Wikipedia talk:Dispute resolution noticeboard/Archive 11

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Discussing article content, not user conduct.

I have been working on the Adolph Hitler case, and it looks like progress is being made, but there are also some very hard feelings about prior interactions, so I have been strictly enforcing a "discuss article content, not user conduct" rule. It might not be ideal for all DRN cases, but it is working fairly well on this one.

A user brought up the following question: Should I ask the disputants to avoid comments like "Great job", and " [user] lays out the argument well" as well? My first reaction is that this is how we arrive at consensus, but the user argues that praising someone is about user conduct, not about content.

To complicate the matter, the person who asked that appears to have support for his position from other editors, but they have not chosen to discuss this much other than in their initial statement, whereas those opposing him are pretty much all active in the discussion, which can result in tag teaming. Where this intersects the above question about praise comments is that among the comments about other editors I collapsed were claims to the effect of "nobody agrees with you", (and I collapsed his replies listing who does) so I can see why he might be sensitive about praise among editors who oppose him, and see it as an extension of the "nobody supports you" argument that he is not allowed to rebut.

I am still leaning toward my first reaction -- this is how we arrive at consensus -- but would like some opinion from other DR volunteers on this. Comments? --Guy Macon (talk) 15:51, 14 March 2013 (UTC)

In the ordinary course of things positive comments ought to be ignored and negative ones slapped down, unless the positive comments are being somehow used to manipulate the process, but my feeling is that once objection has been made that conduct is conduct. Praise for good arguments can be formulated as such without praising the individual. In that context "[this diff] lays out the argument well" would be acceptable while "[user] lays out the argument well" would not. At the same time, however, conduct management in the dispute cannot be allowed to wag the dog and an objection to positive comments can be an attempt to manipulate or derail the process. It's a balancing act and each case and each instance in each case has to be adjudged on its own. Ultimately the question the volunteer has to ask him/herself is: "Is doing/not doing x going to move the case forward or interfere with it." Fairness, moral right and wrong, and etiquette all play a part in answering that question, but none of them can be allowed to absolutely control it. Best regards, TransporterMan (TALK) 16:44, 14 March 2013 (UTC)
Well said TM.--Amadscientist (talk) 23:27, 14 March 2013 (UTC)
One must read such comments in proper context. Both examples given are in relation to content which was presented with detail and cites; which one concurs with without rehashing the content with cites; there is no need for redundancy which wastes time and takes up space. It is a balancing act, I agree.
Time, gentlemen is the enemy of us all; some have more time to spend on a matter then others due to life concerns. If a personal attack is made or a comment is made to what another user has written and that is all the one stating the "positive" agreement has contributed to a discussion, then in that case one can easily discern the comment is one which is not appropriate and should be ignored. As for the current status of the discussion, it looks very promising. And the sentences in the lede of the article which were questioned, are being tweaked but not deleted as originally called for; all currently involved are working to a new consensus at this point, I believe; which is good; for a better volunteer encyclopedia. Kierzek (talk) 23:50, 14 March 2013 (UTC)
As one of the people engaged in praising another contributor's work, I accept that this could be sometimes seen as manipulating the process as TM suggests. My comment came after a long stalemate was broken by the careful work of another contributor, and, to paraphrase Guy's response, we were finally getting somewhere. I didn't feel it would suffice to simply say "fine by me" or "I agree" because in my view it really provided much-needed momentum to get the discussion out of the mud and on the road again. Having said this, I won't be doing any more high-fiving or backslapping—at least not here—if it's seen as scuttling progress. Malljaja (talk) 02:20, 15 March 2013 (UTC)
I agree with TransporterMan's point that each case and each instance in each case has to be adjudged on its own. Which is why I wrote: "I ONLY think this important in THIS discussion as we DO have a problem here that numerous editors have refused to discuss the points I am making, by seeking refuge in a 'consensus' argument, and by trying to argue that I am the ONLY problem for the sentence being disputed. So THAT -- coupled with praising a perceived avoidance/blind spot(?) of the synthesis issue -- is what I am referring to as unhelpful user-conduct commentary." [1]
DETAIL: This DRN discussion was initiated to discuss a charge of synthesis for a sentence that was unverifiable/had no sources. The praised user replied to ONLY one aspect of the disputed sentence: viz. one of the two numbers in it. They did so without addressing the synthesis aspect AT ALL, and by ignoring the sources that had been provided which specifically contradict that specific number used (Lipsatdt & Longerich on the 11 million). Plus, the exact same info had ALREADY been supplied ON THE TALK PAGE discussion, while ignoring the 'synthesis' aspect. That avoidance was the cause of taking this to DRN in the first place. Thus this reply was NOT seen by me as moving the conversation forward. Therefore, comments like "outstanding and rigorous work as always", "now we are getting somewhere!", "Great work" etc., were praise for a reply that had already been made and which STILL IGNORED the whole point of the DRN case: SYNTHESIS! --Mystichumwipe (talk) 08:44, 15 March 2013 (UTC)
Might I suggest that it doesn't matter who did what? I'm sure no harm was intended, and I don't see how debating conduct here instead of there gets us anywhere. It's how we're going to behave over the rest of the case that's important, surely? CarrieVS (talk) 09:30, 15 March 2013 (UTC)
You might be interested in my response to this same question on my talk page. It is at the end of the "AH dispute" section. --Guy Macon (talk) 18:08, 15 March 2013 (UTC)
To use TransporterMan's criteria, I D0 think (consciously or unconsciously) "harm" is occurring, as "... positive comments are being ...used to manipulate the process," and a consensus argument is being shored up by praising the perceived main contestant in a content dispute. I.e. much as one supports and cheers on their own sport 'champion' even if they are performing badly and even not following the rules. The praise in this case was for lists that did NOT address the disputed 'synthesis' issue, and included factually inaccurate material. I am still flagging this up to avoid it being allowed in future discussions, in my particular DRN case, but also anywhere else.--Mystichumwipe (talk) 07:55, 17 March 2013 (UTC)

