Wikipedia:Association of Members' Advocates/Message board

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This page is a messageboard for discussion about changes within the AMA. Please take part and be bold. :-) It is open to anyone who wishes to contribute and all ideas are welcome.

Topics to keep in mind:[edit]

Please add your ideas!

  • The recent failed MfD and its impact on the AMA - We need to look over the MfD in detail and figure out what we should do to prevent such action in the future.
  • Working closer with ArbCom - Ongoing.
  • Working closer with MedCom instead of ArbCom - Considering the bad relations with ArbCom, shouldn't be better to wait until we both calm down. Meanwhile, we can try to co-op with mediators.
  • Minimum requirements for Advocateship - Ongoing and getting more important.
  • Decentralization - Is centralization a problem? Are we actually centralized or a bureaucracy as some claim?
  • Advocacy Teams - Discussion about making Teams more central to the AMA to improve the quality of cases. - Removed from the AMA.
  • Transparency - What can we do to be more transparent to the rest of Wikipedia?
  • Review Request process - How can we make this easier, but at the same time keep it from degrading into a mess like the previous system?

There's a AMA "Constitution" or ABC proposal in my sandbox. Feel free to modify it to reflect changes and goals here discussed. Sometimes good ideas come from outside, so maybe you, a non-AMA that casually arrived here, have the key to make this project work better! (a friendly message by Neigel von Teighen | help with arbs?)

To start off[edit]

Ok, the closing admin for the MfD offered these recomendations on how to fix the AMA. Looking through them I think it is the right directio to go.

  • Drop the formalistic structure immediately. The AMA does itself no favours by appearing "opaque" to the rest of Wikipedia, and - I believe - wastes a huge amount of time on activities that accomplish nothing towards the goal of delivering advocate services; what this means is the AMA ends up existing merely for its own sake, rather than its stated purpose on Wikipedia. The whole business of pseudo-legal ideas, elections, vast lists of minutiae as formal "meetings", formal authority, bizarre constellations of "teams" with strange acronyms, etc. needs to be killed off rapidly. As I noted on the AMA talk page, these issues were in part the reason that Esperanza met the fate it did, and need to be got rid of not only so the system is more efficient, but also so the perception of the AMA by the rest of the Wikipedia community is no longer one of a secret clique that serves no purpose other than to provide a club for its members. Transparency is essential in any dispute resolution initative.
  • Cease being an adversary of the ArbCom. A number of arbitrators have expressed an extreme dislike of the AMA based on past dealings with advocates in arbitration cases, and indeed Raul commented on the MfD to that effect. The AMA has carried on a consistent policy of thumbing its collective noses at the arbitrators, an extremely unwise course of action that is liable to lead to the arbitrators eventually losing patience and seeing that the initiative is indeed deleted and salted for good. Often, this combative attitude towards the ArbCom has been in the name of justice and "due process" - two terms liable to raise the ire of any Wikipedian, and even more so an arbitrator - and, although I am not specifically defending the ArbCom, I have worked with many of the arbitrators for a number of years here on Wikipedia, and I consider they would not show a dislike of the AMA unless they have a good reason to do so.
  • Actually look at what is happening in the advocate cases. Further to my remarks above about the AMA getting wrapped up in its own organisational folderol, it seems the AMA is spending more time on its own internal squabbling and setting of formalisms than actually checking to see if its advocates are doing their job properly. A concerted effort needs to be made for people to check the quality of work being done, whether the advocate is actually working on the case or has instead "dropped the ball", check that the advocate is being sensible and is not "wiki-lawyering", etc. This must not be implemented as a formalism; instead, all AMA members should, from time to time, have a good look at the cases, and watch for this - the Coordinators should be ensuring this is happening, but appear not to be doing so at the present. It takes only one bad advocate to create a bad name for the organisation as a whole. This is not, however, to be taken in support of restrictive advocate selection - it's just people have to keep their eyes open and maintain common sense about what is acceptable.
  • Define clearly what an advocate should actually be doing and make sure, further to the above, they are sticking to it. It must be made clear to advocates that they are there to represent and advise the user, but not there to act as lawyers, nor to defend the indefensible. Although I can see logic in the idea that everyone has a right to representation, the idea that even the patently guilty should be defended is one carried over from law, and not one that belongs here on Wikipedia. In this case, the arbitrators are perfectly justified in being irritated at AMA advocates officiously trying to gum up the works of arbitration when defending users who obviously need punitive action to be brought against them for the good of the community. In short, the AMA absolutely must work with the community's interest in mind as well, not just that of its clients.
  • Simplify the request process. Although the new-version request page is not intrinsically difficult to follow, the overall appearance of it is one of unnecessary complexity, and I found from my work at the MedCab that getting users to jump through convoluted hoops in order to request assistance will achieve nothing other than a ream of paperwork and endless administrative work. It needs to be succinct and actually glean from users what is needed to carry out the case in a concise manner.
  • Permit "ordinary people" to implement changes in the AMA - the suffering of the submission of proposals before anything is changed, and officious attitudes held by its coordinators on the subject, is utterly pointless. I would implement the {{sofixit}} idea instead, in that people just fix whatever is broken. This reduces the task I have described above of rehabilitating the AMA down to something possible, rather than something that would inevitably fail due to the insufferable stream of proposals that would be needed. Indeed, this is an issue that annoys me personally as I am extremely tempted to jump in and fix these things - but I know if I was to do so, I would not be well-received, due to this rigid structure of authority and pseudo-democracy.

