In this comment I first address the basic structural problem, then I turn to why I'm retiring from WMF activity, until and unless I see that there is sufficient support in the community for true academic freedom, and all that this implies, at Wikiversity, if nowhere else.
QUOTE(Olivier Besancenot @ Fri 9th December 2011, 5:37am)
For a while Jimbo was a little more hands off in imposing his right-wing, conservative political agenda on Wikipedia. He would do things like appoint fanatical right wing POV-pushers like JayJG and Fred Bauder to ArbCom, despite other, more balanced people scoring much higher in the ArbCom elections. He would game things so that the high command of Wikipedia would be slavish lackies of his like Raul654, or right wing nutjobs like JayJG and Fred Bauder.
Apparently Wikipedia is becoming too big, or he just hasn't been able to enable the structures to have Wikipedia fully embrace his political tastes. Jimbo is now railing on the Hugo Ch%C3%A1vez
talk page that the supposed crimes and mismanagement of Ch%C3%A1vez are not being covered enough.
Jimbo has not recognized, it seems, the basic problem, which is a failure to develop and implement and support structures that would facilitate genuine consensus.
I was interested in Wikipedia, from before its creation (i.e., I had some vision of projects like Wikipedia), because of the opportunity to do that, in a way that could impact the whole planet should it be successful.
What I've found is that lack of vision at the beginning leads almost inevitably to the stagnation that Wikipedia is. If there is no supporting structure, the community falls into certain kinds of dysfunction, it's highly vulnerable to manipulation by even small factions (with or without covert collaboration), it's incredibly inefficient, it burns out its most dedicated volunteers, it builds nothing that is reliable.
I'm personally concluding my efforts with the WMF. My ban from Wikipedia was, at least, following due process, the only failure was that long-term harassment was allowed, that there was recusal failure on the part of blocking administrators, that ArbComm did not actually investigate situations but went for knee-jerk response on the level of "I don't like him," but, overall, I couldn't complain severely, it was merely ordinary Wikipedia dysfunction.
However, after working on Wikiversity for over a year, and after engaging, mostly positively, with the meta community, I was indef blocked, without warning, on meta, for reasons that the "community" avoided actually specifying. Given a great deal of precedent, I assumed this would be short-lived. A steward promised to look into the block. He basically disappeared. There was some protest, a request to unblock was filed by MichaelSuarez, but ... it was denied based on "no change since the last request." There never had been a previous request. The original block request, from the steward Marco Aurelio, made no sense, not to me, and apparently not to others, i.e., the "evidence" presented did not match what was claimed about it. What the block, an effective ban, represented was the "sense" of a small number of administrators at meta, who were frustrated with seeing my opinions, even though those opinions did represent the views of a substantial number of users (and most of my work at meta was accepted, such as my closes of RfCs). It was purely social, an agreement among a small number of users who had collected at the levers of power. That is, these users agreed, Abd is disruptive, he has to go.
That the block violated long-standing practice meant nothing. That the request leading to it was disruptive to the point of lying (or a demonstration of severe lack of understanding, to the point of paranoia) also meant nothing. Evidence means nothing to a mob. It needs no proof.
There used to be stewards who understood the importance of freedom and toleration, who acted to protect it. They appear to be gone or inactive.
I continued as an administrator at Wikiversity. However, Ottava returned and began a dedicated attack on me and my work. It can be seen easily in his history: his entire purpose at Wikiversity had become vengeance, for my daring to warn and short-block him for incivility, last year. He had attacked the entire Wikiversity custodial structure, and he made up whatever objection he could and pursued it. He'd succeeded in setting up conditions, with canvassing, to allow SB Johnny to desysop me early this year. However, the other active 'crat hadn't bought it, and it was ultimately arranged for me to return again, in spite of SBJ's attempts to stop it. (He'd basically shut down the whole probationary custodianship process, which would automatically approve me based on mentor approval) based on Ottava's objections to it, but his real reason was clear: it was to try to stop me.)
So, once I'd accumulated another period of successful and uncontroversial administration, while being highly active, I came up for permanent. With the pile-ins, it looked like I didn't have enough support, but if drop-ins were deprecated, I did. At this point, I suspect Jtneill might have closed with approval, for WV policy does not require any particular vote percentage. This had to be stopped, so SBJ suggested a compromise: permanent probationary custodianship. I accepted, and so the discussion was closed.
At the same time, SBJ proposed to S Larctia that "she" accept probationary custodianship. This was a user with about 10 edits to Wikiversity at the time. S Larctia is Claritas (it's an anagram), and eventually blew up, as Claritas does. Thenub314, having been gone for a very long time, returned, still a probationary custodian, and was proposed for permanent. In that discussion, the crucial question of the enforcement, by Wikiversity custodians, of "global bans," came up. The enforcement of global bans is contrary to the "proposed policy" that has stood for years, and that still stands.
Poetlister, however, who had been editing Wikiversity peacefully, under that name, but who had been globally banned, in a meta discussion where only a few users pointed to the severe problems this could create, had finally, after waiting for months with requests to Wikiversity 'crats to delink his account from the SUL (which would allow him to edit again), created Poetlister1 -- with disclosure and monitoring (by me), a process I had used to facilitate the unban of Thekohser last year -- and began editing again. S Larctia requested meta attention to this, but it's probable that nothing would have been done from there. SB Johnny, however, blocked Poetlister1, which was clearly contrary to Wikiversity policy.