Trying something via alternate account

I often want to answer a question or leave a procedural comment in a dispute before it is ripe to be opened, but am hesitant to do so because I'm afraid that my name will be listed under "Last volunteer edit" in the status chart and other volunteers will think I've "taken" or opened the case and won't look at it or take it. I've now created an alternate account, TransporterMan001, that I intend to use to leave those comments. I've tried it and it works; it shows up under "Last edit" but leaves the "Last volunteer edit" blank. (I now wish that I'd named that alternate account "NotADisputant" or "NotaDRNvolunteer", but what the hey.) Just saying... Best regards, TransporterMan (TALK) 18:47, 15 March 2013 (UTC)

This should be OK from what I read about alternate accounts. I think that is a fantastic idea TM.--Amadscientist (talk) 02:27, 18 March 2013 (UTC)

Re-adding 'unassessed' status

The guide says you can manually re-add the unassessed status to a case if necessary. I did it with the second amendment case, but earwigbot promptly changed it back to open. But then I realised I'd done it wrong (changed the parameter to unassessed, rather than leaving it blank). But would I be right in assuming it would have been reverted to open even if I'd got it right, since I guess it just detects volunteers' signatures? (btw, I edited the guidelines, then reverted when I realised I'd made a mistake, and only then realised probably made no difference but decided to stop messing about with it.)

And assuming that is the case, maybe it would be useful to make it possible - see TransporterMan's comment above. If it can reasonably be done, of course. Maybe creating an 'unassessed' option for the template, which looks exactly the same as blank but the bot doesn't change it? Might be more trouble than it's worth, though, and I don't know how you'd then get the bot to recognise when it should change it to open.

Any thoughts? CarrieVS (talk) 22:08, 16 March 2013 (UTC)

Yes, there should be some way to set a case back to unassessed. Adding new keywords for the state is a bit of a pain, since it requires updating the DRN bot, and updating all the documentation, etc ... so it should only be done as a last resort. It sounds like we need more information to make a informed decision: we don't know if blanking the state will meet the goal, correct? --Noleander (talk) 23:49, 17 March 2013 (UTC)

Can an IP be a volunteer?

Is this right? Unregistered users can be listed as a volunteer and can open and close disputes? Really?--Amadscientist (talk) 09:12, 19 March 2013 (UTC)

