Grants talk:IdeaLab/Area for topic banned editors to talk freely about their ban, e.g. to ask questions of experienced wikipedians

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Previous discussion[edit]

There's some earlier discussion of this already under Free speech area--This idea is workable in the discussion page for "Encourage editors to talk to other editors before banning them". This was originally a subsection of that page, see Small free speech area for a topic banned editor to discuss what just happened. Robertinventor (talk) 19:06, 14 June 2016 (UTC)

Suggested additions[edit]

I think you should add "Ask whether gray-area edits are permissible under a topic ban" and "Relieve overworked AE admins."

I have this essay on a conflict resolution technique that I've wanted to post for a while. I was working on it around the time I was topic-banned. Thing was, I developed the technique in the topic-banned area and that's where the best examples of its use are. Is the essay good to go if I leave out those examples or is it tainted nonetheless? I'm currently under an indef. block for showing some exonerating evidence to my enforcing admin. To me, it looked like that was allowed under WP:BANEX, but the AE admins thought differently. If I'd been able to clear this at a noticeboard first, it would have saved everyone a lot of trouble. (But then, I might not have bothered. It looked pretty clear that this was allowed.)

I also just had my enforcing admin say that he does not want to be responsible for my case any more because he has limited time to give to Wikipedia. Something like this would have made many of the questions I addressed to him unnecessary. It's a good deal all around.

I recommend seeking the opinion of admins who are active at AE. You need both hammers and nails to build a house. Darkfrog24 (talk) 21:28, 14 June 2016 (UTC)

Sorry, what is "AE"? Don't seem to have come across that abbreviation yet, or if so I forget it. I'll add "Ask whether gray-area edits are permissible under a topic ban before you do them" good point. Robert Walker (talk) 01:40, 15 June 2016 (UTC)
Have added the bit about gray area edits - is that bit okay now? Robert Walker (talk) 01:57, 15 June 2016 (UTC)
"Arbitration Enforcement." It's a key part of the discretionary sanction system. They hand out a lot of topic bans. Darkfrog24 (talk) 02:23, 15 June 2016 (UTC)
Oh okay, thanks, understand now, mine was through ANI, can you clarify how it "Relieves overworked AE admins."? I mean - the two stage system in my related idea would, but not so sure about this. Is it because they would judge less cases because you can discuss issues first and so don't step over the boundaries of your topic ban? Robert Walker (talk) 02:40, 15 June 2016 (UTC)
In my case, the enforcing admin got very tired of answering questions about what topic bans were, how they worked, what the overall goal was, etc. etc. He also didn't want to look at exonerating evidence, though I'm not sure how justified that is I also had specific questions about what edits I was and was not allowed to make. Darkfrog24 (talk) 03:29, 15 June 2016 (UTC)
Okay thanks, I get the picture now, thanks, have said a bit about it in the new section Suggestion, Editor sanction noticeboard (WP:ESN)

The name "free speech zone"[edit]

I don't think we should call this "free speech zone." "Free speech" is a loaded term on Wikipedia and it has a negative history. There have been too many cases of editors crying "You're stifling my free speech!" when they were really just told that they had to abide by WP:V and WP:NPOV. If we say "free speech," people's knee-jerk reaction will be "More whiners who just want to do whatever they want."

Wikipedia already has a word for this kind of area. We should call it a "Topic-ban noticeboard" or "Editor sanction noticeboard." "WP:ESN" has a nice ring to it and it's not already taken.

For any newbs reading this. Check out the Reliable sources noticeboard and NPOV noticeboard for examples of noticeboards on Wikipedia. Darkfrog24 (talk) 21:40, 14 June 2016 (UTC)]

Oh okay - I didn't know that about this history in wikipedia for "free speech". And - I don't mean of course a place like an internet troll forum, where "anything goes". The suggestion itself pretty much explains what it is. But we need a good name for it. I think though that as it should be a place where you are free to speak about things that you are banned from saying elsewhere in wikipedia, the name should reflect that somehow. Or a sub title or explanation of it. Perhaps for now I'll just edit it to say that it's not free speech in the sense of a troll forum? "Editor sanction noticeboard." sounds good except that it sounds a bit like a notice board for posting editor sanctions rather than a place for editors to ask talk about and ask questions about sanctions that have been taken out against them. I don't have a better title though right now, let's think about it some more? Robert Walker (talk) 01:25, 15 June 2016 (UTC)
I've added:

To clarify - I mean free speech here in the particular sense to be explained in more detail below. Not an "anything goes" free speech area in the sense of a forum for trolling or such like. Also not suggesting that we try to enforce first ammendment rights as in Wikipedia:Free_speech.

It's a place to ask the natural questions you would have after being topic banned, without having a constant fear that anything you say might lead to a longer period for the ban or an indefinite block. And a place where you can actually say the things that need to be said to ask questions and discuss what happened and your options, recognizing that it is inevitable that while doing so you are going to mention the banned topic, the discussion that lead up to the ban, and how you yourself saw the behaviour of the other editors in the discussion and misunderstandings that you may think arose during the discussion - all topics of conversation that would normally be completely forbidden to you on wikipedia.

Robert Walker (talk) 01:31, 15 June 2016 (UTC)
Done a bit more copy editing and added " (limited)" before "free speech" which hopefully at least is a step in the right direction. Robert Walker (talk) 01:37, 15 June 2016 (UTC)
I don't think you should add. I think you should subtract. Clear and terse proposals are easier to read and understand. Instead of saying "I mean free speech zone but not really," just don't use the term. But while I've been on Wikipedia for years, I'm new to Wikilab. I'm guessing that this makes it your proposal-your wording. So that's my advice but it's no insult to me if you don't take it. Darkfrog24 (talk) 02:24, 15 June 2016 (UTC)
It's just a "pro tem" thing. I'm happy to change it but not sure of a better term right now. I think we have to make it clear that they have an element of freedom of speech to talk about things that they can't say elsewhere in wikipedia, and I don't know of a better word to use than " (limited) free speech" I understand your concerns about the phrase and can see that it is awkward the way it is at present and interested in suggestions to improve it. I don't know much about how idealabs work either, anyway what are your thoughts, how we could present it without using the word free speech yet making it clear what the intent is? I'll think it over also. Robert Walker (talk) 02:34, 15 June 2016 (UTC)
Might have found a solution, moved it to "Area for topic banned editors to talk freely about their ban, e.g. to ask questions of experienced wikipedians" - how does that sound? Robert Walker (talk) 02:49, 15 June 2016 (UTC)
That is much better. My first choice is still to call it a noticeboard, though. I see this working less like the administrator's noticeboard and more like WP:RSN and WP:NPOVN. Editors show up, say "I have a question about this reliable source/possible neutrality issue," and experienced editors give their non-binding opinion. It is a well-established part of the dispute resolution process. This way, we wouldn't have to reinvent the wheel. We could even copy the structure and format. Darkfrog24 (talk) 03:31, 15 June 2016 (UTC)
Right thanks I think I understand your idea now and have added it as a new section: Suggestion, Editor sanction noticeboard (WP:ESN). Does that look good for you? I think it's an excellent idea myself, from the little I know about how wikipedia works :). Robert Walker (talk) 15:11, 15 June 2016 (UTC)
@Darkfrog24: - to answer your earlier question, just checked, the ideas are collaborative so you can edit it directly to improve it, see Things to know about idea pages Robert Walker (talk) 19:38, 15 June 2016
Great! Thanks for telling me. There's something that's been bugging me. Darkfrog24 (talk) 20:57, 15 June 2016 (UTC)

Let's build a list of real-Wiki examples to prove that a noticeboard/question area would be helpful[edit]

I was part of a noticeboard proposal on En-Wiki that ended up not passing. One of the issues is that there was confusion about exactly what it was meant to do and about whether or not existing resources were already handling its workload. One thing that might help is to provide examples of non-hypothetical events that a noticeboard would have been able to handle better than whatever actually did handle it. Think punchy: The shorter and easier to parse the examples are, the more convincing they are. (I've got a lot I could say about my own case, but not all of it's self-contained.)

  1. Offer evidence that a noticeboard is necessary by citing specific problems that it would solve.
  2. Head off likely concerns that people might have with it, like being used for end runs around topic bans.

In this section, let's propose examples that might be persuasive and work together to describe them as briefly and punchily as possible.

  • At the administrator's noticeboard: [1] The editor asks, "I have just been accused at AE. Am I allowed to ask for more time? Am I allowed to call witnesses?" The admin answers with the unrelated information, "Here's where you can read about the appeal process," and immediately closes the question. At an RSN-style noticeboard, the question would have stayed open long enough for another editor to answer it.

(Disclosure: That was me.) Now we have refuted the idea "Well can't the administrators' noticeboard just handle this?" Note also that this example does not require us to argue that any sanction was or was not justified or that any admin acted wrongly in any serious way. It's short, it's direct and it's relatively non-confrontational. This might convince people that a noticeboard is necessary without making them feel like we're attacking the existing system.

Can anyone think of a way I could make this shorter?

Who's next? Darkfrog24 (talk) 01:09, 16 June 2016 (UTC)

Oh that's a good point. It's not just needed after you are topic banned. I could really have done with advice during the topic ban discussion itself. Somewhere you can ask questions without aggravating the situation in the topic ban discussion. Anything you bring up in ANI quickly becomes a major issue even if not connected to the topic - that's worse in a way.

[DISCUSSION OF MY TOPIC BAN DELETED IN PREPERATION FOR RFC]

Those were some of the questions I'd have liked to ask in a different forum of uninvolved editors during the ANI. I had nobody at all I could turn to to ask such questions on wikipedia and my off-wiki friends had no idea about it at all, less so than myself. Robert Walker (talk) 02:16, 16 June 2016 (UTC)

Then after the ANI concluded the main things I wanted to know was 1. Is there any chance of appeal - I couldn't ask thta though without bringing up the issues that I thought might perhaps give me grounds to appeal, which you simply can't do if you are topic banned. 2. Am I permitted to talk about the discussion and the ban on my own talk page or other editors talk pages, if I don't mention the topic ban itself. The first question I couldn't even ask. The answer to the second one was No, but I only found that out by trying to talk about it and being warned that I had to stop.
3. And after my first attempt to talk about it, an editor edited the page that said what my ban period was and doubled it up to one year from six months, and then edited it back down to six months when I removed my comment. I don't know if that was official or not. So, that's a third question actually. If that noticeboard was available, I would have wanted to ask if they were in their rights to edit an already closed ANI action to double the ban period, just on the basis of a single comment by me to another editor's talk page (it was not the closing admin that did this but another editor). But obviously questioning what they just did at that point would have aggravated the situation and for all I know, maybe increased the ban period even more, say to two years. I didn't know they could increase it to one year after it was closed (if that was official which I still have no idea about), so what else could they do? You just don't know where to turn and it seems the only thing you can do is to shut up. I'm sure there would have been several more if I'd had the opportunity to ask questions, but those were the immediate ones I remember.
And as well as that - you just want to talk about what happened with someone knowledgeable and sympathetic who will listen. Not someone who will agree with you. Just someone who is willing to listen and won't ban you if you say, for instance as I did, that I think the other editors did the ANI action just because they found my talk page comments uncomfortable and wanted to silence me. It doesn't mean you have proof of that. Maybe the other editor can reassure you that that wasn't what happened somehow. But that's how you see it and you want to talk about it and get another perspective. After all editors do sometimes do things like that, so it was a reasonable thing to think, whether true or not. Instead I was just told that I must not say such things and if I continue I'll get blocked. Robert Walker (talk) 02:34, 16 June 2016 (UTC)
Scope and length-to-appeal expansion after the first round of questions? Yup, that happened to me too. Darkfrog24 (talk) 03:09, 16 June 2016 (UTC)
Oh right, so they can do that! I didn't know, because they immediately reverted it when I removed my comment on another user's talk page about the topic ban. I thought it was probably official, but for all I knew, not being able to ask questions, it could just have been someone mucking about, or thinking that they had more authority than they really had - unlikely but not impossible. It seemed so strange that they could just increase the topic ban time period without any warning to me at all that they would do that and without telling me anything about under what conditions something like that would happen and why and to what extent. I didn't even know I'd done anything wrong until they did that, and another editor posted a friendly warning on my talk page suggesting I revert the comment - as I was careful in my comment to never mention the subject of the topic ban. Robert Walker (talk) 04:40, 16 June 2016 (UTC)

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@Darkfrog24: I've added a new section: Help during a sanction discussion - how does it seem? Do feel free to edit it again. Maybe it draws overmuch from my own experiences? Robert Walker (talk) 14:43, 16 June 2016 (UTC)

I think you should remove it. This proposal is already so long that many people will skip it just because they don't want to read the whole thing. We already mention "procedural advice," which covers this. If necessary, we could add maybe one sentence to that section.
We should keep this proposal as short and simple as possible. Don't add any unnecessary ideas for people to snag on, even if those ideas seem really cool or helpful. If the noticeboard/etc. is approved, they can be proposed one by one later on its own talk page. Darkfrog24 (talk) 15:03, 16 June 2016 (UTC)
Oh okay, removed it. It was just a thought and I had doubts about it anyway - too much based on my own experience. And the basic idea, I see you mention it now in the list of topics to discuss anyway. In case it is useful to have it for reference, here it is copied here but collapsed:
  • When you get challenges like that, do you answer them?
  • If the ban is for posts that are too long, does that mean you should only post very short posts there to show that you can do short posts?
  • Is it better to just not say anything at all to defend yourself?
  • You may also need help just understanding what they are saying and what they mean when they say you are in violation of various wikipedia principles or guidelines which you hadn't heard of before the discussion. In the middle of an ANI or AE debate is not the best place to ask questions like that.
  • Questions of what you are and are not allowed to do during the discussion. To use @Darkfrog24:'s example: "I have just been accused at AE. Am I allowed to ask for more time? Am I allowed to call witnesses?"
  • Maybe also you want to post some particular comment to the discussion but don't know if the comment will be acceptable or will itself count against you as a problem editor. You might want to run the comment past an experienced wikipedian first to get a better idea of what is and is not acceptable in such a discussion.

So I think as an accused editor, not banned yet, you need some place to ask questions like that too, and I wonder if it can be the same board? Of course not to continue the ANI or AE discussion, but to ask questions of protocol and procedure about what you can do there, just to understand what the other editors are saying and where they are coming from, what you can and can't do, what is advisable to do or not do, also about likely outcome, etc.

(This could be a separate proposal)


Robert Walker (talk) 02:44, 17 June 2016 (UTC)
Good. If it's here on the talk page then the people who are already interested in this proposal will be able to see it, and the people who'd find it intimidating won't be bothered by it. Darkfrog24 (talk) 03:09, 17 June 2016 (UTC)

Mock-up of editor sanction noticeboard[edit]

...I had a bit of fun. TA-DAAAAA!! This is in my userspace but I invite everyone to work on and change it as normal. The discussion should take place here, however.

Making this thing was fun but it really impressed upon me that this is only one of many ways that we could bring this idea to fruition. Darkfrog24 (talk) 02:51, 16 June 2016 (UTC)

Oh that looks great! Well done. Can I link to it from the Suggestion, Editor sanction noticeboard (WP:ESN) section? (I'll explain it is under discussion) Robert Walker (talk) 02:57, 16 June 2016 (UTC)
Please do! But specify that it's a mockup and not a real noticeboard. We don't want to look arrogant. And anyone who wants to can improve the mockup per normal rules. Add or remove links, change phrasing, etc. (I am a little partial to the funny dialogue, though. It is also my opinion that we should have no more than one sample question.) Darkfrog24 (talk) 03:05, 16 June 2016 (UTC)
Thanks, that's all fine, and I agree, don't want to have lots of questions there and it looks just fine to give the idea. I've added it to that section. Are you okay with how I did it? Remember you can edit what I did directly if you need to. Robert Walker (talk) 04:36, 16 June 2016 (UTC)
Oh and the links about how to appeal on the noticeboard are good. I never had anyone show me those when I was banned. I don't intend to appeal, as it seems very unlikely to get me anywhere, but it's good to know there is an appeal process of some sort. Robert Walker (talk) 04:47, 16 June 2016 (UTC)
We could add more. I copied this off RSN. I figure anything that would be very likely to come up for almost everyone should be up there pre-emptively, like the link to WP:PROXY. Darkfrog24 (talk) 11:14, 16 June 2016 (UTC)

Something else to add[edit]

I don't know if I overlooked this or not, but I think that one thing that would absolutely need to be specified in this area is that the board is not intended to be a place to circumvent the ban. By this I mean that they cannot use it as a soapbox to promote a specific viewpoint, nor is it a place to continue the arguments that led to the ban. In other words, they need to have an actual question in place. Here's an example of what I mean and if you want to use part or all of this on the mockup, you absolutely can. I used Gamergate as an example since I know it's contentious and also because it's the only thing I could think of at the moment.

XYZ
  • Recently I was brought to ANI by RandomEditor, who unreasonably complained that I was using Wikipedia as a soapbox to promote XYZ in the Gamergate article. I was banned from editing any Gamergate article, which I think was done because they're all (insert political affiliation here). This needs to be added because people need to know that Jane Smith is a liar.
On March 1, 2014 the popular blogger and game critic XYZ posted in his blog Parsnips and Stuff that Jane Smith was caught in a fraudulent lie where she said that Gamergate was going nowhere and that she had received death threats. XYZ further posted that Smith was (insert soapboxing about a viewpoint). GoofyGoober1234 (talk) 25:00, 1 January 2016 (UTC)
  • GoofyGoober1234, what exactly is your question? HelpfulEditor62 (talk) 25:05, 1 January 2016 (UTC)
  • XYZ is an amazing person and deserves to be more well known on Wikipedia. RandomEditor is trying to push their viewpoints on Wikipedia. GoofyGoober1234 (talk) 26:00, 1 January 2016 (UTC)
  • I wasn't pushing an agenda, the Gamergate articles are under sanctions and you were warned repeatedly about the way you were editing. RandomEditor (talk) 28:00, 1 January 2016 (UTC)
  • Goofy, are you posting here because you had questions about why your edits were seen as problematic? Or about the sanctions? We can help you as long as we know what it is you need help with, but this board isn't meant to be used as a way to circumvent the ban or continue the discussion that led to the topic ban. KittyKatEditor (talk) 26:05, 1 January 2016 (UTC)

My general idea is that you'd have a user that wouldn't really have a question and would instead use the board as a place to just keep doing what it was that led to their ban in the first place. In other words, you'd need something to show that this is a place to discuss the ban or the sanctions, rather than the topic itself per se. They can ask questions about the topic as it applies to the ban, but they cannot use it as a de facto place to continue the discussion. The main thing is to catch the people who aren't really looking to ask anyone to do something for them, but instead looking to find a way to keep fighting "the good fight", so to speak. This might be slightly different than someone who was here to ask someone to post something for them, since Goofy could easily say that they weren't asking someone to post for them so it wasn't a violation of the header. Tokyogirl79 (talk) 05:24, 16 June 2016 (UTC)

Oh, that's a good point! I think it needs a no soapbox policy of some kind, but to be treated more liberally than elsewhere in wikipedia because people may post there who have been topic banned for soapboxing elsewhere. I think what absolutely mustn't happen is that anyone immediately increases the topic ban or blocks the editor because of doing stuff like this. I did address this a bit in the suggestion itself under Helping to make this new area friendly. I suggested a one week warning notice. But I think you do need to let them continue the discussion to some extent, that they can put their views in order to get advice about why they were banned and whether they can appeal and so on. So you'd continue like this:
  • XYZ is an amazing person and deserves to be more well known on Wikipedia. RandomEditor is trying to push their viewpoints on Wikipedia. GoofyGoober1234 (talk) 26:00, 1 January 2016 (UTC)
  • I wasn't pushing an agenda, the Gamergate articles are under sanctions and you were warned repeatedly about the way you were editing. RandomEditor (talk) 28:00, 1 January 2016 (UTC)
  • @GoofyGoober1234, first please note that we have a "no soapbox" policy here (link to rules for the DSN). You can talk about the topic that lead to the ban but we need to give this discussion some focus and try to find out how we can help you. Perhaps it might help to look over this list of things we can help you with. We can help you as long as we know what it is you need help with. KittyKatEditor (talk) 28:05, 1 January 2016 (UTC)
  • @RandomEditor This is not an appeals noticeboard, and it's usually best if the editors involved in the action to ban the editor don't intervene here. We want to act as a friendly listening ear. @GoofyGoober1234 is soap boxing and we can deal with it using the ESN policies if it continues. If we find that they wish to appeal this will be handled elsewhere in the usual way and you then will get your chance to put your views in the appeal discussions as for the original topic ban discussions. [this could be a template response as it would be a frequent thing that would happen] KittyKatEditor (talk) 28:06, 1 January 2016 (UTC)
  • I think everyone needs to know how amazing XYZ is! RandomEditor is trying to push their viewpoints, and they should be blocked not me. GoofyGoober1234 (talk) 296:00, 1 January 2016 (UTC)
  • Okay, there's an appeal procedure. If the action taken against you was conducted improperly in some way then we can help you work on an appeal. Please give this a bit of thought. Do you think you have some reason for appeal? KittyKatEditor (talk) 28:06, 1 January 2016 (UTC)
  • (insert more soapboxing about a viewpoint, ignores the question) RandomEditor is] GoofyGoober1234 (talk) 26:00, 1 January 2016 (UTC)
  • @GoofyGoober1234, okay this is your one week warning (expires after four weeks). Please, no soapboxing here. If you continue this can lead to further sanctions. Do try to find some way to focus your discussion on matters we can help with. KittyKatEditor (talk) 26:05, 1 January 2016 (UTC)}}
If it goes completely over the top, pages of text by them, you can add
  • @GoofyGoober1234, this is going too far, one day warning! (expires after four days) Please, no soapboxing here. You must stop this right now! If you continue, this can lead to further sanctions or you may be blocked
I think the main thing is that there is some well defined procedure of warnings, rather than editors just putting blocks or extra sanctions on them without warning. And that there are clear rules for the ESN itself, that they can be warned about, which would gradually evolved. But written compassionately recognizing that this is the only place on wikipedia where they can talk at all and they are likely to come here with a lot of frustration about wikipedia. And that you have a policy of more leniency about soapboxing, just as you might if listening to a friend who goes on and on about something that bothers them. They can soapbox a bit but you direct them back to trying to find a way to deal with their situation and you suggest to other editors involved in the discussion that they reserve anything they want to say for any future appeals discussions as this is not an appeals noticeboard.
I mean this just as a suggestion for discussion of course. And it's a great idea to include a sample problematical discussion as well as one that goes well :). Robert Walker (talk) 10:45, 16 June 2016 (UTC)
Also just edited the above to replace the list of "do you want help with ..." with a link to a list for them to read through. We could work on such a list. You have some already. Robert Walker (talk) 11:12, 16 June 2016 (UTC)
I don't think we should draw too much attention to things that could go wrong with this idea or ways that the noticeboard could be misused, per WP:BEANS. Also, we don't want this noticeboard to look too complicated when it's still just a proposal. We don't want anyone to say, "We can't have that noticeboard! Who's going to bother learning that in-depth warning system?" (even if the warning system would be really easy to learn to someone who's already immersed in subject, the problem is that it looks complicated if you're just skimming). Let's keep this defined warning solution as a backup plan. If people end up actually trying to misuse the noticeboard in this way after it's up, we could try it out then. By then, the noticeboard will have proven its usefulness to the project, and people will be willing to invest a little more intellectual energy in ways to keep it running smoothly.
We could just add a line to the header "This is not a forum to discuss banned topics in general." That would probably stop most of this before it starts. Darkfrog24 (talk) 11:35, 16 June 2016 (UTC)
Oh, okay. I just did an edit of the header and added a couple of lists to your user space ESNForumRules and ESNExampleTopics but perhaps it goes over the top and too detailed? The warning system of course comes from my other proposal here and I can understand it might be too much to add it in here at this stage. Do feel free to edit or delete them as seems right, I think you have a better understanding of the viewpoints of the admins than I do. Robert Walker (talk) 11:42, 16 June 2016 (UTC)
I think this proposal should have as few bells and whistles as possible. We don't want to distract anyone from the core idea. We can always add more features later if it looks like there's a need for them. Darkfrog24 (talk) 12:01, 16 June 2016 (UTC)
Right. I've edited out the two stage process and put in a couple of points to do with general discussion of the topic. Do feel free to edit what I say there! Robert Walker (talk) 12:07, 16 June 2016 (UTC)
I've also added "Ask for procedural support during an ongoing sanction discussion" to ESNExampleTopics following the examples above, do you think that's a good idea? Robert Walker (talk) 12:14, 16 June 2016 (UTC)
Oh and I didn't know about WP:BEANS - here is a link to the page for anyone else reading this who didn't know about it. Good point :). Robert Walker (talk) 12:17, 16 June 2016 (UTC)
I think we should remove the line asking admins not to participate. The admins who give out sanctions tend to be very knowledgeable about them, and this project would be far better off if some of them decide to become regulars at this board.
If it turns out that there is a problem with admins commenting on their own cases, we can always make a rule about it then. Darkfrog24 (talk) 15:06, 16 June 2016 (UTC)
Oh sorry I didn't mean it like that, will edit to make it clearer. Uninvolved admins including closing admins are fine. I meant editors who took the action out in the first place or who argued the case in the discussion and voted for the sanctions.Robert Walker (talk) 16:30, 16 June 2016 (UTC)
Fixed now hopefully. Robert Walker (talk) 16:38, 16 June 2016 (UTC)
Hmmm... That might end up being a problem, but I'm not sure that we shouldn't put it in the "fix it if it actually happens" column. You know, I think this one is more likely than soapboxing. But on the other hand, one of the express purposes of this venue would be for accusees to talk about their accusers. It would not be fair if we put an absolute blanket ban on them saying anything back.
We should also remember that this board would be for accusers too. "I think so-and-so is in violation of such-and-such; do I have a case?" "So-and-so keeps doing this-and-that; what's the best way to prove it?" (This could have a highly desirable side effect: If so-and-so learns of the discussion, the two editors might work things out informally, with [unofficial] mediators before anyone has to be accused at all, but I don't think that's enough of a sure thing to make it a selling point.) Darkfrog24 (talk) 17:44, 16 June 2016 (UTC)

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Oh that's going to make it very tricky. I think it just won't be workable if the two sides get to go ding -dong about it all over again. Maybe it's okay for a relatively straightforward case like yours seems to have been, I mean straightforward in the sense that it was basically about a single topic. But for mine, the discussion went all over the place. Like a dozen different topics being discussed simultaneously in the topic ban discussion. And I wasn't at all sure if they were right even to raise many of those topics, or whether I should have answered them or not. The ANI discussion itself did run for pages and pages. This is an archived version of most of it - note also that a fair bit of this is collapsed too.

