Stewards' noticeboard/Archives/2019-08

Admin abuse on idwiki

An IP on idwiki (2600:1702:38d0:e70:117f:72cc:3ff7:ba5c) got blocked for a year even though the edits were constructive @Mimihitam: needs to get his admin removed. ẞßã (talk) 15:51, 10 August 2019 (UTC)[]

Right. That's a local issue. Praxidicae (talk) 15:52, 10 August 2019 (UTC)[]
@Praxidicae This user is an LTA in the Indonesian Wikipedia. He has been involved in disruptive editing and sockpuppetry. See here, here, and here. It is best to just ignore him. Thank you. Mimihitam (talk) 15:57, 10 August 2019 (UTC)[]
Oh and apparently this user has been globally locked too: [1] Mimihitam (talk) 15:59, 10 August 2019 (UTC)[]
This section was archived on a request by: – Ajraddatz (talk) 15:54, 10 August 2019 (UTC)[]

Please remind Winged Blades of Godric of civility standards

This seemed to be the appropriate noticeboard, please inform me if I'm mistaken.

Winged Blades of Godric (talk · contribs)

  • [2] Off-topic airing my debated block from enwiki in a working group discussion. I think this is a personal attack in that context.
  • [3] Reverting my edit, after I asked the permission of the authoritative editor.
  • [4] Following my edit.
  • [5] And arrogantly responding to request.

Just warn him please, I did already, if he remains within the boundaries of on-topic discussions, I have no ill feelings.
Thank you — Aron M (talk) 20:36, 14 August 2019 (UTC)[]

@Aron Manning: Why is this a problem for Stewards? It would probably make more sense at WM:RFH. Vermont (talk) 20:40, 14 August 2019 (UTC)[]
Nothing for stewards to do here. Also with my meta admin hat, I don't see anything PA-like or actionable there. – Ajraddatz (talk) 20:51, 14 August 2019 (UTC)[]
This section was archived on a request by: – Ajraddatz (talk) 20:51, 14 August 2019 (UTC)[]

Please amend suppression detail at English Wikisource

At s:en:User_talk:Beleg_Tâl there was suppression of an LTA's actions undertaken, and I felt it is appropriate to suppress the text and edit summaries. I do not believe that it is suitable to suppress the editor details. I request that reconsideration be given, and the editor details be returned on that page. Thanks.  — billinghurst sDrewth 23:27, 8 August 2019 (UTC)[]

@Billinghurst: This was a revisiondelete by a local admin, no steward intervened here. Jon Kolbert (talk) 23:35, 8 August 2019 (UTC)[]
Oops, apologies. No active links, clearly I didn't pay suitable attention. Thanks.  — billinghurst sDrewth 23:48, 8 August 2019 (UTC)[]
This section was archived on a request by: DannyS712 (talk) 03:24, 17 August 2019 (UTC)[]

Notice of mistaken edit

Just a brief notice of a resolved mistaken edit of a protected page with my global editinterface. I would normally mention it when asking renewal, but the permission expired some time ago and I don't plan to ask for it at least for the next few months, so I thought it would be better to give everybody the chance to see it and possibly comment on it. Nemo 18:29, 24 August 2019 (UTC)[]

Global locks for fresh junk accounts

Please, comment on Wikimedia_Forum #Global_locks_for_fresh_junk_accounts – it could improve working conditions for stewards. Incnis Mrsi (talk) 16:41, 29 August 2019 (UTC)[]

Need closure review on Requests for comment/Do something about azwiki

I read from a recent Signpost article about concerns of the closure of Requests for comment/Do something about azwiki, like allegations of COI and possible bias. Also, I found another discussion at User talk:Mardetanha#You (diff). Is closure review needed? Should the RFC be reopened or something? George Ho (talk) 01:17, 1 August 2019 (UTC)[]

Well I'm not sure what COI Mardetanha could have. He would have gone regardless of how the RfC was closed. If a closure review is needed, then you should first establish that stewards have any authority at all to act in that situation. – Ajraddatz (talk) 01:55, 1 August 2019 (UTC)[]
Well, I think it was a really poorly worded close: it really does read like we think there is consensus but don't want to implement it, so I can see why people may not like it. That being said, as I've said to a few people, I don't think that is what actually happened and I've been in situations where I've written something one way and the community/the losing side takes it in a way that I never intended. I also don't think Mardetanha had any COI and that having a user who speaks the language of the project in question closing is ideal.

