Talk:Requests for comment/Proposal for a policy on involved administrators
I can't find where to put this on the main page, so I'll just note here: the principle is already part of the Stewards policy, at Steward_policy#Avoid_conflicts_of_interest. The main points are Stewards should use their judgment to avoid conflicts of interest, situations where they are not impartial to the decision. Such situations should be left to neutral stewards. (The policy then gives two examples.) Rd232 (talk) 22:52, 20 February 2012 (UTC)
- Eminently sensible observation, however not all meta-wiki admins are stewards, so this proposal seems to fill a gap. ASCIIn2Bme (talk) 18:28, 21 February 2012 (UTC)
- "not all meta-wiki admins are stewards" - of course. I only mentioned it to show the principle does exist in Meta policy, albeit not in one applicable to admins. Rd232 (talk) 18:43, 21 February 2012 (UTC)
As a matter of procedure, I suggest to convert this page to a RfC subpage. Suggested name: Requests for comment/Proposal for a policy on involved administrators. -- MarcoAurelio (talk) 13:26, 4 March 2013 (UTC)
- I think that's a fine idea, it is obvious that Meta desperately needs to have a frank discussion about it's administrative corps lack of ethical standards and lack of consequences for obvious abuses like the one we just saw here. Beeblebrox (talk) 21:45, 4 March 2013 (UTC)
- What the heck? Ugly broad-sweeping and disparaging statement. You may have concerns about people, then bring them up, but I don't like your bucket of shit thrown on everyone. I would think that someone like yourself with advanced rights could be civil and productive. EnWP combat arms should be left at the door. — billinghurst sDrewth 14:30, 5 March 2013 (UTC)
- +1. --Michaeldsuarez (talk) 17:16, 5 March 2013 (UTC)
I support the page move, I also support the idea that we ALL need to act like mature individuals. That includes no sweeping comments about how broken EnWp or Meta is. I would suggest that if a person comes to this discussion with an overwhelming negative bias against editors or projects, it serves NO ones purpose and will serve to derail any serious discussion and improvement into an endless cycle of vituperation and recrimination. That helps no one. Please contribute positively to the discussion, and if you cannot, please try and maintain respectful silence. Thank you. -- Avi (talk) 18:11, 5 March 2013 (UTC)
- The first part of this message is quite reasonable, while the last one is based upon a mistake about the legitimacy of the block you got.
- The proposal is an overkill to me (common sense shouldn't be needed to be made explicit as a rule), anyway an introductive hat for WM:A, dealing with COIs too, has no side-effects. --Vituzzu (talk) 02:04, 6 March 2013 (UTC)
- Ok, let me back up a few inches here. No, not every single admin at Meta is an abusive jerk with no sense of ethics, and I do not hate you all. That is not what I intended to convey but I can see how it would be seen that way. I apologize for offending you all and painting you all with the same brush.
- However, I do think there is a severe cultural problem here in that it seems there are rarely any consequences even in the most obvious cases, such as the now-undone close of this discussion. Some corrective action was taken to undo that, but it seems the admin community here is willing to just leave it at that. I don't think that is ok. Admins who fashion their tools into weapons to use against somebody (in this case me but I am hardly the only one) need to get a slightly stronger message about how innapropriate their actions were or they will see no reason not to simply repeat them next time, confident that someone will just clean up after tham and they can pretend it was just a simple mistake when anyone can see that that is not the case.
- I am obviously not an expert on how Meta does things, and I am not asking that anyone be sumarrily desysopped or anything, but it is alarming that simply undoing a bad faith action by an admin seems to be considered sufficient.
- It would also be nice, quite frankly, if folks could stop assuming that my motivations are to destroy or discredit meta. I was trying to fix a problem by making this proposal, a problem here, at meta. It was done in nothing but total good faith and an honest desire to rectify a unfortunate gap in understanding here and I have gotten nothing but grief and harassment for it. So, I agree let's all play nice and leave our assumptions at the door. That would be great. Beeblebrox (talk) 22:17, 5 March 2013 (UTC)
Fair enough. I would like to also point out that conveying your opinions and feelings as you have done above, in my experience, tends to allow people to read it without defensiveness. You have good points, important points, and it would be a crying shame for others to ignore them and sweep them under the rug, attributed to "EnWiki histeria". Unfortunately, all editors are human, and to varying degrees exhibit human nature, and we need to understand that.
I will be the first to agree with you that the culture here at Meta is very different than that of EnWiki; whether it is better or worse is a matter of opinion, of course. I think one of the key differences between Meta and EnWiki is that EnWiki is "wound a little tighter" and Meta is more "laid back". Almost everything is "less of a deal" at Meta--whether rightfully or wrongfully so. This may be a result of Meta's having a much smaller active community, so it more resembles the EnWiki of 2003 than the EnWiki of 2013. Also, this means that things are less codified--as there usually has been no need. For someone coming from the highly codified, almost ritualistic at times, EnWiki, the contrast is stark–to the point of discomfort. I know it took me a while to develop the ability to "change weltaanshaungs" as I switch projects. Commons, for example, has its own culture (one which I have more of an issue with, personally) but it too requires "changing hats or shirts" as it were. Are there drawbacks with Meta's current culture? Certainly. But change must come from within, not without, and trying to force change from without will, in my opinion, cause even those who may agree with the principles to adopt a defensive stance out of reaction.
