Talk:Requests for comment/Global ban for Poetlister

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Quality of the evidence, a study and some thoughts[edit]

The evidence presented against Poetlister on the RfC page is heavily biased, with inflammatory language continuing to be used. Originally, the basic "crime" of Poetlister was alleged to be "identity theft," which was a clear error, since no identity was stolen, "identity theft" is a serious crime, see w:Identity theft, and Poetlister did not do this. Then, after I pointed this out, Sj went back and edited his comments to "impersonation," in one place, and "impersonating young females" in another. Yet nobody was impersonated, impersonation is pretending to be a real person whom you are not. However, to pretend personal qualities that are not actually one's qualities is sometimes called "impersonation." From an online dictionary, "impersonation" is 1. To assume the character or appearance of, especially fraudulently: impersonate a police officer. 2. To imitate the appearance, voice, or manner of; mimic: an entertainer who impersonates celebrities.

Key word, "fraudulently," which means gaining some advantage that is "fraud," which is not merely that someone is fooled. In the case of the police officer, it would be that unlawful power is gained. Taxwoman was not impersonating *someone*, particularly not the woman whose photo he'd obtained, rather Taxwoman was impersonating a woman, assuming the character or appearance of a woman, by using the photo and text. What fraud was involved? It's a can of worms, folks. What are we protecting? Are we trying to prevent users who might be inclined to sexually harass a young woman from being fooled by, shall we say, a decoy? Imagine your horror when you discover that the young woman you were approaching is actually a middle-aged man!

This would be why "young females" is important! Why would impersonating a young female be worse than impersonating an old man? Or an expert? Or a nice guy when you really hate people? If used to cause harm, sure. What harm was caused to those fooled?

Which gets us to the actual offense. For his sock Taxwoman, Poetlister used an image of a young woman that he'd been able to obtain from a friend. Was this "stolen"? That's unclear, to our knowledge, Poetlister was not charged or convicted of any crime. To use a person's photograph without their permission is a tort, sometimes. Legally, the whole situation is quite complex, As part of what happened, though, Poetlister was blackmailed into revealing all of his socks, which were alternate identities, and those original identities don't seem to have been used in violation of policies. Besides the possible privacy violation, the extortion was illegal in my opinion, and possibly could have resulted in prosecution and liability for Wikipedia, I don't think this has been appreciated. What has commonly been said about Poetlister is often libelous defamation, but, I'll add, I'm not an attorney.

Be that as it may, I noticed a piece of evidence posted here against Poetlister and I thought I'd take a closer look at it, the evidence with regard to Poetlister has often turned out to be more splash than stone.

I'd written, in response to a claim that Poetlister was "not at all productive":

I'm puzzled. In quite a few discussions I've seen of Poetlister, on the various wikis and on Wikipedia Review, it's been asserted that this is a productive user, an excellent content creator and editor, who is, with alleged reluctance, nevertheless condemned for misbehavior. Poetlister gained respect as Cato, becoming a checkuser, which certainly required positive contributions! (And there have been no charges that Poetlister caused any damage as Cato.) --Abd 16:04, 8 July 2011 (UTC)

And, in response, came:

The Cato account was extensively used in vote-stacking with other aliases at Wikiquote.[1] ~ Ningauble 00:19, 9 July 2011 (UTC)

Now, I know well from Wikipedia ban discussions that many users read a statement like this, see the link, and "assume good faith." but that diff is a search that uncovers every VfD that includes the phrase "Cato." There are 348 hits. How many users will actually look at those? From my experience, few. Why bother when the guilt of this user is so obvious, I mean, just look at all the evidence!

Was there "vote stacking" there? Poetlister was indeed socking, but did he double vote? Looking at the VfDs, I started down the list.

  • Palindromes. Poetlister !voted Keep, Cato only commented. We can see Poetlister creating a conversation between his socks. No effect on outcome.
  • Resident Evil (movie series) Poetlister and Cato did both !vote Delete. The VfD was unanimous Delete. No effect on outcome.
  • Meerkat Manor. Triple voting, Poetlister, Cato, and Yehudi, all Delete. Unanimous delete, already deleted for copyvio, no effect on outcome.
  • Boris Tadić Triple voting as with Meerkat Manor. What's remarkable is that one of the two Delete votes is changed to Keep by an editor because Cato improved the page. There was no effect on outcome.
  • Veil fetish Remarkable because Poetlister nominated. Cato only comments, but then accepts a Merge compromise, closing that way. Probably no effect on outcome.

What would I find if I continued this? I don't know. What is obvious is that Poetlister was indeed multiply voting, but not in a way that actually harmed the project. He wasn't shifting outcomes, in these examples. He wasn't merely voting, he was working to improve pages. I normally think of abusive socking as involving conflicts, as outvoting others, shifting results by votestacking. Cato/Poetlister/Yehudi was working with the community, and essentially shot himself in the foot by socking, it was unnecessary.

Given the socking, it's completely understandable why Cato and Poetlister were desysopped. However, the obvious reality of the positive contributions explains why the preferred solution was to require Poetlister to use only a single account. A ban was not the desired outcome of most of those commenting, on Wikiquote.

So why did he do it? That remains a mystery. Comments in the RfC assert that he was "manipulating the community." But he was actually diluting his reputation, he was already deservedly popular, and, of course, when he was unmasked, his reputation was trashed. However, this much is clear to me. His motives involve making positive contributions, and they do not involve attacking others or fostering conflict, which is very different and quite the opposite from puppet masters I've normally encountered, the behavior which is behind the seriously negative reputation that "socking" has, knee-jerk. I prefer to avoid complex psychological speculation, but I do not see, from his history at Wikiquote, reason to expect damage to Wikiversity, the only place where Poetlister is editing, and where he has, again, been doing good work. Given all the attention focused on him, the worst that is likely to happen there would be that, if he socks again, he'd be exposed and possibly blocked. While I could be wrong, I don't expect that. For him to cause actual damage to the project would be entirely out of character from the past.

