Wikipedia:Village pump (miscellaneous)
Discussions are automatically archived after remaining inactive for a week.
For a listing of ongoing discussions, see the dashboard
I feel like shit
I have been sitting on this for around two years. It has taken me a really long time to figure out how to express this.
As you may know I worked for the Wikimedia Foundation from 2018 to 2019. This was following a lifetime of service to the Wikimedia movement. I started contributing my time in 2004 and over time participated in greater and more consequential capacities. I am proud of the work I have done, from making workflows more efficient with bots, to organizing large and successful conferences, to my work on building an open citation graph on Wikidata.
What I am not proud of is working at the Wikimedia Foundation.
I worked very hard throughout my career and ultimately found full time work at one of the world’s most illustrious nonprofits. What I got for my lifetime of work was the experience of working with bullies.
The Wikimedia Foundation is run by bullies.
There are two members of executive management that come to mind. Both have made me the object of repeated ridicule over a period of several years in my volunteer and professional capacities. One has interacted with me a single digit number of times and only did so to make fun of some verbal gaffe I made or otherwise mock something I have said or done. Another liked to make jokes about me as well, often right in my face. I had an experience of interviewing with this executive, only for them to make fun of me to my face in subsequent encounters.
Both of these people still work at the Wikimedia Foundation. I am not referring to them directly because I don’t want them to sue me and I don’t want my post to be oversighted, but they still hold positions of power, and they are still responsible for managing staff.
There are a lot of things I could tell you about the foundation, good or bad. I could tell you about the brilliance of the staff, the genuine collaborations between professionals and volunteers that take place, and the sincere dedication of everyone I have met working there.
I could also tell you about the lack of leadership at the highest levels, and the interdepartmental war for resources that resulted. But I was merely demoralized by this chaos; it wasn’t my own personal experience. I could tell you about how women, and women of color in particular, are chewed up and spit out by the management. But that’s not my story to tell. I could complain that their growth strategy is complete nonsense and destined to fail, but that’s, just, like, my opinion.
But this is my story to tell: I am an adult with autism. Over the years, especially when I was younger, it is inevitable that I would say and do things that are kind of funny. And I have been made fun of my entire life for it. I can forgive myself for saying awkward things, and I can forgive people for what they did as children. What I cannot forgive is a fully grown adult, in a position of significant authority, bullying another adult in their workplace. It is unforgivable.
After a chaotic 18 or so months of working at Wikimedia, I turned in my badge. The experience left me with posttraumatic stress disorder, seriously adrift on a moral and emotional level, and occasionally prone to psychotic episodes. Over time I have been able to forgive the dysfunction that defined my work experience, but I could not let go of the fact that there are bullies who work for the Wikimedia Foundation and still work there.
As Wikipedians we are a neurodiverse community and come from many different backgrounds. We need management that is not just charismatic, not just good at giving speeches, but empathetic and compassionate, who genuinely understands our experiences.
