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Requests for comment/Administrator abuse on the Croatian Wikipedia

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I am addressing you because there isn't a page describing the dispute resolution process on the Croatian Wikipedia, the English article on dispute resolution just links to the list of administrators on the Croatian Wikipedia; and also because the abusive behavior seems to be characteristic to the whole administrator group of hr.wikipedia.org; with a history of past blatant abuse and silencing all inquiries on irregularities and critique by blocking users.

The article on the terrorist and convicted murderer Miro Barešić (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miro_Bare%C5%A1i%C4%87) on the Croatian Wikipedia contained in the lead section the statements that he was a patriot (domoljub) which is obviously subjective and, absurdly, that he was a revolutionary (He didn't participate in any revolution. Whoever wrote that surely referred to the break up of Yugoslavia, but that didn't happen in a revolution, since the country was decentralized enough politically to just break up into separate independent states.).

I tried to remove those inappropriate statements and add the curiously missing information on him being a murderer in the lead; with a source. (This edit: https://hr.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Miro_Bare%C5%A1i%C4%87&oldid=4753964 )

A few minutes after that a user reverted my edit without comment, so I reverted it back as it was.

Then an administrator came and also started reverting my edit, also *without giving a reason in the edit*, and soon locked it so it would only be editable by admins.

Afterwards I read that the administrator (MaGa) messaged me on my user page with two vague sentences implying that he reverted my edit because he didn't think what Barešić did was wrong (See here: https://hr.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Razgovor_sa_suradnikom:Notrium&oldid=4754009; a rough translation would be: "By that logic American Indians would also be murderers and terrorists"), although Barešić was convicted in Sweden and got sentenced for life. MaGa thus proved that he is abusing his position.

Edit: A thing I should have noted before is that Barešić used and profited from the image of the Ustaše, a fascist group that ruled the puppet state NDH, Barešić acted as part of a group that was directly descended from escaped Ustaše war criminals. Thus when they are defending Barešić's presentation in the article they are defending that fascist regime and it's descendant criminal and terroristic organizations.

I was a bit shocked by this blatant abuse of an administrator's position, but soon came worse...

On this meta RFC page (in English and Croatian) from 2013 (!) there are a LOT of examples of blatant abuse by current administrators and bureaucrats of the Croatian Wikipedia, there is even an example of their misconduct on the English Wikipedia:

https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Requests_for_comment/2013_issues_on_Croatian_Wikipedia/Evidence/Conduct

Also this: https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Requests_for_comment/2013_issues_on_Croatian_Wikipedia

After reading some parts of that RFC it seems that the body of administrators of hr.wikipedia.org is made up of fascists who use their administrator status to promote their ideologies instead of truthful information.

The fact that those people still rule hr.wikipedia.org is highly worrying as it undermines the reputability of the whole Wikimedia Foundation, and I suggest demotion of all administrators of the Croatian Wikipedia ASAP!

Another thing worth noting: this phenomenon of the (still same) administrators abusing their position for furthering of fascist ideologies has actually been publicized a lot on in 2013, eg. see these articles in English:

http://www.dailydot.com/layer8/croatian-wikipedia-fascist-takeover-controversy-right-wing

http://wikipediocracy.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=3003&start=50

If you don't mind translating the page (it's trivial with Google Chrome) here is a good article with a lot of concrete examples of serious misdoings also perpetrated by the current administrators (they forced anti-LGBT viewpoints on the encyclopedia articles). I'll also for reference put here articles from Jutarnji List:

http://www.jutarnji.hr/vijesti/hrvatska/ndh-nije-bila-totalitarna-a-zrtve-u-jasenovcu-pobili-su-partizani-desnicari-preuzeli-uredivanje-hrvatske-wikipedije/1068473

and Al Jazeera: http://balkans.aljazeera.net/vijesti/historija-koju-pisu-administratori


To reiterate: the fact that hr.wikipedia.org is administered by supporters of murder and fascism is a huge flaw in Wikimedia's integrity and should be corrected immediately.

