User talk:JWSchmidt

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DOI template[edit]

The DOI template is interesting. It does not appear to conform to any style guide citation format I can find. Is there any way to cite it in an APA-style? - Amgine / talk 18:23, 15 October 2005 (UTC)[reply]

I do not know. This page may only have been last updated in 2001. The entire DOI system may be newer than that. --JWSchmidt 18:32, 15 October 2005 (UTC)[reply]
APA article about use of DOI --JWSchmidt 18:36, 15 October 2005 (UTC)[reply]
Have just checked with a couple fellow researchers, and my copy of APA 5th ed, and DOI is still not included in a standard APA citation. But we have found a couple situations where DOI was appended to APA citations.
<hmms> I think we should look DOIs in the style guide, as per your use in this cannabinoid article. - Amgine / talk 18:52, 15 October 2005 (UTC)[reply]

prepared story: Plame affair[edit]

and Novak skips right along because he folded right away... Glad you got out in front of this. Best regards. -Edbrown05

Novak's disasterous "bullshit" comment on an interview I won't research now put him out of media play, but perhaps he's a smoking gun. -Edbrown05 covered that Novak interview....
"Is any of this a crime? Beats me. At this point, I'm as curious as anyone else to see what Patrick Fitzgerald has." - Matthew Cooper, 25 July 2005. Until Fitzgerald spills his beans, we are all left guessing. Was Libby actively trying to "out" Plame by leaking her identity to trusted reporters such as Miller and Novak? Did Rove know what Libby was doing? Why would anyone in the Whitehouse care enough about "yellow cake" to "out" Plame? The only reason I can think of is that someone had knowledge about the production and release of the original forged Iraq "yellow cake" documents. This all reminds me of Watergate, but rather than having congress helping to get to the truth, we had members of congress helping to smear Plame and Wilson. If Fitzgerald can find a "John Dean" (Andy Card, Powell, Tenet?), Fitzgerald may get to file charges against members of two branches of the federal government. The question is, after learning the lessons of Watergate, was anyone stupid enough to leave a paper (or audio) trail? --JWSchmidt 13:26, 19 October 2005 (UTC)[reply]

I notice you started a 'Category' on the Valerie Plame scandal. Most of the previous Wikinews stories covering this issue were put into on infobox titled "Bush administration handling of pre-war intelligence". I reviewed the headlines and am listing for you those that apply (I don't believe I missed anything... )

  1. New York Times reporter sent to jail in leak case
  2. Cooper claims he learned of Plame through Rove
  3. Capitol Hill Democrats hold informal hearing on Plame leak, July 23
  4. Wilson calls for Rove removal|Wilson calls for Rove removal|Wilson calls for Rove removal, July 15
  5. A timeline: Novak, Rove, Cooper, July 15
  6. US Senate debates Rove and intelligence access, July 15
  7. Rep. Waxman: Karl Rove violated non-disclosure agreement, July 17

My trouble is, since the stories are older and now protected, I cannot edit the story to include the 'Category:Valerie Plame scandal'. So I leave that to you since somehow you accomplished it with another story. -Edbrown05 15:51, 19 October 2005 (UTC)[reply]

I found Category:Valerie Plame scandal as an existing category of Karl Rove named as a source of Plame leak. --JWSchmidt 18:57, 19 October 2005 (UTC)[reply]
Oh my, I understand now. I will direct an administrator to this page. Apparently, the older protected stories will need to be unprotected, editted, then protected for the change to be made. -Edbrown05 23:35, 19 October 2005 (UTC)[reply]
FYI- MrMiscellaneous included the above stories in the 'Category:' -Edbrown05
Category:Valerie Plame scandal is now useful! Thanks. --JWSchmidt 19:25, 20 October 2005 (UTC)[reply]


Your userpage is getting quite extensive. I was thinking you might be interested in having a somewhat more flexible space to host it. I have a mediawiki site which is actually designed to host user's squats (in the Personal: namespace), and would like to invite you to host this research there. Pleaonasm - Amgine / talk 00:25, 25 October 2005 (UTC)[reply]

