Requests for comment/Cross-wiki discrimination

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The following request for comments is closed. The request for comment period is over.

A tension has happened between Persian and Arabic Wikipedia and requires your attention. Sorry for being too long but my request in nutshell is that a user in the Arabic Wikipedia has called Persian Wikipedia editors "racist" and he has not been blocked in Arabic Wikipedia due to being "valuable."

What happened in details:
Persian and Arabic both use the same writing system, although with some differences. One of the most important differences is for Yaa. In Persian, this letter is written as "ی" while in Arabic it is written with two dots in beneath, i.e. "ي." Using this character interchangeably is obviously wrong (it's like writing "Francais" instead of "Français" in French), and a detailed explanation on this issue can be found here. I'm a crat and sysop in Persian Wikipedia, where we have used an abuse filter to prevent adding ي to the articles of that wiki.

Persian Wikipedia editors understand Arabic because of the general Islamic background (off-topic: Muslims usually have to do their rituals in Arabic). However, the opposite case does not hold often. One of the users, named Elph, active in both the Persian and Arabic Wikipedias, knows both languages in near-native level and has been a very active editor in our Wiki until he was banned for two months because of sock-puppetry. Since then, he became active in Arabic Wikipedia. He has told us that he suggested to Egyptian Arabic Wikipedia (arz:) editors to create 16K articles for them via bot for one condition: If they changed the title of "Persian Gulf" article to "Arabian Gulf"; something that was rejected by the local editors.

I accidentally saw a comment by him in Arabic Wikipedia. He said Persian Wikipedia prevents using "ي" due to "racism" in this wiki and brought example a Persian Wikipedia article about "Iranian cultural heritages which are claimed by others." I made a block request because of libel and from my own experience, these kind of libels usually cause long-term blocks in WMF projects (including Persian Wikipedia in which numerous user accounts have been blocked long-term or even banned indefinitely because of their racist or libelous comments. We even blocked two or three admins because of that). In his defense, he translated what one of our admins, called Haman (Persian: همان) had previously said, without considering the fact that what Haman said was sarcasm and he himself was against making that article in Persian wiki. Although the user, Elph, didn't translate the whole comment, one can use Google translate and see what the comment is really about. I told others what he is doing.

Surprisingly my block request was rejected because he is "valuable." I really don't care if someone calls me names but it's unacceptable if the same thing is indiscriminately done on the editors of an entire Wiki, who are working as volunteers for spreading free knowledge and working without the boundaries of language, nationality, race or any other kind of stupid labels. Personally, you can see my name in a code that I wrote for Persian Wikipedia and we shared it generously with Arabic Wikipedia, and there are tons of them. But this thing is different and in my view it's unacceptable.

Best -- Amir (talk) 14:59, 18 March 2014 (UTC)

I also notified Persian and Arabic Wikipedia editors. Amir (talk) 15:18, 18 March 2014 (UTC)

A user, who was banned on Persian Wikipedia for sockpuppetry and libel, moved to become more active on Arabic Wikipedia and started spreading his racism/libel there, and you were offended by it. Is this a correct summary of what I'm reading? Just trying to get the facts straight.
If that is the case though, I'm afraid there is not much Persian Wikipedia can do to change Arabic Wikipedia. Persian Wikipedia has its own policies and Arabic Wikipedia has its own policies, and even Meta Wiki cannot intervene in Arabic Wikipedia. I think the best thing you can do as Persian Wikipedia admin and Arabic Wikipedia editor is alert the Arabic Wikipedia administrators, but other than that only the Arabic Wikipedia community can ban users from Arabic Wikipedia. TeleComNasSprVen (talk) 16:03, 18 March 2014 (UTC)
Also, I would like to hear Arabic Wikipedia's side of the story. TeleComNasSprVen (talk) 16:04, 18 March 2014 (UTC)
we have a global policy against discrimination wmf:Non discrimination policy so I think enforcing this resolution is enough to let meta people (or even maybe WMF people) intervene Arabic Wikipedia and tell them being someone valuable isn't a green light for doing wrong stuff and spreading racism. Amir (talk) 16:22, 18 March 2014 (UTC)
another thing: this person usually gets scholarships to attend workshops/conferences/etc. by WM chapters. Is it okay? do you think letting chapters know about these incidents will make them to reconsider co-operating with this person? Amir (talk) 16:29, 18 March 2014 (UTC)
  • Well, I am not very aware of Elph's past on Persian wiki, but I can speak for what happened in Arabic Wikipedia. It's true he says often that Persian users are 'racist', however, that's just said in the context of a claim supported by a point of view about actual events in Perisan wikipedia, like certain policies or articles. If you think his claims are untrue, it's always possible to counter them with your own arguments, however, he was always talking about actual things rather than offending. For what happened on Egyptian wikipedia, it's a bad behavior from an experienced wikipedian, but since it happened outside Arabic wikipedia, it's not our business to block him for it. This is my own view for why a block request on ar Wikipedia wouldn't be approved --Abbad (talk) 07:49, 21 March 2014 (UTC).
    "he says often that Persian users are 'racist'" wow! the situation is more severe than I thought, 1-No know in Arabic Wikipedia knows Persian except him so he can make things up and no one would notice (like what he did about Haman being racist) 2-Calling a whole Wikipedia racist because of one article (which has a discussion page twice of its size) is like calling the whole English Wikipedia racist due to having w:Nazi Germany article. 3-Persian Wikipedia doesn't have any racism-based policy. Due to enforcing w:WP:NPA very strictly We are famous for having long bans on people who said racist things. e.g. we blocked this user indefinitely two years ago (and we still reject his/her request for unblocking) just because of saying to an Afghan user "get out of my country" even though he/she apologized, I have tons of similar actions to show you, people usually being blocked for months and indefinitely become under topic ban for saying racist/homophobic/etc. things. 4- The interesting thing is no one has ever came to Persian Wikipedia and said "Hey! This person says you are racist because of this reason, do you have something in your defense?" Is it really easy for users to label each other in your wiki without being demanded to prove? Amir (talk) 03:16, 22 March 2014 (UTC)