Yes, there are many rules. Yes, they have arisen because of the need felt
by some. It is totally obvious that these rules are created with the "best
intentions". Given the state of play these rules are not analysed for their
effect particularly not for their side effects.

The rules and the consensus associated with them are produced by an
in-crowd that is either directly affected because they get a result that
they seek because it enables them to manage whatever in the way they see
fit or they are in it because they made a career out of it. The
participation in these processes is low and consensus may be defined by a
functionary who has an interest in the result. It is true that there are
too few people involved in applying these rules but given the toxicity
involved and the power politics it is quite obvious for me that I keep an
arm length's distance as much as I can help it. My problem is that I seek
ways to share the information we have and seek mechanisms to share more
widely. I care passionately about this and the best personal reply is a ban
or a rejoinder that it is always the same thing I bring up. Even though
arguments have an effect in that they help change the models I propose I
seldom hear arguments probably because they expose the weaknesses in the
way "we do things".

When we are reminded that the rules are an impediment to joining our
projects as a volunteer. The best answer there is "because". The problem is
that "because" is not good enough because there are too few people
maintaining the texts, the data we hold. We do not seek mechanisms that
help all of us maintain known basic information. There are two options to
do more; it is to be smart at what we do, automate where we can or seek
more people. When we automate our way out of a problem, the existing biases
are maintained and get solidified. When this is noted, it is already even
more problematic even more difficult to change.

The consequence for me is that a different perspective to mitigate what
ails us is needed. The primary objective is and remains that we share in
the sum in the information that is available to us. This in the best way
possible to us. For me the sense of superiority of Wikipedians is a serious
impediment in achieving results. So to gain a foothold we should break down
things that will help us improve and things that will help us expand. Let
me explain this with an example that helps us improve: For winners of the
George Polk Award there is a list
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_George_Polk_Award_winners> on the
English Wikipedia. It has over five hundred entries. It consists of blue
and red links. There are many false friends in both the blue and red links;
a reference is made to the wrong person or the person exist under a
different spelling/name. The winners are being added to Wikidata by me to
demonstrate the effect of a curated list. The differences between "my
Listeria list"
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User%3AGerardM%2FGeorge_Polk_Award> and the
Wikipedia list are something I am willing to resolve when I know the result
is structural. It will be structural when, not noticed by readers or
uninterested Wikipedia editors all links are associated with Wikidata
items. We can expand our information provision from that for red links; we
can show data structured to be informative. We can even generate texts when
we so choose but that is politically hardly possible given that the
"dissemination of the knowledge we have" is not a priority by the Wikipedia
powers that be.

When information is shared among multiple Wikipedias, the benefits becomes
more pronounced. I have an interest in the Ottoman Empire and added
information for Sultans and Grand Viziers in the past. This query
brings the data together. It shows Sultans and their Grand Viziers. (Thank
you for the query Jheald). This query can be the basis for information in
every Wikipedia. Given the current interest in Turkey and regaining access
for the Turkish Wikipedia, improving data about the Ottoman Empire is
something to explore. I learned by adding this information that the Catalan
Wikipedia covers more information about the Ottoman Empire than the
English. I learned that because of the many spellings for these people it
is not trivial to add information that is consistent over all the
Wikipedias. I expect that there is room for improvement.

To get back to the topic of the track. There is a need for change. Many
changes, like the one I propose, can start very low level with little or no
visibility. One major benefit is that we will cooperate more because that
is the only way whereby we can even attempt to share the sum of all
knowledge let alone the easier objective of the sum of the knowledge,
information that is available to us. When we do, arguments like "lets ditch
Wikidata wholesale" become impossible; they are as silly as "lets ditch

As to spend our way out of the problem; there is not enough money to waste
when we insist on maintaining problematic premises

On 11 March 2018 at 05:55, Pine W <wiki.p...@gmail.com> wrote:

> Hi Zubin,
> I'd like to respond to this in multiple ways.
> 1. Yes, there are lots of rules and guidelines with varying degrees of
> clarity and authority. This seems to me to be an understandable outcome of
> a bottom-up process for developing many of Wikipedia's rules and
> guidelines. I think that many of those rules and guidelines were created
> with good intentions, and the complex nature of an encyclopedia requires
> considerable thought being invested in the encyclopedia's structure.
> 2. However, the maintenance, coordination, organization, and harmonization
> of the guidelines and rules is difficult with the diffuse nature of
> Wikipedia and its community. A Wikipedia community, such as English
> Wikipedia or German Wikipedia, could by consensus delegate some
> responsibility to a committee for one or more of these functions. If a
> community wanted to make such a delegation, there would also need to be
> people who have the time, skills, and willingness to execute the role well.
> A chronic problem with Wikipedia communities is that we have far greater
> need that we can possibly fill with our limited human resources.
> 3. If we move up a level of abstraction to consider "user friendliness", of
> which the rules and guidelines are one aspect, we probably can make
> improvements, although again we are limited by human resource constraints
> (and also by financial constraints). I am working on a long term project to
> develop training resources for English Wikipedia, Commons, and Wikidata. I
> hope that these resources will decrease the steepness of the learning
> curve. I believe that similar work is already happening for Italian
> Wikipedia and German Wikipedia, and that at least one other person is
> working on improving the documentation for Visual Editor on English
> Wikipedia.
> 4. I think that in-context help for Wikipedia and its sister projects could
> be very beneficial. However, the Wikimedia Foundation is not Google,
> Microsoft, Facebook, Amazon, or Apple. WMF does not have dozens or hundreds
> of spare engineers, designers, and researchers who can be easily reassigned
> to work on improving the interface. WMF does have a significant amount of
> money its its reserves, and I believe that a good choice would be to shift
> the WMF's priorities away from increasing the size of the reserve and
> toward improving the interface.
> I realize that this is a complex and perhaps disappointing reply to your
> thoughtful email. I think that we can make improvements on user
> friendliness in multiple ways, that some of this work is ongoing, and that
> perhaps WMF can be convinced to spend more resources in this area.
> Thanks for speaking up.
> Pine
> ( https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Pine )
> On Thu, Mar 1, 2018 at 5:42 AM, Zubin JAIN <jain16...@gapps.uwcsea.edu.sg>
> wrote:
> > Hello,
> > As a rare newcomer to the Wikimedia project, I've been thinking of some
> of
> > the factors that seem to discourage me from contributing and one of the
> > primary ones seem to be the fact that the way the administration is
> > organized and rules enforced is often vague and unclear. The definition
> and
> > the method of collection of the vague idea of "Consensus" aren't easily
> > found and take a lot of digging to get out.
> >
> > A lot of the guideline is often mixed with philosophical rants that often
> > seem to contradict each other and has grown in size to the point that
> it's
> > unreasonable for any newcomer to have read through it all. The project
> > designed to work on consensus and community often seems unresponsive and
> > automated as anarchic communication structure impedes effective
> > communication by forcing users to learn an obscure markup language just
> to
> > communicate.
> >
> > I'm wondering if there have been any whitepapers on addressing these
> > problems especialy the ones about bureaucracy, reading through the news I
> > remember a lot of hay being made about a decline in Wikipedia editor
> from a
> > few years back but that seems ot have faded. Is there any hard data on
> the
> > future trajectory of the project?
> >
> > --
> > Sincerely,
> > Zubin Jain
> > _______________________________________________
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