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An administrator "assuming good faith" with an editor with whom they have disagreed.

ArbCom 2019 special circularEdit

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Administrators must secure their accounts

The Arbitration Committee may require a new RfA if your account is compromised.

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This message was sent to all administrators following a recent motion. Thank you for your attention. For the Arbitration Committee, Cameron11598 02:40, 4 May 2019 (UTC)

For anyone else curious about this piece of scaremongering, the (well-hidden) central discussion is Wikipedia talk:Arbitration Committee/Noticeboard#Return of permissions to administrators notice. ‑ Iridescent 06:15, 4 May 2019 (UTC)
Thanks for that link. Now I am busy wondering if the 2FA bit falls into the mentality Technology Will Fix Everything that we are seeing way too frequently elsewhere in the real world... Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 08:41, 4 May 2019 (UTC)
No, it falls into "we need to be seen to be doing something to justify our existence, and this is something"; see Politician's syllogism. Looking at the discussion, it looks like they genuinely didn't grasp that putting out a statement that basically reads "screw what the RFC said two weeks ago, we're going to just make up a non-existent policy and demand that everyone complies" would provoke a backlash. ‑ Iridescent 12:57, 4 May 2019 (UTC)
Thanks for that link. In many ways I use your Talk the way we used to use AN:K, a central and functional noticeboard. I'm around slightly more than I used to be, but seriously contemplating giving up the Mop. I don't need it, rarely use it and holy crap things seem to have gotten infinitely and unnecessarily more complicated in the last decade. I have a secure password so this isn't about this, but the broader this. StarM 15:43, 4 May 2019 (UTC)
I think Keeper is still about, just editing mainly from IPs. (On how different things have become, see my comment above that As someone who's been a legacy admin (four admin actions between 2011–2015), I still believe that it's an issue; coming back even from a relatively short time away is a culture shock since the wording of the policies generally doesn't change but the interpretation of them does. Arbcom's refusal (for arguably legitimate reasons) to maintain archives for WP:ARC means it's virtually impossible to conduct any kind of analysis of "which types of action raise concerns and which concerns does the committee accept as valid?", so we're stuck with anecdotal evidence, but I don't think you can seriously claim that inactive admins re-emerging, and active admins suddenly deciding to barge into an area they've never touched before and screwing up, aren't a genuine problem. It may not necessarily be that things have actually got more complicated, but it's hard for anyone who hasn't been there and done that to appreciate just how different things are now.) ‑ Iridescent 15:48, 4 May 2019 (UTC)
I actually wanted to respond on the discussion board to the notice, but the amusing part is the discussion was never created, and I figured it was not in my best interests to create a new thread. At the bottom of the motion, it said 'Discuss this at: Wikipedia talk:Arbitration Committee/Noticeboard#Return of permissions for compromised administrator accounts'. If you click the link, I believe it still doesn't actually take you to the current discussion which was manually created by a current admin after she noticed there was nowhere to discuss it. It merely takes you to the discussion board, not the topic. Enigmamsg 00:45, 5 May 2019 (UTC)
It looks like what happened is that the section was correctly created at the time of the motion, but the committee then spent so much time discussing whether a special notice needed to be sent out, and deciding on the wording of the motion, that the discussion was archived by the bot in the meantime, and consequently User:Liz needed to re-create it when she received the notice and wanted to ask about it. As with most of this sorry episode, the absence of a discussion seems to have been a cock-up rather than a conspiracy. ‑ Iridescent 07:10, 5 May 2019 (UTC)
Ah, ok. Here's what happened. I went to the archive list and they were all dated up to "Feb 2019 –", so I figured that was the most recent one and it should include the discussion from April, if there was one. No discussion there. It appears someone must've been manually marking the archives and dating them, but that person stopped doing it, so the archive I mentioned is actually Archive #39, and not the most recent one (#40). Enigmamsg 16:05, 5 May 2019 (UTC)
Arbcom being disorgnanized? 😲 ‑ Iridescent 16:11, 5 May 2019 (UTC)

Yep I sent up the bat signal to him. How different is a very good way of putting it. Amid all the inactivity discussions I keep hoping to find a Readers' Digest of changes akin to how you can track changes to notability and other guidelines. In the mean time, this is a pretty good clearing house as everyone seems to land here. StarM 02:16, 17 May 2019 (UTC)

@Star Mississippi, working through the back issues of Wikipedia:Administrators' newsletter would probably be as good a place to start as any. ‑ Iridescent 20:02, 17 May 2019 (UTC)
Ooh, thanks for that tip. Apologies for the delay. Remember when I had to rename due to a certain editor's actions & you mused whether I'd ever been to Mississippi? You were indeed right, I finally remedied that last week. Alas I didn't pass through my namesake as I took a different route. StarM 02:03, 30 May 2019 (UTC)
I've been through through MS, but AFAIK have never actually stopped in it. Of all the states, it's probably the one about which I know the least. (I tend to avoid the South; I don't do heat if I can help it.) ‑ Iridescent 19:58, 31 May 2019 (UTC)

Administrator account security (Correction to Arbcom 2019 special circular)Edit

ArbCom would like to apologise and correct our previous mass message in light of the response from the community.

Since November 2018, six administrator accounts have been compromised and temporarily desysopped. In an effort to help improve account security, our intention was to remind administrators of existing policies on account security — that they are required to "have strong passwords and follow appropriate personal security practices." We have updated our procedures to ensure that we enforce these policies more strictly in the future. The policies themselves have not changed. In particular, two-factor authentication remains an optional means of adding extra security to your account. The choice not to enable 2FA will not be considered when deciding to restore sysop privileges to administrator accounts that were compromised.

We are sorry for the wording of our previous message, which did not accurately convey this, and deeply regret the tone in which it was delivered.

For the Arbitration Committee, -Cameron11598 21:03, 4 May 2019 (UTC)

Apparently the Arbs got the message from your talk page response above, Iri. I chuckled. ceranthor 21:14, 4 May 2019 (UTC)
The annoying thing is that part of the intent behind this—"if you use a weak password you only have yourself to blame"—is completely valid, but the attempts by a couple of arbs to take the opportunity to rewrite policy by fiat to push their pet theories about 2FA, and the subsequent lies and obfuscation, have meant that the sound part of the message is being missed. I personally think the whole thing is completely overblown—there are a couple of things a compromised account could do that would actually cause damage rather than being a slight nuisance but they've never happened and even if they did would still be fixable. We're not talking about the secret override codes that will destroy the internet. ‑ Iridescent 09:06, 6 May 2019 (UTC)

Signs of hope?Edit

Spotted this (the COI announced; still rather blatant; it got shut down very quickly, but it is a good example of several things, some good some not so good). Was also impressed with this. Carcharoth (talk) 15:51, 14 May 2019 (UTC)

Jack Cade got to the nomination alright :) ——SerialNumber54129 17:03, 14 May 2019 (UTC)
Given that Opabinia regalis says a couple of threads up that this "legacy admin" business is more meme than reality and Arbs Are Never Wrong, there must be a legitimate reason why a self-confessed spammer with 942 edits and a grand total of one admin action in the past decade still retains the sysop bit. (For those who've blotted out the WMF's early history from their memory or weren't around at the time, Brad Patrick was the general counsel and interim director of the WMF who managed to fail to spot that the person they were hiring to be the WMF's CEO had a string of criminal convictions and was currently on parole.) ‑ Iridescent 18:03, 14 May 2019 (UTC)
BP's user page looks like a promo. - Sitush (talk) 18:22, 14 May 2019 (UTC)
I probably should not ask, but what are we talking about? Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 18:28, 14 May 2019 (UTC)
This piece of spamming at WP:ITN/C, and its nominator. ‑ Iridescent 18:47, 14 May 2019 (UTC)
IIRC, he is currently the only sysop on (and probably any project?) that retains +sysop without an RfA. Well except the obvious exception. There was a rather pointless AN thread about it a few years ago. TonyBallioni (talk) 18:53, 14 May 2019 (UTC)
I've seen legacy admins who are out of touch with policy, but being unable to handle an ITN template or even wikilinks is a whole new level.-- Pawnkingthree (talk) 19:03, 14 May 2019 (UTC)
@TonyBallioni I don't believe that's correct. This is the list of admins as of 13 June 2003 (the day before WP:RFA was created), and while many of them are inactive or blocked, there are still around 20 survivors from the days of Jimmy handing out user rights to his buddies, a few of whom are still very active. You may recall a certain amount of unpleasantness at the time of the Arbcom elections last year regarding a then-admin who got their adminship via the "puff of white smoke from Jimbo's chimney" route. ‑ Iridescent 19:12, 14 May 2019 (UTC)
Ha. That reminds me, over on TVTropes we all get the stick via "puff of white smoke from the staff chimney". Although some people I recognize as active and not as troublemakers are also on that list. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 19:41, 14 May 2019 (UTC)
But TVTropes hasn't spent the better part of two decades beating its own chest about how radically transparent and accountable it is. Plus, I would imagine that if you discovered that one of your sysops (1) didn't know what a wikilink was and (2) was using their userpage to host an advert for their employer and (3) was requesting you run advertising for their employer on your front page, either that user or that user's sysop rights would quietly disappear. ‑ Iridescent 20:01, 14 May 2019 (UTC)
Ah yes, I should have clarified, I meant without any discussion either on the list pre-RfA, though I suspect Angela might also fall into that camp. Now that I think about it, you’re right that there’s probably a few still kicking where Jimmy just flipped the bit with no questions asked after a private email. Might be fair to say he’s the only RfAless RfA-era admin on any major project. That being said, there are some projects where even crat has been handed out on a whim without an RfB, so it wouldn’t surprise me if the Latvian Wikiquote has an admin who never went through one. TonyBallioni (talk) 22:32, 14 May 2019 (UTC)
Some diffs: [1] [2] [3] Enigmamsg 23:31, 14 May 2019 (UTC)
Magnus Manske will certainly fall into that camp, at least—as the author of MediaWiki 1.0 he was quite literally the first person with advanced user rights. ‑ Iridescent 18:20, 15 May 2019 (UTC)

Iridescent, I'm not sure that "arbs are never wrong" is a good paraphrase of Opabinia's comments above. (And it's obviously not something she believes, given, if nothing else, the number of times she's been outvoted on things). Were you possibly thinking of someone else's comment there?

On the subject of "legacy admins," your observation about your own relatively inactive period illustrates why a solution to the perceived problem is so difficult. Under many of the failed proposals, you would have been desysopped by 2015; I doubt (correct me if I'm wrong) that you would have been interested in going through RFA again after you returned; but it's clearly beneficial that you remain an admin today, so any policy that would have removed you would be a "net negative" in at least this instance, and I expect a number of others. Newyorkbrad (talk) 07:54, 15 May 2019 (UTC)

