From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
If your viewpoint is in the majority, then it should be easy to
substantiate it with reference to commonly accepted reference texts.

If your viewpoint is held by a significant scientific minority, then
it should be easy to name prominent adherents, and the article should
certainly address the controversy without taking sides.

If your viewpoint is held by an extremely small minority, then
_whether it's true or not, whether you can prove it or not_, it
doesn't belong in Wikipedia, except perhaps in some ancilliary
article. Wikipedia is not the place for original research.
excerpts from Jimbo Wales
WikiEN-l e-mail 2003-09-29
quoted in WP:UNDUE
Cunningham's Law: The best way to get the right answer on the Internet is not to ask a question, it's to post the wrong answer.
Steven McGeady
Posting of 28 May 2010
Defining Cunningham's Law

I am Mendaliv (English pronunciation: /ˈmɛndəlɪv/, MEN-də-liv), a male American Wikipedian on English Wikipedia.


Dispute resolution[edit]

I do not usually play the neutral mediator. Most disputes I work in are simple enough that the correct outcome is a matter of straightforward application of Wikipedia policies and guidelines. In more complex ones, especially ones involving behavioral disputes, I find it more efficient to do my own research and draw my own conclusions. This usually winds up with my supporting one side or another, sometimes to the opposite side's consternation, which might argue that I should have adopted a more neutral stance. I do not believe I am unreasonable. When wrong, I am quick to admit it, quick to apologize, and if necessary, quick to move along.

If you have a problem with another editor and come to me civilly, without pretense of being absolutely and obviously in the right, or at least without pretense that my prior support of the "other side" somehow renders me dishonest or disqualifies my opinion, I will almost without exception take the time to reconsider my stance. Put more dramatically, my method might be summed up thusly:

I'm here to try to get to the bottom of this thing, and we're gonna do it my way, you understand? If you're telling the truth, I'll sweat it all the way with you and try and get you cleared. But if you think you're gonna do any table-pounding to convince me you're leveling, you're dead wrong.

— Joe Friday (Jack Webb) in "The Trial Board". Dragnet. Season 2. Episode 14. December 14, 1967. Event occurs at 4:49. NBC. 

In other words, I have a natural tendency to support people when they're reasonable, when they own up to their mistakes, and when they are open-minded. Conversely, I have a tendency to oppose people who come across as opportunistic, dissimulating, and engage in point-scoring behavior. That's not to say my support or opposition of a particular editor should be taken to grant that editor any of these descriptors. That's also not to say that I don't care about the merits of a dispute, and only go with the person with the best character.

Editing restrictions[edit]

On excessiveness[edit]

I generally disapprove of two very common trends in editing restrictions on Wikipedia: (1) Massive scope and (2) indefinite length. While these are both appropriate in a great deal of circumstances, far too many proposals for restrictions on previously unencumbered editors begin with an enormous topic area, and with no set length of the restriction.


Sometimes an editor is topic banned on a truly massive scale. All BLPs, for instance, is a restriction seen. Another might be all articles related to a particular country and its culture. Yet another might be an entire Wikipedia process, like all deletion debates. I disagree with massive scope editing restrictions because there is rarely evidence to support them as necessary to prevent disruption. More often, such as with the "all BLPs" type, they're because the editor has a background of adding unreferenced content to BLPs that has resulted in a lot of cleanup.

Extremely wide scope restrictions may be better couched as a narrow restriction, but allow broad construction. For instance, if an editor is disrupting articles related to McDonald's and a topic ban is warranted, then ban the editor from articles about McDonalds, broadly construed. That will hit articles about food products, executives, controversies, and a number of other articles. That would be better than topic banning that editor from "fast food". However, even broad construction can be excessive at times.

Proposals for editing restrictions, in my view, should require a specific justification for extremely wide scope, or broad construction to the point that the affected articles cover an extremely wide scope. Broad scopes should also be avoided for first time topic bans.

Indefinite length

The record of editing restrictions is long, and is only growing longer. Numerous editors have been topic banned from topics they probably could edit constructively now. A lot can happen in a year, two years, three years. Indefinite length interaction bans are particularly overused.

That everyone is accustomed to indefinite length restrictions may, in fact, result in a difficulty in applying them. People aren't going to easily see the justification for what will almost surely be a permanent restriction. Instead, for a first-time problem, a short-term restriction may give the affected editor(s) time to find something else worth doing, and break the cycle that led to the dispute in the first place.

On the right to review[edit]

I believe editors have a right—yes a right, not merely a privilege—to a higher level review of sanctions and other actions brought against them. I believe that right should involve a public hearing of some form. I also believe that right can be subject to suspension under certain extreme circumstances, however.

There is little more troubling than a total ban from noticeboards. While the editor in question can, in theory, appeal that restriction (or the underlying restriction) to ArbCom, I do not have a great deal of confidence in this method as a practical matter. I can think of one, maybe two instances in my history on Wikipedia where I have said anything before ArbCom, and in all cases I've been wracked with worry because of the reputation the institution has. Will my words be turned against me? Will the outcome be to "split the baby", but with my own neck serving as the chopping block?

