Grants talk:IdeaLab/Require notification first to encourage editors to attempt to resolve things amicably before reporting them for a ban discussion

Latest comment: 7 years ago by I JethroBT (WMF) in topic Grants to improve your project

Early commments


This is simply unworkable as it stands - blatant spammers need to be blocked/banned immediately. But more relevantly in this context, sometimes harassment is so severe, it demands a swift response.--Greenrd (talk) 17:47, 5 June 2016 (UTC)Reply

  • That's my thought as well. ANI is meant to be a last resort and there have been several occasions where people are told just that - to talk it out on a talk page first - but I've seen multiple instances where waiting is the wrong thing to do as well as situations where there have been so many warnings that adding on an additional warning would likely not change things even if ANI was specifically mentioned. If the person is so resistant that they're not responding to prior warnings or attempts to talk things out, posting that you'll take them to ANI in a week won't do anything other than make an already tense situation worse. Especially if there has already been more than enough discussion somewhere (including prior ANI posts) to where the person likely already knows that something isn't kosher and needs to change their actions. Delaying going to ANI would likely not solve anything in that situation either and would just be seen as a delay topic. Tokyogirl79 (talk) 05:32, 7 June 2016 (UTC)Reply
  • "mention the issues to them first before taking them to ANI" - there's already a solution for this; it's called talkpages. ANI is the next step, when an editor does not understand that "something isn't kosher and needs to change their actions". But apparently, in some cases nothing will help to get through to someone. Joshua Jonathan (talk) 07:01, 8 June 2016 (UTC)Reply
  • Also, remember that the accused might not believe the accuser. "Stop making such long/irrelevant/aggressive posts" can be dismissed as "You only think my posts are too long/irrelevant/aggressive because I don't agree with you." Come to think of it, I only know of one case in which someone even threatened AN/I against someone who was on their same side in a discussion. Darkfrog24 (talk) 13:18, 12 June 2016 (UTC)Reply
Sorry, only just discovered this talk page (should have realized it would have one). Sorry for the late replies. Robertinventor (talk) 13:09, 14 June 2016 (UTC)Reply
@Tokyogirl79: Yes I get that. But the thing is that though ANI is meant as a last resort, and in an ideal world would only be used in that way, it is often used as a first resort. That's what happened in my case. There was a bit of mention of my long talk page posts, and I talked to the editors saying that I was doing what I could to reduce their length by editing them - then they take me to ANI complaining about both my long posts and the many edits - never having brought up the issue of the many edits as I worked hard to reduce the length of the posts. So - it does happen. There is no requirement for them to warn you of issues first. And then in my ANI they brought up issue after issue that they never warned me about, including even my user name as an issue! Nothing at all to do with anything anyone had discussed or raised as an issue with me ever in all my time on wikipedia. Also brought up issues with my views in the matter we were discussing, as ANI issues, saying that I shouldn't be permitted to discuss this topic area because of my views. Numerous things first mentioned to me in the ANI discussion itself. And the thing is - in the situations you talk about - well you'd do the warning at an early stage as soon as the problem behaviour reached the point where something needs to be done. Because you are not actually taking the editor to ANI at that point, you don't have to wait until you've given them lots of warnings first. It becomes a much milder thing, a bit more than a warning but much less than actually taking them to ANI. It then becomes very clear what you are doing too. Robertinventor (talk) 13:09, 14 June 2016 (UTC)Reply
I've just made this into a new section in the proposal: Early notification - as something you do soon as a much milder action than ANI itself Robertinventor (talk) 14:39, 14 June 2016 (UTC)Reply
@Greenrd: I intend it only for editors that are trying to improve wikipedia, or at least can be assumed to be so assuming good faith. Spammers, vandals, and extreme forms of harassment would or course still be dealt with swiftly and this requirement wouldn't be used for them. I already mention vandals and will also mention spammers and extreme harassment, thanks Robertinventor (talk) 13:18, 14 June 2016 (UTC)Reply
Have just expanded it to: "Urgent special cases such as: spammers, vandals, and extreme forms of harassment would or course still be dealt with swiftly and this requirement wouldn't be used for them. The two stage procedure is for editors who, assuming good faith, can be reasonably interpreted as doing their best to improve wikipedia, and who are not acting in ways that are causing major problems imminently such as extreme harassment.". Hope that takes care of it. Robertinventor (talk) 16:59, 14 June 2016 (UTC)Reply
@Darkfrog24: Yes true. The two stage process though would help there too. It means that the accuser has to give a bit of thought to what they say, similar to the thought you'd use for statement for the ANI itself, at an early stage. It's like a draft of the ANI statement and you'd use some care because you can only take them to ANI for whatever you say in the statement, so you'd write down whatever are the real issues you think is worth taking them to ANI about. And the person being accused might of course just ignore it, as you say, because they think they just seem aggressive, posts too long etc because they are on the other side of the debate. In that case, it gets sorted out as usual in the ANI debate. While if it is an urgent case, something that truly can't wait a week but has to be sorted out right away, that's a special case, of vandalism, spammers, extreme harassment etc. But most cases are not so urgent that they can't be sorted out a week later. Robertinventor (talk) 13:30, 14 June 2016 (UTC)Reply
@Joshua Jonathan: Just to say the idea is to add more clarity to talk page notification of intent to take you to ANI. I have to step carefully when replying to you for obvious reasons! Robertinventor (talk) 13:40, 14 June 2016 (UTC)Reply
@Robertinventor: but I see what you mean here: just notify (warn?) someone that you're considering to go to ANI. Joshua Jonathan (talk) 04:59, 15 June 2016 (UTC)Reply
@Joshua Jonathan: Yes exactly. Preferably in a template or some such so it is absolutely totally clear what is going on. And at an early stage, long before you'd normally think of taking someone to ANI, but when their edits are going in a direction you can see will mean you will do that if they continue in the direction they are going. Robert Walker (talk) 05:18, 15 June 2016 (UTC)Reply