Well, to the best of my knowledge, it doesn't say anywhere that they can't, but the volunteer guide is at pains to stress that anyone can be a volunteer. Of course, we could change that if we got consensus for it, but until then, I'm pretty sure IPs can volunteer. CarrieVS (talk) 09:48, 19 March 2013 (UTC)
The problem IP is not always a single user. Does this effect the bot in anyway? Can that effect the fairness of the process etc?--Amadscientist (talk) 20:26, 19 March 2013 (UTC)
If IPs can list themselves as volunteers to open and close a dispute and mediate, this is probably the best argument I have seem yet to dismantle the volunteer list.--Amadscientist (talk) 21:18, 19 March 2013 (UTC)
Well, anywhere, even just on talk pages it can be a little more complicated when IP editors are involved in a situation, both because you can't be sure that any earlier edits were made by the same person and the opposite, edits by the same person from different IPs. DRN is informal, so I don't see why there's more need to exclude unregistered users here than anywhere else. It's pretty unlikely, surely, that two unregistered users from the same IP address would both come to DRN as volunteers at the same time, and if they did it would be obvious to them both. And if it's not at the same time, I don't see why it matters. It might, perhaps, occasionally result in some minor confusion or complication, but I would think that could be dealt with on a case by case basis. I can't think of any way it would be at all likely to cause a problem that wasn't easily sorted out.
On the other hand, I would support adding a line to the guide to the effect that IP users can be volunteers, but it is recommended that editors wanting to volunteer register and edit logged-in when acting as volunteers, particularly if their IP address is shared. CarrieVS (talk) 21:33, 19 March 2013 (UTC)
Since I'm on record for the position that IP's shouldn't be able to edit at all, you might think that I am opposed to this as well, but actually my problem with IP's volunteering here is not so much the fact that they're an IP per se as the fact that either (a) they're inexperienced, with the problems that raises for someone trying to do DR, or (b) they're not sufficiently invested in Wikipedia to have the best interests of the encyclopedia as their guidestar. While I've seen IP's who are exceptions to those two objections, they're a considerable minority. If we're going to address the issue, however, I'd rather see us adopt some experience standards rather than exclude IP editors altogether. That will cure 98% of the problem one way or the other. At the same time, however, I'm not at all sure that the issue is important enough for us to spend a lot of time and angst writing guidelines about. We can just deal with the inexperienced ones on a case by case basis as we have been doing. Best regards, TransporterMan (TALK) 21:52, 19 March 2013 (UTC)
I agree pretty much with everything being said here. If there were to be any additional guidelines on the issue and we were to continue to allow IP editors to "volunteer" I would very much support adding a line that Shared IPs are excluded for the very reason that are established as not being a single individual and there could be possible tag teaming from the shared address. My biggest concern is that IPs represent an address and not an individual in general.--Amadscientist (talk) 22:17, 19 March 2013 (UTC)

What about when a participant here disavows the consensus forged here?

United States. [2] a participant here now avers that DR/N is not utile as he did not "agree" to it.

DRN should have been about the broad strokes; somehow it turned into a committee designing a sentence. I didn't agree to that part of the process and I'm offended at the suggestion I should agree to it because they tacked it on to a legitimate debate.

The DR/N discussion was quite a while ago now (archived 17 Mar [3] - started on 27 Feb) - and the editors who were most vocally opposed to any compromise wording are still opposed to any compromise wording - even though I have proposed wording which answers each individual cavil. I was a neutral bystander with no edits on the topic who entered the discussion in the hope that a compromise could be crafted - but when some seem so sure of the WP:TRUTH it gets disheartening indeed. The DR/N close was:

My recommendation is to take the proposal with the most endorsements above, and insert it in the article's lead, and then start a discussion on the Talk page about copy-editing it (punctuation, minor wording improvements). (User:Noleander

The most popular compromise had 7 votes, the "status quo" had 3 (and "fourth choice" from one editor for what its worth), Thanks. Collect (talk) 15:25, 19 March 2013 (UTC)

I'll just say that, of the final two proposals, one had 5 votes and the other 4 votes. Not 7-3. --Golbez (talk) 20:24, 19 March 2013 (UTC)
You seem to ignore the opinions and votes which Noleander referred to (the consensus has seven signatories - not just 5 as you seem to think that if a person made his views clear once, they cease to exist unless the person posts them over and over and over and over .... which seems to be how some editors treat this board. -- so you think you can make arbitrary changes to the Consensus without so much as a by-your-leave. I, for one, consider such an abuse of all the work placed on this noticeboard by the editors and volunteers to be absurd and indicative of an elementary school playground and not one of collegial discourse and compromise. Cheers. Collect (talk) 21:08, 19 March 2013 (UTC)
The problem is, that just wasn't a consensus. It was just a straight vote. A consensus is what everyone can live with. You cannot force a version on editors that don't agree and a compromise may still be forthcoming, but it does have to have some kind of rough consensus.--Amadscientist (talk) 20:29, 19 March 2013 (UTC)
Did you read all the compromise language and discussion? That is exactly how WP:CONSENSUS works - not be being stubborn enough that no one is willing to look at the playground. Collect (talk) 21:08, 19 March 2013 (UTC)
No, I'm sorry but that is not how consensus works. It isn't a vote.--Amadscientist (talk) 21:14, 19 March 2013 (UTC)
"Consensus on Wikipedia does not mean unanimity (which, although an ideal result, is not always achievable); nor is it the result of a vote." Tell me more about what WP:CONSENSUS says. --Golbez (talk) 21:32, 19 March 2013 (UTC)
Consensus doesn't have to be unanimous, but a simple majority won't cut it. 7:3 is not a single disruptive editor refusing to bend, nor is nearly one third of the participants an insignificant minority. We can't just go with the majority and call it consensus because no-one will compromise any further: it's perfectly allowable to end a discussion with no consensus. CarrieVS (talk) 21:46, 19 March 2013 (UTC)
Consensus is what everyone can live with. It may not make everyone happy or give everyone what they want, but when everyone has stopped discussing and the changes stick...we have a consensus.--Amadscientist (talk) 22:20, 19 March 2013 (UTC)
No, I believe compromise is where editors work towards a solution that everyone can live with. Consensus is where there is a reasonably clear agreement on a matter. Not everyone needs to be appeased in a consensus based scenario, if 47 people think one thing and one person thinks someone else, it's a clear consensus but not a compromise, that one person likely did not get what they wanted at all. Make sense? Steven Zhang Help resolve disputes! 14:26, 20 March 2013 (UTC)

