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Wikipedia:Community response to the Wikimedia Foundation's ban of Fram/Archive 5

Siteban as a service

This page is already long enough, and many of my opinions have been covered already by myself and others (including my concerns of unfairly singling out enwiki among the wikis) but I believe there are some things that need to be explored:

  • If you are familiar with my admin/steward work here/on Wikidata/elsewhere, you know that I come down pretty hard on uncivil behavior. I have said that in my personal opinion, Fram should have been desysopped and likely banned a while back (not by WMF of course), and I have had various run-ins with him in the past. I also do wish to condemn what has happened to Raystorm and LauraHale.
    • That all being said: in my mind WMF itself has been uncivil here. From WP:CIV: Stated simply, editors should always treat each other with consideration and respect. The patronizing statements made above, coupled with the harsh actions do not show consideration and respect. While WMF has the technical and legal right to do whatever they want with the site, they have overstepped here and that is not a healthy way to run an organization; just because you can do it doesn't mean you should.
    • I also think that WMF has severely damaged the legitimacy of any further ban that they do make, as any ban from now on will be looked at with much more scrutiny, even if legitimate (and for the cases I do know about, the global bans generally have been legitimate).
  • Talking to all the admins (of any large WMF wiki) for a second: How many of you have made difficult criticisms about an editor's content work, or have sanctioned a user at AE, or have blocked/banned a difficult user? How many of them have resulted in users accusing you of harassment and all sorts of other evils? I know I have, even got the death threats (and my editing area is United States roads for crying out loud). Now, imagine that all they had to do was convince WMF that you were harassing them and needed to be sitebanned, and boom, you're banned without the possibility of appeal. That is essentially what WMF is allowing to happen here, if there are no safeguards put up. If you want someone banned, all you have to do is convince WMF.
    • I don't know what those of you who actually edit contentious areas will do. I don't know what former arbitrators will do - I've definitely seen quite a few requests from enwiki-banned users to WMF T&S staff members on Meta accusing arbitrators of all sorts of things. I would like to think that WMF can see through this sort of thing, but seeing how certain parts of the organization are run, and some of the bizarre things that have come from those who aren't as familiar with the communities - maybe not. (Keep in mind that James Alexander and Philippe Beaudette, the past T&S managers (I think?) were both heavily involved in this Wikimedia community and still are admins here today - but they are no longer employed by WMF and can no longer intervene in matters like this).

In my mind I go back to the thoughts I had during superprotect (and I was a steward during superprotect) - is the WMF going to run this site into the ground through incidents like this, and is it worth editing anymore if that is what is going to happen? (That was one reason my activity tanked 2015-2016). Or, is it going to put me into an untenable position and an unjustifiable risk to keep serving as an admin here and on Wikidata? For someone who has edited for almost 15 years, these aren't easy questions. Or maybe I will get married and start a family and have to resign anyway and this is all moot. All I have to say is that this is incredibly disappointing. --Rschen7754 06:54, 14 June 2019 (UTC) Minor edits made at 01:44, 15 June 2019 (UTC)

  • I agree entirely - not only have the WMF, but also individual position holders are culpable in that. For the chair of the WMF board to try and compare this to Gamergate is horseshit of the first order. To lie so baldly on that point alone is unforgivable, and one I think they should consider their position over. - SchroCat (talk) 07:49, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
  • This is a very accurate, rational, and well-composed response. Thank you, Vermont (talk) 10:40, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
  • I'm tempted to make the sardonic point that WMF is exempt from following the policies of Wikipedia, and so the argument that they violated WP:CIV does not apply. WaltCip (talk) 11:14, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Absolutely. Until recently, our interaction with WMF looked like - aliens came and have taken omeone with them. Now, this time they might have taken a bad guy, but since it is unclear how they operate thay can take anybody - possibly me - tomorrow. That is not really like the organization which was create to support the project must operate. --Ymblanter (talk) 11:19, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
    First they came ... starship.paint (talk) 14:36, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
    Not really, this is a different situation. Niemöller understood (well, to some extent) what is going to happen. The Nazis were pretty clear about their plans, the question was just about when they were going to be implemented and in which order. Here, WMF finally said they are going to act as a civility police (which is a pretty new development), but they did not really explained what level of civility they expect to see etc. Apparently, we should learn from the examples of people they are going to ban what is possible and what is not possible. (And they screwed up even this, I do not really know at the moment what I should learn from the Fram's case, except for a couple of minor details). This looks more like a minefield, or, indeed, random alien abductions.--Ymblanter (talk) 16:06, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
    Obviously this is off topic but I don't think that is accurate. Most Germans were not aware of the ultimate plan. For example, Aktion T4 was not made public. The regime never announced they were doing it and misled virtually everyone involved. I sympathize with Germans from that era to a degree because they only saw/knew a small piece of Hitler's plan. Enigmamsg 20:31, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Good points as always Rschen7754.- MrX 🖋 12:15, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
  • I see this as a enWiki mistake. It should not be sitting at the talk page since February 2018. It should be gently yet promptly moved to ANI, then to ArbCom (if no consensus). You let one regular editor to use administrative rights on their will - you should not be surprised if someone else goes over your heads. I don't know how casual are such self-proclaimed banning policies in enWki. If they are accepted - then enWiki may have a dispute resolution problem. Teasle from "Rambo" is on my side :-) - where he talks about the law. --Neolexx (talk) 16:31, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
    Neolexx, that's very unusual in en.Wiki; I might go so far as to say "unprecedented" for its invocation of T&S. It's generally custom that if one editor asks another to stop posting to their talk page, non-compliance is considered disruptive behavior on the part of the latter (with exception for some required notification, like posting about someone on the Administrator's Noticeboard), but the part about not examining Laura's articles would normally be imposed only after community discussion. I was quite surprised to see that Laura had imposed those conditions unilaterally; when I first saw that editnotice, I assumed it had followed a formal sanctions process.
    It's perilous to speculate about counterfactuals, but I think it's likely that Laura could have obtained some sort of interaction ban, perhaps on similar terms, had she brought it to dispute resolution, especially given Fram's general conduct at that time. On the other hand, that would have drawn attention to Fram's criticisms of her articles and brought further scrutiny. This would be an unpleasant process, regardless of whether the criticism was justified.
    Since Fram seems to have basically respected Laura's conditions, except for those two edits in April (whereas it's usually clear when Fram is subjecting someone's edits to scrutiny), it may be that whoever else knew about the situation at the time didn't want to take it to AN/I for fear of further aggravating the situation. But again, this is wholly speculative. Choess (talk) 17:35, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
    I really, really want to know how that editnotice hasn't gotten nuked per WP:POLEMIC yet. There are rumblings that might explain it, but... rdfox 76 (talk) 17:38, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
  • I don't know what those of you who actually edit contentious areas will do - be banned probably. nableezy - 17:24, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
  • I think that Rschen7754's analysis is excellent, thank you for providing it. "If you want someone banned, all you have to do is convince WMF." That one sentence really crystallizes why what WMF attempted to do here is such a major problem. And I want to emphasize that in no way am I defending harassment (if that's what it was). If we are to have a truly crowdsourced project, then we cannot have any sort of private club that gets to vanish editors without accountability to the larger community. In particular, there is a serious danger of favoritism. --Tryptofish (talk) 18:39, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Rschen7754 has truly managed to cogently express what I've been feeling in my gut since the the first response from T&S. I would also credit Risker's post, and recent comments from nableezy and Only in death in the section #Does even Fram know what he was banned for?. What unsettles me about this situation is not that Fram was banned - it's the attitude from T&S that they fully intend to operate a form of justice that seems to be modeled after the star chamber, and they don't care how the community feels about this. How is any editor supposed to react now to the threat of being reported to a completely unaccountable group that will gladly hand out apparently arbitrary punishments for secret reasons? Even if the threat is never made explicitly, it could very well be on a lot of editors' minds now during any kind of dispute, especially when an established editor is on the other side, and even more so when that editor is perceived to have pull with the foundation. I don't trust T&S to exercise sound judgement, and I am not alone. If their goal is to discourage harassment, they have utterly failed by refusing to define it. If their goal is to protect the identity of the accuser(s) in order to shield them from further harassment, well, congratulations, because multiple people are getting harassed over mere suspicion anyway. If their goal is to appear anything but capricious, one wonders why they issued this first-of-it's-kind ban against someone against whom some in the foundation are perceived, accurately or not, to hold a grudge. If ArbCom loses the trust of the community, they can be replaced at the ballot by the very people over whom they wield power. But we seem to be stuck with these self-appointed super-admins, and unable to get more than patronizing waffle in response to our concerns. Someguy1221 (talk) 01:02, 15 June 2019 (UTC)

Punitive Punishment

I was rereading Fram's statement on commons, and found this "We ask that her request to stay away from her and the content she creates be respected, so that there is no need for any form of intervention or punitive actions from our end." from the Trust and Safety team emails the that fram posted. Punitive actions are in direct conflict with Wikipedia's core values and policies. WP:NOTPUNISHMENT Afootpluto (talk) 11:42, 15 June 2019 (UTC)

I am not sure I like the idea of punitive punishment, but I think much of the above has been about how WMF is not Wikipedia, and so is not subject to the same rules. The question of should it be is another issue.12:11, 15 June 2019 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Slatersteven (talkcontribs)

Editorial independence of the English Wikipedia community and response to Jan

This statement addresses the above one from the WMF. Simply put: The English Wikipedia editor community is entirely editorially independent from the Wikimedia Foundation. That means that, in addition to not deciding what English Wikipedia content may be, the WMF may not decide who may or may not write it. We have asked the WMF to step in for a few areas, such as child protection, threats of harm, or legal issues. However, it should be noted that the English Wikipedia community handled these issues before the WMF even existed. Wikipedia founded the WMF, not the other way around. The WMF exists to serve, not rule, the community, and absolutely may not step into any situation without being invited to do so. And the WMF may never, under any circumstances, overrule the community. The following is a direct response to Jan's statement and its numerous inadequacies, including its failure to concede editorial independence of the English Wikipedia to our editor community. We will not accept less than that.

Dear members of the English Wikipedia community,

My name is Jan Eissfeldt and I’m commenting in my role as Lead Manager of the Wikimedia Foundation Trust & Safety team about the team’s recent investigation and office actions. In addition to this comment, the Trust & Safety team will be making a statement at Arbitration Committee Requests/WJBscribe tomorrow.

I want to apologize for the disruption caused by the introduction of new type of sanctions without better communication with this community beforehand. While these changes were the result of the changes to the Trust & Safety team’s processes, and are not an expansion of the team’s scope, I know that these changes to the processes came as a surprise to many people within the community, and that many of you have questions about the changes.

This is not acceptable. You do not "communicate changes" to the English Wikipedia community. You ask if you may make them. If the community says "no", you do not make them, or at least you do not implement them here. WMF is not a "higher authority", and you may not push through changes without the consensus of our community. The problem is not (only) poor communication, it is entirely inappropriate action. The WMF may not overrule the English Wikipedia editorial community.

Responding to community concerns about the office action requires deliberation and takes some time. We have been in active dialogue with staff and others - including the Board - to work on resolutions, but we understand that the time this takes opens the door for speculation and allowed concerns to expand.

You have, however, not been in active dialogue with the English Wikipedia's community.

I realize that this situation has been difficult for the English Wikipedia’s Arbitration Committee (ArbCom). The Trust & Safety team apologizes for not working more closely with them in the lead-up to this point. We will improve our coordination with community-elected bodies like ArbCom across the movement when carrying out our duties.

Actually, you used to do this when I was on ArbCom. In the instances you had concerns about a user, you forwarded it to ArbCom. So, it is not "We will ban a user based on private evidence, heads up ArbCom", it is "We have concerning evidence about a user, here it is ArbCom." Except in cases of child protection, threats of harm to self or another, or United States law or court order, the WMF does not have the authority to ban editors on the English Wikipedia.

I also want to elaborate on the reasons that Trust & Safety cases will not be discussed in public and often not even privately with members of the Wikimedia movement who sign Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs). When we receive non-public information, the Wikimedia Foundation must handle it in a manner that is both consistent with our Privacy Policy and any other commitments made to the person disclosing their information. When dealing with sensitive allegations of inappropriate behavior, we must ensure that we are upholding a relationship of trust and confidence with people who have entrusted us with personal information about their experiences. This means that even in cases where users have signed a community NDA, our legal obligations may not allow us to share information given to us.

If you require an updated NDA, have Legal develop a better one. You must be allowed to share information with the community organizations, such as ArbCom, involved. If your current NDA and policies don't allow that, ask for Legal's assistance to fix them so they do allow it.

Additionally, I want to explain the reason for using a role account when performing office actions and during follow up communication. Decisions, statements, and actions regarding things such as Office Actions are not individually-taken; rather, they are a product of collaboration of multiple people at the Foundation, oftentimes up to and including the Executive Director. As a result, we use the WMFOffice account as a “role” account, representing the fact that these are Foundation actions and statements, not a single person’s.

Do you really think your volunteer administrators have never gotten harassed or threatened as a result of on-wiki actions they took? I really wish I had the thirteen page death threat I once received for deleting an article, telling me in exquisite detail how the individual planned to torture and murder me. I just got a laugh out of it. If someone actually means to hurt you, they won't threaten you, they'll just do it. (Much of what they described was probably physically impossible, too.) If you take an action, you put your name on it. If it is Katherine who approves these bans, she should provide notice of them from her account. If you know what you did was right, stand behind it and put your damn name on it. Not some poor WMF staffer tasked to do it; the person who ultimately made the final signoff on the matter.
I've gotten a whole load of death threats, "You're a __________!", "You're corrupt!", whatever else, from decisions I've made as a volunteer on the English Wikipedia over this past decade. Now WMF wants to tell me that people who get paid to do this get to use some anonymous account, while I put my name on everything I did and still do? (For the record, I wouldn't have used some anonymous account even if I had the option. If I make a decision, I made it, and I will take responsibility for it. But if those of us who don't get paid a nickel put our names on what we do, and sometimes suffer negative consequences for it, you damn well can too when you're getting a paycheck to do it. If occasionally the reaction to that is negative—tough.)

Some of you may remember that Trust & Safety staff used to sign with their individual accounts when discussing Office Actions. Unfortunately, this is no longer possible due to safety concerns for Foundation employees, as in the past staff have been personally targeted for threats of violence due to their Office Action edits. I am taking the step of making this statement personally in this case due to extraordinary necessity.

Again, not acceptable. If you were the final or highest-level person to sign off, put your name to it. That's who is ultimately responsible. It is, at that point, not the "Wikimedia Foundation's" doing, it is your doing. If you would be ashamed to do it, then don't do it.

There continue to be questions from some people about the Foundation’s Trust & Safety team doing investigations about incidents occurring on English Wikipedia. I want to clarify the rationale for Trust & Safety doing investigations when requested and they meet the criteria for review.

Part of the Trust & Safety Team’s responsibility is upholding movement-wide standards based on the Terms of Use. We recognize that each of the hundreds of global communities under the Wikimedia umbrella have their own styles and their own behavioral expectations, but we also believe that there must be a certain minimum standard to those expectations. Sometimes, local communities find it difficult to meet that minimum standard despite their best efforts due to history, habit, dislike by some volunteers of the standard, or wider cultural resistance to these standards. However, it is important to keep in mind that even communities that are resistant to it or are making a good faith effort are expected to meet the minimum standards set in the Terms of Use. In cases where community influences or barriers interfere with the meeting of these minimum standards, the Foundation may step in to enforce the standards - even in situations where the local community dislikes or outright opposes those standards.

The "Trust and Safety Team" may not overrule community processes or consensus. The WMF needs to very, very swiftly disabuse itself of the notion that it is a "higher authority" than the English Wikipedia community. Wikipedia created the WMF, not the other way around. You exist to serve, not to rule, this community. If we say you may not step in for some particular thing, then you keep out of it.

It is important that victims of hostilities like harassment have a safe place to make reports and that we uphold and respect their privacy when they do so. The Foundation is currently working with the community on a User Reporting System that would allow communities and the Foundation to cooperate in handling complaints like harassment, and we have every hope that that system will facilitate local, community handling of these issues. However, at the current time, no such system exists for victims to make reports privately without fear that their “case” will be forced to become public. Indeed, it is often true that a mere rumor that someone was the victim of harassment can lead to harassment of that person. Unfortunately, that has been proven the case here as some individuals have already made assumptions about the identities of the victims involved. Accordingly, the Foundation is currently the venue best equipped to handle these reports, as we are able, often required by laws or global policies, to investigate these situations in confidence and without revealing the identity of the victim. That is why we will not name or disclose the identities of the individuals involved in reporting incidents related to this Office Action.

If the community decides the case should be public, it should be. The WMF does not exist to overrule community decisions it considers wrong. If a case involves private, off-wiki evidence, the ArbCom can already handle that in private. If it does not, it must be handled publicly. If you don't like that—in short, tough. The WMF does not exist to overrule community decisions it considers wrong.

There have been some concerns raised about the level of community experience and knowledge involved in Trust & Safety’s work. The Wikimedia Foundation’s Community Engagement Department, of which Trust & Safety is a part, supports contributors and organizations aligned with the Wikimedia Foundation mission. In order to conduct informed and contextualized investigations, safeguard the community at events, and support community governance, Trust & Safety has focused on building a team with a combination of deep Wikimedia movement experience and team members who have experience with Trust & Safety processes with other online communities. To better assess incidents, the team has people from diverse geographic, linguistic and cultural backgrounds. We have former ArbCom members, administrators, and functionaries, from English Wikipedia as well as other language communities, informing our decisions, and expertise from other organisations helping to build compassionate best practices. We have utilized all of this experience and expertise in determining how best to manage the reports of harassment and response from members of the community.

