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Admin resignation statementEdit

I volunteered to serve as an administrator on the English Wikipedia in 2011, in the capacity of serving the English Wikipedia Community and answerable to the English Wikipedia Community (via direct interaction through the feedback of my peers, and via the judgment of the Community-elected Arbitration Committee should that be necessary). Even though I have largely kept away from the most controversial issues, it has still been an occasionally stressful role - but I have always felt supported by the confidence I have had in the English Wikipedia Community who elected me to the position of adminstrator, and in the Arbitration Committee as the Community's elected authority.

Things, however, have changed significantly since the Wikimedia Foundation's ban on adminstrator Fram at the behest of the Trust & Safety team. I accept that as a Community (including through our representatives on the Arbitration Committee) we have been poor at managing civility and harassment, and I've held back on any personal action in this case so far in the hope that something better might emerge - and that we might get some more clarity on the ban of Fram and on its consequences.

I had hoped I could support a new way forward, but that would need the buy-in of the Community and of the Arbitration Committee (and since the Fram ban plenty of people have tried their best to suggest some sort of compromise and some sort of improved approach) together with some willingness on the part of T&S to consider a joint approach.

Unfortunately, the only responses we have received from T&S team leader Jan Eissfeldt to date (June 22), have reiterated his position that he is undeniably right, that he has no accountability to the Community that he is supposed to be serving, and that his judgments (and those of his team) are to be considered infallible and cannot be appealed.

Had there been clear recent harassment by Fram, I think more people would have been on board with the ban decision. But whatever Fram might have done seems to be stretching the definition of "harassment", and the denial of any form of appeal by Fram is in direct contradiction to any evidence so far presented, and to the ideals of openness and accountability that we have spent such a long time trying to achieve.

I want to make clear that I do accept that the WMF can (and should) issue bans from time to time, and I strongly support every ban that they have implemented so far (at least in as much as I understand the reasons - which, in the most part, I do). In fact, I'll go so far as to thank them for taking on the burden of things like legal issues, child protection, and cross-wiki abuse.

But the extension of that reach into everyday English Wikipedia conduct issues, without prior consultation, without any proper discussion, and implementing a minimum sanction of a one-year ban with no course of appeal, is far removed from the ideals of openness and transparency upon which our (imperfect) Community is built, and to me it marks a chilling and demoralizing change in the power structure under which we work.

If I were to remain as an administrator, I would in effect ultimately be serving Jan and his team, under undisclosed new rules and under threat of unappealable sanctions should I (or those I interact with) violate those undisclosed rules, rather than serving the Wikipedia Community under its imperfect but transparent and accountable rules.

That is not what I signed up for, and I am not willing to serve Jan and the T&S team under such a regime, and so I reluctantly conclude that I must resign as an administrator. I thank the Community for affording me the privilege of serving you while I could. Boing! said Zebedee (talk) 17:38, 22 June 2019 (UTC)

Well said. 28bytes (talk) 17:50, 22 June 2019 (UTC)
I wish I could express myself that well!-gadfium 18:36, 22 June 2019 (UTC)
I see that we are loosing the best over this. Sad but full of sense. --Gerda Arendt (talk) 20:39, 22 June 2019 (UTC)
Thanks for that statement of principle. I hope that, sometime in the not too distant fuuture, circumstances will change sufficiently to allow you to take up the bit again. Beyond My Ken (talk) 22:25, 22 June 2019 (UTC)
Another good admin (no, it's not an oxymoron) bites the dust. I hope for better days in the future, because right now (as elsewhere, dammit) the inmates are running the asylum. Take care and all the best, Miniapolis 23:57, 22 June 2019 (UTC)
I am truly, terribly sorry that it's come to this. Hope to see you mopping once again in the (hopefully) near future. GABgab 00:53, 23 June 2019 (UTC)
Wikipedia is an arena where "some sort of compromise" occurs constantly. We mere Users are expected to compromise at every turn for the good of Wikipedia and the benefit of the community of editors. It is sad when those in position of power (Jan and his team) turn their backs on something so basic. Sadly, other Admins have followed your lead. Thanks for your years of work on our behalf. ―Buster7  18:12, 23 June 2019 (UTC)
Very sorry to see this, but I cannot say I don't understand you. You have been one of the real "work−horses" here, I have seen you clean up so much muck, I will miss your admin work, Huldra (talk) 23:00, 23 June 2019 (UTC)
Sorry to see you give up your bit, wholly agree with your statement here. --qedk (tc) 08:08, 24 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Hmmm. Jan eissfeldt has made less than 3,200 edits on EN-wiki and last edited in April 2014. His other Wikipedia participation is on DE-wiki, where he has made less than 15,000 edits and last edited in February 2015: [1]. -- Softlavender (talk) 23:58, 23 June 2019 (UTC)