Please don't try to understand what it is about - it's just to give an idea of how complex these things can get, hopefully you can see that it got very complicated very quickly covering many topics simultaneously? It's confusing to follow anyway as editors inserted new comments part way through existing conversations, and sometimes half way through already existing individual comments and parts got collapsed, and I was also editing my comments after they were answered (not knowing or forgetting that that was a "no no" in wikipedia). Anyway, here it is: [2]

If both sides get to say their say again in the ESN, then before you know where you are, you'd have another dozen pages of discussion and none of it helping the topic banned editor to go anywhere. If it's a case for appeal for instance, how can the other editors there help the problem editor to get a case together if every time they say something, the editors who accused them in the original discussion will interrupt and explain how what they say is wrong and that they don't have a case to appeal about? They get their chance later on when you actually carry the appeal through, if you decided it was worth doing.

Yes, it would be unfair if the discussions at WP:ESN were able to decide anything about the case. But if we make it clear that they can't decide anything, then can't the editors just present things as they see things? In the same way - maybe the opposing editors have a discussion thread there as well. That's okay.

The rule would work both ways. If they want to discuss how to take me back to ANI again - well I wouldn't discuss that with them. I could discuss it with uninvolved editors, but not with them. The thing is by the time it goes to ANI then it by definition has gone far beyond any point where they are likely to be able to work things out informally. Part of the problem here is that the whole of wikipedia is open to anyone to see. You sometimes need a chance to talk about things semi-privately. Not because you have anything to hide, just because you want to talk to someone else in a reasonably continuous way, without a dozen people interrupting to correct you on every comment. This probably needs more thought, but hope you understand the need to do something to prevent the topic ban discussion from erupting again when you are in the middle of trying to find some way forward - while at the same time permitting the banned editor to talk about it to other editors. Robert Walker (talk) 22:20, 16 June 2016 (UTC)

Just had a thought, how about, that editors can comment but in a separate discussion thread - and can talk with each other only if invited by the editor they want to comment on, and if the uninvolved admins think it is worth bringing them into the discussion. E.g. in the above,

  • XYZ is an amazing person and deserves to be more well known on Wikipedia. RandomEditor is trying to push their viewpoints on Wikipedia. GoofyGoober1234 (talk) 26:00, 1 January 2016 (UTC)
  • I wasn't pushing an agenda, the Gamergate articles are under sanctions and you were warned repeatedly about the way you were editing. RandomEditor (talk) 28:00, 1 January 2016 (UTC)
  • @RandomEditor Please see the ESNForumRules. It's usually best if the editors involved in the action to ban the editor don't intervene here. We want to act as a friendly listening ear. If we find that they wish to appeal, you will get your chance to put your views in the appeal discussions as for the original topic ban discussions. You can however start a new discussion thread here, for any issues you wish to discuss separately. KittyKatEditor (talk) 28:06, 1 January 2016 (UTC)

Indeed, what about the idea that each editor is in control of their own discussion thread in this forum,. You can block other editors if your feel they are not helping you in your attempt to find a way forward? Much like the way you can block unhelpful and trollish "facebook friends". After all you are the one who has gone there to get help. Also, after you have just been topic banned, it may help your confidence also to have this tiny discussion thread that you have some control over (within reason of course). Robert Walker (talk) 22:49, 16 June 2016 (UTC)

I've added that as a new idea, You are in control of your own discussion thread here in the ESNForumRules. What do you think about it? Robert Walker (talk) 22:58, 16 June 2016 (UTC)

I don't want to stomp on your creativity here—this is a really neat idea—but I think you should take it out of the proposal. We don't want people going, "Hey, maybe a sanctions noticeboard would be a good idea but I'm not sure ...wait, people can kick other people out of threads? That's not right/normal/what I'm used to! I say NO!" If you introduce new features, people will object because they can imagine things that might go wrong with them. If you propose a format that's already got a history, like a help desk or noticeboard, then those hypotheticals aren't as much of a problem because we've already had years to see what does and doesn't happen for real.
To put it more briefly, there are probably a lot of people who'd approve of this noticeboard/help desk but would not approve of these new features. If we ask for all of them, we won't get any.
The way to get this to work is to focus just on the core concept, "there should be a safe zone for topic-banned editors and people planning complaints to get the information they need without requiring the admins to answer the same basic questions over and over for each sanctioned editor." After it's been up and running for a while, propose changes to the core idea one at a time. Darkfrog24 (talk) 02:04, 17 June 2016 (UTC)
I just read your link. It struck me that you were very visibly trying to get along with everyone (and EDJ was right to acknowledge this). I don't want to hurt your feelings, but I can see where they're coming from. If you asked for refs, and they provided eleven good ones, and you went back and asked again (if that's what happened), then yeah, I can see why they had a problem with that. Is it that you didn't know how the RS rules applied?
But at the same time, look at the reasons given for banning you: 1) doesn't understand Wikipedia policies; 2) makes posts that are too long. It looks to me like you would be able to make a good case for appeal in six months if you can show a history of short posts and increased knowledge (like you could glean by hanging out at RSN, perhaps :) ). If I were you, I'd have a lot of hope. EDIT: Oh wait, you've got an expiration date. You don't even have to appeal. That could mean that Ed and everyone have confidence in you. Darkfrog24 (talk) 02:25, 17 June 2016 (UTC)

[DISCUSSION OF MY TOPIC BAN DELETED IN PREPERATION FOR RFC]

But I didn't want to go into all that in the ANI discussion as I'd already said it in the talk page and the voting editors and closing admin anyway would not have the topic expertise to assess such statements as that. They would just have to assess it based on their assessment of character of the editors in the discussion and as a "problem editor" I'd be bound to come off worst in such a comparison. One of the questions I'd have in the ESN noticeboard is whether I should try to answer questions like that. As the discussion progressed on ANI I started to give more detailed answers, and indeed it didn't help matters to do so. Also - of course I have to step carefully here. Is it even some violation of the topic ban to say all this here on meta wiki? Hopefully not. I'm just saying this to show the types of issues you may face during an ANI which one might want to bring up in the ESN noticeboard. Not to try to re-open this particular discussion in my case. And this is not on wikipedia and I'm not suggesting anyone takes anything to wikipedia from this discussion. I'm also being quite restrained here - I'd say much more if this was not on a wikipedia related page. But if anyone reading this says I've made a mistake saying this I'll remove this comment! Robert Walker (talk) 02:53, 17 June 2016 (UTC)
Yes I have an expiry date. But in practice I think it's a lost cause and I'll probably not do anything when that date expires. I don't think there is any real chance of the other editors coming over to the views I support here. It would mean however that I could join in to support another editor if someone else decides to raise similar issues on the articles as they have done in the past occasionally. Robert Walker (talk) 03:10, 17 June 2016 (UTC)
I said all this on the talk page about how I didn't think the citations back up what the article says, and we had a long debate there about what counts as valid sources here and many other topics. But they just left that out in the summary at the start of the ANI so I don't think it was a balanced summing up of the dispute. They only presented their side of the dispute there. Again that's the sort of thing an editor might want to raise on ESN and ask if it would be productive to mention this on the ANI or whether you just have to accept what seems to you a biased summing up of the issues in the ANI statement. From my previous experiences of ANI I felt that it would not be worth doing to try to accuse them of a biased statement in the ANI, that that would just make the whole thing much worse, but I had nobody to ask for advice about that. Robert Walker (talk) 03:18, 17 June 2016 (UTC)
Topic bans given on the English Wikipedia apply solely to the English Wikipedia, or at least that's what the rules say. You could go to Wikitionary and work on the "redeath" entry if you wanted to, but that might be interpreted as bad faith.
But bringing this back to noticeboards, it sounds like this would have been a job for NPOVN, at least, maybe ORN too. Can you think of any way in which a sanctions noticeboard would have helped in your case? Darkfrog24 (talk) 03:28, 17 June 2016 (UTC)
Oh good, glad to hear that.
Collapsed this, sorry see it is rather long. I'll add a short summary below

[DISCUSSION OF MY TOPIC BAN DELETED IN PREPERATION FOR RFC] @Tokyogirl79: Sorry, should have said this days ago. I think your examples are relatively true-to-life, but I don't think they should be part of the mockup. For one thing, true-to-life means they're complex and hard to follow and reflect the multiple motivations of real people, just like in real GamerGate convos. We want something stylized (think the diff between a painting or photo of a woman vs. the symbol on ladies' room doors; one of them is more real but the other one takes less effort to understand). Also, I don't think giving a full-sized example of something that could go wrong with the board is a good idea for a proposal, especially since our solution is "just tell them not to do it." I think we should get the board up and running and put any extra procedures in place to solve problems as they arise. I have added a line "This is not a forum for general discussion of banned topics" to the top of the page. Do you think this will address the problem enough for this stage of the proposal process? Can you think of any way to improve or streamline the sample question currently provided? Darkfrog24 (talk) 10:12, 17 June 2016 (UTC)

@Darkfrog24: Sorry the section above was rather long. Collapsed it to help readers of the page. And these are the main points that I would have raised at an ESN notice board during and after the ANI discussion if it existed:
  • Should I challenge a statement I consider to be incorrect at the head of the ANI and if so how, and maybe ask for help in drafting my comment to challenge it - what is right to do procedurally?
  • Is there anything you can do about this larger more pervasive problem of editors who are silencing the approach I favour,[DISCUSSION OF MY TOPIC BAN DELETED IN PREPERATION FOR RFC]
  • Is it right for editors with the opposing views to tag each other in this way in talk page discussions and ANI discussions to bring them to the debate?
  • Was it a fair discussion on ANI given that most of the editors involved in the discussion had got there by tagging using the yo template, either directly, or at an earlier stage when they tagged each other to oppose me on the talk page?
  • Do I have any grounds for appeal about any of this?
And just to say I agree on not including realistic debates as a way to simplify the mockup. Good to keep it simple. But it might be an idea to include some kind of short stylized debate that goes wrong, to show how we'd handle things that go wrong, if you can figure out a way to do it without over complicating it. Don't know if that is possible. And whether we do it there or not, it's a useful way to discuss things here Robert Walker (talk) 11:43, 18 June 2016 (UTC)
  • I'm cool with the situation as it was written not being included - it was more a mockup to give an example than anything else and I think that at this point in time the sentence "This is not a forum to discuss banned topics in general" would serve a similar purpose. I was going to post a slightly tweaked sentence but came up with this lengthier section that sort of summed up what I was trying to get across.
"This forum is a free space to ask questions about bans and sanctions. Users can seek advice and information about bans and sanctions that have been applied to them or ask general questions about the process. It is not meant to be used to discuss banned topics in general or as an avenue to continue discussion about banned topics."
There's more that we could add to that and I'm tempted to add more, but right now this is just a proposal and all they need is to get the gist of everything and the implication that the most basic and pressing issues have been considered. Tokyogirl79 (talk) 05:06, 19 June 2016 (UTC)

Exists already (OTRS)[edit]

I see the goals are to "Understand what", "Find out whether", "get detailed procedural information", "Ask whether", "Talk about any issues": this is exactly what OTRS is for. What is wrong with email? Nemo 09:55, 18 June 2016 (UTC)

I didn't know about OTRS Could be. Since this is off wiki then @Darkfrog24: said we can talk about our banned topics here and I just talked about my banned topic at length above and haven't been disciplined in any way so I think that's right. As a result of that,I just had an idea myself today and will start it as a new topic, this could be part of it. Robert Walker (talk) 10:47, 18 June 2016 (UTC)
Yeah... This doesn't really look like the same thing we're proposing. OTRS says that it handles complaints "from the public." I don't know if it's designed to deal with intra-Wikipedia issues.
Also, one advantage of the noticeboard would be that it's public, and OTRS is private. The admins at AE and ANI would be able to see who asked what. People can go there and view the answers to other people's questions and get answers from more than one person at a time.
When you're asked a question to which you don't know the answer, the knee-jerk reaction is to guess. That's what Americans at least are conditioned to do in K-12: never leave a question blank. In a noticeboard format, someone might be more likely to say "Um, actually, the admins are allowed to do that" or "No, no, I've seen this problem before. It works this way." Another purpose of this noticeboard would be for people who've been banned to talk to each other about their experiences.
Also, there's the concept of due diligence. If someone is brought up on charges for making a supposedly ban-violating edit, they could point to the public noticeboard thread and prove their good faith. Darkfrog24 (talk) 11:43, 18 June 2016 (UTC)
All good points I think. Yes, on guessing, yes there's also that thing about people who don't know much about a topic tending to have a higher opinion of their own expertise, while as they become more expert they get more humble about what they know, as a common tendency as you learn new subjects. So you might get someone who isn't guessing as they see it, they think they know the topic very well, but actually don't, and give you bad advice by mistake, as you say in a public forum they can be corrected by others and it also gives you some exonerating background if you make an edit on the basis of what turns out to be bad advice. It still wouldn't be the right thing to do, but you'd have exonerating circumstances you could point to which might mean you aren't sanctioned when otherwise you would be, turn a sanction into a warning, that sort of thing. Robert Walker (talk) 12:06, 18 June 2016 (UTC)
In my own case, there was a lot of "You're the only one who doesn't understand this!" @Nemo bis:. It would be good to know whether that's true. If a particular point or gray area keeps coming up over and over, that could be used as evidence to add explanatory text to WP:TBAN. And if I am the only one, at least I'd know the admins aren't just imagining it. Darkfrog24 (talk) 12:20, 18 June 2016 (UTC)

Per killing two birds with one stone, I asked a question at OTRS similar to the ones we expect the noticeboard to handle: How much help may I, a blocked editor, give at Idea Lab [specifics withheld pending approval]? Let's see how long it takes them to respond and whether the answer is helpful. Darkfrog24 (talk) 04:35, 20 June 2016 (UTC)

Okay, got my answer. It's been three days, which would probably have an impact on an ongoing administrative action, like an ANI thread. If you need to know whether you can call witnesses, that's best done at the beginning. If this question had been posted publicly at a noticeboard, I think it would have been a bit faster. The answer was direct, however, meaning that the volunteer answered the question that I actually asked: "I've read that good contributions to other projects are taken into consideration during block appeal. However, I've also read WP:PROXYING. I saw a proposal at Idea Lab that really seemed great. I created a mockup of the proposed page and helped with phrasing and discussion. Now it's time to [do the thing I think we should do next]. I find that I'm a bit more knowledgeable than the other editors about this part of the process and the culture of this part of WIkipedia. Am I allowed to tell them exactly what to do (whether they decide to do it or not) and [detail]? At what point do I need to bow out of the process?"
What follows are really just my own two cents on this matter and are given without reviewing any of the specifics of the block nor the Idea Lab project you are interested in. I am not an admin and have not personally handled any issues related to blocks and blocking, so please do not treat what I say here as a license to kill. Having said that, I am willing to say that I think I have a decent opinion for you to consider.
Par for the course. Lots of noticeboard volunteers aren't admins.
What will matter to other editors is the degree to which you and those you are advising have been transparent in your [collective] process, the degree to which the reasons for the imposition of the original ban might appear to have been circumvented by the adviser role, and the nature and quality of the idea that will improve the project. If it is a good idea, and it will really and undeniably make Wikipedia better somehow, then there is no ban that exists which should not be addressed in order to try to implement that improvement, and it is my view that improvement takes precedence over a ban.
At least one member of ArbCom knows I'm here, so we're good on transparency.
But it isn't much of a precedence, and in order for it to have that precedence the block must be addressed. So long as there is transparency, and others can see the value of the contribution and are willing to be advised with regard to how to implement it (and are themselves aware of the block), I think you should proceed. Also, if the block was placed for reasons that are directly related to the Idea Lab project you are discussing, then the block may take precedence over the idea because it was placed there in relation to it. If the block was for a completely unrelated reason, then I do not see a specific conflict of interest here and no reason for you not to move forward.
Not a license to kill, though. Good luck! [name withheld]
All right then, so in your opinions, how does OTRS measure up to a noticeboard? Darkfrog24 (talk) 00:14, 23 June 2016 (UTC)
@Darkfrog24: - @Rschen7754: has just raised the OTRS suggestion on the RfC. I realized that we left this somewhat mid discussion. I've added a new section to the proposal here: What about OTRS - private email and am going to link to that new section and this discussion from the RfC discussion area. My main immediate thoughts are that as you say, if you'd posted it to a public board you'd probably get a faster response, and it also has other advantages such as a public record of the conversation to help establish good faith, and that others could come in and fill any knowledge gaps. For instance your volunteer who responded to you was not an admin, and as you say many of the volunteers won't be. In a public board another editor or admin might come in and give another perspective.
On the other hand OTRS does let you ask private questions about matters where you are not sure if it is okay to post even to the ESN board, so in that special case at least it would be useful. Perhaps it would be an idea to give a link to the OTRS on the board, or whatever is the most appropriate way they can ask for help by private email in special situations where the question is about whether it is okay to say something publicly anywhere including on the board. Another, probably rare, example I can think of is where an editor wants to ask whether their question could be construed as libelous, e.g. concerning some page about a public figure on wikipedia where this issue has been raised, maybe banned for posting material other editors construed as libel, etc. Robert Walker (talk) 11:26, 24 July 2016 (UTC)

What about doing it here?[edit]

@Nemo bis: and @Darkfrog24:, since topic banned editors can talk about their topics here, what about doing it here? We wouldn't need to add any new rules or guidelines to wikipoedia to permit that. We could just start a copy of the board as a real board in the main space here. It's just an idea to discuss at present of course.

We could use @Nemo:'s idea of OTRS for email discussion for people who want to talk about the issues totally privately with another wikipedian. The main things we would need to do is

  1. Find out if it is permitted - who do we ask? Does anyone reading this know?
  2. Get experienced admins from wikipedia involved to answer the questions.
  3. Find a way for topic banned editors to learn about it.

If the idea was accepted, we could just add it to the template used to announce topic bans. In my case it was the Template:Community sanction

Just add an extra sentence to it:

You can also discuss it on meta.wikimedia.org in the Editor Sanctions Noticeboard Mockup with experienced admins and other topic banned editors. This ban does not bind you off wiki, so that gives you greater freedom to discuss your options and questions you have about what happened off wiki.

If OTRS seems a good idea it could be added to the new ESN header. Just a thought, what do you all think? Robert Walker (talk) 10:47, 18 June 2016 (UTC)

Or anywhere else off wiki? The main new idea is that if it is off wiki then we don't need any special exemptions to let editors talk about their banned topics. Also makes it much less likely that other editors in the discussion will follow you off wiki to join the discussion, unless they also have significant questions they want to ask about what happened. The main drawback to doing it off wiki I think would be that it might make it less likely for admins and knowledgeable wikipedians to get involved. Robert Walker (talk) 10:52, 18 June 2016 (UTC)

This should be on-Wiki to show that it is part of the Wikipedia dispute resolution process and not just random people saying whatever they want. If we were to go and host our own website, for example, it would be easy for admins or anyone to scoff and say "That doesn't count." Imagine if RSN were just some old Livejournal page.
If we don't get approval, it won't count. We need the Wikipedia community to say "Yes, do this." Darkfrog24 (talk) 11:46, 18 June 2016 (UTC)
Right, but what about meta wiki? Or some other wikipedia project? Is it connected enough to count as part of wikipedia enough so that it can be official? With the reason for doing it here being that it makes it simpler to permit editors to talk about banned topics, and also makes it a little less likely for other editors to follow you to the new board? Again I may be coming to this with a different perspective from you because yours was a relatively simple topic, and you didn't get these complications of other editors following you around and interrupting conversations and trying to silence you.
BTW since we can talk about our topics here, do you mind saying a little about what you were banned for? It might help, to understand your perspective and as an example of another type of topic ban. I understand it is something to do with punctuation?? Robert Walker (talk) 12:00, 18 June 2016 (UTC)
Yes, that's what I meant. The best place for this would be WikiPedia, but what I see as necessary is for it to be hosted by some part of the Wikimedia project, like here, for it to be accessible from Wikipeda (you type in WP:ESN just like you would for WP:RSN and there you are), and for it to have community approval. Darkfrog24 (talk) 12:02, 18 June 2016 (UTC)

@Kusurija: makes a good point. En-Wikipedia is still my first choice, but because Meta-Wiki is already exempt from WP-specific sanctions, it wouldn't need the level of official support. Instead of putting up a noticeboard that requires exemption, it would just be putting up a noticeboard. The kicker would be how we'd add a Meta-Wiki-hosted board to Wikipedia's lists so that people could link here. Does anyone know if WP:BOLD applies to Meta-Wiki? If so we could just put it up now and see what happens. Darkfrog24 (talk) 22:06, 21 June 2016 (UTC)

Yes, trying to find out more. Seems no obvious reason why we can't create it, see This page does not belong to meta makes it pretty clear that banned users in wikipedia can put up pages in meta wiki, even after they are banned, and treated as a "soft ban".

Which leads me to suggest that any banned user on any wikipedia be under soft ban on meta. Soft ban means essentially that we seek to preserve what is good, while rejecting what is bad. For each edit made by a soft banned user

if the contribution is worth, keep the contribution
if the contribution is not worth or is an attack on a user, revert or delete the contribution
if the contributor is damaging the wikipedia or attacking a user, block the soft ban user"

When it comes to the inclusion policy, it doesn't fit into the examples of included topics, or excluded topics.
In What Meta is not the one thing there that might be an issue is "Meta is not an appeals court. If a community decides something, don't come here to try to get the decision overruled." - would it be a problem that one of the roles of the new board would be as a place where editors could help other editors to put an appeal case together (if that is possible at all) or advise them if it is possible? It's indirectly trying to get a decision overruled if you do that. We could make it so you can't discuss appeals but that would be rather limiting.
Anyway - seems a gray area to me and we probably need advice there. Robert Walker (talk) 09:19, 3 July 2016 (UTC)

Watchlisting[edit]

I've realized what was bothering me about all this: Watchlists. Not all noticeboards get heavy traffic, so a lot of their contributors just watchlist them and show up when there's a question that they can answer. If the noticeboard is hosted at Meta-Wiki, how would Wikieditors put it on their watchlists? Darkfrog24 (talk) 22:49, 21 June 2016 (UTC)

Good point. There is an answer there for email notification. You can get email notification of changes to a page on your watchlist on metawiki, as I do. But they won't get notification on wikipedia itself while logged in to wikipedia. I suppose it depends how urgently they need to respond, also perhaps there are people who don't do email notification?
Wherever it's hosted, links to it would have to be added to the noticeboard template, next to RSN, NPOVN, etc. Ideally, they'd be added to the "you've just been topic-banned" notice too.
Deal is, we don't just want topic-banned and blocked users. We also want users in good standing whose words would hold weight. Yes, my experiences have given me insight and a lot of information, but if someone makes a gray-area change, and someone says, "Oh, it was only Darkfrog who said it was okay? You were a fool to listen," that might not be good. Darkfrog24 (talk) 14:20, 3 July 2016 (UTC)
Agreed. And links added to some of the wikipedia guideline pages too ideally. Maybe links at the head of the ANI and - AE notice boards - that's the wish anyway :). Yes of course, we want to attract editors in good standing and wide range of experience, there may be editors who are facing particular issues that nobody else there has encountered or knows about. I'm not sure how this works, where it goes next. Seem to be lots of proposals here, but nobody is suggesting doing anything with them yet. I wonder if that's a second stage where we'll be assisted or encouraged by someone to do what is needed next, or if we have to do it yourselves? Robert Walker (talk) 02:51, 4 July 2016 (UTC)

ESN Forum rules and guidelines[edit]

@Darkfrog24:, I see you removed the link to them from the board. That's fine with me, can understand we might not need it yet. But just linking to it for discussion if anyone wants to discuss the ideas here: ESN Forum rules and guidelines

The main new idea there was the idea that editors would be in control of their own discussion thread and can ask other editors to leave it if they aren't helpful. This is something that came up a lot in my attempts to find help on wikipedia. I'd try explaining an issue I was having and ask for help about how to deal with it, with an uninvolved editor, or sometimes with an editor with similar views to me on the debate to me. But you often need some discussion back and forth before they can understand the issue, especially when it's a very complex situation and you don't know much about wikipedia guidelines, so don't really know quite what the question is even.