The part I'm attributing to Opabinia is the part highlighted with the {{Talk quote inline}} template (this "legacy admin" business is more meme than reality), which is definitely a fair paraphrase of her words since it's a direct quote. Arbs Are Never Wrong is a more general tendency which certain committee members (not OR) have always suffered from but seems to be more pronounced with this incarnation, and with two committee members in particular who appear genuinely to believe in Arbitrator Infallibility and consequently consider disagreement with their opinions to be prima facie evidence of disruption.
There would be ways to address the legacy admin issue, but they all suffer from the difficulty in turning around Wikipedia's huge cultural inertia. Ultimately the issues all come back to the "RFA is hell" meme; if there were routine reconfirmations (say, every five years for active admins, after a year of complete inactivity or after two years with no logged admin actions), RFA would be as routine and uncontroversial as renewing accreditation in any real-life field. (The concerns that a mass of renewals would flood RFA are valid, but there are ways around them; the reconfirmation only runs the full week if there is significant opposition in the first 48 hours, for instance.) Besides, it would for the first time in a decade give the crats something to do. ‑ Iridescent 08:51, 15 May 2019 (UTC)
I agree in principle with reconfirmation RfAs but always have a lingering suspicion that everyone the admin has offended will come out of the woodwork. While that can happen even at a first RfA, I think it pretty inevitable that any moderately active admin will have upset a lot more people than most in their pre-admin state. And on the subject of emerging from woodwork, Master Jay isn't showing much sign of doing that yet. - Sitush (talk) 08:59, 15 May 2019 (UTC)
Well, I guess Users:NJA and Amorymeltzer are the epitome of being legacy admins, and they haven't smashed the windows yet. But MasterJay, yeah; we could've dried that out and fertilized the lawn with it. ——SerialNumber54129 09:53, 15 May 2019 (UTC)
Out of curiosity, would that sentence have read differently if I'd put parenthesised yet...? :) ——SerialNumber54129 09:53, 15 May 2019 (UTC)
If I'm infallible, and I say I'm wrong, am I right? :)
Eh, I think this is actually a pretty good example of what I meant. If the worst a "legacy admin" is doing is making a sort of tone-deaf suggestion on a back-office project page, what's the actual problem? (Getting too fussed about "COI on the main page!!!" seems a little over the top about a post that's basically "hey, my coworkers did something cool and I'm excited about it", as a proposal for a single link in a little-noticed section of a page whose contents nobody really wants anyway, except the search box and maybe the TFA.) It's not like we're short on admin bits and they're stopping someone else from getting one.
I've never warmed up to the reconfirmation idea. A real-world re-accreditation would be a judgment in relation to a reasonably well-defined standard by a specific professional body. RfRC would be a judgment in relation to the current wikipolitical winds by an unstable group of mostly reasonable people unpredictably mixed in with varying numbers of petty grudge-bearers, RfA obsessives, and ANI shitposters. 85% of the time it would go fine, because most admins do mostly boring things and one or two bad calls or unfortunate troll encounters wouldn't cause much fuss. But it'd probably cause more harm in the form of hurt feelings, frustration, and disengagement on the part of perfectly good admins than benefit in the form of removing bad admins. Everybody who thinks that the problem with RfA, or with the existing admin corps, is insufficient desysopping of bad admins knows where the case requests page is. If terrible adminning is really so widespread, we should be drowning in cases. Opabinia regalis (talk) 06:46, 16 May 2019 (UTC)
OR, have you seen the page of the user in question? This isn't "hey, my coworkers did something cool and I'm excited about it", this is blatant advertising. I agree that ITN is unloved, but we're still talking about a page that averages 17 million views per day and is arguably the most valuable piece of internet real estate in the world (the only pages that get more views are the homepages of Google and Baidu which are untouchable by advertisers, and Facebook and Youtube which are unique to each viewer).
"Nobody is complaining to Arbcom so everybody must be happy" is a nonsense argument given the nature of Wikipedia's bureaucracy. As you know we have a current open admin-conduct case—a relatively bland and straightforward example of the "I am concerned this admin may be interpreting rules incorrectly and/or overstepping their remit" school rather than a full-scale descent into vindictiveness or a case which requires lengthy analysis of complex social or legal issues. At the time of writing, this case—only half-complete—runs to:
  1. Case request page, 7,098 words, 42,118 characters;
  2. Case request talk page: 12,261 words, 73,178 characters;
  3. Evidence: 9,348 words, 57,973 characters;
  4. Evidence talk: 6,010 words, 35,579 characters;
  5. Workshop: 22,564 words, 139,184 characters;
  6. Workshop talk: 1,467 words, 9,149 characters.
That comes to around 60,000 words already, with all the sound and fury of the PD, the decision, and the enforcement to come. Given not only the timesink issue, but the fact that except in the most blatantly clear-cut cases the filing party will be typically subsequently be targeted for harassment by the friends of the reported admin, the surprise isn't that there aren't more arb cases filed, but that there are still any at all. I could, without pausing for breath, instantly name three admins who are so incompetent their activity is actively disruptive, but they could be replacing every image on the main page with goatse and I still wouldn't bother formally reporting them to Arbcom (as opposed to a "hey, have you guys seen this?" email to arbcom-l).
Reconfirmation would provide a mechanism for weeding the problem admins out; because there would no longer be the "this decision is de facto irreversible" concern we'd then be able to start giving the admin bit out far more freely, so although it would result in increased churn, we'd probably improve in terms of both the total admin numbers, and in editor retention in general. As NYB alludes to but is too polite to say so explicitly, I'd be one of those whose reconfirmation would be likely to fail, as I've told too many people over the years that they can't always have what they want; I still think it's a price well worth paying if it breaks or at least weakens the hierarchical mentality. I don't really get it'd probably cause more harm in the form of hurt feelings, frustration, and disengagement on the part of perfectly good admins than benefit in the form of removing bad admins as an argument; if someone is that invested in the admin bit as part of their identity that they'd walk out altogether were they to lose it, they're probably someone whose relationship with Wikipedia is unhealthy for both them and us and it would do good for them to be forced to think "is it right I devote so much of my time to blocking strangers on a website?". Swedish Wikipedia has annual mandatory re-RFA, Portuguese Wikipedia has "anyone can call for an admin to re-run RFA" and Dutch Wikipedia has "every year, if an admin has five complaints about their conduct they're obliged to re-run RFA", (all with an "as far as I know this is still the case" disclaimer; they may have changed their processes) and none of them have fallen apart yet. ‑ Iridescent 07:55, 16 May 2019 (UTC)
The problem I see is that if someone is that invested in the admin bit as part of their identity that they'd walk out altogether were they to lose it, they're probably someone whose relationship with Wikipedia is unhealthy for both them and us and it would do good for them to be forced to think "is it right I devote so much of my time to blocking strangers on a website?". and many similar arguments will invariably be read as "well, suck it up". Besides, some people will take issue with having a pile of often questionable complaints raised even if they pass the reconfirmation RfA, just like some people go away after being blocked/brought to ANI even if the block was overturned as improper (and perhaps the blocking admin defrocked)/the ANI ended up with a boomerang. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 10:29, 16 May 2019 (UTC)
Regarding reconfirmation, I'd actually look at the Commons process for deadminship RfAs; it specifically says Please note this process should only be used for serious offenses in which there seems to be some consensus for removal; for individual grievances, please use commons:Commons:Administrators' noticeboard/User problems. De-adminship requests that are opened without prior discussion leading to some consensus for removal may be closed by a bureaucrat as inadmissible.. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 10:29, 16 May 2019 (UTC)
Serious offences, we can handle fine, as those go to Arbcom. Where en-wiki falls down is with admins with a long history of repeated low-level incompetence but never quite rising to a smoking gun of a serious breach. (Obvious recent example, but hardly unique.) I'm not sure we really need to be taking lessons from Commons on vetting standards, anyway. How many convicted sex criminals currently hold advanced permissions there? Is the answer anything other than "none"? ‑ Iridescent 15:20, 16 May 2019 (UTC)
Reconfirmation RfA standards or admin standards? Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 19:54, 16 May 2019 (UTC)
Your link to that ANI reminded me of another obvious example of an admin who is prolific with the block button who, imo, makes worse blocks than anything in the recent ArbCom cases, but makes so many of them that the Huggle crowd would be up in arms if the committee did anything. (and no, I will not name names)
I'm not really sure how to describe the problem of so prolific with their use of the tools in one area that we tolerate their blatant disregard for policy because it would be too much work to fix type of situations. We have several of those, and they always make me shake my head when stuff like the Giantsnowman case happened because I can think of multiple admins off the top of my head that are way worse on the type of behaviour that was complained about there. It is an area we as a community (and as sysops) fail, but I'm not really sure there is a good solution. TonyBallioni (talk) 20:16, 16 May 2019 (UTC)
I assume I know who you have in mind, and (again without naming names) just gonna put this here; the small handful of trigger-happy admins are literally responsible for more blocks than the rest of Wikipedia combined. ‑ Iridescent 20:45, 16 May 2019 (UTC)
The problem with a list like that is that it doesn't, in itself, reflect whether the names at the top are the worst admins or the best or somewhere in between. An admin with a lot of blocks may be trigger-happy and driving contributors away ... or else perhaps that admin is doing far more than his or her share of the work at AIV and (the useful part of) UAA.
I don't necessarily want to get into naming names either, but in my roughly eight-and-a-half years on the ArbCom, I can't recall any case involving repeated, significant misuse of admin tools (as opposed to isolated incidents) that were brought before us and that we didn't at least take a close look at. Newyorkbrad (talk) 21:21, 16 May 2019 (UTC)
Well, yes, I'm not critiquing ArbCom and I don't think Iri was implying that necessarily everyone near the top of the list was trigger happy. My point was that there are definitely admins who no one will take to ArbCom if only for the fact that AIV/CSD/UAA/WHATEVER will grind to a halt because in addition to making up their own rules as they go along, they also do the overwhelming majority of the work there, a substantial portion of it good, and no one really wants to have to go through thousands of log entries to find the 5% that are bad enough to merit a case, not to mention pick up the slack that would occur if a desysop happened. TonyBallioni (talk) 21:30, 16 May 2019 (UTC)
One thing that would help good admins avoid mistakes would be to more strongly encourage admins to request more second opinions in borderline or unusual cases. When I used to spend a bit of time patrolling UAA and AIV and occasionally AN3, I'd block the obvious vandals and trolls, no-action or warn-only on the bad reports, and occasionally post a "this is borderline" or "I'm not sure, what do others think." That may seem like a luxury when a board is overflowing with reports, but we need more of it. Newyorkbrad (talk) 21:36, 16 May 2019 (UTC)
Tony, there's plenty of admins to pick up the slack if the most prolific three-letter-acronym-process grinders were removed. F'rexample, every time I've poked my nose into CAT:CSD or one of the weekly image deletion categories like CAT:ORFU in the past year, I open a half dozen pages up in tabs, get through one or maybe two, and then find out everything in the entire category has been simultaneously deleted with Twinkle. I can't possibly be the only one this happens to, over and over. —Cryptic 01:23, 17 May 2019 (UTC)

─────────────────────────Cryptic, reminds me of how I stopped regularly going to AIV when I became 99% certain some admins go through the page history to block accounts that haven’t edited since other admins declined the block request. To be fair, I also regularly block declined AIV request, but that’s usually because of CU... TonyBallioni (talk) 03:32, 17 May 2019 (UTC)

