Requests for comment/Netoholic on Simple English Wikipedia

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The following request for comments is closed. After a followup request in November 2006, Netoholic's administrator and bureaucrat access on simplewiki was removed, and a subsequent community discussion confirmed the permanence of its removal.

Introduction[edit]

Netoholic is the current bureaucrat for the Simple English Wikipedia. Netoholic has made many decisions which have upset other people that I would now like to hear your opinion on.

The main complaints are:

  • Threatening users with blocks over trivial matters
  • Lack of civility towards other users
  • Ignoring basic policies
  • Deletion of pages and removal of references with no community discussion to fit in with his own views.
Update: Following a request to the stewards, Netoholic's privileges have been removed. The Simple Wikipedia community is now voting on new bureaucrats, and whether to reinstate Netoholic's privileges. Archer7 23:25, 12 November 2006 (UTC)
Sorted. Following the vote, Netoholic will not have his priviliges reinstated. Two new bureaucrats have now been promoted. Archer7 12:05, 21 November 2006 (UTC)

Statement from Archer7[edit]

I have perhaps been the strongest opposition to Netoholic's contraversial decisions after my involvement in a large dispute between Netoholic and Cromwellt[1] (read it, it's important to get the entire picture).

This dispute involved the Simple English Wiktionary. Community consensus on a discussion page showed that there was support for using references to the Simple English Wiktionary. Despite this, Netoholic used the rollback function to stop Cromwellt adding these references and was consistently rude and aggressive to Cromwellt despite my efforts to calm him down. I then chose the final resort, blocked him for 24 hours, and thankfully he stuck to it. His opinion on that matter was respected, but he cannot enforce it against the will of the community. He didn't even voice his opinion in the discussion. The abusive comments to Cromwellt continued after the block had expired.


The latest dispute was over the newly-founded Esperanza, where he felt that the discussion page ("Coffee Lounge") was a waste of time, and said that editors should use the time to work on articles. After a public discussion between the Esperanza members, we decided to keep the Coffee Lounge as we thought it strengthened our sense of community. Netoholic then deleted it without any discussion. He has said that he is prepared to block users that do not make significant contributions to articles[2], yet spend a lot of time on Esperanza. Although I think there is more to Wikipedia than Esperanza, you cannot block someone for that. "Play chess on a page - get warned, then blocked.". Another comment about Esperanza: "I'm actually coming to the mind that the page is useful only in that it helps identify non-productive users who need to be kicked in the ass out the door."

Current community consensus also says that all 'non-core' - articles on something other than a fundamental and important topic - should be kept, with any that people think really should be deleted going on RfD. Netoholic has continued to delete non-core articles with no discussion, and of course threatening their creators with blocking.

He has continued to be rude to contributors who disagree with him, or more recently, editors who don't edit in the article namespace as much as he would like, threatening them with blocks unless they start editing articles more[3]. He has said many times that fundamental policies are to be ignored, and seems to respect other users' opinions based purely on how many edits they have in the article namespace. I have recently been asked to either stop disagreeing with him in front of the other editors, or turn back my adminship [4]. I will not tolerate that.

I am not denying that Netoholic has done a lot of good work for the wiki, but this attitude to other users that do not fit his profile as the perfect editor, and removal of whatever he doesn't like is not acceptable. I have previously let these issues go in the Cromwellt dispute as the community didn't really want to take sides in the discussion and nothing was decided. I think it has now reached the point where he is bullying many of our newer editors, and this is about the only option. I therefore suggest that he is desysopped, and replaced with a new bureaucrat. Archer7 22:11, 15 October 2006 (UTC)

Outside observation by Improv[edit]

For the interested, out of curiosity I looked into this, so I could get some perspective outside of the words of someone who self-describes as his chief opponent on the simple project. Netoholic is not being as patient as he should, and is acting as an authority or project leader of sorts on simple. His civility is somewhat lacking. That said, he's doing a good job at keeping the project on-task and nipping future problems in the bud. Whether it is more important to follow consensus or a good leader (or something between) is an open question for Wikimedia projects. Does simple wikipedia need a jimbo? If so, with some reminders on gentle phrasing, Netoholic isn't doing a bad job. If it does not, then some motion to push Netoholic away from how he's acting would be warranted. --Improv 02:55, 16 October 2006 (UTC)

Thoughts of User:NSLE (User:Chacor on simple, although not very active)[edit]

I've seen this blow up. I concur much with Improv. Netoholic needs a strong reminder on conduct, but I do not think that this is bad enough for him to be desysopped and replaced. That suggestion, quite frankly, is ridiculous.