If they were familiar with the community, they should've known the fallout this would cause. The English Wikipedia jealously guards its editorial independence. If the Foundation staff is not explicitly invited to enter in an area, you are not welcome, and you must stay out of it. Anyone with even a passing familiarity with past Foundation interactions should know that. And the English Wikipedia is not "other online communities", so experience outside it is totally irrelevant.

One of the recent changes to the Trust & Safety policy is the introduction of new options that include time-limited and partial (project-specific) bans to address serious concerns that are considered temporary or project-specific in nature. This change to policy is not a change of the team’s scope of cases taken. However, it does alter the way that sanctions are enforced and unintentionally introduced ambiguity about the ability of local communities to overrule office actions.

This is a very troubling assertion. If previous globally banned editors were banned for similar reasons to Fram, that calls into question every global lock or ban the WMF has ever placed. Did you just accidentally leave Fram a way to defend himself? WMF should be intervening only in the most serious issues, not garden-variety "harassment" claims.

In acknowledgement of the confusion caused by the application of this newer type of ban, we will not be issuing sanctions against or desysopping those who edited the block or the sysop rights of those who edited the block to date. However, despite the ambiguity in its application, the ban continues to stand whether it is being technically enforced by a block or not. Should Fram edit English Wikipedia during the one-year period of their ban, the temporary partial ban of User:Fram will be enforced with a global ban (and accordingly a global lock). We must stress again that Office Actions, whether “technically” reversible or not, are not to be considered reversible by a local, or even the global, community, no matter the circumstances or community sentiment.

Let's neither of us be disingenuous, please. Floquenbeam, Bishonen, and WJBScribe knew they weren't supposed to do what they did. They didn't care and they were very deliberately acting in defiance of your overreach. You may not ban editors for simple incivility, whether or not you like the way the English Wikipedia handles it. It is outside your authority.

The occurrence of Office Actions at times is unavoidable, but it is not our intention to disrupt local communities any further than necessary. Here we failed on that score, caused disruption to your community, and we welcome feedback about how such disruption could be avoided in the future when the Foundation takes Office Actions, and ask that we all engage in a good faith discussion bearing in mind the legal and ethical restrictions placed on anyone within or outside of the Foundation engaging in reports of this nature.

Very well, here's the feedback: Don't ever again take an action of this nature. Take office actions only where the community has agreed you may: United States legal requirements, child protection, or threats of harm to oneself or others. Otherwise, leave control entirely local, and refer any complaints to local English Wikipedia authorities, even if you grit your teeth while you do it.

In addition to asking for feedback about the trust and safety office actions in this incident, over the next year, the Foundation will be asking members of the Wikimedia movement to work with us on several initiatives that are designed to promote inclusivity by ensuring a healthier culture of discourse, and the safety of Wikimedia spaces. --Jan (WMF) (talk) 20:44, 13 June 2019 (UTC)

That's nice. But Wikipedia ain't a "safe space", it's a website. People of a lot of different temperaments are there, and we like it that way. If you're going to participate in a project like it, you need something of a thick skin. It's the real world, not a safe room. But regardless, how it is run is ultimately decided by the community, not the WMF.

For these reasons, this statement, while at least from a named individual, is still inadequate. It tries to reassert that the WMF has the right to step in and overrule the English Wikipedia's community. It does not, and anything less than a full acknowledgement of community control is not acceptable, no matter how nicely it might be worded. Seraphimblade Talk to me 22:34, 13 June 2019 (UTC)

It also verges on useless for other reasons. Once again, the statement takes a default position of "everything about this matter is privileged", which is both facially false (they haven't sanctioned Fram for what they have said on Commons and even if they had the three strikes and an explanation as to why the ban was limited should not be privileged) and only continues to Streisand things even more. We've had it with the stonewalling, and this is basically more of the same. I will give Jan credit for putting the responce in her his name, but the fact remains the responce is still woefully deficient in key areas, and isn't going to help de-escalate things because it does not address some of the concerns with overreach and governance a sizeable chunk of the regulars are starting to have. —A little blue Bori v^_^v Bori! 23:56, 13 June 2019 (UTC)
@Jéské Couriano: FYI Jan is a male German name. -- King of ♠ 00:21, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
(edit conflict) Yep, I'm also pretty sure 'her' is a 'his'. Trust me. See Nick Moyes (talk) 00:26, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
Apologies, corrected. —A little blue Bori v^_^v Bori! 00:28, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
Bravo Seraphimblade, well said!Smeat75 (talk) 00:38, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
+1, brilliant response. CoolSkittle (talk) 01:10, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
In regard to T&S not notifying the English Wikipedia about changes to their procedures, do you expect them to ask all 750 or so communities prior to changing the way T&S operates? Of course, they could have done more than simply editing the page, like leaving a message on the Wikimedia Forum, but it's simply infeasible to ask every community to approve changes to WMF operations prior to them taking effect on their wiki. In regard to your opposition to leaving messages with the role account, it's useful for leaving messages on behalf of the entire WMF Office. From what I understand, there is rarely, if ever, only one person behind decisions like these. Thank you, Vermont (talk) 01:07, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
That was easy enough for the Foundation when moving from GFDL to CC-BY-SA. EllenCT (talk) 01:16, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
I think that sidesteps the point in what is, overall, a rather poignant response. Thanks for taking the time to draft it, Seraphimblade. El_C 01:12, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
@Vermont: To be pragmatic, 99% of those wikis will never be the subject of office actions. --Rschen7754 01:15, 14 June 2019 (UTC)

Vermont, I would certainly expect them to ask prior to implementing it on the English Wikipedia, yes. Wikipedia founded the Foundation, very literally, not the other way around. The English Wikipedia is not a WMF project. WMF is an English Wikipedia project. They are not a "higher authority" over our community, and they may not intervene except where they are explicitly given consensus that they are welcome. WMF may not horn in on our community. Whether any other communities come to that same decision is up to them. Seraphimblade Talk to me 01:18, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
@Vermont and Seraphimblade: - it would obviously be impossible to gain the consent of all 750 local communities. It would also be damaging to the global community just to require en-wiki's permission. However it would be well within the abilities to put together a global discussion, advertising that changes are being mooted on all 750. I cite as an example...the current advertising we have, the brand change, etc etc. An excellent piece of work Nosebagbear (talk) 08:53, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Excellent response Seraphimblade, in every respect. Not to overdramatize, but this is a line in the sand that badly needs to be drawn. If anyone thinks that Jan's statement was the beginning of a dialog between equals, they are deluded. There have been more than 40 comments and several very serious questions in response to Jan's statement, and not a single response back from him. That tells you everything you need to know about what the foundation thinks of the community that created it.- MrX 🖋 01:36, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
In my view, this is unfair. Many of those comments and questions are indeed cogent and serious, and deserve response, but expecting a thoughtful, and complete response within a few hours is unreasonable. In addition to contemplating how to respond, he also has to prepare for a board meeting today, and I want him preparing carefully for that meeting.S Philbrick(Talk) 13:30, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
I think it's very fair. When you have assumed the role of spokesperson, you don't dump and run. You stick around to answer questions honestly and openly. A 1400+ word statement is not a substitute for the dialog that we should expect from our infrastructure partner.- MrX 🖋 12:17, 15 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Strongly support Seraphimblade's response above. DuncanHill (talk) 01:37, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
  • This is the best and cleanest distillation of my own views on the subject that I've read in this entire thread. Bravo. Tazerdadog (talk) 01:40, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Very well laid out, Seraphimblade. --SarekOfVulcan (talk) 01:45, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
  • If anyone is looking for a more popular piece of text to be written on this issue, it had better be written on a pink slip. Wnt (talk) 02:02, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
  • What Seraphimblade said, a thousand times yes, or in my best Australian vernacular, piss off WMF.- Nick Thorne talk 02:04, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
  • If accurate then this pretty much is the bottom line. Randy Kryn (talk) 02:07, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
  • @Seraphimblade: An excellent analysis and statement, bravo! I agree totally and completely with everything you wrote. I dearly hope that Jan, the other folks at T&S, the rest of the WMF office and Jimbo and the rest of the WMF Board pay very close attention to this because their failure to do so is simply going to exacerbate the situation. They need to reign themselves in and disabuse themselves of the notion that they can operate in the manner it appears they wish to. I think it abundantly clear that the editing community is not going to stand for the abrogation of its rights, and that what they're seeing in the response to their actions isn't a mere blip on the radar, it's a full-scale defense of what is by history and right ours, and not theirs to do away with whenever they want. In short: this is a big deal, and it's not about Fram, something they clearly have not shown that they understand. Beyond My Ken (talk) 02:13, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
  • At first, I saw this and thought "TL;DR". I read it, anyway. I'm glad that I did. Well said, Seraphimblade. Jauerbackdude?/dude. 02:16, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
  • If I can nudge my way in between everyone patting each-other on the back here, obviously the WMF is the legal owner of the site regardless of whether this domain was registered before the WMF was founded. The WMF is the legal entity that is responsible to governments for what goes on here. I disagree with most of the other stuff that Seraphimblade is saying but don't really care enough to argue it point-by-point, just want to note that this is not a unanimously-shared sentiment within the community. -- Ajraddatz (talk) 02:21, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
    Not unanimous, but I think the opposers are in the minority. I don't even know Fram, and I support Seraphimblade's statement. starship.paint (talk) 02:30, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
    You know, I'm pretty sick of hearing this point being trotted out as if it has some relevance, when it has absolutely none at all. I've read the vast majority of this page, and I don't recall anyone denying that, legally, the WMF owns the website and the servers etc, but that's hardly the point. The arguments being made here are about our historical, moral and ethical rights as the builders of this encyclopedia, and as the force that was the impetus for the WMF to come into being. Everyone knows that if the WMF wanted to, they could shut down the servers, or blank the website, or block all the editors, or desysop all the admins, or whatever authoritarian actions they might want to do, but the question is not can they, but should they, not whether they have the means to abrogate our rights, but whether they should do so from a moral and ethical standpoint, and, if they do, what our response should be. The "legalistic" POV is self-defeating and nihilistic; it says that since they can do whatever they want because they own the place, the' we can't do anything about it, which is simply just not true. Unless the people at the WMF are soulless, immoral, unethical zombies who care nothing about the fate of their premier website, they are susceptible to being swayed by argumentation, protest, and just acts of "civil disobedience", which is precisely what is happening. If you believe that their legal ownership of the place means that they are willing to destroy it, I believe you are very sadly mistaken, and deluded especially about the realities in play here. Beyond My Ken (talk) 02:40, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
    I would prefer that you don't call me deluded, thanks. I should be able to argue an opposite point of view from you without being attacked. -- Ajraddatz (talk) 02:44, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
    "deluded (adj.) believing something that is not true" -- so it's not by any stretch of the imagination an attack. Nevertheless, I've rephrased. Beyond My Ken (talk) 03:46, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
    Thanks, I appreciate it. For what it's worth I agree with the general point of your comment. -- Ajraddatz (talk) 19:21, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Bravo to all of this. Detailed and when necessarily, biting. I see nothing to disagree with here. The best result here would be Fram's desysop reversed, all evidence forwarded to ArbCom for ruling, and every person at WMF who had a part in this mockery of justice needing to check the want ads. CoffeeCrumbs (talk) 02:24, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Jan Eissfeldt needs to be terminated from employment by WMF. No confidence. Carrite (talk) 02:29, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
Of course nobody should be fired over any of this. It's a learning experience for all involved, and in the long run will be good for WMF and the rest of the community and bring everyone closer to the ideals of civility and assuming good faith. Randy Kryn (talk) 02:42, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
I'm not sure about that. Referring to Headbomb's post above, if this is his case 1, then we can treat it as a learning experience and move on with the same people in their current roles. If this falls into his case 3 or 4, this is not possible, and heads will have to figuratively roll at the WMF to restore the trust. If its a case 2, then it is context and detail specific. We still do not know what it is because the current communications from the WMF have been light on the details and specifics. Tazerdadog (talk) 04:57, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
Situation 4, obviously (but I agreed that's like crackpot). Situation 3 would be awful, but it'd be hard to target the blame (not because they've merged, but because even with a boss, I think we'd be targeting one member unfairly). I also think it would be counterproductive to actually solving the issue (if they thought their jobs would be part of any resolution, obviously they'd be motivated not to agree!). Nosebagbear (talk) 08:58, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
  • I really dont understand how people are saying the WMF can or cannot do anything. They can do whatever the fuck they want to with this website. They can turn off the lights if they want. Early on somebody said we arent just the tenants here. I think thats right, but not for the reason they meant; tenants pay rent and have rights. We arent tenants, we are guests. We can try to reason with them and hopefully they see that the value the WMF is able to offer anybody and why anybody would ever donate to them is the work of us guests, but this is in fact a privately owned website and the WMF is the owner of it. It is quite literally their property. Like any other non-profit it has certain responsibilities, but agreeing to this projects "independence" is not one of them. the WMF may not decide who may or may not write it: Yes they can. The WMF may not overrule the English Wikipedia editorial community. Yes they can. I struggle to think of anything involving this website that is actually outside of the foundation's authority. You may not ban editors for simple incivility Yes they can. It would be, and is, incredibly stupid, but they certainly can do it. nableezy - 02:30, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Per my response above, you are completely and totally mistaken about the real-world situation. Beyond My Ken (talk) 02:40, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Im sorry, and Im not trying to be rude, but your historical, moral and ethical rights dont mean shit. In the real world the owner of private property retains the right to determine who may access that property. I dont know how what has happened so far has not reinforced the fact that we in fact do not run shit here. That if the actual owners, not what you think are the ethical owners, want to do something to this or any other website they own that they will in fact do it. We can try to convince them it is a bad idea, that it will result in attrition of the people that actually provide it with value, that it is morally and ethically wrong. But pretending we have some power here is not the same as having power here. nableezy - 02:46, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Technically, the community has 3 seats on the board and affiliates have 2, out of 10 total. The community vote will inevitably be tilted towards the more populous projects due to one user, one vote, while the affiliate vote has a much more diverse composition, but both can be thought of as representative of the community in some way (House and Senate, if you will). And the board governs the corporate entity of WMF. So there do exist checks and balances to keep them in line - at the very least they cannot afford to alienate the entire global community. This is of course far removed from everyday WMF affairs, but we own the WMF just as much as the American people own the United States. -- King of ♠ 03:10, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
As an American, that made me smile and then cry nableezy - 03:25, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
But that's IMO the key point. We do have some influence but it's limited. And the more important point is that our own real legal control comes about via how we affect the board's composition. If people feel that morally the WMF cannot override the community that's up to them and ultimately probably not worth getting into dispute over especially not here and at this time. But I'm concerned that some people seem to genuinely believe that legally the WMF cannot override the community. Whether because of something to do with the history of how the site was formed and the WMF or some other reason. My belief, which as I said below is not based on much, is they are seriously mistaken and actually the WMF is right and if these people actually try to prove it via the only way possible i.e. a court case, they will lose spectacularly. And I think this is important since if I'm right, it seems to me they're in for a world of hurt when I'm proven right. And besides that, I do think that having some basic understanding of the actual legal situation is important here. I am particularly concerned that people may be contributing with some mistaken belief of the legal situation since I'm all for people making informed choices about how they spend their time and efforts which requires the 'informed' part. Nil Einne (talk) 04:16, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
@Nil Einne: - A massive amount of this debate is based on the morality of an organisation formed to serve the community taking unrequested additional control. You're certainly right on the legal side - but this discussion (both generally and this very section) has never just been about that. Nor should it. Both morality and pragmatically (in the sense of damaging the Community) are vital areas to consider. The idea of putting them off is inappropriate and unwise. Nosebagbear (talk) 10:21, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
  • You response provided zero real information to demonstrate what you are saying is true. Not for that matter did Seraphimblade's responses. Nor does mine or Nableezy's of course. I strongly suspect however that Nableezy's response which is fairly similar to my view, is far more likely to be correct. Notably, I'm fairly sure that the WMF's view of the situation has competent legal advice behind it. From what I can tell, so far no one has provided legal advice supporting your or Seraphimblade's view on the WMF's lack of ultimate control. Also, even if you did receive legal advice supporting your position it could easily be a moot point. Like it or not the WMF has a lot of money behind them as well. Maybe you'll be able to convince enough people to act pro-bono but if not you're going to have to convince enough people here to put their money where their mouth is and fund the multimillion legal case you'll need to test the WMF's view of their control. To be clear, I won't be helping fund such an effort in any way because I think it's a long lost cause and a bad cause at that. I have no sought legal advice supporting my view of the situation is that the WMF is correct, it's simply a gut feeling based on the little I know of the law etc. Still to be clear I do believe whatever the history here, they now have ultimate authority to decide on what goes on in all their sites. The time to challenge that if anyone wanted to has long passed. Nil Einne (talk) 02:59, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
  • From a moral and ethical purview, this is a very good response to Jan's statement and (+1).
    Obviously, no merits from a legal viewpoint but that would mean that the WMF can choose to not pay any heed to our concerns, at any time. Fork off or fuck off has always been a favorite phrasing of the pro-WMF clique but it has not yet worked. WBGconverse 03:02, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
Absolutely the above is completely wrong. Nonsense to imply that the Office is intervening on editorial matters, it is intervening on gross behavior matters and about systematic allowance/celebration of bullying/harassment which is intolerable. The current Wikipedia community has absolutely failed in protecting people, in addressing rampant bullying, in controlling idiotic tendencies for mob rule (evident on this page). I and I think the majority of persons who have participated in Wikipedia (most of whom have been driven away by bullying and other idiocy here) certainly do hope/believe that some control / strong actions / whatever will come down from above, by rights of the owners/managers of this site, to address the bullying and idiocy. Right, it is hard for people who have gotten their way to absorb this. Any which way it is communicated will be blasted with further idiocy (sorry to be blunt), such as the ridiculous dismissals of any validity to the Office's position due to some being dumbfounded about the one-year term of the action taken. With ridiculous assertions that because it is a one-year term it must be wrong, etc. The majority here has no willingness to recognize any circumstance under which bullying and gross behavior here can/will be tamped down. I certainly hope this Office action is the first of many in a increasing sequence that will be imposed upon continued inaction/idiocy on the part of the collective Wikipedia community. Of which I am a part, I and you and everyone should recognize that the sum of our actions has been pathetic, and we are all to blame. Any outsider, any consultant about bullying/harrassment is indeed appalled at what goes on here. I am really glad some action is being taken, maybe enough to prompt this community to begin to consider what needs to be done to head off further escalating actions by the Office. There is little willingness shown on this page to begin that process, it is all raging protest which I personally think is pathetic. Sorry, that's just my opinion. --Doncram (talk) 03:11, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
Doncram, thanks for your opinion. I appreciate that but has no intention of providing any response other than noting that an erstwhile Arbcom heldd an unanimous view that you accused others of harassment w/o any merit or seeking proper resolution and that you were hardly much competent at editing, either. Obviously, you were being harassed and they failed to recognise;-) WBGconverse 03:17, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
Doncram, what sort of improvements do you think could be made to make WP:HARASS and the like actually have teeth? —A little blue Bori v^_^v Bori! 03:39, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
Huh. It'd be great to see the substantiation of your version of events regarding this particular incident with even a single shred of evidence of bullying and/or harassment. Unfortunately, WMF hasn't provided any of those, so I'm not sure why you're filled with such conviction about it. Grandpallama (talk) 14:46, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Bullying and harassment are a problem. Fram is not the one doing them. And Star Chamber trials are not the solution. H.L. Mencken defined a free society as one where it is safe to be unpopular. And safety depends on having rights. When you don't know you have any rights, and are dependent on the whim of someone else, that gives them license to bully you, and to demand that you bully others on their behalf, and to make you afraid to act to defend those who are bullied. Wnt (talk) 05:49, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
  • I absolutely agree with everything in Seraphimblade's response. Well said! Sperril (talk) 17:20, 14 June 2019 (UTC)