I've never previously had a chance to research this topic. It seems to me that Wikinews should have an organized system for researching news stories and sharing the results of that research. Maybe there is such a system here, but I have not found it? --JWSchmidt 01:36, 25 October 2005 (UTC)[reply]
No. There tends to be a system very similar to that I've observed in professional journalism: the article archives are useful for finding sources and linked ideas, but each reporter has their own approach to researching articles.
Unfortunately, one of the reasons your approach to researching the news topics is not able to be scaled to the full site is that it requires specicific assumptions, and the inclusion/exclusion of sources is based on biases of the researcher. For example, I might prefer to include many BBC, NYTimes, Post, and LATimes sources, while another reporter would consider most of those sources unacceptably biased. I would certainly use Lancet medical articles (blind review juried process) but do not accept JAMA articles (not blinded review process). And so on.
Attempting to do this on a larger scale usually devolves to infighting. - Amgine / talk 01:44, 25 October 2005 (UTC)[reply]
Wikinews is not paper. People who are interested in an open study of information should welcome a chance to share their research within a wiki environment. "Infighting" happens when there is a party line that is being defended against open discussion. Professional journalism does not emphasize the sharing of research because paid reporters must hide their sources and otherwise manipulate the value of the articles that they produce from their research. These constraints do not apply to Wikinews. The solution to bias is open discussion. --JWSchmidt 02:25, 25 October 2005 (UTC)[reply]
If this were true, all articles on Wikipedia would progressively develop away from all bias. This is not, in fact, the case. It is possible for a small number of people to consistently force a POV on a range of articles. For example, examine all articles related to Palestine on Wikipedia.
Still, the benefit of Wikinews is the "sunshine" approach of having all sources for factual statements presented with the article. Readers may choose to examine those sources and determine for themselves whether the sources appear reliable, and whether the article reasonably incorporates the information they present. - Amgine / talk 02:31, 25 October 2005 (UTC)[reply]
This formula seems inadequate: "Readers may choose to examine those sources and determine for themselves whether the sources appear reliable." The are well-funded efforts to produce "news" that will "appear reliable". I have higher standards than that. I am a scientist. The rule-of-thumb that I learned within the scientific community is that if someone willfully falsifies information, then they can no longer be trusted. Further, you have to go back and test everything they have ever said in the past in order to discover what else has been distorted. When a pattern of past deception is found, you are a fool to ever trust that source again. A "sunshine approach of having all sources for factual statements presented" cannot end with reporting what someone said. You also have to take into account the past history of the source and objective evidence that supports or contradicts what a source says. Objectivity arise through a social process of open information exchange. Wiki technology is well suited to function as a tool for such open information exchange. To stand in the way of finding new ways to make use of wikis for open information exchange is to subvert open information exchange, which is clearly the goal of those who benefit from keeping the truth hidden. --JWSchmidt 13:44, 25 October 2005 (UTC)[reply]

senior official[edit]

A senior official in the White House in the various articles I have read is a consistent term referring to the chief advisor to the President or Vice President ... so the major force behind the two elected CEO's in the country. In terms of whether it makes a difference as to whether Libby resigned first and then was indicted, or was indicted and then resigned, yes I think the difference is significant. Quoting Tom Davis, Republican from Virginia - “[I’m] very disappointed in Libby, and the White House, and the vice president and the president. They should have taken care of this a long time ago. They should have done their own investigation. They’re going to get very little sympathy on Capitol Hill, at least from me…They brought this on themselves.”

In sum, that the President has taken the tact that only with formal charges would an official be asked to leave ... a position contrary to Davis' opinion.

Regardless of the definitions and timing, we know the investigation into Rove's role is not over. Further, if the Libby case actually goes to trial, the role of the Vice President in this matter would be expected to be scrutinized. So the fact the Libby was the chief advisor would appear to present substantial lingering problems for the White House for a long time.

I am OK leaving the story where it rests until we know more from Fitzgerald on whether additional indictments are possible and more from Libby's Counsel in terms of the expected defense (right now reports say a confused memory).

--Psusen 15:10, 29 October 2005 (UTC)[reply]

Help on new article ?[edit]

Regarding the new article:

US state of Kansas in battle over "Intelligent Design" in education

The identical action has now been taken by MrMiscellanious, that is, he marked it as NPOV and sent it back to development. It still contains both POVs, so I don't know what he is complaining about. Could you please take a look and offer your opinion ? StuRat 15:36, 2 November 2005 (UTC)[reply]

Editing others' signed comments[edit]

Hi there! I've noticed on Water cooler/policy that you modified signed comments from both Wolfrider and myself. As this is against policy and regulation, I'm notifying you of the issue. Please refrain from doing this in all cases (except for cases of vandalism, spam, etc.), as our comments are our own. Thanks! --MrMiscellanious (talk) (contribs) 22:41, 7 November 2005 (UTC)[reply]

My edit was an apparently too subtle request for information. In the future I will try to find a way not to upset you. --JWSchmidt 01:25, 9 November 2005 (UTC)[reply]