So what often happened to me is that one of the other editors in the dispute would butt in. Saying many things, but a simple example to show how this can be a problem is that sometimes they'd tell the other editor that I was canvassing them and trying to draw them into the debate. Which wasn't on my mind at all, but the uninvolved editor I was talking to would believe them, and think I was recruiting them to the debate. I'd explain over and over that I wasn't canvassing, just asking procedural questions. Eventually the other editor would believe me, but by then would be very annoyed, because this discussion was wasting their time. It's part of the reason why I gave up asking for help there at all for almost anything.

This would happen right away no matter where I turned - I think they must have been monitoring my edit history (easy to do). So this will surely happen here too, that other editors will come in and just complicate things hugely, continue the debate, or accuse you of canvassing, or add om their own misunderstandings of what they think you are asking - generally confuse the issue so that you never get to ask the question on your mind.

I've no idea how common this is, just know that it happened to me. So I thought it was worth putting something in the guidelines to prevent it before it starts. That was the thought behind it anyway. It's not silencing the other editors. If they have questions of their own, they can do it as a separate thread. It is just a way to give you space to talk about something back and forth without being interrupted, long enough so that you can explain what the issue is, or indeed sometimes, just to find out what the question is you need to ask. I think we might need this at some stage, if not right away. Probably quite early on. Robert Walker (talk)

Yes, I can see that. Mostly, this is about bells and whistles. We're not at "if it ain't broke don't fix it." We're at "if it doesn't exist yet, don't fix it." I believe you when you say you have actual-experience reasons for all these rules, but when I read them, it looked like you were speculating. This proposal is most likely to pass if we keep it simple. The thing to do is to get the noticeboard up and running, and then if this turns out to be a problem, propose the rules to fix it then.
It sounds like the conversations you're talking about happened on the article talk page. It might be that those other editors interrupted you because they were already there. It's possible that they wouldn't follow you to a separate space like this noticeboard. Or maybe they would. We'll have to see. Darkfrog24 (talk) 11:35, 18 June 2016 (UTC)
No. They happened on the talk pages of uninvolved editors. In the most recent example I mentioned these new Idealab proposals to the editor who closed my topic ban discussion. One of the opposing editors in the ANI immediately interrupted the discussion to tell me that it was not a case of wiki bullying and saying how good the other editor was who I was opposing in the talk page discussions, and to put her side in the topic discussion which of course I couldn't reply to without violating the ban see [3]
This happened over and over. Any uninvolved editor I talk to, on their own user talk page, they will interrupt to say something, before I have a chance to get far in the conversation. And she must have been monitoring my edit history to interrupt so quickly, as how else would she know that I was talking to the uninvolved editor who closed my case? Robert Walker (talk) 11:50, 18 June 2016 (UTC)
So they would definitely have followed me to the ESN if that board existed and interrupt the conversations there as well, unless we had clear guidelines that this is not permitted. Robert Walker (talk) 11:52, 18 June 2016 (UTC)
I don't know how they manage it. Is there some alert you can set to know if another editor has done an edit? They tend to interrupt within minutes quite often. Hours at most. Robert Walker (talk) 11:55, 18 June 2016 (UTC)
You're describing Wikistalking. They were following your contribs. for the purpose of undermining you. Darkfrog24 (talk) 12:10, 18 June 2016 (UTC)
Okay yes, that's right Wikistalking (wikihounding). Ironically in one of the ANI actions against me, one of the editors who wikistalks me actually accused me of wikihounding him. I wasn't. I'd been told about one of the debates he raised in that ANI by a friendly editor off wiki, and I found the other one because it was a closely related article to the one that the disputes were about. He said I shouldn't have joined in either of the debates to put forward my views there on reliable sources in wikipedia etc because I was following him around :). It was very ironic, I felt that at the time. Though I don't think I'd have a snowball's chance of accusing them of wikihounding as they are so popular with lots of friends on wikipedia, and understand arcane wikipedia topics so well, they run rings around me. That ANI was inconclusive but was one of the two ANIs that delayed the DRN notice until we gave up. I don't know if he seriously expected to win it, or just did it to delay me. The other editor involved in drafting the DRN notice thought it was a transparent case of using ANI just to delay us, and I was inclined to agree.
So - anyway the point here then is that if the other editors are engaged in wikistalking, then they will wikistalk to the ESN notice. And this must be quite common on wikipedia to be given a special name. So it is bound to happen. Robert Walker (talk) 12:58, 18 June 2016 (UTC)
As I said, I don't actually know how you do this "wikistalking". Presumably some notification you can set up? I don't need to know though. But is kind of funny to be taken to ANI about something you hadn't even heard of before you were taken to ANI and didn't know how to do :). Robert Walker (talk) 15:01, 18 June 2016 (UTC)
I dunno. I've never Wikistalked anyone. But I don't think there is an alert for which people can sign up or anything. I think they just check your user contributions. Darkfrog24 (talk) 23:27, 18 June 2016 (UTC)
Oh, okay, thanks, that sounds possible. Just did a search, there are two ways to do it apparently. Some use RSS (doesn't explain how in any detail, do you get an RSS feed of a page somehow?). Others just bookmark the user contributions page of the user they want to follow and check it regularly. I did check the other editor's user contributions while preparing the DRN about him, can't remember why now, something I needed to check, but only did it the one time, not to follow him so it wasn't wikistalking. Robert Walker (talk) 23:50, 18 June 2016 (UTC)
It's only Wikistalking if you do it specifically to hound and micromanage another editor. It's perfectly legitimate to read another editor's contributions page so long as it is for constructive purposes. Darkfrog24 (talk) 01:48, 19 June 2016 (UTC)
Yes I understand that. And I need to be careful using the word. I remember in the past I got into a lot of trouble just asking the question whether one user was a sockpuppet of another user. I didn't know that it was a word only used for users with alternative accounts that they are misusing and that got me into no end of trouble for a few days until someone told me it was a term that means the other person is doing something improper. :) Robert Walker (talk) 02:38, 20 June 2016 (UTC)

Avoid using it to keep trolling[edit]

Concerning that some users are banned for trolling or misbehaving when interacting with other users in discussions related with the topic they were banned, how do you plan hold a place for discussion that can be kept free of that same original behaviour? Couldn't it be a way of keep trolling despite a being banned elsewhere?—Teles «Talk to me ˱C L @ S˲» 18:35, 18 June 2016 (UTC)

Well the advice for other editors not to get involved which I put in the guidelines would help there. These are for discussion and @Darkfrog24: thinks it should start off with few or no guidelines and develop them later on. At some point though we will need them I think, or something like them. ESN Forum rules and guidelines
see particularly,
  • "This is not an appeals noticeboard, and it's usually best if the editors who took out the action to ban the editor or who voted to ban them in the discussion don't intervene here to put forward their case for banning them. We want to act as a friendly listening ear. We can use these ESN guidelines to deal with any issues such as soapboxing. You can however start a new discussion thread here, for any issues you wish to discuss separately.

and

  • "This is not a place to continue a general discussion of the topic you were banned for. Please try to keep your discussions here focused on trying to find a way forward. and on things we can help you with. As part of that you can discuss the topic ban discussion but note that this is not an appeals board and nothing said here can help your case in a future appeal. But we can help you to draft an appeal."
  • "You are in control of your own discussion thread here - you are the focus as the one who is asking for help. Rarely, you might find that other editors are making things worse or confusing the issue with their comments. If so, you can ask them to stop commenting on your thread. For example if asking for help to draft an appeal, you may wish to exclude the opposing editors from the appeal draft discussions, as a way to get space to develop your draft without interruptions.

We could add

  • "There's a "no trolling" policy here. But this also will be treated as leniently as is feasible given that you may be banned for trolling originally. If you do troll, the admins will advise other editors not to interact with you until you calm down.
If other editors kept to those guidelines, they would just be talking to themselves or to uninvolved editors. And it would have a "no soapboxing" rule, but interpreted more leniently than for wikipedia given that they may have been banned for soapboxing. So hopefully after a while of "shouting to the wind" as it were, they calm down and focus on talking about things that could help them move forward to somewhere new.
I think at some point we would need rules to govern what happens if users don't follow those guidelines. I suggested a one week warning, and then if they continue to soapbox, it could upgrade to a one day warning, and then the worst sanction would just be that they are not permitted to talk about the topic on the ESN either which would be a strong disincentive if they are there sincerely looking for help. But you'd be slow to enforce such rules, not rush in and do them right away if someone comes into the discussion board soapboxing away. Rather I think the compassionate thing is to let them talk, and discourage other editors from interacting with them, encourage them to set up separate threads of their own. This would be easier once the board is underway and other editors become familiar with how it works and realize that editors soapboxing there may happen quite often but has no effect on the rest of wikipedia. I think it might also help with this sort of thing if it is here on metawiki rather than on wikipedia, or some other wikipedia related project that's not actually in wikipedia itself. Just thoughts for discussion :). Robert Walker (talk) 19:22, 18 June 2016 (UTC)
I don't think we should go so far as to discourage admins from commenting on cases (in my experience, the admins are sick of talking about their cases). My general philosophy is "only make a rule about it if you need to," but Teles isn't the only person who has this concern. I'd address this by changing the header text, suggestion below.
  • This is not a forum for general discussion of banned topics. Threads [solely concerned with article content OR that do not address Wikipedia's internal processes] may be deleted by any uninvolved party.
If we have to give an example, I'd say, "A rule of thumb is, if you feel the need to cite a source to prove that you were right, this might not be the right place for you. (EXCEPTION: Threads about users accused of OR or other matters clearly refutable by provision of sources.)"
What do you guys think? @Teles:, if you can give an example of the kind of trolling that you think would be a problem, we might be able to tighten this up further. Darkfrog24 (talk) 23:36, 18 June 2016 (UTC)
@Darkfrog24: Just to say - the idea of my suggested guidelines wasn't to discourage admins at all, especially uninvolved admins. Perhaps not phrased well? The idea is only to discourage other editors involved in the original dispute or the discussion about banning you. And in the banning discussion - maybe that's the confusion, perhaps your banning discussion was carried out by admins? In my case the topic banning discussion was carried out only by the other editors in the dispute, from the talk page, and other editors that they pinged during the discussion. No admins took part in the discussion as far as I know. The other editors in my ANI discussion kept asking for an admin to join in but nobody did even though it went on for several weeks. Eventually an admin closed it and made the judgement. I think that was the only point that an admin took part at all. Perhaps the difference is because my judgement was done at ANI and yours was at AE? Robert Walker (talk) 23:57, 18 June 2016 (UTC)
If I were an admin or involved editor, I'd think you were trying to discourage me from participating, yes.
Again my take is "make a rule about it if it becomes a problem," but if you really think people would come there just to complain how they were right...
Okay, brainwave. That was the exact same expression. Don't come to this noticeboard just to prove that you were right about content.
  • Threads and individual posts that merely reiterate points made in a previous discussion may be deleted by any uninvolved party. This applies to both sanctioned editors and complainants.
So let's say one of your accusers sees your thread and says, "I've been thinking about it, and I've realized something about that discussion. That something is..." Now they will not feel unwelcome to do so. What do you think of this wording? Darkfrog24 (talk) 00:04, 19 June 2016 (UTC)

┌─────────────────────────────────┘

Sorry I've written too much here, verbosity is my main issue on wikipedia (never an issue anywhere else, only here for some reason), let me summarize.

  1. I think it would work well for trolling and soapboxing. I use this method on my own science blog. Just delete the messages and put a reminder, something like: Please try again without the violent imagery. If you can do that, it will also make it much more likely that others will listen to you.
  2. You have to be a bit careful, occasionally someone may seem to be trolling and actually they are in extreme pain or for some other reason just coming out with lots of violent stuff and apologize once they realize what they are doing.
  3. Deleting however wouldn't work for wikistalking. Simple example, if they think (mistakenly) that you are just canvassing in ESN for other editors to join your view, and interrupt to say so, then you may end up with a long conversation where you spend many comments back and forth just reassuring everyone you aren't canvassing. Then maybe you are never able to come to the point, as everyone else gets tired and annoyed by this tedious conversation and goes away before you get your chance. While if you can exclude them from the conversation then just a few comments back and forth and it would be obvious you aren't canvassing, you can show by doing rather than by explaining, which is much faster and easier.
  4. A topic banned editor may have been in a nightmare scenario where they are being bullied and wikistalked by other editors. So a conversation thread where just in a small area of wikipedia they have some control can give them confidence and permit them to speak freely about what the issues are and whether there is a way to solve them. It would be empowering for editors in similar scenarios to the one I've just been in.
  5. Once they have had their chance to say their say - and maybe the other editors also talking to others in another thread had their chance also, then yes maybe other uninvolved editors might encourage them to talk to each other first. But if you have just been topic banned, it's not the best time to try to talk to the people who topic banned you as that usually happens after it's gone so far there is little communication going on. After all they have just voted to silence you in their topic area so must be totally fed up of talking to you, so right after a topic ban, or during the discussion, is a time when it's least likely to get productive conversations going on, seems to me.. Robert Walker (talk) 00:59, 19 June 2016 (UTC)

Hopefully that's clearer? Robert Walker (talk) 00:51, 19 June 2016 (UTC)

It was already clear, actually. You described it fine the first time. I just don't think we should do it. If we add all these extra layers, we risk people thinking, "You just want to create a space where editors you don't like can't come into your clubhouse. Just go make your own blog off-wiki and see how no one cares about it!" and we both have to remember that this works both ways. There are accusers who are sincere and honest and didn't do anything wrong and may need to defend themselves from revenge-reports from sanctioned editors. This has to be their noticeboard too. Comments like "give sanctioned editors a feeling of control" is likely to get this proposal rejected on WP:NOTTHERAPY grounds.
For now, while this is still a proposal, we should make it no more complicated than necessary. It can always be improved later if it turns out to need it—but only if it gets approval first. My rule of thumb for this would be if two independent commenters here express concern about the same problem, then we should modify the proposed noticeboard or system. (Right now, you and Teles expressed concerns about trolling (and I agree)). I like your "when you delete a comment, post a helpful and encouraging note" idea, but I don't think we need to actually tell people to do that. Let's leave it up to personal discretion. Darkfrog24 (talk) 01:44, 19 June 2016 (UTC)
Okay, we can see if someone else brings it up. But not sure you understand the issue yet. I think it might help to share an example to show the sort of problem I think we would have at some point as the board continues. [DISCUSSION OF MY TOPIC BAN DELETED IN PREPERATION FOR RFC]

I know that I was also partly to blame with my long posts. But we will get editors coming to the ESN who have issues of either too long posts, or trolling, or whatever, and the last thing we need is for other editors to wikistalk them and tell us what they are really there to do, e.g. tell us that they are canvassing, when they aren't, or interrupt their narrative by saying that they have misunderstood what they are talking about or other such complications. They just need a few hours to explain what their question is without being interrupted by the opposing editors in the debate. I'm sure this will happen on the ESN at some point and we (or the editors involved) will have to do something about it. Robert Walker (talk) 06:59, 19 June 2016 (UTC)

Sorry for the late response. I wanted to be sure I had time to read the whole thing closely. It sounds to me that, at that point, you didn't know those two other editors were up to something; you just suspected they were. Even now, there might be a perfectly kosher reason for them finding out about your edits. A guy once accused me of stalking once. I told him, "I noticed those edits because those articles are on my watchlist. I was watching them, not you" (it was the truth). That seemed to satisfy him.
I don't know if it would ever be possible to screen out good editors from potentially good but presently flawed editors from troublemakers. Maybe the best thing to do is to brainstorm and prepare solutions to problems like these so that they'll be ready but hold off on actually putting them in place. I think the brainstorming should not take place on this proposal talk page; it might confuse people. Want to take it somewhere else? Darkfrog24 (talk) 21:45, 19 June 2016 (UTC)
First, sorry I probably shouldn't use the word "wikistalking" as it implies their motives are bad. I should just say "followed my user contributions" which they can also do for legitimate reasons. And I've just figured out how he found the page assuming it wasn't looking at my contributions record, that time anyway. [DISCUSSION OF MY TOPIC BAN DELETED IN PREPERATION FOR RFC]
Many of the topic banned editors may be there because they have communication issues of some sort on wikipedia. In my case it was an issue of too long posts, and not knowing how to isolate and express the main questions in a succint form. I find it easy now looking back, but at the time I was struggling just to work out what the question was I wanted to ask Robert McClenon. With others it could be an issue of the type of language they use (violent images say, or swear words, or an antagonistic attitude to others), or just not being very good at expressing what they want to say. Some brilliant people I've encountered have been really rather poor at expressing themselves to others. They might still be valuable contributors to wikipedia and they may still have legitimate issues that are important to them that they want to discuss on the ESN.
So I think we need to bear in mind that editors may have communications issues and that it may be best somehow to create space to find out what it is they are trying to say. So then my main point is that the editors who opposed them in the wikipedia debates and who voted to ban them from wikipedia may not always be the best people to be involved in discussions in ESN where the aim is to help the banned editor to find a way forward. Banned editors who are very good at communication on wikipedia, or who have relatively simple cases to discuss, might not need this at all. If you ask me to guess, I'd expect that a reasonable percentage though would find this an issue, perhaps 10%, perhaps 50% who knows, but sooner or later I think it would come up.
I'm not sure why you want to take this conversation elsewhere. I think it's a natural question for people to want to ask about the new board. But maybe we should just forget about it for now, and see if anyone else comes up with the same question? That could give us an extra dimension if they do, and if nobody else has this same question, it might be that it is less important than I thought? Robert Walker (talk) 23:27, 19 June 2016 (UTC)
I'm fine with discussing this elsewhere, if you think it's necessary for some reason. It's just that I don't quite understand yet why it's needed. Robert Walker (talk) 23:33, 19 June 2016 (UTC)
If it's the length of this discussion, I'm also totally fine with collapsing this whole discussion to simplify this talk page :). Could collapse everything except the original post by Teles and then you could do a brief summary of some of the main points regarding trolling which was his main concern, your suggestion to delete troll threads / posts, for instance, and return to this topic if someone else raises the same issues in the future. Robert Walker (talk) 23:38, 19 June 2016 (UTC)
I meant that measures that we would put into place only if something goes wrong might be best discussed elsewhere. No need to work out specifics for something that might not even happen on a proposal page. Darkfrog24 (talk) 01:35, 20 June 2016 (UTC)
Oh, okay, like a separate page here on the meta wiki? With a link from this page for those who want to discuss it further? I'm pretty sure it would happen though, just like the trolling, as it is a thing editors do. I wouldn't waste everyone's time by discussing something I think is just a hypothetical or unlikely scenario.
I think my own experience, though I found it scary myself, was probably quite mild compared to what happens sometimes in the more heated debates on wikipedia. I think anyone assessing this proposal is likely to want to know what we'd do when that happens just as they would want to know for trolling and vandals etc. If that is incorrect, well, we don't really need to discuss it at all, as the main reason for discussing it now was to get the proposal in a good shape so that it can be assessed by those interested in taking it further. After all - it might well never come to anything, and if it is, we can work out the rest of the details later on. Robert Walker (talk) 02:35, 20 June 2016 (UTC)
Well it's like this: In my case, my accuser wrote nearly 10,000 words (the limit is 500), and that disrupted the process considerably, among other things making it impossible for me to create a useful response in the time I had. Now, exceeding the length limit by a factor of twenty is bad. We don't want people to do that. But I've gone through enough of the archive to see that while exceeding the length limit is common enough, exceeding it by that much is not. So while I have indeed thought of a system that AE could use to deal with 10K complaints, I don't think that system needs to be posted as prominently a measure designed to deal with more common problems. It doesn't need to be up front like a security camera; it needs to be off to the side for occasional use like a fire extinguisher It might be similar with your case. Let's start with "just don't repeat stuff that you've already hashed out elsewhere" and add something else later if we end up with a rash of 10K complaints/wikihounding. Darkfrog24 (talk) 03:13, 20 June 2016 (UTC)

┌─────────────────────────────────┘
Well I think we just have a difference of views here on what is important to sort out early on, which is not too surprising. I suggest we summarize this long discussion for the benefit of other readers of the talk page. If you agree we could also collapse it. Anyway, let's start a new section for a short summary. This could also go in the proposal page itself if that sounds good. Robert Walker (talk) 09:20, 20 June 2016 (UTC)

@Darkfrog24: I understand now also, you are not saying that it will never happen, but just that you think it may be quite rare as with your case of an unusually long 10 k response when most responses are rather short. I think that it might be very common myself, based on my experiences in ANI. It might be that ANI is a bit more anarchic than AE leading us to different experiences here. After all the ANI is for community decisions so discussions and votes there are done by ordinary members of wikipedia and not by experienced admins, and typically the admins step in at the end to close it, though they do sometimes make comments in the banning discussions at an earlier stage. So you can imagine that that could lead to more disruption of proceedings there. It might be for instance that my suggestion is mainly needed for users that have been banned in ANI and is only rarely needed for users who have been banned in AE. I've edited the summary below, added, "Perhaps also these new rules are most needed for editors banned in ANI rather than AE?" Robert Walker (talk) 09:33, 20 June 2016 (UTC)

Summary of our response on ways to deal with trolling and related issues[edit]

Suggestion by @Darkfrog24:

  1. Any uninvolved editor can delete posts that only repeat statements made elsewhere-
  2. The aim here is to maintain focus on the areas in which ESN can help.
  3. Keep the system as simple as possible. Only add rules and safeguards after something shows that they are necessary.

We are both agreed on this.

suggestion by @Robertinventor: (Not sure of the status of this one)

  1. Repetitive and unnecessary or confusing remarks should however be treated more leniently on ESN' than elsewhere on the basis that an editor may be banned for such behaviour (in part) and they may be angry or upset and just need to calm down. Deleting their posts right away at an early stage might make them more harassed and angry, so we need to do this with some care and compassion and recognize that first posts by an editor to ESN may involve an element of this sort. If nobody else takes part in the thread, and they are genuinely there to seek help, then they should calm down after a few posts with no responses, and with other editors guiding them and asking them to explain what they need help with.

More suggestions by @Robertinventor:

  1. Issues with repetitive and unnecessary or confusing remarks can go both ways. The banned editor may have been harassed in various ways by those who opposed them or nominated them for banning, or argued for their ban.
  2. Encourage editors who were banned, and editors who were involved in taking out and supporting the action to ban them, to open out different threads from each other. The aim is to seek for help, not to rehash the old arguments, and the chances are that editors who were opposed in the talk page and editing debates are not the best ones to help clarify what question needs to be asked, or to help then to prepare for an appeal and such like. In particular, editors should not try to respond in a way that will enforce the topic ban through to ESN, however passionately they may think the topic should be banned altogether. They need to remember that by design it's a place where editors can talk about the topic they are banned from mentioning elsewhere.
  3. To help with this, posters to the ESN can delete comments in their own thread that they think are harassment, or make it impossible for them to present their question or case, especially if a response would just rehash stale arguments, or distract from the question at hand, or if the comment is based on a misunderstanding of their reason for coming to ESN.
  4. Editors who try to help in ESN should be aware that users who come for help may have a rather hazy understanding of wikipedia terms and use them incorrectly. As an example, I didn't know what sock puppets were[4] or trolls or soapboxing in the wikipedia sense and used those terms inappropriately. So, t may be useful to check how the banned editors are using the terms. They may also not fully understand terms used in their ban decision itself, so may need help understanding what it means.

