Talk:Requests for comment/2013 issues on Croatian Wikipedia/Evidence/Archive 1

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Suggestion: start a systematic list of possible abuses

In the last few days I've seen a lot of scattered evidence of questionable decisions and content on hr.wikipedia, but no effort has yet been made to compile them systematically in one place. Once this is done it will be easier assess the merits of the criticism & suggest possible courses of action.

Question: what is the appropriate venue for this? Although this is an exercise for native speakers, from what happened to w:hr:User:Maria Sieglinda von Nudeldorf and others, I do not think Croatian Wikipedia is a safe space for this exercise. I'm not that familiar with the ins and outs of the MediaWiki world, but it should probably be a page or a section of its own. Perhaps here, at Requests for comment/Investigation of abuses on Croatian Wikipedia.

Here's a possible way it could be structured. Apologies for the section links cluttering the TOC of this page. The examples are actual. Miranche (talk) 05:02, 18 September 2013 (UTC)

This is the way to go. It may become a huge list, so a dedicated subpage is warranted. I'd add separate section for: 1) behavioral abuses, and 2) administrator omissions and differential treatment. Both might heavily feature Mir Harven, as his abuses are as rampant as omissions in sanctioning them. Also, rather than "List of abuses..." I'd suggest the page be named "Investigation of abuses...". GregorB (talk) 10:25, 18 September 2013 (UTC)
Also, a couple of ground rule suggestions:
  • Diff or it didn't happen.
  • Everyone is free to submit, including IPs.
  • A brief description of events is welcome. Those not fluent in English are free to submit and comment in Croatian.
Once the page is ready, an invitation should be posted in Kafić GregorB (talk) 10:34, 18 September 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for the support, Gregor. I've changed the outline per your suggestions, adding another section ("Allegations to investigate") which lists descriptions of possible abuses that are detailed enough so that the diffs might be found, but that do not itself provide the diffs. Miranche (talk) 17:06, 18 September 2013 (UTC)
That's a good idea. OK, my thinking is currently like this: I'm having second thoughts about the word "investigation". Is there a less antagonizing alternative? Also, do we make a separate RfC, or just create a subpage of this RfC? Don't know how things work on Meta. Timeframe to create it is Sunday (I'll be a bit busy these days, but of course you're free do it sooner), immediately after that I'll notify the four Wikipedias (chances are bs, sh and sr have at least some former or current hr editors - it seems to be particularly true for sh), and that's it. I've been browsing the hr wiki lately and I'm eager by now to document here everything I observed. GregorB (talk) 21:54, 18 September 2013 (UTC)
Shifted the categories as per your suggestion. I think a new page under RfC would be justified, if for no other reason than to keep the link short. I'll read up on policy before Sunday. As for "investigation" -- possible less aggressive-sounding alternatives are: examination, analysis, evaluation, scrutiny, assessment, evidence, estimation. Miranche (talk) 00:16, 19 September 2013 (UTC)
Perhaps just a subpage of this page named just /Evidence? Reasonably long in total, clear, neutral, grouped with the main discussion.
My latest worry* are Support/Oppose votes. Once the news spread, this may turn into a shouting match and vote stuffing. Is the final vote count meant to decide the discussion?
(* I worry about all this a lot. This discussion is very important, and the evidence page is crucial - the future of Croatian Wikipedia quite literally depends on it. We know it, and the folks over there know it.) GregorB (talk) 12:34, 19 September 2013 (UTC)
I don't think that voting should be decisive, but consultative, to get a poll of people's opinions. Similar votes of course go on all the time on Wikipedia, I'll post an example when I find one. (I may be naive, but) I think it should be easy to see if & when vote-stuffing is taking place. Miranche (talk) 15:49, 19 September 2013 (UTC)
Here is an example of a consultative survey. Its purpose is for everyone to voice their opinion, and discuss it in detail if needed.
I also agree on the page location. As soon as I find the time, I'll move the template there (of course you can do it too), so we can discuss ground rules, categories, etc. I'm uncertain of how legitimate these are with only the two of us talking -- I mean, this conversation is here for everyone to see, I'm linking to it in all of my relevant responses, and I got a thumbs up for the idea from User:Vodomar on hr.wikipedia, but noone else has joined this conversation yet. We should probably first announce the existence of the page and ask for comments on how it should be structured & run.
Specifically, I think the aims of the page should be explicitly limited to providing & discussing specific examples of content & behavior on Croatian Wikipedia, within a certain time period. IMO we need to make sure that the existence & structure of the page are to be completely independent of any considerations on how the information will be used.
There are other practical questions I have, more later. Miranche (talk) 18:36, 19 September 2013 (UTC)
I'd say this step is legitimate for two reasons. First, as you correctly noted, this is a survey, it's not really a vote, because we want hard evidence (which cannot be made up), and because there is only one side to the issue (i.e. the evidence of abuse can't be trumped with some "counter-evidence"; you can't be acquitted of murder because you've helped an old lady across the street). So, unlike a vote, this would be very hard to frame in a biased way. It is what it is, and it is non-binding. Second, evidence gathering is virtually the only thing that makes sense now - pretty much everything else would be empty talk.
Fully agree with you on the aims of the page. Would adding a separate section for editor statements, ArbCom-style, make sense?
There indeed are practical questions left. I'll be back online probably by Sunday at the earliest, though. If you do create a page by then, I'd suggest tagging it with "under construction" template until it's ready. While, as I said, time is not immaterial here, I dread rushing this for reasons I've explained, and would also like to get wider feedback beforehand. GregorB (talk) 19:31, 19 September 2013 (UTC)
Well, I'm pretty sure that all evidence will be disputed. Whether page content is appropriate or not can be subjective. Also, while you cannot necessarily dispute a block took place, people will of course disagree on whether it constituted abuse. Take a look at the discussion between Speedy & Koryaksky -- S. will maintain that blocking K. for 3 months just for asking for an answer "without further evasion" was justified. But I agree the evidence will be there for everyone to see & pass their own judgements.
"... separate section for editor statements, ArbCom-style" ... could you please point me to an example? Never seen an ArbCom in action.
"Under construction" -- my plan exactly. I'm creating the page now and moving the above examples on to it. Do you agree I should copy this discussion onto its talk page and tag this section of RfC/2013 issues... as archived, with a note to continue any discussion of the page format/structure/function there? Miranche (talk) 21:43, 19 September 2013 (UTC)
Should be somewhere else rather than in front of the keyboard, but here I am anyway... Talk related to the setup (i.e. this discussion) should go there too and continue, with a note left here as you suggest.
For an ArbCom case, see e.g. this. The "Statement by..." sections are relevant. Of course, these are for stating personal opinions, while the core of the Evidence page are still individual cases with diffs, as already agreed.
Note also this: individual invitations to editors who are known to have had an issue with Croatian Wikipedia are not canvassing. The reason is the fact that, in this case, it is not possible to unduly influence the process by doing so, as long as invitations are neutrally worded. I may be wrong or overlooking something here. I'd like to hear feedback on this. GregorB (talk) 22:26, 19 September 2013 (UTC)

