Archive for the 'Wikipedia' Category

Slashdotting, not what it used to be

Tuesday, October 30th, 2007

Yesterday I was linked from Slashdot in an article about the launch of Veropedia, a project that I did some development work for. I will admit to being happy about it; I’ve been reading Slashdot regularly for at least seven years, and I always wanted to get on the front page. I tried my hand at submitting some stories, and even got one published in the Gaming section, but I never made the front page. I gave up on that and eventually moved onto Wikipedia and then blogging. I was hoping one day something I wrote would end up being linked from a high-profile site like Slashdot or Digg; doesn’t every author want to be read? But of course, the web is entirely unpredictable, and I didn’t end up getting linked to for the kind of post I would have expected.

Slashdotting just isn’t what it used to be. Sites linked from Slashdot used to go down hard and fast. But over time, the ability of computers has grown exponentially (and web server software has improved), while Slashdot’s traffic has stayed relatively steady. Traffic from Slashdot used to be like a visit from a shark to a small pond. Now it’s more like a visit from a shark to the ocean. You don’t notice it much. Admittedly, this site isn’t very high traffic, so yesterday’s visit numbers were quadruple the daily average. But my hosting service, HostMonster, didn’t even blink, giving me no problems whatsoever with network slowness or the dreaded “CPU usage quota exceeded”. So for the price and the level of service they provide, I would highly recommend them (and why yes, that is a referral link).

Now keep in mind I was the third and last link in the article, so I didn’t get quite the level of traffic as the first link, Veropedia. Veropedia was having some issues loading. Ironically, that was the fault of the Amazon affiliate ad, which couldn’t handle the traffic (and since it was near the top of the page, prevented the rest of the page from loading). I got an urgent message from Danny in the middle of the day, so I logged into the server and temporarily excised the ad, and that fixed all of the problems. My web hosting with HostMonster is standard “many sites on one box”, whereas we’re hosting Veropedia on a dedicated server. So if this blog can handle the traffic, then Veropedia certainly could. It just stumbled a bit because of that damn ad.

Veropedia launches

Sunday, October 14th, 2007

This past week saw the launch of Veropedia, a quality-oriented, stable version of Wikipedia (see What is Veropedia?). A select cadre of trusted contributors go out and identify good versions of articles on Wikipedia and upload them to Veropedia. The idea is that if you want to read an article about a certain subject, go to Veropedia first to see what has been identified as the best version of the article, and if Veropedia doesn’t have it yet, it just links you right through to the newest revision on Wikipedia. This is an awesome feature because Wikipedia articles are constantly in flux, and it can be a headache trying to read Wikipedia and running smack dab into vandalism or a chopped up article in the midst of an edit war.

I bring up Veropedia because I had a not insignificant role in its creation. I’ve been involved from the very beginning about seven months ago. I wrote roughly half of the back-end code (not the interface stuff). Specifically, I wrote the code that grabs articles from Wikipedia, parses them, inserts them into the Veropedia database, and munges them to conform to the Veropedia style. A learned a lot about databases and XML and HTML parsers while writing the code for Veropedia. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to do nearly as much with Veropedia since I started my job, which has taken up most of my free time. But I’m still up in the rafters, keeping tabs on things, and wishing it much success.

The neatest thing about Veropedia is how it feeds back into and improves Wikipedia. Veropedia has a very comprehensive article checker that points out just about every flaw with an article that a computer program can find. But articles aren’t edited on Veropedia. Veropedia contributors must go and edit the article on Wikipedia, fixing up all the flaws, until a quality version is ready for importation to Veropedia. So everyone wins: both Wikipedia and Veropedia get improved articles. The Veropedia article checker even finds many flaws in Featured Articles on Wikipedia, such as broken external links.

Update 2007-10-29: Awesome, it looks like the news of Veropedia’s launch made Slashdot’s front page. And a link to this blog post was included in the write-up. Color me surprised that my site hasn’t gone down already. Anyway, if you have any questions for me about Veropedia, feel free to ask me here and I’ll respond ASAP. Or come chat with us in #veropedia on irc.freenode.net. Also, feel free to check out the rest of this site. You might find something interesting.