I am sadEdit

  I understand and sympathise 100%, but I'm still sad to see you resign. And rather furious about the entire bloody situation. It would be nice to be in a position to buy you an actual pint, but I guess this will have to suffice. bonadea contributions talk 17:47, 22 June 2019 (UTC)
+1 What Bonadea said. Happy days, LindsayHello 17:53, 22 June 2019 (UTC) (and the first two words of my signature are inappropriate)
Me too. I hope the WMF has the gumption to fix what they've screwed up, and that at some point you feel able to return here. Vanamonde (Talk) 18:11, 22 June 2019 (UTC)
I too hope that things get fixed and that you will be comfortable returning to your role as an administrator. I wish you well. Cullen328 Let's discuss it 18:33, 22 June 2019 (UTC)
Joining the sentiments of the rest. Your work as an editor and admin are invaluable. Best wishes to you on WikiP and even more so off. MarnetteD|Talk 18:37, 22 June 2019 (UTC)
Saddening and frustrating, but also perfectly understandable. But thank you, Boing, for taking a principled stand here. Hope very much you will return soon and to a more sensible place. Martinevans123 (talk) 19:25, 22 June 2019 (UTC)
Agree with the sentiments above - I hope this gets resolved soon.S Philbrick(Talk) 19:42, 22 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Unfortunate but understandable. Serving in a regime where you can be excommunicated for behaviour without actually being told how your behaviour is unacceptable is untenable, and quite frankly, absurd. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead. –xenotalk 19:38, 22 June 2019 (UTC)
+1 What Bonadea & others have posted up-thread. I don't know what to do, but for me these are sad days indeed around WP. Shearonink (talk) 19:51, 22 June 2019 (UTC)
Also expressing my sadness, and my thanks for your service as an admin. It can be a thankless task, I know. Yngvadottir (talk) 20:30, 22 June 2019 (UTC)
I join the sentiments of the others: Losing you is a great loss to the administration of this website. Best wishes; and, once this is all over, should you wish to have the mop anew, you'll have my vote. Javert2113 (Siarad.|¤) 22:21, 22 June 2019 (UTC)

I've studiously avoided commenting on any of the current situation. I'm a long time editor, but have been on an extended wikibreak and mostly inactive for the last 6 years. I've seen your handle pop up for the 11 years-ish I have been here and can not remember it ever being for anything negative. You no longer being a sysop is a great loss to the community. Hopefully the OFFICE pulls it's head out soon and fixes all of this. :-( Heiro 00:04, 23 June 2019 (UTC)