How to aggregate evidence?

<from User talk:Miranche> Instead of voting on every example of alleged abuse (which is very impractical, because I am planning to submit more than 100 examples of abusive blocks) I suggest that we first gather evidence, and then sort it somehow. I assume that most of these examples will focus on only four administrators (SG, Kubura, Zeljko and Roberta) so we can sort them by administrator. After that, users can vote on their conduct based on the evidence collected.--Wikit 07:18, 20 September 2013 (UTC)

<from User talk:Wikiwind> WW, thanks for the message. I see some people are rushing to submit to the evidence page, but the way things look over there is still under discussion. Apparently the "under construction" sign was not large enough. I added one that will hopefully be more visible.
I agree in principle, and there are many other open practical questions as to which evidence will be gathered, and how it will be organized & presented. In addition to abusive blocks, there are (a) examples of heavily biased articles, usually with evidence that any attempts to correct the bias were reversed, (b) abusive behavior by administrators, (c) situations of harassment that were not stopped by administrators, and more.
I would like to involve User:GregorB and others with interest in the matter, so if you agree, I would like to copy both your comment from my talk page and this reply to the evidence talk page, and continue the discussion there. Thank you! Miranche (talk) 17:13, 20 September 2013 (UTC)

Another way to sort out the evidence is to adopt arbitration format from English Wikipedia (example):