Wikiversity has attracted two types of users: those interested in building educational resources, and those interested in "helping out" by doing work such as finding and whacking not only copyright violation, but violations of the "free content" policy (which isn't about copyright violation, though it is often promoted under that guise. It's about WMF editors doing the work of possible commercial re-users; essentially much legal fair use is prohibited without regard to the welfare of the projects and the communities.)
The permanent custodianship vote on Thenub314 was the watershed. He'd clearly stated that he'd block based on a meta decision, with no local disruption. Jtneill approved the discussion, and implemented permanent custodianship, though it was marginal and had been brief.
And, sure enough, when it became clear to me that there was support in the community for enforcing the long-standing policy, and I unblocked Poetlister1, basing this clearly on policy, SBJ went to meta and requested, unilaterally, an emergency desysop. A steward was inclined to deny that, there wasn't any emergency. But he then lied, and stewards do not investigate, usually. He assured them that if there was a problem, he'd fix it. Sure. He fixed it, all right.
Thenub314 re-blocked, based on "wheel-warring," which my unblock wasn't. It was simply disagreement, and was based on policy (and thus on long-term consensus), as well as extended discussion in which no justification for the block was made -- SBJ himself wrote that he considered the policy issue unclear. However, Thenub314's re-block was wheel-warring, since it had no policy basis, and was done without discussion. It was immediate.
Ottava again intensified his attacks. I'd mostly been silent about them, but when Thenub314 removed the policy tag from custodianship policy, and I reverted that as requiring discussion, Ottava reverted me with a personal attack. I filed a report on Request Custodian Action. Darklama, one of the long-term technocratic custodians (not there to build content, just to help out with technical issues), suggested that both Ottava and I be blocked until we worked it out. SBJ then blocked indef, both of us, citing that suggestion.
There was nothing for us to work out. Ottava's goal was that I be banned, so the status quo now was precisely his goal, he'd long shown that he didn't care about Wikiversity, he'd been very explicit about his goal, on and off-wiki. SBJ, as well, had this goal, for I'd confronted his own misbehavior as a 'crat.
Another block with no misbehavior. My unblock request still stands without attention. Jtneill has done nothing. I think he's perplexed, but I don't know.
Three long-term Wikiversity users have now been effectively banned, by SBJ, without the process that Wikiversity policy requires, a Community Review. That's in addition to JWSchmidt.
Wikiversity is no longer the safe haven that it was for a long time. JWSchmidt was right. He was basically indeffed -- by SBJ -- for claiming that SBJ was a bully, that's the bottom line (it's more complicated, but that SBJ had been allowed to continue after what he'd done in the past was the core of JWSchmidt's complaint. I'll have to agree with him. What SBJ has done was blatantly violate explicit policy, and especially recusal policy, while at the same time actually facilitating disruption, it is as if he enjoys it, he did this with Ottava and Moulton, unblocking them when they had been properly blocked, for cause, without addressing the causes.)
Here is the paradox: I was obviously blocked for filing a complaint at Request Custodian Action. There was no claim that the complaint was uncivil (and it wasn't.) The substance of the complaint was not denied.
This is a repeat of what happened on Wikipedia, where I was ultimately sanctioned by ArbComm for filing a complaint about William M. Connolly, who was desysopped as a result of that complaint and his behavior during its consideration -- which was really just an extension of what he'd done before, with many others.
Suppose that the complaint was improper, that Ottava had done nothing blockworthy. If so, why was Ottava blocked? Why not just me?
If Ottava had done something blockworthy -- and he'd done plenty -- then why was I blocked for pointing it out? Only if it could be claimed that I'd somehow "made Ottava do it," could this be reasonable. I hadn't. I hadn't been taunting Ottava, I'd mostly been ignoring his incivility and tendentious arguments, and only filed the report when he started affecting policy pages while lying about it. (Ottava may be so demented that he believes what he writes, but I find it sounder to hold him responsible for what he writes, for his failure to consider and recognize other points of view, for his consistent insistence on the unsupportable.)
Ottava was not the problem at Wikiversity. The problem rests with the community, which has mostly become absent, cynical, distracted, and/or resigned.
There isn't enough sufficiently interested community at Wikiversity to protect it from take-over by the technocrats. Hence, because I do have plenty to do in real life, and working with text, for me, in process discussions, is like trying to communicate with my hands tied behind my back, with only a spoon stuck in my mouth that I can wag, while wearing blinkers that don't allow me to see my "readers," and because, in real life, I can communicate freely and fully and effectively, with the high bandwidth of full presence, I'm abandoning my WMF wiki efforts, until and unless I'm requested
to return, with promises of support. I'm not holding my breath.
This includes Wikipedia Review. I've only been here to support those who cared about the potential of the WMF. SB Johnny is now a moderator here. I've seen no abuse of that, but ... I can predict, it will follow, when he feels safe enough. Moderator actions on Wikipedia Review are not generally visible.