Cryptic, I used to work on CSD quite a lot, and as you know there are many improper nominations (which is to be expected, as the criteria are very specific). I got pissed off with it for various reasons. One is that I kept seeing what you and others have seen, some admins just nuking everything that's been reported without taking any time to check properly. I've seen similar problems at various WP:TLAs (and don't get me started on AFC) but I just don't have sufficient time or motivation to challenge the fiefdoms of incompetence that some obsessive regulars have staked out. Another reason I gave up at CSD is the shit I used to get from people whose nominations I declined, and I'm talking about experienced people who should know better. G11 is the most common one, and there are experienced people here who use it to nominate anything that they think has any hint of conflict of interest, and they're supported by admins who delete regardless of content (when G11 is only for pages "that are exclusively promotional and would need to be fundamentally rewritten"). Boing! said Zebedee (talk) 07:45, 17 May 2019 (UTC)
Oh, and on the subject of "plenty of admins to pick up the slack if the most prolific three-letter-acronym-process grinders were removed", I recall one example of a prolific admin working on unblock requests (another backlogged area). Their eventual exclusion from the admin cadre might have added to the backlog, but it greatly enhanced the fairness of the process. Boing! said Zebedee (talk) 07:49, 17 May 2019 (UTC)
I concur with Cryptic's observation, to the extent that I've largely given up patrolling CAT:EX and CAT:CSD as it's intensely irritating to spend time drafting a patient explanation of why I'm declining a particular nomination, only to find one of the usual suspects running "batch delete" and deleting everything regardless of whether it meets any deletion criterion or not. Watch WP:RFPP for any length of time and you'll rapidly notice a couple of admins who'll automatically accede to all but the most frivolous requests, despite protection supposedly being a last resort when all other measures have failed. @NYB, I'm not suggesting Arbcom don't take seriously concerns that are brought to them; I'm suggesting that the recent fetishisation of bureaucracy by the committee makes it virtually impossible to bring such concerns to them in the first place; few of us want to embark on a process that can quite literally take up an hour per day for a full calendar month, just to say "I'm concerned that User:Foo may be misinterpreting the criteria for revision deletion but when I raised the matter with them they didn't give a satisfactory answer". ‑ Iridescent 20:00, 17 May 2019 (UTC)
Iridescent, how does batch delete work—does it mmen you have to delete everything selected under a single criteria, or carn you have a mix? E.g., delete a 100 pages under both U5 and G11? ——SerialNumber54129 12:54, 19 May 2019 (UTC)
@Serial Number 54129: With one "batch" of Batch Delete you can use only one deletion reason. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 13:11, 19 May 2019 (UTC)
@Jo-Jo Eumerus: You're very kind, many thanks. I wondered how someone had managed to delete a hundred userpages as U5 without there being a G11 among them :D ——SerialNumber54129 13:25, 19 May 2019 (UTC)
I sometimes think there is competitiveness among those I call, the "deleting admins", to delete the most pages (I don't think it's similar for blocks). I look at the numbers and there is just no way that they are giving individual pages a glance of more than a few seconds. And I wish we could disable batch delete option from Twinkle...except for rampant vandalism, I think it holds the potential for serious damage. If an admin is going to delete a page from Wikipedia, I think the least they can do is inspect each page and make sure the tags are accurate. I'm reassured when I go post a message to an editor and see a notice on the talk page from an editor or admin about incorrect CSD tagging...I know that person is paying attention and got to a tagged but valid page before it was deleted.
But as a newish admin, I'm unlikely to accuse any specific admin of incorrect behavior. If they are brought to ArbCom I might comment, but otherwise the most I will do is not emulate their behavior. Of course, maybe when I've been an admin for 10 years, I might feel differently than I do now. Liz Read! Talk! 00:12, 18 May 2019 (UTC)
WP:ADMINSTATS: worst idea ever. Evvverrrr. At least the xtools page loads slowly enough that people can't really keep score with it. —Cryptic 01:56, 18 May 2019 (UTC)
P.S. My personal pet peeve? User pages that are tagged for not WEBHOST or PROMOTIONAL reasons when there might just be a sentence or two about the editor on the page! Seriously? That tag is supposed to be for user pages where the editor keeps the results of their fantasy football league or pages full of information about their job or band, not for an editor to say a little bit about themselves. But I see those two tags misapplied, usually by eager, newbie editors. And when the editor has been inactive since 2008? What is the point in deleting that page? Grrrr. </soapbox> Liz Read! Talk! 00:21, 18 May 2019 (UTC)
Yes; WP:U5 is a particularly sore spot with me as well. If you read the discussion that led to its enactment, it's clear that it was meant to exclude anything that even looked like an attempt at an article. So what does it overwhelmingly get used for, well over 95% of taggings in my experience? Drafts like User:James1770/sandbox. And I don't even bother declining them anymore, because they kept on getting retagged and then deleted as soon as my back was turned. —Cryptic 01:56, 18 May 2019 (UTC)
And the admin who deleted that is something of a case in point, unless you actually think they can not only asses 40+ pages per minute. It's dispiriting when you decline a deletion and try to explain to a new editor what they need to change to comply with the rules, in the knowledge that someone else will over-rule your decline and delete it anyway in the next few minutes. This is also the reason so many people have given up making any comment along the line of "I don't think this warrants sanctions" at WP:AE, as a couple of self-appointed super-users almost invariably come along, disregard the attempts to negotiate settlements, and start blocking indiscriminately. ‑ Iridescent 07:14, 18 May 2019 (UTC)
Yep, AE is scary because of that - almost a kangaroo court of one. - Sitush (talk) 07:33, 18 May 2019 (UTC)
Of eine...? :) ——SerialNumber54129 07:54, 18 May 2019 (UTC)
The issue at AE of late has actually been the opposite. You get a consensus for something and then someone who wants to look merciful for ACE2019 decides to unilaterally close with a sanction substantially less then what was being discussed. TonyBallioni (talk) 13:34, 18 May 2019 (UTC)
And there I was thinking that the buttons Administrators: check links, history (last), and logs before deletion are stuff you are supposed to click on, in that order... Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 08:00, 18 May 2019 (UTC)
I agree that this WP:ADMINSTATS is something problematic. Too bad that we'd need some informal research on the (anti)correlation between the number and the quality of one's admin actions to get that removed. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 08:00, 18 May 2019 (UTC)
In either irony or hypocrisy, depending on your point of view, I think Wikipedia has problems at both ends of the spectrum. We have the hyperactive admins who delete/block/protect nearly indiscriminately without regard to policy; we also have a problem with inactive admins who delete/block/protect based on their personal opinions because they've lost touch with policy. (The latter is being demonstrated fairly spectacularly as I speak at Arbcom, where a legacy admin is in the process of talking himself from "mild rebuke and asked to be more careful" to "full site ban".) If someone ever writes the definitive history of Wikipedia (Andrew Lih's hagiography doesn't count), the dichotomy would make an interesting chapter in Volume Three: The Maintenance Phase. ‑ Iridescent 18:41, 18 May 2019 (UTC)
As I've said before on here, I've got a problem with the way WP:G5 is used, and have started at least one conversation on this very page over it. As I understand it, it was designed to be a simple and quick device to stop banned editors repeatedly posting the same completely inappropriate content over and over again. However, the biggest farce I personally witnessed was this incident, where I got yelled at and threatened to be desysopped for having the total audacity to reverse a G5 deletion on a notable topic that subsequently closed as a unanimous "keep" at AfD. Plus ca change. Ritchie333 (talk) (cont) 16:27, 18 May 2019 (UTC)
Now see, my impression is that nowadays G5 is also used as a way to quickly zap a block evader's contributions in the hope to discourage them. Certainly that's how we do on TVTropes. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 18:36, 18 May 2019 (UTC)
But that's not what it's supposed to be; it was always intended to be that edits in contravention of a ban could be reverted, not that they must. ‑ Iridescent 18:41, 18 May 2019 (UTC)
Indeed. That is why when I cleaned up after a sock this week, I only tagged certain creations for G5 - those were ones that effectively had no reliable sources etc and, in some cases, which they had created in the past with similar lack of usefulness. Some other creations - a couple about places, one about a dynasty, and so on - I just tried to tidy up as best I could because they do have potential. One of the farm was this. - Sitush (talk) 18:48, 18 May 2019 (UTC)

─────────────────────────re: G5, it depends on the case, tbh. There are a few where I’ll fire up Special:Nuke and not wait for others. This is usually the case with specific long term sockmasters where I know the history and most don’t and you’d end up with well done hoaxes, hard to spot BLP vios, etc. if it was left for the standard four eyes rule. There are other long-term sockmaster who get off on bragging off site about how they’re able to create so many notable articles and we can’t do without them. I typically support G5 in these cases depending on the subject. At the same time I usually just leave it up to the clerks and reporters to figure out what to do with articles (like the one Sitush just mentioned.) That way you’ll usually have had six eyes looking at a case before deletion. TonyBallioni (talk) 20:52, 18 May 2019 (UTC)

Here's a good example of a sock knowing what it's talking about :) 12:54, 19 May 2019 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Serial Number 54129 (talkcontribs)
I'd call that a good demonstration of the point TB is making, and of why the wording of the banning policy has that the presumption in ambiguous cases should be to revert clause. VX4C is someone who's quite often right, but is wrong often enough, and prolific enough, that it's not a good use of people's time to check every one of their posts to see if on this occasion it's valid. ‑ Iridescent 02:50, 20 May 2019 (UTC)
What TonyBallioni says. I tend to stay away from the whole G5 thing, and I can recall an administrator who routinely rolled back and blocked *any* IP that added results to certain sports articles, claiming that it had to be a certain vandal. The fact that the edits were always correct (although often unreferenced) was immaterial; the fact that the IP addresses were often local to where the sporting event took place was immaterial; the fact that more than one checkuser told him he was wrong was immaterial. He was completely certain he was right. Ironically, he was also notorious for adding unreferenced or poorly referenced sports results himself. Ah well. I'm probably one of the few people visiting this page who can say she took an "admin" case to Arbcom and saw it through all the way, but I wouldn't have wasted my breath on the sports result guy.

On the other hand, earlier this year as part of addressing the hacked accounts issue, myself and another CU went through page by page and removed certain information that the users had put on their userpages; sometimes we just removed the info, but if the account hadn't been used for more than a year, or it was obviously promotional, we deleted using G6 (doing this for security reasons, if ever questioned) or G11 (for obvious reasons). I'm sure I racked up over 1000 deletions in a few weeks, but I'm not in any way motivated to look at the admin activity log to try to figure it out. I'll admit I was on tenterhooks for a bit wondering if someone would call me out on those deletions. I pay a bit more attention to the CU/OS activity logs, mostly because we have to maintain a minimum level of activity to keep the bits, but even then it seems my OS specialty is saying no to people rather than actually suppressing stuff. Risker (talk) 03:39, 20 May 2019 (UTC)

The administrator who routinely rolled back and blocked *any* IP that added results to certain sports articles, claiming that it had to be a certain vandal has already been named further up this thread, (and for reasons I don't quite understand given my lack of involvement with sports articles was also discussed as some length on my talkpage at the time) so don't worry about naming GS. In general I lean slightly more towards DragonflySixtyseven's allegory than I do towards "comment on content not the contributor applies to banned users too"; the problem with the Mattisses and Gregs isn't that all their contributions are problematic—most are positive—but that enough of them are problematic that it's a timesink monitoring them, and because of their positive contributions it upsets other people who haven't seen their bad side if we don't nip the socks in the bud. ‑ Iridescent 09:54, 20 May 2019 (UTC)
Actually, it was someone else (further back than GS, and I've the name-and-shame because at one point he was editing under his real-world name), but the point is taken; even though the admin I was talking about is largely inactive now (at least I think he is), there's still the opportunity for someone else to fill those "over-enthusiastic" shoes. Risker (talk) 03:34, 21 May 2019 (UTC)
To be fair, as I said in the GS case I can sympathize with editors who revert over-enthusiastically on sports articles. The combination of "too many articles to verify every change", "lots of obscure stats where incorrect information is unlikely to be spotted" and "large numbers of new editors making mistakes" must make the temptation to just lock things down almost irresistible. ‑ Iridescent 14:47, 21 May 2019 (UTC)
Yes, we have the same problem with a few other sockmasters if we let them be around too long. My biggest issue with socking, however, has always been the dishonesty about it. In an online community where no one knows who you are for the most part, maintaining a sense of order/trust/things working really does require AGF to make it work. AGF can't really work if the community is afraid that everyone is a sock of a banned user. On those cases where people are able to pull off months long socking you'll see the wailing and mourning for them combined with anger that the community was lied to. Luckily, despite the claims at WPO and other sites, the beloved banned editor socking away is pretty rare. We catch most of them pretty early. TonyBallioni (talk) 14:20, 20 May 2019 (UTC)
How do you know that you catch most of them early, as opposed to never catch most of them? Eric Corbett 15:53, 20 May 2019 (UTC)
To be blunt: most people aren’t that competent/don’t care enough to try to hide. I of course can’t prove that there aren’t 100 banned editor X socks out their writing FAs: you can’t prove a negative. What I can say is that in my experience, most people are too lazy to try to evade detection long-term. I’m sure some do it, but just from a pure effort standpoint, it’s more work than it’s worth, especially if you can just create a new account. TonyBallioni (talk) 16:04, 20 May 2019 (UTC)
The idea that "you can't prove a negative" is quite simply untrue, "a principle of folk logic, not actual logic". So however you cut it you cannot possibly have any idea whether or not most "beloved banned editors " are caught early. Just saying. Eric Corbett 16:46, 20 May 2019 (UTC)
Most people who've been caught aren't that competent/don't care enough to try to hide/are too lazy to try to evade detection long-term. Whereas, most people who haven't been caught are probably not any of those things. Levivich 16:51, 20 May 2019 (UTC)
Most human beings are all of those things. So are most sockmasters. CU isn’t useful because it’s a particularly sophisticated tool (it isn’t.) It’s useful because of human nature. I probably know more about it’s use on than most LTAs, and I sure as hell wouldn’t be able to put in the effort to consistently evade. The fact that we’ve had multiple CUs and former CUs on other projects get caught socking goes to show that even those who know how to use it usually slip up. The reason banned editors tend to get caught early is they inevitably act in a disruptive manner that draws attention and leads to grounds for a check. Yes, some can pull it off long-term: we can all think of examples. There is not, however, some great sock army out there of productive unjust banned editors out there. We can’t give you a list of every sock we don’t know about, but we are fairly good at spotting them. TonyBallioni (talk) 17:26, 20 May 2019 (UTC)

