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Wikipedia:Community response to the Wikimedia Foundation's ban of Fram/Archive 12

Archive 5 Archive 10 Archive 11 Archive 12 Archive 13

Response by Katherine Maher, WMF Executive Director, on behalf of the WMF

Hi everyone.

A pre-note: Thank you for your patience awaiting the statement from the Board and now this message from me on behalf of the Foundation. In the intervening time between the Board's statement, my writing and re-writing this below, and now posting it, there have been many comments and question here and elsewhere. This message will not respond directly to those points, but is meant to offer a broader perspective on recent events. In coming days and weeks, the Foundation (myself, T&S staff, and others) will be able to respond more directly to these more direct comments. Some will be easily resolved and clarified, some less so. Some may need to wait for further conversations at the upcoming Board meeting at Wikimania Stockholm. Hopefully not all will be answered at 01:00 local time. Thanks again.

The events of the past few weeks, following the Foundation’s decision to implement a partial ban of User:Fram on English Wikipedia, have evoked concerns, surprise, anger and frustration, and led to an important debate on the difficult task of managing disruptive behaviors and ensuring a healthy and civil community for all. The leadership of the Foundation, as well as the Trust & Safety team, have been closely following the conversations and constructive criticism and suggestions here on wiki.

First, I’d like to apologize. I am genuinely sorry that so many people have felt such distress, frustration, and disillusionment in recent days. Each person who has participated here in these conversations, and as Wikipedians in general, has done so out of a passion for this project. Whether we agree or disagree, we’re here because we care deeply about its stewardship and future. Whatever one’s perspective on the merits of the issues at hand, I regret that this has been such a difficult period for so many people.

I also would like to acknowledge that there are things that the Foundation could have handled better. The conversation about the limitations and challenges of addressing the most difficult behavioral cases, and what this means in the context of the principle of community self-governance, should have been held in fora in which people here would have had a chance to participate, weigh various considerations, raise issues, and collaboratively develop constructive solutions.

The introduction of the tools themselves could have also been improved. Paraphrasing an expression about unpopular decisions, the first application of a temporary ban on a contributor might have come as a shock, but it should never have been a surprise. That is to say, it is the Foundation’s responsibility to ensure people across our communities had been consulted on, and were familiar with, the reasoning and process behind the creation of new T&S tools, the conditions under which they might be applied, their relationship to the role and authority of existing community processes and bodies (e.g., ArbCom), and the relative weight and flexibility of the sanctions.

Finally, I would do certain things differently if there were a way to rewind and retry the last few weeks. As I’ve noted on my talkpage, I am responsible for approving the ban. Regardless of the merits of the case, I should have been better prepared to step forward and be accountable. There was some early confusion about the role of the Board in office actions, and some well-intentioned efforts by both Foundation and Board that both delayed response and added to uncertainty. During that period of delay, there was an opportunity to be more engaged in community conversation, rather than adding to the perception that the Foundation was aloof or insensitive to both people’s concerns and constructive proposals. And while this paragraph is not intended as a comprehensive retrospective, certainly, I would sit on my hands and not tweet.

As of a few hours ago, the Board of Trustees has posted their response. Building on the guidance from the Board, and in response to ArbCom’s open letter to the Board which set out its preparedness to review the User:Fram ban, the Foundation has completed its preparation of the case materials it can release to the committee. The release of these materials is intended to facilitate the committee’s review of the length and scope of the ban in place. T&S and Legal staff have a standing meeting with the members of the committee on 3 July 2019, in which the case and materials will be further discussed.

Additionally, Foundation staff have begun preparing for a dedicated community consultation on:

  • The two new office action policy tools introduced during the last change (temporary and partial Foundation bans). Under the approach noted on June 17th, we will seek further community feedback on those changes. These new tools will not be used again until community consultations to clarify their purpose and mechanisms are completed;
  • Alternative approaches to supporting communities dealing with onwiki harassment;
  • Working closely with the community to identify the shortcomings of current processes and enforcement mechanisms, and to support the development of appropriate solutions;
  • Offering training opportunities for community leaders (including ArbCom) involved in dealing with harassment to strengthen their ability to meet these challenges.

I believe strongly in the commitment to community self-governance, as do Foundation staff that work closely with our editing communities, including those in T&S. We also believe strongly in the principle that no one participating on the Wikimedia projects should be subject to harassment, abuse, or intimidation. We believe there is a way to respect and support both of these as foundational and equally important principles, to do so judiciously and with integrity, and without compromising on the safety and wellbeing of Wikimedia participants. As many have pointed out over the past weeks, Wikipedia is a grand and ongoing experiment, and we do not always get it right.

Someone on my talkpage asked me the other day if the culture and priorities of the English Wikipedia community are compatible with the Wikimedia movement’s broader vision and the Foundation’s own strategic plan, and whether the Foundation would care if they were not compatible. It was a thoughtful question, which seemed to get to the heart of some of the concerns and skepticism I was reading and hearing from some community members over the past few weeks.

English Wikipedia is a marvel. It is imperfect, it is a work in progress, it is a remarkable achievement of collaboration and cooperation in building the encyclopedia -- a rendering of humanity’s knowledge. Members of this community have spent thousands of hours writing and building this collective resource, as well as developing the processes, roles, and governance structures that are critical to sustaining English Wikipedia. In doing so, you have not only made English Wikipedia possible, but shaped the principles of the broader Wikimedia movement.

The Foundation views its responsibility as being to the long-term health of all Wikimedia projects, including English Wikipedia. This responsibility must be guided by both the needs of the projects as they exist currently, and the broader Wikimedia vision of a world in which every single human can freely share in the sum of all knowledge. This means supporting essential technical and social resources that enable the projects to thrive today, while also keeping an eye on what to anticipate for the future. This means supporting Wikipedias that are open to newcomers, in terms of policies, experiences, and culture, in order to best position the projects and communities to remain self-sustaining, self-governing, and resilient -- and better yet, grow in size, commitment, and capacity, enriched by diverse global perspectives.

The community that has built this remarkable project has more collective wisdom and experience than any one of us alone, and the richness of that perspective must inform the long-term flourishing of this remarkable project. I look forward to working with you all on how we support this, together.

Katherine (WMF) (talk) 07:58, 3 July 2019 (UTC)

Copied from Special:Permanentlink/904607134#Response_on_behalf_of_the_Foundation. MER-C 08:56, 3 July 2019 (UTC)

Discussion (Katherine Maher's statement)

  • This contains only little concrete commitments to change but These new tools will not be used again until community consultations to clarify their purpose and mechanisms are completed; is a good step in the right direction and I sincerely hope that this includes the possibility that an appeals process is required to exist for any such actions in the future. Regards SoWhy 09:11, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
    • I like the tone of this, from that apology at the start right through. As they say in cycling, chapeau, hats off to the Director for that. I only have some concern about a hint that there might be some compatability "gap" between the original, and by far the largest project, the English language Wikipedia, and the broader movement. This makes no sense to me, and has a vague odour of something being used as an excuse to try to push the Wikipedia culture in some way. This happens in some EU initiatives too, and always ends badly, as we see with Brexit. Now I'd like to see a freshening up of the Board, and a "normalising" of the "Trust and Safety" unit, and a red carpet rolled out to bring back resigned and prematurely retired editors and administrators, and I hope Ms Maher can do that too.Twilson r (talk) 09:14, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
  • Thank you for this letter, Katherine (WMF) (talk · contribs), I appreciate the tone of it. Hopefully this will enable a smoother rapport between the community and the WMF. That brings me to a more meta question, so to say, of the interplay between the community and the WMF, which are inextricably linked. The WMF has been in the past (and I assume in the present as well) supportive of new language wikis and on-ground outreach, for instance, which I find to be quite useful and often necessary. At the same time the very reason why we even need a WMF is because we as a community have made this project what it is today (not to be too Hegelian about it). I hope that this sort of an existential question remains at the fore of your thoughts and efforts to work closer with the community. In plain English: how does the WMF perceive the community? In what role? And how do you want the community to perceive the WMF in turn? MikeLynch (talk) 11:17, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
  • "Alternative approaches to supporting communities dealing with onwiki harassment"? "Offering training opportunities for community leaders (including ArbCom) involved in dealing with harassment"? "We also believe strongly in the principle that no one participating on the Wikimedia projects should be subject to harassment, abuse, or intimidation"? Is she claiming that someone has engaged in harassment? Or is this just a random statement that has nothing whatsoever to do with the controversy, as if I were to suddenly stand up and say "by the way, Boston is the capital of Massachusetts"? Because one of the problems with this whole case is that nobody in T&S was willing to say exactly what Fram was being accused of, and this seems to be yet more "we'll insinuate that Fram did something but we still won't actually say so". Ken Arromdee (talk) 15:03, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
  • While these two statements aren't everything I wanted it does basically satisfy the minimum I needed. It reaffirms the right of en-wiki to self-govern, as this was the biggest sticking point for me. It does this with some qualification, hence not everything I wanted, but the other actions these messages contain suggest that this affirmation is not just pablum. To wit: An appealable ban will now be reviewed by a community process (ArbCom). Trust and Safety's February policy change is on indefinite hold pending community consensus about it. The foundation is going to work with, rather than direct to, en-wiki about how to counter harassment. The foundation is going to offer training and resources about harassment to "community leaders". The foundation has acknowledged it made mistakes, including Katherine personally owning the most important of her mistakes. I can quibble about some parts of the messages I love less or about areas I don't see addressed, but that list seems more than sufficient to me to be assured. I understand that they're not enough for others, and look forward to the foundation continuing to make through follow through of these promises and other actions in a way that hopefully rebuilds trust for all of us. Best, Barkeep49 (talk) 15:22, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
  • Is there not a WMF en-Wiki notice board (like the ArbCom noticeboard), on which major WMF communication to en-Wiki, like the above, (and including the BOT statement) can be properly and formally posted. Give that "communication" is a core part of the issue in this whole affair, how come there is no use of a WMF en-Wiki noticeboard (at least that I can see). Britishfinance (talk) 09:44, 3 July 2019 (UTC)

Will you be taking personal responsibility over this mess? Will TnS head? By at least offering your position to Board of Trustees for review? And lastly, I fail to see how in your, and Foundation, view the Foundation position is in regards to en, and others,wiki community. Is it a servant? A partner? Or a leader? Because next to none see you as the last option and many, myself included, would like you to return to first option. Ie your place being where you ask, not order, and if the answer is no, you accept it and move on. EllsworthSK (talk) 10:53, 3 July 2019 (UTC)

I think she has just admitted personal responsibility, and everything she does is for the board to review. Normally, staff changes and the like happen later, not immediately. As for the general relationship, this requires longer and more deliberate discussion than can be done in the context of one case. And since various people here have different expectations of that, no outcome will satisfy all of us. The principle of decision at WP is consensus, not unanimity. DGG ( talk ) 15:58, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
DGG, I agree. Couple quick points about board responsibilities. Some contributors have groused that the board statement is short on specifics. That's an unrealistic expectation. Some have expressed the belief that the board ought to be identifying people to be fired. That's not the proper function of the board, with the singular exception of the Executive Director. And with respect to the ED, I hope that the boards general view is "we want you to be bold. If you never make a mistake, that might be a sign you want being bold enough. If you do make a mistake, we're going to judge you on how you rectify the mistake, not simply dismiss you based on the first false step". Obviously, there are mistakes and there are mistakes and one can imagine a mistake so serious that it alone requires termination by the board but this issue is not remotely at that level. Things were mishandled, apologies have been forthcoming, the key will be to see how the community works with WMF and T&S to find a way forward. S Philbrick(Talk) 18:08, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
  • This statement is a step in the right direction. -- llywrch (talk) 18:01, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
  • Thank you for these statements. As a community member who both feels that more needs to be done to handle uncivil behavior on Wikipedia, and that the events of the past month were poorly handled by the WMF, I appreciate the acknowledgments of the problems that were created by the Fram ban and the openness to engaging with the community on improving civility going forward. Tdslk (talk) 18:14, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
  • I'm inclined to agree that the board's and Katherine's statements are an indication that there is a way out of this mess. There is obviously a lot more to discuss with regards to how we all go forward from this point, but Katherine has personally apologised, acknowledged that WMF got this wrong, and from the statements (and personal views expressed by Jimbo and Doc James) it seems clear that WMF accept that this is ArbCom's domain, both in terms of the current FRAMBAN and any similar issues that might arise, until a process of consultation has been completed and there is consensus here to change that. I'm satisfied for the time being knowing that ArbCom will review this, and am eager to see what proposals are brought forward in the consultations to come. GirthSummit (blether) 19:25, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
  • What User:Tdslk said. - Donald Albury 20:31, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
  • I do not believe Katherine Maher is qualified to keep her job. I think her statement has no contrition and gives me no confidence she will not screw up again ( she signed off on the Fram ban ). Her reference to its being ok for something to be a shock as long as its not a surprise is reflective of some way of thinking, or kidding around, that tells me that this job is not a good fit for her. Obviously, depending upon her contract, the Board, even if they agree, may need to bide their time, but keep up close supervision in the meantime.
I think she was a poor choice in the first place. She grew up in a small affluent Connecticut suburb of NYC where the population is 95% white and the household income is over 3 times the national average. Her American University of Cairo experience centred upon foreign relations from an American perspective and her internships at the Council on Foreign Relations and the Eurasia Group put her squarely into the ideology of American hegemony globalization, which is just as bad as if there were a person in her position here who was ideologically anti-globalization.
In addition, her 200 days per year on the road seems contrary in principle to representing the concept of people meeting, discussing, and deciding issues even if they can't afford to travel anywhere in order to do so. Its a really bad fit, imo, whereas I think she has tremendous leadership potential in most other areas of work, especially politics, and I mean that as a compliment. Nocturnalnow (talk) 03:47, 4 July 2019 (UTC)
  • Her job in the first place was to glue the WMF back together after various issues left by the previous ED. This appears to have been done at least reasonably successfully.©Geni (talk) 11:59, 4 July 2019 (UTC)

WMF structure

It looks like some people have unreasonable expectations since they do not quite understand the structure of the WMF and paint the whole organization as a grey mass. Let us clarify a bit.

  • The Board oversees the activity of WMF. It has three members elected by the community (currently James, Dariusz, and Maria), two elected by chapters and thematic organizations (currently Nataliia and Christophe, with Shani soon to replace Christophe), and more members appointed by the Board itself due to their expertise. None of them gets salary from the WMF.
  • The board talks to the CEO. They do not talk to T&S, or, to that part, to any other department, though they can make statements.
  • The CEO runs an organization on a daily basis and can give orders to the level-A employees (essentially, to the departments).
  • Wheres the whole thing understandably concentrated on T&S, there are a lot of WMF people who has no relation to this whatsoever and can be doing, for example, software development or deal with short-term grants.--Ymblanter (talk) 11:01, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
Is there somewhere organizational structure of Wikimedia or WMF? Like this but updated? (Answer: meta: Wikimedia_Foundation_departments) --Zache (talk) 11:35, 3 July 2019 (UTC) edited my comment. Added answer and removed the redundant part--Zache (talk) 12:46, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
@Zache: You probably need to cross-reference that page with this one, and then click on the individual people to get to their user page on meta, which link to their user pages on their home wikis (provided that they have one). Guettarda (talk) 13:44, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
I was more interested for organizational structure than individuals in different parts and how whole thing works. Now when i found it i noticed also that there is navigation boxes in meta for each departments including persons which is pretty cool. --Zache (talk) 13:52, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
  • @Ymblanter, Zache, and Guettarda:, there is actually no proper hierarchy within the WMF, not in the sense that one would expect in a proper company anyway. And that is why, in spite of all the pretty pictures and laudatory CVs, they will not publish an arborescent organigram. It tries to model itself on the post-war/60s-70s German flat-hierarchy (or heterarchy) model, which might have been fine in pre-2007 days when there were only 7 paid employees, but with today's bloated force of 300 employees is no longer a sustainable management system. What they now have is an anarchic hybrid system of departments competing with each other, overlappinng with each other, and all vying for importance, and all of them believing themselves to be software engineers and sociologists while all of them only tell the CEO what they want her to know.
According to Katherine Maher's replies to me here she believes herself to be in the know, and that she and her departments are answerable to the BoT, but we know otherwise - what she is not aware of, she learns through the press. In addition to the Trustees, the WMF should have a small executive committee or board which is directly elected by the communities who should also directly oversee and elect the appointment of practically all staff except the cleaners and elevator operators. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 03:11, 4 July 2019 (UTC) Add: @Sphilbrick, DGG, Pine, King of Hearts, Seraphimblade, and Serial Number 54129:Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 03:23, 4 July 2019 (UTC)
@Kudpung: I don't think your description of the WMF is completely accurate. They certainly have published organigrams in the past, though I don't know of any recent one. If I understand correctly, T&S has two subteams led by subteam managers, who presumably report to T&S head Jan who reports to Chief of Community Engagement who is part of the Executive team... --Yair rand (talk) 03:52, 4 July 2019 (UTC)

The WMF is disconnected from the editing community

Replying to the hatnote: The issues as I see them have nothing to do with software. --Tryptofish (talk) 16:23, 4 July 2019 (UTC)

The members of the WMF Board of Trustees are listed here. If you click on each member, you get taken to a bio of that person. If you don't already know who all of them are, please go there and look at that now, and then come back here to read the rest of my comment.

What stands out to me is that there are only three members who are selected by the community (and, as it happens, one of them has a major conflict of interest here). Many of the others are appointed because of their expertise and experience in human rights and serving underrepresented communities. Please understand: I believe very strongly that these are good things for the Board to be looking at. The problem is not that they are the wrong people. It's that they, by themselves, are not enough. In other words, there is too little representation from people who are actually creating the content of the Wikimedia websites.

You can almost see why it's been so long without a Board statement. Doc James and a few others really do "get it", but if the Board Chair says that she and the victim are undergoing so much harassment, the majority of Board members are going to need an awful lot of convincing that it really isn't as simple as that. Too many of them have no idea what goes on at places like WP:ANI and WP:AE, and without that perspective, they may well think that so many of us complaining here, and so many admins resigning, are just a bunch of trolls that the project would be better without.

Similarly, if you look at the people who work for WMF, there also is some significant disconnect from the editing community. It's really quite breathtaking that Katherine Maher has been taken so very much by surprise by the turmoil that has been going on here. When we got the flow chart of how there appear to be multiple levels of review of each T&S complaint, it wasn't clear how much real, independent review happens at each level. Increasingly, it looks like a single T&S staff member, whose expertise may be in software development rather than in complex human relations, may process each complaint as it comes in, and then whatever that person decides gets signed off on in a very perfunctory way by higher ups.

This is how we got to the mess we are in now. There needs to be much better awareness of how editing actually works, both on the Board and in the staff leadership. --Tryptofish (talk) 22:05, 29 June 2019 (UTC)

Wikipedia's governance and administration has never had a real interest facilitating the actual writing of the encyclopedia. It has always been about controlling and silencing the writers. Now political activists, lost in and intoxicated by social justice ideologies, mounted happily on their moral high horses and with no interest or clue about writing the actual encyclopedia, are taking control of the WMF. I guess for the writers, there is a fleeting satisfaction seeing the administrator caste being treated by the WMF parallel to the way administrators treat writers. But the satisfaction is short lived. Wikipedia is already on shaky grounds, having alienated most of its better writers. It cannot afford an additional blitzkrieg on the administrator's themselves. As to what this is really about, there must be silence. Epipelagic (talk) 02:50, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
These elections (apparently every 3 years now) really do matter. There are two additional seats that are chosen by Wikimedia chapters, which does provide some community input (and I have contacted them, though they don't edit that much - here and here. But I do share your concerns. --Rschen7754 22:14, 29 June 2019 (UTC)
Like Rschen7754, I fully share your concerns; folks who don't have any experience on the ground won't know what it's like. (If I may opine: I've always found it strange that, at very least, a majority of the board isn't elected by the constituent communities of Wikimedia.) Javert2113 (Siarad.|¤) 22:29, 29 June 2019 (UTC)
As an alternative to waiting for elections, perhaps we could have a petition page calling for more representation, and perhaps a lot of editors would sign it. --Tryptofish (talk) 22:34, 29 June 2019 (UTC)
I won't object, but I know the Board wouldn't like that. Asking for folks in power to leave is a difficult and delicate task. Still, worth a shot. Javert2113 (Siarad.|¤) 22:40, 29 June 2019 (UTC)
No, not asking for anyone to leave. Rather, asking for more people to be added, as well as for paying more attention. --Tryptofish (talk) 22:44, 29 June 2019 (UTC)
I would also advocate asking the board to go to staggered terms for community-designated members beginning at the next election. It's ridiculous that a community as dynamic as this has been only would get to weigh in every three years.--Wehwalt (talk) 03:00, 30 June 2019 (UTC)
I wouldn't object to staggered terms, quite frankly: more chances to elect new members means (possibly) more qualified editors who can vote, and that can only be a good thing in terms of greater discussion and sharing of ideas (regarding candidates, etc.). Of course, for that matter, asking for greater (possibly more proportional) representation is also good; and more attention paid to all communities over, say, the vagaries of fundraising can't hurt. In short, both are good points. I hope to see them addressed. Javert2113 (Siarad.|¤) 04:37, 30 June 2019 (UTC)
It may be worth trying to contact the affiliate members through the pages above, it may be worth a try. --Rschen7754 23:54, 29 June 2019 (UTC)
  • What about two other apparent experienced Wikipedians at the Board, namely N. Tymkiv and D. Jemielniak (not sure who of them was "selected by the community")? Have they commented on the issue? Unfortunately I don't know their aliases here. Ain92 (talk) 12:50, 30 June 2019 (UTC)
    Pundit and Antanana. Dariusz commented several times here. Nataliia did not comment here, as far as I know, but she is sufficiently aware of the issue.--Ymblanter (talk) 13:09, 30 June 2019 (UTC)
    Pundit answered just today here on this page and thanked the ArbCom for the Open Letter. Grüße vom Sänger ♫ (talk) 13:55, 30 June 2019 (UTC)
    I am commenting relatively regularly and responding to questions about the topic. Short of making statements on my own, I am making everything I can to result in a situation when the Board makes a statement soon, and I've been working on this on daily basis for a while. Pundit|utter 17:06, 30 June 2019 (UTC)
    • Thank you! We need more people like you and DocJames at the Board IMO. Ain92 (talk) 12:00, 1 July 2019 (UTC)
    • Maybe it is not the board of trustees that is too weakly connected to the Wikipedia community—perhaps working groups like T&S should have representatives from the editing community who have a transmission belt and auditing function through frequent, scheduled contact.
My image of the journey of how we got here includes a rather crude concept of where harassment and discrimination enter the process of building an inclusive editing community of "the encyclopedia anyone can edit". Unlike most (All?) volunteer organizations with the influence of Wikipedia, activists can work here without ever having face-to-face discussions with other editors. There is no guide to how we interact save for the Five Pillars. What each of us has inside our head and heart is unknown. Rudeness and incivility can be signs of relatively common and harmless character expression—or signs of political (in the broad sense) conflict. In my experience, Wikipedia is unique. From where could you staff T&S with people with experience relevant to pbeing part of the Wikipedia editing community? From experience I've seen the difficulties in building organizations with inclusive goals for society and memberships—but, unlike Wikipedia, with common, basic political goals. Editors from across the political spectrum come here. Editors can not be excluded for their ideology unless their writing can never follow consensus and reliable sources. We get only narrow glimpses of the whole person.
The current breakdown indicates corrective action must be started more quickly than a board's cycle time (and management's also)! With better reporting from T&S, the board can be in volved. I do not see any role management need play here. — Neonorange (Phil) 19:20, 2 July 2019 (UTC)
  • The WMF has every right to ban whomsoever they choose. They run the site and are legally responsible for it. I would hope that is accepted by all (even if you don't like it). What is really disconnected here is that T&S seem to think they don't need to give a meaningful explanation of the ban to the community, or why it could not be handled by community processes. AFAIK, they have not even confirmed whether the alleged harrassement happened on-wiki or off-wiki. If it happened on-wiki (which currently seems to be the assumption) then it is already a matter of public record. Hiding behind victim protection just won't wash. That looks like they are afraid of scrutiny of their decision, which implies their decision has a very rickety basis. SpinningSpark 10:28, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
  • The response that gives me the greatest hope of a good outcome is this statement and this statement by Jimbo. SpinningSpark 10:28, 3 July 2019 (UTC)


Here's an idea. Every week/month/whatever, everyone, or possibly just the WMF big wigs, gets a summary of what's happening at the big discussion boards. If the ED doesn't have time to check in on what happens here, then get a deputy/staff member to give her a distilled summary. Likewise, if the Vice-Chairman doesn't have time to check in, get a deputy/staff member to summarize things for him. It is crucial that the top level of the WMF has its finger on the pulse. These summaries don't have to be big, but you could have something like

For distribution to WMF Staff
Summary of local issues and discussions - June 2019
  • ...
  • ...

It's a mockup, but the final 'summary' should include all kinds of mid- to high-level discussions from all projects, whether technical-related, social-related, or policy-related. Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 14:52, 1 July 2019 (UTC)

We already do some of this this, although somewhat less systematically, not on a specific schedule (or at least it's not on a schedule for me; others might take a different approach). I'm always happy when anyone pings me to a discussion that someone in the WMF might want to know. Usually, I pass those links along to interested people/teams, and sometimes to larger groups, including C-levels. You might consider the new m:Wikimedia Space as a central space. An area for "What's going on right now?" might be interesting to far more than just WMF managers.
(Your ping list includes several former staff.) Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 18:00, 1 July 2019 (UTC)
I appreciate efforts to keep staff up to date, and I'm happy to be pinged (though probably best to do so on my Staff account so the streams don't cross too much). I'll pass along things that seem potentially relevant to other staff who otherwise might miss them, as I see them. Thanks! Jmorgan (WMF) (talk) 18:18, 1 July 2019 (UTC)
@Whatamidoing (WMF) and Jmorgan (WMF): It's good that there's some mini version of this at the level of individual teams, but the idea here is that the WMF would be proactive in seeking out mid- and high-level discussion to know what's going on, rather than be passive/reactive in their involvement. Being proactive is not a small effort (it would involved that relevant noticeboards first get identified, then summarized daily/weekly/monthly/as needed), which is why I suggest that someone specific is assigned the role of seeking out such discussions and summarizing them. This is also something that's more important as you go up the WMF ladder. The techie that's responsible for toolserver maintenance has much less of a need to be kept up to date on matters related to say dewiki governance. But the Executive Director, Chairman, and anyone with a bigwig should follow the broad strokes of what is going on the projects, and not just what's going on at the WMF. Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 22:40, 1 July 2019 (UTC)
It also works the other way. This morning while I was reading the Wikimedia-L list, I happened on this email announcing "New Code of Conduct committee candidates". Hmm, I thought, this looks like something we need to have someone from en.wikipedia involved with. Only to discover that it was announcing the results of the selection process. And that "the deadline for the public feedback was yesterday [19 June]." Kinda hard to participate in a process when one doesn't hear about it in time. (And the two new members selected were announced by their legal names, not their user names, making it harder for us to contact them.)

I'll AGF, & suspect this was announced over on Meta. Which means we need one or more volunteers to watch announcements on Meta & relay them back to us -- say at WP:PUMP -- so interested people on en.wikipedia know about these opportunities. -- llywrch (talk) 23:31, 1 July 2019 (UTC)

@Llywrch: Yes! I very much support adding the diffusion of WMF-related stuff to wikimedia projects by that same person. They'd be in effect, a community liaison/communications officer or whatever you want to call that. Maybe such a position already exists, in which case something like this should become part of their regular responsibilities. Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 23:37, 1 July 2019 (UTC)

Editpage-head-copy-warn petition

Very BOLDLY Closing as this isn't ever going to happen, Ellen I'm sure the time and effort spent here could be better spent on articles. –Davey2010Talk 18:06, 5 July 2019 (UTC)
The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

I propose adding the following to MediaWiki:Editpage-head-copy-warn:

17:10, 5 July 2019 (UTC)

  • Support as proposer. EllenCT (talk) 17:21, 5 July 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose Ridiculously one-sided and, in any event, let's see how the current process plays out before taking rash action. Calliopejen1 (talk) 17:28, 5 July 2019 (UTC)
    @Calliopejen1, Ivanvector, and Gimubrc: how would you balance it, in terms of alternative text with links? How much longer do we need to wait before the Foundation allows Fram to participate in their own defense? EllenCT (talk) 17:37, 5 July 2019 (UTC)
    Putting this kind of message into the copyright license header (as Xaosflux points out) would be intrinsically inappropriate, regardless of the exact text used. Even if Wikipedia were to come to a consensus that we should make a formal protest message of some kind, using the copyright license header to do so wouldn't be the way to go about it. Gimubrc (talk) 17:48, 5 July 2019 (UTC)
    I respectfully disagree, and again ask for alternative wording you or others feel would be more accurate, please? EllenCT (talk) 17:54, 5 July 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose MediaWiki:Editpage-head-copy-warn is specifically designed to hold copyright license information, and this has nothing to do with copyright. — xaosflux Talk 17:30, 5 July 2019 (UTC)
    It is a template for explaining to editors information about the rules which they can't easily learn about by reading our documentation. In that sense it is fit for purpose. EllenCT (talk) 17:37, 5 July 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose Completely unnecessary and disruptive. PackMecEng (talk) 17:32, 5 July 2019 (UTC)
  • Obvious Oppose, and my contempt for trying to stir up shit when the community/ArbCom/WMF/board/Jimbo have made very significant progress. Boing! said Zebedee (talk) 17:32, 5 July 2019 (UTC)
    How much longer do you want to wait before the Foundation allows Fram to participate in their own defense? EllenCT (talk) 17:37, 5 July 2019 (UTC)
    ArbCom has only just been given authority over this, so give them a fucking chance, won't you? And stop trying to poison the very significant progress that has been made. Boing! said Zebedee (talk) 17:39, 5 July 2019 (UTC)
    I'm sorry, did I miss that Arbcom has been allowed to unblock Fram so that they may participate in their case(s)? EllenCT (talk) 17:43, 5 July 2019 (UTC)
    They will surely be working out a fair way to approach their review of the ban, so - Give. Them. A. Fucking. Chance! Boing! said Zebedee (talk) 17:47, 5 July 2019 (UTC)
    Please accept my apology for missing Jimbo's announcement that the Arbcom may unblock Fram. However, until they actually do so I reserve the right to propose wording that other editors feel is more accurate. May I ask that you not get upset unless there is a reason to believe that the petition would cause harm? EllenCT (talk) 17:53, 5 July 2019 (UTC)
    And may I ask you to not be so fucking patronizing? Boing! said Zebedee (talk) 18:00, 5 July 2019 (UTC)
    I'll just add that, were any such notice appropriate (which it clearly is not at this point) then MediaWiki:Editpage-head-copy-warn would obviously not be the place for it. Boing! said Zebedee (talk) 17:52, 5 July 2019 (UTC)
    Where would a more appropriate location be in your view? EllenCT (talk) 17:53, 5 July 2019 (UTC)
    Right now there is no appropriate place for it, so please stop shitting on the hard work of so many people and take your vindictiveness elsewhere. I have nothing more to say in response to your bad faith dismissal of the hard work done by so many constructive contributors. Boing! said Zebedee (talk) 17:57, 5 July 2019 (UTC)
  • lol nableezy - 17:33, 5 July 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose this painfully obviously non-neutral scaremongering banner, in any form and in any location. "The secret police are coming to get you!" No, they're not. Ivanvector (Talk/Edits) 17:34, 5 July 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose per PackMecEng and Ivanvector, and suggest speedy close of this discussion. Gimubrc (talk) 17:35, 5 July 2019 (UTC)
  • Snow Close and examine EllenCT's edit history to see it there is a pattern of disrupting Wikipedia to make a point that should be addressed. --Guy Macon (talk) 17:40, 5 July 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose Completely non-neutral wording in the wrong place at the wrong time. A terrible idea. Cullen328 Let's discuss it 18:01, 5 July 2019 (UTC)
  • Proposed revisions:
EllenCT (talk) 18:05, 5 July 2019 (UTC)

@Calliopejen1, Ivanvector, Gimubrc, and Cullen: may I ask you to suggest alternative wording you feel is more neutral? And say how long you think is reasonable to wait for an unblock? EllenCT (talk) 18:18, 5 July 2019 (UTC)

It's CLOSED and not going to happen! Boing! said Zebedee (talk) 18:21, 5 July 2019 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Update from the Arbitration Committee

The Committee have received from Trust & Safety (T&S) their detailed report on Fram, with names and identifying information redacted. The Committee are still discussing the report; however we have agreed that the report is sufficiently detailed and minimally redacted such that we can open a case on Fram. The format and scope are yet to be decided, as we are trying to find the appropriate balance between being transparent with our proceedings, and protecting any parties from harassment. We would like to invite open feedback on how best to achieve this balance. We will be accepting additional evidence about Fram's behaviour from the community, however we ask that you please refrain from sending it until we formally open the case. We will keep the community updated with our progress.

