Wikipedia:Community response to the Wikimedia Foundation's ban of Fram

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User:Fram banned for 1 year by WMF office[edit]

This section holds the original announcement of Fram's one-year ban on the bureaucrats' noticeboard, and the comments of many editors. Most of these comments were made prior to follow-up statements from Fram and the WMF and may be outdated. Further discussion probably belongs in a newer section of this page.

Fram (talk · contribs · logs · block log) Please note admin User:Fram has been banned for 1 year as per Office action policy by User:WMFOffice. - Pharaoh of the Wizards (talk) 17:56, 10 June 2019 (UTC)

What the hell? There had better be a damn good explanation; Fram is arguably the best admin in Wikipedia's history, and while I can imagine problems so bad they warrant an emergency WP:OFFICE ban without discussion, I find it hard to imagine problems that are simultaneously so bad they warrant an emergency ban without discussion but simultaneously so unproblematic that the ban will auto-expire in a year. ‑ Iridescent 18:01, 10 June 2019 (UTC)
And also only applicable to enwiki, meaning Fram can communicate on other wikis. I note that the WMF only recently gave themselves the power to do partial bans/temporary bans.. Galobtter (pingó mió) 18:09, 10 June 2019 (UTC)
Galobtter - Any clue about whether Fram's ban is the first exercise in implementing these or have other editors been subject to these P-bans, earlier? WBGconverse 18:43, 10 June 2019 (UTC)
Winged Blades of Godric, first on enwiki at least per User:WMFOffice contributions, I checked de wiki and found some more de:Special:Contributions/WMFOffice; the timing of those dewiki bans suggests the policy was put into place to ban those two people. Galobtter (pingó mió) 18:47, 10 June 2019 (UTC)
@Winged Blades of Godric: It is not. The first WMF partial bans were done in German Wikipedia. The earliest that I know of is Judith Wahr in February. Policy regarding partial bans were added around the same time (about two hours prior to the bans' implementation). -★- PlyrStar93 Message me. 18:50, 10 June 2019 (UTC)
I don't want to import drama from other projects into here but is there any more public info (i.e. discussed on de.wikipedia in a public location and still available) on what went on there? As mentioned, the timing of the policy change suggests it was likely at least partly done to allow a block of that specific user. Given the way the WMF stepped in, I expected something similar to here, may be an experienced editor who was blocked. But they only seem to have around 900 edits. True the ban there was indef though unlike this one and it doesn't seem the editor is particularly interested in editing elsewhere however as others said, it was technically also only a partial ban since it didn't affect other projects suggesting whatever it is wasn't severe enough to prevent editing any WMF projects. Nil Einne (talk) 06:49, 11 June 2019 (UTC)
I suspect this isn't going anywhere further but for the benefit of others I had a quick look at machine translations of one of the discussions linked and think that possibly the account linked above was just one of the accounts the editor used which may explain the low edit count. Nil Einne (talk) 10:19, 11 June 2019 (UTC)
See #FYI: Similar incident in de.wp some months ago. Which reminded me of something I'd read about but completely forgot when replying. It sounds like the editor concerned was already either blocked or banned by the community so it probably wasn't quite like here where plenty feel any ban of the editor concerned is unjusitified. Of course concerns over WMF's over reach or getting unnecessarily involved in project governance as well as other issues like the WMF ban unlike the community block or ban being unappealable still arose. Nil Einne (talk) 22:02, 11 June 2019 (UTC)
I'm with you on this. Fram and I have butted heads a time or two (I think?) but I just am trying to wrap my mind around a decision like this with no real explanation. I understand the nature of WMFOffice blocks but I would think that anything egregious enough for an emergency decision like this would have had some indication prior to it happening, like a community discussion about bad behavior or abuse of tools which would reveal PII (os, cu), but Fram was neither of those. I can't seem to think of a single thing that would warrant such unilateral action that could also result in only a one year ban (as opposed to indefinite, if that makes sense) and so narrowly focused on one local project. Praxidicae (talk) 18:06, 10 June 2019 (UTC)
Going to echo this as well. This is a very cryptic block, which seems very hard to tie to any public behaviour. Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 19:01, 10 June 2019 (UTC)
Yes, saying "email us" is not sufficient explanation for banning a well-known veteran editor and admin like this.-- Pawnkingthree (talk) 18:10, 10 June 2019 (UTC)
Per Iri. It's also so unproblematic that he's not banned on any other WMF projects?! Banning from only seems like something ArbCom gets to do, not WMF. And I see he's already been desysopped by WMF, instead of locally, too. If there are privacy issues involved, I certainly don't need to know what's going on, but I do want ArbCom informed of what is going on and get their public assurance that they agree with the action, and this isn't bullshit. They even preemptively removed talk page access. --Floquenbeam (talk) 18:11, 10 June 2019 (UTC)
User:Whatamidoing (WMF), I know you're heartily sick of my pinging you, but if ever there was a situation that needed an explanation from Commmunity Relations, this is it. ‑ Iridescent 18:13, 10 June 2019 (UTC)
This is T&S business and I am not sure if Community Relations knows better. — regards, Revi 18:14, 10 June 2019 (UTC)
Which goes back to my original point: if it's egregious enough (T&S) to warrant a unilateral decision like that, why only a year? Praxidicae (talk) 18:15, 10 June 2019 (UTC)
(edit conflict) If it's a T&S issue, then why is he still trusted on every other project, and why is it simultaneously so urgent it needs to be done instantly without discussion, but so unproblematic it expires after a year? "We're the WMF, we can do what we like" may be technically true, but the WMF only exists on the back of our work; absent some kind of explanation this looks like a clear-cut case of overreach. As Floq says, if there's an issue here that can't be discussed publicly then fine, but given the history of questionable decisions by the WMF I'm not buying it unless and until I see a statement from Arbcom that they're aware of the circumstances and concur with the actions taken. ‑ Iridescent 18:20, 10 June 2019 (UTC)
I've asked ArbCom to comment at WT:AC/N. --Floquenbeam (talk) 18:26, 10 June 2019 (UTC)
  • WTF? Echo everything that Iri says. WBGconverse 18:25, 10 June 2019 (UTC)
  • As above. I am not Fram's biggest fan (the feeling is more than mutual, don't worry) but when I saw this in my watchlist it was an actual spoken 'WTF' moment. We need a good explanation, quickly. GiantSnowman 18:50, 10 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Office has full-protected Fram's TP in the midst of this discussion; it is hard to believe they do not know it's going on, but certainly easier to believe that they feel they can ignore it. 2A02:C7F:BE76:B700:C9AE:AA89:159B:8D17 (talk) 18:52, 10 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Like everyone else, I simply fail to understand why the Foundation would ban a good-standing admin for no apparent reason. funplussmart (talk) 18:52, 10 June 2019 (UTC)
  • T&S: training and simulation? Very confused. Talk English please. DrKay (talk) 18:53, 10 June 2019 (UTC)
  • A big ‘ole whiskey tango from me too. –xenotalk 19:03, 10 June 2019 (UTC)
  • I've put a note on meta:User talk:JEissfeldt (WMF), I believe that is the place for a wiki-talkpage-request. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 19:05, 10 June 2019 (UTC)
  • (moved from an) Holy shit, what? That’s insane. It appears that their admin rights have also been removed... can only wmf restore the rights, or will fram have to go through an rfa?💵Money💵emoji💵💸 19:06, 10 June 2019 (UTC)
    Neither; this is a WP:OFFICE action so we can't overturn it. Per my comments above, I can't even imagine the circumstances in which this is legitimate, since if it were genuinely something so problematic he needed to be banned instantly without discussion, it would be something warranting a global rather than a local ban, and permanent rather than time-limited. ‑ Iridescent 19:09, 10 June 2019 (UTC)
  • "HELLO? IS THIS THING WORKING???" Explanation required. The Rambling Man (talk) 19:13, 10 June 2019 (UTC)
  • I sent a note to the WMF email address listed on User:Fram and asked for an explanation. I would suggest that perhaps other people might want to do the same. I imagine that T&S has valid reasons, but I believe that some sort of summary explanation to the community, at a minimum, is called for in this case. UninvitedCompany 19:15, 10 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Uh, yeah. Explanation required, please WMF. The fact he's only been banned from and not globally locked suggests it's regarding something that's happened regarding this wiki. So, we're waiting. Black Kite (talk) 19:22, 10 June 2019 (UTC)
    In the absence of any explanation, the cynic in me guesses that at some point in the next 12 months the WMF are going to reattempt to introduce the forced integration of either Wikidata, VisualEditor or Superprotect, and are trying to pre-emptively nobble the most vocal critic of forced changes to the interface. ‑ Iridescent 19:25, 10 June 2019 (UTC)
    Don’t forget Media Viewer —pythoncoder (talk | contribs) 23:56, 10 June 2019 (UTC)
    @Iridescent: The cynic in you has some evidence in its favor ... . * Pppery * it has begun... 19:41, 10 June 2019 (UTC)
    This is worth quoting in full: This priority will focus on deeper evolutions to the core product — integrating content from Commons, Wikidata, Wikisource and other projects into Wikipedia. This will be accompanied by rich authoring tools and content creation mechanisms for editors that build upon new capabilities in AI-based content generation, structured data, and rich media to augment the article format with new, dynamic knowledge experiences. New form factors will come to life here as the outcomes of earlier experimentation. We will showcase these developments in a launch for Wikipedia’s 20th birthday in 2021. Nice of them to ask if we wanted this, isn't it? ‑ Iridescent 19:46, 10 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Actually, if the WMF office knew anything, they knew this would blow up. So waiting is inappropriate really, they should have already been in a position to respond immediately to this. The Rambling Man (talk) 19:26, 10 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Bureaucrat note: (and response to User:Money emoji) While it is useful to have a notice here about this action, there isn't really anything for 'crats to do right now. The WMF Office action indicates a 1 year prohibition on administrator access at this time that we would not override. Per the administrator policy, former administrators may re-request adminship subsequent to voluntary removal. As Fram's sysop access removal is not recorded as "voluntary", the way I see it is that a new RfA, after the prohibition period, would be the path to regaining admin access (outside of another WMF Office action). — xaosflux Talk 19:29, 10 June 2019 (UTC)
  • At ths point I don't even care about the reasoning but there is no way that the WMF can claim this is preventative. If it's so bad that WMF had to act in what appears to be a local matter, why is there no concern about this a year from now? Why, if whatever happened is so bad, is there no concern about ill intent on the hundreds of other projects Fram could edit? I'm not suggesting Fram be indeffed but I think some transparency from WMF is needed here, the optics are very bad and no matter which way I connect the dots on this, it seems extremely punitive. Praxidicae (talk) 19:30, 10 June 2019 (UTC)
    • Well, the term "Poisoning the Well" comes to mind. Fram comes back, has to go through an RFA if they want the tools back (where they did a hell of a lot of good on preventing shitty code and tools from being unleashed here). There is a substantial population here that will vote against them simply because of this action, being right or not. spryde | talk 22:31, 10 June 2019 (UTC)
      • Yes, WMF has poisoned the well and provided precisely zero justification for doing so. Heinous. The Rambling Man (talk) 22:33, 10 June 2019 (UTC)
    @Praxidicae: this has the comment I most agree with on the subject. It never was preventative, and I think that being the case is what caused much of the stir. –MJLTalk 13:19, 11 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Yeah,a big whiskey tango foxtrot from me as well. What the hell are they playing at? Reyk YO! 19:41, 10 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Could this have been self-requested? I can't imagine T&S saying yes, but you never know. In any case, piling on here. An explanation is required. Without one, people will assume the worst, either about Fram, or the WMF. I'm ashamed to admit my mind already went to same place as Iridescent's. Suffusion of Yellow (talk) 19:48, 10 June 2019 (UTC)
    Speculation can take us anywhere of course. Keep in mind there could be additional T&S terms that we are unaware of (such as a speculative "may not hold admin or above access on any project for a year") - functionally, enwiki is the only project where advanced access provisioned, so may have been the only one where rights modifications was warranted. — xaosflux Talk 19:51, 10 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Add me to the list of those who said "WTF" out loud after seeing this. The scope of the ban is baffling, too; if Fram has violated the terms of use, why only a year, and why only the English Wikipedia? If they haven't, then why a ban at all? Also, the WMF is doubtless aware that Fram was an admin with a long an prolific history of productive editing. Any office action against them was always going to be controversial; so why wait to post a statement at all? I see that the bans were also to a single wikimedia project; but I haven't enough German to find any subsequent discussion. Vanamonde (Talk) 19:52, 10 June 2019 (UTC)
  • WTF???? I wasn't aware of any misconduct from Fram that warranted this. I'm eager to know what prompted this ban.—CYBERPOWER (Chat) 20:01, 10 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Early betting at Wikipediocracy is that this is preliminary to some sort of centralized imposition of either Superprotect or Flow or Visual Editor, Fram being one of the most outspoken critics of WMF technological incompetence and bureaucratic overreach -- not that there is much room for debate about that at this point. I share the views expressed above: we need answers. Carrite (talk) 20:04, 10 June 2019 (UTC)
    Which is clearly way outside any "office actions". That's called "repression" where I come from, should it be in any sense true. The Rambling Man (talk) 20:11, 10 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Every block needs to be given a reasonable explanation. Without an explanation, we cannot know if a block is valid or not. This entire situation is suspect until an explanation is given. ―Susmuffin Talk 20:07, 10 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Since it doesnt appear anyone has asked the question: Has anyone asked Fram? I am sure at least one of the admins and/or arbcom has had off-wiki correspondence with them at some point. While obviously asking the subject of a ban for their version of events has its own drawbacks, in absence of any other information.... Only in death does duty end (talk) 20:08, 10 June 2019 (UTC)
    Yes, no reply. The Rambling Man (talk) 20:10, 10 June 2019 (UTC)
    I've already asked on Commons (where he's not banned) if he wants to make any public statement, and offered to cut-and-paste it across if he does. Technically that would be proxying for a banned editor, but I very much doubt the WMF wants the shit mountain banning Fram and me in the same week would cause. ‑ Iridescent 20:11, 10 June 2019 (UTC)
    I'll do it, then no harm no foul if TRM gets permanently banned. The Rambling Man (talk) 20:13, 10 June 2019 (UTC)
    Well I pinged him before you posted this and offered same. I have no fucks to give and lets see if he likes me more ;) In more seriousness, I am concerned that the WMF has enacted a wiki-specific limited-time ban, which indicates two things: Firstly its a local en-wp issue, possibly linked to a specific ENWP individual editor, and secondly that its punishment not a genuine concern for safety. If it was, you would just ban someone permanently, and from all wikimedia projects. Only in death does duty end (talk) 20:14, 10 June 2019 (UTC)
    To expand a little on the above: I want the WMF to ban editors permanently if there is a *safety* issue. I dont want them interfering in local wikis because someone got their feelings hurt. If they want to do that, they can do the rest of the work policing the userbase too. Only in death does duty end (talk) 20:18, 10 June 2019 (UTC)
  • (edit conflict) So what, are they repressing people with no explanation now? What did they violate? SemiHypercube 20:12, 10 June 2019 (UTC)
    SemiHypercube, disappearing people without explanation is accepted practice at Wikipedia in extreme circumstances; there are sometimes good reasons we want someone gone and don't want to discuss it publicly for their own privacy's sake. What's unique here is that the WMF are saying that Fram is untrustworthy here, but trustworthy on every other WMF project, and will become trustworthy here in exactly 365 days' time, both of which are confusing to say the least. ‑ Iridescent 20:16, 10 June 2019 (UTC)
    Not to mention that "disappearing" someone like Fram is going to cause a shitstorm, unlike the Great Purge, where you just purged those causing the shitstorm too. I'm afraid to say, and Arbcom may now ban me forever, but this looks like incompetence of the highest order by WMF. The Rambling Man (talk) 20:30, 10 June 2019 (UTC)
  • People I trust say this is warranted, but I do object that this was communicated to stewards and not the local ArbCom. Most users don’t even know what a steward is, and the local arb with the least support here has more voters for them than even the most popular steward. Stewards do great work and I trust them and have a good working relationship with them, but local only blocks should be disclosed to the local ArbCom, not a global user group that is mostly behind the scenes on This action was guaranteed to get local pushback, and having users who were trusted locally be able to explain it. I’m someone who has a good relationship with the WMF and stewards, and as I said, from what I’ve been told by sensible people this was justified, but if I was trying to think of a better way to make the WMF intentionally look bad on their biggest project, I couldn’t. TonyBallioni (talk) 20:14, 10 June 2019 (UTC)
    I can not recall a single instance an explanation was given in the case of WMF ban (and being active on Commons, I have seen them a lot). I do not expect this situation to be different.--Ymblanter (talk) 20:18, 10 June 2019 (UTC)
    Stewards are informed the reason for every WMF ban, including this one. They can’t say what it is, but considering that this was such an extraordinary event, letting the local group that would be most comparable know the reason would have been the very least that could have been done. Then an arb could say “We’ve seen why and it’s warranted.” TonyBallioni (talk) 20:21, 10 June 2019 (UTC)
    TonyBallioni, given that it only affects en-wiki it must relate to en-wiki. I no longer have Magic Oversight Goggles, but can see nothing remotely problematic in Fram's contributions or deleted contributions in the past month; is there anything in the contributions of Fram (or User:EngFram, who the WMF have also ejected) that raises the slightest concern? (You obviously don't need to specify.) ‑ Iridescent 20:25, 10 June 2019 (UTC)
    Iridescent, I don’t see any recent suppressed contributions that raise red flags. I don’t know any more than anyone else other than “Yes, this was intentional, and yes, it looks valid” from people who are generally sensible. Of the WMF departments, T&S is usually one of the most sensible. My objection here is that I know they’re pretty sensible because I’ve worked with them in the past on other things and trust them. Most users don’t know that T&S is any different than [insert pet bad idea from the WMF here] and so communicating with the local ArbCom so at least some name recognition here could say they know why. TonyBallioni (talk) 20:40, 10 June 2019 (UTC)
Pretty sure WMF has never made a unilateral decision on a local matter that resulted in a long term editor and sysop being removed for local issues either. So...Praxidicae (talk) 20:21, 10 June 2019 (UTC)
TonyBallioni, now that at least Fram's side is out, do you still trust those people? spryde | talk 13:42, 11 June 2019 (UTC)
  • This might sound a bit like conspiracy theory nonsense but has anyone checked to see if WMFOffice is compromised? Ivanvector (Talk/Edits) 20:22, 10 June 2019 (UTC)
    Ivanvector, I was thinking something similar but that seems unlikely, as stewards have indicated that the ban was justified, and the wmfoffice account doesn't seem compromised, based on its edits. 💵Money💵emoji💵💸 20:39, 10 June 2019 (UTC)
  • I've emailed them - I suggest everyone do the same to push some weight on that route. There are actions that could warrant this - but they'd have to be confident it was Fram not a compromised account. That normally requires a bit of time consideration. Which let's us ask...why such a dramatic sudden action . ARBCOM can handle off-wiki information, so that's even fewer possible actions that could lead to this. We should also ask ARBCOM to discuss it at their monthly chat - I suspect several requests from us would have more impact. Nosebagbear (talk) 20:29, 10 June 2019 (UTC)
    Yes yes, I emailed them hours ago. Nothing at all, of course. I do wonder how much thought went into this on behalf of WMF. Perhaps the UK government have paid them to create some kind distraction from Brexit? It's probably the only rational explanation. The Rambling Man (talk) 20:33, 10 June 2019 (UTC)
It does not matter at this point what the action was as WMF acted only in a local capacity and not the global capacity that they should act under. There is no action as far as I'm concerned that would warrant WMF Office involvement in just a local project, this is black and white in my opinion and if Fram's behavior (or non-behavior, considering we don't know what has happened) was a problem only for the English Wikipedia, it should have been dealt with by measures that are in place on the English Wikipedia and not by a WMF employee/global group acting as a rogue arbcom. Praxidicae (talk) 20:31, 10 June 2019 (UTC)
From WP:OFFICE, the WMF have the right to ban from a single project on the grounds of Repeated misconduct within a single Foundation-supported project, with considerable impact either on that project overall or on individual contributors who are active in that project., but that seems unlikely here, and if there were some kind of misconduct going on, if it were at the level the WMF needed to intervene I'd expect the ban to be permanent. ‑ Iridescent 20:37, 10 June 2019 (UTC)
Ditto, see my comments above. If T&S have to be involved, why are they doing time-limited bans? Thats how ENWP deals with serial problem users. If its a T&S issue they should either not be involved in day-to-day misbehaviour or should be enacting permanent bans. Time-limited either indicates its punishment or that its not an issue that rises to T&S level. Only in death does duty end (talk) 20:44, 10 June 2019 (UTC)
  • So, are we technically prevented from unblocking? Tiderolls 20:36, 10 June 2019 (UTC)
    Not in a software sense, but the WMF will insta-desysop anyone who overturns them. ‑ Iridescent 20:38, 10 June 2019 (UTC)
    Then they need to get their collective asses in gear before someone does something regrettable. Tiderolls 20:43, 10 June 2019 (UTC)
    Not really. I agree that the shroud of darkness around this matter is regrettable (they haven't even gone to the extent of telling us "we can't tell you anything" yet...), but as long as we sit on the WMF's servers then we as a community are ultimately powerless to do anything about this. We can ask the question, but if we don't like the answer then our only options are to (a) keep quiet and toe the line, or (b) fork the whole encyclopedia under CC licence on to a new set of servers... (and if Wikivoyage vs Wikitravel is anything to go by, such an exercise would probably not end up a success).  — Amakuru (talk) 20:49, 10 June 2019 (UTC)
    Everything you post is true, Amakuru, and I'm still open to the fact that WMF's silence to Fram's advantage. My point is just because the WMF can take an action, doesn't necessarily mean the should take that action. Tiderolls 21:03, 10 June 2019 (UTC)
    Was that fork borne of a constitutional crisis? –xenotalk 20:53, 10 June 2019 (UTC)
    Actually, Wikivoyage was a fork of Wikitravel, not the other way around. (See Wikitravel#Community fork in 2012). * Pppery * it has begun... 20:58, 10 June 2019 (UTC)
    @Amakuru: - there is one other step we've seen before. In the wake of the Superprotect saga, and the failure of the Community board members to act, all three were replaced. But before we get that far, and waiting on T&S' "we can't tell you anything for your own good" - perhaps we reach out both to community liasions and to our board members? Nosebagbear (talk) 20:57, 10 June 2019 (UTC)
    Indeed, if a sufficient number of admins agree this should be reversed, WMF will be committing suicide to act against them. This will go to the press (I can guarantee that given questions I've received offwiki) and WMF will look stoopids. The Rambling Man (talk) 20:55, 10 June 2019 (UTC)
    (edit conflict) @Xeno: The details are here... "excessive monetisation of the site (a plan to put links to a booking engine on every page was one example) and the poor and worsening technical support offered by the site's owners" is given as the main reason. So maybe a sort of ongoing low-level constitutional crisis? The trouble is, it hasn't really worked. Last time I checked Wikitravel always appears way further up the Google hits than WV, and has more daily edits.  — Amakuru (talk) 20:59, 10 June 2019 (UTC)
    User:Amakuru actually Wikivoyage is now significantly more popular than Wikitravel and has received way more edits for a long time :-) Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 03:39, 11 June 2019 (UTC)
    I don't think forking has ever really worked in the long run. See, for example, Enciclopedia Libre Universal en Español. It would probably work even less here given that the English Wikipedia is the world's 5th-(?)largest website and that any fork would likely fizzle. – John M Wolfson (talkcontribs) 21:36, 10 June 2019 (UTC)
    Do you think enwp would fare any better if the unpaid administration went on a general strike? –xenotalk 22:04, 10 June 2019 (UTC)
    I think it would earn immeasurable respect for unblocking Fram and dealing with the consequences. The Rambling Man (talk) 22:06, 10 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Does anyone know of any T&S team members who would be responsive to the community? Surely one of them has to be a reasonable human being that we can actually communicate with? I find it hard to believe that "Trust" & Safety has no problem (further) decimating community relations without any attempt at damage control. Then again, WMF never fails to disappoint in these situations. ~Swarm~ {sting} 20:51, 10 June 2019 (UTC)
    The whole lot of them are listed here (you need to scroll down to reach T&S); pick one you think looks trustworthy. ‑ Iridescent 20:55, 10 June 2019 (UTC)
    40% of the T&S team don't trust us to let us know what they look like. Enough said. The Rambling Man (talk) 20:57, 10 June 2019 (UTC)
    Not entirely fair—40% of them just haven't copied their photo across from Meta yet (e.g. here's what Sydney Poore looks like). ‑ Iridescent 21:00, 10 June 2019 (UTC)
    Not that it is important for this matter now, but Karen Brown is the same person as Fluffernutter--Ymblanter (talk) 21:24, 10 June 2019 (UTC)
    Also, Sydney Poore is FloNight and her picture is on her user page. (talk) 07:06, 11 June 2019 (UTC)
  • WP:AGF says we should assume good faith on the part of editors. Absent of any further information from the WMF (or indication that there are privacy issues involved), my default assumption is that he did nothing wrong. Unless the WMF issues a real explanation, there's no proof that this isn't just the WMF trying to suppress criticism of its various failed experiments. Also, on any other wiki, site administration acting this tyranically would be a forkable offense. —pythoncoder (talk | contribs) 00:12, 11 June 2019 (UTC)
  • (self-removed) Legoktm (talk) 02:10, 11 June 2019 (UTC)
    Noting that you are *employed* by WMF. WBGconverse 02:12, 11 June 2019 (UTC)
    I'm a software engineer with a part-time contract with the WMF (technically not an employee), though I've been a Wikipedian for much longer, and it's in that role that I'm writing here. Legoktm (talk) 02:39, 11 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Based on my interactions and what I've observed on-wiki, it's easy for me see multiple people sending complaints to the WMF - just because those people aren't speaking up here, doesn't mean they don't exist. (my third attempt at leaving a comment here.) Legoktm (talk) 03:18, 11 June 2019 (UTC)
    Overly harsh and punitive blocks are rarely never a good idea. Even when the reasons for blocking are clear. I'm sure Fram must feel he has been treated very unjustly. Martinevans123 (talk) 19:20, 11 June 2019 (UTC)
  • +1 to the "WTF?" camp - I cannot wrap my head around how or even why a veteran admin such as Fram was blocked by the WMFOffice.... I also find it slightly bizarre that the block only goes on for a year and not indef ? (Not that I want it indef but I just find it odd and somewhat pointless). –Davey2010Talk 19:30, 11 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Just recently we ran into Guido den Broeder on Commons who immediately started to accuse me of having been canvassed by Fram. (which I wasn't) I suspect Lyrda is a sock of Guido (Guido refuses to even deny it) and Lyrda's talk page contains the note "I have revoked your talk page access after phony claims of rape". Did they proceed to do something to get Fram banned? I can't say for sure. All I'm saying is, I don't like the smell of any of this. - Alexis Jazz 19:10, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Guido is already confirmed as a sockpuppeteer, many times in fact, so that's no news. Also confirmed as lying about their socking. Blocked, unblocked and quickly reblocked. And if I was wrong about Lyrda, they would have no reason not to deny it. - Alexis Jazz 22:42, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
  • I don't understand this by the way. If Fram has done something terrible and unforgivable, they should be blocked indef. If they didn't, WMF should let the community handle it. What possible purpose does a 1-year ban serve here? - Alexis Jazz 22:42, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
  • WOAH WHAT?!?! That ban took place while I was on a wikibreak. I never see anything controversial that involves Fram at all. Looking at the statements, I don't see what rules Fram has violated or caused controversy on. INeedSupport :3 21:33, 15 June 2019 (UTC)
  • This is a cancer, not an injury. I hope the community looks at this issue in the context of epidemic crackdowns on freedom of speech throughout our world by millions of bureaucratic fiefdoms, big and little. You see, unless we all start paying attention to all of the widespread crackdowns on freedom of speech, thought, and press (Assange, perhaps); wherever they might be, the foundation of our freedoms will be washed away 1 little stone at a time. To quote Dylan, "something is happening here but you don't know what it is, Do you, Mr. Jones."
I will tell you exactly what is going on, imo. We, the people, are being systematically brainwashed into giving up ( not having them taken away ) all of our precious freedoms of thought, speech, press and association, and its not just some kind of happenstance. It is an orchestrated self perpetuating cultural shift away from aspirational and community empowered governing bodies toward protective, moralizing and pushy governing bodies.
Voltaire said "the comfort of the rich depends upon an abundance of the poor". I'd say, the power of the top 1/1000 of 1 % depends upon a shallow, self centred and limited focus by us, the masses of people. Its a huge error in judgment and perspective to look at this Fram event as an isolated event; its just part of an injected cancer that's spreading into and around every single aspect and segment of humanity. Its actually trite to call it "evil"; I'd call it an aggressive and global and terminal attack upon every speck of potential goodness that rests within our collective human spirit.
You must force yourselves to open your eyes to see this incident as just 1 little cancer cell amongst millions; you must recognise and attack the totality of the cancer and must create and/or join a global force to do that. The current banning/& lack of transparency is like a mosquito bite; its the cancer that needs your attention. If you look at it that way, the way to deal with the mosquito will be obvious. Nocturnalnow (talk) 23:57, 15 June 2019 (UTC)

Statement from the WMF Trust & Safety Team[edit]

(edit conflict) Dear members of the English Wikipedia community,

We have been approached by several volunteers with questions concerning the recent Office Action, the time-limited partial Foundation ban of User:Fram covering your project. As we saw similar questions also being asked in your discussions around the project, including here, we thought it is most accessible to interested community members to provide clarifications publicly here:

  • What made the Foundation take action at all and why at this specific time?
    • As described on the Metapage about Office actions, we investigate the need for an office action either upon receipt of complaints from the community, or as required by law. In this case we acted on complaints from the community.
    • All office actions are only taken after a thorough investigation, and extensive review by staff. This process usually takes about four weeks.
    • Office actions are covering individuals and not just individual user accounts. Therefore, the measure covers more than one user account in this case.
  • Who made the complaint to the Foundation?
    • The Foundation always aims to be as transparent as possible with office actions. However, as outlined in the general information section of the office actions page, we also prioritize the safety of involved parties and legal compliance. Therefore, we do not disclose who submitted community complaints.
  • Why did the Foundation only ban for a year?
    • As part of the Improving Trust and Safety processes program, less intrusive office actions were introduced. Those options include time-limited and partial (project-specific) bans to address serious concerns that are, however, temporary or project-specific in nature. For example, if a user has been problematic on one project in particular while contributing without concerns to another community wiki, this can now be addressed in a more targeted way than a full Foundation global ban.
  • Why did the Foundation de-sysop? Does this mean that Fram will not be an administrator when his ban ends in 2020?
    • The removal of administrator access is intended as enforcement of the temporary partial Foundation ban placed on Fram. It is the community’s decision what to do with Fram’s administrator access upon the expiration of the Office Action ban.
  • What kind of appeal is possible against this office action?
    • As a this time-limited Foundation ban is an outcome of a regular office action investigation, it is governed by the same rules already familiar from Foundation global bans: it does not offer an opportunity to appeal.

As the team carrying out office action investigations, Trust and Safety starts cases from the position that it is up to volunteers to decide for themselves how they spend their free time within the frame of the Terms of Use and the local community’s rules provided for in section 10 of them. The Terms of Use do not distinguish whether a user participates by creating and curating content, building tools and gadgets for peers doing so, helping out as a functionary handling admin, checkuser or oversight tools or in other forms. However, on occasion community members submit evidence strongly indicating cases where local communities consistently struggle to uphold not just their own autonomous rules but the Terms of Use, too. We will continue to consider these rare cases brought to our attention under the framework of the office actions policy. Best regards, WMFOffice (talk) 20:58, 10 June 2019 (UTC)

However, on occasion community members submit evidence strongly indicating cases where local communities consistently struggle to uphold not just their own autonomous rules but the Terms of Use, too. We will continue to consider these rare cases brought to our attention under the framework of the office actions policy. So does that mean you have determined that the ENWP's community failed to uphold its own rules or the TOU in relation to Fram, despite no actual case, action or report being raised against Fram on ENWP? Only in death does duty end (talk) 21:02, 10 June 2019 (UTC)
Of all the non-answers I've seen in my life, that's possibly one of the most long winded. Reyk YO! 21:08, 10 June 2019 (UTC)
Award-winning. The Rambling Man (talk) 21:09, 10 June 2019 (UTC)
Oooh, this sounds like a whole new way of getting rid of people we don't like... without going through the tedium of due process, ANI, ArbCom or anything. Just badger the WMF with complaints and, hey presto, the user is vanished. Winning!  — Amakuru (talk) 21:16, 10 June 2019 (UTC)
This is the most vague statement/response I have ever seen. WMF has mostly described the policies like when, and they can block/ban some individual (not one account by the way [by the way, that made me go: bwahaha]), but they still have not adequately explained why did they ban Fram. —usernamekiran(talk) 20:45, 29 June 2019 (UTC)

@WMFOffice: What was it about this complaint that meant it required investigation and action by WMF Trust and Safety instead of enwiki's ArbCom? If you cannot state this publicly (even in general terms), please send an explanation to ArbCom's private mailing list so they can confirm that there were good reasons for this action to be handled in this matter. WJBscribe (talk) 22:47, 10 June 2019 (UTC)

@WMFOffice:: However, on occasion community members submit evidence strongly indicating cases where local communities consistently struggle to uphold not just their own autonomous rules but the Terms of Use, too. We will continue to consider these rare cases brought to our attention under the framework of the office actions policy. Is this such a case? Do you feel enwiki is currently "consistently struggling to uphold not just their own autonomous rules but the Terms of Use", and if so, how? We can and have drastically revised policy in the past to meet the requirements set by WP:OFFICE, but if you don't tell us what's wrong, we can't fix it; and I think it's clear at this point that parachuting in to ban a longtime user with no explanation isn't going to help that underlying situation at all. We need details about how you feel enwiki is falling short and what we would need to change to reach the point where disruptive action like this from outside the community is no longer needed. I think there's a lot of people who would be willing to tighten our rules on harassment and civility if you would make it clear how you want us to do so and set some baseline requirements we need to enforce; but trying to go it alone by stepping in to handle occasional high-profile cases is counterproductive, since it can't possibly scale up to the point where it protects the userbase as a whole and produces backlashes that make broad-based reform more difficult. What I assume you feel we need are changes to Wikipedia's culture and policies; this ban isn't going to help with that, especially given the frustrating lack of meaningful dialog afterwards in terms of what you feel we're doing wrong. --Aquillion (talk) 03:42, 26 June 2019 (UTC)

  • Trust and Safety starts cases from the position that it is up to volunteers to decide for themselves how they spend their free time... — I'll tell ya how I'm not spending my free time: that's editing Wikipedia until resolution of this incursion by San Francisco on behalf of a well-connected power player over the head of the community's established discipline procedures. The lame semi-punt to ArbCom is not enough, the ban should be ended forthwith. Carrite (talk) 04:24, 16 July 2019 (UTC)

Fram's response on Commons[edit]

Thank you to everyone who commented at the various discussions or sent me an email about this. I'm as baffled about this as any of you, I'll share whatever information I have. i'll not repost full emails, as that is normally not allowed, but I'll try to give a fair assessment.

In April 2018, I received an office email from Kalliope (on behalf of the Trust and Safety team) with a "conduct warning" based on offwiki complaint by unnamed editors. "I have taken a look at several conflicts you’ve had over the years with other community members as well as Foundation staff, and I have noticed increasing levels of hostility, aggressive expression—some of which, to the point of incivility—and counterproductive escalations." The "as well as Foundation staff" is quite telling here...

In March 2019, I received a "reminder" about two edits I made in October 2018 (!); this one and this one. Even though acknowledging that my edits were correct, and that "We remain convinced that the activity on Laura’s articles listed above was not intended to intimidate or make her feel uncomfortable." (which is true, as I was, as is most often the case, new page patrolling when I tagged and corrected these), they issued a one-sided interaction ban (yep, the WMF issues interaction bans as well apparently, no need to bother enwiki with these any longer).

And then a few hours ago, they posted my one year ban, and helpfully gave the actual reason. Which is one edit, this one. That's it.

"This decision has come following extensive review of your conduct on that project and is an escalation to the Foundation’s past efforts to encourage course correction, including a conduct warning issued to you on April 2018 and a conduct warning reminder issued to you on March 2019. With those actions in mind, this ban has been triggered following your recent abusive communications on the project, as seen here [1].

This action is effective immediately and it is non-appealable."

Basically, after you recive a conduct warning from the Office based on undisclosed complaints, any pretext is then good enough to ban you (1 year now, I presume indef the next time I do anything they don't like). That I just happen to be one of the most vocal and efficient critics of the WMF is probably a pure coincidence (sorry to tout my own horn here, but in this case it needs to be said).

No evidence at all that the enwiki community tried and failed to address these issues. No indication that they noticed that my conduct has clearly improved in general over the last 12 months (I said improved, not been raised to saintly standards). No, an edit expressing widefelt frustration with an ArbCom post is sufficient to ban me.

I would like to state empathically, if someone would have doubts about it, that I have not socked (despite the rather nefarious sounding "Office actions are covering individuals and not just individual user accounts. Therefore, the measure covers more than one user account in this case."), I have not contacted or otherwise followed or bothered anyone offwiki, I have not even contributed to any of the Wikipedia criticism sites or fora (though it does become tempting now), ... Everything I did is visible on enwiki, no privacy issues are involved, and all necessary complaint, investigations, actions, could have been made onwiki.

Basically, this one-year ban is at the same time a means to silence one of their most vocal (and fact-based, consistently supporting WMF criticism with many examples of what goes wrong) critics, and a serious (and unwarranted) blame for the enwiki admin and arbcom community, who are apparently not able to upheld the TOU and to manage the site effectively.

This ban is not open to appeal, so I'll not bother with it: but I most clearly disagree with it and the very flimsy justification for it, and oppose this powergrab by the WMF which can't be bothered to deal with actual serious issues (like the rampant BLP violating vandalism at Wikidata, where e.g. Brett Kavanaugh has since 31 March 2019 the alias "rapist"[2] (A BLP violation whether you agree with the sentiment or not).

I have not the faintest clue why the WMF also couldn't post the justification for their block online, but communication has never been their strongest point.

Any non-violent action taken by enwiki individuals or groups against this WMF ban has my support. If you need more information, feel free to ask. I also allow the WMF to publish our full mail communication (I don't think it contains any personally identifying information about me or others), to give everyone the means to judge this impartially for themselves.

Again, thank you to everyone who expressed their support, especially those who would have reasons to dislike me based on previous interactions. I'm not a model admin or editor, but I believe I was steadily improving. But that's not for enwiki to decide apparently. Fram (talk) 07:27, 11 June 2019 (UTC)

Copying Fram's statement from Commons here. --Pudeo (talk) 08:24, 11 June 2019 (UTC)

  • +clear right so content fills width: no content change. --Mirokado (talk) 17:46, 21 June 2019 (UTC)
"empathically"? I suspect you meant "emphatically". Maproom (talk) 16:18, 6 July 2019 (UTC)

─────────────────────────The particular diff Fram refers to on Kavanaugh's Wikidata entry has been suppressed. However, you can look at the revision history for the past nine months and variations of "creep", "molest" and "rape", plus "white privilege" are evident and visible in numerous other revisions and edit summaries. In other words, Wikidata is no different than Wikipedia, where admins are mindlessly reactive instead of proactive. This helps to explain why, in the end, no one will really care, despite the hundreds of thousands of words expended on this so far. The graphic in another thread below containing the phrase "topics no one cares about" and the scattershot enforcement of policies, one example of which I refer to above, should alert anyone to the fact that this community is not NPOV no matter how hard some may attempt to assert otherwise. Perhaps some of you missed the coincidence of timing of Wikipedia:Wikipedia does not need you being taken to MFD and the parting shot of "Valid project space expression" reflecting consenus in that matter.

Responses by Jimbo (Jimmy Wales)[edit]

  1. "I was entirely unaware of this before just now. I'm reviewing the situation.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 09:07, 11 June 2019 (UTC)"[3]
  2. "[…] Both Doc James and I are on the case, trying to understand what happened here, and the ArbCom is discussing it as well. Drama will not be necessary, but more importantly, drama will not be helpful.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 14:23, 11 June 2019 (UTC)"[4]
  3. "I can assure you that my commitment to, and support of, appropriate principles and our established constitutional order is far far more important than any personal conflict that I may have ever had with anyone. I'm not taking any position on this yet, because the reasonable thing to do is to listen to all sides calmly and come to an understanding of the issues.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 14:24, 11 June 2019 (UTC)"[5]
  4. "I'd like to remind everyone that it is my long established view that all bans are appealable to me. I seldom intervene, even if I have some minor disagreement with a ban, because no major constitutional issues or errors are at stake. It is too early to know what is going on in this particular case, but please if anyone is planning to "fall on their sword" for principle, let it be me. But, I really don't think that will be necessary here. The WMF staff are diligent, thoughtful, and hard working. If an error has been made, I'm sure they will revert and work out procedures to make sure it didn't happen again. If the ban was justified, I'm sure they will find a way to make it clear to - at a minimum, if privacy issues play a role, to me, to the board, and to the Arbitration Committee. Therefore, dramatic action would not be helpful at the present time.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 14:27, 11 June 2019 (UTC)"[6]
  5. "I think you and I can both forecast that a wheel war will not serve as a useful introduction to a calm and reasonable discussion. Give it a little time.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 14:49, 11 June 2019 (UTC)"[7]
  6. "I'd like to remind you that it is not even 9am in California. I think it quite clear that unblocking before they've had a chance to even get into the office will simply serve to escalate matters. I suspect that Fram himself would agree that there is no emergency. Rather than cloud the waters and make it even harder (emotionally) for a backdown (if such is warranted - we don't know yet!), it will be best to take the high road and wait until a more appropriate time.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 15:11, 11 June 2019 (UTC)"[8]
  7. "Yes, I'm firmly recommending that we all relax a notch or two. It's not even 9am in California. There is no emergency here. I have raised the issue with the WMF, and so has Doc James. I am also talking to ArbCom. It is really important that we not take actions to escalate conflict - nor are such actions necessary. If there comes a need for a time for the community to firmly disagree with the WMF and take action, then that time is only after a proper reflection on the full situation, with everyone having a chance to weigh in.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 15:33, 11 June 2019 (UTC)"[9]
  8. "I continue to advise calm and slow movement. Further wheel warring will not be productive and will only tend to escalate matters further. I am recommending the same to WMF, as is Doc James. We are discussing the situation with them in the hopes of finding the right way forward.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 08:10, 12 June 2019 (UTC)"[10]
  9. "Doc James and I have been pursuing this with diligence. I continue to recommend the following to everyone here:
    • Don't wheel war - it isn't going to be helpful in achieving the goals you want, and could actually make it harder
    • Do express your opinions clearly and firmly and factually, with kindness - it's the best way to get your point across
    • Remember that there is no emergency here - the phrase "important but not urgent" fits very well - getting this right and fixing this situation is incredibly important, but it doesn't have to happen in 4 hours (and it also, of course, shouldn't take months)
    • I applaud those who have kept separate in their minds and words the separate issues here. The issue of Fram's behavior and whether desysopping and/or some form of block are appropriate is separate from the "constitutional issue" of process and procedure. Conflating the two would, I fear, only serve to raise emotions.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 08:16, 12 June 2019 (UTC)"[11]
  10. "To be clear, to the best of my knowledge, there haven't been any direct requests by board members to line workers through middle management here. Certainly, James and I are speaking to the board and CEO, not attempting to intervene at that level at all. The board should only operate at the level of broad principles and through the top management, not detailed management of specific issues.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 15:55, 13 June 2019 (UTC)"[12]
  11. "[…] This is not about individual people, this is a question about our constitutional order. This is not about this specific situation, but a much more important and broader question about project governance.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 06:58, 14 June 2019 (UTC)"[13]
  12. "[…] If we characterize this as a clash between ArbCom and the WMF, we are factually in error. It's not as easy as that.
    And of course, if I were to take a dramatic action, some would cheer, and some would scream. And if I go slow and deliberate, some will not like that, either. But it is my way, the only way that I know, and when I stick to slow and thoughtful deliberation I have learned in my life that the outcome is better than if I do something sudden.
    I suppose if I had to decide "whether the community or the foundation is my true heir" I'd go with community. But I actually don't think in that way. My true heir is Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. That's what I think we all care the most about, or anyway it is what we should all care the most about. One of the reasons that Wikipedia has succeeded is that we don't take anything as absolutely permanent. WP:IAR and WP:5P5 spring to mind.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 09:45, 14 June 2019 (UTC)"[14]
  13. "[…] I wasn't trying to contrast or compare the necessity/valuation of the WMF with the community at all. I agree with you that they aren't easily separable, and I also believe that when we fall into a too hasty 'WMF vs community' narrative - either in the community, or in the WMF, we are probably making it harder to see how to optimize and resolve problems.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 13:46, 14 June 2019 (UTC)"[15]
  14. "We on the board are in active conversations. I think you will receive a comprehensive, cogent reply, but we are looking to be thoughtful, reflective, to examine every aspect of this, and neither allow invalid precedent to be set, nor to set invalid precedent. The best way to avoid a bad outcome is to look to first principles, look at what has gone wrong, and to propose a process for healing but also for building a process that works better in the future.
    In those board discussions, I am stating my own views directly and clearly, but it would be inappropriate to share them here and now, because as we all know, there are those who like to engage in "Jimbo said" argumentation, which doesn't clear the air but instead often only creates more heat.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 10:58, 21 June 2019 (UTC)"[16]
  15. "This is pretty accurate as a too-brief summary of the history. This is an edited version of the key sentences as I would put it myself: "Jimbo's goals then were for the community to be self-sustaining and self-governing such that it would fulfill its mission with less of his involvement as time went on. It was never a goal for the WMF to have any sort of authority over or involvement in community or content decisions beyond the removal of libellous material and copyright violations and other limited actions for public safety of various kinds, which the WMF took on for reasons of compliance." And that isn't the whole of it really, I would also argue that the WMF can and should have a role of facilitating and guiding community consultations to help the community resolve sticky issues where there is a failing of process. Reading between the lines here, you can likely guess my view of the current situation.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 11:02, 21 June 2019 (UTC)"[17]
  16. "You have clearly misunderstood what I said. Nothing about "facilitating and guiding community consultations" even remotely implies that I think they should be "judge, jury, and executioner". I don't even know what chain of thought got you from one to the other. The point is that there are things we know to be true: there are very few admins created and while most people (the vast majority) think that's a problem, there is no consensus and no process towards consensus towards resolving that issue. It's a thankless task to take on and run a project to work through various options to find something that would get us to a better place - no one has stepped up to do that (a few have tried, and thank goodness for them). WMF community support people have done a great job on consultations around terms of service and so on - we do have some positive examples of how to do this right. It isn't about ramming things down people's throat - it's about taking on the hard job of listening and framing debate, convening real-life groups to work on issues, etc.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 19:51, 21 June 2019 (UTC)"[18]
  17. "Yes, the ED is aware. The board is still discussing with each other and with staff. I'm a participant in this but not in a position to say when it will come to a conclusion.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 13:18, 24 June 2019 (UTC)"[19]
  18. "Without commenting at this moment on any of the rest of it, I can say that I do not know, and don't personally consider it particularly relevant or interesting, whether legal was consulted beforehand. I don't think legal is the right avenue for any of us to be thinking about how to improve things in this or in related circumstances.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 13:20, 24 June 2019 (UTC)"[20]
  19. "I will raise the issue. As you can imagine, I'm trying not to cause any additional problems by making any firm declarations of what I am and am not empowered to do in my traditional role in English Wikipedia, but I can indicate that I share the view that I could do that - or should be able to do that. One reason we have kept some vestiges of a "constitutional monarch" system is precisely to have pressure relief valves for highly unusual situations. One reason I haven't tried to be forceful with it is that I don't believe in it as anything other than a safety mechanism. So long as other avenues exist for me to try to help everyone reach reconciliation and find a solution in which almost everyone says "we are now in a better place than we were when this whole mess started" - I'm going to try.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 14:47, 26 June 2019 (UTC)"[21]
  20. "I think of our constitutional arrangements as being very like those in the UK. A broad array of written and unwritten rules, policies, guidelines, and traditions.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 12:39, 27 June 2019 (UTC)"[22]
  21. "In the current situation, I think that the composition of the board is not a big part of the problem.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 12:59, 27 June 2019 (UTC)"[23]
  22. "The Board met yesterday to work on a full statement about this. It's not easy getting to consensus with a large group, but overall I think people are going to be happy with the statement and with the things we are asking the WMF staff to do going forward. As one board member wasn't present, we decided to give a bit more time so that we can get to unanimity.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 11:15, 1 July 2019 (UTC)" [24]
  23. "Indeed. We've made it abundantly clear. I ask everyone who sees fire to try to soothe people. This is going to go the right way. My own personal view is that drama never helps, but making it clear (through strikes/retirements) that something is unacceptable is a totally respectable and useful way to move the needle in an important way. "There's a giant flame war on the Internet" never really makes a dent. "Our best administrators are writing essays about why this is wrong, and many of them have indicated they will quit" makes a big dent. Also: "The good people protesting are not, for the most part, defending bad behavior. They are asking the WMF to consider how this action undermines our efforts to improve behavior" is helpful." Jimbo Wales (talk) 12:41, 1 July 2019 (UTC) [25]
  24. To be clear, ArbCom do have the discretion to overturn the ban. They are fully authorized to hear the appeal, and I will personally back ArbCom on whatever they decide.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 07:25, 3 July 2019 (UTC) [26]
  25. To be clear: ArbCom could overturn the ban. I will personally back ArbCom in whatever they decide. Any further action of this type from T&S will not happen without agreement from the community. There should be no fear here that T&S would defy the board, me, ArbCom, and the gathered best users in the community.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 07:32, 3 July 2019 (UTC) [27]

Further comment from the Foundation[edit]

[Forthcoming shortly] WMFOffice (talk) 18:58, 11 June 2019 (UTC)

Dear members of the English Wikipedia community,

Over the last few days we have received many requests to review the recent issues that have surfaced due to the office action taken against Fram. We are reviewing such feedback with care and aim to reply in helping to clarify the situation. We expect to reply at least one more time as we continue to review the feedback. We hope the following helps to address several points raised so far:

The Foundation is strongly supportive of communities making their own decisions within the framework of the Terms of Use, as outlined in section 10. There have been many questions about why the Foundation's Trust & Safety team handled this case rather than passing it to the local Arbcom to handle. This happened for two main reasons.

  • First, our privacy provisions do not always allow us to "pass back" personal information we receive to the community; this means there are cases where we cannot pass on to Arbcom things like the names of complaining parties or the content of private evidence that might support a concern. As a result, the best we could have given Arbcom in this case would have been a distillation of the case, severely limiting their ability to handle it.
  • Secondly, we believe it would have been improper to ask the Arbcom to adjudicate a case in which it was one primary target of the person in question, as this could put volunteers into a very difficult position and create the appearance of a conflict of interest regardless of the actual handling of the case.

For these two reasons this case was handled differently than Trust and Safety would usually have handled cases falling under section 4. of the Terms of Use.

In terms of us providing direct justification for this ban to the community, as both several community members and we have already mentioned, we do not release details about Trust & Safety investigations due to privacy concerns. What do we mean by that? We mean that when someone reports a situation to us, or someone is involved in a case we investigate, we are obligated to keep their identity and any personally-identifying evidence private. That includes not only literally not publishing their name, but often not sharing diffs (which might show things like "who the named party was targeting" or "what dispute this investigation arose from") or even general details (in many cases, even naming the specific infraction will allow interested sleuths to deduce who was involved). What we can say in this case is that the issues reported to us fell under section 4 of the terms of use, as noted above, specifically under the first provision entitled “harassing and abusing others.”

Many of you have asked questions about why a one-year local ban was placed in this case, as opposed to the more-common indefinite global ban. The Trust & Safety team updated the policies to allow these less-stringent sanction options for use in cases where there was reason to think time might change behavior, or where disruption is limited to a single project. The intention of these new options is to be able to act in a way that is more sensitive to an individual’s circumstances and not have to give out indefinite global bans for problems that are limited in time or project-scope. Based on the evidence we received, this is such a case and we are hopeful that if Fram wishes to resume editing in a year, they will be able to do so effectively and in line with the terms of use. Prior to this policy update, the only sanction option available in a case like this would have been an indefinite global ban.