Do people fear that he will again pretend to be a young woman? Poetlister is a man with a known real-life identity. If Poetlister is globally banned, would this prevent him from creating new socks? From what I understand, he's more at risk of discovery if he has an active and known account. If he intended to create more accounts like Taxwoman, he'd likely drop Poetlister like a hot potato. The point is that a global ban would not stop him, merely make discovery more difficult. I suggest that it's a losing proposition to try to protect "naive users" from "impersonation." If people don't know the risk of fakery on the internet or with anonymous Wikipedia accounts, that's a problem, but not really our problem, and it's not solved by whatever we do with Poetlister. Poetlister is not known to have actually harmed other users by his antics. The harm to the woman whose photo he originally used, without connecting that photo to her real-life identity, was one of distress, regrettable, but an old harm, and it does not appear that he intended to harm her. It's claimed that he later re-used the photo, but I've asked about that. I've seen no evidence so far that this was actually him. If so, my God, truly stupid. But actual harm? By that time, this image was famous, irritating, I'm sure, but almost a joke. By comparison with what is not uncommon on, say, Wikipedia, the harm of Poetlister is mild. I think the strength of the reaction has to do with what Sj emphasized: "impersonating young females." Something about that drives some people crazy. It's .... deviant, perverted, they think. --Abd 02:58, 9 July 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

So your argument, to boil it down to less than many thousands of words, is that Poetlister has committed no serious offense and in fact, if anything, is the victim in this situation? Nathan T 17:54, 12 July 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It's a complex situation and cannot be reduced to some sound bite. I've been exploring the situation and learning about it, in depth and detail -- I learn by writing, and I share what I learn --, and what I wrote three days ago does not express my current position. See below for a more current assessment. Poetlister has committed serious offenses, but it was years ago, as to anything truly serious. He is the target of current and recent harassment. But that's all irrelevant, the basic issue here is the autonomy of local wikis, on the one hand, and protection of "naive wikis" from abuse, on the other. --Abd 18:12, 12 July 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

On the global ban of Thekohser[edit]

Tempodivalse wrote, in this RfC, In Thekohser's case there was some of that at Wikinews and later Wikisource, and ended up with the global ban being rescinded (?)

The "global ban" was a declaration by Jimbo on Wikiversity that Thekohser was globally banned. A steward at meta took it on to enforce this with a global lock. It was apparently decide that this was too intrusive (and the 'crat renaming trick wasn't understood, perhaps), so Pathoschild went around to the wikis and locally blocked Thekohser, which then allowed local decisions to be made. Some did unblock. Mike.lifeguard, almost a month later, relocked the account "per discussion." I asked him where these discussions were and he declined to answer, as I recall. (Technically, then, this was a violation of steward policy that decisions, at least possibly controversial ones, be based on wiki discussions.) There were one or two wikis where the account had not been linked with the SUL account, plus Wikibooks and Wikiversity, at least, made explicit discussion decisions to delink so that Thekohser could edit, by consensus. The global lock still stands, based on no discussed global ban. Neither Thekohser nor anyone else seems to be exercised enough about it to make a fuss.

It should be realize that the original ban declaration by Jimbo was part of a sequence in which he asserted Founder tools to block local users and desysop a 'crat and admin, and appeared to be threatening to close down Wikiversity. While he retracted the actions (except for the block of Thekohser), an RfC was filed at meta over this. The !vote, as I recall, was running at about 2:1 against removing Jimbo's Founder toolset, and there were comments like, "why are we listening to these trolls" -- referring to a long-established Wikiversity admin who had filed the RfC, and others supporting. Jimbo's supporters, I'd suggest, should have realized that there was a problem, if one-third of comments were in favor of removing the tools, at meta, and this included functionaries. Then, Jimbo intervened at Commons, again overriding local privilege. Commons has a much larger, highly involved user base. The !votes poured in until the ratio was about four to one for removal. Jimbo asked for the intrusive tools to be removed, leaving him with tools that allow monitoring activity. Technically, he can still oversight, but that tool was only left because it was not technically possible to separate the action of oversighting with the ability to review oversighted edits.

This attempt to globally ban a user for cause that is not universally supported resulted in massive disruption. I saw Wikiversity activity drop drastically, as far as I could tell, with users concerned that the project might be shut down. There were disruptive discussions, with some believing that there was a "global ban" and others opining that the ban did not exist, there was only a global lock implemented by a single steward. While it seems that a discussed global ban would be superior to a simple lock decision by a single steward, these discussions, when causes are not clearly a matter of established consensus, are almost intrinsically disruptive. There should be good causes and a clear and present need.

The "global ban" on Thekohser complicated local discussions, with some users thinking that the local wiki had no right to oppose it, some thinking that stewards would retaliate if a local wiki "defied" the "ban," others arguing that the user had committed no offenses locally and that what had been done elsewhere was irrelevant. The discussion on Wikibooks was so disruptive that Mike.lifeguard appears to have resigned as a checkuser as retaliation{?) for the other checkuser's action in delinking Thekohser's account, forcing the automatic removal of the other checkuser's privileges because of the requirement for two, and, as a local admin, he reblocked Thekohser "per global ban," as I recall. Ultimately, the other 'crat obtained clear consensus for delinking and unblock, and Mike.lifeguard resigned (he claimed that this was unrelated, but the timing raises an obvious suspicion of connection.)

The record on this should not encourage promoters of global locking for controversial uses, without local consensus or the reasonable expectation of the same. Pathoschild's local blocks, being readily reversible locally, and still allowing Talk page access so that a user could ask for unblock, were not disruptive. It is possible that a tool could be developed to globally block all linked SUL accounts, similar to what can be done with IP accounts, with, then, a local whitelist still allowing local control, by the decision of any administrator.

