RationalWiki talk:RationalMedia Foundation

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Open request for comment[edit]

Anything y'all want the board to do this year, write it below. Be advised, I can't promise you that everything you ask for will happen, this is for community input. After all, this is your board of trustees, for your wiki, and your input should be of importance. — Dysk (contribs) 15:53, 5 September 2020 (UTC)


  1. Fix <math> — Godless Raven SDAPOe logo.svg talkstalkwalkbalk 🌹 Flag of Europe.svg 15:54, 5 September 2020 (UTC)
    This isn't an issue for the board to consider. This request belongs in the tech support forum. Besides, I thought you said that you weren't editing mainspace any more and have moved to your fork wiki. So, why would you care if the math extension is fixed or not? —cosmikdebris talk stalk 17:52, 5 September 2020 (UTC)
    It is because D campaigned on updating the software, so I would like to see promise fulfilled. — Godless Raven SDAPOe logo.svg talkstalkwalkbalk 🌹 Flag of Europe.svg 04:51, 10 September 2020 (UTC)
  2. Improve transparency. For example, at a minimum, please make an honest effort to post the minutes of board meetings here. —cosmikdebris talk stalk 17:50, 5 September 2020 (UTC)
  3. Update the site's privacy policy, which has not been updated in ages. Aidan Bissell-Siders (talk) 02:51, 11 December 2020 (UTC)
    Why does it even need updating? What kind of request is that?The 𝗦𝗾𝗿𝘁-𝟭 talk stalk block 12:23, 12 December 2020 (UTC)
  4. Update the site. We need the visual editor, mobile skins, article previews on howering, and all that.The 𝗦𝗾𝗿𝘁-𝟭 talk stalk block 12:25, 12 December 2020 (UTC)
    I will echo this statement and I will want to issue a reminder to board members and regular users that I don't want VE enabled without reaching community consensus (not merely a vote). VisualEditor is an extension with a good amount of baggage that caused significant problems when the English Wikipedia adopted it. To summarize it, and I will make this a discussion point eventually, whether or not we update: VisualEditor is a WYSWIG editor with a good amount of assumptions about page formatting, is notoriously buggy because it's a product the WMF poured money into without much concern, is very fucking annoying to work with when it comes to templates, gives our site an unhealthy reliance on Javascript (which is very bad for privacy minded users and users on not super recent browsers) and because of the assumptions it makes about page formatting, users who don't use it will have to spit through a literal shitton of junk being inserted into pages because the editor made formatting assumptions. The short of it is that I have major issues with the extension and again, don't want it enabled without consensus. The rest of this is fine, mobile skins should be available with the Timeless skin once the update goes through (Minerva requires more setup but is technically also an option) and the article preview is a gadget that will fix itself once we update Sirius (dog star / Pencil.png / Tux icon.png / Shield.png) 16:15, 12 December 2020 (UTC)
    It comes as part of 1.35 - and the reason it caused so much trouble in 2013 was that it was rushed out and didn't work properly. Now it does work properly. I really don't think there's any danger from it whatsoever, nor reason to think there would be - David Gerard (talk) 20:19, 12 December 2020 (UTC)
    Well then, we can just skip the visual editor and update the fucking wiki???The 𝗦𝗾𝗿𝘁-𝟭 talk stalk block 12:01, 2 January 2021 (UTC)
  5. I would second Sqrt-1's statement except for the visual editor, of which I am wary. Further mobile support is a must. RationalWiki is a useful public resource, that is the site's most important function, and mobile support is necessary to fulfill that function.--Hastur! (talk) 18:32, 12 December 2020 (UTC)
  6. I agree with Hastur. I am also wary about the visual editor, particularly because it is buggy, and I'm concerned that edits made with a visual editor might be inscrutable for non-visual editing. Bongolian (talk) 18:56, 12 December 2020 (UTC)
  7. I concur with Hastur and Sirius on the visual editor; however, I do heartily agree with Sqrt-1 on the mobile skins and article previews- especially since the existing hover-preview feature appears to not work anymore for some reason (or at least for me on my Linux laptop which has the Linux version of Firefox and Samsung phone which has the built-in Samsung browser). --Goatspeed. Watch meCircularREmail2.gifasoningSee my latest prototypes 19:00, 12 December 2020 (UTC)
    Just a random BoN and lurker, dropping to say this, upgrade your fucking wiki please. (talk) 10:19, 13 December 2020 (UTC)
    Well said.The 𝗦𝗾𝗿𝘁-𝟭 talk stalk block 12:02, 2 January 2021 (UTC)
  8. I agree with the calls for mobile version, I sometimes edit on my phone and I'm sure a lot of people do too. Less enthusiastic about visual editor. I've used it on both Wikipedia and Wikia and personally hated it. If the mob wants it then that's fine, but I can't see it being too beneficial. --RWRW (talk) 14:58, 14 December 2020 (UTC)