We know this action came as a surprise to some within the community, and we understand that many of you have deep concerns about the situation. We can only assure you that Trust & Safety Office Actions are not taken lightly, nor are they taken without sign-off by multiple levels of staff who read the case’s documentation and evidence from different angles. We take these actions only in situations where we believe no other option is available that will preserve the health and/or safety of the community. We will continue to monitor your feedback and provide at least one more reply regarding this matter. Best regards, WMFOffice (talk) 19:27, 11 June 2019 (UTC)

Further clarification[edit]

To follow up on the earlier statement from today, we can provide additional clarifications:

The scope of Trust and Safety investigations: The Foundation's office action investigations generally review the conduct of the user as a whole. Therefore, they usually involve conduct on the projects over an extended period of time. In the case of established editors, the time window reviewed often extends beyond any individual complaints received and can include conduct spanning several years. The scope is one of the main reasons why such investigations usually take at least four weeks. Such investigations evaluate the conduct of a user and by default not the substance of their views.

Conduct warnings: Conduct warnings are a rare office action. They are normally issued when a situation is observed to be problematic, and is meant to be a preventative measure of further escalation. It is considered as a step geared towards de-escalation of the situation, when there is believed to have sufficient margin for it. It informs the recipient that behavior they may consider acceptable is in fact not, grants them the opportunity to reflect on it, and encourages them to take corrective measures towards mitigating and eventually eliminating it. However, should these warnings be ignored and the problematic behavior continues, further actions (such as bans) may be deemed necessary and their text usually references the possibility.

Style and substance: Critique is an inherently important part of an encyclopedic community. Neither the Foundation nor community institutions, like ArbCom, are above criticism. Such criticism naturally can be direct and hard on the facts, but in a community it should also remain strictly respectful in tone towards others.

Enforcement: The Wikimedia Foundation never seeks to force administrators or other community members to enforce the Terms of Use (just like an admin is rarely 'obligated' to block a vandal), but we do greatly appreciate the work of administrators who choose to do so. Admins who do take such actions should not be subjected to threats of removal of their admin rights, when their actions are based on a good faith belief that they are upholding the Terms of Use (and any action in support of enforcing a Foundation office action or a community global ban is, by definition, upholding the Terms of Use). If community believes that their good faith efforts are misguided, the issue may need discussion, if necessary, a different approach. We are always happy to join in such conversations unrelated to individual cases. Best regards, WMFOffice (talk) 00:33, 12 June 2019 (UTC)

Reinstatement of Office Action and temporary desysop of Floquenbeam[edit]

Hello all,

We are aware that a number of community members believe that the recent Trust & Safety Office Action taken against Fram was improper. While the Foundation and its decisions are open to criticism, Office Actions are actions of last resort taken by the Foundation as part of our role and our commitments to hosting the Wikipedia sites. In section 10 of the Terms of Use, we identify that the need may arise as part of our management of the websites to take certain actions, and these actions may not be reversed. Using administrative or other tools or editing rights to reverse or negate an Office Action is unacceptable, as is interfering with other users who attempt to enforce an Office Action or the Terms of Use.

As has been correctly observed by users on the bureaucrats' noticeboard and other places, Office Actions are explicitly not subject to project community rules or consensus. If a user attempts to reverse or negate an Office Action, the Wikimedia Foundation may take any action necessary to preserve that Office Action, including desysopping or blocking a user or users. In this case, and in consideration of Floquenbeam's actions in reversing the Office Action regarding Fram, we have reinstated the original office action and temporarily desysopped Floquenbeam for a period of 30 days.

Floquenbeam's contributions to the projects are appreciated and we are not against them regaining admin rights in the future, hence our action is not permanent. If they wish for their admin rights to be restored, a RfA can be opened once 30 days elapse, and the community may decide on the request at that time in such or another way.

However, we cannot permit efforts to obstruct or reverse Office Actions or to subvert the Terms of Use. Doing so would undermine the policy's ability to protect our projects and community. On these grounds, we will not hesitate to take further appropriate actions should such abuse occur again. The same applies for any attempts made by Floquenbeam to evade the sanctions announced against them today or by attempts by others to override that sanction. We will reply to other concerns in a separate statement as indicated in the post prior to the attempt to overrule the office action. Best regards, WMFOffice (talk) 00:32, 12 June 2019 (UTC)

Further response from Fram[edit]

I have to step away from the computer for a bit, but there has been a further response from Fram over on Commons, see here. Maybe someone can copy that here, or include as a subsection above in the original response section. Not sure. Obviously too much back-and-forth will get difficult to manage, but pointing it out as no-one else seems to have seen it yet. Carcharoth (talk) 14:01, 12 June 2019 (UTC)

For the record, since Fram has wisely not been saying too much over on Commons (apart from dealing with some trolling directed against them), but has said some more, there is this. My experience of this sort of cross-wiki communication with a single-project banned user is that it can get out of control, so it should be minimised (but it is still important to keep an eye on what is being said). This is particularly important in this case, because the head of the WMF's T&S team have said they will enact a global lock if Fram edits over here, and arguably proxying here for them can be seen as enabling that, so some care is needed here. Please note I have asked Fram if they wish the local block to be re-enacted to avoid accidentally triggering that (this is a pragmatic response to what the WMF said, not a judgement either way on whether the WMF should have said that or the principles involved). I believe self-requested blocks are still allowed (and can be lifted at any time), so if that gets requested (no idea what Fram's response will be), maybe someone else could look out for that as I am logging off soon for the night. Maybe put this in new section if it needs more prominence. Carcharoth (talk) 23:45, 13 June 2019 (UTC)

About the ban[edit]

First, thank you to everyone who stands up against or at least questions the handling of this by the WMF (no matter if you think I'm a good admin or if you believe I should have been banned a long time already).

Then, to the actual case. As far as I am concerned, there are no privacy reasons involved in any of this (never mind anything legally actionable). I'll repeat it once more, if it wasn't clear:

  • I have not contacted anyone I was in conflict with in any offwiki way (be it through email, social media, real life contact, whatever)
  • I have not discussed anyone I was in conflict with in any offwiki way (e.g. I have not contacted employers, I haven't discussed editors or articles at fora, twitter, reddit, whatever).
  • I haven't threatened to do any of the above either.
  • I don't know who made complaints about me to the WMF, and I won't speculate on it. The information I gave in my original post here just repeated the info I got from the WMF.

I invite the WMF to either simply confirm that my original post was a fair summary of the posts they sent me, or else to publish the posts in full (I don't think any editors were named in their posts, but if necessary they can strike out such names if they prefer). I also invite the WMF to explain why standard procedures weren't tried first, i.e. why they didn't refer the complainants to our regular channels first.

I'll not comment too much further, to avoid throwing fuel on the fire (or giving them a pretext to extend the ban). I'll not edit enwiki for the moment either, even when unblocked (thanks for that though), at least until the situation has become a bit clearer. Fram (talk) 11:14, 12 June 2019 (UTC)

One more thing, regarding my first post here, and now BU Rob13 claming that it was misleading: they have their facts wrong (e.g. the warning was not from a year ago, but from March 2019), but I noticed on rereading my post that I had one fact wrong as well. I said that I had received an interaction ban, but what I actually had was:

"However, in the hopes of avoiding any future issues and in the spirit of Laura’s own request on her talk page, we would like to ask that you refrain from making changes to content that she produces, in any way (directly or indirectly), from this point on. This includes but is not limited to direct editing of it, tagging, nominating for deletion, etc. If you happen to find issues with Laura’s content, we suggest that you instead leave it for others to review and handle as they see fit. This approach will allow you to continue to do good work while reducing the potential for conflict between you and Laura.
We hope for your cooperation with the above request, so as to avoid any sanctions from our end in the future. To be clear, we are not placing an interaction ban between you and Laura at this time. We ask that her request to stay away from her and the content she creates be respected, so that there is no need for any form of intervention or punitive actions from our end."

To me, a "suggestion" that I stay away from her or I would get sanctioned by them does read like an actual interaction ban, but technically it wasn't. But whether it was an interaction ban or not, former arb BU Rob13 should be aware that mentioning an interaction ban and the editors you are banned from in the course of ban discussions and the like is perfectly acceptable. I did not drop her name just for the fun of it, I raised the issue because it was the only thing I got alerted from by the WMF between their vague first warning in April 2018, and the ban now. I was trying to be complete and open, but apparently that was "misleading"?

BU Rob13 may think the LauraHale thing was unrelated, but the actual mail by the WMF says otherwise:

"This decision has come following extensive review of your conduct on that project and is an escalation to the Foundation’s past efforts to encourage course correction, including a conduct warning issued to you on April 2018 and a conduct warning reminder issued to you on March 2019. "

(note that the "including" may suggest that there is more than these two, but there isn't: the March 2019 reminder is the LauraHale one).

All of this could be made easier if the WMF posted their full mails of course (although by now large chunks have been reposted here). Doing this the wiki way instead of through mail would have helped a lot. Fram (talk) 13:12, 12 June 2019 (UTC)

Statement from Jan Eissfeldt, Lead Manager of Trust & Safety[edit]

Dear members of the English Wikipedia community,

My name is Jan Eissfeldt and I’m commenting in my role as Lead Manager of the Wikimedia Foundation Trust & Safety team about the team’s recent investigation and office actions. In addition to this comment, the Trust & Safety team will be making a statement at Arbitration Committee Requests/WJBscribe tomorrow.

I want to apologize for the disruption caused by the introduction of new type of sanctions without better communication with this community beforehand. While these changes were the result of the changes to the Trust & Safety team’s processes, and are not an expansion of the team’s scope, I know that these changes to the processes came as a surprise to many people within the community, and that many of you have questions about the changes.

Responding to community concerns about the office action requires deliberation and takes some time. We have been in active dialogue with staff and others - including the Board - to work on resolutions, but we understand that the time this takes opens the door for speculation and allowed concerns to expand.

I realize that this situation has been difficult for the English Wikipedia’s Arbitration Committee (ArbCom). The Trust & Safety team apologizes for not working more closely with them in the lead-up to this point. We will improve our coordination with community-elected bodies like ArbCom across the movement when carrying out our duties.

I also want to elaborate on the reasons that Trust & Safety cases will not be discussed in public and often not even privately with members of the Wikimedia movement who sign Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs). When we receive non-public information, the Wikimedia Foundation must handle it in a manner that is both consistent with our Privacy Policy and any other commitments made to the person disclosing their information. When dealing with sensitive allegations of inappropriate behavior, we must ensure that we are upholding a relationship of trust and confidence with people who have entrusted us with personal information about their experiences. This means that even in cases where users have signed a community NDA, our legal obligations may not allow us to share information given to us.

Additionally, I want to explain the reason for using a role account when performing office actions and during follow up communication. Decisions, statements, and actions regarding things such as Office Actions are not individually-taken; rather, they are a product of collaboration of multiple people at the Foundation, oftentimes up to and including the Executive Director. As a result, we use the WMFOffice account as a “role” account, representing the fact that these are Foundation actions and statements, not a single person’s.

Some of you may remember that Trust & Safety staff used to sign with their individual accounts when discussing Office Actions. Unfortunately, this is no longer possible due to safety concerns for Foundation employees, as in the past staff have been personally targeted for threats of violence due to their Office Action edits. I am taking the step of making this statement personally in this case due to extraordinary necessity.

There continue to be questions from some people about the Foundation’s Trust & Safety team doing investigations about incidents occurring on English Wikipedia. I want to clarify the rationale for Trust & Safety doing investigations when requested and they meet the criteria for review.

Part of the Trust & Safety Team’s responsibility is upholding movement-wide standards based on the Terms of Use. We recognize that each of the hundreds of global communities under the Wikimedia umbrella have their own styles and their own behavioral expectations, but we also believe that there must be a certain minimum standard to those expectations. Sometimes, local communities find it difficult to meet that minimum standard despite their best efforts due to history, habit, dislike by some volunteers of the standard, or wider cultural resistance to these standards. However, it is important to keep in mind that even communities that are resistant to it or are making a good faith effort are expected to meet the minimum standards set in the Terms of Use. In cases where community influences or barriers interfere with the meeting of these minimum standards, the Foundation may step in to enforce the standards - even in situations where the local community dislikes or outright opposes those standards.

It is important that victims of hostilities like harassment have a safe place to make reports and that we uphold and respect their privacy when they do so. The Foundation is currently working with the community on a User Reporting System that would allow communities and the Foundation to cooperate in handling complaints like harassment, and we have every hope that that system will facilitate local, community handling of these issues. However, at the current time, no such system exists for victims to make reports privately without fear that their “case” will be forced to become public. Indeed, it is often true that a mere rumor that someone was the victim of harassment can lead to harassment of that person. Unfortunately, that has been proven the case here as some individuals have already made assumptions about the identities of the victims involved. Accordingly, the Foundation is currently the venue best equipped to handle these reports, as we are able, often required by laws or global policies, to investigate these situations in confidence and without revealing the identity of the victim. That is why we will not name or disclose the identities of the individuals involved in reporting incidents related to this Office Action.

There have been some concerns raised about the level of community experience and knowledge involved in Trust & Safety’s work. The Wikimedia Foundation’s Community Engagement Department, of which Trust & Safety is a part, supports contributors and organizations aligned with the Wikimedia Foundation mission. In order to conduct informed and contextualized investigations, safeguard the community at events, and support community governance, Trust & Safety has focused on building a team with a combination of deep Wikimedia movement experience and team members who have experience with Trust & Safety processes with other online communities. To better assess incidents, the team has people from diverse geographic, linguistic and cultural backgrounds. We have former ArbCom members, administrators, and functionaries, from English Wikipedia as well as other language communities, informing our decisions, and expertise from other organisations helping to build compassionate best practices. We have utilized all of this experience and expertise in determining how best to manage the reports of harassment and response from members of the community.

One of the recent changes to the Trust & Safety policy is the introduction of new options that include time-limited and partial (project-specific) bans to address serious concerns that are considered temporary or project-specific in nature. This change to policy is not a change of the team’s scope of cases taken. However, it does alter the way that sanctions are enforced and unintentionally introduced ambiguity about the ability of local communities to overrule office actions.

In acknowledgement of the confusion caused by the application of this newer type of ban, we will not be issuing sanctions against or desysopping those who edited the block or the sysop rights of those who edited the block to date. However, despite the ambiguity in its application, the ban continues to stand whether it is being technically enforced by a block or not. Should Fram edit English Wikipedia during the one-year period of their ban, the temporary partial ban of User:Fram will be enforced with a global ban (and accordingly a global lock). We must stress again that Office Actions, whether “technically” reversible or not, are not to be considered reversible by a local, or even the global, community, no matter the circumstances or community sentiment.

The occurrence of Office Actions at times is unavoidable, but it is not our intention to disrupt local communities any further than necessary. Here we failed on that score, caused disruption to your community, and we welcome feedback about how such disruption could be avoided in the future when the Foundation takes Office Actions, and ask that we all engage in a good faith discussion bearing in mind the legal and ethical restrictions placed on anyone within or outside of the Foundation engaging in reports of this nature.

In addition to asking for feedback about the trust and safety office actions in this incident, over the next year, the Foundation will be asking members of the Wikimedia movement to work with us on several initiatives that are designed to promote inclusivity by ensuring a healthier culture of discourse, and the safety of Wikimedia spaces. --Jan (WMF) (talk) 20:44, 13 June 2019 (UTC)

Further comments from Jan Eissfeldt[edit]

I would like to thank you all for your comments and feedback in regard to my recent post. I will try to reply here some of the main points and questions the community has asked.

  • The changes to our Office Action policy were made publicly on February 19, 2019 as part of the documentation on Meta. It has not been our practice, historically, to report changes to T&S policy to the hundreds of local communities we work with. As I have noted previously, the use of local and time-limited bans is not a change of the team’s scope but was intended to be a less heavy handed option than indefinite global bans for cases that fall within the established scope. Their intention has been to close the gap between conduct warning office actions, which played a role in this case more than once, and indefinite global bans. The community’s reaction here to these more gradual bans has been clear that such less-”nuclear” options are both confusing and not felt to be acceptable and I will consider that carefully (and these two ideas, too).
  • Regarding questions on balancing fairness to the accused party with the safety of the accusing party, this is something we have been working on for quite a long time, and it’s not something we or anyone else has perfected. By default, we reach out to the accused party for information if doing so is possible without violating the privacy of the accusing - or other involved - parties.
  • To address questions about how the T&S investigations procedures work, I have asked my team to put together some public documentation that is easier to digest than the approval path table already available on Meta together early next week.
  • Regarding the desysoping action taken, my team's reasoning was guided by the precedent set in 2016. You can find a bit more on that in my statement to the ArbCom case.

I am continuing to read this and other related pages, and as noted in my ArbCom statement will continue to engage with the community on several other points next week when the public documentation will be ready. Jan (WMF) (talk) 19:35, 14 June 2019 (UTC)

Jan Eissfeldt update (06/17/2019)[edit]

  • On the question of how many cases reaching T&S result in office actions, the answer is two-fold:
  • Roughly 90% of the outreach to T&S does not result in T&S cases. There are two big reasons for that: community self-governance and the hurdle for opening T&S cases being consequently pretty high. Much of the outreach we receive therefore can be routinely addressed by others and is being redirected - including to OTRS, ArbCom, other community processes. Last quarter, for example, the percent of T&S cases opened relative to outreach received was 8.1%, the quarter before 11%.
  • Within these ~10% that become investigations, T&S cases resulted in actions in 48.18% of all investigations conducted over the last four years. That number includes both types of office actions: secondary like a private conduct warnings, and primary, like Foundation global bans.
  • For historical context: T&S cases historically used to come mainly from the English language projects but that has steadily declined to less than a third of cases (again Q1 and 2 18/19 data). The main cause for the trend has been a consistent rise in requests from other language projects.
  • I know some of you have expressed concerns about the new reporting system and the universal code of conduct here and on ArbCom’s talk page. T&S staffer Sydney Poore, who has been pinged by several editors already, will be engaging directly about these initiatives in the conversations.
  • On questions on better communications of office action procedures: Going forward, news of all substantive changes to the office actions policy will be going out to all communities; just like technical changes already do. T&S will work with ComRel to make sure it follows the usual setup and feedback reviewed on the policy’s talk page on Meta. We are also reviewing, in line with Vermont’s suggestion from last week, whether to include individual public office actions, which is more complicated.
  • We have heard your concerns about fairness to Fram of the case as it proceeded. Balancing fairness to the accused party with the safety of the accusing party is something we have been working on for quite a long time, and it’s not something we’ve perfected. Generally, we will reach out to the accused party for information if doing so is possible without violating the privacy of the accusing - or other involved - parties, but our efforts do remain a work in progress when it comes to finding the right balance in each individual case.
The process T&S cases go through within the Foundation.
  • As far as the ability for others to avoid making mistakes and finding themselves unexpectedly sanctioned, unfortunately, we cannot publicly disclose details of this or any particular case, for all the reasons previously discussed. This means that, as much as we understand your wanting the information, we cannot tell you what specific behaviors by Fram brought about this action. We can, however, say that abiding by the ToU is required of everyone who edits a Wikimedia site. That includes refraining from behaviors described by the ToU, including “[e]ngaging in harassment, threats, stalking, spamming, or vandalism”. In cases where we believe a user may not be aware that they are violating expected behavioral standards, even repeatedly, we give conduct warnings prior to any action being taken. In Fram’s case, as noted on Commons, we did send more than one of those warnings/reminders before the most recent step.
  • There have been suggestions that T&S should have piloted the newer office action measures first before proceeding with a potentially controversial case like Fram’s. I don’t agree with that as I think that bending the selection of cases to cherry-pick a good “starter” case endangers the independent investigations approach T&S has to uphold.
  • There have been questions about the investigation process itself. As indicated on Friday above, my team has built a graphic to visualize the overall process to make it easier to navigate. Traditionally, it has been documented as a table on Meta and is always followed. I hope that the graphic puts the number I detail in the first bullet of this edit above into its context. ~10% go through the process visualized here and less than half thereof result in office actions taken. Jan (WMF) (talk) 21:53, 17 June 2019 (UTC)

Community questions, responses, and comments[edit]

  • Question. This all seems pretty par for the course; but to Jan (WMF), you never gave a figure as to describe the quantity of requests (only percentage). If you are authorized to make that statistic public, please do so and be sure to ping me. Either way, thank you for this response and the infographic from the team. Regards, –MJLTalk 02:48, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
Actually I think it's quite fair to only give percentages, especially over time rather than merely one quarter of results. I found the information quite informative and pretty reassuring and thank Jan for that. It wasn't, however, quite what I had asked for. What I had hoped for was once we entered the approval process grey box, what percentage ultimately end up at all approvals received and what percentage end up with no office action recommended/office action declined. Best, Barkeep49 (talk) 03:42, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
  • User:X decides to run for a seat on the Arbitration Committee. Just as with most other roles requiring identification, it is possible to run for ArbCom and not identify until after election (steward elections are the only exception I can think of). The WMF T&S team is responsible for updating the noticeboard. Unbeknownst to the community, X has already received two conduct warnings for WMF. How will WMF respond to this? --Rschen7754 03:11, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Interesting, thanks Jan. I was trying to think of what would be comparable numbers for arbcom, but it's hard to compare apples to apples. Looks like case request acceptance has been in the 10-20% range for the last few years, but we don't keep outcomes data like that for private complaints/requests/etc. I see in that chart a lot of stuff about who approves what in which order, but I wonder if the box where the actual investigation happens can be opened up a little more. What does an "investigation" consist of? What would the investigator look at? Assuming we're talking about a harassment case, would it include things like contacting other possible victims if you discover them, or asking the opinion of others who were affected by the problem behavior but who did not get in touch with T&S? Or is the decision about whether a particular behavior is harassing made by the person doing the investigation? Under what circumstances would a particular report be referred back to arbcom (or to community processes) rather than pursued internally? The chart tells us how WMF staff communicate internally about these things, but not about communication with or information-gathering from anyone other than the directly affected parties. (The table has a bit more, but to be honest I can't understand the "Dissemination of information relevant to the office action to specific groups" row at all. That's quite a mouthful, but since it's separate from the reporter and the affected user, I assume that means other interested parties, but "conduct warning" gets a checkmark for that one and "interaction ban" doesn't? Is that right?) Opabinia regalis (talk) 08:52, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
  • That's definitely not enough. I am rather disappointed because I saw a certain hope in Jan's last posting. He only gives a diagram of the internal process but nothing, literally nothing, about communication to others and also nothing about the reasonings for any decision at any point. So they seem to simply want to continue as before. Everything relevant remains a secret, regardless whether this is necessary or not. No one, literally no one is able to get insight, not even ArbCom or a trustworthy representative. Even the "accused" remains uninformed. Appeal is impossible. This is unfair trial par excellence. As to fairness, this is a word-by-word repetition of the last statement. What I first saw as an offer for discussion seems to be hollow phrase. I intend to open an RfC at Meta but wanted to wait in the hope that something relevant comes up from the side of T&S. This is not so. Mautpreller (talk) 09:18, 18 June 2019 (UTC) (from German Wikipedia).
  • This is grossly insufficient. I'd like to call attention to the following statement: Generally, we will reach out to the accused party for information if doing so is possible without violating the privacy of the accusing - or other involved - parties This means that T&S is willing to, in some cases, rule against someone completely in absentia. This is not an acceptable system, and T&S needs to make major modifications to it before accepting new cases. Tazerdadog (talk) 10:21, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
    • I too find this problematic. Being unable to defend yourself effectively puts someone in a kangaroo court with no means of defense. Buffs (talk) 15:49, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Thanks Jan. The questions I have regarding the harassment investigation process are:
1) Is there a provision for asking the notifier if they wish ArbCom to be involved, or is it assumed that they do not? If it is assumed they do not, what was the data and rationale behind making that decision?
2) What is the legal distinction for privacy in these investigations between those who can see the report and those who cannot? ArbCom members have signed the Confidentially Agreement [28] in which it is agreed that "The Wikimedia Foundation may pursue available legal remedies, including injunctive relief or, in the case of willful intent, monetary damages." What extra legal powers do the Foundation have over those individuals who are permitted to see the report that they do not have over ArbCom members who have signed that they agree to being legally pursued? If the distinction is a paid contract, then would paying ArbCom members a token amount per year, overcome the legal hurdles to allowing ArbCom to view such material? Or is the reluctance to share harassment complaints with ArbCom more to do with procedural qualms rather than legal ones?
3) Several members of the T&S Team are experienced and trusted Wikipedians, including two admins from Wikipedia who have been functionaries, one of whom has served on ArbCom, so I have no doubt that investigations were done with some insight and understanding of both sides of the issue (as there are always two sides). However, as with others who have commented, the lack of consultation with the accused person seems odd. How have the legal and moral rights of the accused been balanced against the legal and moral rights of the accuser? We have heard it stressed that the accuser is to be protected, but what consideration has been given to protecting the accused?
Thanks in advance for considering these questions. SilkTork (talk) 12:06, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
SilkTork, we know what happens when volunteers cross the line and become salaried employees (or contractors). In 2013 one was desysoped for particularly egregious behaviour, right in the middle of an outgoing ED's valedictory speech at a Wikimania in which she was presenting a prerecorded video that specifically praised the individual's work (the surpressed sniggers in the lecture theatre were audible). Needless to say, although the community called for it, that individual was not sacked from their paid job. I am reminded of this recent comment by Seraphimblade:
JEissfeldt (WMF), while I appreciate you at least being willing to put your name on this statement, it is still more of the same. I will be posting a response as to why shortly, point by point to what you said, but in short: The WMF is not a "higher authority" than the English Wikipedia community, and may not overrule it, any more than we could walk into the San Francisco offices, point to an employee, say "You're fired", and expect that to have any effect. WMF is a separate body, but it is not "higher" than the English Wikipedia community. We don't can your employees, you don't can our editors or admins. You also do not overrule or bypass our editorial or community processes.
Oh, the irony. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 00:34, 19 June 2019 (UTC)
Kudpung Sorry, but what does "ED" stand for here? Executive Director? If so I take it you're referring to Sue Gardner's keynote? [29] IntoThinAir (talk) 00:35, 26 June 2019 (UTC)
IntoThinAir, 'ED' in this context means Executive Director. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 03:37, 26 June 2019 (UTC)
  • We have a long-established principle on WP that blocks and bans are intended to be preventative, not punitive. How is a ban like Fram's supposed to prevent future misconduct after it has expired, if it is not made expressly clear to the banned editor in what areas their actions went over the line? Jheald (talk) 14:41, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
  • I can identify a few things that give me significant concerns, and I urge that these receive attention as WMF continues to work on the procedure.
  1. As already noted by others, there needs to be a clearer and more substantive part of the workflow for responses from the accused editor.
  2. Although it's good to have multiple layers of review, it's not clear from the information here whether all of the layers involve serious and independent evaluation of the complaint. There is a serious risk that some of the later, higher-level review steps may just be something like "Well, it's looks like [name] did a good job of checking all the boxes, so we'll just sign off on it and move on."
  3. It's not spelled out, but there really ought to be a sort of "minutes" or other written record of decisions at each step. I do not mean that this should be public, but it can be important to keep internally in the event of subsequent scrutiny from the WMF Board or others, as is happening here. I think it should memorialize any off-the-cuff discussions, to have a record if someone not officially involved in a particular step of the review has nonetheless commented to an involved staff person about it.
  4. As noted by others, there needs to be evaluation of whether the problem could be referred to the local project (ArbCom etc.).
And more broadly, it is important that office actions be used only for the kinds of purposes for which they have historically been intended. Office actions, especially those involving the larger projects, should never be an alternative forum for a dispute that could instead have been handled locally. --Tryptofish (talk) 22:10, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Thanks Jan. I have a few questions:
  1. m:Community health initiative/User reporting system consultation 2019, tells us,

    There are some rare instances when Wikimedia Foundation Trust and Safety will take actions to protect the safety of the community and the public. This happens where actions on local community governance level are either insufficient or not possible. There may be some rare cases where the Wikimedia Foundation must override local policy, such as to protect the safety of the Wikimedia communities or the public. See Trust & Safety Office actions for more details. [30]

    . Furthermore, WP:OFFICE tells us,

    The purpose of this policy is to help improve the actual and perceived safety of Wikimedia community members, the movement itself, and the public in circumstances where actions on local community governance level are either insufficient or not possible. Local policies remain primary on all Wikimedia projects, as explained in the Terms of Use, and office actions are complementary to those local policies. However, there may be some rare cases where the Wikimedia Foundation must override local policy, such as in complying with valid and enforceable court orders to remove content that might otherwise comply with policy or in protecting the safety of the Wikimedia communities or the public.

    If it's within your purview can you tell us whether the OFFICE action and override of local governance was necessary to protect the community? A simple yes of no is fine, or simply indicate if you're unwilling or unable to answer.
    1. In the findings of the report written by Harvard Negotiation and Mediation Clinical Program (HNMCP) on page 23, the failures in our noticeboard practices are noted (findings, which, generally seem spot on). [Reporting systems on English Wikipedia (pdf) explains the function of specialized noticeboards (page 9). In the initial "warnings" to Fram (not sure whether I'm using the correct term), I'm wondering whether anyone on your team considered suggesting s/he report issues with users to relevant noticeboards (i.e, WP:AN/I; WP:RSN; WP:CCI? Regardless of the (HNMCP)'s recommendations and that the community should absolute see to strengthening those boards in-house, noticeboards are generally a good first stop, help to get more eyes on a situation and prevent a single editor who is working unilaterally from becoming overly frustrated and from being subjected to "anecdotal" stories. Again, if the question is not something you're able to answer, I'll understand fully.
  • Finally, I've spent quite a few hours finding documents, reading, checking sourcing, but had RexxS not posted a series of links here there wouldn't have been a starting point. Would it be feasible to have more information available here on en.wp? Links are easy to post and easy to find, and it is, after all, a wiki. Thanks, Victoria (tk) 00:03, 19 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Jan, you have provided some background about the position you hold in the WMF. Basically admitting that you are in charge of T&S but are not aware of what goes on there. Perhaps you could let Arbcom and the community know who your immediate superior is. It might help towards establishing lines of responsibility and communication for the future. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 09:33, 22 June 2019 (UTC)

Response from Fram to Jan[edit]

Jan Eissfeldt said[31]

"As far as the ability for others to avoid making mistakes and finding themselves unexpectedly sanctioned, unfortunately, we cannot publicly disclose details of this or any particular case, for all the reasons previously discussed. This means that, as much as we understand your wanting the information, we cannot tell you what specific behaviors by Fram brought about this action. We can, however, say that abiding by the ToU is required of everyone who edits a Wikimedia site. That includes refraining from behaviors described by the ToU, including “[e]ngaging in harassment, threats, stalking, spamming, or vandalism”. In cases where we believe a user may not be aware that they are violating expected behavioral standards, even repeatedly, we give conduct warnings prior to any action being taken. In Fram’s case, as noted on Commons, we did send more than one of those warnings/reminders before the most recent step."

"we cannot tell you what specific behaviors by Fram brought about this action." understood, but you should at least be able to confirm that it is about on-wiki behaviour only surely?

"In Fram’s case, as noted on Commons, we did send more than one of those warnings/reminders before the most recent step." Yes, as I noted on Commons but which you (WMF) failed to acknowledge until now, I got two such reminders (one very general, which is now being discussed at enwiki and doesn't seem to be really well recieved as an acceptable warning; and two, about a specific issue where the general opinion at enwiki seems to be that no warning was necessary for these quite normal edits), and then a sudden one-year ban (plus desysop) for quite different behaviour (not the supposed harassment of an individual, but incivility against the Arbcom), which doesn't seem to fit any of the "harassment, threats, stalking, spamming, or vandalism" category.

In any case, I guess we can use your note as a rather well hidden acknowledgment that my account of the WMF communications was accurate? That would at least lay to bed some of the more wild speculations made in these discussions. Fram (talk) 08:55, 18 June 2019 (UTC) Copied from Commons Tazerdadog (talk) 12:11, 18 June 2019 (UTC)

A suggested resolution[edit]

Some thoughts on how we might collectively deescalate the situation. Of course, if there is significant additional information that remains unknown to us, this might not work. But if the facts are basically as the community has come to understand them, how about this plan:

  • The Office terminates Fram's ban. We don't argue any more about whether it was right or wrong, legitimate or outrageous, although everyone can maintain their individual feelings about that. But the ban is just terminated as of now, on the grounds that (1) it seems to remain counterproductive to Foundation-community relations, and (2) one presumes that any "clean up your act" message that was intended for Fram has been received.
  • If there is a specific editor or two with whom the Office believes Fram was interacting problematically, Fram quasi-voluntarily agrees, without admitting any wrongdoing, to stay away from that editor(s). The editor's or editors' name(s) do not need to be disclosed on-wiki.
  • Fram also quasi-voluntarily agrees to improve his decorum a little bit. It may only be a surface issue, but there really are better ways to say "I disagree with ArbCom's action" than "Fuck you, ArbCom" (and I would say that even if I hadn't been a long-time ArbCom member myself).
  • The community hopefully accepts that even if this one was mishandled, Trust and Safety actions are generally taken with good intentions, and that there is a reason many of them can't be publicly discussed. As Opabinia regalis reminded us in her comments on the arbitration request, "T&S is these people." Most of them come from the Wikipedia communities, many from this community. They're not perfect, but they didn't accept jobs at the Foundation for the purpose of perpetrating a hostile takeover.
  • The Office opens, or reopens, or expands a dialog with the community about what it is trying to accomplish and how to get there (assuming it's somewhere it's desirable to be). It's been pointed out that various consultations have been open for awhile, but have flown under the radar of many editors, and certainly were not expected to culminate in this type of action. WMF, if you didn't before, you have our attention now. What are you trying to do, and how do you plan to go about doing it?

Comments appreciated. Regards, Newyorkbrad (talk) 18:18, 17 June 2019 (UTC)


  1. All of that sounds perfectly reasonable to me. 28bytes (talk) 18:28, 17 June 2019 (UTC)
  2. Samesies. nableezy - 18:29, 17 June 2019 (UTC)
  3. Endorse Sounds good to me. If the Office is acting in good faith, I do not see why they would not accept this. Enigmamsg 18:30, 17 June 2019 (UTC)
  4. Endorse as a fair compromise Atlantic306 (talk) 18:41, 17 June 2019 (UTC)
  5. Endorse Fair. CoolSkittle (talk) 18:52, 17 June 2019 (UTC)
  6. Endorse as a reasonable and good faith way out of this mess.--Mojo Hand (talk) 19:03, 17 June 2019 (UTC)
  7. Endorse I like the good faith part and it being reasonable.Yger (talk) 19:11, 17 June 2019 (UTC)
  8. Endorse Seems a reasonable way to try to walk back this situation. Jheald (talk) 19:16, 17 June 2019 (UTC)
  9. Generally Endorse If behavior is inappropriate, WMFOffice should bring it and evidence to the appropriate board immediately (such as ArbCom). The undoing of the ban need not be instantaneous if exigent circumstances are present (such as a death threat and WMF is working with local authorities). Buffs (talk) 19:20, 17 June 2019 (UTC)
    Addendum: It would also be acceptable to keep a ban in place on all activities until such time as an ArbCom case is resolved (consider this the equivalent of house arrest while the case is heard Buffs (talk) 22:37, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
  10. Endorse This feels reasonable and responsive to issues on multiple sides and so I support it. I would hope that this reasonableness would receive a positive response from the foundation rather than it being seen as a negotiating posture (e.g. "well you you asked for immediate reinstatement and we said a year so let's compromise on six months"). Best, Barkeep49 (talk) 19:32, 17 June 2019 (UTC)
  11. Endorse Perfect / brilliant. We should mention this in the other places that it is being discussed. North8000 (talk) 19:34, 17 June 2019 (UTC)
  12. Reluctant Endorse but pending BoT statement. It might be very plausible that Fram actually did something quite serious enough (in which case, the ban shall stand) or that the staff were plainly incompetent in a bid to discipline and micromanage the community. We need to learn the rough details. Also, echo Headbomb; fuck an institution will be somewhere around 2, on a scale of 10, if we are rating various forms of harassment and bullying. WBGconverse 19:38, 17 June 2019 (UTC)
  13. Sounds like a good plan, and much more sensible than the ArbCom case request. Headbomb makes a good point though. —Kusma (t·c) 19:42, 17 June 2019 (UTC)
  14. Endorse with changes: I do admit that Headbomb has a point. However, having read through enough AN/I and AN threads with Fram's involvement, I'm sure that Fram can improve somewhat in terms of decorum. At least, I do hope so. Now, setting that point aside: I'd like to amend the proposed resolution to provide for the opening of an Arbitration Committee case, pursuant to Fram's request, as seen here. Of course, I may be able to accept it without this change. Javert2113 (Siarad.|¤) 19:43, 17 June 2019 (UTC)
  15. I've got a few issues with a detail or two (for example, if I understand right, WMF would refuse to tell Fram who to avoid, though I imagine he could guess as well as the rest of us by now). The overarching idea of the WMF vacating the ban, leaving any action (if needed) against Fram to processes, and then having this much talked-about, calm, no-deadline, respectful discussion seems better than what we have now. --Floquenbeam (talk) 19:45, 17 June 2019 (UTC)
  16. Endorse with similar qualms and wimpy caveats as Headbomb and Floquenbeam. But peace matters. Thank you, Newyorkbrad! ---Sluzzelin talk 19:50, 17 June 2019 (UTC)
  17. Endorse Sounds perfectly reasonable. (if I may, as I'm mainly active in German-language Wikipedia and on Commons, so I don't feel wholly part of English-language Wikipedia's community - although my first edits were made here, back in 2003 :-) ) Gestumblindi (talk) 19:52, 17 June 2019 (UTC)
  18. Endorse per Floquenbeam. Haukur (talk) 19:56, 17 June 2019 (UTC)
  19. Endorse - with ArbCom case - The main issue here is the question of whether and where our policies are deficient, and that is something the ArbCom is best equipped to figure out (as this may well require assessing past cases where private communications were involved). That said, such an ArbCom case should stick to fact-finding on this subject and interpreting that as much as possible to make recommendations to the community. —A little blue Bori v^_^v Bori! 19:58, 17 June 2019 (UTC)
  20. Makes sense to me as a possible option--Ymblanter (talk) 20:01, 17 June 2019 (UTC)
  21. Reluctant Endorse I view any action that leads to Fram no longer being office-banned as progress, although much of this proposal accepts a level of office involvement in the community that I, and probably many other users, feel is excessive. * Pppery * it has begun... 20:07, 17 June 2019 (UTC)
    A fair assessment, and if they come out of the board meeting with something that throws more fuel on the fire it wouldn't be unreasonable to expect this option to be taken off the table. —A little blue Bori v^_^v Bori! 20:27, 17 June 2019 (UTC)
  22. Endorse with an additional request: if and when an editor with an instance of problematic editing such as WP:CopyVio is identified, en-WP admins and editors – including Fram – may scrutinize other edits of that editor. WMFOffice accepts that this is neither stalking nor evidence of hostility or harassment, rather such efforts are in good faith and necessary to maintain or improve the "Quality and Reliability" of the en-WP. Ms Sarah Welch (talk) 20:30, 17 June 2019 (UTC)
  23. Endorse as a first step. In my opinion, this focusses too much on the individual case, not on the general relationship between the foundation and the communities. But it might rebuild some bridges and de-escalate the situation to allow for a constructive dialogue. Thanks for a useful contribution, Brad! --Stephan Schulz (talk) 20:31, 17 June 2019 (UTC)
  24. Endorse. This seems reasonable. Neutral on ArbCom case. —pythoncoder (talk | contribs) 20:51, 17 June 2019 (UTC)
  25. Endorse as a way forward, not perfect, but hopefully acceptable by all parties. Beyond My Ken (talk) 20:54, 17 June 2019 (UTC)
  26. +1. Also support the ArbCom case. --GRuban (talk) 21:08, 17 June 2019 (UTC)
  27. Endorse - sensible compromise. PhilKnight (talk) 21:25, 17 June 2019 (UTC)
  28. Endorse as a positive way forward. However, bullet 4 sticks in my craw. The only insight we have into whether Trust and Safety's actions were taken with good intentions are the actual results of their actions, and their written response. The results are what they are, but the written response and inability to engage in meaningful dialog falls short. Trust and Safety is a very serious role for an organization to undertake. A company with $100+ million in annual revenue has no business staffing such a department with amateurs. Thank you NYB for trying to turn this in a positive direction.- MrX 🖋 21:43, 17 June 2019 (UTC)
  29. Endorse noting that Fram suggested a less lenient compromise the better part of a week ago, now. EllenCT (talk) 21:49, 17 June 2019 (UTC)
  30. Endorse too many hours have already been spent on this. If WMF wants to destroy Wikipedia, I guess no one can stop them; but we can at least try, Huldra (talk) 22:18, 17 June 2019 (UTC)
  31. Endorse, with the disclaimer that I haven't been able to keep up with all the relevant pages. - Dank (push to talk) 22:20, 17 June 2019 (UTC) Clarification: all I'm supporting here is the effort to work out a temporary truce. It's hard to keep up with everything. I'll come back to this after we hear from the Board. - Dank (push to talk) 16:04, 22 June 2019 (UTC)
  32. Endorse. In the end, regardless of what Fram has or hasn't done, this has been appallingly badly handled by T&S. Absolutely no-one disagrees with global bans for those editors who have violated certain community norms, especially where that concerns such things child protection or serious off-wiki harassment. And there are plenty of those. But here, we have the WMF granting themselves a new "partial ban" ability, where such issues are not as serious as those I've just mentioned. Who is the first target on enwiki? Someone who has been a serious (and usually accurate) critic of the WMF. Whether or not that is bad, it looks terrible. And especially when the diff given as a main reason for their ban is telling ArbCom to "fuck off". A lot of editors have said that, many times, in many different ways. We don't ban them for it. And we never should. Black Kite (talk) 22:38, 17 June 2019 (UTC)
  33. Endorse, per Huldra. --MZMcBride (talk) 22:47, 17 June 2019 (UTC)
  34. Endorse A sensible path. I'll resist the temptation to suggest any tweaks but will note that the proposal does not address the issue of Fram's admin-bit and whether the de-sysop should be endorsed, overturned, or decided through a fresh RFA. Abecedare (talk) 22:50, 17 June 2019 (UTC).
  35. Endorse The base line from which we have to operate is good will and good faith on both sides - because without that, this project is already systemically screwed and will crumble (and it doesn't matter whether that ultimately happens via bottom-up or top-down processes). This suggested bundle provides room for everyone to demonstrate that; roll back the drama; undo a few bad decisions; and allow the community to have a calm go at improving some things. Good effort by Newyorkbrad, and thanks for thinking it through. --Elmidae (talk · contribs) 22:52, 17 June 2019 (UTC)
  36. Endorse It's a good way to bring all of this chaos to an end. I don't think telling Fram to be more careful will fix their civility issues, but at least it's progress. ThePlatypusofDoom (talk) 23:03, 17 June 2019 (UTC)
  37. Endorse as a sensible way forward. T. Canens (talk) 23:34, 17 June 2019 (UTC)
  38. Endorse in general, and especially the last point. While it will be good if this particular issue gets resolved and we can stop seeing if we can set a page size record, we have to resolve things going forward so that this will not happen again (or, if we decide it should, it happens in a way that will not cause a blowup like this). I don't think anyone, WMF included, wants a repeat here. Seraphimblade Talk to me 23:53, 17 June 2019 (UTC)
  39. Endorse A sensible compromise. An de facto IBAN against any complainants who felt they've been harassed (the mere existence of which remains unconfirmed), paired with a general civility mandate, which would presumably address the root of the ban. If the Foundation is to take a no-compromise approach even in the most contentious situation, they should be able and willing to justify that decision, which they have refused to do, in spite of the fact that basic transparency and privacy protection are not and have never been mutually exclusive. Either the ban is outright unjust, or it is arguably just but the community disagrees with it. In that case, the Foundation should have no problem accepting a reasonable alternative offered by the community, and that is exactly what this is. ~Swarm~ {sting} 00:14, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
  40. Endorse per Swarm and so many above. Miniapolis 00:39, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
  41. Endorse At this point, WMF has to make a good faith step forward if they're ever going to start regaining our trust. Platitudes and corporate double-speak aren't it. CoffeeCrumbs (talk) 01:54, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
  42. Endorse Also, can we make two subheadings for those who "endorse" vs "oppose"? It's harder to gauge consensus this way. (I'd move all of them but I think that would be too disruptive.) Rockstonetalk to me! 01:59, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
  43. Endorse Although I'm not overly optimistic.©Geni (talk) 02:01, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
  44. (edit conflict) Endorse I had little hope any productive change would come out of the discussion, but this is a good start. – Teratix 02:07, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
  45. Reluctant endorse per Black Kite. I considered opposing because I'm not persuaded that Fram has done anything to warrant even an unofficial IBAN, but an oppose would seemingly put me in the same camp as the Fram-bashers, and I'm not interested in that. I'm also amused that some keep bringing up the Terms of Use as if that's some kind of magic bullet. Yeah, we know about the Terms of Use, and we still aren't going to let ham-handed actions from the WMF go unchallenged. That should be obvious by now. Lepricavark (talk) 02:28, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
  46. Endorse - Whether Fram's activity on the English Wikipedia warrants action is something that needs to be address by the appropriate channels. WMF overstepped in attempting to circumvent that. - Aoidh (talk) 02:38, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
  47. Endorse dot points 4 & 5. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 02:39, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
  48. Endorse - a possible way forward for the community. starship.paint (talk) 04:00, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
  49. Endorse. On the point of "these people", I would also request the WMF explain what training/education is given to members of the team. Having former editors among them is a great idea, but what steps have been added to get them to the point from being an ordinary editor to such a crucial and sensitive role. (And globally it's an increasingly high-profile and important one, given the same type of departments popping up in Facebook, Twitter, etc). - SchroCat (talk) 04:21, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
  50. Endorse I'd also like to see an assurance from the WMF that they have cleaned their act up to at least our standards, and that the WMF will no longer stand by staff who make personal attacks, on IRC or elsewhere. It would be nice if they also assured us that they had forgotten it was Fram who threatened to block a WMFer for personal attacks and assured us that their block of him was not revenge. As for the interaction ban, yes T&S may not be able to tell Fram who the complainant was, so that bit may not be possible. But if they deemed that the incident only merited a 12 month single project restriction on Fram, T&S presumably did not consider that any harassment merited a longer term interaction ban such as the global, permanent bans that they give harassers. ϢereSpielChequers 04:47, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
  51. Endorse - Not as rough-and-tough an outcome as I would prefer, which would involve a unilateral retreat of WMF from matters that are not within their purview followed by some sort of internal penalty against those WMF employees who threw gasoline on the fire in the first place; but, all things considered, probably the best outcome we can hope for at this juncture, given the incredibly weak performance of the WMF Board and Arbcom. Carrite (talk) 05:00, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
  52. Endorse. Let me be clear. I am NOT happy if this is the outcome. This leaves unresolved major questions involving COI, the communities trust in the WMF, and how we prevent similar scenarios from re-occuring. I will note that point 5 is insufficient, and also the most important one here. The foundation exists to serve the community, and that relationship must be respected, or we're wasting each others time. That said, this is a compromise negotiation and a good compromise makes everyone unhappy, so even though I'd have liked to see the result include a more major wakeup call to the WMF, I can hold my nose and accept this. Tazerdadog (talk) 05:13, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
  53. Endorse - This seems sensible. Killiondude (talk) 05:16, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
  54. Endorse AGF --Gerda Arendt (talk) 05:40, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
  55. Endorse. I am not happy with the communication or action from Trust & Safety so far, and this would restore my willingness to continue to perform administrative work on en Wikipedia.-gadfium 05:46, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
  56. Endorse Absconded Northerner (talk) 05:48, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
  57. Endorse a sensible compromise if all parties agree. Hut 8.5 06:53, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
  58. Endorse Seems sensible. talk to !dave 07:37, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
  59. Endorse- A reasonable compromise that will allow everyone to walk away having made their point and learned something: The WMF needs to understand that enforcing smiles and sunshine with an iron fist is not going to work here. We've adopted a culture of communication- and it's served us well- that forthright language, for the sake of the actual article contents, is welcome and expected. Handing out arbitrary and capricious bans to alter that culture ultimately will not work. All you'll accomplish is to lose a lot of good editors and make everyone hate you. At the same time, fixating on certain editors and their (admittedly dubious) edits can border on cruelty even if that's not the intent. Admins and rank-and-file editors can definitely work on our approach there. Reyk YO! 07:45, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
  60. Endorse. I guess this is a sensible compromise. – filelakeshoe (t / c) 08:10, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
  61. Endorse By no means a fan of thoughtless "fuck you" comments, but this bolt-from-the-blue action leaves us needing reassurance that the staff concerned didn't accept jobs at the Foundation for the purpose of perpetrating a hostile takeover. Without a substantive response from the WMF, they'll be getting no more work out of me: Bhunacat10 (talk), 08:59, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
  62. Endorse – A good way to cool down. — JFG talk 09:23, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
  63. Endorse - a sensible way forward. GiantSnowman 09:42, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
  64. Endorse - Not perfect, but good enough. Gråbergs Gråa Sång (talk) 10:28, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
  65. (edit conflict) Conditional support iff the matter is examined by ArbCom. Otherwise, I agree with those in opposition that this basically ignores the real problems that were apparently raised to lead to this action. My problem with the T&S action was never the ban itself but that established community processes were not followed. If ArbCom can independently and impartially review the case against Fram, I think the WMF should allow it to do so. If that fails, T&S can still step in again. Regards SoWhy 10:33, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
  66. Endorse - an ArbCom case is probably a good idea but is not a condition on my part (I don't think it's likely that one would not be filed). Encouraging actual communication and actual respect for the people involved on all sides seems like the only way forward. Thank you, Newyorkbrad. --bonadea contributions talk 12:01, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
  67. Endorse - per WereSpielChequers whose institutional memory will recall at least one instance when the community desysoped a foul-mouthed contractor who all but killed off the efforts to improve NPP and introduce ACTRIAL (plenty of diffs available). That said, let's not lose sight of the fact that this this entire debacle is not so much about Fram or other admins who fell on their swords in support, but more about the sleazy hegemony and exploitation by the WMF of the volunteers who provide their raison d'être, salaries, and junkets. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 13:42, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
  68. Endorse as a start. And presuming that arbcom is privy to the basis of T&S's actions and supports this route. Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 14:20, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
  69. Endorse as a good-faith start to re-building the bridges summarily destroyed by WMF in their actions. However, what bothers me the most is that the WMF could take this kind of bizarre unilateral action again, at any point, for any reason. The clear questions over some members of WMF and various COI still exist. But given the utter recalcitrance from WMF to show any kind of openness to actually discussing this (no more boilerplate, perhaps they're not aware of {{DTTR}}), that might be an ask too far. So let's at least undo the damage the WMF have done, and then we can move on, but with a much more cautious eye on WMF, their behaviour and the various inter-relations in an attempt to avoid more such community devastation. The Rambling Man (talk) 14:26, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
  70. Endorse, not as a satisfactory solution, but as a start. As for the perceived problem of #2, regarding identifying those allegedly aggrieved editors: we can be pretty certain at this point that there aren't any. We know of exactly one case of somebody who complained to the foundation about harassment (no secrecy, because she said so herself); we know that the foundation took that complaint at face value; we know they were wrong in doing so because in fact there was no harassment. Per Occam's razor, there is no reason whatsoever to assume there are any more genuine complainants, at least none whose complaint would be seriously enough to warrant a demand for privacy, or if there are, their complaints are just as wrong as the first. Fut.Perf. 15:12, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
  71. Endorse as a way forward from this debacle. Jonathunder (talk) 16:02, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
  72. I am not perfectly happy with item 1, but maybe I missed something in the last few days and the WMF has been in contact with ArbCom to let them handle the ban ("take over" if there really is meat on that unidentified bone), and we have to start somewhere. Thank you NYB. Drmies (talk) 18:03, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
  73. Endorse - It's a way forward, beyond the "fork off or fuck off" mentality that some other people seem to have.--WaltCip (talk) 18:42, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
  74. Endorse - a reasonable suggestion to de-escalate this crisis. GermanJoe (talk) 00:34, 19 June 2019 (UTC)
  75. Endorse. Seems a perfectly reasonable compromise. If the WMF had just said "it's a private matter, we can't talk about it" and issued an indefinite ban, then I would assume something Really Bad happened, but since that isn't what WMF did, their explanation has been highly lacking. WMF should admit that it was an overreach and move on. SnowFire (talk) 05:54, 19 June 2019 (UTC)
  76. Endorse. It's refreshing to hear such a calm, reasonable, respectful, and compromising proposal. Benjamin (talk) 06:44, 19 June 2019 (UTC)
  77. Endorse. Get a fresh "re-start". Kante4 (talk) 08:49, 19 June 2019 (UTC)
  78. Endorse – seems like a sensible course of action to me. Graham87 09:04, 19 June 2019 (UTC)
  79. Endorse as a possible move forward to a more constructive relationship between the projects and WMF. I've some reservations, though. Firstly, this is not just about Fram, it is about our relationship with WMF in regard to the enforcements of the ToU. Most global WMF bans in regard to cases I was familiar with appeared to be justified. Cases like continued harassment of users outside of our projects, huge zoos of sockpuppets across multiple wikis, upload of very problematic material etc. are indeed best handled by T&S. However, usual on-wiki misbehaviour should be still handled through community processes where those responsible to handle it are elected (admins, checkusers, oversighters, and arbcoms). WMF staff should go forward and communicate their concerns if they see shortcomings in our processes. Such an outside view can be helpful and would allow us to develop our processes into a better direction where needed. Secondly, I've some concerns in regard to Jan Eissfeldt, lead manager of T&S. In 2014, he participated in a wheel war including the application of super-protect at de:wp for which his regular account was desysoped: [32], [33]. At that time he was nearly entirely unable to communicate, this was his only comment where he pointed to a statement by someone else. This pattern of a wheel war just re-appeared now again. Like before, this was not an emergency, this could have been resolved through communication. I've absolutely no trust in anyone who resorts to wheel-warring without even attempting to communicate. --AFBorchert (talk) 09:48, 19 June 2019 (UTC)
  80. Endorse Maybe it's not perfect, but it's a reasonable start. One aphorism I used to use when teaching Master's degree students about government policy making was "the best is the enemy of the good". I think that applies here. This is a good start. It may have to be tweaked along the way, there may be stumbling blocks, but it's a hell of a lot better than doing nothing and the best proposal we've got. Doug Weller talk 14:51, 19 June 2019 (UTC)
  81. Endorse A fair compromise.-- Pawnkingthree (talk) 16:36, 19 June 2019 (UTC)
  82. Endorse per Doug Weller and many others. We can't force WMF to do anything, but should they decide it's a good idea to start mending some fences, we need to offer them some sort of consensus-based way to move forward. There are some issues with this proposal, but if we assume a assume a modicum of good faith on all sides then I can't see why any of them would be insurmountable. GirthSummit (blether) 18:59, 19 June 2019 (UTC)
  83. Endorse as a place to start -- but the T&S committee's unilateral action remains unacceptable, & the WMF needs to acknowledge this. AFBrochert raises the important point that Jan Eissenfeldt was involved in 2 Foundation actions that offended the en.wikipedia community; if he was critically involved in these offensive acts then his dismissal from the Foundation should be added to this resolution. We must be able to reasonably trust all of the employees of the Foundation. -- llywrch (talk) 21:54, 19 June 2019 (UTC)
  84. Endorse per proposal. Oshawott 12 ==()== Talk to me! 02:52, 20 June 2019 (UTC)
  85. Endorse This is the reasonable action. There is a Wikipedia Justice System and it operates according to a defined process. The WMF actions are the cause of a cascade of transgressions against this process. I am only able to imagine two possibilities: either the WMF power who issued the ban is competent and understanding, and they correctly anticipated this community response; or the WMF power who issued the ban is incompetent, and failed to recognize the great likelihood of the community raising these objections. So far as I know, the wiki community observers who are withholding judgement are waiting in faith for the WMF to explain the extraordinary circumstances which necessitated such an extraordinary action. I have no opinion whatsoever about Fram, their actions, or anything specific to these circumstances. I only endorse this remedy because I want to see due process and rule of law in opposition to opaque authoritarianism. The problem is not that the WMF took an action, but that the WMF took an obviously extraordinary action seemingly unaware of how bizarre it was. At this point my fear is that the people at the WMF who are operating the levers of power are ignorant of what they are doing and outsiders to community values. I could be wrong - the WMF could have had a unique and dramatic reason for extrajudicial action. I hope that as a result of this the WMF increases its collaborative infrastructure. Blue Rasberry (talk) 18:55, 20 June 2019 (UTC)
  86. Endorse This way forward opens the option of something good coming out of this: a shared view of goals between wikipedia editors and the foundation, a shared array of methods of achieving those goals, and clarity on who fulfils which roles. It also brings back the sense that there are people behind the role-accounts (it's always easier to rant against "WMF" than against the person actually communicating behind the account.). Wikipedia editors (as a group) are right to intervene here, as some of the fundamental principles of wikipedia (I know, we are not a legal system, but we have established principles like to "due process"): possibility of appeal, sufficient clear and to the point warnings and right to a clear explanation, were not applied here. This way forward is creating an ad hoc appeals option, and it shows something more definite needs to be implemented. L.tak (talk) 07:36, 21 June 2019 (UTC)
  87. Endorse. With respect to Bluerasberry's two possibilities, I'd guess somewhere in the middle: they cannot have been quite so unaware as to think there would be no response, but obviously they didn't anticipate anything like the extent of it. Myself, I think the extent of it is not just because of the action itself or T&S in general, but the skepticism of all WMF actions focussed on the enWP, such as superprotect, or VE, or Flow--all of which derived from other elements of the Foundation than T&S. This may not have been obvious to T&S, who are devoted to a particular set of problems, not to problems generally. DGG ( talk ) 03:11, 22 June 2019 (UTC)
  88. Probably symbolic anyway, but per Doug Weller. --Rschen7754 03:36, 22 June 2019 (UTC)
  89. Endorse Obviously that ship has sailed, but I'll add my name to the roll call.--Wehwalt (talk) 03:39, 22 June 2019 (UTC)
  90. Partial Endorse: NYB’s proposal sounds perfectly reasonable and shows the level of good faith that will be required to move things forward. However, the information provided by WMBE has left me concerned that there are broader issues with how the T&S team conducts itself that may go unaddressed under the above action plan – Especially if the intended scope of #5 relates solely to the incident that had occurred on en-wiki. The WMBE situation amounts to a plausible accusation that a WMF grants-committee member had weaponised the T&S team to unfairly target the WMBE treasurer with vexatious allegations, that were not adequately investigated, resulting in the treasurer feeling obligated to leave the project. Hence, I can't help but think that these incidents (Whether found to be true or otherwise) must be considered as a whole, and need to be a catalyst for a broader discussion about the T&S team, that encompasses the en-wiki concerns with the concerns relating to how it conducts its business with foundation projects more generally-speaking. Perhaps someone could help me understand how this proposal achieves that discussion?   «l|Promethean|l»  (talk) 17:27, 22 June 2019 (UTC)
  91. Endorse. Punching up is different from punching down.Jehochman Talk 08:46, 23 June 2019 (UTC)
  92. Endorse per user Pppery, although less reluctantly (for the moment…). ——Chalk19 (talk) 15:05, 23 June 2019 (UTC)
  93. Endorse as a necessary first step towards possibly regaining community confidence that is very badly damaged. --Dweller (talk) Become old fashioned! 15:16, 24 June 2019 (UTC)
  94. Endorse as a sensible way forward. –Davey2010Talk 00:38, 25 June 2019 (UTC)
  95. Endorse I'm late to the party, but it seems obvious to me. Deb (talk) 11:59, 27 June 2019 (UTC)
  96. Endorse. — Racconish💬 18:00, 27 June 2019 (UTC)
  97. Support points 1 and 5. The rest is unnecessary: any opinion or action by WMF on Fram should be discounted just like that of an involved admin, given past history of sections of WMF having disagreements with Fram on perfectly legitimate opinions. WMF should also conduct a thorough investigation of any conflict of interest or other unproper procedure which led to this failure (I hope that a number of WMF employees who had a history with Fram recused themselves from the decision and asked some neutral employees without a COI to take their place). I came here after reading some quotes which show a surreal level of straw men and evidence fabrication against Fram: a post where he said writing the n-word is unacceptable was labeled a racial slur! (I hope I dreamed that.) By this token, soon whoever says "Wiki Loves Pride" on the wiki will be instantly banned for homophobia. Nemo 09:41, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
    @Nemo bis: that racial slur thing was probably Jehochman at the Arb Com case request, not WMF. starship.paint (talk) 10:04, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
    Still, it gives a sense of the scale of misinformation in the anti-Fram campaign. WMF has a history of taking such biased information at face value when it comes from people personally connected to some employee (there's even a past post by Sue Gardner where she says she learnt to only listen to Wikipedia editors who were liked by Jimbo), and the ban decisions are completely non-transparent. So we can only assume that bad information was used, until proven otherwise by a transparent report on how the decision was taken. Sunlight is the best disinfectant. Nemo 10:17, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
  98. Endorse fully. I have been skimming over the arguments presented, and I feel that the Office should back down a bit in the interest of rebuilding community confidence. You know, the "Trust" part of "T&S". Anyway, I get the impression that this was blow up out of proportion, and the the resolution (aka the ban) was achieved by filling in check boxes in a very bureaucratic manner (as in Kafka's Bureaucratic Nightmares...) GastelEtzwane (talk) 10:22, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
  99. Endorse. Fram is in general factually correct, even when his attitude gets in the way on occasion. I highly dislike the Foundation meddling in the community. We must have communication, it would have been better for the person who was feeling harrassed to find a third party to approach Fram and ask if this is the case. Corrections can hurt and feel like harrassment, even if they are not. That's why it is so important to keep a respectful tone, and to assume no bad intentions. --WiseWoman (talk) 14:00, 30 June 2019 (UTC)
  100. Endorse. Following Dweller's reasoning. C(u)w(t)C(c) 16:23, 30 June 2019 (UTC)
  101. Endorse' Makes sense to me.  Dlohcierekim (talk), admin, renamer 08:34, 1 July 2019 (UTC)
  102. Endorse as a compromise way forward. Widefox; talk 12:09, 1 July 2019 (UTC)
  103. Endorse. Both sides need to relax, clear the air, and come up with a consensus solution. This is a good first step. --Coemgenus (talk) 17:37, 1 July 2019 (UTC)
  104. Endorse' That's the obvious way forward. --RaphaelQS (talk) 19:08, 1 July 2019 (UTC)
  105. Endorse Here to build an encyclopedia—not a bureaucracy—if the editing community is trusted to edit and maintain the content, it must be responsible to maintain conduct. Any paid organizational maintenance of TOU should be as narrow and as transparent as possible. The methods and interpretations T&S has taken upon itself is harmful to the editing environment and should be developed further within the editing community, not the serving bureaucracy. The source of oversight is important' — Neonorange (Phil) 15:50, 2 July 2019 (UTC)
  106. Endorse. Thank you Newyorkbrad. I'm not totally happy with #1 but at least it would be a path forward without further deteriorating the community and administrators' faith in the Office.--Cúchullain t/c 17:25, 2 July 2019 (UTC)
  107. Endorse, for most of the English speaking world a presumption of innocence, a right to a fair trial and a right to face your accuser are fundamental legal principles, not exile by a despotic administration for an arbitrary term for unknown crimes against unknown parties. Cavalryman V31 (talk) 09:25, 11 July 2019 (UTC).
  108. Endorse, a sensible way to de-escalate the situation. Regards, Sun Creator(talk) 16:22, 11 July 2019 (UTC)
  109. Endorse, this whole situation seems to have been mishandled phenominally, and this is the only way that I can see forwrd without continuing to drive a wedge between the WMF and the community. (talk) 02:47, 12 July 2019 (UTC)
  110. 'Endorse. This proposal is the most sensible contribution I have read anywhere in this whole extensive mess. Maproom (talk) 08:09, 14 July 2019 (UTC)


