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> AE admins set a new record for stupidity
radek
post Sun 20th February 2011, 11:19pm
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The subject itself is a bit parochial, but it does illustrate the incompetent workings of the Wikipedia admin bureaucracy and the sham that the whole "Arbitration Enforcement" and "discretionary sanctions" regime is. It's also of the "beat your head against the wall with incredulity" kind.

So the article is "Mass Killings Under Communism". Whatever you or I think about the article itself is beside the point here (honestly, I don't care about the article at this point one way or another). The thing is that the article has been contentious ever since I can remember. The exact people involved have changed but it's same ol' same ol'. As a result the article is on a 1R restriction (which is reasonable).

Anyway, so two editors, Tentontunic, and The Four Deuces were editing warring over a POV tag. TFD filed an AE request on Tentontunic for 1RR violation (standard tactic, when there's "discretionary sanctions" around as a weapon). Tentontunic pointed out that TFD did the same thing. Sounds pretty standard, right?

But what the geniuses at AE decided is that Tentontunic and TFD be let of without any kind of sanction, but that instead any editor who has ever been part of a Eastern Europe related ArbCom case (Digwuren, EEML, RB) is topic banned from the article. You know, to stop the perennial problems at the article.

Here's the thing. Aside from TFD, (and one other possible minor exception), NO EDITORS from these ArbCom cases have edited the article at ALL in the past six months, if not a year, if at all.

So the two culprits are let off with nary a warning while a whole bunch of people who don't have crap to do with this mess are all of sudden under sanction, courtesy of Sandstein, Ed Johnson, AGK and T. Canens. You'd think at least one of those four wouldn't be too lazy to actually click on the article's revision history and think about it for a second.

Of course, since most of the editors now sanctioned don't edit the article anyway, maybe the practical implications are small, in this narrow sense. Still even if you don't care about the principle, and fairness, here, then just consider the fact that these guys seriously believe that banning editors from an article that the editors don't edit will somehow solve the problems on the articles. You know, with pixie dust or something.

Of course the practical implications in a broad sense are more severe - stupid decisions like this one become the standard operating procedure on Wikipedia, they are unquestioned, they implicitly transfer power to a group of self appointed ... trying to think of an adjective here that is not too harsh yet appropriate and can't think of one, oh well at least I tried ... creeps (who don't even do much article/content writing themselves) and generally foster the prevailing atmosphere of admin incompetence combined with hubris.

Here's exchange at Sandstein's talk page. Here's article's revision history.
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EricBarbour
post Sun 20th February 2011, 11:39pm
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Can I slap an arbitrary sanction on you, because for example, there is some shenanigans going on Northern Italy related topics, and then say, oh well, we can just wait a year and then if it looks like it didn't work I might, just might admit that this sanction was misplaced? Until then...
And what ended the trouble at London Victory Parade was not your sanction but ONE particular editor's topic ban.
Above all, I note that you have completely ignored my question - perhaps because answering it may be a bit embarrassing. So let me repeat it: can you specifically point/list these supposed previously sanctioned editors, who were part of the three ArbCom cases you include in your sanction, who did something wrong on the article at any point in the past year or so (aside from TFD)? Or hell, can you even specifically point/list such editors who EDITED THE ARTICLE AT ALL???Volunteer Marek (talk) 23:07, 20 February 2011 (UTC)

Yes. Igny (talk · contribs), Petri Krohn (talk · contribs), Marknutley (talk · contribs), and that's only on the first few history pages and only usernames that I personally recognize as previously sanctioned. It is true that the group of previous edit warriors on this article and the group of previously sanctioned editors overlap only partially, but if (as you say) many of the latter have not so far edited the article, then banning them from it will not restrict them very much. Sandstein 23:18, 20 February 2011 (UTC)

None of these guys except for Petri were part of these cases. I'm assuming then that you're including anyone who's ever been "put on notice". Even so, Mark Nutley is currently banned anyway, I think Igny has only made one or two edits (and I wasn't aware he was "put on notice") and even Petri hasn't edited the article in awhile. Even allowing that, that still leaves a couple dozen editors who have nothing to do with the article. Is this like "it's better to punish a hundred innocent men than let one guilty one get away"? Oh wait, Tentontunic is not subject to any sanction so some of the guilty get away too. And as I already said the fact that these editors "have not so far edited the article, then banning them from it will not restrict them very much." is beside the point. There's a principle here, there's a notion of fairness and there is also implications for the general atmosphere in which Wikipedia takes place - the decision says it's okay to sanction editors for no reason at all. That's the kind of project we want here?Volunteer Marek (talk) 23:25, 20 February 2011 (UTC)


Sounds like classic Sandstein to me.....Petri Krohn and Mark Nutley have nothing to do with that dispute,
he's doing the usual Sandstein bit, grabbing random Arbcom cases that "might" be related, and using them as strawmen.