1 Evidence presented by user 1
2 Evidence presented by user 2
3 Evidence presented by user 3
4 Evidence presented by user 4

In any case, we should open this page for submissions as soon as possible.--Wikit 08:09, 21 September 2013 (UTC)

Thanks, makes sense. What seems unprecedented here is that evidence is gathered over one entire site, not just one page or a few pages. So there *will* be lots of info, and it'd be good to settle on a standard format to submit information. Maybe a table that contains page name, link to page version and/or diff, names of users involved, repeat several rows if needed, then a free-form description below -- I'll put together an example but you probably understand what I think.
Also thinking, if the number of submissions starts getting out of hand, it may make sense to organize it in a hierarchy. There are two sets of issues, first related to specific article content and preventing efforts to change it, second related to abusive user behavior -- so each is connected to a page or a user (or more users). We could use the /Evidence page as a central dispatch place, and /Evidence/<article name> and /Evidence/<user name> to keep specific information about each article or user.
But this may end up being too complicated to maintain, so your idea makes sense for its simplicity. Another idea is to have the list in arbitration format for article content in /Evidence/Content page, another about user behavior in /Evidence/Behavior page, and keep instructions how to submit & a "to sort" list on the /Evidence page Miranche (talk) 10:02, 21 September 2013 (UTC)
Simple solutions are the best, no need to comlicate things. Your second idea with two pages for content and behavior is better, but I still think that everything can be incorporated onto one page. As I said, my goal is to open this page for submissions as soon as possible.--Wikit 19:35, 21 September 2013 (UTC)
I agree time is of essence, however I have one important concern. Perhaps everything on Wiki[pm]edia is an ad hoc operation, but we really need to make sure this process has integrity. There's only three of us in this conversation as of now and we all can be seen as interested parties. Personally, I've jumped on this when the stink began and I want to get the page going, but have zero experience in Wikimedia processes of arbitration & dispute resolution, and (as all of us, I presume) other things (so-called Real Life™) are clamoring for my time. I'd love to get more committed eyes on to these pages than just the three of us.
This data gathering process will likely be used to determine major interventions in an entire Wikimedia project, and I think it's best if it's recognized as legitimate from the start by the wider community. Ideally I would like to involve one or more people with experience & knowledge of Wikimedia policies, dispute resolution, arbitration etc., who are recognized as honest brokers. Otherwise we risk the entire process to be seen as compromised from the start.
Now the question is, how to go about this. I suppose we could just leave a message on Jimbo's page and ask for advice, but if you know someone whose experience matches this closer, please let me know. It'd be good to get GregorB's opinion, too -- he's one of the top few hundred editors so his experience is valuable; he says he'll be online tomorrow.
As far as technical details go, I think a two-page shallow hierarchy is probably the way to go. I'd split the reports because documenting political slant & documenting behavioral abuse, while of course there's an overlap, are largely based on qualitatively different kinds of data. In addition -- and I'll try to put something of the sorts together tomorrow (Sunday / EU early Monday) -- we need (a) guidelines for submission, and (b) a basic template for individual reports.
It would be helpful, if you get a chance, if you could take a look at the examples at the main Evidence page and brainstorm, say, what specific categories of submissions we'd be taking, and what standard information to require with each submission. As GregorB said -- diff it or it doesn't exist. However, I'd reduce the number of categories of submissions to max 4 or 5. (Jeez, I can see I've been working with databases too much -- I guess it doesn't hurt in this matter.)
Please let me know your thoughts, thank you! Miranche (talk) 02:47, 22 September 2013 (UTC)
There are at least four ways to organize the issues:
  1. By article
  2. By type of irregularity/abuse
  3. By admin
  4. By submitter
ArbCom discussions use #4, but submitting editors are expected to prepare a more or less complete statement on the issue. This may be easy when there is a single issue, but here there may be dozens of issues per submitter, involving different articles, admins and behaviors.
While #1 and #2 are at least possible, I'm leaning towards #3. In the end, this discussion may have repercussions for some admins, and grouping the alleged abuses by admin will make it easier to assess individual responsibility while making it more fair regarding the involved admins themselves, as they'll have an opportunity to respond in a single place, rather than in dozens of sections and possibly hundreds of submitted incidents.
Whichever layout we choose, it is OK as long as there is a reasonable chance of adapting it or changing it later should the need arise. GregorB (talk) 15:22, 22 September 2013 (UTC)