For the Arbitration Committee,
GorillaWarfare (talk) 18:45, 5 July 2019 (UTC)

Discuss this at: Wikipedia talk:Arbitration Committee/Noticeboard#Update from the Arbitration Committee

Board statement


The Board is a deliberative body and we strongly believe that it is important that we consider issues of high importance thoroughly. We realize that for many of our community members our silence has been frustrating, but we genuinely used this time.

A recent ban of an editor by the Wikimedia Foundation under the Terms of Use on the English Wikipedia has generated discussions and debate. There were calls for the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees to respond to the discussions.

Almost three years ago, the board published a strong statement against toxic behaviors and directed the Wikimedia Foundation teams to work to make Wikimedia communities safer for all good faith editors. A safe and respectful environment is not only one of our five pillars, it will also allow for more diverse voices to join our communities, bringing new knowledge with them.

While we remain fully committed to this position, we also recognize the critical importance of allowing communities to be self-governing and for the movement, as a whole, to make high-level decisions. While we realize that the Wikimedia Foundation staff did not take this decision lightly, we also believe that we need the right processes to reach the right results.

It is also evident that existing processes within the communities and T&S have failed, as we have cases which obviously need some form of sanctions, in which sanctions have not occurred.

We believe that the communities should be able to deal with these types of situations and should take this as a wake-up call to improve our enforcement processes to deal with so-called "unblockables". In fact, those in a position of authority should be held to a higher standard. We also recognize that the communities may need support to carry out these needed steps.

This could include funding for training of community members involved in dealing with harassment or helping long term contributors correct behaviors that are inappropriate. We support the provision of the necessary resources to allow the community and its representatives to discuss these issues with the board and staff members.

Even the larger projects struggle to effectively address the most difficult and controversial cases. There is a gap between our movement principles and practices. This is an issue we need to solve together. That is a task that needs to be led by the communities, with the support of staff and guidance from the board.

As such, we have asked Katherine Maher, CEO of Wikimedia Foundation, to work closely with staff in support of our communities to identify the shortcomings of current processes and to propose solutions. This could include current and upcoming initiatives, as well as re-evaluating or adding community input to the two new office action policy tools (temporary and partial Foundation bans).

We recognize that T&S has established a track record for managing highly complex situations. While the aforementioned conversations between T&S and our communities take place, we recommend T&S focus on the most severe cases, for instance: the handling of legal issues, threats of violence, cross-wiki abuse, and child protection issues until consultation and agreement between T&S and the community are achieved.

Any changes in the long-established practices of dealing with toxic behavior within the communities should be introduced carefully and only following close collaboration with the communities. As discussed above, we have directed the Foundation to take on that conversation.

We support ArbCom reviewing this ban. We have asked T&S to work with the English Wikipedia ArbCom to review this case. We encourage Arbcom to assess the length and scope of Fram’s ban, based on the case materials that can be released to the committee. While the review is ongoing, Fram’s ban will remain in effect, although Arbcom and T&S may need ways to allow Fram to participate in the proceedings.

We do not consider any of the admin resignations related to the current events to be “under a cloud” (under suspicion) though we also realize that the final decision with respect to this lies with the community.

The Board views this as part of a much-needed community debate on toxic behavior. In spite of the considerable disruption this has caused for many, we hope this serves as a catalyzing moment for us to move forward together to ensure the health and vitality of our communities.

The chair has formally delegated this matter to the vice chair and was not involved in the issuing of this statement or in any of the deliberations that led to our response.

On behalf of the board,

  1. Schiste (talk) 23:02, 2 July 2019 (UTC)
  2. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 23:14, 2 July 2019 (UTC)
  3. Pundit|utter 04:57, 3 July 2019 (UTC)

Discussion (board statement)

  • So, to be clear, do ArbCom have the discretion to overturn the ban if they find that the circumstances do not warrant it? If so, then At first glance this appears quite reasonable, although I would personally like to see a more rock-solid commitment to involve the community in these matters routinely going forward, rather than three weeks later and just because the project threatened to implode. We are much better when we work as a team rather than in a top down fashion. Cheers  — Amakuru (talk) 23:16, 2 July 2019 (UTC)
    To be clear, ArbCom do have the discretion to overturn the ban. They are fully authorized to hear the appeal, and I will personally back ArbCom on whatever they decide.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 07:25, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
    @Amakuru: you just beat me to making this subsection. Dang it lol –MJLTalk 23:17, 2 July 2019 (UTC)
    A statement from Jan could easily clear up most of these issues. After all, this must have been discussed.--Wehwalt (talk) 23:20, 2 July 2019 (UTC)
    (edit conflict)Given the wording that says the ban will remain in effect during the proceedings, and that its length and the like will be assessed, it would seem to acknowledge that it may not be afterwards. So, it would seem that ArbCom would have the authority to either void the ban entirely, or decide that it was valid but commute it to "time served". (Presumably, they could even lengthen it if they thought it required). Seraphimblade Talk to me 23:24, 2 July 2019 (UTC)
    I interpret it the same way as Seraphimblade - if ArbCom are able to review the length and scope, then it would be possible for them to reduce it to 'time served' (or, conversely, to lengthen it to indef). Regarding the scope, presumably they could change it from a siteban to an iban, or whatever they deem necessary.GirthSummit (blether) 23:36, 2 July 2019 (UTC
    That is also my understanding of what we meant. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 23:48, 2 July 2019 (UTC)
    "That is also my understanding of what we meant" does not really inspire confidence in the clarity or strength of the statement... GorillaWarfare (talk) 23:57, 2 July 2019 (UTC)
    User:GorillaWarfare I will also back ArbCom on whatever they decide. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 15:00, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
    This seems like a key question. I assume that it's a given that if the ban is being referred to ArbCom, then they have the authority to shorten or overturn it per their longstanding position of oversight for conduct-related matters on enwiki, but that needs to be made explicit given that it was the core sticking point in discussions up until now. I, also, would like to see an unambiguous statement from Jan that recognizes ArbCom's authority over conduct-related bans; acknowledges that conduct-related bans are always subject to appeal; and a recognition that this establishes the precedent that ArbCom remains the final court of appeal for such bans even when they originate from T&S (aside from the Board itself, of course, which this serves to remind us remains the ultimate place to appeal regardless.) Presumably, given the precedent that this establishes, the section of WP:OFFICE that previously implied that the WMF and T&S could make such bans not-subject-to-appeal will need to be updated or corrected. --Aquillion (talk) 23:31, 2 July 2019 (UTC)
    No, they’re just kicking it to ArbCom to review the penalty. And with no grant of jurisdiction this is a request for an advisory opinion. I would urge ArbCom to decline to make itself into a powerless moot court. —/Mendaliv//Δ's/ 23:40, 2 July 2019 (UTC)
    I'm sorry, but I have to agree with Mendaliv. This appears to be the official neutering of ArbCom. ArbCom is a signatory to the exact same NDAs that T&S are held to. Why can't they see all of the evidence? It would appear that our community processes no longer matter unless they agree with the decisions already made by WMF. Sperril (talk) 23:49, 2 July 2019 (UTC)
    @Sperril: {{cn}} - I highly doubt this, there are many types of NDA's - and most of the volunteer ones don't require actually presenting identification or providing your real name. — xaosflux Talk 01:48, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
    As idle info, the Arbcom NDA does require provision of formal identification and a real name. -- Euryalus (talk) 18:54, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
    T&S may need to get permission from those who sent in complaints before they can release those complaints to arbcom. And not all people may give such permission. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 01:18, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
    Understood, but that still prompts the question: How does Arbcom make a legitimate decision to override T&S, when T&S are the only body with all of the evidence? I don't see how Arbcom could even accept a case under these circumstances. They either unban Fram with the understanding that his transgressions could be far greater than they know, or they keep him banned without enough evidence to support it. Sperril (talk) 01:50, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
    @Sperril: that is assuming a false dilemma - you are presuming that ArbCom will not be given enough evidence to be satisfied that the current remedy is sufficient. Per my comment below - I think at this point we need ArbCom to let us know if they have satisfactory information to at least certify the existing remedy, or if T&S is preventing them from being productive. — xaosflux Talk 01:56, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
    @Xaosflux: Can't argue with that. I certainly wouldn't want to be an Arb right now though. T&S has made a pretty bad sandwich that Arbcom is now being offered a bite of. Sperril (talk) 06:53, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
  • The three paragraphs that begin "We recognize" save this, for me at least ... provided they follow through and Arbcom does in fact get the information they need. - Dank (push to talk) 23:22, 2 July 2019 (UTC)
  • I think it's the two paragraphs beginning with "We support ArbCom", although the last paragraph is also interesting.LetUsNotLoseHearT 23:25, 2 July 2019 (UTC)
  • I am more than satisfied by this response from the board. I hope others take it to mean things are hopefully going to move in a more positive direction from here on out. –MJLTalk 23:26, 2 July 2019 (UTC)
    To those below who remain unimpressed by this statement: I'm not sure what to tell you. I feel like it needs repeating that this is a volunteer board trying their best here. At some point we need to stop moving the goalpost and just accept people are trying their hardest to respond to our numerous collective concerns. We'll hear from staff soon, so let's be patient again for now. –MJLTalk 01:33, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
  • So basically ArbCom gets to review and chime in on the ban, don’t get to overturn, and get only what evidence T&S decide is disclosable. And there’s no promise whatsoever of self-governance. Great. Why did we have to wait so long for this? —/Mendaliv//Δ's/ 23:33, 2 July 2019 (UTC)
    From the responses to my query above, I think the consensus is that Arbcom can overturn if they so decide. And the statement says that office actions of this sort won't be repeated until we've established the model under which they operate.  — Amakuru (talk) 23:36, 2 July 2019 (UTC)
    With respect, that’s not what anybody has said, and consensus is meaningless in interpreting what’s NOT a document subject to our own internal rules of interpretation. —/Mendaliv//Δ's/ 00:09, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
    Mendaliv, the statement was a bit hazy but I agree about Amakuru's impressions. And, now Jimbo has confirmed it:-) WBGconverse 07:52, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
  • My initial take is that this is a little too vague for something that took three weeks to come up with. However, I am encouraged by the phrases "consultation and agreement between T&S and the community" and "close collaboration with the communities". That will require a pretty radical change in the attitude of that T&S has projected so far. I'm less encouraged by the phrase "This could include...". I would have hoped for something more concrete at this point.- MrX 🖋 23:35, 2 July 2019 (UTC)
  • Thank you. A good statement in many respects. I'm disappointed that Fram will not be immediately released from the ban – to be relocked only if the Arbs agree with the T&S decision after their review. I hope that during the Arb review, much weight is given to the fact that existing policy specifically excludes giving sustained scrutiny to an editor for quality control purposes from counting as harassment. That said, it does appear that from the perspective of several excellent and prolific content creators, Fram's actions were experienced as harassment. And it is a good thing if those folk feel their concerns have been recognised. Hopefully this will indeed catalyse changes to make our community more inclusive, so that in the future sustained hostile scrutiny to individual editors is no longer supported by policy. Perhaps changes can be made to slightly nudge our culture in a kinder, more tolerant direction, while avoiding anything so radical that it threatens what makes this community so special, and which mostly retains our existing quality control standards. Long term, it would be regrettable if we had to address the harassment issue with more litigation. If we do have to go down that route, we might need structural changes to Arb recruitment, so that the existing Arbs don't get over worked. FeydHuxtable (talk) 23:37, 2 July 2019 (UTC)
  • I am concerned with "We encourage Arbcom to assess the length and scope of Fram’s ban, based on the case materials that can be released to the committee.," which implies that there are some materials that T&S used which they will not release to ArbCom. I dont see why that should be the case, given that ArbCom is a party to the same NDAs that T&S staff are subject to. Without the full panoply of case materials, how can ArbCom hope to accurately evaluate the ban? Any decision they make is bound to be seen by either side in the controversy as illegitimate, as it will not be based on the entirety of the facts. I would urge the WMF Board to instruct T&S to turn over all of the case materials to ArbCom, and to instruct ArbCom to then deal forthrightly and diligently with any privacy issues inherent in those materials. Beyond My Ken (talk) 23:38, 2 July 2019 (UTC)
    Some may have provided materials in the understanding that it would be shared with no one else. So T&S may need to check with those who provided these materials to see if they are okay with it being shared with arbcom first. I am not sure how much material like this there is. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 01:24, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
    @Beyond My Ken: This. Someone may have agreed to send something to T&S. They have not agreed to send this to ARBCOM. T&S is both ethically and (probably) legally bound by the conditions people sent them evidence/complaints under. T&S should take a maximalist approach to sharing (basically share everything they are not ethically/legally bound to keep private), and the statement seems to go along those way. Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 01:36, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
  • I'm still processing this statement, though at first glance it seems even-keeled. I suppose I'll wait until tomorrow, too, as I note only two signatories of this statement. Is that by design, or just due to the vagaries of life? (In short: does the above statement have the full backing of the Board? I ask this out of curiosity, nothing more.) Javert2113 (Siarad.|¤) 23:42, 2 July 2019 (UTC)
    Yes the entire board signed off on this. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 01:24, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
Yes it has the full backing of the board. Schiste signed as he chaired the board as they produced the statement, per Raystorm's recusal. The Doc signed as he's our local board member. There's no need for the other board members to sign, though perhaps one or two will anyway. FeydHuxtable (talk) 23:50, 2 July 2019 (UTC)
FeydHuxtable I'm signing, as I've been involved in the discussion here on en-wiki and I want to make myself available for a meaningful discussion. Pundit|utter 06:45, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
Thank you both. Javert2113 (Siarad.|¤) 01:27, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
  • It would have been much better if this had been written in plain English, but this is a positive statement. I'm heartened by a) the suggestion that resources be invested in training community members to deal with harassment and b) the recommendation that the T&S team stick to its traditional role unless there is agreement from the community to expand it. Hopefully these are followed up with actions, and hopefully the community engages with them in good faith. Nick-D (talk) 23:43, 2 July 2019 (UTC)
  • We need a black and white commitment for the future from the WMF. Nothing less. The WMF needs to agree that outside of the obvious cases that were in their remit (before someone edited the page this year), it is left to Enigmamsg 23:46, 2 July 2019 (UTC)
    I really can't tell whether or not it does say that. Is the "recommendation" to T&S effectively an order? Does "focusing on" the severe cases mean only working on them? --Yair rand (talk) 23:56, 2 July 2019 (UTC)
    imho, it would be absurd to read this as implying T&S can ignore the board's direction. I agree with Nick-D's reading that T&S is being asked to keep to its "traditional role" until the community has had an opportunity to discuss the issue thoroughly and reached a consensus about what other situations (if ever) T&S should be expected to issue sanctions or perform other office actions. That's not to say it will necessarily be left ultimately to the community alone; both the WMF staff and the board have continuing roles in this as I see it. —Rutebega (talk) 05:04, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
  • On first reading that looks very much like the Board saying they and T&S are right, and they were right to respond as slowly and obscurely as they have, but they'll throw Arbcom the bone of being allowed to fiddle with the length of the ban. They very clearly didn't say that Arbcom could overturn the ban. And Maher - not us, and not anybody who has the Community's confidence - gets to propose "solutions" to our problems. It's a PR release, not a serious response to the issues. DuncanHill (talk) 23:48, 2 July 2019 (UTC)
    To be clear: ArbCom could overturn the ban. I will personally back ArbCom in whatever they decide. Any further action of this type from T&S will not happen without agreement from the community. There should be no fear here that T&S would defy the board, me, ArbCom, and the gathered best users in the community.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 07:32, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
    It's a shame the Board did not make that clear. DuncanHill (talk) 17:45, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
  • @Schiste: @Doc James: - Why was the Chair not involved? DuncanHill (talk) 23:50, 2 July 2019 (UTC)
    Presumably because some here might suggest that the Chair would have difficulty being impartial about this issue, due to accusations that were thrown around earlier on this page. --Yair rand (talk) 23:56, 2 July 2019 (UTC)
    Yeah, Raystorm explicitly stated she would recuse in this matter in her statement, so I am not surprised that she did not sign it or have any involvement with it. —A little blue Bori v^_^v Bori! 02:08, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
    Again, this is something the statement could have made clear - it doesn't say she recused herself, rather that she delegated it to the vice-chair. DuncanHill (talk) 17:45, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
  • I am not at all satisfied with this response. The only substantive thing in here is allowing ArbCom to review the ban, and even then it's unclear if they can overturn it. They will not turn over all of the evidence to Arbcom, they will not direct T&S to stay out of this area, only saying to "focus" on their traditional roles. They will not overturn the ban themselves. "as we have cases which obviously need some form of sanctions, in which sanctions have not occurred" - please cite them. Hell, cite one. The community and the WMF obviously have a huge disconnect on this point. Following this statement, I have no confidence in the WMF as a whole. I will not be contributing further outside of this dispute until this issue is satisfactorily resolved, and at this point I suspect that's equivalent to a retirement. Tazerdadog (talk) 23:51, 2 July 2019 (UTC)
T&S is not going to be making any more moves like this without the agreement of the community. This is very firm from the board, and I will personally act, upon the advice of ArbCom, and with the backing of ArbCom and the community, if necessary.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 07:32, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
  • @Tazerdadog: that's covered by 'scope and length' of the ban. As someone else said, 0 days is a length. Time served is a length. Indef is a length. Likewise for scope. Complete enwiki ban is a scope, copyright enforcement ban is a scope, interact ban with [list of editors] is a scope, admin action ban is a scope, no ban is a scope. Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 01:42, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
  • (edit conflict) @Doc James: Perhaps a nitpicky question, but I see that Schiste signed this statement "On behalf of the board", which would imply it's unanimous. Then you signed it, which implies that it will be signed individually by board members. Is this a unanimous statement or did only some support it? GorillaWarfare (talk) 23:52, 2 July 2019 (UTC)
    Also, these are recommendations to T&S—am I to assume that T&S has agreed to follow up with a statement soon indicating whether they agree with this path forward? GorillaWarfare (talk) 23:55, 2 July 2019 (UTC)
    User:GorillaWarfare All board members have agreed to it. More may sign here. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 01:28, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
    @Doc James:, I also have same question with @GorillaWarfare:. In particular the sentence

The chair has formally delegated this matter to the vice chair and was not involved in the issuing of this statement or in any of the deliberations that led to our response.

  • sounds to me that the Chair is not fully endorsing the "unanimous" decision. It's unclear to me that whether the board affirms that ArbCom has the power to overturn the WMF T&S or th WMF T&S has the power to overturn the ArbCom. This is the key constitutional issue yet not completely clear to me what Board's position is. The wording of the Board Statement sounds pretty vague on this key issue. Xinbenlv (talk) 17:50, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
    User:Xinbenlv good point. Yes everyone but the chair agreed to this statement as the chair had recused herself. She was not involved in drafting this statement in any way. Jimmy has confirmed that arbcom can overturn the WMF T&S in this situation. And that T&S is not going to make similar bans until agreement is reached on process. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 23:56, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
    @Doc James: Thank you for clarifying. That sounds right. In that, I'd like to humbly ask if Chair (I can't find her User name, anyone help me ping here if she has?) have a dissent / minority opinion similar to Dissenting_opinion? The constitutional nature of this argument (who has the jurisdiction, the ArbCom or the T&S), make me think of Marbury v. Madison. Xinbenlv (talk) 01:54, 4 July 2019 (UTC)
    The Chair is recused on this matter, that's why she delegated it. For the rest, there have been multiple clarifications from, among others, Jimbo that Arbcom can overturn the sentence if they find so. MLauba (Talk) 17:59, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
  • As Katherine (WMF) has stated that she will be following up with "next steps" I am withholding judgement for now as this seems like the first part of the move forward, with hopefully that follow-up taking us the rest of the way. Best, Barkeep49 (talk) 00:01, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
  • Thank you. I hope this is the first in a series of conversations that will lead to greater cooperation between the WMF and the community, and allow us to handle behavioral issues in a way that is fair to all. The devil is in the details, of course; hopefully over the next few weeks we will see the extent to which WMF is committed to working with us, as actions speak louder than words. -- King of ♠ 00:02, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
  • I'm pleased by the statement that the admins and crats are not "under a cloud", and I hope very much that ArbCom and the community here will ratify that. We need to be able to move on, in that regard. I have an overall positive reaction to the statement as a whole, but there are several things that make me uneasy, and given how long it took for this statement to come out, I think we are entitled to assume that everything in it is intentional. They seem to be saying that they think it was just fine for the statement to have taken this long to come out, and that's disappointing. Although there is considerable validity to the overall concept that the communities need to do better in re "the unnblockables", the statement does not entirely allay my fears that we are still looking at "we in the WMF have decided what civility is, and we are planning to educate the rest of you about it, but you are going to have to abide by what we decide". I'd like to see some acknowledgement that it's possible that the communities will insist that WMF modify their assessment of a "safe and respectful environment", as in "cases which obviously need some form of sanctions, in which sanctions have not occurred", and that WMF will actually respect that. That said, I want to say explicitly "thank you" to those board members, particularly Doc James, who have fought to make the statement what it is. --Tryptofish (talk) 00:06, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
  • Giving this a quick read I think it is a step in the right direction. I do agree with those who want to see the official WMF response. --Rschen7754 00:21, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
    • I never really expected the Board to provide a detailed plan, just a big picture vision of what they would like to see happen. --Rschen7754 00:34, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
  • NOT acceptable. Carrite (talk) 00:24, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
  • Has the reason for the ban been provided - other than the generic statement referring to the Terms Of Use? I've seen posts hinting at harassment - but was the word harassment ever used by the WMF? Uncle uncle uncle 00:27, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
  • Has the reason for the ban been provided - other than the generic statement referring to the Terms Of Use?
No, unless this rant is the entire reason, as that edit is the only reason Fram is given (according to Fram’s 11 June statement).
Even Fram’s invitation to T&S on 12 June to at the very least acknowledge that Fram hasn’t contacted or discussed with any complainant or alledged victim or “anyone he was in conflict with” off-wiki, and that he never threatened to do so, and that therefor all alledged infringing behaviour happened on-wiki, has not been answered (as far as I know).
I wonder how long it will take T&S to acknowledge or refute that to ArbCom, and if at least that acknowledgment or refutation will become public.
[W]as the word harassment ever used by the WMF?
From WMFOffice’s 11 June comment: What we can say in this case is that the issues reported to us fell under section 4 of the terms of use, as noted above, specifically under the first provision entitled “harassing and abusing others.”
Adhemar (talk) 01:01, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
  • If you read closely, this letter actually has what I feel is a very strong hint: We believe that the communities should be able to deal with these types of situations and should take this as a wake-up call to improve our enforcement processes to deal with so-called "unblockables". AFAIK nothing the WMF or T&S mentioned up until now has mentioned this at all, but I suspect that that sentence reflects a major concern that came up in discussions between them and the board, and therefore reflects the real rationale behind T&S' actions in this case. That is to say - they believe that Fram's publicly known actions to date justify a ban, and that the fact that he hadn't already been banned represented a failure by the community so severe that they felt compelled to step in. My guess is that they'd been wrestling with that problem for a while ("unblockables", not anonymous reporting), and when they received a complaint about Fram they decided to use it as a test case for going ahead with banning, themselves, people they felt the community wouldn't. This isn't to say that the complaint didn't necessarily justify it on its own - but it does heavily imply that it wouldn't justify it by our existing standards, since by this reading, the reason the T&S decided that ArbCom couldn't handle it, and the reason they went far beyond their traditional role in responding to it, was because they concluded we had already dropped the ball on Fram and therefore didn't trust ArbCom to deliver a ban that they considered absolutely necessary. As a result, their justification for the ban was at least in part a lie (if only a lie of omission) - they vaguely hinted that they were disappointed in the community because the people talking to us were involved in the ban and their real feelings leaked through, but they couldn't come out and say "we banned Fram because you wouldn't do it", since that would undermine their prior justifications by implying that, yes, they think the evidence they have probably isn't something that would get a ban if it were public. And this poisoned the entire discussion; it was no longer possible to talk about reaching any sort of agreement or compromise, because by starting from a presumption that the community could never solve this problem, T&S had locked itself into a position where they were unable to say what it really wanted, why they had actually acted, or even to lay out a coherent rationale for its actions beyond "we're handling user conduct issues now. No further information is available." What they actually needed to do is to have the honest discussion the board is suggesting (with regards to tightening our rules on chronic incivility and harassment) - but they locked themselves into a position of "Fram is banned because reasons; we can't show them to you but they're very very good. We'll keep banning people like this because reasons." --Aquillion (talk) 02:45, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
^This seems to hit the nail squarely on the head. Compassionate727 (T·C) 14:06, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
  • Possibly T&S concluded that en.Wikipedia may no more boast about its allegedly excellent and effective self-governance. The old elites made insufficient efforts to combat the unblockables’ phenomenon, and the Corporation shows them that they are not, in fact, indispensable. Incnis Mrsi (talk) 08:09, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
  • Contrary to the comments above, I think it's very clear that the board is giving ArbCom the remit to can do whatever it sees fit to do to the Fram sanction. "Assess the length and scope" means just that. "Zero days" is a length, "time served" is a length, "indefinite" is both a (indeterminant) length and a scope, no ban is a scope, re-sysoppping is a scope, leaving the sanction as it is is a length and scope. My concern remains that T&S turn over all of the case materials. If the WMF board wants to show the community that it trusts us and our elected ArbCom to police behavior within the community, then they must treat it like responsible adults. Beyond My Ken (talk) 00:28, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
  • @Schiste and Doc James: would one of you mind cross-posting this to WP:AN. There are a lot of people who intentionally do not follow this page, but are concerned about the overall state of the encyclopedia and community. This statement is significant enough that it should be on our main noticeboard for people who don't come to this page. A link directing discussion here at the bottom like is often done for ArbCom motions would work to centralize the discussion while making the statement more visible. TonyBallioni (talk) 00:35, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
    • Don’t be ridiculous. It says nothing that you think it does. All it does is ask for the ArbCom’s opinion based on a subset of evidence that T&S will pick and choose. This is moreover not a contract. It’s a gratuitous promise. And even then there’s no promise to abide by an exoneration. I hope and pray that no exculpatory evidence is withheld on WMF legal’s watch (or anyone with a law license). This is dirty pool of the lowest order and everyone attached to this statement should be ashamed. —/Mendaliv//Δ's/ 01:11, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
      • Mendaliv, was this reply meant for me? I just asked that it be posted at AN, which Primefac has done. TonyBallioni (talk) 01:12, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
        • Tony: I believe it may have been meant for my comment just above yours. Needless to say that I entirely disagree with Mendaliv's interpretation of what seems to me to be quite clearly and plainly said in the Board's message. Beyond My Ken (talk) 01:43, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
          • To be fully clear (I'm saying this multiple times in the thread) this is not asking ArbCOm for an advisory opinion. It is a recognition that the traditional rights of the ArbCom remain valid. ArbCom has the authority to review this ban.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 07:43, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
        • Yeah you’re right, I meant it for BMK above. Teach me to sound off while at dinner. 😂 —/Mendaliv//Δ's/ 01:47, 3 July 2019 (UTC)

I read it as Arbcom can make the decision. If so, this helps in the large scale governance crisis. We must consider the possibility this this also exposed a problem in enwiki and that the correct finding of arbcom could be that some type of sancion of Fram is the right thing to do. IMO we need to start a routine where OTHER SENIOR TRUSTED ADMINS more routinely give admins sanctions (e.g. admonishments) for poor behavior as editors or admins. North8000 (talk) 00:43, 3 July 2019 (UTC)

  • Words missing from the board statement: #1 encyclopedia. Rather an omission, in my opinion. Convenient however if ones' sole objective is to promote fluffy-bunny niceness amongst the 'community' and eradicate all those nasty toxins. Convenient because it omits having to face the obvious fact that not all 'good faith editors' will necessarily have the attributes to usefully contribute to an online encyclopaedia. And sometimes having to tell people this isn't nice, even if done wearing a fluffy-bunny suit. If the WMF wants this to be a free-to-all niceness club, it should say so explicitly, take away all the admins mops, and rename the encyclopedia as 'Uncle Jimmy's wonderful write-what-you-want website'. And if it doesn't, and still wants something which bears even a vague resemblance to an encyclopaedia, it should acknowledge this, and stop trying to kid people that you can create something as complex as Wikipedia without people's feelings getting hurt. AndyTheGrump (talk) 00:45, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
    @AndyTheGrump: realistically we are here to write an encylopedia, but the WM Foundation's vision is to "share in the sum of all knowledge" - the encyclopedias, even with the English Wikipedia encyclopedia being the flagship project right now, is only a part of their overall mission. — xaosflux Talk 01:21, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
Words missing #2: knowledge. You can have an online encyclopaedia (or other useful repository of 'knowledge') or you can allow anyone to edit. Not both. This is the fundamental flaw in the WMF's 'mission'. It is at the heart of this dispute, and it is at the heart of so many disputes on En Wikipedia and elsewhere in the WMF's fiefdom. It is a contradiction built into the very heart of the project, and one that cannot be resolved by fine words about 'good faith'. Or by nit-picking irrelevances... AndyTheGrump (talk) 01:51, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
  • Although I would have liked to see the word "appeal" used in this statement rather than "review", I am satisfied with this as a way forward. To Doc James, Jimbo Wales, Katherine (WMF) and all the others who worked on this, thank you for listening to the community. I look forward to our next steps together. – bradv🍁 01:01, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
  • Meaningless without buy-in by management, that is T&S, in other words Jan. Awaiting statement that I would want to include a willingness, in advance, to be bound by outcomes he doesn't like. Otherwise an excessive number of words were used to say nothing.--Wehwalt (talk) 01:07, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
  • ... we recommend T&S focus on the most severe cases, (...) until consultation and agreement between T&S and the community are achieved. IMHO, this stands out as the key phrase. It essentially sends T&S back to their traditional role. This implicitly concedes that T&S and by extension the WMF overstepped their reach. Also noteworthy is the inclusion of "agreement" rather than just "consultation". I don't see the community to agree (by consensus in a RFC?) to T&S taking actions that remotely resemble the star chamber approach demonstrated in the Fram case. ---<)kmk(>- (talk) 01:10, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
I take some pride in having personally added the word "agreement". It's crucially important. I wanted to cut off any fear and any possible avenue for a meaningless "consultation". Where I live I got a delightful letter from the local council about a change to the road configuration which would eliminate 2 parking spaces from my street. It very politely said that a survey of street residents found that 80% opposed the changes. It then went on to unapologetically say "So we are going forward with it" - and they did. Nonsense.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 07:43, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
@KaiMartin: Very much so. This is the important part. They stay on their turf while the community formulates an approach/policy/guideline/whatever in consultation with them. Then we can either choose to deal with civility issues through our own process (likely via ARBCOM), or choose to empower the WMF to take action on our behalf (perhaps only in specific situations). Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 01:53, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
I think you are mistaken there. There is a strong push from the board that the WMF actually invest money in this area. My own view is that they can and should facilitate conversations and votes, they should be flying key people from the community to workshop ideas and get buy in for areas of improvement. We all know the difficult fault lines that have impeded progress - having full-time people to help facilitate and move forward decision making can help a lot. The role of the WMF will not be to dictate to us, but to provide a framework in which we can move forward.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 07:43, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
  • For the record, while it could be unrelated, the community health initiative was announced just over 2 months after the board statement was approved on November 13. Whether the community health initiative has had any impact is somewhat open to debate, though it is still ongoing. —Rutebega (talk) 04:38, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
  • First impressions This reads like it was drawn up by a lawyer (or three). Lots of language that looks intentionally vague and designed to leave strategic wiggle room. My gut says the WMF is looking for a face saving way to climb down from this mess w/o having to unambiguously admit they were wrong and don sackcloth and hair shirts. BUT from my reading there are holes in this big enough to drive a battleship through. In short, I think they are kinda sorta backing down, but leaving the door open to future interventions if they believe them to be necessary. And, I'm not sure that's enough. But again, these are just first impressions and if nothing else I will accept the statement in good faith as at least a half step in the right direction. For now I will think on it and see what other editors with sharper minds have to say. -Ad Orientem (talk) 01:14, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
    • It was written by the board, not by WMF lawyers. If there are vagaries in it, that's down to trying to write as a group. I would have personally written a much more pointed statement but I also think that this statement is better in many ways than what I would have written.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 07:43, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
  • I agree with Ad Orientem. It was always my belief that the hold up in a Board statement was primarily about finding a face-saving way of getting out of the morass T&S and the Board chair created. I think the ball's in our hands now (ArbCom's hands, specifically) and that we run with it on the principle that they're now backed down and we can act as if the status quo ante in respect to the relationship between Staff and Community has been restored. ArbCom should deal with the Fram situation as if it had just come to them ex nihilo, without being prejudiced by T&S's sanction, and make whatever judgment they see fit to make, as if none of this mess ever happened. Then, if ArbCom's sanction, or lack of sanction, differs from T&S's, we see how they respond to it -- that will tell us where we actually stand. Beyond My Ken (talk) 01:51, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
  • I have no idea on the discussion about the matter for which this statement was released I just want to express my opinion on a paragraph.