Much of Wikipedia's history has been taken up with avoiding the trappings of bureaucracy, and favoring ad hoc modes of resolving problems. I believe these are laudable goals, but generate problems of their own. For better or worse, there are advantages to structure, process, and rules. That is why, for example, we allow things like bans and editing restrictions: So we can avoid, for example, having to convince new people, over and over again, that the same perennial misuse of the project is in fact a misuse. But there need to be checks and balances. The power of the community to exclude individuals, in my view, should be checked by the right to petition the community—not just ArbCom—for review of that exclusion.

There are certain limitations to this right. For instance, where the restriction is not a community one, but one enforced by the Foundation. However, I believe this right should apply to most other restrictions, such as ones by ArbCom, even though the community lacks the power to overturn those decisions independent of ArbCom's consent. I see providing this outlet as desirable to enforce the community's ability to petition ArbCom and the Foundation without fear of reprisal.

Wikipedia involvement[edit]

Not Admin.svg This user is not an administrator on the English Wikipedia. (verify)
32,000+ This user has made more than 32,000 contributions to Wikipedia.
Noia 64 apps karm.svg This user has been on Wikipedia for 11 years, 6 months and 27 days.
vn-53 This user page has been vandalized 53 times.
CN This user's alignment is Chaotic Neutral: the "Free Spirit."
UIUC This user is or was a student at the University of Illinois
at Urbana–Champaign.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish logo.svg
This person attended or attends Notre Dame Law School.
Adam Matthew This user has access to Adam Matthew Collections through The Wikipedia Library.
Brill This user has access to Brill through The Wikipedia Library.
University of Cambridge coat of arms official.svg This user has access to Cambridge University Press resources through The Wikipedia Library.
DG This user has access to De Gruyter Online through The Wikipedia Library.
HeinOnline This user has access to HeinOnline through The Wikipedia Library
H This user had access to HighBeam through The Wikipedia Library.
JSTOR icon.png This user has access to JSTOR through The Wikipedia Library.
NEWS This user has access to through The Wikipedia Library

Special involvement[edit]

  • User:Mendaliv/TOV letter- a sample form letter that may be used when e-mailing authority figures to report threats of violence, under development. Comments and input welcome! Update: Rendered superfluous by the procedure laid out in WP:EMERGENCY, and the implementation of the Foundation emergency contact:
  • User:Mendaliv/Dispute advice- a page of advice for editors seeking dispute assistance but having trouble, compiled from my experiences at WP:EAR and WP:ANI
  • I have personally gone through Table 13 of The Bluebook and created redirects for as many of the arcane-seeming abbreviations used to refer to legal publications as there were articles for those publications.

Articles to come[edit]

  • Chikan Otoko- a 2ch story similar to Densha Otoko, wherein a VIP poster is mistaken for a stalker; later made into a manga, book, film, and possibly other media. See ja:痴漢男.
  • Good Offices (or possibly Good offices?) — a means of international dispute resolution similar to conciliation. (also note that the conciliation article only discusses the domestic ADR practice, not the IDR practice)

Articles created[edit]

Listed in order of creation:

Articles improved[edit]




Useful stuff[edit]

This section is a sort of quick list of things I like to have at hand and things I like to link to frequently.

Resource pages[edit]

Stuff to remember[edit]

Hard links[edit]

  • See Help:Link#External links: Don't put http: or https: before a hard link. Instead just leave // followed by the rest of the URL. People who use HTTPS will see a HTTPS link (and not be annoyed by an unsecured connection), while people who use HTTP will see a HTTP link (and neither tax server resources needlessly nor be confused by the padlock next to the link).

General advice[edit]

  • DefendEachOther - You don't have to fight personal attacks yourself, and in fact it may not be the best choice
  • Skills of a catalyst - A list of useful advice for helping disarm disputes and move arguments to a beneficial conclusion

Good stuff[edit]

Article writing[edit]

For RfAs[edit]

  • Wikipedia:What adminship is not - Especially, Adminship is not a trophy, Adminship is neither compulsory nor necessary to aid Wikipedia, Adminship is not a game
  • Wikipedia:Policies and guidelines - Namely, Both need to be approached with common sense: adhere to the spirit rather than the letter of the rules, and be prepared to ignore the rules on the rare occasions when they conflict with the goal of improving the encyclopedia.
  • One's candidacy for adminship is likely to be the only time when the community will evaluate said candidate's ability to use the tools, and whether he or she has the responsibility to do so properly. As such, I personally consider it grounds for doubting a candidate's seriousness about adminship when his or her self-nomination statement and responses to standard questions are terse, non-responsive, or poorly crafted. Would you apply for a job without polishing your resume and cover letter until it gleamed? Then why should you not do the same when running for adminship?

For AfDs[edit]