Sub-section break

  • Several people above are saying (to paraphrase) "WMF owns the site, they can do what they want". This isn't quite true. WMF isn't a private owner like, say, Facebook. They're a non-profit, and they're bound by a variety of rules and laws. They're custodians of the site, and they're required to act for the public good. Guettarda (talk) 10:51, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
  • I empathise with a lot of what Seraphimblade says above, but I have to say a good bit of it is ideological rather than practical. I won't say much in response, but I just want to pick up on the one point...
    "If you require an updated NDA, have Legal develop a better one. You must be allowed to share information with the community organizations, such as ArbCom, involved. If your current NDA and policies don't allow that, ask for Legal's assistance to fix them so they do allow it."
    I'm not a legal expert, but I've come across similar cases in my own employment, and I think that misunderstands the legal issues surrounding confidentiality. As I understand it, if the WMF receives a confidential complaint, it can not share it with anyone outside of its own legally employed and contracted agents - and you can't write an NDA that gets around that. I think it could be shared with ArbCom members if those members signed agreements making them contracted agents of the WMF, but that obviously can not and should not happen, for many reasons. Whatever the Wikipedia community wants ArbCom to be responsible for, it can not be responsible for confidential complaints sent directly to the WMF (at least, not without the consent of the complainant). Boing! said Zebedee (talk) 11:13, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
    Actually, providing data to someone under an NDA is generally considered a good-faith effort in keeping that data confidential. And the WMF could easily enough post a prominent notice saying "By contacting us, you agree that information you send us may be shared privately with volunteers who have signed our non-disclosure agreement. We will not share your complaint with anyone who is not under NDA." There you go, complainants are put on notice that such data could go to the appropriate ArbCom or other functionaries if needed. Seraphimblade Talk to me 11:21, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
    Re "Actually, providing data to someone under an NDA is generally considered a good-faith effort in keeping that data confidential." There might be conditions under which that would be acceptable, but laws on confidential personal information are quite strict (and are different in different jurisdictions). Adding clauses like "We will not share your complaint with anyone who is not under NDA" does not allow WMF to get around the law if the law is more restrictive than that. Again, this is all as far as I know - you'd need to ask a legal person to be sure. But my main point is that it's pointless trying to make up clauses that would enable what you want unless you fully know the applicable law and/or have legal advice. Boing! said Zebedee (talk) 11:57, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
    WMF is in the United States, and under US law, that is quite sufficient. (I do know that, while I'm not a lawyer, I've had to look at that extensively in regards to data privacy.) WMF is not subject to any other jurisdiction—and if it somehow is, especially European jurisdiction, well, get the hell out of there, as of now. Seraphimblade Talk to me 12:00, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
    Certainly the WMF is in the US, but it would be foolhardy to ignore European legislation - as a number of US companies have found out. Also, I'm just saying you need to be sure of your laws regarding personal information, conduct and complaints before you can tell us what WMF can and should do. And it's not just data protection - my own experience has covered data protection (for a US company that also operates in Europe, as it happens) and also the handling of personal issues and complaints. It's easy for armchair lawyers to say "It's easy, just do X, Y, and Z", but in reality it's usually a lot more complicated than that. Boing! said Zebedee (talk) 12:07, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
    Well, those companies have assets and offices in Europe, so they're subject to European jurisdiction. WMF, to the best of my knowledge, does not. The best advice for any tech company for who it is not too late is to stay far, far away from Europe. But I certainly don't want to see WMF trying to comply with utter botches like GPDR or Article 13. Just stay out of Europe, and let European courts rule against you all day long—you've got no assets to find against there. Seraphimblade Talk to me 12:14, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
    I agree that GPDR and Article 13 are, as you say, botches. But does the WMF want Wikipedia to be closed down in Europe? Anyway, that aside, European law is something of a distraction. We need to be sure of US law (if that's all that's applicable) regarding these issues before we can propose what the WMF can and should do regarding confidential personal issues like harassment complaints. Boing! said Zebedee (talk) 12:28, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
    If it has to be an employee/contractor, let the community elect an ombudsman, and let WMF hire them as a contractor. It's about oversight and trust. Guettarda (talk) 11:33, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
    @Guettarda: - excellent idea. Did you mean only using one ombudsman? How about multiple of them? I was thinking maybe three? With reserves. starship.paint (talk) 14:38, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
But (unless of course they have to make it all public, which defeats the object of the exercise) would this still not be "in secret" and therefore not transparent? All this means is that those who can muster the most votes can run the secret tribunals, and I am not sure that is any better (and also remember, demographics change, you may be in charge now, but will you hold the power 10 years form now, in fact maybe that is the whole point here, a cable of edds who used to have it all their own way who no longer control the vertical). Sorry but any oversight body must be wholly independent of who they oversee, not beholden to a popularity contest to hold office.Slatersteven (talk) 14:47, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
@Slatersteven: - not that this is a carefully thought-out idea, but I was thinking elect them for something like a 1-2 year term with the option of being re-elected maybe once. Pay them for their time (so they're a WMF contractor), but don't make this a real "job". Have them report to the ED (since employees shouldn't be answerable to the Board). Mostly it's about having someone the community trusts who has the power to oversee and review things (again, in a way the Board can't, or shouldn't be able to). And yeah, maybe, as Starship.paint suggested, have three, so it's less of a burden. Guettarda (talk) 16:01, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
And as I said, this might not be a good idea as the make up of the community is already changing "What's happening to this project? is a cry we often here, in part because of situation like this "do you know how long I have been here?". I am reminded of Brexit and Donnie in the US, Do not assume that you are on the winning side.Slatersteven (talk) 16:09, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
@Slatersteven: - 1 year terms (with no consecutive terms allowed) shouldn't have too much of community-changing. There should be elections for such posts. starship.paint (talk) 00:43, 15 June 2019 (UTC)
I did not say it would change it (in fact I am implying the exact opposite, it will reflect it, the whole community). I said that it will reflect any problems the community has regarding attitudes and enforcement.Slatersteven (talk) 08:26, 15 June 2019 (UTC)
  • A fair point Boing! said Zebedee. However, Seraphimblade's option is a better way for the WMF to deal with such confidential complaints. WMF is responsible for running the servers, but the community is responsible for the content being held on those servers. Issues arising out of editors' behaviour on-Wiki need to be delt with by the community. If there are weaknesses in the way the community deals with those matters the solution is to modify those processees or institute new ones. In no way is it appropriate for the WMF to usurp the community, not least because of the denial of natural justice inherent in Star Chamber procedings. - Nick Thorne talk 11:36, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Sure, but the best way to handle confidential complaints is always constrained by the legally permissible ways. Boing! said Zebedee (talk) 11:57, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Except there is no obligation for the WMF to accept confidential complaints at all. Existing processes to handle sensitive issues already exist, such as WP:OTRS. - Nick Thorne talk 13:24, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Are there no legal obligations to do so? Are you sure of that? And even if there are no legal obligations, are there no ethical obligations? I think there are, and that there must always be an appeal-to-the-top avenue open for people dissatisfied with standard procedures. And as I ask below, "should people be able to send an OTRS request and ask for it to be kept confidentially from ArbCom?" I think they should. I suspect a lot of people calling for blood here would be among the same people shouting "Go straight for the top and don't be put off" when people are treated badly by companies and other organizations through official channels. Boing! said Zebedee (talk) 14:03, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
  • If the WMF thinks it has some legal obligation to do this, explaining what law requires them to might be rather a wise idea. But generally speaking, the only thing an interactive website must be set up to handle is DMCA complaints. A site owner doesn't otherwise have to moderate their site whatsoever. Seraphimblade Talk to me 17:48, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
  • And the ethical obligations I suggested? Boing! said Zebedee (talk) 18:04, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Generally any statement which claims "the only thing" in reference to a legal obligation is probably wrong, especially when it's not coming from someone who has extensively studied the law on the matter. The owners of Backpage found out the hard way that the DMCA was not the only thing they had to worry about.

    To be clear, I'm no way suggesting that what happened here is similar in any way, or even that there was a legal requirement (I don't know enough to say for sure although I suspect the legal requirements here were very limited or non existent). I'm simply giving an obvious example of where US law has seemed to suggest (the case resulted in guilty pleas so wasn't tested to the limit on the constitutional issues) there is some requirement other than DMCA compliance. Remember also that while Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act has created greater mostly untested legal requirements, the Backpage stuff predated FOSTA-SESTA.

    There is an interesting point in the Backpage case, AFAIK common in a lot of US case law surrounding similar issues and which I know has come up primarily in relation to copyright before in relation to the WMF. Namely the some would say ironic situation that the more someone gets involved, the greater legal risk they generally raise for themselves since they may no longer seen as a simple service provider with safe harbour protections but instead a publisher or similar. How this relates to the situation here is complicated. Simplistically it may suggest it's a mistake for them to get involved, but that assumes you're only worried about minimising legal liability. If you're worried about doing the right thing however you define that, then it's far less clear the WMF should avoid involvement simply because it may create greater liability and requirement for them to be involved. Notably, I hope no one in this discussion wants the WMF to be involved in child protection cases only because of the possibility of legal risk.

    An interesting additional point here and the main reason I even bring the "irony" point up. It's clear from these discussions that plenty of people don't like it when WMF staff who in some way interact with the community have little experience or involvement with the community i.e. are not active on some wikimedia site. I wonder if this involvement itself may create legal risks with the WMF being viewed as a simple service provider. Having clearly delineated accounts for staff and "volunteer" contributions may help, but unless there is some case law which has tested this I wonder how easy it will be to have confidence in how the courts will rule. This strikes me as the sort of thing where what you say publicly and what lawyers tell you privately may differ precisely because you don't want any courts using it against you.

    Nil Einne (talk) 19:58, 14 June 2019 (UTC)

  • GDPR (the most aggressive data protection, afaik), would generally accept bound volunteers of an organisation as suitable to see data, otherwise smaller charities would be unable to function. However this might be contingent on whether we'd count as volunteers under the WMF banner or just helpful individuals who have no link. However, I'm inclined to think that the WMF must already accept the involvement of certain editors as sufficient, otherwise OTRS agents (who get hoards of private information going to a wikimedia email) would appear to be unsuitable. Nosebagbear (talk) 12:31, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
    Interesting. But GDPR is, as you say, specifically data protection, and I doubt that is the only applicable law when it comes to harassment complaints. Also, WP:OTRS does clearly say that it is handled by "a group of volunteers who answer most email sent to Wikipedia and the Wikimedia Foundation," and I doubt that volunteer flexibility would be applicable to confidential complaints sent directly to the WMF outside of the OTRS system. But even then, should people be able to send an OTRS request and ask for it to be kept confidentially from ArbCom?

    Along those lines, I think we are in danger of missing an important ethical issue. If someone believes they are victims of harassment, in my view they absolutely should be able to make a confidential complaint to the WMF without having it handed off to a non-WMF body. That the WMF handled the current issue with what many of us think was woeful incompetence a very ham-fisted approach should not detract from that. Boing! said Zebedee (talk) 17:16, 14 June 2019 (UTC)

    Hypothetically under the GDPR a European editor could just do a subject access request for all communications and information regarding him held by the WMF. Since the T&S team insist they perform full investigations etc etc, all this material would be covered. Where the WMF is located, or keeps its data, is irrelevant to GDPR as GDPR applies to all individuals and organisations handling data about EU citizens. Members of the board and quite a few employees are in the EU and so are reachable by the various data commissioners at an individual level. Should the WMF wish to redact/hide the identities of third parties mentioned in their material (but would still be required to provide the material) there are other options. The UK has Section 35 DPA requests - essentially an organisation has to disclose the identity of individuals for the purposes of legal actions - eg you want to sue someone in a civil court for, purely hypothetically here, making libellious statements about you to an organisation you are volunteering for, and the organisation wont tell you who it is or provide evidence so you can defend yourself. I make the comparison here between the two to point out - a SAR is not a legal action. Its a right guranteed to all EU Citizens (and residents of the EU) and an obligation for individuals and organisations who collect data in the EU or on EU residents to comply with. If is not complied with, the next step is reporting to the data commissioner. A section 35 DPA request IS a legal action, being a prior step required in many civil cases in order to make sure the correct individual (to be sued) has been identified. I really dont think Jimmy and the other EU board members want to start having to answer questions to ICO and its EU equivelents about why they are holding star chamber courts on EU citizens with private undisclosed evidence from other unnamed EU individuals. Only in death does duty end (talk) 19:20, 14 June 2019 (UTC)

Here's one theory that all of the pieces match. Fram was in an ongoing tussle with someone (who they already named) who has connections at WMF. They used those connections (plus the poor system over there) to get Fram smacked. The silence could be to both protect the reporter and to avoid embarrassment and backlash from what actually happened. North8000 (talk) 15:45, 14 June 2019 (UTC)

