Meta:Requests for CentralNotice adminship/SPatton (WMF) (removal)

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SPatton (WMF) (removal)[edit]

Ending 29 March 2020 18:23 (UTC)

With regret, I must request the removal of CentralNotice admin rights from User:SPatton (WMF), for abusing those userrights by deliberately violating the CentralNotice requirements that were established by community RFC. The user, in contravention of the requirement for community consensus in advance of running non-fundraising banners, launched the campaign titled Programmatic_2020_mlWW_nonFR, immediately after being informed of these requirements, and did not even create a proposal page for the campaign before implementing it. Regardless of the merits of the individual campaign, the proposal phase is mandatory for good reason. (In this case in particular, many issues were found with the banner which needed to be fixed after the launch.)

The user appears to have has no intention of following community decisions regarding CentralNotice use at any point in the future. If I'm wrong about this, I invite SPatton to say so, and I will withdraw the removal request.

It seems clear to me that complete disregard for consensus is grounds for removal.

A note: This user is also an employee of the Wikimedia Foundation. It is reasonable, in my opinion, to take this into account, in the interest of keeping good relations with our support organization. However, it does not excuse everything. This would not be the first time the community has had to remove userrights from staff due to abuse, and I doubt it will be the last.

--Yair rand (talk) 18:23, 22 March 2020 (UTC)