@Darkfrog24: suggests we should leave further discussion to later, and deal with issues like this if they arise, and that provisions like this should not feature prominently in guidelines for ESN. Perhaps also these new rules are most needed for editors banned in ANI rather than AE, given that AE decisions are made by experienced admins, while ANI decisions are "community decisions" made on the basis of votes by the community in general and only closed by admins?

Does this seem a fair summary, @Darkfrog24:? If so maybe we can put it into the page itself. So mention my suggestion there too, but as a suggestion that might not be needed, and then see if any editors comment on it and whether anyone else thinks it is needed at this stage. If so perhaps they can share their experiences also. If nobody else thinks it's needed that could tell us something also. Robert Walker (talk) 09:20, 20 June 2016 (UTC)

I would like it if you removed the terms "soapboxing and trolling" from your summary of my position. I find them a little vague. "Stale" too. That requires a value judgement of what is and isn't too old. Just "posts that only repeat statements made elsewhere." That's objective. That's why it would be okay for any editor to do it. It is at least possible for it to be a matter of strict observation and not of judgment. Darkfrog24 (talk) 11:03, 20 June 2016 (UTC)
I also recommend 3. Keep the system as simple as possible. Only add rules and safeguards after something shows that they are necessary. Darkfrog24 (talk) 11:20, 20 June 2016 (UTC)
Example: If we get a lot of editors who complain "So-and-so deleted my post but it WASN'T repetitive; I made new points," we could make a rule saying that when you delete a post, you have to point to the previous diff that it supposedly repeats. But we can keep that in our back pocket. It might not turn out to be a problem. Darkfrog24 (talk) 11:22, 20 June 2016 (UTC)
Okay, have done that, and understand the reasoning. A lot of trolling is repetitive so that would deal with some of that. Feel free to edit it as you like! I know that you are normally recommended not to edit a comment that's been replied to but I think this is a special case. It's more like a draft that we are commenting on here.
I did have clear ideas in mind here, but maybe they are understood differently in wikipedia? For me, trolling means using extreme statements and pretending to adopt views you don't really share in order to stir up negative emotions in other participants in the debate for your own amusement. Often includes references to Nazis or blood sports, or anything that gets people worked up. And soapboxing means going on at length about some point that nobody else is much interested in and continually bringing it into every conversation even when it is nothing to do with the matters at hand. So I did have definite ideas there, but they may well not be what you had in mind come to think of it :). Robert Walker (talk) 20:22, 20 June 2016 (UTC)
That is actually quite different from the official definition at WP:SOAPBOXING. On Wikipedia, it means to use Wikipedia to promote an off-Wikipedia goal. Someone who tries to rewrite a Wikipedia article so that it supports a presidential candidate is soapboxing because they're using Wikipedia to influence an election. Someone who writes a Wikipedia article that says only positive things about their employer, business or off-Wikipedia project is soapboxing because they're using Wikipedia to increase sales. Last year, someone was indeffed because it was discovered they'd spent years turning the Wikipedia article about a (possibly fake) business school into a recruiting tool to attract students. That's soapboxing.
EDIT: Odd... At no point on that Arb case does the word "soapboxing" appear. Maybe the meaning has shifted. Darkfrog24 (talk) 21:02, 20 June 2016 (UTC)
Oh okay thanks for clarifying, I often get caught out by these specialized wikipedia definitions. I never thought to check. In that case I didn't mean soap boxing. And what I say there wouldn't make much sense with the wikipedia definition :). I'm not sure then what to call it. Maybe my definition of trolling is wrong also for wikipedia. Yes, it is a bit, just checked [5], focus is a bit different. More focused on deliberatemisuse of wikipedia processes for amusement, and not so much emphasis on trying to get people upset by the topics you discuss. Sorry about that. I've rewritten it to hopefully make it clearer though it needed more words. Robert Walker (talk) 21:35, 20 June 2016 (UTC)
Okay - anyway if the meaning has shifted, it doesn't really make any difference as I have no idea what the meaning is either way. I could look it up, but I've been caught out sometimes by reading the guidelines and misunderstanding what they meant, e.g. I seriously misunderstood sock puppetry, and I had read the guidelines but my eye skipped over a vital word when reading it [6]. Anyway probably best to just spell out what I mean as I did, which hopefully isn't using any specialized wikipedia terminology. Later on if it can be rephrased using the wikipedia tags maybe someone else can do that who understands how they work.Robert Walker (talk) 21:52, 20 June 2016 (UTC)
To make it clearer I've added: "In particular, editors should not try to respond in a way that will enforce the topic ban even in ESN, however passionately they may think the topic should be banned altogether - as by design it's a place where editors can talk about the topic they are banned from mentioning elsewhere." I think that's likely to be one of the main issues here. E.g. in my case while trying to explain the issues about [DISCUSSION OF MY TOPIC BAN DELETED IN PREPERATION FOR RFC] that I've been having, to ask questions about what my next step is, then to have someone come in and say over again "you shouldn't say these things because that's wrong" would be very understandable but is them in effect enforcing the topic ban they just brought out in ANI or AE and defeats the point of ESN if they are allowed to do that. Which then as before creation of ESN makes it very hard to ask questions when you can't say what you were banned for and explain what happened. Well so I think.
I've also added a guideline about editors maybe not understanding wikipedia terms. Robert Walker (talk) 01:54, 21 June 2016 (UTC)

I wasn't able to follow all the comments; sorry for that. I think it is a fair proposal, but dealing with banned users is always complicated and should be dealt with care. In my opinion, if somebody has given enough trouble to be banned from something it probably means that they have already been a reason for a long discussion somewhere involving local users that know more than Meta users about the matter. Bringing them here may be pointless as Meta is not a higher level place on any imaginary hierarchy and changing a local consensus is something rare when all local process have been followed properly, and possibly places for ban appeals have been used until they find here. Some may also use it some kind of "forum shopping".

So, I still don't get the reason of that as it is highly unlikely that the ban will change. Sometimes, being banned is part of a process of reviewing our own attitudes and rethinking our behaviour on a wiki. This place may work in a negative way as it will not allow the distance from the topic and consequently will not allow this period of rethinking that is part of the process of studying rules, understanding the problem. The idea is valid, but I don't think we will have good practical consequences.—Teles «Talk to me ˱C L @ S˲» 15:02, 29 June 2016 (UTC)

@Teles: You sound like you're talking about site bans. We're actually talking about topic bans, sanctions in which the editor is forbidden from mentioning a particular topic.
I'm currently topic-banned from the Manual of Style. I got blocked for doing things that I did not know were against the rules. For example, on the English Wikipedia, I'm allowed to tell people that I'm under a topic ban, but I'm not allowed to say who filed the complaint against me. Would you have known that just from reading WP:TBAN? My enforcing admin quickly grew very tired of answering my questions and then became angry. A noticeboard where topic-banned editors can go to ask "Hey, am I allowed to do X? How about Y? Why not?" might have spared us all a lot of trouble. Darkfrog24 (talk) 15:15, 29 June 2016 (UTC)
I am talking about any kind of ban, including topic bans. What do you mean when you say you didn't know the reason for being banned? Didn't they mention the reason on your talk page before banning you?
A noticeboard where users can ask about their ban is not something that should exist on Meta as we can't answer for those that applied the ban. The only ones the can answer that is the local community users.—Teles «Talk to me ˱C L @ S˲» 15:50, 29 June 2016 (UTC)
My own case was kind of complicated. The complainant wrote about 10,000 words (the limit is 500) in which he accused me of a few dozen different things ranging from matter-of-opinion to exaggeration to outright lies. He practically accused me of eating babies. The admins did not say which of his accusations they had believed and which they had disregarded. It took me a month to get an answer.
If you're talking about my post just now, I mean that I kept getting blocks for things that didn't look like they were against the rules. Because most of the specifics of TBANs are not written down, it's hard to tell how they work. A noticeboard could help with that.
One other thing that this NB could help with: Sometimes it looks like the admins are engaging in funny business when they're not. "It looks like they didn't read my rebuttal." "It looks like they were playing favorites with my accuser." I'm not saying that never happens but a noticeboard would give people a chance to say, "Actually they're following a precedent that's been in place for years—here are some links—so it almost certainly has nothing to do with you personally." That's not something that the admins could really say about themselves, not with the same weight. The example question in the mockup is based on an inquiry that I actually made. While I would have preferred to get that expiration date, at least it set my mind at ease—but I had to piss off at least two admins to find out what was going on. Darkfrog24 (talk) 16:50, 29 June 2016 (UTC)

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@Teles: I think the basic thing here is that to the admins the topic ban notice may seem very clear and unambiguous. But that's because they are immersed in all the ins and outs of the complexities of how Wikipedia disciplining and topic bans work. For someone who has just been topic banned, this is not at all clear.

Also in my case at least my topic ban statement said:

"You may appeal this sanction at the administrators' noticeboard. You may also appeal directly to me (on my talk page), before or instead of appealing to the noticeboard. Even if you appeal this sanction, you remain bound by it until you are notified by an uninvolved administrator that the appeal has been successful. You are also free to contact me on my talk page if anything of the above is unclear to you.

This suggests that there is some possibility of appeal. Is there or isn't there? Is it just put there "pro forma" but never actually used? Those are questions one might want to ask. When I went to try to talk to him on his talk page about what happened I ran into the problem that I am not permitted to talk about the topic ban subject, or the discussion that lead up to the ban or talk to the editors involved in the discussion about what happened or try to set the record right about anything right that happened during the ban discussion. To do that risked an immediate increase in the topic ban period - when I attempted to talk to another editor involved in the ban discussion, my ban period was immediately edited in the closing statement, by another editor not the closing editor, and increased to one year and then reduced back to six months when I removed that comment. And I don't even know if that was done legitimately though I assume it was - why would a different editor from the one who closed it edit the ban period?

None of this was clear to me as a recently banned editor. There is no way to find out what I can or can't do, or what the admins can or might do as a result of things I might do, accidentally, because I don't understand the rules. Sometimes it is a clear case of vandalism or trolling, then it would be clear what happened. But in my case I was banned for writing too much on the talk page. Not the particular things I wrote, not for writing irrelevant things as my posts were carefully argued and thought out, just for writing too much and doing too many minor edits to improve my responses after posting them. They all agreed I was not an intentional trouble maker. It's also obvious that @Darkfrog24: was not an intentional trouble maker from the comments here. I think many must end up in this position, where they don't really understand why they have been banned (I mean they know what is put on the ban statement but don't understand why they needed to be banned for doing that), and don't understand exactly what a ban involves, whether they can appeal and indeed, whether it was justified since the admins are after all only human and must make mistakes sometimes too. In my case I felt they hadn't understood my side of the story, in a debate on ANI that unusually went on for several weeks, lasted for pages and pages there, restored from archive etc, before finally an admin stepped in and made a decision.

Does this make it a bit clearer why some banned editors may need this area? Note I'm not asking for it for myself, my ban expires anyway in a few months time, and I have given up on the discussion too. I'd have stopped soon anyway if they hadn't banned me as the other editors just weren't listening to my arguments. I understand that to a wikipedian who is very familiar with the topic ban processes this may all be so clear they can't understand why we have any questions about it. But for those who are new to it, even if they have been editing wikipedia for years, we have many questions and puzzles about it. Robert Walker (talk) 15:59, 2 July 2016 (UTC)

Completely independently of this proposed noticeboard/page, the words "and topic-banned editors are not allowed to talk about their topic bans except as prescribed under BANEX" needs to be added to WP:TBAN. People shouldn't have to figure out that that's the rule by analyzing when they were and weren't punished. It should just be listed as one of the rules. That would be less trouble for everyone, including the admins. Darkfrog24 (talk) 01:59, 3 July 2016 (UTC)
Good point. I'll add this to the proposal, it's relevant enough to be mentioned I think. Robert Walker (talk) 08:40, 3 July 2016 (UTC)
Added it as Update of topic ban notice - how does that read? As usual do feel free to edit the proposal to improve it. Robert Walker (talk) 08:54, 3 July 2016 (UTC)
@Robertinventor: I think it should be removed. It would be okay on its own, but this proposal is not the place for it. It's so different from the idea of a proposed noticeboard or designated page for discussion of topic bans that I find it just makes the proposal longer and more complicated. I wasn't suggesting that this be added to the current proposal; I was saying what I'd learned from the process.
The place for this would be at WP:TBAN or its talk page. I'll note that I participated in discussions of the wording of TBAN while topic-banned and was not sanctioned for it. Darkfrog24 (talk) 18:51, 5 July 2016 (UTC)

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@Darkfrog24: Okay, I only added it for your suggestion anyway, removed it :). Put it collapsed below in case it is useful

Publicizing this proposal[edit]

I thought about it and I think someone should post a short note and link to this proposal at the Village Pump: Proposals. The talk pages of other noticeboards would also be a good place. The regulars there might help us avoid pitfalls in noticeboard creation. Darkfrog24 (talk) 17:07, 24 June 2016 (UTC)

Right, it sounds like a good idea. Though as a recently banned editor I'd be nervous about that myself, after all it's linking to an off wiki page where I discuss my topic ban on the talk page. I understand that it's fine to mention details of our topic bans here, as it is not wikipedia but I'm not so sure about linking to such a discussion from wikipedia. Again also, perhaps I shouldn't even suggest that anyone else does it either?? But I think it's a good idea without going so far as to say I think someone should do it in case that falls foul of some kind of canvassing issue :) Robert Walker (talk) 16:09, 2 July 2016 (UTC)
This was what I asked about at OTRS. The answer is right up there. But I was talking about a blocked user, not a merely topic-banned one. My guess would be you'd be all right because the proposal itself is not about the subject from which you were banned, but I keep getting blocked for things that look kosher to me, so best to ask around a little more. Darkfrog24 (talk) 14:23, 3 July 2016 (UTC)
My concern would be that I talked rather freely about the topic ban itself on this talk page. So linking to the proposal is indirectly linking also to that discussion of my topic ban. If someone else did it, and is obviously not me asking them to do it to get around a topic ban would be fine. Just a bit cautious about doing it myself. Robert Walker (talk) 02:46, 4 July 2016 (UTC)

Enacting[edit]

Twelve endorsements, two objections, and we may have addressed the objections, all for a page that wouldn't require any grant money. I can see a few different things that could be done next:

1) If there's some official procedure at Idea Lab for enacting proposals that have support, we should use it.

2) Just create the board on Wikipedia and if anyone challenges it, run an RfC to keep it. (Not my first choice. While this would be okay for a noticeboard about almost anything else, because this page has to have an exception to admin and even ArbCom decisions to work, I say authorization should be obtained in advance.)

3) Run an RfC to create the noticeboard on Wikipedia. The appropriate place for this would be at Village Pump: Proposals.

4) Just create the noticeboard here at Meta-Wiki and place links to it in all the relevant templates and at all the relevant guidelines. If anyone challenges the links, run an RfC to keep them.

While my personal preference would be to host the page on the English Wikipedia, there is also the possibility of hosting it at Meta-Wiki for a trial period of a few months and then having an RfC to move it to EnWiki once it has a successful track record. However, because it would get less foot traffic here, that might backfire and cause the idea to fail entirely. Darkfrog24 (talk) 23:35, 4 July 2016 (UTC)

I agree, it's popular as these ideas go, position 13 by robot counted endorsements in the leaderboard out of 279 ideas created. 1) - I don't know, I wonder if that is a question to ask the volunteers here? 2) - I think that's unwise, could get people's backs up, it's a major thing to start a new board, and it would require many high level decisions to get it going. 3) yes is a possibility, is the matter there of finding an uninvolved editor to make the proposal I think, as I'm nervous of doing it as a banned editor - maybe you are too - or to at least get reassurance that it is okay to do it as a banned editor who has already discussed my topic ban here on the discussion. 4) yes that's an idea to just try it and do an RfC.
I think the first step is to ask someone here for advice. Do you want to do it, or shall I? I thought just do that OTRS which you tested already? Is that a way to find out? If they don't know, ask them where we should go to find out. Robert Walker (talk) 01:33, 5 July 2016 (UTC)
With 4) then even if not much happens then it would show how it works, so long as we get a few conversations going on, which might be a plus, also help to deal with any common issues at an early stage before going larger scale. It might be an advantage to start small, so we don't get overwhelmeed. With those 12 endorsements, if a percentage of them visit the board, that could be three or four cases perhaps that get discussed to start it off?? Just a thought. I understand though the issue about what if nothing happens and how do people find out about it? Would be a big plus if we could combine that with a mention on one of the wikipedia guideline pages or on the TBaan notice itself, perhaps as a "pilot scheme" Just a thought. But if we started very small just setting up the notice board, getting comments, see if anyone joins it, and if not, then try getting recognition such as a mention in wikipedia, then if that works and it is useful, try to attract competent admins to help and then if we do, then they would be people who could help us get it integrated into the main wikipedia itself. That seems like a possible path towards mainstream acceptance, slowly getting there. Just ideas. Robert Walker (talk) 01:39, 5 July 2016 (UTC)
For 3), I think you're allowed to do it since you're not topic-banned from Idea Lab or AE procedure, but I've been blocked myself for doing things that didn't look like they were against the rules. Darn, we need this board already. Since 4) would also involve making changes to Wikipedia—adding the link to the sanctions noticeboard to the topic ban template, for example—this issue would apply to that option as well.
I don't think OTRS is the right way to go for 1). We should ask around here. You're the idea's proposer, so I certainly don't mind if you ask. Darkfrog24 (talk) 02:13, 5 July 2016 (UTC)

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Okay, I've added it as a question here: Grants_talk:IdeaLab/Inspire#Help_with_suggestion_for_area_for_topic_banned_editors_to_talk_about_their_ban Though reading it now, it seems a bit long, I do tend to be over verbose... It's the best I can do at the moment. Anyway will see what happens.If you have any ideas of other places to go do ask. There doesn't seem to be much by way of discussion areas here,and the ones I found consisted often of many questions with nobody answering them which is not promising. I posted to that page as it did have a long conversation already - one which you initiated indeed :). Robert Walker (talk) 17:59, 5 July 2016 (UTC)

@Darkfrog24: Oh thanks for your comment there, didn't realize you are blocked for the moment. So if they say I can post to the village pump there - that means you won't be able to comment on the village pump? Or can you post to the village pump as well? Just so I understand the situation. Didn't want to complicate the thread by asking there so asking here. Robert Walker (talk) 23:31, 5 July 2016 (UTC)
Right. I'm locked out of all of the English Wikipedia except for my talk page. Otherwise I'd have publicized this proposal at the Village Pump myself instead of asking OTRS et al. whether or not I was allowed to tell you about it. ...Turns out it was more straightforward than I thought. Publicizing at the Village Pump is specifically listed under "How Idea Lab Works," so it wouldn't fall under WP:PROXYING even though I was the one who pointed it out.
So you have your options: Make a fresh RfC at Village Pump Proposals or just post a link telling people to come and comment here, but yes, anything actually on EnWiki means I'm out of the show. That doesn't have to be a bad thing. Proposals aren't supposed to be dependent on just one person, and this thing has a dozen other endorsers.
I brought it up, though, because being site-banned has a really big stigma, like reserved-for-evildoers bad. You're just topic-banned. Darkfrog24 (talk) 00:01, 6 July 2016 (UTC)
Oh, I see. I can do that but want to be clearer first about a couple of things. This is like my comment on the talk page, but reduced to its essence:
1, Can we start it as a pilot scheme on meta wiki
2, Will I get into trouble for publicizing it on Wikipedia given my comments on this talk page mentioning my topic ban. I'd be okay with going through this page and editing out all mentions of my topic ban subject before posting about it to wikipedia, if that helps.
1. seems a question we need to ask here on meta wiki and with 2. there's the usual problem, tricky to mention on wikipedia, but I could do it in a general way "I want to ask a question about a proposal on meta wiki, but I'm an editor under a temporary topic ban, and in the discussion page for the proposal I mention the topic I'm banned for, I've deleted all specific mentions from the talk page so it's only in the history for it - is this a problem" or some such - and delete the mentions here first of course before posting.
As for who to contact here, I thought I JethroBT who answers comments on his talk page as he is the main editor of the Inspire page. But what's puzzling me a bit is, what are the originators of all the other projects doing, why aren't they all asking questions like us? Or if they are, where are they doing it? Are we missing something, or what happens next?? Robert Walker (talk) 12:00, 6 July 2016 (UTC)

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Just to add, I've checked all the talk pages for proposals above us in the leaderpage and there's no sign that any of them are going anywhere yet. So we aren't unusual here. There are only two discussion pages that discuss enacting at all, that's this one Propose Wikimedia Code of Conduct - No engagement from project staff and this one: Protect user space by default - Next steps. It might be just that the project staff are on holiday or otherwise engaged as it's the holiday season. Anyway, based on that, my guess is it is probably up to us to start the process for any enacting. I'll wait a bit more see if we get a response, if not I'll try contacting editors of the Insight project page as likely to know most about what happens next.

Interesting find under How Idea Lab Works, so that's good to know. I'm inclined to think it's just fine. Especially if I edit out mentions of my topic ban subject on this talk page first. I'd be okay doing that if we get no reply though I think there's a good chance we will if I contact the idea page editors. Robert Walker (talk) 12:25, 6 July 2016 (UTC)

Questions about enacting[edit]

@Darkfrog24: - I've just posted our question here: User_talk:I_JethroBT_(WMF)#Enacting_Idea_Lab_Proposals Robert Walker (talk) 15:39, 7 July 2016 (UTC)

@Robertinventor:Don't overdo it. Expect it to take days to a week to get a response. These pages aren't heavily frequented (which is the point of having a noticeboard). Just because no one has yet answered at talk:Idea Lab/Inspire doesn't mean no one will. It's not like the noticeboard idea will go bad like an uneaten apple. Darkfrog24 (talk) 17:05, 7 July 2016 (UTC)
Okay, thanks, won't do anything more, see what happens. Robert Walker (talk) 17:31, 7 July 2016 (UTC)
@Darkfrog24 and Robertinventor: I'm responding to this right now! I have a lengthy response, so it might take me a bit to finish today. I JethroBT (WMF) (talk) 22:03, 7 July 2016 (UTC)
...I have underestimated so many things. :) Darkfrog24 (talk) 03:47, 8 July 2016 (UTC)

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I've just asked the question here: Enacting Idea Lab Proposal - pilot scheme idea here on meta wiki Robert Walker (talk) 17:37, 10 July 2016 (UTC)

Doesn't look too good does it! Still, it's better to find out if the idea is impossible. It's such a shame if it can't go ahead. Robert Walker (talk) 14:11, 11 July 2016 (UTC)
@Darkfrog24: as you'll see I have edited the ESN Mockup to add statement that it abides by all the rules of WM:NOT. What do you think about the edit? I thought best to just do it, but do please edit and improve what I did there. Robert Walker (talk) 14:12, 11 July 2016 (UTC)
Discussion has just been closed with suggestion we do an RfC instead. I wonder if that's worth doing... We could draft it out here first perhaps. I'll give it a go: Robert Walker (talk) 14:41, 11 July 2016 (UTC)

Draft RfC[edit]

Title: Enacting Idea Lab Proposal - Pilot Scheme here on Wiki for area for topic banned editors to ask questions of experienced wikipedians.

The project is here: Grants:IdeaLab/Area for topic banned editors to talk freely about their ban, e.g. to ask questions of experienced wikipedians. The aim is to provide support and a path to constructive editing for topic banned and banned editors.

The problem we face as banned editors is that there is nowhere in wikipedia we can mention our banned topic, which is necessary in order to ask the natural questions a banned editor will have. As an example, from my own experience, it was about as minor a ban as you can get, a six month ban on a narrow topic. But even so, though the topic is mainly of interest on one page, I am not permitted to mention it anywhere in wikipedia for six months, including the talk pages of the admin who made the ban decision. This makes it next to impossible to ask questions about what I can and can't do.

I also can't refer to the discussion that lead to the ban or to the discussion on the talk page that I was banned for. I didn't realize this until I mentioned a minor incident to another editor on their talk page, not mentioning the topic ban subject at all. I was warned that I must remove my comment immediately, and my ban period got doubled to one year as an instant extra sanction until I removed the comment.

I gave up at that point, and decided it is not worth doing anything. The ban is only for six months anyway. But comparing notes, @Darkfrog24: faced sanctions that continually increased as a result of asking questions about gray area edits. All this is while just talking about the ban itself and asking natural questions anyone might have about what it means for us and what we can and can't do.

We want to do our best to improve wikipedia, and want to comply with all the wikipedia guidelines. But there are many things that are not clear to us. The admins don't have the time to answer our questions, and we can't ask many of our questions anyway without mentioning the banned topics.