Of course, or there could be another reason, but no one should be forced to reveal personal data about a third party just to prove they are innocent. No one should resort to (what is in effect) blackmail. But it might be nice to have a link to this "tussle" so we can all judge who was at fault.Slatersteven (talk) 15:57, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
North8000, you're only about the 350th person to make that suggestion (and I only exaggerate a little). Boing! said Zebedee (talk) 16:12, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
Boing, sorry I mostly missed that or I wouldn't have repeated. Slatersteven, Fram gave it in their post. North8000 (talk) 16:52, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
Forfice me but this is a huge thread and I cannot find their post, not is one listed in their edit history.Slatersteven (talk) 17:23, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
Consider yourself forficed ;-) Fram did not make the allegation, but it has been suggested by others in various locations. I don't know where now, and I would not expose it further if I did, as it is entirely without evidence and only serves to throw more shit at more people. Boing! said Zebedee (talk) 17:42, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
  • I don't agree with your (Seraphimblade) dismissive attitude towards violent threats. You may be able to laugh them off, but others don't and shouldn't have to, and they have the right to take measures in order to protect themselves. You have chosen to edit without anonymity and the paid staff has chosen to work for the WMF, but neither should have to tolerate threats of violence. -kyykaarme (talk) 18:02, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Kyykaarme, please don't get me wrong, I don't condone doing such a thing. I consider threatening violence against another editor to be grounds for an immediate, no-questions-asked indef. But at the same time, "I might get a threat on the Internet" isn't the end of the world either. I've been getting them since before the World Wide Web existed (if I might date myself a bit), when it was still Usenet and BBS setups, and I'm still quite alive and healthy. Seraphimblade Talk to me 18:08, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
  • I generally agree with the sentiment expressed by Seraphimblade, though I find some of the suggested courses of action to be a bit extreme. Still, I think this shows just how much the WMFOffice screwed up in this instance. Their actions didn't even follow their own rules, so they had to make up new ones that were never communicated to the community they were allegedly "protecting" from the "extreme threat" of Fram. </sarc> If they (WMFOffice) take anything away from this, I hope that it's a willingness to work within the existing framework rather than throwing firebombs at it. ···日本穣 · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe · Join WP Japan! 18:57, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
  • I thank Seraphimblade for an excellent analysis. (And I take some pleasure in seeing multiple community members providing clear-headed and insightful examinations of what happened.) Although it's already been discussed at some length in the replies to the statement, I want to comment further on the legal and otherwise relationship between the WMF and WP. I agree with a lot of what BMK said above the section break. Yes, under US law, WMF "owns" all of the infrastructure of all of the WMF projects. And they have the legal right to require every project to adhere to Terms of Use. So WMF could decide at any time, without consultation with the rest of us, to shut down the servers and make the websites go dark, any time they want to, and I doubt that any court in the US would rule against their doing so. Likewise, any legal owner of a private business has the legal right to mismanage it to the point of running it into the ground (although a private charity has some legal obligations to their charitable contributors, just as a publicly-traded business has certain obligations to shareholders). But the fact that something is legally permissible is not the same thing as being sensible. The whole concept of everything-"WMF" is to crowdsource each project, including en-Wiki. Without an editing community, the WMF would have the legal right to soldier on with the websites, but they would be in a practical and ethical bad place (and their charitable contributions might very well dry up). When the en-Wiki community agreed to comply with the ToU about office actions, that was based on the community's understanding of what office actions were going to be. And it seems very unlikely that what was done with Fram falls within that understood scope. (Maybe there's something I don't know, I admit.) The fact that WMF has the US-legal right to do what they did to Fram does not entitle them to expect a happy or placid response from the crowd that crowdsources en-Wiki. There is nothing sensible, in terms of fostering a wiki-based editing community, in what WMF did here. --Tryptofish (talk) 19:06, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
    • @Tryptofish: don't you think that as a non-profit WMF has to adhere to a very different standard than a for-profit company? A non-profit has a mission and a defined set of by-laws: I'm not sure that shutting down the website would be consistent with its mission. Sure, the board could probably vote to dissolve, and distribute their assets in a manner that's almost certainly pre-defined. But they can't say "I'm bored, let's do something else". Guettarda (talk) 21:17, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
      • Could they deviate substantially from their annual plan without getting approval from the Board? Guettarda (talk) 21:19, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
        • Those are good questions, and I better begin by saying that I'm not a lawyer. When I referred to "WMF", I was lumping WMF staff together with the Board, but it's true that the Board is really who is in charge with respect to the staff that they employ. I would think that the Board also makes the final decisions on their by-laws, so at least in theory, they could change those by-laws, albeit with the probable need for following a specific procedure for doing so, and they are certainly free to decide to revise annual plans mid-year. From my personal experience (having successfully sued a university in the US, as an employee thereof), at-will employment does apply to non-governmental non-profits in the US. That means that a non-profit such as a private university (and I assume a charitable organization) have rather broad legal rights to treat their employees however they want, so long as they don't violate any law, basically on the (very capitalist) legal theory of giving very broad rights to leaders of non-governmental (private) organizations to do anything legal that they want to do. I assume (but could be wrong) that this also means that they have pretty wide discretion to make and internally enforce any (law-compliant) rules that they want to. So I'm pretty sure that I'm correct at least to the point that the WMF Board could enact any (law-compliant) rule or policy they want, and the editing community would have zero chance of success at getting a US court to intervene. But my point was that doesn't matter in the topic of our discussion here, because it would be practically and ethically disastrous to make rules that alienate the crowd that crowdsources the reason for WMF's very existence. Now, if it happens that the restrictions for charitable organizations are stricter than what I think, then that would make it even worse for WMF to do something that undermines their stated mission. --Tryptofish (talk) 21:47, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
          • (tangent warning!) As a technical point, the WMF Board does not interfere in staffing decisions, this is entirely the CEO's authority. The WMF Board does have the final say on who to appoint to the CEO role, and the board holds them to account for their annual performance against the agreed strategy. In this case where serious questions are arising from policies and staff actions, the WMF Board can ask the CEO to report back and make recommendations as part of holding the CEO to account, in turn the CEO may delegate that work to her senior managers or expert contractors. With regard to deviating from the annual plan, that is the CEO's job to make those operational calls, but any well managed board will have pre-agreed limits to both organizational or budget changes and if the CEO breaks those limits they are at risk of being replaced by someone who the board will find more reliable. -- (talk) 12:27, 15 June 2019 (UTC)
I generally agree with what Seraphimblade has written here. Ealdgyth - Talk 20:25, 14 June 2019 (UTC)

Two other issues

Why were Stewards notified in advance and not ArbCom?

One aspect of this controversy has been somewhat overlooked. TonyBallioni notes above that Stewards were notified in advance about the desysopping, block and ban of Fram, but ArbCom was not. Since the action involved English Wikipedia only, and since Stewards have -- relatively speaking -- much less involvement in's affairs than they do on other, smaller wikis, and considering the remit ArbCom is covered by Stewards for wikis that don't have their own, why was this the case? What possible justification can there be for giving Stewards notice, and not ArbCom?

This is yet another part of these office actions which needs to be explained to the satisfaction of the community. Beyond My Ken (talk) 07:46, 12 June 2019 (UTC)

Beyond My Ken, stewards are generally made aware of all Office actions related to bans and are even consulted.
On a sidenote, (among arbitrators), Opabinia regalis was made aware by T&S in their monthly phone call, that Fram was (very likely) going to be sanctioned in some manner over en-wiki; why she did not choose to pursue it, any further, can be answered by her and her alone. WBGconverse 07:53, 12 June 2019 (UTC)
Do you know if OR told the rest of the Committee? Beyond My Ken (talk) 08:08, 12 June 2019 (UTC)
Based on what SilkTork has said, she did not. —A little blue Bori v^_^v Bori! 08:11, 12 June 2019 (UTC)
The rest of the arbs did have the minutes from the meeting available shortly after. Galobtter (pingó mió) 08:12, 12 June 2019 (UTC)
These two points contradict to some extent, though it's perfectly plausible that STork did not read the minutes. WBGconverse 08:27, 12 June 2019 (UTC)
I can confirm that the meeting minutes were available to those of us who were not on the call, and included a section about the likely action against Fram. GorillaWarfare (talk) 13:06, 12 June 2019 (UTC)
GorillaWarfare, this is plainly weird stuff. You were aware of everything yet STork resorted to lying in saying over WT:ACN that the Committee received the news regarding the ban at the same time as the community which painted a picture of ignorance. It honestly seems to me that after seeing the community backlash, you were just trying to turn WMF into a scapegoat. WBGconverse 13:21, 12 June 2019 (UTC)
As Opabinia said in her comment, Arbcom found out this was implemented at the same time everyone else did. We did hear in advance that an action to do with Fram was under consideration. I believe SilkTork was referring to the fact that we did not know that action was definitively going to be taken with respect to Fram until the ban was placed, though only he can confirm what he meant to say. We did know that the WMF had been considering it, and the meeting notes from last week's meeting mentioned that the Trust & Safety team had made the recommendation in favor of the one-year ban. GorillaWarfare (talk) 13:39, 12 June 2019 (UTC)
GorillaWarfare, many thanks. This is a succinct and well-written disclosure which should have come hours earlier. WBGconverse 13:46, 12 June 2019 (UTC)

I am astounded that ArbCom did not think there would be some form of backlash and didn't say anything to the WMF. Did the WMF assume there would be no backlash because they had run it past you? I get that there will have been discussion about this behind the scenes since the news broke, and that Jimmy has said he is communicating with you, and that you are probably (like us) waiting for something from the board meeting, but it is looking like you (as a group) will have some explaining to do. In the interest of not pinging all ArbCom members (many of whom are inactive), I will ping GorillaWarfare and Opabinia regalis and ask them to alert the others (and will post at WT:AC/N). If this is purely a failure to read meeting notes where only one arb was at the call, then by all means say that, but sooner rather than later. Or was there internal discussion of this? Carcharoth (talk) 14:46, 12 June 2019 (UTC)

I don't think anyone, either on the Arbitration Committee or at the WMF, was naive enough to think that blocking Fram would be uncontroversial. Again, the Wikimedia Foundation informs us when they are likely to place an office ban, but it is as an FYI, not to request our approval. We don't typically advise them on how to go about it—after all, we are volunteers and they are the professional community managers. We are perhaps more familiar with this community, but I'm also not sure what we could have told them that would have changed their approach: that the ban would be controversial? They knew this. That people would want to know why it was placed? I'm sure they anticipated that as well, but they stated from the getgo that they would not be providing details, and are remaining firm there.
If you're wondering how many of us saw the meeting notes, I can only speak for myself. I had not read the meeting notes (nor have I been keeping up with other email largely since the beginning of the month)—I went inactive on June 7 and somewhat belatedly noted on my userpage that I've been quite busy in real life and so have had to take some time away from both the wiki and the ArbCom. GorillaWarfare (talk) 15:36, 12 June 2019 (UTC)
"professional community managers" - LOL, thanks for injecting some humour into this sad affair. Boing! said Zebedee (talk) 15:41, 12 June 2019 (UTC)
Well, they're hired and paid for it at least; the ArbCom is just a random group of folks who know a lot about the English Wikipedia but generally not a whole lot about "community management". We've certainly bungled our fair share of communications in the past, so I don't know if we have much of a leg to stand on when it comes to saying we could have advised them on how to handle this better. GorillaWarfare (talk) 15:44, 12 June 2019 (UTC)
They're paid, certainly, but "professionalism" means a lot more in my book. Would the current ArbCom, with far greater knowledge of policies and culture and with a wide range of options for actions at your disposal have done a better job than a "professional" group with a single-minded civility agenda and no tool more subtle than a 1-year no-appeal ban hammer? I'm quite sure you would. Boing! said Zebedee (talk) 15:54, 12 June 2019 (UTC)
(edit conflict) I certainly don't think anyone could have done any worse. The statements made by arbitrators about this situation have been far more clear, and do not have the patronizing tone of the corporate many-words-to-say-nothing "statements" the WMF has been issuing, to say nothing of them barking orders in the same breath. So, paid or unpaid, WMF could take a few lessons from that. Seraphimblade Talk to me 16:00, 12 June 2019 (UTC)
Thanks, GW. The bizarre thing is that they did talk to Fram, and gave him enough information that the details (at least in part) of what he was being banned for did not remain confidential (as he disclosed them). Arguably, by providing Fram with the information (and diffs), the WMF have breached their own privacy policy. They should either say enough to be transparent, or say nothing. The WMF clearly were naive here, and have not been handling the fallout well. If they had any sense, they would undo their actions, back off and leave on-wiki civility/interpersonal interaction issues for ArbCom to deal with. There is still a sense that more went on here, some set of double standards. If the Board can demand full disclosure of what was discussed at each level of review of this decision, they should do that. Carcharoth (talk) 15:50, 12 June 2019 (UTC)
I started to respond to this thread, had to step away for a bit, and came back to find GW has pretty much covered it :) I don't think anyone was naive enough to think there wouldn't be a strong reaction to this. I had a somewhat strong reaction myself in past meetings where the general topic of project bans was discussed. For a sense of the actual conversation, it's basically as GW says - information only. The discussion was not a request for new input and I certainly did not have the sense that they were thinking they were getting arbcom's blessing or insulating themselves from community response by informing us in advance. I certainly do think they genuinely thought they were doing a good thing for the project, and that it was not a convenient way to get rid of a critic or some kind of personal corruption or whatever other weird conspiracy theories are cropping up. Opabinia regalis (talk) 17:09, 12 June 2019 (UTC)
Going back to the original question, when global bans started stewards were given maybe a sentence of why there was a global ban. I thought I read somewhere that they were more extensively consulted on some of the global bans that came after I stepped down from the team. As for why, I have my own ideas (global bans came right after superprotect, and stewards tend to be the incredibly paranoid type that go through Meta logs on a regular basis)... but I can't say for sure. --Rschen7754 18:34, 13 June 2019 (UTC)

This discussion is essentially an indictment by the community of the T&S staff

In another comment, Tony also vouches for the work of the T&S people, and since I have great respect for Tony, I have absolutely no reason to disbelieve him, but, surely, even given that T&S is usually sensible and does good work, this entire community discussion must be seen as a indication of a complete lost of trust by the English Wikipedia community of T&S's actions in this instance, as, in fact, a indictment of them by the community. I believe that any investigation by Wales and the WMF board should look into not only the way this incident was handled, and whether T&S inappropriately usurped powers usually wielded here by ArbCom, but also they must take a very close look at whether changes need to be made in the T&S staff due to what appears to be gross negligence or hamfisted behavior. Beyond My Ken (talk) 07:46, 12 June 2019 (UTC)

Don't forget COI--see further up. (talk) 08:03, 12 June 2019 (UTC)
Or, Beyond My Ken this discussion is full of a lot of people who are angry because they aren't getting what they want: the lurid details. Some issues can't be handled publicly. From what I casually knew about Fram, they had many issues and a lot of supporters. Of course the supporters are angry. They want to be able to litigate the situation themselves and decide for themselves if the issues were "bad enough" to warrant the ban. In the real world, we trust processes like juries to make these decisions without knowing the details of what the jury decided. What goes on in the jury room stays in the jury room. And even in the real world, some victims are kept anonymous for their own protection. Sometimes we have to understand that we don't always have to know the details. So I disagree that this is an indictment. This is a discussion as it should be. Megalibrarygirl (talk) 17:02, 12 June 2019 (UTC)
If you think this is just an angry reaction by Fram's supporters, you have very badly misread the situation. Boing! said Zebedee (talk) 17:11, 12 June 2019 (UTC)
Boing! said Zebedee I don't think that. I don't think this really about Fram at all. I see that people don't want WMF involved. What I'm saying is that since they got involved at all this must be a serious case. It also shows some failure to fix things on our end. I don't have a solution for that sort of thing at all and wish I did. Megalibrarygirl (talk) 20:09, 12 June 2019 (UTC)
Sorry MLG, I know you are coming from a good place, but this case is not about wanting to know "lurid details", if any of that actually exists it can and should stay confidential, and it certainly is not a case of Fram's 'supporters' being a pitchfork wielding mob; especially as I was accused by several people of being Fram's most likely accuser so hardly fit that profile. Your parallel of a jury is a good one, as it is this element of accountability and credible governance that is missing. -- (talk) 17:17, 12 June 2019 (UTC)
Thanks, , I appreciate your perspective. It's just that when legal or safety issues are involved, as seems to be the case here, I don't think that we get to know. In my example, the jury would be T&S. In a legal case (at least in the US), we don't get to know the reasons why the jury decided, we only get to know what the jury decided. I think this is similar. Of course, in the US, it's can be easier to allow the victim to remain anonymous. But there are parts of cases that are closed to the public. These things happen and I think that in the balance, it's OK. I think this situation is similar. Megalibrarygirl (talk) 20:04, 12 June 2019 (UTC)
(ec) I wish you wouldn't paint critics of WMF's action here with such a wide brush. I, for one, barely knew Fram. I am objecting because of the process, because this is the most serious challenge to our self-governance in three years. Some secrecy and sensitivity is good, WMF's stonewalling and holier-than-thou attitude is not. You think the hundreds of thousands of people marching in Hong Kong don't care about the victim of the horrific murder in Taiwan? -- King of ♠ 17:20, 12 June 2019 (UTC)
King of Hearts if you don't feel you fall into that category, then I'm probably not talking about you. I understand that a lot of people are objecting to the process. That's what I'm trying to address: sometimes the process needs to be opaque. And that sucks, but I'm OK with some amount of opaqueness and privacy for those involved if it means a safer community for editors to edit in peace. Megalibrarygirl (talk) 20:08, 12 June 2019 (UTC)
Yeah, any reasonable process for dealing with harassment (in online communities especially) would have to include victim privacy, which means the process will be by definition "opaque". Galobtter (pingó mió) 20:13, 12 June 2019 (UTC)
What a weird statement, which unfortunately leads me to think you don't understand what's going on at all. In this case there was no jury, simply a judge who made a decision without the input of the accused's peers. Most people are upset that a jury, ie the community designated body to handle such things (ArbCom), was not involved. Mr Ernie (talk) 17:35, 12 June 2019 (UTC)
Mr Ernie I was using a metaphor. I think that T&S as a group can be seen as a jury. Is this an exact or perfect metaphor? No. And as far as I can tell Arbcom was not involved because it would allow too much transparency and therefore become a problem for the person reporting the issue. Sometimes privacy is needed. Megalibrarygirl (talk) 20:05, 12 June 2019 (UTC)
My professional background is in "Human Resources". In that environment, there are times that information cannot be shared outside of HR, the organization's Legal Department, etc. In the case of this ban, I would assume that T&S shared their findings with WMF Legal, and that WMF Legal supported the decision made by T&S, or perhaps, WMF Legal made the actual decision and T&S simply carried it out. The wiki community and Fram will probably never know all the facts, but as an HR professional, I am confident in assuming that there was legal justification for the T&S action. I am also assuming that the T&S action is meant to protect the identity of people involved in the investigation who need/want to remain anonymous for their protection... names that might surprise everyone. --Rosiestep (talk) 00:17, 13 June 2019 (UTC)
Rosiestep, As a complication, the office statement:

...we investigate the need for an office action either upon receipt of complaints from the community, or as required by law. In this case we acted on complaints from the community.

seems clear that it was not a legal issue. That said, and recognizing the complications that the office may be unable to fully clarify, I can imagine a situation that was not precipitated by a legal action, but has legal ramifications. My guess is that you are exactly right but based upon their initial statement my mindset has been that this is not a legal issue. I'm guessing that assumption is incorrect, even though it is based on their statement. S Philbrick(Talk) 16:41, 13 June 2019 (UTC)
@Megalibrarygirl: - I must agree with Mr Ernie - there was no jury, there was a judge, and I'll go further in saying that by all appearances, the judge was also the executioner. With the available information, it appears that it was a trial in absentia - there was no opportunity for Fram to defend themselves for the recent ban. So, perhaps, we could appoint a proper jury. I recall there was some suggestion on this page, of having esteemed members of the community (who can be trusted on privacy matters) to review the evidence to judge if there were really privacy concerns. What do you think? P.S. - for the record, I'm not a Fram supporter, I don't even know anything but their name. starship.paint (talk) 00:59, 13 June 2019 (UTC)
Starship.paint, We already have them. Seraphimblade Talk to me 17:22, 13 June 2019 (UTC)
@Seraphimblade: - missed the ping. Well okay, I'd support these candidates. starship.paint (talk) 12:36, 15 June 2019 (UTC)

Comments from Risker

*Noting that I see Jan Eissfeldt has written something while I was drafting and reviewing the text below, so some of the concerns I have identified may have been (partially) addressed.