Conversation with User:MaGa

Just FYI, User:MaGa on Croatian Wikipedia asked me why start a list of issues here as they already have one there. This is the link to the conversation, currently ongoing. Miranche (talk) 00:33, 21 September 2013 (UTC)

Because many of us who want to submit evidence are blocked there. --Ivan Štambuk (talk) 10:12, 21 September 2013 (UTC)
Yes, that's what I told him/her(?) -- see the two paragraphs starting with "Dodatak". Miranche (talk) 06:00, 22 September 2013 (UTC)
Let me add three more reasons: 1) because the page in question (now located at hr:Wikipedija:Kafić/Popis nedostataka i problema na hrvatskoj wikipediji) is still empty as of this moment, despite heavy activity in Kafić, which suggests it is not being taken seriously, 2) because our Evidence page is focused on actions (or "conduct", if you will), while the content of the articles is of secondary importance, being only a symptom of problematic actions, and 3) because it is (meant to be) in Croatian only, making a wider (possibly involving Jimbo and the WMF) and more neutral discussion/analysis unlikely, if not downright impossible. GregorB (talk) 14:56, 22 September 2013 (UTC)
And, of course, Croatian editors who wish to submit issues are welcome to do it here, they are free to use Croatian if they're not fluent in English. GregorB (talk) 15:00, 22 September 2013 (UTC)
Welcome back, GregorB! Well, if you take a look at my paragraph under "Dodatak" I told him what I roughly thought would need to happen for CW to be considered as a credible forum for this effort.
If you get a chance would you please care to comment on my discussion above with Wikiwind? Thank you! Miranche (talk) 16:28, 22 September 2013 (UTC)

What information to collect?

This discussion should probably be above the section #How to aggregate the evidence?. The question is, what belongs, and what does not, on this page, and how it is documented? Once this is agreed, and we have a sense of how much info can be expected to arrive, then IMO the question of organizing it will be easier to address -- although it will likely be one of the ideas above.

Here are some categories of info to gather:

  1. Behavioral issues. These break down into
    1. Alleged abusive blocks
      • Exact info: info on the block (date, length, admin, user); how it was justified (admin message diff); behavior that prompted the block (diff)
      • Other info: description of the context, ie conversations that directly preceded the block, what happened afterward
    2. Alleged abuse (this includes both direct admin behavior & abuse by other users admins didn't react to)
      • Exact info: basic info (date, abuser, user), abusive message(s) (diff), admin reactions if any (diff)
      • Other info: description of the context, as above
    3. Other questionable behavior
      • Exact info: basic info (date, abuser, user), behavior (diff), admin reactions if any (diff)
      • Other info: explanation why questionable, description of the context, as above
  2. Content bias issues.
    1. Long standing questionable content (this, in itself, is only circumstantial evidence)
      • Exact info: article; user(s) who entered the content (diff/s); user(s) who patrolled it & when, how long it was in place (short-term edit-reversion don't count as interruption)
      • Other info: why content is questionable, evidence of any discussion about it
    2. Preventing editing of questionable content -- reversion
      • Exact info: article; info about the edit (user edited, diff, date); info about the reversion (user reverted, reason, date)
      • Other info: why questionable, evidence of discussion
    3. Preventing editing of questionable content -- limiting page access
      • Exact info: article; info about the freeze (admin, reason, date)
      • Other info: why questionable, evidence of discussion
    4. Other questionable actions that likely affected content (this is mostly circumstatial, too, but there are plenty of examples that provide context for the rest)
      • Exact info: article; info about the comment (user, date, diff)
      • Other info: why questionable, why important

How does this sound? Anything to include/exclude?

BTW as far as categorizing goes, everything can be categorized by user/admin except 2.1.