I feel terrible and exposed writing this. I may be opening myself up to retaliation. But I have been sitting on this for so long, and it has tortured me so much. And I can’t live with myself not knowing that this perspective is invisible. You are not going to hear it from the slick Communications team, and you’re not going to hear it from people who think speaking up will make them unemployable. But at this point, I don’t think I have anything to lose. And if others speak up because of me I hope it will be worth it. Harej
) 03:14, 22 May 2021 (UTC)
, damn. I'm no WMF employee, but why do I not feel surprised? To answer my own question, it's probably due to how the WMF tends to steamroll over community wishes (Branding project insanity
, trying to kick out Jimbo
, failing to adequately deal with WP:THEYCANTHEARYOU
and the captions fiasco
on Commons which is a story for another day and not sufficiently covered by that link) I've quoted you in full on User talk:Jimbo Wales
. Getting bullied is devastating. WMF executive management bullying people is just lunacy. And the worst part is, the people who do it are typically too damn stupid to realize what they're doing. They're not compensating or "secretly insecure" as you often hear. They're just too damn stupid. They simply lack the brain capacity to understand the consequences of their actions. — Alexis Jazz
or ping me) 04:58, 22 May 2021 (UTC)
Not sure if I'd say that it's due to that, or if they have the same underlying problem (I'd be more inclined to think the latter). Elli
) 03:13, 24 May 2021 (UTC)
, I'm so sorry that happened to you, and thank you for standing up and saying it. Yngvadottir
) 05:59, 23 May 2021 (UTC)
Thank you for stepping up and writing this. Legoktm
) 07:00, 23 May 2021 (UTC)
Thank you for being honest about your experiences, Harej
. It's really disappointing to hear this. As you'll well know, autistic people are a major part of our community, well in excess of their proportion in the general population. Any company which truly appreciated that it is built on and run by our volunteer labour would bend over backwards to be accommodating towards autistic and neurodivergent people. No doubt these management figures have also mocked neurotypicals and made them feel like shit too. And a disorganised workplace is a hotbed for mental health problems. Not a proud moment for the WMF. — Bilorv
) 14:31, 23 May 2021 (UTC)
- Well done on speaking out, Harej. As above, neither saddened nor surprised. (I note that this page has been archived in at least two major online archives—multiple times!—so oversighting would be a bit of a horse/stable door scenario.) ——Serial 17:27, 23 May 2021 (UTC)
- Thank you for sharing your experience James. We have worked together a bit and I'm really saddened by this. I wish WMF would have been a better place. Ladsgroupoverleg 18:07, 23 May 2021 (UTC)
- I am very sorry you feel like that, and feel ashamed that there could be such people there. You are worth a lot, they are blind if they were simply unable to recognize that, going up to bullying... I don't have words to describe it. It's really saddening that you suffered such experience. Platonides (talk) 20:23, 23 May 2021 (UTC)
- Good gravy, Harej, I was so pleased when you finally had a career path open up after all your work. We should point out that you are not the only person in our group of wikibuddies who has had real life difficulties as a result of their good faith efforts on behalf of this encyclopedia. Please accept my best wishes in your future endeavors, and know that there are many places where ordinary civility and US EEO/ADA laws have made for a much less toxic environment than what you have experienced so far. It gets better-- stay in touch! Oliveleaf4 (talk) 21:45, 23 May 2021 (UTC)
Harej, I'm so sorry to hear that. As the parent of child who was bullied because of their autism-spectrum-disorder, our collective failure to protect the neurodiverse members of our communities strikes me as particularly egregious and intolerable. We can and must do better. Thank you for speaking up. Vexations
) 22:01, 23 May 2021 (UTC)
Sorry for your bad experience and I hope that telling your story helps somehow. Large organizations like the WMF can sometimes be unintentionally cruel and that's why it's so important for everyone to work hard to be extra friendly and inclusive. Flounder ceo
) 01:22, 24 May 2021 (UTC)
To add some clarifying remarks: I am not referring to the managers I reported directly to; they are incredible people. And I do believe most staff at the foundation are working in good faith and are trying to do right by the people they work with, professionally and in the community. I am gravely concerned that there is a culture among, specifically, the executives
(i.e. direct reports to the CEO) that is toxic, and I have been on the receiving end of this in subtle ways that scarred me. While I worked there and especially since I left many of them have been replaced with new ones, and I have no opinion on them because I haven't worked with them. I've noticed a lot of people have brought their own grievances with the Wikimedia Foundation into this, and I completely understand that, just that I think my position is a bit more nuanced than the "community vs. foundation" dynamic I often see. And I also want to note that merely the experience of being able to write what I did, and the outpouring of support, has been immensely meaningful to me. Thank you. Harej
) 17:32, 24 May 2021 (UTC)
- Thanks for speaking out about your experience, James. You've done a huge amount for the project, and I was saddened to read this. It takes a neurodiverse community to build this project and keep it running, and large parts of our movement could probably use more (or any) information and/or training regarding the neurodiversity of our valued contributors. Hopefully this thread helps to spur that on. — \\ 12:28, 25 May 2021 (UTC)
- Like others above, I'm saddened but not surprised by this. Thank you for speaking out. One thing leapt immediately to mind when you wrote "We need management that is not just charismatic, not just good at giving speeches, but empathetic and compassionate, who genuinely understands our experiences" - people who are charismatic (or what passes for charismatic in some environments) and good at giving speeches are very rarely also empathetic and compassionate. Our articles superficial charm and psychopathy in the work-place may be of interest. DuncanHill (talk) 14:16, 25 May 2021 (UTC)
involves the psychopath creating a scenario of “psychopathic fiction
” where positive information about themselves and negative disinformation
about others will be created, where your role as a part of a network of pawns or patrons
will be utilised and you will be groomed
into accepting the psychopath's agenda. Once on to the confrontation stage, the psychopath will use techniques of character assassination
to maintain their agenda, and you will be either discarded as a pawn or used as a patron. Finally, in the ascension stage, the role of the subject as a patron in the psychopath’s quest for power will be discarded, and the psychopath will take for himself/herself a position of power and prestige from anyone who once supported them.