The point being, if you assume the consensus needed to deysop an entire project is roughly in the numerical range needed for RfA (75%, which I think is a fair numerical threshold.) I don't think it achieved it. Even if you go by a slightly lower standard of 70%, I don't think we're quite there. This is just eyeballing and not actually counting heads. Also, yes, RfCs are votes, especially at the global level when there really aren't that many policies to go off of.

tl;dr: the closing statement wasn't great, but the outcome was fair, and I say that as someone who thinks everyone should be deysoped there. TonyBallioni (talk) 02:18, 1 August 2019 (UTC)[]

I probably am unsure. All I see are reactions from two or three users at the user talk page treating the closure as flawed or something and circumstances as flimsily COI. I'd be happy to withdraw the review request, but I need reaction from others. George Ho (talk) 02:23, 1 August 2019 (UTC) Can't withdraw per comment below. George Ho (talk) 02:29, 1 August 2019 (UTC)[]
This is an extremely rare occurence, but I actually agree with you on this. I support the outcome but believe the closing statement could cause further drama/distress that isn't necessary. Perhaps a rewrite/clarification could be helpful? Vermont (talk) 02:25, 1 August 2019 (UTC)[]
My summary if I was a closer would have been along the lines of There is significant support for desysoping all administrators on, but desysoping an entire project of this size and effectively transferring it to stewards and global sysops would require an exceptionally strong consensus, which after reading the discussion I do not think exists. I think that was what the close was going for, and I'm not sure if rewording it will do any good now, but I do think that was what was trying to be conveyed. TonyBallioni (talk) 02:39, 1 August 2019 (UTC)[]
The comments re: the wording of the close are fair. The core reason for the "not done" result, as I understand anyway, was that there was insufficient consensus to justify such an extraordinary action, and there was limited evidence that this would actually resolve the problem. I would support the closing statement being changed to something like what Tony said in green above. – Ajraddatz (talk) 03:07, 1 August 2019 (UTC)[]
  • I reject TonyBallioni's comments about absence of COI. There are on-wiki photographs of Mardetanha and az-wiki admins cozying up to one another and certain off-wiki information outside the purview of WikiConfs/Wikimania, which I can't share/even mention the theme, for obvious reasons. Coupled with his abrasive attitude and a complete inability to reason in a rational manner, he ought to have been the last person to close this. Winged Blades of Godric (talk) 19:26, 1 August 2019 (UTC)[]
    • I'm not aware of those, so I can't speak to it, but I was more saying that I don't think speaking the language necessarily represents a COI, and I agree with your position that the best solution was (and is) a local desysop. TonyBallioni (talk) 19:28, 1 August 2019 (UTC)[]
    • Please try to keep your comments civil, specifically in regard to: "complete inability to reason in a rational manner". (WM:URB) I understand you may disagree with the outcome or the closing comment, but that does not justify insulting another editor. Best regards, Vermont (talk) 20:08, 1 August 2019 (UTC)[]
Ping Doc James. Sorry bother you, but your assistance may be helpful as I'll explain below. The quickest way for you to understand what we are discussing is to take a look at The Signpost Report, specifically the section Controversial close for azwiki admin case.
TonyBallioni - My quick-and-dirty count is approximately 80% consensus that there was a serious AzWiki problem warranting desysop. However to quote the Signpost the list of users who oppose any action consists almost entirely of azwiki sysops. The actual consensus percentage is overwhelming - once you set aside the obvious opposes by the abusive-admins-themselves. If this is not a "strong consensus to desysop" then someone please tell me what it takes to revoke Nationalistic admins who defend the use of Wikipedia as a platform for "information warfare" and genocide denial. They don't use the admin-bit to serve the community, they treat it as an entitlement to use the Wiki as their personal playground, as an entitlement to editwar, and an entitlement to block, threaten, or drive off anyone who disagrees with their personal view. Experienced and respected editors from EnWiki (and probably elsewhere) go there and quickly get hit with blatantly-abusive blocks or frivolous final-warning block threats. How are ordinary new users supposed to survive under those conditions? (Note: I have a Foundation staff member interested in gathering hard data on AzWiki and how it may affect new user retention. I'll report if/when data is available.)