The statement says: to work to make Wikimedia communities safer for all good faith editors. A safe and respectful environment is not only one of our five pillars, it will also allow for more diverse voices to join our communities, bringing new knowledge with them.

Humbly, I am amused by that really, when it's clear the hostility and disrespect Wikipedia has for users with some difficulties whether technical or language-related. It's my unchangeable opinion and I stand for what I say. Not for one incident, I've already stumbled upon many hostile places on this site, if your Foundation really wants to make a safe and respectful environment for good faith editors, I think you're very far from that at this point. --LLcentury (talk) 01:22, 3 July 2019 (UTC)

  • At this point it appears the ball is in ArbCom's court. Our committee will need to let us know if they are making progress in this area or not, we need to give them time - and understand that there may be privileged information that can't be shared with us. — xaosflux Talk 01:23, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
  • I think the key section is While the aforementioned conversations between T&S and our communities take place, we recommend T&S focus on the most severe cases, for instance: the handling of legal issues, threats of violence, cross-wiki abuse, and child protection issues until consultation and agreement between T&S and the community are achieved - surely an acknowledgement that conduct issues should be handled by Arbcom not T&S. Pawnkingthree (talk) 01:37, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
    • @Xaosflux: It's in ARBCOM's court right now, but we as a community might want to give ARBCOM guidelines on how we want these processes to occur, specifically when/how to have proceedings to occur. Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 01:56, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
  • IMHO, this isn’t lawyerese, it looks like it needed a lawyer to look it over! Most folks here know I am not a fan of Fram and I think his behavior required consequences, but if this is the WMF board’s response, it’s NOT a solution. The #1 problem is allowing ArbCom to review partial evidence. This is a recipe for disaster. If ArbCom reduces the ban based on incomplete evidence, then WMF is up shit creek without a paddle, because they either have to admit they used inadmissible evidence and take their lumps, or else they will have to claim secret evidence and overrule ArbCom, thus inflaming the situation even more. If the issue is that some people don’t want to grant permission for ArbCom to see their complaints and know their identity, then someone has a serious problem with distrust of ArbCom. My suggestion: either ArbCom gets ALL evidence, with a clear understanding, in writing, signed by everyone on ArbCom, that any disclosure will see the wrath of god descend on the offender (and probably significant legally scary consequences); Or, admit WMF doesn’t trust ArbCom, stick to the ban regardless, overrule the decision to review, and give opponents of the Framban fodder for the next decade. In either case, start now on something more coherent than the current mess to assure correct due process and avoid something like this in the future. There are any number of legally-trained editors on WP, we are all probably willing to put in our two bits, and I suspect that a first-year law student could have come up with something superior to this. Montanabw(talk) 01:45, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
    • I'm unsure if your lawyer comment was good or bad, but several have made it, so I'll say this: a lawyer likely did look over it, which is a good thing. Do we really want the WMF being sued by all the pedophiles and harassment LTAs they have banned? It might not be fun for us as a community to read, but we can hardly blame them for having legal counsel review a formal statement about what is arguably the largest controversy in the history of the project and one that could have very real legal implications. TonyBallioni (talk) 01:53, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
      • I could be wrong, and Montanabw should correct me if I am, but I think the thrust of her "lawyer" comment was that any lawyer looking over the statement should have realized that giving ArbCom only partial evidence to base their assessment and evaluation on was a non-starter. Beyond My Ken (talk) 01:57, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
        • Yes, thanks BMK. I misread it. Speaking personally, my reading is that it is vague for the legal reasons (they may not be able to turn over everything), but that the statement conveys a set of principles that will govern this going forward, and is about as close as the WMF Board could get to saying "We're handing this stuff back over to the community" as possible without in someway putting the Foundation at legal risk or firing someone. On the whole, it is a move in the right direction, and now we need to see what the staff-level actions will be to comply with the board's directives and requests. TonyBallioni (talk) 02:05, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
          • That isn’t lawyerese, it’s bureaucratese. There’s a difference. My comment below and the followups explain it better. Montanabw(talk) 02:12, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
          • @TonyBallioni and Montanabw: the reason is far simpler. It is vague because the role of a board is to provide vision and general direction, not provide specific instructions or mandate outcomes. As far as board statements go, for those that aren't well versed in corporate speech, this is a pretty fucking big one along the lines of "Somewhere, something or someone failed. It wasn't done out of bad faith, but rather because the process sucked somewhere. As such, we told the powers that be to stick to the obvious until we have better guidance on how to deal with the contentious, and get a better process for it. We told the powers that be to follow status quo for this one, leave things to ARBCOM as the community expected, and we've directed them to work with you to find a good process that works for everyone." @Doc James: can confirm/clarify if those aren't the broad lines of the statements when translated from corporate speak to the layman. Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 02:19, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
            • I also agree with that. People need to understand what the purpose of a board is. They set the big picture vision, rules, etc. staff does the specifics. I think this is a good first step in the right direction. The next step is for the WMF staff to say how they will implement the ideas conveyed here. TonyBallioni (talk) 02:21, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
              • Agree the "the role of a board is to provide vision and general direction, not provide specific instructions" Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 03:54, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
    • Note that the Privacy Policy of the site explicitly allows them to share info with functionaries, so the reason for confidentiality must be something we don't know yet. We can only hope that the reason WMF refused to share anything before was merely internal corporate policy; if they actually made private reassurances to the complainants that they wouldn't be shared with anybody (including Arbcom), then the WMF is in a really tough bind. Either they go back to the complainant and say "if you don't agree to let us share with Arbcom then we will vacate the ban", which would be a pretty bad thing to do if the harassment was real, or the question of Arbcom's jurisdiction will be subject to the whims of a few people who have absolutely no incentive to cooperate, meaning that the WMF has effectively conceded nothing and is saying "we will still micromanage behavioral complaints unless the complainant allows us not to". Anyways, hopefully this isn't the case and Arbcom can get the evidence they need to perform a thorough review. -- King of ♠ 02:45, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
  • And if ArbCom does uphold the ban, based on incomplete evidence, the issue will not die down, because then the argument could be raised that the WMF withheld exculpatory evidence. This is a no-win folks, can’t work. Montanabw(talk) 01:49, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
  • Montanabw, you are correct. For ArbCom to properly judge whether Fram should be sanctioned, it needs to have all the evidence that T&S relied on to reach their sanction. I can't understand why they would think that turning over only partial evidence would satisfy anyone. Beyond My Ken (talk) 01:54, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
  • It isn't a matter of choice - once T&S offered confidentiality for reports, they need to maintain that. This was always going to be the fundamental restriction on what they could do. - Bilby (talk) 01:59, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
  • @Montanabw and Beyond My Ken: Someone may have agreed to send something to T&S. They have not agreed to send this to ARBCOM. T&S is both ethically and (probably) legally bound by the conditions people sent them evidence/complaints under. T&S should take a maximalist approach to sharing (basically share everything they are not ethically/legally bound to keep private), and the statement seems to go along those way.
Also withholding 'exculpatory' evidence makes no sense. No complaint the WMF will have received is going to have "Fram blocked me! That's so unfair, I only threatened to follow him home and slash his tires." If ARBCOM receives "Fram hounded me here, here, here, and here on these articles, and called me a fuddler and a poortlash!", they can fully dig around and review Fram's behaviour and decide if that crossed a civility threshold. Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 02:02, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
basically, if they can’t share everything, then they need to either drop the review, or else provide ArbCom a sense of what cannot be shared and why—say something like “not included are X complaints from individuals who can no longer be contacted/refused to allow ArbCom to know who they are/whatever.” Or, redact identifying information but forward the gist of it (think Mueller report) explaining what and why something was withheld. Montanabw(talk) 02:18, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
Well, that's what the statement pretty much says. They'll provide ARBCOM what they can provide. Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 02:20, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
Exculpatory evidence would include things like evidence that the complainant is a frequent flyer, or there are some facts that indicate that the complainant’s cause for complaint is unreasonable or harassed Fram in return, or any number of other things. And no, WMF is under no legal obligations here. That said, I think it should be clear on the record, if anyone at WMF legal is involved here and permits the WMF to withhold exculpatory information, their state bar needs to discipline them. Also be aware that you may be a mandatory reporter. Don’t fuck your career people. —/Mendaliv//Δ's/ 02:37, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
Would it be exculpatory evidence to know that the complainer (or one of their wikifriends) was previously sanctioned after Fram presented evidence against them at arbitration? Of course T&S would not know such context, and by holding their proceeding in secret, we would have no opportunity to inform them. Jehochman Talk 02:44, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
ARBCOM is well-equipped to dig around the contributions of those involved and see if they were indeed sanctioned and what the context for their actions were. Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 02:58, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
  • Utterly inadequate and I'm out of here. It leaves the hands of ArbCom tied, it posits something akin to Chinese political correction methods, it makes vague promises couched in legalese (= loopholes), sees no need to acknowledge clear failings of WMF staff members, it doesn't really address what they think constitutes harassment but clearly expects us to abide by their view in the long run, and so on. - Sitush (talk) 02:03, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
  • we have cases which obviously need some form of sanctions, in which sanctions have not occurred – any specific examples? – Teratix 02:12, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
  • we have cases which obviously need some form of sanctions No it's not "obvious". You don't get to decide if it's "obvious". Wikipedia isn't ruled by the staff of the wikimedia foundation, it's ruled by its community.. --RaphaelQS (talk) 02:18, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
  • Don't "ask" T&S to co-operate with ArbCom. Compel them to turn over all relevant evidence to ArbCom. What is the point of arbCom working under a non-disclosure agreement when the left hand is deliberately trying to cut off the right one? T&S and ArbCom need to be on the same side here, but since T&S's reaction to ArbCom has been just as adversarial as it has been to us "asking" them to do it isn't going to do a damn thing. This looks more and more like Wikipedia's Mecca school fire. —A little blue Bori v^_^v Bori! 02:27, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
    • @Jéské Couriano: 'asked' and 'compelled' is pretty much the same in the corporate world. I have asked/directed my assistant to waive the fee is basically telling them 'your job is to waive the fee, and if you don't you will have sucked at your job, with all that implies'. Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 02:31, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
      • @Jéské Couriano: @Headbomb:I was going to point out the same thing. When your higher up "asks" you to do something, you're not really going to get much option to say no because you explicitly signed your contract stating that you agree to submit to the authority of your manager and so on upwards. The higher up doesn't sound as overbearing that way. Blackmane (talk) 02:57, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
      • I was about to say the same as well. If your boss "asks" you to do something, it's not really optional. I see some problems in the wording here (though I'm taking a bit to reread it before going into them), but I don't think that's one of them. Seraphimblade Talk to me 03:01, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
        • @Seraphimblade: I agree on the point about wording. Given the wide background of editors on ENWP, many who do not speak English as a first language, the statement should have been as unambiguous as possible. Instead, the ambiguity has led to this huge discussion. Blackmane (talk) 03:59, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
          • @Blackmane and Jéské Couriano: I'm not sure the board can compel, instruct, or discipline line workers. They hire and manage the ED. They approve the strategy and the annual plan. All implementation falls to the ED. Guettarda (talk) 04:27, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
            • @Guettarda: The board may handle grand strategy and vision but at the end of the day, they can only do that if the people at the coal face are giving them the info they need to make such statements. If they're making statements without the commitment from the involved parties then we're talking napalm on a fire that has already had gasoline poured on it. Blackmane (talk) 05:18, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
  • In computer security there are two dirty words: trust me. ArbCom should evaluate whatever evidence is submitted by T&S plus whatever they collect from the community. Anybody who sent evidence to T&S can also send their evidence to ArbCom. Evidence not submitted to ArbCom should be disregarded. It's time to end all the cloak and dagger games. Who's going to file the request for arbitration? I tried once already. How about somebody else this time. Jehochman Talk 02:35, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
  • Can't the Board's statement be cnsidered a de facto request for Arbitration? If not, then I suppose either one of the complainants (unlikely, since if there's no ArbCom case the T&S sanction stands) or Fram himself (via e-mail or statement on another project) who requests the case? Beyond My Ken (talk) 03:23, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
  • "This could include current and upcoming initiatives, as well as re-evaluating or adding community input to the two new office action policy tools (temporary and partial Foundation bans)." might mean re-evaluating the existence of the new office tools, i.e., maybe take them away, ideally, imo. Nocturnalnow (talk)
  • A question to the legal people reading here: could T&S co-opt some/all of the ArbCom members or make them contractors for the duration of the case, with the result that they were legally T&S employees for disclosure purposes? I've frequently handled highly sensitive & confidential data as a contractor, on behalf of a company that never directly employed me. Espresso Addict (talk) 03:22, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
    • That's ethical fuckery and T&S should be sacked and sued if they did this. Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 03:45, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
  • NOTICE TO ARBITRATORS: WP:ARBPOL governs whether you can do this advisory opinion request. Just because WMF gives you permission is not enough to overcome the jurisdictional limitations in the Arbitration policy. —/Mendaliv//Δ's/ 03:28, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
    Mendaliv, Good thing it seems to clearly be a case of "To resolve matters unsuitable for public discussion for privacy, legal, or similar reasons" and that they have the option to "In exceptional circumstances, typically where significant privacy, harassment or legal issues are involved, the Committee may hold a hearing in private. The parties will be notified of the private hearing and be given a reasonable opportunity to respond to what is said about them before a decision is made." I think these circumstances are as exceptional as they come. Best, Barkeep49 (talk) 03:33, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
(edit conflict)
1. To act as a final binding decision-maker primarily for serious conduct disputes the community has been unable to resolve;
2. To hear appeals from blocked, banned, or otherwise restricted users;
4. To resolve matters unsuitable for public discussion for privacy, legal, or similar reasons
I'd say this is well within ArbCom's remit. – bradv🍁 03:34, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
First of all, no, this is calling for review of a WMF office action which is EXPLICITLY outside the arbitration policy. This is not the Foundation’s call at this point. They do not dictate our arbitration policy. Secondly, this is not a request to make a decision that is either FINAL or BINDING: This is a request for an opinion without authority. These are basic concepts in jurisdiction that neither the Committee nor WMF are free to waive. —/Mendaliv//Δ's/ 03:41, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
Mendaliv, which is why I said above I'd prefer if the board had used the word "appeal". I trust the forthcoming statement from T&S will make this clear. Either way, ArbCom can and should handle this. – bradv🍁 03:45, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
You can “prefer” all you want. It makes no difference. Even if they did put it that way, WMF office actions are outside the Committee’s jurisdiction. This is NOT changed by this worthless statement. —/Mendaliv//Δ's/ 03:48, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
Sorry, that is simply not the case. The WMF's Board of Directors has just written that ArbCom can look at the case, and that T&S should given them the evidence they need. In the scheme of things,, that permission outguns any standing WMF policy. But the proof of the pudding will be in the eating. If ArbCom takes the Board's urge for them to evaluate the sanction, and WMF and the Board allows it to happen, then you'll have been shown to be wrong in your interpretation of the situation. Repeating what you think it is numerous times isn't going to chanage that. Beyond My Ken (talk) 04:43, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
Mendaliv, I think this is a good time to remember that Wikipedia policies are not law. While it's true office actions traditionally can't be appealed, it seems some people take issue with that, to put it mildly. I have faith in ArbCom's ability to review this case fairly, and a verdict from a body that is in some true sense accountable to the community will help calm things down. Instead of letting ArbCom's hands stay tied, I'd argue we should say "hang the code" and do what will be best for the encyclopedia. If you really do think this is a bad idea, by all means say it loudly, but the fact that it's outside established norms isn't enough. This is as exceptional as a case can get, and the rules are already changing, one way or another. —Rutebega (talk) 04:19, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
If we couldn't overturn WMF actions before because of the precise wording of the Arbitration Policy, there is absolutely no reason to do so now. The Policy speaks in terms of jurisdiction. That is a very specific word with a very specific meaning in the English language, and if you are incapable of comprehending what these very specific words mean, you should not be participating in this discussion. Wikipedia is "not law", but that does not and has never meant that "words are meaningless." Process matters, and that's what we've been demanding from day one. Here WMF is directly and deliberately requesting ArbCom to violate its own policy. ArbCom should not do this without first amending the Arbitration Policy. Moreover, undertaking this review with it being an effective, final, or binding outcome is expressly contrary to the Arbitration Policy as Bradv has so helpfully quoted above.
I mean you yourself are contradicting yourself and the Board statement: You think this is going to be a verdict? This will be anything but. It is a request for an advisory opinion and it is as such contrary to the policy and practice of the Arbitration Committee. If the Committee does this without following the process to modify its own policy—and that is necessary; it can't be childishly waved away by citing WP:NOTLAW—then it is making clear that the Arbitration Policy is not binding, and is spitting in the face of all the people whose requests it has denied citing that policy over the years. It is furthermore cementing its own subservience to the Board by jumping on its command.
In fact, the Board has made it crystal clear that it considers our local policies to be subservient to its edicts by brazenly stating that the board considers the resignations not to be under a cloud. The Board does not and has never dictated our adminship or readminship policies, nor been permitted to define what a resignation under a cloud is.
Accepting this case request is tantamount to capitulating to the Board. It is contrary to the very open letter that the Committee published not long ago. The Committee must decline any request explicitly and state that it is contrary to the Arbitration Policy to undertake case requests in the absence of a case or controversy. It should then demand that the Board explicitly and expressly make clear that any "kicking" this issue to ArbCom is a reversal of T&S's determination as exceeding its authority and that this is a matter that will be treated solely at ArbCom's discretion. There are no other acceptable options.
For God's sakes, don't do this. —/Mendaliv//Δ's/ 04:46, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
In fact, the Board has made it crystal clear that it considers our local policies to be subservient to its edicts by brazenly stating that the board considers the resignations not to be under a cloud. Er, did you read that entire section? They specifically recognize that the final determination of that is up to the community: We do not consider any of the admin resignations related to the current events to be “under a cloud” (under suspicion) though we also realize that the final decision with respect to this lies with the community. That is clearly intended as a suggestion (and perhaps as a nod to the fact that some on Wikipedia might be reluctant to take any action with regard to that out of fear of re-inflaming the issue; hence their intentionally distancing themselves from it twice-over by both stating their personal opinion that it wasn't under a cloud and making it clear that the final determination of that is up to he community.) --Aquillion (talk) 05:45, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
  • This is a poorly-written document. Assuming Good Faith, one would conclude this is an attempt to undo some of the damage; however, there are too many points that frame this as a condescension from people in power, rather than as something that would both acknowledge our grievances while adequately explaining the position of T&S or the Foundation. These include:
    • First, there is no mention of a partnership between the communities & the Foundation. We each have our strengths & weaknesses. Some duties need to be assumed by the Foundation, some by the communities. Use of words such as "partnership" would acknowledge this.
    • No one is in favor of a toxic environment here. The way this is presented implies that there are members of this community who are. No one has ever argued for this. This dispute is entirely over the division of responsibilities.
    • Further, the problem of solving the "toxic environment" is presented as if only the Foundation can do anything about it, which seems to be how so many of their unsuccessful initiatives fail. A partnership would recognize the community is a stakeholder in this effort, if not the most important one. To expect the Foundation can somehow solve this problem is to invite failure: the Foundation can order the members of the several communities until its staff is blue in their faces, but it won't work. We are volunteers, not unpaid employees. Involve us at every step. If staff members can't figure out how to make this work -- ask us.
    • The phrase "enforcement processes to deal with so-called 'unblockables'" -- I'll admit there are some Wikipedians who get away with more than others, but there are many reasons for this. One that I don't see any acknowledgement of here is that most people are simply not confrontational; it takes a measure of self-confidence to challenge another member of the community, especially if they've been around longer. And this is a characteristic of all groups.
      Since this is a well-known aspect of all groups of people, I wonder at the point of this phrase. Is it intended to address a known problem, or as a subtle message to senior members of the community that they not welcome, to stop speaking our minds, or we will be banned.
    • "Even the larger projects struggle to effectively address the most difficult and controversial cases." -- A banal statement. If they weren't difficult & controversial, it would not be a struggle to solve them. So I don't know what the point of the paragraph that follows is.
    • "T&S has established a track record for managing highly complex situations."[citation needed] Until T&S banned Fram, few of us had even heard of T&S, let alone thought it had a track record. In fact, as debate raged here, three other cases of its misjudgment in other projects have come to light. I'd say that, at best, T&S has a mixed record of success.
    • "We do not consider any of the admin resignations related to the current events to be 'under a cloud' (under suspicion) though we also realize that the final decision with respect to this lies with the community." Who considers any of them "under a cloud"? The community considers their resignations principled acts of bravery. There is no way around it: this is an insult to each & every one of them. The board would have done far better not to even raise the idea.

I suggest the Board prepare a better statement. Otherwise, the English Wikipedia will continue to crumble away. -- llywrch (talk) 03:57, 3 July 2019 (UTC)

This text "to move forward together to ensure the health and vitality of our communities" indicates that we want to move forwards as partners.
With respect to "under a cloud", some of those who have commented on this here among other places mention it. I consider resigning to be a legitimate method of protest. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 04:10, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
To your first point, @Doc James:, the sentence you quote implies a partnership. This statement, I regret to say, is written as if it were issued by corporate PR department. I can't fully trust any statement written in that voice. Why not explicitly state, for the record, that a partnership exists? Unless that would prevent the Foundation from further arrogation of the project communities rights & freedoms.
To your second, I had to look carefully to find that phrase mentioned there. About three people mention someone else claiming that there was a "cloud" over this one resignation -- which is insufficient proof a negligible number of people thought this. Instead, by repeating this rumor of an allegation, the Board has given it some validity. A cynic would describe this as weaponizing the Streisand effect. These merely emphasize my opinion that the Board's statement was poorly written. -- llywrch (talk) 06:50, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
The goal was to try to return us to where we were before these recent events and invite back those who took admin actions in protest, specifically User:WJBscribe and User:Floquenbeam. There was no nefarious intent. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 23:50, 3 July 2019 (UTC)

This is an empty shell statement, Board. You will hand over to ArbCom (who have already rejected this case) but that will be just a pro forma case. Either ArbCom disappoints the targets AND WMF .. or it will lose the trust of the community (was the upcoming ArbCom verdict truly based on evidence and weighed against OUR policies .. or instructed by WMF .. or to just do the opposite of what the unban option does). The waters around banning Fram are too muddied. Your only way is to rescind the ban completely, and have a fully open trial from ArbCom (if there is one ..). And forget what you cannot disclose, that 'evidence' is inadmissable. Yes, you may have lost this opportunity, you have muddied the waters.

The rest of the statement ... that is what you should have done 3 .. 5 ... 10 years ago. But now, the feeble attempt by the community to fight harassment have been set back for years. You have destroyed the little we had, and now for sure the targets within our community will not feel safe to report in public, to ArbCom .. or to WMF. --Dirk Beetstra T C 04:13, 3 July 2019 (UTC)

  • I think the boards declaration is spot on and am happy with it. I am also personally inclined to give the WMF benefit of the doubt on this issue regarding the ban even if I think it is a bit harsh. However I can also see and sympathise with the other point of view on this issue. It seems as though many feel that the WMF has acted unilaterally without proper community consultation or adherence to existing community procedures. My general observation is that there is concern by community members that the WMF might be overstepping its powers and this is a significant reason why so many people are concerned. In short this banning issue has brought up a potential bigger underlying issue of the WMF's growing administrative presence in what would otherwise be a community function. It seems to me that support for the declaration or the disciplinary action against Fram by many people does not equal comfort with the WMF's growing administrative presence in what would otherwise be a community function. Also that is it leading many people who would otherwise support the disciplinary action to dispute it due to this fear.--Discott (talk) 04:19, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
  • I would like to thank the board for this statement. I wish it had come out a week or two ago, but I'm happy it's here. I know a consensus statement from a large group of people is almost impossible. I also respect the fact that it's not appropriate for the board to manage line workers - the board sets expectations for the ED. In that context, it's no surprise that the statement has holes you could "drive a battleship through". The aspirations are great, but implementation is difficult. The community hasn't figured out how to handle harassment, while WMF hasn't figured out how to communicate with the community. Both things need to happen if this statement is going to be worth the paper it is(n't) written on.

    At this point, Fram's ban is beside the point. T&S could have said "we're issuing this ban, and this is what we can say". The community could have said "we'd like someone to review it", and T&S could have said "we'll work with the arbcom on that". Not a thing would be different, Fram's supporters would still be upset, but the impact on the community would have been much smaller. The problem here is much bigger. We have a problem of communication between the community and WMF staff, and we have a problem of trust. When T&S says "trust us", but I have no idea who "us" is, and I have no idea how to even find out. I'm not a new Wikipedian, and I'm probably more aware of WMF and what it does than most of the community, but prior to this, I was really only aware of T&S because they were the people who could verify identities when admin accounts were compromised. We also have fractures within the community - editors are upset with other editors, in some cases over this, in others because this dredged up older disagreements.

    We need to do our part to improve the way we deal with harassment - not because we own WMF something, but because we owe that to our fellow Wikipedians (and ex-Wikipedians). But it doesn't hurt to show good faith when you're asking someone to do something. We want better communications from WMF. We need a line of communication that doesn't involve tapping into your network to figure out who you know who works there and whether they have enough clout to have an impact.

  • So thanks to the board for doing this. It's an opportunity to break this terrible, soul-crushing impasse. Guettarda (talk) 04:20, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
  • Is it a step in the right direction, or just turning to look in the right direction? At least it is a good faith effort. A Code of Conduct is needed, with a grievance procedure that respects both confidentiality and natural justice. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 05:52, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
  • I think this is a sensible and helpful statement. In fact it's the best response to this kind of issue I can remember from any WMF board - if conversations about the Image Filter or Superprotect had been conducted with this level of maturity and reflection, we'd all be in a much happier position today. For those of you wondering about board-ED relationships: Katherine will have been involved a great deal in discussions around this, and I very much doubt that the Board would have said this unless they were sure she had bought into it - particularly as this involves directly reversing some of the things that WMF have previously said about e.g. OFFICE bans being non-appealable. Now all we need to do is to get our own act together on creating an environment where admins are responsible for setting a good example of calm and constructive conduct. The Land (talk) 07:29, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
  • Why did it take so long to release this statement Abote2 (talk) 22:49, 3 July 2019 (UTC)