Regards, Notrium (talk) 19:18, 4 August 2016 (UTC)

Notrium, what to say after all, and how to say it? I'll constrain myself just to main points.
Let me begin with this: Croatian Wikipedia is a Wikipedia in name only.
The administrators are in full control of everything that's going on, which results in heavy right-wing bias, arbitrariness, and attacking behavior - generally speaking, I don't think there is a Wikipedia policy that isn't cynically, wantonly trampled. I have 11 years of experience at the English Wikipedia, and I have never seen anything even remotely like that.
You had the misfortune of having to deal with Kubura, a long-standing admin. He has to be an all-around champion in ineptness, rudeness and bias - I've seen the exchange you had with him and however extreme and ludicrous it may seem, it's actually par for the course.
There is nothing one can do about it: the Croatian Wikipedia has been purged of everyone who disagreed, chiefly by bans and continuous harassment.
There was an attempt to vote down some of the admins in 2013, but it was narrowly defeated due to heavy sockpuppeting. The sockpuppeting is no longer necessary though, since most of the editors who voted against the admins have been driven out since, as already noted.
I consider the Croatian Wikipedia a disgrace for Croatia, but above all it is a disgrace for the WMF.
Demotion of all admins is the only way to go. GregorB (talk) 19:46, 8 August 2016 (UTC)

Contents

See alsoEdit

Adminship candidacy processEdit

GregorB and Notrium, I looked at Croatian edition of the adminship candidacy process ([1]). I'm checking the bureaucrat candidacy, and I found that no one has considered bureaucratship or checkuser-ship after 2010. The ones after 2013 may be interesting to look at.

I don't know the language well, so I would like to hear all sides about the RfA process at Croatian Wikipedia please. Thanks. --George Ho (talk) 06:18, 10 July 2017 (UTC)

George Ho, I'm somewhat familiar with the circumstances - what aspects of the RfA process in question are you interested in? GregorB (talk) 07:26, 10 July 2017 (UTC)
Everything about the Croatian RfA process, GregorB, including how it's different from English Wikipedia. Does it have the discretionary range? Also, how were the arguments and votes regarding the candidacies? Also, why has very little amount of people taken chances to become an admin? How promoted admins turned out. Also, how promoted bureaucrats turned out. Also, does the Croatian version of "Pending changes" exist? Anything possible. Thanks. --George Ho (talk) 07:39, 10 July 2017 (UTC)
Thank you for taking interest in this issue. Please allow a couple of days before I respond in detail. GregorB (talk) 08:36, 10 July 2017 (UTC)

This is how the RfA process works:

  • No self-nomination, a candidate must be recommended by another user, both must have 6 months of experience and 1000+ mainspace edits. (This is not effectively much different from en wiki, where editors with less experience than that are unlikely to become admins.)
  • After a failed RfA, an editor can't be nominated again in the next three months. After three failed RfAs, the editor permanently loses the right to run for admin.
  • There are no Q&A sessions for candidates, just voting with comments. (Once I asked about why there are no Q&A, and an admin told me that would be unnecessary because he knew how to recognize quality candidates.)
  • Voters must have one month of experience, a total of 200+ mainspace edits, and 50+ edits in the last year.
  • Voting lasts for 7 days. A simple majority (50% + 1 vote, counting just "Support" and "Oppose") is sufficient.
  • Now a tricky bit involving autopatrolled user right: one cannot get it if there are two or more "Oppose" votes from admins or patrollers. So, two admins/patrollers who are in agreement can indefinitely deny autopatrolled status to any given editor. Admin candidates need not be autopatrolled, but if they are not, this is used heavily against them in the RfA process. In particular, this was the case in the Argo Navis/Dean72/Conquistador RfA ("But he is not even autopatrolled"). Therefore, a handful of editors are able to effectively hobble someone's RfA. (An aside: despite 100k+ edits and 10+ years of en wiki experience, I was never able to get autopatrolled status on hr wiki.)
  • Arguments in the RfA process are otherwise generally within expectations. (Which are, I must say, not particularly high when hr wiki is concerned.) My impression is that the RfA process is usually a formality, as asking questions and opening a meaningful discussion is discouraged.
  • Bloc voting is very pronounced. Admins typically form a bloc which effectively decides the outcome.
  • In the Argo Navis/Dean72/Conquistador RfA there was - in my opinion - strong evidence of sockpuppeting and/or meatpuppeting with the goal to defeat the three. Sockpuppeting and meatpuppeting are major RfA problems IMO: since a dozen or two votes are sufficient to promote or defeat the candidate, manipulating the outcome with sleeper accounts is fairly easy.
  • Croatian Wikipedia does not have an ArbCom (used to have it some 8 years ago or so), and the procedure to demote an admin is not defined. There was a popular vote to demote three admins in 2013, which was narrowly defeated.