As a delaying tactic


A lot of this seems very reasonable. I like the part where it would create a bright line between "I'm telling you that this breaks the rules and you must stop" vs "I'm just blowing off steam because I don't like your point/your face/etc." However, wouldn't adding another week to the AN/I process (the warning period) exacerbate the delaying tactic problem? Darkfrog24 (talk) 13:15, 12 June 2016 (UTC)Reply

Ah, this is a comment on an earlier version of this suggestion. Fixed that. It now says that you can take someone to DRN during the one week delay period because although you've just been notified of intent to take you to ANI, you are not currently being discussed in ANI. The DRN discussion could be suspended if necessary during the ANI and resumed after if it is a long one, but most likely would be resolved before the ANI. Anyway if the ANI was just a delaying tactic, then it's not likely that an editor would take you to ANI just to achieve a one week suspension of a DRN discussion a week later.
Also, just to say, of course if it's a truly urgent matter as I've just said above, you can take them directly to ANI, and that would delay a DRN as probably it should, e.g. if they are engaged in vandalism, spamming or extreme harassment then it is reasonable that they can't take out a DRN until that issue is resolved. But if it is a delaying tactic chances are the problem editor hasn't done something that would justify taking them urgently to ANI without the delay. I think this would deal with the intent behind that ruling that you can't take someone to DRN when an ANI is going on against them. Robertinventor (talk) 13:37, 14 June 2016 (UTC)Reply
I've just expanded this into a new section: Preventing use of ANI as a delaying tactic for DRN etc Robertinventor (talk) 14:15, 14 June 2016 (UTC)Reply

Free speech area--This idea is workable


I would really recommend that this be submitted independently. You kind of buried the lead on this one.

I'm in a similar situation myself. AE left me feeling like I needed a lawyer (a Wikipedia lawyer, not a real one); there were ten million rules that weren't written down. I got indef. blocked for talking to the enforcing admin in a way that I thought was covered by BANEX, but that's not how the AE admins saw it. To outward appearances, it looks less like it was a violation and more like the admins just didn't want to hear from me. A dedicated place to take issues like this would have been a help to everyone.

I'd also like to add to this idea: A place to get procedural information: "What does 'broadly construed' mean in my case?" "What the heck is a voluntary ban?" "Wait, is he/she allowed to do that?" "If someone's mocking or baiting me, is it a violation if I file a complaint?" "What issues am I allowed/not allowed to raise at appeal?"

Having a dedicated space like this, like a topic ban help desk, would be a big improvement, even if it wasn't binding. It could at least help editors prepare statements before taking them to the AE admins. Darkfrog24 (talk) 13:29, 12 June 2016 (UTC)Reply