Like many English Wikipedians, I have felt very conflicted about the OFFICE action that has imposed a one-year ban on Fram on this project only. Now let's be clear. There are plenty of people on this project who would not have been the least bit distressed if Fram had been blocked and/or desysopped using our own community processes, and I respect that opinion, whether or not I share it. I've also had a long and generally positive experience working with what is now the Trust & Safety team, going back more than 10 years. Most of my problems center around the processes that have led to this action. My critique of recent events is focused primarily on the process.

Complete lack of communication in the change of use of OFFICE actions: Until this week, everyone on English Wikipedia understood that an OFFICE action against a user was taken when there was no appropriate local process to address the issue, or the issue needed to be addressed globally. We knew this meant things like paedophile advocacy, realistic threats of harm against other users, deception in access to non-public personal information, or something to that effect. It was big, it was major, and it was quite literally unaddressable by the community, and it justified a permanent removal from all projects.

Then came the ban on Fram. It is localized, it is of comparatively short duration, it is unappealable, and it is for reasons that are deliberately not being shared with the community. This is pretty much the opposite of what everyone on this project (and in fact, just about everyone in the global community) understood OFFICE actions were all about. This change in use of the OFFICE power has been completely undiscussed with the Wikimedia community in any formal setting of which I am aware, at either a local enwiki level or a global level. This is a major failure of communication, because it leaves contributors uninformed of what kinds of behaviour may lead to OFFICE actions. It is clear from what we have learned from the Dewiki and Zhwiki communities that the practice of localized bans was put into place some months ago (although this appears to be the first non-permanent ban), so there is no justification for failing to inform the global community of the change in the use of OFFICE actions.

Failing to differentiate between previous OFFICE actions and this new type of action: Until this past week, it was widely understood that OFFICE actions were permanent removals of a person from all projects. It was the "nuclear weapon" that both local and global communities recognized was needed in certain narrow circumstances, and that is why it has been respected for many years. This current usage is not in any way similar to that usage. While Trust & Safety may feel that they need to carry out these (potentially temporary) local actions, it is very inappropriate to be using the same tool for this as it is for those well-understood "nuke" situations. If a user is not so irredeemable that they are still allowed to contribute on other projects, then a different tool is called for. It is not reasonable to use the biggest weapon in the arsenal to deal with a localized issue; surgical precision is required, and OFFICE is not it.

Target selection: This is the first OFFICE ban of its kind, a time-limited single-project ban affecting a user on the largest Wikimedia project. In order to develop community buy-in for this new process, it was important that the target of the ban be someone who was clearly behaving in a way that was (a) unacceptable to a significant part of the community and (b) whose inappropriate actions were focused on the ordinary editorship. Community buy-in should be a primary goal in taking such an unprecedented action, particularly when it disproves everything that the community understood about such actions. It is unreasonable to believe that Fram is the only "problem" user whose behaviour is being watched by the Trust & Safety staff. The WMF should have waited until they had a better target.

Fram's reputation on this project revolves mainly around two things: he is very active, productive and generally appropriate in his content and administrator work, and he has been a thorn in the side of the WMF technology/developer teams for a very long time. There have been some justified complaints about the manner in which he has interacted with WMF staff. Fram also has a pretty good history of being right when pointing out problems with software or technical matters, and going against WMF Tech/Development (especially when they are creating major issues that have large-scale negative impacts) has historically been one of the most frustrating and thankless tasks that community members could take on, which has earned him the grudging respect of community members in some quarters. There is also a history here of concerns or complaints about Fram from people who have or are perceived to have a disproportionate influence on WMF staff compared to "average" contributors. Whether or not this history was involved in any way in the final decision to block, it is the one point that is clearly visible to the community when we look at Fram's contributions.

Involvement of stewards: Stewards are specifically selected by the global community to carry out certain technical activities. They are specifically *not* selected for their understanding of or ability to carry out dispute resolution, content management, or individual user behaviour management. They do not have the knowledge, experience, or scope to deal with these situations. Nothing that occurred here, particularly as it is a local ban, required or even suggested there would be any useful input or action on the part of stewards. On enwiki, only users with super-advanced permissions (i.e., checkuser and oversight, Arbitration Committee, and those who run the Arbcom elections) have any reason to work with stewards, and the majority of stewards have no connection to the enwiki community. That they have "more information" than even the local dispute resolution body about this block is extremely disturbing. If the WMF wants to turn stewards into their "community authority", then the global community needs to be informed, and the global community needs to have the opportunity to select stewards on a completely different basis.

The illusion of safety: The overall impression given by the OFFICE action in this case is that the WMF has decided to implement a radical change in its manner of dealing with what it perceives to be unacceptable behaviour on the part of individual community members without formally discussing with either the global or local community, and has used a tool that was previously only used for very serious situations that were clearly outside of the ability of local communities to address. The WMF is treating this as a shot across the bow for communities to....well now, here's the hard part. It's completely unclear what their concern is here, what they want us to change, what they see as problematic. It comes across as a FUD campaign: we'll temporarily ban people who did something wrong according to rules we haven't shared, but we won't tell you what they did, what can be done to prevent similar actions, or whether we'll change the [unshared] rules again without telling you. This is why even people who don't like Fram, and even those who think Fram was behaving unacceptably, are having a hard time with this ban. Bluntly put, I feel much less safe working on a Wikimedia project today than I did a week ago, because one of the most fundamental understandings I had about working here has now been proven wrong.

A message to the community: Please, stop being cruel to individuals whose names have come up in the course of this issue; if ever you wondered why User:WMFOffice exists, those of you who have overpersonalized this situation have illustrated the point quite well, while also not helping to bring impartial eyes to the situation. Admins and 'crats, please don't unblock/resysop again until more of the dust has settled and we have had the chance to talk this out as a community. Let's stop the "fork" conversations; it's not going to happen. There are issues, yes. Some of these need to be addressed at a global level, not just here on enwiki, and we will need to consider exactly what message we want to send, how we can encourage other projects to understand and join in our message, and what outcome we really want to see. Let's take some time to think about that.

Risker (talk) 21:24, 13 June 2019 (UTC)

Was there any involvement of stewards in this? I don't recall any. Vermont (talk) 21:31, 13 June 2019 (UTC)
#Why were Stewards notified in advance and not ArbCom? higher up on this page. --GRuban (talk) 21:40, 13 June 2019 (UTC)
Well said, Risker, and thank you. Enigmamsg 21:35, 13 June 2019 (UTC)
That's a very good summary, thanks. --Tryptofish (talk) 21:40, 13 June 2019 (UTC)
Thanks also from me.--Ymblanter (talk) 21:44, 13 June 2019 (UTC)
Well said as usual, Risker. I do believe Jan's simultaneous statement has somewhat addressed some of your concerns, particularly the "illusion of safety" bit, but there's still a lot of "finding common ground" to be done here. Ivanvector (Talk/Edits) 21:47, 13 June 2019 (UTC)
I am afraid the statement actually confirmed the worries of the safety illusion.--Ymblanter (talk) 22:00, 13 June 2019 (UTC)
I'm referring more to the "we banned someone and we're not saying why" aspect of that section. Jan was a little more clear on that than the previous WMFOffice statements. Not as clear as they could have been, probably, and certainly not as clear as some of the loudest voices would like, but if those voices think we're ever going to have full public hearings of sensitive harassment cases on Wikipedia, they're delusional. But no, I feel no more (nor less) "safe" from Office actions now than I did yesterday, nor on April 16th nor in 2014, for that matter. Ivanvector (Talk/Edits) 23:00, 13 June 2019 (UTC)
Ivanvector, I don't feel any safer because of Jan's statement. It is good that at least some of the communication issues have been recognized, but it is only one small part of this. And no, when we still have no idea what kinds of interactions are triggering T&S warnings to users, let alone bans, there's more that has to be done here. Risker (talk) 23:24, 13 June 2019 (UTC)
Note on the involvement of stewards: Indeed we are not selected for dispute resolution, but that isn't our role vis a vis global bans. Our role there is oversight of a Foundation process, specifically regarding use of advanced access by Foundation staff on-wiki and application of the appropriate global policies. Those are areas that we have always been involved in, and are not a change from the status quo. That said, I agree that for local Foundation actions they should be looping in the appropriate local group. -- Ajraddatz (talk) 21:49, 13 June 2019 (UTC)
Yes. I know that stewards have said things like "what the hell, why did this WMF person OS this page on Meta, it does not meet the policy and there is absolutely nothing sensitive" many times before. Many stewards are/have been obsessive and paranoid (and yes, I put myself in that category). --Rschen7754 00:22, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
Ajraddatz, I could see your point about a global ban, although I'm not entirely persuaded that stewards are the right group to handle that, and might actually suggest Ombuds would be more appropriate; however, we are not talking about a global ban in this case. We are talking about a local ban. There was no need for steward involvement or for informing stewards, since there is no element of it that falls into that group's jurisdiction. Risker (talk) 00:52, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
The Ombuds have a very specific scope and are not accountable to the global community. Stewards and T&S are both global groups, so I think it makes sense that if we are going to have a quasi-oversight role, we be informed of all WMF actions as they pertain to members of the community. As I've said before, when this impacts just one project then notifying the appropriate local group makes sense too. But for us to have a big picture understanding of the WMF's involvement, we need to know about things like this ban, the removal of CUs from zhwiki, and other actions targetting specific projects that still fit within a bigger picture of WMF actions. And I'll throw my usual plug in about these being internet websites and the counter-productive nature of setting up more and more pretend jurisdictional boundaries. -- Ajraddatz (talk) 01:16, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
After seeing how badly they bungled the Alex Shih case (and basically the entire second half of 2018), I don't even trust OC to do what they are currently scoped to do. --Rschen7754 04:04, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
Very wise words. Yeah the Fork idea does seem a non starter. There's been dozens of attempts over the years to create a successful Fork. No one serious wants to fund another elitist Citizendium, but in the case of inclusionist Forks, they sometimes attract millions in Funding. ( E.g. Everipedia (which raised over 30 million, and includes a blockchain implementation) & more recently Golden (which raised over 5 million.) There's a reason why even hyper inclusionist search giants like Google don't provide them the support they need. Given that nothings ever perfect in this wicked world, they've concluded that Wikipedia is already about as good as it gets. FeydHuxtable (talk) 21:52, 13 June 2019 (UTC)
The WMF is endangering it. The idea of a fork would be to take it away from them to save it, not to start all over from zero articles. Yngvadottir (talk) 22:01, 13 June 2019 (UTC)
No one ever tries to start from zero articles (Well they do, but when that happens it's not a fork by definition.) The fork attempts useually start with a full copy of the Wikipedia database. But so far they never take off, even when they have millions of dollars of seed funding along with advantages like a much better UI and a deeply inclusionist ethos. I was surprised to read someone as perceptive as yourself seems to have such low trust for WMF. Maybe you could meet a few WMF staffers at the various RL events they often attend - they're not so bad once you get to know them. Though I agree this Fram affair could have been handled better, to put it mildly. FeydHuxtable (talk) 22:19, 13 June 2019 (UTC)
A quick answer because I have to prepare for work. I spoke above of the real names requirement the WMF imposes for offline interactions, and the way it potentially endangers vulnerable editors. I am a woman, in case that isn't obvious. No, I will not reveal my identity to the WMF. In addition, I personally happen to be unusually well placed to meet WMF staffers (I may well bump into some at the grocery store every weekend) but in general "Spend money and time coming to visit us so we can reassure you that we are human" is condescending.
What I looked at this page again to find a place to say before work is to underline one point Risker made: that this makes her feel less safe. It should. Asserting the right to disappear one of us makes us all less safe. I've recently spilled pixels in Wikipedia space and in e-mails about the "win at all costs" school of argument many editors belong to, its fundamental incivility, and how it makes me feel far less safe than f-bombs, and has led to my withdrawing from improving articles on important topics, and more and more into trivial little articles. But this isn't helping. This is making editing less safe. Who will they target next, without even explaining it to their target? Yngvadottir (talk) 05:04, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
I agree with most of that, and thank Risker for a good distillation of my own hard-to-put-into-words concerns. A more general, but (sorry Risker) even better written distillation coming from a slightly different direction is here. But I'm much more pessimistic than Risker: unless Doc James comes away from this widely over-anticipated meeting tomorrow and has been shown proof (rather than just be assured that proof exists) that I'm 100% off base, my faith in WMF T&S - which until recently, until 3 goddamn days ago, was nearly unshakeable - is irretrievably broken. They were like the one portion of WMF I respected. Now I realize that WMF in general (and now I'm guessing T&S in particular) literally doesn't care whether my trust in them is broken; I'm an easily replaceable cog. Maybe a few of my peers here care, which is why I even bother to spend time typing this. --Floquenbeam (talk) 22:04, 13 June 2019 (UTC)
  • "stop being cruel to individuals." Bottom line. The problem begins and ends with that issue. Thank you Risker for laying out that issue. Montanabw(talk) 22:10, 13 June 2019 (UTC)
Thanks for your kind words, and for picking up an important point (even if it's something of a buried lede), Montanabw. I'll point out, though, that we really don't know what constitutes "cruel" in the minds of the WMF at this point. Risker (talk) 23:24, 13 June 2019 (UTC)
Thanks for reminding me of that page, Carcharoth - enwiki functionaries were directly invited to comment. My comment centered around the fact that there was a major conflation between disruptive editing and harassment in a lot of what was there. That "consultation" is still ongoing, so I doubt it had any significant bearing on this specific case, which seems to have been initiated about 14 months ago, based on what Fram has said. Risker (talk) 23:24, 13 June 2019 (UTC)
Risker, Carcharoth: On June 13, Rosiestep posted this 3-minute video on the gender gap on her "About me" userpage: [1]. In it Sydney Poore (aka FloNight on EN-wiki), who is a member of T&S, states that both a "Universal code of conduct" and a "New reporting system" would be implemented next year. The timing of the video (uploaded to YouTube June 11) seems eerily connected to the Framban. Softlavender (talk) 07:05, 15 June 2019 (UTC)
Softlavender, the video in question was posted on my talkpage before I added it to my "About me" userpage. The video was created by the University of Washington in 2019 to document a study it conducted a few years ago. While harassment has long been an issue in the wiki movement, there is no connection between UW's debut of the video and "Framban". --Rosiestep (talk) 15:02, 15 June 2019 (UTC)
Rosiestep I suspect the concern is more that the community is finding out about things that may affect them deeply not from the WMF, but from third-party sources. This lack of transparency has been an ongoing failure of the WMF over the years (Flow, Visual Editor) and doesn't appear to be improving. Black Kite (talk) 15:10, 15 June 2019 (UTC)
To be fair, the work over there by Sydney Poore (FloNight) has been going on for a long time. I don't think it would be fair to read too much into the timing. More likely those working on that are (privately) very annoyed at how difficult this heavy-handed use of a project-specific WMF ban has made their work. See also the note left by Sydney here:

A quick update to note that there are adjustments being made to the timeline for designing and developing the User reporting system. The plans will be updated in the next few weeks. SPoore (WMF) Strategist, Community health initiative (talk) 18:39, 13 June 2019 (UTC)

Carcharoth (talk) 13:46, 15 June 2019 (UTC)

'The Trust and Safety Department identifies, builds and - as appropriate - staffs processes which keep our users safe; design, develop, and execute on a strategy that integrates legal(used as a noun), product, research, and learning & evaluation to proactively mitigate risk as well as manage the overall safety of our online and offline communities when incidents happen.'

