IRC/wikipedia-en-admins/Voicing CheckUsers and Oversighters discussion

The following discussion is closed. Considering the concerns that were raised, the concept will not be pursued at this time. Thank you for discussing this.

The current system to request the attention of Wikipedia CheckUsers and Oversighter consists of using stalk words such as !checkuser and !oversight. This is not reliable, as it depends on said functionaries to know how to set stalk words, and there is no way of determining in advance if anyone is even available (unless you happen to know the name of every user with CheckUser and Oversight capabilities). A proposal to improve the system is to have CheckUsers and Oversighters be voiced (have +v set) automatically when they join so it is possible to visually ascertain whether a CU/OS is around. (In freenode services parlance, this is user flag +V). This would be an opt-out system; CU/OS can withdraw if they do not want to be solicited through IRC.

Alternatively, this can be an opt-in system, which some may prefer.

Revised proposal

This proposal comes after the poll was started and significant concerns were raised about the voice status bringing unwanted attention. For that reason, CU/OS would only get the +v flag (that's lowercase vee), meaning that they must ask ChanServ to get voiced. Essentially, if they don't want to stand out, they would not ever have to. The +V (capital vee) flag, which gives voice to a person upon joining the channel, would be available to the CU/OS who request it. None of this would be implemented until I bring it up with the affected functionaries, or if there is a strong opposition against the plan in general.


Support proposal as opt-out systemEdit

harej 00:18, 31 July 2009 (UTC)
  • This is repeatedly a concern - most of the checkusers know I have a "mass pinger" for use in emergencies that pings CU's by their names rather than stalk words. Often I'm informed I missed several because it's out of date, so being able to visually know who has a tool would help. Hersfold (talk) 00:38, 31 July 2009 (UTC)
  • Even for those that stalk, I've seen different users stalk different variations (!CU vs !checkuser and other flavo(u)rs). Great to have any universally-used system, and the visual indicator is a nice touch. DMacks 01:48, 31 July 2009 (UTC)
    I've found that if a user uses !cu and gets no response, they quickly adapt to use !checkuser or whatever command will evoke a response. Darwinian, eh? --MZMcBride 23:27, 3 August 2009 (UTC)
  • Juliancolton | Talk 01:51, 31 July 2009 (UTC)
    Madman 02:13, 1 August 2009 (UTC)
  • I have no problem with this, though I expect I will be devoiced most of the time. — Coren (talk) / (en-wiki) 15:03, 1 August 2009 (UTC)

Support proposal as opt-in systemEdit

  • Opt-in, only because then the people who opt-in can be educated about how to de-voice when they're away/unavailable to take queries and requests. Daniel (talk) 03:36, 31 July 2009 (UTC)
  • If people don't mind being "visible" for requests, why not? J.delanoygabsadds 01:57, 31 July 2009 (UTC)
  • harej 00:43, 2 August 2009 (UTC)
  • Weak Support - could be useful, probably won't be, but am happy for some CU/OSs to take it upon themselves to voice and devoice themselves if they so wish. —Sean Whitton / 14:15, 3 August 2009 (UTC)
After discussions on IRC, I feel it prudent to note that this is not any kind of official blessing from a GC; I am just noting my view as a channel member. —Sean Whitton / 19:34, 5 August 2009 (UTC)

Oppose proposal entirelyEdit

  • I don't like this for several reasons. One is that things like this should be an opt-in on the part of the CU/OS people, rather than an opt-out. It also makes it visible who is opting in and opting out, which they may not like, as opposed to the stalkwords, which people may be opted in to but ignore if they don't feel like filling the request. It also implies that the purpose -en-admins is to allow backroom communication like CU and OS requests. While that may happen, I don't think it should be elevated by the use of channel modes. It's a solution looking for a problem... there are on-wiki methods of requesting the attention of these folks, and I sort of worry that it will discourage them from joining -en-admins, since they will now be there wearing a badge and seeming to be "on-duty". kmccoy 01:57, 31 July 2009 (UTC)
    I don't want to be a negative nellie, but I did want to mention that if this is supported as an opt-in idea, then it will be about as likely to be opted into as a ping system like !CU or !checkuser or whatever. kmccoy 07:49, 2 August 2009 (UTC)
    I'm told that this is a vote, rather than a discussion. So, forget that I made any actual points here and just count my vote. kmccoy 18:57, 3 August 2009 (UTC)
  • No real benefit. People should be more patient. Also, per Kmccoy's points above. - Rjd0060 02:21, 31 July 2009 (UTC)
  • Madman 02:19, 1 August 2009 (UTC)
  • Tiptoety talk 18:48, 3 August 2009 (UTC)
  • Oppose per Kmccoy's points. Also, if these functionaries are not willing to be pinged, they will opt-out, but I would guess at the moment they don't have stalkwords, so they can use IRC in peace. So basically, it's not going to solve anything, apart from making them stand out for no particular reason. They are not elevated and above everyone else, it's simply an extra tool. Checkusers who are willing to be pinged will undoubtedly set up appropriate stalk words and will answer queries. I can't see what problem this is solving, but I can see it causing problems. Majorly talk 02:08, 31 July 2009 (UTC)
  • Absolutely a terrible idea. It ruins the channel atmosphere by elevating a certain group of users above the rest. It does so needlessly and without real benefit. CUs / OSs are more than capable of idling in a separate channel or using stalk words (like !oversight). Additionally, there is no clear reason why you would only voice CheckUsers / Oversighters and not voice, for example, sysadmins, stewards, bureaucrats, et al. --MZMcBride 20:54, 3 August 2009 (UTC)
  • Per MZMcBride. Nakon 22:16, 6 August 2009 (UTC)

Additional commentsEdit

View from an Oversighter/CheckuserEdit

When I log in, I will often set myself as "away" - because I usually am doing any number of other things while logged in. Sometimes people have pinged me with a CU or OS request, and then been annoyed when I didn't respond immediately, despite my "awayness". I fear that demands for my attention (and frustration when I don't respond right away) will only increase if my username is stuck at the top of the channel; as it is, I probably respond to more requests than anyone else. Risker 02:24, 31 July 2009 (UTC)

That's an issue with IRC. Just because you happen to be online does not mean you are actually sat at the computer and able to take requests. I think people forget that CUs/OSs on IRC is a privilege for them, and they are not obliged to lift a finger. There is definitely some confusion. As Kmccoy points out above, it is essentially turning IRC into a work-based place, where being in the channel would indicate you are *at work* and on duty, which isn't necessarily so. You might be willing to deal with requests when you are not busy, but you should not have to leave the channel to indicate that you are not able to. As I said above, far too many issues, and no gain. Majorly talk 02:35, 31 July 2009 (UTC)
Well, you could always type /cs devoice when you're not able or willing to take checkuser or oversight requests. That may be the best of all worlds, given that people could tell at a glance who actually has the ability and is available, without triggering anyone's client with stalk words. Madman 02:08, 1 August 2009 (UTC) – Heh, I didn't notice Daniel's almost identical suggestion above; I wanted to see what those most affected thought first. And of course everyone should have the ability to opt-in or opt-out; however, I hope everyone will follow whatever consensus is. Otherwise, we'll have two possible ways of finding checkusers, with less likelihood of finding one either way. Madman 02:12, 1 August 2009 (UTC)
I was responding to the original proposal; per the revised proposal, I think we wouldn't have enough users taking the initiative to voice themselves, and thus we'd have the situation that I suggested would be a problem earlier. Also, the perception issues raised by kmccoy are points quite well made. Madman 02:19, 1 August 2009 (UTC)