Golbez' concept: this is how its done. if you have a problem with this then you admit the "D"RN cares only about wording and not actually resolving the dispute, and fucking take me to arbcom, no one rational can possibly dispute this. [4]. I am surprised anyone can defend that sort ofattitude. Cheers. Collect (talk) 22:34, 19 March 2013 (UTC)

Yeah, I'm pissed. Look back to my edit summary about "barbarians at the gate". --Golbez (talk) 01:06, 20 March 2013 (UTC)
Collect, you are trying to change the consensus that the U.S. is a "nation state governed by a federal republic" to the U.S. "is a federal republic." TFD (talk) 23:39, 19 March 2013 (UTC)
No, I am. :) That was me, not Collect. Collect WANTS the bad wording that the "consensus" of 5 vs 4 established. --Golbez (talk) 01:06, 20 March 2013 (UTC)
I placed the exact wording favoured by seven editors into the lede so that we could discuss changes thereto. I did not do what you claim I did, and I did not at any point make the change you baldly assert I sought. Now that we have dealt with what I did not do, what was your real problem with the most favoured wording from DR/N? My acts in the entire DR/N discussions were aimed at solely reaching a compromise which the greatest number of editors could accept - which is what WP:CONSENSUS states is our goal. Collect (talk) 23:49, 19 March 2013 (UTC)
Not that the exact number really matters all that much, but since you seem so attached to the numbers, can you please clarify exactly who the seven supporters are? I count six signatories. And for one (me), it was my second choice. And in any case your previous claim of there being only three !votes for the other proposal is plainly false as there are clearly four signatories, just in case anyone really cares. olderwiser 01:19, 20 March 2013 (UTC)
Collect voted on the discussion page for the U.S. "is a federal republic, governed by a federal government, " 16:16, 18 March 2013.[5] That differs from the "consensus" version. TFD (talk) 01:40, 20 March 2013 (UTC)
Wow! Opinion on potential changes to the wording was anticipated at DR/N (indeed, Noleander so stated) - and your posts here verge on incredible indeed. I take it that you feel that my position that the CONSENSUS should be placed in the article, and that DISCUSSION can continue is somehow wrong? I have read WP:CONSENSUS and that is exactly what rational editors are supposed to do, TFD. As for the "four signatories" - one of the four stated the version was his "fourth choice" which, I suggest, is not a "ringing endorsement" worth a farthing. Adios.
For Older:
9) The United States of America is a nation state governed by a federal constitutional republic, consisting of fifty states and a federal district as well as several territories. It is commonly called the United States (US, USA, U.S. or U.S.A.) and colloquially as America, The territories have differing degrees of autonomy. Voters: Collect (talk) 17:27, 8 March 2013 (UTC), RightCowLeftCoast (talk) 19:26, 8 March 2013 (UTC), Gwillhickers (talk) 20:40, 8 March 2013 (UTC), TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 20:45, 8 March 2013 (UTC). Tho 5 in "local autonomy" are not "direct federal control" by Interior and NASA., First choice. —/Mendaliv/2¢/Δ's/ 02:17, 9 March 2013 (UTC) , This one seems ideal, (although I'd leave out the varying punctuation in the parenth). Some of the others to this effect are fine too. Shadowjams (talk) 10:39, 9 March 2013 (UTC), This seems OK, though I'd prefer that the "commonly called" portion appear earlier so as not to separate the statement about territorial autonomy -- my intent with my original proposal was to emphasize by juxtaposition that their autonomy was from the governing republic. older ≠ wiser 12:26, 9 March 2013 (UTC)
Older - you seem to have "disremembered" your own position? For "status Quo" Mendaliv said Fourth choice. The debate thus far has made it clear that consensus will not be achieved to preserve the status quo. Nevertheless, it's a choice I could live with. —/Mendaliv/2¢/Δ's/ 22:48, 10 March 2013 (UTC) which I suggest is not a really ravourable vote - the status quo was extraordinarily ill-worded, indeed. Collect (talk) 12:21, 20 March 2013 (UTC)
I see, you were referring to the initial round. That seems rather disingenuous as the discussion moved rapidly from those options and the options presented in the final round were significantly different. If you are claiming there was consensus for something from that initial round, you are seriously mistaken. olderwiser 14:39, 20 March 2013 (UTC)
Huh? Using the specific votes is "disingenuous"? And I do, in fact, consider 7 to 3.1 to be pretty good for a compromise - especially when one editor appears unwilling to accept anything other than the WP:TRUTH in what is supposed to be a summary for ordinary readers. Cheers. Collect (talk) 14:47, 20 March 2013 (UTC)
It seems rather bizarre to claim there was consensus for something from that initial round, especially as extensive discussion followed that initial round and a separate final round of options were presented. olderwiser 14:59, 20 March 2013 (UTC)