Discussion (board statement) - Random section break

  • The real test is what will T&S do if ArbCom determines the length of 0 days, resysop, and an unconditional apology is in order? Will they again, take control of the reins of their unilateral control, or accept that the community disagreed with their actions and respect that? Legal issues, child protection issues, and more complicated copyright issues are one thing. It's another to be told that they view this whole thing as a matter of a "debate on toxic behavior", demonstrating a clear I didn't hear that level of sentiment. Here's the truth: The community disagrees with your unilateral, initially unappealable level of moderation. Every single negative T&S action regarding Fram should be undone, and the community and Fram issued a clear and unconditional apology. This statement is not it. Tutelary (talk) 04:48, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
    Let's find out. Jehochman Talk 04:57, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
    To be clear, if ArbCom determines the length of 0 days, resysop, etc., I will fully support it. T&S would have to defy the board, me personally, ArbCom, and the assembled group of good people in the community. That's not going to happen.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 07:53, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
    I am coming late to this, and maybe that is a good thing, as it seems that I was just editing away normally while all this storm was blowing up. It did not intrude at all, and I have texted several other editors, who also did not know. It is good to arrive at a moment of resolution. I do wish the Board statement were less "lswyerish" and more directive, and I really wonder why it did not begin with we are sorry as this all seems to have been quite unnecessary. But I do also find it reassuring that the founder of the whole show takes a clear position right here. We have never "met" but thank you Jimbo seems appropriate. I believe I'm a pretty moderate person, despite life's challenges, but I do also believe that there the Board Chair probably needs to, as they say, consider her position. I see clearly a case that they failed to support the community, the first priority, to lead, and to remain neutral in their statements on the specific case. I believe the same applies to the Head of the Orwellian-sounding "Trust and Safety" function, who obviously decided to extend the team's activities into an area which has always been community regulated. That did not just happen. I fear that this also raises a question for the "CEO"-type role of ED, as that person must have signed off on all this, in some way, but we cannot change too many leaders at once. I am wholly sympathetic to anyone genuinely harassed but I am worried that an important concept is being stretched by some. Modern society, in some few countries where there is leisure for it, and a culture which allows, has become perhaps over-sensitive. I have no tolerance for rudeness, for example, but I do not think we can allow chasing of editors because someone's feelings were inadvertently hurt. I would, in such a case, apologise and carry on. I hope the list of lost Administrators shortens rapidly now and that the important work on English, and all, Wikipedias and related projects, rolls on.Twilson r (talk) 08:48, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
  • It seems as if some here would not be satisfied unless the WMF Board came to the community on its knees, tugging its forelock, and begging for forgiveness. That was never going to happen, and it never will. Bureaucracies and social organizations simply do not work that way, especially considering that (from their point of view) the Board works hard to raise the money that keeps the lights on and the servers running. The statement they issued is clear enough, apologetic enough under the face-saving surface, and does what it can do without kissing our asses to undo what has been done and allow the community to continue once again to police itself. It puts T&S back to its former mission, without decimating it or disheartening the workers there; they have essentially been told that they fucked up. This statement is about the best we're going to get, and is sufficient in all its aspects for us to move forward. People who are agitating for something better are just pissing into the wind. Beyond My Ken (talk) 04:52, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
    • Preposterous. This is a power grab disguised as a consolation. Not a goddamn thing has changed. ArbCom could have conducted an independent review of the Fram situation on its own weeks ago, or even days ago. It refused to do so, rightly, because it was moot. It is still moot after this statement. All that the Board is doing is treating ArbCom as its Solicitors General and requesting that they give their input as to what the penalty should be. That is not self-governance, that is integrating ArbCom into WMF. Chief Justice Jay did the right thing when he refused to issue an advisory opinion to President Washington. Here too, ArbCom should refuse the Board's attempts to arrogate to itself ArbCom's legitimacy to carry out its own dirty work. Unless and until ArbCom is given the power to make an independent, final, binding determination of Fram's guilt or innocence, and is provided all the information (which is trivial given everyone on ArbCom is bound by NDA), then this matter is nowhere near resolution. —/Mendaliv//Δ's/ 05:00, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
I don't know why you would say it is moot. Arbcom has been given (actually, always had, under our longstanding traditions which predate the existence of the WMF) to make an independent, final, binding determination of the path forward here. In ArbCom policy there is still the possibility of appeal to me personally, which I think is important as a matter of checking any potential future tyranny by ArbCom, but in this particular case, I am saying that their decision will be final.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 07:53, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
      • Doc James (who is, remember, on the board) says that he interpreted this to mean that ArbCom now has final jurisdiction over Fram's fate. His statement was cautiously-worded given the sensitivity of the topic, and I agree that we really need a formal statement from T&S backing down from some of the positions Jan took above before we're safely out of the woods (the way this is worded gives me the impression that T&S hasn't been looped into or signed off on a particular implementation for this decision yet, which means there could still be some pushback or resistance), but this is still a hopeful step forwards - it's pretty clear the board doesn't unhesitatingly have Jan's back on the whole "T&S is handling conduct issues now, no appeals are possible, no additional information is available, goodnight" thing. I mean - yes, it's not an unambiguous "you screwed up, do what the community says", but if you were the head of T&S, would you push forwards the way they behaved in the early parts of this after reading a statement like that from the board that is ultimately in charge? I certainly wouldn't. --Aquillion (talk) 05:34, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
        • Doc James has no authority to interpret that statement, and his claim of "legislative intent" (presuming that's a thing with joint statements) is meaningless. What matters is what the words are, and those words are insufficient. —/Mendaliv//Δ's/ 05:39, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
          • I have the authority to interpret that statement for myself. And I'm telling you, it says what Doc James say it says.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 07:53, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
          • Doc James is one of the people who authored that statement. His indication of what it means is as authoritative as we're likely to get short of another statement by the full board. --Aquillion (talk) 05:49, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
            • Ridiculous. The intent of the writer is meaningless on something that's adopted by a vote. The clearest indicator of its meaning is the meaning of the words. If you need to look to intent, no individual board member's voice is any stronger than another. —/Mendaliv//Δ's/ 07:41, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
    • I would be content if the Board openly acknowledged that the project communities are partners with the Foundation, not somehow subordinate to its whims & decisions. I believe that is what lies at the root of this affair & our anger. -- llywrch (talk) 06:54, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
      • This is what the word 'agreement' in the statement means. My own view is that T&S works for the community in the same way that the WMF works for the community. (And what that means is, as I have said in the past, is that the WMF, T&S, and the community all work for the goals of the encyclopedia, i.e. the WMF doesn't work on the basis of an assembled mob, anymore than the community is an assembled mob. It is the values and work that takes precedence.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 07:53, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
  • I may be old fashioned, and it may be modern, IT era, jeans-and-T-shirt methodology, but there is something decidedly lacking in good business practice. The very next logical step in professional protocol would be a letter to the Community from someone very high up in the WMF and preferably including an announcement of the resignation of one or more department heads. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 05:15, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
    • While I'm all for the "sacrificial lamb" school of public relations in some situations, we can't just sit here and let ourselves be placated with some poor scapegoat's bladder on a stick. The Board has proved with this letter just how little they get it, both by treating ArbCom as an advisory opinion generator and by claiming the right to absolve anyone of resigning adminship under a cloud. That isn't ArbCom's job, and that isn't the Board's right. —/Mendaliv//Δ's/ 05:21, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
  • I am a bit late to the party, but I think this statement is a good step forward.--Ymblanter (talk) 05:43, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
  • I am 100% OUT on doing another site maintenance task of any type until this is resolved properly. This includes for me particularly New Page Patrolling, Articles for Deletion, RFA commentary, vandal revision (of which I do very, very little anyway), and notice board participation. I am not your unpaid intern, WMF. Carrite (talk) 05:46, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
  • In ArbCom's open letter they wrote "We ask that the WMF commits to leaving behavioural complaints pertaining solely to the English Wikipedia to established local processes.". The WMF responds with "We support ArbCom reviewing this ban". Wow, thanks. And maybe give people some training too? WMF, you're spoiling us. This is classic 'divide and conquer'. Mendaliv is right: a power grab disguised as a consolation. Thanks, but no thanks. I'm out. Yintan  05:47, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
    • Further on in that letter: "If the Trust & Safety team seeks to assume responsibility for these cases, they should do so by proposing an amendment to the arbitration policy, or an equivalent process of community consensus-building". --Rschen7754 05:57, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
  • I'm honestly not sure what I think about the Board statement - I think I need some time to process it but I do know this...Isn't it kind of sad that we all have to sit at our keyboards and parse out what we think the Board might have meant... I wish everything were just a tad clearer. Shearonink (talk) 05:59, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
    I recommend interpreting ambiguities the way we would like them to be, and run with it. If WMF sees good things happening, they are unlikely to try to stop them. Jehochman Talk 06:03, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
    I've read a lot of the comments above, and a lot of them are assuming that the worst possible scenario will happen. People are worried that T&S won't give ArbCom all the evidence. Well, let's cross that bridge when we come to it. We are still waiting on a statement from both WMF and then ArbCom. --Rschen7754 06:10, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
  • I have nothing against Fram, and I don't know enough of the facts (no one here does, apparently). But I'm so, so glad the WMF took the original action. Tony (talk) 06:00, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
  • I was mostly waiting at the sidelines but this statement is unsatisfactory. It contains no clear commitment to defer any and all cases to ArbCom that are related to behavior on this project nor does it provide any changes to the stated "T&S decisions are final" policy. It's nice that ArbCom is supposed to review their actions in this specific case but what about the next person banned without ArbCom involvement? Will they have to wait for a few months and millions of lines of discussion as well before the Board decides that in their case they might allow ArbCom review? @Doc James: Was creating an appeals process for people sanctioned by T&S discussed at all or is this a one-time exception because so many people made a fuss about it? Because this is a constitutional question, as Jimbo put it and it needs to be resolved for all future actions, not just this one. Regards SoWhy 06:12, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
    It is really difficult to assume that ALL cases, without knowing their nature, will be delegated to ArbCom. Quite clearly e.g. combating child molesters or severe copyvio, as well as possibly some cross-wiki harassment requires either well-established and lawyer-backed institutions or a body external to just one project. I think it definitely makes sense to try to establish procedures that are community-driven in some cases (and we have some good start in steward organization as well as ombudsman commission), but we need to start moving. Also, I think there is still a lot we can do about harassment handling within the community. Pundit|utter 06:51, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
    You are correct of course. I was talking about behavior related cases where there are no legal requirements to act immediately. I should have clarified that. Regards SoWhy 07:12, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
    User:SoWhy As Jimmy says "Any further action of this type from T&S will not happen without agreement from the community. There should be no fear here that T&S would defy the board, me, ArbCom, and the gathered best users in the community." There will not be further cases until there is agreement from the community. Thus no need to commit to defer future cases to arbcom. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 14:55, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
    IMO, a key issue is that it needs to be as clear as possible where the demarcation between ArbCom and T&S lies. One of my main concerns with this matter is that T&S didn't explain why they didn't trust ArbCom to resolve the problem. Nick-D (talk) 07:21, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
  • As feared, mainly boilerplate and no contrition for the violation of the community. The Rambling Man (talk) 06:41, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
@SoWhy and The Rambling Man: that statements seems pretty clear about what the WMF sees as the way forward. Here's how I read it: Wikipedia and other large projects should come up with their own ways to deal with harassment, and we'll help you with that. We care and support projects being self-governing and having their own standards. We'll restore the status quo, and we'll be re-assessing our newer contentious policies in light of this. In the absence of strong community guidelines on how to deal with harassment, we consider the ban done in good faith with due diligence from T&S, and, out of precaution, the ban will remain in effect until ARBCOM can decide whether or not they agree in light of the evidence we can make available and their own investigation. If ARBCOM thinks the ban is warranted, it will remain in place under ARBCOM's authority. If ARBCOM thinks it is unwarranted, or that alternatives to bans exists, they can overrule us and impose something else. Finally, we consider the current ways of dealing with harassment to be lacking and in need of an update. Updating the relevant policies and processes is something that needs to be done together, rather than separately. That seems pretty reasonable to me. Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 06:45, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
What it needed to say was "we're sorry we destroyed the community, destroyed the faith they might have had in us, and yes, we will now defer to Arbcom to do the job they were elected to by the community which should have been the approach from the very start, and we're sorry about that too". The Rambling Man (talk) 06:49, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
Headbomb Yup. Tony (talk) 06:50, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
The Rambling Man I have much more faith in the WMF than I do in en.WP's broken, dysfunctional structures. The hysteria is making fools of us, damaging the brand, and likely to prompt embarrassing international coverage. Chill. Tony (talk) 06:52, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
The brand? Do you seriously believe this should rise and fall on the value of WMF's intellectual property? —/Mendaliv//Δ's/ 06:55, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
I am chill. In fact, since the destruction, I've been so chill about Wikipedia, I wish I'd done it 14 years and 150,000 edits ago. The Rambling Man (talk) 06:56, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
  • Guys, this is the literal best they could do. I'm racking my brain for a better way to say it and still operate effectively as a governing board and I can't think of one. They basically threw T&S under the bus, told them to back down, and said that the unappealable ban should be reviewed by ArbCom. Short of firing someone, they couldn't have done anything else more concrete. They weren't going to fire Katherine as it isn't practical, and Jan is way too low level to be fired by the board. This is a step in the right direction. It isn't the end of it, we still need to see how the staff will implement it, but this is non-profit board speak for Our staff really screwed up, we're trying to fix it, and if the staff doesn't implement it satisfactorily, they can intervene as needed. TonyBallioni (talk) 06:58, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
    I disagree that Jan is too low-level to be fired by the board. This is the second time he has pissed off a major Wikipedia community (de.wp being the first) and he has proven himself either unable or unwilling to address whatever reasonable demands for information that the community has requested. I would imagine that someone like that would be a liability for an organisation so wholly dependent on willing volunteers to do the heavy lifting. Jan needs to go (or at least be kicked into a position where he cannot interact with the communities writ large) to make way for someone who is at least willing to answer direct questions within reason. —A little blue Bori v^_^v Bori! 07:13, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
    Well, they could have created some rules for the next time T&S oversteps instead of focusing just on this case. One of the problems with how Jan and his team handled the case was the "our word is final, deal with it" approach that made them immune to the criticism and forced the board to step in. If there had been an established appeals process for T&S actions that Fram could have used, I'm certain a large amount of the current unpleasantness could have been avoided. This is where the statement is lacking and which could definitely have been included. Regards SoWhy 07:26, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
    I think we actually agree (largely). The board certainly can do that, and should, but stepping in with sweeping resolutions now without thinking through it could cause more problems, and there are issues with undermining staff: even if they had fired Katherine, they likely wouldn't have wanted to publicly force the interim ED into a certain way of doing things. Those things happen in discussions with the board and ED, and then are communicated to other staff. I think everything you say is true, and likely will happen in the future, but what I was saying here was that as an initial statement in a moment of crisis, I don't think we could have asked for much more without waiting longer and suffering more hemorrhaging. TonyBallioni (talk) 07:42, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
  • This is a decent statement (and I don't agree with some of the hysterical reactions) but it could have been better. Waiting for the arrival of Jan's tomorrow. WBGconverse 07:01, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
  • It's not a bad statement. By far the best we've seen so far. But I agree that this statement is still woefully inadequate. This is clearly a calculated statement of neutrality, attempting to take some sort of middle ground between the Foundation's action and the community's disgust. It essentially confirms that Fram did not breach the ToU clause that he was banned under, but was instead a "toxic" "unblockable" who the Foundation wanted to make an example out of. It's not about harassment. It never was. It wasn't that serious. The board instead wants us to focus on eliminating uncivil behavior, not so much on self-determination or editorial independence. That's the clear message they're sending. And that's not the answer we're looking for. Shame. Behavioral standards vs an encyclopedist's value has always been a grey area. The notion that we err too far on the side of the latter and need to shift more towards the former is not a foreign one. In fact, I agree with it. But this statement is not a solution. This is an insulting, lecturing response where we needed an apology and promises of amends. Any such changes that the community needed to make should have been the caveat to the acknowledgment of the damage caused. Not the primary theme of your message. Fuck. Not good. Not self-aware. Not attached to the community culture. Not hopeful. We waited weeks for this non-committal statement? Not good enough. ~Swarm~ {sting} 07:03, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
    • It essentially confirms that Fram did not breach the ToU clause that he was banned under, but was instead a "toxic" "unblockable" who the Foundation wanted to make an example out of. It's not about harassment. It never was. This. We've had good reason to suspect it since WMF made a statement to BuzzFeed News claiming that he was blocked for incivility and that incivility is contrary to the TOU (protip: It isn't). I was hoping on some level that it was a mistake. We now know with a high level of certainty that WMF views contracts with its users as optional, and will breach them to remove an editor that it finds inconvenient. This cannot continue. —/Mendaliv//Δ's/ 07:11, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
      • I don't know which ToU you read but foundation:Terms of Use #4 seems pretty clear that civility is a requirement. Regards SoWhy 07:17, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
(Prohibited behavior per this ToU clause that was supposedly breached)
Engaging in harassment, threats, stalking, spamming, or vandalism; and
Transmitting chain mail, junk mail, or spam to other users.

So, no. Petty incivility, or the Civility policy in general, is not even mentioned. ~Swarm~ {sting} 07:21, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
That's right. The clause of §4 that was supposedly breached doesn't even talk about civility. Moreover, the context of §4 makes absolutely clear that civility is not grounds for terminating service. I quote:

We encourage you to be civil and polite in your interactions with others in the community, to act in good faith, and to make edits and contributions aimed at furthering the mission of the shared Project.

Emphasis mine. Encourage. Not command, not require, not mandate. Moreover, look at the other items in the list: Make edits/contribs aimed at furthering the mission of the shared Project. Do any of us believe WMF can ban you for making edits/contribs aimed at something other than furthering enwiki's mission? Seriously, search the TOU for the word "civil". It's not commanded anywhere. —/Mendaliv//Δ's/ 07:28, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
Lists that start with "These activities include" are by definition incomplete and behavior not on the list might still be a violation of ToU. Regards SoWhy 07:31, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
(edit conflict)On top of what SoWhy says, the TOU also state: We reserve the right to suspend or end the services at any time, with or without cause, and with or without notice. So can we please stop playing legal games here? They are 100% within their legal right to ban anyone they want for no reason whatsoever. They shouldn't because it'd be idiotic, but they can. They are also not the government, so they don't have a legal duty to turn over exculpatory evidence as you've claimed above. They should because it is fair, but there is no legal duty for a private organization to turn it over. There are many valid reasons to critique the WMF for this situation, but insinuations that they're breaking the law or are likely to break the law are off-base and not helpful. TonyBallioni (talk) 07:33, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
That clause means "suspend or end the services". "The services" are Wikipedia. It's not a blanket authorization to ban anyone for no reason, it's a blanket authorization to go out of business. It's also not a blanket authorization to engage in bad faith.
They are also not the government, so they don't have a legal duty to turn over exculpatory evidence as you've claimed above. You're right, WMF probably doesn't have a clear legal duty to do so, though they do have a legal duty to treat Fram with good faith and fair dealing in executing the TOU, and furthermore any attorneys involved in the preparation of any documents or any of these actions who are assisting WMF in perpetrating a fake trial by withholding evidence are and should be subject to professional discipline. I am fairly confident, actually, that someone inside the organization will get in some minor legal trouble in the future, and having insider knowledge of these events will offer up WMF lawyers if they do engage in such skulduggery. Just remember counsel: You may have a duty to report the ethical violations of other lawyers.
insinuations that they're breaking the law or are likely to break the law are off-base and not helpful I never made any such insinuation. Breach of contract is not a criminal violation of the law, and having employees engage in unethical acts that could subject them to professional license discipline is also not a criminal act. —/Mendaliv//Δ's/ 07:40, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
If you read section 12, it quite clearly is referring to terminating the ability of an individual to access the site as the entire TOU is written in that way, and that particular section is particularly focused on bans. Your other arguments basically fall apart when you realize this: they can kick anyone off this website for any reason or no reason, with or without notice. Stop making this legal: it is doing nothing to advance the discussion. TonyBallioni (talk) 08:01, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
If you read section 12, it quite clearly is referring to terminating the ability of an individual to access the site as the entire TOU is written in that way, and that particular section is particularly focused on bans. Not at all. Section 12 describes the technical and legal effects of bans and terminating the TOU (i.e., as part of winding down business operations), it has absolutely nothing to do with authorizing bans. Your other arguments basically fall apart when you realize this: they can kick anyone off this website for any reason or no reason, with or without notice. Completely false and provably so just by reading the contract. And honestly, your own argument disproves itself: If WMF wants to be able to ban any user for any reason or no reason, then everything in Section 4 is superfluous. That's not how contracts work. WMF wrote this contract of adhesion, and they can be held to its terms. —/Mendaliv//Δ's/ 08:06, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
  • Incivility is absolutely a clause in the ToU (as it should be.) But it wasn't what they initially said they banned Fram under. And that does matter, at least in terms of dissecting what happened here. I do think that T&S legitimately thinks Fram violated the term they banned them under, but I also suspect they saw it as getting Al Capone for tax evasion - taking advantage of a chance to justify something as being within T&S scope to ban someone they believed should have been banned by the community for incivility long ago. If that was the case, it should be obvious by now why (regardless of whether you think Fram should have been banned or not) that was a terrible approach, since it put them in a position where they couldn't give their real reasons for Fram's ban, couldn't explain to the community how we could change our policies to avoid this in the future, and couldn't even articulate what the underlying problem was beyond vague references to the community "failing" in some non-specific way, since admitting that they didn't trust ArbCom to ban Fram on the evidence would undermine their argument that this was a T&S issue solely because of privileged information and would essentially be admitting that even with all the evidence the community as a whole probably still wouldn't have gone for a ban, at least under our current policies. If the goal was to encourage the community to strengthen its enforcement of WP:CIVIL, especially when it comes to longstanding editors, then this was one of the worst possible ways to go about it. (And if their goal was to take on enforcing WP:CIVIL themselves, it was still a terrible idea, both because it's impractical for them to do so and because if they can't state the real reason for the ban then it's not going to have the impact they want on enwiki's culture.) --Aquillion (talk) 07:36, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
  • Incivility is absolutely a clause in the ToU (as it should be.) I stopped reading right there. Actually read the TOU before posting next time. It's not a clause. —/Mendaliv//Δ's/ 07:47, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
  • *headscratch* From the summary: Civility – You support a civil environment and do not harass other users. From the body: We encourage you to be civil and polite in your interactions with others in the community, to act in good faith, and to make edits and contributions aimed at furthering the mission of the shared Project. It's clearly described as part of the purpose of section 4 in both the abridged and complete version. Actually, the only way I misspoke in that it was the summary of the clause they said they banned Fram for, though not the specific reason they gave. --Aquillion (talk) 07:55, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
  • Also from the summary: This summary is not a part of the Terms of Use and is not a legal document. And from the very language you quote out of the Terms: We encourage. That is not a mandate. That is not a requirement. That is not a prohibition. That is aspirational language. Just as that same sentence does not render it a violation of the TOU to engage in non-encyclopedia-building activities like writing the Signpost, it does not render any acts of impoliteness or incivility TOU violations. —/Mendaliv//Δ's/ 08:00, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
  • I did not know what to expect, but the statement leaves me......slightly underwhelmed; probably it's all they could agree on in good conscience. On one hand, seems like they are kind of bending over backwards to leave a good impression towards the community, but on the other hand the at least slightly condescending tone when they state that no admin resignation is to be considered under a cloud...not their point to make at all. It's morning in Europe, so I need coffee and more time to digest this. Lectonar (talk) 07:32, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
    • They also said that while they don't consider it to be under a cloud, whether or not the community considers this under a cloud is up to us, so if we want to resysop or desysop people, you won't see WMFOffice wheelwar over this. Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 07:47, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
      • As it should be, so why mention it at all? Lectonar (talk) 08:00, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
        • So we can calm down, and stop wondering or making meta arguments about whether or not we're allowed to choose. Their answer: We can. Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 08:12, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
        Lectonar, Someone up thread explained it well, but my summary is: someone on the board wondered if these resignations might be considered "under a cloud" by the WMF or T & S or the board, and they wanted to clarify they didn't feel that way and any such decision could be made by the community itself. S Philbrick(Talk) 17:41, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
  • If this is a statement that ArbCom can review and vary the decision about Fram's ban, then this is a move in the right direction. Doc's comments indicate that is the Board intent, so I hope that is right. These new harassment/behavioural office action bans, as distinct from the long-standing ones for child protection, legal issues etc, need to be reviewable by ArbCom in every case. T&S should share all the evidence, inculpatory and exculpatory, with ArbCom so they can conduct a valid review and Fram should be afforded natural justice before a decision is made. If this needs to be done in private because of the nature of the evidence, I trust ArbCom to do it properly. T&S should not be in the business of accepting harassment/behavioural complaint evidence from complainants that is not disclosable to ArbCom, otherwise ArbCom cannot do its job. Peacemaker67 (click to talk to me) 07:33, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
  • I saw this last night, and decided to sleep (and think) on it before commenting. I have to say I'm disappointed by all the negativity I've seen here. We were never going to get a "Fram's unbanned, we've fired someone, we've disbanded the T&S team, and WMF will never again play any part in addressing harassment" statement, so those who would not be satisfied with any less than that were always going to be disappointed. I also strongly disagree with the "Someone should be fired over this - it doesn't matter who specifically did what, someone must go" line. What we effectively have is "ArbCom will review the ban, WMF won't unilaterally issue any more like it, and WMF will work a lot more closely with ArbCom and the community over the harassment issue in the future". I agree that not allowing ArbCom to see all the evidence is problematic - but if there was evidence presented to T&S with the explicit condition "Do not share with ArbCom/anyone", that has to be respected. ArbCom can reach its own decision based on the available evidence, and we'll have to see what happens then. I really don't see what more we could have expected, I think this is the best we could have hoped for, and I think it's time for a bit of AGF. Let's not dismiss the proposed process until we've seen the result. Boing! said Zebedee (talk) 07:44, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
    Having now seen the follow-up clarifications from Jimmy ([1], [2], [3], [4]) and the statement from Katherine ([5]), I'm now seeing this board statement as actually significantly better than I had hoped. It gives ArbCom the final say in Fram's ban, and we have concrete assurances that there will be no more similar T&S actions without community agreement. Jimmy has come down strongly in support of the community here, and we should recognize that and thank him for it (and the rest of the board, of course). Boing! said Zebedee (talk) 10:34, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
  • It's a particularly poor statement - we still have no indication what T&S are treating as harassment, we still have no idea whether tough but necessary enforcement of copyright or BLP policies which can necessitate an administrator going through every upload or every edit to a BLP that a user makes can now be considered harassment. It's like, I dunno, someone complaining about police harassment, but every time they're stopped and searched, they're found to be carrying a knife and a bag of heroin. And then the police officers being sacked. I know, sadly, that many of the employees now working for WMF have precious little knowledge and understanding about what actually goes on here, they're not experienced editors, they're not experts in copyright policy, they're not writers with a deft touch for accurate prose that can't be misinterpreted. They're people I can sadly believe can mistake essential administration for harassment. In short, I've absolutely no fucking confidence AT ALL that Jan and his group would know proper harassment if it fell out of the sky and hit them square between the eyes. And that's a massive problem, given there's very definitely proper harassment going on. And it's a massive problem given WMF Office acts as judge, jury and jailer. Nick (talk) 07:48, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
  • The only way to end a Mexican standoff peaceably is for deescalation. I read this as the WMF at least pointing their gun at the floor and would like to thank them for that. I note that no one on the WMF side seems to be being made a scapegoat, unlike some I take that as a positive; this is or has been a confrontation between the WMF and this community, rather than blame some hapless staffer for the whole thing we are moving to the discuss phase of a rather big BRD scenario. I like that ARBCOM now get to review the case, I'm not that bothered that some evidence may be withheld, providing that all involved, including the complainant(s) accept the principle that if you have a complaint but aren't prepared to give evidence, then there is less evidence to consider. I am concerned that "We encourage Arbcom to assess the length and scope of Fram’s ban, based on the case materials that can be released to the committee." If read literally, doesn't mean that case materials can be released to Fram. This raises various concerns about natural justice that should annoy lawyers and those who care about civil liberties. But it should also worry those who want to make Wikipedia a less toxic editing environment. Fram is currently on a one year ban, unless Arbcom turns that into an indefinite ban, if Fram isn't told what behaviour he needs to change, you risk him coming back to the community as an editor who is now careful not to tell Arbcom to F*** itself and instead has to remember to describe them as a bunch of gormless bampots and screenagers with damaged attentions spans, but who hasn't learned not to do whatever is that so riled up the T&S people. I'm OK with someone on a permanent ban never being quite sure whether they got that ban for their outing, harassment or their paedophile advocacy as we aren't trying to rehabilitate someone we permanently ban. But if we are going to temporarily ban someone it is rather important that they know what behaviour they need to change if they are ever to return to the community. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, the board talks about dealing with unblockables, but without defining who the unblockables are. Since a key predictor of where one stands on the Framban is whether one admires/respects/fears Fram as a Beowulfian character who fearlessly pursues assorted unblockables, or whether you consider Fram himself to be one of the unblockables, this is a bit of an omission. I have previously made the point that if the WMF want to make the community a less toxic place, a good point to start would be to acknowledge that just a few years ago under the last ED but one, it was Arbcom who had higher standards of civility and could only desysop but not ban an admin who was also a WMF employee. In that case it was Fram who threatened to block one of the unblockables if they continued to issue death threats on IRC. I think the WMF has come a long way since then, having them now thank Fram for his actions six years ago would be a good way to start a discussion as to who if anyone is "unblockable" in this era, and who we should cut more slack for or be less confrontational with. ϢereSpielChequers 07:53, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
Here is a more realistic interpretation on the so called death threat. Can't really believe so many usually insightful editors have such a dim view of the de-sysoped but unbanned former WMF employee. We ought to be on guard that our renewed desire to avoid harassment doesn't result in us insta perma banning anyone who makes an occasional unwise joke or passionate outburst (Which is sometimes a healthy response to passive aggression.) Other than this, I strongly endorse this statement by WSC. It's especially impressive there is no sign of the scapegoat play, a great many lesser orgs would have stooped to that effective but unfair tactic. FeydHuxtable (talk) 08:30, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
If WereSpielChequers invokes this example from 2013(!), he then should know that the very same hour Fram unblocked Kiefer.Wolfowitz (talk · contribs · deleted contribs · page moves · block user · block log), conducting a wheel war against another sysop. A hero who fought against unblockables? Very dubious. As for Ironholds, IRC is generally a nasty place and historically never held to anywhere near the standards of civility that Wikipedia enjoys. Incnis Mrsi (talk) 08:39, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
Incnis Mrsi, do you know what a wheel war is? It is reversing an already-reversed sysop action. WBGconverse 08:58, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
Was unaware if this definition. Sorry. Incnis Mrsi (talk) 09:04, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
  • Should probably look at User_talk:Katherine_(WMF)#Response_on_behalf_of_the_Foundation nableezy - 08:10, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
    • The two new office action policy tools introduced during the last change (temporary and partial Foundation bans). Under the approach noted on June 17th, we will seek further community feedback on those changes. These new tools will not be used again until community consultations to clarify their purpose and mechanisms are completed; I think that's a big win for us tonight. Can't say this is the end of it, but it's a big one. —/Mendaliv//Δ's/ 08:15, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
      • I dont quite see that as the win you do. A consultation is not a commitment to seeking an agreement with the community, and there still seems to be their view, implied at least, that such actions remain in the WMF toolkit in the future. The ArbCom letter asked for a commitment that enWP only actions be dealt with by enWP, and I dont see a whiff of that anywhere. nableezy - 08:21, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
        • Sure, but you make demands, you listen to the offer, and you compromise - anyone expecting a 100% capitulation from WMF was living a fantasy. Boing! said Zebedee (talk) 08:33, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
          • I would like to agree with Mendaliv. I think that's an important concession. I would like to see a firmer statement in the end but as someone else said a page or two back (I have read for 10 minutes solid) too clear a position by the Board could have led to a crisis within the Foundation. If the Director is not being fired then they need to be allowed to fix their house and if they were fired, a new Director would insist on this even more. The Board's job, in a charity same as in a company, is to set policy and only to intervene operationally in emergencies and then only as much as needed. I do think this "T&S" unit should have been directed to stick to its limited tasks and that the assignment to the ED should have been more specific but it is obvious that there is an element within the Board which supported this expansion of "T&S" reach. Any such Board members should probably now resign, and allow the community to replace them with people who actually understand self-governing large-scale volunteer movements. I would actually suggest a history lesson. The Foundation has grown from single digits when I first met Wikipedia, to around 300. I believe that maybe someone must remind staff they the Foundation was created to support the volunteer work, not try to direct it. Wikipedia predates the Foundation, and may well outlast it.Twilson r (talk) 09:05, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
  • Let's be clear: if the WMF is "giving permission" to the arbco to review the ban but not to effect any change to it, then that is no permission at all. ——SerialNumber54129 09:06, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
    I'm no expert on this topic, but did you see this above: Arbcom has been given (actually, always had, under our longstanding traditions which predate the existence of the WMF) to make an independent, final, binding determination of the path forward here. In ArbCom policy there is still the possibility of appeal to me personally, which I think is important as a matter of checking any potential future tyranny by ArbCom, but in this particular case, I am saying that their decision will be final.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 07:53, 3 July 2019 (UTC) I would note both a clear statement of the position and the note that this "predates the existence of the WMF" as well as the option of a further appeal. I have missed what seems to have been a fraught few weeks but I would hope people would give this small Foundation organisation a chance to show that it has learned, and understands its limited role now. As one of the basics I learned in this very community, Assume Good Faith. Twilson r (talk) 09:22, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
    @Twilson r: Yes, you have missed what seems to have been a fraught few weeks, and as such you will desist from attempting to patronise people. Those of us still approaching the WMF's actions with a semblance of good faith are—certainly were—in a rapidly decreasing demographic. ——SerialNumber54129 09:29, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
    @Serial Number 54129: Concerning "if the WMF is "giving permission" to the arbco to review the ban but not to effect any change to it...", these follow-up clarifications from Jimmy Wales provide the answer - [6], [7], [8], [9]. Boing! said Zebedee (talk) 10:18, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
  • For me, the issue is not Fram (sorry), but the extension to conduct management of the star chamber procedures originally introduced for the most severe cases, for instance: the handling of legal issues, threats of violence, cross-wiki abuse, and child protection issues. This is represented by the two new "tools" the office awarded themselves in February, namely temporary and partial bans. Any changes in the long-established practices of dealing with toxic behavior within the communities should be introduced carefully and only following close collaboration with the communities. I quite agree, but that is not what is proposed here. The unilaterally imposed tools are to remain in place, albeit temporarily unused during a consultation about how they should be used. That is inadequate. Kanguole 10:24, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
  • My first thought on the statement was that it was a whole load of waffle, nothing was changing and that the Arbcom thing was more of an advisory thing however reading the replies Arbcom can overturn the ban and essentially can do whatever theyplease[10].... which I'm generally pleased with,
The wording could've been better or atleast simpler but meh I guess this is a step forward in some ways. –Davey2010Talk 10:33, 3 July 2019 (UTC)

Perhaps the WMF should be given an opportunity to redraft their letter, as it demonstrates that they are out of their depth and not coping. I printed off their letter this morning, so I could review it in the way that sixth-form tutors would look at a students university application letter. Reading between the lines it is obvious that this boilerplated text was written for members of WMF to help them understand what the issues were not as a serious response to the situation. So what could have been changed.

  • The Greeting- placeholder, be more specific and less chummy.
  • Para 1. An acceptable content free filler.
  • Para 2. Name Fram, you do later. ToCs be specific, which? The call for a response, specify, enumerate, and expand- that wasn´ t the only call for response. This artificially limits the scope of the statement- reading between the lines this is an admission of general failure.
  • Para 3. Before quoting the 5 pillars, make sure you have read them . I assume you are not talking WP:5P5 but mean WP:5P4. It links to WP:CIVIL but also says- Seek consensus, avoid edit wars, and never disrupt Wikipedia to illustrate a point. Act in good faith, and assume good faith on the part of others. Be open and welcoming to newcomers. Should conflicts arise, discuss them calmly on the appropriate talk pages, follow dispute resolution procedures,
  • Para 4. This paragraph should be recast to accept that the staff acted in good faith, but we hadn't given them clear enough guidelines, and will revise the procedures. It would be a stronger statement if a sentence were included to the effect, after taKing advice from the WP community.
  • Para 5. This is hand wringing, an internal management issue and should just be omited. Nothing is obvious except under an extreme right wing political paradigm, perhaps the WMF needs advice from the Quaker community on how to manage, or failing that from the en:wiki community.
  • Para 6. This paragraph needs to be rethought. It may be the belief of non-wp members of the WMP but this is contentious. The community sees this as their remit, and would like to ask the WMF for assistance on a case by case basis. Assistance not imposition. The community does not use the term unblockables, and you have not defined it here. Never us the term 'in fact' with out a reference- such imprecision is anathema on WP. It usually flags up an 'unsupported proposition as it does in this case. The last sentence the verb is 'may', but the conjecture 'needed steps' that have just been parachuted in is toally meaningless.
  • Para 7 & 8 can be considered content free waffle
  • Para 9 show that the WMF is attempting to get to grips with focussing its staffs attention, but using a Trump top-down paradigm, which is inappropriate. 'Propose' could be replaced by accept.
  • Para 10 Scratch the first sentence- T&S is unheard of, outside the WMF, and when writing the WP article the phrase 'over-reached' themselves will be prominent. Limiting them to a far less prominent role is a very good idea- I would go further and suggest that 'technical compliance to the law in .... I would be mindful of the laws relating to 'malicious allegation's'
  • Para 11: could be made stronger by starting with "we endorse the long-standing practices ....;a should be introduced carefully any changes.
  • Para 12 Looks good until you read it. ArbCom should be charged to review the case and T&S should submit there case in writing, if they decide they want to pursue the issue. If they do they must be prepared to release all the papers to ArbCom, having first got their witnesses written consent. As the victim in this case, Fram should be reinstated until a judgement has been by ArbCom. ArbCom should still have the option of dismissing the case for lack of evidence.
  • Paragraph 14: reads as if the board is trying to limit the scope of the debate, and is folled by unrealistic aspiration.