Global lock is a tool that only affects SUL accounts, and users voluntarily create SUL accounts and attach local accounts to it. It's only possible, then, to lock a user who has voluntarily attached the account. We allow global lock because SUL accounts can be used efficiently for cross-wiki spamming and vandalism. The kind of "disruptive users" that have controversially been locked are not engaged in massive vandalism, they are often critics of the WMF, and some WMF volunteers want to exclude criticism. Some have grievances against, say, Wikipedia administrators or editors, and have used the other wikis as a platform on which and from which to harass these "abusers," as they believe. There is a global lock on Moulton, as an example, with two places where renaming was used to detach the account, and where he is now indef blocked (by local admin at en.wv and by steward at beta.wv). Given the scope of his harassment, I agree that the lock is appropriate for him, but that is a rare exception, and the way it was handled was far better than through a "global ban" discussion, which would just bring all the bugs out of the woodwork. There is no comparison between Moulton, whose criticism almost amounted to vandalism, with "outing" information requiring revision deletion, and Poetlister, whose "disruption," was quite local and not vicious, or Thekohser, who, if he engaged in any harassment at all, it would be through asking difficult questions or embarrassing ones, possibly seen as hostile, of major functionaries, particularly Jimbo. Thekohser was delinked and unlocked at en.wikiversity and en.wikibooks, but if he abused these accounts for tendentious criticism, outside of proper fora with locally-relevant discussions, he'd likely be blocked. He hasn't. --Abd 15:15, 9 July 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Random note: Thekohser's account was also delinked at en.wikinews and en.wikisource, as I recall. The former, like Wikiversity, has a bit of a reputation for welcoming users unpopular on other projects. Just goes to show the global block went against a lot of people's wishes. Tempodivalse [talk] 17:08, 9 July 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Wikinews is a good example of how the global lock of Thekohser was anti-independence. See logs for Thekohser there. You unblocked on May 6 per discussion. Mike.lifeguard then, later that month, locked the account again, and there was no notice to the WN community, of course. Just as there was no notice to WV when Poetlister was locked last month. We don't even know, and the user is cut off from Talk page and maybe email access (?).
See discussion on Wikinews User talk:Thekohser. In this discussion, Thekohser claims he could use email while globally locked.
As to wikisource, the account was never attached, so the global lock did not function. Blocked as implementation of the global ban, but then unblocked promptly. The Commons account was also not attached, blocked and unblocked similarly. --Abd 20:02, 9 July 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I remember that block now, funny how one forgets things. I was actually quite involved, that's one of the heated "dramas" that led up to my quitting the project. But my question is: should Poetlister be compared with Thekohser? At least the latter wasn't engaged in (serious) socking, and seemed to be quite productive when he wasn't being cynical. Poetlister seemed to have an active agenda of undermining the project. Although, like you, I disagree with the global block, I'm wondering if this thread is comparing proverbial apples to oranges. Tempodivalse [talk] 21:29, 9 July 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The situations are different, to be sure. However, I don't see that Poetlister was engaged in "serious socking" recently. There is an absence of evidence on that in the RfC. What I do see is a record of recent positive contributions, going back some time. That includes Wikisource and I'll testify it includes Wikiversity, the only place where I've seen recent Poetlister activity. Birgitte claims activity in January, but apparently isn't going to point to evidence. It was a personal conviction, and I have no idea what that means. The similarity is this: user is considered a problem by some, who then want to prohibit participation on all WMF wikis. In the current RfC for Abigor, Sj suggests that wikis where Abigor is an administrator, still, be notified of findings in his RfC here that resulted in his block here. That kind of solution is fine, if the notices are neutral, though they could be non-neutral if put up by someone taking personal responsibility. (A neutral notice could just be a link to the RfC here, placed by a global sysop or steward, say, on projects where there is considered to be some risk), if there is a close to do so. I'm blocked on Wikipedia, and I have no problem with Wikiversity users being told about this. Indeed, if they don't know, they aren't paying attention, which is also okay. It's simply not a secret. --Abd 22:01, 9 July 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The account was also delinked at en.wikibooks by yours truly; however that was then followed by a community discussion resulting in a decision to unblock. Delinking was solely to provide for the possibility for a local decision, something that the content page for this talk page seeks to avoid. – Adrignola talk 04:15, 10 July 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Harmonizing proposal: Global lock with immediate delinking of specific active nondisruptive account.[edit]

It is obvious from the discussion that Poetlister is one very unpopular person! The issue that, however, created this flap was a collision of two concerns: off-wiki discussion on foundation-l considered that Poetlist is a very dangerous editor, likely to cause disruption if this is not interdicted. On the other hand, the tradition is strong that the local wikis have autonomy, the right to control their own wiki and participation there, provided they do not allow "cross-wiki disruption," i.e., the use of one wiki to, say, create harm for other wikis, as, for example, allowing a local user to "out" users on other wikis, disclosing real-life identity, or hosting personal attacks on other-wiki users.

In the Poetlister case, no evidence has been presented of any cross-wiki disruption in recent history. The most recent history was on Wikisource, and the "disruption" there was simply that Poetlister with permission of local checkusers returned to editing as Longfellow. When this was found, there was an outcry. This was then interpreted as Poetlister "manipulating the community," i.e., by requesting something illegitimate, but "illegitimate" is hindsight. It obviously seemed proper at the time, and "manipulation" is an excuse for error. The decision to allow return without disclosure was an error, but not malfeasance or improper, and it was not improper for Poetlister to request it. Such requests are made, and implemented, frequently, on Wikipedia, and allowed by some of the same people who are now commenting here promoting a global ban.

It is possible to harmonize what is legitimate about both positions. There is precedent for it, with Thekohser, and, in a murkier case, Moulton.

In Thekohser affair, Thekohser was "globally banned" by a declaration by Jimbo. This caused massive local disruption at Wikiversity, where he had been active. Eventually, strong majorities, on consideration and debate, decided to delink the local account and unblock it. (It was both locked and blocked, as a matter of history.) That result stands to this day, Thekohser is both globally locked and allowed to edit Wikiversity and Wikibooks. In both those cases, though, it took extensive discussion to establish what would have been the default if the harmonizing suggestion is followed. Thekohser is also unbanned on several other wikis, based on less disruptive process. The Wikiversity action resulted in a desysopping/re-opping by Jimbo, a block of another user by Jimbo, unblocked later by him, some level of disruption and user conflict over enforcement of the block of Thekohser, and an RfC was filed at meta over Jimbo's action which ultimately resulted, when combined with another incident of interference in local wiki governance, in his resignation of the intrusive Founder tools. In addition, when Thekohser was unblocked, a Wikiversity admin who had been enforcing the global ban resigned.

The Wikibooks action resulted in contentious debate, in wheel-warring between a 'crat and steward (acting as a local admin, which he also was), in that enforcing local admin resigning checkuser that appears to be politically related (forcing the other local checkuser to lose ops), and possibly in the resignation of the same person (prior checkuser) as a steward.

Outside interference doesn't go over well! Yet the global lock, whether or not implemented according to policy (it wasn't) still stands, because, given local autonomy, it's moot. It serves to protect the unwary, perhaps, and as long as local wikis can opt-out, it's not so harmful to autonomy. But, still, getting consensus for a local unlock/unblock for a user who wasn't causing local disruption was, itself, disruptive, because some percentage of users, a minority generally, will support the outside decision, perhaps based on trust of the Founder, or of meta administration, etc., and some opinion that "defiance" will be punished.

Hence a harmonizing suggestion. To reflect the consensus here that local wikis should be protected from possible disruption, the account can be locked. However, on request, or on a showing that there is a significant desire to allow the user to participate in a local wiki, the steward implementing the request may simultaneously delink the local account by renaming it and naming it back. This avoids creating local disruption over the process need to obtain local 'crat action to do the same thing.