Ajraddatz said "Well I'm not sure what COI Mardetanha could have." It's called MONEY. (Mardetanha also appears to refer to the abusive admins as "friends", but I'm more focused on the financial COI angle than the personal angle.) According to the close, apparently someone at the Foundation decided to open up the official bank account. Mardetanha was offered some sort of package, effectively buying the outcome for the RFC and effectively quashing a community consensus to remove abusive admins. If the RFC had resulted in desysoping the admins, it's quite obvious that Mardetanha would not have received the travel and support package from the Foundation to visit&teach (desysoped) admins. Even if everyone had the best of intentions, that is a clear COI. Mardetanha had no business preforming the close.
The closer has explicitly refused to participate in further discussions, and it clearly would not be constructive to nicely ask them the financial details of the package they were offered by the Foundation. I'm hoping Doc James would be willing and able to look into who at the Foundation decided to protect these abusive admins, to hopefully find out how much money it will cost for the package Mardetanha was offered, and hopefully clarify what is included in the offered package. At this time I am unaware of any public discussion or information on the Foundation's involvement here, other than Mardetanha's closing statement itself. I have long supported the Foundation participating in consensus-discussions relevant to the Foundation. We really do need to work together more. But this kind of apparently back-room-deal is a subversion of consensus, not participation or partnership. I believe approximately no one would have supported a Foundation-travel-package as a solution here, had anybody suggested it in the public discussion prior to closure. Given the current FRAMBAN mess, it is a particularly ugly time for the Foundation acting in this kind of manner to prohibit the community from removing clearly abusive admins. Alsee (talk) 08:17, 6 August 2019 (UTC)[]
User:Alsee if travel support was provided, that is not exactly paying someone to do a task... Appears Mardetanha is working to provide details. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 04:23, 7 August 2019 (UTC)[]
Hi, Alsee, thanks for the ping. Did that 80% include the people from who opposed. My eyeballing of it had it less, but if there was truly over 80% support including them, then I’d argue quite forcefully it was a bad close. A count of actual percentages would be helpful. TonyBallioni (talk) 13:03, 6 August 2019 (UTC)[]
I have asked WMF to provide more details about my travel support and why I went there and if they offered me anything. or it was me who asked for support after closure not before it, I suggested them I think it would be helpful If I can give some in-person training + strategy workshop for azwiki community to engage them in global strategy process Mardetanha talk 09:33, 6 August 2019 (UTC)[]
and I agree that my wording was/is far from perfect as I am not a native speaker of English but I did my best, to sum up, what I understood from RFC and if rewording is needed I am open to adopting what tony suggested hereMardetanha talk 09:36, 6 August 2019 (UTC)[]
Mardetanha, your English is significantly better than my Azerbaijani :) Misunderstandings are natural on a multi-lingual project. I do want to see the percentage breakdown now that it’s been claimed to be over 80% support, but personally I’m sure you acted in good faith here. TonyBallioni (talk) 13:03, 6 August 2019 (UTC)[]
The WMF did not influence the closing of the RfC at all; Mardetanha implemented the consensus of the stewards who discussed the RfC. The part of the WMF responsible for travel grants is also completely separate from the T&S side, or any other team that would actually have the scope to influence or make decisions in this area. If Mardetanha has a perceived conflict of interest, then ideally another steward should close the RfC, but at this point I don't imagine anyone is going to want to go near this. – Ajraddatz (talk) 13:31, 6 August 2019 (UTC)[]
  • I just did a quick headcount, and this was by hand, so there may be a vote or two missing, but on the main proposal itself, I got: 47 support, 10 oppose. That equates to 82% in favour of desysoping. Unfortunately, I am going to have to take back my previous statement which was based on just reading over the discussion and not looking at the data itself.