I know it's not my place, but that last link has nothing to do with what this discussion's supposed to be about. Golollop
) 16:55, 25 May 2021 (UTC)
- Hi harej, it was sad to read about your experience. The courage you have shown here in expressing how you felt is inspirational and I am glad that taking this step was personally meaningful to you in any case. I hope that others who feel the same way about their current or former workplaces will also express themselves effectively and provide an opportunity for positive changes to occur. Thank you for sharing this and I wish you all the best. Ncmvocalist (talk) 18:23, 26 May 2021 (UTC)
- Harej, it's really a shame to hear that. I've worked at some places like that too, and it really does leave its mark on you. I hope the WMF will take this on board and worry about the conduct of its own employees and executives. We should do better than that. Seraphimblade Talk to me 15:57, 29 May 2021 (UTC)
- That one of the nicest and most dedicated people in the site's history got treated so poorly is a damning indictment. I went through a similar situation as a kid and it's sad to see that that behavior is still considered acceptable that high up. Moneytrees🏝️Talk/CCI guide 22:17, 30 May 2021 (UTC)
- Harej I'm so sorry to hear this. I can relate a little, although what I experienced wasn't nearly as bad as what you've described here. Towards the end of my time at the WMF, I felt quite unwelcome due to the actions of some people there. I tried to find a different position from the one I was in, that would distance me from those people, but was told that that was not an option that was open to me. So, my options were to put up with it, or leave. I wish I didn't feel like I needed to leave in order to preserve my mental health, but I did. In the end, it wasn't the antagonistic relationship between the paid staff and volunteers that made me leave, it was internal antagonistic relationships. It's a shame, working at a company with global impact that isn't totally driven by profit, short term thinking, and next quarter's share prices could easily be the best job in the world... but, in the end, somehow it ends up not being that different from short term profit-focussed companies anyway, and it really isn't the best job in the world at all. I hope you can begin to recover from this trauma. All the best. --Deskana (talk) 09:11, 1 June 2021 (UTC)
I also relate. In my case I stuck around and tried to push back against increasing attempts at marginalization and workplace bullying. It got to the point where I officially complained to HR (and in retrospect I should have used stronger wording), they eventually claimed "no evidence" but everything I asked for happened anyway, then a month or so later allowed massive retaliation. It seems to me that the management at WMF has grown pretty dysfunctional, fostering a culture where their own image and career progression is a major goal in a way that I'd associate more with cut-throat for-profit companies than with a non-profit. Anomie⚔
13:32, 1 June 2021 (UTC)
- Having the pleasure of working with you in the past, and also experiencing executive bullying at Wikimedia Foundation myself, I believe every detail of your story, and I can imagine exactly this sort of stratospheric managerial misconduct going unpunished. I don't want to dilute the conversation by giving my own opinion of how far up the organizational structure this rot extends, but let's say the Wikimedia Foundation would be a much better work environment, and would benefit even on a programmatic level, if the rank-and-file staff and community members were included in a democratic process. Hope we have another chance to work together! Adamw (talk) 07:23, 2 June 2021 (UTC)
- So, now what? @Harej, Deskana, Anomie, and Adamw:, you have all courageously come forward ... in a thread that was going to be archived in a few days. This should not be forgotten. This deserves about 1000x more attention. But where? Suffusion of Yellow (talk) 20:48, 6 June 2021 (UTC)
We need a way to collect reports of misconduct to identify problems and provide de-identified annual status reports
"Bullying" is an appropriate term for Wikimedia Foundation staff misconduct