It is clear from the discussion that there is no significant consent on Wikiversity for blocking Poetlister. If we look at the dissent to the RfC proposal for a global ban, it is almost entirely based on the principle of local autonomy. There is only one wiki truly affected by the RfC and represented in the discussion (by myself and the Wikiversity 'crat SB_Johnny). The RfC was filed by Sj, a WMF board member who had been only occasionally active on Wikiversity, and who began a flurry of activity there in association with filing this RfC, including filing an RfD over Poetlister's main Wikiversity project, an RfD unlikely to obtain consensus per WV policy and practice.

Meta exists to serve the local wikis, not to govern them. Setting a global default lock can protect local wikis, and the normal usage of the global lock tool reflects this, it is normally used for vandalism and spam control, because SUL accounts create an opportunity to spam and vandalize efficiently.

Protecting local wikis against allegedly disruptive users can be a legitimate purpose, but this can and should be interpreted and followed with continued respect for local autonomy, consistently with protection against true cross-wiki disruption.

I'm led to the compromise of, in this case, globally locking with immediate delinking of the Wikiversity account, so as to avoid the probable local disruption on Wikiversity, as we saw in the past with other cases.

I mentioned Moulton. Moulton was globally locked in 2008, as I recall. The whole affair caused, again, major disruption on Wikiversity. A local sysop was emergency desysopped in connection with this. Enforcing the lock/blocks was a continual problem, requiring extensive range blocks, and there was continued controversy. An alternative account of Moulton was unblocked as a last-minute action by a local admin about to be desysopped, in an action that did not arouse local opposition, and he was active in a positive way for some months. A local 'crat did the renaming so that Moulton could edit under his preferred account name; However, Moulton returned to old patterns and was eventually indef blocked, and a reblock took place on beta.wikiversity, where his friend, a 'crat, had likewise delinked the account. That 'crat lost his privileges in the ensuing mess early this year.

There has been no serious disruption over the eventual local block of Moulton. Local consensus works.

Outside interference has definitely not helped when there was local controversy. It's appreciated when local wikis are unable to defend themselves due to lack of attention. The steward action on beta.wikiversity was necessary because of outing, requiring immediate action, and it was accepted by that community, such as it is.

It can be predicted that if Poetlister is locked, simply, with no other action, there will almost certainly be disruption on Wikiversity, as local action will be requested to delink. The apparent thrust of this RfC, if there is a finding for "global ban," will lead to disruptive cross-wiki enforcement, whereas if there is a locking with immediate delinking just on Wikiversity, with, later, delinking as can be done as locally decided on wikis with the capacity to make such local decisions, there will be no disruption, no damage to Wikiversity, unless someone decides to try to get Poetlister locally blocked, in which case the local wiki can handle this as usual, including addressing the possible disruption of requests without local abuse being shown.

Office action has been mentioned. The WMF is unlikely to assert a global ban if there is no legal necessity. It has not been alleged, but there were, at one time, possible legal issues over Poetlister participation, eventually addressed by removal of improper images, the so-called "identity theft" that was a kind of impersonation, but not theft, or maybe it was, and, fortunately, we are not a court and it isn't our job to decide that, as long as there is no ongoing abuse. But there are also possible legal issues over how Poetlister was handled on Wikipedia, by the Arbitration Committee, with what appears to be blackmail by an admin being involved, and this, as well, creates legal issues for the WMF, as it or its agents allowed this to occur. It's a huge can of worms, far better left unopened, tucked away in archives and moot.

In the present case, the solution is simple: globally lock for mass protection, and delink the Wikiversity account at the same time, to allow two things: continued nondisruptive participation at Wikiversity, and, what seems to be missed in most of the discussion, continued monitoring of Poetlister to detect and head off future problems.

If Poetlister is simply locked, then the Poetlister account becomes useless for tracking the edits of the real-life person. He's known for extensive socking, as well as for skill in wiki participation, he can create a positive contribution history. How will a global ban be enforced? Have people considered the level of intrusion into the identity of ordinary users that will be involved? If he has a account free to edit, in a place where he has substantial interest, he is far more visible, and global checkuser can detect socks and interdict sock activity. If the account is simply locked, there goes that enforcement tool, leaving what?

Wikipedians seem to be under a collective delusion that they can block real-life users, and that these users will just go away. It works, sometimes, which is why the delusion persists. With skilled and determined users, though, what is far more effective, long term, is to channel user activity into what is constructive or at least harmless. Poetlister on Wikiversity creates no additional hazard, for sure, as long as he's watched, as this user will be, and makes the rest of the WMF safer. A true global ban makes the WMF less safe. That's the paradox here. --Abd 17:45, 12 July 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Based on my discussion above or otherwise, shall the SUL account "Poetlister" be globally locked for generic protection against cross-wiki abuse, with immediate delinking of the Wikiversity Poetlister account, to preserve local autonomy and allow non-disruptive participation there, with monitoring and specific response on Wikiversity as needed? --Abd 17:48, 12 July 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Wouldn't a "local" discussion regarding whether to de-link the account be better than having it done at the behest of one particularly vocal "local user"? You seem to be skipping that step. --SB_Johnny talk 01:45, 13 July 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
You can certainly advocate that, and it's an option to just lock and let the local wiki decide. Tell me, SBJ, should it take a local consensus to unlock? Or a local consensus to remain locked? You had an opinion, last year, that it it was backwards, if it took a local consensus to allow a locally nondisruptive user to edit. Are you changing that position now? Do we need the distraction of this process locally? I think I know the result, unless people pour in from outside just to !vote. The result for Wikiversity: not good.
Have you read the above history involving "global bans?" It's a mess. They are disruptive, inherently. A mere global lock isn't such a problem, if it's clear that local wikis can delink, but it can still be a problem, as we saw. --Abd 02:45, 13 July 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
AFAIK, delinking for the sake of unlocking has always been discussed first (e.g.). --SB_Johnny talk 08:11, 13 July 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thanks. Delinking by a steward as a part of a global action locking, as I'm suggesting, would not require prior discussion, because the status quo is unlocked and unblocked. It would be done by a steward who sees the call for global protection, and simply narrows the application slightly, creating an exception on one wiki where it is reasonably argued that there is positive contribution. Yes, in the cases where you delinked, you followed discussion, though in the Moulton case there was an operating acknowledged sock, you were merely allowing the usage of the original named account. However, on Wikinews, with Thekohser, it was not much discussed. You did not answer the issue about consensus being required for block, rather than consensus for unblock.
I am simply suggesting that requiring positive action at Wikiversity could create unnecessary disruption there. Of course it's up to Wikiversity, but any custodian could undo the effect of the delinking by blocking Poetlister. Delinking would be quite safe -- and any steward could locally block; in fact, this was the solution found quickly with Thekohser, and it's unclear why it was later abandoned through Mike.lifeguard re-locking. Again, another compromise would be for a steward to globally lock, delink Poetlister, and locally block him only on Wikiversity, thus allowing, for Wikiversity alone, local decision by any admin, whereas elsewhere, 'crat/steward action, presumably better informed, would be required. My recommendation, though, is to simply locally unlock and not block. Either action (locally delink, with block, or without block), would be showing that the goal is not control of the local wiki). But if you want to oppose this, that's your choice. --Abd 14:17, 13 July 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Kohser and Moulton were, each in their own ways, political activists of a sort. Poetlister isn't that, and has done a lot of things that could (and/or did) damage people's reputations, job prospects, or potentially their personal safety. Apparently he's still sending photos of yet another woman to people at WR and claiming it's a photo of him.
This is a dangerous person, Abd, and I think it would be better to simply let the meta community decide (since apparently the WMF isn't willing to be responsible). WV shouldn't have to go through this silliness (on top of all the silliness it already has to deal with from you). --SB_Johnny talk 00:50, 14 July 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I look at the history, SBJ, and see no recent serious problems. I have no idea if the allegations on Wikipedia Review are true, and it's irrelevant. If he's dangerous as feared, having him edit openly, watched, is far safer than locking down his active account, a global lock on Poetlister with blocks will not prevent harm from socking! As to my silliness, well, we'll see, eh? The stewards will make their choices. It's not up to me, here, is it? --Abd 02:26, 14 July 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