IRC-channel 'leak'[edit]

I am referring to the box within Wikinews:Water_cooler#Abolition_of_Wikinews:Three_revert_rule, where two administrators discuss how to cooridnate their blocks in order to circumvent breaking WikiNews rules in order to prevent another administrator to unblock a user. Note that some modifications were made to the 'rules' during the buildup of this incident by another administrator. It seems difficult to me not to believe that this was coordinated too. Apart from this blatant attempt to violate the spirit of the rules without violating the rules, I have noticed similar behaviour by the same group of administrators to coordinate NPOV or DEVELOP tagging of articles so that no particular administrator had to do this three times in a row against the will of all other contributers. Hope that explains my comment. I will add the link to the comment. --vonbergm 02:41, 9 November 2005 (UTC)[reply]

Thanks for the info. I am sickened but not surprised. When the corruption runs deep, two words come to mind: regime change. An article in the Wikimedia Quarto might be useful. --JWSchmidt 03:27, 9 November 2005 (UTC)[reply]
It may surprise you to know this, but I do *not* engage in the type of coordination suggested above. But you are free to visit the IRC channel yourselves and see this first hand. - Amgine  03:31, 9 November 2005 (UTC)

Dover, PA Intelligent Design story[edit]

Good job, I see it's a featured story ! StuRat 00:00, 11 November 2005 (UTC)[reply]

Thanks for letting me know. And thanks for your help with that story. --JWSchmidt 01:01, 11 November 2005 (UTC)[reply]

Excellent analysis[edit]

I thought your comments on the Watercooler were an excellent analysis of the basic problems facing Wikinews, and the dynamics that underlie those problems. I'd not quite thought of it in terms of every editor/admin being somewhere on an axis of pro/anti status-quo "bias" but it makes absolute sense when I think about it. It has great "explanatory power" as a theory because it neatly explains most of the facts I've observed and been concerned about over the last few months.

The answer given by Eloquence was also very interesting, I thought. I think his response to what you've written perhaps highlights a further complexity - ie. that what many of us had taken to be "the rules" on the use of NPOV tags etc. - ie. (or at least this was my impression) that anyone can slap on an NPOV, and thereby send an article away into wiki-purgatory, without really having to give specific actionable reasons for that tag, were not really the real rules at all. My interpretation of what Eloquence has said is that we're perfectly entitled to remove the NPOV tag if there aren't specific "actionable" reasons for it being there.

On the question of admin abuse, I've been thinking about an idea that may I believe could help: "Fixed terms for admins" ie. that admin status should no longer be awarded indefinitely and unconditionally, but should be subject to renewal every three or six months or so, by popular vote. I believe that this will deter admin abuse and "incentivise good judgement" - admins who abuse their status to the extent that they alienate the community just wouldn't be re-elected. At the moment I think we have a classic case of "Who guards the guardians". I'd be interested to know what you think about this possible solution. 14:32, 11 November 2005 (UTC)

Deleted Stories[edit]

It is highly unlikely that all deleted stories will be restored. You can however view some information on deleted stories such as edit history, and reason for deletion by clicking on the stories red link in the deletion log. If you see any stories that you believe may have been valid and deleted improperly please let me know and will be glad to e-mail you a copy of the story (except of course stories deleted for legal reasons). Most stories that are deleted are complete nonsense/vandalism or are abandoned stories that were started but never finished. In the time I have been on Wikinews I have seen only one or two stories that were complete and not nonsense, both of these stories were deleted after being voted on DR. --Cspurrier 16:13, 11 November 2005 (UTC)[reply]

Institutional bias concerns[edit]

