Grants talk:IdeaLab/Require Apologies

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Concerns[edit]

I like the spirit of the proposal, but my concern is that making apology an official part of process would diminish the sincerity and meaning of the act. Keep the ideas coming. Rhoark (talk) 15:43, 12 March 2015 (UTC)

Thank you for @Rhoark: for your reflection. Here are my thoughts. When I small child hurts another person, we tell them to apologize. While a required or requested apology is not as good as a spontaneously given one, it is better than nothing. Somehow, in the cyber world, that basic courtesy has been lost. One hope is that we might return apology to a norm. People might voluntarily apologize rather than submit to the arbitration process. When a situation has gotten so far out of hand that it needs arbitration, then I'm less concerned about sincerity as making sure people accept responsibility. The first step in making an apology is taking responsibility for what they've done. If they are unwilling to accept responsibility for the violation that the wikipedia governing committee has determined they've committed, then they don't belong in the group because they do agree with the governing body and they'll do it again. In this cyber world, everything is documented. So, the facts are there. In essence, we'd be asking people to plead guilty after being found guilty. While it's true that there can be miscarriages of justice, we aren't talking about murder. People can use the appeal process and go to the media if the governing group comes down with inappropriate findings.


I generally support the idea, though the need to make an apologise is already in practice. E.g. in en-wp (en:WP:CIV) it is already mentioned as a form of dispute resolution: "If you have a sneaky feeling you owe someone an apology, offer the apology. Apologising doesn't hurt you". In ru-wp this is also the case and the rules are even more specific (ru:ВП:ЭП): "For some editors the apologies may be very important, therefore sincere apologize is often the key to the conflict resolution. If some editor has made unpolite actions or remarks he is strongly recommended to apologize to his opponent". Moreover I can hardly imagine a situation when someone will be blocked after apologies. So anyone who is polite enough and moderate has the possibility (and even is encouraged by the rules) to do so. The problem is that there is no way to force the uncivil editor to apologize except for make him understand that the only other option is to blocked. In the last stand only blocking a user is an effective way of forcing him to stop uncivil behavior (including making an excuse). And to do so some force is obviously inevitable.--Abiyoyo (talk) 23:59, 15 March 2015 (UTC)

Thank you @Abiyoyo: for your insight and links. The wikipedia pages on apology you linked to (and the links in the links) could use some work, in my opinion, but I appreciate you bringing them to my attention. What I am proposing goes beyond them. I propose requiring an apology before someone can be unblocked, so it's an add on to a ban or sanction. The ban or sanction continues after the specified time period until the person apologizes. Beauxlieux (talk) 15:53, 17 March 2015 (UTC)

  • I see what you mean. Yes, I agree, that this can be important. Some say that incencere apologies are bad, but i think they are ok. One have to cross his or her pride and make formal apologies in order to show that he or she is part of a community, respects it and subdues himself to it. Formal apologies are important as an articulation of loyality to the community policies, including civility policies. Sincere apologies are better than formal, but formal are better than no apologies at all.--Abiyoyo (talk) 18:44, 1 April 2015 (UTC)

I think we all (even the men, I'd bet) support having a friendlier, more polite community. That said, if everyone is forced to apologize then does it not lessen the meaning? A freely given apology would lose its weight, and you would be unable to tell if an apology was sincere or was simply to get unblocked. Also, blocks, sanctions, and bans are not used as a punishment for someone who's done wrong (en:WP:NOPUNISH); they're used to prevent further inappropriate actions. The user is allowed to edit after a period of time has elapsed, or if they've shown that they want to begin editing in a more constructive way. I don't see how a forced apology shows that the user has changed, or even that they've taken responsibility for what they've done. I definitely approve of more apologies, I just think forcing it would make no one happy in the end. But it would be interesting to see what happens. Greedo8 (talk) 17:41, 30 March 2015 (UTC)


Everything you have said here is the definition of an academy, and Wikipedia is by definition NOT an academy. By academy I mean a central authority designates who is wrong and keeps a record of punishments and rejections so people can never find acceptance even if they clean up their act. Wikipedia is decentralized and punishments are not a part of the plan. Jewels Vern (talk) 00:26, 30 March 2015 (UTC)

@Jewels Vern: Let me clarify that I am talking about situations where sanctions or bans are enacted. Beauxlieux (talk) 21:35, 30 March 2015 (UTC)