His block "threats" were hardly for trivial matters, if we're talking about simple:User:Alastor Moody here. This user has caused problems on enwp as well (see en:Wikipedia:Requests for comment/Alastor Moody if you want background), and has been highly uncivil to me from the moment I decided to register an account on simple. Furthermore, he, in my judgement, was disruptive (come on, NO-ONE warns an imposter vandal who's been blocked SEVEN MONTHS AGO). A block might have been appropriate in that case, so hardly trivial imo.

To repeat my view, Netoholic should be strongly reminded about his conduct, but to desysop him would be ridiculous and a huge loss for simplewiki over something so stupid. NSLE (T+C) 11:46, 16 October 2006 (UTC)

My response: He's been reminded before, asked nicely etc but it's not going to work, problems will continue. Alastor Moody could have been more civil to you I admit, but warning a vandal that had been blocked for seven months was obviously a mistake. Archer7 16:18, 16 October 2006 (UTC)

Okay, i know. I'll try to keep my temper under control. I've apologized before in simple wikipedia. Alastor Moody 01:00, 2 November 2006 (UTC)

Statement from Tangotango (simple:User:Tangotango)[edit]

I am sorry to say that this issue is not simply a case of a limited conflict between certain users. It has, sadly, become a core clash of the Simple English Wikipedia, with hardly any resolution of the matter. What I am most concerned about is the fact that Netoholic is virtually ignoring community and community consensus, which are two obviously very important factors for any Wikimedia project.

Netoholic has repeatedly deleted articles, templates, categories and project pages without any discussion whatsoever, even in cases where they did not fall under the deletion policy. He has been asked multiple times to stop this behaviour, but he has continued regardless of the community's pleas.

He has on several occasions deleted, without discussion, articles with the deletion summary "severely non-Core", specifying that they do not constitute core articles, which we are concentrating on at the Simple English Wikipedia. However, the deletion policy specifically states that articles that fall under What Wikipedia is not should be discussed at Requests for deletion before being deleted. This discussion has not happened, and articles continue to be deleted at Netoholic's sole discretion.

One recent example that sparked controversy was Netoholic's unilateral deletion of Esperanza's coffee lounge page. Following that, Archer7 restored the page citing the fact that there was no prior discussion, and placed it on Requests for deletion (see simple:Wikipedia:Requests_for_deletion#Wikipedia:Esperanza.2FCoffee_lounge). In the discussion that ensued, Netoholic threatened the creators with blocks, stating "I see anyone playing chess or other non-productive crap on this wiki, and I will start using blocks to discourage that. If the other admins or users want to take this up with the Foundation, go for it...". [5] It is apparent from the discussion that community consensus is to keep the page; if Archer7 had not restored the page, the views of so many other Simple English Wikipedians would have been ignored. As a member of Esperanza myself, I understand that gratuitous socialization on wikis can be harmful; however, this was a simple page dedicated to help strengthen the Simple English Wikipedia's sense of community, not a plan to create a Simple English MySpace.

I would not care if the Simple English Wikipedia were some back-burner project, or if this were a local wiki operated by a few people. However, the Simple English Wikipedia is an official project of the Wikimedia Foundation, and I am devastated to think that the project's community is being ignored in this way. In addition, the Simple English Wikipedia has certain policies in place that must be abided by, and by ignoring that, the project will slowly but surely disintegrate.

I do agree that too much bureaucratic red tape can hinder the project, and I am not saying that the Simple English Wikipedia ought to import or abide by policies as strict or as complex as those on the main English Wikipedia. However, policies such as the deletion policy exist to protect the community's core values, one of which is the ability to discuss actions such as deletions so that the project does not become biased towards a single person or group. These policies are a fundamental part of our community - by ignoring such policies and guidelines, and by having someone who threatens those with differing values by force, the community is lost, and we end up with a project that is better suited as a local wiki on someone's home computer.