I've not looked at the positions or the count or, indeed, the discussion at all, but I'd like to suggest a possible way forward here. Either there was a consensus or there was not and if there was an actual consensus, someone who continues to edit or argue against it can be blocked for disruptive editing. So the practical acid test for the existence of a consensus is this: What are the chances that anyone in this discussion be taken to ANI and be blocked for disruptive editing? I'm not suggesting that's a subject that ought to be discussed here, but everyone ought to ask it of themselves: Can anyone in this discussion be, as a totally practical matter, be blocked for disruptive editing?

  • If the answer is no or uncertain, then there was no consensus and the discussion of the original matter in dispute needs to be resumed rather than arguing about whether or not there was a consensus. Either continue it at the article talk page, or file some sort of new DR, but nothing productive is going to be gained by discussing whether or not there was a consensus.
  • If the answer is yes, then there's also no need to further discuss this matter here: go straight to ANI and have at it.

That's how my simplistic mind sees it. Regards, TransporterMan (TALK) 14:52, 20 March 2013 (UTC)

AFAICT, AN/I is not a place for asserting that an editor is "simply obstructing a CONSENSUS" - which means this is not a valid concept. There is a chance that using a "f" word in edit summaries, as has occurred, would get an admin's attention, but that is behavioural, and there is no doubt that such behaviour exists on the part of one editor. Would you consider such language to be improper? Cheers. (fucking take me to arbcom seems pretty clear to me - YMMV) Collect (talk) 21:59, 20 March 2013 (UTC)
Collect has made it clear on his talk page that he regrets getting involved and I suspect will extricate himself shortly from this process, despite my repeated efforts to come to an understanding with him. (efforts which were not once reciprocated by him; for someone so interested in dispute resolution, you'd think he'd try a touch of it in his personal interactions) So yes, either shut up or take me to arbcom, and be thankful I'm not using more colorful language. It's a word, get the fuck over it. --Golbez (talk) 22:10, 20 March 2013 (UTC)

Decisions made in DRN cases are not binding. The final recommendation (made by me) in the United States case did not have unanimous consent of all parties - hence there was not a "consensus" in the strict meaning of the term. The final recommendation was simply based on the proposal which got the most endorsements, which is a technique that is commonly used in WP but has the downside that it is (more-or-less) voting ... which is discouraged by WP policies. If parties cannot achieve consensus in a DRN case, one path forward is to use the WP:RFC process which can be formally closed and may result in a semi-binding decision. --Noleander (talk) 15:36, 21 March 2013 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/MAPS International High

By bringing this to DRN, I was not attempting to circumvent AFD. I am simply trying to resolve my questions about the notability rules. Sorry if DRN is the wrong place for that, but ANI says "To get assistance in resolving disputes, please see dispute resolution." However, I believe it is a content issue, as the notability rules are meant to establish what content is included.--Atlantima (talk) 20:39, 21 March 2013 (UTC)

The issue was not circumvention, but simply that DRN has (and all other dispute resolution forums also have) a rule that they are not a suitable venue for disputes pending in other forums. Some processes, such as AFD, are themselves a type of dispute resolution process in that they have a built-in resolution mechanism (in the case of AFD it's closing, usually by a sysop, and "appeal" to Wikipedia:Deletion review) and matters pending there are not subject to being handled at the traditional content venues. No offense taken and no apology needed. Regards, TransporterMan (TALK) 21:03, 21 March 2013 (UTC)

Request for unarchiving discussion

I am sorry that I was busy in real life that limited my time on Wikipedia in that I was not able to respond in a timely manor to the DRN discussion, that being said I request that the following discussion be unarchived and re-added to the active list:

The discussion had not reached any consensus or resolve the content dispute that was at the heart of the issue.--RightCowLeftCoast (talk) 18:11, 22 March 2013 (UTC)