The ramifications of a light red signature

Wednesday, August 29th, 2007

When discussing on talk pages on Wikipedia, comments are customarily tagged with signatures that link back to the user page of the person who wrote them, as well a time stamp indicating when the comment was made. Wikipedia allows users to customize the look of their signature. I first became really active on Wikipedia in December 2005 and ended up playing around with different signatures for awhile, until I settled on one that I haven’t changed since April 2006. Here’s what my signature looks like:

Cyde Weys 02:02, 23 August 2007 (UTC)

I called the color “light red” at the time that I picked it, but realistically, everyone thinks it’s pink. I chose the color on a lark (and then proceeded to not change it many times on a lark), intending to convey a sense of “don’t-give-a-fuckism” about the usual connotations of the color. It only succeeds in conveying that impression once others get past the initial confusion. The name “Cyde Weys” doesn’t exactly have a lot of gender cues in it, and with nothing else to go on, people usually associate the color with femininity, so they tend to think “female” rather “male who doesn’t care” when they see the signature. Also, because some homosexual Wikipedians use pink inverted triangles in their signature, I have gotten the occasional confusion over sexual orientation, but for the most part, people don’t associate light red with male homosexuality.

The color is also disarming and harmless, which is in pretty stark contrast to my comments. They can get pretty abrasive and argumentative during heated debates It’s like the color is used ironically. One nice advantage of having a signature of that color is that almost no one else uses it. Blue signatures are a dime and dozen, and very hard to distinguish from one another without actually reading the link text. But my signature stands out from the sea of typical comments. I can skim over whole pages at a time, instantly seeing where all of my comments are (and where they are not). This helps to avoid replying multiple times to the same comment as well as helping to identify areas of discussion that I may be interested in commenting in, but haven’t yet.

I’ve long since grown numb to the confusing nature of my signature, so I’m always taken by surprise when another person raises questions. I just forget that, even though my gender is incredibly obvious to me, the signature itself isn’t nearly so unambiguous, and at any given time, multiple people may be harboring various suspicions or mistaken beliefs about me. I don’t mind though. I always get a laugh out of someone mistaking me for a female, so the signature provides a continual source of amusement. And, in some small way, I suppose it is helping to challenge traditional color-based gender identification. Wikipedia isn’t exactly small fry, and I’ve left my signature across thousands of talk pages. The people I’ve had interactions with on there have been forced to come to the realization that heterosexual men can choose to be identified by a light red color for no other reason than the fact that most do not.

How best to read Wikipedia

Saturday, August 11th, 2007

This is a tutorial on how best to read Wikipedia. Now when I say “read”, I’m using it in the same sense that one might read a novel or a textbook. If you’re just looking up a single thing, you don’t need the tutorial; just go to the relevant article, read it, and by done with it. But if you want to read lots of different articles and learn all sorts of new things, then this tutorial is for you. When I’m bored I end up reading Wikipedia, sometimes for hours on end. Here’s what I’ve found is the best, most efficient way to read it.

1. Use a modern browser. You’re going to need Mozilla Firefox, or if you really have no other option, version 7 of Internet Explorer or later. Internet Explorer versions 6 and prior simply won’t do, because tabbed browsing is essential for properly reading Wikipedia, and they lack it. I still highly recommend Firefox over Internet Explorer, though, because Firefox has integrated browsing recovery, meaning that if your system crashes (or your battery runs out or whatever) while you have a bunch of tabs open in Firefox, you can restore the session upon rebooting your computer and recover everything you were looking at. It’s very convenient because reading Wikipedia can become a long endeavor that spans many days with many sessions, and you don’t want to lose what you were reading.

2. Register an account. You should register an account and remain logged in while reading Wikipedia because doing this will give you access to many features (some of which will be explained in the steps below) that make reading Wikipedia much better.

3. Install Navigation Popups. Now that you’re registered and logged in, you’re going to want to install Lupin’s Navigation Popups extension for Wikipedia. This is a JavaScript extension that must be installed for each individual user account. To install it, paste Special:Mypage/monobook.js into the Search box in the sidebar on Wikipedia, hit “Go”, click the edit tab at the top of the window, paste {{subst:navpop}} into the large text box, and hit “Save Page”. Now you need to bypass your cache while reloading; to do this, press Shift-Ctrl-R in Mozilla Firefox or Ctrl-F5 in Internet Explorer. Now Popups is installed.

Popups is a very useful extension that gives you a brief summary about the subject of an article simply by hovering your mouse over it. For instance, let’s say I’m reading the article on Evolution and I come across the linked word “Prokaryote” that I’m not familiar with. I can simply hover my cursor over the link and Navigation Popups automatically gets the introductory paragraph and the first image from the article, and displays them in the form of a popup. Oftentimes, this is enough information to explain a concept without having to click through and read another whole article. Here’s what Popups looks like in action:

Navigation popups on the Evolution article

Use Navigation Popups to screen the articles that you end up reading. If you see everything you need to know about a subject in the Popups window, or if it’s just not interesting to you, skip the full article. Popups saves you time.