  • Keep Keep your [request filer] actions look deliberately uncooperative. If we (the community) can't act like adults, I understand why the WMF doesn't want to seriously engage with us. – Ajraddatz (talk) 18:39, 22 March 2020 (UTC)
  • @Yair rand: Could you please provide a link to the RfC you are talking about? I'm having some trouble finding it. * Pppery * it has begun 18:58, 22 March 2020 (UTC)
    @Pppery: Sorry, I should have included a link in the original post: Requests_for_comment/Global_banners#Require_consensus_for_non-fundraising_banners. --Yair rand (talk) 19:00, 22 March 2020 (UTC)
  • Remove Remove The actions shown here demonstrate clear abuse of CentralNotice administrator rights, given the clear consensus linked tio above. * Pppery * it has begun 19:12, 22 March 2020 (UTC)
  • What is the campaign titled "Programmatic_2020_mlWW_nonFR"? Where can I see it? And can you link to the discussions about this campaign? I have to admit I know nothing about the Central Notice discussion places for getting consensus about them. --MF-W 19:18, 22 March 2020 (UTC)
    • Google plus one.svg, I really want to hear from SPatton. I can understand how the procedural mistakes could have been made but I want to know that they will get consensus in the future. --Rschen7754 19:21, 22 March 2020 (UTC)
    @MF-Warburg: Ordinarily, proposals for CentralNotices are added to CentralNotice/Request. The issue here is that no proposal was created for the campaign. The campaign is the ongoing coronavirus-related message that can be viewed here. --Yair rand (talk) 19:24, 22 March 2020 (UTC)
    Also, there was some discussion at Wikimedia_Forum#Message_to_readers_from_Wikimedia_Foundation, after the campaign was created. --Yair rand (talk) 19:27, 22 March 2020 (UTC)
    @MF-Warburg: that notice is a bit hard to read using the standard process, as it is a collection of javascript that is assembling the message at runtime. You can see what it looks like by using this link though. — xaosflux Talk 19:07, 25 March 2020 (UTC)
  • Maybe user:SPatton (WMF) could just ease the tension a bit by linking how the WMF has consulted the community and engaged them (in whatever limited way) in the crafting of this message. I don't think removing rights is the right approach either way, but we may want to have a conversation how to effectively engage the community in this type of messaging. Yair's suggested approach is probably not the most helpful way to accomplish that. As a sidenote: there is no urgency here, so let's keep that in mind. I'm fine if the response takes a few days. I want to be respectful for everyone's time and limited focus. Effeietsanders (talk) 20:34, 22 March 2020 (UTC)
  • I would like to preface my comment by stating that I have removed userrights from WMF staff members in the past, and have no problems with the community taking action against WMF staffers for blatant abuse of tools. However, I do not see a legitimate case to remove SPatton's userrights . Many of us do not believe that the CentralNotice should have been implemented, but that is not the issue here. Evidently, by the fact that the CentralNotice's message is written by Katherine Maher, the banner was placed into effect with the support of the WMF hierarchy. The WMF hosts the servers, pushes the updates, pays their employees, and operates Wikimedia Foundation projects. Though we are the creators and maintainers of content, they have the final say on changes to how the reader views our projects, and they are not reliant on community consensus to do take such actions. In these times, with the Coronavirus's effects changing much of how people live their daily lives, it is reasonable for the Wikimedia Foundation to seek to inform readers about how we're doing. It seems as though you'd prefer a month-long community consultation, multiple rounds of polling on multiple projects, and the ensuing endless discussion over the correct wording. That is inefficient, and the WMF has every right (and, arguably, a responsibility) to take quicker action than our community processes allow. That's one of the primary reasons a corporate entity operating Wikimedia is better than giving community processes complete control: efficiency and the ability to act with haste when haste is necessary. That's the same reason why most countries have a single executive official, like a president or prime minister, as a legislative body will take too long to react to issues which require some degree of speed. That is not to say that criticism of WMF actions is always misplaced; it has been, and will be, justified, but this is not an instance where that is necessary. There is no abuse of tools here, it is simply a WMF staffer taking actions on behalf of the WMF, and I see no reason to think otherwise. As such, I believe no action is necessary; if you want the banner removed, please contact the people who put it into place and hope they heed your argument. Removing their userrights will not help, and it is not an available option for recourse. Regards, Vermont (talk) 22:18, 22 March 2020 (UTC)
    @Vermont: Strictly speaking, the required comment period is seven days. The time from first creation of the banner by SPatton until its launch was over two days already, and I suspect it was already in the process of being written before that. I strongly disagree that the WMF has the final say on the content of the CentralNotice. --Yair rand (talk) 22:59, 22 March 2020 (UTC)
  • Keep Keep per Vermont --DannyS712 (talk) 22:27, 22 March 2020 (UTC)
  • Keep Keep Removing user rights from Foundation staff members by community can be useful, and can be done. However, it can be useful only if the particular staff member selects the tool on their own. This case doesn't look so. The banner/message was clearly discussed inside the Foundation, and it doesn't represent Sam's opinion, but Foundation's opinion. As such, it doesn't make any sense to demote Sam. Also, +1 to Vermont. --Martin Urbanec (talk) 22:39, 22 March 2020 (UTC)
  • Keep Keep Errm, I know that this user kinda overboard with stepping over the consensus, but, what's the point of removing the rights from staff member? They can still get it back by 'decree' anyway. I'd just suggest that Sam Patton don't ignore people that try to talk to them. Its just frustrating when people trying to talk to you and just get ignored, it creates tension and people tend to be impolite if you keep ignoring them.--AldnonymousBicara? 22:44, 22 March 2020 (UTC)
  • Note: Hey all. It's late on a Sunday evening for everyone including Sam and the rest of the team so just wanting to take a moment to acknowledge this thread and to say that there will a response in the next couple of days or so. Seddon (WMF) (talk) 23:00, 22 March 2020 (UTC)
    Thank you. As Effeietsanders noted above, there is no urgency here. --Yair rand (talk) 23:03, 22 March 2020 (UTC)
  • Keep Keep Sure the WMF was bold in this action to reassure our readers. Sure things sometimes need adjustment after they have gone live. Not appropriate to attempt to penalize someone for carrying out what they were instructed to do. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 05:06, 23 March 2020 (UTC)
    @Doc James: Userrights assignment and removal are not systems of reward and punishment. If a user can't be trusted to limit use of the tools to where appropriate, they shouldn't have the tools. --Yair rand (talk) 15:53, 23 March 2020 (UTC)
    User:Yair rand we are in a global pandemic. This is an exceptional situation and is no longer life as usual for anyone within my working world. Invoking IAR for this banner was IMO appropriate. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 16:02, 23 March 2020 (UTC)
    @Doc James: If this was an invocation of IAR due to very unusual circumstances, I'd accept that. However, it's clear that this wasn't, and that the intention is to act similarly in the future. (As I mentioned at the top, if SPatton states that I'm wrong about this, I'll withdraw the request.) --Yair rand (talk) 16:07, 23 March 2020 (UTC)
    Okay will give them time to comment. Best Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 16:15, 23 March 2020 (UTC)
  • Keep Keep No grounds for removal at this point in time. Vermont, as per usual, is the voice of reason. ~riley (talk) 06:04, 23 March 2020 (UTC)
  • Keep Keep Moot as if we removed, WMF can still apply it as per decree. And they are just implementing WMF directions, unfair to point to them this time. Per Vermont, Aldnonymous too.Camouflaged Mirage (talk) 09:11, 23 March 2020 (UTC)
  • Hi all,

@Yair rand: thank you for inviting me to respond. I appreciate the regard you hold for our processes and how seriously you take the responsibility of CentralNotice adminship. I’ve been on the fundraising team for 5 years, and share a feeling of responsibility for how the platform is used.

Through my role as a web developer and fundraising campaign manager at WMF, I’ve gotten the chance to support some of the programmatic (non-fundraising) initiatives that utilize CentralNotice. But this is one of the first non-fundraising campaigns for which I managed the content execution and deployment. I have deep respect for the centrality of the community in our movement. This is a learning experience that will help me be better at my job.

I regret the disappointment and frustration that this campaign has caused for some members of our community, because the Foundation’s intention with the banner was precisely the opposite: to express a note of stability and support in a moment of anxiety and fear.

We did not intend to distract Wikipedia readers; we wanted to get ahead of any concern that our readers may have as to the immediate stability of the platform. And we wanted to take a brief moment to highlight the truly amazing work of the thousands of volunteers who are serving the millions of people coming to Wikipedia to get clear, updated information about the COVID-19 pandemic.