On "academic freedom" and global bans[edit]

User:Abd has suggested in the discussion that this is being done specifically to affect Wikiversity and that people outside of the Wikiversity community don't like the "academic freedom" that Wikiversity has, and that we should oppose global bans in general and specifically in the case of Poetlister for the "civil libertarian" reason or to ensure "academic freedom" on Wikiversity.

First of all, the academic freedom argument is bogus. Global bans aren't for people who say something inconvenient: they are for long-standing behavioural issues that go across projects that we have absolutely no reason to think are going to go away. I will come back to justify this again shortly.

The academic freedom analogy fails because the issue isn't academic freedom: it's behaviour. In the context of a university, if someone is fired from their academic position because they, say, don't think William Shakespeare was the author of Hamlet, that's a breach of their academic freedom. If the same person is fired because they lecture drunk or make sexually inappropriate comments to students or plagiarise or whatever, that's not a violation of academic freedom. That is what we are talking about: behavioural issues not content issues. Content issues are the preserve of the projects: what is appropriate on, say, Wikipedia is not necessarily appropriate on Wikinews etc. "Academic freedom" is not a get out of jail free card.

Now, why do we need global bans? Because projects can do stupid things and those stupid things affect all users. Imagine you had a user called John. John is a malicious so-and-so, and promptly gets banned from Wikione for sockpuppet violations, edit warring, and generally being a dick. John then arrives at Wikitwo, where he behaves himself very well and becomes an admin, and gains the trust of the community. John then becomes a 'crat, and eventually, the community decide to trust him with the role of CheckUser. Bill visits Wikitwo once, while he is logged in with his single user login, and promptly becomes registered at Wikitwo. Bill was on the ArbCom at Wikipedia and was one of the people who pushed hard for John to be banned. Now John has the ability to run CheckUser on Bill and find out personal information including his IP address simply because John had high-level permission on Wikitwo and Bill visited Wikitwo once. Single User Login enables this kind of thing to happen. If someone has been banned from a project—not indefinitely blocked, but major drama-causing banned for life type banned—why should he be allowed to potentially have access to CheckUser tools that can provide information about global users because another project is barmy enough to give them the tools?

If they have cross-wiki power due to the SUL, they should have cross-wiki accountability for their actions. If Wikiversity is able to give someone with the record of Poetlister access to CheckUser tools, that is a major concern for all Wikimedia projects. If Wikiversity wishes to be a little haven for users banned from the sister projects, standing up to, err, the brainwashed hordes on Wikipedia etc. by hoisting the banner of "academic freedom!" (which, presumably, still includes the freedom to create courses to teach people how to vandalise Wikipedia?), that's their prerogative. But when they reach the point of handing out advanced permissions to people who have caused trouble on other wikis, that's a serious concern and merits a cross-wiki response. —Tom Morris (talk) 22:42, 19 July 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

