Group 2 Dispute Results

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Final Results

In true testament to the wikipedia community, after we had gone and discussed our plan for the resolution, they went and posted a poll before we could become fully involved. So we introduced ourselves, added some options to the poll, and presented what we thought about the issue in an attempt to independently moderate the dispute. The debate begins at HD Format Talk Page and our contributions can be seen lower on the page at Pie Chart Poll. I will update again when more time has passed. Our earlier discussions regarding the problem can be seen below. Lk37 12:47, 7 January 2008 (EST)

  • We received some feedback from a Wikipedia user:
    • Harvard Group: My guess (that's all it is) is that your extended proposals won't get much traction....for two reasons. 1) The question isn't all that complex: my hunch is that most of us in the "One chart, exclusive" side would settle for a blended version. In other words, the group is already quite close. 2) I don't have the sense that you are citing, to use the analogy, case law. This may appear a debate about mechanics, but just beneath is a consideration for how the Warner press release (i.e. the primary source) and the several notable secondary sources (as seen in the footnotes) should be interpreted in the graph, as well as in the lead paragraph of the section. See WP:PSTS to get a sense of this. This is a more difficult, subtle, and content-specific question, of course, but also a more interesting one, and I for one would be interested in your collective take. Barte (talk) 19:59, 7 January 2008 (UTC)

I responded to his comments. Bhamburger 17:38, 7 January 2008 (EST)

Part of the discussion has degraded into an argument again, but it is not really over the page and more about proper wikipedia protocol. It seems largely two parties arguing for the sake of arguing. I'm of the opinion that they wouldn't really welcome our intervention anyway, but if someone wants to take a shot at it, they are more than welcome. Lk37 14:27, 8 January 2008 (EST)

  • To expand on Lk37's comments, the civility of the argument has devolved considerably between the two major parties. The pejorative term of "wikilawering" has been thrown around, as well as accusations of sock puppet involvement, and the use of bolding and italics to shout or sneer, respectively. A comment that sums it up was: "Who died and mad (sic) you the ruler of this talk page?" Other than the one polite response to us by one of the non-combatants, we simply didn't figure in the festivities. --Tseiver 19:50, 8 January 2008 (EST)

Unless things change, it seems like our solutions were largely ignored, with the exception of one person who was willing to acknowledge our presence. In the end it looks like this will be resolved using the poll (which won't close until after the assignment is due). Whether or not the parties involved will abide by this solution once it is enacted remains to be seen.

Proposed Idea

This is what I propose to write on HD Format Talk Page. If anyone has any objections to this, or using this page to discuss it please let me know.

Hi, I am one of a group of students at Harvard Law School who has been given an assignment to become involved in a dispute on wikipedia and help resolve it. We wanted to let you know this to allay any fears that we were alter egos of other parties already involved in this dispute since we have low levels of contributions to wikipedia. Wouldn't one solution to this problem be to create several graphs, showing the historical and future breakdowns of the blu-ray vs. HD-DVD market? That way, not only can you account for future changes but readers will also be able to see how the market developed over time.

I think this is a good way to get people talking, since the main issue seems to be how to address the future change of Warner Bros. to Blu-Ray only, without being misleading. Other suggestions could be to simply have the graph with a caveat (right now the text mentions the change but the graph still lists Warner Bros. as supporting either). The other option, is obviously, the status quo and wait to change it until June. Lk37 12:13, 6 January 2008 (EST)


I agree with Lindsay that we should use this spot to collaborate on this assignment, and she was already doing so as I tried to save the text below. Unless Brad has some radically different idea about how to approach our introduction on the talk page, I'm fine with Lindsay's proposed intro. Do we want, though, to make a suggestion about the multiple graphs right away in the first posting? My only thought is that we might want to have several options to lay out, possibly even with pros and cons. Or that we devise a plan for sequencing our mediation, based on what we believe the reactions may be. Giving all the variants of the graphs in a time progression seems like a common sense solution, although one that might be objected to by readers of the article (vice the discussion of it) as being too confusing or cluttered. (Although a link to a series of graphs with changes over time could reduce clutter and just be an option for those sufficiently interested.) I would also think that this may have been suggested earlier and rejected for some reason, although I've not yet been able to thread my way through the arguments to see if that's the case. I'll do so this afternoon. --Tseiver 12:29, 6 January 2008 (EST)

I'm fine with Lindsay's introduction, although I agree with Tom that maybe we'd like to have a few different ideas to float around. Brad suggests two, either making a series of graphs to account for changes over time or leaving the status quo and making a footnote to the graph. I'd also add the option of leaving the graph but making a heading about the future changes and putting in all the reliable information that's been collected through press releases and newspapers so far.

Also, I know Brad can't meet today, but does tomorrow before class work for everyone? --Anna

I just read through the talk page, and a lot of the discussion revolves around a policy/ practice distinction; some of the editors are saying that the pie chart should reflect Blu-Ray/ HD-DVD policy and others are saying that the Warner Bros slice should remain purple to indicate current practice of releasing both kinds of discs. I think that a problem with multiple graphs is that it seems impossible to make an accurate graph that reflects the situtation in June 2008--even if we know that Warner Bros is going to switch, theres no way of predicting what decisions will be made by other studios. Also the current graph is based on 2007 market share, so using the same graph for 2008 seems inaccurate. So I agree that multiple graphs may be a good solution, but perhaps one graph based on which studios currently produce Blue-Ray/ HD (which would look like the current one) and one graph based on which studios have given their "formal support" to Blue-Ray/ HD (which would make Warner Bros blue). Alternatively, maybe the problem could be solved by changing the word "support"--the use of this word in the entry seems to be giving rise to the policy/ practice arguments on the talk page. Maybe the entry could be edited so that the graph (and text) explain that these are the studios that currently RELEASE Blu-Ray or HD discs, and the graph could stay the same but note that Warner Bros will stop releasing on HD in June 2008. Thoughts? I also think this might be easier if we meet in person (perhaps tomorrow before class?) to discuss. Samantha Lipton 15:26, 6 January 2008 (EST)

All - I agree with Anna that it would be good to meet before class tomorrow. That way if we have questions for Z. we can corner him during a break. Question will be, what time and where? I'm easy & will go with whatever your decide.