  1. This doesn't sound realistic to me. I'm sure that the Trust and Safety team had good reasons for banning Fram, and I have no reason to think a long, angry discussion between editors who don't know the situation constitutes a reason to overturn that ban. I also don't think it's realistic (or desirable) for the WMF to disclose private information that they're not authorized to disclose. The other suggestions seem like good ones. —Granger (talk · contribs) 21:13, 17 June 2019 (UTC)
    To be clear, I do not endorse as I don't see this as a realistic proposal, and I do not support the unauthorized revealing of private information or the reversal of a ban on the basis of objections from people who don't know the reasons for it. —Granger (talk · contribs) 23:05, 17 June 2019 (UTC)
  2. Oppose Fram’s incivility has been longstanding and has affected multiple people. This summation outlines the problems better than I could here. If the community thinks the existing system should have been allowed to run its course, too late now. Perhaps an alternative would be to allow ArbCom to review evidence “under seal,” at least what they can legally be permitted to access, and then prepare a statement (perhaps with majority and minority opinions) for the community expressing whether they concur with the ban or if they recommend another solution. “Tell Fram to be nicer” is not going to cut it; if it had, he would have toned it down long ago. Montanabw(talk) 21:33, 17 June 2019 (UTC)
    @Montanabw: I took the liberty of fixing an obvious typo in your link. I think it only fair to point out that the summation was authored by an editor who had been caught in a great many copyright violations by Fram over the years. EllenCT (talk) 23:54, 17 June 2019 (UTC)
    Ellen, thanks for the tweak. But FYI I worked with Blofeld on some FAC projects ( such as Frank Sinatra. Blofeld was a solid editor. Like most WP editors, his later work was better than his earlier efforts. Fram, however, became obsessed about edits dating back a decade, mostly close paraphrasing more than straight plagiarism, and it perfectly illustrates Fram’s obsession about people who violate his personal guidelines. Just because he may be technically right doesn’t grant him carte blanche to hound people like he did. Montanabw(talk) 03:53, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
    Then it should have been handled on-wiki through Arbcom. The Rambling Man (talk) 14:28, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
  3. Oppose "Fram’s incivility has been longstanding and has affected multiple people" - Fram will be nicer is not really cutting it, they also have not agreed to be nicer anyways Govindaharihari (talk) 21:39, 17 June 2019 (UTC)
  4. Oppose "quasi-volunteering to improve decorum" is insufficient. Thank you Montanabw. There seems to be mass amnesia where Fram is concerned, as the focus of their attentions were not simply at newbies, as is clearly shown.[34] While clarification is needed on the roles of enforcing civility, the fact of the matter is that behavior is addressed in the Terms of Use and within the purview of the foundation to step in if the community has failed to address repeated problems. One would hope that clearly defined roles and reporting policies will come of this. SusunW (talk) 21:54, 17 June 2019 (UTC)
  5. Oppose. "Undo everything you've done, abdicate your duty/ability to enforce the Terms of Use, and don't do anything we don't like in the future, despite owning the site." This is not a compromise. It is a takeover. Fork the site if you disagree with the WMF enforcing the Terms of Use. That is your recourse. ~ Rob13Talk 22:10, 17 June 2019 (UTC)
    • That doesn't really sound like a compromise either.... --Floquenbeam (talk) 22:15, 17 June 2019 (UTC)
      • @BU Rob13: - that is a ridculous all or nothing argument. Firstly, we're not saying revoke the standard areas of WMF ban-control. Secondly, the WMF is free to amend their ToS however they wish, once legal requirements are met. We argue that they have no other ownership than legal - which is not the be all and end all. We have various methods to act against them, and it makes no sense not to at least consider their usage. It's like telling employees at a company who don't like management's actions that their only option is to create a startup. This suggested solution may well be wrong - but it doesn't lead to (all of) your statement's logical conclusions. Nosebagbear (talk) 22:35, 17 June 2019 (UTC)
      • @Floquenbeam: The compromise, as I see it, is that you and Bishonen haven't lost your sysop flags, and WJBscribe hasn't lost their bureaucrat flag. And that compromise is quite generous, given your collective actions. ~ Rob13Talk 01:17, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
        • You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means. --Floquenbeam (talk) 14:39, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
          • I think that it misses the real point to say that the community should either: (1) say "please sir, can I have some more?" or (2) go fork ourselves. If there's anything that WMF should care about, it's the crowdsourcing framework of all WMF projects. As such, it's entirely appropriate that the "crowd" should speak out about problems that concern us. And then, WMF can, I suppose, tell us that they have laid down the law, and we should go fork ourselves. And how would that affect WMF's projects? Is it really in their best interests to encourage their most productive contributors to go and form a competing website? (Hint: no.) The fact that WMF has the legal right to assert their rights of ownership does not mean that it is sensible, practical, or ethical for them to do so. --Tryptofish (talk) 22:46, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
      • @BU Rob13: You're suggesting the community is trying to takeover? The community existed before the WMF ever did. There is only one possible direction a takeover could go. Benjamin (talk) 06:48, 19 June 2019 (UTC)
  6. Oppose these suggestions are attempting to address two separate issues, the general and the specific, as if the resolution to the former was dependent on the other. That's not a tenable negotiating position and we need to consider the problem of the imposition of a parallel unaccountable dispute resolution procedure on enwiki separately from the appropriateness or otherwise of the punishment meted out on Fram.
    Let me be clear, I've butted heads with Fram probably as many times as anybody in the past, but I still respect and appreciate their work in defending Wikipedia, and acknowledge that they have make efforts to respond to civility criticisms over the last year or so. I'm opposed to seeing punishment imposed by a body that is not accountable to the community in other than the most egregious and exceptional cases, so I won't feel comfortable with any result for Fram that does not involve ArbCom taking over the sanctions, enforcement and appeal in the specific case.
    Secondly, there exists the general problem of the perception among T&S that enwiki has not dealt adequately with civility and harassment issues because complainants fear the transparency of our systems will further disadvantage them. I believe that the only long-term solution to that must lie in using T&S as an alternative means of raising and investigating those issues in a confidential way, but that the final decision on sanctions, enforcement and appeal should remain with ArbCom, apart from those cases which are genuinely exceptional. If that means we have to make ArbCom proceedings somewhat less transparent to preserve the privacy of complainants in some cases, so be it. I'd find that a far less bitter pill to swallow than the present situation, and I'm damned sure that both Fram and the complainant in this specific case would agree, particularly since T&S have failed abjectly to preserve the complainant's anonymity in this test case. --RexxS (talk) 23:24, 17 June 2019 (UTC)
  7. Oppose. I really expected a smarter solution from you than "ask people to be nicer". Gamaliel (talk) 00:01, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
    Heh. I see you've never met User:Newyorkbrad: this is what he does! And lots of us think it is plenty smart, actually. --GRuban (talk) 16:43, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
  8. Oppose It is obvious Fram disagrees with the warnings he was given, rescinding the ban because the community feels it was communicated poorly is just kicking the can down the road. The underlying problem the WMF has raised with Fram in two warnings has not been addressed, and there's no sign that Fram has taken these on board. MLauba (Talk) 00:21, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
  9. Oppose I'm pretty confident the Office Action was done with good cause, and on some sort of 'three strikes' basis after off-wiki warnings. WMF clearly believes this community has failed to get to grips with certain behavioural issues amongst certain long-established editors or admins (that possibly we ourselves wouldn't tolerate coming from new editors?). It seems unreasonable to propose complete termination of the ban for this individual editor, but I could endorse the resolution if the following changes (except #1) applied to everyone in future:
    1. a c.75% reduction in the duration of the ban as a sensible compromise to immediate reinstatement;
    2. no disclosure of any other editors' names to anyone, on or off-wiki (victims shouldn't become targets. Limited disclosure to ArbComm a possibility );
    3. removal of the words "hopefully" and "generally" from our community accepting that T&S Office Actions are taken with good intentions;
    4. recognition by any banned editor that their 'decorum' must 'improve' (NYB's words), and that further Office Actions may ensue if they don't;
    5. that T&S inform ArbComm whenever any editor or admin is issued with an off-wiki warning (possibly extending to sanction implementation by ArbComm, not T&S, per RexxS); and
    6. any admin, desysopped by an Office Action, shall be expected to edit normally for a period equivalent to the length of their ban - up to a max of 6 months - before submitting a new RfA (in order to give the broad community time to decide if it now has confidence in that person being handed back the tools, based upon that editing).
    But I do absolutely endorse the need for a better dialog between WMF's T&S Team, ArbComm and the community (so that we can properly appreciate and act on their intended message, especially if they believe we are 'institutionally failing' in some parts of our editing or admin culture). Nick Moyes (talk) 02:03, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
  10. Oppose though I am open to the suggestions for modification by Nick Moyes. I also agree that since this was done in such as way that caused a huge problem for relations between en.Wiki and the T&S team that further communication is necessary to repair the rift. Megalibrarygirl (talk) 02:27, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
  11. Oppose dot points 1, 2 & 3. The facts underlying the ban may be confidential, although I wish WMF would explicitly that if true. Moving forward from here should not depend on Fram. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 02:41, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
  12. Oppose per BU_Rob13, you wanted compromise, you have a compromise, nobody other than Fram is banned even though they should have as per the original statement of the ban. Sir Joseph (talk) 02:58, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
    • That makes sense if you operate from the principle that the WMF is the sole authority and that their word is automatically law. But from my vantage point, it is not a compromise for long-term encyclopedia-builders like Bish and Floq to not be banned. It's common sense. Lepricavark (talk) 03:06, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
  13. Oppose as, quoting Mx. Granger, "I don't see this as a realistic proposal". I am also open to considering some of the elements suggested by NickMoyes. --Rosiestep (talk) 03:02, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
  14. Oppose T&S make a commitment not to release details to the person accused of harassment. You can't then ask then to tell that person who complained, even if couched in the terms of "stay away from...". - Bilby (talk) 03:13, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
  15. Oppose Tony (talk) 04:06, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
  16. Oppose Disappointing proposed resolution. Only the last point is a good idea.--I am One of Many (talk) 04:33, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
  17. Oppose expands a dialog is too wooly, an Americanism that just kicks the can down the road. T&S are ungoverned, unaccountable and based on this bizarre case, may well routinely take actions that if assessed in the cold light of day would be found incompetent or perversely unjust. A system with no published procedures, that refuses to answer questions about its procedures or explain basic case evidence that was always public and has no need to be handled like they were the NSA trying to take out terrorists, is wide open for corruption and the deliberate burying of mistakes by banning those that have been treated badly. In comparison, an hour ago I reported a porn revenge Twitter post made by a woman who claimed to be a victim, the process that Twitter follows is open and accountable whilst the cases they remove can remain confidential. Our expectations for T&S should be no less than the incredibly basic and straightforward policies that Twitter follows, just because they are jolly nice people with good intentions who believe they are good at their jobs and protect each other... -- (talk) 08:44, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
    case evidence that was always public Was it? Says who? Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 12:23, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
    My point was a general one. The Framban case does have public evidence, lots of it actually, including emails the WMF sent to Fram for which there is no NDA in place nor should there be, and folks are still debating whether the claims about secret evidence are credible or represent any significant evidence for the ban action, considering that our elected and trusted Arbcom members do not know of any. -- (talk) 13:09, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
  18. Oppose I can't agree with points 1 and 2, which basically gives Fram a slap over the wrist (I'm AGFing here that the T&S team acted on a serious and legitimate concern, as they don't have a history of doing otherwise, and the claims they targeted Fram for being a trouble maker for the WMF lack credibility). Point 3 is also very unsatisfactory: admins are expected to have a high standard of behaviour and encourage constructive discussions - being only a "little bit" better than ranting about ArbCom is not at all the standard admins should set. A better solution would be to refer this matter to ArbCom, which is where it should have gone in the first place. Nick-D (talk) 10:36, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
  19. Oppose on two grounds: first, because it's a moot point; T&S has seen what the community has to offer in this regard and has chosen not to blink. Another demand for the same is not going to change things, it'll just draw out the drama. Second, because I'm increasingly uncomfortable with the impassioned defense of an admin who may have crossed a line into harassment. The thing about harassment being that the perpetrator doesn't get to define it. Even if Fram believed sincerely they hadn't crossed a line, they may have. And I find the demands that a volunteer suspension be treated with the same gravity and seriousness as a criminal trial cringe-worthy at best. Perhaps Fram will take the year to reflect on how their actions impacted people and will make a change when they return - that door has certainly been left to them by T&S and it's probably the best course of action at this point. Simonm223 (talk) 12:14, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
  20. Oppose per many above, not least Simonm223. Though perhaps after voting to overturn T&S's office action, we could vote for peace in the middle east and a unicorn for everyone? Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 12:23, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
  21. Oppose per Mx. Granger. However, I wish to extend appreciation and thanks to Newyorkbrad for his measured and reasonable response to the situation, and his efforts to drive us forwards towards a constructive resolution. I can provide moral support, at least. :-) --Deskana (talk) 13:03, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
  22. Oppose because this is not about Fram, it's about the relationship between the Foundation and ArbCom, and the Foundation and enwiki. Fram is one of the symptoms, yes, but we need to be looking at the causes and treating those. I don't think if Fram has been so toxic as the Foundation believe and some here on enwiki believe, that letting him back into the community without investigating those allegations is appropriate. My feeling is that as regards the specific case of Fram in this incident, that ArbCom should take over the ban, and hold a case investigating his behaviour. I said that right at the start to Jan. I would prefer that to shrugging the whole thing off as "he's learnt his lesson" because I'm not sure anyone other than those who complained to the Foundation and those within the Foundation who saw the report knows exactly what that lesson is, particularly not Fram himself. How is Fram to know exactly what he should avoid if he's not aware of it? The only aspect of this that I support is dialogue between the Foundation and enwiki/arbcom, but we have already made that clear. I have suggested that the current ArbCom request be made a focus for that discussion, while OR has suggested a RfC. Dialogue cannot happen until a venue is accepted and agreed. That appears to be the stage we're at. My preference is for the ArbCom case to be the venue because the Clerks have both experience and appropriate authority to maintain decorum, ArbCom are involved (and ArbCom is fairly central to this as the current main point of contact between WMF and enwiki, and the community authorised body to deal with situations like this), and private evidence, if appropriate, can be handled by ArbCom. If the consensus is against that as a venue, then let us do a RfC (and please let us not have any other suggestions for a venue, otherwise time and energy will be dissipated while we argue among ourselves over a venue, thus justifying any concerns the Foundation may have that we are not equipped to deal with serious issues). I think this is a nice gesture NYB, and I appreciate it, but I don't think it addresses the real issues. SilkTork (talk) 13:32, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
    The issue is, and has always been, about the relationship between Wikipedia editors' elected governing body, the Arbitration Committee, and the Foundation. I'm glad to see some Committee members rising to that occasion. The position the Committee takes as a whole, however, is indeed what's key to safeguard against questionable overlap. To do that, the Committee is going to need to assert itself. El_C 14:44, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
  23. Oppose. I cannot endorse this degree of extension of good faith to Trust and Safety or the WMF as a whole after these events and their statements. Nor can I agree to muzzling anyone's criticism of Arbcom, or to going against an RfC that explicitly recognized our right to say "fuck" on-wiki. There are governance issues here, but also classism issues and an abundant assumption of bad faith on the part of the WMF and some of its defenders. I cannot endorse anything that endangers individual editors by endorsing their treatment as pawns, or as subjects without rights. ArbCom has been bad enough in this respect, but at least we can seek to remedy wrongs done by ArbCom. Yngvadottir (talk) 18:03, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
  24. Oppose. Did Fram harass and abuse people? If the T&S thinks so, I trust their judgement. The identities of his victims should be protected, especially considering the utter vitriol that has been on display on this page. AdA&D 18:14, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
    Then why didn't they allow Arbcom to arbitrate? The Rambling Man (talk) 21:43, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
    Sounds like a question to ask the WMF... If I were to guess I'd say it's because ARBCOM's civility standards aren't stringent enough to enforce the Terms of Use. AdA&D 01:28, 19 June 2019 (UTC)
    Actually after rereading this statement it seems it was due to privacy and COI concerns. AdA&D 01:34, 19 June 2019 (UTC)
  25. Oppose The first bullet point itself is ludicrous. There is no real reason why the Office should unban Fram. If Fram were ever to receive the "clean up your act" message, that would have happened years ago. Their statement on Commons, "of course it is rather hard for me to avoid [the involved editors]" doesn't inspire any confidence either. And they still seem to be obsessed about their admin status. SD0001 (talk) 19:37, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
    Then why didn't they allow Arbcom to arbitrate? The Rambling Man (talk) 21:43, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
    I think it's fairly obvious at this point. They can't even agree right now to create a case based on the banning of Fram and/or the three uses of tools to overturn Office actions. The ban is complicated. Creating a case and reaching out to the WMF for details in private is the base minimum that they could do to form their own conclusion whether the ban was proper or not (even if they can't enforce the unbanning). The three uses of tools to overturn Office actions is all on-wiki behavior and we don't have a case on it. At this point, I wouldn't trust them to sift through Fram's edits to examine his on-wiki behavior. — Moe Epsilon 23:39, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
  26. Oppose This kind of remedy has been floating around Wikipedia's dispute resolution processes since time immemorial, and it's not effective. If this sort of action is what it takes to get the message through, I say do it. Banedon (talk) 02:29, 19 June 2019 (UTC)
    Also I can imagine the press coverage that could easily happen if Fram is unbanned and the media starts talking to the people he allegedly harassed. Chances are they'll report the allegations, maybe find the diffs (if the victims are willing), and then conclude that on Wikipedia, if the community kicks up enough of a fuss, they can overrule the WMF's actions. Maybe some will like this kind of portrayal, but I find it very unflattering. Banedon (talk) 02:33, 19 June 2019 (UTC)
  27. Oppose while I understand Newyorkbrad is trying to do, I am not convinced the proposals will be enough to address whatever concerns there are with Fram's behaviour without knowing more details of that behaviour which I can't and don't know. I am also concerned that for this proposal to work, it may require T&S share info with Fram they feel they cannot disclose. As others have noted, there's nothing nor anything in the proposal stopping Fram disclosing the identity of the person. (See also later.) While Newyorkbrad has acknowledged that what we don't know may mean the proposals don't work, I am concerned from what I've seen that if we come up with a proposal that is not going to work and send it to the WMF and then they reject it because it was never going to work, this will generate way more heat than light and so is not helping anything. Nil Einne (talk) 05:09, 19 June 2019 (UTC)
    BTW, an additional problem is that since this is all quasi-voluntary and short on details, it's not clear what happens if everyone agrees to it and then it falls apart. For example, from Fram's reponse they agree to it but have noted they may not notice who's page it is when they edit during routine cleanup. As hopefully most of us know, if this were a formal iban, not noticing is rarely an excuse. When you have an iban you do need to make sure you check stuff before editing. It may impose additional work but that's the nature of the best when the community have decided you need to stay apart. What will happen in this case? And if the identity is secretive, even handling it is fraught. And notably, if a perceived violation of the quasi-voluntary iban results in re-imposition of the WMF site ban, even if the community can't figure out who it is from the timing, if Fram feels they were unfairly treated, there's nothing stopping them revealing the details they know including, as mentioned before, the identity of who the iban was with. And one thing which should have occurred to me with Fram's earlier responses but didn't. For any 2 way iban there are additional complications. Even if the other party involved in the iban wants to respond, there are complications. While the community accepts ibans don't preclude the raising of issues about the iban in appropriate places and within limits; WTF happens if lots of other people are talking about the iban on en.wikipedia, based on details perhaps revealed on other communities or outside the WMF universe, somewhat akin to what has happened in this case with one particular person and their private life? Again if you've been around AN/ANI enough you know the community general rejects anyone with an iban getting too much involved in discussions surrounding the iban relating to the person they were ibanned from. While to some extent this is the case even without an iban, it's much more acute when there is an iban. So assuming there is a 2 way iban, and such details were not mention in the original proposal so I have no idea, the complainant finds themselves in an IMO very bad situation. Nil Einne (talk) 05:43, 19 June 2019 (UTC)
  28. Oppose as per Montanabw and endorse proposal by Nick Moyes, especially point 6. Cwmhiraeth (talk) 08:46, 19 June 2019 (UTC)
  29. Oppose: (ristrettomente) #1 is unacceptable. WMF has the right to deny service to anyone, just like any website or 24-hour diner. Parenthetically, while sometimes I do agree with some of the reasoning behind Fram's "campaigns," I have never once agreed with their sharp wording in what I've read from them. Let's imagine:
    • an alternate universe in which the WMF did not have the right to "DO WHAT THEY WANT" with or without reason concerning access to their site
    • Fram was "right" about every case they argued
    • Fram was likewise "right" to use extreem language in every case they ever argued.
    In that case... mistakes happen, get over it. Personally, I have done more than twice the amount of time Fram is being asked to serve for nothing more than posting authorship information and asking if "a bit of today politics" had anything to do with Cirt's extensive contributions to "And you are lynching Negroes" (and by implication Fake news & Fake news website). Sometimes, life just isn't fair. ;( ^^ 🌿 SashiRolls t · c 06:19, 19 June 2019 (UTC)
  30. Oppose: The new information shown by Carcharoth below, about the concerns WM Belgium has had with T&S, is enough that I'd say that anything short of a full audit of the WMF, and T&S in particular, is going to be insufficient. rdfox 76 (talk) 23:48, 19 June 2019 (UTC)
  31. Oppose: the proposal is premature, and for the record, it is not about being a FramBasher as some have alleged to be the only motivation to oppose. I am also undecided if it is proper protocol for so many in the community to be WMFBashers. WP isn't the UAW or Teamsters - it's a Foundation with enormous responsibility, and we are simply volunteers doing whatever it is that motivates us to be here. There is nothing I'd like to see more than a harmonious community, but I am simply not convinced that the way we're going about it is the right way, much less the best way. Atsme Talk 📧 04:05, 22 June 2019 (UTC)
  32. Oppose because as written this would require disclosing the people who filed complaints against Fram, which is a nonstarter on several levels. First, there's valid reasons for an anonymous reporting system to exist; second, it would put them at risk; third, even aside from the risk to them, and even if you disagree with the idea of an anonymous reporting system, it's unlikely the WMF even can disclose them in this case without putting itself in legal jeopardy. Finally, the first few points of this resolution all assume that whatever private evidence exists fails to justify Fram's ban, which we don't know. What we need is a system to evaluate (and, yes, accept appeals for) such privileged evidence without disclosing it publically and without keeping the entire process inside the silo of T&S, ensuring at least some degree of community involvement by allowing us to appoint trusted representitives ala ArbCom - I doubt everyone will be completely happy without knowing all the facts, but it could be far better than things are now. --Aquillion (talk) 05:25, 25 June 2019 (UTC)
  33. Oppose So Fram is unblocked gets (in effect though oddly not in wording) more IBAns (does he not have one already) yet retains admin status, despite having IBANS?. Maybe if Fram had been told (not asked nicely, told) to treat others with the same courtesy ans respect (and tolerance) we are being asked to treat him with we would not have been the in the first place. As far as I can see Fram has been told nicely not to do any of this, and has up till now not taken heed.Slatersteven (talk) 14:08, 30 June 2019 (UTC)
    Fram is not currently blocked, and actually Fram being blocked or not has very little to do with this. If what what is meant above is that Fram being unbanned is "oddly not in wording", the first bullet point of the proposal is The Office terminates Fram's ban. Hijiri 88 (やや) 15:02, 30 June 2019 (UTC)
    Not is not, its that it odd that we have (in effect) weak IBANS in all but name, but only if we tell him who did it to him. Nothing that prevents him acting playing silly buggers. Given the fact he has been told more then once to tone it down I have no reason to believe it will work this time either. Giving him the names of those who got him banned, without giving them any kind of meaningful protection is not (to my mind ) a solution to this.Slatersteven (talk) 15:10, 30 June 2019 (UTC)
    To be clear, I was referring specifically to So Fram is unblocked gets (in effect though oddly not in wording), and not to anything the above "response" addresses. I thought that was obvious. Hijiri 88 (やや) 23:08, 30 June 2019 (UTC)
    That is not the full sentence. As such I am not going to try to explain anymore what I meant, I will let others decide.Slatersteven (talk) 10:34, 1 July 2019 (UTC)
    1. Stop breaking the !vote count. 2. I have no earthly idea what That is not the full sentence. means; I guess it's just more evasive trolling like at that recent ANI thread (or that other, current, ANI thread) or on your talk page. So I guess it probably be better to just not feed into it any more. Hijiri 88 (やや) 11:05, 1 July 2019 (UTC)
  34. I didn't realise this had turned into a !vote. Seems fairly pointless, as the plan proposes things we have no power to enact. On #1 I am neutral, given that we don't specifically know what prompted the ban. Letting Fram back early in return for better behaviour would be a useful olive branch, but Fram will be back in June 2020 anyway, and a year isn't such a long time in Wikitime. #2 I Oppose. Aside from the fact that WMF will never in a million years give Fram the names of his accusers, it would be a bad plan anyway. Even assuming good faith on all sides, it would represent a betrayal of those who thought they were communicating with the WMF in confidence. And we've seen what would happen if the community got wind of who the complainants were. We don't need more vengeance seeking, and it's far better to draw a line under the matter. #3, 4 and 5 are reasonable and I hope they will happen anyway. So, taken as a whole, and with thanks to NYB for making the proposal, but I don't see this as a viable plan.  — Amakuru (talk) 14:55, 30 June 2019 (UTC)
  35. Procedural oppose We can't actually force an ultimatum on the Foundation. Clearly the vast majority of the community would like something like this as a solution, but it's been clear for weeks that we are not going to get it by !voting on it here. Hijiri 88 (やや) 15:02, 30 June 2019 (UTC)
  36. Oppose WP:CIVIL is one of the five pillar policies of Wikipedia. Only asking Fram to "improve his decorum a little bit" doesn't square with that policy. Incivility drives new editors away. Admins should be exemplars of civility. Maybe the Foundation over-reached here, but I cannot support asking them to reduce their ban without a strong commitment to change by the banned editor.--agr (talk) 01:51, 1 July 2019 (UTC)
  37. Oppose Very premature and everyone just needs to take a big breath. I think the foundation should lay out what it is aiming to do more explicitly to stop abuse. Chill pill in the interim. I think this won't be noticed by most editors. Just accept it, don't take a sledgehammer to the project, IMHO. Teacup storm. --E.3 (talk) 10:52, 2 July 2019 (UTC)
  38. Oppose The dispute resolution process is absolutely broken and biased. The community has failed to implement a fair and impartial system. Who has not read Wikipedia:Unblockables and found themselves nodding in agreement with every word. There is one rule for some and one rule for others. e.g. user:Jytdog see [35], which for some reason is in a hidden archive?? I say it is high time the foundation stepped in and did something. If people want to strike or leave over this I say, that is your right and I'll wave as you leave.Morgan Leigh | Talk 23:56, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
  39. Oppose WMF clearly handled this poorly (the idea that ArbCom couldn't handle the case because Fram insulted ArbCom is silly) but not something to escalate over. --The Cunctator (talk) 21:24, 9 July 2019 (UTC)
  40. Oppose we have a way forward via ArbCom, which has accepted the case. We will get a result from them. Peacemaker67 (click to talk to me) 03:03, 12 July 2019 (UTC)
  41. Oppose WMF's actions are a healthy intervention against an overly-cosy clique of senior editors, interested only in pursuing personal projects and who now barely engage in editing of the encyclopedia, and who chase away new editors by vindictive application of the rules against them whilst essentially exempting themselves from those same rules. I think the Daily Mail ban was a classic example of this kind of behaviour and brought a lot of bad publicity down on the Wikipedia project. FOARP (talk) 19:58, 12 July 2019 (UTC)
    FOARP, that's a highly bold and contentious statement from someone who has only made 3,400 edits in 12 years. You're going to need to come up with some very hard and compelling evidence if you want your vote and claims to be taken seriously. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 20:20, 12 July 2019 (UTC)
    The approximate equivalent of an edit a day for twelve years being thought insufficient to even comment on this matter is very demonstrative evidence of what I'm talking about. I did, also, cite an example of the kind of behaviour I criticised as well. Whether you want to take it seriously or not is up to you. FOARP (talk) 13:22, 14 July 2019 (UTC)
    @Kudpung: I really don't think that's being fair. --Yair rand (talk) 17:36, 14 July 2019 (UTC)
    FOARP, don't take my words out of context - that's not being fair, it's got nothing to do with with your 'evidence'. As I said, you'd have to come up with some hard evidence for your overly-cosy clique of senior editors - before they became 'cosy' many of them were making as many edits a month as you have done in 12 years and they probably deserve a rest. Now that's something I can back up with hard evidence and name names without being uncivil. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 19:20, 14 July 2019 (UTC)
    I agree with Yair rand. The statement "that's a highly bold and contentious statement from someone who has only made 3,400 edits in 12 years" is not being fair. --Guy Macon (talk) 19:40, 14 July 2019 (UTC)


  • I removed "a little bit" entailing the "improve his decorum" bit as it means nothing additional compared to an arbitrary improvement. --qedk (tc) 19:05, 17 June 2019 (UTC)
    • Change reverted. "A little bit" is material. Fram is not being asked to promise to be a saint, but he would be being asked to be more careful. Jheald (talk) 19:15, 17 June 2019 (UTC)
    • See WP:TPO, if youd like NYBrad's comment changed you should ask him to change it instead of changing it yourself. nableezy - 19:15, 17 June 2019 (UTC)
      • If possible, let's focus on the bigger picture here rather than nuances of the wording. Thanks. Newyorkbrad (talk) 19:17, 17 June 2019 (UTC)
      • Please don't chastise me about policy, meaningless wording is concerning in a proposal the community has to endorse and I removed it for that sole reason. I personally don't care about being reverted so, meh. --qedk (tc) 19:36, 17 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Uncertain I endorse this in spirit, although the specifics make me queasy. The main point I disagree with is saying "I am angry" in a "calm collected manner", can be in many situations, much less effective that showing that you are angry (Whether or not FUCK ARBCOM is the most effective way of showing that, I'll leave up to debate). So I don't think Fram should be required (based on what I know of the publicly available evidence, at least) to self impose an interaction ban / clean up his act, especially if that interaction ban leads to the other editor(s) resuming their poor encyclopedic behaviour or Wikipedia institutions failing to hear that something is unacceptable when it is unacceptable. That said, that doesn't mean I'm not in favour of Fram generally improving their behavior (if indeed poor behaviour has occurred), or that I don't acknowledged that it is unpleasant to be on the ass end of a "FUCK <INSTITUTION>" comment. Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 19:26, 17 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Comment - it sounds like this plan entails the WMF disclosing to Fram the names of those who reported him. I highly doubt they'll ever do that, unless the reporters themselves agree to it... whatever else may come out of this, the foundation's privacy policy for people who contact them will remain sacrosanct, and I would have thought rightly so. Other than that this may be a reasonable way forward if the WMF and Fram both buy into it, but let's not forget there are other avenues already being explored through Jimbo, DocJames and the board. As for Headbomb's point, I disagree. I've never really got into the discussions over language and tone before, and it offends me not at all, but we should be mindful that Wikipedia has a diverse range of ages, genders, races, creeds and cultures, and if WMF enforce a stricter guideline on the tone we use then I for one won't be complaining. Thanks  — Amakuru (talk) 19:49, 17 June 2019 (UTC)
  • It's hard to find fault with the overall thrust of this proposal, but I think a bit of skepticism needs to be added. Yes, it would undoubtedly be helpful if WMF drops the stick over the ban. Yes, it would unquestionably be a good idea for Fram to be more empathetic in his interactions with others. But are we just kicking the can down the road in the event that, a little later, someone secretly contacts T&S asserting that a recent comment by Fram violates his "quasi" commitment? Yes, the community should be cooperative with WMF staff, rather than adversarial. But I actually think the overwhelming majority of us have been willing to do that all along, and no amount of consensus will dissuade those who really want to be adversarial. And the problem arose from T&S not being willing to cooperate with us, not the other way around. Yes, there needs to be dialog between the community and T&S, as well as between ArbCom and T&S. But a lot of that is already being initiated, and the proof will be in the proverbial pudding. WMF does need to communicate with the community about what they intend, but we need to expect that the community response will be complex, and WMF needs to expect that, if they express it as a top-down take-it-or-leave-it kind of thing, it won't work. I'd actually prefer to decide on all of this only after we find out what the outcome of the Board meeting Friday was, and what the upcoming WMF-ArbCom meeting leads to. --Tryptofish (talk) 20:24, 17 June 2019 (UTC)
  • A fair assessment, and if they come out of the board meeting with something that throws more fuel on the fire it wouldn't be unreasonable to expect this option to be taken off the table. —A little blue Bori v^_^v Bori! 20:27, 17 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Unrealistic - The WMF has already claimed ownership of bat, ball, and the field - they aren't going to give any of it back. I'm sorry - really I am - but that's just the way it is. — Ched :  ?  — 22:36, 17 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Moot unless your final bullet point "the Office opens, or reopens, or expands a dialog with the community about what it is trying to accomplish and how to get there" happens first. Like I said in my statement at the pending ArbCom request, it's the Foundation who has the ball in their court to act. You can have "consensus" to do anything here like unblocking Fram's account (even though he still can't edit but it's still the Foundation who gets to decide because they hold the technical access to enforce their decisions at the end of the day. Unless you can actually enforce anything, then this entire discussion is for nothing. If they read this and reach this conclusion themselves and start engaging, then that's the starting point. With as many suggestions that have been thrown about though, it's unlikely this one is going to stand out though anymore than the others. At any rate, the rest of it reads as "everyone gets a slap on the wrist and let's discuss terms of use more", which isn't the problem. Civility is the problem on this website, which is why T&S stepped in. If you don't handle civility on the website, then they will again. — Moe Epsilon 00:12, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
  • I don't understand why is it important to terminate Fram's ban. It is not the ban per se, it is the lack of explanation. Give a proper explanation. Details need not be given. If the details of the reason are out of scope for ArbCom and the community, then say so, otherwise refer it back to the community (which includes ArbCom). Fram's possible negotiations to end the ban should be completely separate from resolving issues of WMF heavy-handedness and non-transparency. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 00:47, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
  • According to Fram, he received a one year ban for saying "fuck Arbcom", and that the Foundation likely employed this draconian move because a grudging complainant against him has connections to the WMF and the Chair herself. This is an oddly specific, extremely outrageous narrative. And, yet, the Foundation will not deny it, nor will they even suggest that there's more to the story. If they will not even try to defend the ban against alleged blatant corruption, then why should we assume that it is legitimate? I would much rather have them simply explain that the ban is for legitimate reasons. But it's highly suspect that they will not do so. It goes beyond simple refusal to explain a ban when the ban is alleged to be unjust. ~Swarm~ {sting} 01:01, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
  • @SmokeyJoe: The WMF has already said Fram violated the Terms of Use section that prohibits "harassing and/or abusing others". What more do you want than that, if you're not looking for details? ~ Rob13Talk 01:18, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Hi BU Rob13. You're tempting me to argue the other side to my intended thrust, that the way forward should not require a resolution of the Fram question. I think the resoltuion need only deal with the process of WMF bans, the scope of WMF-only decisions, Community (inc. ArbCom) only decisions, and where there may be overlap. I think User:Newyorkbrad's dot points 4 & 5 should be the focus. But your question is fair:
    A. The assertion "violated the ToS" is sufficient justification for the WMF to act. I am asking for an explanation for why, without details, the ban, ongoing, can't be referred to ArbCom or the community generally. I think it would be very reasonable for WMF to declare a ban, and then refer to ArbCom to review or modify. Surely, ArbCom should have the option to extend the 1 year ban? --SmokeyJoe (talk) 01:35, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
  • @SmokeyJoe: Lengthen? ArbCom can already do that, if they receive reports related to harassment. Otherwise alter/shorten? That would now put the WMF in very sketchy territory. If they have become aware of an editor harassing others on this site, taken action they felt necessary to enforce the Terms of Use, and then allow another body to overturn that action without having the full evidence, I think that may open them up to liability. (It's worth noting that the WMF's existing procedures/policies prevent them from disclosing the reporter even to ArbCom. That confidentiality may have been the only reason a reporter came forward, because Fram's influence - see this entire page - has a chilling effect on those he chooses to harass and abuse.) ~ Rob13Talk 02:01, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
  • "Confidentially prevents WMF from sharing details with ArbCom", if true, with "violated the ToS", is the minimal sufficient statement I would ask them to give. Have they said that? If they say that, then the Fram ban comes of the table for the purpose of this discussion. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 02:36, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
  • What kind of liability? Assuming that Fram is truthful that there was no off-wiki harassment, there isn't really anything in his on-wiki activity that would be enough to involve the law. On the other hand, copyvios can get the project in legal trouble; Fram has been doing the dirty work of cleaning it up (it's a fight no one else wants to fight), so preventing a major liability mitigator from doing their work is ironically exposing the project to liability. -- King of ♠ 04:14, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
  • BU Rob13 The ToU clause that you're referring to prohibits harassment, threats, stalking, spamming, or vandalism. According to Fram, the offending comment that triggered his ban was this, which was certainly uncivil, but not "harassment or abuse" as is defined by the ToU clause that is supposedly being enforced. So, yes, additional explanation beyond "see the ToU" is quite obviously needed, as it doesn't even seem applicable. ~Swarm~ {sting} 03:06, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
  • @Swarm: I encourage you to read. Fram has posted the email he received, and it contained that diff as an example, with the email explicitly noting that it was part of a repeated pattern continued after the past warning. One example diff - likely the least relevant example diff, even, since the worst diffs likely had to be hidden to protect the reporter - does not mean that's "the offending comment that triggered his ban". You are trying to apply the ToU and determine whether it applies to evidence you have not seen. Do you understand how that is an exercise in futility? ~ Rob13Talk 03:56, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
  • @BU Rob13: Okay. I read it all. It doesn't claim or imply that that clause of the ToU was actually breached. Go back and look, it literally doesn't even imply that Fram was outside the ToU. Actually, no where, from what I see, and no one, has tried to argue that point. The Foundation cited "abusive communications such as X". X is a problem, but it's not a breach of the ToU. There's no mention of anything beyond such "abusive communications". You're just assuming there is. They simply did not cite to Fram or even claim in any of their explanations that he breached the ToU. They cited petty incivility towards Arbcom. So, that gives the impression that Fram was banned for his pattern of petty incivility, rather than breach of the ToU. You trust that that's not true, and that there's a higher level of offense, but it's clear that both Fram's and the community's impression that this is civility policing and nothing more has disrupted the project, demonized the complainant, demonized the Chair, vilified the T&S team, resulted in admins resigning, and harmed community relations. Why, if there was more to the story than "civility policing", has the Foundation simply not said so? All we want is for the Foundation to confirm that Fram actually breached the ToU. I have no personal affinity towards Fram, but this harms my perception of the WMF. Why would they not simply confirm that Fram breached the ToU, unless it would be a lie? Like I said, there's no privacy considerations in simply saying "there was harassment" or "there was stalking". But instead they said "there was abusive communication", which is no different except for the fact that it does not invoke the ToU. That's the only issue here. If there's evidence they can't disclose that's in breach of the ToU, I don't need to see it. I don't need to know about it. I just need to know that it exists. ~Swarm~ {sting} 06:36, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
  • @Swarm: Cool, because they already have. The original email to Fram did not cite ToU violations. The WMF basically never cites ToU violations for office actions, because such statements could open them up to defamation lawsuits, theoretically. I know of one that is making its way through federal district court now, and it will probably be dismissed with prejudice because the WMF so clearly did not make any statements of fact that even have the potential to be false.