I have put these observations on paper to help the wikipedians on the board explain to the outsider exactly how their actions have been seen, by concerned wikipedians who in their off-wikilife are used to employing staff, and presenting papers to senior civil servants and ministers or their professional bodies. I have suggested that the board redrafts the letter using the suggestion above. We understand exactly what the nature of their problem is, and are willing to help them. Just ask don't threaten.ClemRutter (talk) 10:26, 3 July 2019 (UTC)

This seems to be in the wrong section. Not that I can connect it much to the board statement (or make much sense of what this is supposed to be in the first place), but you mention pillars, and only the board statement referred to them. Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 10:49, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
It was in the wrong section- I took the liberty of moving it. Clem - good to see someone seems to have mastery of the teachings in Gowers plain words. It's possible though that once your consulting experience goes all the way to multilateral institutions, you might better appreciate the difficulties in achieving perfect precision in a statement from a multilingual board, which obviously has internal differences of opinion, and was under time pressure to produce this statement. It's still my view the board statement was rather good all things considered, other than the omission to recommend an immediate un-ban. And hopefully you're not so critical about the outstanding follow up statement from the ED? FeydHuxtable (talk) 11:05, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
It was in the right place when I did the preview! -- but then a couple of edit conflicts, and a burst of intrusive real life and the world had changed. Whoosh. Thanks for the fix. I´ll have a look at the follow up statement when I get the next thinking window. ClemRutter (talk) 14:24, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
  • I appreciate Jimbo's comments stating that Arbcom has the power to reverse the ban or order a re-sysop, but the Office actions meta page will need to be updated. Currently at, under "Partial Foundation ban," it states They are final and non-negotiable. There are no exceptions listed. I realize this is a tricky spot and a bit of wiki-lawyering, but if this is not done the correct way with the correct documentation then it opens the door for who knows what from other globally banned users. Mr Ernie (talk) 11:16, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
  • I've annotated the Foundation's statement with Jimbo's comments on the matter:
Annotated statement


The Board is a deliberative body and we strongly believe that it is important that we consider issues of high importance thoroughly. We realize that for many of our community members our silence has been frustrating, but we genuinely used this time.

A recent ban of an editor by the Wikimedia Foundation under the Terms of Use on the English Wikipedia has generated discussions and debate. There were calls for the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees to respond to the discussions.

Almost three years ago, the board published a strong statement against toxic behaviors and directed the Wikimedia Foundation teams to work to make Wikimedia communities safer for all good faith editors. A safe and respectful environment is not only one of our five pillars, it will also allow for more diverse voices to join our communities, bringing new knowledge with them.

While we remain fully committed to this position, we also recognize the critical importance of allowing communities to be self-governing and for the movement, as a whole, to make high-level decisions. While we realize that the Wikimedia Foundation staff did not take this decision lightly, we also believe that we need the right processes to reach the right results.

It is also evident that existing processes within the communities and T&S have failed, as we have cases which obviously need some form of sanctions, in which sanctions have not occurred.

We believe that the communities should be able to deal with these types of situations and should take this as a wake-up call to improve our enforcement processes to deal with so-called "unblockables". In fact, those in a position of authority should be held to a higher standard. We also recognize that the communities may need support to carry out these needed steps.

This could include funding for training of community members involved in dealing with harassment or helping long term contributors correct behaviors that are inappropriate. We support the provision of the necessary resources to allow the community and its representatives to discuss these issues with the board and staff members.

Even the larger projects struggle to effectively address the most difficult and controversial cases. There is a gap between our movement principles and practices. This is an issue we need to solve together. That is a task that needs to be led by the communities, with the support of staff and guidance from the board.

As such, we have asked Katherine Maher, CEO of Wikimedia Foundation, to work closely with staff in support of our communities to identify the shortcomings of current processes and to propose solutions. This could include current and upcoming initiatives, as well as re-evaluating or adding community input to the two new office action policy tools (temporary and partial Foundation bans).

Any further action of this type from T&S will not happen without agreement from the community. There should be no fear here that T&S would defy the board, me, ArbCom, and the gathered best users in the community.
— User:Jimbo Wales 07:32, 3 July 2019 (UTC)

We recognize that T&S has established a track record for managing highly complex situations. While the aforementioned conversations between T&S and our communities take place, we recommend T&S focus on the most severe cases, for instance: the handling of legal issues, threats of violence, cross-wiki abuse, and child protection issues until consultation and agreement between T&S and the community are achieved.

This is what the word 'agreement' in the statement means. My own view is that T&S works for the community in the same way that the WMF works for the community. (And what that means is, as I have said in the past, is that the WMF, T&S, and the community all work for the goals of the encyclopedia, i.e. the WMF doesn't work on the basis of an assembled mob, anymore than the community is an assembled mob. It is the values and work that takes precedence.
— User:Jimbo Wales 07:53, 3 July 2019 (UTC)

Any changes in the long-established practices of dealing with toxic behavior within the communities should be introduced carefully and only following close collaboration with the communities. As discussed above, we have directed the Foundation to take on that conversation.

We support ArbCom reviewing this ban. We have asked T&S to work with the English Wikipedia ArbCom to review this case. We encourage Arbcom to assess the length and scope of Fram’s ban, based on the case materials that can be released to the committee. While the review is ongoing, Fram’s ban will remain in effect, although Arbcom and T&S may need ways to allow Fram to participate in the proceedings.

To be clear, ArbCom do have the discretion to overturn the ban. They are fully authorized to hear the appeal, and I will personally back ArbCom on whatever they decide
— User:Jimbo Wales 07:25, 3 July 2019 (UTC)

To be fully clear (I'm saying this multiple times in the thread) this is not asking ArbCOm for an advisory opinion. It is a recognition that the traditional rights of the ArbCom remain valid. ArbCom has the authority to review this ban.
— User:Jimbo Wales 07:43, 3 July 2019 (UTC)

To be clear, if ArbCom determines the length of 0 days, resysop, etc., I will fully support it. T&S would have to defy the board, me personally, ArbCom, and the assembled group of good people in the community. That's not going to happen
— User:Jimbo Wales 07:53, 3 July 2019 (UTC)

We do not consider any of the admin resignations related to the current events to be “under a cloud” (under suspicion) though we also realize that the final decision with respect to this lies with the community.

The Board views this as part of a much-needed community debate on toxic behavior. In spite of the considerable disruption this has caused for many, we hope this serves as a catalyzing moment for us to move forward together to ensure the health and vitality of our communities.

The chair has formally delegated this matter to the vice chair and was not involved in the issuing of this statement or in any of the deliberations that led to our response.

On behalf of the board,

I have hope in the statement, given the annotations and explanations provided by board members such as Jimbo and Doc James. Bellezzasolo Discuss 11:20, 3 July 2019 (UTC)

Discussion (board statement) another random section break

In connection with Jimmy's statements, even the current wording offers everything practical that is needed. Sure, it s worded it's worded in a bureaucratic fashion, but it's coming from a bureaucratic body, and, by the standards of the way such groups say things, it's quite straight-forward. As is typical with WP matters, dozens of quibbles can be made about possible remaining ambiguities, but basically, 1)The ED admits she was wrong, 2) the arb com gets the decision, and 3) they won't do it again--the areas mentioned where they will continue to act are their traditional areas. Just as the WMF original action made evident the way their manner of working is inappropriate for routine community affairs, the subsequent objections here makes evident the way our manner of working has long prevented action. DGG ( talk ) 15:52, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
  • Whatever it is what the statement means, I am concerned by one issue that is not addressed; that WMF:T&S is an option for persons who perceive themselves as targets of Harassment - there is no indication I can see what process will be in place who do not wish to go through a local wiki process (dispute resolution 'et al') and approach the WMF directly. It is to be remembered that Framgate was initiated by a party going to T&S. I think it imperative that the concerns of anyone wishing the anonymity of going outside of the local community to a body tasked with dealing with issues in camera is considered, while also ensuring that any findings and evidence do not form the basis of actions without input and review by members of any community that is directly effected (preferably by those with a demonstrated degree of trust) is fundamental. Only in this way can we ensure a safe environment for all parties. I hope this can be clarified as soon as possible. LessHeard vanU (talk) 21:16, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
    I agree with that, and I want to add that there is a very thorny issue that will have to be worked out: how to deal with forum-shopping in this regard. Sometimes, "I don't trust ArbCom, so I'm going to T&S" really means "I think ArbCom will see that my complaint has no merit, so I'll see if I can convince T&S". --Tryptofish (talk) 22:03, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
Sometimes, "I don't trust ArbCom, so I'm going to T&S" really means "I think ArbCom will see that my complaint has no merit, so I'll see if I can convince T&S" That's the concern. Actually, that's what many people think happened with Fram. --RaphaelQS (talk) 01:39, 4 July 2019 (UTC)
Franz Kafka: Das Schloss
... about alienation,
  • unresponsive bureaucracy,
  • the frustration of
  • trying to conduct business
  • with non-transparent,
  • seemingly arbitrary
  • controlling systems ...
  • Late reply - yesterday I was busy Franz Kafka whose work seems related. I try to assume good faith, very generally so, and believe that the statement we discuss was written in good faith. I have serious problems with the concept of "toxic behaviour" on which it is all based. I think it's a vague term that we better avoid altogether instead of basing actions on it. What is toxic behaviour? What is perceived as toxic behaviour, and by whom? I have my conflicts with editors but would not say "toxic" of anybody I encountered. This includes Fram, who was more often right than I was, and always factual. I am no native speaker of English, - do I have a language problem? - I am a content writer, so had no idea of Wikimedia Foundation Board noticeboard/November 2016 - Statement on Healthy Community Culture, Inclusivity, and Safe Spaces existed, where "hostile" and "toxic" are used in a summary, - not in the header. Can we do better? - A 2014 Wikimania speech aimed at more "kindness, generosity, forgiveness and compassion". In the name of that, and for more transparency, I believe that Fram should be unbanned (best by those who banned him), and then the normal community procedures of conflict resolution could take place. --Gerda Arendt (talk) 07:54, 4 July 2019 (UTC)
Well Gerda, it's like this. You can say you have a language problem about yourself, but you mustn't say that about someone else. There's probably bits about that in The Trial.--Wehwalt (talk) 08:58, 4 July 2019 (UTC)
If everybody but me knows what the term means, could someone then please explain:
  1. What is toxic behaviour?
  2. What behavior is so "toxic" that it can't be discussed openly?
  3. How can we avoid aspersions as to what may have happened and who complained, caused by the secret handling? --Gerda Arendt (talk) 10:36, 4 July 2019 (UTC)
If those things were defined, Gerda, then the banned would be able to argue that they didn't do anything wrong, you see. But it's a moot point, as no appeal or reconsideration is allowed. That simplifies matters.--Wehwalt (talk) 10:49, 4 July 2019 (UTC)
If they are not defined how come that I'm the only who doesn't swallow it? - Next could be that 3 people complain about the obnoxious things I allegedly did, or you, and I, or you, get silenced? --Gerda Arendt (talk) 11:45, 4 July 2019 (UTC)
That could be, against someone who pursued what would be a risky course of action in going against the flow. After all, you don't file a noise complaint about late-night knocks on the doors of the other apartments in 1937 Moscow.--Wehwalt (talk) 11:51, 4 July 2019 (UTC)
Gerda. 'Toxic', like 'going viral' and a host of other words, is an example of the pathologization of speech modes. It is beloved of 'social media' (networks of tacky self-boosterism, exponents of braggadocio in learning mode and trollish antipathies shared by assorted Hikikomori, attention-deficient gossips, and kill-time boredom sufferers, worry-warts, and, mostly, nice folks who don't have a sufficiently stimulating social life and think talking with the former can be a fascinating ersatz for the deterioration of companionship in our 'neighbourhoods'). We even have comical attempts to theorize it, that gather up anything from expressions of mild distaste to death threats under that omnium gatherum rubric (Anne McTavish, Toxic Language). The consequences of its advent were set out by Marshall McLuhan in his The Gutenberg Galaxy (1962:pp.31ff) that electronic media would lead to a retribalization on a global scale of humanity, 'constricted into a space resonant with tribal drums', meaning the new expressive inclusiveness of communications would transform from modernity's metropolitan urbanity into squabbling hothouses of village resentments. Even he was anticipated by W. H. Auden, in his early post-war poem, Under Which Lyre which forecasts much of what we have here.
But, rein in (not, as I have frequently observed here 'reign'). The outcome of any debate or argument hinges, in most social places, on the groundtone of the terms interested parties promote to govern any argument, one where metaphors which tend to ring a stronger tinkle in people's ears win over the dull logic of propositional cogency. The tendency to go for ballistic hyperbole, even in discussing rather humdrum situations, is now so thoroughly ingrained in mainstream speech and writing that we no longer even recognize how the ground has shifted under our feet. What is being promoted is the intimidation of tolerance of the vernacular and the shoehorning of thought into a bureaucratically regulated straightjacket. 'Toxic' as in McTavish's essay can embrace any phrase an interlocutor might bridle at because, to their minds, it is disrespectful or slightly irritating, through to the other extremity of the linguistic diapason where real-life threats are uttered. The use of words like 'toxic' to span verbal behaviour so loosely inclusive that it embraces anything from a put down, a snarky aside, anything smacking of a lack of total focus of your interlocutor on your personal pursuit of blandishment, consideration or dignity - to incitements to suicide, pedophilic innuendoes and death threats, can only translate into a flustercuck of exasperation. No one can define 'toxic' as used here, but non-toxicity is what is being used to define 'civility'. Don't take it, or the people who use it, seriously.Nishidani (talk) 13:03, 4 July 2019 (UTC)
I understand all that, thank you. But the whole ban and what followed is built on it, and as the low end of aspersion wouldn't explain the secret handling, we are led too assume worse, no? Where did AGF go? See also, in case you missed it. --Gerda Arendt (talk) 13:19, 4 July 2019 (UTC)
@Gerda Arendt: Milk is toxic to flora, and so fauna cannot be permitted it. LessHeard vanU (talk) 20:52, 4 July 2019 (UTC)
I learned two things today: we have toxic workplace and respectful workplace, and we know what to prefer. --Gerda Arendt (talk) 21:35, 5 July 2019 (UTC)
  • This statement from the board, together with the director's statement and comments from Jimbo and Doc James, restores my confidence in the WMF. I am very grateful for it. The language is rather vague and bureaucratic, but the commitments are clear and very helpful. Thank you, GreyGreenWhy (talk) 10:13, 4 July 2019 (UTC)
  • Though I agree with the comments that this statement is vague and bureaucratic, the substance of it as well as Jimbo’s comments assure me that this situation will be satisfactorily resolved and something like this will not happen again. As such, I have ended my strike. —pythoncoder (talk | contribs) 14:15, 5 July 2019 (UTC)

A stunning lack of perspective by the office

LauraHale, BURob13, Ansh.666, Nick, TheDJ, Jc86035, Gadfium, Boing! said Zebedee, Kusma, Dennis Brown, Lectonar, GB Fan, WJBScribe, 28bytes, MSGJ, Floquenbeam, Ad Orientem, MikeLynch, Breeblebrox, Jonathunder, Department of Redundancy Department, Deor, Spartaz, Voice of Clam, Bradv, The Rambling Man, David J Wilson, Yintan, EllenCT, Davey2010, Reyk, Fish and Karate, Pythoncoder, Sitush, Winged Blades of Godric, Wiae, Praxidicae, Enigmaman, Nishidani, Smeat75, Javert2113, Tazerdadog, Carrite.

How many more people are going to resign tools, go on strike, or outright quit altogether over this fiasco that only got as bad as it did because of the WMF's grave errors in dealing with this?

Literally all we've asked for over the course of this is an explanation as to the time-limited ban, why ArbCom could not have handled this, and assistance bringing our policies in re harassment in line with what the WMF expects. Every single question has been met with boilerplate, irrelevant tripe, or silence. The fact that there is a sizeable chunk of people here who mistrust the WMF's statements, both from the board and from Maher, can be directly attributed to the extreme amounts of stonewalling and provocation caused by WMF employees, especially Jan Eissfeldt, who for two weeks was our point of contact (Assuming he was the one using the WMFOffice account) and who for two weeks made it clear he had no intention of listening and responding to the community's concerns, even the ostensibly reasonable ones. This in turn led Fram to control the discourse, and thus far very little of what he has said in re evidence has been directly refuted, if anything at all.

In addition, regardless of how you feel about Fram, his behaviour, and everything else about him, the way the WMF handled it made them look like Keystone Kops. Even to this day, we still have no answer to why the ban is time-limited, no believable answer as to why ArbCom cannot handle it (though the board statement kicking it to ArbCom is a step in the right direction, the initial question still remains), and deafening silence as to where our policies are deficient. Jan has pointedly refused to engage with all three, the Board can't, and while the ED signed off ultimately it falls to T&S to pull the trigger. The end result, if it was intended to curb harassment, spectacularly failed. LauraHale is gone for good, thanks to Wikipediocracy and Raystorm, ostensibly on different sides, fanning the flames in damn near identical ways, and people are starting to think that the harasser in LauraHale vs. Fram was LauraHale herself. The now-deleted Signpost special report decided the Seigenthaler incident was a great thing to try and emulate and published a uncorroborated accusation of sexual harassment against Fram, again making Fram look like the victim of harassment (and Fram claims this incident happened during an ArbCom case, and that the edits in controversy are still live). In short, by mishandling this as horribly as they have, the WMF has tacitly accepted the harassment of Fram by on-wiki methods and the harassment of LauraHale by both on- and off-wiki means. There is no way to spin this into a positive thing - WMF royally botched this. —A little blue Bori v^_^v Bori! 21:08, 3 July 2019 (UTC)

Jéské Couriano, Sorry, but I need to push back on this — both the content and the curious timing. I trust you're aware that we have a long-awaited statement from the board and from the ED talking about a path forward that seems promising to many. It seems an odd time to repeat complaints that have literally been made 100 times before. Let no one misread this to think I believe the WMF handled this perfectly, but this diatribe doesn't even hint that there may have been some less than ideal handling by the community. While we frustratingly don't know the full details, it seems likely we know a lot about the history of the interactions, and a fair question is why the community was unable to respond. Regarding the time-limited ban, that has been explained in some detail. While there may be some open questions about why it's 365 days and not 90 or not five years, there has been substantial explanation of the new concept of ban that are both limited in time and scope. I still have some unanswered questions but that one is not near the top of my list. You challenge Jan for not engaging on three issues. I'll bet a weeks salary he has been directed not to and I support that instruction. You suggest the board cannot as if it's a deficiency but that simply means you don't understand the board's function. I see positive signs of a path forward and I strongly disassociate myself with just about everything in your post.S Philbrick(Talk) 21:58, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
I view the community's handling of this as something that can be addressed simultaneously with adjusting our harassment policies - a conversation we are only now starting because of how unhelpful Jan has been. I have read the board statement, and if you hadn't noticed I did address its reception here (mixed); I'm in the camp that it's deficient, but still an attempt at trying to help deescalate things and remand the ban to the community (via ArbCom). I also note that the LauraHale situation would likely not have escalated as much as it did were it not for Wikipediocracy's accusations and Raystorm's invocation of GamerGate; both of those directly led to the community scrutinising LauraHale far beyond any reasonable point. And as for Jan being instructed not to, such an order seems absurd on its face, as those three topics are very specifically (a) ones that could be answered without risking the anonymity/privacy of the complainant and (b) absolutely necessary in order for us to even start discussing how to change policies on our end. I do not accept Jan's boilerplate responces as suitable explanation for the ban's limits, in part because, as others have noted, Fram was abiding by any interaction bans, taking on board criticism, and improving behaviourally. The Board cannot answer these questions because the Board, per Doc, Raystorm, and Jimbo, were largely kept out of the loop on this until this blew up; I suspect if they could answer the three questions posed they would have in their statement. —A little blue Bori v^_^v Bori! 22:57, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
Jéské Couriano, I am totally on-board with a reassessment of how we handle harassment, include the challenging task of defining it, as well as rethinking our standard DR escalation model.S Philbrick(Talk) 18:05, 4 July 2019 (UTC)
I think, from here, we let ArbCom handle the situation with Fram, as that's what should have been happening from the beginning but at least it's what will happen now. They'll be able to hear all the evidence, and especially with the amount of attention, I believe that they will be very careful to make a fair and defensible decision. From there, let's see if we can at least find a silver lining in the whole thing. I think we can make improvements to the way we handle people who are both very skilled and repeatedly mistreat others. I can't say that I know exactly what that looks like, but it's true that it is a question we should give some careful thought to. Seraphimblade Talk to me 23:46, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
@Seraphimblade: I'm glad you made that point. I fully agree that as users gain more experience and advanced capabilities (adminship, etc), they also assume increased responsibility to be teachers, ambassadors of good will, and exemplars of good behavior. Sadly, that doesn't always happen, and we are not good about dealing with that. I see the hesitancy to reign in rogue admins even in my own behavior. I mostly work on deletion review these days. Sometimes we'll get a case where an admin did something that's totally outrageous, and I'll issue the mildest possible rebuke. Is it because I'm just a sucker for WP:CIVIL and can't bring myself to say anything harsher? Or is it that I'm unconsciously playing my part as a member of the WP:CABAL, loathe to call out a colleague in public? Sometimes it's hard to tell. -- RoySmith (talk) 19:28, 4 July 2019 (UTC)
RoySmith, so far as that goes, many of the names which come to mind when I think of "highly skilled and mistreat others" aren't admins (and probably wouldn't want to be). I also don't think that we should confuse frankness with incivility. If someone is edit warring to reinsert a BLP violation, for example, they are not going to get (at least from me) a "Will you stop that, pretty please?", they are going to get "You must stop that, and if you do it once again, I'll block you." Sometimes, delivering a stern warning like that can forestall the need to actually use the block button, so I see it as a less-bad outcome at least. My problem is more with editors who seem, for whatever reason, to feel the need to attack the motives of others. "You're a shill for $X/activist for $Y", "You want to screw up the article", and so on. The other thing I think we need to solve is the issue of editors who are unfailingly civil, at least on the surface, but still constantly engage in disruptive and tendentious behavior, and then are at ANI seconds after someone finally has enough and tells them to fuck off. So, I think it's a complex problem to solve, but well—we figured out how to make a reasonably reliable encyclopedia when anyone in the world can edit it, so I think we're capable of solving complex problems. We just need the will to do it. Seraphimblade Talk to me 20:54, 4 July 2019 (UTC)
Has anyone ever made a calculation of how many excellent editors/admins have been driven away, thrown in the towel in sheer exasperation at the amount of WP:IDIDNTHEARTHAT by editors, or abundant sockpuppets, who are quite polite but consistently use false edit summaries, tagteam, revert at sight solid edits out of ideologuical distaste? I think I could name, but I won't about a dozen solid contributors in the area I mainly worked (some of them extremely precise and mild mannered) who got banned from Wikipedia due to that kind of behaviour? In my own experience, I have seen far more passive aggressive baiting and gaming than I have vituperation or intolerant hostility. Everyone is asked to focus on the latter (shorn of the long context) and, since what we call content disputes are beyond arbs remit,-content disputes read carefully with some topic knowledge would tell any neutral admin who is being obstructive- this suggests to me we are just getting entangled in one more trap likely to hinder encyclopedic work rather than persuade nice kids to join and make superlative contributions.Nishidani (talk) 17:18, 6 July 2019 (UTC)

Open letter from the Arbitration Committee to the WMF Board

The Arbitration Committee has sent the following open letter to the WMF Board of Trustees, regarding the WMF ban of Fram.


30 June 2019

On 10 June 2019, the administrator Fram was banned from the English Wikipedia for one year as an office action initiated by the Wikimedia Foundation’s (WMF) Trust and Safety team (T&S). In a later statement, T&S Lead Manager Jan Eissfeldt clarified that Fram was banned for harassment, citing the passage of the WMF Terms of Use prohibiting “[e]ngaging in harassment, threats, stalking, spamming, or vandalism.” The Arbitration Committee (ArbCom) has followed with concern the English Wikipedia community’s reaction to this action. We have received three related arbitration case requests, and multiple editors have asked us to intervene on the community’s behalf. As of 30 June, two bureaucrats, 18 administrators, an ArbCom clerk, and a number of other editors have resigned their positions and/or retired from Wikipedia editing in relation to this issue.

ArbCom is a group of volunteers elected by the community to adjudicate serious conduct disputes in accordance with the English Wikipedia’s arbitration policy. This policy also delegates matters unsuitable for public discussion to ArbCom, and all members of the committee are required to meet and agree to the WMF’s access to non-public personal data policy. Over the years, ArbCom has passed responsibility for some matters, including child protection issues, legal matters, and threats of violence, to the WMF’s Legal and T&S teams. We are grateful for T&S’ assistance on these difficult cases and for their efforts to support ArbCom’s work in general. However, despite requests, we have not seen any indication that Fram’s case falls into one of the categories of issues that T&S normally handles, otherwise lies outside of our remit, or was handled by them due to a lack of trust in our ability to handle harassment cases. Rather, we must conclude that T&S’ action is an attempt to extend the use of office actions into enforcing behavioural norms in local communities, an area conventionally left to community self-governance.

Together with a large section of the community, we have been awaiting an adequate response to these concerns from the WMF since 10 June. The Board has yet to issue a statement, and sporadic comments by individual WMF employees (including the Executive Director Katherine Maher) have been non-committal with regard to the substance of the dispute. In the last public statement by Jan Eissfeldt (21 June) and in our private meetings, T&S have reiterated that they are not willing to reconsider the ban, nor will they turn the full evidence over to the community or ArbCom for review. The ban itself was actioned using a recently-introduced T&S process for local, time-limited bans, which although announced in T&S’ 2018–2019 Annual Plan, was not adequately communicated to the English Wikipedia community, and not subject to any form of community consultation.

We understand that this change in policy from T&S comes in the context of efforts to tackle harassment and hostility in the Wikimedia movement. Individually and as a committee, we fully support this initiative. We also acknowledge that ArbCom has struggled to handle civility and harassment complaints in a way that adequately balances privacy against transparency, and due process to the accused against victim protection. However, if the WMF have also been concerned about ArbCom’s ability to handle harassment complaints, they have not communicated this concern with us, nor have they provided any suggestions for changing our policies or procedures. If Fram’s ban—an unappealable sanction issued from above with no community consultation—represents the WMF’s new strategy for dealing with harassment on the English Wikipedia, it is one that is fundamentally misaligned with the Wikimedia movement’s principles of openness, consensus, and self-governance.

We ask that the WMF commits to leaving behavioural complaints pertaining solely to the English Wikipedia to established local processes. Those unsuitable for public discussion should be referred to the Arbitration Committee. We will solicit comment from the community and the WMF to develop clear procedures for dealing with confidential allegations of harassment, based on the existing provision for private hearings in the arbitration policy. Complaints that can be discussed publicly should be referred to an appropriate community dispute resolution process. If the Trust & Safety team seeks to assume responsibility for these cases, they should do so by proposing an amendment to the arbitration policy, or an equivalent process of community consensus-building. Otherwise, we would appreciate the WMF’s continued support in improving our response to harassment and hostility on the English Wikipedia.

We feel strongly that this commitment is necessary for the Arbitration Committee to continue to perform the role it is assigned by the English Wikipedia community. If we are unable to find a satisfactory resolution, at least four members of the committee have expressed the intention to resign.

Yours sincerely,

The undersigned members of the Arbitration Committee,

Molly White (GorillaWarfare)
Joe Roe
Opabinia regalis
Premeditated Chaos
Steve Pereira (SilkTork)
Dave Craven (Worm That Turned)

For the Arbitration Committee, GorillaWarfare (talk) 08:26, 30 June 2019 (UTC)

Discuss this at: Wikipedia talk:Arbitration Committee/Noticeboard#Open letter to the WMF Board
I linked this on meta at the talk pages of the board and of T&S. Grüße vom Sänger ♫ (talk) 09:44, 30 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Thank you for the letter. I'm passing it on to fellow Board members. Pundit|utter 10:14, 30 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Thank you for this thorough letter and for publishing it here. – SJ + 15:20, 30 June 2019 (UTC)
  • An excellent letter. Thank you, well done. --Tryptofish (talk) 17:16, 30 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Applause 👏👏👏 --Yair rand (talk) 19:27, 30 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Good statement. I am looking forward to the WMF response. --Dirk Beetstra T C 03:17, 1 July 2019 (UTC)
  • Not perfect, but plenty good enough to endorse! --Stephan Schulz (talk) 09:06, 1 July 2019 (UTC)
  • Thank you for your efforts; now to wait for a response...if one is forthcoming. Lectonar (talk) 09:09, 1 July 2019 (UTC)
  • Based on the available information this seems entirely reasonable, and I support this wholeheartedly. · · · Peter Southwood (talk): 11:16, 1 July 2019 (UTC)
  • Thank you for saying this. --Coemgenus (talk) 17:39, 1 July 2019 (UTC)
  • Thank you. This is why the ArbCom is respected. --RaphaelQS (talk) 19:25, 1 July 2019 (UTC)

The reason "unblockables" are, well, unblockable

Picture a chart. Along the top are the columns "toxic member" & "not toxic"; along the side are the rows "positive contributor" & "negative contributor". One could put every contributor to Wikipedia in one of these four boxes. Most would fall into the intersection of "not toxic"/"positive contributor", & pose no problem to Wikipedia's editing community. A few fall into the intersection of "toxic member" & "negative contributor", & while a problem to Wikipedia's editing community, they are easily handled with a permanent block/ban.

But what do we do with those who fall into the intersection of "toxic member" & "positive contributor"? This is where the problem lies, & there are no easy answers.

We can discuss this problematic type of person in the abstract endlessly, so let's consider another example: Eric Corbett. I figure any who has been on Wikipedia for more than a few months recognizes the name. I mention him because he has received a block for violating ArbCom rules two days ago. (I didn't mention either of two people who also come to mind as "unblockables" because they are either apparently inactive -- Tony Sidaway -- or were blocked only after having the dubious achievement of a WP:AN subpage devoted to him & complaints about him -- Betacommand.) If you look at EC's history, both under this name & as Malleus Fatuorum, you'll find countless examples of his abbrasiveness & offensive language, & countless examples of long-established & respected volunteers defending him. Even in the latest instance of him being sanctioned, you'll find this controversy.