4. Use tabs. Open up new articles that you want to read as tabs. This way, you will get to them later without interrupting the article that you are currently reading. In Firefox, holding Ctrl while clicking on a link will open it in a new tab, or, if your mouse has three buttons, pressing the third button may often open in a new tab as well. Even if you have a scroll wheel mouse, it’s likely that the wheel can be pressed in and used as a third button. You may need to slightly configure Firefox by selecting the Tools menu, selecting Options, clicking the Tabs tab, and specify that “New pages should be opened in: a new tab” and turn off the option for “When I open a link in a new tab, switch to it immediately”. This way you can open up new tabs in the background, as many as you want, for each interesting link you find in the current article that you are reading. And you won’t be interrupting your reading.

When I’m reading Wikipedia I tend to simply follow whatever links interest me, which results in a rapid divergence of subject area. Recently I started by reading the article on the golden age of animation and ended up reading articles on various squatter collectives and nomad peoples. That’s the awesomeness of Wikipedia: it covers every conceivable subject matter. Because articles tend to have lots of links on them, I usually end up opening up more than one article for each article that I read, resulting in an increasing number of tabs across the screen of things I’m trying to get to reading. This can basically go on indefinitely, with my “to read” queue growing exponentially. I try to keep the number of tabs manageable by only opening up the really interesting articles once my number of open tabs exceeds thirty.

5. Add pages you read to your watchlist. See the tab labeled “Watch” at the top of every article? That adds the article you are reading to your watchlist. After reading each article I add it to my watchlist. You should too. It helps to keep track of everything you’ve read, and after you’ve been reading and learning from Wikipedia for awhile, you’ll end up with quite the impressive list of subjects you’ve read about on your watchlist. You can view recent edits to articles on your watchlist by clicking the “my watchlist” link in the upper right part of the page, and from there, you can click through to see every page that’s on your watchlist. If you end up becoming a frequent editor, your watchlist will help you to track changes that are made to the articles you’ve read, changes that you might be interested in looking at, especially if they’ve increased the depth of coverage of the article.

6. Edit! Remember, Wikipedia is written by volunteers, people just like you and me. One of the ways you can help pay back the huge fount of information you’re receiving for free is by editing Wikipedia to improve it and help it grow. Every little fix matters and could potentially benefit thousands of people (on the more well-read articles). Start off by just fixing the little errors that you see, like spelling and grammar errors. As you get more comfortable with it, start making larger changes; if you happen to know something about a subject that isn’t in the article, go ahead and add it. Over time you’ll get more experience with all of the idiosyncrasies of Wikipedia editing, and who knows, after spending enough time reading and editing, you may eventually become an administrator like me.

Wikimania 2007 is a failure

Wednesday, August 1st, 2007

Wikipedia is still growing exponentially, so it is thus such a shame that Wikimania 2007 is a failure in comparison to Wikimania 2006, when by all rights it should have been a much larger occasion. The problems all boil down to location, location, location. Wikimania 2006 was held in Cambridge, Massachusetts, which was a very convenient location not only for Americans but also for Europeans, who could get cheap flights. Wikimania 2007, however, is being held in Taipei, Taiwan, which is surely a nonsensical location to be hosting it. It’s convenient for Taiwanese and maybe Australians, Japanese, and South Koreans. It’s not convenient for the Chinese, of course, because they can’t exactly just hop over to Taiwan.

Wikimania 2006, which I was at, had an attendance of around 500. The attendance for Wikimania 2007 looks to be less than half of that, at least according to the registration numbers. Few people from anywhere but Taiwan were able to make it; I certainly wasn’t able to justify the multiple days spent flying and the $2,500 round-trip ticket. Yes, there look to be a good number of Americans registered, but many of those are Foundation employees or Board members who are only able to go because of the free tickets, and in comparison to the huge size of the English Wikipedia, having a roughly even number of Americans as Taiwanese attending is not a good showing at all.

The other serious bid for the location of Wikimania 2007 was Italy. That would have been a much better location for pretty much everyone except for the Taiwanese (Australians seem irrelevant, as the numbers attending the convention in Taiwan are abysmal). Attendance would’ve easily been double what it is in Taipei (if not triple or even quadruple). The choice of Taipei simply doesn’t make any sense, and the only motive I can come up with for choosing it is the Board saying to themselves, “Which destination would I rather travel to for free?” Of course, choosing a destination for its foreignness and attractiveness of a free fare (a free $2,500 ticket is a better “value” than a free $600 ticket) will lead to pretty much opposite parameters being considered than if the location is actually being chosen based on its convenience for how many paying travelers can attend.