There are twelve endorsements for our proposal and we are thirteenth out of 279 proposals in the robot generated Leaderboard for the recent Inspire initiative to reduce on-wiki harassment, so it is not an isolated issue and we expect a lot of participation in the board if it is created.

This would be a place where topic banned and banned editors in a similar situation to us can ask these sorts of questions and get support from each other. We also hope that some admins from wikipedia will participate and help answer some of the questions. We have done our best to anticipate some of the issues that might arise, and to make guidelines to help with running the board. Also note that this activity would be limited to a single page on meta wiki - and perhaps sub pages.

We have a mockup of the proposed page here: ESN Mockup.

We would like to do a pilot test here on meta wiki, if this is possible. That has the major advantage that,

  • as the topic bans only apply on wikipedia itself, there is no need for new rules or special exemptions to permit banned editors to mention their topics here to ask for advice.

This makes it easy to start a pilot scheme here. That's why we want to check if our suggestion complies with policies here, which seems to be a gray area. It's neither given as an example of what we can do, nor excluded either.

Our new page would comply with all the guidelines in Meta:What Meta is not, including:

  • Meta is not a battleground
  • Meta is not a forum for continued attacks against other users'.
  • Meta is not an appeals court.

Indeed those rules are an asset. Any threads that are clear violations would be deleted right away by any editor, and borderline cases, by any uninvolved editor. This makes things much simpler. We don't need new rules to cover these situations, as Meta has them already.

In addition our new board makes it clear that it can't be used for proxy editing of local wikis. Please check out the rules at the head of the new board, which we have put a lot of careful thought into: ESN Mockup.

Do you think that this proposal is something that could be done on meta wiki? If it is possible here, any suggestions for how to do it are welcome. If it's not possible here, then we'd welcome any suggestions for other ways we might be able to do it. Thanks!

(then support, oppose, neutral, and discussion sections).


FEEL FREE TO EDIT THIS AREA ABOVE, AND TREAT THIS AS A DRAFT

What do you think, @Darkfrog24:. Is it worth trying do you think? I know my RfC statement is rather long. It's a case of trying to put into it all the things they raised as objections in the recent discussion, most of which we had already addressed in the mockup board. I think we need to make that clear somehow, that we have already thought through all those things, and want comments on a carefully worked out proposal. Perhaps it could be shortened by referring to the board mockup and asking them to click through to see the reul If you think it is good, do feel free to trim it or to make another draft RfC here. Robert Walker (talk) 15:10, 11 July 2016 (UTC)

(Have just trimmed it a bit, referring to the board itself) Robert Walker (talk) 15:22, 11 July 2016 (UTC) trimmed a bit more

That's still really long. RfCs are supposed to be short and they're supposed to be neutral. That means they shouldn't contain any information meant to persuade any party one way or the other. Ideally, the person reading the RfC shouldn't be able to tell what side you're on just by reading the RfC text.
One thing to remember is this: You'll be posting a link to the proposal proper. You've already said it all right here, full-length. Another thing that I noticed: the admins here on Meta-Wiki, and others, have reacted to what they thought this proposal was, not to what it actually was. It looks like they based their responses on what they've seen people do in the past, and at least a few of those people were troublemakers trying to pull a fast one. Keep the RfC text so short that they don't have time to think about what someone else tried to do way back when.
I think the RfC should look more like this: Link to the mockup (for people who learn by interaction), link to the proposal (for people who learn by reading) and then one, two sentences max about what it is. Then right below that, you write "Support, as proposer" and there you say as much as you want about why you think this proposal should pass. Err on the side of telling less, not more. It should be just vague enough to make people curious and click on your two links.
Should Wikipedia establish a noticeboard for dealing with editor sanctions? This page would work more or less like RSN and NPOVN, providing editors with non-binding information about how topic bans work, expectations, etiquette, filing complaints and appeals. A mockup of the proposed page can be found [here]. The full-length Inspire Campaign proposal is [here]. 16:17, 11 July 2016 (UTC) [five tildes, so there's no name]
Then they click through to the proposal page, before they have time to imagine how things could go wrong. Remember, you already said it all here on Meta. They're going to see it when they click through. On VPPR, keep it short.
One more thing, just in case it's not obvious, don't add my name as a supporter. I'm not allowed to iVote on Wikipedia. Anyone who wants to click through can see that I supported the proposal here and that I drafted the mockup. Darkfrog24 (talk) 16:17, 11 July 2016 (UTC)
Oh that looks good. Just to say one thing, this is in meta wiki here RfC. So you would be able to vote and indeed you could put forward the RfC too - maybe you'd be a better person do to it. Doesn't have to be me, just because it was my proposal originally. I'm happy either way. But of course it is rather "Can we set up a pilot board here on Meta... " or some such. The editor who closed that case wasn't saying that we can't do it here. Was just saying, please continue elsewhere on the meta wiki, and that RfC is the place to go. Robert Walker (talk) 16:38, 11 July 2016 (UTC)
You can tell that that's what they meant, as the link leads to the RfCs page here. In otherwords, all is not yet lost in this idea to do a pilot scheme here. But I think we need to word it carefully. Your suggestion looks good. Perhaps you'd like to do it again rephrased for a meta RfC, and we can think it over? Robert Walker (talk) 16:41, 11 July 2016 (UTC)
I don't know about that. The sysops made a good point about there being a lot more admins (and presumably other knowledgeable individuals) at enwiki than here. Also, I'm concerned that the lack of foot traffic may kill the page. Maybe we should ping the other endorsers and ask them what they think: Start it here on Meta or jump straight to VPP. Darkfrog24 (talk) 17:00, 11 July 2016 (UTC)
Should Wikipedia establish a noticeboard for dealing with editor sanctions? This page would work more or less like RSN and NPOVN, providing editors with non-binding information about how topic bans work, expectations, etiquette, filing complaints and appeals. A mockup of the proposed page can be found [here]. The full-length Inspire Campaign proposal is [here].
Option A) Yes, establish this page here at Meta-Wiki.
Option B) Establish this page but not here at Meta-Wiki.
Option C) No, do not establish this page. 17:08, 11 July 2016 (UTC)
The idea here is to define the options clearly but not leadingly. For example, people might have different reasons for choosing what they choose. Again, I think it would be smarter to go straight to Village Pump Proposals and skip the Meta-Wiki trial phase. Darkfrog24 (talk) 17:08, 11 July 2016 (UTC)

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Okay. I like it. Your option B epecially is good. Can lead to discussion of where else but without actually asking them to say where else, they surely will have ideas if they vote for that though.

A minor point: I'm not sure about the "Should wikipedia establish..." - the thing is, that it's not something they can decide on in meta wiki, the admins here may be admins on wikipedia as well but any decisions for wikipedia would be done there - if you mean the english version of wikipedia. It has to be phrased as a decision that they can make. Also, I think it's more, can we establish a page as a pilot scheme or trial? I think it might help to say that it is a trial or pilot, which could become permanent later, and that we would leave decision of where to do the permanent version later on - could be here, or could be in wikipedia.

On the idea of skipping the Meta-wiki trial phase, the thing is, to get it working on wikipedia, we will need to ask them to let us create a board in wikipedia where banned editors can talk about their topics. That's a very major change in understanding of the scope of a topic ban, and would surely need a long discussion amongst admins, since at present they have no exceptions at all, nowhere in the whole of wikipedia that I can mention my banned topic and that's even more so with you.

And - unless we had a very strong case, they will probably say it has already been settled long ago that topic bans are wiki wide and leave it at that. Which is surely true, we are asking for a special exception to a long established policy. And you won't be able to take part in the discussions there, and I'm not sure I have the stomach for it, even if it turns out I'm permitted to do it, having been through many long discussions there already eventually leading to my own topic ban.

While here we have a chance, I think. Maybe not a good one, but a possibility. With the low foot fall - I see that as a benefit myself. We can start off small.

Even if we just have one conversation a month, well that's something we can manage easily and develop ways of working and those who do find it will get individual attention. Sometimes things that start very small end up better as a result.

For that reason I think also that it's important that it isn't given a time out like the suggestion of one of those sysops / admins that we have to prove that it is useful within a month. I think that would kill it. If we can prove it is useful for just a few editors, and most important, show that it can work well, with good discussions that are helping people, I think that's better than attracting lots of editors in trouble who have just been banned and trying to manage it and keep it in order.

Then gradually we can hopefully recruit more people. As banned editors get helped, they can then help others too. And then if it works well we then have a case for asking for a link on the topic ban statement, maybe for an experimental period. Indeed if we asked to add that link just for a week, it might be a good way to test the scheme, and see how many requests we get - we might get a flood even for a week, or we might get hardly any in which case we could ask to keep it in place longer term. I know there's the natural impulse to want to help everyone, and make sure all banned editors find it instantly - which would be wonderful if it worked of course. But we might be ovewhelmed if we do that, I think. Just a few thoughts.

I could talk about this on the village pump first, before we start the RfC, if you think that's the best way to do it (after checking that it is okay to mention it). An RfC is likely to be a long term thing here from the other examples, probably not going to be settled in just a day or two. Even if it is here on meta, it's something to discuss on wikipedia too, would need to think about what questions to ask there however. What are your thoughts about this? 17:35, 11 July 2016 (UTC)

Random break to make it easier to add comments[edit]

Okay, just change "Wikipedia" to "we" or something then. NBD.
Village Pump Proposals would be a good place to publicize the RfC. Darkfrog24 (talk) 17:40, 11 July 2016 (UTC)
Okay fine, "Should we establish a noticeboard for dealing with editor sanctions?" sounds good to me. And do the RfC first then go to the village pump. Do you have any thoughts about a title for the RfC? It can make a big difference to have a good title. Robert Walker (talk) 17:44, 11 July 2016 (UTC)
"Designated space for editors to talk about topic bans and other sanctions." It turns out there was something called the "Community sanctions noticeboard" on Wikipedia years ago, but it was a place to get people sanctioned, not like what we're suggesting. We don't want people to think it's a rerun of a completely different idea. Darkfrog24 (talk) 17:50, 11 July 2016 (UTC)
Okay what about, "Designated space for editors to give and seek advice about topic bans and other sanctions and help banned editors to return to constructive editing" - to make it clear that it is not a board for creating sanctions and I think "return to constructive editing" is a good phrase, might be worth including somewhere. Robert Walker (talk) 17:56, 11 July 2016 (UTC)
Okay, I really like that one but it's a little long. I'd cut it off after "other sanctions." Maybe add the sentence "the goal of this page would be to help topic-banned editors continue constructive editing" (we need that "topic" in there) could be added to the RfC text. Darkfrog24 (talk) 19:18, 11 July 2016 (UTC)

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Okay here is a try out. I've also added a draft of my support section. I made two more changes - called it an "informational noticeboard" to make it clear it is not a disciplinary board, not sure what the best word is. Also copy editing of the rest of that sentence - I thought "Talk about topic bans and other sanctions" was potentially ambiguous, e.g. could be talk about whether wikipedia should have sanctions at all, or what board should cover them or many other things - so was to reduce ambiguity. What do you think?

Title: Designated space for editors to give and seek advice about topic bans and other sanctions

text:Should we establish an information noticeboard for helping editors who have been sanctioned on wikipedia? This page would work more or less like RSN and NPOVN, providing editors with non-binding information about how topic bans work, expectations, etiquette, filing complaints and appeals. The goal of this page would be to help topic-banned editors continue or return to constructive editing on wikipedia, as well as to help each other in a constructive way here. A mockup of the proposed page can be found [here]. The full-length Inspire Campaign proposal is [here].

  • Option A) Yes, establish this page here at Meta-Wiki.
  • Option B) Establish this page but not here at Meta-Wiki.
  • Option C) No, do not establish this page.
  • Support A) here at Meta-Wiki as proposer Topic banned editors need a place to ask questions about their sanctions without being sanctioned further just for mentioning the topic or asking gray area questions, or mentioning points from the ban notice, or the discussions that lead to their ban that puzzle them. The rules on wikipedia prohibit this throughout wikipedia and it would probably be hard to get an exception granted for a board there.

    I don't know if there is any other place to do it, but here seems perfect. We wouldn't need to add any new rules. Editors can already mention their banned topic. The rules in WM:NOT are also exactly what we need to keep such discussions in check. It would also help that it's a different project, to help separate the banned editors from the environment in which they were banned, to permit calmer and clearer discussions. From the twelve support votes for the proposal, it's clear that there is a demand for this.

    Also, we would want to start slowly. If we can help one or two editors, giving them individual attention, that's a better pilot than if we have a flood of editors and we can't manage them. So for that reason also, it would help if it starts in a quiet way here on meta. Later on, once we have worked through teething problems, we could see if we can get a link to the new board added to the topic ban notice - listed as a page editors can go to for support after they are banned. Perhaps initially we could ask if we can add it for an experimental period of a week, then do other longer trials if the board is a success. Robert Walker (talk) 22:13, 11 July 2016 (UTC)

DISCUSSION (header)

Just "noticeboard." You don't need to qualify it. Saying "informal" would make it sound like it's mean to be less legitimate than RSN and the others, and it's not.
Hm... how about "constructive editing while also providing information for the rest of the community." Other than that, yeah, I'd say this is doable. The next question is where to put it and how to publicize it. Darkfrog24 (talk) 01:32, 12 July 2016 (UTC)
Oh it said "informational" not "informal". It's picking up on what you say later "non-binding information". But I can see how it would be easy to read it as "informal" as "informational" is a much rarer word. I've just changed it to an "information noticeboard" which couldn't be confused. By constructive editing I didn't mean the editing in the noticeboard itself, but editing in wikipedia - hope is that the editors, instead of getting scared away from wikipedia altogether as surely often happens get information about what they can and can't do on wikipedia - things that won't lead to their sanctions getting increased and hopefully lead to them being lifted in some cases at least, and if not, at least make it easier for them to do constructive editing on other topics in wikipedia and to know what topics they can edit on.
For instance in your case I understand it is something to do with the wikipedia guidelines on punctuation inside or outside quotation marks? And you wanted to know about gray area edits - so limits of what you can and can't do. So - hopefully if you can get answers here you could go back once your block is over and do other related edits of the guidelines or whatever is permitted. And so also prove that you are a good editor in other ways? I expect you have already gone through a lot of that yourself, still, it might help to talk about your options with experienced admins if we can attract them to come here. And - can you appeal? Again you've surely gone through that now as you seem very knowledgeable but there may be things that you haven't found out yet, and for new editors.
In my case - my topic ban expires in November, what can I do to make sure it doesn't happen again if I ever return to editing talk pages in that topic area? My main thing I've learnt from it actually is that it helps to work with other editors. If you are on your own in wikipedia, it helps to find others to work with - not canvassing, that's wrong. But when there is no dispute at all, long before any dispute arises, to encourage experts in the topic area to join wikipedia and edit it.
In my case it was a dispute about something that I think wouldn't have been disputed at all if there were experts in that particular topic area as I was saying nothing controversial at all. [DISCUSSION OF MY TOPIC BAN DELETED IN PREPERATION FOR RFC]
That could be something we could discuss also. Legitimate and non legitimate ways of trying to attract experts to a topic area. It's a common theme I find in many topic areas, from anecdotal stories of friends, that experts often get downvoted and forced out by a crowd of editors who hold to some popular belief, even sometimes I've read in the news, that famous people can't get the wikipedians to fix errors in their articles about them here. And indeed I've got a microtonal composer friend who says he can't get them to fix errors in their wikipedia article about him. So I expect we will eventually get quite a few people in a similar situation to me. That could lead to long discussions mentioning their topic area that they were banned for. But on the basis of guiding them back to the things they can do, and things they can't do, in wikipedia. So it's all about helping them to do constructive editing.
Basically the focus all along is constructive editing in wikipedia. Though of course also it's great to be able to do conversations here to help others when one is excluded from wikipedia.
Anyway, to wrap that up, I just tried it as "The goal of this page would be to help topic-banned editors continue or return to constructive editing on wikipedia, as well as to help each other in a constructive way here" - how does that sound? Do edit the blue area above to try out ideas too :). Robert Walker (talk) 12:29, 12 July 2016 (UTC)

@Robertinventor: I've been looking into RfCs on MetaWiki. We do it by creating a subpage. Darkfrog24 (talk) 05:02, 16 July 2016 (UTC)

@Darkfrog24: Right, yes, it seems straightforward, create a subpage and link to it. Sorry, got caught up with other things for the last few days. As I remember I think it is just about ready to submit the RfC. And then will just have to see what happens, can only give it our best. Good though to be ready to respond quickly if someone comes in early with some remark that shows they are taking it in a different way from what we intended, judging from that last time. I remember I submitted it I think late one evening, and then it was late in the day next day perhaps when I checked in again and by then there were several posts that were taking it in a direction quite a bit away from how we thought of it. Perhaps if I'd kept a watch on it earlier and answered those first comments it could have made quite a difference. Too late now for that. But I think for the RfC just in case, it would be good to do it earlier in the day and check it. Though not so high traffic as the one I posted it to before.
Anyway I'll take another look at it, see if there is anything else to comment on, and if not, and if you don't see anything else, I think we are as ready to go as we'll ever be probably. I think though I'll do it as a draft in my user space, just to make sure it is all okay, formatting etc and so I don't irritate people by doing lots of minor edits as I tend to do. Or, do try a draft yourself also, either way. Then can just copy that draft over to a sub page as you suggest to start the RfC. Robert Walker (talk) 04:39, 17 July 2016 (UTC)
Real life always rears its head. I'd love to see the draft, but it should be a sub-page of this one.
As for what else to do: we publicize. Darkfrog24 (talk) 04:48, 17 July 2016 (UTC)

┌─────────────────────────────────┘
Oh, okay, that's a good idea. I'll start on it later today. It was a mix of real life and other online stuff actually. I got involved in doing a new project proposal on wikipedia here: WikiProject Council/Proposals/Microtonal Music, Tuning, Temperaments and Scales which involved a fair bit of talking to people off wiki as well as also discussions on wiki. I think it will help actually when I come to publicize our ideas in Wikipedia as if they look at my edit history I'm no longer an editor recently topic banned in a small area of Buddhism, but am actively involved in a project to improve their coverage of microtonal music, with lots of support, 11 signatures so far, and I hope to reach the magic number of 16 at which point they say as a rule of thumb that it is worth starting a new project. Anyway the basic idea is all in place there, and it will be a good idea also if I'm not caught up in something like that when we do the RfC, so now is a good time, later on when we start the project going, I imagine that will be quite an active time for me on wikipedia for a week or two at least, making the project page itself and helping to get things underway with the various things in the "Examples of things we can do" list on that page. But that won't be for a while and it's a case of being able to start it at any point after we reach 16 signatures, the more signatures the better indeed. So it's not like when it reaches 16 we have to do it right away though probably will fairly soon after. Robert Walker (talk) 11:08, 17 July 2016 (UTC)

@Darkfrog24: I tried to make it as a subpage of this one, but it just wouldn't make it. It took me to this page instead when I tried. My guess is that it's because the title is too long. Maybe you can't add a / after a certain point in the title. So anyway I made it here instead for now but can copy it over to a sub-page: Designated space for editors to give and seek advice about topic bans and other sanctions. Will need to take another look at it tomorrow, what are your first thoughts? Robert Walker (talk) 23:47, 17 July 2016 (UTC)

@Robertinventor: Glad to hear you found a Wikiproject that you like. Do you mean to say that your topic ban was overturned or has expired? If so, that's wonderful news.
It looks fine to me, but I didn't have any trouble creating the subpage in question: here. To activate it, we'd just remove the "nowiki" tags from the code.
I don't know what else there is to do other than launch and publicize. I'll go into Wikipedia and make sure there are no real editors with the usernames "NoFrankenFood" or "TiredAdmin," etc. Darkfrog24 (talk) 16:37, 18 July 2016 (UTC)
@Darkfrog24:Oh, it's nothing to do with my topic ban. I have many areas that I contribute to Wikipedia on. My topic ban is only in one of those areas, a small area of Buddhism. [DISCUSSION OF MY TOPIC BAN DELETED IN PREPERATION FOR RFC]
I continue to edit on space and science topics, microtonal music, planetary protection and many other topic areas, editing the articles themselves there. And I have many friends expert on microtonal music, composers and theorists, and write microtonal software myself, and they were talking about how the articles on wikipedia in this topic area need a lot of work done on them, as you can see in the "to do list" there. So anyway I thought rather than just grumble about it off wiki, let's have a go at proposing a new WikiProject and see how that goes. It's looking quite good, 11 votes so far.
Glad to hear you could make a subpage fine, and it looks good. Maybe something at my end then (e.g. browser?). I'll have a go at editing it with my response later today or tomorrow and also think about what to do about the location section - probably best to get that sorted out before the RfC. It wasn't really meant as arguing both ways at once as rather, looking at the issues. As you know I'm not very much in favour of trying it on wikipedia for practical reasons, I just can't see them approving such a major thing as an exception to the topic bans for all topic banned editors for a single board in wikipedia, as the only exception there is on wikipedia to the bans, not without a huge amount of discussion and debate - we could still be here next year trying to get it passed, or they might just throw it out right away which I think is the most likely outcome. And what do we do after that? And I see the low footfall here on meta wiki as an advantage, because based on my own experience at wikipedia, I can see many potential issues and I think best not to rush into them quickly or we'll be overwhelmed.
In my case you see, it wasn't admins, it was other wikipedia editors. Lots of them, like half a dozen or more, who were weighing in against me and what I was saying. Which is fine, they are entitled to their views, but when you are trying to explain things to an initially sympathetic admin, and just asking for advice on policy and procedure, it can cause all sorts of problems, even before the ban, whenever you mention the topic, getting long discussions by other editors in the debates springing up on what was meant to be just a simple question. Which is also of course why I think it would be good if those who are asking the questions can have the right to remove distracting questions by opposing editors that are making it impossible for them to communicate with the people who are trying to help them.
So, I think it's a plus actually to have it outside wikipedia maybe get people out of the environment where it was all going on, and less likely that you'd get that "following around" and anyway would also make it clear that the discussions are meta discussions which I think will help. So I'll see if I can say this a bit more succintly in my commment on the RfC.Robert Walker (talk) 20:42, 18 July 2016 (UTC)

Random break again[edit]

As for the location section, I think this proposal is already so long that a lot of people's eyes will glaze over. It might be best to save that for the RfC discussion section, and I do mean best. If the conversation starts out with which subsite would be better for the page, then people will have to visualize the page existing and think about how it would function. That's good. Though what I'd do is just start the ball rolling with one or two pros and cons and then let the new participants take it from there. A light touch is sometimes best.
As for the other stuff... Remember what J told us about. Everything has to be open. Yes, all our communication is public, but I think that if we don't specifically draw the Wikipedia community's attention to this RfC, people may accuse us of trying to hide it. If the proposal gets thrown out, then at least a few people will have looked at it. I was involved with another proposal for a noticeboard last year. It didn't pass, but during the proposal process, a lot of people came up with some good ideas, things those of us who'd prepared the proposal hadn't thought of.
EDIT CONFLICT: Wow. That sucks. I think I see where you're coming from, but Wikipedia's about being a community, and not everyone in the community is nice. Trust me, I wasn't happy when my accuser and his little friends showed up to my appeal (and yet somehow I'm not allowed to call witnesses myself...) but if they think this board is about pulling an end run around community processes, it's not likely to pass.
But here's the upshot: It's not up to you or me at this point. We've both decided what we think is best, and we've both prepared our statements for the RfC. We let the community decide and then we do our darndest to make whatever board they pick successful. ...if they pick Wikipedia, it's going to be at least a couple months before I can help with that part, but I'll be helping out in spirit. Darkfrog24 (talk) 20:58, 18 July 2016 (UTC)

┌─────────────────────────────────┘
Yes, of course can draw their attention to it, I'm fine with that, so long as it is something I'm permitted to do under my ban which I'd check first. It's especially the technical point, of whether it's even remotely feasible that they would grant a special exemption for topic banned editors to talk about their topic on one board in wikipedia. So it's for technical reasons there.

I'm not interested in trying to do something that I think is impossible or next to impossible, sorry - had plenty of experience of battling against windmills in Wikipedia. I'm not good at it, I don't understand where the admins are coming from half the time, they have these immensely complex wikipedia guidelines that keep tripping me up, and I end up writing far too much also if it gets at all heated, and am not good at quick repartee which is the only way it seems you can get things done at that level in wikipedia. The admins make their decisions in my experience very rapidly and are not contemplative or doing careful weighing up of ideas - not at the level of decision making. I can just see it being quickly thrown out, after a one day discussion maybe, like the one we had here the other day.

If wikipedia is the choice, I think I'll just give up unless I have some clear indication that for some reason it is feasible. I just don't want to do that again. Want to do it somewhere where we have a reasonable amount of support from the get go. Of course if someone can see an easy way to do it in wikipedia that's different, or if we get an admin turning up who is strongly in support and is prepared to do the battling for it for us and thinks they can get many other admins on their side in the debates.