Thank YouEdit

Dear Iridescent, Thank you for your note about Google Doodles at Wikipedia: Village Pump. If we were to pay Google, how would we find the money? Vorbee (talk) 07:53, 23 May 2019 (UTC)

It could come out of the $2 million bribe Google pays the WMF for not complaining too loudly about Knowledge Graph repeatedly ripping off our content without attribution to the editors "giving back in the spirit of sustainability", maybe? In reality, if such a deal were to happen, it would be in terms of a quid pro quo skill-sharing agreement between the respective boards, rather than a transfer of cash.
It won't happen; forthcoming Google Doodles are a closely-held secret to prevent the SEO firms finding out, which would mean Google would need to use anonymous socks if they planned to work on the articles beforehand without tipping people off. Granting a blanket exemption from Wikipedia's usual rules to Google—which is possibly the least-trusted corporation on the planet (our laundry-list of allegations against them is currently at 7000 words and rising, and the current furore about the blacklisting of Huawei has yet to be added to that list)—would lead to a mass exodus. (If you're not already aware, this is what happened last time the WMF tried to cosy up to Google.) ‑ Iridescent 08:20, 23 May 2019 (UTC)

Well, that was interestingEdit

Looking back a day or so later, the discussion here almost became a train-wreck, but the newly found tendency to not pull things where there is some opposition (nicknamed the push-me-pull-you effect), saved the day. Not sure if Ritchie has your talk page watch-listed (I don't think he commented after nominating it, other than on the moment of emotion displayed by May)? Maybe it is OK to talk about this, but as it is still up there on the Main Page, maybe not. I also saw the European Parliament election ITN/R discussion, and that is now up again at ITN/C now the results are in. Maybe that discussion will produce a clearer consensus. I am not going to comment, as I have other things to do today! Carcharoth (talk) 08:00, 27 May 2019 (UTC)

I'd tend to agree with TRM's comment; although it's not worth pulling, the announcement should never have been posted in the first place. It now sets a precedent for every non-spontaneous news story to run on the main page twice, once on the day it's announced and once on the day. (Why isn't 2019 Greek legislative election ITN now, the day after the election was called, as well as the routine posting it will get when the results come in? It's certainly going to be the main news story in Greece at the moment.) All that said, except in the most egregious cases trying to stem the flow of crap at ITN is like trying to beat back the tide with a spoon—along with its equally ugly sister DYK it's largely WP:OWNed by a small circle of cranks who substitute "I like it" for "it meets the criteria".
The European Parliament discussion is, I think, mainly based on a misunderstanding among North Americans on what the European Parliament actually does. Americans tend to see the EU as equivalent to their own federal government, and don't appreciate just how toothless even the Commission itself, let alone the Parliament, actually are when it comes to anything outside their core competency of harmonising trade and trading standards regulations. (The EU doesn't do itself any favours with its "choose your future" posturing, as it just feeds the myth that it interferes in the affairs of national governments; the EU really doesn't do very much that isn't anodyne and uncontroversial.) ‑ Iridescent 09:12, 27 May 2019 (UTC)
Hmmm. That sounds almost as easy as fishing with a spoon. Martinevans123 (talk) 09:24, 27 May 2019 (UTC) p.s. "The EU is a real headache. That's why I always take Anondyn."
Even stupid Americans are people too, you know... Martinevans123 (talk)

Old draftsEdit

Unsurprisingly, it is a real pain to try and do something with old drafts in userspace. Leaving a draft knocking around for over 10 years wasn't a great idea, but with a 100th anniversary coming up, it felt like now or never! So I pushed Eddington experiment to mainspace. After tidying it up and various other problems, am wondering if it was worth it (turns out someone out there had written a whole book on the subject while I twiddled my thumbs, and various Wikipedia articles accumulated bits and bobs on the subject). The ambitions I had for that article will have to wait, as that is all I have time for right now. Bit of a moot point as to whether it is a spin off from Arthur Eddington (which has a good account already) or from Solar eclipse of May 29, 1919 (which was created in 2009). Oh, and talking of people stumbling across old drafts, I must go and thank NYB for this (though he may see this post here as well). Carcharoth (talk) 14:47, 27 May 2019 (UTC)

Presumably if there's a recent book on the topic, at some point you want to go through that and see if there's anything obvious that's been missed, or more importantly that contradicts what this article is saying. At a very quick skim, this looks the kind of thing that could make quite a good TFA, as it pushes a lot of current hot topic buttons. I cleared most of the drafts out of my userspace, although I might one day have another stab at Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape which is a genuinely important topic that's currently very inadequately covered. ‑ Iridescent 18:44, 27 May 2019 (UTC)
"Men of Science More or Less Agog over Results...." per NYT. Great stuff! Johnbod (talk) 18:58, 27 May 2019 (UTC)
My all-time favourite "people struggling to describe feats of science and engineering that are so unfamiliar they literally have no reference points" style of reporting is Fanny Kemble trying to describe Stephenson's railway experiments, writing at a time when unless one worked in either a mine or a cotton mill, almost nobody in the country had ever seen any kind of heavy machinery:
We were introduced to the little engine which was to drag us along the rails. She (for they make these curious little fire horses all mares) consisted of a boiler, a stove, a platform, a bench, and behind the bench a barrel containing enough water to prevent her being thirsty for fifteen miles, the whole machine not bigger than a common fire engine. She goes upon two wheels, which are her feet, and are moved by bright steel legs called pistons; these are propelled by steam, and in proportion as more steam is applied to the upper extremities (the hip-joints, I suppose) of these pistons, the faster they move the wheels; and when it is desirable to diminish the speed, the steam, which unless suffered to escape would burst the boiler, evaporates through a safety valve into the air. The reins, bit, and bridle of this wonderful beast, is a small steel handle, which applies or withdraws the steam from its legs or pistons, so that a child might manage it. The coals, which are its oats, were under the bench, and there was a small glass tube affixed to the boiler, with water in it, which indicates by its fullness or emptiness when the creature wants water, which is immediately conveyed to it from its reservoirs ...
This snorting little animal, which I felt rather inclined to pat, was then harnessed to our carriage, and Mr. Stephenson having taken me on the bench of the engine with him, we started at about ten miles an hour ... [George Stephenson's] way of explaining himself is peculiar, but very striking, and I understood, without difficulty, all that he said to me ... The engine having received its supply of water, the carriage was placed behind it, for it cannot turn, and was set off at its utmost speed, thirty-five miles an hour, swifter than a bird flies (for they tried the experiment with a snipe). You cannot conceive what that sensation of cutting the air was; the motion is as smooth as possible, too. I could either have read or written; and as it was, I stood up, and with my bonnet off 'drank the air before me.' The wind, which was strong, or perhaps the force of our own thrusting against it, absolutely weighed my eyelids down. When I closed my eyes this sensation of flying was quite delightful, and strange beyond description; yet strange as it was, I had a perfect sense of security, and not the slightest fear ...
Now for a word or two about the master of all these marvels, with whom I am most horribly in love. He is a man from fifty to fifty-five years of age; his face is fine, though careworn, and bears an expression of deep thoughtfulness; his mode of explaining his ideas is peculiar and very original, striking, and forcible; and although his accents indicates strongly his north country birth, his language has not the slightest touch of vulgarity or coarseness. He has certainly turned my head. Four years have sufficed to bring this great undertaking to an end. The railroad will be opened upon the fifteenth of next month. The Duke of Wellington is coming down to be present on the occasion, and, I suppose, what with the thousands of spectators and the novelty of the spectacle, there will never have been a scene of more striking interest.
Per my comments here, this is a good illustration of where a direct quote sheds real light to present day readers on what life in other times or other places was actually like. That NYT headline is the same; anyone can say "this was important", but actually proving that this was considered a big story at the time is something different; the popular-culture view of 19th- and early 20th-century science is that the early physicists were laughed at, and only had their achievements recognised years later. ‑ Iridescent 19:32, 27 May 2019 (UTC)
Yes, will need to get the recent book on the topic. I am expecting a slew of popular science/news articles as well (some have already been published: [4], [5], [6]). The historiography and interpretation of things have changed over the years. I have a soft spot for the topic, as I did an undergraduate essay on this in the 1990s. It has been interesting to see various waves of publications about this since then, as well as taking a more in-depth look at it with the resources now available compared to back then (1990s). Actually, there are two other books as well, reviewed here. Will add them to the article as well. Oh, and a conference on it as well. So I guess wait for all that to settle down and then see where things are at. Carcharoth (talk) 09:24, 28 May 2019 (UTC)


Kornblumen, Ehrenbach.jpg
... with thanks from QAI

Thank you for Droxford railway station, with a history!

"In 1897 the London and South Western Railway built a new railway line to block the Great Western Railway from expanding to Portsmouth, and as a consequence we now have Brexit; I may have left out some intervening steps, but that's basically the gist.

Droxford was an obscure country station that was built just in time for the combination of the First World War and the internal combustion engine to render it uneconomic. For three days in 1944 it was one of the most important places in the world; it was here that Commonwealth leaders monitored the troops massing for the Normandy landings, it was here that Ernest Bevin and Anthony Eden held their secret discussions about the Conservative and Labour parties cooperating in peacetime; above all, it was here that Winston Churchill annoyed Charles de Gaulle to such an extent that Anglo-French relations broke down, leaving Britain (and Ireland) outside the nascent European Economic Community."

I am sorry I missed the FAC, but you had John, sadly missed. Blues mood. --Gerda Arendt (talk) 05:01, 4 June 2019 (UTC)

Discussion at Wikipedia_talk:Requests_for_adminship/Optional_RfA_candidate_poll#Shut this down?Edit

 You are invited to join the discussion at Wikipedia_talk:Requests_for_adminship/Optional_RfA_candidate_poll#Shut this down?. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 00:40, 7 June 2019 (UTC)

Replied there. ‑ Iridescent 11:13, 7 June 2019 (UTC)


....All those in favour of being secretly watched by the WMF civility gestapo raise your hands? Slightly more serious, since this has now demonstrated that it is effective to remove your opponents through direct appeal to the T&S team (bypassing ENWP dispute resolution), do you forsee a spate of 'snitching'? Arbcom and ANI/AN being defunct due to all complaints heading that way? Personally I would support shutting it all down and directing everything aimed at them to the email addresses of the T&S team.... See how long before the crap drowns them. Only in death does duty end (talk) 19:40, 11 June 2019 (UTC)

