Requests for comment/Block without any proof, warning, public investigation and discussion
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|There was a message posted to wikimedia-l mailing list to invite the wider community perspective in this RfC. Read the thread in the wikimedia-l archive.|
|There was a message posted to "wikimedia general chat" public telegram group to invite the wider community perspective in this RfC. The message can be found here.|
I have been blocked at bnwiki by User:Wikitanvir all of a sudden, I didn’t have the least idea why this happened and didn’t know anything about it before getting the block message on my bnwiki talk page. There is no public onwiki allegation against me, not even a warning, no public discussion and investigation took place. The reason stated for my block was, “harassment of users. Depending on the investigation and discussion by the administrators”. My last 3 edits was on January 16, 2023 and the previous edit was on October 31, 2022. Harassing someone in recent days on bnwiki seems awkward. I’m not currently active on bnwiki and rather focusing on wikimedia organizing, governance and outreach works. I asked User:Wikitanvir to provide me the proof where I harassed anyone, who reported against me and for which reason; and asked for the links to the onwiki public pages where the administrators investigated and discussed this issue.
- User:আফতাবুজ্জামান tried to vandalize an outreach event led by me. He brought off wiki events onwiki and tried to manipulate the organizers’ decisions. When challenged, he used his onwiki influence to skew the discussion towards him. I presented all proofs and logics in favor of my allegation of vandalism against him here. User:Al Riaz Uddin Ripon then tried to defend User:আফতাবুজ্জামান but couldn’t answer to any of the allegations of vandalism against User:আফতাবুজ্জামান and blamed me for not notifying the community about User:আফতাবুজ্জামান’s vandalism instead. Technically, he agreed to the fact that User:আফতাবুজ্জামান did vandalism but didn’t take any step to prevent that and blamed me instead.
- The rage against me in this incident was in fact a result of some other off wiki incidents where I experienced serious harassment and psychological manipulation by some of the people from User:আফতাবুজ্জামান’s on and offwiki circle. All these incidents have been reported to the wmf t&s as said earlier and are now being investigated.
- I experienced several offwiki harassment by User:আফতাবুজ্জামান and a few other bnwiki administrators from the time mentioned in the first bullet point, even until now and the incidents have been reported to the wmf t&s with evidence.
- I’m one of the founding members of Project Korikath and I help this project with my strategic planning and mentoring skills. User:আফতাবুজ্জামান was vandalizing Project Korikath’s onwiki spaces and tried to use his onwiki influence to stop us from growing at any cost just because I was involved in that project. He used every possible way to stop Project Korikath on and offwiki. All these events have been reported to t&s.
- A few days ago, Project Korikath launched Chitrolekha Dhaka 2023 campaign on bnwiki. User:আফতাবুজ্জামান again became active to prevent it and tried to present this campaign as a controversial one to the community. Members of Project Korikath tried to defend the campaign from this user’s vandalism. I suspect that, as this user along with some others administrators, who support User:আফতাবুজ্জামান’s unethical activities, knows well that I may take a pivotal role in defending this campaign onwiki using my organizing and diplomatic experience and skillset, they blocked me from editing bnwiki exactly after the day this campaign was brought public and that was also without any proof, warning, discussion and investigation. -- BIDROHI Hello.. 06:24, 14 April 2023 (UTC)
- I am personally disgusted about this team. They probably always want to be controversial to keep themselves in the discussion. If any question is asked to them, they start calling it opposition. Then they behave aggressively. Any aggressive unproven words they like to use. Very recently they called Wikimedia Bangladesh as disputed without any prior discussion or sources in the Village Pump of Bangla Wikipedia. According to them all administrators of Bangla Wikipedia are bad and controversial.