  • Sad to see this, and thanks for all your work. Johnbod (talk) 01:41, 23 June 2019 (UTC)
  • This damages the encyclopedia – at the very least because we've had more competent admins resign in the past few weeks than we'll be able to recover through RfA in a year –, but I wouldn't want to work for Jan either. Thanks for your tenure as admin. Good luck, Mr rnddude (talk) 06:59, 23 June 2019 (UTC)
  • +1 - I too am sad to see this - You were a great admin but I understand why you resigned and I 100% sympathise with you, Thank you for your service here, I hope at some point in the future you return, Take care and I will you all the best. –Davey2010Talk 12:04, 23 June 2019 (UTC)
  • If you get through Denver, ping me and I'll buy you a real one. Seraphimblade Talk to me 17:51, 23 June 2019 (UTC)
  • (+1) I am sad to see this. WBGconverse 18:07, 23 June 2019 (UTC)
  • I am very sad to see this, but I completely understand and sympathize. This is real damage to the project. I hope that the foundation gets it's act together very soon. SQLQuery me! 01:37, 24 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Taking a stand on ethical grounds, to one's own personal cost, is incredibly challenging. You've consistently been an admin I look up to, knowledgeable and well-reasoned, and I'm deeply sorry you had to take this decision. Not many people notice when they are faced with an ethical quandary and fewer still will act on it, but the world would be a far better place if we all did. --Yamla (talk) 10:41, 24 June 2019 (UTC)
  • These actions only strengthen my admiration for administrators. In the logic of war, those who command must make decisions that sacrifice many of their men to gain strategic ground. In ethics, as opposed to morality, the key decisions always require an act of self-renunciation or self-sacrifice. Your evaluation shifted as our discussion progressed, confirming an empirical temper ready, in a turf war, to reconsider, and, here, make a stand at some considerable personal cost. You, and your fellow admins who have chosen to renounce their powers and the prestige invested in their positions to affirm what is an elementary principle of democracy are a credit to the best ideals of Wikipedia. Thanks Nishidani (talk) 13:46, 24 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Just another note of support and thanks for everything you've done here. I clearly remember this note of encouragement from you - just a few words, but 'praise from the praiseworthy' - as one of the main motivators for getting me actively involved with the project. I hope that this mess gets sorted, and that you want to come back when it is. GirthSummit (blether) 12:43, 25 June 2019 (UTC)


Thanks everyone for their kind comments, and it really would be nice to take up those kind offers of beer should I ever be passing by your various locations - and I do travel quite a bit (and drink quite a lot sometimes), so you never know.

I note a few comments deriding the heartfelt decisions that some of us have made as "diva quits" and suggesting we'll take our admin bits back at the drop of a hat. I think those who know me well enough, who have actually read the reasons I gave, and who realize that I spent some significant time deciding on the best course of action, will understand that that is certainly not the case with me. And understanding the feelings that others have expressed, I doubt it is the case with anyone else who has resigned from their admin role. These are genuine and deeply considered decisions people have made, and shame on those who dismiss them so lightly.

Whatever might happen in the coming days and weeks, it remains a fact that we are in the midst of a governance change and a shift in the balance of power. There's a new Universal Code of Conduct in the making, and that is something that many have found very difficult to implement - it's something I've worked on professionally in a different context, and it's not easy. And when this code sees the light of day, there will need to be an enforcement mechanism. You can't just introduce a new code and expect it to magic up a new culture all by itself.

If T&S are hoping they can say "These are the new rules, you admins enforce them now please", then I think that would be seriously misguided thinking. If T&S intend to enforce the code themselves with any chance of success, I think they'd need to take over enforcement at a similar level to today's admins and today's Arbitration Committee. Their current "one year ban, no explanation, no appeal" strategy would surely become more of a disaster than it already is if they decide to stick with it.

Anyway, to my point (I get there eventually). Should I ever consider re-applying to become an administrator, it would not be until the current power shift is complete, until the new rules and enforcement regime are finalized and made clear, and until I see the new enforcement structure working sufficiently well and sufficiently fairly to consider becoming a part of it. And even then, I would not rejoin any rule enforcement regime without the explicit approval of the English Wikipedia Community. Boing! said Zebedee (talk) 09:27, 24 June 2019 (UTC)


When you used to revoke talk page access of various accounts, why do you remove email access as additional block parameter? Simply interested to know. -- (talk) 20:18, 22 June 2019 (UTC)

It depends entirely on the individual circumstances, and there is no general answer I can give you. Boing! said Zebedee (talk) 20:35, 22 June 2019 (UTC)
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