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new talk[edit]

The Wikipedia policy process[edit]

I have taken the opportunity to "be bold" and rewritten some material on Wikipedia:Policies and guidelines#How are policies decided?. Because you have demonstrated interest in this subject, I wanted to call it to your attention and solicit your input. If you have any improvements to make on what I have written, feel free, and if you agree with my assertion that unwritten policies based on established practice should be documented, I encourage you to document such policies as you feel appropriate. --Michael Snow 22:55, 29 Jun 2004 (UTC)

Thank you for your response, I appreciate the way in which you consistently address issues in a thoughtful, considered fashion. I have made a more detailed response on my talk page, to keep it in the same place as the points I'm responding to. If you want to continue the discussion, I would ask that we have it there, but of course you are free to consider the conversation over and move on to other projects. --Michael Snow 18:08, 30 Jun 2004 (UTC)

Heated words[edit]

Appreciate your words of caution UC, and agree that Heph is a valuable contributor in many ways. There comes a point however when flouting policy can't be covered up by simply saying 'oh, he's just got a short fuse'. His actions bring the structures that we have for dispute resolution (ie the Arbitration Committee, current policy) into disrepute by continuing to set the precident that a sufficiently senior sysop need not pay any attention to them. It is hard to insist that newer users follow established practice when this is the example being set. I seriously believe that the way he is choosing to address this is causing a significant part of the conflict that he is complaining about, and that his actions fuel bad behaviour from trolls. I'd appreciate your advice. Mark Richards 14:42, 6 Jul 2004 (UTC)

I don't believe Heph can be said to be "flouting policy" because policy is not well defined. While there is some vocal opposition to almost any block, this is not indicative of community consensus as a whole. Regarding the formal dispute resolution structures, these are new institutions that are, on the whole, still struggling. I don't think Heph is doing anything to undermine them. Indeed, User:MyRedDice, among the more active AC members, has been encouraging sysops to take a more active role in dealing with clearcut cases, which is exactly what Heph is doing.
I would add that several AC members are on good enough terms with Heph that they would likely have a word with him privately if they felt he were truly compromising their mission.
Based on a lengthy period of observation of trolls in many forums, I do not believe whatsoever that "do not feed the trolls" is a useful policy. The only thing that fuels bad behavior from trolls is tolerating their presence. The only thing that prevents and mitigates bad behavior from trolls is denying them a voice by erecting barriers to their participation. c.f. Sharkey
UninvitedCompany 15:17, 6 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Thank UC, as you know, I disagree with your thoughts on how to deal with trolls. I think that we should focus on users who are compromising content, and ignore users who have irritating things on their user page if they are not causing trouble. The options for how this plays out seem to be:

1. Do nothing, unless the users compromises the content or makes personal attacks etc. The annoying user page stays the way it is, hardly anyone sees it. It falls to obscurity.

2. Enter into an edit war over the contents, blanking it, arguing with the user over it, stirring up a hornets nest in areas with at best unclear (I think the policy is clear, and this is in breach, but whatever) policy. Probably at some stage the user will respond by blanking Heph's page (something that seems a frequent occurance). By choosing this fight, Heph is encouraging trolling. Bans and blocks are not effective, they are easy to circumvent. A cursory glance at Heph's userpage history shows this. By choosing to fight this in this way, he has already lost, since he is giving oxygen to a fight he can't 'win'.

I'm not wanting to attack Heph, I know he is acting in good faith, but I strongly feel that what he is doing is damaging, not least to him. Your advice is appreciated. Mark Richards 16:34, 6 Jul 2004 (UTC)

I don't see how having inflammatory material on a user page of a user created for the purpose is any different than the same material on a project page or article page. As such, the response should be the same, that is, the inappropriate content should be removed.
You are just as much to blame for the conflict with Heph because, had you chosen to support him with the same enthusiasm and tenacity that you're employing to undermine him, this would have been settled long ago. By choosing to support trolls over users like Heph, you're encouraging trolling far more than Heph is.
Heph has chosen to do a good deal of thankless work in repelling many forms of vandalism, and has incurred the enemity of many vandals. This in no way reflects badly upon Heph.
Tell me what communities you have participated in that have been successful in repelling trolls by deciding not to feed them. I myself have never seen it happen and stand ready to learn from the example of others.