It was a perception conflict. User:Mrb Rafi takes it as vandalism. User:Mrb Rafi started slanging against the Bangla Wikipedia community and Wikimedia Foundation Bangladesh. Whoever tried to explain to User:Mrb Rafi user: Aftabuzzaman's perception,User:Mrb Rafi considered it an opposition attack. User:Mrb Rafi used some slang terms such as 'spiritual son' and 'spineless animals' by considering everyone against him, '. User:Mrb Rafi mocked all Bangla Wikipedians for not taking his side. Behalf of User:Mrb Rafi , the Project Korikath team used the BD-Wikimedia mailing list to spread hate speech and their perception against user: Aftabuzzaman (User:আফতাবুজ্জামান). User:Mrb Rafi mocked some Wikipedians for doing the wrong translation, User:Mrb Rafi can't use any gentle words there but rather used mocking terms and words, and also added there User:Mrb Rafi himself is the best. Now User:Mrb Rafi started this RFC by considering that User:Mrb Rafi did everything in an off-wiki platform Messenger group of Meta. So, no one can prove it here and User:Mrb Rafi will take advantage of it. I would like to Strong oppose user: Mrb Rafi in this RFC, and whoever uses the Wikimedia Bangladesh mailing list to spread hate speech against User: Aftabuzzaman( User:আফতাবুজ্জামান ) should be punished as user:Mrb Rafi. - Nazrul Islam Nahid (talk) 19:01, 15 April 2023 (UTC)
- I'm withdrawing my above comment and taking a neutral position. I took only the viewpoints of one party into consideration and respected the blocking admin's perspective since he is a senior wikipedian, which turns out to be skewd to me now. I opposed for this reason earlier and I'm withdrawing my comments from this issue and taking a neutral position. --Nazrul Islam Nahid (talk) 18:10, 3 August 2023 (UTC)
- I am not sure how non-admin users could certainly connect the allegations against User:Mrb Rafi with their chat group conversations involving User:আফতাবুজ্জামান. Since the admins did not disclose the investigation details with non-involved and non-admin users, their certainty is questionable.
- If the block is, anyhow, based on chat group discussions, there are many other perceptions that must be considered. It is evident that both parties, User:আফতাবুজ্জামান and User:Mrb Rafi, had heated conversations in the bnwiki messenger and telegram groups. However, sometimes, User:আফতাবুজ্জামান's involvement with User:Mrb Rafi raised questions and displeasure among other contributors as he would speak every time after User:Mrb Rafi's message questioning their works verbally and got involved in heated discussions, sparking unpleasant arguments. Several admins also got involved in the arguments, and this could be interpreted as intended "provocation" on User:আফতাবুজ্জামান's part.
- Now, if any of the involved admins filed the complaint based on their messenger group arguments, it is questionable whether their actions were appropriate. The involvement of admins in the investigation and decision-making process, particularly those who were directly involved in the chat group incidents, can be also questionable. According to User:Wikitanvir, nine out of the 12 bnwiki admins !voted, and three didn’t expressed their consent to !vote or refrained from !voting. This could imply that there is a possible conflict of interest (COI) in at least one of the admin's !votes, according to User:Mrb Rafi as he has already filed a T&S complaint against four of the bnwiki admins. If the admins presented themselves as victims, got themselves involved in the investigation, and blocked User:Mrb Rafi based on their own !votes, their actions can be questionable. Also, there may have been a potential "framing" intention as the accusation was filed in such a place where the accusing admins had open access, and the investigation and !voting could have been influenced easily through their private discussions.