There are some serious misunderstandings here. The basic issue is the independence of the wikis. A compromise has been proposed where Poetlister is indeed "globally banned," but that the Wikiversity account is either immediately delinked, based on a recent record of non-problematic editing there, combined with non-problematic editing for a year overall (there being no clear allegations of true impropriety at Wikisource), or at least it's made clear that the "global ban" does not prohibit a local wiki from allowing anyone it chooses to edit -- absent clear cross-wiki harm.
If the WV account is delinked, there is no SUL for that account, it is separate from the SUL account even if the name is the same, and if Poetlister tries to log in anywhere else, he won't be able to do anything. The local wikis cannot assign checkuser privileges, that can only be done by stewards.
Procedurally, then, what we see here is a user who is apparently editing one wiki only, for some time, about six months. He's not being disruptive there, at all. An RfC was started here in order to prevent him from editing there, which is entirely out of WMF tradition, and in the discussions that led up to this filing, that is very clear, there were complaints about WV allowing this person to edit. So if WV was doing something wrong, why not address this at Wikiversity? Why here, where people mostly have no clue what Wikiversity is about? If Poetlister is creating some cross-wiki problem by editing Wikiversity, why not interdict it there? Why here? I'll tell you why here. Because, here, you can gather a pile-in of users who, as commonly happens on Wikipedia, will say, "Yeah! Ban him!" Poetlister has been very unpopular!
No advanced permissions have been proposed, nor would a steward be likely to grant them for Poetlister, even if WV asked for it, and checkuser permissions are carefully monitored. The user did have advanced permissions in the past, particularly checkuser, and if there was abuse of this, it's not been prominent in the pile of accusations.
This account, if globally locked, will not have "cross-wiki power." Period.
There is no course on Wikiversity to "teach people how to vandalize Wikipedia." There were allegations of such at one time, exaggerated and blown out of proportion. If there is anything there like that, I'd like to know, so I can do something about it. That would not be tolerable.
And this reply doesn't even go into how a fully implemented global ban ("A ban is a ban, no exceptions!"), if Poetlister really is dangerous, would make the wikis and communities less safe rather than more safe. The only way to stop that would be serious legal action in real courts, which would be very difficult and expensive and might fail anyway. No, existing policy is actually the way it should be. Meta doesn't ban users from other wikis. Global lock is used for SUL vandals and spammers. Period. But as a compromise, an exception is suggested, that could become a nondisruptive default. Global lock with delinking immediately where reasonably requested. I've been in communication with Poetlister, directly. He would accept this compromise, I believe. He understands that he screwed up in the past. If he makes a mess at Wikiversity, given all the attention that has been focused on him, he'd be history quickly. I don't think he'll do it, but if I'm wrong, so? He's already done enough work on Wikiversity to be worth some level of fuss. --Abd 01:47, 20 July 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
No, you haven't addressed the issue of the potential infringement of user privacy that could happen if you've got someone who has been up to no good on a bunch of other wikis gets given CheckUser on Wikiversity. That person now has access to personal information about SUL users. I firmly believe in project independence, but just like with national sovereignty, that doesn't mean that if someone has been "convicted" of bad things in one country, the others should throw up their hands and say "nothing to do with us". I don't care about cross-wiki politics: I don't even care much about Wikiversity. It can merrily chunter away being an irrelevant place for conductors of highly important original research into barmy pseudoscience and nonsense. Whatever. Where it becomes a problem is when said community is able to potentially give CheckUser access to people who many participants on the other sister projects would be highly uncomfortable having access to data about their IP. I'm sure editors on the sister projects didn't consent to someone with Poetlister's history being given to their personal information by occasionally adding a link back to Wikipedia or fixing the odd semi-colon on Wikiversity. Oh, but that's okay because it's "academic freedom" and "project independence". If Wikiversity or any other project deems someone with Poetlister's history suitable to give access to personal information of cross-wiki SUL users, that is a cross-wiki co-ordination issue. Again, I believe in second chances: there are people who have been banned from enwiki for stupid things who go over to simplewiki or commons or wherever and do just fine. But the enwiki community would have good reason to be worried if those people were to be given advanced permissions like CheckUser or Oversight. And if people at the other wikis are unable to grasp those problems, global bans or office actions may be justifiable even if it interferes with the sacrosanct "academic freedom" Wikiversity. —Tom Morris (talk) 16:58, 20 July 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Tom, local wikis cannot assign checkuser permission. This was addressed above. Checkuser is assigned by stewards after clearance by the WMF. Poetlister was checkuser on Wikiquote (Cato), until three years ago, having presented real-life identification to the WMF. He's a known person. Your concerns only show your bias against Wikiversity, which is also irrelevant, except as a confirmation that this RfC is aimed squarely at Wikiversity. Poetlister hadn't done anything objectionable on any of the WMF wikis for a year, and has only been active on WV for about six months. There are people with an axe to grind about him, though, that's obvious. --Abd 17:45, 20 July 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Fix the system?[edit]

The system is exploitable. Someone takes advantage of these exploits. The system is flawed. Everyone realizes that the system is flawed. The system stays broken. The exploiter gets "banned." The exploiter can't actually be banned, because the system is flawed and exploitable. Lather, rinse, repeat?

You would kill the exploit and the loop by fixing the system or living within (and accepting) its confines. Fighting it haphazardly like this isn't something I support. --MZMcBride 05:31, 20 July 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • The system that is broken is one where a discussion like this RfC can take place in an obviously improper venue, with an effort to make the results binding on all the local WMF wikis. That attempts to make meta, and the community of those who participate here, into a government of the wikis, rather than the intended coordinating body, serving the wikis.
  • The system that is broken is that a process like this can start up and build up steam before the user is even notified, a process where is no requirement for a clear and neutral presentation of evidence, beginning with some showing of necessity. If you came here to the Global locking page and requested a global lock for a vandal who had vandalized a few wikis more than a year ago, your request would be denied as stale, quickly. Global locks are also not issued for users who are only editing one wiki, you'll be told to go there to address problems. This is an extension and repetition of Wikipedia dysfunction, of incoherent process that can create an appearance of consensus, because biased users, with axes to grind, pile in, most users not even being aware of the discussion, and because the evidence is so poorly presented, most users make knee-jerk assumptions, often incorrect, producing a highly warped view of what the community would actually decide if the matter were carefully considered.
  • And, yes, the system that is broken is one where it's imagined that blocks and bans are cost-free. Because they are almost impossible to implement, fully, against a user, as distinct from an account, they require continual maintenance, and there is collateral damage, which can become massive. There should be adequate justification, a benefit from the ban that is greater than the cost. The paradox here is that if Poetlister is truly dangerous, it would be safer to allow him a place where he can openly contribute, as long as those contributions are not causing harm in themselves. He's then visible to checkuser, and the socking that so many seem so worried about, in spite of no evidence of anything recent, could be much more easily detected by a steward. In other words, letting Poetlister edit openly at Wikiversity alone is more like inviting a convict to live in a prison colony, where he can be observed, compared to issuing an edict that he's to stay completely away and expecting him to voluntarily comply with that, given that there is no way of enforcing it. You can lock the Poetlister SUL account, but you cannot prevent the person from editing, and that's been proven over and over. If he's dangerous, totally locking the account and preventing local wikis from bypassing this -- which seems to be the proposal here! -- increases the danger, it doesn't decrease it, at all.
  • Some of the comments seem to be thinking that objections to this ban are based on some idea of absolute and total independence. No, there is such a thing as a "cross-wiki issue," and this wiki, or the WMF itself, can address them. But this RfC doesn't address cross-wiki issues, there is no evidence of actual cross-wiki disruption, where one wiki is used as a base from which to attack others, as an example, where the freedom to edit at one wiki is being abused to cause harm to users at other wikis or the other wikis themselves. It's a mess. --Abd 18:16, 20 July 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Sometimes you need to separate the mechanics from the principle, and this needs to be dealt with as a matter of principle. Simple fact is that if you give this character breathing space, they suck up all the air. Enabling a ban at allows the blocking of the person on sight whenever they get around any of the mechanisms to stop their participation. billinghurst sDrewth 19:26, 22 July 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • And the principle here is? Billinghurst, have you noticed the proposed compromise: a global ban, but simply making it clear that local wikis may override it, if they choose? I've also suggested that the steward locking to enforce the ban also delink the user's account on Wikiversity, to avoid disruptive debate at Wikiversity, over a user who has not misbehaved there in the least. (We are already seeing trolls or cross-wiki interference appear on Wikiversity over this, as happened in the past with other "global bans.") If the steward is not willing, this request can still go to any local 'crat. This solution is quite in line with precedent, what is not in line is an insistence on imposing this on the local wikis, as was attempted in the past with harmful consequences.
  • Sure, it will enable blocking on sight, but consider: if this user intends to contribute positively, we know that he has the ability. The worry here is that he has some unspecified nefarious plan. Suppose he does! Having an open account, known to be an account of a "banned user," and editing regularly, exposes him to global checkuser for any possible socking. It makes it easier to protect against abusive socking, not harder. So why this push for a total ban? It appears that some want to believe that this is possible! They want, perhaps, to take a stand that the old behavior (from 2008, mostly) was wrong. Perhaps they imagine that punishment will benefit the wiki. It's an old error, being repeated indefinitely. It used to be understood that punishment, per se, didn't work. That's being lost, not because it works, because it still doesn't.
  • If you want to protect the wikis, support the user editing openly from a single account, known to be him, on wiki where he's welcome. Facilitate his positive work. And watch. Which is easier, watching a single known account, or watching all accounts for some possible sock? --Abd 22:14, 22 July 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