I hope this outlines a potential strategy on what needs to be done. Should there be any way I can help with this, please do let me know. Yours, --NicholasTurnbull | (talk) 03:24, 6 April 2007 (UTC)

There you have it. Æon Insanity Now! Give Back Our Membership! 03:32, 6 April 2007 (UTC)

Discussion about this[edit]

  • Formalistic structure is easy to change. We're not really formalistic to begin with, so we can clear up any transparency issues without problem. Also the meetings are only a threshing session in order to go over problems and any items that need to be addressed in order to form a consensus. How else can this be managed other than point by point? Being an "adversary" against ArbCom is still mostly a historical issue, so this will be tricky to deal with and reputation is difficult to repair. Looking at cases requires better review, which would be easier to do with teams and preventing most case disasters could be fixed by simply implementing minimum Advocate requirements as we have been discussing for a long time. I believe that we have defined clearly what an Advocate should actually be doing in the AMA Handbook and Guide to Advocacy; I don't completely understand, but sticking to it would be easier to handle (again) with teams and minimum requirements for experience sake. Simplify the request process is tricky simply because the opening questionnaire consists of things that need to be answered in order for someone to understand what the heck is going on in the first place. Perhaps we should review how things are currently worded and what questions are asked in order to streamline things? The previous request system is something I am not willing to go back to as it made matters so much more begrudgingly difficult for both the Advocates and Advocees. Permit "ordinary people" to implement changes in the AMA is something that I'd love to do, but at the same time allow for review by the Advocates who are actually -using- the system in place and I repeat that it is a tool to make things easier, otherwise the chaos is difficult to manage. (Also again, "rigid structure of authority and pseudo-democracy"? Have any of the Coordinators been fascist lately? :-) ) אמר Steve Caruso (desk/AMA)Give Back Our Membership! 04:08, 6 April 2007 (UTC)
Dear Steve: I appreciate you taking the time to go over my recommendations. However, with respect, I must point out that in the above analysis you still seem to be clinging to the very things that have to change in the AMA as solutions to the problems they are, themselves, causing. Regarding the meetings, you refer to "form[ing]" consensus - this is what I was referring to regarding formalistic structure, pseudo-democracy, and the inability for people to make changes; we don't need consensus, we just need action. This is a WikiProject, not a Wikipedia-wide proposal.
You also ask "how else can this be managed other than point by point" - that is exactly the issue, it doesn't need to be managed point-by-point if people simply discuss things in an informal way and implement the needed changes in an ad-hoc basis, as is generally used on Wikipedia. This problem of micromanagement is, I think, severely holding the AMA back. And regarding looking at cases, you then go on to state "teams" and minimum advocate requirements - both examples of the formalisms to which I refer, which you claim are only minor - as a panacea for some of the issues. Such constructs can only lead the Wikipedia community viewing the AMA in the negative light I describe and also, again, hindering potential input and agility of change.
When I say we need to define what an advocate should be doing, I mean in a brief but general sense - not in the form of a lengthy description of the role - that is, is an advocate offering defence to any requesting subject regardless of the merits of the case? And furthermore, you then separate between the "Advocates who are actually using the system" and members of the Wikipedia community, which is an exact example of the divisive separation between the AMA and Wikipedia which I view to be extremely harmful to the project in both reputation and ability to carry out its tasks.
My point is, put simply, that the AMA has to be willing to change the way that things are done. I think we can agree, at the very least, that there is obviously something seriously at fault for parts of the community to view the AMA in the way they have, and so it is essential that all these constraints and formalisms (which you state do not exist, but have just rendered suggestions of implementing more of them) are scrapped. I hope this might make what I'm trying to say a bit clearer, sorry if I didn't do so before. Cheers, --NicholasTurnbull | (talk) 04:39, 6 April 2007 (UTC)
First let me say that I have no problem with us being more ad hoc and informal moving to act first. There is a problem, let's fix it. I do not see any other option. I do, however, have the following concerns. I do not voice them to be combative, I want to work through them and find solutions:
How can any group of people collaborate on dealing with a problem that follows particular patterns without any consensus or gameplan on how to go about doing it? Just for example, MedCom and ArbCom would crumble if they ran that way (but then again, they currently run with more formality than the AMA has ever consisted of). Dealing with needs is tricky. On the most extreme end of the spectrum, saying that there cannot be any collaboration or formal structure at all completely destroys any ability to focus upon any issue. Would having an agenda for a discussion be too much? Would it be better to have an ongoing page to discuss issues as they come up rather than holding "meetings" with definite times and formats?
Another large complaint is, keeping tabs on the quality of Advocacy cases. This is the source of all historical criticism (which, I may add, came from the period of time where the AMA was not functional and completely "ad hoc") and some recent criticism with a few disgruntled advocees (but I do not wish to discuss in detail how I was harassed by Mattisse here). If we were 100% informal that problem would only get worse (as it did in the past), so to say that we need to be more informal, yet at the same time find some formal method of keeping tabs on cases is nothing short of a contradiction. There needs to be some form of review that is transparent and not entangling. I cannot imagine anyone feeling safe with "If you run across a problem with your advocate, sorry you're on your own."