    But the WMF, in their statement to the community on this page, said this particular office action was made pursuant to the "Harassment and/or abusing others" section of the ToU. Their exact wording was thus: "What we can say in this case is that the issues reported to us fell under section 4 of the terms of use, as noted above, specifically under the first provision entitled 'harassing and abusing others.'" This is an extraordinary level of openness, given that it could theoretically get them sued. It is a shame that there are Wikipedians that have just failed to read it, apparently. ~ Rob13Talk 13:01, 18 June 2019 (UTC)

  • Okay, so you believe the WMF without any question, evidence, or explanation. I really don't believe the same thing. You resigned from Arbcom in the face of overwhelming community condemnation. I don't believe blame [sorry, legitimate typo] you for sympathizing with the WMF in a similar situation. However, I'm just asking for a cursory acknowledgment of my concern, which the WMF refuses to provide. You are unable to provide that beyond blind trust, and while I don't hold your position against you, I don't think it's necessarily the truth. ~Swarm~ {sting} 13:17, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Especially because the terms are somewhat subjective. Let's take "stalking," for example. At RFA voters routinely go check through a candidates past contributions, sometimes in great detail, to find edits that reveal a mindset not suitable for the tools. Rob himself, at RFA not too long ago, had this to say about candidates with a somewhat low edit count - Trust me, in the future, I'll go through every single edit and highlight every potentially objectionable one when an editor has less than 4,000 edits. One could consider that stalking, a violation of ToU Section 4, and worthy of a WMF ban. Mr Ernie (talk) 13:35, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Umm.... This seems like textbook stalking; our self-proclaimed-retired friend might have something to state ..... WBGconverse 15:14, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Vetting an RfA candidate is stalking? Get real. ~ Rob13Talk 21:58, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
    Correcting an error prone editor's mistakes is harassment? Mr Ernie (talk) 06:34, 19 June 2019 (UTC)
  • @Swarm: "Overwhelming community condemnation"? This is just false, and a personal attack. Nice. I resigned from the Arbitration Committee for a variety of reasons, none of which included pressure from the community. Moreover, you are demonstrating plainly that you fail to assume good faith in anyone on the project, apparently. Again, fork the project if you don't like the fact that the WMF has legal obligations. Or, better yet, approach the Foundation and offer to take on all legal liability that Fram's future actions may bring them in exchange for his unban. If you are so certain that the Foundation is acting with sinister intentions and that Fram has done nothing wrong, that should be no problem, no? ~ Rob13Talk 15:05, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Wait, what? "I don't believe you" was a typo, I meant "I don't blame you". But that said, "overwhelming community condemnation" was quite obviously and unequivocally the response to wording of the Arbcom circular. I don't recall a single person speaking up in favor of it. Virtually 100% of the community response was negative. So I'm not sure why you'd call "community condemnation" a "personal attack". Why would I personally attack you? As I said at the time, I think you're one of our best administrators. I'm not sure why you're being so hostile and defensive. You resigned, citing an essay that the community does not treat Arbcom with the same assumption of good faith that is the standard. Not sure how all of a sudden the community had nothing to do with your resignation. ~Swarm~ {sting} 08:34, 21 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Neutral I don't mind the proposal, but it's not our position to compromise. I hate to say it, but unless all of us stop contributing to the project, we really don't have control over this. SportingFlyer T·C 01:06, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
    • Even if, if we're being honest with ourselves. nableezy - 01:14, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
      • "Control" is irrelevant, moral influence is. Gandhi had no control over the British in India, M. L. King had no control over Jim Crow laws in the South or the Federal government, what they both had, and built up more of as time went on, was moral influence. That is our lever, not whether we "own" the website or who can turn it off if they want to. People really don't appear to be understanding this, which is as much a part of the real worl as who possesses the keys to the place. Beyond My Ken (talk) 02:02, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
        • An issue with this is that you lose moral influence by condoning wrongdoing. Acting as if nothing has happened is a form of condoning. In other words, the guilt of the WMF rests on us all if we know what is going on and yet act as if things are normal. Reflected in the comments above are radically different conceptions of authority. In Hegelian-derived philosophy, authority belongs at the collective-subjective level, as the final judgment of history at the end of time is unavailable. Authority bleeds in at many levels, wherever people act rationally and in good faith. In Kantian thought, authority derives from the chief executive down through subordinates. Both concepts are used today--for example, in science, an authority is someone who is has established themselves as knowledgeable through hard work, study, and a good track record. Their authority is channeled down through to TAs, teachers, journalists to the public. On wikipedia, we call them "reliable sources." On the other hand, appeals to "the community" to enforce something is an example of the collective-subjective form of authority. Appeals towards passive aggression are consistent with Hegelian thought, as in Hegelianism an irrational governance can be legitimately subverted (think Red-Scare style infiltration). In contrast, in Kantian governance the resistance must be allowable in a constitutional sense where opposing parties can act against each other in an orderly fashion (e.g. Kant's "nation of devils" quote), or the resisting parties may be Lesser magistrates (in this case, Floquenbeam and Bishonen are acting as resisting lesser magistrates). Subversion is not allowable because honesty and truth are too valuable and lying is extremely wrong. In contrast, Hegelians tend to be more relativist and see honesty and truth as being at least somewhat compromised in the dialectic process, which will not resolve as long as history endures. One Kantian approach would be to let some of the other higher-ups deal with it, and to not take a position one way or another, or to just leave wikipedia and not think about it to maintain moral purity, maybe to go to a rival wikipedia website instead. Because in Hegelianism, "whatever is, is right," there can be a tremendous need to win, while in Kantianism maintaining your individual moral purity and establishing the truth is more important because what is right is determined through careful ethical analysis.--Epiphyllumlover (talk) 03:31, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
  • In Hegelianism, the broader levels of authority encompass the lower levels. For example, the state is expected to have an antithetical relationship to the authority of the family, and this is expected to be a good thing. Fran's request that the ArbCom "Just crawl into a corner and shut up until the community asks you to do something within your remit, but don't try to rule enwiki as if you have the right and the competence to do so." does not reflect this understanding with reflect to the ArbCom. ArbCom, due to both the democratic character of its selection and the rationality of its actions, could be considered a broader level of synthesis than the ordinary English Wikipedia community. Fran rejects this completely on the basis of past experience with ArbCom. This form of argument is an Existentialist critique of Hegelianism. His appeal to an impartial jury is compatible with both Existentialist and Kantian forms of authority, but should ArbCom grant it, they are admitting that they are not the broadest and most supreme level of collective-subjective authority.--Epiphyllumlover (talk) 04:12, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
  • It isnt about owning the website that makes whether or not we all stop editing irrelevant. Its the tiny proportion to the wider community that is present here. Yeah, a lot of us are active in the WP namespace and a ton of the admins here do a huge amount of work in the day to day functioning of this website, and yes there are a number of content creators here that have helped make this place something that the WMF can say hey give us millions of dollars to keep running. But as of this writing there have been 365 editors to this page. I posit that if every single one of these people, and every single person who has edited the AC case request page, including the arbitrators, suddenly stopped editing Wikipedia tomorrow the effect would be negligible, at least as far as WMF is concerned. There will be articles that get either vandalized, or skewed to a POV, BLP violations will be undealt with. But for the most part Wikipedia will continue on. Im not trying to be Debbie Downer, just a realist on the limits of my own power here. nableezy - 05:01, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
  • In politics, decisions are strongly influenced by a numbers game: in ethics, calculations of numbers are ignored. General human behavior tends to think and act politically, 'can I get away with this,'; 'they are wrong, but if I protest, and no one else does, I'll cop it too.' etc. Ethics, as opposed to morality and politics, is not 'realist' - proceeding only after carefully assaying whether one has sufficient support or not. The crux was illustrated by Antigones' clash with Creon,-her stance is echoed in Luther's Hier stehe ich. Ich kann nicht anders,- a tragedy given a famous reading by Hegel. I remember taking a train in the city, sitting down to read in anticipation of an hour-long trip, noting with a smile a young couple of kids smooching opposite, and burying myself in my book. Three stops down, the train pulled up at a station opposite a football ground - and the compartment was filled with drunken fans disappointed in their side losing that day. One of the group of 6, full as a bull's bum from an afternoon of beers but built like a brick shithouse, eyed enviously the boy smooching with his girlfriend, and without much ado, went over, grabbed him in a headlock and began punching him in the head. The girl screamed, the kid wept - and I, opposite, made the natural rapid calculation. If I intervene, there are five of his mates who will join and and beat the shit out of me. But one had no option - you can't watch passively as someone is mercilessly beaten or ill-treated. With a sickening feeling in the pit of my stomach, I reached out and caught his wrist as it drew back to land another punch. I won't recount the following 25 minutes,-a stand-off with me holding my grip while palavering to stop the other five from doing anything other than menacing me, but no other person of the 20 or so male adults in the carriage looked up from their newspapers. It's not that folks are generally unethical - it's that before acting according to their inner lights, they tend instinctively from a self-survival biological reflex to calculate their own interests. The banning of Fram in obscure circumstances created, for some, an ethical dilemma, and Floqueanbeam, Bishonen and WJBScribe essentially said that the high risk of silent complicity in the exercise of blind power gave them little option but to do what they did, challenge the higher body by overruling it. I expect that the assertion of secretive powers will automatically translate into a very small minority being compelled in conscience to desist from donating (I'm not a tenant on this property) their labour to a charitable institution. I know that a bureaucracy doesn't worry about marginal attrition, a number of analyses like your's will tell them it will have a negligible impact. That others see no problem, and just move on with their hobby is the normal reaction one would expect. And all this crisis of conscience because? because somewhere across the world a small board is obsessed by legislating to objectify what is a cultural variable, good manners, and enforce an Americanocentric code globally regardless of what communities elsewhere may, if they ever do, think. It is unlikely to step back because there is a question of face that, as usual, rules out creative conflict resolution. Nishidani (talk) 09:10, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
  • What's not clear from above is what happens to Fram's status as an editor, and as an admin? I was recently reminded of Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard/IncidentArchive1001#Block of Martinevans123 and Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard/IncidentArchive991#Personal attacks, a block and an unblock: review requested where Fram was strongly criticised (if not actually admonished as such) for controversially blocking two longstanding editors. Combined with "fuck the Arbcom", incivil edit summaries and picking a fight with BU Rob13, and that many people have criticised the WMF getting involved and overriding the community / Arbcom with no possible appeal, rather than Fram's actual conduct, I would like to see a guarantee of Wikipedia:Arbitration/Requests/Case/Fram before I can support this. It would allow everyone to have their say and if the consensus is that Fram hasn't done anything terrible enough to take any long term action, then at least everyone will have had their say. Ritchie333 (talk) (cont) 10:58, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
    Assuming Fram gets unbanned there seem to be three options: 1) he gets the sysop bit back automatically 2) we have an RfA to decide, or 3) ArbCom case decides. I don't see much wrong with any of these options, a nice change from the lose-lose scenarios surrounding pretty much everything else in this drama. Reyk YO! 11:19, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
    Over the particular discussion about Security-Circular, nearly everyone was at their non optimal behaviours. And, tone-deafness from a few arbs compounded it. Given that Fram's conduct definitely improved throughout the year, it's unfortunate that he be put to an ArbCom case because of this mess. Obviously, anybody might propose a case but I will urge for a decline. WBGconverse 11:26, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Unfortunately I disagree with 3/5's of the proposal - however since the oppose section above appears to be made of people who are opposing any resolution because they have issues with Fram I am sticking my response here instead.
    Point 1 - should be a demand regardless. The WMF should not be banning people from the ENWP community unless there is an actual safety issue or child protection issue. That is it.
    Point 2 - this sets a dangerous precedent in that it both encourages and enables problem editors (who are pulled up on their actions) to go running to the WMF. It rewards them for not following dispute resolution and chills future discussion - what admin or editor is going to risk dealing with them if it risks being muzzled. "Without admitting any wrong-doing" - quasi legalistic reference to WoP - which while in a technical legal sense is no admission of liability, it is *always* taken as such by everyone - "I'm not admitting anything but im doing what you say anyway" just instantly means everyone goes "Oh hes totally guilty". If there is an editor that Fram needs to be interaction banned with, then Frams interactions in relation to that editor need to be scrutinised by either the community or arbcom. The stealth interaction ban-but-not-ban by the WMF in communication with Fram is one of the more disturbing things to come to light as a result of this. Its saying the WMF is ready to prevent scrutiny of editors on the encyclopedia - directly interfering with editorial control.
    Point 3 - Completely pointless and appears to just be a sop to the 'Fram is awful' crowd with past axes to grind. Fram's editing record is already out there. Take a look at the last's years interactions with other editors and compare it to say the previous 2 or 3. Its effectively holding Fram to an unrealistic and intangible standard given he has already improved beyond which many respected editors already operate.
    Point 4 - Evidence not provided that T&S are there with good intentions. While I agree that its unlikely any of them joined the WMF specifically to take over ENWP - that doesnt mean they wont take the chance to do so given the opportunity. And given who they are is public knowledge, so is their history. Jan certainly has zero credibility after the superprotect fiasco, and the place-that-shall-not-be-named has links about other members of the staff involved in this situation that are extremely problematic for what are supposed to be employees engaged in ensuring the safety of wikipedians. Their actions so far lead me to conclude that they are there to protect wikipedians they approve of.
    Point 5 - About the only point I agree with in its entirety. Only in death does duty end (talk) 12:42, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Unclear difference between what this says and what people have been proposing/demanding throughout this page. First of all, the last bulletpoint should happen regardless. But as for the rest, it's perhaps more diplomatically worded to allow a little bit of face-saving with ~"everyone admit they can do a little better" but still boils down to T&S backing down and Fram making non-binding assurances that he'll take [the mostly unspecified] criticism on board. If everything else wasn't persuasive, I don't see why one more !vote would be.
    Advice for T&S: There are a lot of users that WMF will never convince -- people who has a strong distrust for the WMF in general, people who don't think the WMF should ever supersede community process, people who don't think there's any reason to ever keep things private, people who worry about themselves if WMF is starting to issue blocks for long-term behavioral problems, etc. But there are also a lot of people you can convince: people who do think that there is a role to play for T&S to address intractable long-term behavioral problems that the community has failed to address -- people who support the concept, but who are confused or bothered or concerned about what has happened in this particular case. "Severe enough to keep everything a secret and take office action without involving the community" is difficult to reconcile with "you can still use all the other projects and you can come back to this one after a year." If this were a global ban I dare say it would be less controversial in that way (which is not to say uncontroversial, obviously). The other problem is that diffs were provided, but only a handful, and they came from Fram, not from T&S. Those diffs shaped the narrative, and makes the conversation about whether those diffs merited action. That's not a good place to be.
    The approach I think would be most effective -- which would've been best at the outset of this case -- is premised on the idea that this isn't actually just about the LH diffs and the diff directed at arbcom that Fram supplied (that those were tipping points but it was more about a longer-term pattern). Assuming that's the case, and that T&S was stepping in to address something which, in their judgment, was severe enough and which the community failed to address, then they should release a big data dump showing (a) a long-term pattern of behavior and (b) community efforts failing to address it sufficiently. I suspect you already have that data. Releasing it would at least would shift the discussion of evidence from what Fram provided to a bigger picture that's harder to point to and say "that's it?" By casting a wide net as such, it's possible you'd actually be better protecting complainants than by forcing speculation through Fram's diffs. It would take time to compile, but I suspect you're already spending quite a lot of time on this.
    The other way forward, which isn't very likely but about the only compromise I can see being at all possible, is through a hand-off to ArbCom with conditions, including the understanding that some of the material will still be private and the understanding that it's about a long-term pattern (it's not atypical to see older diffs dismissed or limited consideration to particular types of behavior). ArbCom cases are reasonably well equipped to handle lots of diffs and lots of evidence, on-wiki and off. This has been articulated better by others already, of course. — Rhododendrites talk \\ 15:34, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
This whole story has nothing to do with Fram. (a)A principle is at stake, (b) massive open discussion by one affected party has been met with oracular comuniqués by the other.(c) in conflict theory this disparity is something everyone here and at the WMF office would deplore were the face-off with this communicative dissonance to occur with a real state. The outcome is usually brinksmanship to see who is bluffing. We huff here, and have no means to bluff. I'm sure that was not the WMF's intention, but their failure to perceive the obvious implications of their communication 'strategy' is deeply disturbing.
Emotionally, I would endorse. But I see strong sense also in SilkTork's oppose, but disagree strongly with most other comments and editors in that section. Only in death does duty end has summed up concisely what I also think are the basic reservations about an otherwise sensible attempt at compromise. I have no problem with leadership, but in critical times, leaders who have made a mark do so for the fact that, if they err, they made a difficult gesture, symbolic or otherwise, of stepping back. They drop the issue of face-saving. Do that, and you will find people far more accommodating than otherwise seems the case.Nishidani (talk) 17:00, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
  • I appreciate the thought that went into this proposal, but it goes a touch too far for me. Obviously, a large number of people here believe Fram to be completely innocent, but the fact is that the community does not have the ability to make that judgement, and given the presence of private information, is never going to have that ability. I don't see a way out of this that does not involve a community-appointed body (ideally, ARBCOM; but it could be someone else) investigating the situation in full, including the private evidence, and determining whether the ban is necessary. Also, Fram should be unbanned while such a determination is made. Obviously, the nature of the complaint process means that the identity of the complainant cannot be revealed to Fram; but anything claiming that it cannot be revealed to ARBCOM is legalistic nonsense. Vanamonde (Talk) 20:44, 19 June 2019 (UTC)


The problem with this resolution (as several people have pointed out) is that - irrespective of whether it is endorsed or not - it cannot be accepted in full by T&S. They make a very clear statement that when you report harassment to them "[y]our contact to Trust and Safety is kept confidential, so no details about your experience will be shared publicly or with the person you are reporting".[36] They cannot change this after the fact, as they can't promise to maintain confidentially in an existing case and then change their mind to pass their names to the person accused of harassing them just because a few dozen people on Wikipedia tell them to. Whoever raised concerns with T&S has every right to expect T&S to maintain their promise of condifentially, and therefore cannot both unblock Fram and then tell Fram who complained in order to ask Fram to stay away. In the end, it doesn't matter whether we oppose or endorse this, as it is doomed to failure. Therefore, how would it look if it was rewitten in a way that could be accepted by T&S if it was endorsed? - Bilby (talk) 06:48, 18 June 2019 (UTC)

I don't believe Laura Hale has had anything directly to do with this and the vitriol directed at her is quite unpleasant. If a bunch of people shouted at you, "your work sucks, don't let the door hit you on the way out", would you ever want to contribute again? Ritchie333 (talk) (cont) 11:04, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
Agree on the first aspect. But, to be mild, d/dt(Laura's learning curve) was too negligible. Mis-use of sources, incoherent paragraphs, weird synthesis, writing unsourced stuff ..... And I went through only a few of his crrations. Sometimes, we need to realise that Everyone can Edit ought not be taken in a very-literal sense. WBGconverse 11:21, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
Winged Blades of Godric, The way I would put it is that "everyone can edit" doesn't necessarily mean that "Everyone should edit"S Philbrick(Talk) 15:23, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
"I don't believe Laura Hale has had anything directly to do with this" and pigs might fly. Given the only evidence given to Fram so far by the T&S team points to his interactions with her previously as a causitive factor for the ban. We all know the reason why T&S have no wish for Arbcom to get involved, it is because arbcom (despite its many flaws) will take a look at all editors in a dispute/complaint and judge actions by their context. And that basic principle of fairness is directly at odds to T&S and certain editors ideological totalitarian approach to dealing with those not of the body. Only in death does duty end (talk) 12:16, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
I mean that I don't believe Laura Hale has directly complained to T&S about Fram, or at least not recently enough in the last 18 months which is the timeframe that seems to be under discussion. Ritchie333 (talk) (cont) 12:52, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
Given their history I just dont agree with you on that one. T&S however wont reveal that information so its a pointless dispute. What is relevant is that editors above are trying to claim that this is a result of long terms actions on the part of Fram. And arguing on the one hand that its a result of long term interaction issues onwiki while trying to exclude editors involved in that time period, despite that they are the cause of one of the few direct interactions between Fram and the T&S team, is being deliberately deceptive. Only in death does duty end (talk) 13:00, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
I'm almost certain I know who triggered the recent T&S involvement (95%+ if I was a betting man), and if I'm correct, it's not Laura. I won't share how I was able to put the puzzle together because I could well be wrong, and if I'm right, well, I'm not going to reveal their identity either for more or less the same reasons T&S won't. I'll say that the complainer wasn't necessarily wrong to contact T&S if they are who I think they are, and T&S certainly made the right call in withholding who made the complaint. I'm still really not sure T&S had the moral authority to make that call over the community, and I'm still not sure it doesn't involve putting feeling harassed over being harassed. But if the complainer was who I think they are, it at least makes me believe that T&S acted in good faith. Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 17:47, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
So it's a riddle, wrapped in an enigma, wrapped in a vest. El_C 17:54, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
I wouldn't expect T&S to expose their identities regardless of who filed the complaint, and, speaking as someone who has pushed the Laura theory, you're right about not revealing your sources or who the putative suspect is. But you being able to do so is still an indictment of T&S here because all they have done here is ban a user in (presumably) good standing with little warning, no explanation of anything, and limited to one wiki for a year. If a T&S member (using the WMFOffice account) had done the outrageous and unthinkable step of explaining just why Fram was banned at the time of the block and the unusual limits on the block we wouldn't be speculating as much as to whose cereal Fram pissed in. Their secrecy in this case resulted in a Streisand effect which has the potential to (if it hasn't already here or on off-wiki fora) out the complainant. —A little blue Bori v^_^v Bori! 09:23, 19 June 2019 (UTC)
@Headbomb: I can also guess my way to a story where what happened (including the secrecy) makes sense to the complainant and to T&S, without involving any long-term conspiracies, gender wars or gamergate relations. But I still wouldn't agree with the outcome, nor that this issue was worth damaging the WMF-Community relations even further. Unappealable secret bans have no appeal to me whatsoever. —Kusma (t·c) 19:22, 20 June 2019 (UTC)
@Ritchie333: the vitriol directed at Laura is not only "quite unpleasant", it is also exactly the sort of thing WMF are talking about when they made their decision to repatriate some powers to block users for abuse. There should be action taken against people who have hounded her during this saga, based on unproven allegations that she was involved in the banning of Fram, because by no stretch of the imagination is it acceptable. You and I, and the majority of Wikipedians don't act this way, and it's expressly against policy, so why should we tolerate those who do?  — Amakuru (talk) 11:20, 19 June 2019 (UTC)
Are people going to her talk page or emailing her to harass her, or abusing her because of this as she edits? That would be wrong.--Wehwalt (talk) 12:09, 19 June 2019 (UTC)
@Wehwalt: I don't know exactly where it's been, to be honest. I gather that there has been a huge amount of negative coverage and digging into her personal life off-Wiki somewhere, probably some of it by people who also edit here, some of which has spilled into accusations and undue pressure on-Wiki. I don't have the time to keep up with all that drama though. BU Rob13 knows more of the details, I believe. Apologies for being vague, but I'm not accusing any specific individuals it's just based on what I've heard. Thanks  — Amakuru (talk) 20:39, 19 June 2019 (UTC)

Response from Fram to Newyorkbrad[edit]

Hi Newyorkbrad, thank you for this. I agree with your first point (though some clarification about my admin status should be included as well probably). For the second point, I understand that the WMF is not willing to tell me who are the editors involved, but then of course it is rather hard for me to avoid them as well. For the one editor already mentioned here: I already tend to avoid their articles and will let others deal with them. I can't guarantee that I won't edit their articles in routine cleanup runs (e.g. when I am adding short descriptions to categories of articles, I don't first check who created each article).

Your third point, the decorum; as some editors already indicated, I already did this in general the past year, but I'll strive to improve even further.

I had already indicated some possible methods to resolve this higher on this page, this is one fine by me as well. Fram (talk) 09:02, 18 June 2019 (UTC) Copied from Commons Tazerdadog (talk) 12:07, 18 June 2019 (UTC)

Is there any reason the WMF or Arbcom can't ask the complainant(s) whether they object to a confidential disclosure of their identities to Fram in order to effect an interaction ban? EllenCT (talk) 03:15, 19 June 2019 (UTC)
This would be self-defeating - Not only would this expose them to Fram, but Fram isn't gagged (per T&S' own actions) so this would end up blowing up in their faces. —A little blue Bori v^_^v Bori! 05:17, 19 June 2019 (UTC)
I asked about this, and Fram agreed to keep the names of such subjects of an interaction ban confidential and take additional steps to avoid them which would not ordinarily be part of Fram's new page patrolling, if the WMF were to accept this compromise. EllenCT (talk) 21:22, 19 June 2019 (UTC)
It would still require the WMF to disclose those names to Fram, which they explicitly state they will not do, and doing so - after informing those who complained that they won't - would be highly unethical. And to ask those who believe that they've been harassed by Fram to trust that Fram would never reveal who that are seems foolish. - Bilby (talk) 21:25, 19 June 2019 (UTC)
Nobody seems to have suggested that Fram has ever betrayed anyone's trust, so perhaps the Foundation would be willing to ask them if they would consent to letting Fram know who they are to effect an interaction ban. Frankly though, this is silly. Fram's original compromise proposal for an independent binding evidence review is less lenient, so the Foundation should go with that. EllenCT (talk) 05:27, 20 June 2019 (UTC)
The problem is that Fram is accused of harassing one or more editors to the point that those editors lodged a complaint with the WMF under the guarantee that their details would not be provided to Fram. Obviously, the WMF can't then release those details. I agree that the WMF could ask them, but as they raised their concerns with the WMF, possibly in order to avoid being revealed as the ones raising the complaint, I can't see that they would want this shared with Fram. And if, as we have every reason to assume, they believe that Fram has been harassing them, how can we ask them to trust that Fram will never tell anyone else who they are? You say that Fram has never betrayed anyone's trust, but I imagine to them Fram has betrayed theirs (especially if Fram had previously been warned), so I can't see how we can expect them to trust Fram in this way. I don't know what the solution is, but saying to Fram that "these are the people who complained about you - don't interact with them and don't tell anyone who they are" seems very unlikely to be happen if it depends on getting the permission of the people Fram is accused of harassing, and unethical if it doesn't.
The WMF don't need to compromise at all, so choosing between revealing who the people are to Fram, and revealing who the people are to Fram and others, isn't a choice that they need to make. They can work out their own solution, or enforce this one, or walk away. - Bilby (talk) 06:14, 20 June 2019 (UTC)
You know, I really don't like the idea of harassment going one way like this. People accusing others of harassment should be forced to reveal themselves, or otherwise both the accused and accuser should be secret. That's the only fair way, otherwise the accused loses any degree of anonymity while the accuser is protected. As much as I hate the way Universities define harassment (like I said earlier), at least they keep the names of both individuals secret. I don't know why Wikimedia couldn't have come up with something less arduous than a yearly ban, anyway. Fram, I'm rooting for you. Rockstonetalk to me! 19:56, 20 June 2019 (UTC)
I've seen enough situations where people are scared to complain due to the fear of retaliation, and live with harassment rather than face something worse. I've also seen enough situations where that fear was realised. Having some channel that allows people to confidentially raise their concerns is important. - Bilby (talk) 21:28, 20 June 2019 (UTC)
And like it or not, T&S is going to be that outlet - but the way they handled this is completely counterproductive to this, in that they banned them without giving any real notice beforehand (it was mentioned in minutes in a conference call OR took), nor giving a justification as to why the ban is project- and time-limited as opposed to a global ban. It should come as no surprise that the extremely unusual circumstances caused a Streisand effect that they should have seen coming. —A little blue Bori v^_^v Bori! 04:14, 22 June 2019 (UTC)
You assume they care. They plainly believe that imposing this on the community is worth whatever heat it generates. I doubt the metrics we saw cited in the Board minutes have shifted much if at all. The rest is words.--Wehwalt (talk) 04:24, 22 June 2019 (UTC)

Comments to keep this proposal from being archived to the talk page[edit]

Interesting BuzzFeed News article[edit]

Wikipedia Has Been A Safe Haven From The Online Culture Wars. That Time May Be Over. by Joe Bernstein. --Floquenbeam (talk) 19:22, 27 June 2019 (UTC)

Yeah, a good summary. Hopefully this will start to impact on WMF's pockets when they realise they can't treat the community like this and donations start to dry up. In short, if all the evidence is available on-wiki, it's Arbcom's turf. If not, then WMF will be contradicting Fram, effectively calling him a liar. The Rambling Man (talk) 19:31, 27 June 2019 (UTC)
So much for the earlier perception that we'd be viewed as a bunch of entitled self-interested volunteers by the popular press. Keep talking to them everyone! —/Mendaliv//Δ's/ 19:38, 27 June 2019 (UTC)
It's a nice, unbiased article. That doesn't necessarily mean that it's positive in the way you think. The only off-wiki discussion of the article I've seen so far from outside the MediaWiki community seemed to be fairly on the side of the WMF, because people outside the community look at Fram's behavior and think "Yeah, we wouldn't want that around either". ~ Rob13Talk 22:08, 27 June 2019 (UTC)
Oh really? Well MY personal echo chamber says the article is unabashedly anti-WMF and they’re all clamoring for Xavier Beccera to launch an investigation. /s —/Mendaliv//Δ's/ 22:12, 27 June 2019 (UTC)

Interesting. Being the pedant that I am I counted about a dozen errors of fact, but the main thrust of the piece is solid. 28bytes (talk) 20:14, 27 June 2019 (UTC)

+1. That is a decent article imho which captures the many sides of this affair without coming down heavily in any direction. I note from the just declined Jehochman ArbCom Fram case, that Joe Roe said that the information that ArbCom would need to get to be able to make an independent judgment on the WMF action is not likely to be forthcoming; in that case, it clarifies GorillaWarfare's comment at the Fram case, that there is nothing further to be done by ArbCom on the affair; therefore, wrongly or rightly, WMF will reserve the right to conduct their own civility actions in the future. Silk Tork also clarified at the Fram case that there has been no contact between ArbCom and WMF since the 19 June, but that there was a call set up for the 3 July. Britishfinance (talk) 20:19, 27 June 2019 (UTC)
I think that was a well-written and reasonable summary. That's quite a pleasant surprise; journalism about Wikipedia is not always the greatest. Of course, if the media attention keeps up, just imagine how things will get when we find ourselves actually writing an article about FRAMBAN. Seraphimblade Talk to me 20:45, 27 June 2019 (UTC)
JANFRAMBAN? JANBANFRAM? EEng 02:47, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
Whoa, Black Betty GorillaWarfare (talk) 04:12, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
I'm surprised no Australian editors have proposed this one Blackmane (talk) 06:52, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
That's a good one. SANFRANFRAMBAN? SANFRANJANBANSFRAM? EEng 14:39, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
Don't give me ideas ;-). --Stephan Schulz (talk) 20:53, 27 June 2019 (UTC)
Is it too early to call this FRAMGATE?Mojo Hand (talk) 21:00, 27 June 2019 (UTC)
Mojo Hand, WP:FRAMGATE exists, but I think we need a few more reliable sources until it gets mainspace. However, User revolt could do with updating. Bellezzasolo Discuss 22:38, 27 June 2019 (UTC)
(edit conflict)You know it’s not a bad idea. Unflattering material about T&S in articlespace as a result of media coverage might force their hand by making T&S less-able to achieve its mission—if you can’t trust them, why report to them? That may or may not bode well for us but I think that’s better than stagnation and status quo. —/Mendaliv//Δ's/ 21:04, 27 June 2019 (UTC)
You could do that, or read a book :| cygnis insignis 21:36, 27 June 2019 (UTC)
Why not do both?! Genius! —/Mendaliv//Δ's/ 21:38, 27 June 2019 (UTC)
Article-writing would be a nightmare - almost every editor who's participated in this discussion would have a COI! It might have to be an article written by the newcomers to Wikipedia. Nosebagbear (talk) 22:26, 27 June 2019 (UTC)
The user claims to be a pedant, but says, "… I counted about a dozen errors". Standards have really slipped around this joint. cygnis insignis 22:22, 27 June 2019 (UTC)
Well played, sir. 28bytes (talk) 23:03, 27 June 2019 (UTC)
  • I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the article. A few factual errors but pretty accurate on both sides. Nosebagbear (talk) 22:11, 27 June 2019 (UTC)
Pretty much what I was going to say.S Philbrick(Talk) 22:13, 27 June 2019 (UTC)
Mhmm. Appreciate you bringing it to our attention, Floq. Javert2113 (Siarad.|¤) 22:36, 27 June 2019 (UTC)
Thanks from me too, for bringing the article. Facetiously: The article refers to Fram at one point as being an "asshole". I think someone should alert T&S about this harassing of Fram. --Tryptofish (talk) 00:37, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
I mean, if the press are making individuals in the community feel less safe to contribute, I would think that falls within T&S's bailiwick, and merit some office action. Perhaps a press release explaining the situation. —/Mendaliv//Δ's/ 00:39, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
Good stuff, thanks. I had put off reading it thinking it would be crap and was surprised.--Wehwalt (talk) 01:27, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
The news article talks about Wikipediocracy, an almost moribund site (though it links to some others), as if it were a major forum. But if the WMF keeps this up, these sites will not remain moribund -- and they are not prone to paralytic moralizing over victim privacy. Wnt (talk) 01:06, 28 June 2019 (UTC)

───────────────────────── Did everyone miss WMF’s statement to BuzzFeed News in the article? In a statement to BuzzFeed News, the organization said it had leveled the ban to maintain "respect and civility" on the platform. "Uncivil behavior, including harassment, threats, stalking, spamming, or vandalism, is against our Terms of Use, which are applicable to anyone who edits on our projects," it said. starship.paint (talk) 01:07, 28 June 2019 (UTC)

  • There is so much wrong with that statement, I don't know where to start. Dennis Brown - 01:14, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
  • I wasn't aware that civility fit any of those TOS labels. I hope the relevant parties have contacted WMF to request litigation holds of all relevant records. This is incoherent enough that I can see this situation becoming very ugly very quickly. —/Mendaliv//Δ's/ 01:55, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
    • Also, I think when this article was first posted WMF hadn't made a statement. I distinctly remember it saying that WMF hadn't responded to requests for comment. —/Mendaliv//Δ's/ 01:58, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
      • I'm almost certain it was there when I read it, between Floq's and TRM's comments at the start of this section. The Wayback Machine's 19:22:34 archive agrees. Fram declined comment; are you misremembering that? —Cryptic 02:04, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
  • The Buzzfeed article is a pretty good summary until "Much of that blame fell, perhaps predictably, on a woman and a transgender editor. In 2017, a fledgling Wikipedian accused Fram of monitoring her activity on the site to such an extent that felt like harassment." The "woman" was no "fledgling", having started her account in 2010 and created hundred of articles (about which very many people have had complaints) by 2017. I think her period as wikipedian-in-residence predated 2017 too. The so-called "transgender editor" (for it is xe) makes a point about not identifying in any direction online, but I know xim quite well & have never thought of xim as anything but a gay male, although of course xe often addresses transgender issues. Johnbod (talk) 02:43, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
  • To set the record straight, the Buzzfeed article contains a glaring error when referring to my "sarcastic references to a forthcoming Nobel Peace Prize". The certain fact that Wikipedians will eventually be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize is the furthest thing from sarcasm. This grand experiment, born jumping off the deep end, has surprisingly tapped into an unprecedented marriage of societal wisdom, advancing technology, and an almost unfathomable basic trust in the potential of collective unselfishness in the human race. Wikipedia's creation was soon joined by millions of inquisitive sharing minds, and is constantly being recreated, polished, and improved by a literal second-by-second outpouring of intellectual strength. Wikipedia, now a recognizable treasure of civilization, changes the world for the better at an accelerating rate. In 2024, give or take a year or three, when the members of the Nobel Peace Prize committee fully analyze the effect our project has had, and will continue to have, on every person, household, and the historical advancement of knowledge and ethics it provides to every corner of the Earth, the recognition of Wikipedia and Wikipedians will be an obvious and easy choice. Randy Kryn (talk) 04:07, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
  • (e/c) It's more likely that this marks this end of Wikipedia as we know it than for anyone involved to be getting a Nobel Prize. Enigmamsg 16:24, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Fram's partial ban wasn't the first (something Buzzfeed claimed to be). Someone pointed out above in one of the collapsed section that 2 users in Germany Wikipedia received partial ban back in February, shortly after partial ban was introduced. The parital ban is probably not something WMF created specifically to address Fram's behaviour, but something they used in their toolkit. OhanaUnitedTalk page 02:14, 1 July 2019 (UTC)
  • I think they were just misusing "Wikipedia" to mean "English Wikipedia", which is fairly common even on here, especially when talking about policies or precedent that is actually only applicable to enwiki. --Aquillion (talk) 03:42, 1 July 2019 (UTC)
  • It gives a different perception though. The current story reads like WMF created a tool to specifically target Fram but in fact it wasn't. OhanaUnitedTalk page 17:10, 1 July 2019 (UTC)
Good article. I note it has been put to use in mainspace: User_revolt#Framban Gråbergs Gråa Sång (talk) 09:37, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
  • There's another article about all this kerfuffle, but I can't post a link because of the spam filter (it's on Adam9007 (talk) 00:23, 29 June 2019 (UTC)
    Breitbart is "journalism" in the same sense that Taco Bell is "Mexican food". They try to make it look vaguely like it, but it's nothing actually like it. Seraphimblade Talk to me 17:19, 29 June 2019 (UTC)

Katherine Maher tweet[edit]

Utterly unimpressed with Katherine Maher's subtweet about the article:" When you have to retweet your shitty pseudo-thinkpiece three times because no one cares."[37] (referring to Calliopejen1 (talk) 01:36, 28 June 2019 (UTC)

Arbs, you need to see this above. @GorillaWarfare, Worm That Turned, and Callanecc: @Mkdw, Premeditated Chaos, and Joe Roe: @AGK, KrakatoaKatie, SilkTork, and Opabinia regalis:. Extremely likely reference to a media piece [38] by Bernstein. starship.paint (talk) 03:40, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
Wow. That's pretty stunning, actually. 28bytes (talk) 01:42, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
Well, we'd all been waiting for a statement. —Cryptic 01:44, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
In comparison with the rest of her tweets it's pretty good. But only in that comparison. And it's a low bar. I'd be interested to know if this was anything to do with our current woes. DuncanHill (talk) 01:44, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
I doubt it, she clarified later that she was editing something that had been prepared by a vendor. (And apparently the turnaround here is not 24 hours, and we might be lucky to hit 24 days). Seraphimblade Talk to me 01:50, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
Welp, I rescind my earlier endorsement of the idea that writing her personally will be helpful. It clearly will not. —/Mendaliv//Δ's/ 01:53, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
Something else just struck me: If "no one" cares about this Buzzfeed News article... what does that make all of us here in her eyes? —/Mendaliv//Δ's/ 02:50, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
Unbelievable, but it explains a good part of why the WMF culture is what it is.- MrX 🖋 02:30, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
@Mendaliv See, the Maher tweet is not telling us anything new. I thought it was already clear from the previous statements that the WMF has considerable disdain for Wikipedia editors and views us as subhuman (I wanted to use the proper German term but that would lead to Godwin being invoked). Enigmamsg 11:37, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
Talk about pouring flaming napalm on troubled waters... This was a communications director before being promoted? Tarl N. (discuss) 02:39, 28 June 2019 (UTC)

I am trying to avoid throwing any sort of fuel on any fires here, but it is difficult to view Ms. Maher's tweet as a model of the civility the WMF says it's trying to promote. Newyorkbrad (talk) 02:01, 28 June 2019 (UTC)

  • I support what Newyorkbrad wrote and am deeply disappointed by this tweet, which I see as completely dismissive of the legitimate concerns expressed by many highly respected editors. I am shocked. Cullen328 Let's discuss it 03:09, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
So, out of idle curiosity, what does T&S do when they receive anonymous reports about a WP editor harassing another WP editor offline about a Wikipedia-related issue? --Floquenbeam (talk) 02:37, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
Prediction: Not a fucking thing. Not. A. Fucking. Thing. --Floquenbeam (talk) 02:38, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
@Floquenbeam: - this is a serious issue, I think we should go straight to the WMF CEO on this. starship.paint (talk) 02:47, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
Or, we could be good little sheep, like the WMF wants, and block User:Katherine (WMF) for harassment ourselves. Knowing what we do about the kind of environment they would like us to be. --Floquenbeam (talk) 02:49, 28 June 2019 (UTC)

───────────────────────── It just occurred to me. Is our WMF CEO arguing that no one cares about Wikipedia? Because if I cared about Wikipedia, I would read the article. starship.paint (talk) 02:56, 28 June 2019 (UTC)

I guess we're "no one". 😢 —/Mendaliv//Δ's/ 02:59, 28 June 2019 (UTC)

Maybe I'm deficient in Twitter comprehension - how do you know that the pseudo-thinkpiece she was referring to was the Bernstein article? Clayoquot (talk | contribs) 02:59, 28 June 2019 (UTC)

I think because Bernstein tweeted it out three times, which is what Ms. Maher is making light of. There's no direct link as far as I know. —/Mendaliv//Δ's/ 03:00, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
Uh, there are a lot of articles that someone might have tweeted about three times today. Clayoquot (talk | contribs) 03:02, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
Her tweet was in direct response to one of the journalist's tweets promoting that particular article. Seraphimblade Talk to me 03:05, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
How do you know that? Clayoquot (talk | contribs) 03:14, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
Given that it was a subtweet, we may never know for sure. Perhaps one (or more) of the WMF staff members who "liked" it could share what they believed it was in reference to. Killiondude (talk) 03:20, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
I think we know well enough. Someone tweeted three times to promote an article that was rather critical of the WMF. Not but a couple hours later, the ED of the WMF is complaining that a "shitty" article got three tweets to promote it. I don't think we have to draw the line very damn far from that point. Seraphimblade Talk to me 04:07, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
I totally get that, but because of the logical consequences, I am reluctant to draw any conclusions without more confirmation. --Rschen7754 04:50, 28 June 2019 (UTC)

... and someone who liked her tweet has a profile called "Trust & Safety @Wikimedia/@Wikipedia.". and (Redacted) by myself starship.paint (talk) 03:06, 28 June 2019 (UTC)

Hmm. I wonder if that makes it an official statement. Please remember to archive official statements of the WMF just in case anything happens. —/Mendaliv//Δ's/ 03:10, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
I suspect if a WMF staff member was going to make an official statement, they would not do it on their Twitter account and not link to it from anywhere onwiki... GorillaWarfare (talk) 03:54, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
I don't know. It seems, well, Presidential. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 03:57, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
@Mendaliv: Now done: File:Krmaher tweet 27 Jun 2019.png I think it is tagged properly so Commons won't delete it. I can't guarantee it. --Rschen7754 07:39, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
I've asked Jimbo, who I know tweets from time to time, to confirm this. I don't do Twitter so I can't see who liked it. --Floquenbeam (talk) 03:44, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
@Floquenbeam: One of the likes is from "Joe Sutherland@jrbsu Trust & Safety @Wikimedia/@Wikipedia." Espresso Addict (talk) 03:51, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
Thanks, I assume that's User:JSutherland (WMF), egging on our model of wikipedia etiquette. I'm not outing anyone, right? --Floquenbeam (talk) 03:56, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
We have four three likers claiming to be part of Wikimedia, plus one Free Knowledge advocate starship.paint (talk) 04:03, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
  1. Joe Sutherland @jrbsu Trust & Safety @Wikimedia/@Wikipedia.
  2. jdforrester @jdforrester Coder @Wikimedia
  3. Gregory Varnum @GregVarnum Advocate / policy wonk / tech geek / @Wikimedia Foundation employee.
  4. Joseph Seddon @JosephSeddon Free Knowledge advocate (UPDATE: Seddon reversed the like) starship.paint (talk) 04:03, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
I can confirm that. Personally, while this does not look good, I would prefer to ask what she meant before making an assumption. --Rschen7754 04:08, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
The account jrbsu appears to be either Joe Sutherland or someone impersonating him. Espresso Addict (talk) 04:06, 28 June 2019 (UTC)

@Floquenbeam: - I think now is the time for us to start a statement of no confidence in the WMF. starship.paint (talk) 03:11, 28 June 2019 (UTC)

  • [Re Maher's tweet] That's an incredibly disappointing piece of double standards. Espresso Addict (talk) 03:43, 28 June 2019 (UTC)

I have gone to Meta Wikimedia to ask Katherine to explain her tweet. [39] If you are also curious, you may wish to ask too. starship.paint (talk) 03:48, 28 June 2019 (UTC)

  • Appreciate the ping, Starship.paint. GorillaWarfare (talk) 03:52, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
    @GorillaWarfare: - do whatever you want. I merely wanted you to be informed. Maybe I should have pinged you after I found the list of people who publicly liked the tweet (this is public info on Twitter) including James Alexander, Joseph Seddon, Joe Sutherland, jdforrester and Gregory Varnum. These 4 3 stated on Twitter that they are part of Wikimedia (Liker Joseph Seddon didn't say they were part of Wikimedia, but apparently is a Free Knowledge advocate. EDIT: Joseph Seddon unliked the tweet). I don't want to ping every Arb again, so could you help me inform the rest of the Arbs on this. starship.paint (talk) 03:57, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
    Yep, the link to this section has been shared on our email list. For what it's worth, James Alexander has not worked at the Wikimedia Foundation for some time now. GorillaWarfare (talk) 04:00, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
    Oh... Trust and Safety at Twitter and Periscope. I got confused. I'm sorry, James! starship.paint (talk) 04:04, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
    @Starship.paint: Since I've spent 12 years of my life contributing in some way shape or form to Wikipedia and Wikimedia, I would hope I can in some way lay claim to that fact I am an advocate for free knowledge. I've not publicly commented on this whole Fram issue and another voice is not going help on either side of the argument. Given that a single like is going to severely misrepresent my views on this matter and arbitrarily and somewhat incorrectly place me on "a side", I've reversed that action. Seddon talk 05:35, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
    @Seddon: - my wording was too vague. I've never questioned that you are an advocate for free knowledge. What I meant is, you didn't say you were part of Wikimedia on your Twitter profile. starship.paint (talk) 07:42, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
  • wow.... just... wow. Have those at WMF gone on a "How to piss off your volunteers" course? Between that, the Gamergate accusation and the heavy-handed power grab, they seem to be making such a ham-fisted mess of absolutely everything here. - SchroCat (talk) 04:17, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Ha. This just gets more and more bizarre. She won't even try to justify the office action that shattered the project's stability far more than Fram ever could, but when the press inevitably runs the story, she will stoop to respond—not to make her case, but to personally attack the journalist with childish insults? WTF? This is the Executive Director? And other WMF officials are endorsing her? What kind of sad joke is this? I mean, that Tweet is not even as respectable as Trump Tweeting "fake news!" at an unfavorable story. The self-awareness is nonexistent. The professional competence is nonexistent. This is who we're trying to reason with? This is who's at the helm? Honestly, what's the point? This kind of shameful public conduct isn't tolerated in any professional field, at any level. I mean, seriously, a fast food chain wouldn't even tolerate this from an acne-faced shift manager. It really is stunning that the WMF Executive Director is not held and does not hold herself to even a basic standard of civility, maturity or professionalism in the public eye, particularly as the staff purports to hold Wikipedia to a higher standard. ~Swarm~ {sting} 04:30, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Eh Maher's former PR so responding to the press is kinda expected. As a response it does seem rather odd although given the conditions under which she took over the foundation I can understand it would be important to be seen as having her employee's backs. Still if the tweet is about what we think it is about it is kinda unfortunate.©Geni (talk) 05:02, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
This a joke? Ignoring a community controversy over your own actions, to the point where it gets so out of control that the press picks it up, and then only breaking your silence to call the article a "shitty pseudo-thinkpiece" that "nobody cares" about is about the farthest thing from competent PR that I can even imagine. Like I said, this behavior is not tolerated in any professional setting, with or without PR professionals. So the fact that you'd actually go so far as to point out that "she's PR", as if that makes it more understandable, is hilarious. All that means is that she knows better, and yet she literally can not give two shits anyways! Lol!! ~Swarm~ {sting} 06:03, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
  • A public tweet in response to a journalist by the Executive Director of the organization is no longer "inside baseball". What it is, is unprofessional and a fine example of "Do as I say, not as I do" that will not, shall we say, serve to help the situation. She could have expressed disagreement with what was written without doing it like that. (Not to mention she's apparently got time to be tweeting about all manner of things, but none to respond to the concerns raised here.) Seraphimblade Talk to me 05:07, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
  • All true, but at some point we all have to calm down and stop jumping on each other. I have a felling that "The Tweet" may be the twig that moves this mudslide back up the hill. Randy Kryn (talk) 05:12, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
  • If we consider WMF execs and the like to be part of "each other" we're really doomed. There's a damn good reason execs and management aren't given a vote when a workplace unionizes. —/Mendaliv//Δ's/ 05:21, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
  • That seems the only way that this drama will have to shake out, as the concept of putting the encyclopedia first guides well. I think today's events have moved the dial towards unification of purpose and the probable solutions to this energized crisis, no matter how it looks right now. Randy Kryn (talk) 05:33, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
  • This is stunningly tonedeaf and entirely inappropriate. Entirely separate from the WMF's original action, this comment should not be coming from any WMF employee, let alone the person at the top. Doc James, I hope this will be a topic of conversation at a future Board meeting... ~ Rob13Talk 05:26, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
  • I've been contributing to Wikipedia for over 16 years, & there have been times when I've drifted away & seriously considered finding another hobby, but I come back because I basically believed in Wikipedia's mission -- making information free for everyone -- despite that writing useful articles at this point is hard & often tedious work. But when I read such a casually & flippantly nasty response from one of the people who are supposed to set an example for the rest of us ... well, it sucks to discover I've been a sucker. I hope she enjoys that job with a 6-figure salary I helped to create for her. -- llywrch (talk) 05:34, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Yeah, that's basically how I feel. I had even been mostly on the WMF's side, but now I want to burn it all down. Calliopejen1 (talk) 05:56, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
  • A further reply: [40] --Rschen7754 05:30, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
    I perceive it as declining any connection with Bernstein's piece but the original coincidence was too well, to be an accident. WBGconverse 05:38, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
    I guess I don't know. I mean, I have a Twitter account (with an easily guessable handle) but I rarely post anymore. I don't really get all the nuances of this subtweeting thing. It doesn't read to me like an explicit denial. --Rschen7754 05:44, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
    Maher is no idiot. If she wanted to say we were completely wrong, she'd outright say it. She wouldn't muse at how we squirmed at the knife in our collective backs. —/Mendaliv//Δ's/ 05:47, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
    That's a point. WBGconverse 06:10, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
    Yeah, I don't see her coming out and saying "You got me, it was referring to the Buzzfeed article". But if she doesn't come out with an explicit denial within 24 hours, or deletes the tweet, I think we can draw our own conclusions. --Rschen7754 06:20, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
    Well that's kind of my point. Yeah, fair enough, we can't take anything she says as a confirmation because she's not gonna outright do that. But if we were completely incorrect and she was just cursing the darkness a little bit, or complaining about someone else, it would cost her nothing to say "You have it wrong," or even in that exchange say, "The crazy thing is that they're going crazy about something I'm not even talking about." —/Mendaliv//Δ's/ 06:27, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
    I absolutely do not buy that explanation in the follow-up tweet. If she wants me to believe her, she needs to post a link to the actual article she was criticizing. starship.paint (talk) 07:19, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Thanks for the ping above, starship.paint. I've asked a question about this here. (Here is an archive of both relevant tweets, for reference.) Otherwise - there's a lot of interest in this thread about likes and replies and such; let's please all continue to be careful about off-wiki identities. (Also, I have no idea how the WMF works, but there are workplaces where liking, sharing, and otherwise signal-boosting your boss's or organization's social media is part of the expectations of the job, so please don't be tempted to draw undue conclusions about other editors.) Opabinia regalis (talk) 06:24, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
    @Opabinia regalis: - you're welcome. So, you asked on, I asked on Let's just see what replies she have for us. starship.paint (talk) 07:22, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Some comments from Jimmy Wales himself, and some more from Katharine down further on the thread [41]. --Rschen7754 06:25, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
    • Yep, they're gonna keep posting on Twitter to keep their donors believing that they're trying to do something, rather than actually putting out this fire. I'm this close to just saying "Let it burn." This project may need to end tonight. —/Mendaliv//Δ's/ 06:31, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
  • I read that that as tacit acknowledgement that it does indeed relate to the article. This wasn’t even meant to be something that rose to the level of Wikidrama. seems to imply that it was indeed related to Wikipedia (after all, why else would anything rise to the level of Wikidrama...) Bellezzasolo Discuss 06:29, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
    Bellezzasolo - thank you for that astute observation. starship.paint (talk) 07:32, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
So the T&S people liked it by mistake?--Wehwalt (talk) 06:30, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
The backpedaling is pathetic. I wholeheartedly echo Dan's call for her resignation. It is, on multiple levels, necessary at this point. A Twitter cyberbully with the regrettable title of "WMF Executive Director" is an embarrassment to the WMF and to the enwiki community alike, and will do nothing to heal the deep wounds that have been created in the community and in the public eye. His call for the board's resignation would be a plus as well. Though Jimbo can stay. He retweeted the article, rather than attacking the author. ~Swarm~ {sting} 06:39, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
I wouldn't go so far as to call for a resignation for this tweet. This is her livelihood, after all, and I don't think this was egregious enough to warrant a resignation. But we do need a full explanation, and an apology if a mistake was made. starship.paint (talk) 07:32, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
I'm OK with getting up a collection to send Jimmy and the three board members who supposedly represent the community a matched set of second-hand fiddles with a request for their resignation burned into the wood.--Wehwalt (talk) 06:54, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
  • For a community who claims they can handle their own disputes on harassment, you sure did a good job of following someone onto Twitter, following their followers likes, and inflaming the situation by tying a vague tweet to the block of Fram, even after denial it had to do with anything on-wiki. Good job! — Moe Epsilon 07:44, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
    @Moe Epsilon: - writing This wasn’t even meant to be something that rose to the level of Wikidrama. isn't a very strong denial. I agree with Bellezzasolo that it instead seems to imply that it was indeed related to Wikipedia (after all, why else would anything rise to the level of Wikidrama...) starship.paint (talk) 07:49, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
  • You can say that, but she's explicitly denied it being related to any one piece or author in further tweets. If you don't believe her then that's your problem. — Moe Epsilon 07:55, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
  • @Moe Epsilon: - if you actually believe that this quote retweet your shitty pseudo-thinkpiece three times is not related to any one author, that's your problem. starship.paint (talk) 08:01, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
  • It's funny because you think being a public figure gives you any more right to go after other people. At any rate, she can say what she wants on her own social media account any more than you can. If we're holding people accountable for what they say on Twitter now, I suggest we talk to those launching personal attacks at her on Twitter. — Moe Epsilon 10:36, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
  • If we're holding people accountable for what they say on Twitter now is thoroughly, deliberately disingenuous. We are holding the head of the WMF for what she says on her Twitter account, where she posts as WMF head, for statements she makes about Wikipedia. Your counter here is intellectually dishonest dissembling. Grandpallama (talk) 14:53, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
  • @Grandpallama:: No, I am being entirely serious. Quick question, before the incident with Fram, did you ever check her Twitter for updates about the Foundation? Because if you look at her timeline, I would think you'd stop going there for updates since she doesn't frequently post updates on it but rather her every day life. — Moe Epsilon 17:41, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
  • So? Someone usually uses their gun for target practice; one day they accidentally shoot someone in the face. The fact that they generally don't shoot at people means they didn't really shoot someone in the face? Come on...there is absolutely no realistic interpretation that this tweet wasn't about the current situation. Grandpallama (talk) 15:42, 29 June 2019 (UTC)
  • That was a very tone deaf tweet from Katherine Maher; does she not realise that the article is from Buzzfeed News [42], one of the Wikipedia:Reliable sources/Perennial sources, as designated in 2019. Why does this crisis keep self-perputating at very opportunity? Britishfinance (talk) 09:24, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
    @Britishfinance: - just because a source is perennial doesn't mean it is reliable (there are unreliable perennial sources), though There is consensus that BuzzFeed News is generally reliable. starship.paint (talk) 09:35, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
    @Starship.paint: We are all aware of that; however, many editors (incl. Katherine I am guessing), may not be aware of its status as an WP:RSP. Britishfinance (talk) 09:38, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Twitter is a fucking wasteland of Minimum Prosecutable Units without details or context being sprayed back and forth in conversations you can't follow or figure out. Wikipedia has Talk Pages, it has a mailing list, it has Bugzilla -- why the hell are we finding out that all the BIG STUFF is being said by various hotshots I never heard of like Women in Red and Executive Directors, out on this wasteland blogosphere medium? Exalted glitterati of Wikimedia, get back on the bus before you get run over! Wnt (talk) 10:39, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
  • I find it rather rude to say that very few people had asked her directly when she failed to respond to any of those that did (including myself). For that matter, none of the WMF staff I emailed did, except 1 who I asked about an interpretation of a WMF ToS explanation and redirected me to the general email (no reply from them either). Nosebagbear (talk) 11:40, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
    To be honest, I am not sure that writing directly to all WMF employees is in any way a good idea. All of them have certain job descriptions, and most job descriptions do not include communication with volunteers. One can argue that they should include this, and any request, onwiki, on a mailing list, by e-mail, whatever, to any WMF employee must be immediately answered, but then they will be all the time answering the requests and not doing their job. I think by this time we have enough evidence that Katherine Maher is aware of WP:FRAM, and I do not see how another 357 e-mails, tweets and pings would do any better.--Ymblanter (talk) 12:22, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
    AFAIK, a board meeting can't be held w/o her. And, since the BoT discussed this on the 14th, she ought to have been aware of the circumstances, from that point of time onwards. WBGconverse 12:48, 28 June 2019 (UTC)