    A consensus of over 80% is higher than the standards of RfA on any project I can think of, and if this was a global policy proposal it would have had enough consensus to pass. I think the unfortunate reality is that the close from Mardetanha did actually capture what was being said: there was consensus but stewards didn't want to implement it. I think this close should be reversed at this point. There is only one possible outcome to such an overwhelming consensus that is in line with the principles of our movement and self-governance. TonyBallioni (talk) 13:57, 6 August 2019 (UTC)[]

    • Heck, I'll add this: I'd even be in favour of reopening it and letting everyone who took part in the close discussion publicly oppose. I know there are many GS and stewards who don't want anything to do with a mid-sized wiki, and I respect that and think that many of the reasons mentioned are valid: stewards didn't sign up to police a wiki of this size. Many GS don't have the skillset to deal with it and don't want to. Language issues. All these are valid reasons to oppose. The solution to that is voting and opposing in public, not discussing on a private mailing list and closing.

      Though, I want to emphasize that I don't think this is Mardetanha's fault, and that unfortunately he is getting an unfair amount of the blame here. I'm aware the consensus outcome was unpopular with many stewards and GS, and if they had actually commented there wouldn't have been consensus in my view. They didn't comment, though, so this looks like a supervote. TonyBallioni (talk) 14:09, 6 August 2019 (UTC)[]

A few comments: Stewards have always had a bit of a "trustee" vs "delegate" role (from the political science literature) when it comes to implementing consensus in areas where policies have not been established. It is supervoting, I am usually not a fan of it, but it is also something that is necessary in some situations. I too would have preferred that more stewards/global sysops actually voted rather than opined on the mailing list when the discussion was ready to close, and I think a lack of public participation is a common problem within our group. But most stewards did not sign up to mediate these sorts of disputes, and indeed there is no clear mandate for us to act in these situations. And I fear that at this point, other stewards are going to be very hesitant to participate because of the drama that this now involves.
You talk about self-governance, but self-governance by whom? It is clear that the azwiki community opposes this action, and most of the supporters are primarily active on enwiki and have no or limited global involvement. Should a select group of enwiki users be allowed to determine what happens on azwiki? Striking this after re-reading through the RfC, and noting that while enwiki users did form a large body of the participation, there was participation from more globally-involved users and most of the enwiki users who did comment have also been involved at the global level in the past.
What is the desired outcome here? That community consensus be implemented regardless of the consequences or implications? I'll note that the situation on azwiki w/r/t nationalism and admin abuse has already seen a marked improvement -- Celki has been desysopped, the Armenian genocide article has been moved to a more appropriate name and the page has been edited to conform with a more neutral point of view, and to the best of my knowledge there have been no more abusive backroom-organized blocks. So what problem are you now looking to solve?
While I am not happy with the supervote implications, I do think that the best way forward here is to interpret the RfC result as being consensus for change on azwiki (on the specific issues identified) while understanding that the community-supported option is not feasible. Actions have already been taken and resulted in marked improvement, and further actions can be taken in the future if the situation deteriorates or more issues are found. – Ajraddatz (talk) 14:52, 6 August 2019 (UTC)[]
There was a clear consensus on-wiki of users from multiple projects and those who have been involved globally. I think you know me well enough to know I'm not the type who wants heads of good faith users to roll and I don't want anyone crucified (especially not Mardetanha, who I fully believe just happens to be the unfortunate face of this.)

I do think, however, that the close should be vacated. I don't think the negatives outweigh the positives of desysoping that entire project still, and still support it, but fully believe that if the 5-10 stewards and and GS who I know oppose this commented on-wiki, the outcome may be different.

On the private mailing list points, it is often said that stewards are not a global ArbCom, and that is true. You all have no collective power to resolve disputes because the global community doesn't want it, and most stewards do not want it as well. In this case, we have stewards, who are at least globally elected and confirmed every year, and GS, who aren't and who are of varying levels of trust, deciding in private that their internal consensus maters more than an on-wiki RfC for reasons discussed in private. That is outside of your scope to do. There was no private information here, and the community as a whole disagreed with the views of GS and stewards. The solution to that is to vote as individual members of the community, not to exceed scope and act in a way that you all were not elected to act.

On the no one wanting to participate publicly point: well, that's hardly the community's fault. As RfCs go, this is really tame, and while I suspect both you and I agree that the fallout from this could have been handled better, you can't really blame the community for being mad that an overwhelming consensus was overruled because people who didn't participate in the discussion didn't like what was decided. That's somewhat a bed of stewards own making.