I've no issue with being watched by the WMF or anyone else. This is a wiki, and anyone can review the history of anyone else. "If you've received an allegation that someone is acting problematically, keep an eye on them to see if it's just a one-off case of someone having a bad day or if there's an actual problem" is Adminship 101, and applies just as much to T&S; that they reviewed Fram's contributions rather than taking the words of the anonymous denouncer at face value is a good thing, even if I disagree with the conclusion they reached. (That I disagree with the conclusion they reached is on the assumption that Fram's version of events is correct, given that T&S have been asked if that's the case and not indicated otherwise. I do notice a group of editors, all of whom appear to come from the same small clique, insinuating that Fram is lying. I have no idea if that's the case or not, but if nothing else it might give some indication as to where the anonymous denunciations are coming from and that the unfortunate Laura is being attacked for something she didn't do.)
On the broader point, I more or less agree with Ivanvector's comments here. The WMF might have fucked this up badly (as I said to a WMF employee—not T&S—privately today, the very fact that they didn't expect this to be controversial and plan accordingly is as far as I'm concerned prima facie evidence of a severe competence issue in whichever anonymous coward is hiding behind the WMFOffice account). However, it looks like a cock-up rather than a conspiracy, and a unique set of circumstances that's unlikely to occur. The tiny Wikipedias outnumber the big wikis twenty to one, and T&S probably aren't used to handling issues on big wikis with advanced dispute resolution setups. As I read it, they didn't understand our processes, thought that because Fram had been rude about arbitrators that meant Arbcom couldn't handle a case involving him, genuinely thought they were being helpful in stepping in, and probably expected to be showered with plaudits and were completely taken off guard when even those who would have been happy to see Fram banned took offence at the WMF trying to impose direct rule.
Unless we start to see more people receive the night and fog treatment, I'd be inclined to assume this is a one-off screwup which won't happen again. I imagine all the people who signed off on the ban (it takes a lot of people to sign off on an office action, even if some of them are probably just rubber-stamping everything that passes across their desk) are shortly going to have an very uncomfortable meeting with the board in which it's pointed out that their inflated salaries are dependent on keeping the donations rolling in, and needlessly creating a situation where the core community that keeps their showpiece site running are talking seriously about forking or at least GAFIA is not the way to go about it. "That guy who runs the website that used to be big once before it fell apart and Facebookpedia took its place" doesn't get invited to parties, and Jimmy knows it. ‑ Iridescent 20:54, 11 June 2019 (UTC)
(adding) I'd also like to endorse Newyorkbrad's comments here, made while I was typing the above screed, which (to my surprise) are short, clear, and to the point, and with which I entirely agree. ‑ Iridescent 21:05, 11 June 2019 (UTC)
Ah spooks eh, dontcha just love 'em?? Martinevans123 (talk) 21:07, 11 June 2019 (UTC)
After the first partial ban imposed (in February this year) in, there seemed to be this huge discussion about it. That they didn't expect a massive outcry from this then has to really be willful blindness rather than severe incompetence. Galobtter (pingó mió) 21:11, 11 June 2019 (UTC)
I don't speak the language so can't offer much of an opinion on that thread, but in my experience de-wiki are even worse than Commons when it comes to assuming that any action taken by the WMF must be the result of a Vast Global Conspiracy—the WMF probably assumed that en-wiki would be more pliant when it came to obeying the edicts of their betters. Plus, looking at the names of the T&S people (you need to scroll down to them) the only one I recognize as at all active on en-wiki recently is Karen Brown, so it may just be that they didn't realise how active Fram was and that any action taken against him would light up 447 people's watchlists. ‑ Iridescent 21:21, 11 June 2019 (UTC)
Yes, I agree. They had to have known this would be negatively received, because they received pushback the first time they tried this stunt. Enigmamsg 22:05, 11 June 2019 (UTC)
Have you followed the DE-WP interactions with the WMF much? They do actually have some justification for that viewpoint. (My German is not terrible.) Only in death does duty end (talk) 21:27, 11 June 2019 (UTC)
Well tbh if the core community ever did want to demonstrate its actual power in running ENWP, a month of 'no reversions', no admin actions and turning off the anti-vandalism bots would do it. See how the screaming starts once some high profile (and rich) BLP's get continuously vandalised. But I disagree in part regarding the 'no problem watching'. I have no problem with people's *contribution* history being completely visible and transparent, but that is a different kettle of fish to what the timeline in Fram's statement indicates is going on - that the T&S are/were actively *monitoring* him after he was on their radar. In order to have a 'gotcha'. Thats not the same as 'we have had a complaint so we have looked into it' which is what you seem to be addressing. Granted I do expect the T&S to monitor editors who present a genuine safety concern (child protection etc), editors being mean to each other is not a safety issue. Thats 'people on the internet'. That sort of longterm monitoring of Fram's editing history is concerning, especially given the imposition of what appears to be an interaction ban between a highly experienced admin who has a good track record of dealing with troublesome editors, and an editor who has a less sterling reputation. And while it may be unrelated, the imposition of *interaction bans* by the T&S team smacks of interference in ENWP's own governance. Only in death does duty end (talk) 21:14, 11 June 2019 (UTC)
To address NYB's comments in relation to the above: "please do give careful thought to how it might be possible to quickly deescalate this situation, without jeopardizing the Office's needful role in dealing with the very serious situations that are within its core responsibilities to address." - I think this may be the cause of the current issue, in that no one on ENWP sees the T&S 'core responsibilities' (or even non-core) as policing internal wiki disputes. Thats why we have dispute resolution venues. If it *is* something that would legitimately fall into what people normally would expect a T&S initiative to be involved in, none of that information appears to have been given to Fram (assuming Fram is being open) as his description of events is very far from that. Only in death does duty end (talk) 21:18, 11 June 2019 (UTC)
That, I agree with. This is the remit of T&S (in their own words); nowhere do I see anything remotely relating to interpersonal disputes or civility, and I've seen no indication that Fram made any statement that could be construed as a threat. ‑ Iridescent 21:26, 11 June 2019 (UTC)
Unfortunately I think the only way to reasonably rein in the T&S over-reach would be a trustee board-level resolution to direct WMF policy in this area. I seriously doubt, given the current board members, that will ever take place. Only in death does duty end (talk) 21:30, 11 June 2019 (UTC)
From what I can make out, they saw the local only ban as a final warning for behaviour that they otherwise would have global banned for, since it had a nexus on this project. That’s probably the biggest issue with this entire thing: they very well may have more than Fram is saying or they only gave him one diff. The way it was executed, however, implied they only viewed it as an issue here when what they were apparently trying to say was this behaviour needs to stop and this is your last chance. Hopefully there will soon be a de-brief and they can rethink the concept of project bans... TonyBallioni (talk) 22:00, 11 June 2019 (UTC)
Now that the Wikipediocracy thread has been pointed out to me, striking large chunks of my initial comment. The evidence might be circumstantial, but there's too much of it to ignore. On the plus side, someone has made lots of new friends. ‑ Iridescent 06:42, 12 June 2019 (UTC)
The Wikipediocracy suggestions could well be on target, but there are a few snippets in what has been officially said to make me mindful of at least one other (speculative but, I think, realistic) possibility (which assumes the "Fuck Arbcom" post was the trigger), and I'd hate the wrong person/people to be blamed. I'm still holding back on my judgment until we heard what the board has to say. Boing! said Zebedee (talk) 09:20, 12 June 2019 (UTC)
This was one of the reasons I posted the "Elephant in the room" section. I was hoping that we might gain more clarity on why Fram was banned, though it doesn't seem to have worked (and yes, if your speculation is the same as mine, it is realistic). Black Kite (talk) 10:59, 12 June 2019 (UTC)
While it's probably not sensible to speculate pending the meeting on the 14th, I can only think of four realistic possibilities for the complainant. Three have flat-out denied it being them, and given that the identity will come out, to the board if not the community, in two days' time, it would be pointless to lie; the fourth has remained distinctly silent. ‑ Iridescent 12:37, 12 June 2019 (UTC)

The aspects of employment law being raised here and there trouble me. I also agree with what you say about the salaries of the WMF employees being dependent on not killing the goose that lays the golden eggs, see what I said here. What happens on Wikipedia and WMF sites is not at the same level, but I was reminded of this. Carcharoth (talk) 10:11, 12 June 2019 (UTC)

But again, that raises the issue as to why Fram. He's certainly cantankerous, but he's by no means the rudest editor on Wikipedia nor could any of his history realistically be construed as raising safety concerns. Given that I (and you) can think of plenty of occasions where the office haven't stepped in to ban genuine violent criminals when they've been identified, what is so special about "Fuck Arbcom" that it warrants direct action? ‑ Iridescent 12:37, 12 June 2019 (UTC)
I think there have been other complaints made about Fram (fairly obviously), and that those who made the complaints know this (and Fram may not be aware of all of the complaints - T&S may have put him in an impossible position by only partially disclosing the complaints made against him), so Fram can't really explain what is going on here. What may happen is that the Board are told (in confidence) about other matters, but this can't be disclosed outside of the Board. Oh, I see Fram has posted some more, see here. Hopefully someone will re-post that here somewhere. Carcharoth (talk) 13:55, 12 June 2019 (UTC)

Anyone can check Fram's contributions. Did anyone find anything that rises to the level of bypassing Arbcom and requiring Office action? That's what I'm having trouble understanding here. Either there is something not visible on wiki or the accuser wields a very big stick. The thing that seems the most closely related to Fram's case was another previously "clean" admin who was quietly desysop'd and blocked by Arbcom. Some of the community of course had issues, but since the decision came from the community in the form of Arb it was eventually accepted, since that's exactly what the community set up the committee to do. Side-stepping this procedure naturally causes editors to speculate. Mr Ernie (talk) 11:27, 12 June 2019 (UTC)

Yes, I agree. ‑ Iridescent 12:37, 12 June 2019 (UTC)

Futile attempt to stop thisEdit

@Everyone, it's probably not sensible to continue any of these discussions until after the board have had their briefing, as we're all at the shadows-in-a-cave level at present. While I certainly don't trust Jimmy, I do trust Doc James to give an honest account regardless of whether I always agree with him or not, and if he says that having seen the evidence he feels the WMF's actions were correct and there's a reason they needed to be done this way I'm willing to accept it. ‑ Iridescent 12:37, 12 June 2019 (UTC)

To me, this is not about Fram and what he did or didn't do. This is about the WMF attempting some sort of hostile takeover of Enigmamsg 15:27, 12 June 2019 (UTC)
But until we have some idea why they did what they did, we don't know that's what did happen. Sometimes things do have to happen without explanation regardless of how frustrating it is for all those who aren't in the know as to why; until the board have reviewed the case, it's impossible for us to say whether T&S did the right thing, the wrong thing but for defensible reasons, or were abusing their position. ‑ Iridescent 16:03, 12 June 2019 (UTC)
Tbh I dont think it really matters anymore. Its clear enough that it was on-wiki actions that prompted it, and its not T&S job to get involved in on-wiki disputes (especially since in this case there is zero on-wiki evidence that supports the veiled claims of harrassment). At this point it needs a board-level resolution to make it clear to the employees of the WMF that absent serious concerns (legal, child protection etc) that they are not to interfere with local wikis in order to impose their own standards. As I recall board elections are in 2020, so I will be actively seeking candidates to stand on a stated platform of curbing WMF over-reach. Dont get me wrong, I know its got very little hope of succeeding, and if it does, unlikely a board resolution would pass, but it would send a concrete message. I will be reaching out to DE-wiki as well. The DE community are also extremely unhappy with WMF intereference in their own governance. Personally I would like Doc James to be one, but I doubt he will get behind attempts to curb WMF-staff level actions. Only in death does duty end (talk) 19:32, 12 June 2019 (UTC)
If Fram hadn't been an administrator, do you think there would have been so much outrage? The cynic in me says "No", as nobody cares what happens to the bottom feeders in this kind of institutional bullying. And all these calls for patience simply play into the hands of the bullies, who know that in a week or so this will all be forgotten. If anything's to be done it must be done now, not in accordance with a schedule laid down by the bullies. Eric Corbett 19:51, 12 June 2019 (UTC)
I'd be inclined to guess yes; the issue isn't that he's an administrator, but that he's the 187th most active editor of all time (and many of those above him are bot-assisted), and that he was given a sudden year-long block with no right of appeal and no real explanation. I'd imagine that if the same thing happened to an equally active non-admin like Blofeld, Beyond My Ken or yourself, the reaction would be similar. ‑ Iridescent 20:00, 12 June 2019 (UTC)
You should be less cynical Eric, if you had been banned in the night *by the WMF* for being uncivil, there would be an equally vocal outcry. Granted there might be a bit more understanding, but like Fram, no one has ever seriously considered you harrassed people. Only in death does duty end (talk) 20:08, 12 June 2019 (UTC)
I'm pretty certain that a similar degree of outrage would've occurred had this happened to any well-established prolific editor. For the record, some of people outraged explicitly said they do not like Fram. It's not like it's a bunch of admins getting together to protect a fellow admin. If the WMF had done to this to someone who doesn't contribute much at all, I would agree that there would not be such an outcry. I don't think the affected having the bit precipitated this at all. It's about someone being banned, while circumventing the local wiki, without any stated evidence, and with no chance to appeal (or even e-mail or respond on talk). Enigmamsg 20:38, 12 June 2019 (UTC)
I suppose that time may tell which of us is right, but my fundamental point is that I felt continually harassed by certain administrators during my time editing here, who now perhaps in turn feel harassed by the WMF. So the boot is simply on the other foot. As far as I'm concerned to be able to edit here you have to be able to put up with the unchecked coercive control imposed on you by administrators and others who take a dislike to you, and I couldn't, so the only thing that's changed is that the harassment has been notched up a level. Which is why I don't see waiting as having any merit whatsoever. Eric Corbett 20:31, 12 June 2019 (UTC)
Where I'd say this situation differs is that when you felt that (for instance) Chillum, or indeed Fram, was unfairly targeting you, there was a recognised path to appeal any action he took (even though you never actually appealed blocks, you were aware that you could have), and anyone blocking (or unblocking) you would invariably explain why they'd done it and what their reasoning was. Here, we have a situation where the WMF have without public explanation blocked a long-term editor without discussion and with any appeal expressly forbidden, for something that probably did violate policy but was no worse than many (probably most) editors have said at some point. That the editor they blocked was a very vocal critic of the WMF's approach to changing the user interface and the block was enacted the day before they issued a public announcement about their proposed changes to the user interface, and that the sole editor singled out for this treatment was an editor who had been in public dispute with someone closely connected to the WMF Chair, couldn't have been more certain to set the conspiracies flying if they'd tried.
If the WMF had, for instance, issued a clear statement that from now on they were going to enforce the civility policy rigidly and anyone swearing would be warned on the first occasion and blocked on the second, I might have grumbled but I'd ultimately accept it—their website, their rules, and there's a legitimate argument to be made that if we have written rules they should be enforced—but it's the inconsistency and arbitrariness, coupled with the lack of any appeal mechanism, that's troubling, and is the reason even people who are no friends of Fram and would happily testify against him in any formal case are complaining here.
(Incidentally, for both of the two days this saga has been running the discussion page has received more page views than the TFA. Yes, admittedly that's partly an artefact of the fact that the last two TFAs have had fairly dull-looking blurbs so fewer people than usual clicked through—and of people visiting the discussion page on more than one occasion to see the most recent updates and consequently counting as multiple visitors—but even so…) ‑ Iridescent 09:14, 13 June 2019 (UTC)
Huh. Perhaps it's being linked to from offsite? Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 09:29, 13 June 2019 (UTC)
More likely that it has 250 different editors plus presumably other people who have watchlisted it, and is being updated so frequently that it keeps popping up on people's watchlists so people keep looking to see what's changed. 500 editors each viewing it 10 times accounts for 5000 edits right there, and many of those people are going to be refreshing it a lot more than 10 times. (Remember, every edit counts as two pageviews; the initial view before you click [edit] and the reloading of the page once your edit is saved.) ‑ Iridescent 09:43, 13 June 2019 (UTC)