UninvitedCompany 18:59, 6 Jul 2004 (UTC)

I think the difference between controversial text on one's user page and on article pages is clear, one is damaging to the process of building an encyclopedia, the other is irrelevant. I actually don't believe that anything would be settled by removing material that we don't like from user pages and banning users. Heph's user page history shows what the result of this is, further embattlement and trolling. Better to let people have their say and move on than to have them vandalise and attack because they feel they have no other outlet. I agree that Heph has done much to try to repel vandals, and salute him for his tireless effort, but I don't beleive he has been particularly effective, quite the contrary. Mark Richards 19:08, 6 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Gedday UC, may I join this thread? (thanks UC, for that note on my talk page by the way) Well I have little experience in other internet communities, but I have more experience than I ever wanted in dealing with people who feel aggrieved. In my previous life I dealt with patients, and the families of patients, that felt their hospital care was substandard. The fastest way to calm them down, without any doubt, is to let them have their say. Trying to prevent people that feel aggrieved having their say is counter-productive. An adolescent rant on a user talk page is pretty harmless really unless its profane, racist, slanderous or otherwise illegal. But the real problem here is the lack of policy. As far as I can tell, Heph thinks he’s the loan ranger, and Mark thinks he’s Batman. What we need is some rules for these sorts of decisions! Erich 00:59, 7 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Agreed. Never really thought of myself as Batman, although I must confess, it is tempting. The tights, the car, the tights... Actually, as long as it was Tim Burton's, not the campy 60s version, I'd be fine... ;) Mark Richards 01:02, 7 Jul 2004 (UTC)


For preserving my strikethrough of personal attacks. I'm leaving town (see my user page :-) or I'd do mroe to pursue this -- this anonymous user is making very clear death threats (he claims they aren't because he's only predicting users will commit suicide after he sues them and takes all their money and sends them to prison....a real adult, in other words), and he needs to be stopped somehow. This is the sort of thing that loses us editors who become genuinely frightened, and even though this little troll doesn't scare me at all, I worry about newer users who have to confront him. If you come up with some ideas for dealing with him, I really hope you'll pursue them. As I said, I'd start balls rolling, but I'm out the door. :-) Good luck, Jwrosenzweig 21:30, 7 Jul 2004 (UTC)

I blocked him, though I imagine he'll be back. Enjoy your time away. UninvitedCompany 21:34, 7 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Just so you are aware, on 21:24, 7 Jul 2004 I reverted vandalism to your user page by I just want to be sure you noticed it.--DanielCD 21:41, 7 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Another thank-you[edit]

Sometimes in discussions here, I find myself wanting to say much more than would be appropriate at the time. I started writing essays as a way of getting those thoughts out without hijacking the thread. Glad you liked what I've written, and thanks for the compliment. Isomorphic 03:31, 8 Jul 2004 (UTC)

btw have you seen Wikipedia:Trolling poll?

Driven off by trolls?[edit]

Hi UC, I'm not for a moment trying to dismiss the damage caused by discriminatory slurs or personal attacks, but it seems that this sort of thing, along with other vandalism and personal attacks, is covered under existing policy. There is no need for more powers to deal with this since these users can already be banned for their behaviour. I brought up the Missing Wikipedians since it was listed on one of the 'Troll polls' that seem to be proliferating right now. Mark Richards 18:16, 14 Jul 2004 (UTC)

That same user kept on restoring his same problematic edits even when other editors reverted his changes and advised him to stop on the talk pages. I was pretty certain that there was no stopping this user until the pages were protected, so I doubt that there was a polite way to stop him. Also, if I were to make a guess, I'd say that this user was not a new user but a sock puppet. As an anon (w/ a 64... IP address) and User:Trey Stone, this user seemed to know his way around the site a bit too well. 172 16:47, 20 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Thanks for the advice. I did make a request for the page to be protected (on Wikipedia:Requests for page protection)-- perhaps after waiting too long; it's not up now because it was deleted by another user after the pages were deleted. 172 20:42, 20 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Thanks for your response. No worries about unprotecting Counterculture. I couldn't agree more with most of your comments about the AC - I think you've hit the issues with it exactly.

I wish the positions would be put up for election, anyway. Who would one have to contact about that?

Hopefully the whole Dealing with disruptive users thing will set some stronger guidelines, which will then help the AC. But I'm hoping some reform of the AC will be included in that new proposal.