There is an unacceptably high rate of Wikimedia Foundation staff and consultant misconduct in the Wikimedia Movement. Where money is involved, there are paid Wikimedia Foundation representatives who violate the meta:Universal Code of Conduct
and stifle free discussion about the regularity of this problem. The Wikimedia community of volunteers sets the values and ethics of our movement. However, as Wikimedia Movement goals increasingly come into conflict with the Wikimedia Foundation's corporate interests, the Wikimedia Foundation is more regularly putting aside its nonprofit mission and values in favor of more desirable corporate operations for staff. The Wikimedia Foundation's normalization of misconduct is accumulating grievances and undermining community trust in the Foundation's role in the Movement. No one at the Wikimedia Foundation counts, documents, researches, reports, or will publicly discuss how frequently or how severely Wikimedia Foundation staff are reported to engage in misconduct. This failure to document leads to the consequence that every time I hear of someone reporting a complaint, the Wikimedia Foundation's response is always that they have no records of other such problems.
As a solution I will suggest that the Wikimedia community needs a way to collect reports of misconduct for a third-party researcher to de-identify, categorize, and publish so that we can establish a common knowledge and understanding of the extent to which corporate operations are conflicting with the nonprofit mission. Wikimedia Foundation staff misconduct is especially offensive because donor money sponsors it, and because vulnerability to misconduct is the consequence of the Wikimedia Foundation's lack of investment in Wikimedia community infrastructure that would have enabled the community to defend itself. As a Catholic
I have great faith in the power of confession
, and I believe that compassion can counter misconduct. Through open and transparent discussion I believe that we could effectively, inexpensively, and realistically eliminate misconduct which has negativity as its cause.
I want to clarify: the Wikimedia Foundation does not have higher rates of misconduct than typical corporations so far as I can guess about organizations with US$100+ million in annual revenue; but the normal rates of misconduct for typical organizations are much too high to tolerate in our non-profit, mission-driven, community-centered Wikimedia Movement. Blue Rasberry (talk)
01:29, 7 June 2021 (UTC)
Thanks for speaking up, Harej
, and for contributing so remarkably much in other ways. I'm sorry this happened to you! I will remember this. I'd like to help wipe out bullying at the Foundation and elsewhere. Our movement involves volunteers so it's especially important to keep things positive and supportive. -- econterms
) 21:06, 11 June 2021 (UTC)
A Sad Tale of Plagiarism, Original Research and Wikipedia
I recently came across an academic paper with this paragraph in the abstract:
In science fiction, an alien, android, robot, holo- gram or computer described as ‘sentient’ is usually treated in the same way as a human being. Foremost among these properties is human level intelligence (sapience) but sentient characters also typically dis- play desire, will, consciousness, ethic, personality, insight and humour. Sentience is used in this con- text to describe an essential human property that unites all of these other qualities. The words ‘sapi- ence’, ‘self-awareness’ and ‘consciousness’ are used in similar ways and sometimes – and confusingly – interchangeably in science fiction.
I wrote this paragraph for article sentience
a long time ago, when I was newbie. This is how it appeared in 2010
In science fiction, an alien, android, robot, hologram, or computer who is described as sentient is usually treated as a fully human character, with similar rights, qualities, and capabilities as any other character. Foremost among these properties is human level intelligence (see above), but sentient characters also typically display desire, will, consciousness, ethics, personality, insight, and many other human qualities. Sentience is being used in this context to describe an essential human property that brings all these other qualities with it. The words "sapience", "self-awareness", and "consciousness" are used in similar ways in science fiction.