My recommendation, although it may sound harsh, is to ask Netoholic to resign his extra privileges for the time being. - Tangotango 18:26, 16 October 2006 (UTC)

Statement from PullToOpen[edit]

Most of the conflicts have been well-documented above, but I would like to add my two cents on this. Netoholic has repeatedly broken policy, specifically our Deletion Policy. When told to please stop the deletion ([6]), the response struck me as rude ([7]) and violated the deletion policy on directly copied pages. After a response, he stated that "the only 'policies' we must follow are Foundation issues. Don't let policy get in the way of writing articles" ([8]).

Netoholic's alienation of users seems to be reaching a fever pitch (shown by the links of other users), and it is clear that he is scaring away new users because of his maverick personal deletion reasoning. He also occasionally threatens other users with blocks ([9]), something SURELY not acceptable for a bureaucrat.

I believe that these actions are unacceptable for a bureaucrat, much less an administrator. Therefore, I agree with Archer7 and Tangotango in that Netoholic's adminship be stripped permenantly, or at least for a period of time.

Also, to the user who commented on the talk page wondering why this conflict is on meta: This conflict has gone beyond mediation in its current setting. Already sides seem to be forming. This needs an outside opinion, or else nothing will get done. PullToOpen 20:03, 16 October 2006 (UTC)

  • It's worth noting, with regards to deletion, that the English Wikipedia has become heavily polluted by nonencyclopedic content because people have failed to insist that we stay on-topic, and these articles have in turn brought in a number of people (and, sadly, a number of admins) who don't understand or accept our project goals who make it very difficult to fix the problem. If we had exercised more vigilance and sternness on that topic, the community and project would be a lot better off on EN-WP. If Netoholic is forcing things to stay on task and even possibly driving people away who would not help the project, then I would call that a good thing. He does not appear to be polite enough while doing so, and that is unfortunate - ideally one should be polite but firm in these actions, but I think he should be applauded for being firm in defense of project focus, as it's far more important than being polite (the project is more important than the community). --Improv 19:32, 24 October 2006 (UTC)

Statement from TBC (a.k.a Tree Biting Conspiracy)[edit]

I agree with most of the points mentioned above. Netoholic, though a great contributor, has not been as civil or as patient as he should have, usually ignoring both community consensus and policy. Examples include his block of Geeksluvpi without prior discussion or evidence[10]; his deletion of articles without going through the RfD process[11][12], as well as his refusal to assume good faith during disputes and discussions.[13][14]

I also find it discouraging that his main reason for being on Simple Wiki, as quoted from my talk page, is that he was "tired of exhaustive processes and rules" which he considered "unproductive elements that forget what we are for". Though it's true that Wikipedia isn't a democracy, policies and guidelines usually represent the consenus of the community on how to handle different issues, thus they need to be followed regardless if a user is a bureaucrat or not.--TBC 06:35, 18 October 2006 (UTC)

  • I should comment that the English wikipedia has a principle called Ignore All Rules, whereby people who are acting with the best interests of the project at heart are advised to ignore rules that get in the way of "the right thing". I am not sure if this is meant to be foundation-wide or just for EN-WP, but it's worth consideration. --Improv 20:44, 19 October 2006 (UTC)
    • IAR is in use on Simple, but in my opinion, Netoholic doesn't know the right time to use it. Archer7 18:53, 20 October 2006 (UTC)
      • I believe that most if not all of Netoholic's actions still have the best interests of the project at heart. I agree with his thinking that the quality of articles is more important than the quantity of articles as shown here [15] [16]. With regards to the Esperanza coffee shop deletion, I actually agree with the deletion as I found the page pretty much inactive for one that is supposed to strengthen the sense of community in SingleWP. Notice the number of edits in a month and a half's time [17]. Although some of his actions are done without seeking community consensus, I also think that there is a need to deal with certain issues quickly the way he does. SingleWP does not have enough contributors yet to have so many RFDs to discuss. As I can see, the length of time it takes to close an RFD on SingleWP is far longer than the standard on ENWP. Deleting the coffee lounge without consensus is a mistake. It was definitely something that should have discussed. But I assume good faith and believe that it was done for what he thought would make SingleWP better. Perhaps a little reminder on civility should take place but I do not think he should be desysopped as he is doing a good job as an admin. zephyr2k 05:26, 21 October 2006 (UTC)
  • Agreed, see my statement below.-- Tdxiang 04:07, 25 October 2006 (UTC)

Statement from M7 (M/)[edit]

Netoholic has succeeded in getting consensus from the community, but he is indeed failing in maintaining such consensus. From meta.wiki: Sysop-hood is not a lifetime status. Get it if you need it. Keep it if people trust you. Quit it if you do not need it. Lose it if people feel they cannot trust you.