Proposal: Consolidating social media[edit]

It is no secret at the moment that the site's branding is rather uh... fractured. What I'm trying to say is that over the past year I've been a part of this community, the social media channels of this site have been all over the place. To give the Board an understanding of what I mean, I just want to quickly point out the state of the Discord page linked in the sidebar and the "officially" declared Discords:

  • At the moment there are two Discords listed. The one called RationalWiki and the RationalWiki support chat. Even though one of the two is called RationalWiki, the other is the one with a bigger overlap when it comes to site editors (the former shares little overlap in editors, although some are).
  • Then there is the existence of the old RationalWiki support chat, a server originally owned by Ze, then by Dysk and now it's either deleted, or as I suspect it got transformed in the next server.
  • Finally, we have the "RationalMedia Foundation/Irrationalwiki" Discord, which from what I can gather is owned by Dysk, which has next to zero member overlap from what I know with the wiki and seems to have mostly existed as a bunker for Raven-related matters because Raven was unwelcome in the previous two servers. I removed it a few months back for having functionally zero members and the only board member on it being Dysk from the Discord page.

This is obviously a royal mess, but one that is now more or less resolved (IW/RMF died out entirely, old support chat is gone, new support chat and the other discord have positive relations). That said, it is indicative of a larger problem with RWs presence outside of RW. To wit, here is as I can gather the current state of RWs public media presence:

  • The Twitter is ran by David Gerard, who was up until last year a board member.
  • The Discords are ran by individual editors, with no formal ties to RW outside of the name.
  • The Facebook page is about as dead as Graham Chapman.
  • The Telegram went so unmoderated some covid denier took up spot in it to peddle their bullshit. Seems to be resolved now.
  • The Reddit used to be a dumping ground for Abd Lomax to whine about how RW sucks and was run by pedophiles or something. Luckily, VoraciousArchivist and Rairyu have taken steps to fix that end up. Mods seem to be mostly wiki editors although not particularly active ones with the only board member being Dysk.

Therefore, I am requesting the board in a next meeting to:

  • Formalize a set of standards that a community upholding the RW name must follow.
  • Bash out a way to ensure that communities under the RW name don't fall prey to the same situation that the Reddit or the Telegram went down.
  • Set up an application process to formalize a community as being allowed to call itself an RW-related community.

I want to make clear that I see no problems with most of these communities, but the fact that the Telegram in particular ended up being hijacked by a Covid denier is what prompted me to request these things.

The reason I am requesting this to the board as opposed to the Community Standards is because this is something that doesn't really directly pertain to RationalWiki, but more about it's presence off the wiki itself, which the board to me seems the most equipped to deal with. Sirius (dog star / Pencil.png / Tux icon.png / Shield.png) 11:55, 26 November 2020 (UTC)