Seriously, you're wasting your time arguing with him.
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radek
post Mon 21st February 2011, 12:11am
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QUOTE
Sounds like classic Sandstein to me.....Petri Krohn and Mark Nutley have nothing to do with that dispute,
he's doing the usual Sandstein bit, grabbing random Arbcom cases that "might" be related, and using them as strawmen.

Seriously, you're wasting your time arguing with him.


Yes, but usually Sandstein (and the others too, don't let him overshadow the other ones) grabs a random Arbcom case that "might" be related and uses it as a strawmen to ban the editor involved in the actual request.

Here he's grabbing a random Arbcom case that "might" be related and uses it as a strawmen to ban completely uninvolved editors. That's what I mean by the "sets a new record" topic title - even by the usual standards it's an obnoxious abuse of power and a particularly dull way of trying to "solve" a problem.


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Peter Damian
post Mon 21st February 2011, 6:45pm
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QUOTE(radek @ Sun 20th February 2011, 11:19pm) *

So the two culprits are let off with nary a warning while a whole bunch of people who don't have crap to do with this mess are all of sudden under sanction, courtesy of Sandstein, Ed Johnson, AGK and T. Canens. You'd think at least one of those four wouldn't be too lazy to actually click on the article's revision history and think about it for a second.


That's an elegant and beautiful one. Sandstein concedes the point about those editors not editing the page, but then argues it's OK to ban them from it because they never edit the page anyway. Sound and unimpeachable.

QUOTE
Yes. Igny (talk · contribs), Petri Krohn (talk · contribs), Marknutley (talk · contribs), and that's only on the first few history pages and only usernames that I personally recognize as previously sanctioned. It is true that the group of previous edit warriors on this article and the group of previously sanctioned editors overlap only partially, but if (as you say) many of the latter have not so far edited the article, then banning them from it will not restrict them very much. Sandstein 23:18, 20 February 2011 (UTC)
http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=...oldid=415027906


From what I am learning of Sandstein, he is like a program that behaves in a totally deterministic way to a set of determined inputs, without deviating. Entirely rule-based, without any reflection on whether the rules apply in a given case, or even whether the rules are stupid or not.

This post has been edited by Peter Damian: Mon 21st February 2011, 6:48pm
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SB_Johnny
post Mon 21st February 2011, 9:47pm
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Just out of curiousity, are "AE admins" appointed by the committee, or is it more of a bring your hammer and find some nails sort of thing?
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Eva Destruction
post Mon 21st February 2011, 10:00pm
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QUOTE(SB_Johnny @ Mon 21st February 2011, 9:47pm) *

Just out of curiousity, are "AE admins" appointed by the committee, or is it more of a bring your hammer and find some nails sort of thing?

No, it's an "anyone who wants to turn up" deal. There isn't really another way to work it, that I can see. All AE does (if it worked properly) is enforce rules which are already in place, so RFA is the 'selection process'—some admins choose to delete spam pages, some choose to patrol copyright violations, some choose to enforce the Glorious Will Of The Dear Leaders.
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Kevin
post Mon 21st February 2011, 10:00pm
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QUOTE(SB_Johnny @ Tue 22nd February 2011, 7:47am) *

Just out of curiousity, are "AE admins" appointed by the committee, or is it more of a bring your hammer and find some nails sort of thing?


The latter.
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SB_Johnny
post Mon 21st February 2011, 11:56pm
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QUOTE(Eva Destruction @ Mon 21st February 2011, 5:00pm) *

QUOTE(SB_Johnny @ Mon 21st February 2011, 9:47pm) *

Just out of curiousity, are "AE admins" appointed by the committee, or is it more of a bring your hammer and find some nails sort of thing?

No, it's an "anyone who wants to turn up" deal. There isn't really another way to work it, that I can see. All AE does (if it worked properly) is enforce rules which are already in place, so RFA is the 'selection process'—some admins choose to delete spam pages, some choose to patrol copyright violations, some choose to enforce the Glorious Will Of The Dear Leaders.

OK. I thought maybe it was some sort of guild or something.
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Zoloft
post Tue 22nd February 2011, 2:25am
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QUOTE(SB_Johnny @ Mon 21st February 2011, 3:56pm) *

QUOTE(Eva Destruction @ Mon 21st February 2011, 5:00pm) *

QUOTE(SB_Johnny @ Mon 21st February 2011, 9:47pm) *

Just out of curiousity, are "AE admins" appointed by the committee, or is it more of a bring your hammer and find some nails sort of thing?

