- The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.
So by now I believe this is better discussed at RfC. This page is usually for direct request ("Requests for help from a sysop or bureaucrat") and this seem to require a broader community consensus. — regards, Revi 14:28, 11 July 2016 (UTC)
Hi there, I'm author of one of the more popular proposals in the recent Idealab Inspire project, and we are wondering what happens next. The project is here: Grants:IdeaLab/Area for topic banned editors to talk freely about their ban, e.g. to ask questions of experienced wikipedians. The aim is to provide support and a path to constructive editing for topic banned and banned editors.
Anyway we think the most promising of two ways to take it forward is to do a pilot scheme here on meta wiki. That has the major advantage that, as the topic bans only apply on wikipedia itself, there is no need for new rules or special exemptions to permit banned editors to mention their topics to ask for advice.
It would comply with all the guidelines in Meta:What Meta is not, indeed those would be useful as a way to make it clear what the banned editors can and cannot do in the new board. We have a mockup of the proposed page here: User:Darkfrog24/ESNMockup. All this makes it esay to start a pilot scheme here, and much harder to attempt to do it in wikipedia itself. That is so long as it complies with policies here, which seems to be a gray area - it's neither given as an example of what we can do nor excluded either.
We've discussed it with I JethorBT and he says "I think the idea and the mock-up look fairly ready for a pilot or experimental period. " and he suggested we come here to gauge your judgement about whether it violates Meta / policy guidelines before making the page.
Discussion here: User_talk:I_JethroBT_(WMF)#Enacting_Idea_Lab_Proposals which also links to more discussions. So what are your thoughts on this? Robert Walker (talk) 17:33, 10 July 2016 (UTC)
- One particular issue is the issue of how to include a Meta-Wiki page on the list of noticeboards on the English Wikipedia, ideally how to include it in the templates placed on the talk pages of topic-banned and blocked editors, and how to let admins and other knowledgeable Wikipedians in good standing know that the page exists. Darkfrog24 (talk) 03:50, 11 July 2016 (UTC)
- The biggest issue I see is how some projects will perceive Meta being used to "by-pass" their processes, as well as the resulting shift in drama from some projects here. This is an important issue; at Wikimania, I was talking with Sj about a system for allowing topic-banned users to anonymously submit a revision for approval by an unbiased 3rd party - maybe that would be a better way forward with this? Or some specifically made and used on each individual project. Ajraddatz (talk) 03:53, 11 July 2016 (UTC)
- Tbh I'm not pleasant with the meta being used to bypass their block/ban/whatsoever. Meta does not exist for that bypassing someone's ban. — regards, Revi 04:56, 11 July 2016 (UTC)
- Let's be honest here: this will result in dumping all of English Wikipedia's drama/disgruntled users/serial harassers/sockpuppeteers/POV pushers/underage kids who can't properly understand policies/people blocked for legal issues on a wiki that has about 5% of the administrator staffing of English Wikipedia, where many of those admins don't check in often since this is not their home wiki, and where the dispute resolution processes are not equipped to handle that drama in high volumnes. Meta is not a dumping ground for all of that crap. --Rschen7754 06:26, 11 July 2016 (UTC)
- Not to mention that banned editors often continue their personal attacks about editors on their "home" wiki here, often without being sanctioned here too. It is obviously unpleasant, to say the least, for the latter. If you want to talk about editor retention, favoring the banned editors (who were banned for their inability to contribute positively to Wikimedia projects) over the editors who are able to contribute positively is not the way to go. --Rschen7754 07:08, 11 July 2016 (UTC)
- I think it's fair to note that the proposal is "topic-banned" not "banned". However, it is still the case that this is a proposal precisely to import drama from other wikis to this one. If a local wiki has decided that it is in the best interests of their project to restrict the ways in which someone contributes, it seems unlikely to be in the best interests either of the local wiki or of Meta to re-open the disputes that led to those restrictions on a page here. I would suggest a pilot project which is strictly time-bounded -- say for one month -- after which it will be closed and assessed without any expectation in favour of continuation. Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 07:58, 11 July 2016 (UTC)
Okay just to clarify, first this is a single page here, and the aim is certainly not to import drama. We'd do our best to make sure this doesn't happen, to the extent it is possible. We have discussed this at length in the talk page for the proposal, and this lead to the following disclaimers at the head of the draft board - see ESN Mockup
- You may NOT use this page to request that other editors make changes to pages from which you are banned. (see [[en:WP:PROXYING}})
- You MAY ask about procedure, gray-area edits, appeals or anything else that you need to know about your or someone else's sanctions.
- This is not a forum for general discussion of banned topics. This is not itself an appeal board.
- Threads that merely reiterate statements made in any previous discussion may be deleted by any uninvolved party. This applies to both sanctioned editors and complainants.
