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One editor faces likely ban for work on Wikipedia;
Jimmy Wales is awarded $1 million

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By Go Phightins!, Gamaliel

English Wikipedia editor faces ban for sockpuppetry

Editor's note: This will receive more extensive coverage in next week's arbitration report; a brief update appears here.

In the ongoing saga of Wifione allegedly using sockpuppets and his tools as an administrator to edit with a major conflict of interest, the English Wikipedia's Arbitration Committee is in the final stages of closing its case on the matter. With his proposals in the workshop receiving little support, he now faces significant sanctions from the committee. Wifione has already resigned his adminship under a cloud, and as of press time, ten arbitrators have voted in favor of a twelve-month site ban, at minimum, in addition to the desysopping. Many arbitrators discussed a so-called "Super Mario Problem"—essentially, conduct that would get a non-administrator banned only gets an administrator desysopped. Although Guerillero initially commented that "even keeping the 'Super Mario Problem' in mind, I do not feel that this reaches the level of a site ban," he later changed his vote on the site ban to support, noting that administrators should be held to a higher standard.

While a site ban appears to be a foregone conclusion at this point, arbitrators continue to discuss the wording of an associated restriction that would ostensibly remain in effect if Wifione returns to the project. The case appears to be nearing closure, and this is one case of alleged long-term abuse that the committee appears ready to put to rest. "Based upon duration, severity, etc.," wrote NativeForeigner while supporting a site ban, the "level of deception and manipulation of [point of view] rises to a very high level over a long period of time."

Wifione first edited in April 2009, racking up over 16,000 edits since. He became an administrator in September 2010, passing with about 80% in support.

Another $1 million prize for Jimmy Wales

Jimmy Wales receiving the Gottlieb Duttweiler Prize in 2011

Jimmy Wales will be one of the recipients of the 2015 Dan David Prize. First awarded in 2002 and administered by Tel Aviv University, the prize "recognizes and encourages innovative and interdisciplinary research that cuts across traditional boundaries and paradigms. It aims to foster universal values of excellence, creativity, justice, democracy and progress and to promote the scientific, technological and humanistic achievements that advance and improve our world." Each year winners are selected for their work affecting the past, present, and future in a different broad category for each time frame. A US$1 million prize is awarded to the winner or winners in each time frame. This year's categories and winners were:

Past Retrieving the Past: Historians and their Sources Peter Brown, Alessandro Portelli
Present The Information Revolution Jimmy Wales
Future Bioinformatics Cyrus Chothia, David Haussler, Michael Waterman

Last year, Wales shared a separate $1 million prize—the Knowledge Award—with Tim Berners-Lee, but was criticized for accepting money from the United Arab Emirates due to that nation's human rights abuses (see previous Signpost coverage). In a similar vein, an IP editor has asked Wales if he will turn down the award from an Israeli organization, though it remains to be seen if this award will attract as much criticism as the Knowledge Award.

In brief

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The IP mentioned in the Jimmy Wales article has been blocked for trolling. The comment was his/her only visible contribution. — Brianhe (talk) 14:57, 12 February 2015 (UTC)[reply]

I see the UAE complaints as totally valid, but not this one. This isn't the Israeli government promoting itself, its a university that happens to be located in its boundaries, yeah it's public, but universities usually operate pretty independently of their governments interests. The fact that the IP is blocked has nothing to do with the validity of the complaint, however. Oiyarbepsy (talk) 15:22, 12 February 2015 (UTC)[reply]

Super Mario Problem... I like this phrase. I would suppose then, a 'crat is Fire Mario? What an interesting comparison. --DSA510 Pls No Pineapple 17:54, 12 February 2015 (UTC)[reply]

  • I feel that the Wifione section understates what's going on with the case. While sockpuppetry is a factor, I think the bigger issues Arbitrators are trying to address is the editing. -- DQ (ʞlɐʇ) 23:13, 12 February 2015 (UTC)[reply]
  • The headline One editor faces likely ban for work on Wikipedia; another awarded $1 million makes it sound like the second editor was awarded $1 million for doing the same thing the first editor was banned for. --Guy Macon (talk) 01:49, 13 February 2015 (UTC)[reply]
  • Background: In Mario Brothers, When Small Mario takes a hit, he dies. When Super Mario takes the same hit he turns into Small Mario. The obvious analogy would be a case where when a regular user misbehaves badly enough he is site banned, but when an administrator misbehaves in the exact same way he is desysoped and becomes a regular user.
There is also an even larger and far rarer Giant Mario, who can walk over and destroy everything in his path, including the largest and most powerful enemies. Giant Mario has a time limit after which he reverts to being Super Mario, but can be killed with great difficulty. The analogy here is left as an exercise for the reader.
And no, I didn't know any of this before tonight. I looked it up on :)
Wikipedia edits where the Super Mario Problem has been discussed:[1][2][3][4][5] --Guy Macon (talk) 05:20, 13 February 2015 (UTC)[reply]
  • Re:Wifione. None of this is particularly new. Particular credit to the illustrious Col. Warden who noted during the RFA: "I'm concerned by this pro-forma behaviour too. Early in his career, the candidate was accused of being a reappearance of a prolific sockmaster. I would expect a smart person of this kind to work their passage up to admin status by perfunctory activity of the kind that we see. My impression is that there are still some unresolved COI issues around The Indian Institute of Planning and Management. Colonel Warden (talk) 2:39 am, 14 September 2010, Tuesday (4 years, 5 months, 1 day ago) (UTC−7)" — Myself, I found Wifione to be a very reasonable person in general administrative sorts of discussions, although I admittedly never ventured within a 10 mile radius of their editing areas of interest. Carrite (talk) 16:45, 13 February 2015 (UTC)[reply]
  • Re: Wifione: The deep research made by at least one uninvolved admin for this case was largely responsible for, and vital to, its conclusion by the arbitrators.
I particularly liked the accused admin in question and had absolutely no previous inkling of what came to be exposed at Arbcom. I somehow missed out on voting on their RfA, where even regular RfA oposers were unable to to sway it to a non-promotion although it was a fairly close call.
This is probably a rare case as far as site bans of sysops are concerned and we’ll probably never see the likes again of such a fiasco as Pastor Theo’s adminship again either (for those who have been around long enough to remember it) but who knows whether or not they have reincarnated their ugly head under some other guise? I already made the mistake once of supporting one candidate who later turned into an unpleasant adversary and was finally desysoped for acting in a way totally unbecoming for the role we invest in our admins.
The clear message the recent Arbcom case sends to us all therefore, is that anyone who is thinking of starting yet another perennial motion to lower the bar at RfA (or even to unbundle the tools) had better think again. We can't be careful enough when (s)electing our admins and we have a duty (including me of all people) to do more research before placing our !votes in the upstairs lobby. --Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 04:18, 14 February 2015 (UTC)[reply]
Oh Pastor Theo. That case still irks me. NuclearWarfare and I, talking off-wiki, called that they were a sock (see the RfA questions), but we backed off because there was no solid proof. Ed [talk] [majestic titan] 05:15, 14 February 2015 (UTC)[reply]
Ed, That RfA was just a few months before I had reason to get so heavily involved in how our admins get (s)elected. If I saw a question like that today it would immediately ring all my alrm bells very loudly and certainly incur a clear oppose vote. Such findings are strong grounds for getting our CU policy changed at least for adminship candidates when someone comes up with such compelling evidence. Even if it works only once a year, it would throw out a warning to candidates with an agenda. --Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 10:57, 14 February 2015 (UTC)[reply]


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