User talk:Volunteer Marek/Discretionary sanctions

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Discretionary sanctions don't resolve conflicts, they create them

The point of this essay is that imposing discretionary sanctions in conflict prone topic areas usually does more bad than good. The presence of such sanctions, while it may have a temporary short lived beneficial effect of removing troublesome editors from the conflict area, creates an incentive for editors to engage in block or ban shopping, reciprocation of such requests and an escalation of the existing conflicts at a new level of disruptive activity. The result is a proliferation of ANI or AE requests, which, after the regime of discretionary sanctions is imposed, replaces standard (and admittedly very inefficient) means of dispute resolution such as seeking consensus, willingness to compromise or good faithed efforts for obtaining outside opinion (through RfC or 30). Editors involved in controversial topic areas begin to exert their energies towards trying to get their content opponents banned, rather than honestly engaging those with different opinions in a good faithed debate. Once the process sets in, personal grudges develop, and well, basically, to put it into technical language, the whole thing is fucked.

As such discretionary sanctions do not end conflicts, much less resolve them. They perpetuate and intensify them. Imposing discretionary sanctions on a conflict-prone area is basically akin to exporting guns and military technology (i.e. easier way to get your "opponents" banned) to war ridden third world nations. The best outcome one can hope for is that one side obliterates the other - and then the conflict ends. More likely it just acerbates the existing disputes. (footnote: usually both sides involved in the conflict are way more aware of the nature of how this works than the "exporting countries" (in this instance the admins pushing the sale of discretionary sanctions in those areas) who are just annoyed by the fact that the people one provided with weapons for some crazy reason insist on using them).

Discretionary sanctions cause Wikistalking[edit]

Editors engaged in a contentious topic area are already likely to "keep an eye" on each other's edits. This much is unavoidable, though perhaps unfortunate. However to the extent that stalking other editors' edits is a time consuming process there's a natural bound to it; in normal circumstances there'll be some of this kind of activity taking place but it will be limited.

The opportunity to get one's content opponents easily blocked or banned however creates an additional incentive to do it. It increases the likelihood and the incidence of wikistalking taking place. If bans are cheap there will be more of a demand for them. Editors will comb through each others' edits looking for the most minor of infractions that can be potentially reported to enforcement boards. Any mistake, no matter how minor or good faithed becomes a nail that a block request can be hanged upon.

Even if a wikistalker does not find any infractions that are potentially reportable they will still find themselves reading a lot of articles that their "opponents" are involved in that they would not have paid attention to otherwise. The likely result is that they will seek to engage these articles as well, thus spreading the battleground atmosphere from one article to another.

  • Discretionary sanctions encourage wikistalking for the purposes of finding something, no matter how minor, of getting one's content opponents banned.
  • Discretionary sanctions encourage wikistalking which has the effect of spreading battleground behavior from one article to another.

See also[edit]