Solecistic texts of bureaucratese only confirm the impression that the thinking and judgment behind the 'User reporting system' are going to bring about another fuckup. Compare any wiki policy page: they are, unlike many articles, lucid, grammatical and unstraightjacketed by legalese. We do things better here. I guess that noting things like this, in context, can be taken as a form of harassment? Nishidani (talk) 14:19, 15 June 2019 (UTC)
You got that from meta:User:SPoore (WMF)? I don't think it appears anywhere else. I don't think focusing on that will help. It would help more if more people participated in the discussions over there. Carcharoth (talk) 14:28, 15 June 2019 (UTC)
I clicked on all the links given on this page, and read them, finding that first. I've been thinking about the various cultures in conflict in these discussions and, at a discursive level, noting that while the two sides agree that we have a communication problem there is a yawning gap stylistically between the prose written by the Office and that generally written by Engwiki editors, arbcoms or peons as the case may be. The former is characterized by brevity, carefully calibrated with an eye to legal issues and a nodding formal gesture of courtesy to the plaintiffs. The latter is a no-holds-barred multi-perspective survey of implications, precedents, source and claims evaluations etc. There is no dialogic prospect in sight, given the diversity of presuppositions at work. I prefer not to contribute to the discussions because I think we should, having an extensive coverage of opinions at least on these boards, try to synthesize the gravamens of the dispute (in good part excellently marshaled by both Seraphimblade and User:Risker) and conceptualize the problem in formal terms, at this point.Nishidani (talk) 15:25, 15 June 2019 (UTC)
I realiza a lot of people have thanked you already, but these comments are spot on. —pythoncoder (talk | contribs) 23:23, 13 June 2019 (UTC)
  • @Risker: Excellent statement. Between you and Seraphimblade (below), plus a few other comments here and there (EllenCT, I believe), the description of the situation has been very clearly laid out and analyzed. Now, if the folks at WMF would only pay attention... Beyond My Ken (talk) 02:18, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
  • I understand the various issues and their possible ramifications much better now. Thank you @Risker:, THANK YOU. I also appreciate the "Trust is..." essay mentioned by @Floquenbeam: above. Shearonink (talk) 02:41, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Well said indeed. Civility is important, but it is not going to be improved by random lightning strikes from up high. T. Canens (talk) 04:06, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
  • @Risker: I'd like to deny the claims that stewards have or have had any kind of involvement about this or any other OFFICE actions, or that we have or have had --or will have FWIW-- any more information about this matter.

    1) If we ever get notified about any OFFICE action all we get is a courtesy notification that said office action has happened, as those usually happen on Meta logs and we patrol them, but we ain't informed about why, the backgrounds, etc. I think it is safe to say that we as a group know as much as many people know, that is: nothing. And I personally know nothing about this whole lot affair. As such, your claim that "they have "more information" than even the local dispute resolution body about this block is extremely disturbing" is, all due respect, not true. I cannot speak for the ArbCom of course, and I don't know if they know anything about it or if they know something. We ain't consulted, asked for our advice or asked to give our sign-off about anything the office does; and we shouldn't either. It is not our role.

    2) As steward I have -and I think many of us- do not have any interest in being any kind of "community authority" for the WMF Office or any staff member. They do not need us either. WMF staff have local and global user groups which grant them enough user permissions to work autonomously, as I think it should be. The only exception is granting and removing global user rights for staff members on staff request, which is in the hands of the stewards.

    So to sum up: we don't have any information about this and we ain't, nor we have any interest in becoming any sort of WMF Office enforcers. I of course assume good faith on your part but I felt I couldn't those innacuracies without a reply. Best regards, —MarcoAurelio (talk) 10:07, 14 June 2019 (UTC)

    • @MarcoAurelio: During early 2015, we were given a very brief explanation about some of the earliest bans (in the stewards-l archives). I specifically remember because well, I'd rather not know some of those specific details. Are you saying that this is no longer the case/was not the case for this particular ban? --Rschen7754 13:34, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
I don't know what happened in 2015, but in 2018 and 2019 we don't get such thing. — regards, Revi 16:39, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
You have access to the archives, you can find out   But hmm. That is interesting. --Rschen7754 18:09, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
    • @MarcoAurelio:, thank you for your comments. I reached that conclusion based on statements in more than one forum by more than one steward that they had advance information about this local ban before it was executed, and it seems from what Ajraddatz wrote above in this specific section that they agree that stewards are at minimum informed about global OFFICE actions, and implying that there was information exchange about this specific OFFICE action in advance. Now, perhaps there's something happening in the middle here - e.g., one or more stewards being informed directly instead of a post to the Stewards mailing list - but I'm finding the difference in information to be perplexing. I'll leave it to the stewards as a group to sort out what does and doesn't happen. I was writing based on information I received from people whom I believe to be reliable sources, but perhaps that information was incorrect. Risker (talk) 18:50, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
      • To be clear, before any action is taken by T&S against a user we get an email telling us what the action is, who it is directed against, when the action will be executed, and a very vague reason for the action. We also are given access to a certain type of private information that allows us to identify which WMF actions on-wiki are taken as part of which investigation. This information is for our information only and we don't have a say in the process, at least not formally. Sorry if I have been unclear or misrepresented something above. -- Ajraddatz (talk) 19:19, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Risker's comments are an excellent description of people's concerns about this action and why they exist. What concerns me most is how the way this action was taken is that it has undercut those members of the community who trust the WMF and have been trying to improve WMF-community relations. I agree with all off the statement, including the call for local admins not to escalate further and for everyone to be less personal, more kind and avoid conspiracy theories. Thank you User:Risker, GreyGreenWhy (talk) 12:55, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
  • I agree with your comments, Risker. Thank you for stating things so clearly. ···日本穣 · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe · Join WP Japan! 18:52, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
I agree with much of what Risker says. Ealdgyth - Talk 20:26, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
Similar to what I said about NYB's comments, this is a good structure for what needs to be covered by a consensus resolution. Clearly Jan hasn't immediately solved every concern, but (and I think Risker you'll disagree a bit here) between the recent statements here and at WP:ARC, he and the T&S team have acknowledged these concerns and have said they will make actionable progress on many of them. Indeed, I think the timing may have been ideal, as it suggests a cogent but independent agreement by two parties on the underlying concerns while simultaneously deescalating. Progress! ~ Amory (utc) 10:26, 15 June 2019 (UTC)

Explaining the block process (by 1233 from the Hong Kong Community)(and the Chinese Wikipedia's Situation)

Hi all,

This is 1233 from the Hong Kong (and the Chinese) Community.

Point to note for all first: the Chinese community is way more complicated, and less self-governing than the English community.

I am here not to explain or support (or whatever you call) this particular action from the foundation about the ban of Fram, but to explain the current reporting system, as I have previously used, mainly dealing with harassment in the Chinese Wikipedia against me, both on-site and off-site.

It consists of quite some history (about internal matters, blocks, ongoing issues of the Chinese Wikipedia, and more).

Make things short, the community health of the Chinese Community on-site is far worse than that at the English Wikipedia, which is this case possibly due to the geographic distribution of contributors of the Chinese Wikipedia to be mainly within the People's Republic of China, Hong Kong (and Macao), Taiwan, and South Asia.

The foundation would never actively start an investigation against any individuals, and the process would only start with reports from other bodies through emails to (previously ca trustandsafety .

The related teams would then investigate on whether the report is genuine or not, and whether the content reported is against the terms of use.

So, the reporter (at that case, me when dealing with on-site harassment) would need to collect related materials (including comments on-site, etc.) and submit it directly to the aforementioned email, and explaining the reasons why it is directly against the terms of use (of Wikipedia).

Things will go more complicated right after that, as it is the internal review period by the Trust and Safety Team, and I have received email requests explaining why this particular thing is against that particular terms of use.

The reporter would know the final decision though, and as stated by Jan, the reason to keep this private is due to the fact to protect the privacy of the reporter and to avoid retaliation. It works kinda like how an external team handles bullying at school.

Office Actions are last stand actions. They are done only when all local actions fail to address a particular genuine issue.

--1233 ( T / C 15:14, 14 June 2019 (UTC)

What happened to me at the Chinese Community
Some history first

The complicated geographic distribution would mean a more stalemate community, with one vs another (this case, Mainland vs Taiwan, and whatsoever like that). The English Wikipedia Community is more diverse, and is more multi-headed than the Chinese Community.

So, in this case, geographically based separation will form smaller, more "connected" community bodies versus the large, single language Chinese Community. However, due to political reality, there were internal split of the Mainland China community and thus the establishment of m:Wikimedians of Mainland China(WMCUG) versus the foundation-recognized meta:Wikimedia User Group China(WUGC). Argues sparked between the two Mainland-based community, and this in fact have completely paralyzed the normal community operation of the Chinese Wikipedia, and have led to quite some problems.

It looks like the Brazil situation, but the stage is a virtual zone, i.e. .

After the former is formed, some long-term supporters of the former (and closely connected users, User:守望者爱孟 and User:Galaxyharrylion included, both OFFICE Banned.) have continued their attacks on meta:Wikimedia User Group China, and forcing the latter to cease normal offline community operation.

It looks okay if WMCUG promotes the project and respects project participants. However, in reality, became the heaven for pro-communist users, and have lodged attacks directly against the "establishment" WUGC.

They (WMCUG and its supporters, including both OFFICE banned users) even tried evading the normal use of CheckUser Tool and used Unrestricted Warfare methods to attack Wikimedians not supporting them. There were even rumors about them threatening WUGC members (i.e. Death threats, threatening to report them to the China Communist Party that they do not support the government). In one case, the leak of CheckUser data (with no idea who did it, but it seems to be connected to the OFFICE banned user User:守望者爱孟) have directly lead to the removal of all CheckUsers and suspending the access tool for local Chinese Wikimedians at end of March at 2018.

WMCUG admins (in this case, User:Techyan) and other members even engage in wheelwaring of blocking and unblocking WMCUG members and supporters.

What happened to me

At mid-March, 2018, I requested a comment on this issue of Techyan unreasonably unblock a user who is pro-WMCUG and brought the issue to the Village Pump, and instantly saw attacks from Galaxyharrylion (at that time not banned) and other WMCUG members. Local de-sysop actions failed due to the fact that they have used sea tactics to recruit and train WMCUG members and supporters. Knowing that the local community is unable to handle the arguement (including opposing the establishment of the Chinese ArbCom), I was forced to seek help from the Trust and Safety Team, and filed complaints about Users harassing me on-site and off-site because I requested Techyan to explain why he unblocked a particular user without any reasons, and had since then calling me with bad names, such as "anti-China" , "anti-CCP", "anti-Chinese Community", "dumbass", "retarded".

During this time, Techyan continued his actions, and once I requested again about this problem, he ceased his online activity (and, sarcastically, got a full scholarship to participate Wikimania 2018) so as to avoid questioning of his actions, and de-facto abused the "half-year no continuous de-sysop rules" to try cool the problem down.

It also became more hostile day after day against the core members of the Hong Kong and Taiwan offline Community once they notice their stance about disregarding the actions of WMCUG members attacking Wikimedians of WUGC. (Note, affcom's resolution to de-recognize WMHK is unrelated to this issue)

To make things worse, due to the fact that the Chinese Community does not have a Signpost-like magazine, the WMCUG instituted the establishment of QiuWen at early 2019, where the relationship was not revealed until requests by other community members at March due to the contents ("news") implicitly and continually attacking WUGC, myself, other community members, and even disrespect the WMF statement when the foundation protested against the Chinese authorities in blocking access to all language variants of Wikipedia in China. There were requests to reveal the whole editorial board like the Signpost, but there were no revealment of the whole board, except Techyan, WQL, and Alexander Misel, a Chinese Wikipedia tech-oriented b'crat who is also a WMCUG member.

The colleague that User:Techyan wrote received no warning prior to the firm conduct warning is in fact User:WQL.

Thanks - this is really helpful. You came forward, and did not leave us to guess what was wrong, even though we write in another language. If Fram's accuser(s) (if any) had done the same, this might be a much smaller page. I'll believe you that an external team helps, but I don't believe that a secret process helps. In this case, conflict of interest has been alleged against the T&S people, because they're not really external to us. We would do better with a jury mechanism to ensure that truly external voices - random Wikipedia contributors far from the centers of power - get to decide cases. Wnt (talk) 15:35, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
I write in both English and Chinese (to be exact, Cantonese), so it is not a big deal for me (and I hold quite a few rights here in enwp and is helping out at a local outreach activity from a local university in Hong Kong). For this case about Fram, it seems that the accuser(s) do not trust how ArbCom handles this matter, and thus reported through the foundation's trust and safety team. This is a much serious issue, as it means local last-stand bodies losing trust from members within the community.--1233 ( T / C 15:40, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
It could be that ARBCOM is losing trust. But it could also be that the complainer is doing the equivalent of WP:FORUMSHOPPING, possibly on purpose because they have friends in the WMF. Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 17:14, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
Nein. Personally knowing someone at the Safety Team does not grant any precedence when these reports are submitted.--1233 ( T / C 03:00, 15 June 2019 (UTC)
Ideally, yes. In practice, humans are humans. Someone going "Hey, I know that person/this group of people, I like them, I'm sad to hear they've been mistreated... let's help them!" is always a possibility. Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 20:06, 15 June 2019 (UTC)
  • 1233: Your zh-WP case seems very different than this en-WP Fram case. en-WP's mission isn't to ensure "local last-stand bodies do not lose trust from members within the community". en-WP's mission isn't to make everyone feel good, cozy and welcome to create and distribute free "nonsensical propaganda based on unreliable sources, misinformation, or disinformation". en-WP's mission is to collect and distribute free "information" based on peer-reviewed reliable sources to the best of our collaborative abilities. In this mission, cases of content disputes, behavioral issues and questions of best practices emerge. It is there we need admins and local bodies who are willing to examine and weigh the evidence – preferably in open, but sometimes in private – to reach an independent decision. They must then pass judgment – preferably with kind words in a respectful tone, but if necessary in harsher/firm language – that may feel bad or even hostile to one editor or a group of editors. In this mission, the WMF with extraordinary powers has a role, but only a very limited role, one that requires checks and balances. This role includes complying with United States court orders and our laws pro-actively, acting in cases of child protection, acting in cases of threats of harm to oneself and others, and other cases explicitly consented upon after discussions within the community and BoT. Even then, the WMTOffice should record and submit its proceedings to the BoT and ArbCom/the community nominee(s) if and when necessary to ensure that the WMTOffice is not being abused and had no conflicts of interest in the decisions it took. Ms Sarah Welch (talk) 17:41, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
Just replying this: what I mean is that local last-stand bodies losing trust from local editors is a major issue. It is of course not a mission, and yes I mean enwp last stand bodies, the ArbCom. About the release of information, I would say that reporter’s privacy must be taken into consideration. I do agree submitting the documents to BoT though. --1233 ( T / C 21:05, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
To put things in context, WMF did remove all CU rights from zhwiki, but it was definitely cast in a different light than this scenario on enwiki. I had a conversation on Meta with James Alexander here, and to quote from that This should not be taken as a negative reflection on any of the checkusers in the role at the time of removal. zhwiki has no local ArbCom (and did not have local CU/OS until the last half of this decade, I don't remember the exact year). I can't comment on the global bans. --Rschen7754 18:06, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Techyan's earlier response to Fram situation pertaining the above case is archived here. In case anyone may find it useful. I don't think a major share of 1233's comments on the zh community can be substantiated, however, I also do no have detailed information on the specific case. People who explained tend have different attitude, and my reaction to this post is similar to my response to Techyan's post: It's quite different and the office's over-reaching use of their power does not mean they shouldn't have any power at all. The problem is not if but how. Police brutality doesn't mean we should just abolish police, likewise. Viztor (talk) 18:53, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
Replying this, it involves the February edition of QiuWen against me (without revealing the true name though), the same edition attacking WUGC members, and more, including this month's edition. The magazine got it's out of wiki domain registered by WQL. Note: Report emails contains on and off-wiki content which one could confirm it's username. All materials are examined by the trust and safety team, so it would be highly genuine reports instead of make ups and fake comments. The user himself is also a Community Liaison and Educator at Wikimedia Community User Group Hong Kong.--1233 ( T / C 21:17, 14 June 2019 (UTC)

Does even Fram know what he was banned for?