General comment Thinking over what we've seen, it's as if the WMF watched ArbCom exceed its remit on several occasions recently and said (American slang) "You ain't seen nothin' yet. Hold my beer." Enigmamsg 06:43, 14 June 2019 (UTC)

On losing adminsEdit

  • It seems this month is easily on track to have the most admins lost since March 2012 (which was 23, the record for any month aside from the first month where inactives were desysopped, which obviously should not count). I wonder if the WMF T&S sees this as a positive. For the record, I don't recall having any interactions with Fram, or having ever commented on him, but the WMF could hardly have handled this any worse. Enigmamsg 14:23, 13 June 2019 (UTC)
    They probably don't see it as a positive, but I'm not certain they see it as a negative either. I'd imagine there's at least a faction in Community Engagement who would contend that clearing out the old guard of the class of 2006–08 would actually be beneficial in the long run and aren't going to be too heartbroken to see a mass pruning of the editor base to allow recruitment of a new crop who won't feel intimidated by all these old sweats patronizing them.

    They might not be entirely wrong, either; there's a reasonable case to be made that those who've been around since the early days don't appreciate just how weird an environment Wikipedia is to those coming at it fresh who don't understand either the markup and the culture, and we could do with more admins and established editors in general who are sympathetic to the experience new editors face. (This is probably not the time to be saying it, but Fram was a consistent offender for "you didn't get the format of {{InsanelyComplexTemplate}} absolutely correct, reverted as non-constructive" or "what do you mean, you aren't aware you violated the WP:PYRZQXGL policy, everyone should memorize the whole of Wikipedia:List of policies and guidelines before they start to edit, I've undone every edit you've ever made as I can't trust you" newbie-bashing. 99% of the time he's correct, but that doesn't mean the 1% isn't there. As a member of WMF staff recently pointed out to me, I had sharp words to say about Fram myself in this thread-from-hell last year—the timing of which tallies fairly accurately with "investigations usually take four weeks" and "I received my first warning from WMFOffice in April 2018", incidentally. My I've (obviously) got serious concerns about your recent conduct there is a reference to this declined arb case the previous day.)

    We could certainly do with more regulars (whether admin or not) from the other side of the VisualEditor/WikiText divide, as the number of conversations in which old and new editors are talking at complete cross purposes because each doesn't understand what the other is seeing is starting to get silly. ‑ Iridescent 15:52, 13 June 2019 (UTC)

I'm conscious that I don't want to keep sounding like the Official Megalibrarygirl Fan Club (TM) but one of the reasons I was keen to get her involved more in backstage stuff is she has only ever used Visual Editor, which I'd imagine is pretty rare amongst the hardcore admin crowd, and doesn't have any residual memories of what things were like more than five years ago. Ritchie333 (talk) (cont) 17:43, 13 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Personally. I've always struggled with WP:PYRZQXGL, but it is sometimes useful. But then maybe "I couldn't give a flying fuck about how I come across." Martinevans123 (talk) 16:16, 13 June 2019 (UTC)
    Amazingly, Pyrzqxgl is a blue link—I assume some decades-old memory of The Wizard of Oz bubbled to the surface there. For anyone wondering what Martin is on about there, "I couldn't give a flying fuck about how I come across" is something Fram said to me in March 2018 after I told him he was "coming across as a vindictive crank", which if the timings are right means it's possibly Entry #1 in WMFOffice's famous dossier. As I've said elsewhere, I'd consider that thread-from-hell and the rejected Arb case as a good example of Wikipedia's civility enforcement mechanisms working as they should, not the example of a broken process some people seem to be painting it as; Fram was being obnoxious, people formally complained that he was being obnoxious, he was told to stop being obnoxious, and he stopped being obnoxious, all with nobody being blocked or banned and not too much time wasted. ‑ Iridescent 16:41, 13 June 2019 (UTC)
    Hmm, not tooooo much time. So regarding proper process, yes, I'd have to agree with you 100%. But as to what he's actually alleged to have said or done this time, it might take a while to find out. Martinevans123 (talk) 18:55, 13 June 2019 (UTC)
Fram's deleted contributions.png
They've confirmed that it all relates to on-wiki activity so there's no invisible emails etc to find, I can confirm there's nothing remotely contentious in Fram's last four months of deleted contributions all of which are routine AfD nominations or maintenance (see right for a glimpse of what the Magical World of Admin Tools looks like), and TonyBallioni has done the same review of his oversighted contributions. Unless there's server-side suppression going on here—technically possible but well into the realm of conspiracy theories—any problem edits are in his visible history. Special:Contributions/Fram is probably the single most pored-over page on the site right now, and to the best of my knowledge nobody has found anything recent except the "fuck arbcom" diff, and if they're going to start blocking everyone who lost their temper at the thread in question we may as well all go home. ‑ Iridescent 19:55, 13 June 2019 (UTC)
Ah thanks. What a relief. [7] Martinevans123 (talk) 19:59, 13 June 2019 (UTC)

Sandstein does get it right a lot of the time: statement. On newbie perspectives, see this. Carcharoth (talk) 16:37, 13 June 2019 (UTC)

My "99% of the time he's correct, but that doesn't mean the 1% isn't there" could just as well describe Sandstein, but when it comes to interpretation of policy to-the-letter he's invariably correct; the issue is one of inflexibility and an unwillingness to appreciate that policy should reflect reality, not the other way round. On this occasion he's most definitely correct; I can't think of any quicker way to HTD than for Arbcom to allow people to railroad them into declaring Wikipexit without the community on board. (Sure, 250 people would support it, but that's still only ​115 of the highly active users, let alone the long tail of occasional editors who have no idea what the fuss is about.) ‑ Iridescent 17:20, 13 June 2019 (UTC)
That's the most upside-down thing in all of this - I keep agreeing with Sandstein. Boing! said Zebedee (talk) 17:27, 13 June 2019 (UTC)
On a couple of occasions, and not just recently, I have found Sandstein to be insightful and helpful, though I suspect that's probably more because I happen to agree exactly with his interpretation of policy at that time. Ritchie333 (talk) (cont) 17:43, 13 June 2019 (UTC)
On a scale of "end of the encyclopedia as we know it" to "no one would notice", what do you think would happen if the entire "​115" up and left tomorrow? How much of the work do the most-active 250 do? Would an admin strike work as a matter of practicality? Would editors run RfAs and replace everyone, and would the new admin know what they were doing? Has there ever been a walk out or strike before and how did it go? Is a wikipocalypse survivable and how long would it take to recover? Levivich 02:02, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
Honestly, it depends which of the 250, but we'd survive and they'd likely be replaced eventually. This sounds really bad, but I'm sure Iri can show you the graph/stats that shows we've been maintaining the same approximate active editor number for a while. It isn't the same users. Rather there's a cycle of in and out. We are regularly losing highly active users and replacing them.
It isn't great, but it isn't the end of the world. No one is irreplaceable is true for every organization. People with specialized skills might be noticed more at first, but eventually they'd be replaced. That's one of the advantages to having reached the scale of Wikipedia: you'd need a critical mass to quit, and 250 honestly isn't it. TonyBallioni (talk) 02:30, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
A starting point may be to examine the mainspace (i.e. article-building) contributions of all the most vocal people in this whole debate and go from there. Sandstein on paper has the right idea about the board of trustees....just hoping they are pretty independent of T&S is all.....Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 03:39, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
I took the top ten contributors to WP:FRAMBAN and looked at their mainspace contributions - Winged Blades of Godric, Seraphimblade, Beyond My Ken, Starship.paint and StudiesWorld have all been actively contributing there over the past few days. Ritchie333 (talk) (cont) 11:16, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
Ritchie333, there? I have written 8 new articles, (near-entirely) rewrote another 3 articles for pending trials by GA and indulged in all forms of routine edits ( spanning from reverting vandals to commenting over t/p discussions and DyKs) over the past one month. What do you wish to imply; that we don't edit main-space? WBGconverse 12:13, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
No, you misunderstood, "there" means "mainspace". As you just clarified. Ritchie333 (talk) (cont) 12:15, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
I found the shitstorm when I took a break from an off-wiki task on my one day off a week and turned to my Wikipedia tabs intending to write one of two articles. Neither has got written. Usually my attitude is, I can best cock a snook at the WMF by continuing to write articles to demonstrate how ridiculous they are to keep proclaiming the encyclopedia almost finished (and that right there by the way is blind entrenched Dunning-Krugeresque bias), especially if I keep throwing in topics they don't care about. But right now I'm not sure it wouldn't be taken as treachery. "Oh look she doesn't really care, she's still volunteering her labour." I'm honestly not sure what to do. I know they don't care about me or any other encyclopedia writer; we're all just worn-out cogs to them, and I'm not even any good for training an AI, too variable. But I care. Yngvadottir (talk) 17:55, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
I'm not under the illusion that anyone will miss me if I'm gone, but I'll just share my reaction. I took down my userpage and replaced it with a brief message, and I've ceased my mainspace editing. I normally pride myself on being someone who is mostly in the mainspace and avoids the drama boards as much as possible, but now I've done a complete 180. This is not sustainable. Eventually the outrage will peter out and I'll have a decision to make, because at last check, the WMF is still claiming as their own personal fiefdom to do as they like. Enigmamsg 19:27, 14 June 2019 (UTC)

───────────────────────── Personally I write and edit for the benefit of the readers. And because I enjoy doing it. It matters little to me whether what I'm doing pleases or displeases the WMF. I would like to see answers and a positive outcome to the Fram debacle as much as anyone else, but don't particularly intend to change what I do in the meantime.  — Amakuru (talk) 18:18, 14 June 2019 (UTC)