I so wanted to reply to that tweet, but decided against it as I'd probably end up banned from Twitter. All those on Twitter, tweet the Bernsten article, and let's get the hashtag #FRAMGATE #Wikigate trending. Mjroots (talk) 07:25, 28 June 2019 (UTC)

@Mjroots: - no no no! You will be accused of supporting a harasser and maybe even sexism. You will lose the optics war. It should be WMFGATE or maybe WIKIGATE (the most relatable). No FRAM, please, no one out there knows who Fram is. starship.paint (talk) 07:34, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
OK, I've deleted my tweet. #Wikigate is a good suggestion, let's go with that. Mjroots (talk) 07:43, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
Twitter is a very different beast from Wikipedia, and one whose community has long been toxic to each other. I don't see the benefit of publicizing this within the Twitterverse. -- King of ♠ 13:52, 28 June 2019 (UTC)

Katherine Maher responses on Twitter[edit]

These are her responses. Bolded parts describe her initial tweet.
  1. 10:21 PM - 27 Jun 2019 This wasn’t even meant to be something that rose to the level of Wikidrama. Had I wanted to do that I would have taken it on directly. This was just garden variety the world is burning subtweeting. [43]
  2. 11:09 PM - 27 Jun 2019 This tweet was not a comment on the gravity of concerns of English Wikipedians. I am not someone who shies from criticism or holding ground for my own perspectives. Had that been my intention, I’d have spoken to it directly. [44]
  3. 11:12 PM - 27 Jun 2019 Dan, I entirely concur with Jimmy. I regret the timing of the tweet, but I’m now in between deleting something that was not intended to be wiki-inflammatory, or being accused of ill intent. I’d prefer the transparency of being held to account, and to leave it up, but that requires being taken at face value. [45]
  4. 11:54 PM - 27 Jun 2019 Well, no, because it wasn’t about a specific author or article. The part two years have been electrified on various issues. There’s a rich tradition of crappy thinkpieces out there, and I live in the Bay Area, which is full of bad takes on gender, income, and equity. [46]
  5. 11:56 PM - 27 Jun 2019 But all of that doesn’t change the fact that people now feel diminished and diesregarded. That’s terrible. [47]
  6. 11:59 PM - 27 Jun 2019 Even when I disagree with “the community” - which is a monolith misnomer, not least because one thing I love about Wikimedia is a room full of 10 Wikipedians usually has 20 opinions - I always respect that we each person brings their opinion earnestly and with integrity. [48]
  7. 12:03 PM - 28 Jun 2019 So, in short - I regret tweeting something that members of our community felt was directed st them, and disrespectful to their efforts, contributions, or perspectives. That certainly was not my intention. [49]
  8. 12:08 AM - 28 Jun 2019 I know this will sound odd, but until today, very few folks have asked me directly. I see that’s changed tonight with a number of questions on my talk page, which I’ll have to answer tomorrow - it’s past midnight now. [50]
  9. 12:20 AM - 28 Jun 2019 Being marginalized in change, intentional or otherwise, is a truly terrible feeling. [51]
  10. 12:28 AM - 28 Jun 2019 This was not a directed comment. The world is full of bad takes, and bad take pushers. It is a good thing when people start tuning them out in favor of critical information, challenging opinions, and informed debate. [52]

Discuss. starship.paint (talk) 08:13, 28 June 2019 (UTC)

Why should I find that interesting?Slatersteven (talk) 08:42, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
@Slatersteven: - I thought you personally emailed her. Did I get that wrong? starship.paint (talk) 08:44, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
Still not seeing why I should find this interesting.Slatersteven (talk) 08:59, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
Yes, I just read that. It's probably true. There were only a handful of us who wrote to her directly, and she appears not to have noticed the emails, only that which was in public view. While I am disappointed that she still hasn't acknowledged (except via Twitter) that we contacted her, I am even more disappointed that so few in our community did write to her, especially in view of how many people have been involved in this page, either to propose ideas or support or comment on those ideas, or just to read. We can't blame the CEO for not getting the message if people didn't send her the message. Please, folks, do it now. Contact her in whichever manner you prefer or feel is appropriate - email, twitter, or her account here on enwiki or on Media. But whichever means you do, please, please, please, be civil. You can indicate you are angry, emotional, disappointed, frustrated, whatever. But don't be hostile, don't be insulting, don't be rude. She has said that our community is a "monolith misnomer" because 10 Wikipedians come up with 20 different opinions. Can we show her that we are a unified community, and what we want is improved communications and a better ongoing relationship between WMF and enwiki. We don't wish to be ignored, insulted, and treated as fractious and toxic. We want to be treated with respect and equality, and for enwiki and WMF to work together to continue our existing work on building this project. SilkTork (talk) 08:57, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
When we've had ArbCom in telephone meeting with the WMF, and we've had Jimmy Wales and Doc James working on this as board members (and having had a meeting covering it), it's hardly our fault if the ED isn't getting the message. Boing! said Zebedee (talk) 09:03, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
It may be relative, if we all wrote to her (who are participating here) what percentage of Wikipedians would that be? If it is over 100,000 this would be less the 1% (of 1%), by any stretch of the imagination that is "very few" people who actually care or have noticed.Slatersteven (talk) 09:06, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
So no-one should do anything, Slatersteven? Not sure what your point is but the issue of an alleged silent majority has been raised here before and one outcome of that was an influx of previously silent people acknowledging that they have concerns. - Sitush (talk) 09:11, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
When did I say no one should say anything? I never once said no one should comment, and really fail, to see how my Post could in any read be seen in that way. I am not saying there is a silent majority who holds an opinion, I have said most users have no commented, and so only a few have really shown any interest in this issue (you will note, I did fact include the possibility they just have not heard of this case).Slatersteven (talk) 09:19, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
I asked you a question as to the point of your post. I didn't say you believe no-one should do anything. You're writing quite a lot of irrelevant and/or repetitive stuff here and, as is common, obfuscating matters. - Sitush (talk) 09:23, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
You asked me if I said something that there was no possible way you could have read into my comment. Someone asked why she said X, I because you will just strawman whatever I say. This is my last response to you on this subject, if you cannot debate honestly then I cannot be arsed to debate with you.Slatersteven (talk) 09:29, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
Break it up guys, let's not fight over this, alright? starship.paint (talk) 09:37, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
To echo Boing’s point, if the ED isn’t aware of this conflict between the community and the WMF because the community hasn’t told her, it reflects poorly on the internal communication at the WMF, or strengthens the point that the WMF sees this as so inconsequential that they don’t need to inform the management. Mr Ernie (talk) 09:09, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
@Slatersteven: - it's true that the 460 editors who have weighed in here are only small subset of the community. But, how many singular issues in the community can even generate a response from 460 editors? According to Newyorkbrad, we have now [53] achieved a record number of statements for an Arbitration case request at over 120. This is momentous in Wikipedia history. starship.paint (talk) 09:25, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
The point is why she said "so few people". Now it may well be true this has generated more controversy then any other single issue here. But that does not mean that it is still a lot of people commenting (or contacting her), just a lot more then usual. So it does not make her statement false or misleading.Slatersteven (talk) 09:33, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
The point isn't that 460 editors have responded. It's the proportion of the top 10% or even 5% of active editors who have responded. Mjroots (talk) 10:45, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
  • My tweet to Ms Maher [54] DuncanHill (talk) 09:11, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
    • And her reply to me [55]. DuncanHill (talk) 17:34, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
      • If I may note what follows, I'd rather the conversation be here on-wiki, too. I have significant concerns regarding the usage of off-wiki sources to handle on-wiki matters in this case. Javert2113 (Siarad.|¤) 18:09, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
        • I don't think I've ever gone off-wiki to ask something that should be asked on-wiki before. I disliked having to do it, but it was clear that the only way of attracting her attention was to go to Twitter. I really shouldn't say any more. But I will, I am appalled at her behaviour. I don't think she gives a flying fuck about editors. And I'm sure she'll come out with a load of "we're listening, we want to bring you with us" bullshit when she does eventually manage to remember how to log in to Wikipedia. DuncanHill (talk) 19:12, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
  • I couldn't sleep so I also responded to her tweet [56]. -- llywrch (talk) 10:04, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
  • "Very few people have asked her directly" -- well of course not. We're not on her site. If you want to have a say in Wikipedia, obviously you should spend your time on Twitter! The WMF Office has tried its best to make plots to redesign Wikipedia to look a little more like Twitter so we can get used to it so we can stop talking here and move over to where All The Big Stuff Happens. There, under the watchful eye of Twitter censors, the competent posters who have networks of PR bots behind them can get the upvotes they need to be accepted as Serious Players worthy of the WMF's respect! Someday we can replace all of Wikipedia with Twitter and if you think something is a good source on ghost imaging or seventeenth-century iron smelting you can just retweet the citation -- ought to work so much better than our system of article writing! Wnt (talk) 10:46, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
    • That is an odd response, inasmuch as at least three people emailed her about this issue three days ago. She might claim that in the crush of emails she (presumably) receives she had missed seeing them, but (presumably) her subordinates did update her that there was some serious pushback on en.wikipedia about this matter. -- llywrch (talk) 14:38, 28 June 2019 (UTC) Just saw the thread above. I plead lack of sleep week nights for way too long in defense of repeating information clearly visible. -- llywrch (talk) 14:51, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Starship.paint (talk · contribs · deleted contribs · logs · edit filter log · block user · block log) was just blocked, I assume for this post. His talk page access was also revoked. MrX 🖋 14:13, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
    Clarifcation: I was definitely blocked for inappropriate questions asked on of two WMF staffers, definitely considering a warning for inappropriate questions I asked of a former Arb. A question to a WMF staffer on may have also contributed to the block. Obviously, I am unblocked now. However, my contributions to this page will be cut down. starship.paint (talk) 01:31, 29 June 2019 (UTC)
    Not just that post.--MONGO (talk) 14:24, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
    Odd that he was blocked longer than Fram, however. Dennis Brown - 14:52, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
Well if the block notice is correct he had already been warned about this sort of thing before. But it does seem to be an overreaction, is there a history of outing here?Slatersteven (talk) 14:54, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
Poor blighter was indeffed for lèse-majesté. Yngvadottir (talk) 17:03, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Katherine has replied to me to say that she is in meetings this afternoon (Pacific Time) but will take a look at her talk page after. I want a response as well, but it's not unreasonable to give her some time to attend to her meeting schedule. GorillaWarfare (talk) 17:46, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
    Swell.- MrX 🖋 19:44, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
    Yeah. The feeling I get is that this all came as a great surprise to her and she is just now trying to get back onto a good footing. Even if she comes around on it, this is breathtakingly unsatisfactory. How on earth could anyone with her job have been so oblivious to what has been going on, for all this time? It's not our fault for failing to do a good enough job of reaching out to her. It's her job to be aware of these things. --Tryptofish (talk) 19:54, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Katherine Maher's tweet is unacceptable and reminds me of something Katie Hopkins or Ann Coulter would write. I would be thoroughly unimpressed if an admin said it, much less the editing director of the WMF. Ritchie333 (talk) (cont) 22:07, 28 June 2019 (UTC)

Comment from Guerillero[edit]

Since Katherine Maher seems to have poured petrol on the fire by tweeting about the Buzzfeed article, I guess I should say something. The Tom Fish mentioned in the article is myself. I was connected with the author on twitter by a friend who saw that Joe was asking for a Wikipedia admin to talk to. I was worried that the piece could turn out poorly and I knew that commenting here wasn't going to move the needle with the WMF. (It seems to have made impact by broadening the conversation beyond just us.) I tried my hardest to be a guide to our community and provide background information. None of the information in the section about harassment came from me. I am unimpressed by her statement below and I am planning on resigning my tools/positions in the community if the board doesn't say something in a week. --Guerillero | Parlez Moi 01:02, 29 June 2019 (UTC)

Thank you for helping make that article good. I for one commend you. —/Mendaliv//Δ's/ 01:21, 29 June 2019 (UTC)
Guerillero, the article turned out well, so apparently your information was helpful and well-received. Seraphimblade Talk to me 02:05, 29 June 2019 (UTC)
I thank you for your candour and for helping with the article. It turned out surprisingly well. —A little blue Bori v^_^v Bori! 04:01, 29 June 2019 (UTC)
Guerillero, Great job. Thanks for taking that on. Clayoquot (talk | contribs) 04:46, 29 June 2019 (UTC)

Katherine Maher's reply[edit]

Copying Katherine's reply here. GorillaWarfare (talk) 23:55, 28 June 2019 (UTC)

Hi folks. I'm not very active here mostly because it's not a very active page in general. It's usually vandalism, which is quickly reverted by folks who watch the page (thank you!). But when I'm pinged there's a lot of activity here, like today, you have my attention, and here I am.

I understand people are very upset about my tweet yesterday. My tweet wasn't really meant to be about the BuzzFeed article about the situation here on enWP, it was meant more a comment about Twitter and media culture in general. (If I’d wanted to comment on the article, I would have linked to it directly.) But I understand why it was upsetting, and why it could be seen as dismissing or dismissive of perspectives and people here in the en-wiki community. That truly wasn't my intention, and I apologize. (It was also a somewhat ill-conceived and hasty throwaway, which is Twitter in a nutshell, versus what I hope will be a more thoughtful and well-written reflection here, more in line with the nature of this community.) Thank you for reaching out and inviting me to clarify my intention here.

My actual feeling on the BuzzFeed article, which I also clarified on Twitter, is that it accurately covers the situation in the community and the anger or frustration people have expressed about the ban and the Foundation's action. In general, I don't have issues with negative press coverage of criticisms about the Foundation or my own judgment and actions. That’s part of my role, and often I find it very useful to help me learn and improve. To that end, the coverage of the conversations was a fair characterization of many perspectives here. Very often the press doesn't really understand the workings of Wikimedia, however, the journalist clearly did his homework to understand community conversations and processes. He put in the effort, so kudos - that's not easy and it often takes people a long time. (I personally found the “culture war” framing to be strange, because seemed like it was trying to make a Wikipedia issue into a comment on society as a whole, using a very American perspective for what is a fairly international community.)

However, while I don't have any issues with the things I described above, I did felt the way it handled reporting on the alleged targets of harassment was objectionable. For people who know how the communities work, it would be very easy from the article to identify those individuals. That is not okay, and it would have been possible to write the article on the issue and the controversy without needing to take that approach. The Foundation communications team has been in touch with the Buzzfeed editors with our concerns around that. I take very seriously the matter of protecting members of our community, especially ones being harmed by harassment. Criticism is fine, but you shouldn't make it harder for people who already are in a hard place in order to make a point. Or, as I've been taught, don't 'punch down.'

Even if I’ve not been vocal here on my talk page or on other discussions, I’ve been closely monitoring what’s been going on here on en-wiki, and will continue to do so. I believe there are things that could have been handled better on the Foundation side, including my own communications. My goal, which I’ve shared with the Board and am happy to share with you all here, is to find a path to de-escalate the current situation and build better, lasting solutions to the issues of harassment. To me, this means consulting with the enWP community to address your articulated concerns about our respective roles and community processes, identifying some clear next steps to resolve some of the current concerns, and consulting on how we can work together to strengthen community self-governance while also cultivating a respectful editing environment that safeguards everyone in the community.

As always, I appreciate people's passion and the community's efforts toward holding the Foundation accountable, even when these conversations are difficult. I recognize I've also not answered every question or responded to every comment on my page today -- there's a lot, and I wanted to focus on the things that seemed most important and to have the most energy around them.

I know it doesn’t seem like it to many people at the moment, but I wholeheartedly support and am committed to the principle of partnership with members of this and other project communities. It’s been a part of my commitment as a Foundation employee for five years, and consultation is something I’ve made an effort to embed in every aspect of our work, from the movement strategy conversations to the product development process. We don’t always get it right, and even if we do, we don’t and won’t always agree on everything. But I know that collaboration and discourse is essential, and something we all -- Foundation and staff alike -- should always be working toward. Thank you. Katherine (WMF) (talk) 23:49, 28 June 2019 (UTC)

It's unclear to me who she's apologizing to, or for what, and if she's told the members of T&S who hastened to associate themselves with her tweet that her present stance is that she was not criticizing the BuzzFeed article. Aside from that, to stay on the Shakespeare meme, it would have been helpful to have more matter, with less art.--Wehwalt (talk) 02:15, 29 June 2019 (UTC)
I want to say thanks to the arbs, former arbs, admins and veteran editors who have engaged with Maher on her talk page over this crisis. I am proud of you and although I am not nearly as active or committed to this project as you are, your frankness with her makes me feel represented and that I am part of a community that it is a privilege to belong to. Smeat75 (talk) 04:38, 29 June 2019 (UTC)
Okay, she was not intending to criticize the article. She just so happened to be using it as an example to make a general criticism about media and Twitter culture. Nothing even to do with Wikipedia. Pay no attention to the fact that the article's about her, or to the fact that she called it a "shitty pseudo-thinkpiece" that "no one cares" about. That has nothing to do with Wikipedia or the article. It was just a philosophical meta-commentary on Twitter culture. She knows she directly attacked it, but that has nothing to do with her intent. If she wanted to criticize the article, she obviously would have directly referenced it. Perhaps it wasn't the wisest tweet, but that's Twitter, you guys get that, right? Anyway, I'm glad we're all forgiven for the misunderstanding. I really feel like this has been a come together moment. On that note, she really appreciates us holding the WMF accountable. They've been stonewalling and ignoring us, but rest assured, that doesn't mean anything. They're taking accountability and transparency seriously. Just like her tweet, the obvious evidence to the contrary is completely meaningless. Just ignore it. They're on our side. Oh, by the way, "harassment". That's right, "harassment". Oh, and "victims". Don't forget about the "victims". WMF is getting serious about it, that's what this is all about. No, they still haven't confirmed that this incident has anything to do with harassment as opposed to incivility, but don't question that. They're gonna drop the buzzword in a generic, nonspecific way instead—draw your own conclusions! I have to give Katherine credit for the most human-sounding response to date, but this still boils down to empty rhetoric, which is more than likely necessary to save her job and/or reputation at this point. ~Swarm~ {sting} 05:09, 29 June 2019 (UTC)
The reply makes no sense to me: lots of being "kind" and corporate twaddle but little substance that gels with any logical reading of the tweets. It seems to be an attempt to square a circle, and perhaps even a little bit reverse ferret-ish. When I make a mistake I own it but there is precious little owning here and if indeed we have misinterpreted the intent then perhaps that indicates the ED as being someone who is not fit to hold a post for which communication skills surely are a prequisite. - Sitush (talk) 06:02, 29 June 2019 (UTC)
This is why WMF needs to be careful. I recalled Frams name, but could not recall form what dispute, now I know. A dispute that involved (as I recall) one of the proles getting warned for (what in effect) Fram was also doing.Slatersteven (talk) 08:35, 29 June 2019 (UTC)
Like Swarm and Sitush, I find this message somewhat underwhelming. "My tweet wasn't really meant to be about the BuzzFeed article". Either it was about it or it wasn't - wasn't really meant is linguistically slippery; it implies that the result didn't match the intention, and thus shifts the focus from observable fact (the tweet) to something with more wriggle room (the intention). And "I’ve been closely monitoring what’s been going on here on en-wiki, and will continue to do so" - closely monitoring, but saying nothing. Er, thanks for watching? And then there's the transferral of some responsibility from one's own words to the medium that carries them (Ms Maher doesn't go quite so far as to say 'Twitter made me do it', but it's not far off). Still, there is an apology in there, and an acknowledgement that the WMF has handled this badly, which is something. PaleCloudedWhite (talk) 08:37, 29 June 2019 (UTC)
It's an apology that really isn't, as it is not directed at anyone and it doesn't say what it is for. It's actually worse than the WIR apology, which apologized to the empty air, rather than to Fram, for implying "crimes" on the grounds that it was imprecise. I must say I am impressed by the competence of WMF and in particular Katherine, and possibly Legal. When I, in the course of my legal practice, have written a blow-off letter, I was never successful in making it half as long as this one. It takes talent to say nothing in so many words.--Wehwalt (talk) 09:24, 29 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Katherine has replied to a couple of my tweets (the less pointed ones, @dennislbrown). When I told her we should be having this conversation onwiki and not on twitter, she replied "You’re right, that is where we should be having that conversation, and that’s what tried to start this afternoon. I plan to continue." (~1am EST 5/29) I have no idea where she tried, or what she has planned this afternoon (or what time zone she is in for "afternoon"). I haven't seen anything, but will reserve judgement for 24 hours. Dennis Brown - 12:20, 29 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Over the course of these discussions, some editors have expressed dissatisfaction with the slowness of getting a clear statement from ArbCom. I think it's important to take note of the comments that multiple Arbs put on Maher's talk page. Those comments show unambiguously that they understand what the rest of us have been so upset about, and that they really are trying to get that message across to WMF. So I want to say that it's not ArbCom's fault that we have gotten so little in the way of adequate responses from WMF. The fault rests squarely with WMF themselves. --Tryptofish (talk) 21:37, 29 June 2019 (UTC)
@Tryptofish: For clarity you're referring to comments starting about the 27th? Looking at both meta and en talk pages those look to be when people started commenting, I mean not just arbcom members. I'm not complaining, just trying to understand the timeline here because a lot of people are surprised she has indicated she didn't know that well what was going on here or the level of reaction but it also looks to me like a lot of the direct approaches to her are fairly recent. Of course emailing or similar was likely a better bet anyway, and I see some discussion about that above but it sort of looks like that also only took off on the 25th i.e. very recent, although it's difficult to know how many did before then. It does seem things have really taken off now with the Tweet and the controversy surrounding it. For clarity, I make no comment whether she should have known from the BoT meetings or other means. It's more that I'm surprised given how strongly some here feel about the WMF's actions that approaching the ED directly seems to potentially be a fairly recent thing. Nil Einne (talk) 17:30, 30 June 2019 (UTC)
I didn't have any particular comments about ArbCom in mind. Indeed, at this point I can hardly even keep track of who has said what. So I wasn't so much criticizing any particular comments, as praising the work done by ArbCom. --Tryptofish (talk) 17:35, 30 June 2019 (UTC)
It's interesting that, in her statement above, Maher says the following: "Even if I’ve not been vocal here on my talk page or on other discussions, I’ve been closely monitoring what’s been going on here on en-wiki, and will continue to do so" - dated 28 June. Though she didn't state when she started "closely monitoring" it. PaleCloudedWhite (talk) 17:59, 30 June 2019 (UTC)

A less desired news source[edit]

  • A breitbart news article (can't directly link), titled Wikipedia Editors Revolt over Site’s Ban of Veteran Administrator has now been made. To be fair, it's less biased and significantly better than most of the publication's usual articles. It doesn't consider the other side as much, and has more errors, but is still not miles off. Not the 2nd news source I'd have liked to have cover it. It's also starting to twig up more elsewhere (Quora, reddit etc) from non-participants Nosebagbear (talk) 17:17, 29 June 2019 (UTC)
@Nosebagbear: - I see that the bottom of that article states: T. D. Adler edited Wikipedia as The Devil’s Advocate. He was banned after privately reporting conflict of interest editing by one of the site’s administrators. Due to previous witch-hunts led by mainstream Wikipedians against their critics, Adler writes under an alias. starship.paint (talk) 05:32, 30 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Nosebagbear, actually the Breitbart piece contains a very interesting clue to all of this. It appears Fram violated their WMF imposed IBAN on May 8, which leads me to assume the WMF saw it and banned for that violation (or someone brought it up to them), not any of the other possible complaints. Mr Ernie (talk) 09:04, 30 June 2019 (UTC)
    May 8 had some ugly diffs. [57][58] but I don't see a violation of the IBAN. This one [59] is close but probably not a violation. Jehochman Talk 03:50, 1 July 2019 (UTC)
    Jehochman, It may not be an IBAN violation by the traditional definition. The WMF told Fram "we would like to ask that you refrain from making changes to content that she produces, in any way (directly or indirectly), from this point on. This includes but is not limited to direct editing of it, tagging, nominating for deletion, etc." This is a special sanction the WMF cooked up. I wonder if we could ask T&S if they used this diff in justification of the 1 year ban. I guess there's no chance they would ever answer that though. Mr Ernie (talk) 09:07, 1 July 2019 (UTC)


Can we please stop throwing around the word "harassment" everywhere? It's been said on this page 150 times. That's not including the archives. No one has said that this ban had anything to do with harassment. The Board barely even mentioned harassment, as an aside to additional training the WMF might be able to provide. What the board did mention explicitly is what's actually important, and we need to understand and acknowledge the lessons being given to us. What the board did talk about:

  • "toxic behaviors"
  • "[working] to make Wikimedia communities safer for all good faith editors"
  • "A safe and respectful environment"
  • "[allowing] for more diverse voices to join our communities"
  • "[the community] should take this as a wake-up call to improve our enforcement processes to deal with so-called 'unblockables'"
  • "those in a position of authority should be held to a higher standard"
  • "projects struggle to effectively address the most difficult and controversial cases. There is a gap between our movement principles and practices. This is an issue we need to solve"
  • "dealing with toxic behavior"

It's naive to reduce this to the community struggling to deal with harassment. The issue is clear, and practically spelled out for us. The WMF wants us start taking behavioral conduct seriously. It's not just about harassment. We need to stop making excuses for "unblockables". We need to stop making excuses for toxic behavior. We need to start enforcing behavioral policies, even (read: especially) against admins. We need to start handling behavioral issues with seriousness and decisive authority. The days of excusing incivility in deference to content contributions are over. The days of log-jamming behavioral complaints with excuses and defenses are over. The days of admins unilaterally unblocking "power users" who are blocked for personal attacks and incivility are over. The reign of the uncivil power user is finished. These editors are a sacrifice that should be made in order to encourage a more welcoming and diverse environment. And the board is willing to side with us on this. They'll tighten the Foundation's leash, and give us a genuine chance to fix this issue ourselves. But fixing the issue is non-negotiable. If we don't want Foundation meddling, we need to start taking this seriously.

As one of the very vocal critics of the WMF in this, I can support this initiative wholeheartedly. I am already seeing it start to play out within the community. These are changes the community's been aching for since before I even registered. I am on board with the board's goals here. I encourage everyone to take this seriously as well. The WMF handled this terribly. They're clearly not equipped to deal with this from the top-down. But they were enforcing the board's will. If we don't want this to repeat itself, we need to learn from this as well. We need to not give the WMF any reason to see the need to intervene. "Harassment" is a chilling red herring buzzword that distracts from the real issues at hand. We've been failing to enforce our very most basic conduct policies since I got here. It's not Arbcom's fault for failing us in terms of harassment. Arbcom's certainly done more to combat chronic issues with incivility than we ever have. It's no secret to anyone. And it has never changed. Unblockables are a thing. Power users get a free pass. And it's not good enough any more. If the WMF is going to dictate that it's time to change, then I will support that, even over my own criticisms of the WMF. I encourage everyone to start doing the same. There's no excuse not to change. It's in everyone's best interests. The "good ol' boy" culture of self-protection from our own behavioral standards is rightfully finished. ~Swarm~ {sting} 04:58, 8 July 2019 (UTC)

I agree with a lot of this. I'd just add that the term "harassment" is more often than not being used improperly here, both in terms of its WP:HARASSMENT definition and in terms of its legal meaning (because harassment may be a crime or a tort in most jurisdictions). I think we need to be more careful how and when we use the term in light of that, given a claim that someone has committed a criminal act may itself be legally actionable. —/Mendaliv//Δ's/ 05:09, 8 July 2019 (UTC)
@Swarm: Amen. Levivich 05:28, 8 July 2019 (UTC)
You might wish to read this, at first. WBGconverse 07:20, 8 July 2019 (UTC)
For anyone who didn't click through to that edit of mine, as I discussed in a previous section in this page, we need to examine the motivations for poor behaviour, and do what we can to replace them with incentives for desired behaviour. We've had a lot of discussion about building a better stick, but not a lot on how to build better carrots. Two areas I touched upon are improving content dispute mechanisms so that bad behaviour is not a good strategy to win disputes, and having better ways to identify new editors with potential to improve so it isn't necessary to use rudeness to discourage those who don't exhibit the essential characteristics to eventually become a productive editor. We need to align our processes with the behaviours we want to encourage, so evolutionary pressure will select for them. isaacl (talk) 10:26, 8 July 2019 (UTC)
Amen, amen, Swarm. I haven't always agreed with your posts on this subject but I think you've issued a valid challenge to all admins. I think part of the hesitancy to block on civility and behavioral conduct is because an admin thinks that another admin will just come along in a few hours and unblock. Sandstein recently blocked Eric Corbett for violating a topic ban and it seemed to me that admins were going out of their way to get any concession from him so they could avoid enforcing this violation. More admins have to be willing to enforce violations that any ordinary editor would be penalized for. And I think that will not happen overnight. Liz Read! Talk! 03:09, 9 July 2019 (UTC)
Hear hear. The Land (talk) 07:51, 8 July 2019 (UTC)
Well said, Swarm. The sea-change we desperately require across the Wikipedia movement is one where everyone - but absolutely all administrators, without exception - deal civily and respectfully with every other user, and with one another. And we should be prepared to call one another out on this when our standards slip. That's not to suggest we relax the implementation of our policies and guidelines - we just need to apply them without all the associated testosterone-laden remarks that some think is quite ok to deploy...
...In all civilised societies, if one gets caught for speeding, spraying graffiti, or even major embezzlement, we would expect the police to deal with us and our crimes both fairly and respectfully. We are rightly horrified if we see a video of rogue police officers mishandling or verbally abusing offenders, even if it was something that might have been culturally acceptable thirty or forty years ago. We should be equally as horrified when we see administrators, acting on behalf of the community, being uncivil and disrespectful to those who either maliciously or accidentally break our rules. Wikipedia is now an 18-year old, and has come of age. Users should certainly expect all of our administrators to act like mature, professional adults, not wayward vigilante cops, even in the face of provocation. If they can't do that they shouldn't be administrators on one of the world's most used websites. Nick Moyes (talk) 09:18, 8 July 2019 (UTC)
I think the key point is though, if you get caught speeding or breaking the law, then you can't claim the police are harassing you when they write a ticket. And if the police have to write you a ticket for speeding every day for a month, well then maybe you shouldn't be driving. Mr Ernie (talk) 11:08, 8 July 2019 (UTC)
  • "those in a position of authority should be held to a higher standard"—yet currently they are in important respects held to a lower standard. Tony (talk) 09:20, 8 July 2019 (UTC)
  • It works both ways. There are users who consider admins to be 'fair game' (a person or thing that is considered a reasonable target for criticism, exploitation, or attack) and exploit every opportunity to bait and harass our admins knowing that admins are not allowed to defend themselves. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 09:44, 8 July 2019 (UTC)
    That's true, but not only administrators, patrollers also face abuse, so do those editing in sensitive areas. An interesting problem that technology appears to not cope with effectively is real (and often illegal) harassment using IP addresses and socks to make threats of harm. No matter how civil, anyone can start getting these for any reason. Manual admin+revdel intervention is necessary and may well occur after the target read the message. Edit filters have helped but appear very suboptimal. Things could help like talk page protection, IP address editing restrictions, making sock creation more difficult, but at the same time such solutions are often considered unworkable. Ad-hoc slowly escalating spoonfed methods are used: a particular page will be protected a few days only after already too much abuse, that immediately resumes as it soon expires. Similarly unless a long term abuse school or hosting range, IP addresses get a 31h block at a time (almost always too late, and the abuser resets the connection anyway)... Added to that may be off-wiki canvassing campaigns. Although less serious, this also affects POV pushing and vandalism in articles. Conversely, if Wikipedia only allowed "pro accounts", it would probably result in its quick death. This implies that it also strives because of this chaos, with much effort needed by "cop armies" just so it doesn't completely collapse... With some editors inevitably getting irritated and echoing the toxicity. —PaleoNeonate – 10:38, 8 July 2019 (UTC)
  • I agree with Swarm, and I agree with Kudpung. A major change in the culture of Wikipedia is needed. We are supposed to be building an encyclopedia. We have to deal every day with users whose objectives in editing do not agree with our policies. We have to resolve differences in what is put into the encyclopedia within the boundaries of policies (content disputes). We need to address such issues in a civil manner consistently and at all times. We must not tolerate bad behavior from anyone. - Donald Albury 10:16, 8 July 2019 (UTC)
This thread is making me uneasy. The last thing we need is to be making major changes on the back of simple, unqualified declarations like "We must not tolerate bad behavior from anyone.". Unlike "speeding, spraying graffiti, or even major embezzlement" , incivility is not an easily defined in a way that would be broadly agreed on. For this reason, many types of "bad" behavior - e.g. rude words, other aggressive language, etc etc, are invariably tolerated in successful communities, even if they are discouraged. Re-architecting a global communities culture & health is not as simple as some here possibly think. FeydHuxtable (talk) 10:29, 8 July 2019 (UTC)
You're uneasy about the suggestion that people deal civilly and respectfully with each other? Personally I'm highly encouraged by this thread. It shows that while many are unhappy with the way WMF dealt with this issue (and I count myself in that number too), there is a solid recognition that we're not doing enough to make WP a safe and welcoming space for everyone. Anyway, like it or not, "major changes" are exactly what is required here. The WMF have made it abundantly clear that if the present status quo remains unchanged, they will have no choice but to carry out more FramBans in future. And, whatever your position on the rights and wrongs of that, such a move would probably lead to the fracture and death of Wikipedia, which would be a disaster for everyone involved in the project. Thanks  — Amakuru (talk) 10:42, 8 July 2019 (UTC)
Wrong on all points. Regarding your first sentence, if I was the type to be easily offended, then Id find the implication that Im adverse to us dealing more 'civilly and respectfully' with each other far more disrespectful than being told to F-off. Im very much in favour of everyone – from the youngest newbie (including ones with strong aversion to aggression), to the most well established power user - being treated with greater respect. My point is that kind of major change is not easy to actualise without doing more harm than good. Swarm mentions sacrifice , which is indeed often a key ingredient of successful change for good. But we don't want the sort of sacrifice that kills the Golden Goose. FeydHuxtable (talk) 11:02, 8 July 2019 (UTC)
FWIW, I read your point as being a suggestion that what we don't need is some sort of knee-jerk reaction, but instead a carefully considered and properly discussed way forward. At least, that's my thinking. Boing! said Zebedee (talk) 11:08, 8 July 2019 (UTC)
Thanks Boing! - you're spot on. FeydHuxtable (talk) 11:16, 8 July 2019 (UTC)
Ah OK, no issues there then. A considered approach is preferable to a knee-jerk one. I just don't think keeping the status quo is an option any more. Thanks  — Amakuru (talk) 15:34, 8 July 2019 (UTC)
  • The OP makes an excellent point, in that the best response to Framgate should involve general efforts to enrich community health, not just a focus on anti harassment measures.
Yet if implemented as written, several other strong statements in the OP seem likely to be counter productive. Before we settle on specific measures to reduce toxicity, it would be good to first address the Adler problem - the fact that"toxic" is such an ill-defined word, even more so than "harassment".
For HansAdler, toxicity seems to mean excessive respect for rank. For some users, probably including some of the Board, toxicity seems to be synonymous with aggression, rudeness, & excessive bluntness. Those users might prefer to say 'toxicity is severe incivility' – but incivility also lacks a widely agreed on precise meaning. For myself & quite a few others, the most insidious forms of toxic incivility include passive aggression, excessive carelessness & dishonest manipulation. And positive aggression can be the antidote to these things. Yet the OP's suggestions would seem to make that cure much more risky.
Instead the OP seems to be largely about raising the "decisive authority" of the Block, and a radical change of our culture so that the community is no longer allowed to makes excuses for passionate outbursts. So no recognition of the fact content creators sometimes spend upwards of 300 hours just on one article. So can suffer annoyances which are hard for a non content creator to understand, e.g. having to deal with a newbie persistently wanting to make article changes, without understanding the basics, leaving the only fully civil response to explain their mistakes from basic principles.
And many actual examples where aggression flares up involve political flashpoints where editors on both sides are understandably passionate. It would be relatively easy to remove the checks on the "decisive authority" of the enforcement corps. It would be non trivial to provide admins with the extra attention boost needed to carefully analyse all disputes. Direct aggression is easy to spot. Passive aggression & other forms of superficial polite uncollaborative behaviour are not always, unless you already understand the context & background.
There's a mention of holding admins to a higher standard, but much of the thrust of the OP seems to be on preventing the community from speaking out to challenge a block. For many, the worst form of admin abuse is the handing out of excessively harsh sanctions.
TLDR: Taken as a package, the suggestions above risk radically changing our culture in ways that would discourage many good passionate users, but favour the emotionally cold, civil POV pushers, power tripping admins, trolls and baiters. All this said, moderate changes in the direction indicated by the OP might be beneficial, though perhaps Isaacl's thread (already linked to by WBG) frames the issues in a more reflective way. FeydHuxtable (talk) 10:35, 8 July 2019 (UTC)
My comment above (which got lost in an edit conflict - I've put it back) was before I read this, and I can do no more than agree 100% with what you say, FeydHuxtable. Boing! said Zebedee (talk) 11:10, 8 July 2019 (UTC)
  • The only problem with the claimed unblockables is that they attract absurdly escalating blocks that others regard as punishment for insolence. There would be no problem if each incident resulted in a 48-hour block because (nearly) everyone would see that was reasonable. Existing problems have existed for years so a new regime would need time to evaluate—if someone is still causing trouble after a dozen 48-hour blocks something more substantive could be discussed. Another issue is that blocking editors who occasionally melt down means we will only be left with civil POV pushers and paid editors who unemotionally work to achieve their desired outcomes. Outbursts often result from dealing with repeated idiocy. Johnuniq (talk) 11:06, 8 July 2019 (UTC)
This was the core point I tried to make, albeit Johnuiq managed it with far less words, and more collaborative phrasing. Just to clarify I'm all for us reducing these outbursts, as theyre clearly anti inclusive, I just think we need a careful approach if we're to avoid the medicine being worse than the poison. FeydHuxtable (talk) 11:16, 8 July 2019 (UTC)
We should be looking for ways to constrain the effects of idiocy, then. Yes, I know this is a really hard problem (otherwise it would be solved already), but it is a better long-term strategy than allowing productive editors to be annoyed to the point where they make outbursts, as ideally they wouldn't be annoyed at all. For example, to manage new user idiocy, perhaps there could be a new user patrol who could redirect editors who show potential but need guidance to active mentors, and weed out those who are going nowhere fast. Because this is an idea I thought of in two minutes, I know it has possibly insurmountable drawbacks such as having to enact additional bureaucracy to monitor the patrolling group and the mentors, and probably having to hire mentors due to the immense amount of time required by active mentorship. Nonetheless, we need to start thinking about new approaches like these in search of a way to minimize as much as possible the incentives for poor behaviour. isaacl (talk) 11:30, 8 July 2019 (UTC)
Changes to stop productive editors getting annoyed in the first place would indeed be excellent. Perhaps what you've just suggested might work, perhaps the suggestion on your Arb thread on training for Newbies. Perhaps there's things we could ask the WMF to do such as interface changes. Likely theres all sorts of other positive changes no ones suggested yet. Though enforcement related ideas such as maybe a shift to make it easier to give Power Users short blocks after the outbursts. One thing's for sure, getting consensus for specific changes won't be easy.
Perhaps needed sacrifice is the hard work it takes to achieve this. Just to suggest something positive rather than me critiquing all the time. What might work is to start things off with a balanced 10 person working group, rather than have a unstructured free for all. Everyone involved should be willing to commits at least say 24 hours to the discussion, over the course of the next month. Maybe include someone who is good at structuring discussion for productive outcomes (e.g. Beeblebrox ) to work on the organisation but otherwise be impartial. Perhaps yourself to moderate. Then have at least 2 users to represent the so called "West coast" values & at least 2 to speak for the passionate content creators. Ensure there's a rough balance of admins & non admins. Lean against our biases by making sure at least one person has right leaning sympathies, and ensure at least 2-3 members are female. The rest of the community could submit ideas, to maximise the chance of new creative solutions, but should otherwise mostly keep out of the discussion. First the working group might agree as much as possible on the basics - what is community health, what is toxicity etc. Then develops a set of proposals for change that has broad support. Then with again someone like Beeblebrox structuring a Rfc, it can be opened up for modification & / or ratification by the community. Just throwing this out there, perhaps it's the simplest possible approach that has a good chance to work, at least it's the best I can come up with. FeydHuxtable (talk) 12:27, 8 July 2019 (UTC)
Uh.... only 2-3 female members out of 10? This is not leaning against our biases. If we are trying to come up with rules in a community where all feel welcome, we need to have working groups that are representative of potential contributors, not existing contributors. Calliopejen1 (talk) 20:21, 8 July 2019 (UTC)
  • One concern is that either the WMF (or the Community overreacting just to avoid WMF intervention, which is almost as bad) would make a definition of "toxic behaviour" that is vastly broader than should actually be done. I absolutely agree that a far more even enforcement of our pre-standing rules needs to be the case, and certainly a strong case for holding admins (et al) to higher standards than others could be made. However, we aren't an office or such - our civility requirements should not anywhere near as high. Neither toxic or incivility can be clearly definable. We can opt for either some new bright lines or a generally broader crack-down (some combination is probably possible, too). But going too far will be almost impossible to walk-back. I think the implementation discussions are a great starting place (whether that be private info cases, block usage, mentoring etc), and will make it much easier to have future conversations because the most behaviours should have already been reduced. Nosebagbear (talk) 11:55, 8 July 2019 (UTC)
    @Nosebagbear: Although I agree with you on the need to not overreact, and create a sensible balance, I'm also not sure why the civility level one would expect in an office is not something we should aim for. Wikipedia is a broad church, we encourage participants from all walks of life, young people, women, ethnic minorities etc, and our aim is to produce an encyclopedia of professional quality. It therefore doesn't seem unreasonable to me to aim for something approaching the levels of civility with which people who don't know each other personally would interact in a professional environment. I'm not saying we'll always achieve that, and of course there are occasions when people say things in the heat of the moment that they may regret later (I've been there myself). But if we aim for the stars, we might just reach the moon!  — Amakuru (talk) 15:42, 8 July 2019 (UTC)
    @Amakuru: - except much like too low levels of civility, high levels of civility actually lowers productivity and increases misunderstandings. It's not a case where reaching high comes without negatives. Beyond that, there's also the fact that people want to edit in a comfortable environment, otherwise they won't edit at all (I'd edit on the same level of civility as my first team, but not my current work team - I won't write under formal conditions). Much like comfortable means a certain level of politeness for many, the opposite applies. Nosebagbear (talk) 17:07, 8 July 2019 (UTC)
    Lowers productivity by measures such as the ratio of words on a discussion page to words on an article page, sure. I'm not sure though if all parties are being respectful of each other (including their time) if misunderstandings would increase. (Frustration might with the decreased productivity.) But if we also count the times where discussion would have deadlocked when opposing sides argued aggressively instead of trying to work together collaboratively, where the ratio is basically infinite, then I think there may be still a net positive with all editors exhibiting high levels of respect. isaacl (talk) 18:30, 8 July 2019 (UTC)

HARASSMENT (arbitrary break)[edit]

  • I have seen plenty of examples over the years of a POV-pushing editor playing dumb, asking endless questions and raising objections that have been repeatedly addressed in an effort to frustrate the development or acceptance of consensus to protect biased content in article space. So long as the POV-pusher remains polite (because I don't accept that their actions are actually civil), they can consume a vast amount of editor time and will likely provoke uncivil comments from other editors. A focus on civility on its own can see several valuable contributors sanctioned when dealing with the POV-pusher as a tendentious / not here editor is much more difficult. I don't seek to condone aggressive / uncivil remarks, but I do think that sanctioning productive contributors for addressing the tenth ridiculous objection to removing sword-wielding skeletons and zombies in Nazi uniforms conquering Britain at the end of WW2 from our article on swordsmanship with what amounts to "fuck off" because it is uncivil is not a desirable approach. It rewards so-called "civil POV-pushing," which is the exact reverse of what we need.
  • Certainly, some of the editors who Fram has addressed harshly / bluntly may have left and some have been treated unfairly... but some also were never going to be valuable contributors and were not capable of understanding the policy-compliant / consistent information Fram sought to provide. I have observed Fram for years, had disagreements, chosen not to debate at times, and seen comments that I thought were over-the-top... but I've also seen understandable frustration from Fram when any experienced Wikipedian would agree that Fram was correct on the point at issue. A focus on civility first, and worse without considering context, is not consistent with the mission of adding encyclopaedic content. And that's without deciding what is and is not uncivil: Like many others here, I have the writing skill and vocabulary to be exceptionally harsh, critical, cruel, and rude without resorting to swearing. Looking mostly for "bad" and harsh words and uncivil content in pursuit of a safe editing environment and missing the consequences this has for quality of content is not the way forward. I am all for addressing some of the nastier behaviours on WP, but for me that includes editors who bully others, editors who are abusive and refuse to collaborate / compromise, and editors with agendas trying to fill article space with bias, promotional drivel, and fringe nonsense. EdChem (talk) 12:53, 8 July 2019 (UTC)
    • Editors who argue tendentiously or otherwise continue to fail to accept they're fighting a perpetually losing battle are indeed a difficult problem. The "assume good faith" policy is one source of contention; the editors will often lean on this heavily, thereby taking advantage of the good will of others. Another is the "consensus can change" principle, which encourages endless discussion. Introducing some form of binding content mediation/editorial review would help address the second issue. If a content debate can be definitively decided, then discussions can be closed, pending the introduction of new facts. The first issue is not easy because it inherently requires the editor in question to be judged, and that is not easy from either side's perspective. Possibly using active mentorship again may be helpful, where the mentor can try to guide the editor towards productive lines of engagement. Should the editor eventually show no promise at adapting, the mentor would have to tell the editor that sadly they don't seem suited to contribute to Wikipedia. isaacl (talk) 15:48, 8 July 2019 (UTC)
      • I couldn't disagree more with your second point. The idea that some kind of board could just say how a disputed article should be for the rest of time seems deeply antithetical to Wikipedia. If you think content disputes are unhealthy, you may be in the wrong place.—Chowbok 18:34, 8 July 2019 (UTC)
        • I do not believe content disputes are unhealthy, and haven't said so. I believe that the way they drag on with no definitive resolution is demotivating to editors, though. I agree that setting up a hierarchy is a big change in operation. But as I mentioned in a post in an earlier section, online communities that have tried to do without a hierarchy and instead enact a set of rules interpreted by everyone reach a point where the rules are overly complex. As a result, there is a strategic advantage to using poor behaviour to drive away opposing editors. We don't have to choose to implement binding mediation,(*) but some way of deciding disputes definitively would reduce the incentive to behave badly. isaacl (talk) 19:01, 8 July 2019 (UTC)

          (*) Obviously there'd be a lot of details to work out: the discussion would have to be structured to ensure a clear debate occurs, decisions wouldn't be binding eternally, there'd have to be some kind of selection process and regular review for mediators, and so forth. It's not an easy approach, but I think we've exhausted the easy answers by now. isaacl (talk) 19:01, 8 July 2019 (UTC)

  • Disagree with this entirely. It is basically saying that our goal here is the creation of a community that is in harmony with itself. I thought our goal here was the creation of an encyclopedia. You can pretend that civility is the problem in our controversial topics, but as somebody who edits in one of those topics my own belief is that the civility issues rise out, almost invariably, the ineffectiveness in applying our content policies. Nominally polite editors are able to waste years of people's time through game-playing and otherwise poor editing. If you had some method of dealing with the people who spend years spouting bullshit you might not have as many people get sick of it and say shut the fuck up or stop bullshitting. nableezy - 14:36, 8 July 2019 (UTC)
In my view, it makes content secondary and replaces one set of unblockables with another.--Wehwalt (talk) 15:32, 8 July 2019 (UTC)
  • Nableezy, I don't understand why you disagree with me entirely, given that I am saying that putting the fact of incivility before the context in which it occurs will harm content and I'm citing examples saying that politely gaming content policies in the hopes of provoking a WP:CIV-violating response is a problem. Am I misunderstanding or are we on in the same ballpark? In such situations, if anyone is engaging in harassment, it is the tendentious editor, not the uncivil editor seeking to protect content / removing text that is inconsistent with policy. EdChem (talk) 03:02, 9 July 2019 (UTC)
My comment was meant as a reply to Swarm's post opening the section. I replied prior to there being an arbitrary break, and I very much do not disagree with you, entirely or otherwise. nableezy - 04:03, 9 July 2019 (UTC)
Thanks, that makes it clearer. :) Adding sub-headings can make meanings harder to follow. EdChem (talk) 04:19, 9 July 2019 (UTC)