I may have missed it in the GB of chatter, but is it now clear that Fram fully understands the explicit reason for his year-long ban? By that I mean has he been presented with the various diffs? Or are WMF sticking by the idea that they can just ban people without comprehensive and forensically tangible information being provided to those whom they "disappear"? The Rambling Man (talk) 21:36, 14 June 2019 (UTC)

From their post on Commons, they were told ... this ban has been triggered following your recent abusive communications on the project, as seen here [2]. Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 21:44, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
So the answer is no? Fram himself still has no idea what caused this superban? And so does that mean that each and every contributor to Wikimedia projects is now under the gun as and when the T&S group decide to just pull the trigger? They need provide no evidence at all, even to the accused? They're literally being judge, jury and executioner? Is that right? The Rambling Man (talk) 21:49, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
I fear that is right, at least in what happened to Fram, unless Fram knows something that he hasn't made public. It's up to the rest of us to continue to insist that this is unacceptable. --Tryptofish (talk) 22:02, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
I think Fram knows. I think we know too. I think it's because Fram said 'Fuck ARBCOM' and was pissed at them for making a poor decision, and that someone at the WMF felt they had to shield ARBCOM from such criticism. Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 22:07, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
But the previous (deleted) edit from 28bytes seems to now demonstrate an off-wiki attack on Fram (and other people prepared to stand up for him) with unfounded accusations by our own Women in Red project. What do they know that we don't? The Rambling Man (talk) 22:09, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
Deleted because I don't want anyone griefing Women In Red. 28bytes (talk) 22:11, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
How ironic that they took such an opportunity to deal out more shit here and yet you felt the need to protect them. The Rambling Man (talk) 22:12, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
THIS is how the WiR project are dealing with the current crisis. The Rambling Man (talk) 22:14, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
  • This is exactly what I've been talking about on this page: anything a person says about someone who allegedly did some serious-level harassment anywhere is suddenly "attacking." Plus, if anyone isn't careful with their language, ironically those who advise us to have "thick skin" are outraged. Should the word "crime" be used? Maybe not, but it's pretty clear that something legal or very serious was involved in this case. This is a non issue. Let us talk. All you are showing is that some wikipedians work hard to silence and police others not only on, but also off Wiki... And it's not us doing that. Megalibrarygirl (talk) 23:44, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
You wrote it's pretty clear that something legal or very serious was involved in this case. How is that clear? Something of that nature would result in a, one would assume, indefinite global ban. It is because it is not clear that such a thing was involved here that we have megabytes of text written about it. nableezy - 23:54, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
Why else would WMF get involved? I was told they didn't do anything on Wikipedia that involves editing or editors. I have to believe this is an extreme case because of the extreme reaction. I don't think that the WMF or T&S are full of vindictive people who block admins on a whim. Others (obviously) disagree with me. But this is how I see it. Megalibrarygirl (talk) 00:09, 15 June 2019 (UTC)
Thats the problem I think a lot of us are having. The only reaction the WMF has ever had to anything "extreme" has been an indefinite global ban. That they do not think the problem severe enough to ban Fram from any other WMF site, such as commons, or to make it indefinite makes it, to me at least, not clear that it involved something legal or very serious. Honestly this whole thing to me is Kafkaesque. And decidedly unclear. As far as I know Fram does not know the limits here. And more importantly to me, I dont know what the limits are here. I have been accused of all sorts of things in my idk 12 years or so editing here. Ive been point blank called a terrorist, multiple times even. But Ive always felt that I would at least be told of the charges against me and also have the ability to defend myself to an accountable group of people. None of that is true anymore. There is a group that has the authority to make secret judgments based on secret evidence and most importantly seemingly on secret rules. I have no idea what may set them off. And that concerns me. nableezy - 00:20, 15 June 2019 (UTC)
Yes, that's the disconnect the WMF Trust and Safety group have created. Most of us are aware that only the most egregious behavior results in an WP:Office ban. Today I went looking for WP:Trust & safety or some permutation of that and couldn't find anything. But I did stumble across WP:Office and this section WP:OFFICE#Primary office actions tells us about Partial Foundation Bans, presumably that's what Fram's ban is. The text was added on February 19, 2019. If there was discussion, it wasn't terribly prominent. Presumably there's a similar page on Meta. Personally, I'm assuming, until someone tells me something else or that I'm wrong, this is a new type of ban, will circumvent local governance and dispute resolution and we can expect to see more of these. Hence, we're all confused and jumping to conclusions that most likely aren't correct. Victoria (tk) 01:13, 15 June 2019 (UTC)
Megalibrarygirl, do you really think something “legal” happened here? You do know the history of the involved parties, correct? Some parties that were made involved by T&S providing the diffs to Fram that illustrated the issues they had with him? I have to assume you don’t because, I’d assume if you knew the history between these parties. Like Fram’s conflicts with the WMF’s broken software launches, a launch that the current head of T&S forced on through a new privilege that was quickly removed. A conflict with an editor with obvious ties to a WMF board member. We have T&S’s warnings to Fram to leave certain people alone even though they produced policy violating crap and the apparent final straw was Fram’s criticism of the current ArbCom. I’m not going to argue that Fram can’t be an asshole. That would be a stupid argument. I am going to argue that your ridiculous faith in the WMF that Fram did something illegal because a COI strewn WMF said so is naive. Shit, the T&S didn’t even claim that much or else Fram would be globally banned. Capeo (talk) 02:10, 15 June 2019 (UTC)
  • sigh* talk about throwing oil on the fire. Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 22:15, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
So, apparently, "REAL CRIMES" (no legal threats mind you, just "REAL CRIMES" accusations) from a Wikipedia project. How helpful. And no, that's not "oil on the fire", it's transparency. If Wikipedians are accusing Fram of "REAL CRIME" on the internet, we should know about it. The Rambling Man (talk) 22:18, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
I'd reply, but I don't feel like being harassed by the twitter crowd. Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 22:19, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
I'm not sure you're in a position to reply really, this is about the WP:WIR project going online externally to accuse Fram of REAL CRIMES. Is this an acceptable turn of events? The Rambling Man (talk) 22:21, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
"Real crime" here is idiomatic, not a legal accusation. Mark Hamill wasn't suggesting that this guy's parents were literally guilty of a criminal code violation here. Let's not wilfully misinterpret things for sake of of fueling the shitstorm. And by 'reply', I meant replying to the tweet. Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 22:31, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
Oh, good one! The Rambling Man (talk) 22:36, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
@Headbomb and The Rambling Man: Wait, which is it? A person is getting arrested and you say "the real crime is that outfit". That's just common sarcasm. That doesn't mean you can just casually say "X is guilty of real crimes". What did it say? ~Swarm~ {sting} 01:32, 15 June 2019 (UTC)
It's not, and if anything they're proving T&S' point for them - by attacking Fram from off-wiki, which we can do little and less about absent a sustained campaign and an ArbCom case. —A little blue Bori v^_^v Bori! 22:24, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
Ironically I'm note seeing Fram attacking anyone anywhere, yet the WiR project's Twitter account is going out guns blazing about "CRIMES" which (legal threats?) is really inappropriate. Whoever runs that shitshow should be binned out and ashamed of themselves. The Rambling Man (talk) 22:26, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
We can deal with why the Wikiproject feels it's appropriate to use Twitter to further/encourage harassment at a later time; right now the focus should be on T&S' overreach and how to avoid situations like this in future. —A little blue Bori v^_^v Bori! 22:28, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
For all I know, there could have been other stuff that happened off-wiki, and it could have been pretty much anything. But it could and should have been handled via email to ArbCom. The fact that it ended up, instead, at T&S, has at least the appearance of forum-shopping. --Tryptofish (talk) 22:33, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
And I don't understand why "fuck Arbcom" isn't simply an admin/Arbcom issue (if, indeed, an issue at all). Perhaps this has been discussed ad infinitum, but I don't have the life force to determine that. The Rambling Man (talk) 22:12, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
I think Fram has made it clear that he was told that the comment about ArbCom was the triggering reason for the ban. Common sense (in my opinion) indicates that there had to be something more that led up to that. And I think no one knows why ArbCom could not have dealt with it. --Tryptofish (talk) 22:15, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
Well, the other substantial diffs we were shown involve the Wikipedian-in-Residence that Fram's been in a longrunning dispute with (and they were basically challenging her sources, IIRC). And I feel it bears repeating: Neither Fram or the Wikipedian-in-Residence like each other, nor are they particularly liked in the community. —A little blue Bori v^_^v Bori! 22:19, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
A dispute implies disagreement, which there was some of. What there was a lot, lot more of was 'cleaning up the messes they repeatdly left in their wake' which is not quite the same thing. Only in death does duty end (talk) 22:29, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
The main problem now is that editors and admins are going to avoid taking the editor to task for their crap for fear of secret accusations against them and being spirited away in the night. So the messes will just hang around, stinking up the place. The T&S team has directly through its actions affected content and editorial practices on ENWP. Only in death does duty end (talk) 22:32, 14 June 2019 (UTC)

Fram has been accused of "real crimes" on Twitter by the official Women in Red Twitter account. More on this talkpage, but apparently we can't link to the the actual accusations, according to some censoring by an admin. The Rambling Man (talk) 22:58, 14 June 2019 (UTC)

(edit conflict)There is a solution, but unfortunatly it plays in to WIR's "We're persucated" narritive: By community consensus we disband the WikiProject Women in Red for collective failure to adhere to CIVIL/AGF/5P4/CONSENSUS. I'm not advocating for that, but I am suggesting that an official warning that the behavior is very near (if not over the line) of several points made in the EEML ArbCom case. Hasteur (talk) 23:15, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
I don't think the tweet is in particularly good taste (as I would say for anyone gravedancing over any banned member), and I'm disappointed to see it. Ritchie333 (talk) (cont) 23:18, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
Well, if that was the project's narrative (free clue: it is not) then such action certainly would play into it, because you'd be damning the project because of the action of one person, which most project members are proably still not even aware of. Hell, I support the proejct's aims, and without looking I can't even remember whether or not I'm a signed up member. Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 23:38, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
Speaking of thin-skinned, who cares who tweets what. nableezy - 00:00, 15 June 2019 (UTC)
I am an admin on the Women in Red Twitter account and I have deleted the post in question as the wording lacked precision. On behalf of Women in Red, I apologize for that. --Rosiestep (talk) 00:06, 15 June 2019 (UTC)
Thanks, Rosie. Ritchie333 (talk) (cont) 00:08, 15 June 2019 (UTC)
Yes, thank you. El_C 00:09, 15 June 2019 (UTC)
Thanks, Rosiestep! I know that wasn't the intention to muddy the water! Megalibrarygirl (talk) 00:14, 15 June 2019 (UTC)
Danke, Rosie. Let's all keep from elevating the temperature any more than it already has been, hm? —A little blue Bori v^_^v Bori! 00:34, 15 June 2019 (UTC)
Can you or anyone else help shed light on the "crime"-related wording, without, of course, breaking any confidences? --Tryptofish (talk) 00:26, 15 June 2019 (UTC)
As stated above, "real crime" here is idiomatic, not a legal accusation. Mark Hamill wasn't suggesting that this guy's parents were literally guilty of a criminal code violation here. Let's not wilfully misinterpret things for sake of of fueling the shitstorm. Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 00:41, 15 June 2019 (UTC)
I know how to read, and I already saw what you said earlier. I get it, that it wasn't a legal accusation. But it was a reflection of what the discussants regarded as a problem. If there is anything about that, that doesn't involve private information, it would be very helpful to know about it. --Tryptofish (talk) 00:45, 15 June 2019 (UTC)
Particularly if it gives another "side" of the story. --Tryptofish (talk) 00:47, 15 June 2019 (UTC)
Note. The Twitter account is now being discussed by some editors at the request for arbitration. --Tryptofish (talk) 00:55, 15 June 2019 (UTC)
It's been discussed by Softlavender, myself, and BullRangifer so far. starship.paint (talk) 06:35, 15 June 2019 (UTC)

@Rosiestep: - [3] - you wrote that I am surprised + angry😠 that onwiki, there is little 2 be said about support 4 the victims. We only know some of them (others may have confidentially reported their case 2 @Wikimedia). But 4 the ones we do know, we need 2 express empathy + seek their opinions re a way forward.. It seems that you know who some of the victims are. I don't recall WMF ever mentioning any victims. Do you know something I don't? starship.paint (talk) 01:14, 15 June 2019 (UTC)

I read it as a general statement, but maybe you know something I don't. Do you? cygnis insignis 01:47, 15 June 2019 (UTC)
@Cygnis insignis: [4] - that tweet is the culmination of an entire thread discussing this incident There is a huge debate on line over the banning of an admin who was so toxic that the foundation made an exception and banned them for a year. There is now a debate over whether they overstepped the mark ... and the debate is so toxic that it offends the eye., in which Rosiestep makes multiple replies. starship.paint (talk) 02:13, 15 June 2019 (UTC)
Starship.paint, what I know is that some editors in the last few years perceived that they were being harassed by Fram. Whether I actually know any of their names is irrelevant. I also know, from my career in Human Resources, that when someone perceives that they are being harassed, they feel like a victim. My tweet did not refer to any statements made by the WMF so please don't read into it something which isn't there, and, for the record, I have no "insider" information regarding the WMF's case. I stand behind my statement that we should be empathetic to those who have been hurt. I hope that ArbCom and/or the WMF seeks the opinions of those who have been harassed on how to improve our community health in such a way that incidents such as this Office Ban do not occur again, rather, problems are addressed more quickly and more efficiently. --Rosiestep (talk) 02:17, 15 June 2019 (UTC)
@Rosiestep: - how am I to be empathetic when I don't know the stories of the victims? starship.paint (talk) 02:22, 15 June 2019 (UTC)
I also hope that ARBCOM/WMF can distinguish between perceived harassment, and actual harassment. In my experience, there are a lot of people that claim to be harassed when really all that happened is that they didn't get their way on an issue they cared about. It doesn't mean that they're aren't feeling hurt, but feeling hurt doesn't that someone was out to hurt them. And given the interaction ban Fram received for insisting BLPs have quality sourcing, even when the WMF recognized that those edits were not problematic, nor intended to hurt the person complaining about them, it is hard to have faith in the T&S team here, given they have sided with an editor's feelings, over actual behaviour. Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 02:31, 15 June 2019 (UTC)
I have no opinion on Fram (if we've interacted, somehow it never stuck in my mind). But I have previously seen multiple cases where someone was punished for not-publicly-explained misbehavior (often by loss of a job rather than suspension of editing activity on a website), management was not forthcoming about why, the target of the punishment pointed to some minor infraction as the sole reason for the punishment, and everyone got upset at management overreacting to minor infractions. Every time, it eventually turned out that management was not forthcoming for good reasons but had not been overreacting — that the supposed minor infraction was part of a much bigger pattern of more serious problems. I don't want to suggest that this is what is happening here; I know nothing more than anyone else here does. But many here seem to have rushed to the judgement that Fram's side of the story is the only side and that he was set up for nefarious reasons as part of a power grab or personal vendetta, and while that is more plausible than WMF making an example of someone who said "Fuck" once as a way to ensure civility, it still doesn't make a lot of sense and I think it's premature to conclude anything. As for starship.paint's demands that people who do know more tell: I think the mob mood clearly on evidence here makes that a bad idea. starship.paint may want the names and stories of victims in order to become more empathetic, but others in the comments above seem to want the names of accusers in order to subject them to mob justice. —David Eppstein (talk) 03:55, 15 June 2019 (UTC)
Your experience with HR/Management is certainly different than mine. I know a person who was disciplined at work for "making inapropriate sexual remarks", based on anonymous complaints. HR said they couldn't tell them what the inappropriate remarks were because they didn't want to identify the complainers, but were taking a zero-tolerance approach because it's the age of #metoo and they wanted to 'make sure' the message that 'this was inappropriate behaviour' sank in.
Now imagine this is you. You are getting disciplined for unknown "inappropriate" remarks you said, accused by people you don't know about, have been lumped with the likes of Harvey Weistein, and cannot defend yourself because you don't even know what the hell you're accused of, nor can you even adapt because you don't even know what in your behaviour caused the complaints.
I later overheard people complain that this person "kept talking about 'his condoms'". And because I knew this person, it dawned on me that what caused this is that they were a fan of the Montreal Canadiens, and they kept talking about Mike Condon, which sounds a lot like "my condom".
So let's not dismiss the possibility that HR can be wrong. Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 16:48, 15 June 2019 (UTC)
Indeed. Knowing who the victims were helps nobody, in any circumstance. And it's not that Fram's side of the story is chiptruth - it's incomplete and (very likely) biased - but that Fram's side of the story is the only one we have because T&S won't even elaborate on the things that couldn't possibly risk exposing the complainant. I'll say it yet again: I understand that there are things that cannot be said without exposing or risking exposing the complainant, but things like the existence of the prior warnings and a brief explanation as to why the ban is time-limited cannot and should not be privileged, because neither of these things, if done even halfway competently, should carry a risk of exposure.
The entire way T&S did this is suboptimal. We all agree on this. The fact that they've left Fram to tell his side of the story is a massive strategic and practical error. We all agree on this. The off-wiki actions of other parties are helping to throw fuel onto a bonfire that's already threatening to burn down the house. We all agree on this. The only thing we don't really agree on is why Trust & Safety seems dead-set on horribly mismanaging the responce to this by trotting out canned orders over loudspeaker, double-talk, "everything is privileged", and overall refusing to elaborate just how, exactly, the systems they disparage are deficient and how they could be improved (and this, again, should not be privileged because an inability for us to figure out a solution basically forces T&S to assume responsibility for it, which is a big chunk of why everyone is angry).
Every reasonable request for information is met with the institutional equivalent of an upraised middle finger and canned messages with a general undertone of disrespect at best and petulence at worst. Any communication has been one-sided, with T&S pretty much talking at us as opposed to to us. Under such a situation, it's no wonder the community has lost trust in the people running T&S enough to consider a CBAN of WMFOffice. The only hope I have is that Jimbo and Doc manage to figure out a way to resolve this as amicably as possible, because right now, the only thing trying to engage with T&S has given us is a resounding, and not to put too fine a point on it, "FUCK YOU." —A little blue Bori v^_^v Bori! 05:42, 15 June 2019 (UTC)
@David Eppstein: - the names of the victims are less important than their stories. You wrote that we have only Fram's side of the story. That is indeed a big problem. starship.paint (talk) 05:50, 15 June 2019 (UTC)
@Jéské Couriano: it is extremely standard for corporations, non-profit organizations, or similar entities to say nothing public in cases like this, even when it hurts them in the court of public opinion. In this affair, that is how WMF are acting. We may not like it that they are acting this way, but from their point of view they may have no choice. As for starship's "the names of the victims are less important than their stories": it is very likely that from the stories and Fram's edit history we could (and some would) work out the names. —David Eppstein (talk) 06:03, 15 June 2019 (UTC)
The thing is, we already largely have. Two of Fram's diffs (that have not yet been revdelled) involve his dealings with a particular Wikipedian-in-Residence - the same one who has a polemic screed about him on her user talk page (also not removed/revdelled). The accusations of sexism levied by Raystorm only helps support such a theory, as Fram's and the WiRs sexes weren't mentioned until her statement and are still considered to be a red herring at best. —A little blue Bori v^_^v Bori! 10:09, 15 June 2019 (UTC)
Your speculation in search of someone other than Fram to blame for this fiasco is only proving my point. —David Eppstein (talk) 16:46, 15 June 2019 (UTC)
We wouldn't even be speculating has T&S given us more information from the word go than they did. Explaining it was for harassment, that there were prior warnings, and justifying the limited ban would have been enough for all but the ones who prefer to die on Transparency Hill. But the way T&S handled this just completely caused it to not only spiral out of control, but has a very real risk of exposing the complainant because they have done nothing to help tamp down the speculation, nor have they punished Fram for their comments on Commons (once again, if privacy was a major concern, they should have IMMEDIATELY escalated the ban to a global one after that comment.) —A little blue Bori v^_^v Bori! 18:44, 15 June 2019 (UTC)
@Rosiestep: (of 00:06, 15 June 2019 (UTC): "Deleted the inflamitory comments") I thank you for stepping in to rein in the "contributor" who used the WIR Twitter to express their thoughts, can you understand why that should have never been aired outside of enWP? Squabbling outside the perview of enWP regarding enWP makes any meaningful discussion difficult (or impossible) and only stokes the schadenfreude fires of detractors (WikipediaReview in particular). Can you please commit to reminding all the authorized posters to the WIR twitter that on wiki conflicts are supposed to be resolve on wiki? I would observe again that this entire distraction is very reminiscent of the Eastern European Mailing List Arbcom case and it would be unfortunate if the community or ArbCom had to close the WikiProject because some members repeatedly fell on the wrong side of the principles of the ArbCom case. Hasteur (talk) 19:51, 15 June 2019 (UTC)
Hasteur, I can make that commitment and can say that the conversation has occurred. I will also commit that in the days to come, Women in Red will work on developing a social media "guideline" or "essay" or some such, and we welcome suggestions from Women in Red enthusiasts on our talkpage in that regard. --Rosiestep (talk) 20:11, 15 June 2019 (UTC)

On-wiki only or not?

