Grants talk:IdeaLab/WMF support in administrative efforts of prevention of trolling and disruptive editing

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Editor retention problemEdit

This sounds good and potentially helpful, but this is directly related to editor retention problem. Most (if not all) disruptive newbies end up being blocked very quickly, but most disruptive editors who are not blocked are those who have extensive contributions. Once we face disruptions by editors with extensive contributions, we end up having two uncompatible goals for editor retention:

  • Banning users for disruptions is badly perceived by the community because losing users with extensive contributions is bad for the community
  • Keeping disruptive users is also badly perceived by the community because losing users who are leavind because of disruptions is bad for the community

Yet another problem is that everyone has their own meaning of "disruptive" — what is disruptive for one person can be constructive for another. As an administrator I have observed multiple cases when roughly 50% of editors thank someone for an edit and another 50% ask to block the same person for the same edit. At the same time, many users are leaving the project due to something which is perceived minor and not important for most of users but is very important and irreversibly harmful to them.

Thus prior to any project in this direction we need to know what is worse for Wikimedia projects — harm from losing experienced but sometimes disruptive users or harm from users leaving the project because of what they perceive as disruptions — NickK (talk) 17:40, 9 March 2015 (UTC)

  • I agree with almost all of you say here. The problem is even deeper. There are really not a lot of editors, who are disruptive everywhere. Some do write good articles, but understand nothing in technical features or in the process of adopting guides and rules or vice versa. Or can be POV-pusher in one topic but a perfect author in other topics. The other problem begins when editors start to insist on their POV in issues, where they do not have enough competence. The ideal way of dealing with such a problem is implementing effective procedures of dispute resolution and updating general policy to current situation in the community. But as for Russian Wikipedia we now have a kind of deadlock: the implementing of procedure and adopting new rules is very difficult due to general lack of consensus, disruptive and inconstructive discussions on the one hand; with the impossibility of implementing the procedure and updating rules contributes to even more chaos, irritation within editors and, as a consequence, their disruptive behavior on the other. And such a deadlock provokes even good users to be disruptive and becomes a perfect substrate for real trolls, POV-pushers, wiki-warriors and all that kind of folks. To change the situation some kind of a impetus is necessary. And harsh and strict poliсy can be such an impetus. And after that the taking of precise measures (not the 'carpet boming' of indefblocks) is necessary in order to keep the process going. But in order to make the procedure work effectively some decisive measures have to be taken. But, as i said in my post, it is sometimes impossible due to limitations of power, that administrators have as being responsible and accountable to the community in situation where the community itself is in turmoil.--Abiyoyo (talk) 20:36, 9 March 2015 (UTC)
    Most of communities face problems of disruptive editors. However, if your community is unhappy about harsh policies, you cannot make WMF impose those policies, as your community will be even more unhappy if those policy changes are implemented by the Foundation without community consensus (see Superprotect if you want to know what it can look like) — NickK (talk) 19:39, 10 March 2015 (UTC)
    It's not the community, which is unhappy about policies, because no one knows what is 'public opinion', it is sooner lack of possibility to gather any kind of conseus for or against. And no one asks for WMF to intervene with any obligatory orders. But what is possible is a recommendation to follow some standarts, which are in line with WM principles and are implemented in en-wp. E.g. the only real possibility to adopt russian variant of en:WP:BLP was granted by the corresponding WMF resolution foundation:Resolution:Biographies of living people. On the other hand the community was not able to adopt policies such as en:WP:HARASS or en:WP:CANVASS due to formal lack of consensus. If WMF adopt a resolution, which will recommend local communities to adopt such rules, it would be easier to adopt them locally. Without some external (at least soft and polite) pressure it is absolutely impossible to gather consesus for such policies, because, well, harassers, canvasseres and trolls will be always against it:) But such policies are crucial for maintaining order, including dealing with harassers and trolls.--Abiyoyo (talk) 21:53, 10 March 2015 (UTC)
  • And concerning gender-related issues such a situation leads to a kind of a shifting of general mood in community to a less moderate, reserved and self-restrained behavior. And beeing such it fosters flourishing of all the gender-related stereotypes and all the specific masculine behavior which makes Wikipedia reflect the real-world gender gap. It can not act as i kind of a ivory tower where gender issues are irrelevant in favor of free nonPOV knowledge, when there is no order and civility within it.--Abiyoyo (talk) 20:49, 9 March 2015 (UTC)

If w:Wikipedia:Wikipedia does not need you were a more widely applied principle, we might not have as much of a problem balancing disruption against positive contributions. That said, please keep in mind that established editors who happen to be disruptive sometimes aren't trolls at all. I've dealt with trolls -- they're the ones who make no attempt to write articles or make themselves useful, limiting their "contributions" to snippy comments that often aim to discredit real editors who do real work. Referring to occasionally disruptive editors who are otherwise productive as "trolls" trivialises real trolls and the disruption they cause. Ekips39 (talk) 16:45, 18 March 2015 (UTC)

I also agree with your statements. Using my own personal experiences on the English Wikipedia, I was an extremely high output edit with hundreds of thousands of edits, featured content and a ton of other work but I was labeled as disruptive, NOTHERE and banned from ENWP by a handful of involved individuals who felt threatened by my desire to make Wikipedia fair for all editors, not just admins. There is no meaningful and working appeals process, the people who block are the same ones who review so that's non functional. There is an enormous double standard between editors and admins where admins are allowed unlimited discretion "Broadly construed" over editors and if an editor has a problem with an admin they have to submit an extremely long and complex case to the Arbitration committee that has a history of no result which then opens the user up to retaliation from them and others. The admins police the editors vigorously, often too much so and there simply are no checks and balances in place to prevent abuse of editors from admins. I also agree that the definition of disruption is too open to interpretation and I have also stated openly that I do not like the English Wikipedia/Arbcom's use of "broadly construed" or "discretionary sanctions" applied to each and every one of the 1400 admins all with their own views, backgrounds and interpretations of policy. Reguyla (talk) 17:23, 18 March 2015 (UTC)
There are some stories like yours (some of whom were admins; w:User:Rodhullandemu in particular reminds me of you), but there are also many established non-admins whom it is nearly impossible to remove even though they are often considered to be disruptive; IME these outnumber the disruptive admins. I also suspect it is more likely that an admin who steps out of line will be criticised, or at least the tone of the criticism will be harsher and there will be none or few to excuse the misstep. Finally, I didn't say that disruption is open to interpretation, but I could have and that aspect of it can't be helped any more than the size of a heap of sand can be defined. The key to defining disruption is to understand the "heap of sand" factor, before which we will just have endless discussions in which all parties bang their heads against a brick wall. Ekips39 (talk) 03:51, 19 March 2015 (UTC)
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