Basically as a first step I would want an answer to that basic question, is it possible at all on wikipedia and if so how?

Also I'd be concerned that we'd get overwhelmed on wikipedia. The reason for keeping other editors out of the discussions is of course not at all to bias it against them. They can talk as much as they like in other threads. But just to be able to ask the questions. I had very simple questions but not good at articulating it.

Such as for instance - what can you do if another editor completely rewrites an article without prior discussion, and won't let the previous editors revert their edits, is there any due process you can follow to try to revert to the original article when the new editor won't do it? When asking that then I got friends of that editor saying that I was canvasing which wasn't the case at all, I was just asking that question as a matter for wikipedia procedure.

So - if you come with a question - you don't need other editors to explain what your real motive is for being there. They are almost certain to get that wrong. If we assume good faith, then they are coming to the board with a genuine question and we need to make an environment where they can ask those questions without being interrupted all the time. A safe environment for them to ask questions. It's not about creating a space for them to do the banned activity. It's about a place where they can feel safe talking about what happened in a meta way. I really do think this is vitally important. I think many editors will be in a similar situation to me. I think that your experience is different and that for many editors this may not be a problem but for many others it will be. I think if we do get this board underway then probably amongst the first half dozen there'll be a couple at least, at a guess, who are followed to the board by other wikipedians who interupt them and make it hard for them to ask their questions. That's just a guess, but I did see a lot of that on wikipedia in the Buddhism and Indian religions topic area, not just me. It seems quite endemic in wikipedia in certain topic areas. While others, e.g. now in the Microtonal music topic area then the discussion are polite and academic and courteous respecting each other, from the editors I've met so far, also in the area of metronomes and rhythms, I can't imagine them doing this.

In the area of space colonization however, it's quite political and I can well imagine them doing this, indeed they did, a previous incident, a band of editors that went around removing sections, and deleting / merging articles (i.e. deleting an article by merging it into another one so it no longer exists as a separate article which avoids need for an AfD) that had any mention of planetary protection issues with an aim to remove the topic pretty much from wikipedia altogether -which eventually got stopped when they tried to get rid of most of the main en:Planetary protection article itself. An editor might be an admin, stepped in and told them to stop and let me edit that article, at which point they gave up. They get very emotionally worked up about it because planetary protection issues could potentially get in the way of space colonization.

So, we are going to get some people who come from areas that aren't very political and that have fairly straightforward questions, and we'll get others that come to the board fresh from some basically raging edit war or battle of words or because someone else is deleting or merging their articles and they may feel they have been unfairly topic banned. And in situations like that, also, emotions may be running very high on both sides. And we may need to keep them separate, if they both come to the board, in order to get any sense from either side. Which might help them calm down, yes. But if it has gone as far as topic banning, chances are that emotions are still running very high at that point, and it would mean they have either tried mediation already and it failed, or that one side, or the other, or both, is just not interested in mediation. And one side being the "orthodoxy" as it were, what most editors in the topic area support, may well be topic banning another side in a very fierce debate which they see as protecting the editor they just banned from "wrecking wikipedia" but the banned editor may feel equally well that the people who banned them are wrecking wikipedia.

I think we need to do everything we can to calm it down, make sure that it is a place where people feel safe most of all. If recently banned they may even be very scared of what the other editors can do to them. Not physically scared, but scared of what they can do to them by way of instigating such actions as banning them. It needs to be a kind of a "safe house". Again,not at all that it's a place to let them circumvent the bans, not that remotely. But a place where they can talk calmly about what happened, begin to calm down. And some may not be that good at articulating what the problems are and what happened to them, or what their questions are.

I think it is definitely possible, but I do think also that the processes we use and how it works are very important. And so that's why I'm not at all keen on starting it as it were running, or jumping inot the deep end. I think we need a pilot scheme and something like the shallow end, or even kiddie's paddling pool version of it first, then as we deal with that, we can learn how to deal with the issues. Eventually maybe we get two opposing groups of editors coming to the board. I think that not only might happen, but will, sooner or later. But if it is after several months of just a few editors being dealt with, and maybe a few of those have stuck around to help others, then we have a bit of support structure. Maybe have debates amongst ourselves what to do about it and develop the rules carefully. And hopefully then manage to sort it out. And after that we'll get another lot of battling editors and then another, but by then it may have become routine, that we know what to do and it's no longer a problem. Learn the best way to phrase things to explain the situation and the board rules to them for instance. Learn what helps calm the situation down, learn how to find out what the real issues are and what common questions are.

While if it starts up in a big board on wikipedia, supposing we do succeed there and it is accepted, board set up, it goes on the topic ban notice, and then next week we are faced with ten groups of battling editors amongst maybe twenty more calm discussions, and trying to figure out what to do, and so far only the two of us very actively invovled, maybe an admin if we are very lucky - it's going to be a tough call and might well fail / fall apart.

This is a view on it that I've been developing gradually over the last few weeks talking to you and thinking about the ideas. That's why I'm very keen now that we make a go of it on meta first. And - if it works here, even if we only have a few people per year to show - it's about showing it can work and help people, i think, not about showing that it can attract lots of editors, that would convince adins that it is worth giving it a go on wikipedia.

While if we go and discuss it there without any pilot to show how it works, I think first, there's a good chance they just don't fully understand the concept anyway, what it is we are trying to achieve, as they tend to have a very short attention span, most admins I've talked to, not surprising as they are such busy people, so much to do. And even if they do understand, the simplest thing is just to say "no" because the system as it is works, they don't really have much experience of topic banning from the other side, it seems effective and the banned editors generally can't even talk to them about these issues. So they don't really, most of them, have the perspective to be able to see that this board is even necessary. Apart from a few insightful ones of course. Robert Walker (talk) 22:13, 18 July 2016 (UTC)

It sounds like you have decided which option to support carefully and thoughtfully. Let's hope everyone does. Darkfrog24 (talk) 03:22, 19 July 2016 (UTC)

New section on advantages and disadvantages of wikipedia / meta[edit]

I've just added a new section here under location with bullet points comparing the two possibilities of meta and wikipedia:

Location

Any suggestions for more pros and cons either way?

@Robertinventor: I think we don't need more text in this proposal. Don't have the discussion for them or argue against your own idea. Darkfrog24 (talk) 16:46, 18 July 2016 (UTC)
@Darkfrog24:Okay - for now I've just made it into a section putting forward my own views on the matter, clearly marked as such, and open for comment. Can think about it some more. Now that we can do sub-pages maybe it can be a sub-page of the proposal?
You might find it interesting, another go at explaining how I see things at present, and I could refer to it in the RfC comment - wherever it is, as section or a sub-page - so reducing the amount of text on the RfC page in my section. Location
Another thought I've had, should we change the title of this proposal? It's rather long and I remember there is some issue with the word "freely" that it has connotations of "free speech" which on wikipedia has come to mean "bad free speech" or something even though almost anywhere else "speaking freely" has good connotations. I haven't got as far as thinking what a betteer title would be. Robert Walker (talk) 02:17, 19 July 2016 (UTC)
"Free speech" has connotations, but I don't think "speaking freely" shares them. As for changing the title, I'm on the fence. This proposal gathered its support under this title. We don't want someone here on meta-Wiki thinking this is something else. Darkfrog24 (talk) 02:34, 19 July 2016 (UTC)
Oh okay, that's good to know, about "speaking freely". Good point about the proposal gaining support under this title, yes. Perhaps then we shouldn't change it without some very good reason :). Robert Walker (talk) 02:43, 19 July 2016 (UTC)

@Robertinventor: I read your section, and there actually are exceptions to topic bans. They're under WP:BANEX for "ban exception." As for technical matters, there are none. Topic bans aren't blocks. The admin doesn't go in and change what the account can access. Before I was blocked, I was perfectly capable of going to the Manual of Style and making the same edits as ever; it's only that anyone who wanted to could file a complaint at AE if I did. The only thing the noticeboard will need for topic-banned editors to post to the noticeboard would be the community's and ArbCom's consensus that they are allowed to do so. If blocked or site-banned editors wanted to access an on-Wikipedia noticeboard, then some kind of technical solution (or agreement that they could log out to do so, but that's another can of worms) would be needed, but not for editors who are only topic-banned. Darkfrog24 (talk) 22:11, 21 July 2016 (UTC)

@Darkfrog24: Oh, interesting. Why then was Ed Johnston so curt with me, I wonder, not answering my questions and not passing me on to some other location if he is too busy to do it myself, and not giving any explanations of why he couldn't answer or linking to BANEX? What I've been attempting to do on his talk page clearly falls under:
  • asking for necessary clarifications about the scope of the ban.
  • appealing the ban
On the second, at one stage, I wanted to ask if I could appeal, It was more a matter of principle and only briefly after the ban, because it was obvious there wasn't much point in discussing the topic further with the other editors, and it's only a six month ban anyway, but I did feel I'd been unfairly banned and wondered if I could do anything to appeal - like a way to remove a black mark from my record. I soon lost interest in that. But I was under the impression I just couldn't ask him those questions as I couldn't see how to do it without mentioning the banned topic so I didn't try. Seems clear now that it was a perfectly valid thing to ask, and that my ban period wouldn't be increased for asking that question, or at least shouldn't be.
In that case, I wonder if I can ask for help on the village pump about whether I can promote the proposal there myself, since Ed Johnston isn't going to answer any more of my questions on the matter. There seems no issue in just asking that question as it would fall under one of the BANEX exceptions, "asking for necessary clarifications about the scope of the ban".
I can see that it is a technical issue for blocked editors. Maybe that they have to have an alternative user name that is only used on that board, might that be a way they could do it? E.g. add "(For ESN Board)" after their user name or just (ESN) so anyone can see easily that they can only post there. There are legitimate reasons already for having alternative accounts. Just a thought. Good to have raised this, thanks! Robert Walker (talk) 00:16, 22 July 2016 (UTC)
I'll rewrite my section once this is clearer. BTW by technical I meant rather more generally as in not just feasible by way of programming, but also something that can be made to fit in with the rest of the wikipedia guidelines without having to make substantial changes that might impact on other policies there. Robert Walker (talk) 00:24, 22 July 2016 (UTC)
@Robertinventor: WHOA WHOA WHOA!! CAREFUL!! BANEX SAYS YOU CAN TALK TO THE ENFORCING ADMIN ABOUT THOSE THINGS!! Ed is your only outlet for this. Don't ask questions about your scope at the Village Pump! Darkfrog24 (talk) 01:11, 22 July 2016 (UTC)
Okay, so the rest of the stuff you said... Why then was Ed Johnson so curt with me
Whew... Considering I was convinced that the post that got me blocked fell under BANEX, I'm probably not the best person to answer that. What I can tell from my experience is many of the rules associated with sanctions are not meant to be taken literally. My guess is that they may have been meant word-for-word when first issued but practice and precedent shifted away from a literal interpretation over the years. Now if you were working with topic bans the whole time you might not have noticed the gap forming, but for someone dealing with topic bans for the first time, it's big enough to fall into. Ideally, they should be updated every few years to make them match actual practice, but in the meantime a noticeboard full of people who can tell people about those precedents would be a big help.
As for blocked users, I don't think we should push that issue. If it's hosted on Wikipedia, the noticeboard should make its bones and establish its reputation as a useful and well-functioning part of Wikipedia before any system to allow blocked users access is even proposed. It would call for a second RfC, not any time soon. That cuts me out, but so what? Darkfrog24 (talk) 01:15, 22 July 2016 (UTC)
Oh okay, thanks! I wasn't going to rush into it anyway :). Okay so what he said was the last word on the matter as far as I'm concerned, and he hasn't passed me on to anyone else so that's it. Good to clarify that.
Okay, in that case that's a major reason for not doing it on wikipedia, I think it should help blocked editors too. And I think you'll be a major asset for the board especially in the early stages, with your enthusiasm and clarity of thought, and you know a fair bit about how wikipedia works in this area. And anyone who is blocked is in even more need of the board. It might well be be the same for some of them as for you where you asked questions that you thought were acceptable under BANEX and got your sanctions increased as a result of doing so. Chances are we are both examples of common types of topic banned editors. BTW I sometimes say "banned" when I mean "blocked" must double check what I wrote. Robert Walker (talk) 02:10, 22 July 2016 (UTC)
I don't think there is any point in returning to my closing admin and attempting to ask him any more questions as I've already asked several that he hasn't answered and he made it clear I've already asked him too many questions. Robert Walker (talk) 02:11, 22 July 2016 (UTC)

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I find the whole system rather astonishing. Perhaps it is because it has evolved, perhaps it is something to do with crowd sourcing a system of justice, which is what it is really? If it was designed, say, like a legal system, then more consideration would surely be made to making sure that you have access to advice and help. For instance, the idea that once you are topic banned, you can only go through one person for any questions about your topic ban, and someone who you didn't choose, and who might be too busy to talk to you. I'm sure any carefully designed rather than evolved system would have safeguards there, ways, that you can ask for an alternative if the person assigned to you is not able to answer your questions or just doesn't respond to them. As an example. In a way, that's basically what we are trying to provide, support and help that would surely have been designed into the system already, if it was designed from scratch rather than evolved. And in the spirit of the way wikipedia works, as a crowdsourced solution too. Robert Walker (talk) 02:22, 22 July 2016 (UTC)

More thoughts on this below, collapsed

So, I think it's reasonable to suggest that probably for every topic banned and blocked editor, there may be on average, say 100 people who get a negative impression of wikipedia and as a result are less likely to take part in editing it themselves, in our modern very interconnected online world. In my case I think probably many more than 100 have had negative impressions of wikipedia editing, just because they followed me through everything that happened, just friends of mine, who know what happened to me. And I've had friends say they are hesitant about editing wikipedia after seeing what happened to me. I reassure them that what happened was unusual on wikipedia, but it still has a negative effect.

Since it is off wiki, wikipedia admins don't see any of this. So, again, this is something that hopefully our new board can help with. Just the existence of such a board can change perception of how wikipedia works as seen from off wiki by topic banned editors and friends of topic banned editors. It would show that we are still supported, in a (hopefully) friendly community, not just abandoned, after a topic ban. Just a few thoughts for now.

@Darkfrog24: - I've just updated my votes on the RfC as well as the Location section of the proposal. I added a support vote to option B on the RfC as a later stage after a pilot on meta. Robert Walker (talk) 11:27, 22 July 2016 (UTC)

WM:NOT[edit]

@Darkfrog24: I see you just removed the section on WM:NOT in the ESNMockup. I know it was too long and added without discussion in order to try to help in the recent discussion with the sysops. However I think we might need a bit more than just that link.

I think that for this to be a success we need to reassure the admins here that we will be able to deal with WM:NOT violations ourselves and that it won't be continually bringing new cases for them to resolve, in a wiki with not much by way of volunteers to look after it. I thought that was a fair point there. So, I think we need to make it clear that it is going to be really easy for us to deal with those three main things that would bother the admins and sysops, and do it internally, and not involve them in dealing with the violations which may happen frequently in a situation like this:

  1. Meta is not a battleground
  2. Meta is not a forum for continued attacks against other users
  3. Meta is not an appeals court

I can see what you mean in your edit summary that it could be chaotic if any editor can easily delete any thread that they think violates one of those. But I think clear violations should be made easy to remove. And if the board says at the top that these will be dealt with "in house" then that becomes one of the local rules of the board.

I think we need to find a way to deal with this which the participants will understand. But then the question is, who can do the deleting of the threads? Obviously with a warning first. But if they continue battling or attacking or trying to persuade other editors to overturn a decision they made in wikipedia, after a warning, what happens then?

I think we need some simple way to do this, which we might need to do frequently. What exactly I don't know. And I think it would be good to have those three either stated or directly linked to, because WM:NOT is a long page and they need to see instantly and quickly what is needed. It could be collapsed. I've just done that as a test edit and I think it works rather well, what do you think?

But I think we need a bit more, just a sentence or two, saying how those issues are dealt with, can also be in the collapsed section. Any thoughts? Robert Walker (talk) 13:17, 12 July 2016 (UTC)

I don't think that rewriting WM:NOT will convince the sysops that this system won't be abused, and doing so makes it look like we're trying too hard.
Giving any editor, even involved editors, permission to remove any thread without a concrete, non-subjective reason is likely to cause more problems than it solved—not everyone has the same idea of "clear violation," but anyone can look at two posts and see that no new points have been made. I think the uninvolved-eds-may-remove-anything-that-is-100%-rehash rule covers us well enough and we should only add a more complicated system if it becomes a problem.
Remember, the purpose of the mockup is not to actually field questions and manage discussions; it's to show RfC participants what we're talking about. Right now, our biggest problem is that people assume that this page is for something other than providing helpful information. The sooner that assumption is corrected, the better. If editors click on the mockup and see many lines of rules they might click out before they get to the sample questions or even see that there are any. We shouldn't make them scroll past fifty lines of rules before they get to the part that will do the most good. Don't hide the main idea behind secondary ideas. Darkfrog24 (talk) 14:18, 12 July 2016 (UTC)
Okay... I pondered and it occurs to me that half my objection was more about where the WM:NOT stuff had been placed. It occurs to me that we could just put it somewhere else. Thoughts? Darkfrog24 (talk) 14:31, 12 July 2016 (UTC)

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I saw your recent edit, and are you okay then with it collapsed where it is now, or is that still an issue? If it's okay, it's fine with me. With the battleground etc, whether we put it in there or not, I think good to think it over. The advantage of having it there for the final board, whatever we decide, would be that it lets us delete battleground threads without going to dispute resolution over every battle which would be tedious. The motive being not as a way to resolve the battle or pass any judgement but just that this sort of thing distracts from ordinary running of our noticeboard, because it is not helping editors to find a way forward.

Remember in my guidelines I suggested we deal with it by getting battling editors to separate out into separate threads? Though it complicates the proposal I think it's got a lot of potential for preventing battle grounds.

E.g. if one is topic banned, the other was involved in taking out a ban, and they start battling with each other - that the topic banned one has one thread to discuss the issues they have and the topic banning one has another thread to talk about their issues. In my case supposing I was there talking about my issues with [DISCUSSION OF MY TOPIC BAN DELETED IN PREPERATION FOR RFC]

Not that I'd do that, but as an example of the sort of problems that might arise if someone else did. That then, if it was left unchallenged, would probably lead to them coming in and doing pages of comments saying how justified they were in their edits, and rehashing all the reasons they gave for banning me again.

But assuming that I came to the board with good intentions, I would not be asking for resolution of this battle about whether or not they are misrepresenting what the four noble truths are. Rather that original question might be a clumsy way of saying that I want advice about appeal procedures. Or it might be that I think there is no chance of progress with that "battle" and I have just come here in order to find out if I can continue editing in closely related areas and what exactly the ban covers. It might be a question about gray area edits. A bit of calm discussion could lead to clarifying what the editor is there about, also helping with their expectations of what they can and cannot do. So how can we foster and encourage this?

I think it is good to think this through and decide what we can do to keep it focused on the reason editors are coming to the board, and not just a forum for them to continue with battles from wikipedia. If we get only one side of a dispute here, then likely to be no problem but if both sides come here or one follows the other, we could find we have a major battle on our hands. Good guidelines could help there.

I think what we don't want to happen there, is to need to go ourselves to dispute resolution in meta to solve issues like this. We must be able to handle it ourselves. Otherwise we'd become a nuisance here. And I think it will help if it shows that we have thought through how to handle such things.

I suggested separating out into separate threads. Maybe some other way. As to where - well like I did before, adding a link to the guidelines at the end of the notice would be a natural way to do it. Maybe we need to work on those, and try to find a simpler alternative, something that is substantive enough to show that we are working on it and that there is a way forward, to show that it is something we already have "in hand" in some way, but not as complex as what I did before. Robert Walker (talk) 17:32, 12 July 2016 (UTC)

So for example if we had that separating out threads rule, an uninvolved editor would just say, when an opposing editor comments on my thread "please start a new thread to avoid a battleground", and if necessary delete any unhelpful / battling posts from the thread.

Or, even simpler, I suggested in the guidelines that the editor who starts the thread has the right to delete any posts that they find unhelpful from their own thread, which would be a simple way to handle it, a bit like managing your facebook timeline. If that was the rule, then battling would be very hard to impossible. While seeking advice and help would be encouraged that way. Robert Walker (talk) 17:39, 12 July 2016 (UTC)

Whether that's what we go for, or not, I think some simple easy to use rule to prevent battling would be helpful. The benefits of that particular rule is that it would be very easy to do, indeed almost no oversight needed, as the participants would do most of the work themselves. Robert Walker (talk) 17:40, 12 July 2016 (UTC)

I think it's too early to put that solution into action.
So far other people have seen problems with this proposal, but they're all about end runs around Wikipedia's rules, rehashing of old grudges, etc. No one specifically mentioned that they were worried about this precise kind of fight, so we should keep your precise solution ready to go but should not include it in the RfC text or mockup. Get the page in action first.
Let's say we were proposing building a house. That house is in a flood zone and lots of people have said "what about flooding?!" so we show a diagram of the town drainage system and a GPS map showing that the house would be built on higher ground than they thought. No one has yet said "what about wildfires?!" and if we tell them about the fire-resistant roof shingles, we'll only scare them and make them less likely to want to build the house. Now we do have the shingles in the supply shed ready to be nailed to that roof, and if someone does ask "what about wildfires?!" we can tell them that we have the shingles prepared, but let's not turn this RfC into a big list of reasons not to do it.
And yes, the collapse works. I edited it a little, but I think it's okay overall. You came up with a good solution. Darkfrog24 (talk) 21:38, 12 July 2016 (UTC)
Okay, this is in reserve. But it is something they already brought up you see. Nemo when he brought up tht issue with a previous deletion - he was referring to this: Deletion request I'm pretty sure.
It took a bit of detective work, but I have just now find the archived deletion discussion here:
Request for comment/Gwen Gale - it could help to have a read through that to see the kind of objections they might raise and think about what we can do about them. After all it would be many of the same people probably voting / commenting on our own RfC.

The RfC falls under the point 10 of WM:Not (Meta is not a battleground) and number 11 (Meta is not a forum for continued attacks against other users.).

So if we can show that we have a way of preventing it turning into a battleground, we can forestall this sort of issue before it happens. I think myself that it is something that they are pretty much certain to bring up. It would be the main issue they would have with our proposal. So showing that we have already thought it through would help. While not mentioning it might suggest we are rather naive about how it would work, which we are not.
The difference of course is that this is an RfC about a discussion board that doesn't exist yet, that wouldn't be set up as an RfC but with its own rules etc. etc.
But - no need to make it prominent. Somewhere where we can refer to it if it comes up and where it is easy for them to find it by themselves. One possibility might be to have my suggested rule as a proposal, rather than a defined rule. Something like in the collapsed section on WM:NOT to add an extra line -

"Please try to keep discussions focused on ways we can help each other. Your disputes themselves can't be resolved here. To help this board run smoothly and to prevent it becoming a battleground ... <<WILL HAVE GUIDELINES HERE>> See User:Darkfrog24/Proposals to help ensure it complies with WM:NOT

then in that linked to page, I can add my proposal and we can add other proposals there too if we have other ideas for ways to do it. Robert Walker (talk) 02:00, 13 July 2016 (UTC)
Glad to hear the collapse works :) Robert Walker (talk) 02:04, 13 July 2016 (UTC)
Have just added this to the collapsed WM:NOT section of the ESN Mockup as a test, what do you think? Robert Walker (talk) 02:17, 13 July 2016 (UTC)
I think I've figured it out. Saying "No we're not about [suggested problem]" makes this proposal look really weak. I keep leaning toward the sample questions because they're affirmative. The trick is to focus on what this proposed page is for and to make it so clear and positive that even if anyone thinks of a way it could go wrong, they're consumed with how it could go right. Darkfrog24 (talk) 02:39, 13 July 2016 (UTC)
Sounds good. And thanks for your edit of what I added to the ESN Mockup, it reads much better now. Robert Walker (talk) 02:45, 13 July 2016 (UTC)
Thanks. We both have our ways of doing things, and I have underestimated your perspective before. Darkfrog24 (talk) 03:09, 13 July 2016 (UTC)

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Robert, I looked at your proposal very carefully and I think it will probably cause problems. Creating this noticeboard already requires an exception from topic bans. This would mean it would also require an exception to a core talk page rule "never modify other people's comments." I think at least a few people who'd otherwise approve of this board might reject it if they think that this technique you're proposing would come with it automatically.