The solution here is fairly clear to me: vacate the close, keep it open for another 2 weeks or so to allow additional comments since there are apparently strongly held views here, and then have someone else, maybe a meta admin or other trusted community member close the RfC taking into account the public comments that were previously said on a mailing list. It's more transparent and more in line with both the scope of stewards and with the principles of our movement. A steward doesn't need to be the one who closes, but if a steward wants his or her views taken into account on a matter of public comment, they do need to comment publicly. Otherwise their views matter just as much as anyone else who didn't comment. TonyBallioni (talk) 16:28, 6 August 2019 (UTC)[]

I think that you misunderstand nature of the global RFC process: these RFCs are merely advisory for stewards, WMF or other global players. So, stewards not participating in them is normal - we do not need to advise themselves. So, stewards will take any action based on a global RFC only if the proposed course of actions is at least reasonable. If stewards are going to do something, an RFC will be closed by a steward. In this case the stewards think that the proposed course of action is unreasonable and therefore the stewards are not going to desysop the entire project. So, you can re-open and re-close this RFC as you wish but this does not mean that stewards will do anything. So, the best way to go is to stop beating the dead horse. If you still think that all azwiki sysops should be desysoped, you can go to WMF and argue with them about this matter: they can desysop anybody at will as you must know now. Ruslik (talk) 08:18, 7 August 2019 (UTC)[]
Ruslik, no one is required to act, and I don't have any pretensions that if reopened, people will be desysoped. I do think that the stewards policy is mandatory, however, and that if stewards disagree with consensus, they should follow the advice of the policy itself and comment publicly. That or amend the closing statement to acknowledge that there was consensus but that no steward is willing to implement it. Either would be acceptable. This is key for transparency and accountability reasons. Stewards like saying they are not Global ArbCom, which is true and good. That cuts both ways, however, and the easy solution here is simply to follow the stewards policy and comment.

In short: I agree with a large part of what is being said by you and others, but I also think that even if it is usual for stewards not to comment, this is an example of the type of situation where it is better to say things publicly. I'm not arguing that the RfC should be implemented. I'm arguing that the close was handled poorly which is why people are mad. TonyBallioni (talk) 17:45, 7 August 2019 (UTC)[]

Again you misunderstand the steward policy. It refers only to local consensus, which is mainly related to userright requests. It is absolutely silent on global consensus of the type requested in this RFC. Stewards certainly do not have right to destruct the whole project because 50 or so people agreed in an obscur place on meta that this should be done. Ruslik (talk) 08:30, 8 August 2019 (UTC)[]
8 admins taking online course (by WMF) on neutral point of view and copyright
from my side, I think azwiki showed a willingness to learn from past mistakes, two problematic admins lost their adminship as it has been pointed name of disputed article has been also moved to a proper one. again mass desysoping of all admins who had no part in this issue not only going to solove anything but kill their enthusiasm as being disrespected. the best option here and ever is to desysop those who are not acting in the way that we expect from an admin as it has been in this RFC. from what I saw in Azerbaijan, community members were open to learning but anyhow I was the only who spoke the language and I acted in a good faith to fix was the main issue which was raised in RFC. I still think the closure was fair (though might sound as supervote). we didn't have any problems afterward and if one person makes a mistake it is his/her who should pay the price. That's all being said, I leave this for other stewards to decide Mardetanha talk 17:00, 6 August 2019 (UTC)[]
Sure, and like I said, I think you acted in good faith. My concern is that this is a pretty blatant violation of the stewards policy on overruling consensus by the mailing list. To put it in perspective: the public consensus for this proposal was equivalent to what would be needed to elect a steward. I don’t know of any project where over 80% in support isn’t sufficient for a proposal to pass. I believe that if everyone who opposed in private opposed in public things might change, but the principle that stewards are not global ArbCom and that they cannot overrule community consensus is an important one, and I think it’s been violated here. TonyBallioni (talk) 17:16, 6 August 2019 (UTC)[]
Mardetanha I'm not commenting on the rest of this but you may want to rethink part of that statement in light of recent real-world events. Praxidicae (talk) 17:21, 6 August 2019 (UTC)[]
I am recusing my self from the case Mardetanha talk 17:35, 6 August 2019 (UTC)[]
(Edit conflict.) Mardetanha, Comparing the desysop of a group of administrators to that of a extremist mass-shooting is in poor taste and certainly not expected from a steward. I would ask you to atleast strike/rephrase your statement above. Regards. — FR (mobileUndo) 17:44, 6 August 2019 (UTC)[]
fixed, I think the analogy was badly worded which I translated what I had in mind in Farsi to English Mardetanha talk 17:48, 6 August 2019 (UTC)[]
I agree that these decisions should be made in public, and would support the RfC being re-opened for further discussion. That said, the outcome is unlikely to change. This is the wrong solution to the current situation and totally infeasible as there is not the steward/gs capacity to monitor this wiki and replace the local admin team. This entire topic is outside of the steward scope, and I do not feel comfortable dealing with it further. – Ajraddatz (talk) 23:20, 6 August 2019 (UTC)[]
I think your assessment is fair, and I agree with it in terms of what I suspect the ultimate RfC outcome would likely be. Disagree that it is the wrong solution, but this is not really the best place to discuss that, and further arguing won't help anything. TonyBallioni (talk) 23:34, 6 August 2019 (UTC)[]