We set this campaign to run for one week, serving a single impression, at ‘normal’ priority. After that initial impression, readers would continue to see any other programmatic campaign enabled without any further disruption.

Just prior to the campaign going live, notices were sent to the Wikimedia Forum, Babylon, Wikimedia-l, the village pump on the English Wikipedia and the CentralNotice talk page. That resulted in translation into 26 languages.

As soon as the message went up, we began to incorporate feedback from the communities and colleagues, revising portions of the message so that it better reflected the principles of our movement and did a better job of inclusivity for all readers around the world.

These edits we received from the communities made the message better. The developmental tips I received from my colleagues made it more accessible.

I don’t pretend that the message was, or is, perfect. And the precedent of community oversight is one that I hold dear. We moved quickly on this message because we strongly felt that time was of the essence, and that the Foundation needed to acknowledge its role as providers of infrastructure to the volunteers who make Wikipedia such a valuable resource, and to the readers who benefit from that value.

The work that I do for fundraising, on behalf of WMF and the movement, is a privilege. I truly value the open dialog. SPatton (WMF) (talk) 21:35, 23 March 2020 (UTC)

Thank you, SPatton (WMF). Just to be clear, can we reasonably assume that any (non-fundraising) CentralNotice campaigns you create in the future will follow the required processes? --Yair rand (talk) 17:50, 24 March 2020 (UTC)
WMF owns this website and they are free to do whatever they see fit in this domain (and Special:CentralAuth-grouped wikis) whatever the community consensus is (in theory), so this discussion is quite moot (because WMF can simply re-grant the permission using their supreme power). However, I sort of think that it would be nice of WMF to commit to follow established community consensus on "requiring consensus for non-FR CNs". — regards, Revi 13:15, 24 March 2020 (UTC) [This is a mere comment and not a vote to keep or remove. — regards, Revi 09:56, 25 March 2020 (UTC)]
@SPatton (WMF): Thanks for your response. I appreciate the time pressure and the fact that you're new to this. I am myself unconvinced that this banner was helpful (I think we get overwhelmed with everyone trying to reassure us - it gets lost in the noise) and maybe even counter productive (as I also mentioned elsewhere: I dont think reassuring was needed, and doing it mostly emphasized there was apparently a justified need for concern) - but that is besides the point here. What I was mostly displeased with, is that the message and especially the first paragraph seemed to be sent on behalf of the community. That is especially painful if the community is insufficiently consulted. I hope we can do better on that in the future. Even a few hours notice will probably give you more input than nothing - but realistically we all know these messages get often drafted at least 12-24h before deploying. Hopefully that will give some opportunity to take off the sharp edges. I do agree that the WMF does not necessarily have to wait for explicit community consensus when there's time pressure, but it would be desirable to at least establish that there's no broad objection against the message. Effeietsanders (talk) 23:55, 24 March 2020 (UTC)
  • Keep Keep per Ajraddatz--Turkmen talk 20:18, 24 March 2020 (UTC)
  • Keep Keep as this was clearly an action taken as the server owners, not a rogue usage. Notably, I don't really agree with how this reader-facing message was pushed out using CN to only a single project (enwiki) without more discussion on enwiki first - but recognize that this was the action of the foundation and was clearly labeled as such to readers. — xaosflux Talk 14:29, 25 March 2020 (UTC)
  • Keep Keep Per Assume good faith. Nieuwsgierige Gebruiker (talk) 15:29, 25 March 2020 (UTC)
    There's no evidence that Yair rand didn't assume good faith. This is a nomination based on actions, not assumptions. * Pppery * it has begun 21:54, 25 March 2020 (UTC)
  • Keep Keep --𐐎ℹ𝕜ⅈ𝕭𝒂𝕪ⅇ𝕣 👤💬 18:33, 25 March 2020 (UTC)
  • Keep Keep This appears to be a case of a user asking someone's rights to be removed due to a (at worst) first-time mistake. I don't agree with that. Leaderboard (talk) 09:31, 26 March 2020 (UTC)
  • Shall we close this discussion early? --MF-W 12:38, 26 March 2020 (UTC)
  • That would only call into question, and therefore weaken the validity, of Meta:Snowball. ~riley (talk) 00:26, 29 March 2020 (UTC)
  • I was hoping for a reaction from the proposer. --MF-W 22:36, 29 March 2020 (UTC)
What the WMF self-praise banner looks like in full.
  • Remove Remove Katherine Maher from the office for one more community communication desaster. It's not the small employee's fault, but the leaders attitude, that is broken and estranged from the volunteers who are working unpaid to earn them the thousands of Dollars on their paycheck. --SI 18:50, 26 March 2020 (UTC)
    This kind of random personal attack is rather unhelpful. If you disagree with how things are done, please focus on improving them together, and making constructive suggestions. Just calling for metaphorical heads to roll will never accomplish real change. Effeietsanders (talk) 04:13, 29 March 2020 (UTC)

X mark.svg Not done The request does not succeed. --MF-W 22:36, 29 March 2020 (UTC)