Thoughts? Miranche (talk)

In 2.1 it's also important who marked edits as patrolled, not just who entered the content. (patrolling has been introduced in 2009). Here is an example where the administrator marked obviously questionable content as patrolled.--Wikit 18:13, 22 September 2013 (UTC)
Nasty... You mentioned that you had "more than 100 examples" - would the above structure work (i.e. would the page look reasonably organized)?
Also, see my last edit in the previous section - would splitting by admin be better if we were to insist on individual responsibility (well, I for one am)?
In the above layout, the lowest level should be further divided into named incidents ("Blocking of user xy", "Threats to user yz", etc.) so that full information on an incident does not get duplicated or scattered (although there are complex incidents that involve more than one admin and more than one category of abuse, and these will be difficult to categorize). GregorB (talk) 19:40, 22 September 2013 (UTC)
WW, good point about patrollers, added the info into the outline. Actually -- anyone, please feel free to edit the outline as you see fit.
IMO, splitting by admin/user would work for behavioral issues for sure (and it's by admin or user as admins will probably turn out not to be the only ones with behavioral issues). I am somewhat cautious about splitting by admin/user across the board, because
  • as I wrote above, problems with behavior & content require different kinds of info & putting them together may complicate things,
  • if the first thing people see is a list of admins, this page would look like a shaming board, which would not only fuel more accusations of "lynching" -- these are a standard derailing tactic and will come anyway -- but would repel users who would like to contribute but are unsure if the accusations of "lynching" may be justified, and
  • I think Content issues are (as I explain below) better categorized by article.
So I (still) think that the top-level division needs to be Behavior vs Content, on separate pages, and I agree that Behavior is best split by admin/user. For Content submissions, categorizing them by admin/user could work in theory too, but I think it's more practical to do so by article. It's more intuitive, also articles are collaborative efforts, and putting info about each article together would convey a sense of how the content got to be the way it was.
I'd also suggest that if there's a report that can go into both categories, Behavior and Content, it could be reported twice, once on each page.
Finally, I think the instructions on the pages need to be bilingual, English + Croatian. While IMO English should be the preferred language of submissions, submissions in all languages / language standards mutually intelligible with Croatian would be welcome, with limitation to using the Latin script only, to not unfairly discriminate against those who have trouble reading Cyrillic.
Thoughts? Miranche (talk) 23:13, 22 September 2013 (UTC)
The "lynching" argument is a valid one, and I agree. (I.e. group by issue, group behavioral issues by admin - that sounds right.)
Fully agree on the instructions. One may also put aside a separate talk page section for comments in Croatian. (The comments in the talk page should deal with the process of gathering evidence, rather than on the issues, but it is only fair to let everyone ask questions and discuss the process.)
As far as I'm concerned, we're good to go. I'd like to hear from Wikiwind though - tres faciunt collegium, after all. GregorB (talk) 07:39, 23 September 2013 (UTC)
Great, thanks. Agree on using the talk pages to comment on the process. I've created three pages "Main" (which will replace this page's content page), "Conduct" (which sounded better than Behavior, but we can always move it), and "Content", so if anyone wants to start writing the instructions, go for it. I'll get to it late tomorrow, most likely.
GregorB, also please see my concern highlighted above -- I'd love to get your take on it. In short, once the above pages are ready, I'd try to get one or two sets of eyes of people who have shown a level head in this matter to take a look at it. We should also probably leave a note on Jimbo's page that this is about to start. Miranche (talk) 08:01, 23 September 2013 (UTC)
Regarding the highlighted part, just a couple of thoughts: 1) WP:BOLD is a legitimate approach here, 2) looking at this talk page, I don't think anyone can say we're doing anything hastily and without discussion or second thought, 3) the situation has no real precedent (the closest example being Requests for comment/Massive sysop abuse in Chechen Wikipedia, apparently a much simpler affair), so there is no established way to deal with this, and 4) (and this is the most important) ako laže koza, ne laže rog - even if the structure and process aren't ideal, they are going to produce hard evidence for everyone to see and to assess. This, I believe, is all it takes. At any rate, if there should be complaints regarding the process, I'd be more than happy to make adjustments accordingly, which shouldn't take away anything from the value of concrete evidence gathered here. GregorB (talk) 10:53, 23 September 2013 (UTC)
Ok, agreed on all points. I agree we should move ahead, and I do think that someone to whom Jimbo will hopefully pay attention (which may be any of us) should leave a message on his page once some of the instructions & sample submissions are in place. At that time I'm also planning to ask for feedback from Ante Perkovic, a former admin who has stayed on the sidelines and kept a level head in commentaries on Jimbo's page and elsewhere online, and Vodomar, a conservative admin who has expressed principled support for this effort. Miranche (talk) 14:36, 23 September 2013 (UTC)

How to begin

Assuming we have an agreement regarding the layout, here is what happens next:

  1. Adapt the actual layout in the main Evidence page as described here.
  2. Add instructions in English and Croatian.
  3. Remove the "under construction" warning.
  4. Post a notice to hr, sh, bs and sr projects (respective village pumps).
  5. Post a notice in WikiProject Croatia talk page.
  6. Post a notice in Jimbo's talk page.