This is where teams would come in. Instead of dealing with individuals, a small group of advocates could easily support and police eachother, and if a team gets too large then it can easily be split into smaller groups to keep it informal (as once something gets too large, crowd control -does- become an issue that breeds formality). Would it be too formalistic for one of these groups to learn more about specific types of disputes and deal with a "specialty" that they are most comfortable (i.e. "We are more experienced with editing disputes." or "We are more experienced with helping a case through ArbCom.")?
This would not be a statement of formality more than a statement of personal preference of the individuals of the group as well as act as a way to ensure that help rather than hindrance is given due to experience. This would also ensure that anyone who requests help is given the help by more than one person off the bat. I would not see a problem with this unless it came to the point that a team felt "entitled" to a case because it was of a certain nature. I also have no problem dropping the jargon and acronyms associated with the teams.
Next, to clarify with "system" in "Advocates who are actually using the system" I was referring to the actual code behind WP:AMARQ (I realize that I was ambiguous). Even here on Wikipedia there have certain templates protected from editing because they are essential to how some feature or other function works. If a number of people are using the requests system and expect it to behave one way, but someone had changed it without discussion to another, how can this not be harmful to those who are using it mid case? The original requests system that was in place required far too much maintenance and was a headache to navigate. If there is a better way to do things and keep things filed then I am sure that everyone would be willing to try it and I will be first in line.
I believe that this is enough for now, otherwise my comments will be too difficult to manage. :-) אמר Steve Caruso (desk/AMA)Give Back Our Membership! 16:07, 6 April 2007 (UTC)
Just to respond to one of your points above - I actually feel that the AMA is more formal and process bound then MedCom, on the basis that we have these endless meetings and relatively complicated team structures. Comparitively, MedCom's formality is ore carefully veiled - we have new member nominations, and a case rejection system, but that's about it (and the mailing list). In the eyes of many, bureaucracy has taken hold of the AMA in its vile claws, as can be evidenced by the fact that even absolutely tiny and inconsequential changes and matters have to be discussed ad nauseum at the meetings, which the various talk pages, as more appropriate (and informal) venues for discussion, remained unused. Thanks, Martinp23 08:30, 8 April 2007 (UTC)
Dear Steve: Thank you very much for your reply; you have made some excellent observations, put eloquently. Allow me to attempt to address them:
Firstly, the changes I suggest obviously need to be implemented with rational measure, in that I am not, by any means, suggesting the AMA operates without any kind of structure or gameplan - I agree that would be patently absurd, as without a clear goal in mind and some kind of structure it would be difficult for the initiative to achieve anything at all, and problems such as case quality and advocate behaviour could only get worse. However, I do not believe this means the structure has to be formalised at all, nor does that structure need to be set in stone; it can be just something arrived at by collaborative modification, and "survival of the fittest" will prevail over those strategies that are the most successful. This is largely how most of Wikipedia works.
That said, I think it is extremely important to bear in mind that it is highly unlikely there will be hordes of people clamouring at the doors of the AMA, wishing to implement huge, sweeping changes to every single element of the request procedure on a daily basis. Even if such a scenario were to unfold, if that process was determined to be detrimental it can simply be reverted. This is the wonderful thing about a wiki - anything bad can just be changed back. And "focus" on a given issue is as simple as going and changing whatever is out of focus; this requires no consensus gathering, proposals, or voting. You see, we are expending a large amount of ASCII discussing this, but really, we could all just go around AMA and try and fix whatever we see as being broken; should it be resoundingly unpopular, it can just get reverted.
Regarding the teams, I think the primary problem with implementing any such structure is the compartmentalising of any kind of system will achieve a fragmentation of the manner in which the desired objective is carried out, and lead to bureaucracy as to who is responsible for what - thus the allocation of tasks absolutely must be as parsimonious in this aspect as possible. We really need to just focus on what we are doing, rather than creating rivulets of participation that don't go anywhere; dead-ends are far more likely where a given task is subdivided in this manner. Of course, advocates may have strengths and weaknesses, and thus they can simply self-assign or have assigned to them cases that pertain to their particular strengths and weaknesses. There is no requirement for teams here, and it prevents the boxing-in of individuals to particular types of task.
Frankly, we needn't even be discussing this at all here - we could all just go and fix all of this, as we should be ending this whole thing of ad infinitum proposal-drafting anyway, if we really are going to make AMA survive as an initiative. We just need to fix whatever's broken - that's it. --NicholasTurnbull | (talk) 01:45, 9 April 2007 (UTC)