- Although there is no clear evidence that User:আফতাবুজ্জামান or any admin was the complainant, since more several admins were directly involved with User:Mrb Rafi, the admins should have forwarded the case to an appropriate entity. Otherwise, the admin-actions ARE QUESTIONABLE. — Meghmollar2017 • Talk • 17:41, 16 April 2023 (UTC)
- If Project Korikath isn’t anyhow involved in the blocking incident, (according to the admins), I think bringing “the team” repeatedly in the above discussion is irrelevant and contradictory to the bnwiki admins’ statement. From some of the above comments, it seems like I have been blocked for some messenger discussions, though the admins didn’t confirm anything. If that’s the case, the block is even more unjustified, has been staged and manipulated unethically, without taking any Wikimedia policy into consideration. If the messenger chats are the reason, then I’ve already provided all the proof to the t&s against four bnwiki administrators from the messenger chats of how I was being harassed. This investigation has been staged to hide the accused persons’ previous harassment instances. I have already collected evidence from every on and off wiki context from 2020 until now and submitted it to the wmf t&s. I have already reported t&s with the proof that at least one of the admins acted as the victim, filed a complaint to the admin panel, became involved in the investigation, and decided to block me - the same person(s) was(were) present in the whole blocking process, from complaining as a victim to taking the decision. -- BIDROHI Hello.. 15:18, 17 April 2023 (UTC)
- Support per above arguments, Involvement of the admins should be checked. --Hasnat Abdullah (talk) 09:22, 19 April 2023 (UTC)
- This behaviour is disgraceful, especially regarding the privacy concerns. The responsible user(s) should be banned — IмSтevan talk 23:14, 3 October 2023 (UTC)
- Support I think that the behaviour of the above admins should be checked, given that the complaints are serious. Also, I think that Mrb Rafi should be unblocked in the Bengali Wikipedia, as a constructive contributor. NikosLikomitros (talk) 18:46, 7 October 2023 (UTC)
Statement by TheAafi edit
fwiw, I have observed some of the productive efforts made by Mrb Rafi, including his participation in the Movement Charter Ambassador program. It is disheartening to learn of his ban on Bangla Wikipedia, where his contributions have been minimal. Over a four-year period, Mrb has made 1,426 edits on Bangla Wikipedia. While I am not proficient in Bangla, I believe that the ban is unwarranted, especially if it is due to personal disagreements. Based on Mrb's abovementioned contributions, I would advocate for lifting the ban and entrusting an impartial individual with knowledge of the Bangla language to investigate the matter and present their findings. By impartial, I mean someone who is not a party to any dispute. The issue of off-wiki harassment must be addressed. On-wiki harassers are subject to sanctions, and off-wiki harassment claims may be false or unsubstantiated. Therefore, an independent inquiry into the situation should be conducted after Mrb's ban is lifted. We must not alienate constructive contributors. ─ The Aafī (talk) 13:03, 18 May 2023 (UTC)
Observation from Iftee edit
I tried analyzing the blocking incident while keeping the local policies as a standard. There are significant flaws in the whole process, which I think should be brought to light and discussed publicly. I'm listing them one by one.
- bnwiki has taken the blocking policy from enwiki without any change. So, the blocking policy of bnwiki and enwiki are exactly the same. Even in bnwiki, the blocking policy page hasn't been translated to Bangla yet; here's the permanent link; so, non-bangla speakers can look into it without any issue.
- bn:উইকিপিডিয়া:বাধাদান নীতি#Preliminary: education and warnings tells that "efforts should be made to educate users about Wikipedia policies and guidelines, and to warn them when their behavior conflicts with these" unless there isn't any extreme case eg. sockpuppetry or vandalism. Even sockmasters and vandals are also informed about their disruptive activities before imposing a block. This wasn't followed by the blocking admin
- bn:উইকিপিডিয়া:বাধাদান নীতি#Explanation of blocks says, "The community expects that blocks will be made for good reasons only, based upon reviewable evidence and reasonable judgment, and that all factors that support a block are subject to independent peer review if requested." This is obvious that there was no "reviewable evidence" and "reasonable judgment" and the way to independent and impartial peer review has been blocked by the blocking admin.
- bn:উইকিপিডিয়া:বাধাদান নীতি#Confidential evidence says, "If a user needs to be blocked based on information that will not be made available to all administrators, that information should be sent to the Arbitration Committee or a checkuser or oversighter for action. These editors are qualified to handle non-public evidence, and they operate under strict controls. The community has rejected the idea of individual administrators acting on evidence that cannot be peer-reviewed." This is interesting. A small Wikipedia project like bnwiki doesn't have Arbitration Committee and there isn't any legally qualified editor to handle non-public evidence. In such a situation, forwarding the case to Trust and Safety is most probably the only solution, which has already been done by the blocked person. Reviewing non-public evidence secretly by editors who don't have any legal restrictions or haven't signed an NDA is a serious breach of privacy of the accuser, accused, and the other persons involved in the situation which should be seriously taken into account. Anyone from t&s (pinging User:JEissfeldt (WMF) for suggestions as I found them on meta as a contact person from T&S) can have a look at it and provide suggestions. Besides, refraining from reporting to T&S, secretly reviewing evidence without any appropriate public disclosure, possible involvement of the accusers in the investigation process avoiding every established community policy is not a sign of good faith and there must be something that is seriously conflicting with the Wikimedia values.