I suggest not doing so. On the basis of the discussion as it has proceeded, I have no intention of agreeing to the proposal to add material about this non-incident. Further discussion is a waste of time. One editor's persistence is insufficient reason to overcome other editors' resistance to the proposed text; RCLC can write what he wants until he is blue in the face, but for my part I have no intention of letting WP:SILENCE result in inclusion of this material here. The bottom line here is that there is no consensus for inclusion of the material this editor wants to add, something even RCLC concedes in his post here. Nomoskedasticity (talk) 18:24, 22 March 2013 (UTC)
If the volunteers who were working on this case before it was archived want to dearchive it, they are free to do so, but it's really up to them. DRN is built around the notion that once two weeks have passed that there either needs to be fairly constant discussion (at least one post every 24 hours) in a listing or the bot will archive it. Indeed, the base philosophy of DRN is really that disputes should not really be here for two weeks at all; if they cannot get resolved in that amount of time they need to move on to WP:MEDCOM or WP:RFC or back to the talk page. The Guide to Participants at the top of the DRN page says, "What this noticeboard is: It is an early step to resolve content disputes after talk page discussions have stalled. If it's something we can't help you with, or is too complex to resolve here, our volunteers will point you in the right direction." The two-week limit is there as a test for that "too complex" part (though it's not very good at the "point you in the right direction" part). Regards, TransporterMan (TALK) 18:38, 22 March 2013 (UTC)
I look forward to seeing what the two volunteers decide.
Nomoskedasticity has not provided policy based reasons why neutrally worded due weight verified content should not be added to the article. Last time I had asked that question, no response was provided.
If the discussion is to not reopen the the DRN discussion, based on some editors not wanting content due to non-policy/guideline/essay based rational, I will be more than happy to file a MEDCOM request.--RightCowLeftCoast (talk) 20:51, 22 March 2013 (UTC)
I have in fact provided a "policy-based reason" numerous times: WP:UNDUE. Nomoskedasticity (talk) 06:54, 23 March 2013 (UTC)
I do not recall ever saying that there was no consensus, we are precisely here because there was consensus, content was added per consensus, and removed by another user. Furthermore, I have shown given the wide coverage of the event how WP:DUE supports addition of content given that it has been covered in an in-depth manor from multiple reliable sources, has received persistent coverage since the time the event occurred, and that it was covered by sources from more than one nation. Therefore, the UNDUE reasoning is wrong and that some form of content belongs per DUE, and various other guidelines and policies.--RightCowLeftCoast (talk) 23:16, 23 March 2013 (UTC)

Rules for recusal?

Are there any rules regarding when a volunteer should recuse from a case request or case due to previous negative interactions with one of the participants? --Rschen7754 10:24, 29 March 2013 (UTC)

No, actually there are not. But there are rules about editors that refuse to conduct themselves in the manner specified by our guide. Stay civil, do not discuss editor conduct/behavior or national views. Volunteers may ask editors to leave the discussion if the conduct themselves in a manner that goes aginst our set guides of both civility and NPA. You have been warned but not yet asked to leave the discussion.--Amadscientist (talk) 10:28, 29 March 2013 (UTC)
I am sorry, but this goes against conflict of interest guidelines that are inherent in every single principle that the English Wikipedia operates by. --Rschen7754 10:32, 29 March 2013 (UTC)
At the moment we do not have such guidelines. But we do have guidelines for Dispute Resolution. Please follow them.--Amadscientist (talk) 10:41, 29 March 2013 (UTC)
I don't care if the rules make you recuse or not - this goes against the spirit of everything that we do here on Wikipedia. Would it be that disadvantageous to you to step back from this particular case and let someone else handle it? --Rschen7754 10:44, 29 March 2013 (UTC)
An involved party makes an accusation against a volunteer for enforcing the well established rules of DR/N and feels that the volunteer should recuse themselves when the involved editor has acted in an uncivil manner. Yes, it would be disadvantageous for the noticeboard and Wikipedia to allow you to run rough shot over this board. I will not recuse myself at your request for your perception of bad faith, especially after your own behavior here.--Amadscientist (talk) 10:51, 29 March 2013 (UTC)
Speaking as another regular dispute resolution volunteer, I can assure you that if Amadscientist recuses himself because you don't like him enforcing our rules, whoever replaces him will also enforce our rules. There is nothing in "every single principle that the English Wikipedia operates by" that requires us to let you violate the guidelines for Dispute Resolution. Follow them, or you will be asked you to leave the discussion. --Guy Macon (talk) 10:52, 29 March 2013 (UTC)

I think if a "volunteer" has a conflict of interest, even a perceived one, they should not participate in a dispute resolution. It undermines the whole thing, particularly when volunteers are rushing around telling people they will be "asked to leave the discussion". Rschen7754 is right when he says avoiding COI underpins the whole ethos of Wikipedia. This "noticeboard" is part of Wikipedia and as such should adhere to that ethos. The Rambling Man (talk) 11:00, 29 March 2013 (UTC)