That's pretty much it for the time being regarding the RfA - surely I have not covered everything so feel free to ask. Time permitting, I'll be back with more on bureaucrats, CUs, pending changes and other stuff. GregorB (talk) 09:08, 11 July 2017 (UTC)

Part II:

  • Why more people did not run for admin? Because it's not up to them, really. The admins effectively decide that: when they feel someone should become an admin, they do, and when they feel someone shouldn't, they don't. To be fair, it's a fairly small wiki and I don't think there is a shortage of admins really.
  • A couple of words about CUs: there are two CUs now, which is the minimum allowed number per wiki if I'm not mistaken. Until 2013 I believe that there were 3, but one of them was an admin who narrowly survived the above-mentioned vote of confidence - got 55% or so, which is not considered sufficient for a CU, so he lost that function. The threshold is 70% I believe, so: 1) probably too high for anyone right now, and 2) no pressing need.
  • I must say I know very little about bureaucrats. I suppose it's more or less the same story as with CUs.
  • All articles are patrolled, and all edits coming from users other than autopatrolled are subject to revision by patrollers, who accept or reject the changes. In theory, this shields against vandalism and poor quality content. In practice, in 2013 in the article on anti-fascism an IP added a paragraph-length rant describing anti-fascism as a "genetic disorder", which survived multiple attempts of removal over several weeks, with dozens of intervening edits. How all this sneaked past patrollers has never been explained. It didn't quite sneak past admins, though - the article was duly locked with the offending content in. This and other similar stuff then led to a major media controversy.
  • The conduct (and, to a significant degree, also the competence) of some admins is absolutely dismal, not comparable with anything I've seen in 12 years of editing in en wiki. This is a big topic and I won't go into particulars here.

That's about it. Questions are welcome. I wish more editors presented their experiences and assessments here. GregorB (talk) 20:02, 13 July 2017 (UTC)

Thank you for your insights on this, GregorB. Here are the list of current administrators, the list of bureaucrats, the list of checkusers, the list of ophoditelji (some kind of "patrollers" or "new page patrollers"?), the list of autopatrollers, and the list of those IP-block exempt. --George Ho (talk) 20:33, 13 July 2017 (UTC)
Yes, ophoditelji means "patrollers" - it differs from en wiki in that all non-autopatrolled edits are reviewed, not just new pages.
Let me also add that some of the current admins are inactive (1 year of more since the last edit). The WMF wanted hr wiki to establish an inactivity policy for admins and unlist those who meet the threshold, but they have apparently never gotten around to it and these admins are formally still listed. GregorB (talk) 21:13, 13 July 2017 (UTC)

All those deficiencies mentioned above could go in the advantage or to the damage of both sides.
Some of the deficiencies mentioned above are untrue.
Some of the weak parts (that could affect any side) of the voting process are solved, so the remarks is obsolete.
We brought the rule to solve the problem of the sleeper accounts: sleepers and "gaming the system " scheme are now disabled.
Don't bite the bait of "anti-fascism". It's the floscula from the Communist times, used by ruling Communist caste to discredit and to shut-up the political opponents and oppressed ethnicities, whenever they raised their voice for equality.[2][3] Anyone who wanted to start the democratization process was denigrated as "fascist" etc. Stalin, Mao and other Communist dictators and their gendarmerie, police, secret service etc. were also anti-fascists. That method of political denigration and discrediting of opponents is, unfortunately still in use in Croatia, as well as some neighbouring countries use that denigration when they want to shut-up the Croats, the oppressed people in Yugoslavia. Serbian state leadership use those methods against Croatia and Croats a lot, attacking the country, state civil and military leadership, etc., like 27 ys. ago when they tried to white wash the greaterserbianist aggression against Croatia [4] (Dačić ponovno napada: “Predsjednica Hrvatske, tvrdeći da u Hrvatskoj nema ustaštva i fašizma, izrekla je očiglednu laž”)[5] (Ivica Dačić: Laž je da Hrvatska ne rehabilitira fašizam, oni su rehabilitirali Stepinca i oslobađaju zločince od 1990.)[6][7][8][9][10][11][12][13][14][15][16][17][18][19][20]. Kubura (talk) 08:04, 26 July 2017 (UTC)

You should stick to the first four lines of your comment and expand on them. What specifically could be useful/damaging to both sides (I assume you're referring to sysop nominees v. people who participate in the RfA)? What did Gregor say that wasn't true? What "weak parts" of the "voting" system have been solved? How and when did that happen? Can you link to the rule against sleeper accounts? How has "gaming the system" been "disabled"? The rest of your comment isn't relevant to this discussion. – Srdjan m (talk) 10:39, 26 July 2017 (UTC)

The possibility that two votes against can block any proposal for autopatrol/patroller can be frustrating. Still, this does not happen a lot. Some users gain the confidence of the community quickly, some don't. Edit style, adjustment. Later even the opposer says "yes". Good user always gets the status, sooner or later.
On the other hand, this is small Wikipedia and it's sometimes hard to draw more than two users interested in that topic. That's why only two votes against are enough. Kubura (talk) 08:29, 26 July 2017 (UTC)

Other issues about Croatian WikipediaEdit

Any processes out there?Edit

Reading some page move requests, I noticed that most requests were moving drafts from article namespace to talk namespace. There is not one namespace for draft articles.