The Board screwed this up big time, and the sad thing this they may not realize it just yet, but everyone who wanted to but ultimately wasn’t able to attend is very well aware of how poor the choice was. For next year, the Board needs to re-evaluate their selection criteria and not just pick an exotic destination they’ve never been to before. This isn’t a vacation, it’s a meeting. Italy would be nice. Heck, really, any place in North America or Europe would be good. But picking a place in Asia? That just makes no sense. It’s not that I have anything against Asians, it’s just that geography discriminates.

Wikipedia meet-up in Washington D.C.

Sunday, July 22nd, 2007

Yesterday was the first meet-up in a long while (maybe since 2002?) of Wikipedians in Washington D.C. As far as I can tell, a great time was had by all. It had the same kind of feeling to me as Wikimania 2006, a convention held just about a year ago. It’s quite interesting to finally meet people in person who you’ve been talking with and seeing online for years. Twenty-five people showed up in total. The demographics were quite skewed. Only two females showed up, one of whom was Kat Walsh, current member of the Board of Trustees of the Wikimedia Foundation; I’ve known her since I met her last year at Wikimania. I was also the youngest (or maybe second youngest) person there, yet I had the oldest Wikipedia user account (I started editing in 2002). The majority of the people there were men in their forties and older; exactly the kind of crowd I had expected to see at a meet-up in DC. A good number of people came from far away, like Richmond, New York City, and Philadelphia.

We started the night with group introductions and dinner at Uno Pizzeria in Union Station. I can’t complain about the food. This was also the first time since I was a single digit age that I’ve even been in Union Station, and it’s quite different than I remember it. I’ve been to Grand Central Station in New York recently, which is what I expected Union Station to be like, but Union’s main open-air space is significantly larger. It has multiple levels of mezzanine and floor exposed to the airy vaulted ceiling. It was quite a nice place to eat dinner in.

By sheer chance, I ended up sitting across from Mike Godwin, General Counsel to the Wikimedia Foundation, at dinner. Yes, that Mike Godwin. I was tempted to wear a shirt with a large swastika on it and announce “Dinner’s over” as soon as Mike showed up, but really, that’d be a stupid thing to do; when would I have another occasion to wear that shirt? Maybe fifty years from now, when World War II reenactment becomes a lot more commonplace?

After dinner the majority of the group ended up leaving, but eleven of us went to Brickskeller, a bar/tavern renowned for its world-record-holding selection of beers (over a thousand). We stayed there until midnight, chatting, discussing, and feverishly planning cabal activities, while several of our number got a good ways toward drunk. The bar was a much more intimate setting; our numbers were reduced and the table was smaller and more cramped. Not that that’s a bad thing. Finally, right before midnight, we all headed out. I didn’t get home until 1am because I seemed to just miss all of the trains on the Metro. Waiting for fifteen minutes each at two separate stops is no fun, though it was a nice opportunity for people-watching.

So that was the meet-up. Hopefully we’ll be doing another one soon enough. I think I heard someone tossing around a date in September. Meeting people once is nice, but meeting people twice is what’s really significant to me — that allows you the opportunity to, having remembered what they said they were up to the first time, ask them what they’ve been up to in the intervening period. This information I typically find more relevant than a general life story.

Anonymous editor gets wrestler suicide scoop on Wikipedia

Wednesday, June 27th, 2007

Here’s quite an amazing edit on Wikipedia, in which an anonymous person, editing from the IP address 69.120.111.23, modifies the article on Chris Benoit to read “However, Chris Benoit was replaced by Johnny Nitro for the ECW Championship match at Vengeance, as Benoit was not there due to personal issues, stemming from the death of his wife Nancy” (editing addition in italics). In case you hadn’t yet heard, Chris Benoit was a WWE wrestler who pumped his seven-year-old son full of non-prescription hormones for several weeks, then killed his wife and his son in a murder-suicide. This edit to Wikipedia was a full half day before these horrific events were reported by police to the media.

