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Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2019-05-31/Discussion report

< Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost‎ | 2019-05-31
Admin abuse leads to mass-desysop proposal on Azerbaijani Wikipedia: Neutrality and copyright concerns lead to a proposal to remove all admins on the Azerbaijani Wikipedia. Plus: arbitration enforcement controversy and part 2 of the talk pages consultation.


Admin controversy at the Azerbaijani Wikipedia

Accusations of administrator abuse in multiple forms (particularly by Cekli829) led to a proposal by Rschen7754 to remove admin rights from all of azwiki's current admins. The specifics of the proposal are as follows:

  • All admins/bureaucrats/interface admins will have their rights removed
  • No local admins/bureaucrats/interface admins for 6 months from close of RFC
    • During this time global sysops and stewards will patrol the wiki
  • No permanent local admins/bureaucrats/interface admins for 12 months from close of RFC
    • For stewards to assign temporary (or permanent rights, after 12 months), elections must be conducted in a fair manner (allow all azwiki editors to participate), have the necessary levels of support, and not be affected by canvassing.
  • Stewards will conduct a review of long-term blocks of users

The proposal lists the following arguments in favor of the mass desysop:

The original proposer wrote that this mass desysop is necessary because azwiki's desysop procedures failed to provide any accountability for these actions (a majority vote of administrators is required to carry out any desysop). He also expressed concerns regarding the role of off-wiki groups in the administration of the encyclopedia.

In "very regretful[ly]" supporting the proposal, TonyBallioni said, "While all wikis have some inherent biases built in politically (en.wiki has many...) playing politics with the attempted destruction of an entire group of people brings our entire movement into disrepute, and the use of admin tools by that community as a whole appears problematic for the reasons Rschen7754 has laid out." Steward Ajraddatz opposed a blanket desysop, but supported desysopping Cekli829 (along with a six-month ban on giving him administrative permissions) "and any other specific admins/crats that have enabled the copyright violations and inappropriate block(s)". While there are several other users who support more targeted desysoppings, the list of users who oppose any action consists almost entirely of azwiki sysops. Cekli829 himself, in voting "strong oppose", said (hat tip to Google Translate), "Your suggestions clearly serve the Armenian interests and show that you are on the side. Instead, I recommend that you initiate an uninterrupted block on hy.wikipedia.org. It should be noted that the views on relevant issues in various language sections of the Wikipedia due to the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict are also part of the information war, and this is quite normal." There is no current timetable for a close.

Sanctions and deletions

Controversial deletion of two pages led to multiple policy proposals last month aiming to clarify administrators' power to delete pages in topic areas subject to community and discretionary sanctions. The community general sanctions discussion was started due to the deletion of Universa Blockchain Protocol, which was deleted with the summary "Covert advertising. Page-level sanction under WP:GS/Crypto." Meanwhile, User:Dlthewave/Whitewashing of firearms articles (whose author also wrote an opinion piece for The Signpost on a similar topic two issues ago) was deleted as "Arbitration enforcement action under gun control DS." These deletions caused controversy because of objections to the use of sanctions to delete articles. Both pages went to Deletion Review. The blockchain article's DRV was closed as "no consensus". Meanwhile, a "clear consensus" of users supported the undeletion of the firearms page at its DRV, but the closer noted that the undeletion required the approval of the Arbitration Committee first. The two proposals both prevent using sanctions as deletion rationale. The community sanctions RFC and the discretionary sanctions RFC are both currently open.

Part 2 of the talk pages consultation begins

The second phase of the Wikimedia Foundation's 2019 talk pages consultation (TPC19) has begun. The Foundation's report said that there were three main categories that new and experienced users identified for improvement: replying, indentation and signatures. Frequent requests from experienced users include section watchlisting; better archiving, search, and notification tools; thread-specific history; and improving the talk page experience on mobile devices. The WMF survey found that new users often had trouble finding talk pages and did not understand the structure (they expected a format more like a forum as opposed to one that looks similar to a regular Wikipedia article). New users were especially confused by the metadata templates (e.g. WikiProject assessments, pageview statistics, archive boxes, arbitration notices) at the top of popular talk pages. After taking under consideration the opinions of these groups, the WMF proposed "that wikitext talk pages should be improved, and not replaced", though they noted that in order to make talk pages more accessible, "small-to-medium changes in wikitext conventions and practices" may be required.

With part 1 of TPC19 having concluded, phase 2 has begun, focused on six questions the WMF is asking regarding its summary of phase 1, namely:

  1. What do you think of the proposed product direction?
  2. Should there be a more structured definition of what counts as a single discussion, possibly involving making changes to the wikitext conventions on a talk page?
  3. Should we make the connection between article content and discussions more visible?
  4. Should we move all non-talkspace discussion pages (e.g. the village pumps) to the talk namespace? (Community consensus seems to be against this idea.)
  5. What are the pros and cons of having a complete page history or a specific thread history?
  6. Should metadata templates be moved somewhere else? Which templates are crucial for the proper use of a discussion page, and which could be moved somewhere else?

Participation in the second phase of the talk page consultation is open to all users.

Other discussions

  • On WP:VPR#Video Namespace: should a "Video" namespace or pseudonamespace be created for VideoWiki videos?
  • On WT:Harassment: should WP:DOX be changed to prohibit disclosure of personal information "on the English Wikipedia" or "on the English Wikipedia or another public Wikimedia project"? (Current wording is "on Wikipedia".)

Follow-ups