No, it's an "anyone who wants to turn up" deal. There isn't really another way to work it, that I can see. All AE does (if it worked properly) is enforce rules which are already in place, so RFA is the 'selection process'—some admins choose to delete spam pages, some choose to patrol copyright violations, some choose to enforce the Glorious Will Of The Dear Leaders.

OK. I thought maybe it was some sort of guild or something.

*sings*
"We represent the Lollipop Guild
The Lollipop Guild, the Lollipop Guild.
And in the name of the Lollipop Guild
We wish to welcome you to Munchkin Land

We welcome you to Munchkin Land
Tra la la la la la la la la la la la

From now on you'll be history."
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Milton Roe
post Tue 22nd February 2011, 3:22am
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QUOTE(Zoloft @ Mon 21st February 2011, 7:25pm) *

QUOTE(SB_Johnny @ Mon 21st February 2011, 3:56pm) *

QUOTE(Eva Destruction @ Mon 21st February 2011, 5:00pm) *

QUOTE(SB_Johnny @ Mon 21st February 2011, 9:47pm) *

Just out of curiousity, are "AE admins" appointed by the committee, or is it more of a bring your hammer and find some nails sort of thing?

No, it's an "anyone who wants to turn up" deal. There isn't really another way to work it, that I can see. All AE does (if it worked properly) is enforce rules which are already in place, so RFA is the 'selection process'—some admins choose to delete spam pages, some choose to patrol copyright violations, some choose to enforce the Glorious Will Of The Dear Leaders.

OK. I thought maybe it was some sort of guild or something.

*sings*
"We represent the Lollipop Guild
The Lollipop Guild, the Lollipop Guild.
And in the name of the Lollipop Guild
We wish to welcome you to Munchkin Land

We welcome you to Munchkin Land
Tra la la la la la la la la la la la

From now on you'll be history."


Queue Abd to do the Lullaby League. happy.gif sleep.gif
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radek
post Fri 25th February 2011, 1:56am
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Well, I got to give credit where credit is do. After enough complainin' Sandstein did back off and changed the original ridiculous sanction to something that is actually sensible.
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Somey
post Fri 25th February 2011, 9:42am
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I suspect the problem here, other than the fact that Mr. Sandstein is, shall we say, an officious twat, is that there have just been so many people/accounts involved in these disputes over the past 3-4 years that they simply can't keep track of them all. They almost have to be shamed, if not actually forced, into putting some actual thought into how to deal with the situation before they manage to come up with something that's, as you say, sensible.

Starting in October of last year, if you look about 2/3rds of the way down the so-called "log of blocks and bans" listed under the "Digwuren" ArbCom case, you'll see that most of the bans they've handed out have been related to this particular article. There are lots of accounts involved... I think they just gave up and lost intellectual control of the situation, not that they ever really had that, but they couldn't bring themselves to simply lock down the article completely because that would have been admitting defeat - at least from their perspective.

Over the years they've developed a kind of class system for disputes - there are flashy, glamorous and attention-getting disputes, there are obscure, almost private disputes, there are nerdy and silly disputes... and then there are the dirty, nasty, nobody-wins disputes like this one, that nobody outside of the dispute itself even wants to think about. They shouldn't even have articles like this, because they just can't manage them properly, but if they delete this article now it looks like what - like they're giving in to the communists? Nobody wants that! And this is just one article out of hundreds, maybe thousands that fall into that class of dispute.
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AGK
post Fri 25th February 2011, 3:23pm
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QUOTE(radek @ Fri 25th February 2011, 1:56am) *

Well, I got to give credit where credit is do. After enough complainin' Sandstein did back off and changed the original ridiculous sanction to something that is actually sensible.


Is this aimless whinging, or is there something in the original sanction that you find objectionable?

QUOTE(Somey @ Fri 25th February 2011, 9:42am)

then there are the dirty, nasty, nobody-wins disputes like this one, that nobody outside of the dispute itself even wants to think about. They shouldn't even have articles like this, because they just can't manage them properly


+1. If a participant in this thread knows what sanction would have worked better here, I'm all ears.

QUOTE(radek @ Mon 21st February 2011, 12:11am)

Yes, but usually Sandstein (and the others too, don't let him overshadow the other ones) grabs a random Arbcom case that "might" be related and uses it as a strawmen to ban the editor involved in the actual request.


Um, what? The case falls well within the scope of Digwuren case and the discretionary sanctions enacted therein.
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radek
post Fri 25th February 2011, 8:32pm
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Is this aimless whinging, or is there something in the original sanction that you find objectionable?


If you had actually bothered to read my comments here and on Wikipedia then you'd find me explaining in quite some detail what is wrong with the original sanction. Bottom line is that original sanction sanctioned people who have nothing to do with the article and let off the guilty parties scot free. The fact that you are not even aware of this speaks volumes.