So who was anonymously editing the article with information that wasn’t known to the public yet? Chris Benoit himself? One of those friends that he sent text messages to after killing his family but before offing himself? Another edit an hour later by a different anonymous IP address, 125.63.148.173, reveals more information, modifying the article to read “However, Chris Benoit was replaced by Johnny Nitro for the ECW Championship match at Vengeance, as Benoit was not there due to personal issues which according to several pro wrestling websites is attributed to the passing of Benoit’s wife, Nancy” (addition in italics).

So, is it possible that wrestling fansites knew what had gone down a full twelve hours before anyone else did? If so, where did they get this information from? This requires further investigation, and indeed, Wikimedia Foundation Volunteer Coordinator Cary Bass says that he has already contacted the proper authorities. Unfortunately, it won’t be nearly so easy to track this down on wrestling fansites as it would be on Wikipedia, as every edit on Wikipedia leaves an entry in the page’s history that is associated with a timestamp. Unless someone finds some discussions in wrestling forums that are marked with timestamps, anyway.

Update, June 28: Looks like the Associated Press is carrying this story now. Nyah nyah, scooped you guys by a day. Fox News also has a story.

Update, June 29: The anonymous user is claiming this was just an unfortunate coincidence.

Essjay quits Wikipedia

Sunday, March 4th, 2007

Well, that didn’t take so long to resolve. A day after Jimbo asks Essjay to resign his positions of trust within the community, Essjay has quit. I suppose the situation is mostly resolved now. However, I’m still worried by a lack of contrition from Essjay right up to the very end. He never really apologized for what he did, rather, rationalized it as a method of keeping the “trolls” unsure about his real identity (looks like that backfired horrendously). His resignation notice didn’t even acknowledge the ongoing situation; he merely said:

I’m no longer taking part here. I have received an astounding amount of support, especially by email, but it’s time to go. I tried to walk away in August, and managed to do so for quite a while, but I eventually came back, because of the many requests I received urging me to return. Many of you have written to ask me to not leave, to not give up what I have here, but I’m afraid it’s time to make a clean break.

A clean break! He thinks this is a clean break! I beg to differ. This is the ugliest break I’ve seen in the history of Wikipedia. Essjay had a distorted perception of reality up to the very end. An apology would’ve gone a long way, but I guess Essjay thinks he doesn’t owe one to anyone. His departure message was basically one grandstanding Good-Bye.

Hopefully this ends the on-wiki issue. Yes, there seems to be a secondary wheel-war brewing over the protection of the Request for Comment on Essjay, but anyone getting involved in that basically deserves what’s coming to them. That should be ironed out relatively soon. In a week, nobody will particularly care about the RFC any longer. One lasting problem that Essjay may be facing, however, is his allegation of lack of journalistic integrity on the part of Stacy Schiff, the reporter who originally interviewed him for the New Yorker. Even in Essjay’s one offered “apology”, he was lying. It’s a sad state of affairs, and it might still have future negative consequences for Essjay, as this claim is potentially actionable libel. Kelly Martin has more analysis on the issue.

This is the last post I feel that I will end up writing on this issue, as it seems to be over, at least on Wikipedia. I do feel kind of bad for “piling on” Essjay in his moment of weakness, but it was necessary for there to be a strong showing of community outrage so that Jimbo would quickly get involved and force Essjay out. Every day that Essjay remained on the project was making us look bad in front of the outside community, and I make no apologies for my role in trying to salvage Wikipedia’s credibility by making it perfectly clear that we do not tolerate this kind of behavior.

Jimbo Wales asks Essjay to resign

Saturday, March 3rd, 2007

It looks like the Essjay situation is finally coming to a resolution, after generating enormous levels of fallout. Jimbo Wales, founder of Wikipedia and resident God-king of the English Wikipedia, has asked Essjay to resign. Here’s the text of his statement:

I have blanked my entire talk page to make sure this statement gets adequate attention. Hopefully someone more clueful than me :-) can archive things properly.

I have been for several days in a remote part of India with little or no Internet access. I only learned this morning that EssJay used his false credentials in content disputes. I understood this to be primarily the matter of a pseudonymous identity (something very mild and completely understandable given the personal dangers possible on the Internet) and not a matter of violation of people’s trust. I want to make it perfectly clear that my past support of EssJay in this matter was fully based on a lack of knowledge about what has been going on. Even now, I have not been able to check diffs, etc.

I have asked EssJay to resign his positions of trust within the community. In terms of the full parameters of what happens next, I advise (as usual) that we take a calm, loving, and reasonable approach. From the moment this whole thing became known, EssJay has been contrite and apologetic. People who characterize him as being “proud” of it or “bragging” are badly mistaken.