I can do the notices, but I'll need some help with the instructions.

Then we wait and see what happens. I believe 30 days should be fine for evidence gathering phase. GregorB (talk) 15:23, 25 September 2013 (UTC)

Agreed on 30 days & on the plan of action. Going with the assumption of separate pages for conduct & content-related submissions, I've started putting together a front page on "Main" (which would replace the current main Evidence page), but I haven't gotten very far on the other two, "Conduct" and "Content". I'll help with the instructions. Miranche (talk) 15:54, 25 September 2013 (UTC)
OK, I wrote up most of the instructions in English, they still need to be translated into Croatian. If anyone wants to do it go ahead. We also need a few more example submissions, and the existing submissions & comments from the front page need to be moved to their proper spots. Then we should be ready to go.
Please let me know if this is too much in terms of information & structure. I figured since there may be a lot of submissions it's better to give detailed instructions & impose some structure on them ahead of time, to prevent the pages from being a total mess. On the other hand I don't want it to be intimidating & prevent submissions. Miranche (talk) 00:43, 26 September 2013 (UTC)

Ready to begin?

Ok, I put together the pages -- wrote & translated the instructions, created submission outlines, transferred info from the original page. If I need to use the word "podnesak" one more time I may get a nervous tic. Please let me know if everything looks ok. Miranche (talk) 17:25, 27 September 2013 (UTC)

It doesn't look OK, it looks excellent. It's a bit late now, tomorrow I'll take a closer look and maybe tweak a thing or two. I'd like to see this thing rolling within 24 hours - and why not, it's ready. "Podnesak" is, indeed, best taken in smaller doses... GregorB (talk) 22:19, 27 September 2013 (UTC)
Thumbs up. Could you take care of the notices & taking down the "under construction" signs when you're ready? If so, after you do so I'll go ahead & archive this discussion so the talk page starts afresh.
Notifications raise the issue of canvassing you've mentioned earlier, I've done a bit of research & summarized it under a new topic heading. Miranche (talk) 23:54, 27 September 2013 (UTC)

Notifications vs Canvassing

Regarding canvassing, the relevant part seems to be here.

Since the purpose of these pages is both data gathering & a survey, I think it's OK to notify people who have shared specific information about conduct/content bias on Jimbo's talk page or on the RfC page, and ask them to submit the info here. I've actually already contacted sh:Korisnik:Seiya and User:Sj who have submitted reports prematurely, to let them know I've moved their contributions to the new pages & reformatted them somewhat, and encourage them to submit more and/or give feedback.

It's not OK to contact people who have expressed a partisan opinion one likes or about whose POV one has other indications, such as transcluding this userbox, just to create a mob of "yes" votes. If I contact anyone because of their past attitudes, I personally tend to favor choosing people who have pitched in with reasonable suggestions but haven't taken sides, and those with whom I expect I'll disagree but with whom I've had respectful engagement.

In this vein, it's almost certainly not OK to contact the Facebook page -- although it published lots of relevant info, it's POV, it's not targeted enough, and it's off Wiki pages.

Whatever we do, per this guideline (note at the end) it's probably a good idea to have a section on this talk page on which we'll just keep track of notifications, especially to individual users -- where, when, who, and why. Miranche (talk) 23:53, 27 September 2013 (UTC)