Perhaps ironically, I think this might be more likely to move me towards doing more article work. There has clearly been a power shift (however much the WMF might deny it) and there are new standards as to what constitutes harassment and related bannable offences. As those new standards are not explained, we don't know where the new lines are drawn, and bans can not be appealed, I really don't know what is permitted and what is not when trying to resolve behavioural disputes in my admin role. While that uncertainty persists, I'm really not sure I feel comfortable doing admin things. Boing! said Zebedee (talk) 19:48, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
Thanks to those who replied. I'm close to Enigmaman's position. I try hard not to assume readers find my articles useful; I put them out there partly in case someone needs background on something, and it's the totality of the encyclopedia I care about, really. For the same reason, I won't be blanking my user page; I think the list of articles might be useful, if only to those investigating the dissenter (and demonstrating a type of editor not to try to replace with bots). But I don't want to contribute to letting them think we accept their terms. So, day after day, I don't do much except keep saying my piece. It's sad, really. I am a terrible politician. We shouldn't have to deal with their BS. Yngvadottir (talk) 19:57, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
All this is subject to change when the mythical Statement From The Board emerges, but I'd put my position nearer Yngvadottir than Enigmaman. I wouldn't have an issue with continuing to write uncontroversial obscure articles (which is almost all of them; only one thing I wrote here ever reaches the million-views-per-year mark). Where I would have an issue is with any but the most uncontroversial and routine of maintenance. If we're heading towards a system in which we have an "anonymously denounce" button to go with "thanks", and anyone who manages to reach a (secret and undisclosed) total of complaints is summarily disappeared, then there's no way I'd touch editing any topic on which there's the slightest controversy, let alone touch something like New Page Patrol, deletion discussions or WP:ERRORS, and I'd recommend the same to anyone. It's impossible to be involved in the administration of a website that attracts this many people without offending some of them, and I don't really see how to interpret the increasingly elliptical statements emerging from T&S as anything other than "offending anyone will not be tolerated". ‑ Iridescent 21:37, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
Really? I'd had you down as more of a 'na fuck em' kind of guy. Only in death does duty end (talk) 21:40, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
Why? Revolutionary suicide is a particularly pointless exercise in this context. This is ultimately a dispute about a change in the terms and conditions of a website, it's not as if T&S are rounding editors up at gunpoint and forcing them to work in Fluffernutter's underground lair. Assuming the ban isn't reversed tomorrow, then either the ban of Fram is a one-off incident, T&S discreetly agree behind the scenes to take a hands-off approach and eventually we all go back to normal and throw a welcome party for Fram in a year;* or, people gradually decide that they find living under the new order unpleasant, drift away, and Wikipedia goes the way of Myspace. I've drifted away before; it's really not difficult. ‑ Iridescent 21:57, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
*Statement of the obvious, but Fram is Belgian and presumably at minimum is fluent in French or Dutch and probably German as well, and still has plenty of places he can still contribute if he still wants to contribute to Wikipedia and the ban isn't lifted. I imagine that in light of recent events if he turned up on de-wiki, they'd probably give him admin status in about thirty seconds flat. (He could then find a pretext to block Jan Eissfeldt for harassment, and thus complete the Circle of Life.) ‑ Iridescent 21:57, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
I thought Jan was already blocked/banned on DE? As an aside, I routinely get jealous of the average Belgians command of multiple languages. Only in death does duty end (talk) 22:20, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
How about the Swiss? Enigmamsg 22:28, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
I've been to Brugge (actually partially took my honeymoon there) and Rock Werchter many times. I have yet to visit Zurich. Only in death does duty end (talk) 22:39, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
Well, you're not putting yourself at risk by working in the mainspace. My reasoning is simply because if I'm made to be feel not welcome (and the WMF makes me feel that way), why would I want to contribute? Indeed, I wouldn't care about working in controversial areas because I would no longer value my account, so I'd be more likely to work in controversial areas than articles, actually. Enigmamsg 21:42, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
Of course you're putting yourself at risk by working in the mainspace; all it takes is to step on the wrong person's toes. (I'll remind you that a pair of mainspace edits[8][9] is why we're here in the first place.) If you think editors who restrict themselves to mainspace avoid controversy, switch the "highlight blocked editors" gadget on in preferences and then head on over to Talk:Shakespeare authorship question.22:02, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
I stand corrected. I was using my own personal opinion about how sticking to mainspace is "safe" while getting involved in drama boards makes it more likely you will get blocked or taken to ArbCom over something you say there, whereas mainspace I feel it's unlikely to get in trouble for your edits. I make an edit, and if someone doesn't like it, they revert it. Done. I will also note that Fram's is an atypical case. Usually people claiming "harassment" or "bullying" are doing it based off of comments, not article contributions. Enigmamsg 22:04, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
Candle.jpgJE SUIS
? Seems to be no nearer resolution than it was last week? Martinevans123 (talk) 14:31, 17 June 2019 (UTC)

Code of conductEdit

You might find this video to be interesting, wherein Sydney Poore (T&S) states that an "Universal code of conduct" for all WMF sites would be implemented next year, onwards.

Interestingly, parts of Meta (esp. the areas, linked with WMF) has a Safe-Space-Policy which includes weird stuff like any oppose comments/!votes in any discussion/proposal must be placed over some remote venue, because they think that new participant(s) get discouraged by oppose votes and like to see a string of green supports. (Sitush has some experience .... )

Also, around 1:49 in the video, someone(??) states:- If you're constantly getting negative feedback for doing something, how often you are going to do it?. What exactly, do these folks include under the purview of negative-feedback, is another mystery. Seconds back, they have deemed reversion of edits and sexual advances to be of similar forms of harassment ....

For a trivia, the video was published a day, after Fram was Office-banned :-) WBGconverse 10:08, 15 June 2019 (UTC)

Hmm, a new Universal code of conduct and a new User reporting system - it's nice the way Wikipedia communities had to find out about it by seeing it on Youtube. Boing! said Zebedee (talk) 10:09, 15 June 2019 (UTC)
Probably, our former arbitrator can list the various mediums that we need to subscribe to, to keep ourselves abreast of all these stuff .... Interesting times, we are in:-) WBGconverse 10:20, 15 June 2019 (UTC)
Anyone else getting the 'this seems like part of an orchestrated plan' at this point? I mean, I am usually extremely pessimistic of conspiracy theories, but the timing on this is either deliberate or massively incompetent. Only in death does duty end (talk) 10:23, 15 June 2019 (UTC)
(+1) This is testing the limits of Hanlon's razor .... WBGconverse 10:29, 15 June 2019 (UTC)
Yep, this was the piece of evidence that pushed me over the line of hanlon's razor. I now think that it's more likely that something nefarious is going on instead of innocent stupidity or incompetence. I'm wiling to wait for Doc Brown to get back to us about what happened in the board meeting, but if we don't get satisfactory communications then, I'm starting to wonder about foundation-ectomies. Tazerdadog (talk) 12:12, 15 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Fwiw, this is probably actually going to be useful on places like and or even nl.wikiquote. There are many projects where you have self-appointed rulers of the project and where at one point you had large enough communities to have permanent sysops, but where now the community is dead except the self-appointed rulers who can do whatever they want to anyone new who comes along. These type of initiatives tend to get panned widely on, but when taken in the context of the other 700-something projects makes sense. Stewards are not going to get involved beyond obvious vandalism and global ban discussions are complicated to say the least. Dealing with the abusive harassing sysop on the East Fooian Wikibooks is definitely a legitimate function of the WMF, and I suspect stuff like that is where they’ll spend most of their time. TonyBallioni (talk) 12:27, 15 June 2019 (UTC)
    Yes, I think it's probably a good idea (if it's implemented well), but it's not a good way to find out about it. Boing! said Zebedee (talk) 12:31, 15 June 2019 (UTC)
    Actually, I'll add that now the WMF has introduced the new power structure and their parallel (to ArbCom) intention of dealing with what they term "harassment" issues, we *need* a published set of the rules they will be enforcing. And no, like WBG says below, I really don't think this is anything to do with smaller Wikipedias (even if there's a spin-off benefit there) - not when we hear it via a Youtube about the gender gap on Boing! said Zebedee (talk) 12:55, 15 June 2019 (UTC)
    The foundation does not need a CoC to deal with Croatian wiki or; how exactly a CoC would have dealt with the scenario? They have till-date denied to intervene, even in far disastrous scenarios like Croatian wiki.
    The foundation is focusing on en-wiki in it's bid for a CoC; the screenshots showed over the video, all belong to en-wiki. Choosing to believe in otherwise, is to remain delusional. I agree that a CoC can be helpful but I don't trust the T&S, at the first place and this non-transparency is hugely concerning.
    Also, did you know of this? WBGconverse 12:47, 15 June 2019 (UTC)
    Well, I know there is one at mw:Code of Conduct for the technical spaces of Wikimedia, complete with the associated enforcement systems and the like. That might be the prototype these people have in mind. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 13:07, 15 June 2019 (UTC)
    I know that, and was exclusively referring to the proposed CoC for all non-technical sites. WBGconverse 13:18, 15 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Hmm. There is nothing over meta, as to the upcoming CoC. Now, now, there does exist a page about User Reporting System, whose consultation phase ran from February, 2019 to June, 2019 and have just concluded. Per the timeline, they are currently, either designing workflows or (even better) developing the relevant software.
    When and where was it advertised? Any admins or long-standing-editors, visiting this page, who have been consulted? I see none apart from Risker, Rob. NickK and Joe. WBGconverse 13:14, 15 June 2019 (UTC)
(edit conflict) I don’t really follow community health initiative stuff as it rarely has any impact on en regardless of how they market it. The functionaries list does sometimes get posts about this or that consultation related to it, but to date it’s all been on-wiki that I recall, and again, I tend to ignore it since I haven’t seen any impact here. They also usually announce these things at AN. Risker would be much more likely than me to be able to tell you any relevant background.
T&S is by far the most competent team at the WMF, and they usually get the correct outcome when they do act. There is room for criticism, but there are people who watch this page who remember the pre-T&S era and they’ll tell you that having them is an improvement, regardless of their faults.
Having a CoC helps on smaller projects because it gives them something to point to when they do intervene rather than an ambiguous TOU. On having a CoC would have made it possible for intervention even if Teles hadn’t have been blocked for trying to resolve the situation. I’m fairly certain blocking someone for having Queer in their name and then going on to explain how homosexuality is against the laws of Ethiopia would be covered, and in situations like that, having the foundation act rather than the community can be beneficial.
Finally, I think everyone is being unfair to Sydney here. This was not a WMF sponsored video, and it was very clearly edited. A five second clip in someone else’s video where there was fairly obviously a back and forth going on beforehand as part of an interview is not some secret conspiracy to undermine community governance. Whatever she is talking about has likely been discussed somewhere on meta or en before: if anything the community health initiative is overly transparent to the point of people ignoring their consultations because they happen too often so people just tune them out. TonyBallioni (talk) 13:35, 15 June 2019 (UTC)
Risker did say that en-wiki functionaries had been notified of that. But it is not clear what cross-over there is between the day-to-day T&S matters and long-term initiatives. I presume not too much. I agree people should not be unfair to the work by FloNight and others, but I do fear it will get a lot more attention now, possibly in a good way, possibly not. Let's hope the outcomes are positive (that doesn't sound quite right, but rushing a bit as logging off soon). Carcharoth (talk) 14:38, 15 June 2019 (UTC)
TonyBallioni, interestingly, WMF used to have a non-discrimination policy covering it's staff, contractors and all users for about ~ 11 years. It was only in 2017, that they removed users from under it's purview. I still don't see as to how the or situations would have been any better with some CoC.
It seems that the functionaries were mailed to contribute in the consultation phase. Not sure what harm would have come of a more public broadcast.
I am not being unfair to Sydney and she is not immune to criticism. As OED said, the timings strongly indicate that they are either awfully incompetent or they are part of some sinister conspiracy. Also, any ethical video producer will show the final video to all the involved people,for their consent, prior to publishing it. WBGconverse 15:16, 15 June 2019 (UTC)
You do no know who posted it right? I dont think ethics comes into it. Only in death does duty end (talk) 15:25, 15 June 2019 (UTC)
@Only in death:I suspect the silent majority, including most of our churned contributors over the years (of which I, like prolly most of us, am at high risk of - even after over a decade), supports efforts to improve civility in this place. I do think any such policy should get a bunch of collaboration and sign-off with the local wikis, but additional tooling to collect better data and make complaints easier should be welcomed. WMF shouldn't have to ask permission to think about these things, and I one reason you might have not heard about them as much so far is that they don't want to dilute attention to current focuses like Wikipedia:Talk pages consultation 2019. II | (t - c) 00:28, 16 June 2019 (UTC)
  • I am so sad to be proved right. Yngvadottir (talk) 16:03, 15 June 2019 (UTC)

