WMF introduces moderation: “Wikimedia Space”

Gayjewponies 1
Sodomy cartoon: “Gay Jew ponies”

[Note: Ajraddatz is now using the new Wikimedia Space forum to publicly accuse me of “harassment”. No diffs, no links, no proof.

 What he does not mention is his own role as an admin of a site that advocates hitting blacks in the face with a bat, beating women, and raping children (“hentai”).

Ajraddatz also does not mention his approval of a cartoon of a volunteer being sodomized, with the caption “Gay Jew ponies FTW”.  “Harassment”, indeed.  

For details, see “How safe is Wikimedia Space?”]

Anyone who has been holding their breath waiting for Wikipedia to introduce paid moderators can now exhale, because the Wikimedia movement has just announced “Wikimedia Space”.


Like MySpace, it will probably be supplanted by something else in the long run, but for the moment it is there for anyone to take a test drive.

It not that surprising, really.  A lot of ideas have been kicking around the wikistans lately, for one, moderators who are paid staff. Some are saying moderation can’t work because scale, language, yadda yadda yadda.  But others say the number of disruptors is so small that it can be done with a small number of moderators.  So here is a chance to try it on a small scale.

There has also been some kind of recent talk page consultation. Not sure why, but for once the tech folk are actually asking teh communiteh before they implement something.  Talk pages are actually a mess across the projects, each one implements its own system – Wiki markup, Visual Editor, the Flow thing (on WikiData) – and may or may not have the templates and shortcuts you are used to on a different project. So if you have to communicate with someone on a different project, you are lost.  Also you are subject to the blocking whims of their admins and bureaucrats, who may or may not be corrupt, lazy, etc., and may just decide to disappear you if they don’t want to engage (think Ethiopian wiki).

So, what is it, and what is it not.


Like the Wikipedia Weekly group on Facebook, it is moderated. That group was started by a group of die-hard Wikipedians – Fuzheado, Keilana, and others who did a weekly podcast.  People joined because they wanted to listen to conversations between those type of people. No one knows the moderators on Space, these are staffers no one has ever heard of (okay, maybe Ckoerner-WMF Chris Koerner, but what does he do?). The Facebook group is well moderated, conflicts are allowed to play out, but stopped on the rare occasions when they became non-productive. The moderators on the Facebook group understand the current issues on Wikipedia only too well, and are not going to be fooled by trolling, dog-whistles, or false narratives.  The quality of moderation on Space has yet to be seen.

Where Wikipedia is “the encyclopedia anyone can edit”, including IPs, Facebook is not anonymous. You must use your real identity.  This means no user names. This also means women who do not want to be harassed and women in sensitive and/or public positions will not participate. If you look at the registration for Facebook, and start making a tally of the names, there are a good percentage of women, quite a bit higher than the 9% usually cited for Wikipedia.  But who actually participates?  Just a few, the ones who are doing some kind of Wikipedia-related research under their real names, and want to ask questions of seasoned Wikipedians, or those who get on the event scholarship lists, in other words, those who are willing to lend their personal “brand” to Wikipedia.

Wikimedia Space is somewhere in between. Log-in is required, and you can use your Wikimedia user account (so far only on Phabricator), which you can optionally link to your real life identity or you can use your Discourse account, whatever that it, which (correct me if I am wrong) is linked to your real life identity (but not necessarily your user name) via whatever credit card or bank account you use to pay your phone bill. (?)

Unlike Wikipedia, Space has a code of conduct, similar to the TCoC.

How many Space accounts can you have?  Maybe two, the WP account and the Discourse one. But why would you need more than one, there is nothing there to see.

Unanswered questions:

  • What about socks? Can you create a new account to make an “IP” comment?
  • What about globally banned users? ( I would imagine this is part of WMF and as such banned users are not allowed, but there is no real way to keep them out.)
  • Can you be sanctioned on other projects for edits here.
  • Does the Space blog replace the Wikimedia blog?