My point here is not to discuss what he did to receive a sanction, but that what can T&S do better about EC than our existing processes? The only tools to deal with individuals like him -- or Tony Sidaway or Betacommand -- is to warn him, then either block him temporarily, or ban him indefinitely, which can either be done thru the current process -- which is more or less transparent & gives both sides a chance to make their case -- or thru T&S -- which is entirely confidential, & is guaranteed to leave at least one side angry over the outcome. Further, bans/blocks work only some of the time; when it doesn't, the person sanctioned becomes even more stubborn in their toxic behavior, which leads to more bans/blocks, etc. etc. I sometimes wonder if there was an alternative to using bans/blocks in the case of Eric Corbett, to convince him to modify his behavior so it was not as offensive, this vicious cycle never would have started. If the Foundation really wants to dispel the toxic environment that everyone complains about, they would look at ways to attack its causes, instead of arrogating the burden of dealing with it. -- llywrch (talk) 17:37, 5 July 2019 (UTC)

"Toxic member" & "positive contributor" & "many supporters" can be traced to two effects:
[1] Many editors are willing to accept toxic behavior by positive contributors.
[2] Many editors not only accept but actively encourage toxic behavior if they think the target deserves it.
Typically, ANI can deal with this. In cases where they cannot, Arbcom can.
What is missing here is the fact that we need the following ironclad rules:
RULE ONE: No ANI until it has been shown that ordinary talk page discussion has failed to fix the problem.
RULE TWO: No Arbcom until it has been shown that ANI has failed to fix the problem.
RULE THREE: No T&S until it has been shown that Arbcom has failed to fix the problem.
We are doing pretty good on rule one and rule two. Rule three, not so much. --Guy Macon (talk) 18:25, 5 July 2019 (UTC)
Because if you file an ArbCom case about an editor who has a sizable support group, you better have at least several dozen diffs of really, really bad behavior. Ef you only have a dozen, or if the behavior is not really, really bad, but just really bad, you typically do not stand a chance.--Ymblanter (talk) 18:54, 5 July 2019 (UTC)
As I discussed in another section and on another page, I agree that we need to remove the incentives for poor behaviour. I talked about how the shortcomings in English Wikipedia's content dispute mechanisms result in bad behaviour, but another motivation for abrasiveness is essentially to brush off users who aren't effective as editors and who don't appear to show potential to improve. If English Wikipedia can develop better ways to sort editors into those who can use time to become effective and those who should be discouraged from continuing to edit, and to provide more active guidance for a new editor, then abrasiveness wouldn't be needed to discourage editors. (Due to the immense amount of time required to provide active guidance, this might be an area where the Wikimedia Foundation could help with paid mentors.) isaacl (talk) 18:50, 5 July 2019 (UTC)
  • But what do we do with those who fall into the intersection of "toxic member" & "positive contributor"? This is where the problem lies, & there are no easy answers. I strongly disagree with this framing. Wikipedia is a collaborative project, and the ability to work well with others is therefore part of being a positive contributor; if someone is constantly abrasive and drives off people they work with, they are not a positive contributor. Even if they have good edits in other ways, this doesn't change the fact that they've hard-failed one of the essential criteria for contributing, nor is it likely to make up for the large number of editors they drove off or the contribution such incivility has on making some controversial topic areas nearly unworkable. The answer is very, very easy, people just don't want to accept it - if you are consistently abrasive to other editors, you should get a permanent block, and your other contributions have absolutely no bearing on this whatsoever. We wouldn't allow an editor with absolutely no respect for WP:V to continue editing just because they have excellent spelling and grammar; suggesting that writing good contributions excuses ignoring WP:CIVIL is no different. It's absurd and we need an unambiguous policy stating such. Of course, occasional slip-ups shouldn't get you blocked, and someone who has a lot of edits is likely to have more mistakes; but when it's clear that someone is being consistently, intentionally abrasive, or when it's clear they have no intention of following WP:CIVIL, they should get a block without regard for any other part of their history, because a refusal to edit collaboratively means that they are WP:NOTHERE to build a collaborative encyclopedia. (And, as mentioned above, it's a particular problem because the nature of conflict-resolution on Wikipedia actually incentivizes editors to be abrasive to people they disagree with if they think they can get away with it.) --Aquillion (talk) 19:04, 5 July 2019 (UTC)
    • So, just to be clear @Aquillion:, you'd support the outright ban of the three editors I listed above -- Eric Corbett, Tony Sidaway, & Betacommand? No matter just how valuable their contributions may be shown to be by a disinterested third party? -- llywrch (talk) 20:40, 5 July 2019 (UTC)
      • I don't think it's a good idea to write policy around individual editors (and the fact that we'd consider doing so, or feel that we might have to do so, is perhaps, part of the problem.) Clearly, an editor who refuses to follow a core policy should be blocked until they indicate that they;ll follow it; they don't have to support it or like it, but nobody can just ignore our policies. Likewise, an editor whose history shows a consistent, sustained refusal to follow a core policy should be blocked until / unless they can convince the community they're going to change. WP:CIVIL is absolutely a core policy - every bit as important to our mission as WP:V and WP:RS - and I don't think we should give individual editors a pass to ignore core policies based on their history. So it would depend on their willingness to adhere to WP:CIVIL and their ability to convince the community that they are serious in that regard and capable of doing so, just as with any other editor who has a history of problems following Wikipedia policy. While editors don't have to like policy, if an editor has indicated repeated, direct contempt for WP:CIVIL and has overtly indicated that they wouldn't follow it, that should be an immediate, on-the-spot block until they can convince the blocking admin that they've changed their mind; some things are tricky, but "I refuse to follow policy" is clear-cut. "Oh, but they have such valuable contributions!" is nonsense. Incivility drives off users, and sustained, consistent incivility from a highly-active user is going to drive off far more valuable contributors than any one editor could ever make up for with their individual edits. Furthermore, the nature of factionalism around controversial topics (and the fact that they're going to obviously be most abrasive to people they hate) leads people to underestimate the value of the editors who get driven off by incivility or the pointless disputes that waste our time and energy due to a few high-maintenance "diva" editors refusing to follow the fairly simple and lightweight requirements of WP:CIVIL. --Aquillion (talk) 21:26, 5 July 2019 (UTC)
        • @Aquillion: I couldn't agree more.
          Further, a fatal flaw in our system is the assumption that a tiny subset of editors who are mean enough or tough enough to participate in discussions like this can be representative of the editing community. And yet they determine policy and practice for everybody. I don't particpate much because I'm not quite mean enough or tough enough, but also because I see absolutely no will to address that root cause. The notion that we even approximate true self-governance is a mass delusion—if not for that barrier to entry in these discussions, I'm fairly confident there would be a very large degree of support for your comment. ―Mandruss  20:08, 7 July 2019 (UTC)
  • @Aquillion - there are not "four boxes". At most, they're fluffy clouds. If they had clear, rigid, barriers then things would be clearer.
As (unfortunately) we've already turned this into a named and personalised issue, then look at the question of "bad language" and the impossible question of whether that breaches CIVIL. Is telling another editor to 'naff off' acceptable? Is it acceptable 'if the other editor deserved it'? If the other editor is a subject expert who has only just appeared on WP? As we can't even agree a simple policy that some language (i.e. objective words) is outright unacceptable, then we can't make progress in such a greyer area (Probably the most offensive racially-loaded word was used just recently, and it was a long process and discussion about it before that editor (with a long alt-right track record) was indeffed).
There's also the problem of friends and cliques. Moments after the block you speak of, two other names popped up, both exemplars of this same "We are better editors than you are" clique. Such a self-supporting group is persistent and generally tends to dominate any discussion seeking to sanction any of them, yet I'd love to see those two gone and to spare the rest of us from their toxicity.
"Toxic constructive editors must go" is a red herring. It's never going to be a useful yardstick for us. Andy Dingley (talk) 12:12, 8 July 2019 (UTC)
You appear to be the only one who doubts the existence of these four categories. Everyone else in this thread accepts the validity of this categorization. Handwaving alone will not make your case. -- llywrch (talk) 20:01, 8 July 2019 (UTC)
  • Take a look at PaleCloudedWhite's comments further down. Andy Dingley (talk) 21:18, 8 July 2019 (UTC)
  • Did that username inspire the description as fluffy categorisation? It works for me, so it is just nearly everyone else who thinks that way. cygnis insignis 21:32, 8 July 2019 (UTC)
  • I think there are a few related problems. (1) Our processes require a reporter who is going to endure a lot of abuse. In this edit from a few days ago, an arbitrator says that arbitration requests should be filed by parties, not "busybodies". This is a completely ineffective approach. There should be some way for ArbCom (or someone) to undergo a comprehensive review of an editor's record without demanding that a reporter step forward to be a target of abuse for that editor's fans--or even worse, that a victim of the unblockable step forward to be the reporter/re-victim. Perhaps arbcom could accept private/anonymous complaints/evidence, and when they see enough from editors in good standing that relate to a particular person, they could open a public case about that person in which some of the evidence is presented by the committee itself. (2) Our processes typically entail the evaluation of one event or set of events rather than an editor's pattern of editing over a career. (3) Our representative bodies represent only existing members of the community and not those who could be members of the community but are not. Given our current editing environment, that means that people voting are going to be people who, when faced with a toxic editing environment, chose to keep editing here rather than find another hobby. They are also going to be people who are a demographic legacy of the site's geek roots. In other words, the women/POC who (on the whole) would demand a more collegial environment are not adequately represented in our current democratic system. This favors the retention of unblockables. It also means that the people who are designing our systems instinctively put themselves in the position of the accused, rather than the victim, and therefore overemphasize due process rather than the creation of an environment that is welcoming to the newcomers who will ultimately sustain this site. (What other volunteer environment requires a public hearing before you are sent home for antagonizing other volunteers?) (4) Our processes do not allow for the private hearing of public evidence. To be honest, I don't think this is critically important. If we solve #1 by allowing arbitrators to initiate cases, then there may be less antagonizing/revictimization of people who have previously interacted with the unblockable. There could be a public hearing that includes evidence submitted anonymously and then presented publicly. Calliopejen1 (talk) 19:35, 5 July 2019 (UTC)
@Ymblanter: (edit conflict)
I can accept most of this anaysis, till the the final lists
You write
[1] Many editors are willing to accept toxic behavior by positive contributors.
[2] Many editors not only accept but actively encourage toxic behavior(sic) if they think the target deserves it.
[3] Many editors accept the concept of geographic differences and register. You speak a different language with the squaddies than in the officers mess- a different language in Ćheetham Hill than Didsbury. If you want to be inclusive you don't criticise the squaddie when he answers back in his register.
[4] Many editors don't attempt to rachet up irritations into the offences and use aggressive language using clinical terms like 'toxic'
[5] Many editors believe years of service making positive contributions carries more weight than an imposed judgement made using an alien legal system made by officers with limited service.
RULE THREE: No T&S until it has been shown that Arbcom has failed to fix the problem, and requests assistance- which should come in the form of advice.
RULE FOUR: The language of sanction is inappropriate for volunteers with a decade or so of positive contributors, so require a full report to ArbCom of any such action, and a published redacted version of sufficient depth that would satisfy a local solicitor
It appears to be necessary to explain the opinion of a content provider of 15 years standing who never had any desire to become an administrator.ClemRutter (talk) 20:00, 5 July 2019 (UTC)
  • In my experience, one of the "steps" in any process, namely WP:ANI, is typically the place where toxicity spins out of control. The easy cases, the ones that fall into one of the "negative contributor" categories, are usually dealt with pretty efficiently. But the difficult cases turn into multi-day shout fests, and can leave well-meaning complainants feeling awfully beaten up. I think we all feel like "I know who is right and who is wrong when I see it", but if we were to compare notes, we would find that when something is obvious to me, it will be obvious to someone else that the opposite is true. I wish I could offer a solution, but I honestly have no idea what to do about it (other than not handing it over to T&S). --Tryptofish (talk) 20:36, 5 July 2019 (UTC)
    • I agree that that's part of the problem. ANI simply doesn't work for even vaguely complex matters as it's a peanut gallery, but there's nothing between it and arbitration (and the Arbs, quite rightly, don't want to take cases which haven't gone through ANI, etc, first). Moving the format of ANI to something along the lines of arbitration enforcement where the complainant makes a statement, the editor being complained about responds and the community and reviewing admins have clearly demarcated places to discuss the matter might help. A key problem is that ANI can lead to threads which are daunting for admins to wade into, and the debates can rile up people who then harass the admin who makes a call on the matter. That said, the broader problem with "unblockables" is that for some reason a noisy minority of editors are sometimes willing to put up with jerks if they're seen as being either productive jerks or jerks who are furthering a cause they approve of (for instance, if the jerk claims that that what's actually unpleasantness is an act of defiance against political correctness). If these jerks weren't coddled, most would probably improve their conduct fairly quickly and we'd be better off without the rest. Nick-D (talk) 23:09, 5 July 2019 (UTC)

Picture a chart. Along the top are the columns ... Here ---->>>>>  
Volunteer Marek (talk) 23:52, 5 July 2019 (UTC)

  • Responding to Aquillion's comment above, if someone is constantly abrasive and drives off people they work with, they are not a positive contributor, I agree with this, and the situation is not unique to projects like wikipedia. It's seen in industry too. Lots of big companies have their high-performing people, who also happen to be anything from just plain jerks to sexual predators. It's a case of, be careful what you measure. In industry, they measure lines of code written, or revenue generated, or quarterly increase in widget production. Here we measure edit count. What we don't measure is new editor recruitment, or current editor retention. Or even, collective editor time wasted at WP:ANI and the like. I'm sure we do measure those somewhere, but we have no way to tie the cost back to any particular editor. -- RoySmith (talk) 00:11, 6 July 2019 (UTC)
Aquillion above was asked specifically about "Eric Corbett, Tony Sidaway, & Betacommand". As for some reason prototypes of "toxic editors'. Annnnd you just compared them to "sexual predators". WTF??? Just... be careful of the words you write man. Think first.Volunteer Marek (talk) 00:19, 6 July 2019 (UTC)
I was just using that as a random example. I certainly wasn't implying it applied to anybody in particular. -- RoySmith (talk) 01:01, 6 July 2019 (UTC)
Ok then. Be more careful with your "random examples" in the future then.Volunteer Marek (talk) 01:05, 6 July 2019 (UTC)
Regarding Roy's analogy (which I don't read as comparing any Wikipedia editors to sexual predators given that the working is quite specific - VM, please stop trying to stir up trouble), companies are increasingly not putting up with high performing jerks as it's now widely recognised that doing so leads to a toxic culture and exposes the company to compensation claims. Nick-D (talk) 08:21, 6 July 2019 (UTC)
Funny thing is that I had an example from my off-Wiki life of a very useful person who is, however, a toxic person -- if one can equate "toxic" with "abrasive". This person probably knows the most computers of anyone I personally know; he can be presented with practically any computer problem & not only diagnose it but solve it. Yet he has a very abrasive personality, & habitually refers to any software he is working on at the moment as a steaming pile of crap. As a result, my acquaintance goes thru a lot of jobs. As a mutual friend once described him, "He always quickly finds a job, yet he just as quickly loses the job." I wonder just how well he would fare here on Wikipedia. -- llywrch (talk) 04:56, 7 July 2019 (UTC)
  • @Llywrch: I consider it insensitive to drag a blocked editor into a high-visibility page such as this one, when they cannot participate. Espresso Addict (talk) 03:18, 6 July 2019 (UTC)
You're most likely right, although he posted on a previous version of this page. But I think you'd agree that, based on his history, EC would also be a target of an unchecked Foundation T&S? And if Sidaway & Betacommand were still active on Wikipedia, so would they? -- llywrch (talk) 04:47, 6 July 2019 (UTC)
I think any moderately active editor, particularly those who try to help/guide problematic new editors or who act as quality controls on any form of content, might be a potential target for T&S; and perhaps particularly those whose cultural background does not mesh well with the West-coast US culture. Espresso Addict (talk) 05:30, 6 July 2019 (UTC)
Eg: me. - Sitush (talk) 09:33, 6 July 2019 (UTC)
Or me. Espresso Addict (talk) 22:23, 6 July 2019 (UTC)

It would be better if the notions of "positive contributor", "net positive", "net negative" etc. were abandoned in these cases, and people were only assessed on specific behaviour, rather than their overall presence. If a charity worker is caught driving their car in a way that breaks the law, do people say, "well, this individual does a lot of positive work for charity, so let's not prosecute"? Either someone has done something egregious or problematic, or they haven't. There is a difficulty in defining and assessing what constitutes problematic behaviour on Wikipedia, not least because it is an inherently confrontational site, but decisions about inter-editor conduct shouldn't be influenced by what editors have done elsewhere, how productive they are or how many friends they've got. Unfortunately, particularly when judges (admins) fraternise with defendants, this isn't always the case. PaleCloudedWhite (talk) 13:47, 6 July 2019 (UTC)

Well, no, people should be assessed on the whole of their contributions when it comes to sanctioning. But in terms of culpability, you're right, they should only be assessed on the specific acts. And with respect, your analogy is a bit off: If a charity worker is caught speeding, the government should prosecute despite that worker's good deeds, but the charity probably shouldn't fire that person. —/Mendaliv//Δ's/ 13:49, 6 July 2019 (UTC)
It depends on the type of sanctioning - in my comment, I wasn't thinking about an all-or-nothing situation (i.e. bans that kick someone off the site), but of lower level disruptions and consequences. PaleCloudedWhite (talk) 13:57, 6 July 2019 (UTC)
  • It would be better if the notions of "positive contributor", "net positive", "net negative" etc. were abandoned in these cases, and people were only assessed on specific behaviour, rather than their overall presence.
Absolutely It's objective, and the four-box categorization approach has already failed. Andy Dingley (talk) 12:16, 8 July 2019 (UTC)
  • I note that there are several examples of toxic behaviour exhibited in this very section. I needn't tell you which they are because you can easily find them. Of course, where you find them depends on your POV on the problem. And IMO that's the real problem with 'toxic behaviour'. It's just an ill-defined fighting word. Some people operate clearly outside the norms of acceptable behaviour. Sometimes it takes a year or more, but ultimately we get rid of them if they don't reform. Others are in the acceptable range but clash with others who are at the other end of the acceptable range. When that happens, there doesn't have to be a victim and a perpetrator. For me, a lot of those who are often mentioned as examples of toxic behavour or 'unblockables' are actually why I think of Wikipedia as a second home with nice people after all, despite all the chaos and conflict. These are nice people who tick like I do. When they act nice, I can be sure they feel that way and aren't dissembling. If I make a serious mistake and hurt them, I can rely on them to tell me so in a way that I can't miss and then immediately forgive me under the assumption that I got the message – without the need for any groveling on my side. It's enough if I say: "You are right, that was a mistake." (And I will say this when it is true. It is a sign of strength. No, not of weakness.) It is understood that I will try to set it right or at least not repeat it. Next time it may well be the other way round.
I would not want to work for a Wikipedia without users of this type. In some cultures such as the UK or the Netherlands they are the norm. In the US they are rare. Extreme specimens of this type will not be afraid of blocking Jimbo Wales for edit warring or an arbitrator for harrassing an editor on an ArbCom case page. If that is appropriate. – And then there is the other type of users. I will not try to describe them because I find it hard to do so fairly. I just don't get them. Some of them are OK, actually, but some of them constantly rub me the wrong way. Some admins of this type apparently try to make me feel small and worthless because they somehow imagine I have lower status because of this redlink.I don't know if it's true, but it appears to me as if they are more interested in power structures and powerplay than in actually building an encyclopedia. For me, these people feel toxic. I don't normally say so because I am aware that that's a subjective value statement that stems from a personality clash. However, some of them seem to have no restraint labeling people with a different personality as toxic. From my point of view that creates an inequality in power between the nice people on one hand and the toxic people who keep calling the nice people toxic on the other hand.
I realise that for explaining how these things feel for me I will of course be labelled as toxic by those at the other end of the spectrum who so far didn't mind me much. That's OK. I have come to expect this kind of toxic behaviour.
I don't know if it is constructive if we, the other half of Wikipedia, also starts labelling behaviour that we don't like due to personality clashes as toxic. Probably not. But so long as the term is being pushed by the WMF, which is situated in the US and therefore has a bias for the opposite end of the spectrum, I think we have no choice. Because if we let the law-and-order-and hierarchies crowd drive us all out of the project, this will result in a tremendous loss of diversity. Articles on sports personalities or warships will thrive as before, but ultimately something will be off in the articles on most arts subjects.
In short, toxic unblockables are unblockable because they are not actually toxic. Show me a toxic unblockable editor, and I will show you an editor who thinks that you are a toxic unblockable. Hans Adler 20:21, 6 July 2019 (UTC)
"Some admins of this type apparently try to make me feel small and worthless because they somehow imagine I have lower status because of this redlink." Are you seriously saying that some admins don't respect you because you've never stood for RfA? Beyond My Ken (talk) 10:48, 7 July 2019 (UTC)
Thanks for asking, Beyond My Ken... I thought that was the case when I returned in early 2013 from a 1-year wiki break (extremely busy life and annoyance over an incompetent Arbcom, especially Jclemens). My impression then was that many admins had forgotten about me and some were new and had never known me. And that this was the main reason for the unconstructive behaviour I was dealing with, which ultimately led to my following 4-year break. However, things seem much better now. And looking at those 2013/2014 conflicts today, it seems that somehow always Jhm649 = Doc James was involved – who has since fallen up the stairs, it appears, Maybe it wasn't a sudden influx of incompetent admins with a contempt for normal users, after all, but a bunch of admins specifically supporting Doc James on his POV crusade through baiting behaviour. Hans Adler 13:42, 7 July 2019 (UTC)
Know your audience. You're going to have a really hard time, at this moment, convincing most of the people here that @Doc James: is a bad actor. Beyond My Ken (talk) 13:51, 7 July 2019 (UTC)
Okay I warned Hans back in 2013 for civility issues[11] and again in 2014 for edit warring[12]. User:Beyond My Ken thanks for the ping. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 15:13, 7 July 2019 (UTC)
The first warning was sort of justified, but you were exactly the wrong person to make it and I doubt that anyone else would have seen a need at this point. The second warning was totally beyond the pale and is a good illustration for what I explained earlier. If you behaved in good faith, which I find very hard to believe. You were on the side of a tag team that removed a well-reasoned NPOV template from an article while a discussion was going on at the NPOV noticeboard, then used other typical WP:DR tactics at AN to prevent this from being corrected. Today, more than 5 years later, the article still has the same POV problem, which seems to have been originally introduced by a circumcision fetishist editor (in the clinical sense!) and never completely removed. It does not exist in the German or French articles on the same topic. The nerve to bring this issue up by yourself, 5 years later, is amazing. Hans Adler 17:22, 7 July 2019 (UTC)
Well actually you brought it up. And I think this illustrates clearly why the community is hesitant to allow private deliberations regarding issues of civility. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 04:38, 8 July 2019 (UTC)
Seconded, except that I don't think it's just arts-focused articles. Espresso Addict (talk) 22:23, 6 July 2019 (UTC)
They would seem a likely casualty, what other articles would be most susceptible to loss of quality? cygnis insignis 22:38, 6 July 2019 (UTC)
Anything that is primarily of interest to people who are not (West coast) American? Espresso Addict (talk) 23:09, 6 July 2019 (UTC)
Geography is a very weak subject for me, but I'm inverting it for the austral hemisphere and visualising t'othersiders of the (East Coast) Australia and think I know exactly what you mean. cygnis insignis 23:23, 6 July 2019 (UTC)
I have toyed with the idea of extendng the {{use British English}} tag-, so we have a {{use British civility}} tagClemRutter (talk) 00:43, 7 July 2019 (UTC)

In the spirit of great egalitarianism, you too can be unblockable. Just add yourself to Category:Unblockable users. Jehochman Talk 23:35, 6 July 2019 (UTC)

Just a note to say that I find all this bashing of "West Coast Americans" unproductive, unimaginative, and distasteful. Surely we can focus on what can be done to improve the climate in Wikipedia without throwing around trite stereotypes. - Donald Albury 02:02, 7 July 2019 (UTC)

I'd normally agree, but considering the same sort of stereotypical bashing of and invective towards attorneys has been effectively endorsed by at least one arbitrator, I see no reason to speak up for them. —/Mendaliv//Δ's/ 09:00, 7 July 2019 (UTC)
  • Well, some stereotypes are just accurate reflections of reality. I mean, Brits have bad teeth, Asian-American women drive recklessly, blacks all have rhythm, and Americans are loud and obnoxious -- and, apparently, the citizens of Portland, Oregon and Los Angeles – both located on the West coast of the United States – have precisely the same interests, likes and dislikes. Beyond My Ken (talk) 10:57, 7 July 2019 (UTC)
  • True about "West Coast Americans". While there are many shared attitudes amongst inhabitants of the West Coast -- California dominates cultural attitudes in the US west of the Rocky Mountains -- there are also many subtle yet significant differences. One thing is the Northwest's love-hate relationship with California (e.g. Tom McCall's quip: "Welcome to Oregon. Visit, but don't stay.") Another is that most Portlanders have little similarity to the characters or situations parodied in Portlandia, speaking as a third-generation inhabitant of Portland, Oregon -- although I'll concede we have a few shallow hipsters living here. -- llywrch (talk) 18:12, 7 July 2019 (UTC)
  • I think most of these "geographic" assignments are unhelpful. Even in my area, sure, it's referred to as the "Mountain West", but Denver does not have the same culture as Colorado Springs, and neither would equate to Helena. (And if you think those on the coast are the same, try mistaking a New Yorker for a Bostonian sometime, or vice versa, and let me know how that works out for you.) Seraphimblade Talk to me 22:01, 7 July 2019 (UTC)
  • BTW, I believe Wikipedia should cover all the subjects of interest to all English-speaking people all over the world, but I'm getting a little bored and tired with the claim that Americans dominate With 300 million of the 2 billion English speakers in the world being from the US (by far the biggest slice of that pie), and with the wide spread of American culture throughout the world, not to mention the US's post-World War II near-hegemonic political position, it really shouldn't be a surprise to anyone that many articles reflect the interests of Americans. Beyond My Ken (talk) 11:22, 7 July 2019 (UTC)
Further to that, about 360 million speak english as a first language and US is about 300 million of the 360 million. North8000 (talk) 13:28, 7 July 2019 (UTC)
I agree that the dominance of Americans on this site is not a problem per se. (It makes me feel uncomfortable because I like many aspects of American popular culture even less than many aspects of German popular culture, but that's my personal problem.) It only becomes a problem if other editors are hounded for not following American cultural norms but their own cullture's. Those instances in which this is done in the name of editor diversity would be hilarious if this didn't come from powerful people who actually have a chance to destroy the project's internationality this way. (As a concrete example, the idiocy of ignoring the use–mention distinction for certain 'bad words' based on some vague, never tested claims this might 'trigger' some people is virtually unknown in Europe. And because it is stupid, Europeans tend ignore this idiocy and continue do mention 'bad words' when it makes sense. This is one of the things the 'Trust & Safety Committee' apparently accused Fram, a Dutch editor, of. It's even more absurd because if he had used th abbreviation 'n*' instead – which for anyone who might plausibly be 'triggered' is easily decipherable but for some other users of this international site might be a complete mystery – then they would presumably have had to look for something else instead. Hans Adler 13:57, 7 July 2019 (UTC)
  • I used to think that we had three competing and occasionally overlapping definitions of "unblockables": Quality content contributors with long block logs and a posse of admin protectors willing to unblock them, WMF Staff and people who follow the rules closely enough that they are able to be snarkier and more persistant than some people would like. I now suspect that we have people at one, and possibly both ends of the inclusionist deletionist spectrum who meet some people's definition of unblockable. I.E someone they would like to block but who they are not sure the community would agree. Those four or five groups each have their own friends and foes. I'm not going to name any specific "unblockables" here, and I urge others not to either. But I would point out that the names quoted earlier in this section belong to very different definitions of unblockable, and that agreeing that we don't want to protect any subset of unblockables is easy, but only until you start defining what you mean by unblockable. ϢereSpielChequers 15:13, 7 July 2019 (UTC)
    Sure, but there is a common thread of problems among the groups (in the eyes of those who would consider them unblockable). The perceived circumstances are essentially the same, so the (expected) solution to the general problem would be the same, regardless of which particular individuals the circumstances actually apply to. (In any case, I plan to solve many of the issues surrounding this some time in the next week or so. I'll post to VPR or VPM when I'm done.) --Yair rand (talk) 21:54, 7 July 2019 (UTC)

Necessary and sufficient conditions for preventing harassment

One of the arbitrators suggested that I post these questions here: First, is it possible to protect the community from harassment without the Arbitrators asking the Chair, in private, whether her recusal was merely for appearances' sake or actually due to a conflict of interest which could reasonably have swayed the behavior of Foundation staff and management? Secondly, is there any way to insure fairness and impartiality without requiring the Foundation to clearly state whether any of the complainants might have had a presumption that their communications would not be shared in full with the Arbcom? EllenCT (talk) 18:17, 7 July 2019 (UTC)

As far as (1) goes, I would suspect Raystorm recused because, true or not, the allegations regarding LauraHale required she do so. It's a good idea to recuse from any case/situation where there's a question about your impartiality, even if it's just because of rumours targeting you, close associates, or family. As for (2), no. —A little blue Bori v^_^v Bori! 18:24, 7 July 2019 (UTC)
Do you realize what heat WMF/BoT would have received if she hadn't recused herself? I'm not sure it matters why she recused herself, it's important that she did. Now that BoT have released their statement and ArbCom has all of the details of the case, I don't think the Board will be involved. There might be some follow-up on their suggestions, but the case has been handed to ArbCom and they are taking it over. Besides, Hale has been driven off Wikipedia, I think it is better to move on from that tragic situation. Liz Read! Talk! 20:02, 7 July 2019 (UTC)
Avoiding the appearance of conflict of interest is often as important as avoiding an actual conflict. I think this situation is one where that was very much true. Seraphimblade Talk to me 20:07, 7 July 2019 (UTC)
If accusations of corruption are false, no sane person would refrain from categorically denying them. Recusal or not, an innocent person does not just casually submit to false accusations without denying them, and that's a ridiculous notion. Did Raystorm categorically deny having a COI? The answer to that question is central. ~Swarm~ {sting} 04:19, 8 July 2019 (UTC)
She said on this very page she did not file the complaint, but she was recused because the discussions of the whole affair made her involved. I think this closes the issue.--Ymblanter (talk) 06:31, 8 July 2019 (UTC)
Without knowing the truth about the recusal, is it possible to protect the community from harassment? I don't think any solution would depend on the specifics of the recusal. Without knowing about the recusal, is it possible for ArbCom to do their job with regard to the case now referred to them? Probably. Without knowing about the recusal, is it possible for us all to really know why WMF got us into this mess in the first place? No. Secondly, I don't think the WMF could possibly state what they thought their informants presumed. Shhhnotsoloud (talk) 20:44, 7 July 2019 (UTC)
Is it possible for ArbCom to do their job with regard to the case now referred to them? I have complete confidence that Arbcom will either be able to do a good job or that they will announce that they can't along with the reasons why. --Guy Macon (talk) 22:02, 7 July 2019 (UTC)
ArbCom's been doing its level best to keep us in the loop within the limits of any applicable confidentiality agreements/NDAs as far as Framgate goes. To be fair, if I were in their shoes, I'd be doing the same thing after a quick read of the room, as the excessive privacy is what caused this to blow up as much as it did. —A little blue Bori v^_^v Bori! 00:25, 8 July 2019 (UTC)
Shhhnotsoloud, I think everyone, me included, has to accept that we will never get answers to all of the questions we might have. You are free to ask questions but I think it is unrealistic to expect any organization of WMF's size to satisfy our curiosity. If you have ever worked for a large corporation or nonprofit, you know that every employee doesn't have access to personnel decisions or how all decisions get made, and I think that dealing with harassment complaints is as much, if not more, sensitive that these subjects. You can keep asking, but I think if you have these unrealistic expectations of complete responsiveness, you are bounded to be disappointed. Wikipedia isn't a democracy and even in democracies, individuals do not have access to all information that exists but only that information that is chosen by the organization to give out or that media groups can dig up. I don't think we can expect any organization to have 100% transparency. You will probably have to live with some questions being unanswered. Liz Read! Talk! 04:27, 8 July 2019 (UTC)

I appreciate the sensitive nature of what we are discussing. It seems to me that the timeline of the recusal is important. For example, suppose that on the date that the first complaint was made to T&S, Raystorm also notified the WMF Staff that she would recuse herself from anything related to that complaint. In contrast, suppose that Raystorm did not know about the complaint to T&S until much later and then recused herself as soon as she learned of it. Finally, at the opposite end of the spectrum, suppose Raystorm knew of the T&S complaint and then consistently discussed it with both the Executive Director and T&S staff until the June 10 office action, and did not recuse herself until after there was public push-back. The ArbCom should determine what is the normal practice for WMF Board members to recuse, and the timing in this case. Hlevy2 (talk) 04:18, 8 July 2019 (UTC)

I don't think and did not recuse herself until after there was public push-back is at all true. From where do you ascertain that? WBGconverse 06:51, 8 July 2019 (UTC)
  • "to insure fairness and impartiality without requiring [sharing] in full with the Arbcom?". I think impartiality could certainly be ensured with a limited redaction copy being provided (it could also be ensured by other, odder, means we haven't yet mooted). Fairness however, is questionable even if ARBCOM gets a full copy, because ensuring fairness for the accused requires them to get at least a minimally redacted version. Proceedings can't claim to be fair until they are fully fair. Nosebagbear (talk) 11:43, 8 July 2019 (UTC)
  • Comment Perhaps re-establishing the personal attack noticeboard could be of use, with clearer guidelines. Though the explanation about why it was dismantled is an excellent summary of why this issue is so difficult to manage. Tutelary (talk) 15:58, 9 July 2019 (UTC)

The Unblockables and how German Wikipedia has at least one more option

  • I understood that there was a long term problem with inappropriate wording or behaviour of the admin in question, but no suitable way for users to cope this with good prospects. From both WMF and locals I read that local procedures and tools might be insufficient to deal with some problems in civility.
    • I am looking at this issue from outside, from German Wikipedia.
    • I have never noticed the nick Fram nor other potentially involved volunteer before. I might have read it in context of MediaViewer, Flow or similar dicussions about new technical developments. I came here from a note in German Signpost (Kurier).
    • I would like to point to a procedure which is used on German Wikipedia for a decade now, and I regard it as important in the checks and balances to avoid power misuse by anyone.
    • It is called “Request for Re-election”.
    • I did not find that approach in WP:DESYSOP.
  • It is similar to voluntary Administrators open to recall but it is mandatory for all common admins and the procedure and criteria are not the choice of anybody.
    • Workflow in a nutshell:
      • One year after election of regular sysop (not going for CU, OS and ’crats, since they have two years term anyway) a request page will be opened.
      • If 25 users sign within one month, or 50 within six months, a re-election is necessary.
      • Only “electing users” may apply; these are non-newbies, some months on-wiki and several 100 reviewed edits in article space.
      • No reason necessary, just drop a signature.
      • If quota has been reached within that period, a new election is to be launched within a month.
      • If no candidature has been started, automatic desysop will follow.
      • Otherwise a regular election will be made. It is up to the community to judge on circumstances, and decide whether complaints are meaningful or not. They may or may not elect again. In case of misuse for no reason no re-election again for 12 months.
      • Figures and time spans are adapted to the German Wikipedia environment.
    • Example: In August 2015 a certain Jan Eissfeldt already mentioned on this page has been requested for re-election (in context of his role in the superprotect and mediaviewer issue); within 64 minutes the necessary quota has been collected. Since no candidature was launched desysop followed. There is another example of current WMF T&S staff who did the quota within two weeks, did not candidate and has been desysopped on basic request of community regulars. The incident has been objections on dealing with local admin tasks, later the role as community advocate for WMF but not really an advocate for the community, and questions about establishing WMF Community health.
    • This is a further method to complain about admins and check whether they are still trusted by the community.
    • On List of former admins you may find nicht wiedergewählt (not re-elected) or nach Wiederwahlaufforderung nicht kandidiert (no candidature) and some freiwillige Rückgabe (voluntary demission) might have been preceded by a request, but self asking for desysop within that month (most are really voluntary due to job, health, family or other reasons). Some cases are from a kind of misusing this instrument; it happened that admins from the early 2000 years, making the project great, but almost inactive during recent years, did not candidate again and were kicked out by a very indecent and deliberately disrespecting appointment of a certain user group. Names of those participants are not forgotten, on the record forever.
    • While filing an ArbCom case for DESYSOP that will be decided by high level representatives, initiated by one or a few persons, requiring a detailed charge text – Request for Re-election is run by many users, cheap in preparation, and decided by the entire community and the same voters who had shown confidence a while ago. If confirmed again, the procedure is disabled for a while. Those who are doing a good job for the community will succeed, even if unpopular decisions were made and stepping on the feet of some user groups might have triggered the election. In some edge cases the community came to another result than I did expect.
    • Every entry may be explained and accompanied by reference to incidents, diff etc. or not. If request is out of the blue with no visible cause, election will not lead to termination.
    • I recall cases of repeated offensive language, partially leading to desysop, or to be explicitly understood as a clear warning sign. However, since several hundreds of voters participate, some with pro and some with contra, there is always a mixture of reasons for a decision and I do not remember a case where uncivil wording has been the one and only cause.
    • BTW, it is not uncommon to report at AN/I (called VM, vandalism message, the fast indicating channel for incidents) about “personal attack” of an admin, which might result in a warning by another admin to watch wording in the future, or even by an excuse.
    • One other tool is “Admin Problem”, a standardized way to complain about admin decisions of any level which seem to violate rules and might be influenced by personal conflict. That will be decided by an admin who is not involved in any struggle and is a lower stage than our ArbCom. Sometimes the decision is that the action is marked as questionable or even reverted.
  • With these tools of the community, I think all admins are aware of a sudden reset of their bits. Almost every of our admins is civil, not everybody polite, but not ad personam even when necessary to be bold, blocking users, deleting articles, protecting pages.