Priority: regulate advocates' behaivor. This means, make the Handbook. Parallelwise, we can think on simplifying the b'cracy, but first the most important issue the WP Community has told us through the MfD to correct. We have being given a chance; please don't waste it. I'm the first one that wants to descentralize and build co-op with ArbCom, but be realistic.

I'm in favor of all Nicholas' proposals; they're quite good, but I would priorize this issue.

Maybe, instead of getting help from ArbCom, let's try to tight up with MedCom & MedCab. They are quiet but efficient people... and more willing to help us. I don't mean ArbCom is bad faithed against us, but they're angry with us (and with a peace of reason) and the best would be to wait until we both calm down.

In summary: Regulate advocates behaivor creating a Handbook that clearly states what to do and what not to do is the first thing to do --Neigel von Teighen | help with arbs? 17:21, 6 April 2007 (UTC)

I completely agree with what Neigel has said above me, and would also add (as I've already said at WT:AMA) that, when new guidelines for advocates are drawn up, communication off-wiki (by e-mail or IRC) between advocate and advocee should be discouraged. The MfD demonstrated that the AMA suffers from a poor image among the wider community, who think of it as wikilawyerish and prepared to fight the corner of trolls and sockpuppets. Although I don't think that view of the AMA is fair at all, I would argue that we could make a big step towards dispelling that image by ensuring that communication between advocate and advocee remains on-wiki and available for all parties to view. Ideally the advocate should not just advise their advocee on how to beat the system; they should negotiate on their advocee's behalf and give their advocee helpful and thoughtful advice, which can (and sometimes should) be critical of the advocee themselves. Obviously I'm not arguing for a total ban on off-wiki communication (that would be impossible to enforce in any case). But it should be discouraged, except where the advocee is imparting personal information or something of that nature.
In practice, I know that this idea will seem unnecessary and inconvenient to some advocates. But personally, in the cases I have taken as an advocate, I have never found it necessary to communicate with my advocees off-line. And the AMA process should be out in the open. It should be neutral, fair, and open to the whole community, including all parties involved in a dispute. This is what we need to do to change our image. Walton Vivat Regina! 16:47, 7 April 2007 (UTC)

I have always used off-wiki ways, but just because I'm used to do it so and not because a concrete reason. If an advocate has nothing to hide, I see no reason to not follow this. Of course, I agree that off-wiki relationships should just be discouraged and used only if personal information is involved. But, what personal information?... I can't guess which information could be so sensible regarding an AMA case, but that's my own personal opinion.

I'll test it by myself to work on-wiki from the next case I take (I can't do it with both current cases I have; it would be very bad manners). --Neigel von Teighen | help with arbs? 17:44, 7 April 2007 (UTC)

