Just this goy...

Monday, December 22, 2008

Every so often I run across an example of why Wikipedia is a completely ludicrous collection of crap. For some reason it's most pronounced in the religious-related articles.

So I was following a stream-of-consciousness research trend about legal arguments and ran across the completely specious statement "The Old Testament is likely the oldest surviving body of law still relevant to modern legal systems." [1]We won't even begin to comment on it beyond mentioning that certain legal systems in Sanskrit are still actively in use as they have been continuously for about 4 000 years now, according to their legal traditions and documents.

Anyway, related to this I ended up, in an extremely roundabout fashion, on the page of [[Saint Paul]], one of those lovely uncontroversial (despite the page move warring) religious articles. Which states the figure unequivocally is historical, but the only evidence on the entire planet is the religious texts of the religion which venerates him.

Which is almost as factual as the [[Flying Spaghetti Monster]]. And an NPOV violation of the first water.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Board Elections 2008: Comments on candidates

Why do I do this? I dunno. But here are my candid comments re: the people who've chosen to expose themselves to hyper-critical internet-based nattering nabobs of negativity such as myself, ... and I should comment regarding the contest itself but I'll leave that for another post.

The board candidates neatly fall into two camps: Wikipedians, and those who have serious involvement with other projects - a class I call Wikimedians for lack of a better term at this moment. (Note that involvement with Commons and Meta doesn't count here - after looking at the candidate's involvements on those sites it appears they are nearly exclusively involved there as part of their primary projects.)

To be blunt: the Foundation Board is, and likely always will be, completely ignoring the needs of the non-Wikipedia projects. This lack of focus appears to be the primary reason those projects are not particularly successful. In any garden the attention of the gardener is not on the plants which are thriving, but almost exclusively on those which are not doing so well. For this reason I am categorically opposed to candidates who are not active on non-Wikipedia projects; sorry, Wikipedia doesn't need the advocates, and this is not at all intended to slight either Wikipedia or those candidates who are only involved in that project.

This group of candidates work exclusively or primarily in projects other than a Wikipedia.


I know this user slightly. The user has a long history with the Wikimedia Foundation, and has been fundamental in the development of the Wiktionary project nearly from its inception. A strong contributor on multiple projects in both content and policy. That said, xe is known for a long, slow cogitation regarding issues and the community, and has shown a willingness to allow a strident minority to over-rule the will of the community - process over over product. I could see Eclecticology on a Board Advisory Committee far more than on the decision-making board.


I know this user slightly. Xe is young, reasonably enthusiastic, and active in several varying ways. Experience is the only thing this user requires, but based on the make up of the Board of Trustees previously this is clearly not a criterion for election - he can learn on the job like his predecessors.


I know this user fairly well. A long-time Wikinews contributor, sysadmin, and everything else the community can convince him to do for them, he has been a Wikimedia Foundation Steward for a year and a half now. He's a stable, dedicated wikimedian who puts in a lot of time and effort - especially in the background - earning quiet respect and a reputation for reliability.

These are the candidates who are useless on the Board, because they are only Wikipedians and appear, with a couple notable exceptions, nearly completely ignorant of the other projects and communities. Candidates in this group should not be elected.

Cimon Avaro

Cimon has been around the Wikimedia Foundation forever. He's knowledgeable, and on IRC has shown he's very insightful. Apparently he made a big impression on wikimedians during the first Wikimania, and may have had difficulties living up to or down those first impressions; I didn't attend and have long since disregarded those second-hand impressions because they clearly were not relevant to M Avaro's actions and accomplishments. Multilingual++


I do not know this user. Examining xyr contributions, I'm struck by two things: the claim for involvement on en.wp (because the user's nick there is [[User:Philopp]], since Aug. 2003) and the number of sites the user has visited to do interwiki links. Multilingual++.


I do not know this user. Appears nearly rabidly en.Wikipedian. I would probably have difficulties communicating politely with this person regarding biographies of living persons, but then I figure the primary criterion for a biography in an encyclopedia is a lack of a pulse. Multilingual++


I knew this user during his very brief period on en.wn. User is running a hoax campaign; that is, xe neither expects to win nor wants to do so, but is running in order to gain a platform for a fringe or marginalized viewpoint. IMO, having some history with this user on IRC, he's a loonie and a timesink.

Ryan Postlethwaite

I do not know this user. After an extremely shallow examination of this user's recent edits... well, how can I say anything politely? It seems to me the user enjoys wikilawyering and community process, but is somewhat lacking in content or wikignome activity, and thus I am left questioning in what way xe materially benefits the project.


In the interests of full disclosure, I am extremely displeased by the rogue actions of Israel, and by the international Jewish communities which continue to enable it's lawless behaviours. That said, this is the only board candidate who is active in the WMF chapters movement, another maneuver which I find myself categorically opposed to as it has been explained to me by persons central to its development as primarily an effort to wrest control and authority from "the americans." (In further disclosure, I am a United States ex-pat.)

Having gone to such great lengths to explain my possible biases against this candidate, I have no particular negative comments other than the fact the user claims to be supportive of the wider community, yet remains isolated and insular within the jewish languages despite also claiming more fluency in English than Yiddish. but he says he helped bring "law and order" to yi.wp. Multilingual++.


I've been on almost-nodding acquaintance with Swatjester in the past; that is, I don't know him personally. Perhaps a fair assessment of his character would be to point out that he's moving to a new nick on en.Wikipedia, [[SierraSix]], and his current user page is interwikied to the sandbox page on many diffrent languages of Wikipedia. A high percentage of content edits.

Alex Bakharev

I do not know this user. Although I did not research this facet, xe has been involved in orphaning images cross-projects. This may be perfectly legitimate (in the case where an image is to be deleted on Commons for copyright issues) or may be extremely divisive (in the case where an image is to be deleted on Commons without justification, such as "superseded" or subjective quality.) I don't have time to get a sample of such efforts, so I'm just going to mention potentially suspect transwiki behavior. Multilingual++.


I do not know this user, although I seem to recall we may have, once upon a time, interacted very rarely. A brief look through the user's contributions show xyr active in several levels of the NL community(ies), as well as interacting as a wikimedian and not solely as a wikipedian. That said, almost no activity outside Wikipedia in Nederlands.

Gregory Kohs

Although we do not actually know each other, M Kohs and I did interact early on in his involvement with the WMF when I was serving as part of the office/communications/public relations. Although xe presents several interesting arguments in the candidate statements and in responses to questions, it is exemplary of this candidate that the photo uploaded to Meta (and subsequently to Commons) is [ambiguously/not licensed] on xyr [[wiki]]. In brief, this is an SEO flim-flam artist imo, who none-the-less has some good ideas hidden away in the snake oil, as every good lie is hidden within a shell of truth. Oh, and did I mention the user has been banned for life on en.wp at least?


I do not know this user. I'm continually surprised by how many people use scripting to amass large edit counts.


I know this user slightly. Although this user has clearly changed xyr interactions with the WMF over time, I will be unable to forget the clear conflict of interest this user displayed at the 2006 Wikimania at which he managed to portray the OLPC's inclusion of Wikipedia on its XO laptop as the primary news event of the Wikimedia Foundation for the year, a few weeks after accepting a position with the OLPC involved in public relations. This history makes it hard for me to believe "As Board member, I would: * Represent the community's perspectives to the Board, not my own."

[Late edit: A couple of people msg'd me to suggest the "not in this group" sentence was not easily understood/prone to confusing, so I changed it for clarity.]

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