Greetings --PerfektesChaos (talk) 20:54, 3 July 2019 (UTC)

  • I also like this and would support it. That said, things like this have been proposed multiple times before - see it's entry on our perennial proposals page. It may be time to revisit this, but those previous discussions are a good place to look before we formally propose this. Tazerdadog (talk) 21:14, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
  • That's a valid concern. I see the most recent iteration, Wikipedia:Administrators/RfC for binding administrator recall, the main objection to the proposal was fears about admins being forced to continually defend themselves against the kind of usual popular outrage that naturally comes up when moderating controversial issues (even if the admin's actions were totally correct). I think the general idea is good, but it could use some tweaking. Two ideas off the top of my head: requiring editors to be WP:AUTOCONFIRM to sign, or requiring users who have been recently subjected to things like a WP:BAN or had their article go through WP:AFD cool off for some time before being able to sign against the involved admin(s). Forbes72 (talk) 22:34, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
  • This is a great way to promote vigilante justice that reacts emotionally to super-charged issues. --Rschen7754 02:01, 4 July 2019 (UTC)
    • Oh, unlike the vigilante justice meted out by some admins now? I can't take en.WP's governance system seriously unless something like the German system is established. Tony (talk) 02:15, 4 July 2019 (UTC)
      • I've been thinking about this for a few months actually, and one of the ways to ensure that mob mentality is not at play would be to have an admin recall motion judged by a bureaucrat to see if it has merit or not. If it does the motion goes through and admin recall is initiated. If bureaucrats are empowered to judge if there is consensus to appoint an admin, they should be empowered to judge if there is consensus to initiate recall. Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 03:26, 4 July 2019 (UTC)
        • I think it would have to be multiple bureaucrats, or ArbCom. --Rschen7754 04:11, 4 July 2019 (UTC)
          • Something akin to this but with the full bureaucrat group or Arbcom reviewing it might be made to work. Espresso Addict (talk) 04:15, 4 July 2019 (UTC)
            • The idea would be to not have ARBCOM involved every time, and have a less nuclear and more RFC-like option. Get say, ~X people saying there's a concern that an admin is no longer fit to be an admin. If the [TBD] treshold is met, bureaucrats look at it (the same amount that look at a RFA), and determine if, at face value, if the complaint has merit, or if it's frivolous. 10 people complaining that they there's a rouge neo-Marxist admin working for the reptilians trying to suppress truth about Real Ultimate Power, the issue is dismissed. But if X (auto-confirmed/extended confirmed) people agreeing they lost faith in an admin for repeated poor judgment (with diffs) and repeated WP:ABF violations, a re-confirmation RFA goes through. I wrote concerning BAG recalls in the past that We [BAG members] serve at the behest of the community. We shouldn't be able to say 'If we have consensus to appoint me, great, but if we have consensus to remove me, I don't have to accept it because it's not in the policy.' I don't see why admins should able to say that either. Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 04:46, 4 July 2019 (UTC)
              • I'm not sure this is the place to debate it, but my issue with limiting it to bureaucrats is that they are selected largely to judge consensus in RfAs, rather than (as ArbCom) to look into conduct disputes. Historically I have rarely participated in RfBs, because I know nothing of bots, and consider most long-term editors to be able to judge RfA consensus in nearly all cases, but I make a point of voting on ArbCom elections even when I'm hibernating. Espresso Addict (talk) 05:04, 4 July 2019 (UTC)
    • It seems like one of the keys to the German system that may have been missed is that the recall time period is arbitrary. Whether it be one year or an even longer period; the page is not opened at the whim of disgruntled editors, which seems to be a key in guarding against frivolity. Requiring auto-confirmed or even extended-confirmed to sign the petition seems like another common-sense safeguard. We already have established that 'crats can clerk at the RfX so it seems reasonable that they would at something like this too. It's not a recall but a reconfirmation with the presumption of good conduct since the petition itself (similar to impeachment in the US) is required before the !vote of confidence. Crazynas t 05:10, 4 July 2019 (UTC)
      • @Espresso Addict: indeed it's not, but my point is that it's an idea that might stick if we get 'crats involved as arbiters against frivolousness. Crats get elected trough an RFA-like process, and the threshold is much higher (I think like 80% ish). In their mandate is specifically to evaluate if admins that go through RFA have succeeded or not. Having 'crats decide if an re-comfirmation RFA is warranted or not seems a natural extension of their current responsibilities.
      • @Crazynas:, that is indeed quite interesting. Basically a cumulative pile-on of crap (with I presume socks and other problematic accounts removed from the tally), until a threshold is reached, and the RFA process occurs automatically. People can then opine if it's worth removing the tools, or letting them keep it. Interesting indeed. That's certainly worth thinking about. Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 05:19, 4 July 2019 (UTC)
        • @Headbomb: well we could straight term limit them (and prevent the excrement) but that would force many who don't need to go through the process again to go through it. Or we can use the star chamber (in which case it only matters that 7 specific editors like you) but if that approach worked, we wouldn't have WP:UNBLOCKABLES or this very page, would we? I suppose the only answer is to give everyone the power to block, protect and delete and see which faction comes out on top when the dust settles. (But really, it's good that admins can do no wrong because if they could we would have been wrong for appointing them.) Crazynas t 06:10, 4 July 2019 (UTC)
re ping @Headbomb:Crazynas t 06:12, 4 July 2019 (UTC)
I’m not really convinced that a community de-adminship process would have changed anything about the current situation, but there is an as-yet-unproposed draft at User:EVula/opining/RfA overhaul that seeks to address some of the concerns with such a process that were raised above. I never submitted the proposal because Risker talked me out of it, pointing out that it may deter candidates and also deplete the existing administrative pool (i.e. it would have the opposite effect that was intended). –xenotalk 16:01, 4 July 2019 (UTC)
A de-adminship process would likely not have resulted in much here, since whatever Fram's been accused of is not being aired in public. "Hey, let's de-admin that guy!" "Why?" "He's harassing people!" "Diffs?" "Can't, people don't want to come forward, but trust me, he's harassing people. / We tried doing that before but you people just don't believe us!" would have gone nowhere fast. That said, it might have well resulted in a compilation of borderline cases where people may have gone "yeah, individually, it's all borderline, but collectively, it shows a problem." too. Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 21:22, 4 July 2019 (UTC)
  • This approach only deals with admins and its only possible sanction is to remove their tools. Admins are a small and dwindling part of our community, and desysopping on its own isn't always the answer. Some transgressors merit a reprimand, some a ban. If we want a more civil editing community we need to make it easier to take certain types of case to Arbcom. For example we would allow people to email harassment accusations straight to arbcom without the filter of dispute resolution and drama boards. ϢereSpielChequers 05:44, 4 July 2019 (UTC)
  • Recalls are an option with a lot of good and bad points (as others have pointed out, admins do have to sometimes be willing to take actions that will, at least, be unpopular with a small but motivated group of people.) But either way I don't think it's actually the solution here. "Unblockables" aren't hard-to-block because they have the admin bit - some of them don't, even. They're hard-to-block because they're longstanding contributors who have added a lot to the encyclopedia, and because it's easier for people to see those contributions than it is to see the harm they've done by driving people off. This is also why "unblockability" applies particularly clearly to policies that are hazy and whose negative impacts when ignored can be hard to collect into a single clear picture - WP:CIVIL, WP:POV or WP:TENDENTIOUS editing, and so on. They also have a lot of friends among the most active "policy wonks", which makes it hard to reach a consensus to do anything about it; and, furthermore, especially when dealing with WP:CIVIL issues, I feel that there is sometimes a degree of solidarity between people who dislike WP:CIVIL in general, since they recognize that letting any one of them get banned could lead to a precedent that eventually gets all of them banned. There isn't an easy silver-bullet solution to this - it requires changing our basic culture. But I think a good start would be to, first, have an overt policy that experience here can never be considered as a mitigating factor (though in some cases it can be used to argue over the interpretation of someone's actions, eg. having years of productive edits means it's hard to argue that someone is WP:NOTHERE, but it doesn't excuse repeated incivility.) It would also help to try and establish some more clear "red lines" for WP:CIVIL, to generally make it clearer that it's a core policy, and to make it unambiguous that repeated, constant incivility will eventually get you a permanent block regardless of any other factor (just like trying to ignore any other core policy would.) We would not accept editors who routinely and unambiguously ignored WP:V or WP:RS; we shouldn't treat WP:CIVIL any differently. Basically, we should try to clearly enumerate what is beyond the pale (so there aren't any surprises like this one), and write the policies for it clearly and strictly enough that even the friends of longstanding editors will have trouble arguing why they could stay without crossing a red line (eg. "longstanding service is never a valid argument against consistent WP:CIVIL violations, and if you have to resort to that then the person you're defending should probably be permanently blocked.") I have seen even ArbCom use longstanding service as a justification for leniency, and I think that an unambiguous policy (not merely an essay, but hard policy) would help immensely. It can be used for interpretation, and sometimes to evaluate whether a particular issue is a mistake that is unlikely to repeat itself, but should never simply excuse a clear rules violation or result in lighter sanctions. --Aquillion (talk) 05:50, 4 July 2019 (UTC)
  • People are mooting using 'Crats to screen "frivolous" requests. This is fine, but we'd have to obligate reason-providing when adding signatures - otherwise how could they accurately determine it? Nosebagbear (talk) 12:23, 4 July 2019 (UTC)

Arbcom intervention is too rare to handle this, and there is a "code of silence" between admins regarding other admins behavior. We need to start considering the latter to be unacceptable. And we need a subset of highly respected admins to handle all behavioral issues (except for unconfirmed users and IPs) and it has to become a lot more common for them to give an admin a slap on the wrist (e.g. admonishment, strong suggestion, critique or warning). North8000 (talk) 12:34, 4 July 2019 (UTC)

Fully agree. I might personally suggest "Arbcom is afraid" but not to alter the above with which I fully agree. Leaky caldron (talk) 12:57, 4 July 2019 (UTC)
North8000, I think I might ask you why you think both of those things. When I was on the ArbCom, I can recall four desysops, one of which was a functionary who had other permissions removed as well. This year, I can recall I believe three. (Which seems to beg the question as to ArbCom actions being "too rare"; one would hope there wouldn't be more of a need than that for desysops.) Of those four cases that I recall participating in, the one against the functionary was brought by another functionary, and two of the three against administrators by other administrators, so I would also question the assertion of a "code of silence". Seraphimblade Talk to me 15:32, 4 July 2019 (UTC)
Seraphimblade My post was imprecise for / due to brevity which I'll now fix. The "why I think that way" is thousands of observations over 10 years, combined with a lot of analyzing and an aptitude for such. IMO there are probably about 200 admins who should be trusted with really tough situations and disciplinary matters for established users-up. The rest of them make a lot of mis-actions in those situations. . You quoted about 7 arbcom desysops, the nuclear option. I'm not saying that there should be more than that. I'm saying that there should have been about 500 minor actions in response to admin behavior and mis-actions and there have been somewhere near zero of those. I'm talking about warnings, advice, critiques, admonishments etc. Too small for arbcom cases. And the "code of silence" was just shorthand for the norm which is that it's considered impolite for an admin to criticize or act against another admin, so it only happens when the problem is unusually clearcut and severe. Combined with this is the general culture that just having the mop makes them a superhuman that one should generally not question. IMO there are only about 100 superhuman admins, the rest are just trustworthy with the tools, and make lots of mistakes in tough and disciplinary situations, as well as having the normal amount of behavioral issues. North8000 (talk) 21:59, 4 July 2019 (UTC)
  • Since the board talked about "communities", what is the situation in the other communities? Goldzahn (talk) 13:49, 4 July 2019 (UTC)
Svwiki seems to be friendly. Fiwiki is currently in process to make easier to desysop the problematic admins. --Zache (talk) 15:28, 4 July 2019 (UTC)
But it many ways it is not fair comparing us, being 1/30 the size of enwp, and we all living in a limited area/culture. We used yearly reappointmet of sysop as technique to "get rid off" the handful using bad languauge etc, not so different from what is discussed above (it was also introduced in nowp a few years ago). Our learning is that the key to any change of the general community is to change the behaviour of the people at the top of our internal hiercharchy, they are the ones who set the tone of the community.Yger (talk) 15:56, 4 July 2019 (UTC)
In the Russian Wikipedia swearing (using analogs of seven words in English) is prohibited, and the prohibition is strictly enforced. It has a lot of other problems, but at this one was solved once and forever.--Ymblanter (talk) 17:00, 4 July 2019 (UTC)
May I point out that the seven dirty words are a very US-American feature based in FCC regulations? As such, the very concept is alien to most non-US English speakers. What may (or may not) work on the Russian Wikipedia is bound to fail on the much more diverse and cosmopolitan English Wikipedia, which is effectively nearly the "World Wikipedia". Moreover, swearing can be a sign of trouble, but is not really the problem. I don't need swear words to insult other people, and I don't need uncivil language to harass them. On the other hand, there are plenty of people (me probably at least somewhat included) who are not aware of all the cultural taboos du jour of any particular subculture (where e.g. one has to ask for a room to rest when one needs to take a piss ;-). --Stephan Schulz (talk) 20:06, 4 July 2019 (UTC)
  • In spite of a lot of the discussion being about admin recall, I think it's important to note that a considerable number of so-called "unblockables" (a term I personally dislike because it's too easy to misapply) are not admins, but rather, editors who have accumulated a lot of defenders. And that opens up a difficult problem that will require a lot of careful consideration. It's like how "Fram is harassing people" has, in the wake of the Signpost controversy, abruptly turned into "people are harassing Fram". When there are two "sides", it's not easy to sort out which is correct, because the noise is coming from all directions. And as for admin recall, I'm going to say as the long-ago organizer of WP:CDARFC that I think ArbCom has gotten a lot better at handling this than they used to be. Sometimes, when editors say that they don't think ArbCom handles it well, it's because those editors disagree with a particular case outcome, but it doesn't mean that those editors are right. I think any proposal for a new desysop mechanism needs to begin with carefully thought out and convincing documentation that ArbCom really is failing in some way. --Tryptofish (talk) 16:38, 4 July 2019 (UTC)
  • On resolving disputes of fact or procedure, ArbCom is both doing their job, and it leads to positive results. However, on issues of harassment or civility, these issues sometimes are not resolved. I regard this issue with Ymblanter as an example. On one hand, the conclusion given by Softlavender is quite fair, but the end result was nothing was done. I think we can hold each other to a higher standard. Another similar issue with Gatoclass that actually went to ArbCom on a similar point. Especially for admins or long-standing users, it's critical to Wikipedia:Assume good faith, and I think it would be easier to maintain WP:CIVIL if "good faith" were better enforced as a stand-alone problem, rather than treated as secondary to the edits being factually/procedurally justified. Forbes72 (talk) 21:15, 4 July 2019 (UTC)
As a dewiki veteran who has read many of the recent discussions around FRAMBAN, I don't think that the general level of civility of the german wikipedia is in any way better than it is here, and of course we have our own share of problematic users. Our admin recall system has its downsides too, for example there seems to be a tendency for admins to simply ignore certain conflicts: They know they would get votes for recall whatever they would do if they stepped in, so they do nothing.
Many of the differences in the power structure between enwiki and dewiki are due to the fact that the WMF has left dewiki on their own for many years thanks(!) to the language barrier, plus we never had anyone like Jimbo with his special role in the community.
For me, this is one of the most fascinating things about Wikipedia: There are many different communities that are only very loosely coupled due to the language barriers, all of them have the same goal of creating an encyclopedia, and all had to develop models of self-governance and civility standards that work for them in their specific cultural surroundings. There should be dissertations comparing the different outcomes. The centralization attempts of the WMF of the last years, starting with the unnecessary introduction of the new TOS, which are now abused as the basis of further centralization initiatives such as T&S office actions or site-wide civility rules are destroying something very valuable, in my opinion. --Tinz (talk) 22:20, 4 July 2019 (UTC)
Tinz, thanks for your perspective on it. I think that particular issue, of admins being less likely to be willing to work in controversial areas, is one concern that's often been raised in regards to "admin recall" procedures. I don't know if de.wp has anything comparative to the English Wikipedia's arbitration enforcement process, but here, anyone participating in that will step right into the middle of very heavily contested partisan conflicts, and often make unpopular decisions. Those who work in that area, and do it well, often anger partisans on both sides of the issue if they are acting fairly. I know I certainly would not continue to do any work in that if there were a procedure like that. I certainly might pass an RfA if done today (at very least, no one's come along to tell me they think I'm doing a terrible job at being an admin), but I'd still rather not go through the hassle of it once a year. If that were the case, I'd just stick to deleting spam, and hope the spammers don't catch on where to sign. Seraphimblade Talk to me 23:26, 4 July 2019 (UTC)
Yes, this lines up with what other dewiki users have told me as well. --Rschen7754 23:36, 4 July 2019 (UTC)
These are all matters that could be balanced out in some way given a committee approach where there are actually people who understand how rulemaking works outside of Wikipedia. The clusterfuck approach we've used for so long is really, really ill-suited to large-scale rulemaking. Anything other than minor incremental changes can take years under the current system. —/Mendaliv//Δ's/ 23:48, 4 July 2019 (UTC)

Okay, well, Mendaliv, it takes years. Let me ask a question that often is not: So what? Wikipedia has worked as it has for nearly two decades. In the time frame of the Internet, that is a damn long time. While we kept humming along, Myspace rose to prominence, and then fell to obscurity, as did countless other sites. But we endured through all those changes, and indeed, it is not hyperbole to say that Wikipedia is a ubiquitous part of modern life. It wasn't always so—when I started here, people would frequently ask me "Wikipedia? What's that?". No one has asked me that in a long time, though.

So what we did worked. It worked far beyond the imaginings of any of us in those early years imagined. We didn't even have as much traffic as Britannica then, and we figured one day, if we were really lucky, and really good, we might match them. None of us imagined we'd eclipse them.

But we did. And so what we've done works. And it worked unimaginably well. I think we should be rather hesitant to change it. That doesn't mean irrationally resistant; surely we can still improve. But the way we have done things is proven and has worked really, really well, for nearly two decades. We shouldn't forget that either. Seraphimblade Talk to me 00:09, 5 July 2019 (UTC)

Hey if you don't think addressing harassment or unblockables is a priority, that's not something I'm going to change your mind on. But what I will say is that merely because something "worked" (and I think that's a bit charitable if we're talking about community health) doesn't mean it's the right way forward. As you say, people don't really ask you "Wikipedia, what's that?" anymore. And similarly, we've got a foundation raking in over a hundred million dollars a year. I say we're well past the point where this community can function as an ad hoc free-for-all and just leave policymaking for another day. That period of history is over. —/Mendaliv//Δ's/ 00:19, 5 July 2019 (UTC)
I'll agree the community should bear in mind what it's learned through experience. But as a project grows and evolves, its needs change as well. English Wikipedia's success has made it a magnet for editors pushing a particular point of view, be it for advertising or just in support of their favourite topic. I imagine there was a greater uniformity of purpose amongst contributors at the start, making a consensus-based decision making process more manageable. The community is too large now to have the strong alignment of goals required for consensus to work, and so it struggles with making decisions if there isn't a large majority in favour of one option, or if there are highly aggressive opponents. Unco-operative behaviour is, as a result, a viable strategy, as it takes advantage of the good faith of more collaborative editors, and can discourage their participation. Clay Shirky has discussed the problems of online communities; attempts to make them non-hierarchical by replacing human judgement exercised by administrators with rules interpreted by everyone eventually fail as the rules become overly complex. Sound familiar? We need to unlock the stalemate produced by English Wikipedia's current decision-making traditions. isaacl (talk) 04:58, 5 July 2019 (UTC)
This is the same as the inactivity debate: small minor changes are more likely to gain consensus rather than a radical change. --Rschen7754 05:47, 5 July 2019 (UTC)
Which is why the consensus model needs to be fixed. I'm all for forestalling massive change and keeping things at the status quo rather than advancing some massive social improvement project. But what we've got now is an oligarchy on one hand (unblockable admins, WMF people riding rampant over us and vomiting money at things they perceive to be problems) and a permanent stalemate on the other ("consensus" where being really loud and uninformed wins the day). What we have is not working anymore. —/Mendaliv//Δ's/ 06:13, 5 July 2019 (UTC)
Even small changes are hard to enact if there are a few vociferous opponents. Most editors seek solutions that approach real-world consensus, and so are loathe to push for a change when they know some are strongly against it. isaacl (talk) 08:29, 5 July 2019 (UTC)
I think a recall procedure where a consensus is required to desysop, rather than consensus required to retain adminship, would go a long way to addressing fears of making unpopular decisions. This way only admins who truly deserve to go will go. I think Commons does a decent job at this. -- King of ♠ 05:09, 5 July 2019 (UTC)
You missed the specifics I think, the first is to find a consensus to open a discussion to find consensus for desysop/+sysop, making it an automatic two-step process. --qedk (tc) 05:42, 5 July 2019 (UTC)
As I said above, though, the "unblockables" issue is really distinct from the "admin recall" issue - in fact, to a certain extent, solutions to the two are at cross-purposes. Unblockables aren't unblockables because they're admins, they're unblockable because they're popular, at least with enough of the people who tend to involve themselves in wonky process stuff that it's hard to sanction them. And this means that recalls (even done cautiously) could actually make the process worse. Lots of admins would be far more unwilling to make the call to block a popular editor under DS (or some other situation that allows for admin discretion), which would throw it back to WP:ANI where discussions would inevitably stall. It's a culture issue, not just a policy issue, and to the extent that policies can help it depends on making it unambiguous that you can't eg. make up for constantly falling short of WP:CIVIL by being really active or something like that. --Aquillion (talk) 06:05, 5 July 2019 (UTC)
As I discussed earlier, we need to foster an environment where there isn't an advantage to acting unco-operatively. Without an incentive for poor behaviour, the unblockable issue becomes less important. isaacl (talk) 08:35, 5 July 2019 (UTC)
At least WMF has now a part in finding a solution of that problem. Maybe WMF could find a software solution to better manage conflicts in Wikipedia. For example, Wikipedia:Thank you is a big success. Goldzahn (talk) 09:34, 5 July 2019 (UTC)
Thank you for pointing that you; you are right :) This class of problems does deserve solving; it is fed in part by the retention of good rules-lawyers and the rejection of those who don't like such interaction, and in part by the steady growth in 'countering bad edits' as a proportion of total time spent on the projects [related to content stabilization]. There are definitely ways to build tools that make helping, thanking, and protecting easier; and hounding, chastising, and destroying harder [even while also adding new ways to limit the visibility of questionable contributions w/o destruction]. – SJ + 16:25, 6 July 2019 (UTC)
We may be thinking of different problems; rather than tool changes, I am thinking of improving community processes and procedures so that there would be no advantage to acting unco-operatively, and it would be better to work collaboratively. There could be a role with tools for reputation management that would fit this direction, though Clay Shirky argued that our brains were able to do the appropriate reputation evaluation as long as users were given incentives to commit to an identity. isaacl (talk) 14:45, 7 July 2019 (UTC)
Much of what I dislike about Wikipedia is the way that strategies to win arguments work. There many ways to intimidate opponents to one's position. For some, such as legal threats, the community has long had an effective strategy; for others, including what many of us would label harassment, the community has failed to develop effective means to deal with them. Policies that effectivelty deal with harassment will need to be applied even-handedly (without regard to how productive an editor is). Of course, first, we need to determine what constitutes harassment. I think we need to be clear that paying close attention to an editor's contributions for violations of policy is not harassment, per se, but the response to such an editor must be proportionate to the cumulative damage to Wikipedia caused by such violations of policy. - Donald Albury 13:41, 5 July 2019 (UTC)
While I agree that better procedures are needed to handle poor behaviour, my point is to eliminate the incentive for it in the first place. If, for example, English Wikipedia had better content dispute mechanisms (as an example, a non-optional binding mediation board; feel free to think of other possibilities), then there would be no payoff to intimidating opponents, and a greater benefit to working collaboratively with them. As a result, the environment would select for co-operative editors. isaacl (talk) 18:32, 5 July 2019 (UTC)
Proportionate, and kind. It is as easy to be kind while making a correction as it is to be cruel. – SJ + 23:07, 6 July 2019 (UTC)

Returning to begin of this thread, I would like to make some comments and add a few remarks.

  • You will identify a good and busy admin by a continuous sediment of ten or fifteen grantling and grumbling entries on the recall page.
    • That might be taken as an indicator for the admin. If the number grows, some less controversial fields might be chosen until folks calmed down. Or own methodology might be checked and perhaps improved and adjusted.
    • Naturally you are standing on the feet of POV pushers, personal attackers, COI, SEO, whatever. Naturally they complain. No problem at all.
  • The parameters need to be adjusted to the particular community.
    • For enWP size perhaps 100 senior editors within one month might be a meaningful treshold. Hard to predict.
    • After each election recall is suspended for one, perhaps two years. Time to work without looking at recall barometer.
    • Since there is no election limited to five years or whatever by the communities in question, it might turn out that admins behave different than guessed at the time of the one and only election. Hard to get rid of them after a decade. Elected on life time.
  • It is a grassroot motion and does not need any reason.
    • It may be helpful to provide diffs and incidents and reasons and hope this will convince other people, but there is no need for that.
    • It is not a charge at ArbCom and it is an entirely different approach.
    • Therefore no authority, no crat is judging whether that motion is permitted or reasonable or not. Just count valid entries within time span.
    • If there are e.g. 100 senior editors within one month there is a good reason. No matter whether a crat is sharing this impression.
    • The final decison is made by the community, by all voters at RfA. Once again: This is not an ArbCom case.
  • Currently one recall election is running.
    • The admin on recall was wiping out consequently personal attacks, misconduct and violations of rules for discussion pages, especially from article discussions which are perhaps more exposed to the public.
    • Some of those who were cut assembled quite soon to run a re-election.
    • Okay, recall is going on, seems as if the voting community is supporting brave WP:WQ enforcement.
    • After that, one year term to be cruel again.

Greetings --PerfektesChaos (talk) 20:51, 9 July 2019 (UTC)

Pine's emails to Wikimedia-l

I'm copying some of my comments from the Wikimedia-l mailing list to here so that these comments go into the on-wiki record also.

Email 1

I am trying to have an open mind regarding this matter.

I'm supportive of local and global bans in a variety of circumstances, and if WMF thinks that sanctions are appropriate then I generally would expect WMF to present the relevant evidence to community authorities. English Wikipedia has ways of dealing with editors who are accused of misconduct, and we have experienced administrators who are capable of investigating situations and implementing bans including cases which involve nonpublic evidence.

In the absence of convincing evidence that demonstrates a major problem with a Wikimedia community's competence and willingness to adjudicate cases in a fair manner, I think that WMF interventions such as this are difficult to justify. Based on the limited information that I have, I disagree with WMF's process for this specific case, and in general I have ongoing concerns about WMF's process for WMF-initiated bans. WMF's lack of faith in the English Wikipedia community authorities' competence to adjudicate a case such as this is discouraging and, as far as I know, not justified. Even if a local community has well known problems with its self-governance, I think that the appropriate recourse would be to the global community. While the global community seems generally opposed to reviewing appeals of specific local cases, I think that evidence of systemic problems would likely get more attention and perhaps even a request from the global community for WMF intervention.

Based on the information that I know, I would reverse this WMF action and move the case to the English Wikipedia Arbitration Committee for its consideration.

Email 6

I'll note that WMF has provided a statement here:

I find WMF's justifications for its actions to be unpersuasive. WMF's policies can (within some legal limits) be changed by WMF, so using WMF policy is not a sufficient justification. I also am troubled that WMF states that it lacked confidence in Arbcom's ability to handle a case but, as far as I know, WMF did not present evidence of Arbcom's problems to the ENWP community so that the community could address them. If there is a problem with Arbcom then that is first and foremost for us as a community to address, and WMF almost certainly* should not have bypassed Arbcom in an individual case. An analogy would be the U.S. President bypassing U.S. Federal courts in an individual case because he/she does not trust the courts to handle the case in the manner that the President wants.

At the same time, I would not approve of criticizing someone for communicating a concern to WMF. Sometimes people don't know where to communicate their concerns, and someone might have had a legitimate concern about Arbcom's ability to handle a case in an impartial manner. I think that WMF should have handled this differently than it did, but that does not mean that any original concern about Fram and/or Arbcom were invalid.

I would not sanction someone who communicated a concern to WMF for doing that. However, if I had the authority to do so, I would consider applying a sanction against WMF for its handling of this matter.


Email 8 in response to another user's post

I'm sad to hear that. I would not want a victim to go with a request for help to WMF, local functionaries, an arbitration committee, or anyone else, and have the situation end up worse rather than better. I don't know what to recommend. Perhaps you could ask the stewards what they think.