I would tend to agree if it was something that a reasonable person might perceive as a conflict of interest, but not allowing a disputant to violate the basic rules of the noticeboard is not something that a reasonable person might perceive as a conflict of interest. Saying "COI" is not a magic word that can make anyone you want go away. --Guy Macon (talk) 11:12, 29 March 2013 (UTC)
(edit conflict)I also would agree if there were an actual perception of a conflict of interest. Just pointing to a single post on my talk page from months ago that I actually ended up following does not constitute such, or even a conflict.--Amadscientist (talk) 11:18, 29 March 2013 (UTC)
I'm not sure I said that. But it seems you "volunteers" didn't even stop to consider what the COI was, or if it exists, before hounding Rschen7754 away with your threats. Anyway, other things to do today. Ciao. The Rambling Man (talk) 11:15, 29 March 2013 (UTC)
Huge assumption since he left a link. It clearly did not demonstrate a COI or a conflict.--Amadscientist (talk) 11:20, 29 March 2013 (UTC)
Oh no. You reviewed a GA where you had a conflict of interest. Consensus was that you should not be reviewing that article. I moved your review out of the way so that another review could take place. As I remember, you were very unhappy about that. --Rschen7754 11:22, 29 March 2013 (UTC)
No. I attempted to review an article for GA, where I had more contributions than I had understood under the policy for reviewing were appropriate, but I did not review the article. That is not a conflict of interest. It is not a conflict with you. The link you left to that review doesn't even show any interaction between us. Again, I have no idea what you are claiming and don't even remember you from that, other than the single post you linked which was not a negative interaction. I was not part of the article sanctions that took place there and was what I considered to be a neutral voice when I did participate on the talk page and with my edits.--Amadscientist (talk) 11:28, 29 March 2013 (UTC)

Disputant overriding decision made by DRN volunteer

As we all know, many time it falls upon a dispute resolution volunteer to impose restrictions on what can and can not be discussed. In this edit, Rschen7754 reverted such a decision. In my opinion, a party to a dispute should not be allowed to do that. --Guy Macon (talk) 10:31, 29 March 2013 (UTC)

From the main page: "Volunteers do not have any special powers, privileges, or authority in DRN or in Wikipedia." --Rschen7754 10:35, 29 March 2013 (UTC)
From the Guide to particpants: "Discussions should be civil, calm, concise, neutral, and objective. Comment only about the article's content, not the other editors. Participants who go off-topic or become uncivil may be asked to leave the discussion.".--Amadscientist (talk) 10:39, 29 March 2013 (UTC)
No special powers, privileges, or authority were used. Any editor can remove or collapse prohibited material. See WP:TPOC, section "Removing prohibited material" --Guy Macon (talk) 10:43, 29 March 2013 (UTC)
But warning someone or asking someone to leave a discussion is special powers, wouldn't you agree? --Rschen7754 10:45, 29 March 2013 (UTC)
No. I see you are an Administrator. I am pretty sure you know how this noticeboard thing works. If you don't like the rules of the venue you are welcome not to participate.--Amadscientist (talk) 10:53, 29 March 2013 (UTC)
No. I do not agree. Anyone can act as a dispute resolution volunteer is a case in which they are not personally involved. It isn't a special power if everyone has it. --Guy Macon (talk) 10:57, 29 March 2013 (UTC)
Please note the conversation at User talk:Rschen7754#Inappropriate behavior at WP:DRN. I have encouraged the editors who have complaints to raise their concerns in a calm, rational manner here on the DRN talk page so that we can examine the criticisms and, if needed, modify the DRN process to address them. --Guy Macon (talk) 00:03, 30 March 2013 (UTC)

Hatting or removing incivil remarks

I did not realize that the "rules" had been changed to allow this; I've reformed them to reflect the original practice here: It's okay to admonish incivility, but not to remove or hat it. If admonishment doesn't get it to stop, the volunteer can close the dispute (or resign from it, of course). That worked for months after the creation of this noticeboard and we don't need more. Doing more than that just causes resentment towards the volunteer and diminishes his or her ability to resolve the dispute. (BTW, once I hit "save" on this, I probably won't be back online for 48 hours or so.) Best regards, TransporterMan (TALK) 15:56, 30 March 2013 (UTC)

I think the problem that arose came from a very liberal definition of incivility. There is a difference between saying that Fred is an idiot and that Fred is engaging in disruption. The first is uncivil, the second is calling a spade a spade. The second thing is that not all comments regarding editors need to be removed. If someone only says "This is a conduct dispute" in their opening statement, how do you know that they're not bluffing when you choose whether to accept or decline? A short explanation of why this is a conduct dispute can't hurt, especially if the thing is going to be declined anyway.
I recognize that my comments were a bit too harsh, and I would have toned them down upon request. However, the hatting and subsequent editing of those comments was inappropriate per Wikipedia-wide talk page guidelines, and if such hatting and editing has become the norm here, that needs to change. --Rschen7754 19:48, 30 March 2013 (UTC)
I did ask you to tone them down.[6] You told me to take it to ANI.[7]
You keep claiming that "Wikipedia-wide talk page guidelines" apply on pages that are not talk pages, such as noticeboards.
Here is a partial list of noticeboard sections where comments that violated the noticeboard guidelines were hatted or collapsed:
Wikipedia:Neutral point of view/Noticeboard#Restating the request
Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard/3RRArchive128#User:Peter Ian Staker reported by Jeannedeba
Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard/Incidents/Jzyehoshua#Abortion Controversy
Wikipedia:Biographies of living persons/Noticeboard/Archive76#"Free Roman Polanski" Petition
Wikipedia:Biographies of living persons/Noticeboard/Archive79#Thor Halvorssen Mendoza
Wikipedia:Conflict of interest/Noticeboard/Archive 18#Comets and the swastika motif
Wikipedia:Conflict of interest/Noticeboard/Archive 25#Garydubh and Republic of Ireland postal addresses
Wikipedia:Fringe theories/Noticeboard/Archive 21#Where we get personal
Wikipedia:Mediation Cabal/Cases/2010-03-26/National-Anarchism#Ideal lede from the PAKI.TV
Wikipedia:No original research/Noticeboard/Archive 10#Is making the case for critics in a criticism section original research?
Wikipedia:Reliable sources/Noticeboard/Archive 20#Osho Rajneesh - selective sourcing
Wikipedia:Reliable sources/Noticeboard/Archive 69#Can the book The Hockey Stick Illusion be used
Wikipedia:Wikiquette assistance/archive73#Inappropriate claims at MfD
Hatting and collapsing comments that violate noticeboard guidelines is normal, and talk page guidelines apply to talk pages, not noticeboards. --Guy Macon (talk) 22:51, 30 March 2013 (UTC)