OK. I've taken note of this and will make sure it's brought up at the next board meeting. Spud (talk) 12:15, 26 November 2020 (UTC)
Hopefully we'll be able to figure something out. ☭Comrade GC☭Ministry of Praise 13:05, 26 November 2020 (UTC)
Is there any way to actually control who calls themselves "Rationalwiki" on Discord or elsewhere? It seems like a losing battle to me. Bongolian (talk) 18:06, 26 November 2020 (UTC)
@Sirius and @Spud just on the Reddit thing, Dysk isn't the only listed moderator who is also a Board Member; Ronin Macbeth is also there (I even chatted with them once) and I presume Spud (either that or a doppelgänger)? FuzzyCatPotato is also listed but I think something happened to their account. - Rairyu75 (Talk) 18:34, 26 November 2020 (UTC)
Ah, I stand corrected on that one. Apologies. Also, @Bongolian while it's true that anyone may call themselves RW or RW-related, this mostly comes up in terms of "what social media do we officially support". In practice, this means properly working out what communities the "Social media" links on the sidebar refer to and making sure that the communities we endorse as being "okay" have relationships to the either the wiki or the Board (ref. Telegram). This to me seems like the task of the board, since one of their stated goals is promoting RW off-site, and this is essentially our off-site PR.
Personally speaking, I would say that the best managed Social media community at the moment is the Twitter account, given it at a quick glance reliably takes it's time to be relevant and on-mission, so props to David, with it's only issue really being that DG isn't the most active on the wiki (which is in and of itself not a problem, it's more that formal relations are established between David and the Board now that he's no longer a Trustee). Sirius (dog star / Pencil.png / Tux icon.png / Shield.png) 21:07, 26 November 2020 (UTC)
As the Twitter poster, all this sounds reasonable. Anyone with issues about the Twitter content or tone, please ping me (on my RW user page, on @rationalwiki or on @davidgerard) - my rule is more or less "interesting, on-topic, link articles every now and then, don't use salty language". I try to be mindful that it's the official voice, readers certainly treat it as such. We've grown from 3k-ish readers when I started to 11.6k just now, which I think is OK? what should we expect? Doesn't feel unsuccessful, anyway.
The official Facebook needs someone who will bother maintaining it and posting to it regularly. And maintain it against bad commenters. This used to be me, but it failed at sparking joy quite a while ago - I think I have the p0w3rz to add people.
There are multiple unofficial Facebook groups, and that's fine, I believe all the Board asked (a few years ago, when the issue came up) was that they note that they are unofficial fan groups.
I had a look in the Discords but frankly I'm in enough Discords. If there's multiple Discords, then either declare one "official" (which will require someone to do the slog of running the thing ... who the hell wants to be a forum moderator? Not me) or just declare them all unofficial fan groups. Nothing wrong with unofficial fan groups. (And we could hardly stop them.)
I know 0 about the Telegram.
Broadly, what RW's social media lacks is not board imprimatur - it's people willing to do the work consistently - David Gerard (talk) 22:02, 26 November 2020 (UTC)
(I keep trying to remind myself to post featured articles more often. I'll try to do one daily.) - David Gerard (talk) 22:34, 26 November 2020 (UTC)
I mean, that's fair enough. ☭Comrade GC☭Ministry of Praise 23:53, 26 November 2020 (UTC)
The only reason multiple Discord servers exist, is because the moderation on the second server shite. By which I mean, they banned Oxyaena, myself, Ze, and several other sysops here. Furthermore, they kicked Ze, and RWRW, off mod positions they were elected to, based on poli-ideological disputes. This set of actions, was the catalyst for me to create the support chat, which I later deleted, as it was little more than a backroom, of users plotting on-wiki actions in secret, with no oversight or transparency. This was recreated by Duce. I later created a server, specifically for the purpose of getting the board members to talk to each other, this failed and I wiped that out. I believe that fundamentally, no single Discord server will be endorsed, without on-wiki linked moderation. Judge Dredd (talk) 17:07, 27 November 2020 (UTC)
@Sirius True to my word, I brought this up at the Board meeting that took place at 18:00 UTC on Saturday 28 November. I said I was in favour of declaring all social media accounts to be unofficial fan ones. We decided that there should be more discussion about it here on the wiki (that is yo say, in the Saloon Bar) and we will discuss it again at the next meeting. Oh, and none of us had ever heard of Telegram or had any idea what it was. Spud (talk) 05:54, 29 November 2020 (UTC)
@Spud Alright that's fair. I'll set up a bar thread later today. To quickly explain Telegram: think literally whatsapp with a degree of anonimity attached to it. Sirius (dog star / Pencil.png / Tux icon.png / Shield.png) 10:36, 29 November 2020 (UTC)
The chats are just chats, public by default - David Gerard (talk) 22:44, 29 November 2020 (UTC)