I think the thing to do is establish the board and then hold a separate RfC to see if the community feels this idea of yours would be a net gain. I've underestimated your ideas before. The flip side is that the "control your own thread" idea isn't inherently tied to an editor sanctions noticeboard. It could be attempted in a place that's already established. Can you think of anywhere this technique might improve dispute resolution? Darkfrog24 (talk) 11:38, 23 July 2016 (UTC)

Okay good point. I do think the idea would work well in this board. I'm not sure about using it anywhere else because the thing is that here the idea is that we are focused just on helping them. In a board where there was some kind of dispute or interaction / mediation between opponents it makes much more sense to use the existing approach where each has their own section to make their case plus a discusion area. So I think it is a suggestion particular to just this board that may not be needed anywhere else. Though you are much more familiar with wikipedia than I am. Anyway in other boards they have systems that work for them already. But as a new board we are in the situation of making our own rules for it.
Anyway, I've just added: "PLEASE NOTE, this is not an automatic part of the RfC. This would require future RfCs, and is just one example of many ways we could deal with these issues. I include this mainly to show that we have thought about it and discussed ideas for ways to make the board easy to run and to ensure it complies with WM:NOT in an easy to administer way."
Hopefully that will help make it clear so they don't think they are voting on this proposal. What do you think? I'll also explain that if adopted it is only for this board, later in the proposal and that I think this is a special case, just because the focus is on other matters and not on the topic being discussed. Robert Walker (talk) 12:16, 23 July 2016 (UTC)
I've just removed most of my mentions of the banned topic from this page now. As a result I feel a bit easier about the situation if others publicize this RfC on wikipedia. Because I did go into it in some detail in places. It wasn't just an occasional mention as you know, but paragraphs about it, all done to help with developing this proposal using my own experience, but it's no longer needed, and I think this talk page also can be understood well enough without it.
I've also edited the proposals page, I've added a note saying I can't think of anywhere else in wikipedia where the rule would be useful, mentioning dispute resolution as an example where it wouldn't work. I'll add sanction notice boards too. Because this is not a sanction notice board. No decisions made about sanctions here at all, it's a meta noticeboard. Robert Walker (talk) 12:49, 23 July 2016 (UTC)
@Darkfrog24: Have just done some more editing of my proposal, I think much better now, what do you think? What I did was to add: "Other proposals also welcome - do feel free to add your own suggestions to this page." which makes it very clear, hopefully, that these are just proposals. Plus also say explicitly that it is not for the RfC, and - never know, we might get some more interesting proposals on how to deal with WM:NOT on the new board to make it low maintenance and smooth running. Robert Walker (talk) 13:22, 23 July 2016 (UTC)
BTW I just remembered this and checked, there are some circumstances where you can delete other editor's comments on wikipedia. Example, libel, trolling, etc. See Others comments. You can also remove any comments from your own talk page after you ahve read them, including notices as well, with some exceptions, see User pages#Removal of comments, notices, and warnings. - I think I'll just add that as a note there. Robert Walker (talk) 15:27, 23 July 2016 (UTC)
I think that instead of saying something and following it up with "but not really," you should just not say it. Wait until someone asks about this kind of problem. Otherwise, you're just drawing attention to things that could go wrong, and those things might not end up happening. But if someone asks and you have this answer ready to go, that makes you look thorough. Darkfrog24 (talk) 03:06, 24 July 2016 (UTC)
Okay, I'll think about that, for now I've just copy edited it to make it more positive. I've also had a new idea to call the sections "Tickets" on just this board, by analogy with a help ticket system. There can be a lot of power in a name and calling them tickets can help to make it clear that it is not a proposal for the sanction boards or for dispute resolution or for talk pages, but just for this particular board and possibly for other help ticket systems if the idea was adopted more widely. See Proposal (by Robert Walker) - you have control of your own section - here called a "ticket" Robert Walker (talk) 10:30, 24 July 2016 (UTC)
@Robertinventor: I'm not confident that that's what the word "tickets" means on Wikipedia. It refers to a system in which people are served one by one, like taking a ticket at a deli counter. Also, on Wikipedia, ticket systems are private or semi-private. "Noticeboard" is Wikipedia's word for what we're trying to do, though it would also work in help desk format. Do you want to make another mockup based in the help desk?
Since the RfC is active and at least one person has commented, I don't think this is the right time to make major changes to the proposal. Darkfrog24 (talk) 11:54, 24 July 2016 (UTC)

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Okay, I will change the word ticket back to section. I didn't mean it as a major change, I thought it was just a helpful term to describe what we had already, and it didn't have those connotations in my mind, but now I understand how it could. It was not meant to be private or semi-private, or to mean that you are only helped by one person. Robert Walker (talk) 12:05, 24 July 2016 (UTC)

Done now :). Robert Walker (talk) 12:13, 24 July 2016 (UTC)

Response from Ed Johnston[edit]

@Darkfrog24: Hi, I tried talking to Ed Johston who closed my case, but he is a person of very few words, at least when talking to me. He didn't really answer most of my questions. He just said two things

You must be referring to this thread at meta. It is likely there must be at least one participant in the meta thread who is not banned here on English Wikipedia, so that person could post a link to it here if they want to"

and

You can post about this in November after your ban expires. I don't wish to continue here

Which obviously means, end of conversation and I must not continue to ask him anything else. So I won't, especially since he has the power to increase my topic ban period. He didn't answer my question about whether it would be a disciplining matter to post about the proposal to wikipedia now, or whether or not it would help to remove our topics from the talk page. I asked him if there is anyone else on wikipedia who I could ask these questions to instead of him, and he didn't answer that either.

In the circumstances I'm inclined to say we should just put this on hold until November. After that, I would go to the Village pump and then ask questions there, but until then I think I need to be very careful. Even just asking someone else indirectly, asking them if it if it is possible to ask them this question, I think could get me in trouble, even if I don't say what the proposal is, as it would be easy for them to find out what it is by checking my user name here or my talk page history in wikipedia. And they would soon find that Ed Johnson gave me a clear indication that I shouldn't pursue the questions any further with him. I was a bit cautious about even mentioning it to Ed Johnston, didn't link to it, he linked to it instead which can't be blamed on me. So - I've not had any repercussions from asking the question there so far, but I don't want to push it any further.

As you'll see from my comments there, I don't think the solution of pinging everyone who endorsed this proposal to see if one of them is interested to publicize it instead is a workable one because if questions arise, and they ask me how to respond, they would become proxies for me. Also, if I can't talk about it there, it completely dashes any possibility of me doing anything to publicize it in wikipedia, or asking questions or trying to attract admins from wikipedia to get involved here.

I also asked about the repercussions for you, but again that's another question he didn't answer. I'll be sure to ask that in November!

Any thoughts, do say! The conversation is here: Question related to my topic ban Robert Walker (talk) 14:06, 20 July 2016 (UTC)

I'm concerned that waiting until November would cause this to lose its inertia. There is a stigma against "stale" proposals.
If I may be so bold, EJ is not saying "must be someone" as in "you are required to have someone." He's saying "must be someone" as in "there almost certainly is someone." It looks like he is affirmatively telling you to have someone from the thread do the Wikipedia publicizing. Darkfrog24 (talk) 14:19, 20 July 2016 (UTC)
How about it, @Greenrd:? We could use a volunteer. Darkfrog24 (talk) 14:21, 20 July 2016 (UTC)
By the way, this is what publicizing looks like: Moderator proposal RfC notice RfC notice about April Fool's Day. You post a link and a neutral sentence or two saying what it is, and that's it. Darkfrog24 (talk) 15:21, 20 July 2016 (UTC)
Yes I understood him that way. Good point about stale proposals. If it is just literally publishing the RfC on wikipedia I agree, anyone could do it. I was thinking more in terms of a conversation, maybe I didn't quite follow what you were suggesting there. I was also concerned that if we can't talk about the board on wikipedia, how do editors who need our help find out about it? But we could start by helping each other here, and see if anyone knows any admins in wikipedia who would be interested, and anyone who isn't topic banned can do that too if they are interested, and maybe if it snowballs slowly that way we can get interest in wikipedia that way, since we can't do it ourselves. Perhaps this has merits, it would mean that we need to have involvement of other editors than just us two to get it underway in wikipedia at all, at least until November, which would also help show interest in the proposal :). I'll be interested to see where this goes. Robert Walker (talk) 15:49, 20 July 2016 (UTC)
Oh. I meant that Greenrd listed himself as a volunteer on this proposal, and now that there's something that needs to be done, maybe he'd be willing to post the notes at the Village Pump.
As for the examples, you mentioned to EdJ that you were concerned about people asking the poster questions. I mean that that's not usually an issue.
As for taking the risk, I really want this proposal to succeed, but whoever's neck would be on the line has to be the one to decide. You don't see me volunteering to commit block evasion for this, and I don't expect you to risk getting blocked either (take my word for it: it sucks). Hopefully, Greenrd will be up for the job and this will be a non-issue.
Did you want to add your statement to the RfC page or do you wan to wait? Darkfrog24 (talk) 23:14, 20 July 2016 (UTC)
Yes same here. Ed Johnston's curt response to me actually increases my wish to make this succeed, because it's not just me, I'm sure that situation is mirrored in thousands of topic banned editors who have questions they want to ask busy admins, but they just don't see it as their priority to answer these questions. If I get responses like this, then probably thousands do every year, as I hav no reason to suppose he is unusual in this and your experiences you shared of admins who give brief responses are similar. And we actually want to help take that load off them, still, they need to see it working first I think.
No I definitely don't want to be blocked. Especially now that I feel I'm doing something productive and constructive helping to improve the microtonal music topic area in Wikipedia which is desperately in need of cleaning up with many errors in the pages there as well as confusing statements and confusing ways pages link together. And, so far at least, I'm not stepping on anyone's toes there, and gradually gaining support from other editors which, having learnt from before, seems to be where you start if you want to do anything larger scale and have a hope of success especially stable success long term.
Yes I got that, I wondered where you found his name but then I searched the proposal page and saw he or she has listed himself or herself as a volunteer. So @Greenrd:, yes this may be when you are needed - unless of course you are topic banned as well, like us, in which case I think best to see if we can find someone who isn't, can start by pinging the other endorsements see if anyone has any thoughts or is interested to do it. Given the nature of the proposal, I wouldn't be surprised if a fair number of the endorsers are topic banned.
With asking the poster questions, I meant, what for instance if they ask how we would deal with problematical editors, I expect to be a FAQ? Then we would be able to answer in some detail about our ideas, but to ask someone else to present that on wikipedia would make us proxy commentators there talking about a proposal on meta where we talk about our own topic bans. So it would risk being counted as proxy evasion I think considering the very strict way they tend to interpret these topic bans even though we have absolutely no intent of evading the bans.
Definitely, don't want either you or me to have our sanctions increased, it would make things much harder. No, I would never expect you to volunteer to attempt block evasion, and if you suggested it I'd be the one doing my very best to stop you, saying please don't :). No that's not a solution. Robert Walker (talk) 23:46, 20 July 2016 (UTC)

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@Darkfrog24: I'll add my response to the RfC soon. Just to say a couple more thoughts, first, I expect most of those who endorsed this project visit meta rarely, just because it's a less frequented space than wikipedia and because most of us probably got here as a result of the Inspire initiative which is no longer running and displaying banners on wikipedia. And if topic banned they may also seldom log in to wikipedia as well. So it might actually be quite hard to contact them all, even by pinging them all, and even though we have cross wiki pings. BTW maybe you don't know, but if you ping me here on meta, I get notification on wikipedia as well. That works because I have joined in the cross wiki sign up process as I think many probably have.

Then, the other thought is that we don't have to figure out how to publicize it on wikipedia ourselves before starting the RfC. If we find we just can't do that as banned editors, and can't contact any endorser who isn't banned, we could start the RfC first, and then see how it goes and explain in the RfC that we can't publicize it and ask anyone reading it to mention it on wikipedia if they are not a banned editor. Robert Walker (talk) 12:00, 21 July 2016 (UTC)

Another thought, I have many friends who are wikipedia editors and I could just ask one of them if they would do it for me as a favour. But I think that might count as a proxy announcement to the village pump by myself, so am not too keen on that idea, which might also get them in trouble too, and as usual don't want to do anything that could lead to repercussions on my ban period. Robert Walker (talk) 12:02, 21 July 2016 (UTC)

Heh. We need this noticeboard to set up this noticeboard!
It's nice of you to offer to ask your friends, but I think you're right that it could be taken the wrong way.
Speaking of which I'd like to do the on-Meta notifications if you don't mind. I've done it before when publicizing RfCs on-wiki. I copypaste the exact same message to the talk pages of everyone who made any comments regarding the proposal (this would of course include the people who made negative comments on that other thread; I know canvassing rules technically don't apply here, but I think we should follow them anyway).
But your "just start the RfC and let someone else publicize without being asked" has some merit. Do you want to ping the endorsers first or do you want to just do that? Darkfrog24 (talk) 13:53, 21 July 2016 (UTC)
Good point yes, if we had this noticeboard on Wikipedia already we'd be able to talk about our ideas for this noticeboard on wikipedia in the currently non existent board :). Yes for sure will be great if you do the on-Meta notifications. Sounds like a good plan. I don't know, we could ping all the endorsers say the day before we launch the RfC perhaps - in case any of them see any ideas for it, or ping them after, I'm not sure which is best. I think it is possible we just might not be able to get in touch with them, especially any that are topic banned in wikipedia and visit it rarely while logged in, and pinging before might give them a bit more time to find it, on the other hand the RfCs here don't have time limits by which you need to respond. Will think it over, do you have any thoughts on that? Robert Walker (talk) 14:16, 21 July 2016 (UTC)
Yes. I'll create a new section here, ping the endorsers and ask who's willing and eligible to post to the Village Pump. We should do that no more than a few days before the RfC goes up. Did you have a specific date in mind or just whenever you feel ready? Darkfrog24 (talk) 14:33, 21 July 2016 (UTC)
Okay great, sounds good. Any time, around now onwards for a week or two looks good, nothing major on. I'll add my vote to the RfC, see if there is anything else to comment on, later today. Robert Walker (talk) 15:45, 21 July 2016 (UTC)
All right. I moved the mockup out of my userspace so that it'll be clear that it's a shared project and I gave the sample questions funny titles. I'm not sure if they're too informal though. I want to keep it light but not flippant. What do you think? Darkfrog24 (talk) 17:00, 21 July 2016 (UTC)

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Thanks, that's a good idea. I think the titles are absolutely fine, you've got the tone just right. The two links to the proposals and things we can help with in my user space go through a redirect at present. Do you think they are best in my user space or in the same location as the board?

I've just added my option A support to the RfC plus expanded the location section of the proposal. I outline the pilot scheme idea in a bit more detail plus suggest that the question of whether we can do it on Wikipedia rather belongs to the end of stage 2 of the pilot scheme, unless we attract the attention of some knowledgeable and keen admins who can find a way to do it right away. Robert Walker (talk) 23:18, 21 July 2016 (UTC)

I also added a comment to the discussion section there. Both are a little long, two paras, but if you look at the other RfCs here, which tend to be quite leisurely affairs compared to the ones on Wikipedia, I think hopefully they are not of excessive length, what do you think? Robert Walker (talk) 23:24, 21 July 2016 (UTC)

You can move them to the proposal space if you want. I don't think it really makes substantive difference. It just seems neater to me.
I think your take-it-slow plan balances my own let's-get-workin' perspective quite neatly. Do you feel like we're ready to ping the endorsers and ask for a volunteer to do the publicizing? Darkfrog24 (talk) 00:55, 22 July 2016 (UTC)
Right, I'll just sort out the redirect so that it goes to my space, I don't mind where it goes but the redirect is a bit messy (or perhaps you have done that already? Will check after I save this comment). I agree, I think it helps to get it started as a proper RfC. If we were both in total agreement it would be surprising anyway :). I've just added a new section on Goals to the proposal itself, what do you think? I've also updated the Location section and done some more copy editing and small rewrites of my section in the RfC plus added a support to Option B as a later stage after a pilot rather than right away. If that all looks good to you, I'm good to go for you to go ahead with the pinging in preparation for the RfC. Robert Walker (talk) 11:53, 22 July 2016 (UTC)
Have sorted out the redirects now, also done some copy editing of Proposals to help ensure it complies with WM:NOT. Good to go if it looks good to you already, be sure to say if there is anything else you notice. Robert Walker (talk) 12:10, 22 July 2016 (UTC)
@Robertinventor: Pings are done. You want to do the honors and officially start the RfC? Just remove the "nowiki" and "testing" lines from the code.
Also, if you're going to talk about my case in the proposal itself, I have to advise you that the admins do not see themselves as having blocked me for asking questions. However, if you asked them if that was at least an exacerbating factor, you'd probably get a yes. Darkfrog24 (talk) 12:17, 22 July 2016 (UTC)
Okay, great, thanks for doing that. I'm fine doing that, though should we not start the RfC properly once it is in the main space?? Which you suggested would be a day or so into the future? Or am I missing something there. I think as the ones involved in drafting the RfC it's okay for us to edit it with our responses first. I'm not sure about whether we should go as far as to encourage others to add their responses too before it goes live in a place where it is visible to everyone, though it seems totally reasonable to ask if it looks good and ready to go :). I'm fine with doing the honours when the time comes anyway whenever :).
I've edited the mention of you in the Goals section just says that you have "had similar experiences attempting to ask questions that seem to be covered by en:WP:BANEX.". Do edit it as you please to be more accurate, or say what I should say there. Of course if you prefer that I don't mention this in the proposal itself, I'm also happy to just remove the mention or you can, just edit it as you please. And, a minor point, it's sometimes a bit awkward that I don't know whether to refer to you as "he" or "she" - what's the appropriate pronoun? Often you don't need a pronoun but sometimes it is clumsy. This is for the future really, so far it's not been an issue but just now writing the goals section it was a bit awkward, found a way around it, and there always is a way if you prefer not to disclose :). Robert Walker (talk) 13:24, 22 July 2016 (UTC)
Thanks.
I'm pretty sure the RfC is already where it's supposed to be. I followed the instructions pretty closely. But removing "nowiki" from the code around the RfC template will cause Meta-Wiki's software to add it to the list of active RfCs. As for the line about adding early, I think it's okay, but I'll take it out anyway if you think it might cause problems.
I think the RfC is ready to activate. Darkfrog24 (talk) 14:29, 22 July 2016 (UTC)

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Oh, no I don't think they meant a subpage of the proposal, but a subpage of the Requests_for_comment page. All the other RfCs are located there. I suggest we move it over there before we activate it. They say "Add a link to the proposal page or disputed page or create a new subpage requesting comments here" - which would seem to suggest we can put it anywhere, and just link to it, but all the examples are subpages of that page, linked to as [[/... ]], so I think it might be a bit unusual to start it located somewhere else.

And I read it as that we ourselves add the link to the RfC to the main page, I don't think they have automated software to add it for us, unlike in wikipedia. You can see that from the history, that the RfCs are added individually to it by many editors. I'd be inclined to just leave it a short while before activating it, like a day or so, as you suggested below, just in case someone comes in to the discussion with some new insight as a result of your pings. It's also what you say yourself that we'll activate it in the next day or so, not right away. Like, some time tomorrow? Robert Walker (talk) 15:26, 22 July 2016 (UTC)

Oh my gosh. You're right. I completely thought it was supposed to be here.
...any thoughts on using a smaller name? Just "Establish area for topic-banned editors to talk freely and ask questions"? Darkfrog24 (talk) 15:34, 22 July 2016 (UTC)
Yes that would do. We discussed this earlier and came up with "Designated space for editors to give and seek advice about topic bans and other sanctions", so that's another option. I think the title can make a big difference so certainly worth a bit of thought there. "Talk freely" might lead them to think that it includes encouraging them to continue disputes here, so being more specific that they are seeking advice seems a good idea. Robert Walker (talk) 15:39, 22 July 2016 (UTC)
Another thought, if we don't get a volunteer to do the publicizing before it goes live, we could add a section at the end of the RfC with a draft publication notice for anyone to just copy / paste, for that matter could do that anyway and encourage readers to put it into relevant local wikis, and suggest they put a link to their notice in that section once done to help avoid duplication. Just a thought. Robert Walker (talk) 15:43, 22 July 2016 (UTC)
Ah yes. Your name is better for that.
I think "Feel free to publicize this RfC by posting a neutral notice at local Wikis" might be the max. We'll probably get a volunteer in a day or two anyway. Darkfrog24 (talk) 17:38, 22 July 2016 (UTC)

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Oh I see, hadn't thought of it that way. Ed Johnston just said that

You must be referring to this thread at meta. It is likely there must be at least one participant in the meta thread who is not banned here on English Wikipedia, so that person could post a link to it here if they want to

He didn't actually go as far as to say that it is okay for me to ask other people here to do that, though it seemed a natural deduction that I could. Best to keep it minimal and neutral though, especially not give them words to post that I or you drafted. I think you are right there. "Feel free to publicize this RfC by posting a neutral notice at local Wikis" sounds great. I'm going to try adding that to the RfC.

I'm in good standing as an editor on wikipedia apart from this minor topic ban mainly relating to a single page. They can look at my edit history and see that I am very active improving wikipedia in small ways. So I'm not worried that they would block me. I am a bit careful that they might extend my ban period. Which would have the indirect effect that it would be longer before I can join in any discussions of this proposal on wikipedia or any suggestions for setting up boards there. November is close enough it is unlikely that we would complete the pilot phase by then. If they extended it to a year or several years, basically it would put me out of the running for helping with this in wikipedia.

But in the circumstances I think adding this would be okay. I'll just try it and see how it looks. Robert Walker (talk) 17:50, 22 July 2016 (UTC)

Done. I've written it in my own words, so it's not your statement.. [RfC]

Does it look okay? I'd be very very surprised if adding that was a sanctions causing offence what with it being on meta and it's not in any way related to my topic ban or canvassing. I don't think I should ask Ed Johnston about it though, just because he made it very clear that our conversation on this matter is over. Robert Walker (talk) 17:54, 22 July 2016 (UTC)

I had one thought though. We could just mention to I JethroBT that we've taken up the suggestion of an RfC and are about to make it active and ask if he sees any issues with doing that. And mention this question about whether it is okay to add that sentence to the RfC, explain why I can't ask Ed Johnston. Robert Walker (talk) 17:56, 22 July 2016 (UTC)

Yeah, I guess we could do that. It's only been a few hours since I pinged the endorsers this morning. It might be a non-issue. Darkfrog24 (talk) 19:34, 22 July 2016 (UTC)
Yes :). Actually it might be an idea to leave it for a couple of days or so. Even on wikipedia I think many editors probably don't edit it every day, some not for weeks or months at a time, at least editing anyway. You do see the alerts even if not there to edit, only logged on but many probably also don't stay logged in either. Not suggesting we leave it for weeks, but a couple of days might not be a bad idea, depending what happens. Robert Walker (talk) 19:45, 22 July 2016 (UTC)
Well given the time frame listed on the RfC page—two years to timeout vs. Wikipedia's thirty days to timeout—I don't think that should be a problem. But even so it is customary to have the RfC active just before publicizing it rather than just after. We could activate it now, in time for the weekend and then wait for the endorsers.
There is something I feel the need to say. It is hard to read emotions over the Internet. If waiting a few more days just feels better to you, we can do that. I don't want to put this on hold until November but if you feel like you need to, then that's how it is. Darkfrog24 (talk) 21:33, 22 July 2016 (UTC)

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No, nothing, I just feel there's no hurry, we've been working on it for some weeks now, and an extra day or two will make no difference one way or another, if there is anything else to do. I'm a programmer and when I do a new update, it may seem that everything is ready, but leave it another day or two after it is all ready to update and I might well spot something else, and prefer to sort it out before release than after. So it's just like that, I'm in the habit of allowing a bit extra time when something is all ready to launch, if there is no urgency to do it. It tends to have worked well for me when I do that :). No more than that.

I think we are at a good place, and that it is all ready to go. With the pinging, it's like, if we get someone say they are able to publish it, then we know that it can be published to wikipedia as soon as it is launched. Otherwise, we won't know, and it might be that it is some time after it launches before anyone finds out about it on wikipedia, if that is important. On wikipedia a lot can happen in the first few days of an RfC, it can even reach a near consensus by then and someone move to close it.

I suppose there is some background there, come to think of it, a very recent RfC where it was all over pretty much within a day or two. Will collapse this,

[DISCUSSION OF MY TOPIC BAN DELETED IN PREPERATION FOR RFC]

Here they seem to be much more leisurely things as you say. So, probably don't need to worry that it will be all over in the first day or two, which I suppose is my main concern though I hadn't thought that through until now, writing this response.

So, combination of recent bad experiences with an RfC that went off the rails very quickly, and a natural tendency to just wait a bit longer when things are all ready to roll, if there is no urgency.