Fram has stated: "Everything I did is visible on enwiki, no privacy issues are involved, and all necessary complaint, investigations, actions, could have been made onwiki."

@JEissfeldt (WMF): with regard to any Office Action, one, ond only one, of the two following statements would always be true:

  • This action is based entirely on the Foundation's findings relating to behavior on Wikimedia Foundation websites and/or mailing lists. (1)
  • This action is based on the Foundation's findings relating to behavior on Wikimedia Foundation websites and/or mailing lists, and/or other behavior. (2)

Can you make, when you announce such Office Actions, one of these two statements? It would be helpful to the community, if it knew there was no "other behavior" of any sort (in-person, private email, etc.), to surmise where its standards fall short of the Foundation's standards. Then we may endeavor to raise our standards to the expected minimum, as it would always be preferable for the community to impose the sanction so as to minimize drama, blowback, controversy, etc. Surely such a vague piece of minimal addtional information would not put any victims/accusers at risk, and if you don't act before multiple complaints have been filed then while we can find the issues upon digging into the editing and mail archives, we would never be able to identify one single incident or complaint as the one to "blame". For example, we might surmise that uncivil demeanor towards the Arbitration Committee was unacceptable and strengthen our civility policy to reflect that. On the other hand, if we are told that "other behavior" is a factor, it would be more difficult recognize where policy enhancements would help. Thank you. wbm1058 (talk) 01:49, 15 June 2019 (UTC)

...I see that the term "legal" has been mentioned on this page over a hundred times... ruling out "other behavior" would squelch the bad rumors and innuendo developing here that he may have done something "illegal". wbm1058 (talk) 02:23, 15 June 2019 (UTC)

Wbm1058, I am very sympathetic to the thought process that lead you to this request, because it's something that I'm wondering about myself. That said, I don't think it works as written. I'm not sure whether minor tweaks or more substantive changes are required. For my rationale, let me start with a hypothetical (which might not be all that hypothetical). Imagine an interaction between editor A and editor B. B feels harassed. Everything relevant about the situation relating to A is on wiki. Almost everything relevant involving B is on wiki except that B writes a private email to T & S expressing concern. We not only permit such a private email, we encourage it. Yet that technically means the second of the two statements would apply. The tweak might modify the statements to exclude such a private communication but it might be a slippery slope. Again, I'm sympathetic to the desire to figure out whether actions are based upon information that we all potentially could see or actions that might be unknown to us, but I don't think the simple phrasing works. S Philbrick(Talk) 14:17, 15 June 2019 (UTC)
Sphilbrick, I think we can assume that there will almost always be non-public communication from B to the WMF. Obviously all or most office actions will be based on a privately-filed complaint from B, about an A. I don't think we need to know whether an Office Action resulted from privately-filed complaint(s), nor how many privately-filed complaints, or if it's something that the Foundation's artificially-intelligent bots scanning for abuse discovered on their own. What is relevant is whether A was abusive in a private discussion or incident. If, at the time of the initial complaint, there was no off-wiki abuse then it would be a (1). If, in sending a private response to an inquiry made during a T&S investigation A was abusive, that would change the initial (1) case-type to a (2). Make sense? wbm1058 (talk) 14:38, 15 June 2019 (UTC)
Wbm1058, Yes, although I still have concerns about precise wording. S Philbrick(Talk) 16:07, 15 June 2019 (UTC)
Sure, suggest tweaks to the wording. The word "secret" is littering this page (30+ times). The idea there was a conviction based on "secret evidence" is toxic. If this is a (1) case, then all the evidence is hiding in plain sight (with possible exception of revision-deleted or oversighted material). If the evidence is hiding in plain sight, then either the community hasn't properly reviewed it, or the community consensus on the interpretation of it is in conflict with the Foundation's interpretation. wbm1058 (talk) 16:33, 15 June 2019 (UTC)

Oh, I see:

Partial Foundation bans may be implemented in cases of:

  • Repeated misconduct within a single Foundation-supported project, with considerable impact either on that project overall or on individual contributors who are active in that project.

So, based on that, can you definitively say that this one-year ban is based entirely on repeated misconduct within the English Wikipedia, and rule out the innuendo that there also was some bad off-wiki behavior? wbm1058 (talk) 02:52, 15 June 2019 (UTC)

  • The basic rules of Wikipedia: 1) Writing an encyclopedia 2) Openness and logability of each action 3) Possibility of anonymity. It's all. Therefore, every management action must be justified. They must explain the reasons. In the meantime, it seems that now some participants in conflict with the administrator have sent a complaint to him to their friends in the Fund. And these friends repressed the administrator against the will of the community and not providing a justification. As a result, Wikipedia has been deprived of a useful participant for a year (and this is a long time!). And now it turns out that everyone who has detractors is at risk of being blocked by their complaint. This is unacceptable and violates all norms of the project. I hope that my concerns will be dispelled. But for this I need an adequate explanation from the Fund indicating specific violations the rules by Fram. ~ V. Ch. 08:14, 15 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Yes, this one-year ban is based entirely on repeated misconduct within the English Wikipedia. No, up to date one has no proven facts that that it happened within some friendship relations or some other conflict of interest. --Neolexx (talk) 10:08, 15 June 2019 (UTC)

Reaction to Fram's initial response on Commons

  • WTF? Did the ArbCom have any problem with the last diff? This is ridiculous and WMF T&S have been effectively appropriating the role of ArbCom without any minimal transparency. Nothing mentioned over here, needs any privileged dealings. WBGconverse 08:32, 11 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Yeah, always a good idea to silence people who criticise you. Reminiscent of the Nazis. The Rambling Man (talk) 08:35, 11 June 2019 (UTC)
  • "This action is effective immediately and it is non-appealable" - Huh?! It can take months to desyop an admin on here, with plenty of discussion, but this sort of thing can happen behind closed doors? Great way for WMF to help with editor retention. Lugnuts Fire Walk with Me 08:36, 11 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Pathetic behavior by the WMF. The community needs to send a strong message that this type of side stepping of the community policies and guidelines will not be tolerated. Mr Ernie (talk) 08:42, 11 June 2019 (UTC)
    Well someone, or some people at WMF should be removed from their position really. This is a disgraceful abuse of position. The Rambling Man (talk) 08:44, 11 June 2019 (UTC)
    Who and where and how do we send the strong message that this is a community and deserves community discussion. - I am not biased, no particular friend of Fram. Silencing criticism in such an obscure way is not acceptable. --Gerda Arendt (talk) 08:51, 11 June 2019 (UTC)
  • OK, that's that then. You can be unappealably unilaterally banned (and effectively gagged) and desysopped, without discussion or recourse, by WMF on the strength of two or three edits and the use of the F-word. Good to know. Softlavender (talk) 08:54, 11 June 2019 (UTC)
    • Fuck that. >:( Reyk YO! 08:55, 11 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Wait. Seriously? It was for incivility? Incivility that supposedly culminated in this statement, speaking out against a highly controversial Arbcom action? Sentiments which were so overwhelmingly backed by the community, that Arbcom actually backpedaled and issued a correction? That was it? Are you fucking kidding me? The office is banning people for incivility towards Arbcom? In that case, there are no privacy considerations, and it isn't confidential. So who complained to the fucking office? Was it an Arbcom member? Was it an established editor? Who? Was it the one Arb who resigned? This is beyond insanity. Why the fuck is the office civility policing, this user, after so many years? Is this a joke? Honestly, if no one complained, then that's even worse. Who's responsible for this? Please, have some integrity and come forward. At least own it, like Arbcom did. ~Swarm~ {sting} 08:59, 11 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Incase anyone has missed this, Jimbo is reviewing the situation. Lugnuts Fire Walk with Me 10:17, 11 June 2019 (UTC)
    Yeah, that'll help. ‑ Iridescent 10:18, 11 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Also who is LauraHale and what is her role in this? So far we have allegations that you warned Fram for unspecified and anonymous complaints, then you unilaterally IBANNED Fram for good faith edits that happened to “make [LauraHale] feel uncomfortable”, and the next piece of evidence is a legitimate critique of an Arbcom blunder that the community overwhelmingly backed. It doesn’t add up. How can one, or two, or even a handful of users lobby the Office for a unilateral ban of a MOSTACTIVE admin? Since when can we circumvent the process by lobbying the office? Or was a staff member on Fram’s case the whole time? In either case, why wasn’t this referred to the relevant on-wiki authority? Laura, do you have any insight on this? ~Swarm~ {sting} 10:20, 11 June 2019 (UTC)
    I will provide for you two pieces of the puzzle. First one is on the top of Laura's talk page and has been there for longer than I can remember. Another one is this one. Note that none of them answers your question though.--Ymblanter (talk) 10:40, 11 June 2019 (UTC)
    I assume Swarm already read that thing on the talk page since they mentioned said editor's name here. Nil Einne (talk) 10:45, 11 June 2019 (UTC)
    She is mentioned above by Fram and, as far as I see, nowhere else on this page. I stopped short of mentioning her yesterday.--Ymblanter (talk) 10:53, 11 June 2019 (UTC)
    Ymblanter, if you are saying what I think you are saying, this whole thing could have been easily and equitably resolved at ANI, and if not fully resolved there, definitely at ArbCom. Such run-of-the-mill interactions and disagreements are exactly what our noticeboards are designed to handle. The fact that an editor or editors did an end-run and went straight to WMF is truly tragic, and has resulted in massive overkill and a reprehensible unilateral "unappealable" secretive longterm action by WMF. A bad deal all around. Softlavender (talk) 11:29, 11 June 2019 (UTC)
    I actually agree with that. I think this is a real conflict, or at least was a real conflict, and it should have been probably gone to ArbCom. It is absolutely inappropriate by WMF to take offica action here rather than referring the case to ArbCom, using the established community dispute resolution procedures.--Ymblanter (talk) 11:34, 11 June 2019 (UTC)
    Well it's worse than that. Not only did it not go to Arbcom, but apparently Arbcom weren't even informed about it. The Rambling Man (talk) 11:35, 11 June 2019 (UTC)
    Were even the preliminary conduct-dispute-resolution boards (ANI/AN) which typically hands out IBans et al, invoked? It does not seem so ..... We ought to mention T&S, in our page about dispute resolution, seems to be an impressively effective method! WBGconverse 11:45, 11 June 2019 (UTC)
    Not that I think it matters in this case, but they were alerted that WMF is considering a sanction against Fram which would be solely on en.wp, see OR's responde on the ArbCom talk page.--Ymblanter (talk) 11:43, 11 June 2019 (UTC)
On "who is LauraHale" question, in my fuzzy memory banks I recall a period of interactoin on GA reviews maybe 7 years ago. My recollection was they they had a WMF role or connection. The just-noted message at their talk page also mentioned WMF members. Back then they opened an Arbcom case which resulted in an editor getting banned.North8000 (talk) 21:58, 12 June 2019 (UTC)
  • This is a major vote of no confidence by T&S in Arbcom and this community's ability to maintain appropriate norms and standards. If T&S do indeed believe that the "local community is consistently struggling to uphold the Terms of Use", then that is serious: they should be making Arbcom directly aware of their concerns, and having a full and frank discussion with the community. This is the very least we should expect. But there has been no such discussion. Otherwise, and given that there appears to be no issue of urgent safeguarding here, T&S's untransparent and unchallengeable actions appear to be an over-reach, beyond their charter, ultra vires. Our systems are not perfect. Bringing and taking an issue through Arbcom can involve a huge amount of process: intimidating, overwhelming, exhausting; and too often a drama-fest. There is the question of whether some users are so-called "unblockables". And, on the other side of the coin, there would also be sensitivities if it seemed WMF were taking sides, one user over another, in a public process. But the clear message needs to go out, that we expect T&S to normally encourage (and perhaps support) users to work through established community processes, unless there are reasons not to do so that are truly pressing and overwhelming. That does not appear to be the case here, so the community is entirely right to be up in arms. T&S has serious questions to answer, if it felt its involvement here was unavoidable - to the community, preferably; failing that, if necessary, to the board. Its role is not to supplant Arbcom and community processes except in the most extreme circumstances -- which these do not appear to have been. Jheald (talk) 11:07, 11 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Earlier in this discussion we were told that stewards has agreed this action was justified. Would any steward care to comment on whether Fram's summary is accurate to the best of their knowledge, and whether they agree that the action is justified? As far as I can see the action was totally unjustified, and if the stewards think otherwise, it's not only WMF that needs a vote of no confidence. Absconded Northerner (talk) 11:24, 11 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Absconded Northerner, AFAIS, Tony claimed that some particular steward had asserted of the justifiability/seriousness of the action. Ajratadzz, a steward has said that Fram's ban was not discussed among them. I don't see as how all stewards are to blame. WBGconverse 11:29, 11 June 2019 (UTC)
  • That's a fair reading but I think it can also be read as multiple stewards. I should probably have separated my hypothetical from the question more clearly too. At the moment I don't see any problem with the stewards individually or as a group. I apologise for my lack of clarity. Absconded Northerner (talk) 11:59, 11 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Ajr mentioned it as in we haven't discussed it as a "Stewards" group (I can also vouch that that there was no discussions about this), and what Tony said is (IMO) some stewards has said they (personally) believe the actions were justified outside our "Stewards" group talks. (I'm just clarifying this and won't look back on this page (even for popcorns for Wikidrama) for next few weeks. If you have questions about this, I'll try to answer you on my talk page except I am not going to name Tony's some stewards, or my opinion on this matter.) — Gisado aka -revi 07:03, 12 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Absent a coherent response from Trust & Safety, I believe Fram.
Folks here probably don't know because it's not technically part of this project, but something is foul over at Azerbaijani Wikipedia. A cabal of admins has formed there publishing clearly politically biased material with an agenda, much of it blatant copyright violations, and also defending each other and blocking any editor who expresses disagreement. In short, they have hijacked the project to turn it into Armenian-genocide-denial-pedia. The admin at the centre of the dispute more or less admitted it. That seems pretty bad, doesn't it? Like something the WMF would want to step in and urgently do something about, in defense of their brand and Wikipedia's mission? Well, you'd be wrong. The Foundation seems plenty comfortable trying to let the global community (with participation from the allegedly corrupt azwiki admins) work this one out on its own. There has been a discussion going on over at meta ("Do something about azwiki") for a month now, which WMF was notified about on May 21, and responded that they "[would] evaluate the situation". A proposal to the effect of desysopping and banning all of the admins at Azerbaijani Wikipedia is stalled because stewards insist it requires WMF intervention. They haven't. But Fram says "fuck" to an arbitrator? That's what the Foundation thinks needs urgent office action.
It is a completely outrageously disproportionate response for the WMF to have interfered here. We're the biggest 'pedia and the most active, with the longest-standing and most mature community processes to deal with this kind of benign incivility, had anyone participating in that discussion felt offended enough to engage in them. Frankly Arbcom deserved being sworn at for that ridiculous notice, and Fram was hardly the only one expressing outrage in that thread (related: User:Ivanvector/2019 Arbitration Committee protest - if I am officebanned in the same way as Fram has been, that's most likely why). Using that as a pretext to pick off one of the Foundation's most vocal critics reads like somewhere between a bad day in the Comms department and outright tyranny. I'm for doing something right up to and including "going bonkers". Ivanvector (Talk/Edits) 13:26, 11 June 2019 (UTC)
I was also thinking of the Azeri festering pustule, which is allowed to continue even today without anybody at WMF apparently caring. At least their page "So-called Armenian genocide" was moved to a less offensive title today. --Randykitty (talk) 14:17, 11 June 2019 (UTC)
Have we considered de-crosslinking articles from that wiki until such time as that situation is brought under control? Lepricavark (talk) 15:45, 11 June 2019 (UTC)
  • After reading many paragraphs of text, this all boils down to Fram used some vulgar language and so the WMF banned him for a year. This is a mind-boggling turn of events. Useight's Public Sock (talk) 14:52, 11 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Note to self, if I ever have any problem with another editor's conduct, especially a longstanding admin, I'll be sure to go straight to WP:OFFICE! Yeehaw, chaos reigns! R2 (bleep) 20:01, 11 June 2019 (UTC)