  • Hi again - many thanks for those comments - I think we're basically in agreement over the nature of the problem, and in the need for some kind of "perestroika" (I liked your allusion to "regime change"). I think you've laid out a very convincing argument for the community to make a sustained effort to roll back and curtail admin abuses, and I'm happy to start trying to put that into practice. I don't see this as an "either-or"
  • But my main concern is the one you highlight at the end of your analysis - ie. it's going to be a lot of hard work and, at least initially, something of an uphill struggle, with, in my view, a pretty uncertain outcome. In the past, such efforts have often/always resulted in a backlash by abusive administrators against the users who are trying to highlight and curtail admin abuses. The basic problem as I see it is a structural one. Editors who try to initiate sanctions against an administrator they believe to have acted abusively can, apparently, under the rules, be "punished" with blocks if those with the power to block them believe that the effort to initiate sanctions was based on "spurious" claims (I fell foul of this on one occasion). And of course the question of what is and isn't "spurious" is also, in large part, a matter of whatever the Administrators judge to be spurious. So, in my view at least, the odds are heavily stacked against those who would seek to initiate any sanctions whatsoever through the existing system.
  • The "fixed term" solution turns the tables. It's no longer about the community having to justify (in the face of sustained incoming fire!) the removal of status from an abusive admin (who may also be playing a determining role in deciding the case and then punishing those who brought it!). It suddenly becomes about the admin's performance being scrutinised by the community on a reasonably regular basis (maybe every 3-6 months). Wise and courteous admins will have nothing to fear from such a system. But if an admin has been abusive to the extent that more than 50% of community participants feel unable to express "trust" in them, then they will lose their status until such time as they have regained the trust of the community. Crucially, editors will have nothing to fear in casting their vote either for or against status renewal, and they will not have to justify their vote in terms of any other question than the issue of trust. At the moment there are strong "disincentives" towards initiating a vote for de-admin. Being "trusted by the community" is an essential precondition for becoming an admin, but once nominated they are free to lose as much trust as they like so long as no-one can pin them down to a specific violation of the (constantly changing and very vaguely defined) "rules". It's my belief that a democratic system would start, at least, to solve some, at least, of the very real problems that you've highlighted. I also believe that it would provide a more secure footing for the effective pursuit, by the community, of the further reforms that you've proposed, and which I strongly support. Rcameronw 18:29, 11 November 2005 (UTC)[reply]
  • PS - Of course, in the meantime, where admin abuses are occurring I'm happy to do what I can as a member of the community to support moves to de-admin, notwithstanding the drawbacks of the existing system. I've had serious concerns about recent episodes and would be happy to co-operate with and support community-wide efforts to enforce the admin abuse rules more robustly from now on. Rcameronw 18:43, 11 November 2005 (UTC)[reply]


De-editing is removing a users edit privileges. It means that they may view pages but not edit. I have deleted the article "De-editing" that you created, as it was in the article namespace, but wasn't news. - Borofkin 03:51, 16 November 2005 (UTC)[reply]

All of the information regarding de-editing appears on Wikinews:Editors. It is only a proposed policy at the moment, so it has never been done (with the exception of blocking by Administrators, which happens all the time). - Borofkin 04:05, 16 November 2005 (UTC)[reply]


JWSchmidt, I fully agree with your comment: "The current policy says that a request to remove adminship can be made by documenting that "an admin has abused his privileges". I think this should be interpreted to include basic user privileges like editing." Sadly, this is interpretation is not shared by current administrators that enforce the rules (see the discussion between Amgine and me on out talk pages, or by Amgine's action of again cancelling an RfdA). Thus I believe it is important that the rules be changed. As the current discussion seems to be largely blocked by people that don't want the rules to change I believe that changing back to "no rules" is the best way to proceed. This is the only way to provide enough incentive for the people that block the current discussion to engage themselves constructively. At this point, I see no better strategy but to vote for "no rules", maybe you have a better idea? --vonbergm 00:08, 27 November 2005 (UTC)[reply]