Regarding this content, I've spent some time pouring over this stuff and my overall reaction is "get a life!" But this type of pissing contest seems to appeal to several players, especially Ray andrew, Locke Cole and Jay Keaton. I've found it helpful to look at the user profiles for each of the actors to get a sense for their backgrounds and how testy they may be. Keaton in particular seems to take pride in being a jackass and holier than thou. Click on his name. He's a hoot. Ray andrew states only that he's a mathematician (not necessarily a recommendation ... we've got loads of them where I work and they're an odd lot, proud of it too). I'm not sure, frankly, that these guys will welcome us butting in - since this seems like such a tight circle of editors and they're so committed to format partisanship. They respond to each other within minutes too, so you know they've just hanging on the computer. A pox on both houses, I say, - but I suppose that's not a good lawyerly or mediatorish attitude.

I've tried to determine if any of the anonymous (IP address) postings could be associated with either Sony or Toshiba, but that isn't the case. I don't know if there's any way to see the IP addresses for the signed users. I've not been able to find it, if there is. Even so, I doubt that any of them would be shills for either of the companies who are fighting to the death over the HD DVD (Toshiba) or Blu-Ray Disc (Sony) formats. They just seem like zealots to me, devoted fans of either the XBox or PS3 - each hoping to crush the other. Hard to get compromise with that ilk. I think they simply enjoy the nerd battle. There are some more reasonable voices here - Harumphy (who's made most of the formatting changes for the image - seems agnostic); Denzelio (seems to desire clarity for the reader as his main point); Barte (made a suggestion for "before and after" graphs). No suggestions here yet, but I just wanted to share my thoughts as I try to puzzle through the dispute. (Also -- lest I damn myself with nerdishness of attention to this topic, I just want you to know that I'm multitasking on this assignment while watching the NY Giants - Tampa Bay Buccaneers playoff game.) --Tseiver 15:38, 6 January 2008 (EST)

Here's a link to a NY Times article today about the Warner Blu Ray announcement and its impact on the format war.[1] This was mentioned in the conversations among the players, but I thought a ref here might be useful. It gives good context. --Tseiver 18:36, 6 January 2008 (EST)

Proposed Meeting

12 pm, somewhere on campus (maybe the Hark?) If you agree, post yes or no below. Lk37 15:54, 6 January 2008 (EST)

  • Yes--hark sounds good Samantha Lipton 16:00, 6 January 2008 (EST)
  • I think meeting at the Hark is a good idea. --Anna
  • Yes. I take it that "the Hark" means Harkness Commons. I've not been there before, but I'll find it. If I'm mistaken, please let me know. --Tseiver 16:48, 6 January 2008 (EST)
  • Yes. The Hark at 12pm is good for me --Dglasser 17:54, 6 January 2008 (EST)
  • Sounds good, see you then! NikaE 20:36, 6 January 2008 (EST)

Framework for Dealing with the Problem

I've tried to make a list for people's various solutions below. Please add to it, or place pros/cons below the relevant ideas so that we can present solutions to the parties. Or delete all of this if you think it's irrelevant, I'm just trying to create some organization. Lk37 15:54, 6 January 2008 (EST)

1. Multiple graphs showing change over time.

    • Pros: It will reflect all the information that is currently known.--Anna
    • Cons: Very confusing and might be difficult to get everyone in agreement about the placement, formatting, and selection of the information to be graphed. --Anna

2. Two graphs, showing now and June 08.

    • Pros: Simple and straightforward. --Anna
    • Cons: Graph showing June 08 would arguably be inaccurate b/c it's in the future. Samantha Lipton 16:05, 6 January 2008 (EST)

3. Multiple graphs separating between production and formal support of a format (I think this is what you are saying Samantha, please correct me if I'm wrong) Yeah, that's what I was saying in my previous post--i think it might be a bit silly but maybe it could workSamantha Lipton 16:05, 6 January 2008 (EST)

    • Pros: Perhaps a good way to resolve the arguments going on about policy and practice on the talk page
    • Multiple graphs, particularly if they were accessed by those interested through a link - so as not to clutter the main page, would allow room for all the variants, changes over time, graphs of titles produced in each format, market shares, projections, everything. That would reduce the pressure to have this one pie chart tell it all. If the editors could be persuaded to do that, then either they'd need to agree on one initial chart on the main page (perhaps at a time that they can agree upon, like prior to the 4 Jan Warner announcement) plus a very prominent indication that more detail can be reached by clicking here ... or no graph at all, only the link to see all graphs. --Tseiver 17:03, 6 January 2008 (EST)
    • Cons: Unnecessarily confusing?

4. Status quo, with a footnote for the future expected change.

    • Pros: Will be able to accurately reflect what the situation is now and will notify the reader that there are upcoming changes. --Anna
    • Cons: Footnote may be easy to overlook for people reading the article. --Anna

5. Status quo, with a new section dealing with future changes.

    • Pros: Will be able to accurately reflect what the situation is now and will notify the reader that there are upcoming changes. --Anna
    • Cons: It seems like it's not exactly clear what is going to happen in June, so this section will either be incomplete or based on some speculation. --Anna

6. Status quo, leave it exactly as it is.

    • Pros: Easy to verify and doesn't require any speculation about the future. --Anna
    • Cons: This is somewhat misleading. --Anna