- bn:উইকিপিডিয়া:বাধাদান নীতি#Duration of blocks should also be taken into consideration. "Incidents of disruptive behavior typically result in blocks of from a day to a few days, longer for persistent violations; accounts used exclusively for disruption may be blocked indefinitely without warning;" Blocking any user indefinitely and secretly implies that the user is a serious threat to the future of that particular Wikimedia project. Such serious allegation needs serious evidence and serious open conversation. Specially when the user is inactive in that particular project and doesn't have a previous track record of disruptive editing, unequivocal evidence and community consensus will be needed before imposing a block.
- Another concerning incident that needs to be surfaced is, after imposing the block, the blocked user appealed against it. The blocking admin, User:Wikitanvir themselves rejected the appeal without leaving space for discussion by non-involved editors which doesn't comply with the part of Blocking policy that says, "As part of an unblock request, uninvolved editors may discuss the block, and the blocking administrator is often asked to review or discuss the block, or provide further information. Since the purpose of an unblock request is to obtain review from a third party, the blocking administrators should not decline unblock requests from users when they performed the block."
Established community practice and the project's own policies have been bypassed, ineligible editors with no legal obligation of ensuring the privacy of non-public evidence reviewed the case where the possible accusers were also involved and took the decision. This case doesn't seem to be a usual one and needs active intervention by a global third party eg. stewards and/or WMF T&S. And a statement from the blocking admin, User:Wikitanvir is very much missing here in this RfC. I would request User:Wikitanvir to clarify their actions and describe how the process complies with the established Wikimedia policies, this is essential for the transparency and accountability of the roles (admin and Bureaucrat) they are carrying out. Ifteebd10 (talk) 10:00, 20 May 2023 (UTC)
Concerns about possible privacy violation edit
While reading the above discussions, something sparked in my mind, and I am now worried about my safety and the use of my private information. It's been 2 days since some serious concerns have been raised regarding the use of User:Wikitanvir's advanced rights, and @User:Wikitanvir hasn't yet responded - which is very concerning.
Considering that the blocking admin, @User:Wikitanvir, has tons of my personally identifiable information such as home address, college, phone number, etc., I am not sure how this information has been shared with third parties without my informed consent in light of their private investigation. User: Wikitanvir confirmed that my accusations have been investigated offwiki, and information was shared with 12 admins. I don't know, and I am not sure how much of my private information has been shared or was involved.
@User:Wikitanvir, Could you please confirm the following?
- That my private and personally identifiable information was not shared with anyone who may attempt to w:doxing and harm in real life?
- That clear legal measures were taken to prevent those 12 people from sharing those personal information with anyone else outside? What legal action would be taken if anything similar happens?
- That you informed and took suggestion from the wmf T&S when you were sharing this information with third parties if you don't have the legal capacity to ensure the safety of these personally identifiable data?
- That you have taken enough steps to protect my overall personally identifiable information that you still have currently in your possession?
- Can you clearly list the type of information that you shared with the people you mentioned?
- How much of this information identifies me as an individual or my physical location or any other of my personal belongings?
- PSː pinging @Mdennis (WMF) also to look at this and provide suggestions. Found her on meta as a contact person for t&s. BIDROHI Hello.. 07:09, 22 May 2023 (UTC)
- According to @Wikitanvir's global and local bnwiki contribs, they were active on May 22, 23 and 26. Concerns of violating established project rules were raised on May 20 and I raised my privacy concern on May 22. This implies that they are ignoring the request to clarify their actions in a well informed way which is alarming. -- BIDROHI Hello.. 05:27, 27 May 2023 (UTC)
- I have logged a support ticket with T&S asking them to comment on the RfC and review the issues. RhinosF1 (talk) 06:50, 27 May 2023 (UTC)