I'm working in a proposal that should give a quick solution to all of our problems... a kind of AMA "Constitution" (I haven't found a good name for it... yet!). A sort of compilation of what AMA's functions and structures are. The idea is to give it a "policy" status internally to AMA, after having discussed it and modified to reflect consensus. I'm trying to keep it the simplest I can. But, wait until I get it finished. --Neigel von Teighen | help with arbs? 15:32, 8 April 2007 (UTC)
Dear Neigel: Although it is wonderful you are coming up with solutions to the AMA's problems, I must point out to you that part of the current set of problems the AMA is facing - indeed, a significant proportion - is caused by this adherence towards formalised policy-setting and proposal-making, which wastes a good deal of time and creates a harmful rigidity. The AMA, as a whole, needs to jettison this mind-set of "policy" entirely, I think; and certainly, a "constitution" is really far too formal an idea. Instead of drafting an endless stream of documentation, we need to just change the elements that are broken as soon as possible, as we lack the luxury of time - the AMA will otherwise collapse, and will suffer the same fate as Esperanza. --NicholasTurnbull | (talk) 01:51, 9 April 2007 (UTC)
I disagree, I think Neigel has the right idea. IMHO, the problem with AMA isn't so much with excessive bureaucracy as with a negative perception of what we stand for. A large part of the community seems to think of us as a confrontational organisation which fights the corner of sockpuppets and trolls, and gives out advice on how to game the system. That image isn't accurate, and has never been accurate. But I still think the best way to reduce that image, in the immediate short term, is to discourage off-wiki communication between advocate and advocee, and make the whole process more open. In the longer term, another possibility would be an overhaul of the requests-for-assistance procedure; it seems that in too many cases, the very act of someone filing an AMA request for assistance, and naming other users as participants in the dispute, is seen as aggressive/confrontational in itself, and can escalate a trivial disagreement to a higher level. But that's just my experience, and other advocates may have different experiences. Walton Vivat Regina! 14:00, 9 April 2007 (UTC)

AMA "Constitution"/ABC (the name you prefer) proposal discussion[edit]

Here it is, the AMA "Constitution" proposal. Believe it: it is the most informal and flexible legal corpus you'll ever think of. Take a look on it. Be aware that the name "Constitution" is absolutely misleading and should be changed to anything more suitable... (if someone could make that a miracle!).

If someone thinks it's better, the draft could be copied here on this page for convenience. I don't care. --Neigel von Teighen | help with arbs? 14:17, 9 April 2007 (UTC)

I like this, maybe AMA gHandbook or AMA Guide would be better (and more informal), otherwise I think you hit it right on the money. Æon Insanity Now! Give Back Our Membership! 06:32, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

Great! Maybe "AMA abc" is a good name... Of course, feel free to modify it. --Neigel von Teighen | help with arbs? 09:54, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

Hehe, the "AMA abc" reminds me of the Doc Bronner's Moral ABC. Joking aside, this seems like a good start towards ideas, but is still a bit too formal for most peoples' taste. The question is, how will others view this? אמר Steve Caruso (desk/AMA)Give Back Our Membership! 20:20, 10 April 2007 (UTC)
Dear Neigel: I've had a look through the "Constitution" which you prepared, and although I do feel it does to some degree fit the required criteria better than the current status quo, it still contains a hell of a lot of formality that we desperately need to get rid of. This whole business of gathering consensus before implementing any changes is in my view rather senseless, as it entails some kind of lengthy discussion and/or proposal-making process before anything is done - this will just get the AMA viewed as "bureaucratic" by the Wikipedia community, as is currently the situation and since this is one of the major problems that need to be corrected we cannot cling to this. Other formalities also remain, such as coordinators having "terms" (requiring an election procedure - another time-wasting pseudo-democratic construct), "meetings" being "called", etc. To some degree, this Constitution reflects the current manner the AMA operates, not the way we need to move towards. And also, as I stated above, we really cannot keep hold of the "Teams" idea, for the reasons I outlined above. But certainly, it definitely is a starting point. Cheers, --NicholasTurnbull | (talk) 02:34, 11 April 2007 (UTC)

I made a few changes to the AMA ABC's. I completely reworded the last part and took out the voting for the CoOrdinator. What we could do is if the Coordinator resigns/leaves/ect he simply passes the role to an Active advocate and leave it at that (Short, sweet and to the point). No real need for elections and such (removes more of the buecratic issues).

As for the deligates, after thinking about them do we really need them? That has the feel of the Deputies and in reality all AMA members are deligates (basicly who ever wants to help out should) Æon Insanity Now! Give Back Our Membership! 04:06, 11 April 2007 (UTC)

