. Even technical decisions like requiring captchas in order to post "new" external links seem faintly problematic if Eloi users make a large wiki project possible. Such actions presumably discourage people from joining the conversation and encourage the view that the foundation does not want their contributions. Dan(pedia) 20:00, 7 July 2007 (UTC)[reply]
Comment: A very interesting premise indeed. We must watch how this pans out in years to come. ^demon 21:02, 7 July 2007 (UTC)[reply]

A Fairer Voting System[edit]

Would you support the use of choice voting in the next Board Elections?

Choice voting protects majority rule while providing for the fair representation of minority views. Voters rank the candidates 1, 2, 3, and so on, in order of preference. If your top choice either is not elected or already has enough votes to win a seat, your vote goes to your next choice. No vote is wasted, and all viewpoints are represented. Choice voting would drastically reduce the number of wasted votes.

Choice voting can be used for single or multiple position elections. It is used for national elections in a number of countries including the Republic of Ireland. It is also used by a wide variety of organsations such as students' unions, charities, trade unions, universities, hospital trusts and housing associations. Choice voting is already used to elect the board of Nominet UK.

Choice voting is also called preference voting or wikipedia:single transferable vote (STV)

John Cross 16:59, 7 July 2007 (UTC)[reply]

A: If the communities and the election committee agree to it, I see no reason why not. It would require some changes to how we do things now, but if it would produce a more effective result then by all means lets try it. I personally have no objections to different formats, provided the community supports it as well. ^demon 21:07, 7 July 2007 (UTC)[reply]