Also, I could not find a process similar to articles for deletion, proposed deletion, deletion review, or requests for undeletion. Well, I found the process of speedy deletion requests, but it seems abandoned. Also, I could not find one deletion policy.

I could not find one process similar to articles for creation. --George Ho (talk) 21:08, 13 July 2017 (UTC)

Hr wiki practice is for admins to move new articles which are judged to be of sub-par quality to talk. After cleanup, editors issue a request to move it back to article space, which is granted or denied based on the condition of the article. I suppose this process serves a purpose, but in my opinion at least three things are problematic: 1) both decisions (to move to talk and to move - or not - back to article space) are made solely at an admin's discretion, and 2) normal discussion about the article's content and its cleanup is not possible, since the talk is occupied with the article text, 3) the criteria for "sub-par" are strange: one might post an otherwise solid prose, but omit the wikilinks, and the article will be moved to talk; the same might happen to an unsourced non-BLP article. That's stricter than en wiki, which seems out of place at best and detrimental at worst for a small wiki not known for high standards of quality.
Also a peculiarity of hr wiki: one risks a block for "saving too often", i.e. making a number of small changes to an article in a short time. This is purportedly because it places an undue burden on the patrollers. Editing drafts in user space won't help - userspace is patrolled too, and the same restriction applies.
BTW, my pet peeve on hr wiki is that all uses of the "citation needed" template must be accompanied by an explanation in the talk page: what exactly is being challenged and why. Absent the explanation, the "citation needed" template may be (and often is) summarily removed from the article. Not sure what the WMF would make of that.
hr:Wikipedija:Glasovanje is actually a historical page not directly related to speedy deletion; AFAIK, hr wiki has never had speedy deletion. I'll be back within a day or two with more on deletion process. GregorB (talk) 21:47, 13 July 2017 (UTC)
In hr wiki, there is no central page that lists all current articles for deletion, with transcluded discussions. (Excepting deletion categories, which display all articles nominated for deletion on a given day.) The deletion discussion takes place in the article's talk (which is itself not deleted with the article). The absence of a central page means that many editors will be unaware of the ongoing deletion discussions - not great in a wiki that's not too big (looking at the number of active editors) to begin with.
In en wiki, votes are sometimes called !votes - not here though. All votes (in the deletion process and otherwise) are actually votes, which means: 1) simple majority wins, 2) rationales need not be based on policy or make sense. For example, one could vote "delete", adding an arbitrary explanation like "this article is uninteresting, nobody is going to read it anyway", and this will count towards deletion.
Notability criteria are very rudimentary and not well-thought-out. (Also, they haven't changed much since c. 2006.) For example, in the talk page, one can see an admin arguing that "the basic criterion is - importance [of the subject]". That's basically a tautology ("important is what is important") and not helpful at all in deletion discussions, as one might imagine. The absence of basic criteria (e.g. an equivalent of WP:GNG) and a disincentivized discussion (what's the point of providing arguments and counterarguments when the majority wins by virtue of being a majority?) makes deletion outcomes somewhat haphazard. However, not only would it make no sense to discount votes not based on policy if the policy itself is rather crude and incomplete - it would actually make things worse.
I'm unaware of a deletion review or requests for undeletion - I don't think these processes exist per se. These kinds of complaints should I believe be directed to the admin RfC. Oddly, what admins say there is not binding, and complaints put forward there have a remarkably low success rate anyway (close to zero).
Will be back with more comments. GregorB (talk) 20:08, 17 July 2017 (UTC)

Deletion of pagesEdit

Here is the log of deleted pages. I noticed that, on one of the pages, the articles are deleted for poor quality, even when some of them might be... notable. --George Ho (talk) 23:32, 13 July 2017 (UTC)

Yes, the articles do get deleted for poor quality, and this is in itself not controversial. The problem is that, normally, this should apply only to articles which are of extremely low quality, such as that fixing them wouldn't be much easier than writing them from scratch. I remember there was an article which was easily notable, but was deleted in the end because it was not wikilinked (?!).
The threshold of notability is also a problem. Here is an interesting example:
  • The Croatian equivalent of en:2014 unrest in Bosnia and Herzegovina was nominated for deletion, purportedly as a non-notable event. (Despite the fact that, looking at the English article and its coverage by reliable sources, this kind of argument would have been extremely hard to make.)
  • In the article's talk, two editors have supported the deletion, while three were against it.
  • In the end, the article was deleted anyway (by the admin who nominated it).
  • I asked him why the article was deleted, and he refused to answer.
In this particular case, the procedure, the outcome, as well as admin conduct, were severely deficient. GregorB (talk) 07:55, 24 July 2017 (UTC)

