Requests for comment/Yiddish Wikipedia issues

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The following request for comments is closed. Closed as inactive. StevenJ81 (talk) 00:56, 8 September 2017 (UTC)


The Yiddish Wikipedia currently have unresolved issues with the management of the project by an unique active administrator. Other (few) active users complained about dictatorship-like problems, two of them wrote on the Jimmy Wales meta. talk page (sic) requesting assistance with this situation. A third user has answered to this with a very worrying supportive and laudative reply, highlighting the potentially problematic sysop takes an editorial role and responsibility.

As the Jimmy Wales meta. talk page isn't the place to request assistance from the community, and as this requests enter in the scope of RfC (to gain wider input regarding conflicts or unresolved issues on other Wikimedia projects with the hopes of obtaining resolution), I've created such page. --Dereckson (talk) 10:53, 2 August 2015 (UTC)

Initial messages[edit]

These messages were initially published on Jimbo Wales' talk page.

Sad, but fact,that we only have 3 really active users, 1 is an administrator. We(the 2 others) feel that he is kind of a control freak. he is not a native Yiddish speaker (as it says on his user page[[1]] but still claims he knows bettter yiddish. We would like him to have a little more sympathy with others. There is no stuart on yiddish wikipedia so this is my only place to express, thanks and all the best.--Alefbeis (talk) 15:17, 13 February 2015 (UTC)

I agree. he is like a dictator and does not value other people's work or what They think. he is already there for a long time but I see users have had always complaints on his actions as he does whatever he wants without really talking or asking anyone. he clearly abuses his power and this has cost us a lot of users in the past as nobody can work properly with him. he acts like its his own encyclopedia. I would really appreciate if you can do something about it. thank you very much. (im sorry about my poor English) נייגעריגער (talk) 16:24, 13 February 2015 (UTC)
I have to disagree with both of these gentlemen. If it weren't for the individual in question, the Yiddish Wikipedia would be in shambles and completely run amuck with improper grammar and spelling. Never have I seen such dedication from a user on any other language's version of Wikipedia. I am constantly in shock at the selflessness and dedication shown by the user these two men are berating. There are certainly more than three contributors to the Yiddish wikipedia, though not everyone is always active, but no one contributes more than the administrator. I will admit that the oversight can seem excessive, but over time it became obvious that the user's relentless dedication to proper Yiddish has been a great chesed to the language and has personally opened my eyes to its proper form. Instead of lashon hora and slander, our faithful administrator at the Yiddish Wikipedia should be receiving a reward of the highest calibre. --ברסלבער (talk) 05:38, 8 July 2015 (UTC)

The general issue is that a wiki is meant to be a collaborative workspace, and when one person dominates a wiki it is not good culturally. It can lead to one strong person's opinion. Stewards have found that single administrator communities can go that way, and we would encourage communities to have multiple active administrators rather than a single.  — billinghurst sDrewth 11:27, 2 August 2015 (UTC)

You can initiate a process to see if the administrator still has the confidence of the community or not.--Syum90 (talk) 14:55, 2 August 2015 (UTC)

I did not notice that we are dealing some issues, if anyone has a problem with our sysop, please bring concrete information and we can handle it. (my English is not good) רוני (talk) 16:02, 2 August 2015 (UTC)