On a personal level, EssJay has apologized to me, and I have accepted his apology on a personal level, and I think this is the right thing to do. If anyone else feels that they need or want a personal apology, please ask him for it. And if you find it to be sincere, then I hope you will accept it too, but each person must make their own judgments. Despite my personal forgiveness, I hope that he will accept my resignation request, because forgiveness or not, these positions are not appropriate for him now.

I still have limited net access… for a couple of hours here I will be online, and then I am offline until I am in Japan tomorrow morning. I believe I will have a fast and stable Internet connection at that time, and I will deal with this further at that time.

Wikipedia is built on (among other things) twin pillars of trust and tolerance. The integrity of the project depends on the core community being passionate about quality and integrity, so that we can trust each other. The harmony of our work depends on human understanding and forgiveness of errors.

–Jimbo Wales 06:42, 3 March 2007 (UTC)

So there you have it. It looks like Jimbo simply wasn’t aware of the magnitude of the lies that had been thrown around, and was prepared to accept Essjay’s false identity, but not the way he used it to his advantage in content disputes. Jimbo’s a very busy guy, and he can’t really keep up-to-date on internal wiki matters too well. One thing that worries me, however, is this statement: “I understood this to be primarily the matter of a pseudonymous identity (something very mild and completely understandable given the personal dangers possible on the Internet) and not a matter of violation of people’s trust.”

I’m going to have to disagree on that mark. Even if someone wasn’t using fake credentials in content disputes, I still think it’s wrong. The possession of PhDs automatically gives you a higher level of respect on-wiki even if you don’t throw their weight around, and claiming to have degrees that one doesn’t is wrong no matter the situation. If you’re worried about protecting your identity, either don’t reveal any personal information at all, or make up something discreet, like, “I’m a plumber in Florida.” I could live with someone lying about being a plumber. I can’t really accept someone lying about being a professor.

One thing I was saying yesterday was that Essjay should tender his resignation immediately before he loses the chance to do so. Well, it would appear that that window has closed. If he tenders his resignation now, it won’t be of his own recognizance, but rather, because Jimbo forced him to do it. And if he still doesn’t resign he’s simply going to find himself fired.

Update: See here for a follow-up post; Essjay has resigned.

More fallout over the Essjay scandal

Friday, March 2nd, 2007

The on-wiki fallout over the Essjay scandal is just beginning. It’s only about a day old, but already it is rapidly turning into a forest fire. It first started on Essjay’s talk page, with a large number of people expressing disappointment (and some expressing support). Then it spread over onto the Community Noticeboard, with a lot of arguing there.

Simultaneously, someone created an article on Ryan Jordan, what we think is Essjay’s real name. Which of course ended up being sent to Articles for Deletion almost immediately, which is already at over three sections of arguing over whether Essjay himself is notable, or if there should just be an article on the “2007 Wikipedia fraud incident”, or neither. Meanwhile, at the noticeboard, someone branched off a separate subpage to hold a straw poll on Essjay’s privileges. The majority of people thought that he should be removed from the Arbitration Committee (ArbCom), oversight/Checkuser access, and bureaucrat status, while most people did not favor removing his administrator status. Well, some people didn’t like the straw poll, so they filed a Miscellany for deletion trying to delete the straw poll. Speedy closing of that one was edit-warred over repeatedly, with one of the most ironic comments being made by one of the people trying to delete the straw poll discussion, saying of the MFD, “Don’t try to close discussion early!”

The Community noticeboard subpage was moved to a proper Request for Comment, where the straw poll was archived and the discussions were begun anew. That’s where we stand now, just one day later. See how quickly the forest fire spreads? Oh, and for every page I mentioned here, there was an active talk page full of people arguing that I didn’t link. So double the number of pages devoted to this one incident.

Wikipedians aren’t taking this one lying down. They’ve already written over a megabyte of text on the incident. Wikipedians are, if nothing else, creators of voluminous amounts of text. They also realize the importance of what Essjay did and how bad it makes Wikipedia look, and most of them want some action taken to rectify the situation. I don’t want to predict another’s downfall, but Essjay’s removal from ArbCom seems inevitable. The ArbCom won’t be trusted so long as he is still on it, and in their own best interests, they may want to oust Essjay. Essjay has also already been removed from OTRS, which is the system used by over a dozen volunteers to respond to the huge volume of email and inquiries Wikipedia receives.

Update: And how could I forget the huge discussion on Jimbo’s talk page. The forest fire grows ever larger.

See here for a follow-up post.