Here was my first version, from 2007
The issue of sentience also frequently arises in science fiction stories about aliens, robots and computers with artificial intelligence. A character who is described as sentient is assumed to have many human qualities, such as will, desire, consciousness, ethics, personality, intelligence, insight, and so on (although it may be conspicuously lacking one or two). Sentience is being used in this context to describe an essential human property that brings all these other qualities with it.
So, question one: what do we think about people plagiarizing Wikipedia, without attribution?
Here's the thing, though. This paragraph was straight up WP:ORIG
. (I said I was newbie.) I suppose I should have deleted it myself at some point, as original research, but I thought for sure I would eventually find a source that made this point. I never did.
Eventually, after ten years or so, the entire section of the article was deleted, because it lacked sources. I had a bit of chuckle and a sigh -- somebody finally noticed.
That brings me to question two: what do we think about people plagiarizing original research from Wikipedia? (Now it's getting complicated.)
So I got to thinking -- I could restore the paragraph, because'now I have a source -- I mean the source is me, still, but I've been plagiarized outside of Wikipedia, so now maybe Wikipedia can plagiarize them back? I know, I know -- I'm just asking.
Finally, question three: what do we think about citing a source that is plagiarized original research from Wikipedia?
) 08:30, 30 May 2021 (UTC)
Rapid-fire responses: a) That would be worthy of a complaint if you are so inclined. That Wikipedia content is free content does not mean that there aren't some obligations - and attribution is one of the few obligations. b) Sigh. c) I'd be very dubious; if they take content from other websites without saying this, one wonders what other non-dependable source they might have used and how that OR influenced the conclusion of the paper. Jo-Jo Eumerus
) 08:35, 30 May 2021 (UTC)
Interesting. It seems to be in the text
as well as the abstract. Both authors of the 2016 paper seem to be active academics. Might be interesting to alert the editorial board of SFRA Review
08:56, 30 May 2021 (UTC)
I googled the authors and found this: In this article
that was published in a July 2016 issue of The New York Review of Science Fiction
, on the PDF page 3/6 there is text that seems to be almost a word-for-word copy of the second lead paragraph in Robot-assisted surgery
. In December 2015
the WP article read, In the case of robotically-assisted minimally-invasive surgery, instead of directly moving the instruments, the surgeon uses one of two methods to control the instruments; either a direct telemanipulator or through computer control.
From the article (middle of the left column): In the case of robotically assisted, minimally invasive surgery, instead of directly moving the instruments, the surgeon uses one of two methods to control the instruments—either a direct tele-manipulator or through computer control.