  • ברסלבער makes a common assumption, that the most active user, who does a lot of good work, can't be wrong, and cannot fall into overcontrol. The two users have not "berated" this admin, they are asking for him to "have a little more sympathy for others." If the report of "should get a reward" is accurate, these are the conditions where a user may easily come to feel high responsibility for quality, to the extent of becoming insensitive to other points of view. Billinghurst has correctly noted that this problem can arise in a wiki with a single active administrator.
  • There are three administrators. One is very inactive, the other, besides the very active one, has two edits this year. Such an administrator may have little familiarity with what is happening on the wiki.
  • Process can be initiated to remove admin privileges, but this can be highly disruptive, and if this is the most active user and if such community members as respond to a discussion support the user, this is likely to fail. In my opinion, a vote of confidence should show widespread confidence, but what I've seen is that closers of discussions look for consensus to remove. It is thought that any good admin will make enemies, and so there is a kind of assumption that a good admin may not pass a confirmation with true consensus. However, a majority to remove might very well cause it.
  • Much better, create another administrator. This does not need to be a highly skilled user, but rather one trusted to seek community advice, and to support consensus. (Often, technocrats become administrators and easily fall into "I know better than everyone else," because, often, they do. But the user then "dominates" the community, and knowledge of technical issues is not the same as having the real, broad trust of the community. A technically unskilled user can be helped by someone who knows the tools, and there are really only a very few truly dangerous tools. Nuke. Don't touch nuke without clear community consensus first. And moving pages with all subpages can be a problem if there are many subpages, and one makes a mistake. Been there, did that, and spent a whole day cleaning up the mess. An admin who knows how to foster consensus, and who does it, is much more valuable in the position than one who simply knows the complexities of template syntax, for example.
  • Do not worry about the "owner" biasing the discussion by blocking users, because this is one action that can occasionally bring down the thunder, i.e., steward intervention. (That is, don't worry, but get help if it happens.) Rather, those who want to expand consensus and community consent to the running of the wiki, should police their own, that is, do not tolerate incivility toward this administrator. Ask anyone who is uncivil to stop. It doesn't help. What happens, all too often, is that a user uncivilly accuses an admin of misbehavior, and others might privately agree, yes, he's Bad. So they tolerate incivility, but incivility badly damages the consensus process on which real wiki governance depends.
  • You do not need to be an administrator to take part in the management of the wiki. Rather, you need to know how to develop community consensus and express it. If an administrator opposes that, their days are numbered. It will become obvious.
  • Small wikis do not actually need administrators. They need a few users who know how to seek and get admin assistance from global sysops and stewards. However, having a local administrator, or better, several, who are active and who know and serve local consensus, is very useful.
  • To ברסלבער, my comment is that administrators are not the proper maintainers of site quality, that is the job of the community. The best content editor is not necessarily the best administrator. Having a single person do this is almost always damaging to the health of the wiki, because if one person is doing all the work, others don't. So encourage the admin, whose work you praise, to do that work, but also to open up and make sure he or she is responsive to others. I'm not an admin on en.wikiversity, my home wiki, but whenever I want a page deleted, it is promptly deleted, I just pop a speedy deletion tag on it, with the reason, and because I don't ask for this unless consensus would be clear, it happens, often within minutes, it is rare for it to take more than a day. We have set up a procedure that admins do not delete on their own initiative, except for blatant spam or vandalism. Rather, if the issue is merely poor content, an admin may tag a page for speedy deletion (or another process, "proposed deletion," which sets up a three-month waiting period for objection) just like any other user, and then a second admin makes the judgment that this is not controversial. (Obviously, you need at least two active admins for this to work.) And then if any regular user objects, the page is undeleted promptly, and then deletion requires a discussion. That latter part, prompt undeletion, works if a single admin agrees to undelete in the presence of controversy. But it would be better if the admin still tags, and then waits for objection before deletion unless it is totally obvious (like clear spam or vandalism, the like).
  • As a result of this, we have almost no disruption over deletion and users feel safe. To be sure, this is much easier on Wikiversity, because of our very broad scope. We allow users to "learn by doing," and if a page is not appropriate for mainspace, we move it to user space, and often assist them, and we find that users are not upset by this, and it can be done by any autoconfirmed user, it doesn't take an admin. Some parts of this might work on an encyclopedia project, if you want the wiki to be welcoming. --Abd (talk) 16:14, 2 August 2015 (UTC)

Responses[edit]

I contribute at yiwiki from time to time, and find the administrator generally responsive. I wonder if the initial posters are willing to be a little more specific here. StevenJ81 (talk) 14:35, 3 August 2015 (UTC)