The problem we face as banned editors is that there is nowhere in wikipedia we can even mention our banned topic in order to ask the natural questions a banned editor will have. In my case it was just a six month ban mainly restricted to the talk page of a single page in the Buddhism wiki there, the four noble truths article. But it was a wikipedia wide ban even though the topic is mainly of interest on just one page. If I am on wikipedia I am not permitted even to mention the word "four noble truths" anywhere in wikipedia including the talk page of the editor who closed my case. I also can't refer to the discussion that lead to the ban. I didn't realize this until I mentioned a minor incident in the discussion that lead to the ban to another editor on their talk page, not mentioning the topic ban subject, and was told to remove my comment, and until I did that my ban period was doubled to one year as an instant extra sanction. I didn't even know that would happen if I did that. And the editor who closed the discussion made it clear I can't mention the banned topic on his talk page.
I gave up at that point, but comparing notes, @Darkfrog24: faced sanctions that continually increased as a result of asking questions about the gray area edits, without engaging in the acitivity that lead to the ban, just talking about it.
So banned editors will want to know the answers to these various meta questions:
- What can and can't I do as a result of the ban - if you are very experienced in topic bans as most admins will be, this may be obvious, but it's not at all clear to a banned editor and you can trawl through many guideline pages and still not be sure.
- Can I appeal? The ban statement says I can appeal but since I can't even mention the ban, how is that possible? Is it just empty words? I can't even ask this question without risking increased sanctions. If the answer is simply "No, no appeal is possible", well they want to know that too.
- Gray area edits. Maybe I want comment in a discussion on a related talk page in the Buddhism topic area, which doesn't mention "four noble truths". The en:WP:ANI discussion that lead to the ban was wide ranging, covered many topics from my talk page discussions in wikipedia, and lasted for several weeks, but the closing editor only mentioned one of those many topics in the ban statement. Does the ban apply to all the other topics discussed but not mentioned in the topic ban statement? Does it apply to closely related topics such as Buddhist ideas of Anatta (non self) or karma? Again I can't ask these questions, as my ban period will probably be doubled just for asking. This post itself, if on wikipedia, would lead to more sanctions right away, at least that's my understanding.
These are the sort of questions we would like editors to be able to ask in the board. They will need to mention their banned topic. But since they are on meta wiki anything they say will have no influence on the debates in wikipedia anyway, which hopefully will deal with some of the drama issues. We do expect to still get some drama but we'd deal with them by warnings, deleting threads etc.
I do understand your concerns and that's why we asked the question. Please though do realize that we have done our best to try to address these issues in advance. Perhaps our precautions are not adequate, but could you comment on them? Are there any other things we could do to make it work better here? And if not, is there any other way we could do it as a pilot scheme? Does anyone here have any suggestions for a way we could do it, anywhere at all?
The only alternative we thought of so far was to try to do it in wikipedia. But that would need a major change in the guidelines to allow an exception for banned editors to talk about their banned topic on one board in wikipedia. We don't think that is likely to happen without evidence from a pilot scheme of some sort that it can work. If it is simply impossible to do this anywhere, then that's also worth knowing. It would be disappointing, but at least we would know what the situation is. Robert Walker (talk) 10:02, 11 July 2016 (UTC)
Also, I'd like to add - whatever it's merits or otherwise, the proposal of proxy editing via peer review mentioned by @Ajraddatz: is a different kind of proposal. I think some of the comments here are based on the idea that it is a proposal like that, a way for editors to bypass their bans.
We are aware of this issue and it's the reason for the first of our rules in the ESN mockup. It's not an attempt to bypass any of the policies in local wikis, and it is not a way for banned editors to influence editing in the wiki they were banned from. Nothing in the board can influence the wiki. Instead it is a place for meta discussions and advice, for topic banned editors about what is and is not permitted, what the procedures are and so on, done here because they can't ask those questions on local wikis. The aim is to provide support and a path to constructive editing. Robert Walker (talk) 10:32, 11 July 2016 (UTC)
- It sounds like you guys think it would be better to seek approval for this board on the English Wikipedia right away than to run a pilot program here first. Is it a violation for Robert or myself or any other topic-banned editor to post this proposal at WP:VPPR?
- If you look at the mockup, I think you'll see that a lot of your concerns about evasion and drama have been addressed. This board is about helping well-meaning editors avoid violations, not for proxying.