I cut it for space, but it's the whole second paragraph of the WP article's lead. I didn't check if there are more hits from Wikipedia in that article. -kyykaarme
) 12:15, 30 May 2021 (UTC)
Look at this
"Information freely excerpted from Wikipedia" but not stated which articles or linked. (t
22:13, 2 June 2021 (UTC)
- Agree with Pam on notifying the editors. I have come across errors in a peer-reviewed journal derived from cribbing Wikipedia before, but it wasn't quite as blatant as this. —Nizolan (talk · c.) 14:02, 5 June 2021 (UTC)
I consider @Doc James
to be one of the experts on this problem. He's found plagiarism in multiple textbooks and journal articles. WhatamIdoing
) 20:20, 8 June 2021 (UTC)
- On the last point: no, we shouldn't be citing this and including it. This is a copyright violation and we should not even really be linking to copyright violations, let alone using them as a source. But more fundamentally, the reason that we require reliable sources is because Wikipedia articles are not about us, what we think or how we would explain a topic. They're for summarising how experts do think and explain these topics. So an unsourced quick intro with mostly self-evident facts is better than nothing, but it should ultimately be replaced, and regardless of it going in one end of an academic source and out the other, it's still fundamentally not what we're looking for in an explanation. (But on the other hand, congrats on writing a summary good enough for those researchers to think it was valuable enough to steal...) — Bilorv (talk) 14:42, 11 June 2021 (UTC)
Report the plagiarism and copyright violation to whomever is appropriate. If the paper was publisher, report it to the publisher. If it was an academic paper, report it to the university or school's academic honesty people. That said, I've reported multiple published
academic papers for large-scale plagiarism of Wikipedia... and you know what's come of it so far? Nothing. Just boilerplate "thank you, we'll look into it" replies. I've even followed up on those only to get more of the same with nothing ever coming of it. Kind of depressing. But I will always go after people who plagiarize and try to maximally harm them. They should literally lose their jobs for it. Jason Quinn
) 02:49, 12 June 2021 (UTC)
Hello editors! We have 6 edit request queues (c.f. User:AnomieBOT/IPERTable
), several of which require administrators or specialized technical editors to update - but one of them that is very backlogged can be processed by any neutral editor. If you have some time, please consider helping out at Category:Wikipedia requested edits
. Thank you! — xaosflux Talk
18:40, 9 June 2021 (UTC)
2021 Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees Call for Candidates
Submit your candidacy for the 2021 Board of Trustees election.
The Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees oversees the Wikimedia Foundation's operations. Community trustees and appointed trustees make up the Board of Trustees. Each trustee serves a three year term. The Wikimedia community has the opportunity to vote for community trustees.
Wikimedia contributors will vote to fill four seats on the Board in 2021. This is an opportunity to improve the representation, diversity, and expertise of the Board as a team.
Universal Code of Conduct News – Issue 1
Welcome to the first issue of Universal Code of Conduct News
! This newsletter will help Wikimedians stay involved with the development of the new code, and will distribute relevant news, research, and upcoming events related to the UCoC.
Please note, this is the first issue of UCoC Newsletter which is delivered to all subscribers and projects as an announcement of the initiative. If you want the future issues delivered to your talk page, village pumps, or any specific pages you find appropriate, you need to subscribe here
You can help us by translating the newsletter issues in your languages to spread the news and create awareness of the new conduct to keep our beloved community safe for all of us. Please add your name here
if you want to be informed of the draft issue to translate beforehand. Your participation is valued and appreciated.
- Affiliate consultations – Wikimedia affiliates of all sizes and types were invited to participate in the UCoC affiliate consultation throughout March and April 2021. (continue reading)
- 2021 key consultations – The Wikimedia Foundation held enforcement key questions consultations in April and May 2021 to request input about UCoC enforcement from the broader Wikimedia community. (continue reading)
- Roundtable discussions – The UCoC facilitation team hosted two 90-minute-long public roundtable discussions in May 2021 to discuss UCoC key enforcement questions. More conversations are scheduled. (continue reading)
- Phase 2 drafting committee – The drafting committee for the phase 2 of the UCoC started their work on 12 May 2021. Read more about their work. (continue reading)
- Diff blogs – The UCoC facilitators wrote several blog posts based on interesting findings and insights from each community during local project consultation that took place in the 1st quarter of 2021. (continue reading)
Ironic that this is posted on the same page as I feel like shit
. However, I guess the UCoC has a clause excluding the WMF. Johnuniq
) 00:38, 11 June 2021 (UTC)
, It includes employees and board members of affiliates and employees and board members of the Wikimedia Foundation, but it should be noted that the foundation only holds itself to a a minimum set of guidelines of expected and unacceptable behaviour
) 00:45, 11 June 2021 (UTC)
The round-table mentioned above
is occurring in about 1h30m minutes from now and facilitated in English, Korean, and Indonesian. Xeno (WMF)
) 03:32, 12 June 2021 (UTC) (correction to previous message: it's at 05:00 UTC)
Last edited on 12 June 2021, at 03:44
Content is available under CC BY-SA 3.0
unless otherwise noted.