QUOTE
+1. If a participant in this thread knows what sanction would have worked better here, I'm all ears.


Also already answered. Both Sandstein's new sanction, or even AmateurEditor's proposal to "do nothing except extend the 1RR limitation" would have/will work better than the original sanction. Even Paul Siebert's proposal would work better though it is a bit too complicated. Seriously, can you actually read stuff before commenting. It's irritating to have to repeat everything twice.


QUOTE

Um, what? The case falls well within the scope of Digwuren case and the discretionary sanctions enacted therein.


Hardly. No one from the Digwuren case was involved. The topic doesn't really have all that much to do with Eastern Europe (most of the fighting has been about Cambodia, Malaysia, The Shinning Path, Spanish Civil War anarchists and groups like the Baader-Meinhof faction). Digwuren was grabbed as just an excuse to hang a sanction on the article. By itself that would have been ok (though even that is an overreach of authority), if the sanction originally proposed actually involved the people editing the article, rather than completely irrelevant editors.

You know that with your complete unawareness of both the article history as well the editors actually involved, you're demonstrating perfectly the point that some admins should simply stay away from topics they know nothing about, and that they do far more damage when they try to "enforce" on these topics then if they left them well enough already, don't you?

As Wittgenstein said, if you don't know what you're talking about then you need to shut the hell up.

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Somey
post Fri 25th February 2011, 9:39pm
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QUOTE(radek @ Fri 25th February 2011, 2:32pm) *
QUOTE
Um, what? The case falls well within the scope of Digwuren case and the discretionary sanctions enacted therein.

Hardly. No one from the Digwuren case was involved. The topic doesn't really have all that much to do with Eastern Europe (most of the fighting has been about Cambodia, Malaysia, The Shinning Path, Spanish Civil War anarchists and groups like the Baader-Meinhof faction). Digwuren was grabbed as just an excuse to hang a sanction on the article...

Personally (and as an uninvolved party) I'd say you're both right, to some degree. The article falls within the scope of the Digwuren case, but like Mr. Radek says, unless you examine the editing histories of not only the disputants but also the WP'ers currently operating under the "sanctions" imposed in the Digwuren case, you wouldn't really be able to discern what was going on - it would all look like same-old, same-old.

To say that what happened in the end is "the best that could be hoped for" only works if you accept, without rancor, the fact that various WP admins don't have the organizational capacity to deal with these kinds of numbers (of accounts/edits/rules/sanctions) and this level of complexity, and shouldn't be expected to. I can't even say I'd blame folks for that - if you've studied recent Eastern European history in any detail, one of the first things that strikes you is how complicated it all is, and if you're from an English-speaking country, the fact that at least 70 percent of the names are unpronounceable doesn't exactly help.
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radek
post Sat 26th February 2011, 1:43am
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QUOTE(Somey @ Fri 25th February 2011, 3:39pm) *

QUOTE(radek @ Fri 25th February 2011, 2:32pm) *
QUOTE
Um, what? The case falls well within the scope of Digwuren case and the discretionary sanctions enacted therein.

Hardly. No one from the Digwuren case was involved. The topic doesn't really have all that much to do with Eastern Europe (most of the fighting has been about Cambodia, Malaysia, The Shinning Path, Spanish Civil War anarchists and groups like the Baader-Meinhof faction). Digwuren was grabbed as just an excuse to hang a sanction on the article...

Personally (and as an uninvolved party) I'd say you're both right, to some degree. The article falls within the scope of the Digwuren case, but like Mr. Radek says, unless you examine the editing histories of not only the disputants but also the WP'ers currently operating under the "sanctions" imposed in the Digwuren case, you wouldn't really be able to discern what was going on - it would all look like same-old, same-old.



I'm not disagreeing that with a bit of a stretch it's within the scope of the Digwuren case (I think that it wasn't, was more of Eric B's point - which was generally valid). That kind of an admin-power over reach is by now so standard on Wikipedia that even I'm not going to bitch about just that.

The part with the "unless you examine..." is the important part. If you're going to be adminin' and blockin' and sanctionin' people at AE then AT THE VERY LEAST you need a minimum of familiarity with the article/topic under dispute. When I write an article I usually spend at least a couple of hours reading and researching a SINGLE SENTENCE or paragraph. I don't see how asking an admin to spend at most fifteen minutes looking at an article revision history involves some kind of an unreasonable requirement.

You choose to be a big shot at AE and play with the powerful tools of these "discretionary sanctions", you have an obligation to at least do your homework (at least at a C- level). Otherwise, you're doing more harm than good and you need to go away.

So yeah, an average person "wouldn't really be able to discern what was going on" and "it would all look like same-old, same-old." - but there's no state of a world in which AE admins are "average persons" even if your references group is the already non-random sample of the general Wikipedia admin population.
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