Aeon, really good changes! The "delegates" idea is a modification of the old Deputies. The difference is that "delegates" are not elected and not "formal"; also, it is not mandatory (according to the current proposal's status) to have any delegates. It's a joker the coordinator can use... (If you don't like it, guys, delete it).
Nichollas, yes, you're right: it is not perfect yet... and we'll work on it (that's why I placed my proposal on my sandbox... modify it in the terms of GFDL!); but there's a little problem called WP:CONSENSUS: Consensus is the base of WP, and AMA should be consensus-driven; the goal is to have a practical way to achieve consensus. --Neigel von Teighen | help with arbs? 11:49, 11 April 2007 (UTC)
Dear Neigel: The thing with consensus is that it doesn't have to be developed via lengthy discussion or voting, and indeed it is preferable if it is developed without the need for this. What we need to aim for is "consensus by default"; that is, those changes that are made that do gain consensus won't be reverted, but changes which obviously don't meet with general opinion will just be removed, as I was commenting above to Steve. I feel it is questionable as to whether it is necessary to extend the idea of consensus over to what is a WikiProject rather than a Wikipedia-wide proposal, as that consensus could only ever be consensus within the AMA itself as opposed to consensus from the entire Wikipedia community, rendering it merely a display of excessive bureaucracy. I think it is clear that if we keep up the whole voting and proposals thing, people will still point at the AMA and say "Look at that bunch of bureaucrats making their own little club on Wikipedia!" regardless of whether or not that perception is justified. Sure, let's try and work on some kind of consensus, but also let us make sure that we get rid of the formalistic trappings that have made a bad name for the AMA - and I see nothing wrong with, as I have proposed previously, simply making changes as people see fit and those changes that are unpopular being removed plus some level of discussion (q.v. WP:BRD). It is worth nothing that consensus gathering and pseudo-democracy are not one and the same, although I think you probably already know this, and I am likely "preaching to the choir", as they say. Yours, --NicholasTurnbull | (talk) 19:08, 11 April 2007 (UTC)
I think that consensus does not always need lengthy discussion... if you know or suppose there's consensus for something, just do it. But, if afterwards it appears that you were wrong, then it should be discussed a bit, like elsewhere on Wikipedia. Maybe, deleting all references to "discussion" could reflect these ideas. Of course, there's still an open issue: Cordinator voting and I suppose you don't like that; we'll see... --Neigel von Teighen 11:05, 12 April 2007 (UTC)
Ah, Nicholas. I've made some changes; please: I absolutely agree with you, the only problem is that the "Constitution/ABC" draft must still be improved and is far away from perfection. Here are the diffs of my changes: [1] (a minor edit to make it coherent with Aeon's change), [2], [3] & [4]. And, according to Part 0 of the AMA "Constitution", I invite you (all) to change what you don't like. --Neigel von Teighen 11:18, 12 April 2007 (UTC)

Paper ligers, bred for their skills in card tricks[edit]

This is going on far too long. Most of the things on Steve's list shouldn't even have to be said. The irony is comical: ...[T]he suffering of the submission of proposals before anything is changed, and officious attitudes held by its coordinators on the subject, is utterly pointless. This, in a submitted proposal that is now suffering.

  • Drop the formalistic structure immediately. Well, drop most of it. Every project has some structure.
  • Cease being an adversary of the ArbCom. Except where appropriate. Don't impose this sort of rule that now advocates have to suck up to arbitrators any more than saying they should piss them off. I intend to continue calling a spade a spade, and arguing when needed. (I have nothing against any particular arbitrator, but the process and atmosphere has certain tendencies and inherent concerns that I dislike. The road to hell, etc.)
  • Actually look at what is happening in the advocate cases. Go a step further. As a group of people committed to the DR process, we are, in theory, best equipped to evaluate what is going on at all levels.
  • Define clearly what an advocate should actually be doing. Don't use the word "should". This, and the notion that "we should make sure they stick to it" implies officious structure. Whatever happened to IAR and BOLD -- doesn't that apply to advocating as well? What do we do if an advocate doesn't follow the rules? Will there be some review process, evaluation, and expulsion policy and structure, with regularly appointed review board? So much for dropping formalistic structure.
  • Simplify the request process. I agree. Put it back the way it was, but make sure advocates are actually watching it, and keep it cleaned up.
  • Permit ordinary people to implement changes. I don't know what purpose this serves except to invite entryism from uninvolved parties, but I think the relevant policies affecting the work of advocacy are laid out in existing WP policies and guidelines. This item implies the existence of formalistic AMA structure that has to be amended and put through special process. If there's something wrong with what some advocates are doing, or what AMA is doing... the remedy is in altering or creating Wiki policy through the regular ways.

- Keith D. Tyler (AMA) 16:11, 12 April 2007 (UTC)

Hmm... the last point should not be discussed. I can't think of any average user having an interest in changing AMA. And those that are not average users, just want AMA out. --Neigel von Teighen 09:48, 14 April 2007 (UTC)

My current plan of action[edit]

Everyone, the following is my current itinerary for "fixing" many of the problems that people perceive about the AMA. I will be implementing these th the next few days:

  1. Simplification of requests system. (In progress.)
  2. Dissolution of the Teams. There have been too many complaints.
  3. Replacement of the Members page with a Category, driven by a Userbox or the Alerts system. No seperatedness from the community.
  4. Cleanup and "distillation" (if you will) of the AMA Handbook and Guide to Advocacy to bring them down to reasonable size.
  5. Change of "Meetings" into a message board for continual, casual discussion. No more "micro-management" of issues.