On the Wikisource events, what happened?[edit]

Questions of user behavior can become very complex, researching them can be very time-consuming -- this took me all day, today --, and a long-term problem on wikis (and with on-line social structures before wikis) has been that even reading compiled evidence can be time-consuming. Many comment based on impressions rather than actual review of evidence. When there are substantial numbers calling for a ban of an individual, the crowd tends to join, and, then, in the future, remains with its earlier opinions. So the crowd grows, over time, and what may have been more informed and less "excited" voices in the beginning, are almost completely drowned out.

It's often assumed that if there is a repeated fracas over a user, the user must be doing something wrong. That's a reasonable assumption, sometimes, but it also can go drastically awry. This is long, but I have no further time to shorten it. It is, as-is, a reasonably concise report, already boiled down to a degree, of my review of the evidence, complied as I researched and confirmed my memories, or, in one case, corrected them. --Abd 02:05, 25 July 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I commented on the RfC page:

Look at this RfC, almost entirely based on very old behavior, and those old arguments were repeated at Wikisource after the identity came out, by some of the same people who have come here to comment. He violated no policy at wikisource. (There are unsubstantiated claims that the user has elsewhere done offensive things. Given that I've seen impersonation of Poetlister -- it happened on Wikiversity two days ago, and other times --, this is possible, but questionable. And it's irrelevant to the activity of the Wikiversity account, unless somehow that account were making other behavior possible, which is preposterous.)

Billinghurst, responded, shown in italics, and my response is interspersed:

Unfortunately I believe that these statement misrepresent the Wikisource situation.
  • As Poetlister his behaviour was sanctioned and his admin bit was removed and a conditional return as a single user account was allowed, as Longfellow
  • My comments were entirely in reference to Poetlister as Longfellow. As Longfellow, AFAIK, he violated no policy, and if he did, he wasn't warned, as far as anything I've been able to find in the public record. Poetlister was renamed on Wikisource, in 2008, to Quillercouch. Neither Poetlister nor Quillercouch have any standing edits on Wikisource since 2008. Poetlister also had an active account on Wikisource as Cato. Cato made his last edits, on Wikisource, in September, 2008, disclosing all the sock accounts, anywhere on WMF wikis. There are reasons to believe that this list was intended as complete. From this point on, all these accounts were disclosed socks. By convention, we are loosely calling the user "Poetlister," no matter what account is involved, and Poetlister is the name of his currently-active account on Wikiversity.
  • No sanctions had been declared for Poetlister or any of his accounts on Wikisource. The accounts "Cato" and "Qullercouch" were not blocked until the end of December, 2010, as "cleanup."
  • As Poetlister, the user gained sysop rights on WS on May 6, 2008, log, with unanimous support. There was later a discussion, based on identified socks, which began with the statement: There has not been a lot of abuse by these accounts on Wikisource, however as one is an admin, there is the matter of trust to be re-evaluated. This was closed with desysop only, no blocks or bans. There were few allegations of actual abuse, and the community followed the initiator, mostly, in general, opposing bans.
  • As Longfellow on a bid for his admin, he lied and misrepresented facts, and that was to cover grandiose statements of himself. Then in a bid to cover his tracks it was found that he was generating new elaborate personas through socking, and trying various means to cajole and communicate with people. He has been banned from the Wikisource community for his behaviour and this is a very rare event.
  • Longfellow had been created as such, as an anonymous return, and, note, in the older discussions there was some sense that Quillercouch might continue to edit and to re-apply for admin status later. Apparently, in 2010, Quillercouch did request permission to create a new account, Longfellow, and that request was granted.
  • In my comments, I previously assumed, I'm not sure why, that Longfellow did not clear his adminship bid with the privileged users who knew his identity. In fact, it appears, he did, as can be seen by the mail sent by them to him, found at [2]. He was explicitly permitted to apply anonymously, as a discussed and agreed option.
  • As it occurred, he was questioned about prior accounts in the adminship request, which was running unanimously in favor, showing that Longfellow was strongly viewed as a positive contributor. However, as he began to be asked about other accounts, he made several evasive comments. This caused the first oppose, a user who switched his vote, due to his comment which was extremely evasive, not exactly lying, but close. I agree that his intention in this was deceptive. That level of deception, though, is not ordinarily sanctioned in editors. It is expected that administrators, however, will be more straightforward.
  • It is at this point that I'd have expected Birgitte et al to privately ask Longfellow to withdraw the candidacy, because it was becoming obvious that questions were being raised, even though the conditions of disclosure had not yet been met. There is a faction of users that opposes all private agreements; however, what Birgitte et al had decided earlier clearly had the interests of Wikisource in mind, and seems to have been completely proper. They were acting well within precedent. They had the ability to determine if there was abusive socking, as had happened earlier at Wikiquote. The community was, in fact, protected.
  • Six days later, the first hint of confirmed other identity in the RfA was December 26, posted by FloNight, an arbitrator from WP ("I recently became aware of his identity and past accounts.") However, Longfellow had made no edits after December 21.
  • His identity was confirmed on 27 December, 2010, by the disclosure posted by Birgitte.
  • Your characterisation of the bid and the steps that you state should have been taken clearly demonstrates that you have not read, or alternatively, not comprehended, the history at Wikisource, nor the steps undertaken.
  • It may demonstrate that to you, Billinghurst, but for the rest of us, at least those who are interested in a neutral examination of the evidence, you have not provided evidence so that we may independently confirm your opinion.
So in summation: initially Poetlister did violate policy at Wikisource, on a return (with conditions) they again broke policy at Wikisource, despite whatever evidence you are trying to state to the contrary. If you believe that it is easy to watch the behaviour of someone like PL/LF, then my comment would be that I do not believe you understand the tools that are available, the behaviour of the person, and the amount of time that you are imposing on people to run checks.
What policy did Poetlister break? Some private emails may, in theory, violate policy, but I've seen no evidence that any of Poetlister's private email did that. See [3], January 7, where Jeepday posts a mail from Poetlister with comments, at least some of which are puzzling, after a review of the history. (The discussion of 2008 did not decide upon a block of Poetlister, who was not blocked until 28 December 2010.
Jeepday refers to this discussion, the candidacy page, as evidence of other users receiving e-mail. I find, there, only this comment relating to email abuse. There is nothing there that may be construed as evidence, other than the person's opinion. It refers to the old behavior, and is not clear about new behavior. Yet, it appears, an impression was created of new email abuse. How this was known to be taking place isn't stated.
  • A ban discussion was started by Birgitte. That began with a reference to prior discussion. I comment.
  • "Longfellow (talk • contribs) has not revealed all the accounts they have created on SUL wikis. This is a requirement we made of them back in 2008 when we decided not to ban them after they had been editing as Poetlister."
  • She did not cite the old discussion, but it could be this. I see nothing there that represents a requirement to disclose all SUL accounts, which would be very unusual. Birgitte may be remembering something inaccurately, perhaps remembering what she thought instead of what she read. If she was reading it, and it was important, I'd have thought she'd cite it. If there is an unusual requirement placed on a user, normally it will be mentioned on the user's talk page. I doesn't seem to have been.
  • "Longfellow has never acknowledged which of their actions they understand to be inappropriate. This was something I really wanted from them in the 2008 ban discussion, but I deferred to the people in email contact with them, assuming that they were getting such assurances privately. After having been deceived once again by this person, I feel that more should be required of them than in the previous ban discussion."
  • We do not ordinarily require such a detailed examination of past behavior as a condition of editing. Perhaps we should, but failure to respond, alone, absent ongoing disruption, is not ordinarily a ban reason. Both in the older Poetlister/Qulllercouch sitation, and in the recent Longfellow case, Poetlister never did respond extensively, the massive discussions that resulted were due to others opining and arguing. Birgitte went ahead and blocked Longfellow, claiming, "Is activily using another SUL account." but nowhere that I could find is this account specified. Was it Poestlister, editing Wikiversity? If so, how was this relevant? It's not like it was undisclosed! I do find 11:59, 10 January 2011, a reference to to mail coming from Wikiquote "Longfellow"], to Jeepday. Checking Wikiquote, Longfellow was blocked there Dec. 27, but email access was not (and is not) blocked. Longfellow email was blocked on Wikisource on 05:25, 10 January 2011. So the user, made unable to communicate through email on Wikisource, used an SUL account, a known one, obviously, to email. I would too, under those conditions! Nobody was deceived, nor does deception appear to have been the purpose.
  • There is an additional email disclosed at [4]. This is a normal block appeal. If some of the statements in it are inaccurate (which isn't clear, they are matters of opinion), it is common for users to make "improper" statements when blocked.
  • The 24-hour block previous to this was for ‎(Sending email, while not expressly prohibited; it would be against the community's expressed intent). That is an acknowledgment that policy was not violated. Where was the "expressed intent," with a clear close, so that Longfellow could be presumed to know about it? Where was Longfellow warned about email?
Abd, I believe that you should keep your commentary to areas in which you have full knowledge; not run interpretations for other sites, as it is both flawed and unhelpful. billinghurst sDrewth 03:22, 23 July 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I had done a great deal of reading about Poetliser before commenting here, and I've now done much more. I find Billinghurst's comment ironic, because his opinion and those of others, many of whom were highly involved in prior incidents, are, here, "running interpretations for other sites." Wikisource has the right to make its own decisions, whether they are right or wrong. I'm so disturbed, however, about what I see happened to Poetlister on wikisource, this last time, that I am very unlikely to consider contributing there, unless somehow someone can counteract what is appearing to me: Poetlister followed policy for the return of a user with a new account name. When he was being questioned intensively about old accounts, he left. He made some appeals by email, which is less disruptive, generally, than on-wiki appeals, in spite of Jeepday's opinion. Yet opinion against him, with no apparent policy violations, intensified and became a ban proposal, without clear evidence. Using the term as it is used on Wikipedia, Longfellow/Poetlister is not banned on Wikisource, there is only a block, placed by Birgitte, with grounds as stated, and with no close determining community consensus. There is a "defacto ban," i.e., no admin is yet willing to unblock, and that an account is blocked, by policy, does prohibit undisclosed socking. None has been alleged, AFAIK.
  • What's offensive here is that the Wikisource sequence is now cited as evidence of bad behavior, of "manipulation of the community." That is not visible in the record, the worst thing there being Longfellow's evasion when asked about other accounts, in his adminship request.
  • No evidence has been provided for the claims made by Billinghurst. I see circular claims, with no diffs or citations of discussion, just summary impressions of "flawed and unhelpful" and "misrepresentation," with no specific examples.

Claim by Ottava Rima[edit]

And then Ottava Rima, a problematic user himself, cross-wiki and here, see Requests for comment/User:Ottava Rima, opines:

Vanished users, by definition, does not allow for them to use multiple accounts. There was plenty of evidence provided that he was using at least -three- different accounts on WS to email people while pretending each of these was a different identity. A "vanished user" would not keep operating the old sock puppet accounts. Ottava Rima (talk) 15:27, 23 July 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Ottava is invited to provide the evidence for this. It doesn't match what I've seen, searching the record, but, of course, I might easily overlook something. Ottava's charges, if they are not deceptive, would have to be referring to editing after the establishment of Longfellow, with the pretense he alleges. The 2011 emails that have been cited were not pretense by any stretch.
  • Poetlister clearly made enemies, however he did that. However, I'm not willing to allow the pursuit and harassment of Poetlister, and this RfC is harassment, based on no current offensive behavior at all, very much outside of Meta and WMF traditions. A remarkable example of a similar attempt, however, would be Requests for comment/SB_Johnny, filed by Ottava Rima over no offensive behavior at meta, only based on his tendentious opposition to SB_Johnny on Wikiversity. --Abd 02:05, 25 July 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]