Katherine Maher's statement did invoke harassment several times. Yes, of course Fram was not actually accused of harassment. It did seem to me, however, that the WMF tried to hint at Fram committing harassment without actually saying so, so they could keep plausible deniability. Of course, this is one of the reasons why being informed of the charges against you is important, to stop this kind of calculated hinting and ambiguity. Ken Arromdee (talk) 15:50, 8 July 2019 (UTC)

Keep in mind that whatever behavior Fram might have done, it is specialized, covering about 1% of the unnecessary viciousness of Wikipedia. The vast majority of the viciousness of Wikipedia ISN'T about VIOLATING policies, it's about USING policies and guidelines to conduct warfare against people, as an excuse for acting nastily or viciously, and to POV articles. North8000 (talk) 19:48, 8 July 2019 (UTC)

  • I agree with editors who said earlier that we should come at this issue thoughtfully, and not with knee-jerk reactions. There are several aspects of the issue that I can think of, that are worth considering. One is that there is a difference between losing one's temper versus being chronically incivil. Anyone can lose one's temper from time to time, and that doesn't mean that the person has become "toxic". Indeed, that person may well have been provoked by someone else who is outwardly polite, but genuinely toxic. So I think that we need to evolve away from "that editor used a bunch of cuss words, so let's block them for incivility", to looking more thoughtfully at the overall patterns of interactions between editors. (Earlier in these discussions, there was talk about some really bad software programs that were intended to identify hostility, but which instead gave comically incorrect results. We need to be careful to avoid the human equivalent of that: identifying a momentary outburst as incivility.) If hypothetically someone says to me "Tryptofish, you never cared about presenting this content neutrally", that's more incivil than dropping an f-bomb would be. Also, we should be reasonably sensitive to how editors feel when they complain that they are being treated unfairly. It's a lot less civil to say "Tryptofish, stop clutching your pearls" than to say "Tryptofish, I can see why that bothered you, but I don't think the other person meant it that way". On the other hand, it's equally important to recognize that telling someone that they have violated a policy or guideline is not harassment. --Tryptofish (talk) 20:28, 8 July 2019 (UTC)
  • I tend to agree that we need to be careful of confusing superficial "politeness" with civility. Some of the most absolutely toxic places I've ever been have been corporate type environments. Believe me, no one ever said any of these words, and everyone gave you a nice, friendly smile, even right as they stuck the knife in your back. I'd much rather hear "Hey, you fucked that up, be more careful" than be in that type of environment. And many of the worst, most disruptive editors I've seen were unerringly polite, even as they brought the same damn argument up for the fifteenth time, having not heard the first fourteen times it was rejected. But you better believe the moment someone got fed up and called them a name, they were straight to ANI with it. (In more than one case, they did get a good old-fashioned boomerang, which was rather satisfying at least). I'm much more worried about people like that than the occasional bit of salty language, frustration, or bluntness, and they're the ones I would classify as truly toxic. Seraphimblade Talk to me 20:41, 8 July 2019 (UTC)
I endorse everything that FeydHUxtable said above. In Matthew ch.15 Christ compares a foreign woman begging for his grace, to a bitch (dog), asking for something he thought she did not deserve, something reserved only for his kind. The whole episode constitutes a profound moment in the conquest of prejudice, but if one made a diff of that statement, ignoring the rest, and brought him to a tribunal of civility, he would have been duly banned. Thirdly, all this talk of Untouchables and admins worries me - I say that having a solid record of being sanctioned. They have one of the most unenviable jobs around - are hampered by a rule that forbids them to read for context (not interfering in what is generally called a 'content dispute', though those are often just illustrations of WP:IDIDNOTHEARTHAT by an obstructive party) to evaluate the merits of behavioural claims. All this in the name of an unknown quantity - newbies who may get upset, and find an arbitrator unresponsive to their unhappiness here. No human monument that has been constructed to endure uses the social happiness of its labourers as a criterion for hiring hands. Apprenticeship, if the newbie is to push on to become a journeyman, and then master craftsman, requires a readiness to persist, both in the pursuit of knowledge that is hard won, and, occasionally, in the adversities of circumstance. One should not legislate facile illusions here, that would suggest the aim here is community: the aim is to offer, as a volunteer, to help billions of people who can't, or haven't edited here, to get the essential knowledge they are seeking. Our community is one thing, the squabbling fraternities/sororities of anonymous contributors. The other, global community, those who desperately want reliable information and lack the means to secure it by their own lights, is far more important, and their '(intellectual) health', as consumers of information in a world fraught with the snares of fake news, should be our primary concern. Nishidani (talk) 20:56, 8 July 2019 (UTC)
Tryptofish and Seraphimblade you really hit the nail on the head on something that few seem to understand.North8000 (talk) 21:31, 8 July 2019 (UTC)

Personally I feel it comes down to respect: are the editors being respectful of each other and the community, including respectful of its time, objectives, and conventions? Editors who are respectful can be worked with. Now this is still a very fluid thing that requires context to evaluate. For example, there are some editors who are dismissive of those whom they perceive to be less experienced, and there is an argument to be made that greater experience carries with it greater weight. Nonetheless, from all sides, any disagreement can be expressed in a reasoned, considerate manner. (As I mentioned previously, we should look for ways to prevent outbursts before anyone feels it necessary to let off tension in that way.) Evaluating respect goes beyond choice of words or adherence to policy: it's looking at an editor's overall approach in engaging the community. isaacl (talk) 22:19, 8 July 2019 (UTC)

There is also the issue of editors not having respect for the encyclopedia, this great project that so many people have contributed to in its existence. Such disrespect can be shown in various ways, blatantly, as in vadalism and socking, but also in a more subtle fashion: not checking facts, adding unsourced information, attempting to skew articles to a personal POV, writing article text even when the editor's command of English is deficient, refusing to follow the various policies, rules, and standard ways of operating that allow Wikipedia to survive, and so on. It seems to me that many of the disputes and confrontations which lead to claims of "incivility" and "harassment" are engendered by the behavior of editors who do those things and are corrected by others. Typically, the correction doesn't take, and the result is a revert war or a heated discussion on the talk page, leading to transgressive behavior from the editor attempting to protect the encyclopedia. Officially, policy is that being right is not a defense in most cases, but in reality it sometimes is -- if the admin examining the situation is so inclined -- and it really should be the vast majority of the time. Yes, certainly, collegiality and civility are important, but protecting the encyclopedia from damage is arguably more important.
Wikipedia editors are only human, and can take only so much before they loose their cool. Of course, that level is different for different people, and an editor who constantly does so will, eventually, become a net negative and will be harshly sanctioned. But until then, the context and circumstances surrounding claims of incivility and harassment ought always to be considered, especially when one side in the dispute is attempting to protect the encyclopedia from being damaged. Beyond My Ken (talk) 01:05, 9 July 2019 (UTC)
BMK, well said. I have far too many times seen good editors attempting to protect the encyclopaedia being sanstioned because of a pile on at AN/I of those who have been POV pushing or committing other "crimes against the encyclopaedia" who were pulled up by the editor being sanctioned. Sure boomerangs happen, but not often enough. Context always matters. - Nick Thorne talk 01:24, 9 July 2019 (UTC)
At the risk of getting off topic, but since you mentioned ANI: emotions often run high there which is why many admins are not interested at working at that coalface, or have given up doing so. It is time to wrest the running of ANI back from all and sundry and operate it as an Administrator Noticeboard which theoretically it is supposed to be. Much of the flame throwing from the trenches could be avoided if commenting were to be restricted to involved parties, admins, and truly experienced users (and 'truly experienced' does not necessarily include those users who simply have a magnetic propensity for hanging out there and policing the project everywhere else). Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 02:29, 9 July 2019 (UTC)
Kudpung, we already have AE as a venue where admins, who are supposed to be regular editors with a few extra tools, can freely ignore and even treat with utter disdain comments from non-admin editors. It also allows and even supports the closing / sanction-imposing disregarding the views of other admins and even an emerging consensus – look at the recent EC thread where a one month ban had one supporter yet that's what was imposed, and an appeal would be rejected as "within discretion" even if the decision was excessive in most admin's opinions. We don't need those attitudes spreading any further than they already have. I completely agree that ANI's environment needs improvement and cultural change, but restricting participation is not the way forward on that, IMO. EdChem (talk) 03:19, 9 July 2019 (UTC)
During the arbitration case 2015-10, I discussed the use of the arbitration enforcement noticeboard. With English Wikipedia's tradition of avoiding bureaucracy, it is not necessary for violations of arbitration case sanctions to be posted to the arbitration enforcement noticeboard; individual administrators are empowered to enforce the sanctions based on their own personal judgement. Accordingly, there should be equal treatment of potential violations, whether or not they were reported at the noticeboard. Otherwise, there would be an incentive to rush to file enforcement requests hastily, in order to delay sanctions or other corrective measures from being taken. (In that case, the arbitration committee issued a principle on how consensus discussions may affect arbitration enforcement. In my personal view, though, I don't feel it provided any new guidance.) In the January 2018 amendment request for arbitration case 2015-5, I suggested there be circuit-breaker rules that, if tripped, would require a consensus discussion be held to determine if an enforcement action should be enacted. However I remain uncertain about what would be an appropriate set of circuit-breaker rules. isaacl (talk) 04:42, 9 July 2019 (UTC)
It's why we need better mechanisms to resolve content disputes definitively, before editors lose their cool or resort to other poor behaviour in an attempt to win a dispute. Respect of the community and its time, objectives, and conventions encompasses all the areas you refer to. isaacl (talk) 03:06, 9 July 2019 (UTC)
People need to take more time to review problem editing as well.Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 03:26, 9 July 2019 (UTC)
Are you thinking of a review process where editors actively seek out problematic edits? This is what I had in mind when suggesting active mentorship in earlier comments. The mentor would have the responsibility to review the protegé's edits, either before or after they are made. isaacl (talk) 03:37, 9 July 2019 (UTC)
What I would be thinking of is faced with a poor contribution to an article on my watchlist, it would not have been unusual for me to look at their contributions and do what needed to be done in terms of reversions and talk page comments. In this brave new world, though, I might check to see if they are friends with anyone powerful before deciding to act.--Wehwalt (talk) 07:17, 9 July 2019 (UTC)
About the problems at ANI, I agree with the general concept that it should move more in the direction of a noticeboard for administrators and away from being where the peanut gallery argues incessantly back and forth with one another. Although community input is important, and is necessary when !voting on a specific proposal (such as a ban), there is otherwise little good that comes out of ANI threads that go on for days with minimal administrator input. There are times when it would help a lot for an admin to step in and tell others to STFU. Of course, that takes a certain amount of courage, because of the potential for toxic blowback. --Tryptofish (talk) 18:13, 9 July 2019 (UTC)
As a quick point of fact: I'm surprised this thread has grown to the point of multiple subsections without this observation (maybe I missed it?) - but, in reference to the statement in the OP that No one has said that this ban had anything to do with harassment.: WMFOffice did specifically cite the ToU item on harassment and abuse: What we can say in this case is that the issues reported to us fell under section 4 of the terms of use, as noted above, specifically under the first provision entitled “harassing and abusing others.”. (Pinging Swarm as an FYI.) Opabinia regalis (talk) 17:17, 9 July 2019 (UTC)
@Opabinia regalis: The problem with that is WMF has also made a statement to the press claiming (falsely) that Section 4 of the TOU also prohibits incivility, and that the ban was levied to maintain "respect and civility". (In a statement to BuzzFeed News, the organization said it had leveled the ban to maintain "respect and civility" on the platform. "Uncivil behavior, including harassment, threats, stalking, spamming, or vandalism, is against our Terms of Use, which are applicable to anyone who edits on our projects," it said. [60]) This statement indicates that the "harassment and abuse" subheading finding may have been one of disrespect or incivility (or any of the other things that aren't "harassment" in either the legal or Wikipedia sense that are lumped under that subheading). That's part of what the problem here is. —/Mendaliv//Δ's/ 17:29, 9 July 2019 (UTC)
Well, yes, but reporters do miss details sometimes, and probably don't know the locally idiosyncratic usages of terms like "civility", so I'd want to see the original statement from the WMF before judging that one too much. But in any case, it's still incorrect to say that no one has said anything about harassment when in fact it was explicitly cited. There's a huge of volume of discussion about this whole episode, and it's easy to miss stuff, but need to all be working from the same set of facts as much as possible. (Within the constraints of privacy and the like, anyway.) Opabinia regalis (talk) 07:03, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
@Opabinia regalis: You're quite right OR, that reporters may miss things. But this is in quotes, and more than once. I don't think it's likely this person made up the quotations. I find it far more likely that T&S incorrectly believes that incivility is against the TOU than this reporter fabricating a quotation. But also, let's be clear, when we're talking about what the TOU says, we aren't talking about idiosyncratic Wikipedia usage: We're talking about legal usage as it's a legal document. The TOU specifies that it is the entire agreement: Our idiosyncratic usages (which, respectfully, I don't think our definition of "civility" is significantly different than what's used in my profession) aren't incorporated into that document. The relevant meaning is what's reasonable under the circumstances. Again, it's a legal document, not an enwiki policy document; our special words don't apply. —/Mendaliv//Δ's/ 08:06, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
@Opabinia regalis: On the contrary, I've been arguing over this point the whole time. The WMF cited a clause that prohibits specific behaviors, including harassment. That's all well and good, until Fram creates a narrative that he was actually blocked for incivility, and that the invocation of that clause was disingenuous. I mean, that's the whole issue here. Literally. That's the issue. AFAIK, no one from the WMF ever confirmed that Fram actually engaged in any of the specified prohibited behaviors, nor disputed Fram's notion that he did not do so. I asked a board member directly if he could clarify or resolve this simple discrepancy, and he could not or would not do so. So, I think the assumption that Fram actually engaged in harassment is dubious. We have no allegation that Fram engaged in harassment. We have no confirmation that there is a victim. We a suspected reporter, who was not being harassed, but who had an issue with Fram and connections to the WMF. If she had nothing to do with it, it's a bit bizarre that she vanished her account rather than responding to pings. With all of this context, "the WMF cited X clause" is simply a silly defense at this point. The board, ultimately, did not mention harassment as having anything to do with this. That's telling, because the existence of harassment, or the apparent lack thereof, is the crux of this entire controversy. ~Swarm~ {sting} 01:03, 11 July 2019 (UTC)

HARASSMENT (arbitrary break 2)[edit]

In response to the concerns expressed above: first, I do not interpret the way forward as as a radical reign of terror in which we terminate anything that could be called "toxic" with extreme prejudice. Obviously "toxic behavior" is subjective, but in this context it's not confusing. It simply refers to editors who choose not to abide by longstanding policies and guidelines. Obviously "we're all human", and we all lose our shit sometimes. Obviously context matters. Obviously the level of net positive matters. And, yes, obviously, there are very real reasons for the way we do things now. We're here to build an encyclopedia, why wouldn't we err on the side of protecting our encyclopedists in spite of petty incivility? I think this is a bad argument, and I 100% reject the notion that project-building and having a meaningful code of conduct are mutually exclusive. If this is a supposed serious academic project, then rudeness, incivility, personal attacks, and combativeness should not be tolerated to begin with. An academic, humanitarian community should absolutely be civil and courteous and respectful and kind, even in the face of the most bitter disagreements. They're not asking for some idealized utopian society, they're just asking that we stop tolerating behavior that is not decent. Obviously this doesn't mean we start purging every uncivil editor, but it does mean that we need to start changing our approach to them. We can still be forgiving and understanding, but when a behavioral problem is understood by all to be chronic and consistent for years and years and years, then yeah, we should start enforcing our policies rather than continuing to make excuses and protecting them. That's not a radical change. A one-year block is extreme and unreasonable. But a 24 hour block that doesn't get unilaterally overturned by a "good ol' boy" admin is a reasonable step in the right direction. Perhaps we allow a valid behavioral complaint to get closed with a warning, or even a reminder, rather than shutting it down and saying "find something better to do". Perhaps when a power user is being uncivil, we ask them to make a change, rather than heaping excuses on them. The changes that need to be made are not mysterious and esoteric. And they're not radical or unreasonable. And, the guiding principal that doing a better job at enforcing our behavioral standards will improve the project itself is absolutely reasonable. In fact, I think it's horrible to even suggest that sanctioning editors for behavioral misconduct somehow damages the project. We believe in an egalitarian community, not an oligarchy in which the WP:MOSTACTIVE are the only class of people who matter. And while the MOSTACTIVE do matter, asking them to respect the five pillars of our project is absolutely not unreasonable. Yes, there is a burden on literally a few users who want to be exempt to slightly more strict civility enforcement. But this is a small price to pay for a healthier editing community. A serious academic community does not tolerate childish bullying behaviors. If you think the status quo is good enough, you should probably reexamine your own self. Those of you who are afraid of not being excused for incivility (or protecting incivility) know who you are, and yes, you are the ones who need to make the change. And yes, you are in a small minority of self-entitled editors who both want to tolerate incivility and want to be exempted from existing rules. That is not a reasonable or viable position. Not anymore. Your reign has ended. Times have changed—change with them. And, yes, I am one of the people who need to reexamine my own beliefs and behaviors. I am not perfect. But at least I can support these exceedingly reasonable goals to improve. ~Swarm~ {sting} 05:45, 9 July 2019 (UTC)

An academic, humanitarian community should absolutely be civil

Does your experience tell you that academic interactions are 'civil'? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Nishidani (talkcontribs) 06:24, 9 July 2019 (UTC)
Uh, yes? Basic civility is a general standard in an academic environment. It is obviously a fundamental aspect of academia from primary education to secondary, postsecondary, technical, and/or adult education. Mature, civil professionalism is the standard IRL... Are you implying that it isn't or shouldn't be? Just because we are able to hide behind computer screens? A ridiculous question. ~Swarm~ {sting} 06:44, 9 July 2019 (UTC)
Well, you're way off the mark. That smacks of starry-eyed idealism about academia rather than the pays réel of university cultures. (By the way, the widespread bullying through primary and secondary education in schools in my day may be better regulated but, apart from numerous novels, there are substantial cultural critiques, and academic papers on academic bitching, not to speak of the rise in SBT (Student Bullying of Teachers) now amply documented and recognized now that iphones allow kids to film what goes on in classrooms and dump the clips on social network to mock teaching staff). Here's just one.

A well-known adage in academia is ‘the infighting is so vicious, because so little is at stake . . .Experienced faculty members warn new academics to ‘Remember that every department has at least one axe murderer, but you won’t know in advanced who it is so you’d better be on your guard’. . An idealised university is a place of mutual civility, love of learning and shared knowledge, where debate and differences of opinion are accepted. The reality of the neo-liberal academic workplace is that dissent, autonomy and collegiality are unwelcome . . Workplace bullying proliferates in academic as in other workplace cultures but through more subtle , refined mechanisms such as belittling comments or talking negatively behind the target’s back’. Jane Goodman-Delahunty , Ben Walker Academic, Academic Life: An interpersonal dimension,’ in Robert H. Cantwell, Jill Janina Scevak (eds.), An Academic Life: A Handbook for New Academics, Acer Press, Australian Council for Educational Research, pp.160-180 p.167

No institutional solutions exist for this, and those executives and admins fuss up, for their own reasons or in response to pressures, as often as not just complicate an already complicated working environment. We're doing reasonably well here. Whatever the jagging in the wheels, a huge volume of reliable information is being shared, controlled, corrected daily, making this a world-ranking source of information, notwithstanding attempts to interfere with it by requiring social rather than technical perfectionism as the basic rule of encyclopedic construction.Nishidani (talk) 11:06, 9 July 2019 (UTC)
I think the misunderstanding may come from equating civility with not arguing. Argument can happen with a great deal of civility, and the parties don't have to like each other or even pretend to like each other. —/Mendaliv//Δ's/ 06:51, 9 July 2019 (UTC)
I dont see how anybody is asking to be exempted from anything. You seem to be mistaking your own views for being the absolute bottom line position of the wider community, and anybody who disagrees with you, on a number of topics on this page and related discussions, is in some small minority. But at the same time you seem to blame these people for our status quo on what is or is not blockable incivility (you know, that thing that consensus actually is). You want to change that? I guess trying to push forward your long held beliefs on how this place should be run under the guise of addressing some emergency isnt exactly a new tactic, but I for one hope that it fails. We have policies on harassment, such as hounding or in more extreme cases off-wiki behavior. We have a policy on civility, and that policy very specifically, and by consensus, says that blocking for civility should only occur in cases of causing disruption. You want to change that? Well then get a consensus for your view. Until then your claims that those opposed to your views are just some small minority whose days have passed are just your own views. Whereas ours are actually the consensus position of the English Wikipedia community. nableezy - 06:49, 9 July 2019 (UTC)
Thank you, Nableezy. This is a perfect example of the "old guard" or "good ol' boy" behavior that the board seeks to eradicate. I'm not speaking on my personal views here. I'm interpreting the Board's directive as objectively as I can. And, the changes being imposed upon us no longer allow for these excuses. If you want to die on the hill of defending any attempts at improvement, then I am not going to argue with you. If you want to be part of the problem, then have at it. If users such as yourself prevail, then we will be left with nothing but endless WMF enforcement. We, as a community, need to rise against these excuses and defenses of incivility, if we truly want to make an institutional stand against WMF meddling. This is a standard being forced upon us from the top down, and, as I explained, it is not unreasonable. If you want to continue to ignore, allow, excuse and defend incivility ad infinitum, then you can enjoy complaining about disproportionate Foundation enforcement ad infinitum. The WMF will enforce their standards, and they do not care about reasonable community standards of enforcement. If the community should have blocked Fram for a day, the WMF blocked him for a year. If that's the future you want, fine. But I choose to try to make the changes that are being requested from us, so we can encourage the desired improvements on our end. ~Swarm~ {sting} 06:56, 9 July 2019 (UTC)
I have never in my life been a good ol boy. Youre the one with the bit. Youre the one that has the friends here. And to be frank, youre the one that has been uncivil here. And might I remind you, you yourself have lost your cool. You yourself have benefited from our norms of assessing your past contributions and worth to the project before being blocked for making intemperate remarks. Or do you think that a new editor would not be blocked indefinitely for calling an admin here, literally, a Nazi collaborator? I disagree with you on what an improvement is, so I am part of the problem and should be ignored? Explain to me how that is promoting some higher level of civility here. I thought we were here to deal with the actual emergency, that being unwarranted intrusion on our self-governance for en.WP issues. I am not on board with any attempt at forcing through some change on to our community, by the WMF or by you. If that makes me the problem then fine, Ive been called worse. nableezy - 07:07, 9 July 2019 (UTC)
I admitted to my own shortcomings, and my need to work on them. But deflecting blame is not the path forward. Nor is ignoring the conditions the board is offering. Yes, our self governance has been violated, but expecting unconditional reparations is simply not realistic. The board is implementing a new regime of behavioral standards, whether you like it or not. We can either acknowledge this and change with the times, or remain obstinate and refusing to change, which is exactly what I mean by the "self-protecting good ol' boy culture". I get that you don't want to change. But not changing is not an option. This is non-negotiable. This is the expectation set forth by the board. Not by me. So, if you don't want random WMF employees inserting themselves into the community, banning "toxic" users, we need to make the changes, set the standards. Just ignoring the standards is not an option. Maintaining the status quo is not an option. That's the statement the board is making. They're sorry about all this, but they're still ultimately in support of it. Their goals for the project are clear. Denialism is not a viable option going forward. ~Swarm~ {sting} 07:21, 9 July 2019 (UTC)
Eh, we'll see. If we implement a new behavioral standard then fine, but I for one am opposed to any outside body imposing one on us. And if and when this becomes a designated safe space then I suppose you are right, there will either be changes or some of us will just have to find another way to spend the hours. nableezy - 07:31, 9 July 2019 (UTC)
"Safe space" is an extreme, politically-charged label that should never be permitted on Wikipedia. Period. ~Swarm~ {sting} 07:58, 9 July 2019 (UTC)
"Safe space" is effectively what the WMF seeks, and they use that exact phrase. It is supported by their embedded enablers, such as the Wikimedia DC chapter. It also leads to bizarre situations, eg: Fae objecting to attendance at a WMUK meetup because it was being held in a pub that forms part of a chain owned by a Brexit-supporting person and therefore they (Fae) would not feel "safe". - Sitush (talk) 09:27, 9 July 2019 (UTC)
You are reading some malicious intent in my comments that are not there. But no, "safe space" is not especially extremist, or you wouldnt find the topic discussed in respectable places. nableezy - 14:48, 9 July 2019 (UTC)
  • I relate to what BMK said before the break, and particularly relate to the frustrations of dealing with editors who are constantly trying to insert a specific POV into articles. These people are not treating the project with the respect it deserves or adhering to the five pillars, and complaints from them about robust language that identifies where they are doing the wrong thing rarely meets the harassment bar in my experience. Where I edit, there are editors who regularly turn up to POV-push, and the project is very bad at dealing with them, so they are sometimes the target of less than civil discourse when frustrations arise. We need to be clear that where long-term POV-pushing is clear, harassment claims are taken with a handful of salt. Peacemaker67 (click to talk to me) 07:06, 9 July 2019 (UTC)

() To the above, I will say: problematic editors have existed, do exist, and will always exist. They should not be used as an excuse for toxic behavior. That's a fabricated red herring. And, in the context of "unblockable power users", completely irrelevant. Stop making excuses for incivility. Stop. Yes, starting now. ~Swarm~ {sting} 07:15, 9 July 2019 (UTC)

Swarm, you can see my block log. I am not an unblockable power user. I am however somebody who has dealt with one of the most toxic areas for well over a decade now. People are not uncivil for no reason. They are not uncivil to new editors. The incivility is not what is creating any toxic atmosphere. The toxicity is created by the game playing and what you call the red herring. It is the root of the problem. People get pissed when the same person is running the same game over and over. That is where the incivility happens, and if you spent half the effort you do on fixing these frankly trivial issues on actual addressing those core issues then you could actually promote a more civil atmosphere while not doing damage to the goal of actually creating an encyclopedia. nableezy - 07:25, 9 July 2019 (UTC)
Honestly, the perspective of those driven to incivility is equally important. If we're going to crack down on incivility, it should go without saying that we need to crack down on the causes of incivility as well. I can get behind that 100%. This means no more lazy "looks like a content dispute" closes where an editor is obviously being tendentious. I have witnessed this exact issue, I know it is real. I have seen WP:DRN requests rejected as failed in spite of the fact that one party is refusing to even present an argument. I'm not suggesting we ignore the behavior that leads to exasperated incivility! I am all for cracking down on that behavior with extreme prejudice. It should be a two-way street. When I talk about not excusing power users, I'm not talking about users such as yourself, who get pissed off with valid reason. There has to be a counterbalance to civility enforcement. And I see nothing wrong with equally cracking down on baiting or stonewalling or obstructionism. ~Swarm~ {sting} 07:32, 9 July 2019 (UTC)
One more thing is needed: for editors who normally create good content, each burst of incivility should get a 48-hour block (or just 6 hours for first offenders, and that's after a polite and un-templated warning). No escalating blocks for impertinence. Johnuniq (talk) 07:51, 9 July 2019 (UTC)
While improving mechanisms for sanctioning poor behaviour, be it baiting, obstructionism, personal attacks, and so forth, is indeed valuable, we also need to look beyond this to the underlying motivations. Editors bait, for example, because it can succeed in reducing the number of people participating with points of view that oppose the baiting editors, even if they also end up getting removed from the discussion. We need to look at ways of improving process so that collaborative behaviours are rewarded, and not disrespectful ones. isaacl (talk) 17:37, 9 July 2019 (UTC)
Hey Swarm, it might have been me that first expressed concerns to your OP. This was as like you I'd seen changes 'start to play out within the community.', specifically an admin issuing an indeff + talk page access removal to an FA writing user, over what seemed to be a relatively minor issue.
Now you're talking about 24 hour, this sounds much more reasonable. I've always been of the opinion that "if we want a truly collegial environment, welcoming to a diverse group of editors" cuss words should "be avoided where possible" Maybe it's an idea to create a template with a message such as: The use of aggressive language and expletives is now strongly discouraged on Wikipedia. While the community accepts that such language is deemed civil in some localities, Wikipedia aims to be a diverse academic project, attracting editors from a range of backgrounds. Some of these editors are distressed and repelled by an environment where swear words are openly used, even when the language is not directed at them. The template could be except from the 'Don't template the regulars' rule, and we could say no one is allowed to argue with it, on pain of an automatic 24 hour block :-)
Until 2013, I was a fan of short civility blocks, even for power users like e.g. Eric, who I very much respect but still wish he wouldn't cuss so much, per the potential effect on sensitive newbies. This is what changed my mind. Not sure if you know User:Scottywong ?
Scotty had outstanding qualities for an admin, he is one of only 2 people I've emailed to offer my personal services as a campaign manager for RfA. Good Kudpung would probably confirm he's an excellent fellow collaborator, as he often used to turn to Scotty for technical assistance. In late 2012 Scotty was himself given a 24 hour civility block after directing the F word at another. (He was an admin at the time, so I guess counts as a power user.) He then immediately retired, and while he returned, to this day he hasn't resumed a fraction of his former activity level.
So if we are going to start frequent use of short blocks, it might be ideal if we also try to have cultural changes so that such blocks are not seen as a mark of shame. Also, awareness that it's impossible to enforce such standards evenly. Probably a few power users would still (semi) retire after getting their first block, but the numbers should be small as long as the blocks are short, and especially if admins avoid the more hard hitting block reasons (like "PA or Harrassment" instead of "incivility"). So perhaps a sacrifice worth paying. That said, as good Nishidani as alluded to the Tax Collector, I'll allow myself to quote Mat 9:13 "I desire mercy, not sacrifice".
Thank you Swarm for starting an unusually productive discussion on ways to make our community more healthy and welcoming for newbies! FeydHuxtable (talk) 08:17, 9 July 2019 (UTC)
"but the numbers should be small"{{citation needed}}.--Wehwalt (talk) 08:47, 9 July 2019 (UTC)
(edit conflict) : Yes, many thanks. I certainly agree with what Swarm and Peacemaker67 say above. Maybe some people are fearful of their ability to remain calm or reasonable in the face of others making inappropriate edits. Maybe they feel resorting to profanity-labelled aggression and insults is an OK way for them to behave. I don't believe we need threaten blocks for every minor lapse of courtesy, however. Working in a respectful environment shouldn't be the end point of the encyclopaedia; it should be the starting point. We should still be able to apply all our policies in a firm, non-offensive manner without fear some POV-pusher is going to contact Katherine (WMF) to complain about 'harassment'. Yes, we can all lose our cool from time to time, but we also have the power to apologise or strike our outbursts. Incivility and unprofessionalism in editing/administering the encyclopaedia shouldn't be something that we only worry about in order to avoid being blocked. It should be there right the way through our editing lives, and every one of us should each be prepared to call one another out if we see our fellow editors overstepping the conventional boundaries of real-world civility. Otherwise, we might just as well go advertise our project as "Wikipedia - the encyclopaedia that any fucker can edit". And I'm sure nobody wants that. Regards, Nick Moyes (talk) 08:59, 9 July 2019 (UTC)
Scottywong's retirement was a huge loss for Wikipedia. If anyone wants the background on Scott's block, just look at the irony of who blocked him - just about the most foul mouthed admin we ever had, both online, on IRC, and in RL at Wikimania, who finally lost his bit but unfortunately was not fired from the warm and protective womb of his precious WMF.
If it hadn't been for this and The Blade of the Northern Lights there would be no ACPERM or NPP as we know it today and they gave me the strength to continue to fight the PA and harassment the WMF threw at us, and see it through years later. Incivility is in the eye (or ears) of the beholder, but many, many people on Wikipedia deliberately look for nuances in the written word to see if they can find just any excuse for claiming to be insulted, and very often admins are the target of their disingenuous attacks. I have never resorted once to the use of expletives or PA on Wikipedia, but where people get me wrong is that I'm a traditional, old, plain speaking Brit who doesn't mince his words, and who does exploit the traditional British English culture of literary devices for which Shakespeare laid the way. I'm a bit like the Doc Martin played by Martin Clunes in the British TV series. I've never got used to that North American fake politeness culture - when I want the toilet I ask for it, I don't want to have a bath or take a nap. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 09:42, 9 July 2019 (UTC)
Ah yes - great programme. Wasn't Clunes also in "Men Behaving Badly"? Don't think Wikipedia existed back then, or they could have based an episode around it! Nick Moyes (talk) 10:43, 9 July 2019 (UTC)
  • I'm noticing that each of the "arbitrary breaks" has started to evolve into different and somewhat contradictory views of the harassment question. Please don't get me wrong: exploring as many ideas as possible is a very good thing at this stage of the discussions. But I think the concept of repetitive short blocks for what might be called toxic content contributors strikes me as being at odds with what I and some other editors said in Arbitrary Break 1. I'd also like to recommend WP:OGTW as required reading. Ultimately, I think it might be very useful to have a large community RfC in which editors can endorse or not endorse various proposals (such as, for example, repetitive short blocks for toxic content contributors). --Tryptofish (talk) 19:50, 9 July 2019 (UTC)
  • @Swarm: - What experiences led you to conclude that if this is a supposed serious academic project, then rudeness, incivility, personal attacks, and combativeness should not be tolerated to begin with. An academic, humanitarian community should absolutely be civil and courteous and respectful and kind, even in the face of the most bitter disagreements. ? That's so awfully far away from reality. Do you seriously wish to claim that academics are not combative or rude or discourteous to one another? Please drop in by my t/p and I will show you scores of examples of what academic discourse looks like, all duly sourced to high profile academics. WBGconverse 07:21, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
  • I am working in the academic environment (admittedly, natural sciences, nothing ever close to social sciences or humanities), and we have a few bad boys who could show up at a conference, say that a speaker is a piece of shit and not be asked to shut up, but generally it is certainly civil, way more civil than interactions I experience here.--Ymblanter (talk) 07:32, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
    • Although this is purely anecdotal, I'm a recovering academic (also natural sciences), and my experience is that the kind of language used is generally very civil, to the point of being affectedly genteel, but that the level of backstabbing while smiling is way, way, way worse than on Wikipedia (to the point that I kind of regard my Wikipedia hobby as a sort of respite from my past university career). That anecdote circles back to something that I and some others have said before: that incivility is different than losing one's temper, and that it cannot be identified by the presence or absence of curse words. --Tryptofish (talk) 15:21, 10 July 2019 (UTC)

Harassment: dealing with it[edit]

  1. I think it's a good idea to move toward using neutral language like "incivility" and "severe incivility" because "harassment" is a legal term of art. Within Wikipedia discussions we don't want to accuse editors of committing crimes. Our discussions are not privileged, and we would prefer not to expose Wikipedia to claims of defamation per se.
  2. In the last dozen years I've never seen a finite length block or ban help a user become more civil. A good lesson is here: User:Geogre/Comic.
  3. A better response to incivility has two components: First, provide support to the target by defending them and deflecting the offender away. Second, denounce the incivility and ask the offender to refactor their comments to be more civil. If enough people apply social pressure in this manner, things improve.
  4. At some point user behavior can become irredeemable, such as intentional attacks based on racial hatred. Severe incivility is different from comments reflecting mere ignorance of modern norms, or salty comments due to frustration. When things get that bad, call for an indefinite block and move on.
  5. Polite incivility is particularly challenging to stop. When this happens it is best to request the offender not communicate with the user. This creates a bright line that be enforced. Jehochman Talk 11:37, 9 July 2019 (UTC)
Highly agree with you on #1. With this in mind, I'd honestly support moving or retiring WP:HARASSMENT and putting an essay in place of it that warns against the use of the term to describe on-wiki misconduct. Obviously there are going to be cases where on-wiki and off-wiki misconduct rise to the level of harassment from a legal perspective, and in such cases we shouldn't discourage victims from bearing witness against such persons, so some care may be advised in taking that move.
Generally disagree on #5 with respect to unilateral requests not to make contact: I'm of the opinion that this practice itself is uncivil most times it's done. See WP:KEEPOFF for brief discussion of this practice (though it's quite an underdeveloped essay).
As to #2, I also think I've not seen it happen, but I also think that I've never seen civility blocks of short length that nip matters in the bud. In some respects, I think there's an element of needing to understand what causes incivility: Are these people unstable before they come to Wikipedia and simply need to be discovered and excised from the community? Or is there something we can address early? Could short, easily-levied blocks work? Could we be wrong about cool-down blocks? Could we be wrong about punitive blocks? I honestly don't know, but I think to answer the civility problem we do need to ask these fundamental questions and reexamine things we consider fundamental and foundational. We need to be willing to ask questions that many would consider heretical.
I agree completely with #4, there are behaviors that require an indef with no straightforward path to returning. —/Mendaliv//Δ's/ 12:01, 9 July 2019 (UTC)
I'm fine with #4, too, applied evenhandedly. That is, no one has the right to take pot shots at groups or insult for group membership.--Wehwalt (talk) 12:06, 9 July 2019 (UTC)
Nasa is also looking at the problem of harassment. [61]. I've always felt WP is a workspace and that the workers are entitled to "air to breathe" rather than the stench of aggression. From the NASA article: “We’re committed to providing people with air to breathe, that’s literal and metaphorical in mission,” he said. “The air really speaks to the physical and psychological safety, so individuals don’t have to hold their breath. It speaks to, obviously, the literal oxygen, and it speaks to our mission. We’re also committed to providing space so that people are included and feel they belong.” Worth a read! ―Buster7  13:40, 9 July 2019 (UTC)
Uh, wikispace is virtual. If one needs 'air to breathe', the room one works in needs a mechanic to put in an egg-condishioner. One can also just get off one's chair, step outside, light up a reefer and breathe deep. It will remind people that real life is not here. :( Nishidani (talk) 13:55, 9 July 2019 (UTC)
@Nishidani:Let me make a point that I would never expound on except for the fact that we are discussing Harassment. Hundreds of thousand of words have been said over the past weeks about the "ban of Fram" thing. I've said very little. Extremely little. I've read and reread parts that I thought were pertinent to my understanding and my experiences on WP. I've been an active editor for over ten years. I've spent just as many hours reading about this Fram thing as you have talking about it. So...the conversation drifts to Harassment and Civility and how we treat and respect each other. Something I know something about, something I've thought about and have written about. I finally feel an opportunity to participate in one of the great, important discussions about the future of Wikipedia. So... I share something in the News today that has a direct and specific correlation to the topic. And you make light of it. You, the first to respond, cast it aside as frivolous and having nothing to do with RL. Let me guess. Like you, almost everyday, I chose to spend hours of my real life editing Wikipedia. If I had one of those Temper Meters on my User page it would be in the red zone. I have monitored and managed many a "thiswayandthat" conversation in my time at WER and EotW and it always struck me as harassing when one editor disparages the input of a new member to a conversation. I'm not some tender thin-skinned newbie that runs to an admin. Never have, never will. But I feel harassed. Some harassment is obvious to ALL. Some is more hidden and subtle and most likely unintentional.―Buster7 
Will the WMF provide grant money for reefers? That might help mutual goodwill Nosebagbear (talk)

─────────────── @Buster7:, a fine example. @Jehochman:, I agree that a useful focus is dealing with forms of incivility. Blocking people from editing seems a bit excessive and counterproductive, now that we have tools and language for interaction bans, or limiting interaction with other users + policy pages in general. We could experiment with temporary statuses such as "mainspace edits only" or "1RR + revertable by anyone on talk pages" for people having an incivil spell. – SJ + 23:02, 10 July 2019 (UTC)

  • Point 5 looks like it will still run into snarling over individuals contesting whether what they were doing is polite incivility. If we could easily decide it was and it wasn't, the current problems with it would be less severe. Just general IBANs risks issues with people being unfairly hit with them. Nosebagbear (talk)
One possible method (depending on circumstances, non-drastic severity etc) would be to use article-blocks rather than short blocks, since many of the non-harassment cases of incivility focus on a volatile article. Nosebagbear (talk) 14:49, 9 July 2019 (UTC)
  • About the idea of retiring the WP:HARASS policy, I think that's a non-starter. What would be more useful would be greater clarity about how the community defines civility, and where the community puts the boundary line between simple incivility and harassment. --Tryptofish (talk) 19:43, 9 July 2019 (UTC)
    I don't actually mean retiring the policy but retiring it from that name or breaking it out into different policies. Perhaps moving most of it to WP:HOUNDING, as a word lacking any clear legal implications, but covering what (I think) the baseline misconduct we're talking about when someone says "harassment". By analogy, consider this: Would it be appropriate if instead of Wikipedia:No personal attacks we had Wikipedia:No defaming or libeling editors or Wikipedia:No assaulting editors? Same general content and same points, but the name of the policy used terms like "defamation" and "libel" or even "assault". That's where I'm going with the use of the term "harassment". It's a term with legal implications; criminal ones in many jurisdictions. That's not to say we shouldn't say "harassment" when there is harassment in the legal sense, however.
    I agree that more clarity in the policy, coupled with hypotheticals, examples of bright-line misconduct, and factors to consider when issuing a civility sanction. This last point—factors to consider—is another huge place where administrative policy is lacking. When admins issue sanctions in their own discretion, they go off normal practice they've seen around the encyclopedia. But in constructing sanctions for unusual cases, it would be useful to have guidance. That way, uninvolved admins need not be so fearful of jumping into a dispute and issuing the wrong block or wrong sanction: All they need to do is determine that there's incivility (which isn't hard to do with a clear definition) and then determine the sanction based on the appropriate factors. Even better, the sanctioning admin should state the determinations he or she makes on those factors in the block message. —/Mendaliv//Δ's/ 19:56, 9 July 2019 (UTC)
    Honestly, I think you'll never get consensus for any of that, and it's not worth spending time on. Wikipedia defines "notability" differently than the dictionary does, and we can define "harassment" differently from what legal texts do. --Tryptofish (talk) 20:34, 9 July 2019 (UTC)

Harassment: what is it[edit]

  • 'I wrote an article about the iPad app I wrote. I am very disappointed that you deleted it. I wrote it again, and you deleted it again. Can you stop harassing me?'
  • 'I write an article about myself, I am a well known folk-singer in my village of 500 people. I am very disappointed that you deleted it. I wrote it again, and you deleted it again. Can you stop harassing me?'
  • 'I have added some external links to my company as I am a unique producer of blue apples. I am very disappointed that you deleted all those links. I added them again, and you deleted them again. Can you stop harassing me?'
  • 'I have a PhD in quantum mechanics, and have published 10 peer-reviewed articles and they are cited >200 times by others. I therefore wrote an article about myself. I am very disappointed that you deleted it. I wrote it again, and you deleted it again. Can you stop harassing me?'
  • 'She is the replacement defender that played for 3 minutes in the world-cup final game of <whatever> that her club lost by 10 to 1. I am very disappointed that you deleted it. I wrote it again, and you deleted it again. Can you stop harassing me?'
  • 'I have a large database of newspaper snippets of the last 10 years with pictures. I have scanned those pictures and have uploaded them on en.wikipedia to use in articles. I am very disappointed that you deleted them as non-free material. I wrote it again, and you deleted them again. Can you stop harassing me?'
  • 'I wrote a website about the birds in Zimbabwe. I have added my link to all your articles about the birds in Zimbabwe because my material is of direct interest to the reader and very informative with many pictures. I am very disappointed that you deleted all those links. I added them again, and you deleted them again. Can you stop harassing me?'

One of the points I cannot get my head around here is that grey area here. Some of us, especially administrators, are working hard to remove material that does not pass our inclusion standards. I myself get a lot of these excuses in my work against spam. Editors feel 'harassed' (or whichever word you want to give to it) because other editors keep material up to standard (the community standards, that is). I get remarks along those lines sometimes. Don't get me wrong, we have cases of real harassment on-wiki, editors stalking/following other editors without 'community control', but this is NOT it. Even if we have editors who just don't get it make series of articles which just don't pass our bars and all have to be deleted it is NOT harassment.

How do you not harass people by removing their material. Do we have to make EVERYTHING a case-by-case community consensus process. No more speedy deletions, no tagging of unsourced articles/material, no removal of spam, until we have a community discussion on that case with consensus and independent closure? --Dirk Beetstra T C 12:50, 9 July 2019 (UTC)

Yep, this is a huge problem. What needs to happen is that behavior is only "harassment" if a reasonable person in the complainant's position would feel unsafe or suffer emotional harm, and the person alleged to do the harassment knows or should know this. In other words, (1) the behavioral standard must be objective (i.e., based on a reasonable person's reaction rather than the actual reaction), and (2) intent must be a factor, such that objectively reasonable behavior under the circumstances would make the conduct not harassment. WP:HARASSMENT as it stands accomplishes both of these. Harassment is a pattern of repeated offensive behavior that appears to a reasonable observer to intentionally target a specific person or persons. The phrasing isn't particularly great in comparison to most statutory phrasings, and (in my opinion) as a result, people presume that any conduct directed at an unwilling recipient is harassment (such as disobeying WP:KEEPOFF-type notices). —/Mendaliv//Δ's/ 13:28, 9 July 2019 (UTC)
  • I agree that claims of harassment cannot hang simply on the word of the claimant. The "reasonable person" standard is a good place to start.
    Further, I am somewhat distressed that in the discussion above, "incivility" is being strongly equated with, and used as a stand-in for, harassment. Incivility and harassment are not the same thing, and standards for ridding Wikipedia of harassment simply cannot be based on controlling incivilty - that way lies madness amd the effective neutering of the project.
    Finally (for the moment) although it's been said multiple times above, Wikipedia is decidedly not an "academic" project. We are very much not writing an academic encyclopedia, but a popular one that anyone (hopefully) can use and understand. Starting from the academic premise is another category mistake that should be avoided, along with "incivility = harassment". (And I concur with the comments about the academic world not being an exemplar of civility anyway.)
    If we're going to deal effectively with harassment -- the amount of which I, personally, feel is drastically overstated in a "culture of fear" manner -- then we must start by correctly understanding what it is and is not. If we go into this process attempting to control incivility, we're doomed to failure: like Communism and the profit motive, one simply cannot change and control human nature to that extent. If we begin by accurately defining harassment, and then attempt to regulate that, we have a decent chance of succeeding. Beyond My Ken (talk) 15:44, 9 July 2019 (UTC)
Idem with BMK. Since arguments over civility are endless and inconclusive, perhaps we should reason from first principles. The aim is to produce an encyclopedia of first class quality by free voluntary labour on a global scale. Everything is subordinate to this primary principle. The distinctiveness of wiki culture is that it (a) requires hard work from contributors (b) and is not, unlike Facebook, Twitter, and the endless social media, a social community (WP:NOTSOCIAL) or venue for personal interests or identity. Therefore, the fourth pillar, 'civility', is to be defined strictly in terms of what is conducive to creating and maintaining encyclopedic content -articles of quality. This mammoth kerfuffle was sparked off, surely, by a proposed plan to reengineer the social atmosphere of wikipedia by making it wear a cosy communitarian air with a ‘healthier culture of discourse’ where those perceiving themselves as ‘emarginalized’ would feel ‘safer’. Utterly ‘American’, totally provincial and fundamentally disconnected from any idea of a zweckrational work ethic, one that contaminates what has been 18 years of a highly distinctive knowledge enterprise with the spiraling post-modern cultural groaning Robert Hughes dissected surgically in his The Culture of Complaint (Please read it). What that has to do with the hard mechanics of actually producing readable prose syntheses of all major topics on mankind’s radar is obscure. I don ‘t want to be identified with the sniffish hauteur resonant in the ironic lines I will quote below from one of the greatest classical scholars on record,- notorious for the personal acerbity of his attacks on other scholars in his field (mostly spot-on) - but all of this ambitious reengineering of our ramshackle community’s practices to make social comfort rather than hard work the end of being a wikipedian reminded me of it.