Based on @La salonniere:'s comment with their endorsement: "We should try to make disagreeing parties face one another civilly before doling out bans." I think expanding the scope would be good. While I was proposing requiring apologies as a component of a ban, but encouraging them in general would be a good idea: pre-ban as well as as part of a ban. And, it may be if they are encouraged, then there would be less arbitration. Beauxlieux (talk) 01:32, 31 March 2015 (UTC)

Virtual Flowers![edit]

@Wordreader: regarding your comment in your endorsement: "Perhaps a simple system of sending virtual flowers of apology would engender appreciation (or any benevolent token that would demonstrate contrition). People can do that now, but they have to search Wikimedia Commons for a good image to use and paste it into a conversation without appropriate font support. A simple system to enhance the process would be nice." I think that's an awesome idea! I have no idea how to make that happen but I'm thinking I will add designers and developers wanted to this idea. Who'd you like to participate? Beauxlieux (talk) 02:53, 1 April 2015 (UTC)

Preventative Education & Step-by-step habits[edit]

@DrMel: regarding your comment in your endorsement: "Finding ways to give people step-by-step habits for trying to make amends after they've been uncivil should help make it easier form him to do so in other domains of life. As part of the process, I'd love to see more preventative education given to users to define what civil and uncivil comments look like, and how to determine whether they're going to risk some consequence by crossing the lines they know are there." You bring up a good perspective. The wikipedia pages on apology cited above definitely need a lot of work. That would be a place to start. Are you interested in signing on to this project? Beauxlieux (talk) 03:03, 1 April 2015 (UTC)

Wrong Venue?[edit]

I admittedly am not fully sure how this whole grant system works, so I may be barking up the wrong tree here, but I don't see why a proposal like this would require a grant. What would the money even be used on? Isn't this more of a en:wp:Village Pump sort of thing? --Bosstopher (talk) 18:14, 15 March 2015 (UTC)

@Bosstopher: I don't fully understand how the whole grant system works either, but I think you're probably right. I'm very new here and was not aware of the en:wp:Village Pump. WikiMedia was asking specifically about promoting women's participation with the Idea Lab Inspire Campaign so that's what got me thinking. I do think it would be great to get some funding to explore how adding an apology to the process might work and to lobby support to get it adopted, since such a requirement would be a major cultural shift, but since most things are done by volunteers here, it's probably a long shot for funding. I am glad I put it up here though because I've gotten some good feedback, including yours! Beauxlieux (talk) 15:37, 17 March 2015 (UTC)

Hi everyone. Have a read of Grants:IdeaLab/How it works#Funding and you'll see that not all IdeaLab ideas require or are seeking funding! In fact, when you create an idea, it's optional to turn it into a grant proposal, but many ideas (like this one) are things that can be done by the community without a grant. --Skud (WMF) (talk) 23:38, 17 March 2015 (UTC)

Please think again[edit]

Forcing people to make insincere apologies or go through some sort of quasi-religious confession and absolution ritual is demeaning and accomplishes nothing. Given the current overwhelming dominance of young, male users on WP, this could easily be used against women, by capricious admins. See also recent Wikipediocracy thread:

Explain clearly but succinctly why your ban or block should be overturned – such as what lessons you have learned from the block or ban, how you would conduct yourself differently if unblocked or unbanned, or why you believe the block or ban was unfair or erroneous. Please remember that multiple appeals on the same grounds may be summarily dismissed.

A struggle session was a form of public humiliation used by the Communist Party of China in the Mao Zedong era to shape public opinion and to humiliate, persecute, and/or execute political rivals and class enemies. In general, the victim of a struggle session was forced to admit to various crimes before a crowd of people who would verbally and physically abuse the victim until he or she confessed. Struggle sessions were often held at the workplace of the accused, but were sometimes conducted in sports stadiums where large crowds would gather if the target was famous enough. Struggle session

This really creeps me out. Surely there is a better way to try to accomplish the same thing. —Neotarf (talk) 18:28, 1 April 2015 (UTC)

@Neotarf: Can you suggest a better way?

The potential for abuse is certainly an issue, especially when the governance is suspect.

What wording would you propose for the appeal wording you quote above?

I don't see that the struggle session example is relevant because, for one thing, in wikipedia, the evidence is available for everyone to see.

Thank you for bringing the Ban Appeals Reform to this discussion. Beauxlieux (talk) 17:38, 2 April 2015 (UTC)

There have been a number of proposals for admin reform, but none has gotten any traction. My current line of thinking is based on this. Instead of leaving the question of what is offensive up to a vote of the community, this proposal would specify the type of edits that violate policy and have them quietly removed by individuals who are trained to recognize harassment. —Neotarf (talk) 01:50, 12 April 2015 (UTC)