Other curious things

  • According to discussion on the mailing list, the code for this is not available for public viewing, so as such cannot be highjacked by the “community” in the same way that Superprotect was defeated by a community generated patch. It’s really too bad, but at this point it’s pretty obvious the “community” has surrendered the high ground, by advocating sabotage, and is no longer protecting the interests of the project so much as their own privilege.
  • So far you cannot subscribe by email (?)
  • If for some reason (like moderator action) you get locked out of the site, you probably lose access to your correspondence/messages there as well (there are private messages, aren’t there?)
  • This is supposed to act like a blog where you can post news about your organization, after a mysterious vetting process, but there is already Outreach, which has the capability to deliver newsletters to your user page.  If I am not mistaken, this is largely maintained by user:Romaine. (Hmm.)
  • There is no way to track edits or see who wrote what, no revision control unless you do external archiving .
  • How do you even have a conversation here?
  • Unlike the mailing list, there is probably a way to revdelete.
  • Users can accumulate trust levels.  This is similar to social networking principles in the social media sites developed by Wikimedia foundation board member Esra’a Al Shafei, who has the distinction of being Arab, gay, and alive, all at the same time.
  • There is a discussion page on meta. https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Talk:Wikimedia_Space
  • LOL, “Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act Compliance: Our site, products and services are all directed to people who are at least 13 years old or older. If this server is in the USA, and you are under the age of 13, per the requirements of COPPA (Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act), do not use this site.”
  • It talks a little bit like Clippy:

Remember Clippy?
No, I am not.  And why am I talking to computer-generated pixels.

I am going to predict that the mailing list for the arbcom, or whatever body replaces it, is going to be on this, or a similar platform, once all the issues have been worked out. Maybe all the mailing lists, it really is an archaic system.

I am also going to predict that bans and blocks, if they still exist in the future,  will be discussed in this platform, since it has a private option.  You may recall that in the case of Jimbo blocking Bishonen, a special wiki was created for the two of them to discuss the block, and as a result, Bishonen emerged as the new god-king of Wikipedia. (see meatball wiki “GodKing”)

Oh looky here, it has its own Flowchart:

(Is this cc-by-sa 3.0 like the rest of WP?) (Uh, say what? The voluminous “attributions” only cover the text.)

3 thoughts on “WMF introduces moderation: “Wikimedia Space”

  1. I’m confused. This is a little late. April 1 was nearly three months ago.

    That Flowchart is way too complicated; I don’t get it. Where’s Wikipedia?

    They should move their fundraising banners off of the encyclopedia and onto their blog. SInce the blog and other related things are what the money is actually being spent on. The current configuration is kind of bait-and-switch.

    What’s the point of this? A platform for the “Engagement” team to talk with themselves? They obviously have no interest in engaging over at WP:FRAM.

    There are already too many diffuse discussion platforms. This is just another Suburban Sprawl development, while the core continues to rot from their neglect.

  2. You’re asking me? All right, I’ll bite. I think it makes more sense if you think of it as PR or, if you will, “branding”.

    The fine print on the chart says “hang do thi duc, icons by fontawesome” with a 4.0 license so it’s probably on Commons somewhere.

    There is a (very short) profile of her here https://www.mozillapulse.org/profile/288 She is or was some kind of Mozilla fellow. https://foundation.mozilla.org/en/fellowships/apply/

    No idea if she is a Wikipedian, maybe just a contractor/geek, but I’m sure the Wikipediacrazies will be on it. Her Firefox browser extension is no longer being maintained. https://dataselfie.it/#/

    It is being billed as an outcome of the strategy process, which as we know represents “the community”, so can’t argue with it. https://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikimedia-l/2019-June/092954.html

    “Wikipedia” is in the center top under “Wiki projects”. If she is an outsider, and this is some kind of beta thing, it really isn’t bad. If it is meant to be educational…well, she is a dev, not an educator, so that should answer it. Unlike Jan’s decision flowchart for SuSa, or whatever they call it now, which is meant to be a representation of an insider process by the insiders themselves.

    If “the community” had been able to get together and agree on “diversity”, none of this would be happening.

    Instead, we are getting glossy brochures. It is probably exactly what we deserve.

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