This is why I was a bit worried about the Agree/Disagree thing. As I already said, if the objective were simply to gather as much evidence of misconduct as possible, it would have been only natural to invite people who complained about it, and it would have made no sense to invite people who think everything is A-OK. However, since we'll also have agreeing and disagreeing comments, this approach would indeed amount to canvassing, and that's something we must be extremely careful about. So I fully agree with you regarding the approach.
The invitation has to be carefully worded, and I see a problem here:
  1. If the village pump message invited people with specific complaints to contribute (as I originally intended), then it is going to leave an impression that others are supposed to stay away from the discussion.
  2. If, on the other hand, the invitation is extended to everyone, then we'll have an asymmetric discussion in which one side will submit complaints with diffs, while the other will post lengthy rants, likely resulting in general nastiness and/or mayhem. (This is in fact very likely to happen anyway.)
We're going to have to go with 2), I suppose. GregorB (talk) 10:58, 28 September 2013 (UTC)
I see what you mean. Well, I think that even if we're just gathering info, it needs to be widely known this is happening, so people can watch the process if they want to and cannot say they were left out of it. It also makes sense for people to voice their opinions on what is being posted. We also have the issue of differentiating btw facts and comments, because submissions are likely to include opinionated descriptions in the first place, so separating comments from the descriptions seems somewhat contrived. So yes, I think that 2) above is the way to go.
I don't think it's possible to avoid mayhem. To make it somewhat more bearable, I suppose we could do one or more of the following (in approximate order from less to more intervention):
  1. make it very explicit to comment on the specific info at hand
  2. dispense with the agree/disagree and other polling tags
  3. keep comments in a separate section or even their own page, which would make things clearer but would be somewhat contrived (as I wrote above) and may be cumbersome to navigate
  4. have a policy of moving irrelevant comments to the talk page, but this is more invasive than I'd prefer (who judges what's irrelevant?) and would be seen as heavy handed
  5. dispense with comments completely, but this would be unfair to people being criticized
If you look at the Chelsea Manning survey I linked in the instructions, you'll see a loooooong comment section, and sure it has plenty of flaming, but this is overall unavoidable and hopefully beneficial in a difficult case. Miranche (talk) 14:03, 28 September 2013 (UTC)
... hence I don't think we should go much further than 1). As far as polling templates go, we can just not mention them in the general instructions, but they've already been used by a couple of users so it's likely they'll be used again. I suppose we could ask those users (meta:Sj & sh:Seiya) if we could remove the templates from their responses with their permission, or reduce them to plain text ("Agree."), but such a step strikes me as too pedantic. Miranche (talk) 00:09, 29 September 2013 (UTC)
Done. Miranche (talk) 02:10, 29 September 2013 (UTC)
Also, I don't have a strong preference regarding 3), so if you think it'd be a good idea to have a separate comments section let's do it. I can adjust the format & the instructions.
Let's try to get this started soon. Miranche (talk) 19:11, 29 September 2013 (UTC)
Sorry for my absence over the weekend - I spent the last few days being either too busy or too tired...
I'd still keep the agree/disagree comments, but I'd:
  1. Move completely off-topic comments and general diatribes to the talk page, and/or
  2. Use collapsible boxes around long comment threads if needed, to make it easier on the eyes.
I'm going to take another look at the pages now and come back here shortly with the comments. GregorB (talk) 19:51, 29 September 2013 (UTC)
I'd say the pages are good to go. Made some tweaks to the instructions and removed the "under construction" templates. I'm going to write an announcement for Kafić now, but I'll wait for your green light before I post it. GregorB (talk) 20:26, 29 September 2013 (UTC)
Green enough?. Please go ahead...
... with a caveat: IMO it may make sense to notify Jimbo first, then wait for a response for 12-24h before notifying everyone else. I assume you'll also post notices on bs, sh & sr village pumps?
I'll go ahead and start a new section to keep track of notifications about this page, especially to individual users. I'll also archive the rest of this page, leaving only this thread (still live) and the new one about notifications.
As for your comments:
  • I agree with collapsing long comments threads.