I am also sad to hear about the difficulties regarding the situation in which you think that someone was at risk of self-harm. I think that the situation you described is probably appropriate for review by the management of WMF Trust and Safety so that they can take a second look. I encourage you to contact them.

I am finding this conversation to be rather depressing, but I am glad that we are having it, because this is one way of developing solutions.

Email 9

Unfortunately, I do understand the GamerGate reference. A decentralized swarm of harassment can be a major problem, and in this case I am concerned (I haven't attempted to review the evidence) that at least one person is being hounded off-wiki regarding their alleged involvement in this matter in a way that would receive a firm response by ENWP administrators if the same hounding was happening on ENWP.

Fear of being hounded can discourage people from reporting problems.

On English Wikipedia we have some administrators who are willing to make politically difficult blocks, and we have an arbitration committee that has been willing to review alleged misconduct by high profile people including administrators, but I'm not sure that all wikis have a sufficient number of competent and good faith administrators to address allegations of misconduct, especially misconduct by people who have relatively high levels of local political support.

Even more challenging to moderate are off-wiki activities in places which do not honor ENWP norms. I do not know of a robust solution to this problem, and my guess is that there is no robust solution unless we want governments to have more ability to proactively filter and to suppress Internet content that does not meet with their approval.

I think that ENWP is more like a busy, diverse, and loud public square than a quiet office with tight control of what everyone does and a central authority that quickly gets rid of people who make statements that are not acceptable within narrow parameters. I worry that the concept of "safe spaces" may come to mean something like: "People are only allowed to participate on Wikimedia sites if they act according to WMF's opinions regarding politically correct behavior and create content that does not offend WMF". Political correctness and safety are not characteristics that I would associate with Wikimedia sites, for better and for worse, and I think that attempting to create more political correctness and safety can come at too much expense of honesty, due process, freedom of expression, and editorial independence. As mentioned by others, WMF’s recent power grab calls into question the editorial independence of the Wikimedia communities.

This does not mean that I would give a free pass to Fram or that I am OK with someone hounding a person who makes a complaint, whether on wiki or off wiki.

I think that a good conversation for the ENWP community to have would be regarding how we can increase confidence by victims of harassment in the integrity of ENWP's investigation and enforcement systems. Courage is sometimes necessary to speak up in public, as many of us are doing in this thread and on wiki with various degrees of personal risk. I am concerned about community members possibly deciding not to report problems because they lack confidence that their reports will be taken seriously by ENWP's community authorities and lack confidence that they will be protected from further harm to the extent that the ENWP community can protect them. (Protecting people from off wiki hounding is, unfortunately, probably impossible if aggressors are determined to hound someone.)

I have concerns regarding a system for anonymous complaints because I generally support transparent enforcement and due process. However, if victims are not reporting problems due to fear and if there is a way that we can provide due process protections for the accused while increasing the confidence of victims in ENWP's investigations and enforcement systems then I think that we should consider making modifications. This does not require any involvement from WMF, although we might want to ask WMF for technical support if needed for a system that we design or agree to implement.

P.S. I need to stop posting in this thread so that I do not exhaust my supply of Wikimedia-l posts for the month, but my silence does not indicate lack of interest.

Additional comments

In hindsight I would make an amendment to Email 9 to note that I think that English Wikipedia preferably would have more diversity of contributors. A relatively small percentage of our editors are female, and I think that ideally the ratio of males to females would be much nearer to 50:50.

Regards, --Pine (✉) 20:26, 14 June 2019 (UTC)

Support, or oppose whatever prevents that, but think we should aim for 48:52. cygnis insignis 21:22, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
It varies over time, but to be more general, how about we just aim for a proportion similar to that of the internet-connected, English-speaking world. StudiesWorld (talk) 22:02, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
My back of envelope figure puts that at 38:62, but the error margin could be rounded in favour of males (as is tradition) to a neat 40:60. I'm comfortable with that, for the time being. cygnis insignis 01:53, 15 June 2019 (UTC)
Thank you for your great insights. A better analogy would be the Supreme Court accepting original jurisdiction for a case that is outside its remit. Technically it can, because the Constitution is whatever the Supreme Court says it is and they can twist the words to mean whatever they want, but that would be a serious violation of norms. -- King of ♠ 21:35, 14 June 2019 (UTC)

Email 10

Hello Wikimedia-l colleagues,

I hope that your day is going well.

There are some updates regarding the topics that we are discussing in this thread. I am writing this email in a personal capacity.

As a reminder, the English Wikipedia Arbitration Committee published an open letter on 30 June that was directed to the WMF Board. I will share a few quotes from that statement before providing some updates, and finally making some personal comments.

I am retaining the font styles that Arbcom used in its letter.

  • "As of 30 June, two bureaucrats, 18 administrators, an ArbCom clerk, and a number of other editors have resigned their positions and/or retired from Wikipedia editing in relation to this issue."
  • "If Fram’s ban—an unappealable sanction issued from above with no community consultation—represents the WMF’s new strategy for dealing with harassment on the English Wikipedia, it is one that is fundamentally misaligned with the Wikimedia movement’s principles of openness, consensus, and self-governance."
  • "We ask that the WMF commits to leaving behavioural complaints pertaining solely to the English Wikipedia to established local processes. Those unsuitable for public discussion should be referred to the Arbitration Committee. We will solicit comment from the community and the WMF to develop clear procedures for dealing with confidential allegations of harassment, based on the existing provision for private hearings in the arbitration policy. Complaints that can be discussed publicly should be referred to an appropriate community dispute resolution process. If the Trust & Safety team seeks to assume responsibility for these cases, they should do so by proposing an amendment to the arbitration policy, or an equivalent process of community consensus-building. Otherwise, we would appreciate the WMF’s continued support in improving our response to harassment and hostility on the English Wikipedia
  • "We feel strongly that this commitment is necessary for the Arbitration Committee to continue to perform the role it is assigned by the English Wikipedia community. If we are unable to find a satisfactory resolution, at least four members of the committee have expressed the intention to resign."

The following are more recent updates.

My personal comments follow.

I appreciate the WMF Executive Director's statement. I think that her statement is a good starting point for further communications between the staff and the community, particularly the English Wikipedia community.

I was hoping for a statement from the WMF Board that was humble and apologetic regarding recent disruption that has stressed many people in the community, led to numerous resignations, and consumed countless hours of volunteers' valuable time. Perhaps I overlooked them, but I do not see the words "apology", "sorry", "regret", or similar words in the statement from the WMF Board.

In addition to an apology, I was hoping to see the WMF Board focus on supervising the WMF organization, which I think is its principal job.

I feel that this statement is condescending: "We believe that the communities should be able to deal with these types of situations and should take this as a wake-up call to improve our enforcement processes to deal with so-called "unblockables"." I think that many of us in the communities are aware of these problems. I do not appreciate WMF creating unnecessary and widely harmful disruption in its quest to do top-down social engineering. I encourage the WMF Board to develop humility, refrain from lecturing the communities, and consider how to support the communities in our efforts to improve ourselves.

I would encourage the WMF Board to ponder the harms that have resulted from WMF's actions. I hope that we see a public apology from the WMF Board.

Katherine, thank you for your willingness to have a dialogue regarding these matters, and your willingness to have a more cautious and respectful approach in the future.

Writing solely in a personal capacity,

( )


No replies yet, Pine? ——SerialNumber54129 03:04, 4 July 2019 (UTC)

Email 11 in response to another user's email

Hi Peter,

My view is that accountability should start at the top of an organization.

I was trying to think of a better word than "supervising" for the concept that I had in mind. After further consideration, I think that "governing" would have been a better choice.

I am disappointed by the WMF Board's tone and its lack of apology. In the Board's words, "The Board views this as part of a much-needed community debate on toxic behavior. In spite of the considerable disruption this has caused for many, we hope this serves as a catalyzing moment for us to move forward together to ensure the health and vitality of our communities." In other words, the Board thinks that the "considerable disruption" is acceptable, perhaps even good in the big picture. Also, the Board apologizes for nothing.

I believe that community members are not servants, and are not okay to ignore, mistreat, or throw away casually. Also, I believe that the near-miracle of English Wikipedia should be tended with great care, and that the scars from this incident will be with us for a long time.

Pine ( )

Email 12

I'm continuing to think about the WMF Board's handling of this matter, but I am experiencing considerable difficulty with wording my comments in a way that is diplomatic. Hopefully I'll have further comments to share here next week. In the meantime, and perhaps of greater interest to other participants in this mailing list thread:

  • Discussion about related issues continues on English Wikipedia at [1], [2], [3], and elsewhere.


Pine ( )

Civil and respectful people should not apply the word "toxic" to fellow editors.

Not just toxic; "incredibly toxic"...?

I believe that a group working towards more civility should ban the word "toxic" applied to people and their behaviour. As several discussions (you'll find them) show, it's vague, and it's a typical U.S. word (see toxic workplace), misunderstood in the rest of the world. Please find a better, more respectful term, especially in official statements. I said so in other words in 2014. I am aware that this is almost a personal attack. --Gerda Arendt (talk) 07:16, 11 July 2019 (UTC)

late explanation because obviously not everybody read what prompted this: as in Wikipedia:Community response to the Wikimedia Foundation's ban of Fram/Official statements#Board statement: "Almost three years ago, the board published a strong statement against toxic behaviors and directed the Wikimedia Foundation teams to work to make Wikimedia communities safer for all good faith editors." - Also late: thanks for the image. --Gerda Arendt (talk) 22:23, 11 July 2019 (UTC)
+1 Wise words on words. —/Mendaliv//Δ's/ 07:24, 11 July 2019 (UTC)
+2 It's potentially just as offensive, yet far vaguer even than the H word (at least one editor seems to think "aggrandizing other editors" is toxic!) FeydHuxtable (talk) 07:31, 11 July 2019 (UTC)
'I find your remarks impolite'?? 'The way you are addressing me makes me want to leave this place'?? I am sorry, by far most of us will be gentle on a first encounter with someone who does something that is not in line with our core policies/guidelines. 'Hi, I saw you adding this sentence to <living person>, but you did not provide a source. As Wikipedia is a very visible website we have to be very careful with biographies of living people. In fact, our ToU describes us to thoroughly reference all information about BLPs. I have therefore removed the sentence, if you want to add it again can you please provide a suitable RS?'. So, that was very friendly. However, the editor moves on to another living person and does something similar. They collect another, bit more direct warning. Third time .. fourth time with increasing warnings. Yes, they become increasingly impolite, but looking at the start of it, not heeding the remark that you have to source BLPs is the first impoliteness. I agree that we have to 'ban' the word 'toxic', and likely be very careful with 'harassment' and even 'incivility' .. but where do we end? --Dirk Beetstra T C 08:04, 11 July 2019 (UTC)
I agree "toxic" is a loaded term and should be avoided. However, harassment and incivility happen and we need to have policies and processes for dealing with both. Peacemaker67 (click to talk to me) 08:15, 11 July 2019 (UTC)
Was the English don being uncivil in WW2 when, according to the soldiers' anecdote, an American General was treated with all honours, including a visit to the exclusive Athenaeum Club. After preliminaries, speeches had been delivered and dinner served, they took their post-prandial drinks over cigars, and the elderly gentleman politely inquired:-
Well General, you've now had a week in London. We'd be interested in hearing of your impressions of our city?'
'Waal, gen'lemn, the hard world of warfare ain't cut out for beaten about the bush, so frankly, lemme shoot straight and cut to the chase. I think it's the asshole of the world.'
'Well, of course, sir,' the don replied quietly, 'you are just passing through, of course...'Nishidani (talk) 09:11, 11 July 2019 (UTC)
I concur 'toxic' should be banned frowned on as highly loaded language. Perhaps we should draw up a linguistic stemma, beginning with the header 'Obstructive behaviour, prefaced by a remark along the lines, 'Wikipedia is a work-in-progress dedicated to building a comprehensive encyclopedia which anyone may edit. All are welcomed to join the community in contributing material. At times, through impatience, confusion over whether Wikipedia is a social forum or a work-place, conflict arises. All conflicts will be judged according to whether the behavior of involved editors contributes to article construction, or hinders it. Obstructive behavior encompasses trolling, unprovoked rudeness, hounding a contributor over numerous pages, refusing to listen or focus on the core problems raised by other editors, consistent carelessness in citing sources, the abuse of arbitration and conflict resolution boards to get at editors one disagrees with, outing the real life identity of users' and such like. We are a community, not of like-minded people, but of people from highly diversified backgrounds united in a common aspiration to compile the default resource for a global community seeking rapid access to readable information, vetted for accuracy and the quality of its sourcing. Personal animosities have no place in our culture which is premised on civil engagement with others towards the shared goal of producing accurate articles.Nishidani (talk) 09:25, 11 July 2019 (UTC)
There is a lot to like about this. I would add that persistent POV-pushing is also an obstructive behaviour. We should use an open-ended "includes" definition, rather than a restrictive "means" one. Peacemaker67 (click to talk to me) 09:33, 11 July 2019 (UTC)
I could not agree more, the term has been weaponised for use by those incapable of presenting reasonable arguments. Cavalryman V31 (talk) 09:45, 11 July 2019 (UTC).
But which is less civil, calling someone "toxic" or "incapable of presenting reasonable arguments"? Civility is not defined by a list of bad words. Boing! said Zebedee (talk) 09:47, 11 July 2019 (UTC)
'Toxic' is an hyperbolic metaphor, referring to the putative atmosphere created by certain disputes between a few editors, which all those present (watching or participating) cannot avoid being contaminated by. Most people aren't sucked in or up by such ostensible 'toxicity'. You're correct that saying someone is 'incapable of presenting reasonable arguments' lends itself to queries about civility. But at least it is specific, doesn't refer to some epidemic or contagion that affects everyone, like it or not. Everyone is immediately swept up into a sense of shared victimhood by asserting they're exposed to a toxic atmosphere - it presumes no one can escape it. Cavalryman was saying recourse to the toxic metaphor tends to nudge out specific, focused discussion by deploying a strategic 'poisoning of the well' alarmist discourse which inhibits rational exchange. You are also right that we should not identify a list of bad words - an Orwellian approach. I have struck my thoughtlessly hasty use of 'banned'. We should simply discuss, and be made aware of, the problems in the terminology that quietly tends to creep into our exchanges and, by being used reflexively, 'contaminates' clarity of exposition. Nishidani (talk) 10:03, 11 July 2019 (UTC)
More specific certainly, and far less of a generalized insult than "toxic", yes. But I think there's a categorical difference between, say, "This specific argument you present is not reasonable, because..." and "You are incapable of presenting reasonable arguments". In civil discussion, I'd say one is acceptable and one is not. Boing! said Zebedee (talk) 10:12, 11 July 2019 (UTC)
Correct, the difference is between contextual behavior and ontological description. I've often seen the latter sidestepped by prefacing the assertion with ''. I.e. 'You seem incapable here of presenting reasonable arguments.
I know of several editors, some highly productive and perhaps a net gain to the encyclopedia, whom I judge to be indeed 'incapable of presenting reasonable arguments' in one specific area. That is an impression gained over several years. It's not bad faith, (as often with WP:IDIDNTHEARTHAT). It is just that they either do not believe or understand that construing an argument in propositional terms can afford a valid set of objections to what they are doing, and which they should feel obliged to answer.
The problem surely is, can we really ever work out, draw up, a comprehensive guide that people should adopt, a kind of objectivist wikispeak all should be obliged to master? I think something insidious like that is at the heart of the WMF proposal. I know that a few of the palmary collaborators manage to do this - write with impeccable focus of neutral description of a problem - they often come from scientific backgrounds. But, at the same time, they rarely allow themselves to get sucked into debate with obdurately non-listening reverters. They make their point and go. I can't manage this kind of empirical address, except as a rhetorical exercise in imitation which makes me feel somewhat dead inside, and worry it will affect my natural habit of mind. I live in a culture where it is customary to second or third guess the secret message in otherwise superficially straightforward banter. Even speciously neutral speech can be read as aggressive, even if it is not. Nishidani (talk) 10:33, 11 July 2019 (UTC)
Yes, I agree, and the "comprehensive guide that people should adopt, a kind of objectivist wikispeak all should be obliged to master" is surely a fantasy. At least, I think it's so hard that nobody has yet mastered it, and I don't see the WMF people (with the best will) being able to achieve what nobody else has. I've worked in managing online communities, and it was for a company that didn't even try to define any objective standards, but instead issued guidelines that were to be interpreted on a contextual basis - the way Wikipedia policy is supposed to be used. I think that worked as well as any I've seen, but it did still frequently draw the ire of literalists who'd complain along the lines of "But in your rules you don't prohibit the specific words I used" (and we do have quite a few literalists in the community here too). I don't know how this will all work out, but the one thing I'm certain of is that a lot of people will be dissatisfied whatever the outcome. Boing! said Zebedee (talk) 10:53, 11 July 2019 (UTC)
Do newbies know that even saying something like,'You are not focusing on the specific problem raised in this section,' can injure peoples sensitivities and be used as evidence to earn whosoever uttered that rashly uncivil remark a 1 month ban? How does one get round that in impeccable (immune to sanctions) wikispeech? Presumably, the key is to prohibit the use of personal pronouns. 'The specific problem mentioned here is not being addressed'.Nishidani (talk) 12:51, 11 July 2019 (UTC)
"But which is less civil ...?" - I don't think we need a competition of inappropriateness. Not using "toxic" (= "poisening" = "contaminating") in official statements would be a step forward. In the pictured 2014 speech, "incredibly toxic contributors" was used to promote "kindness, generosity, forgiveness and compassion", which I found an incredible contradiction in terms. I am sure that we can do better. --Gerda Arendt (talk) 10:39, 11 July 2019 (UTC)
Indeed, yes, that was the point of my question. We can't simply base it on proscribed words with any kind of objective ranking in terms of offensiveness. (Oh, and yes, I think that 2014 presentation was poorly thought out and marked one of Jimmy's most disappointing moments.) Boing! said Zebedee (talk) 10:58, 11 July 2019 (UTC)
There's always this civility policy we could fall back on...
Oh. The picture on the top. Silly me. I did think Jimbo had darker hair than that ..."--Wehwalt (talk) 12:55, 11 July 2019 (UTC)
Point taken, and I agree that a list of forbidden words may not be the way forward. But branding certain unpleasant (but not necessarily inappropriate) behaviours with buzzwords as a mechanism to stifle legitimate debate or escape criticism is unproductive and should be called out. Cavalryman V31 (talk) 13:59, 11 July 2019 (UTC).

For 99% of it's uses "toxic" was an overstatement, and overstatement is often used to conduct warfare or create or justify bad overreactions. For the other 1% it was the proper word. We need to make it clear that using it when it is an overstatement is really bad behavior. North8000 (talk) 15:15, 11 July 2019 (UTC)

As I think back on it, I'm reasonably (but not 100%) sure that the word first came into use when it was used by WMF to describe kinds of conduct that they want to curtail. I think a lot of editors who have used the word here did so in reaction to what the WMF has been saying. There is certainly no reason to feel obligated to continue to use the term on en-wiki. (Also, there is a difference between calling an editor "toxic" and simply using the word to describe categories of conduct problems.) --Tryptofish (talk) 18:55, 11 July 2019 (UTC)

Its mostly invention of american academia and also HR offices. Sure, the term existed in one way or another for a long, long time, but it became a catch-all term that basically means traits I dont like. If there are specific issues with users, call them out. Eg he is harassing someone via near-constant stalking and reverting of their edits. Or he is using profanities in his comments / edits. The term is loosely defined by design, its a feature, not a bug, and both us and WMF should avoid using it and instead use specific examples of WP:UNCIVIL behaviour. EllsworthSK (talk) 20:28, 11 July 2019 (UTC)
  • In thinking about this, another term that we should perhaps also regard this way is "unblockable". Although I think we all know what it means, directing it at an individual editor tends to put that person into a classification that is more about perception than about reality. Anyone can, if justified, be blocked. And we should be clear, going forward, that no one is above it. But having previously not been blocked does not mean that there is a stronger case for blocking now. In fact, it's generally a bad idea to block someone to make a point. --Tryptofish (talk) 19:47, 12 July 2019 (UTC)
"Unblockable" is a practical reality of the corporate situation. If a user has a long term track record of improper editing, and abusing WMF funding policies, but is the spouse of a WMF Board member, as a practical matter, neither the community nor an admin can block them. I think that T&S staff was in an impossible situation: on the one hand if they failed to take action against the admin, both spouses would go after the staff member politically, and on the other hand, if T&S takes action against the admin they are sending a loud message that there are "unblockable" families." The typical community AN or ANI can be a way around this problem because most editors and admins do not know who is married to whom, and the family can't file T&S complaints against all of the participating editors. Hlevy2 (talk) 13:27, 14 July 2019 (UTC)
I have no quarrel with using the concept of it, but my concern is more in terms of applying it to individuals. And in fact, your comment illustrates how the term can so readily be misunderstood. You use the example of an editor who is a family member of a WMF Board member. But historically, the WMF themselves, and others, have used the term to mean something very different: an experienced editor about whom we might know nothing personal, but who is either an administrator or a very accomplished content contributor, and who typically attracts a large number of defenders from the community at places like AN or ANI, and therefore is (supposedly) able to get away with misconduct that would get a novice editor blocked. --Tryptofish (talk) 18:29, 14 July 2019 (UTC)
  • This is beginning to detract from the entire purpose of this page - let's not get carried away with lexical and conceptual semantics. Suffice it to say that I and Scottywong remember a certain episode when a particular Wikimedia online workspace was turned into a highly 'toxic' environment by the WMF themselves. I and other 'cosy senior editors' can also remember some extremely distressing behaviour by a WMF contractor using profanities towards volunteers at a 2012 Wikimania, and I can recall being bullied, insulted, and nearly pushed down the stairs by a C-level employee at a 2013 Wikimania - 'safe spaces'? Pah! So lets not believe that butter wouldn't melt in the mouth of the WMF - quelle ironie. On the other hand I know some really nice WMF staff but most of them have left.
I digress too, nevertheless I happen to know exactly who or what was the catalyst for Wales' speech and in that particular context I find it more than appropriate. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 20:03, 14 July 2019 (UTC)

Announcement of forthcoming temporary/partial ban tool consultation

Please see here for announcement. Kbrown (WMF) (talk) 15:49, 15 July 2019 (UTC)

Thank you for the update, Kbrown (WMF). --Pine (✉) 18:40, 16 July 2019 (UTC)

Next steps

Who would like to spearhead the next steps? I think it would be useful to create a new page in project space where various initiatives can be set up to discuss the different approaches that have been raised here. I created User:Isaacl/Community/Fostering collaborative behaviour as a sample draft, but if someone has their own ideas about how to structure the next steps, great! I know the arbitration committee plans to hold an RfC on some topic to be determined, but I think interested editors can get started now laying groundwork, and co-ordinate with the arbitration committee. Let's start devoting some of this energy to making progress towards improving English Wikipedia's editing environment! isaacl (talk) 05:42, 15 July 2019 (UTC)

I think it will be a lot easier to go to the next steps once ArbCom announces how they want to go about their promised community RfC(s) on the subject. --Tryptofish (talk) 20:19, 15 July 2019 (UTC)
I think it’s a better idea not to let ArbCom dictate the scope of the coming discussions. —/Mendaliv//Δ's/ 20:36, 15 July 2019 (UTC)
I'm not saying dictate, but I think it makes sense to cooperate. It would be silly to work at cross purposes, or to duplicate efforts. It should be obvious from my continuing participation on this page that I'm very much in favor of the community continuing to brainstorm on our own, but things will need to get more organized the closer we get to setting up RfCs on actual changes to policies. --Tryptofish (talk) 20:40, 15 July 2019 (UTC)
Although both ways can work, I think it would be helpful to start establishing groups of editors interested in different areas, to facilitate co-ordination with the arbitration committee. Personally, I'd rather start converting this swell of interest into action now. The community is supposed to be self-governing; let's take that opportunity to decide for ourselves how we want to progress. isaacl (talk) 21:40, 15 July 2019 (UTC)

I wouldn't narrow it. Make no small plans. Let the title allow for the possibility of writing and ratifying a new constitution which fixes the incessant stream of WMF problems which WMF or it's replacement would then follow. North8000 (talk) 22:21, 15 July 2019 (UTC)

To my mind, the key aspect is getting editors with common interests to start work together on generating and refining ideas in their areas of interest. There could be a single umbrella page for all the initiatives or just lots of separate ones. Either way is good. isaacl (talk) 23:32, 15 July 2019 (UTC)

OK, since the area that has garnered the most discussion is about standards of behaviour, would someone like to start a brainstorming session to progress further on this topic? It could be, for example, a discussion at the WP:Village pump (idea lab) to solicit sample scenarios of desirable and poor behaviour, from which a set of norms could be drawn. If you have another idea, great - run with that! (If you want to open a thread on something else like constitutional change, sure!) Who wants to get started? isaacl (talk) 21:32, 18 July 2019 (UTC)

Just my personal opinion, but having seen literally dozens of similar "ambitious" discussions, none of which have ever resulted in any actual changes, I have come to the conclusion that any ambitious discussion should be on a sub page of an individual user's pages -- a user who is able to wisely (and reluctantly!) exercise his right to archive and/or delete comments and threads on his own user pages, with the discussion advertised at places like village pump idea lab. And if someone has a radically different vision, he should do the same on his user pages. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Guy Macon (talkcontribs) 01:22, 19 July 2019 (UTC)
I've seen discussions that eventually proved effective incubated both within project space and user space, but whatever the initiator wants to do is fine—let's do it! Who wants to launch a discussion in their user space, project space, or any other space? isaacl (talk) 01:30, 19 July 2019 (UTC)

Fram arbitration case is now open

ArbCom have opened a case on Fram under some unusual secret proceedings. Just posting here since they seem to have neglected to do so. Wikipedia:Arbitration/Requests/Case/Fram. —/Mendaliv//Δ's/ 12:18, 24 July 2019 (UTC)

I hope that editors will exert a reasonable amount of WP:AGF about the "unusual secret proceedings". Everything that has been going on has been unusual, and Arbs are not the enemies here. But yes, the community should be attentive to the need for fairness, especially in terms of the need for adequate rebuttal of secret evidence. --Tryptofish (talk) 14:07, 24 July 2019 (UTC)
Editors assuming good faith about the Committee's activities would indeed be unusual. Ivanvector (Talk/Edits) 14:25, 24 July 2019 (UTC)
Ha! Sad but true. --Tryptofish (talk) 14:29, 24 July 2019 (UTC)
We said we wanted ArbCom to handle it. They're elected by the community to deal with the tough cases. This being an unusual case, I do not see a reason to be alarmed about an unusual way of handling it. Seraphimblade Talk to me 15:28, 24 July 2019 (UTC)
I was expecting the case to be in camera given prior precedent. —A little blue Bori v^_^v Bori! 19:46, 24 July 2019 (UTC)
I’d honestly expected it to be a bifurcated proceeding, with nonprivate submissions being debated (as they should be) publicly, while issues pertaining to privacy being handled via email. I’m really disappointed in the Committee’s choice. —/Mendaliv//Δ's/ 19:49, 24 July 2019 (UTC)
This shows complete disregarding of the WP Community,...."unusual secret proceedings" usually means "...something stinks and we can't let the public smell it'". ―Buster7  12:14, 27 July 2019 (UTC)
In this case, it's more likely that NDA and the privacy of the complainant precludes a case fully in the open. We've already had two editors leave over this due to how badly T&S Streisanded the situation; do you REALLY want them to post shit publicly and Streisand the actual complainant, in light of the fact that the T&S document is specifically redacted for ArbCom's eyes and not the general editor corps'? —A little blue Bori v^_^v Bori! 21:25, 27 July 2019 (UTC)
Mendaliv, I am also a bit disappointed, but "bifurcated proceedings" can't reliably protect secrets. If there is an onwiki issue that Arbcom wish to keep secret, they can't allow any publicly submitted evidence, or somebody might submit that very evidence, and then they can't delete it unless they wish to Streisand-publicise it. I can't quite imagine what type of issues might force the complete secrecy (while not being a matter for Oversight or an indefinite global ban), so I can't tell whether the committee made the right choice. By opting for secrecy, the committee has asked for an immense about of trust from us, and although I would have preferred a standard open case, I am willing to extend that trust for now. It is not an enviable situation to be in, and I don't think there is an easy way out of this mess, and I am happy the Arbcom volunteered to deal with this. We don't have enough evidence to say they are volunteering wrong at this point. —Kusma (t·c) 09:10, 29 July 2019 (UTC)

FWIW, Fram's opinion on this is here. Whether this should be copied over here, for the record, I'm not sure. Not everything Fram has said has been recorded here, but some of it has. Carcharoth (talk) 13:08, 29 July 2019 (UTC)

Next steps, continued

I have repurposed User:Isaacl/Community/Fostering collaborative behaviour so it is now a place to start collecting ideas on how to modify English Wikipedia processes or procedures to encourage desired behaviour, and discourage poor behaviour by making it a neutral or losing strategy. Anyone interested is welcome to post their suggestions, and hopefully find a group of persons interested in following up and refining the ideas further!

Again I encourage anyone interested in starting next steps in any area of interest to proceed. As there was a lot of interest expressed in describing standards of behaviour, this may be a good place to start. I'm willing to help initiate the conversation somewhere like the village pump, but as this is not an area of passion for me, I'd prefer someone else adopt the role of shepherding the discussion. Some want to make greater policy changes: I look forward to reading your proposals and the ensuing discussion. Let's seize this moment to keep moving the discussion forward. isaacl (talk) 20:10, 13 August 2019 (UTC)

"There will be resistance to change"

I just wanted to highlight some quotes from m:Strategy/Wikimedia movement/2018-20/Working Groups/Diversity/Recommendations/1. It is anticipated that the change will create a more welcoming environment across all platforms -- Could this Recommendation have a negative impact/change? Those who do not wish to comply could leave the platform. -- There will be resistance to change -- What could be done to mitigate this risk? Unsure why it would be of value to retain toxic behaviors, thus there do not appear to be reasons to mitigate the risk. This was published after Fram and even explicitly references it. I'm glad to know the team responsible for this, which includes two WMF staffers and a board member, saw the reaction to the Fram ban, and thought, "we should do this more often." Someguy1221 (talk) 07:56, 13 August 2019 (UTC)

People who do not wish to comply = [people who exhibit] toxic behaviors. Yeah, no fallacy there. Grandpallama (talk) 16:39, 13 August 2019 (UTC)
It sounds like the individual(s) behind such sentiments see any opposition as bad-faith and illegitimate. That doesn't fill me with hope that they'll be open to feedback (aside from supportive feedback, of course). Lepricavark (talk) 22:57, 13 August 2019 (UTC)
"Will this recommendation have a negative impact?" and "What could be done to mitigate this risk?" appear to be part of the standard form for reporting recommendations in this project. The diversity team, across its various proposals, consistently answers those with, paraphrasing, "No." and "Convince people it's a good change." Someguy1221 (talk) 23:11, 13 August 2019 (UTC)
The scary thing is that the question seems not to be getting taken seriously, or perhaps that the people writing this are mistaking their role of brainstorming for advocacy. Though, even as advocacy, treating the “what is weakness of this proposal?” question like this really hurts the credibility of the advocate. —/Mendaliv//Δ's/ 23:22, 13 August 2019 (UTC)
Oh, a mash up of Twenty Seconds to Comply and Resistance is futile - music to edit by. LessHeard vanU (talk) 12:01, 14 August 2019 (UTC)

It's happening: The community "consultation"

See the announcement here. —/Mendaliv//Δ's/ 14:34, 13 August 2019 (UTC)

  • To be clear, the consultation itself is not going to happen until "early September". The draft of how the consultation is going to work is now live for comments, until August 30. --Yair rand (talk) 18:00, 13 August 2019 (UTC)
Loving that the link points to the bit where sinebot is appending the editors name to the announcement... For our potential newly self appointed masters, they are a little deficient at some of the finer points of using project space. LessHeard vanU (talk) 12:05, 14 August 2019 (UTC)

───────────────────────── Direct links:

Please comment at the talk page. This is really important. --Guy Macon (talk) 01:22, 15 August 2019 (UTC)

Unified Code of Conduct

Given its relevance to the issue here, and the discussions immediately above, I thought I'd add this:

For those either against or in favour of a unified code of conduct across all the wikiprojects, there's a specific working group discussion on it at meta. I think it could use some extra discussion. Link to Basic Suggestions Nosebagbear (talk) 11:36, 15 August 2019 (UTC)