I believe that ANYONE and EVERYONE interested in the long term health of Wikimedia projects read w:Clay Shirky's paper A Group Is Its Own Worst Enemy. I think we metapedians may have to realize that we have hit the critical mass which requires more codification of "rules about rules", of which this proposal is an example. I think it is safe to say, Beeble, that most metapedians are aware of the need, and, in its time, will get there. Unfortunately, I can guarantee you that it will take more time than something similar on EnWiki. Then again, there will probably be less opposition than on a project like EnWiki.
Another difference between Meta and EnWiki, at least in my experience, is that there is less (and a lower tolerance for) drama than on EnWiki. Moreover, most drama comes from people originally from EnWiki. I will not list particular people, but it has been EnWiki who has given us a globally banned user, other well-known banned users, requests to disenfranchise or override EnWiki ArbCom, and more. We have drama from elsewhere (RuWiki, ZhWiki, PtWiki for a while, AceWiki now) but (as is to be expected) most comes from EnWiki, so when people come from EnWiki with strong opinions and bold statements, they may be subject to pre-colored opinions.
Lastly, you may or may not have a valid gripe with a particular admin; I am not going to comment one way or the other about the particulars, especially since I made similar points as you to the editor in question (search my for name here. However, I would suggest that either you open an RfC on the editor's behavior or you let it drop. If you feel that the editor in question's Meta behavior needs to be discussed, then do so, accepting the possibility that there may be those who disagree. If you feel that is not necessary, then we will probably all be better off if we focus on the issue at hand.
Thank you for your patience in reading all this, and I hope that you start to find Meta less "annoying" the longer you stay here; quite a bit of decent work goes on here, after all :) . -- Avi (talk) 22:56, 5 March 2013 (UTC)
- Your comments remind me of a real world situation where I live. It's a small town, but it is a regional transport and economic hub servicing numerous very small, isolated villages. Some of the folks from those villages come over here when they have money and go on incredible benders, wasting thousands of dollars they get from dividends just roaming around drinking and trashing hotel rooms for days on end. As you can guess these folks sometimes come to the attention of the police and the paramedics as well. This has created an impression here, especially among those in hospitality and service businesses, that everyone from the villages is a hardcore out-of-control drunk when in fact it is probably about a dozen individuals out of a population of several hundred. We just don't notice the ones who come over and go shopping for things they need and then return home because they aren't doing anything that draws public attention.
- I suspect a similar effect is at play here. Indeed, I noticed during last year's episode that there are a lot of banned or blocked users from en.wp here. Some even suggested that this is actually the purpose of meta, to provide a sort of haven for malcontents who have been kicked off of other WMF projects. It was my understanding that it is a place for folks from the smaller wikis to get help, not a place for people ejected from the very largest projects to hang out and trash talk, but that does seem to be one of it's purposes, intended or not and I can see how it could color one's opinion of other users from that same project, but I would hope administrators were able to look past that. Obviously I feel like I have run into a few who are not able to do that, and I know I have been more confrontational than is normal here. This is in fact deliberate as it seems the only way to even get a response at all form this community. Being laid back is all well and good, it's a big part of the reason I live where I do, but one shouldn't be so laid back that they don't even care when those in power abuse their authority and refuse to acknowledge their errors. I hope this is what can be changed here, and approving this policy would at least be a start. It is frankly a shame that it is needed, but the ironic actions seen in regard to this very proposal demonstrate that a codification of what should be a fairly obvious ethical standard is in fact needed.
- As you know I am an admin at en.wp, and you are probably also aware I have made some mistakes of my own over there. We all do stupid things once in a while, it is how one reacts to those mistakes that is important. If nobody is even willing to call a spade a spade we can't realistically expect the admins making the mistakes to learn anything from them. So, it's not just a problem with one oer two admins, it is a problem of lack of accountability. That is a failing of the community as a whole. Beeblebrox (talk) 00:57, 6 March 2013 (UTC)
Yes, I know you are a admin at EnWiki, not only that, you are a functionary there, so you obviously understand EnWiki culture, and have been trusted to help protect that project and its members. I appreciate both your analogy and frustration. Calling a spade a spade is necessary, sometimes. Other times, one can achieve the same results with a bit more "diplomacy" as it were, and referring to the manually-powered, wood-handled, flat-bladed, earth-movement utensil is sufficient :) -- Avi (talk) 02:02, 6 March 2013 (UTC)