If there are problems, please bring them up with me. As it has been pointed out things can always be reverted. אמר Steve Caruso (desk/AMA)Give Back Our Membership! 20:40, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

Steve, I just joined AMA and am working on getting ready to take on my first case, but I do have a suggestion for the message board: model it a little (just skin deep) after WP:AN. Just a Advocates Noticeboard, where anyone can post an issue for discussion (although I'm probably mentioning something that was already running through your head). Just my $.02 worth. CASCADIAHowl/Trail 23:58, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

A fantastic start, Steve; I like your thinking. We do, of course, need to put a few other important things in the above: removal of proposal and/or voting mechanisms (including elections) instead making changes by ad-hoc implementation, setting up of case monitoring, and specific safeguards to ensure advocates are not interfering with the arbitration process. Apart from that, we are getting closer to fixing the key problems, and it looks like we have a definite strategy ahead of us to make sure the AMA will survive. Onwards and upwards! --NicholasTurnbull | (talk) 02:41, 11 April 2007 (UTC)

Oh, and another thing: we need to make the IRC channel open, rather than approval-only. This will help perception of transparency, and prevent appearance of "cabalisation". --NicholasTurnbull | (talk) 03:04, 11 April 2007 (UTC)

The IRC channel is not +i (invite only), but it may be +m (moderated), which I'll fix soon. Martinp23 09:19, 11 April 2007 (UTC)
It's now just +cn. +m is no more! Martinp23 09:44, 11 April 2007 (UTC)

This is off to a great start I think! good job. Æon Insanity Now! Give Back Our Membership! 03:39, 11 April 2007 (UTC)

Ah, maybe AMA "Constitution"/ABC should reflect these changes. Aeon has already replaced the "meetings" by a "message board" concept. --Neigel von Teighen | help with arbs? 11:51, 11 April 2007 (UTC)

Just wanted to say that I think these ideas are great. Go AMA! Dev920 (Have a nice day!) 16:16, 12 April 2007 (UTC)

I just wanted to say I do not like the new changes that have occured. What happened to the list of members where they would give a statement of their expertise? Where are these so called complaints concerning the AMA teams? I though during our last meeting everyone was eager to have the teams sections... has concensus changed on this? I haven't heard to many people complaining about the teams, perhaps you can point me out to some comments, which I believe should be discussed prior to the removal. Also, why was the teams section removed from the template? --CyclePat 01:06, 14 April 2007 (UTC)

We have to change to prevent being MfDed again. Also the Teams and such viewed were to burecratic. We need to make these changes in order to continue to provide the Community the Advocate service (We are all Wikipedians first and for most). Æon Insanity Now! Give Back Our Membership! 04:04, 14 April 2007 (UTC)
Can you please explain to me the difference between what you are doing now... and what we currently have. I really don't see it. In fact I see the opposite... I see someone that is trying to implement bureaucricy to try and diminish the amount of members. Perhaps if you gave me several exemples because I really don't see it. As per the definition of bureaucricy "is a system in which people are expected to follow precisely defined rules and procedures rather than to use personal judgement" [5]. If that's the case then a lot of organisations here on wikipedia should be changed. Actually, what appears to be the problem (just like this off the top of my head!) is that there is not enough bureaucracy governing the group of users that are AMA members. I've heard more people saying comments like, isn't there a system of accountability or a system to make sure they know what they did or that they are keeping up with things! But then again, having teams may be consider a type of bureau which would meet this definition. "a large, complex administrative structure. Such structures exist in organizations such as governments and businesses. The executive branch of the federal government has a complex bureaucracy, with a hierarchy of bureaus and agencies." What we have are conflicting issues of what the prolem is and how to solve it... Really, I don't think it's that complex... not anymore complex than what WP:ASSIST has been doing. In fact they have suggested to have sections for different cases. Look at the wikipedia dispute resolution, now that is a bureaucracy from mediation to arbcom and voting in the members. AMA is far, far from being close to voting in members... we are a group of users that get together to help other users. It would still be nice to know who has indicated that they view the teams as being bureaucratic. Personnally, I think perhaps you may not have identified the correct problem or solution. --CyclePat 06:15, 14 April 2007 (UTC)
I'm just recording changes on the AMA "Constitution"/AMA "ABC" proposal... and teams are no longer on the draft. But I really wonder if consensus is against teams. If so, Cycle an I, we both AMAT-creators, lost... --Neigel von Teighen 09:46, 14 April 2007 (UTC)

AMA "Constitution"/AMA "ABC" proposal[edit]

OK, I send an "ultimatum": if no one says anything against it, I'll make the "constitution" official supporting myself on the "do it yourself" principle included on the same proposal assuming consensus.