I don't know that formal mediation can't work - Open Directory Project (my introduction to Wikipedia) is one example. I think that predated the formal system, but it would've fallen under that had it happened later. Ambivalenthysteria 06:55, 21 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Unprotecting User pages[edit]

Hi, I've unprotected the user talk page I protected yesterday and replied on my talk page. Angela. 20:54, Jul 21, 2004 (UTC)

Not meaning to butt into a private conversation here, but I was taken slightly aback by my reading of something you said on this subject, so I wanted to check I'd understood correctly. As I understand it, you are justifying unprotecting User/Talk Pages which had previously been vandalised and hence protected on the grounds that there had been no recent vandalism to those pages. Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't that akin to unlocking the stable door because the horse has recently walked through it? I would draw your attention to User talk:Dori#user page unprotected which appears to have been re-vandalised within a very short time of your lifting of the protection, unless I have totally misread the situation. Please unpuzzle me. --Phil | Talk 13:34, Jul 22, 2004 (UTC)

I agree with your point about IRC, particularly in using it to claim that a consensus was reached. Such claims are often misleading and based on a few people out of the 100 or so in the channel giving some opinion. The way such discussions are cited on Wikipedia make it seem like everyone was agreeing. Also, an alternative way to block IPs but filter out known good users is a much needed feature. Angela. 19:13, Jul 22, 2004 (UTC)

I had asked Angela to protect the page on IRC and even posted a note on the talk page for protection. I don't know what to feel about UninvitedCompany's remarks, other than just general anger. Mike H 00:53, Jul 24, 2004 (UTC)
This and other comments I have received are reinforcing a notion I once held that all reputation on Wikipedia is negative. I'm making an honest attempt to do some housekeeping, and to discourage unnecessary use of admin abilities.

You are mistaken my user page was recently vandalized, 17:56 Jul 8, 2004 to be precise, and my protection was within wikipolicy. The user ( who vandalized my page was an anon IP sock puppet of the banned User:Mr. Treason. Mr. Treason has a history of vandalizing the user pages of wikipedians who revert his vandalism, in this case I reverted his vandalism at WhisperToMe's talk page. This history of vandalism, the fact that he uses an AOL proxy server, making him virtually impossible to block, and the nature of what he said [1]. Another of Mr.Treason's AOL proxy servers ( vandalized my talk page at 19:23, Jul 10, 2004. He would have most likely vandalized my user page again had it not been protected. I am certain that it was the same user because vandalism at my talk page [2] is the same style as that at WhisperToMe's talk page [3]

I would appreciate it in the future if you would discuss your concerns about the protection of my userpage before unilaterally unprotecting it. Thanks. -JCarriker 12:33, Jul 23, 2004 (UTC)

Apology accepted, and I do agree with you in principle. However, attacks against me personally don't bother me but my user page was coopoted to slam the following groups:
  • Homosexuals
  • Victims of Domestic Abuse
  • Baptists
  • African-Americans
  • Southerners(United States)
  • Native Americans
  • Rape Victims
  • United States Military
  • Muslims
  • Women
  • Africans
  • Jews
  • Disney
  • Scientologists
  • Palestinians
  • Chinese
  • Germans
  • Vietnamese
  • AIDS and other STD Victims
  • Poles
  • Italians
I believe this to be most of the groups that he used offensive langiage against; I cannot allow my page to be abused in that way, and so I will be reprotecting it. I will offer support to your efforts to bring AOL to task over the problem. Although the vandalism on my talk page did not include a death threat; I believe that it is one of the worst attacks Mr. Treason has made. Perhaps because he used such vile language against such a diverse group of people, it may be useful evidence in any argument you make. I would also like to see user pages become editable, only by the user the page is about. With the possible exception of sysops, who could still award barnstars, banned user msgs., ect.
-JCarriker 05:35, Jul 25, 2004 (UTC)

What is the point of unprotecting user pages? No one except the user should be editing those (unless the user invites edits), and that's been a long standing tradition. The obvious exceptions are due to trolls and obnoxious users. I simply do not want my page to be vandalized and show up on google or one of the mirrors. Likewise I do not want the history of the page to contain anything I don't like. I am reprotecting my page, unless you have a good reason, please respect my wishes as that page has nothing to do with the project itself. Dori | Talk 22:51, Jul 23, 2004 (UTC)

re unprotection of user pages[edit]

I did a database query a week or so ago to check for protected pages not listed at Wikipedia:Protected page and found quite a number. Many of them were user pages. I checked further and found that quite a number of user pages that are protected (including both those listed at Wikipedia:Protected page and those that are not listed there) have no history of vandalism at all.