I'm (begrudgingly) okay with the outcome as a warning shot across the bow. But I read over some of the above comments and find what is being said disturbing. I've interacted with most of you personally and I know you don't mean this personally, but I don't like the implication that my opinion (and I was the proposer of the desysop option) is somehow less valuable just because I am no longer a steward. --Rschen7754 00:38, 26 August 2019 (UTC)[]

I've come to terms with the fact that the stewards have played extra careful in the closing the RFC. The RFC itself has done quite a lot in terms of mitigating the problem at AzWiki (desysoping of Cekli829 and moving the Armenian Genocide page to a slightly more neutral title). However, I'm pretty sure that this issue will come back to bite us a few years down the line.  — FR (mobileUndo) 15:16, 1 September 2019 (UTC)[]


First, this kind of wiki-situation inherently messy and ugly from the beginning. I'm sure everyone was working in good faith, and things got messy trying to choose between bad options and bad options. There have been problem wikis before, but there's no clear system in place on how to handle it. People have questioned whether it is even possible or legitimate for anyone (the Foundation, the Stewards, or the broader community) to overturn the admins of a wiki. But I believe there is a general consensus that a wiki can go in an unhealthy direction, and that must be some mechanism available.

The initial proposal and the debate were largely obsessed with establishing that there was a problem that required extraordinary intervention, rather than examining the best way to intervene. I suggest that the close be replaced or revised to a consensus that there is a problem at AzWiki, consensus for intervention, and that we move to an investigation and workshop phase to try and work out a better and more detailed plan. Mardetanha it would really help get us all back on collaborative-ground if we could eliminate objections to the current close. It would really help if you were willing to withdraw or change the close.

I don't speak Azerbaijani so I only have a very limited view of what's going on at AzWiki, but maybe there can be some sort of review of the individual admins (I believe there are 14 or 15). I don't know how extensive the problems are other than the fact that there are problems with multiple admins, and that all admins are either supportive or silent about abuse by other admins. Maybe there are some good admins that just haven't felt they could speak up. Maybe we can find qualified trusted people who speak the language and who have experience from other wikis. Maybe we can accelerate approval of good admins by ensuring that highly experienced global editors are allowed to !vote in the RFA. I'm just tossing out ideas.

A consensus is supposed to be "something everyone can live with". Hopefully we can work out something less drastic than dropping total-management of AzWiki into the laps of stewards for 6 months, and something less drastic (in the opposite direction) of doing nothing but giving the AzWiki admins a friendly meetup-lecture. Alsee (talk) 06:27, 7 August 2019 (UTC)[]

  •   Support some happy middle ground. My issues above are that this was a blatant overreach and violation of Stewards_policy#Don't_override_consensus and it's corollary. That being said, it is fairly clear that if every steward and global sysop who opposed this were to comment, there would not be consensus. I am fine with an amended close recognizing these things and finding a happy medium forward. I do think that stewards should notice that while the reactions to this were not ideal in many cases, this was in part caused because internal discussion not in keeping with the stated policy was followed. Transparency is key, and the way the close was handled is what caused this. TonyBallioni (talk) 17:58, 7 August 2019 (UTC)[]