If someone does not like it, say it now. If too much complaints, I'll drop the proposal down.

If after it was made official, the "consitution" turns to be useless, it can be suspended by anyone, so don't worry. --Neigel von Teighen 06:40, 19 April 2007 (UTC)

The "Consitution"/"ABC" has been proclamed de facto by me, in the name of this ;-). --Neigel von Teighen 13:55, 23 April 2007 (UTC)
All hail king Neigel and the new constitution. --CyclePat 04:30, 25 April 2007 (UTC)

Thanks! Hopefully we get used to it and loose ourselves from the chains of bureaucracy... And now, the objective is the Handbook issue. --Neigel von Teighen 06:06, 25 April 2007 (UTC)

I like the idea Cocoaguy ここがいい contribstalk 21:38, 9 May 2007 (UTC)

Changes not welcomed[edit]

Ever since the changes have occurred to how we display our names I have not received as many email cases. I do not like to do the AMA process and therefore feel that AMA has lost my interest. Unless something changes in the way we distribute our cases I feel that my AMA services will no longer be needed. --CyclePat 21:59, 4 May 2007 (UTC)

Have a way for Wikipedians to ask questions, find their own request etc.[edit]

The way it is now the general community of Wikipedia is excluded. There is no place (I can find) for the orginary person to ask simple questions, like how do I find my case. Therefore, a person wanting to ask a question is forced to ask it on any AMA page they are lucky enough to stumble across. I still cannot find my file withouth a bookmark to it. I know this is the wrong place to make this statement and that you will all feel hostility toward me for making it here. HeadlessJeff 15:34, 25 April 2007 (UTC)

IMO we could duplicate the way AFD, DRV, RFM do it, with dedicated subpages, wherein dispute status is tracked. - Keith D. Tyler (AMA) 04:09, 26 April 2007 (UTC)


What is the status of the AMA at the moment? I notice that no cases have been taken since the start of April, and discussion here seems to have stalled. Is it time for another MfD, or can the AMA bring itself back across the boundary of respectability? Thanks, Martinp23 12:51, 16 May 2007 (UTC)

(comments refactored) and no comment. --CyclePat2 01:30, 17 May 2007 (UTC)
I'm currently busy with the most obscure case I ever had... (a mediation, I wanted to rest a bit from arbitrations)... But, yes, it seems everything is stopped. --Neigel von Teighen 12:35, 17 May 2007 (UTC)
Lets be honest... you decided to try and implement changes without understanding the system. We had a list of Advocates with their names and opinions listed. If anyone had a question they could contact them. I would recieve all my cases by this method... now... none... And as I've told everyone here, I'm not interested in filling out some silly AMA report. By removing our list of advocates you have reduced the number of people that actually help out and increased the number of cases. However we have not gained any new AMA members lately... in fact, I think we even lost some.
I vote that the coordinator should be replaced for failure to properly defend our AMA association. A new election should take place and should be public announced to each AMA member individually and to the wikipedia community. Does anyone second this proposition? --CyclePat 05:24, 23 May 2007 (UTC)p.s.: as for emailing or contacting each AMA member I suggest we implement a pyramid. Contact 5 member and ask those 5 to contact 5 more. Try to keep track of the delay to respond and we can place this as a descriptor on the AMA member. Let's work with the current AMA members list page.--CyclePat 05:24, 23 May 2007 (UTC)
  1. I restored the old members list.
  2. Cycle, I'm with you. I'll contact 5 members with a message asking for contacting 5 other members.
  3. I pre-nominate myself as candidate for coordinator. --Neigel von Teighen 08:34, 23 May 2007 (UTC)
  • Subject to concensus being reached on whether to hold an election, I would be happy to be an independent observer or advisor to the AMA, should I be needed. I am no longer a member, and was formerly a deputy co-ordinator so would be unable to vote for a co-ordinator. Wikiwoohoo 15:52, 23 May 2007 (UTC)
I endorse Neigel von Teighen for the position of co-ordinator. WaltonAssistance! 19:03, 23 May 2007 (UTC)
Thank you again, Walton; but before electing we must get an election first! --Neigel von Teighen 13:10, 24 May 2007 (UTC)
I also endorse Nigel as coordinator... he's got a kinder and much more politically correct side then I do!! --CyclePat 01:53, 25 May 2007 (UTC)