User:Purodha/Edit War in the Ripuarian Wikipedia
There is/was an edit war between them with a peak before and at the weekend December, 1st/2nd, 2006, and another fierce clash around the weekend January, 20th/21th, 2007, and reverberations til the end of January, 2007.
The dispute began about a month earlier, with a discussion about spelling.
Local language spelling is in part a political theme, and thus politically laden.
Local language spelling is touching a complicated psychological field as well.
The discussion began as a reaction to several anonymous comments criticizing spelling in the Ripuarian Wikipedia. I percieved almost all of them as not constructive (too brief, no suggestions, no feed back possibily - so what can we do?), some impolite, but Ripuarians are also known for bold or gross speaking.
About three contributors suggested (with variations) the spelling of de:Adam Wrede (that is, the Kölsch dialect) for some or all parts of the Ripuarian Wikipedia, such as to make it more appealing to newcomers.
The contra position to the abovementioned was basically:
- We are entrusted with an all-Ripuarian Wikipedia, we shoud not, or cannot, specialcase any dialect, or spelling, respectively
- No single spelling or dialect helps or suits just everyone, so
- we can and should use and allow all of them everywhere, in parallel, to the broadest extent technically possible.
The contra-contra position said:
- There need to be some rules,
- Dialects and spellings should be documented somewhere/somehow in order to be acceptable,
- Any spelling/dialect should be accepted as article content (with some restrictions suggested only sometimes), but not as page titles, not as template names, not as template content, not as category titles, not in the MediaWiki message space, and possibly more, in variations.
- An interest group?
Unfortunately, misinformation, false assumptions, and lack of technical knowlegde impaired part of the discussion which had about 5 participants. One Admin (d) invited 6 users having known similar or identical standpoints to his own into the discussion individually , , , , , , , with words suggesting, a decision had been made earlier. Noone else was expressly informed.
- Separate language Wikipedia?
During the Discussion, a participant filed a request for a new language Wikipedia op Kölsch following the Adam Wrede spelling claiming that this was what some participants were in fact trying to implement. Over the time some of the arguments were repeated there in english, including, or adding, some pretence and insinuations.
- Additional messages.php set
During the discussion, one participant (c) who owns these Books, started to implement the 2nd Ripuarian MediaWiki messages.php in Kölsch, following his own blend of the spellings of the Akademie för uns Kölsche Sproch, Wrede, and recent publications such as "Asterix op Kölsch", assisted by one of the Admins (p), who helped him to a testbed on Betawiki and another on a specially set up new MediaWiki installation on his own public server, explained things, answered questions, etc.
- Was a voting held?
During the discussion, someone suggested a set of partially contradicive, partially bogus "solutions", to (in part) non-problems, asking participants to voice their support for, or disagreement with them. After only few days of ongoing dispute, which at least in part turned some "solutions" over again, one admin (d) published an (erroneous) count of opinions, claimed that a voting had been held in favour of his right to rewrite (some parts of) the Ripuarian Wikipedia according to Wrede's spelling of Kölsch, and began to do so.
- First reverts
The other admin (p) undid, in large parts, his text rewrites, text purgings, and article renamings (between November 4, and December 5, 2006), not so much of category name changes. He claimed that not even a voting, had one truly be held, could change the language assignemt of the Ripuarian Wikipedia from general, or arbitrary, Ripuarian to Kölsch spelt according to Wrede.
- Dispute turning unpleasant, uncoordinated ad-hoc changes, beginning edit war
While the dispute continued, and by the way was gradually scattered over serveral article talk pages, project pages, and project talk pages, user talk pages, and edit summary entries, some ideas were developed as to how include dialect/spelling varieties of a Lemma or page title in an infobox in articles pages, from where a bot should pick them up so as to create appropriate redirects to the page. While a template set marking entire articles, article sections, and contributions to talk/projct pages as being in a certain dialect, following a certain spelling, and put them in categries appropriately already existed for months before the test wiki was transferred into the new Wikipedia, no such System existed for page titles. Now quickly three different template systems doing (almost) that (incompletely) were set up which are incompatible which each other and the already exising one, and use their own system of categories each.
- Power play, more unpleasant behaviour
When one admin (p) added variant spellings to those templates for some articles, the other
(d) more often than not deleted all but Wrede's spelling again and again, from both the introductory section of the articles, and the dialectal variant infobox. Also other additions (interwiki links, image captions, link fixes, category fixes) were usually relentlessly reverted. Behaviour became increasingly childish. A proposition was raised to establish a 3rd admin, since "when we have the majority of admins on our side, we won the war, and can enforce using Kölsch (spelt according to Wrede) in the areas where we want it". A (sorry!) unimportant scarce contributor payed his visit for the quarter, commented the dispute as idiotic or so (showing imho that he had hardly understood the subject matter) turned all propositions including Kölsch-only down. The admin promoting the opposite wish,
(d), at once insinuated his co-admin of sockpuppetry.
Later, he reclaimed certain articles, templates, categories, a project page, as "his own", "disallowing" the other admin to modify them, and protected them (December 1st to 3rd, 2006), thereby accidentally even protecting some of their talk pages, too. He declared it vandalism, when his colleague ignored the "ban". He said it were vandalism, "When you insert a template whose name is in your spelling into my page or a page the title of which is using my spelling" claiming that had been decided so in the disputed votig mentioned above (sample). The other admin (p) kept reverting him, but preserved additions made such as interwiki links, or, finally, some added dialect/spelling variants. He also suffered several arguments targettet at his person. Latest his colleague made copies of some of the articles, he called "his own" under partially names (meanwhile removed), apparently meant as intentional misspellings, or under names that he likey believes were Wrede's spelling, with edit summaries like "give either admin his own" (translated politely), he also created a sort disambiguation page resemblances (sample) pointing to both pages of a duplicated set as "article-title (spelt according to xyz)"
without telling the (more important) dialect. (Dialect was added later) The target pages were and still are 100% identical, I believe, only their titles differ. The other admin (p) reverted/deleted some of those changes, too, at least nonsentiall page names.