I believe that protected pages, in general, are harmful and are detrimental to the spirit of the project.

I believe that user pages belonging to administrators and protected by their "owners", merely as a convenience to them, or out of the highly un-wiki desire to control the google cache, are particularly problematic because it comes off as a perk of adminship, since non-administrators can't do this. Non-admins can request that their user page be protected, and sometimes do so, but then they can't edit it themselves.

Most of the user pages I have unprotected have no history of vandalism at all, though some have non-vandlism edits that the user they "belong" to didn't like. A few may have had some vandalism a long time ago (over a year) since I didn't check the history back more than a year.

I believe that it is appropriate to protect user pages temporarily to stop repeat vandalism, just as is done with article pages. And there are a few user pages, like User:Hephaestos, that are targets of such frequent vandalism that it, regrettably, makes sense to leave them protected indefinitely. But in most cases, vandalism should just be reverted, as is done on article pages.

I have had my own user page vandalised. The vandalism was reverted. No big deal.

If the project, as a matter of policy, wishes to disallow editing of user pages except by the user they are attached to, that change should be made in the Mediawiki software so that it will apply uniformly to admins and non-admins.

And no, there is no "long standing tradition" of user pages "belonging" to the users they serve; quite the contrary. It is only in the last year or so that this attitude has developed, and only since last September that user pages have been widely protected.

UninvitedCompany 03:32, 24 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Personal attacks on the mailing list[edit]

I am sending the following message to multiple users I'd strongly appreciate it if fair-minded users responded to the latest string of baseless personal attacks on the mailing list ([4], [5], [6], [7]). Stan Shebs, Fred Bauder, and RickK started attacking me ferociously since it came up on the mailing list that one of the articles I'd written was featured, Russian constitutional crisis of 1993.

I know that I have made mistakes on Wikipedia; but those mistakes were not motivated by anything other than a passion to make Wikipedia into a serious, professional, quality encyclopedia, not a dumping ground for ungrammatical POV rubbish and fiction. This is making it harder and harder for me to be as efficacious as a user as I want to be. (The distorted impression of my work that these attacks engender are at the root of quite a large number of conflicts on Wikipedia.) That's why I feel that they should finally be thoroughly discredited. 172 05:56, 25 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Is Wikipedia a cult?[edit]

Hello UninvitedCompany, do you think that Wikipedia should be on the list of purported cults? Please read this article Wikipedia:controversial issues. Thanks in advance Andries 14:54, 25 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Thanks for the encouragement. The influence of the mailing list does seem to be on the wane. But Jimbo still pays very close attention to it. So, I'm still worried about what it's implicitly stating if I don't respond to these attacks, especially Stan's. 172 04:02, 26 Jul 2004 (UTC)


I must say I was surprised by your comment on User talk:Mike Church. Meatball:ExpandScope is listed as an anti-pattern, I think rightly so. I don't see what a threat of taking the issue to Mike's school accomplished, as they'd be unlikely to do much of anything about it. Mike's behavior here has been annoying and duplicitous, but he doesn't offer death threats or run vandalbot attacks or do anything else drastic.

Concerning Ambition itself: I've suspected from early on that the game is much more obscure than Mike makes it sound. It's been published in one issue of a magazine, but that's the only verifiable evidence that anyone has heard of the game other than Mike and a few friends. If being in one issue of a magazine is sufficient grounds for inclusion on Wikipedia, we're setting the bar rather low. Isomorphic 05:40, 29 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Requests for comment/[edit]

Hi. I've created Wikipedia:Requests for comment/ (Keith Wigdor). I saw that you tried talking to this user on his talk page about his edits, and I was wondering if you'd want to certify the dispute. Quadell (talk) 17:29, Jul 29, 2004 (UTC)

Commenting now because I don't want you to think I'm ignoring you :-)[edit]

I've just been considering your comments about anti-Christian sentiment and trying to sort out what to say. I do agree about its being a problem here, or at least a prevalent condition I find troubling. Many are open about their dislike or disdain for Xianity with few consequences, if any. The few who arrive showing dislike or disdain for just about any other system of belief get hounded out pretty effectively. Not that I'm interested in getting a lot of bigoted Christians in here, but their absence, in light of the many other openly biased editor types here, is a little telling.