  • I'm cautiously opposed to outright removing comments to the talk page if they are at all articulate. I don't see clear criteria how to judge whether a given comment that's not obviously graffiti is off-topic, so moving comments will raise the same question we're trying to answer here (Who watches the watchers?), lead to accusations of censorship, communist conspiracy, the works -- in other words, give the trolls the exact ammunition they want. I'd rather let people say what they want & meet comments of questionable relevance by asking for a brief explanation how they're relevant, and offering the option to move the comment to the talk page. Meeting perceived irrelevance with politeness IMO assumes good faith toward those who believe they have a valid reason for venting, and makes those who purposely seek confrontation lose interest.
  • That said, I don't have a problem with reverting graffiti, and asking the admins to ban users / IP addresses for sneakier forms of vandalism: erasing people's comments without their approval, tweaking the wording of info to subvert its meaning etc. I can notify Meta:AN and tell them these pages are at high risk of such attempts.
Please let me know how this all sounds. Miranche (talk) 22:03, 29 September 2013 (UTC)
Okay, I agree, let's avoid removing comments if at all possible (i.e. only nonsense/vandalism is removed, as you already outlined; we'll have to watch for it, because semi-protecting is not really an option).
There'll be five announcements in all: hr, bs, sh, sr, plus Jimbo's talk. In Jimbo's case, it is not actually going to be an announcement, just a FYI note. Actually, I was planning to post those four today (well, "now" - before going to bed, at any rate...) and notify Jimbo tomorrow. I don't expect Jimbo or anyone else to comment one way or the other (i.e. "OK, do it" or "no, don't do it") - there shouldn't be a problem with being bold here. GregorB (talk) 22:21, 29 September 2013 (UTC)
I'll notify meta:AN. Re: timing other notifications, you be the judge. My thinking was that Jimbo may give useful tips we haven't thought about / point out if we're missing something obvious, or, more likely, get someone to pay attention to the page who may give useful tips we haven't thought about / point out if we're missing something obvious. If this is at all a possibility it won't hurt to wait a bit.
FYI one more detail, I'm about to add the following to the instructions on the content page: "Whenever possible, please support your claims about article content with appropriate verifiable sources."
Launch. Miranche (talk) 22:29, 29 September 2013 (UTC)
Regarding Jimbo's involvement, I'm going to "risk" it. (Not much of a risk, I'd say - not too late to tweak it.) Starting with the four Wikipedias then... GregorB (talk) 22:48, 29 September 2013 (UTC)
Ok, I've started the info on notifications, please add info on whomever you inform... Good luck. Miranche (talk) 22:55, 29 September 2013 (UTC)
Did bs, sh, sr (will document it below), could not do hr because "GregorB" belongs to someone else there, and Kafić is semi-protected. Could you do it, or are you still banned there? GregorB (talk) 23:06, 29 September 2013 (UTC)
And BTW if you do it, feel free to change the text as you see fit. (I was initially going to write a separate message for hr wiki, but in the end I wrote a generic one for all four wikis.) GregorB (talk) 23:36, 29 September 2013 (UTC)
Will do. However I foresee trouble. Meta admins may not be favorable to this effort, but we can't unpost the notices, neither can we not post the hr notice once bs/sh/sr are in. We have barely started & feces seems already to be hitting the ventilator. Miranche (talk) 23:54, 29 September 2013 (UTC)
Gregor, FYI, in light of concerns brought up by Rschen7754, I'll go ahead & notify Jimbo right away. Miranche (talk) 00:05, 30 September 2013 (UTC)
I see... Go ahead. GregorB (talk) 00:24, 30 September 2013 (UTC)
Done. Miranche (talk) 00:49, 30 September 2013 (UTC)
Very good. I really wish Jimbo said something. I don't expect him to actually do anything - notifying some people and/or pointing the way would really help. GregorB (talk) 00:59, 30 September 2013 (UTC)
Great, thanks for pitching in on meta:AN. My hope is we'll hear from Jimbo and/or learn of his actions within 24h.
I see submissions have already started. Someone (we) should probably be checking on these pages once every couple of hours to check for any vandalism etc. I can spare time to do so today (Monday 30 September) until about 8:00 UTC and again from 17:00 to 00:00 UTC Tuesday 1 October. I do hope we won't be the only ones doing this... but that's a topic for a new thread.
So if you agree I'll go ahead and archive this thread along with other older ones.
Great working with you so far on this; the hard part has started. Miranche (talk) 02:42, 30 September 2013 (UTC)
Thank you - and likewise, your initiative and continuous work was crucial, without it I doubt we'd have anything here.
I'm watching the submission pages. I could probably do it from 8:00 to 22:00 UTC on weekdays (more or less). The traffic is not too heavy at the moment, so I guess checking 3 or 4 times in that period should be sufficient for the time being. (I must admit I've checked a dozen or so times today, though...) GregorB (talk) 13:51, 30 September 2013 (UTC)