"Burek revolucija" moved to user subpageEdit

Weird, GregorB. hr:Burek revolucija (now fully protected) was moved to user subpage by an administrator. But you're right about the discussion. I'll ping the editor and ask him about this. But I don't know whether that editor can speak English. Maybe you and that user can communicate in Croatian language. --George Ho (talk) 17:03, 24 July 2017 (UTC)

"Burek revolucija" is a userspace draft which appears to be recently created. The original deletion discussion can be found here: hr:Razgovor:Nemiri u Federaciji Bosne i Hercegovine 2014.. GregorB (talk) 18:45, 24 July 2017 (UTC)
Pinging Wüstenfuchs, Man Usk, Dean72, and MaGa about this. --George Ho (talk) 19:12, 24 July 2017 (UTC)

This is the talk page of the article Burek revolucija [21]. The article Burek revolucija is very good, but, no consensus on the sight, one of the sides that was for deletion is the colleague admin, both sides were dug in their positions, situation was 2:1 and deletion on the sight. Too much arguing and explaining (yes-no-yes-no) draws our time and human resources, so they lose their time on arguing, instead of creating and filling the articles or maintaining the project. I did not want to engage in the arguing and to lose my time there or to get into some wheel war "delete-undelete". To avoid all that, I redirected this very good article on a subpage. Writing the explanation takes much more time than to write a good small article. In my opinion, article should be in the mainspace. Kubura (talk) 07:24, 26 July 2017 (UTC)

Croatian Wikipedia extreme right wing bias in mediaEdit

After this news article Sabirni kamp Jasenovac page got even worse introduction with claimes from known Holocaust denier that "there were no mass murders in Jasenovac" and that "no one was interned in the camp because of his national or religious affiliation but as a political opponent of the Independent State of Croatia". Most of the artice is not about extermination camp but promoting lies and conspiracy theories from known fascist revisionists and convicted criminals.

--DobarSkroz (talk) 20:29, 28 August 2018 (UTC)

The new entry extensively quotes Vukic’s new book, Labour Camp Jasenovac which has drawn negative reactions from Holocaust experts. The entry quotes Vukic’s book as saying that “no one was interned at the camp for their national or religious background, but as political opponents of the Independent State of Croatia”. The Wikipedia entry now also quotes a Slovenian researcher Roman Leljak, who claims that Yugoslav military archives in Belgrade speak only of 1,654 victims. (The Jasenovac Memorial Site's name-by-name list says 83,145 Serbs, Roma, Jews and anti-Fascists were killed by the Croatian Fascist Ustasa movement there between 1941 and 1945.) The entry gives much space to the alleged existence of a Communist camp, for which there is no scientific evidence. --DobarSkroz (talk) 10:44, 30 August 2018 (UTC)

The Fact checking site compared policy about using sources in English and Croatian Wikipedias. Croatian Wikipedia is based od mainly extreme right sources.--DobarSkroz (talk) 14:19, 18 October 2018 (UTC)

On the state of Croatian WikipediaEdit

I've just written an open letter to Jimbo Wales which provides evidence for major administrator abuse, far-right bias and historical revisionism that is currently taking place in Croatian Wikipedia. It is currently located here.

I'm pinging George Ho, Rschen7754 and Stryn, as they have all either expressed a degree of interest in the topic of goings-on in the Croatian Wikipedia, or have some familiarity with it (in Stryn's case, that's at least what I've been told).

Yeah, it's a big heap of text, but 15 minutes is all that's needed.

I'd really appreciate if you could:

  1. Speed-read it at least, or maybe really read it if you find it interesting.
  2. Try to interest others in reading it.
  3. Provide some feedback.

Thanks! GregorB (talk) 20:29, 10 September 2018 (UTC)

Huh, why I've been mentioned here? Stryn (talk) 21:37, 10 September 2018 (UTC)
I am personally skeptical that it will do much good, unfortunately. --Rschen7754 00:16, 11 September 2018 (UTC)
...and you are not the only one - myself included, I must readily admit. Still, my persistence happens to be far stronger than my skepticism, so here we are. If Jimbo actually reads it and says nah - fair enough, as far as I'm concerned. GregorB (talk) 16:18, 12 September 2018 (UTC)
New link on open letter, it is in archive now --DobarSkroz (talk) 14:05, 18 October 2018 (UTC)