What's sadder, I think, is that the most openly Christian editors get ignored. I am in awe of the dialogue that Mkmcconn and Wesley maintain on religious article talk pages (also Ihcoyc (Smerdis of Tlon), BoNoMoJo, Hawstom, Visorstuff, and several others I can't recall right now). Talk:Mormonism and Christianity is a beautiful example of wiki at work -- intelligent people with real disagreements developing amazing amounts of respect for each other in spite of their ideological differences. And yet I think most Wikipedians would not recognize any of the names on that list as being "major players" here (although I hope secretly that I am very wrong about this). I do what I can to call attention to what I consider a major achievement on their parts, but I don't do enough, and there seems to be little interest in the community at large to recognize that work. I don't think these editors are attacked and looked down on -- I think they're ignored and marginalized. And I wonder if that isn't worse in some ways.

And then editors like myself don't know what to do with our faith -- it's important to me, and I don't want to hide it from others. But I often feel as though it is an unwelcome guest.

Long and the short of it -- I agree with you whole-heartedly. And I'd join your club if I thought it would help. :-) But maybe I should just do what I can to continue to recognize and thank editors for rising above anti-Christian rhetoric, and to recognize and thank Christian (or other religious) editors who do work that goes otherwise unlauded. If you have more ideas about this problem (its causes, its effects, or how we can fix it), I'd love to hear them anytime. Thanks for your note, and keep raising the level of discourse around here -- I like it. :-) Jwrosenzweig 23:37, 29 Jul 2004 (UTC)

P.S. I've answered the questions you posed to AC candidates. Thank you for endorsing me prior to my addressing them, but please look my answers over -- if they make you reconsider at all, I won't hold it against you at all should you change your endorsements. Thanks for the boost to my confidence in any case. Jwrosenzweig

Just to make sure you see them -- a couple of things for you to read (very brief) at User talk:Jwrosenzweig, one from Mark Richards, and then one from me. Also, as noted in my comment on that talk page, I've taken your excellent advice and shared something about my faith at my user page. I wonder if you'd look it over and tell me your reactions -- do I seem too defensive? Not excited enough about my faith? Too politically correct? Too vague? Obviously in some ways it's going to strike some people not quite right, but I'd like a reaction from somebody, anyway, if it's going on the masthead. :-) Thanks for getting my mind moving on this topic -- a good thing, and long overdue. Jwrosenzweig 22:00, 2 Aug 2004 (UTC)


Yes, I am back. I too have a renewed outlook an appreciation of the wikipedia community. I do remember your old user name, however I'm not sure if you were on my good side, or my bad side in the past. There were certainly a lot of people on my bad side in the past, haha. In any case, I hope that any bad feelings, if they existed in the past can be left behind in the wiki spirit of cooperation. I'm glad to see that I was not forgotten so quickly. I'm not sure what impact I left on the community, but I hope it was positive. It's funny, I used to make a big deal about vandalism. Now, I don't, and it doesn't bother me. I find some vandalism here and there every once in a while. I take the necessary action to fix it, and then I let it go. It's much nicer, and it certainly feels like vandals have less of an impact when I don't make a big deal about it. I figure that the average vandal doesn't effect a page for very long, and so it really doesn't have any impact on the wikipedia as a whole. I hope that we will be able to get some sort of version label system in the future to be able to label "Stable" versions of articles. Once this happens, I think the effect of vandals will be all but diminished. Anyway, enough of my rant. Thanks for welcoming me back, I'm glad I'm still appreciated. マイケル 17:24, Aug 6, 2004 (UTC)

User:JCarriker Unprotected[edit]

I thought, given your interest in the subject of protect user pages, you would like to know that there has not been any recent vandalism to any of my user subpages or talk page and have decided to unprotect my user page. -JCarriker 20:25, Aug 21, 2004 (UTC)

Kenneth Alan[edit]

Kenneth Alan's case is now in arbitration. See Wikipedia:Requests for arbitration/Kenneth Alan. You may wish to add comment to Wikipedia:Requests for arbitration/Kenneth Alan/Evidence Mintguy (T) 14:14, 22 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Mr. Grinch[edit]

I noticed that you responded to this user (actually, User:33451) at Wikipedia talk:Blocking policy. It probably will not surprise you that this user exhibits the classic hallmarks of users whose intent is to disrupt Wikipedia. I have started an RfC listing for him and would appreciate your support if you feel so inclined. Since the policy basis for dealing with such cases is not fully clear, I have tried to propose a creative solution for this particular situation, and hope that maybe this can lead us toward better models for dealing with such problems in the future. --Michael Snow 05:44, 25 Aug 2004 (UTC)