I've had a few contacts with him, and I can testify that he has always fulfilled my legitimate requests without any delay.

Therefore I am not convinced that Netoholic is to be de-sysopped, provided that he can serve simple.wiki and avoid hurting other users' feelings. It's up to him to decide if he is still willing to do that, resign, or ignore other people complaining about his own actions. Should this last option prevail, next request from users would be more direct and stringent. --M/ 21:41, 19 October 2006 (UTC)

Addenda

  • On Oct 27 Netoholic has reclaimed a sort of veto right against community decision to give simple:User:TangoTango the sysop flags. After a vandal incursion, a Steward was asked to promote the user and Netoholic insisted that the flags had to be revoked. The strange reasons, that resemble a cooptation method, do not even take into account that one of the current administrators (Archer7) indeed supported the TangoTango's RFA.
  • On Oct 27 Netoholic has deleted without user's consent a signature subpage, see (Deletion log); 20:33 . . Netoholic (Talk | contribs) (deleted "User:Vector/firma": content was: 'Vector (write to me please)')
    • These further actions, and the absolute lack of communication from this user, even after an explicit request for feedback, make me feel really unsatisfied about his work as admin on simple.wikipedia, so I am now convinced that his flags should be removed ASAP.
--M/ 19:30, 27 October 2006 (UTC)

Statement from Tdxiang, aka en:user:Tdxiang[edit]

Netoholic's actions, like threatening to block others to enforce rules, makes him fail to maintain consensus from the community. Nothing personal on my part, nor are there any hard feelings, but Netoholic has made the mistake of deleting the Simple Esperanza Coffee Lounge without discussion. When Archer7 started the discussion, he made comments like being "kicked in the ass".

There are also some other actions of incivility here, like calling someone "bat shit insane" on Meta.

However, taking into consideration that he has helped not only me, but the community in Simple English Wikipedia, I hereby vote against calls of Netoholic being desysopped. Instead, let Netoholic decide whether he should step down as a bureaucrat, despite his acts of incivility. Thank you.-- Tdxiang 04:07, 25 October 2006 (UTC)

Statement from Alastor Moody[edit]

As far as I know concerning about Netoholic in simplewiki, Netoholic has given several users stress by deleting several articles that never had any reason to be deleted and gave out block threats. Though his actions have been noticiable to many users, I can't be completely mad at him for all the excellent work he's done to the simplewiki. I'd like to give him a barnstar but his actions have given me some strong doubts about him.

About de-sysoping him, I reccomend that he is stripped from this rank for a several days (maybe a week) and see if he apologizies. If he does, then give him back administrator status, but not bureaucrat status. Alastor Moody 15:48, 2 November 2006 (UTC)

In addition about when to replace the bureaucrat on simplewiki, I think we sould give the job to Archer7, a better sysop and a much more kinder person. Alastor Moody 18:22, 2 November 2006 (UTC)
I'm not sure I'd be the right person, I don't have a lot of time at the moment (thanks, though). I'm not sure withholding until he apologises is going to solve much though. And I agree that Netoholic has done a lot of excellent editing, I just think he should not be a bureaucrat. Archer7 19:23, 2 November 2006 (UTC)
Well somebody's gotta do the deed or the simplewiki may collapse which I hope it dosen't. Also if Netoholic dosen't qualifies to be a bureaucrat, then should he be downgraded to either a registered user or just an adminstrator? Alastor Moody 02:06, 3 November 2006 (UTC)
Registered user. A lot of this is misuse of admin tools. I could probably do it for a while, if we couldn't decide on someone else immediately, but I don't think I'd be able do it long term. Anyway, this all has to be talked about on Simple if it did come to that, I don't want to start nominations now. Archer7 15:54, 3 November 2006 (UTC)
Okay, but then who else should we choose to become the bureaucrat on simplewiki? Alastor Moody 18:21, 3 November 2006 (UTC)

I'm not sure this is the place to discuss it. I think we should get some more opinions and try to sort out what's actually going to happen before we start naming people. Archer7 19:43, 3 November 2006 (UTC)

alright, never mind. Alastor Moody 20:42, 3 November 2006 (UTC)