Okay good idea. I'll submit it independently. What happened is that it's an idea that evolved while I was working on the other ideas :). Robertinventor (talk) 13:31, 14 June 2016 (UTC)Reply
It's now here: Grants:IdeaLab/Small_free_speech_area_for_topic_banned_editors and you'll see that I've added:
"* A place to get detailed procedural information for instance what the terms in your ban announcement mean, and how they apply in your particular case, similar really to the help you'd get from a lawyer in a legal case that was closed against you. Wikipedia guidelines can approach legal rules in their complexity, and can be hard to follow, and how they are applied is sometimes unintuitive too for those not used to them. Even after you've read and understood the rules, sometimes there were other discussions on how to interpret them that you'd need to know about also to fully understand how they are now applied."
Is that the sort of thing you meant? Robertinventor (talk) 14:01, 14 June 2016 (UTC)Reply
Not exactly. I just had my enforcing admin bail on the case because he feels overworked, but that leaves me without an enforcing admin. I figure a free speech zone or noticeboard could take on the issues that these guys don't want to do, like "I want to make this edit; am I allowed to?" or "I have exonerating evidence; does this qualify as 'legitimate and necessary dispute resolution' under BANEX?" But yes, procedural information too. For example, last week, I found something that seemed to say that maximum block allowable as an AE action is one year. I asked my block enforcer to change my block from indef to one year. It turns out that, in practice, it's a DS block for the first year and then switches to a regular indef. block, meaning that after one year the blocked Wikipedian can seek unblock through the usual process instead of the DS process. (Now the best thing to do would be to update the AE rules so that they just say that.) A noticeboard would help with something like this. A concern of mine, for example, is what if I file a normal unblock request next year and the non-AE admins don't know they're allowed to grant it.
These things usually take on a life of their own once you set them up, though. Darkfrog24 (talk) 21:20, 14 June 2016 (UTC)Reply

Oh okay, this is all rather technical. But just had a look at your discussion here Blocked and that is so like what was happening to me, except I stopped at an earlier stage and mine was a somewhat milder case. Seems you got blocked just for asking questions about your topic ban! It really shows up the need for this free speech area. And I've come across this before, a rule that didn't mean what they seem to say, and you find out on the talk page for the guideline if you ask questions there, but they don't seem keen to update the rules themselves, even though they are unclear. You just have to know.

Also to give my own perspective on your discussion, as someone not involved in the case who also is in a similar position to you, not understanding the intricate details of how wikipedia works - your questions there are all totally legitimate'. I'd want to ask the same things and I think just about anyone would in that situation. They most definitely should not have blocked you just for asking those kinds of questions! It just shows that they couldn't understand where your questions are coming from. Some people just aren't very good at understanding things like that. Just don't have a good "in" into how others see things. A bit like the way some people find it easy to understand what a 3D object would look like from a different viewpoint, while others find that really hard to do. Some people just can't seem to be able to understand what a social situation looks like from other people's viewpoints.

From my experience I'd say that many of the regular and most experienced wikipedia editors are like that, just can't see our point of view here. Sometimes it comes over that they just can't believe I could be so stupid as not to know those things already - when it feels like you'd need like doctoral level of understanding (analogy) of wikipedia's inner functionings to know those things, as seen from my viewpoint. And they just assume you've read hundreds of pages of wikipedia guidelines already and understood them and know where to look etc. etc. That it's written somewhere on some obscure wikipedia guideline doesn't mean that a newbie has read it and doesn't mean they understand it if they did read it.Sometimes they explode in anger at you because of your unbelievable stupidity as it seems to them. A bit like a maths teacher getting angry if a beginner doesn't immediately and rapidly understand abstract algebra, or integrals and differentials :). It's understandable, but someone who is like that is not the best person to teach maths to beginners. While others may be superb teachers of maths. It's an independent skill set from being good at maths, a good teacher hopefully is also reasonably good at maths, but being good at maths doesn't make you good at teaching it necessarily. Robert Walker (talk) 21:50, 14 June 2016 (UTC)Reply

I've just added this to the idea:

It would be a good idea if it's an open area - a special noticeboard or some such - in some way for other editors to get involved if the original editor who closed your case is too busy / unsympathetic / just not very good at advising people. Some editors on wikipedia understand the guidelines and rules very thoroughly but don't seem able to put themselves in the position of relative newbie editors that don't understand these rules and are not very good at explaining them to others. So it might not always be that the closing editors are the best ones to help you understand what the topic ban means, what you can and can't do, and what your options are.

If you have other suggestions for the idea, do say- can you try a go at some wording to add to it? Or say a bit more about what needs to be done to improve it or what needs adding? Your particular case seems to have got very technical, into rarified areas of "wikilawyering" and I'm obviously not going to understand the intricacies of it in detail. So I'm not sure what to add to cover your points, may help if you say a bit more, thanks. Robert Walker (talk) 21:50, 14 June 2016 (UTC)Reply