BTW I don't know what our chances are of setting up this board. I think they are not zero, I think we have at least a small chance of success. I think we've made the very best case we can for it. And then - well whether it actually happens depends on others. You can't do more than your best and I think doing what you can to do something like this has benefits that sometimes you can't see, even if it doesn't work out at all. Though I very much hope it does and I think it has a reasonable chance. Robert Walker (talk) 00:44, 23 July 2016 (UTC)

I'm also very happy with the mockup. I think we have a good proposal here, and we just have to present it to the community and let them make their decision.
From what you're describing of this other RfC and from how you keep saying that you want to work on your talk page MO, I have a recommendation: You don't have to respond to every single person or even every person who says something negative. Remember, you said it all in the proposal itself. If you think someone missed part of it, a single line directing them to the section in which their concern is addressed will probably do it. Darkfrog24 (talk) 03:58, 23 July 2016 (UTC)
Thanks, yes that was exactly what went wrong with that RfC. Yes, that's good advice, and I'll do that.
It will also help that it's not all up to me this time. With that Buddhism RfC one of the problems was that I came into it on my own - the other editors who would have agreed with me had gone, in some cases left wikipedia, or just not taking part in the discussions any more. So, I felt that there was nobody else there to answer these things they said, it was all up to me. So that is partly why I felt I had to answer all their points, because there was nobody else there to do it any more because the others had all gone, given up on the argument as going nowhere, a year earlier and I was the only one left.
I've decided for the future that if I'm involved in anything like that again in wikipedia I need to have others with me for mutual support and to field some of the questions. If not in that situation, I won't attempt it at all. So it will help a lot that you are here to field some of the questions and for support and advice also such as you are giving now. And it will also help that it is a more leisurely kind of RfC here, and I don't feel that if I come back a day later that it will all be settled just because I didn't reply to some important point on the day the RfC opened. So I think it will be okay. If you think I'm saying too much even so, like I'm not giving them enough space to reply. do say on my talk page and I'll just stop or whatever if necessary :). But I'll be careful about that.
One thought I have had since last night. I think it might be an idea to go through this page and remove all mentions of my banned topic. Not the link to the Ed Johnston discussion, that's obviously relevant. But things where I go into detail, like that collapsed section above, just replace it with [DISCUSSION OF MY TOPIC BAN DELETED IN PREPERATION FOR RFC]. We've established that we can talk about our banned topics here. and I think those shared experiences have helped us while developing the proposal and the board mockup. But now it's done we don't need them any more, a bit like taking down the scaffolding once a house is built. And removing them would help make it absolutely clear that this is what it "says on the tin" a board to help topic banned editors in the future and not in any way an attempt to bring attention to our own personal views about our own topic bans and what happened. I think that it will help - even if it is others that are publicizing it on local wikis, not ourselves, that we have done everything we can possibly do to make it not about us.
I've done it above to show the idea, since you've already read it and commented on it. What do you think? Robert Walker (talk) 10:09, 23 July 2016 (UTC)
That's both to protect ourselves against the remotest chance of increased sanctions, and to keep it focused on the board and proposal. And I suggest that in the RfC that we talk in general terms rather than about specifics, as far as possible, only give details as far as it is necessary to explain a point. E.g. if it came up I could say that the reason for the suggestion that editors can delete unhelpful posts from their own timeline is a result of personal experience of similar issues from my own case, probably don't need to say much more than that, instead talk about it hypothetically. I know you've been quite circumspect there, but me less so. And there might be a couple of things you'd want to remove too. Robert Walker (talk) 10:18, 23 July 2016 (UTC)
BTW I'm going to try adding a test disruptive discussion to my proposal, that might be an idea before we open the RfC. See what you think about it. Robert Walker (talk) 10:18, 23 July 2016 (UTC)

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What do you think? Proposals to help ensure it complies with WM:NOT Robert Walker (talk) 10:52, 23 July 2016 (UTC)

I think this proposal is already really, really long. I don't think you can realistically expect that any of the respondents will do more than skim it, and some of them are going to oppose it just because it's long. But this issue actually did come up on that other page, so it's not like you're offering a solution to a problem that no one thinks this board will have.
@Robertinventor: Because someone other than the two of us has now contributed to the RfC, I think we should activate it. Otherwise, we could be accused of giving our friends first access rather than giving it to everyone at the same time. If there is no objection, I'll do it later today. If you want to do the honors, though, go ahead. You're the proposer. Darkfrog24 (talk) 11:17, 23 July 2016 (UTC)
@Darkfrog24: Agreed, done it. Yes I felt as with you that once someone else contributed to it then it was urgent to move it right away. Great to have a contribution so soon. I used the title we agreed on some time back as it seemed "good enough" and we forgot to continue the discussion of a new title idea.
On the proposal, yes, I think it is quite likely to come up in the RfC discussion, unless what I've done is already enough. If someone is concerned about this issue it might interest them enough to read it, if not, it is easily skipped as the link to it is in a collapsed section of the board mockup. And whether or not anyone reads it, it does show we have given the matter some thought at least. I've collapsed part of the example discussion and re-arranged it so the essential points come first and will see if I can trim it any more. The other thing I'm going to do is to go through this page removing mentions of my topic as I think that will help. Robert Walker (talk) 12:06, 23 July 2016 (UTC)
I've just finished sending the notifications. Be advised: the people who were active on that other thread, mostly the ones who posted negative comments, are more likely to be active often on Meta-Wiki, so don't be alarmed if the RfC gets a few negative responses at once. The endorsers were also contacted. I think the title is good. Darkfrog24 (talk) 03:31, 24 July 2016 (UTC)

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Oh glad you said that, I was getting a bit alarmed with the negative comments, though only a couple so far :). We did get several positives as well and it's reasonably evenly balanced. Are my comments okay so far? My last one was rather long and I trimmed it down a lot before anyone replied just now.

I think I've posted enough for today - limiting how much you post a day was one of the things I came up with after that last RfC. After all you are there also to field questions and it seems to be a place where discussions are often slow paced, surely they won't mind if my next reply isn't until tomorrow. What I've said so far is plenty to think about. I've also got lots of off wiki things to do :). But if there is anything I need to fix in what I've said so far, or anything you think is urgent for me to respond to, do say. Robert Walker (talk) 18:48, 24 July 2016 (UTC)

Also just to say, if you ping me, I get it pretty quickly as I often go to wikipedia for one reason, looking for information, and remain logged in Robert Walker (talk) 18:51, 24 July 2016 (UTC)

Ready to go to RfC; we need a volunteer to publicize at the Village Pump[edit]

Hello. You're being contacted because you either endorsed or volunteered on the Idea Lab proposal "IdeaLab/Area for topic banned editors to talk freely about their ban, e.g. to ask questions of experienced wikipedians." This proposal is now ready to go to RfC. Because it will affect the way Wikipedia is run, we need someone to publicize it there.

@Greenrd:@Neotarf:@ישראל משה:@Tokyogirl79:@Spudst3r:@Gsnerd:@Kd3qc:@Imbwiki:@Kusurija:@X2A3Q:

The RfC is here.

We will activate the RfC in a day or so. Would any of you who are in good standing (no blocks or bans) on Wikipedia be willing to post a neutrally worded note and link at the Village Pump? If any of you are familiar with Wikipedias other than the English Wikipedia that use topic bans, please publicize there as well.

Publication notices look like this: Moderator proposal RfC notice They're just a line or two. Darkfrog24 (talk) 12:14, 22 July 2016 (UTC)

Two new sections[edit]

Just to say, I've added a couple of new sections to help clarify some points, as a result of reading the RfC comments so far - realized a some things weren't as clear as I'd hoped.

What do you think anyone, are they okay, any comments? Robert Walker (talk) 15:13, 25 July 2016 (UTC)

I don't think you need to add clarifying sections unless you have reason to think that something is unclear. This proposal is already so long that I don't think we should expect most people to sit down and read it. In my experience "Well you don't have to read the whole thing" doesn't work. People feel like if it's there they have to read it. Especially in an RfC or proposal, people will worry someone might say, "Well you approved of this line here!" about a line they didn't read. Darkfrog24 (talk) 16:57, 25 July 2016 (UTC)
I wish it had occurred to me before, but should you be adding so many sections to the proposal after the endorsements have been made? Sure, everything's timestamped, and I don't think the endorsers would object but... Darkfrog24 (talk) 16:59, 25 July 2016 (UTC)
Oh okay, I've removed the second section as that was new material, about treating banned editors with dignity. I've retained the first one as it was already in the proposal as part of the previous section, I just separated it into a new section with this edit. I've also trimmed it a lot and particularly, removed the mention of my particular experiences as an easy way to trim it down. That was also something I was unsure about, on reflection, indeed I wonder if I should remove the link to my discussion with Ed Johnston from the RfC reply also... Anyway. The old sections I moved to my user space for now.
I hadn't thought about that, about changing it after endorsement, but I see it as a bit like your ESN mockup, as that also is after all part of the proposal too, and we've been working on that together. Others could have joined in too, so to do with helping the proposal take shape. And, so long as there is no material change in what they endorsed - to the extent that it is a different proposal. Perhaps there's another bit to it though, once we've started the RfC should the proposal be more or less frozen or can we still work on it? I think surely we can fix errors, do copy editing, and such like whatever. And RfCs here on meta can last for a long time, so if it was frozen for the duration of the RfC for months, it would be awkward, if it is just for a week or two, easier. Because we are likely to get new ideas as the RfC progresses and it might be that we want to work on the proposal as a result of those ideas, so what do we do if that happens?
Anyway what I've done today in what's left after I removed the new material is mainly to correct some mistakes in what was done before (I previously said that you can't mention the banned topic to anyone including the closing admin, so that was a mistake, it now says you can in principle, though in practice you can't say much to them). Apart from that, it's copy editing and trimming, so that should be okay. The other bit I did since start of the RfC was the section on OTRS which we'd discussed on this talk page but never put anything about it into the proposal itself. If you think anything else that I removed belongs in the proposal do say, the edited new material is here for now removed sections and the old version will be in the history of course. Robert Walker (talk) 17:38, 25 July 2016 (UTC)
I think also this pretty much removes all mention of my banned topic directly or indirectly or through linking except of course in the history which I can't do anything about. As for the link in my recent RfC comment, you couldn't tell what the banned topic was from that as it is only a discussion about whether to publicize this to wikipedia, so come to think of it, I could put that back in as an example perhaps, replacing the example I had before in that section as a safer example to use, which I think would be justifiable. I'll just take a look,see what it looks like... Robert Walker (talk) 17:38, 25 July 2016 (UTC)

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Okay done now. It's essentially the same as before I started, except more clearly written (I think), fixes some mistakes arising from previous misunderstandings I had, and with that example of asking about whether we can publicize this RfC instead of the previous more involved example to do with my own topic ban and a different proposal here. So doesn't interrupt the flow of the reading so much and I also think safer on the remote chance of any issues arising from publicizing on wikipedia if someone does that. Is it okay now? Robert Walker (talk) 17:46, 25 July 2016 (UTC)

Similar Projects[edit]

@Neotarf: and @Darkfrog24: - Neotarf, thanks for adding the list of related topics, to the RfC, but I think it potentially confuses the RfC. One of them is my own alternative proposal which I'm actually very keen on myself, Grants:IdeaLab/Require notification first to encourage editors to attempt to resolve things amicably before reporting them for a ban discussion, but I didn't mention it there because it would be confusing. So there is nothing personal about this.

They are interesting projects. Maybe we can learn from the ideas developed from them, and maybe the projects can borrow from each other in may ways. But they have different objectives and may need different approaches. The problem with putting them right at the head in the RfC text itself is that it might lead to some slight confusion about what the contributors are showing support for. Perhaps they need a similar RfC once you have a clear idea of how to do them, e.g. mockup boards etc?

As an example, the proposal we developed here is for an open transparent board where everything is visible to view, because if you are topic banned and ask about gray area edits, say, and if you make a mistake as a result of a discussion on ESN, it's a plus point and say "sorry I made a mistake, it was in good faith though, see the discussion on ESN where we talked at length and came to the non binding conclusion that we thought it was okay to do it". Also it would work well we think to be able to help each other. And there is no particular reason for anonymity as anyone can easily check that you are topic banned as you have a topic ban notice on your talk page. Well we haven't come across any reason for anonymity yet in the discussions here at least, beyond what you have already in wikipedia that you are not required to disclose your real world name. Privacy could be useful at times, e.g. to ask if it is okay to say something publicly if not sure if it is okay even on the ESN but we haven't yet come across reasons for anonymity on this board.

If you can think of reasons why we might need anonymity on the ESN board, do say, as that would be interesting to know about.

For

- clearly ways to permit anonymity if desired would be paramount.

Your

is also of course closely connected, but I think you are also interested in banned editors not just topic banned editors and that's not so much our focus here. We haven't discussed whether or not the board should also be for banned editors. All of our focus has been on topic banned, in my case at least just because that's what I know about from my own experience. And anyway - it's a proposal for a survey rather than for a new board.

Also another important point, with our proposal here, the aim wasn't to give a place for banned editors to discuss the behaviour of the admins who banned them. The board would be designed differently and function differently I think if that was the aim.

Anyway I've added them all to the "See Also" section of the proposal. If we do mention it on the RfC, I think just a brief mention something like this:

Note: there are related proposals Grants:IdeaLab proposals. This RfC is not about them, but if interested, see the See also section of the proposal.

But not sure about that either. Mainly because editing an RfC once it is in progress is potentially controversial as it mans that all those who have already contributed are seen as voting on the modified RfC rather than the way it was when they voted. Even if it is just a "See also". See en:Wikipedia:Requests_for_comment#Suggestions_for_responding.

I thought it needed discussion at least. This is of course not in any way a comment on the merits of your proposals which I think are good :). Meanwhile I've removed your mention of them on the RfC for now. I think it needs discussion, as I found the RfC confusing to read after your addition. Can reinstate if I've misunderstood something, and on discussion we decide that they should be reinstated.

What do you think @Darkfrog24:? Or anyone else reading this? Robert Walker (talk) 22:48, 25 July 2016 (UTC)

Before I read your post, Robert, I'll say that I think a better place for it would be the talk page of the RfC itself. It is set up to have one.
Instead of reverting your removal of Neotarf's comment, I just moved it to the comments section. That's probably the best place for it. He can delete it himself if he wants. Or it can stay. Darkfrog24 (talk) 22:55, 25 July 2016 (UTC)
Oh, that's fine, sorry I was a bit hamfisted here :). Yes, up to him, or her at that point because it is just a comment. The issue was with editing the RfC not with the content. Robert Walker (talk) 22:59, 25 July 2016 (UTC)
@Neotarf: - I'm absolutely fine with it as a comment. Thanks! Robert Walker (talk) 23:02, 25 July 2016 (UTC)
Okay, I read it. Neotarf, I agree with Robert that doing more than one proposal in the same RfC would probably confuse people. I've even argued with him against including a sub-proposal to this one in this RfC, and he put a ton of work into it (it's a method for keeping threads from devolving into fights). If you think any of those other proposals are ready to go to RfC, why not take them there? Darkfrog24 (talk) 23:05, 25 July 2016 (UTC)
@Darkfrog24: Sorry for the confusion, that was just me pinging Neotarf, to say I'm fine with it as a comment. I do confuse things sometimes don't I! Not intentionally, I don't think he has responded yet. Robert Walker (talk) 23:10, 25 July 2016 (UTC)
@Robert Walker, @Darkfrog24, sure, move the comment, I don't mind. But you are limiting this to topic bans? So someone comes along with an iban question, you going to tell them to take a hike? Or if they have a 1-way i-ban, tell them, oh so sorry, you have to take that to the 2-way i-ban forum, or what if it's AE, or what if they get indeffed by an admin, do they have to start their own bulletin board. No, the focus needs to be broader, there's not that many topic bans anyhow, but huge numbers of people don't understand sanctions or what to do when they run into a snag. Oh, and on WP I don't use gender, "they" should do; if "singular they" was good enough for Shakespeare, it's good enough for me. Or, wait, what about this, we could just all converge on NYB's talk page and see if he brings out any tea. —Neotarf (talk) 00:26, 26 July 2016 (UTC)
I don't see it that way, no. Someone with a question about an interaction ban would be welcome. I also see this as a place where accusers and people considering making accusations could go to work out details in advance, per the mockup. However, I've got to acknowledge that once we open this thing up, it's going to take on a life of its own. There's the plan and then there's what the community will actually do when it gets its hands on it. Gotta accept that going in.
I'm sorry. I could have sworn your user page said you identified as male. Perhaps I'm thinking of someone else. Darkfrog24 (talk) 00:34, 26 July 2016 (UTC)
People have sometimes called me one or the other, I have always been fairly aggressive in asking them to change it, but I'm a bit lethargic at the moment.
You've already got user talk pages and article talk pages, and various noticeboards for BLP, 3RR, COI..if you can't settle it there, one more page isn't going to help. The problem is with the rules, that if you talk about a topic ban in the wrong venue, it could be interpreted as a violation of the topic ban; no, you don't want to rehash stuff that will never get solved, you want to understand the procedure so you can move forward. You do understand though that most self-respecting people would never ask to have a ban lifted, they would just make a sock. —Neotarf (talk) 00:47, 26 July 2016 (UTC)
Maybe if the topic ban system becomes less opaque, we will have fewer socks. Darkfrog24 (talk) 01:24, 26 July 2016 (UTC)

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@Neotarf: We just haven't discussed it, that's all. We come to this with different backgrounds. I don't have any experience at all of bans and don't know what it involves. As @Darkfrog24: says it will surely take a life of its own. I think it's a case of focusing on one thing to do it well, and then broaden out from there. Yes there might be boards focusing on different aspects later on, not lots of them, or subboards or whatever. Yes, sounds from what you say, as if banned editors have similar questions, of not understanding what their sanctions involve, or where to go next, if so then it might work well for them also. We have discussed blocked editors and it's one of my reasons for saying we should start on meta, that we can set it up to be available for blocked editors right away, and that would also be an advantage for banned editors too. I.e. if they need a similar solution and treatment it would belong here I think. Robert Walker (talk) 00:47, 26 July 2016 (UTC)

Well, with these blocks you're supposed to appeal them on a talk page, but what if they lock your talk page? Or you're supposed to email them, but you know they don't answer the emails. You can't even tell if they received it. On and on. And you wonder why people haunt Jimbo's talk page for years on end. In the end though it's like bailing out a canoe with a hole in the bottom. somewhere I have made a proposal for an expert to analyze the process, that's what is needed. —Neotarf (talk) 00:59, 26 July 2016 (UTC)

Also, for clarity, it's not intended to influence any of the wikipedia processes of discipline or resolution of disputes, it's just about understanding. E.g. one question might well be whether you can talk about your banned topic in such and such a situation or on such and such a board. But not a place where you go to change that policy. If you want to appeal, it would be about finding out what the process of appeal is, maybe helping people prepare for an appeal if they have a chance or think they have a chance. But not pre-judging the appeal. Informational only and non binding.m And I see it as working with local wiki rules and guidelines in the sense that it's only here to talk about the bans, on a meta level but not at all about evading them or advising people how to evade them in the local wikis. So if it did cover bans would be the same for those. Good point, to make that clear. E.g. if someone asks for advice on how to set up a sock puppet without being detected, I think just told this is not an appropriate question to ask here. Does that make sense? Robert Walker (talk) 01:05, 26 July 2016 (UTC)

Sorry posted while you were commenting, not sure how I missed it. Anyway - yes that does sound very similar to the situation for topic banned editors. And also for blocked editors which we have already discussed and is definitely part of it already. Robert Walker (talk) 01:07, 26 July 2016 (UTC)
If asking for help and information is made difficult to impossible, or if you need community support, sympathy,just a listening ear, I see that as an important part also. Some who come to it may be upset and distressed and scared also and they may just need someone to listen to them - even if they don't really have a question or not right away, I think that's also part of it myself. And to treat them with dignity and respect. I did a section about that for the proposal but @Darkfrog24: thought it was too much to add it in, and on reflection I agree especially as the RfC is already started, not a good time to make substantial changes to the proposal. But I've got it in my user space and will copy / paste it here as a new section on the talk page rather than the proposal itself, for comments. Robert Walker (talk) 01:10, 26 July 2016 (UTC)

Publicization[edit]

Putting this as a separate thread to avoid confusion. @Darkfrog24: Meant to say, thanks for adding the Publicization section. Good idea, and looks great. I see you were able to add it to one local wiki, great.

I've been wondering if there is anywhere else I could add it myself. I could add it to Wikquotes and wiktionary. What do you think? My topic ban on wikipedia wouldn't apply there. Robert Walker (talk) 23:11, 25 July 2016 (UTC)

I'm going to answer this on the RfC's talk page. Darkfrog24 (talk) 23:20, 25 July 2016 (UTC)

Draft ideas for future[edit]

These are ideas I drafted out for the future based on reflections on the ongoing RfC. But @Darkfrog24: thinks discussions like this are premature - and I can see the point. So I've moved them from here to my user space. Can return to them after the RfC is over.

User:Robertinventor/Draft ideas for future based on reflections on the RfC

Okay done is this okay? Robert Walker (talk) 22:08, 1 August 2016 (UTC)

I think your own userspace is the right place for this for now. Good idea. Darkfrog24 (talk) 00:08, 2 August 2016 (UTC)
Great :) Robert Walker (talk) 00:22, 2 August 2016 (UTC)

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Just to say - I think the topics in those sections are very important - to support blocked editors, human dignity for the topic banned and blocked as one of our main objectives, that some of the people who come here may be wikibullied or have genuine grounds for appeal, and whether or not, they need to be able to discuss whether they have grounds for appeal, and the idea that it might well be useful to have email support complementing the board for various reasons including support for blocked editors and for editors that are genuinely in need of help but for various reasons find it hard to comply with WM:NOT in online discussions on the board - and may find email much easier.

The only reason for removing those sections from this talk page was so that there isn't any suggestion that we are changing the proposal while discussion is in progress. When the RfC is closed it needs tp be clear what everyone was voting on.

Also perhaps they go into a bit too much detail at this early stage. The ideas are still there for future discussion depending on the outcome of this RfC. Some of them might well not be relevant depending on the outcome. E.g. the ideas there for solving particular problems on wikipedia are only relevant to our discussions if it is implemented in local wikipedias. Robert Walker (talk) 01:07, 2 August 2016 (UTC)

Grants to improve your project[edit]

Greetings! The Project Grants program is currently accepting proposals for funding. The deadline for draft submissions is tommorrow. If you have ideas for software, offline outreach, research, online community organizing, or other projects that enhance the work of Wikimedia volunteers, start your proposal today! Please encourage others who have great ideas to apply as well. Support is available if you want help turning your idea into a grant request.

The next open call for Project Grants will be in October 2016. You can also consider applying for a Rapid Grant, if your project does not require a large amount of funding, as applications can be submitted anytime. Feel free to ping me if you need help getting your proposal started. Thanks, I JethroBT (WMF) 22:49, 1 August 2016 (UTC)

Documentation of diffs in the proposal since the RfC opened[edit]

First apologies, until it was pointed out to me, I didn't realize that you have to take care with editing the text pf a proposal during an RfC on it. So here is documentation for those diffs.

First, here is the diff between the original version (at the start of the RfC) and the text as it is now.

  • Removal of "any issues with the behaviour of other editors"

The proposal originally included the phrase: "any issues with the behaviour of other editors and misunderstandings that may have arisen." in the opening sentence of the section "What is the problem you're trying to solve?" However, during the RfC discussion, it became clear that the "any issues" there was so general it could be interpreted as meaning many things that would not fall within the scope of the new board as we envision it.

I was referring there specifically to "Find out whether you can appeal or raise the matter at a higher level in Wikipedia, and if not, to be told clearly that you can't do anything and why." where sometimes editors might wish to appeal on the basis of wikibullying or similar, with evidence. I could add a sentence saying that, but it seems best not to given the circumstances that the aim is to make only changes to the proposal that are absolutely necessary during the RfC. So it was better to just remove the phrase altogether.

  • Details of my question about whether I can publicize the RfC

Originally, this section did not go into much detail (in the collapsed section). As a result of the RfC discussion, it became clear that more detail was needed which I supplied.

  • Other changes

Compared with the original version, there is more emphasis on how editors can help each other and the value of human contact. That was just a result of recent personal experience by email of how this helps people. It is done now, so can't remove it, but the original version of the RfC didn't emphasize this so much.

  • Copy editing

I do frequent copy editing of anything I write just to make it easier to read, and did that for the RfC after the RfC started. No changes of meaning AFAIK. Rephrasing, moving text around, some new sentences which I felt made the text clearer.

Discussion of this[edit]

That's about it I think. Any comments do say. I won't be making any more substantial changes. If there are any more changes that absolutely have to be made, such as the "any issues with the behaviour of other editors", I will indicate them clearly with strikeout. Robert Walker (talk) 12:09, 2 August 2016 (UTC)