- Is the storm over?
That was, up to now (early Decembre, 2006) the end of the edit war. It was followed by almost 4 days of moderate editing activity and some "lets get more constructive again" appeals in various directions, by the two admins, and the author of the additonal version of the MediaWiki message base.
A set of
over a dozen 2 needlessly protected pages (articles, an article talk page, a project page,…) (1 2) needing cleanup, a set of incompatible templates, some basically duplicating each other, a set of uncoordinated/incompatible/questionable groups of categories (sample), some basically duplicating each other, a set of little bits and pieces, some page titles, and a set of category names rewritten to the Kölsch dialect in the Wrede spelling. A set of duplicated articles. A set of pages plastered with boxes of questionable esthetic (Samples: 1, 2, 3, 4), a bunch of as of yet unsolved questions as to how to deal with the idea of using a special (preferred) dialect, or finding ways to treat all dialects as equal as possible.
- More strange things
One admin (d) still seems to be duplicating pages under various spellings, yet at a slow pace. He is also creating a new category per page, without explanation. Not much real discussion has happened, likely due to lack of time.
- A time of calming
A suggestion was raised be one admin (p), and some disputants, to leave things currently under dispute as they are for a while, and develop an agreed upon code of conduct, and at least plans for technical solutions, such as templates, meanwhile. While this idea was largely followed, noone suplied any new suggestions with the exception of one newcomer (to the discussion, not the wiki) suggesting to use only standard German in page titles and some other places. Also some of the suggestions tabled previously were clarified, and better understood.
- Personal attacks
Parallel to the above, before that, and later, too, some partially fierce, and personal, attacks were to be observed between the admins. A quick summary: over the time, (p) wrote over (d), he were wanting to pressure 'his' 'new' spelling preference on every editor, destroying other editors labour, acting stupidly, beeing technically incompetent, deliberately lying about (p) and some other subject matters. Meanwhile (d), plus some users likely (in part) believing his writings, wrote over (p), he were tacidly trying to promote 'his' 'uggly' spelling preference, trying to disallow or hinder every other spelling but his 'self-invented' one, pretending, playing tactical games, ignoring majority wishes and/or a voting, inhibiting a solution by procrastination, majorizing the Wikipedia (implicitly) abusing 'admin power', vandalizing it, and lying. Also some battling back occurred.
- War exported
Admin (p) had set up Wiki pages for several localisation files for several dialects/spellings, and explained them. Apparently not good enough, since (c), presuming to be done with his translation work of the 2nd (in time) variety of Ripuarian localisation, did not only replace the previous version. In addition he replaced an unrelated file, central to all varieties, with a copy of his work. Admin (p) found the error, reverted the change to the central file, and explained why. Admin (d) instantly reverted the revert, admin (p) reverted again, etc., several times.
Without inspection, proofreading, or testing, admin (d) also at once submitted a copy of this file, which contained several errors, with (bug #8690), demanding the same incorrect file replacement (instead of addig a new one), that (c) had made before locally, thereby also pretending a nonexisting consensus in the Ripuarian Wikipedia. He got (r) to create a patch from it. Despite warnings, see below, the patch was applied to the MediaWiki code base, still with the incorrect file replacement ( ). Also (r) did not find all errors. Admin (p) found them by and by. He tried to alert others (through bug #8690, and (r)s talk page), in vain, under heavy attacks from admin (d). Thus, when the patch arrived in the Ripuarian Wikipedia, it also caused some havoc so as incorrect URLs, links disappearing (turning from blue to red), edited articles disappearing from their categories, etc., while the desired localizations strings were mainly not shown.
Also, immediately after his submission do Mediazilla, admin (d) started a move to have admin (p)'s adminship revoked. (talk, talk, talk). He used a set of ridiculous, or provably false accusations, insinuations, and "I do not like him. I do not trust him." as arguments. He also again communicated a somewhat unrealistic list of admin duties, e.g. writing localization files, supplying demanded templates, and similar. Some users reacted with posts like "If he does supply the demanded localization strings, he should remain admin" plus various personal preferences or grievances mostly related to writing style and editing behaviour. Most bought admin (d)'s claims without asking. Some, including admin (p), agree that, letting this admin war continue outside the Ripuarian Wikipedia was detrimental to the Wikipedia, and should not have happened.
(p) asks wmf for mediation from outside the Ripuarian Wikipedia. Goals: he wants the fighting with admin (d) to end. He wants the wmf to answer questions raised for the Ripuarian Wikipedia, see below, which were of broader concern than just for this project. He wants false insinuations and "assumed bad faith" against his person removed from public webpages.
Later, admin (d) made several of his presumed 'followers' admins, and, in part, bureaurocrats. He then claimed, elections had been held. Both the process itself, and the result were disputed, and (d)'s adminship challanged. Admin (d), in his 'welcome' message, threatened twice to block the new user, who initiatted the dispute, giving unacceptable reasons, misinformations, and false claims, according to (p)'s opinion. Admin (d) also called several users, who he said were not sharing his opinions, (p)'s sockpuppets. Ignoring the requirement of a community consensus for wikis having no own checkusers, he initiated a series of checkuser requests against 9 users of several wikis, none of which was in line with the checkuser policy, some were executed, proving admin (d)'s ideas wrong, as far as available data went.