If nature, with flagitious partiality, has given judgment and industry to some men and left other men without them, it is our evident duty to amend her blind caprice; and those who are able and willing to think must be deprived of their unfair advantage by stringent prohibitions. In Association football you must not use your hand, and similarly in textual criticism you must not use your brains. Since we cannot make fools behave like wise men, we will insist that wise men should behave like fools: by these means only can we redress the injustice of nature and anticipate the equality of the grave’ A. E. Housman, Marcus Manilius, Astronomicon (1903-1916) Georg Olms Verlag 1972 vol.1. p.xxxiii

Nishidani (talk) 16:06, 9 July 2019 (UTC)
Well, let us be serious. In the short period of time (about a month, in the past) I had (not going to call names now as it is completely irrelevant to the discussion):
  • An editor who was following the articles I edited and edited them with derogatory summaries directed at me (smth like "do not be so lazy");
  • Another editor being highly surprised by which mistake I became administrator;
  • An editor saying that my behavior is so bad I should be happy if I do not get indef blocked (mind you, I never even had a warning);
  • A group of editors claiming I meant something I did not mean and who did not want to hear what I actually meant;
  • An ArbCom case here against me for my actions on Wikidata (rejected, but with a lot of commenters supporting accepting it);
  • On a daily basis, Eastern European editors claiming I am a Russian spy, a Ukrainian spy, a Ukrainian nationalist, a Russian nationalist, an editor paid by Russian and/or Ukrainian government to advance their POV, a jerk, an idiot, a dishonest person etc.
  • And all of this just for my efforts to build encyclopedia. Whereas I have lost my cool several times, which obviously did not help, but I felt myself all the time under constant pressure.
May be we want to discuss this rather than claims of spammers and POV pushers?--Ymblanter (talk) 16:28, 9 July 2019 (UTC)
Well, my mother's reaction to my coming home weeping on the first day of primary school was to get me to learn by rote:'Sticks and stones will break my bones/but names will never hurt me.' I never looked back. Timely advice in childhood.
Well, my advice would be unacceptable. But having a standard link to The No Asshole Rule to direct the harasser to something that might enlighten them would help, as would muttering,Мне насра́ть на твоё мне́ние, while doing so. One should make a simple calculation about the number of dickheads one is likely to encounter in life, and evaluate whether it's worth one's while taking any of them seriously. You might consider feeling sorry for them: arseholes like the above only show, by their outbursts, what a lousy mental life they must live. Nishidani (talk) 17:02, 9 July 2019 (UTC)
Sure, Ymblanter. That is quite similar to the comments I have received regurarly over the years (and there are cases which need follow up on a regular basis). Yes, there are users that systematically follow others around, yes there are users that need that. There are users that follow people around with nasty rants, there are users that after a long time do not get things, where the users that follow them around because hey need to be followed around get increasingly irritated because the person that is followed around does not get it. There are people that edit normally, but as soon as they see that someone follows up on 2 of their edits they cry wolf.
You here did not specify in which category your followers fall, and I don't judge in which category you fall (I did not follow you around too much ... maybe I am in one of the other categories). How many of these examples are critisism, good faith misinterpretations, or intentional (i.e. harassment)? They likely all feel like that.
Now, back to Fram. With identifying info removed, how do we know in which category the accusers fall? --Dirk Beetstra T C 17:40, 9 July 2019 (UTC)
Sorry you've had to deal with that Ymblanter, and thanks for doing so much for us regardless. The more active an editor is, then especially if they're involved in quality control, the more (mostly or entirely) undeserved negative remarks they get. And the more mountainous the potential pile of "evidence" against them becomes. Similar to what Dirk Beetstra mentions, and likely part of why WMF acted against Fram. So all the more reason why the community should have the chance to weight in & "make excuses". All that said, I still feel Swarm and others have a strong point about it being desirable for aggressive outbursts to be less tolerated. Quite a dilemma, to say the least. FeydHuxtable (talk) 17:50, 9 July 2019 (UTC)
Are there any links to 'aggressive outbursts' by Fram over the longue durée, apart from the recent Arbcom expletive? I only went back to some of the earlier Fram/LH 2014 pages like this. As people who otherwise worry about him admit, he did a prodigious amount of dull work very few others would take on and was highly focused on quality control. The precipitating incident was over innumerable stubs which showed high regularity in the mistranslation of foreign language sources (Fr. se foutre de la gueule being posted as 'fuck your mouth' instead of 'take the mickey out of/mock' etc) by the latter. It was a classic quality vs quantity clash, accompanied by very extensive talk page work explaining the problem by the former, and, on the pages I viewed, little response from the latter. What complicated things was third party input, which prized the commitment to high volume page production by LH, and thought Fram's reviews on page after page Javertish. All I could see that, there was very little critical challenge to the gravamen of Fram's evidence. My impression was that supporters of LH thought (a) she writes articles about the disabled, (b) was being highly productive and (c)is a woman, and therefore should be given leeway, whatever the shoddiness evinced by F, whose tenacity in corrective review was, between the lines, taken to be indicative of a certain dismissal of (a) (b) and (c). In the 2014 cases I looked at, there were no outbursts, hence civility was not the question. So the question was, can one infer, rather than find evidence of, a pattern of harassment in what formally looked like a precisian's stickler-for-the-(literal application of the relevant)rules. I state this as an impression from reading limited evidence. I'm extremely bad at using wiki research tools and it just takes me too much time to investigate the background of such issues. I simply do not have the patience to read ANI/AE records, except when obliged to do so when reported for incivility/harassment/lack of WP:AGF and generally as someone who is a net negative for the project.Nishidani (talk) 19:12, 9 July 2019 (UTC)
I think we should leave what Fram did to who to ArbCom who now has as much of a report as T&S is willing to give them. And I personally think until there is some evidence that any editor is involved in any way with this that they should be left out of this. At the very least people we elected are able to make a judgment on Fram, so personally I think the Fram portion of this should be tabled until they perform their review. nableezy - 19:24, 9 July 2019 (UTC)
I wasn't angling to try the case here, Nab. In fact, I have long agreed with your proposal that in ANI, AE cases, the rules should restrict outside input from third parties, and just let the plaintiff and accused thrash it out before arbs. That doesn't mean however that one should not even read up evidence, esp. in a case like this.Nishidani (talk) 19:29, 9 July 2019 (UTC)
Thanks for your email, notifying me of the utterly disgraceful objectively evil behavior of many users and readers of this encyclopedia in off-wiki sleuthing and harassing of LH. Anyone who comes from here and engages in that, with anyone, should be irrevocably permabanned.Nishidani (talk) 11:32, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
At this point, we really don't need dozens of amateur sleuths raking up and poring over every last diff that an editor has made, and posting their opinions on them. Let's leave this to ArbCom to review the material they've received from WMF in private, if we can, please. Nick Moyes (talk) 19:42, 9 July 2019 (UTC)
(edit conflict)How do you not harass people by removing their material. Do we have to make EVERYTHING a case-by-case community consensus process. Obviously not, for efficiency purposes and since this is evidently not harassment (they are promoting material outside of the bounds allowed by policies, consensus and terms of service already and when it's ambiguous we do use deletion discussions already). Similarly, if legitimate WP:WARN at talk pages were considered harassment, the system would no longer function, unless the alternative was immediate blocking or inability to edit because only WP:CIR-vetted accounts could edit... —PaleoNeonate – 19:44, 9 July 2019 (UTC)
In one sense, if contributing is perceived in an adversarial win or lose mode, it is seen as a means of climbing through the ranks of a hierarchy. cygnis insignis 20:03, 9 July 2019 (UTC)
  • One thing I'd add is that, on paper, our policies set the bar much lower than simple harassment; editors are required to be WP:CIVIL to each other, not merely to refrain from harassing each other. Additionally, I'd argue that civility is an important thing to shoot for because it can often nip problems in the bud before they reach the point of full-blown harassment. That's why I'd tend to say that we should focus on "abrasiveness" first and foremost. It's generally easier to define and identify, and virtually every editor who has been a problem with regards to harassment can be reasonably called abrasive. Obviously everyone has a bad day or can lose their temper in a heated dispute, but it's not particularly hard to identify editors who are consistently abrasive to other contributors and who seem unlikely to change any time soon. That sort of narrow, reasonably clear issue strikes me as a good way to go about implementing the much broader dictate to deal with harassment - cracking down on abrasiveness probably won't solve everything on its own, but it's a reasonable first step and would tend to weed out the editors who have no intention of behaving (especially if, as I referenced above, we make it unambiguous policy that being a major contributor or the like is are never a defense for abrasive conduct - currently that defense comes up constantly, especially in WP:AE, WP:ANI, and ArbCom.) Stricter enforcement of WP:CIVIL would often prevent us from reaching this point in the first place. --Aquillion (talk) 22:00, 9 July 2019 (UTC)
    It's true that abrasiveness can be a characteristic, but it doesn't account for civil POV pushers, and it can also be hard to draw the line between truly being abrasive, and being someone who just happened to lose their temper more than once. --Tryptofish (talk) 22:11, 9 July 2019 (UTC)
    I think we all agree there can be poor behaviour without abrasiveness; the question raised was should we start to work on abrasiveness as an initial step, for the reasons listed by Aquillon? Do you think that managing editors pushing a point of view is a more fruitful starting point? The areas I edit suffer more from non-neutral point-of-view edits than abrasiveness, so selfishly I wouldn't mind starting there. However I don't have any good ideas at the moment beyond the active mentorship proposal I raised earlier, which has key implementation drawbacks. isaacl (talk) 22:34, 9 July 2019 (UTC)
    I missed that, so thanks for pointing it out to me. I guess the way I see it is that it will work out the best in the long run if we don't break it down into steps, but rather look for ways to describe and define the problem that are useful in all cases. I'm thinking about it from the perspective of having a policy that can be applied without people wikilawyering about who the policy applies to. --Tryptofish (talk) 22:47, 9 July 2019 (UTC)
    I've been coming at the problem from a different angle—trying to understand what motivates editors to behave the way they do—so I agree with looking for systemic issues to address. The motivations for these two things are quite different: Editors are abrasive to win arguments. Editors who push non-neutral points of view place a higher priority on getting a specific message included in Wikipedia than adhering to Wikipedia's goals, or they lack sufficient introspection to understand their failure to convince others that their points of view are neutral means that the views shouldn't be included in Wikipedia. I do think binding content mediation would help in both situations, though. Providing a final "no" would eliminate further options for engagement for non-neutral editors, and make abrasiveness a neutral or losing strategy. isaacl (talk) 23:19, 9 July 2019 (UTC)
    I don't think editors are abrasive only to win arguments. I think it sometimes comes out of frustration by editors who strive to edit neutrally when interacting with long-term POV-pushers. I am certainly guilty of using robust language with the latter on occasion. I agree with what you've said about them though, and I think we need to work out better ways of dealing with them. Peacemaker67 (click to talk to me) 01:58, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
    For simplicity, I was being a bit reductionist. Yes, not everyone is deliberately being abrasive to try to drive away non-neutral point-of-view pushers. But regardless of motive, the net effect is the same: abrasiveness serves to discourage editors with opposing views from participating, which helps you win your argument. isaacl (talk) 06:46, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
  • An only partly-formed idea, following on from Tryptofish's comment about looking for ways to describe and define the problem that are useful in all cases. I'm thinking about it from the perspective of having a policy that can be applied without people wikilawyering about who the policy applies to. Turning it around, what about a page like WP:Behavioural Norms describing what behaviour is expected – the first of these is contributing constructively to the content of the encyclopaedia, with others like editing in line with core policy (NPOV, use RS, etc) following as as supporting this goal; a second would be a vibrant self-governing community to ensure high quality content, project longevity, and social interactions, feedback, critique, etc, that support editors in pursuing goal 1, requiring interacting with other Wikipedians in a collegial / civil manner and following DR when disagreements occur, etc. – and include a statement that occasional lapses are understandable but repeated and / or serious breaches can be sanctioned with topic bans, page bans, blocks, etc. A civil POV pusher trying to force FRINGE into article space who manages to provoke an uncivil response is then violating the basic behavioural requirement and warrants a harsh sanction whereas the positive contributor who gets frustrated is recognised as acting for the mutual goal with a one-off uncivil post a comparatively minor matter. Actual harassment / stalking inconsistent with the second goal and also sanctionable harshly as needed. A third goal recognises the necessity of support structures for goals 1 and 2, which is where admins, bureaucrats, functionaries, ArbCom, and even the WMF come in. Necessary for maintaining and building the encyclopaedia but subordinate in purpose. Sanctions are then considered not only based on what happened but on what goals / sub-goals / norms is affected / violated. Thoughts? EdChem (talk) 01:38, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
  • That's an interesting idea and worth pursuing, since it comes at the problem from a positive stance, instead of being about sanctions, per se. Beyond My Ken (talk) 01:46, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
  • I agree, this definitely would put the interests of the encyclopaedia first, and ensure that positive behavioural standards are also put ahead of sanctions for negative behaviour. Peacemaker67 (click to talk to me) 03:26, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
  • I also like EdChem's idea very much. Having a set of defined "behavioral norms" that have community consensus is an excellent way to go. And about an alternative to "aggression", the best I can come up with is something related to "respect" (whether for fellow editors or for the mission of creating an encyclopedia, or both), as other editors have said above and below. I think that the essay User:Kirill Lokshin/Professionalism does a particularly good job of identifying what I, personally, would want to see as the way we should understand appropriate conduct. --Tryptofish (talk) 15:28, 10 July 2019 (UTC)

"Harassment: what is it" arbitrary break 1[edit]

  • I'd like to point out that if the intelligent and thoughtful editors involved in this discussion can't really get together on defining what the behavior is we should be looking to prevent, let along any specific mechanism to prevent it, what are the chances that the community is going to come up with something that's functional, fair to all parties, and, importantly, non-draconian?
    In real life, at least here in the US, we're going through a phase of "zero tolerance" policies, in which officials trade in their ability to evaluate circumstances, reason through a situation, and come up with a solution, in favor of a strict "no explanations" stance. Thus, a kid who brings a butter knife to school is punished as if they brought a machete. I would love it if we could avoid that kind of thing, as well as "trigger words" and "safe spaces" and the other nonsense that currently rules in many places. We are here to build an encyclopedia and the expressed purpose of WP:Civility is to create an atmosphere in which that job can be done. Obviously, we can't do that if everyone is screaming at everyone else, but we also can't do it if everyone is so intimidated by behavioral-control rules that they're afraid to criticize anything or make necessary corrections, for fear of crossing a boundary and being sanctioned. Beyond My Ken (talk) 01:42, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
    We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard. Creating the cooperative environment necessary to build an encyclopedia is hard, because there will be lots of heated disagreement when thousands of strangers get together and try to agree on what The Truth™ is for every single thing that matters. If we choose to build an encyclopedia, then we are choosing to work with strangers, and if I fucking hate you and you fucking hate me, we are not going to be able to work together well. So, it's important that we don't hate each other. We have to each choose to be nice, even when it's hard. WP:Behavioural Norms might only need to list two:
    1. Don't be rude to other editors.
    2. If you see someone being rude, ask them to stop. Levivich 05:07, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
    The 'cooperative environment needed to create an encyclopedia' is, despite several kilometres of anguish, already in place. That is what the sheer statistics of accomplishment unambiguously attest. What the WMO proposal aims at is based on small surveys about how several hundred wikipedians feel - 40-50% say harassment exists, they've seen or experienced incivility. In any one day, everyone in the world will hae seen or heard in their environment, sharp words, somewhat less than polite behavior. From that, they do not usually conclude life is hell. Face it, a lot of editors who hail from outside of the States find the sharpening of Office focus on this stronger civil policing, imperial, ethnocentric and out of whack with perceptions in Europe and Great Britain, for example. If we have 5,900,000 articles up and running, whatever incivility exists, did not stop encyclopedic development. There is zero proof that incivility has impeded the achievement we already have.Nishidani (talk) 06:43, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
    Want a list of automatic reverts with demonstrably false edit summaries in my specific area? They occur every other day, from experienced editors, are rude for their contempt for due process and other editors, and impede page construction. That is the major abuse of incivility I am familiar with, plus WP:IDIDNTHEARTHAT. It's not addressable, one has to put up with it. Focusing as the proposal does on simple terminological clues detectable by software in exasperated outbursts, while ignoring the civility issue we all recognize exists as Civil POV pushing, shows the bias at work. Someone in SF wants a regimen of Americocentric Facebook/Twitter cultural norms to be imposed, that will be even more dysfunctional because everything one has to put up with day and night (Ymblanter's testimony) becomes reportable, and the potential for overload on already overworked admins is obvious. It cannot work. It is not a solution, but an incentive to make this place even more bureaucratically distracted than it already is. Despite being endlessly caught up in reports I be sanctioned, I have made in 13 years only one complaint. Had I hewed to the book and practice of those who are at my heels, I'd have made a hundred. I don't. I don't have the fucking time to waste. By the way, most frequent reporters I know off, just sit round, tweak, revert, monitor for their fav POV, and generally are highly visible on talk pages. They don't construct anything.Nishidani (talk) 07:20, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
    That's kind of like saying that the economy of country X is doing so well that there's no proof that it has any social inequality issues. There can still be issues with the community hindering some proportion of it. Paid editing can still be a problem amidst article growth, and can in fact boost that metric. isaacl (talk) 06:58, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
    It's one of the reasons why I talked about respect earlier: as long as everyone is respectful of others, they shouldn't be afraid to be critical. It's also why I'm looking for ways to make poor behaviour neutral or losing strategies. If there is no incentive for poor behaviour, evolutionary pressure will reduce it, without having to sanction it. isaacl (talk) 07:09, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
    I don't want respect. That means, Isaacl, that my sense of who I am or what I do depends on someone else, anonymous, out there. Why not consider self-respect? I.e. getting up late at night because you can't sleep, thinking of some flaw in an edit you made, and fixing it; or going the extra mile to double check and verify in more sources something written and sourced which, nonetheless, doesn't look right? Or seeing an editor in difficulty, and sending a 'thank note' for something they did; a zillion little things like this is perhaps better than creating an environmemt that has you thinking to PC your every word so that you won't provide ammo to the idiots around you.Nishidani (talk) 07:20, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
    No, I disagree. I don't need to depend on someone else's respect in order to have self-respect or a sense of self. If necessary to address me, I would appreciate being addressed using using my user name; thanks. isaacl (talk) 07:25, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
Adjusted. But if I protested on every minor misspelling of my handle, I'd have several hundred more edits to my credit, with no visible gain for my self-respect or rthe encyclopedia.Nishidani (talk) 07:55, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
I don't generally, but usually editors don't comment on my sense of self. Thanks. isaacl (talk) 08:02, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
Oh. I see. I'm sad to see you read it that way. I wasn't at all commenting on your sense of self-respect. I was commenting on the concept itself. I have to fight a strong temptation to write an essay on the concept. My general sense is that the world is structurally organized contemptuously and is intrinsically violent, but that on average people are quite decent. They make do in hard circumstances. I don't like bureaucrats, responsible for managing the structures, meddling in our direct relation ship with each other. Regards.Nishidani (talk) 09:21, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
It's why I asked if it were necessary to address me. By inserting my user name, the following clause appears to be an introspective question being asked internally by the named person. If you had left the name out, it would have been clearer. isaacl (talk) 13:49, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
I think it worth clarifying this, if only because we are speaking of monitoring language, courtesies, tone, and address, and our otherwise nugatory hermeneutic contretemps only highlights how even the most innocuous elements of usage can ring differently to one's interlocutor's ears. In English, going back to the earliest period, down to the present, the vocative I employed ('Issac1')), has no other function than to signal attention specifically to the one person one desires to make a remark to. The secondary function is courtesy of recognition: naming a person implies recognition (in Hegelian terms), ergo particular respect in address. The inference you make is totally unfamiliar to me. I can, on checking my books on grammar, find no evidence that an apostrophizing vocative lends itself to inferences that what follows will be an 'introspective question being asked internally by the named person'. All usage I can recall rebuffs that, starting with, what the father tells Joe Lampton in Braine's well-known novel:'The point is, lad, that a man in my position can't get to know a man in your position very well.' John Braine, Room at the Top Houghton Mifflin, 1957 p.268 What follows 'lad' is nothing more than what the person speaking thinks.
Language is a minefield, and the best of us mishear. When corporative bureaucrats, who tend in the round (arbs here excepted) to have tin ears and leaden hands, step in to give us policies on usage, woe betide us. Regards Nishidani (talk) 16:53, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
In an ideal world, everyone would write perfectly, and strict rules of grammar could be used to parse sentences. But people make mistakes, and write imprecisely at times (you've misspelled my user name again, for example; normally I wouldn't point it out but it is relevant to my point). Thus we are left to interpret what may or may not have been inadvertently left out during writing. Your original sentence was That means, to be Isaac, that my sense of who I am or what I do depends on someone else, anonymous, out there. so it seemed you were commenting on what it meant "to be [username]". Regarding address: due to indentation conventions, direct address to someone to whom you're replying is unusual on English Wikipedia. Using shortened forms of usernames, in some cultures, implies a sense of familiarity that is usually granted by the referent. However it's probably best to leave detailed language discussion to another forum. isaacl (talk) 17:54, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
'direct address to someone to whom you're replying is unusual on English Wikipedia.' In 13 years, you are the only editor I have encountered objecting to being addressed by their handle. It's everywhere,and does not imply a presumption of familiarity. In my several worlds/languages, it is a formal courtesy. But, you certainly have a right to snub what you perceive to be an uninvited familiarity, particularly in so far as the solecistic to be in to be Isaacl, came of eliding 'precise' and not the preceding 'to be' (I.e., 'to be precise, Isaacl', and therefore I am partly responsible for your misprision. Regards Nishidani (talk) 20:38, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
I did not object to being addressed by my username, nor did I say it implied a presumption of familiarity. isaacl (talk) 22:40, 10 July 2019 (UTC)

That's kind of like saying that the economy of country X is doing so well that there's no proof that it has any social inequality issues

A fair chanced arm at analogy. But to adopt it, I am saying that in country X, despite a booming economy evincing strong evidence that the announced goals of schooling for all and urban housing construction have been achieved or are on target, union reports say that the masons, labourers, architects and furnishers of materials report a sense of less-than-perfect social comfort in their interactions, and that this is a major issue, requiring the hiring of teams of sociologists, psychologists, administrative staff and police to make everyone feel happy. Social engineering has never managed to improve people's personal lives. We are, among other things, biologically predisposed to envy, competitiveness, petty-mindedness, one-upmanship, Das Unbehagen in der Kultur and bureaucratic endeavours to create a community to impose a rigorous set of abstract standards cannot replace the natural arrangements of organic give-and-take, self- and other-adjusrtment of historical societies. To the contrary, all the evidence shows that this behavioural fussiness encourages our worst tendencies, to snitch, bitch, screw, nag, get attention and whinge, things children are generally advised by wise parents to learn to tamp down and, in others, cope with. In short, the Wittgensteinian elephant in the room in this new proposal is that it looks very much like just one more example of a remedy that threatens to induce a worsening of the very symptoms it is designed to alleviate. 'The devil is an optimist if he thinks he can make people worse than they are.' (Karl Kraus in Thomas Szasz, Karl Kraus and the Soul Doctors, Louisiana State University Press 1976 p.159))Nishidani (talk) 07:38, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
The way I read this, isaacl is making some of the most promising suggestions. In terms of ideas that if implemented wisely, could improve community health without alienating existing power groups, like passionate content creators or the quality control crew. The need for respect seems to be a human universal - something we really are biologically / evolutionary predisposed to. (Commonly said to relate to our need to depend on others back in less developed times, per an individual human being a "helpless ape".) Im not aware of any first rank social scientist who's said we have a universal need for small-mindedness, one-upmanship, snitching, bitching etc. Rather, these admittedly common behaviours tend to manifest when our fundamental needs are not being met. @Nishandi - if you don't mind me saying so, you might be being a little too cynical & too clever here. Which is not so say you're not making good points. We have a need for freedom too (self -autonomy, release from the oppression of too strong social oversight, hence WP:DGAF can be most healthy for an individual, if not taken to extremes. It's all in The Need for Roots & much more modern work (though I hope no one asks for sources, may memories starting to fail me for things I've read in the last 5 years.) I hope you still have respect for good Simone Weil :-) FeydHuxtable (talk) 07:59, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
Friend. I wrote 'our worst tendencies', not 'need'. I stick by my assertion, which is not book-based (but could be), but won't argue it here. I was profoundly moved by reading Simone Weil's Attente de Dieu, back in the sixties. I have, underlined, a passage you probably allude to:J'ai eu dès la première enfance la notion chrétienne de charité du prochain.(1966 p.40) On the other hand she wrote also, Je crois qu'il ne sert à rien de combattre directement les faiblesses naturelles.(ibid.p.24) Best regards Nishidani (talk) 08:13, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
I think Nishidani is talking the most sense here, personally. But I think this whole discussion will become moot when the Foundation moves ahead with the Universal Code of Conduct.--Wehwalt (talk) 08:51, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
About the point made earlier, that some editors might not see themselves as wanting or expecting respect, I can, um, respect that, but I also would contend that those editors, nevertheless, would not actually want disrespect. About whether WMF can make this moot, I think that it is essential that the community demand that we not be dictated to. --Tryptofish (talk) 15:32, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
I for one don't want either respect or disrespect, except for the sources used. If you have a high quality specialist source clearly on topic reverted, the offense is to the source (except when the reverter can cite an equally strong source which shows the former one's matter is outdated, or flawed*), the disrespect for the source lies in the reverter. Our personal feelings have little to do with it.
*To illustrate. Many important sources, based on the victors' original figures, numbly repeat that 254 Palestinians were killed at the Deir Yassin massacre. The figure established with meticulous groundwork by the local historian Aref al-Aref was around 117. The mirror of this are the figures for the 1929 Hebron massacre, 59 for contemporary reports, 65-67 for many later RS accounts. No one will budge from the highest murder figure there, despite complications.Nishidani (talk) 15:57, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
I thought you value Segev as a good source? In any event, the problem is that people don't like being talked down to, or uncivil language. Being rude is not a sign of being intellectually superior. I am not sure why people here believe that being nasty to people is proper, just as long as they edit otherwise correctly. Being civil is one of the five pillars and needs to be respected. Sir Joseph (talk) 17:05, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
The page section I linked to has not the slightest skerrick of rudeness or talking down to anyone. It politely begs reverters repeatedly and at painful length to examine multiple sources, evaluate their conflicting claims, and find a prose synthesis adequate to cover the dissonance in reports. On every occasion, the request was ignored. Asking editors to read the sources they have excised from an article, (when they won't or don't care) is not a sign of being 'intellectually superior'.Nishidani (talk) 19:24, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
I understand. Perhaps editors differ in how we feel about that. I, for one, have acquired over time a high tolerance for disrespect directed at me, but I still think that it's wrong, and I also believe that less experienced editors (as of course I was when I first began to edit) can have their experience of Wikipedia very badly harmed if they feel that they have been treated in a disrespectful manner. --Tryptofish (talk) 16:25, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
I agree 100%, I have seen that first hand where new editors are "chased away" by more experienced editors who are abrasive. I am also not confident at all that ARBCOM can deal with behavior issues as they laid out in their open letter to the WMF. Sir Joseph (talk) 17:05, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
Not that it is an excuse, but why is it always the established editor who has to be civil. When you get into the field of POV pushers, sockpuppets, and spammers, you can expect disrespectful language being hurled at you by complete newbies. And that comes then back to the opening of this 'what is it' thread - it is completely understandable that you lash out on a newbie who is hurling insults at you. It is even understandable that that happens after said newbie only has a severe case of IDIDNTHEARTHAT. We don't all have a thick skin or a duck's back. And then, what is fucking uncivil to me does not fucking need to be fucking uncivil to the fucking rest of the fucking world (100% aggression, 100% attack), it is very cultural. Where I am from, 'how are you' will be answered with a genuine answer ('I have a headache and my stomach is upset'). In other places you have to give the standard answer 'fine' regardless of your status, and in yet other places any answer will be met with surprise 'did I ask you something'. I would have considered the answer 'fine' while one of your eyeballs is dangling on your chin rather rude/offensive. And whether it is harassment or civility, my view of the Fram situation remains the same: it is not child pornography. --Dirk Beetstra T C 17:35, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
Well said. Civility is not just about turpiloquy and shouting, moreover. One of the unstated premises in civility claims is that even straightforward language can be hurtful. 'Disingenuous' is one of the default euphemisms for describing other editors on wiki, accepted unblinkingly. The word is defined as a synonym for 'dishonest', 'sneaky', hypocritical etc. So I consciously try to avoid using it. I have used 'prevarication' ie,. ‘Look up the word prevarication.' (i.e. read If you prevaricate, you avoid giving a direct answer or making a firm decision. (2) to deviate from the truth, equivocate) only to find shortly afterwards that my remark, perfectly innocuous, provided one of the diffs that had be suspended for a month. The person reporting that as an attack post is not a native speaker of English. There are literally hundreds of examples of this kind of lethal misprision, of misreading, in complaints. What I thought was perfectly civil was proof, for others, of my contempt for people. I'm sure numerous editors have had the same experience. Nishidani (talk) 19:58, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
I agree, and I think it's an important point. I've seen, all too many times, a good-faith experienced editor get trolled by someone with ulterior motives, and the good-faith editor momentarily loses their temper. Then the troll takes the editor to ANI. Editors there recognize the troll for who they are, and the troll gets a boomerang block. But then somebody says that the good-faith editor should get a civility block as well, and there are arguments about it. Eventually, an admin who believes that someone must stand up for civility goes and blocks the good-faith editor. This is a prime example of something where we need to be careful going forward. It's easy to say that experienced editors should not have "a higher status" than inexperienced ones and that civility needs to be enforced more. But we have to recognize that there are times when losing one's temper does not equal sanctionable conduct. Even if we make a strong effort to be forgiving to newbies, and we should, and even if we resolve to enforce civility more resolutely, and we should, we still need to take context into account, and not treat "angry outburst" as always being incivil. --Tryptofish (talk) 17:47, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
See for example here (an extreme example to be sure) where a so-called newer editor (in fact a sock of a multiple times banned user) successfully goaded an admin who had put up with racist abuse for years into losing his shit and his bit. That user was "warned" as a result of that thread. And that led directly to the downward spiral of one of our best editors and admins into his eventual retirement from the project. Deal with the problem editors earlier and you dont have these civility issues later. nableezy - 17:54, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
And I'm not naming names, but I was thinking of a specific recent event when I wrote that. In a slightly different sequence of events, we also lost that editor, and we should not have. And I took a lot of abuse for defending that editor, to the point that I nearly quit Wikipedia. --Tryptofish (talk) 17:59, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
Absolutely: we should keep experienced editors from becoming upset in the first place, so there's no need to police outbursts. Some way to steer editors into productive paths, and weeding out those who are unable to make the transition is needed. isaacl (talk) 18:22, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
(edit conflict) You don't have to answer in kind (at least, you can try to avoid that to the max). I feel that Wikipedia often approaches problems from the wrong end (Jimbo mentioned top-down, WMF taking away Fram, WMF's MediaWiki upgrade implementation program (my version of Isaacl's comment that I here edit conflicted with), ArbCom is also good in removing the symptom, and the community, through AN/I, does their share as well). I am afraid that people count on that (see Nableezy's example). It invites Joe Jobbing. --Dirk Beetstra T C 18:36, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
It's true that one need not answer in kind to a troll, and it certainly would be preferable. But conversely, I would not want us to make it mandatory to not answer in kind. --Tryptofish (talk) 19:52, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
On a related note, it's always the collaborative editor that has to accommodate rudeness... because that's their nature: to put up with rudeness and look for a way forward. Nonetheless, it's a low-level irritant to them to hear others argue for leniency for strident outbursts, when they never permit themselves that luxury. It's an instance of how selective pressures are against collaborative editors. isaacl (talk) 18:19, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
re-adding my comment; I guess "my version of Isaacl's comment that I here edit conflicted with" was supposed to be a placeholder? isaacl (talk) 19:03, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
@Isaacl: Sorry, very unclear of me. No, I meant that I read your we should keep experienced editors from becoming upset in the first place, so there's no need to police outbursts in the same way as that I mean my WMF's MediaWiki upgrade implementation program. The whole set makes material for a next subsection about bottom-up vs. top-down approaches. --Dirk Beetstra T C 19:43, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
That's what I thought at first, though I was unclear how either of the potential edit conflict candidates were related. Then I saw my comment had disappeared and wondered if there were a different explanation.isaacl (talk) 20:08, 10 July 2019 (UTC)

───────────────────────── Isaac, you can say that again. @Tryptofish: I have similar recollections, and would agree with your assessment of the situation if it is the one you were thinking of, and if it was an isolated incident. I recently asked you about Jytdog, who I had many conflicts with. I greatly admired when he decided to leave because of his mistake(s). Civility or the lack thereof is much less important than improving the encyclopedia, which often involves making sure that people are permitted to improve the encyclopedia. The problems are worst when civil, helpful, well-intentioned editors get caught in the crossfire between two well-heeled paid editing campaigns. That's objectively worse than sexual harassment, the pinnacle of incivility. And yet the paid editing campaigns often are paid to abide by Wikipedia's rules. EllenCT (talk) 18:25, 10 July 2019 (UTC)

I'm not clear on how paid editing campaigns is objectively worse than harassment. Do you mean in terms of impact on readers? isaacl (talk) 18:34, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
Yes. When faced with a choice between civility and the accuracy of the encyclopedia, we should err on the side of the readers. Importantly, those choices are almost non-existent. Anyone who is unable to remain calm is exposing the inability of their cerebral cortex to assert dominance over their own reptile brain. Paid editing conflicts can cause this, as can contradictions in the head of the person who is arguing about something and realizes too late that they were mistaken, for example, or contradictions in the policy documents. EllenCT (talk) 19:45, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
EllenCT, we may not be thinking of the same events. What I referred to had nothing to do with Jytdog. (I know you asked me that, and the discussion got closed before I could answer. I'm not eager to discuss any of that, but if you really still want to, it would be better to do that at my user talk.) --Tryptofish (talk) 19:57, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
I am still interested in your opinion, but only at least a week after Katherine comes back from vacation, and then only on WP:AN so that everything stays well within the letter and spirit of policy. EllenCT (talk) 22:15, 10 July 2019 (UTC)

"Harassment: what is it" arbitrary break 2[edit]

In brainstorming about these issues, some of us have discussed how good-faith editors should not always be considered to have been incivil after losing one's temper in response to a troll or the like. As I've been thinking about various possible repercussions that should be considered as we gradually work towards conduct expectations, it occurs to me that there is also an issue of personal responsibility that comes into play, that we haven't yet addressed.

Let's say a not-here troll goads a normally good editor into a loss of temper. One could, perhaps, say that the editor should be cut some slack under the circumstances. But I can also readily imagine someone saying that we should hold everyone to high standards of civility, that everyone can (in principle) be in control of their own conduct and demeanor and take personal responsibility for their actions, that two wrongs don't make a right, and so on – and conclude from that that the good-faith editor has nonetheless been incivil and should be sanctioned for it. And I can see merit to both sides of that argument. At some point, "I was baited" stops being a sufficient excuse.

But at what point does that happen? I don't really know. I think it's worth figuring that out. --Tryptofish (talk) 19:07, 11 July 2019 (UTC)

Well, I think this is a good reason to bifurcate the decision on wrongfulness and sanction. The fact that someone was goaded or is normally a good actor shouldn't have any bearing on deciding whether what he or she did was wrongful, but it should have a bearing on the sanction. The mere declaration that some act was wrongful is itself a sanction in many ways, and so that may be enough in certain cases. In others, such as repeating certain acts after being clearly and unequivocally told they were wrongful in a previous discussion, stiffer sanctions may be necessary. —/Mendaliv//Δ's/ 19:29, 11 July 2019 (UTC)
I partly agree that something that boils down to "you shouldn't have done that, but it doesn't rise to something blockable" is a useful way to think about it. But I still think we need to figure out something that helps delineate the point at which it goes from not-blockable to blockable. Part of that is, as you note, recidivism, but I don't feel that that is the whole thing. Someone can be a repeated target of goading, and that should not turn that user from victim to villain. I think there also needs to be some aspect of the nature of what goaded the reaction. There's a big difference between reacting negatively to serious differences in opinion about content, and reacting negatively to frivolous but malicious nonsense. --Tryptofish (talk) 21:57, 11 July 2019 (UTC)

One of the most common forms of wiki-harrassment is enforcing wiki-rules in a stricter and more categorical way than the norm, and in a way that is more focused on one particular editor than the norm. (actually, enforcing the operative part of the rule while ignoring the softening qualifiers). Then they can claim immunity with "just enforcing the rules". North8000 (talk) 20:47, 11 July 2019 (UTC)

The fact that someone’s getting their wrong acts picked out more than average is crappy, but it doesn’t make those acts okay. In fact, our refusal to call sanctions punishment—instead calling them protective—makes this even more important. Why should we not protect the encyclopedia from someone doing something wrongful once it’s been pointed out? As to the reporter being dinged for “wiki-harassment”, doesn’t that kind of ring wrong when you consider WP:TIND and the fact this is a volunteer project? —/Mendaliv//Δ's/ 20:58, 11 July 2019 (UTC)
The details of the wording of my post was important and I don't think that your post addressed the type of situation that I described. For example about half of everything that everyone writes in Wikipedia is unsourced, unchallenged "sky-is-blue" statements and such is the norm. If you followed someone everywhere that they went and challenged, tagged or deleted all of those on all of their edits, it would be an example of my post. North8000 (talk) 21:48, 11 July 2019 (UTC)
That's a very valid thing to discuss, but I just want to make clear that it is a different issue than the one that I raised. --Tryptofish (talk) 21:50, 11 July 2019 (UTC)
On you original topic, I think that that's a pretty tiny/rare part of the topic. Wp:civility only deals with a less-severe 20% of mis-treatment of editors. As you have expertly pointed pout in previous posts. North8000 (talk) 00:46, 12 July 2019 (UTC)

As I discussed in an earlier post, we should look at an editor's overall approach in engaging the community. If the editor otherwise engages well, then it may be fair to overlook a single blowup that is followed by sheepish/remorseful behaviour. If there is another blowup, a quiet word from an admin may be helpful. If the behaviour continues, then perhaps a request to voluntarily withdraw from the area of concern would be a good next step. If the editor doesn't show any remorse and keeps escalating, then maybe more firm action is warranted sooner. I think we can lay out a few sample scenarios in order to help administrators extrapolate proportionate responses for specific situations. isaacl (talk) 00:58, 12 July 2019 (UTC)

Yes, so perhaps there is a combination of overall approach (whether it was a one-off or recidivism), the nature of the provocation (whether it was severe trolling or just heated discussion), and the evidence of remorse, that affects the degree of significance of personal responsibility. Although it's always wrong, conceptually, to respond in an incivil manner, the decision as to whether responding that way is sanctionable depends on that combination of factors. We should cut some slack for users who are normally civil, who were goaded by something that would pretty generally be regarded as objectionable, and who indicate that they don't intend to make a habit of it. But as each of those things moves along a scale towards recidivist incivility, overreaction to normal discourse, and defiance, the situation progresses towards where a civility block is increasingly appropriate. --Tryptofish (talk) 19:42, 12 July 2019 (UTC)
  • I had a look at what constitutes harassment under UK law and was somewhat surprised to find that it refers to a set of behaviours (bullying) which are otherwise legal, but become harassment wben they are related to some particular listed trait, e.g. age, gender, sexuality, race etc.[62] I suspect the that definition doesn't match the more common usage of the word, or definition in other countries. If the WMF want to make harassment a crime, then they actually do need to give it a much more precise definition.  — Amakuru (talk) 08:01, 12 July 2019 (UTC)
    It doesn't look like that's a criminal definition either, but a workplace regulatory definition. But you're right, if WMF want to do local enforcement, they need to give proper definitions that we can understand and (if they're outrageous) protest. —/Mendaliv//Δ's/ 08:05, 12 July 2019 (UTC)
    Ah OK, that's a good point. Although it's not limited to the work place (it's apparently defined by the Equality Act 2010), this formal "harassment" of protected groups is a civil-only offence. There are quite a few cases where the police and the press describe someone as having been "jailed for harassment", but when you dig deeper they are actually convicted of other crimes such as breach of a restraining order.[63][64]  — Amakuru (talk) 08:57, 12 July 2019 (UTC)
    I think we are looking for a workplace regulatory definition, not a criminal one. This is a volunteer workplace, and workplace harassment definitions are very relevant. Peacemaker67 (click to talk to me) 09:27, 12 July 2019 (UTC)


I'm exceedingly disappointed that people have so quickly degenerated into musings about the word "harassment" in this very thread. The whole point of this thread is that we need to stop using this inflammatory, chilling buzzword that was never specifically confirmed or even alleged to be the issue behind this ban. Continuing to suggest that it is the relevant issue, without any such confirmation, is making up excuses for the WMF, and arguably committing unapologetic libel. That's not the goal here. I'm literally just asking that we stop reducing this debacle to "harassment" and start focusing on what the board actually said in their statement, which was a great many things, harassment not among them. These are the issues we need to focus on. We will never make progress if we ignore the points they're trying to make in favor of mindlessly bumbling around exclaiming "harassment! harassment! harassment!" Knock it off, please. I'm trying to get serious about the actual issues articulated by the board, and this alone is difficult enough as evidenced by the above pushback to simply moderately respecting civility policies to begin with. Crowing on and on about the word "harassment" is counterproductive to the simple, achievable goals that the board is explicitly asking for. ~Swarm~ {sting} 01:16, 11 July 2019 (UTC)

According to the WMF, harassment or abuse was the cause of the ban: What we can say in this case is that the issues reported to us fell under section 4 of the terms of use, as noted above, specifically under the first provision entitled "harassing and abusing others".Anne drew 01:26, 11 July 2019 (UTC)
also according to the WMF, incivility was the cause of the ban: In a statement to BuzzFeed News, the organization said it had leveled the ban to maintain "respect and civility" on the platform. "Uncivil behavior, including harassment, threats, stalking, spamming, or vandalism, is against our Terms of Use, which are applicable to anyone who edits on our projects," it said. WMF have falsely stated that incivility is prohibited by the subheading of Section 4 which they quote in their statement to this page. So, no, there was no harassment, by the WMF's own confirmation. There was incivility. —/Mendaliv//Δ's/ 01:33, 11 July 2019 (UTC)
Given that the various official statements (even by ArbCom) are peppered with the word "harassment", it beggars belief that anyone would think the WMF doesn't consider harassment was involved. Peacemaker67 (click to talk to me) 02:35, 11 July 2019 (UTC)
The only places I can see that WMF have used the term "harassment" is in reference to the section of the TOU which they falsely claimed forbids incivility. The statements they've made have not been in reference to the conventional English meaning of the word "harassment", but in reference to what the TOU—a contract—says. You need to stop thinking like a normal human being when parsing what they're saying and start thinking like a lawyer, because that's exactly what they're doing when they're applying these contract terms. —/Mendaliv//Δ's/ 03:11, 11 July 2019 (UTC)

WMF states that the ban was in relation to section 4 of the ToU, specifically 'harassing and abusing others':

Harassing and Abusing Others

  • Engaging in harassment, threats, stalking, spamming, or vandalism; and
  • Transmitting chain mail, junk mail, or spam to other users

if sanctions are handed out on such a basis we'd better be discussing it. --Dirk Beetstra T C 03:28, 11 July 2019 (UTC)

Not only the WMF, but Jan and ArbCom have made reference to harassment. We need to discuss it, try to define what it means on en WP etc, and how it can be determined to have occurred, because it has clearly been raised in the context of the office action regarding Fram. Peacemaker67 (click to talk to me) 03:52, 11 July 2019 (UTC)
It should be understood by now that "harassment" was not the issue. We have yet to receive any sort of affirmation, beyond vague "references" invoking the word, that Fram actually engaged in any of the specific behaviors prohibited by the ToU clause referenced. It's silly to even act like the mention of that clause is the answer after all the controversy, directly caused by the inability of the WMF to actually refute the suggestion that Fram did not breach that clause. It very truly appears that Fram's interpretation, that he was actually blocked for incivility, checks out. The board's statement is telling in detailing problems with incivility and "toxic" behavior and "unblockables" that led to this ban. They did not mention harassment however. So quit with the baseless invocation of harassment, until such claim is made directly. Seriously, it's an aspersion at best, libel at worst to make this accusation without evidence or cause. You can't just say these things without being able to demonstrate truth, and the WMF has given us no reason to believe that any allegation of harassment is true. I do not think that Fram was banned for harassment, and the board just so happened to not mention that by mistake. Get real. ~Swarm~ {sting} 04:46, 11 July 2019 (UTC)
And I've been arguing this point ad infinitum. This whole time. Nobody has refuted this notion. I even went to a board member, begging to be refuted, and he refused to do so. So quit acting like you have some strong case to back "harassment" allegations. No case has been made, beyond vague implications. No one, involved, uninvolved, subjective, objective, has substantiated such a notion. So knock it off. It's not credible. And, like I said, it's libelous to make these claims in spite of the complete and utter absence of any sort of rationale. ~Swarm~ {sting} 04:49, 11 July 2019 (UTC)
And hey, I'm not the libel police. If you want to make baseless accusations, go for it. Obviously that's the narrative the guilty party wants to perpetuate, not the board. If you don't think that's telling, then you're naive. But you do you. Just please, keep it the hell out of a thread that's trying to be objective. ~Swarm~ {sting} 04:53, 11 July 2019 (UTC)
(edit conflict) Exactly this, and it dovetails perfectly with WMF's explicit statement to the press that the ban was due to incivility. Everything else WMF has said other than that has been evasive because every other claim using the term "harassment" has either been generally (i.e., "we need to address harassment on wikipedia") or in reference to the TOU clause (i.e., "harassment includes spamming"). WMF has had two full weeks to correct the record if their statement to the media was incorrect. They have not done so, despite being fully aware of that specific story (in addition to the fact that WMF made a statement to the author, Ms. Maher's tweet disparaging the coverage as a "pseudo-thinkpiece" makes this clear). We are being led up the garden path. —/Mendaliv//Δ's/ 04:56, 11 July 2019 (UTC)
My good Swarm. Being guilty of the H word doesn't mean you've committed a heinous crime. It represents a range of behaviours. At the mild end, some of those behaviours are seen as positive by many who value quality and accuracy.
With this edit, this is the 3rd or 4th time I've criticised one of your statements in this past month. I know you have exceptional strength of character and are good at taking criticism. But if you were a more average editor, you might reasonably think Im starting to harass you! This is the same sense in which Fram is "guilty" of harassment. He used to notice people making edits he objected to, and then keep pointing out their mistakes over & over again.
Please trust me at least a little on this. I've opposed Frams excessive criticalness of good content builders going as far back as 2012 ( Decided to delete diffs as don't want to risk sparking more off site targetting of potential complainants ) So I know what he's like. Unlike when he was "punching up" to Arbs or the WMF, when Fram was talking to regular editors, AFAIK he never cussed them. He was very accurate, fair, and generally always had sound policy reasons for his criticisms. But he'd keep making his critical points at the same people over & over. Hence it would have reasonably felt like harassment to folk less thick skinned than yourself, even if it is allowed by policy.
In the 3rd para of the Board statement, they linked to their "2016 Statement on Healthy Community Culture, Inclusivity, and Safe Spaces" ( Which they called a "strong statement against toxic behaviors" ) The 2016 statement is less than 300 words, but it repeats the H word 8 times. Harassment is far and away the most specific type of toxicity / incivility which the board & core WMF would like us to address. Albeit some in the WMF are clearly working with a broader definition of the word than would many in our community. All this said Swarm, thank you for showing such passion in the cause of justice, and for your efforts to get the Board to be more specific with us. FeydHuxtable (talk) 06:19, 11 July 2019 (UTC)
I do not buy that incivility is the same thing as harassment. Harassment is an exceptionally heinous crime. Yes. It is. It's bizarre of you to suggest that it isn't, actually. They are not the same thing. Obviously. Not by literal definition. Not by traditional interpretation. Not by conventional wisdom. Not by standard practice. Not by subjective interpretation. You're attempting to equate two different concepts, and it's not credible by any measure. Now, if the WMF wanted to start equating incivility to harassment, that would be a radical and unprecedented move. It would be justifiable, in accordance with the reasonable goals. But if that was the case, they would articulate that. Don't attempt to twist the word "harassment" into a buzzword applying to anything short of "civility". As I've repeatedly said, this would be a fairly extremist stance that would obviously alienate those who are already skeptical of moderately stepping up civility standards. There is simply nothing reasonable or logical about it. If it were intended, it would be unreasonable, but it was clearly not intended. It was rather a false pretense. ~Swarm~ {sting} 06:25, 11 July 2019 (UTC)
You're right they are not the same thing, and I’m not trying to equate them. Incivility is the broader term. In its widest sense, it essentially means any behaviour that's not helpful to a civil community. So includes straw manning other peoples positions, not listening, being overly harsh, excessive pushiness, lack of consideration, passive aggression, harassment & many other things. As said before, you make a most valuable point that our efforts to improve community health should ideally go well beyond addressing the "H" word.
In fairness, many do use the term 'incivility' in a sense where it means only 'mild impoliteness', and would effectively exclude most/all Harassment. And yes, many use the term Harrassment only to designate serious abusive behaviour. I agree with yourself &Mendaliv there is a strong case for us to be very cautious about using the H word, and that "hounding" would often be a better alternative. Im starting to think it might be a waste of time for anyone less than board member or WMF staffer to try to explain this. FeydHuxtable (talk) 06:48, 11 July 2019 (UTC)
Is not part of the problem of definitions the fact that Board statements are vetted, and thuds tweaked by lawyers who have uppermost in their minds the need to tune language to cover cases that are potentially actionable in a court, whereas we are trying to establish clear cut parameters in English for what constitutes legally non-actionable behavior deemed deleterious to encyclopedic construction (by the way 'hounding' is a grey area, since it can ber likened to 'stalking', which is a serious civil offense)?Nishidani (talk) 07:03, 11 July 2019 (UTC)
Just for the record, Swarm. In the section immediately above this one, editors had managed to turn the argument away from 'harassment' in order to focus on the concept of 'civility'. Thus the former word is just 4 times, while 'civility' is mentioned on 17 occasions.Nishidani (talk) 06:29, 11 July 2019 (UTC)
(edit conflict) Harassment is a crime in some jurisdictions. In others it can be a tort—i.e., a civil cause of action. By saying "X is harassing me" you can't go and hide behind "I meant harassment in this specialized sense that doesn't mean harassment!" when you get taken to court for defamation. That's what Swarm is saying by talking about libel, and it sounds reasonable to me.
The big problem is that WMF are indeed trying to force us to consider incivility as the same as harassment by equating them in how they apply the TOU. Just look at what they said to BuzzFeed News: "Harassment and abuse" includes incivility for the purposes of the TOU. Nevermind that the TOU doesn't actually say that—that's an entirely separate issue that I'm sure WMF will fix in the near future by amending the TOU. And what's going to happen is they're going to ram it down our throats through the TOU. We're going to get reactions like what we're seeing in this discussion, that they're making "reasonable demands", and that we should consider fixing our civility problem. And through the magic of doublespeak, we're not talking about civility, but harassment and toxicity, which have been expanded to encompass basic incivility. —/Mendaliv//Δ's/ 06:35, 11 July 2019 (UTC)
Good comment. And yes, the overwhelming response has been positive and reasonable. With that I am pleased. However, attempts at falsely redefining the issue as "harassment", even in spite of all the evidence and challenges, grow more and more egregious and disruptive. Thankfully one of the editors who has been pushing this narrative has vanished his account, but this narrative continues to be pushed. It appears to have been falsified by the WMF. No direct allegations have been made by the WMF. However, editors are defaming a living person in violation of BLP on-wiki. This is an exceptionally serious offense and I will not stand for it. ~Swarm~ {sting} 06:38, 11 July 2019 (UTC)
Swarm It is not libellous to point out that WMF, Jan and ArbCom have all made references to harassment in their official statements, despite the potentially contradictory reportage by BuzzFeed and the enlisting of that report by those who want it not to be about harassment but civility. It is a fact that all these official statements have used the word harassment in reference to this case. In fact, on the official statements page there are only three mentions of incivility, and two are from Fram and one is from ArbCom. None are from WMF or Jan. There are 22 mentions of harassment on that page of official statements, from WMF, Jan, and ArbCom (with a few from Fram quoting and responding to Jan). I doubt they used the word harassment accidentally. I am not saying Fram has harassed anyone (which could potentially be libellous if it wasn't true), I'm saying that the official statements about this case all make several references to harassment. Given that, we should be discussing what constitutes harassment on en WP, how it is determined to be such, and what should be done about it, not limiting ourselves to a discussion of incivility, which frankly is a much lower level behaviour. We don't have all the facts, but the official statements are using the word harassment a lot more than incivility. The ArbCom case will make findings of fact about what actually occurred, and whether it was harassment or incivility, not anyone here. Peacemaker67 (click to talk to me) 07:04, 11 July 2019 (UTC)
I'm sure the official statements also use the word "the" more than the word "incivility". That doesn't make the statements about that word. Please shelve this argument, it's neither intelligible nor helpful. The fact is, the only statements we have that say what Fram did say he was banned for violating the TOU provision, which WMF falsely claims covers incivility. WMF has also claimed that Fram was banned for incivility. What more information do you need? Fram was banned for incivility and WMF has tried to put lipstick on that pig by claiming it's permitted in the TOU and using the word "harassment". None of those statements say Fram harassed anybody and as such are probably not legally actionable. What is concerning are all the other statements casting aspersions as well as potentially false light on Fram by claiming he harassed people without providing any evidence of harassment other than the ban as some sort of res ipsa loquitur. —/Mendaliv//Δ's/ 07:14, 11 July 2019 (UTC)
Harassment is mentioned in ToU. There will be always people who perceive being harassed. If they file a complaint with T&S, T&S has to investigate whatever we agree here on. Now, if we agree not to use the word harassment - and indeed I see arguments what we should not - than everybody complaining to ArbCom (or, well, to ANI, however useless this is) about harassment will get the answer "harassment does not exist, have a nice day". And they will go to T&S. Instead, the answer must be "We are going to investigate this, but probably we talk about more specific ToU violations, which could be personal attacks, or could be threats, or it could be smth else. Or it might also be a legitimate concern over your editing or communication style, but we will be looking into it anyway". I think this is the only way forward from where we are.--Ymblanter (talk) 07:22, 11 July 2019 (UTC)
Swarm. I'll make whatever arguments I see fit, I see no reason to adopt your line of argument, which I find without solid basis. You are making all sorts of assumptions about what the WMF is trying to do, but have advanced no evidence supporting your assumptions other than a BuzzFeed article. You have clutched hold of a statement to BuzzFeed to hang your argument on and ignored the evidence from the official statements, which clearly included the word "harassment" many times for a reason. You say they are trying to equate incivility with harassment. I don't, I think they included that word for a reason, and I imagine they had legal advice about it. To ignore the need for en WP to layout what harassment means (given it is in the TOU, as Ymblanter points out above), how it is determined, and what to do about it, ignores the clear message we are getting from WMF. As a community we need to address harassment (as well as incivility), whether Fram harassed anyone or not. Peacemaker67 (click to talk to me) 07:33, 11 July 2019 (UTC)
It's a BuzzFeed News article. Completely different editorial staff, completely different reporting quality. It's legitimate journalism. And on top of that, WMF MADE A STATEMENT TO THEM AND THAT IS WHAT HE'S QUOTING. If you're trying to disparage a point by pooh-poohing the source, you need to be pooh-poohing the WMF itself, because they are the source of that statement. —/Mendaliv//Δ's/ 07:47, 11 July 2019 (UTC)
I know what BuzzFeed is. We have them in Australia, and they are ok, but not outstanding. The WMF is also the source of the official statements I am referencing, but without a journalist in between. Why ignore the official statements and rest your argument solely upon the wording of a BuzzFeed article? Peacemaker67 (click to talk to me) 08:20, 11 July 2019 (UTC)
I'm going to try to restate what I said in my previous remark: (1) BuzzFeed News is a different division than BuzzFeed. They are a legitimate source of journalism. They are not "BuzzFeed" and cannot be dismissed as derisively as you appear to be attempting. (2) WMF is the source of the statement I'm referencing. It is quoted by the BuzzFeed News article. It says explicitly that the reason Fram was banned was because of incivility, and goes on to say that it is a violation of the "harassment and abuse" subheading of the TOU to engage in incivility. That is 100% compatible with the earlier statement; it does not contradict it in any way. You do not get to dismiss this statement because there's a "middleman", and neither does WMF. If it was incorrect, WMF has had two weeks to correct the record in some way. They have not. Therefore, we should consider it all the more without error. So, no, my argument does not rest on third-party evidence—as though that would be a valid objection! My argument is barely even an argument. It's more a restatement of fact: WMF said they banned Fram for incivility. Did they lie about that? To borrow from the other argument above, do you think they didn't vet that media statement? Make an actual argument instead of pooh-poohing sources (which, again, you're pooh-poohing the wrong source: WMF is the source here). —/Mendaliv//Δ's/ 08:28, 11 July 2019 (UTC)
Stop ascribing motives to my posts. I know it is BuzzFeed News, we have that in Australia. You choose to completely ignore the official statements to en WP. That's your choice, but don't go around suggesting that a BuzzFeed News article has more weight that official statements made directly by the WMF to en WP. Peacemaker67 (click to talk to me) 08:38, 11 July 2019 (UTC)
I'm not ascribing any motives to your posts, I'm pointing out exactly what you are doing. You're trying to minimize the importance of a public statement of WMF that is completely compatible with their on-wiki statement. The idea that their on-wiki statement is somehow more powerful or more true than one that's been quoted by a member of the press is preposterous and frankly extraordinarily naive. —/Mendaliv//Δ's/ 18:58, 11 July 2019 (UTC)
We need to remember that there are three "classes of offence" in play here. The WMF perception of problematic behaviours on the English Wikipedia, the classes of such behaviour that the WMF considers that T&S should be empowered to enforce with the new temporary bans, and the specific reason why Fram was sanctioned. It is entirely possible that T&S would be using such bans to sanction those who harass or who are incivil and that in the case of Fram they think Fram was incivil. If the WMF considers that Fram was incivil but not harassing then that would be difficult for them to say when they were trying to sanction Fram whilst not disclosing who had complained. Which goes back to one of their mistakes being to make their first 12 month sanction be on someone whose known actions were entirely on wiki but where the WMF didn't want to identify the complainant. ϢereSpielChequers 07:36, 11 July 2019 (UTC)
It is also muddled by the unclear message sent by the fact that Fram has a long record of butting up against the Foundation, its board members, and their associates. The difference of opinions whether Fram is a poster child for incivility or a poster child for being on the wrong side of influence will continue to affect the discussion. Certainly I would not lightly support some of the more extreme proposals above, such as the winnowing of editors who will not sing Kumbaya loud enough.--Wehwalt (talk) 07:44, 11 July 2019 (UTC)

(edit conflict)(edit conflict)... In a similar manner as with the H and C words, I can very similarly write the opening section of '<H-word>: what is it' into 'Toxic behaviour: what is it', or even 'Impoliteness: what is it'. It doesn't matter. None of these terms are anything close to black and white. With child pornography you can argue 'I did not know that it was a 12 years old kid, they told me they were 21' but that is rather unlikely to hold in court, it is rather black and white. A sentence I once wrote in an AN/I discussion where I identified that person A = person B because that was disclosed in the past on wiki (but I did not know that the person had clearly indicated that they did not want to be, on wiki, be named B even while everyone knew or could readily figure out that their real name was B) WAS outing (whether the block I received for it was punitive or preventive can be argued about). That is rather black and white. Toxic behaviour/impoliteness/incivility/harassment is NOT like that. To rewrite my first statement: "I wrote an article about the iPad app I wrote. I am very disappointed that you deleted it. I wrote it again, and you deleted it again. I find that very impolite of you, can you please stop' Now I can see that you get 50 people complaining about you to T&S because of your impoliteness, but that makes the ban even more preposterous. 