Just read some more on your talk page, really feel for you! I think they've got it back to front when they say it's you who aren't getting it. From the perspective of someone who is in a similar position to you, they are the really "dumb" ones, "socially dumb" I mean, who just don't seem to "get it" in a social awareness sense, of not understanding why we have questions about their intricate and arcane rules. I mean that kindly, not to say they are dumb in an absolute sense, but that they seem as dumb to us as we seem to them. The more you try to find out, the worse things get for you, so you are really discouraged from finding out yet they somehow expect you to know and figure it out for yourself. But how can you when you are not permitted to ask questions about it! That's happened to me several times in the past - not things I was banned about as that only happened this once. But questions I wanted to ask and editors I asked those questions to got really annoyed with me for asking them such questions which they reckoned I should be able to figure out for myself. To the extent I just had to stop asking questions. I've come to realize that as things are at the moment, there is just no way sometimes to find out the things you want to know. Unless you happen to be friends with someone who is very very expert in wikipedia off wiki which I'm not. I have some friends off wiki with similar levels of experience of wikipedia to me, and they can't help.

The best advice I've had for wikipedia as is, recently, was from a friend who quoted the Serenity prayer. I'm not Christian, and don't believe in a God, but I think it's quite good in its advice:

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.

Sometimes you just can't change things. I can't do anything on wikipedia to fix these articles that I think are very wrong and desperately need to be fixed. I can't do anything about the situation that lead to the topic ban, or to ask questions about it on wikipedia. But I can try to turn the experience into something positive. Maybe, just maybe, through this ideas lab project, we can start some waves that may help others in the future? And apart from that, well to find places where we can use our time and effort productively :). For me wikipedia was a small part of my life, and only loomed large several times because of these actions taken against me. It can go back to being a small part again. And there's always going to be lots that's | "wrong on the internet" :) 22:34, 14 June 2016 (UTC)

Thanks for saying that. It's very nice of you. One correction, though: I'm not a newb. I joined in 2006 and hit 1000 edits in late 2008. The thing is I'd never dealt with the discretionary sanction system before January. I didn't really know what it was, even though I'd been editing WP:MoS for years.
It can be legitimate for the interpretations of rules to shift over the years, so long as everyone recognizes that the literal interpretation is still valid. However, if the rule was put in place by the community or ArbCom, then it should take another RfC or Arb consensus to change it.
Yes you can do something. You can spend the next however many months preparing for your next appeal, you can learn the Wikipedia rules that got/were used to get you blocked and you can move forward. Don't give up on the project or on yourself.
We should continue any discussion of this on the other talk page. I would recommend not saying anything overtly critical of the admins, though. It would actually be good to get a few of them to contribute to this project. Darkfrog24 (talk) 02:17, 15 June 2016 (UTC)Reply
Right, I'm not a newbie in that sense either. Coincidentally my first edit is in April 2006 though I became an active editor regularly only in 2008. But I'm newbie in the sense that until a couple of years ago I'd never had to deal at all with the wikipedia disciplinary system. And there were many things I didn't know about user guidelines. You can edit the encyclopedia and talk pages for years and never know these things if you don't happen to bother any other editors in the process - nobody will alert you to too many edits or too long talk page posts, or whatever if you aren't bothering them by doing it.
I agree - and I didn't mean to be overly critical of the admins, I added "I mean that kindly" but perhaps it was going a bit over the top? It is honestly describing what their behaviour appears like to people in our position I think, you kind of wonder "how can they possibly not see this, how can they have so little awareness of how their responses seem to us". But rather in the sense that e.g. a maths teacher trying to explain some complex maths concept to you and you would think "how can they possibly not see why these ideas are so hard to grasp" - in that sense. Robert Walker (talk) 05:13, 15 June 2016 (UTC)Reply
I've continued the discussion on that other talk page, thanks. Robert Walker (talk) 05:15, 15 June 2016 (UTC)Reply



Do you mean "Encourage editors to talk to each other before reporting them"? The person who starts an ANI thread is almost never the same person who issues the block. Darkfrog24 (talk) 03:11, 16 June 2016 (UTC)Reply

Yes, good point, thanks! Just fixed this. Robert Walker (talk) 22:36, 17 June 2016 (UTC)Reply

Grants to improve your project


Greetings! The Project Grants program is currently accepting proposals for funding. The deadline for draft submissions is tommorrow. If you have ideas for software, offline outreach, research, online community organizing, or other projects that enhance the work of Wikimedia volunteers, start your proposal today! Please encourage others who have great ideas to apply as well. Support is available if you want help turning your idea into a grant request.

The next open call for Project Grants will be in October 2016. You can also consider applying for a Rapid Grant, if your project does not require a large amount of funding, as applications can be submitted anytime. Feel free to ping me if you need help getting your proposal started. Thanks, I JethroBT (WMF) 22:49, 1 August 2016 (UTC)Reply

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