What do you mean by "test case"? There were several cases where RdfAs have been listed at least for a while and people provided some reasoning to why they did or did not support it. These are deleted right now, but will still come up if one digs through the history (a dreadful task). Similarly, even deleted articles are still available through the history, at least as far as I can tell. Getting to the root of the problem is a good idea. But first, what do you think the main problem is? When you say "institutional bias", what does that mean for a wiki? institution=administrators? or contributers? --vonbergm 05:45, 27 November 2005 (UTC)[reply]
About the test case. There has been no good effort to document problematic behaviour of administrators. I believe Neutralizer has a "running list" on his userspace, but this is rather rough and unrefind and does not really serve the purpose. I don't believe that abuse of admin privileges, like blocking in violation of policy, is necessarily the "worst" type of behaviour for administrators. MrM for example has violated policy in protecting an article (the al-jazeera article) that he was involved in a dispute about. although this is problematic, there are other aspects of administrator behaviour that worry me a lot more. for example, the "john wayne syndrome" that you described. MrM seems to think that on wikinews there is good and evil, and that he is the last bastion of the good and as soon as he gives way, evil editors will push their POV into every article. I have spent time cleaning up an article that MrM started that was not just POV but contained lots POV motivated factual inaccuracies. In other articles he insisted that NYT is categorically not a reliable source that should be used on wikinews, but he used a political blog as his main source for that article. Or his insistance on awkward formulations that overemphasise the e.g. "alleged", "undocumented", or "unverified" nature of information in conflict with his POV. It is these inconsistencies that show how his actions are motivated by his personal bias.
When it comes to Neutralizer, I agree that he also has problems to keep his personal bias out of articles. The fundamental differences that I see however are that a) he is not an administrator and does not have the status and powers that comes with it, so his POV actions will not be as damaging as that of administrators, and b) that he seems willing to accept criticism and work on it, even though it might take him longer than it should to learn this. For example, Neutralizer seemed to have made an honest effort in the mediation process, whereas Amgine essentially told the mediator to shove it when he did not like the mediators suggestions regarding himself.
Personal bias can be very harmful to the project on one hand, on the other hand it drives wikinews. I believe that a lot of good reporting on wikinews is motivated by personal bias. That is why certain people edit certain type of stories and not others. I believe that this is ok as long as the personal bias only enters in the choice of the articles one invests time in, and does not creep into the text of the article.
One approach to deal with personal bias could be a mentoring program. For example, one could assign an editor with similar POV but superior NPOV writing ability to, say, Neutralizer. This editor would monitor Neutralizers edits and tutor him how to write his news artiles without pushing his POV. Since they have similar POV on many issues, Neutralizer is much more likely to accept the criticism as constructive and learn from it, as opposed to (possibly POV-motivated) criticism from, say, MrM. After Neutralizer has made sufficient progress in his writing, the mediator and Neutralizer could work on recognizing and NPOV taging and commenting on other articles. Of course, MrM could subject to a simiar procedure (which as opposed to Neutralizer he probably will not accept). But in principle this will make Wikinews a lot smoother. --vonbergm 19:13, 27 November 2005 (UTC)[reply]

As I understand the way wikinews works (or is supposed to work) right now, the conflicts arising from personal bias are supposed to be resolved by argument compromize and consensus. This works pretty well in most cases, but not at all in others. This is how I see the community "protecting us from our own biases". In principle, I believe that this system works well. How do you plan to analyze the causes for breakdowns of this system systematically? I have not been around at wikinews for too long either, and I probably can't add anything about Neutrlizers personality. It seems to me that he is serious about bird flu (although he clearly also has other interestes) and he realized (it looks like eloquence suggested this to him) that this is a good topic to practice on as it tends to be less controvercial. you would have to talk to him directly to find out more, but considering his aboundend energy, there is a possibility that with only a little bit of couching from your side and a lot of work from his, we would get grear bird flu coveage on wikinews. And you pointed out what happenes when is energies are misguided... ;-) "Distributed mentoring" sounds excellent, although I have no clear picture of it as of yet. Having one mentor per trainee is also too much work and responsibility to be realistic. Here is one idea that might go in that direction: One could set up a system where a regular offender, say Neutralizer, would agree to be mentored by a certain selection of editors. That would mean that his comments and edits come in two colors, the "unmentored" color that Neutralizers edits would carry once he makes them, and the "mentored" colors, that is one of the mentors has approved it as "constructive" or "not helpful". in the former case the color would turn to the same as all other edits, in the latter it would become crossed out. This way Neutralizer and others could learn from mistakes, and people with opposite POV will not need to become worked up when they encounter a problematic commnet, as they could just ignore it until a mediator deals with it. Of course, submitting to such a system is voluntary and subject to enough people being willing and able to act as mediators. The colors would be problematic once it comes to editing published articles of course. So maybe trainees should categorically not edit published articles, unless for corecting typos, etc. They could of course still make comments on the talk pages.

Btw, Bawolff left a comment for you on my talk page after your last comment.

--vonbergm 00:17, 28 November 2005 (UTC)[reply]

PS: I forgot to link the article that MrM protected although he was involved in a dispute. (There is a new article out with almost identical content, I guess that happend because people were frustrated when they could not edit this article any more.) --vonbergm 00:27, 28 November 2005 (UTC)[reply]
I came to the same conclusion regarding this article. I do not believe that this is a good enough reason for an RfdA. If this was the only reason given for an RfdA I would not support it. The protection was lifted fairly shortly after MrMs initial protection, but then MessedRocker protected the page again for quite a while. When pressed for an explanation, he could not give one, but indicated that MrM asked him to protect the page. Although his conduct was also sub-optimal, he seemd to have acknowledged that fact and I am hopeful that next time around he will take more time to take a close look of the situation before jumpting to comclusions and using heavy guns. --vonbergm 15:22, 28 November 2005 (UTC)[reply]