Per Ymblanter: I encounter a serial spammer and I revert and warn them. They go to AN/I and get the reply "We are going to investigate this, but probably we talk about more specific ToU violations, which could be personal attacks, or could be threats, or it could be smth else. Or it might also be a legitimate concern over your editing, but we will be looking into it anyway" .. the community is likely going to concur that it was a legitimate concern over their editing. And if the spammer continues he knows that AN/I did not solve his perception and will go to T&S. --Dirk Beetstra T C 07:48, 11 July 2019 (UTC)

Rather than spend a lot of time disputing past events, I suggest we can just move forward with looking at all the areas we'd like to improve. After all, the whole point of the kerfuffle was that the community wanted to set its own direction for managing interpersonal issues. If one set of persons wants to look at civility with high priority, great! Let's do it! If another set (potentially overlapping) wants to look at broader editor engagement issues that go beyond civility, great! Let's do that too! There's a lot of thinking and discussion that need to happen, and eventual convincing of the editor population at large. The sooner we get started, the better. isaacl (talk) 08:56, 11 July 2019 (UTC)

Step one- office action to remove the sanction while Arbcom investigates: that now in itself is the outstanding problem.- That is the signal we all need. ClemRutter (talk) 12:07, 11 July 2019 (UTC)

"In the 3rd para of the Board statement, they linked to their "2016 Statement on Healthy Community Culture, Inclusivity, and Safe Spaces"..." Well, yes. They made a lot of statements that juxtaposed words such as "harassment" and "Fram". They claimed that Fram violated rules that included, but weren't limited to, references to harassment. But they were careful to not actually say that Fram committed harassment; all this juxtaposition and indirect reference was there so that they could make you think Fram committed harassment, but could deny having actually made the accusation.

Personally, I think that there was some attempt at a social justice coup here. The reference to Gamergate, the harassment insinuations, and the list of groups to which the user reporting system was announced look too suspicious. Ken Arromdee (talk) 14:58, 11 July 2019 (UTC)

Safe spaces, etc[edit]

I see a lot of angst being expressed above, including by many users I have a lot of respect for, that an effort to improve our handling of behavioral issues, as Swarm suggests, amounts to designating Wikipedia a "safe space", or unleashing the civility police, or some such. With due respect, I think this suggestion is at best an expression of justified frustration with users who attempt to play the civility police, and at worst a red herring, that may have serious consequences for our governance.

It's easy to dismiss attempts to create better behavioral standards as tone-policing, or the equivalent. As others have pointed out, the language we have seen from the WMF has tended to reflect US West Coast corporate culture. Our editor body is geographically and culturally diverse, and therefore enforcing an arbitrary professional behavioral standard is misguided. But for the same reason, arguing that something is acceptable on Wikipedia because it's acceptable at your workplace is similarly misguided. Editors on Wikipedia don't share the longstanding personal relationships and shared cultural backgrounds that allow many professional settings to have a casual "shop floor" culture. What we need is for every contributor to edit as though they were on a professional assignment with colleagues they had never met, with whom they may not share a first language; and with whom they may need to work for years. That behavior isn't about avoiding specific words, or avoiding giving offence because others may have delicate sensibilities; it's about basic civility, in the sense of treating every other editor with respect. It's a philosophy many of our regulars already subscribe to, but which many others don't.

So, let me reiterate that I agree completely with Swarm that we need to take behavioral issues a lot more seriously, but with the proviso that "bad behavior" needs careful definition. A code of conduct formulated by the WMF may amount to tone-policing, but we, as a community, are quite capable of focusing on genuine behavioral concerns instead. We've done it in this very thread; even those of you above disagreeing with Swarm (Nishidani and Sitush, among others) have identified a number of very genuine behavioral issues, dealing with which would significantly improve our ability to write an encyclopedia. These include "civil" POV-pushing; chronic disparagement of other editors; chronic personalization of disputes; irredeemable incompetence with respect to core policies; and several others. We have the capability to deal with these, by articulating behavioral principles more forcefully, enforcing them more forcefully, and being willing to deal with the fallout.

If that not sound like sufficient inducement to explore behavioral standards as a community, consider this; we have behavioral standards coming, whether we like it or not. Faced with a WMF code of conduct, we have three options; 1) Leave, 2) Live with it, or 3) Create, (of our own accord, or in collaboration with the WMF), a robust code that addresses our needs better. There isn't a fourth option. Speaking for myself, 1 & 2 are not real options. We need to move from discussing the need for more scrutiny of editor behavior to discussing what we want that scrutiny to look like. Vanamonde (Talk) 02:33, 13 July 2019 (UTC)

I personally want to thank you for that excellent piece. I think you went to some effort to be fair to all sides in this contretemps. I speak only for myself, obviously, but for myself I can't see investing time in coming up with a code of conduct at this point. Even if we had Hammurabi, Nelson Mandela and a dozen of the great lawgivers from all cultures and times, it is still meaningless if it can be got around through influence, especially at the WMF. There are also other questions of fair application, but I'll stick to the influence. When the Foundation convinces me that they have sufficiently good ethical practices, including regarding conflict of interest, so that it doesn't matter who you are, or who you know, or how well you know them, there is no getting around the code for your own benefit, or to call in airstrikes on others, maybe I'll be more enthusiastic about a code. They will have some convincing to do.--Wehwalt (talk) 04:02, 13 July 2019 (UTC)
@Vanamonde93: Also I thank you for this. The problem is the option 3. It is my strong believe that the option should be 3. WMF seems to have unilaterally chosen their route into option 3 where (if you allow me to rewrite) '... 3) Create: enforce <civility/harassment/toxic behaviour> policies in such a way that volunteers will have only options 1 and 2'. WMF is here top-down. That is clear with MV, that is clear with VE, it is clear with Superputsch, it is clear with their complete negligence of maintaining old extensions, it is clear with this ban of Fram, it is clear from the language of User:Jimbo Wales. 1 & 2 is the only things we have, and, as for you, for me they are not real options (but I don't think that WMF really cares about that). --Dirk Beetstra T C 06:12, 13 July 2019 (UTC)
Thanks @Vanamonde93:. Coincidentally, I had my Fram moment yesterday, in the sense of finding my edits focused on technicalities in sources being consistently read as arsehole behavior, as one edityor succumbed to the temptation to read beyond what I wrote neutrally to think in terms of pop psychology about the putative motives driving my source analyses.
I agree with option 3, while concurring with Beestra's analysis. My overall feeling is that, while we (those who actually work daily on articles here and have the necessary experience of conflict) should certainly tinker with the civics code, the whole point of the WMF proposal about what they would do appears to be modulated by recruitment and retention of relatively new editors (from disadvantaged communities esp.) If that is the case, rather than worry to death the problem of defining more precisely what constitutes civil/uncivil behavior, we should perhaps concentrate more effort on rewriting some policy guide for newbies. Long-term editors have on average far tougher hides and can take the flak without anxiety. That is why, in facing insinuations I'm an arsehole, as yesterday, I didn't press the panic button, and didn't report it. But I'm sure newbies can't be expected to react that way. We are eloquent about how to behave nicely to newbies, but say little (?) directly to them to encourage them to be more detached, i.e., make them understand that the world here is structurally different from the general norm of social media, where contributors appear to fully invest themselves in identifying with their and others' online identity (and don't go there to write up encyclopedic articles).Nishidani (talk) 08:44, 13 July 2019 (UTC)
@Nishidani: Thanks for the response. I agree that better guidelines for newbies, especially for newbies editing in contentious areas, might be part of the solution. Something that has bothered me for a while is that our templated warnings are better suited to vandalism and other low-grade disruption, and not very sophisticated when it comes to educating newbies about NPOV, NOR, and the like. Also, I think newbies tend to first interact with our huggle brigade, an unfortunate number of whom leave basic templated warnings that don't address the specific behavioral problem. That said; I think our behavioral issues extend to experienced contributors. The unremitting hostility I and many others experience in writing about WP:ARBIPA topics has come largely from editors who have been here a while (take a look at WP:CUOS2018, or my RFA, if you're looking for an example of what I'm talking about; but I think you know. MS was not pushed into retirement by clueless newbies). We need to be better about dealing with these folks. Conversely, we have many experienced editors who have performed yeoman service in our contentious topics, but who keep getting provoked into rudeness by the constant stream of nonsense they have to deal with, and who thereby paint a target on their own backs as far as the WMF are concerned. We need to have a conversation about this, too; civility blocks are not the answer, but we need to foster recognition that harsh language is frequently counter-productive. Finally, we have a number of long-standing contributors with what I would consider a genuine tone problem; editors who are not just lashing out in anger, but rather whose modus operandi is one of unremitting hostility and contempt. The number is not large, but I can think of at least a half-dozen who fit this description. So in sum, I take your point about the need to improve our newbie education, but I think there's more to the problem than that.
@Wehwalt and Beetstra: Thanks for the kind responses. I am not very optimistic about how the WMF will handle this, so I understand any reluctance to invest time and effort in a community-built behavioral code. I still think we have very little option, though, because the alternatives are just not acceptable to me. The way I see it, even if the WMF pays scant attention to our efforts, we may at the very least be able to make the community's response to interference in its governance more coherent; of all the resignations and retirements that framgate has provoked, a not-inconsiderable number were because some editors felt the community was enabling harassment. If we want to be able to make a strong case for keeping our governance autonomous, I think we need to be able to firmly state that we've done what's reasonable in terms of dealing with bad behavior. Vanamonde (Talk) 16:07, 13 July 2019 (UTC)
@Vanamonde93: You say that [you are] not very optimistic about how the WMF will handle this, I am afraid I would say that I am not very optimistic about how the WMF is handling this. I see that there is value in investing time in a CoC, but it is just going to result in more pointing fingers. I do not believe that will give a shift that is sufficient. We have already basically that, a CoC, we just formalize it. The way I see it, we do what is reasonable in terms of dealing with 'bad behaviour', people get globally banned by the community due to their behaviour, that means that people have shown behaviour which is unacceptable on multiple wikis. Do you really think that if we would get here on en.wikipedia an editor who is clearly harassing someone else that that editor would not be banned? People may at first be reluctant with a long-term established editor, but I don't believe that we (ArbCom) will let it go. Editors who do not follow our 'code of conduct' do get banned, de-sysopped. --Dirk Beetstra T C 17:33, 13 July 2019 (UTC)
@Beetstra: I think we are good at dealing with egregious harassment and disruptive behavior, but not as good at dealing with chronic low-level hostility and aggression, incompetence, and "civil" pov-pushing. I can think of a considerable number of editors who are a decided net negative in our contentious areas, but who escape sanction because individual edits are never that bad, and because we are unwilling to look at the effect of their contributions in toto. Vanamonde (Talk) 17:41, 13 July 2019 (UTC)
Then I invite you to continue with User:Jehochman's excercise and collect all that information on-wiki and present a new case to ArbCom based on full evidence of that. Fram and I have had our disagreements and agreements (I am not a FramFan), but what I have seen presented until now does not pass any on-wiki bar that we have on a regular basis (and I have not examined the other side of it). And again, the global ban I am talking about was of a similar nature (in part, and in your words 'chronic low-level hostility and aggression, incompetence, and "civil" pov-pushing' and likely other things could be added to this list to make it more specific) was a case where the GLOBAL community (without ANY WMF interference) handled that behaviour. --Dirk Beetstra T C 18:13, 13 July 2019 (UTC)
@Beetstra: with respect, I think you misunderstand; I am not saying Fram was responsible for the types of misconduct I have outlined above. I was frequently unhappy about Fram's tone, but based on the edits I have seen, I would have felt that no more than a warning was justified to Fram specifically. I am making a more general point, as, I believe, was Swarm. Vanamonde (Talk) 18:25, 13 July 2019 (UTC)
@Vanamonde93: my apologies, indeed, you were not alluding to Fram. However, ArbCom does look at those things over a long term. Noone is bringing the case (there must be a long list of AN/I complaint for each user then... ). The global ban was also for a long term situation, where editors of multiple wikis saw the pattern after they overstepped a line. That we did not have such a case (or did we?) does not mean that we cannot handle it, or that we don't have the rules ... --Dirk Beetstra T C 18:42, 13 July 2019 (UTC)
Well, the principles on which any rules would be based are on the books, and we have enforced them in the past; but generally only after the problem had persisted for longer than it should have, and still, I think, only in the worst cases. I don't think our behavioral guidelines are fleshed out enough to make enforcement in difficult cases tractable. Also, I think engaging in the exercise of fleshing out our behavioral standards would also encourage us to enforce them better. I don't know how often you patrol AE, AN, and ANI; but I've lost count of the number of times we've elected not to enforce existing behavioral standards because those standards were deemed unrealistic, or because the editors involved were otherwise too valuable. Vanamonde (Talk) 19:42, 13 July 2019 (UTC)
I steer away from AE as I am not an ArbCom fan, but AN and ANI I have been (on both sides). We also 'lost' quite some 'valuable' volunteers through AN/I, AN and AE, just because they did fail our cultural norms. 'Banning' is a hot topic an AN/ANI anyway, currently the word 'ban' is 65x on AN and 71x on ANI (ignoring the mention of this page in the centralized discussion box), which suggests to me that we do have quite some people banned and/or are banning quite some people. I will steer away from the suggestion that we only ban editors without value.  Editors are valuable on both sides, long established and newbie, and unfortunately, there are on both sides also editors that .. should not be here. Banning is not something that should be done too lightly on long-term editors, and with some exception, newbies are not banned (blocked) on a first offense either. Yes, a newbie that does some rather good work, but slowly collects warnings does at some point get blocked, though that may very well be at the 10th warning. An editor that does 5 times the same thing and gets 4 warnings .. will likely get blocked without. An established editor was not one of those that got blocked at their 5th edit, hence will collect more than 4 warnings. But they will go eventually. --Dirk Beetstra T C 20:23, 13 July 2019 (UTC)
  • A lot many people seem to be quite excited about developing some kind of CoC and apparently deem that to be a magic pill in remedying the woes of the community in the areas. Any ideas on what exactly does they presume it to contain, more than WP:NPA (which is a policy and linked from WP:5P4)? WBGconverse 08:53, 13 July 2019 (UTC)
    • That, combined with a caveat from Jimbo, is what worries me here the most. What WMF did with Fram fits in with the larger concept of 'editor retention'. Making our rules clearer to newbies is not in their (their! not necessarily our) concept of editor retention. It is not going to be a magic potion, the answer is not there. And I doubt that they can be convinced otherwise. --Dirk Beetstra T C 09:11, 13 July 2019 (UTC)
  • In the recently arxived thread at the Talk:Arbitration Committee Noticeboard I proposed to open a ceries of RfCs (which seems to be consistent with the ArbCom supervising the civility one), and one of them should be on CoC. WMF seems to be fine negotiating what exactly should be there. I do not think we have much of a choice, since CoC is just (supposed to be) a codification of ToU, and we should either decide how we interpret it and have it as a policy, or let WMF decide on the intepretation, and we probably are not going to like the result.--Ymblanter (talk) 11:03, 13 July 2019 (UTC)
  • Also, I reject that "bad behavior" needs careful definition. It's already well-defined and I challenge you to find me one longstanding editor who thinks that "civil" POV-pushing or chronic disparagement of other editors or chronic personalization of disputes or irredeemable incompetence with respect to core policies is good behavior.
    There is not an iota of doubt in the broader community about the badness of the mentioned behaviors but there is not any objective standard to evaluate the same. What seems like POV to me might seem like perfectly NPOV to you. What might be felt as incivil to an editor from the Indian subcontinent can be easily considered as common parlance in USA.
    A CoC cannot ever develop these objective standards. Read this or this and tell me a point, that is already not contained in the stuff linked from WP:5P4 (apart from enforcement mechanisms, which will obviously vary).
    If you wish to fight in-civil behavior, you (or anyone else) already have all the tools that you need and need to merely use them. It is upto the interpretation of the community to enforce these policies or the new CoC (super-policy). And, it will remain so, as long almost all the aspects of wiki is governed directly/indirectly by the community.
    I though think that the upcoming WMF-proposed-CoC will be an attempt at mollycoddling newbies, because the sole metrics they consistently care about is related to quantity:- article numbers/number of wikis/editor retention/active editors; quality comes much later. WBGconverse 13:02, 13 July 2019 (UTC)
I disagree that there is no objective standard to evaluate this. There is, similar to e.g. murder#Degrees of murder (and add to that different forms of manslaughter, and, if you wish, accidental death). Point is, that is, way, beyond Wikipedia, ArbCom or WMF. WMF's goal is different, though, they do not have 'degrees', there is no objectivity, there is no defense, there is no appeal: someone left Wikipedia, therefore someone in the community is at fault. --Dirk Beetstra T C 14:41, 13 July 2019 (UTC)
@Winged Blades of Godric: Do you really think the community is unanimous about what it considers bad behavior, then? Not too many would explicitly consider the problems I outlined good behavior, but there's plenty who don't recognize them as problems, and plenty of people who consider occasional cussing to be just as bad. I'm not naming names, because this isn't about specific editors, it's about a cultural shift that needs to happen among admins and other experienced editors. Defining these troublesome behaviors isn't trivial, but I agree with Beetstra that it's quite possible; indeed, arbitration enforcement is in general quite good at recognizing a battleground attitude and sanctioning it. Similarly, yes, I theoretically have the tools to intensify enforcement; but a one-person crusade would end very badly. Again, we need a culture shift; admins need to be willing to examine and sanction editors for the problems I listed above without worrying that every action is going to result in another big argument about civility blocks. Vanamonde (Talk) 15:27, 13 July 2019 (UTC)
There are (a) problems you can wear, and (b) problems that wear you out. Most social relations are of type a. To focus on b in such a way that the ostensible fix will cover, have fallout on, the order of known disturbances in a, is dangerous. Nishidani (talk) 15:52, 13 July 2019 (UTC)
@Nishidani: I'm not sure I follow you, and I don't want to advance an argument based on misunderstanding; could you clarify what you mean? Specifically, if we're agreed on what constitutes "problems that wear you out", in what way do you think addressing them is dangerous? Vanamonde (Talk) 16:11, 13 July 2019 (UTC)
I have read this page nearly daily and have vacillated between commenting or not, mainly because my experience of policy discussions on WP is that they tend to be a walled-garden. I agree with those who say that if we do not address the issues they will be addressed for us. There are very definitely objective standards that transcend cultural differences. There seems to be a lot of blaming going on for why incivility exists in the comments above. We are each responsible for our own actions and reactions. No one makes us behave in any fashion; we choose how we interact with others. If someone behaves poorly, that is on them. Sure, people do annoying things, but that does not mean that we must react negatively towards them. The professionalism we should have for working with others on WP is often lacking. Treating others with respect, dialing back the levels of aggression, operating in a collaborative spirit do not mean that one is not passionate about the work we do to write an encyclopedia and keep standards high. Instead, it reflects our core values of neutrality and improving the whole by the input of many. Shifting the way that we have operated isn't dangerous, if we are the ones collectively designing the policies. SusunW (talk) 16:00, 13 July 2019 (UTC)
@SusunW: The thing is, I believe strongly that the community does address this. People get globally banned, by the community, due to behaviour which is counter the norms on multiple wikis. The community, and ArbCom, are regularly banning editors for behaviour that is counter to our en.wikipedia norms (our en.wikipedia code of conduct, if you wish). Still, the WMF stepped in and did it 'for us' on a case where we are clueless about which en.wikipedia cultural norms (if any) were overstepped. We may with our babbling about our code of conduct still very well be barking up the wrong tree. --Dirk Beetstra T C 17:41, 13 July 2019 (UTC)
Beetstra I have no interest in discussing Fram's behavior. We were not "clueless" about the way he behaved, as illustrated by numerous discussions over many years by many respected editors. The issue on the table is not about one editor, it is about an environment that allows bad/poor/incivil behavior to be overlooked/ignored/justified and how we can change that environment to prevent future overstepping into our self-governance. SusunW (talk) 17:50, 13 July 2019 (UTC)
That's kind of the point. If it is indeed true that nothing Fram did was off-wiki, then yes, what he had done was open to anyone to look at. There was not consensus that he should be sanctioned for it, and that is our right, not WMF's, to decide. That can be either directly in the form of community sanctions, or via the community-elected ArbCom, but not by fiat from San Francisco. The right to ban or otherwise sanction editors includes the right to decide not to do so. Seraphimblade Talk to me 18:02, 13 July 2019 (UTC)
@SusunW: (edit conflict) As I said, I don't believe that. The case I am thinking of where an editor got globally banned by the community (WMF had NOTHING to do with that) was because of (and I am using fragments of your sentences) bad/poor/incivil behavior over many years as noted by many respected editors. WMF can not tell us which cultural norms were overstepped. Yes, there may have been many complaints by many respected editors, but even when now tried by User:Jehochman, there was no clear pattern of consistent misbehaviour over years, and with that they apparently did not overstep our cultural norms as we describe them on-wiki. You can argue that our cultural norms are too weak, but that is not something to ban someone over now, nor is that the case that if we now sharpen our cultural norms that you then can say that Fram overstepped those new norms 2 years ago. --Dirk Beetstra T C 18:06, 13 July 2019 (UTC)
Discussing individual cases is not a particularly helpful method of evaluating a "system" and as i said above, I am not interested in that type of discussion. If a system requires many years to lapse before addressing problems, it is quite literally broken. What we have done in the past is irrelevant. If we want prevent situations where the WMF steps in and overrides our self-governance, we must reassess and re-evaluate what changes could be made to address problems more effectively. SusunW (talk) 20:05, 13 July 2019 (UTC)
A production line system is not broken if, unceasingly, it ratchets up article after article over 18 years, and now is close to the 5,900,000 mark, with the volume of article edits massively outweighing the number of complaints of faulty work practices or unhealthy atmosphere made. Whatever the defects in the mechanisms of arbitration, there is, to my knowledge, no evidence that it has impeded the consistent drive towards qualitative article improvement.Nishidani (talk) 20:14, 13 July 2019 (UTC)
This is actually a false premise. There are many areas which depend on one or two users. For example, I happen to know that all Russian political geography articles were for many years dependent on Ezhiki and Greyhood, then on Ezhiki and myself, and now entirely on myself. I have most of them on my watchlist, the there is virtually zero improvement by driveby editors. If smth happens to me, they will stay dormant for many years until somebody else would show interest. This means the magic number 6M articles will definitely be achieved, but I am sure there are areas which suffered a lot from loss of editors who found it too stressful to work in this environment. (And I am not even starting about gender gap etc, though it might be highly relevant to this discussion).--Ymblanter (talk) 20:22, 13 July 2019 (UTC)
And am enormous amount of that growth has been in areas where there really shouldn’t be separate articles, like consumer products where the sourcing is entirely review articles (i.e., primary sources). But try to stem the tide in those areas, you’re accused of harassing the editor that’s creating them. As the saying goes, the best defense is a good offense. —/Mendaliv//Δ's/ 21:21, 13 July 2019 (UTC)
If you would see our monument, look around you. Or, to put it another way, don't tamper with a working system or it may not work.--Wehwalt (talk) 21:35, 13 July 2019 (UTC)
"If it ain't broke, don't fix it" kind of depends on it not being "broke" in the first place. And ignores the possibility of something still "working" even though it's broken. A gun with a broken safety still fires, an axe with a loose handle still chops, and a chipped tooth still chews. It's still a good idea to fix those things. —/Mendaliv//Δ's/ 22:07, 13 July 2019 (UTC)
Sure. But this is not as obvious as that given we are highly successful and the money is pouring in. And the fault is somewhat more debatable given we are five weeks into this and there is no clear consensus on that point.--Wehwalt (talk) 22:17, 13 July 2019 (UTC)
I'll concede that WMF is making money hand over fist, and we're still in a growth period of article creation. But I argue that either of those being metrics of success are questionable. It's a bit like Twitter posting daily active user (DAU) growth figures that include uncontrolled bot account activity. Sure those figures are good for drumming up investment, but in terms of a metric indicating health of the platform or success, it's not as clear. —/Mendaliv//Δ's/ 22:25, 13 July 2019 (UTC)
Cash will do as a metric until something else comes along. And even then, it's a really good metric. I think it was Heinlein who said that one of the best types of applause comes in the form of folding green.--Wehwalt (talk) 22:28, 13 July 2019 (UTC)
Nishidani My observations are that the WMF has for many years been monitoring content gaps, which editors have not addressed. We aren't just talking about the gender content gap, but huge diverse topics of content on the global south, indigenous peoples, etc. To my knowledge the WMF has not stepped (yet) into policies on article creation, but it might do so, if we continue to ignore these problems. I agree with Ymblanter that we definitely have lost editors due to the environment and are not likely to attract editors to work on major areas of content gaps if the attitude is to ignore our problem areas. We should constantly be proactively addressing how we improve, otherwise, we become obsolete or crumble away to dust. SusunW (talk) 21:47, 13 July 2019 (UTC)
Well, a coincidence. I happened to note that there was no significant coverage of Australian 'tribes'. I sat down, and wrote 660 articles, one for each known group. I don't say this to blow my trumpet. It took two years of hard reading and work, with just one (magnificently discreet low profile-highly focused) wikipedian who actually developed software to help create a unified format. It matters little that they have yet to be expanded, for every article has a bibliography, fairly thorough, which links to where the relevant academic and historical sources can be consulted at a click. Do that, and some day in the future, editors stumbling on the page will find it formatted, referenced, and, by clicking, see every text every statement is made from, and reading on, harvest fromn the refs details I didn't have time to fill out. So even if the articles give the bare bones, they are so organized that the labour of finding material has been done, and all editors need do is read, excerpt, paraphrase and finesse. One doesn't need the WMFD to meddle in these things, other than say asking the community if it can organize a group to coordinate under one unified template+format system all articles on, say, Siberian tribes, Eurasian tribes (e.g. along the model of Khazars) or Amerindian tribes. A suggestion is enough. I was harassed no end in thoroughly rewriting the ignoble Khazar stub because numerous editors had a fixation about putative anti-Semitism issues, and read every other edit paranoiacally as if it were a subtly, demonic attempt to give credit to the old meme that Jews were Khazars. Well, who cares. In the end, enough editors looked in and saw the end result was solid, and stopped the POV-rot. Nota bene that in these cases, one doesn't have to come from Australia, be of Aboriginal background, or Eurasian background, to 'fill the gap'. Ethnicity and cultural background have nothing to do with good article creation. As often as not, too conscious a sense of one's minority origins can lead to a POV-sleuthing obsessive defensiveness and cherrypicking spin utterly disrespectful of what counts, mastery of the available academic literature on the relevant field. If the WMF's idea is to recruit minorities to such an end, you can say goodbye to any pretence that the result will be encyclopedic. Hailing from a minority or a periphery is, in the history of civilization, a net positive in terms of creative abilities, so I am not saying being a minority is a disadvantage. But writing articles requires more a willingness to comprehensively master the RS, whoever wrote them, rather than an eagerness to defend one's community, and use its spokesmen as the source for interpretative authority. Nishidani (talk) 22:18, 13 July 2019 (UTC)
SusunW, my read of communications from the WMF is that if they have learned anything out of this debacle, it is that "stepping in" is something which should never be repeated. The English Wikipedia is self-governing and editorially independent, even from the WMF, and that is absolutely not negotiable. Seraphimblade Talk to me 21:51, 13 July 2019 (UTC)
Seraphimblade I don't think we agree that the WMF agreed they would not repeat intervention, nor on the "absolutely non negotiable" part. What I took away from their documents was that they wouldn't take action without informing us. But statements like Katherine's "Working closely with the community to identify the shortcomings of current processes and enforcement mechanisms, and to support the development of appropriate solutions" indicate to me that they do have an interest in project policies and whether those align with their broader goals. SusunW (talk) 22:39, 13 July 2019 (UTC)
It is no problem for them to work with the community. (They should have been to begin with.) Our goals are to write an encyclopedia. If that's theirs too, great. If it's anything else, including to right any wrongs, then any "stepping in" will result in them being frog-marched right back out again, just as happened here. WMF does not run this project, it provides certain services to it. Seraphimblade Talk to me 22:47, 13 July 2019 (UTC)
I hate to rain on your parade, because ideologically I agree with you. But speaking realistically, the WMF is the legal entity that owns this website and dictates the Terms of Use which are non-negotiable and legally binding. I don't know if you noticed, but at the end of the day, Fram is still banned without any explanation or accountability. No one resigned in disgrace. No one was fired. The ban is still being whitewashed, in spite of the obvious fact that it was not issued in good faith. And both the Board and the WMF are getting away with putting the blame of the whole situation on improvements we need to make going forward. This was an obviously corrupt move from the WMF, and all of the backlash has been justified. And even still, we haven't made a dent in the Foundation's armor, because at the end of the day, the Foundation can do what it wants. If we were shareholders, you'd damn well better believe things would be extremely different. But the WMF is making the statement that we serve their demands. They do not serve us. No amount of admins resigning will even make them budge. ~Swarm~ {sting} 02:45, 14 July 2019 (UTC)
^^This. This, this and this. Nothing has changed, only how we perceive it. --Dirk Beetstra T C 05:48, 14 July 2019 (UTC)

This talk thread began with a mention of "safe spaces", and I'm going back to that, because it does have relevance to how the community might want to interact with WMF. In my opinion, we should in fact work harder to make editing here "safe" in the sense of safe from being treated with disrespect. But no editor should be made "safe" from being held to account for adhering to policies and guidelines, or from having to discuss content issues with other editors who may disagree with them, or from being expected at times to justify the edits that they have made, or from being exposed to ideas that make them uncomfortable. Now as far as I'm concerned, all of that is just common sense, but I think it is prudent for editors here to come to some consensus about what we do and what we do not want to be "safe" from, because we may very well have to deal with WMF defining that differently than we would. --Tryptofish (talk) 23:10, 13 July 2019 (UTC)

  • +1 Deor (talk) 00:02, 14 July 2019 (UTC)
  • That's a very concise and eloquent way of saying what I've been trying to say above, so thank you for that. Vanamonde (Talk) 02:08, 14 July 2019 (UTC)
  • Yes, let's do this! The situation with WMF isn't clear enough to be sure that this is a problem. But this problem has come up as speculation, so it seems prudent to note this down. I think it shouldn't be so hard to get consensus on this. Hans Adler 02:26, 14 July 2019 (UTC)
  • Well said, Vanamonde. The argument that making a minimal effort to enforce our longstanding behavioral standards rather than perpetually turning a blind eye to them equates to some dystopian "safe space" regime is silly at best, disingenuous at worst. Perhaps that's what we will get from the WMF if we fail to act, but that's not remotely the standard being asked of us. Our system of enforcing behavioral standards is ineffective. We all know it. I've both had legitimate blocks overturned by it, and I've joined the mob in perpetuating it. It's not right. Pushing for a more honest enforcement of ideological standards that already exist is a reasonable goal. The self-defending "old guard" that stonewalls legitimate behavioral complaints needs to end. ~Swarm~ {sting} 02:35, 14 July 2019 (UTC)
  • Exactly Tryptofish, Vanamonde93 and Swarm. SusunW (talk) 16:13, 14 July 2019 (UTC)

Longtime editors are not often blocked because they know the rules and since they know the rules, they are not often found on the wrong side of them. Longtime editors are also usually willing, when caught running out of bounds, to give assurances they won't do it again and have that accepted by the community, as AN/I participants are for the most part not there to right great wrongs by showing a longtime editor can be blocked. And this dovetails with what AN/I is there to do: to separate those who are scuffling and get them back to work on the project. This probably will not change as long as such prevention is the goal of the blocking policy. If you want another goal, that's a matter for community consensus, not for emotion-driven change or for something to be imposed on us from above.--Wehwalt (talk) 21:17, 14 July 2019 (UTC)

None of what you describe is an issue. No one's suggesting we start blocking established users who provide a voluntary resolution. That is not what WP:UNBLOCKABLES are. I find it hard to believe that you are unfamiliar with the concept. ~Swarm~ {sting} 00:23, 15 July 2019 (UTC)
  • To me, the problem is not about defining what we need to be safe from. We already have long-standing policies on civility, NPA and blocking, that, if robustly enforced and applied to all editors, regardless of length of service etc, would reduce the incivility and personal attacks. I know there are problems with civil POV-pushing and other insidious issues that are not as hard to define or deal with, but let's deal with this first. It is not ok to to tell another editor to "fuck off" or call another editor a "bitch", and there needs to be consequences for editors who are uncivil or who make personal attacks. As admins, we need to respond to breaches of the first two policies more robustly and stop unblocking editors who have been blocked for incivility and personal attacks, and I think we need to deter editors from incivility and personal attacks by making deterrence blocks more common with editors who are repeating this behaviour after being warned not to. Once people get the idea that their behaviour will no longer be condoned by admins, they will behave better. Failure to robustly enforce existing policies is at the heart of dealing with incivility and personal attacks, and improved enforcement of our key behavioural policies would make this place safer to a significant degree. Peacemaker67 (click to talk to me) 05:25, 15 July 2019 (UTC)

Civil and respectful people should not apply the word "toxic" to fellow editors.[edit]

Not just toxic; "incredibly toxic"...?

I believe that a group working towards more civility should ban the word "toxic" applied to people and their behaviour. As several discussions (you'll find them) show, it's vague, and it's a typical U.S. word (see toxic workplace), misunderstood in the rest of the world. Please find a better, more respectful term, especially in official statements. I said so in other words in 2014. I am aware that this is almost a personal attack. --Gerda Arendt (talk) 07:16, 11 July 2019 (UTC)

late explanation because obviously not everybody read what prompted this: as in Wikipedia:Community response to the Wikimedia Foundation's ban of Fram/Official statements#Board statement: "Almost three years ago, the board published a strong statement against toxic behaviors and directed the Wikimedia Foundation teams to work to make Wikimedia communities safer for all good faith editors." - Also late: thanks for the image. --Gerda Arendt (talk) 22:23, 11 July 2019 (UTC)
+1 Wise words on words. —/Mendaliv//Δ's/ 07:24, 11 July 2019 (UTC)
+2 It's potentially just as offensive, yet far vaguer even than the H word (at least one editor seems to think "aggrandizing other editors" is toxic!) FeydHuxtable (talk) 07:31, 11 July 2019 (UTC)
'I find your remarks impolite'?? 'The way you are addressing me makes me want to leave this place'?? I am sorry, by far most of us will be gentle on a first encounter with someone who does something that is not in line with our core policies/guidelines. 'Hi, I saw you adding this sentence to <living person>, but you did not provide a source. As Wikipedia is a very visible website we have to be very careful with biographies of living people. In fact, our ToU describes us to thoroughly reference all information about BLPs. I have therefore removed the sentence, if you want to add it again can you please provide a suitable RS?'. So, that was very friendly. However, the editor moves on to another living person and does something similar. They collect another, bit more direct warning. Third time .. fourth time with increasing warnings. Yes, they become increasingly impolite, but looking at the start of it, not heeding the remark that you have to source BLPs is the first impoliteness. I agree that we have to 'ban' the word 'toxic', and likely be very careful with 'harassment' and even 'incivility' .. but where do we end? --Dirk Beetstra T C 08:04, 11 July 2019 (UTC)
I agree "toxic" is a loaded term and should be avoided. However, harassment and incivility happen and we need to have policies and processes for dealing with both. Peacemaker67 (click to talk to me) 08:15, 11 July 2019 (UTC)
Was the English don being uncivil in WW2 when, according to the soldiers' anecdote, an American General was treated with all honours, including a visit to the exclusive Athenaeum Club. After preliminaries, speeches had been delivered and dinner served, they took their post-prandial drinks over cigars, and the elderly gentleman politely inquired:-
Well General, you've now had a week in London. We'd be interested in hearing of your impressions of our city?'
'Waal, gen'lemn, the hard world of warfare ain't cut out for beaten about the bush, so frankly, lemme shoot straight and cut to the chase. I think it's the asshole of the world.'
'Well, of course, sir,' the don replied quietly, 'you are just passing through, of course...'Nishidani (talk) 09:11, 11 July 2019 (UTC)
I concur 'toxic' should be banned frowned on as highly loaded language. Perhaps we should draw up a linguistic stemma, beginning with the header 'Obstructive behaviour, prefaced by a remark along the lines, 'Wikipedia is a work-in-progress dedicated to building a comprehensive encyclopedia which anyone may edit. All are welcomed to join the community in contributing material. At times, through impatience, confusion over whether Wikipedia is a social forum or a work-place, conflict arises. All conflicts will be judged according to whether the behavior of involved editors contributes to article construction, or hinders it. Obstructive behavior encompasses trolling, unprovoked rudeness, hounding a contributor over numerous pages, refusing to listen or focus on the core problems raised by other editors, consistent carelessness in citing sources, the abuse of arbitration and conflict resolution boards to get at editors one disagrees with, outing the real life identity of users' and such like. We are a community, not of like-minded people, but of people from highly diversified backgrounds united in a common aspiration to compile the default resource for a global community seeking rapid access to readable information, vetted for accuracy and the quality of its sourcing. Personal animosities have no place in our culture which is premised on civil engagement with others towards the shared goal of producing accurate articles.Nishidani (talk) 09:25, 11 July 2019 (UTC)
There is a lot to like about this. I would add that persistent POV-pushing is also an obstructive behaviour. We should use an open-ended "includes" definition, rather than a restrictive "means" one. Peacemaker67 (click to talk to me) 09:33, 11 July 2019 (UTC)
I could not agree more, the term has been weaponised for use by those incapable of presenting reasonable arguments. Cavalryman V31 (talk) 09:45, 11 July 2019 (UTC).
But which is less civil, calling someone "toxic" or "incapable of presenting reasonable arguments"? Civility is not defined by a list of bad words. Boing! said Zebedee (talk) 09:47, 11 July 2019 (UTC)
'Toxic' is an hyperbolic metaphor, referring to the putative atmosphere created by certain disputes between a few editors, which all those present (watching or participating) cannot avoid being contaminated by. Most people aren't sucked in or up by such ostensible 'toxicity'. You're correct that saying someone is 'incapable of presenting reasonable arguments' lends itself to queries about civility. But at least it is specific, doesn't refer to some epidemic or contagion that affects everyone, like it or not. Everyone is immediately swept up into a sense of shared victimhood by asserting they're exposed to a toxic atmosphere - it presumes no one can escape it. Cavalryman was saying recourse to the toxic metaphor tends to nudge out specific, focused discussion by deploying a strategic 'poisoning of the well' alarmist discourse which inhibits rational exchange. You are also right that we should not identify a list of bad words - an Orwellian approach. I have struck my thoughtlessly hasty use of 'banned'. We should simply discuss, and be made aware of, the problems in the terminology that quietly tends to creep into our exchanges and, by being used reflexively, 'contaminates' clarity of exposition. Nishidani (talk) 10:03, 11 July 2019 (UTC)
More specific certainly, and far less of a generalized insult than "toxic", yes. But I think there's a categorical difference between, say, "This specific argument you present is not reasonable, because..." and "You are incapable of presenting reasonable arguments". In civil discussion, I'd say one is acceptable and one is not. Boing! said Zebedee (talk) 10:12, 11 July 2019 (UTC)
Correct, the difference is between contextual behavior and ontological description. I've often seen the latter sidestepped by prefacing the assertion with ''. I.e. 'You seem incapable here of presenting reasonable arguments.
I know of several editors, some highly productive and perhaps a net gain to the encyclopedia, whom I judge to be indeed 'incapable of presenting reasonable arguments' in one specific area. That is an impression gained over several years. It's not bad faith, (as often with WP:IDIDNTHEARTHAT). It is just that they either do not believe or understand that construing an argument in propositional terms can afford a valid set of objections to what they are doing, and which they should feel obliged to answer.
The problem surely is, can we really ever work out, draw up, a comprehensive guide that people should adopt, a kind of objectivist wikispeak all should be obliged to master? I think something insidious like that is at the heart of the WMF proposal. I know that a few of the palmary collaborators manage to do this - write with impeccable focus of neutral description of a problem - they often come from scientific backgrounds. But, at the same time, they rarely allow themselves to get sucked into debate with obdurately non-listening reverters. They make their point and go. I can't manage this kind of empirical address, except as a rhetorical exercise in imitation which makes me feel somewhat dead inside, and worry it will affect my natural habit of mind. I live in a culture where it is customary to second or third guess the secret message in otherwise superficially straightforward banter. Even speciously neutral speech can be read as aggressive, even if it is not. Nishidani (talk) 10:33, 11 July 2019 (UTC)
Yes, I agree, and the "comprehensive guide that people should adopt, a kind of objectivist wikispeak all should be obliged to master" is surely a fantasy. At least, I think it's so hard that nobody has yet mastered it, and I don't see the WMF people (with the best will) being able to achieve what nobody else has. I've worked in managing online communities, and it was for a company that didn't even try to define any objective standards, but instead issued guidelines that were to be interpreted on a contextual basis - the way Wikipedia policy is supposed to be used. I think that worked as well as any I've seen, but it did still frequently draw the ire of literalists who'd complain along the lines of "But in your rules you don't prohibit the specific words I used" (and we do have quite a few literalists in the community here too). I don't know how this will all work out, but the one thing I'm certain of is that a lot of people will be dissatisfied whatever the outcome. Boing! said Zebedee (talk) 10:53, 11 July 2019 (UTC)
Do newbies know that even saying something like,'You are not focusing on the specific problem raised in this section,' can injure peoples sensitivities and be used as evidence to earn whosoever uttered that rashly uncivil remark a 1 month ban? How does one get round that in impeccable (immune to sanctions) wikispeech? Presumably, the key is to prohibit the use of personal pronouns. 'The specific problem mentioned here is not being addressed'.Nishidani (talk) 12:51, 11 July 2019 (UTC)
"But which is less civil ...?" - I don't think we need a competition of inappropriateness. Not using "toxic" (= "poisening" = "contaminating") in official statements would be a step forward. In the pictured 2014 speech, "incredibly toxic contributors" was used to promote "kindness, generosity, forgiveness and compassion", which I found an incredible contradiction in terms. I am sure that we can do better. --Gerda Arendt (talk) 10:39, 11 July 2019 (UTC)
Indeed, yes, that was the point of my question. We can't simply base it on proscribed words with any kind of objective ranking in terms of offensiveness. (Oh, and yes, I think that 2014 presentation was poorly thought out and marked one of Jimmy's most disappointing moments.) Boing! said Zebedee (talk) 10:58, 11 July 2019 (UTC)
There's always this civility policy we could fall back on...
Oh. The picture on the top. Silly me. I did think Jimbo had darker hair than that ..."--Wehwalt (talk) 12:55, 11 July 2019 (UTC)
Point taken, and I agree that a list of forbidden words may not be the way forward. But branding certain unpleasant (but not necessarily inappropriate) behaviours with buzzwords as a mechanism to stifle legitimate debate or escape criticism is unproductive and should be called out. Cavalryman V31 (talk) 13:59, 11 July 2019 (UTC).

For 99% of it's uses "toxic" was an overstatement, and overstatement is often used to conduct warfare or create or justify bad overreactions. For the other 1% it was the proper word. We need to make it clear that using it when it is an overstatement is really bad behavior. North8000 (talk) 15:15, 11 July 2019 (UTC)

As I think back on it, I'm reasonably (but not 100%) sure that the word first came into use when it was used by WMF to describe kinds of conduct that they want to curtail. I think a lot of editors who have used the word here did so in reaction to what the WMF has been saying. There is certainly no reason to feel obligated to continue to use the term on en-wiki. (Also, there is a difference between calling an editor "toxic" and simply using the word to describe categories of conduct problems.) --Tryptofish (talk) 18:55, 11 July 2019 (UTC)

Its mostly invention of american academia and also HR offices. Sure, the term existed in one way or another for a long, long time, but it became a catch-all term that basically means traits I dont like. If there are specific issues with users, call them out. Eg he is harassing someone via near-constant stalking and reverting of their edits. Or he is using profanities in his comments / edits. The term is loosely defined by design, its a feature, not a bug, and both us and WMF should avoid using it and instead use specific examples of WP:UNCIVIL behaviour. EllsworthSK (talk) 20:28, 11 July 2019 (UTC)
  • In thinking about this, another term that we should perhaps also regard this way is "unblockable". Although I think we all know what it means, directing it at an individual editor tends to put that person into a classification that is more about perception than about reality. Anyone can, if justified, be blocked. And we should be clear, going forward, that no one is above it. But having previously not been blocked does not mean that there is a stronger case for blocking now. In fact, it's generally a bad idea to block someone to make a point. --Tryptofish (talk) 19:47, 12 July 2019 (UTC)
"Unblockable" is a practical reality of the corporate situation. If a user has a long term track record of improper editing, and abusing WMF funding policies, but is the spouse of a WMF Board member, as a practical matter, neither the community nor an admin can block them. I think that T&S staff was in an impossible situation: on the one hand if they failed to take action against the admin, both spouses would go after the staff member politically, and on the other hand, if T&S takes action against the admin they are sending a loud message that there are "unblockable" families." The typical community AN or ANI can be a way around this problem because most editors and admins do not know who is married to whom, and the family can't file T&S complaints against all of the participating editors. Hlevy2 (talk) 13:27, 14 July 2019 (UTC)
I have no quarrel with using the concept of it, but my concern is more in terms of applying it to individuals. And in fact, your comment illustrates how the term can so readily be misunderstood. You use the example of an editor who is a family member of a WMF Board member. But historically, the WMF themselves, and others, have used the term to mean something very different: an experienced editor about whom we might know nothing personal, but who is either an administrator or a very accomplished content contributor, and who typically attracts a large number of defenders from the community at places like AN or ANI, and therefore is (supposedly) able to get away with misconduct that would get a novice editor blocked. --Tryptofish (talk) 18:29, 14 July 2019 (UTC)
  • This is beginning to detract from the entire purpose of this page - let's not get carried away with lexical and conceptual semantics. Suffice it to say that I and Scottywong remember a certain episode when a particular Wikimedia online workspace was turned into a highly 'toxic' environment by the WMF themselves. I and other 'cosy senior editors' can also remember some extremely distressing behaviour by a WMF contractor using profanities towards volunteers at a 2012 Wikimania, and I can recall being bullied, insulted, and nearly pushed down the stairs by a C-level employee at a 2013 Wikimania - 'safe spaces'? Pah! So lets not believe that butter wouldn't melt in the mouth of the WMF - quelle ironie. On the other hand I know some really nice WMF staff but most of them have left.
I digress too, nevertheless I happen to know exactly who or what was the catalyst for Wales' speech and in that particular context I find it more than appropriate. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 20:03, 14 July 2019 (UTC)

Next steps[edit]

Who would like to spearhead the next steps? I think it would be useful to create a new page in project space where various initiatives can be set up to discuss the different approaches that have been raised here. I created User:Isaacl/Community/Fostering collaborative behaviour as a sample draft, but if someone has their own ideas about how to structure the next steps, great! I know the arbitration committee plans to hold an RfC on some topic to be determined, but I think interested editors can get started now laying groundwork, and co-ordinate with the arbitration committee. Let's start devoting some of this energy to making progress towards improving English Wikipedia's editing environment! isaacl (talk) 05:42, 15 July 2019 (UTC)

I think it will be a lot easier to go to the next steps once ArbCom announces how they want to go about their promised community RfC(s) on the subject. --Tryptofish (talk) 20:19, 15 July 2019 (UTC)
I think it’s a better idea not to let ArbCom dictate the scope of the coming discussions. —/Mendaliv//Δ's/ 20:36, 15 July 2019 (UTC)
I'm not saying dictate, but I think it makes sense to cooperate. It would be silly to work at cross purposes, or to duplicate efforts. It should be obvious from my continuing participation on this page that I'm very much in favor of the community continuing to brainstorm on our own, but things will need to get more organized the closer we get to setting up RfCs on actual changes to policies. --Tryptofish (talk) 20:40, 15 July 2019 (UTC)
Although both ways can work, I think it would be helpful to start establishing groups of editors interested in different areas, to facilitate co-ordination with the arbitration committee. Personally, I'd rather start converting this swell of interest into action now. The community is supposed to be self-governing; let's take that opportunity to decide for ourselves how we want to progress. isaacl (talk) 21:40, 15 July 2019 (UTC)

I wouldn't narrow it. Make no small plans. Let the title allow for the possibility of writing and ratifying a new constitution which fixes the incessant stream of WMF problems which WMF or it's replacement would then follow. North8000 (talk) 22:21, 15 July 2019 (UTC)

To my mind, the key aspect is getting editors with common interests to start work together on generating and refining ideas in their areas of interest. There could be a single umbrella page for all the initiatives or just lots of separate ones. Either way is good. isaacl (talk) 23:32, 15 July 2019 (UTC)

Announcement of forthcoming temporary/partial ban tool consultation[edit]

Please see here for announcement. Kbrown (WMF) (talk) 15:49, 15 July 2019 (UTC)