- For example, early on during my topic ban, I got a one-week block for telling another editor who'd filed the complaint against me. I had been invited to participate in a discussion related to the topic from which I'd been banned. I knew I was allowed to tell this person that I was under a topic ban—in fact, I thought I was required to—but I didn't know that I wasn't allowed to provide any other information. There's nothing written down in WP:TBAN about that sort of thing. A board could help with issues like that. This board would help accusers too. Since January, three different people have accused other editors of violating GMO topic bans because they didn't know that the bans didn't cover Monsanto and other companies that produce GMOs. Darkfrog24 (talk) 12:42, 11 July 2016 (UTC)
- As far as I know, all this exists already: it's called Wikimedia Forum and RfC. On why this can't be done for en.wiki specifically (while it's normal for all other wikis), see past drama/pitchforks against Meta. Nemo 12:51, 11 July 2016 (UTC)
- It may be relevant that when I was accused, I had questions about procedure and posted them to the general administrators' noticeboard ("Am I allowed to call witnesses? Am I allowed to ask for more time?"). The admin closed and dismissed the question. During the development of this proposal, someone also suggested OTRS. I submitted a question there too. It took three days. That's too long for a typical AE discussion. "Just do this in one of the existing locations" has not worked out so far. So far, I've gotten "that's not what we do here; just ask at AE." Asking the AE admins just made them angry, with more than one complaining that they were too overworked to deal with such things. A noticeboard structure would be faster, and people would contribute as much or as little as they see fit at the time. Darkfrog24 (talk) 12:58, 11 July 2016 (UTC)
- @Nemo bis: - sorry I don't quite understand what you are saying. Are you suggesting that instead of setting up a separate board we use Wikimedia Forum and RfC as places for topic banned editors to ask questions such as the ones I mentioned above about limitations of topic bans, gray area edits etc? It seems to me likely to overwhelm the boards and to cause issues there. While if it is in a separate page, then all the discussion can be focused into that page and ignored by everyone else. It is obvious that we can discuss our topic bans here already as both I and @Darkfrog24: have both said things in this discussion that would lead to us being sanctioned in wikipedia. It's a matter of more discussion of this sort including hopefully attracting admins from wikipedia to help answer the questions banned editors have as the project continues. And sorry I don't understand the relevance of the linked to conversation. It's a long conversation and perhaps I have to read all the way through it to see the relevance, but we are not planning to make it into a place to publish private emails from admins, indeed why would we want do that? Can you help me to understand what you are saying there? Robert Walker (talk) 13:09, 11 July 2016 (UTC)
- I'm not suggesting anything, it's merely what already happens. I think you're exaggerating the demand, but if the standard venues really happened to be overwhelmed then people could just move threads to quieter places such as General requests. As for the en.wiki admin RfC which was deleted some years ago, sorry but I won't summarise it as I was involved in the case; if you can't bother reading about past failures of your very proposal, I suggest that you don't bother discussing here either. --Nemo 13:14, 11 July 2016 (UTC)
- Well, sorry, it's hard to read. It is 16,000 words, and very technical and much of it is about pages that are now deleted so you can't go through to find out what was being discussed. I've had a look through, did a page search of all comments in your name, and see nothing that seems related to our proposal. I am of course interested in reading about past failures of the same proposal, but I can't see anything of that nature on the page you linked to, with of course the proviso that with much of it being discussion of deleted pages, it makes it hard to know what most of it was about. Robert Walker (talk) 13:32, 11 July 2016 (UTC)
Proposal would abide by WM:NOT
- Just added this as a header to make adding new comments easier
Is it perhaps
I am requesting deletion of Requests for comment/Gwen Gale on ground that it violates WM:NOT points 9, 10 and 11. Meta wiki is not the place to rehash a settled dispute. Although the page in question is formatted like an RFC, it is actually nothing more than an attack page prepared by a banned user for the purpose of harassing an en-wiki administrator.
If so, the proposed board would follow all the requirements of WM:NOT including the ones mentioned in that discussion:
- Meta is not a battleground. You are free to state your opinions, but do not threaten, harass or intimidate those with whom you have a disagreement. Rather, approach matters in an intelligent manner and engage in polite discussion. See the dispute resolution process.
- Meta is not a forum for continued attacks against other users'. Do not report on other users' past misdeeds here. Remember that edit histories reflect all users' behavior impartially— including your own.
- Meta is not an appeals court. If a community decides something, don't come here to try to get the decision overruled.
I've just done an edit of the ESN Mockup to help make it clear. If this goes ahead, and we get discussions that violate those rules we will delete them. I've added a statement to that effect also. Does this help? Robert Walker (talk) 13:43, 11 July 2016 (UTC)
- I agree with -revi above, doesn't sounds like a good idea. --Steinsplitter (talk) 13:50, 11 July 2016 (UTC)
- If it doesn't seem like a good idea here, do you have any other suggestions for ways we can make it possible for banned editors to obtain advice on the limits of their bans, gray area edits, and to ask other such questions they can't ask on wikipedia without being sanctioned there? Or is this just impossible to achieve anywhere? Remember many editors are like myself and @Darkfrog24: that only wish to improve wikipedia, have no wish at all to go against their policies and guidelines. We were not intentional trouble makers when we were banned. And we just want to know what we can and can't do within the guidelines of wikipedia, but can't ask those questions.
- There are twelve endorsements for our proposal and we are thirteenth out of 279 proposals in the robot generated Leaderboard for the recent Inspire initiative to reduce on-wiki harassment, so it is not an isolated issue and we expect a lot of participation in the board if it is created. Thanks! Robert Walker (talk) 14:02, 11 July 2016 (UTC)
- This page is for requests, not for discussions. Please discuss elsewhere, you're flooding a highly watched noticeboard. --Vituzzu (talk) 14:18, 11 July 2016 (UTC)
- The above discussion is preserved as an archive. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.