I've collected a few links to flesh out some background at Wikipedia:Community response to the Wikimedia Foundation's ban of Fram #New "User reporting system". I hope some will find them useful. --RexxS (talk) 17:59, 15 June 2019 (UTC)

Still waiting for this mythical board statement and I reserve the right to change my mind depending on what that says, but from what's available at the moment it looks like Risker is correct that this was intended as a shock-and-awe operation to demonstrate the WMF's strength, that has badly misfired. Remember, the T&S team operate within the WMF echo chamber, and WMF employees' perception of who constitutes "the community" is filtered by who is likely to write to them (people trying to get WMF funding and people with grudges) and who is likely to meet them in person (people so obsessive they would be willing to spend their own money to attend a Wikimedia event, people with their snouts in the "Travel Scholarship" trough, and personal friends of employees). Consequently, their perception of who we are and what we want is viewed through the prism of the personal prejudices of a relatively small group of ultra-insiders, many of whom have personal reasons to dislike Fram as someone who has consistently called attention to quality issues arising from assorted WMF-funded pet projects.
At a guess, because they received a bunch of complaints about Fram at the time of the Arbcom case in 2018, they put him on their radar as a potential problem user, but failed to appreciate that he took the warnings to heart and addressed the problem elements of his behaviour. When they subsequently received a steady trickle of complaints from people disgruntled that he was flagging copyright violations and inaccuracies in articles created as part of high-profile schemes like Women in Red, they got the impression that Fram was some kind of monster since all they ever heard about him was complaints (nobody writes to the WMF to praise editors they think are doing a good job).
Annoying User, Good Content (cropped).JPG
When they decided they needed a grand gesture to mark the start of the Age Of Enforced Corporate Values and show that there was a new sheriff in town who was going to write the rules from now on, they assumed that Fram was a textbook example of one of those incredibly toxic personalities who cost more than they are worth and should be encouraged to leave and that his crimes would be so obvious they wouldn't even need to explain them since any right-minded person would welcome his departure, and failed to appreciate that Fram had undergone a major on-wiki personality shift in the past year and that the signal they've actually sent is "once your name is on our hit-list, we'll be coming for you come what may so there's nothing to be gained by trying to improve".
(To the handful of people who are still trying to maintain that Fram's recent conduct was so problematic that it warranted this kind of sanction, show us some evidence. An editor this bad must be some kind of monster; you'll surely have no problem pointing to some diffs of problematic conduct more convincing than "was rude about Arbcom as an institution whilst carefully avoiding blaming individuals" and "expressed a fairly commonly-held view about the grammatical correctness of singular they".)
When the facts change I change my mind; while I initially pooh-poohed the wilder conspiracies, there are too many things happening simultaneously, all of which follow the same "from now on we're in charge, everyone is obliged to follow our rules but we're not telling you what those rules are" pattern, for it to be reasonable to assume the Fram block wasn't intended either to send a clear "the civilian administration of this project is now subordinate to the occupying authorities" signal, or to silence the person most likely to challenge imposed new systems and rules. WMF people can continue as much as they like to claim that they expected opposition and prepared for it, but unless they genuinely hoped to provoke a full-scale civil war and the mass suppression of anyone who isn't comfortable with top-down administration, I can't see how this could possibly be what they wanted.
Arbcom certainly has its problems—look a couple of threads up for my laying into them—but they're ultimately accountable and if we think they're screwing things up badly they can be removed at the end of their terms. If you genuinely believe there's a "silent majority" who think that the electoral experiment has failed and would rather have top-down imposition of rules by an unelected and self-appointing group, then give us the wording of your new Code of Conduct, dust off SecurePoll, and the silent majority can have their say on whether it's better to have a good king or a bad president. ‑ Iridescent 08:26, 17 June 2019 (UTC)
I would like to think the mythical board statement is not forthcoming easily because there is a moral and ethical split between the board members. More likely I suspect there is some horse-trading going on in order to put out a statement board members are willing to put their names to. Only in death does duty end (talk) 08:32, 17 June 2019 (UTC)
A less juicy but equally likely answer would be that they've decided to publish a list of diffs in detail to explain which of Fram's actions they do and don't consider problematic, and it's taking time to redact them in such a way that it protects people's identities while still indicating what was problematic. (Plus, remember that the meeting was on Friday and presumably not much gets done over the weekend, and that all these people are in different time zones and they presumably all need to sign off on any statement before it's published.) As well as the meta-issue of the future of Wikipedia/media there are also real peoples' jobs at stake here if there is evidence coming to light of misconduct within T&S; I'd rather they put some thought into it than rush out a statement they need to keep correcting and clarifying later. ‑ Iridescent 08:43, 17 June 2019 (UTC)
I'm afraid I am all too unsurprised that they have not deigned to give us even another placeholder. Another explanation: the WMF board of trustees, like many, is a gravy train and feel-good front that has little to do with actual decision-making. tldr: I wasn't holding my breath.
I have sent some encouraging and warm messages over the years, including the other day, to individuals implicated in one way or another in this endangerment of the encyclopedia and demonstration of contempt for those who contribute to it. I stopped reading WP:FRAM after seeing some messages from people I had respected that make me very angry. The roile that it now becomes apparent has been played by Women in Red (if only by having a Twitter account—and why in the name of all things EEML did they set up one of those—that has hosted diatribes against the rest of the community) also deeply hurt me. I almost joined that lizard cult. I was on the brink of doing a fast read and making a bridges-burning statement on the page yesterday, but got too busy offline. This gets worse and worse. Please tell me where to put the articles I cannot now put here. It would take a lot for me to trust this website any more. Starting with real apologies for victimising all of us as the worst possible way to go about offering help to victims, which is something I agree needs to be provided, and I do not in the least appreciate being called a victimiser and abettor of victimisation! Now must pack up ready for end of workday, would have loved to write two articles in the past week, now 3 thanks to Uncle G ... Yngvadottir (talk) 13:45, 17 June 2019 (UTC)
To be fair, boards are not really there to 'make decisions' at that level. They set policy, hire an ED to execute it, make sure the organisation does what its supposed to. But they dont really interfere on a decision level unless something goes catastrophically wrong. Boards for not-for-profits and charity organisations are even more hands off in general anyway. Only in death does duty end (talk) 13:54, 17 June 2019 (UTC)
Exactly. A lucrative résumé-padding front. Yngvadottir (talk) 16:01, 17 June 2019 (UTC)
Just noting in passing that Fram has been on the WMF radar since at least 2013 (diff found by WereSpielChequers and posted to WT:FRAM). I'm not saying they've been slowly working up to the point of carrying out this specific one-project/short-term ban, though; I still think there are others who are being similarly watched and this was not particularly good target selection in order to get community buy-in; on the other hand, it might well have been a good target to get internal WMF buy-in. And I think we should be wary of dismissing the idea that having T&S/WMF step in and address "unpleasant" people is massively unpopular, in either the local or global sense. There have definitely been projects where the community was in fact unable to address what we'd consider extreme behaviour by certain individuals or small groups, whose behaviour has included blocking/desysopping/otherwise controlling users who didn't share the "preferred" point of view, and at least one case where a powerful user was likely an agent of the state. On a lower level, there's pretty open misogyny and homophobia on several projects. And on projects with only a small number of participants, there's often a dominant person who pretty much controls the project. In these kinds of cases, I'm not sure how local communities can fix these issues, and having someone with "god power" come in to sort things out may well be the answer. I'm pretty sure T&S expected at least some significant pushback (although perhaps not so much pushback that they were seeing admins line up for their chance to rebel), but the manner in which this issue was dealt with may well have some significant impact on the recommendations coming out of strategy groups. And now...back to the real world. Risker (talk) 13:57, 17 June 2019 (UTC)
Well I suppose waiting 5 years in order to get revenge for the embarressment of having one of your staff members reprimanded for talking about setting people on fire could be possible. Seems unlikely to me though. How is ol' throatpuncher these days? Still with the WMF? Only in death does duty end (talk) 14:19, 17 June 2019 (UTC)

Thank you Yngvadottir for mentioning Uncle G and leading me to this. A needed bit of distraction from what has been going on. :-) Carcharoth (talk) 15:00, 17 June 2019 (UTC) On the matter at hand, I made a small contribution here, and all the comments made so far by Risker are well worth reading. Carcharoth (talk) 15:05, 17 June 2019 (UTC)

Please, somebody do the Droll Tales. I'm not the best choice and am not going to be able to, despite a library run and JSTOR reading. Yngvadottir (talk) 16:01, 17 June 2019 (UTC)

Red link in the image sequence at the page topEdit

File:Free high-resolution pictures you can use on your personal and commercial projects. (14332427586).jpg has gone the way of the dodo, seems like. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 08:05, 14 June 2019 (UTC)

Don't know what the image was about but Billinghurst deleted it, as out of scope. Commons improving standards? WBGconverse 08:46, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
Ironically, it was an illustration intended to represent "bullying and harassment". ‑ Iridescent 19:04, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
@Winged Blades of Godric: The file is still available on Flickr. * Pppery * it has begun... 19:22, 15 June 2019 (UTC)

Precious anniversaryEdit

Kornblumen, Ehrenbach.jpg
Six years!

Thank you with soothing blue. Thank you also for understanding the inflammatory significance of a poppy. I recently replaced the image by one I took myself, for the untranslatable Freundliche Vision, which I understand as a vision of friendliness. --Gerda Arendt (talk) 06:07, 16 June 2019 (UTC)

Fram situationEdit

Hello Iridescent!

I'm a reporter from BuzzFeed News and I'm hoping to talk to you about the Fram situation. I'm (Redacted). Would love to hear from you.

All best,

Joe — Preceding unsigned comment added by JosephABernstein (talkcontribs) 15:14, 17 June 2019 (UTC)

Hehe, I can think of a lot of people who want to talk to Joe Bernstein. Now that someone has shown an interest, there should be no shortage of candidates! I see he reached out to Fram on Commons as well. Enigmamsg 15:28, 17 June 2019 (UTC)
FWIW: Fram's reply. Carcharoth (talk) 15:30, 17 June 2019 (UTC)
So it begins. I wonder how accurate my prediction here on the press being unfavorable towards the community/favorable towards the WMF position will be. Might depend on how much they chat with the community vs the WMF among other things. Galobtter (pingó mió) 15:54, 17 June 2019 (UTC)
I seem to recall the last time an admin went straight to the press it ended in tears. Ritchie333 (talk) (cont) 16:08, 17 June 2019 (UTC)
Have you read Fram's response on Commons? it is linked above. Carcharoth (talk) 16:12, 17 June 2019 (UTC)
Well as I recall it wasnt revealed who went to who. What I can tell you is that the story was written at the political desk (of the Guardian) and no one ran it by the tech section. Only in death does duty end (talk) 16:13, 17 June 2019 (UTC)
Also, from that page "Funtionaries-en mailing" .... Only in death does duty end (talk) 16:19, 17 June 2019 (UTC)
Oops. Butter fingers... That is a safe, edit, I think, as was this. Carcharoth (talk) 16:22, 17 June 2019 (UTC)
Only in death does duty end, I liked the end of that article. The statement by the Liberal Democrats. Contribsx has not edited since being blocked/unblocked. Enigmamsg 18:06, 17 June 2019 (UTC)

Coverage in The SignpostEdit

Just a heads-up that The Signpost is preparing an initial Discussion report on the Fram situation also. We are planning to include the graphic from this userpage showing deleted contributions. ☆ Bri (talk) 18:32, 17 June 2019 (UTC)

Return to the user page of "Iridescent".