The hatting of comments is actually a common practice even on talk pages. It is not reserved for admin or even DR/N volunteers. Here are the current policies and guidelines this is based on:

  • Wikipedia:Talk page guidelines: "Editing—or even removing—others' comments is sometimes allowed. But you should exercise caution in doing so, and normally stop if there is any objection. Some examples of appropriately editing others' comments:" Some of the examples given for these actions (which are relevant to DR/N) include:
  • Removing prohibited material such as libel, personal details, or violations of copyright, living persons or banning policies.
  • Removing harmful posts, including personal attacks, trolling and vandalism. This generally does not extend to messages that are merely uncivil; deletions of simple invective are controversial. Posts that may be considered disruptive in various ways are another borderline case and are usually best left as-is or archived.
  • Off-topic posts: If a discussion goes off-topic (per the above subsection #How to use article talk pages), the general practice is to hide it by using the templates {{collapse top}} and {{collapse bottom}} or similar templates. This normally stops the off-topic discussion, while allowing people to read it by pressing the "show" link. At times, it may make sense to move off-topic posts to a more appropriate talk page. Formerly it was not uncommon to simply delete off-topic posts, but this has led to disputes from time to time, and it is generally better to hide this material as described above. It is still common to simply delete gibberish, rants about the article subject (as opposed to its treatment in the article) and test edits, as well as harmful or prohibited material as described above. Another form of refactoring is to move a thread of entirely personal commentary between two editors to the talk page of the editor who started the off-topic discussion. Your idea of what is off topic may be at variance with what others think is off topic; be sure to err on the side of caution.
  • Interruptions: In some cases, it is okay to interrupt an editor's long contribution, either with a short comment (as a reply to a minor point) or with a heading (if the contribution introduces a new topic or subtopic; in that case, one might add :Heading added for REASON by Amadscientist (talk) 00:45, 31 March 2013 (UTC) below the heading to make the nature of the change clearer). When introducing an interruptive break, please add USER NAME OR IP — (continues after insertion below) before the interruption. One may also manually ensure that attribution is preserved by copy-pasting the original signature to just before the interruption. If an editor objects to such interruptions, interruptions should be reverted and another way to deal with the issue found.

--Amadscientist (talk) 00:45, 31 March 2013 (UTC)

I have no objection in changing our guidelines, but we must not do so without a clear consenus. I do feel that a re-write could be made boldly to reflect some changes already discussed that I see no objections to such as a warning first on the user talk page before an action is taken.--Amadscientist (talk) 00:50, 31 March 2013 (UTC)
Noticeboards are not exactly an exception, but the Wikipedia community seems to accept that noticeboards require more attention. AN and ANI for example will regularly collapse off topic discussion. At the RS noticeboard this is done but has also led to complaints. AN and ANI are not unique, but they are just more active as is DR/N. All noticeboards should be more careful with the way this issue is handled but it does happen often and is not against our policies.--Amadscientist (talk) 00:59, 31 March 2013 (UTC)
I am also disappointed that TransporterMan unilaterally changed DRN policy without any attempt to seek consensus, and his comment about "incivility" makes me think that he does not understand the policy that he changed. It wasn't incivility that we were hatting. It was talking about user conduct instead of article content. This is a topic that we have discussed various aspects of multiple times:
Wikipedia talk:Dispute resolution noticeboard/Archive 1#Conduct disputes
Wikipedia talk:Dispute resolution noticeboard/Archive 4#DRN "gateway" criteria - theory vs. practice
Wikipedia talk:Dispute resolution noticeboard/Archive 5#Proposed changes to instructions at the top of the page
Wikipedia talk:Dispute resolution noticeboard/Archive 5#Header: wording change re uncivil
Wikipedia talk:Dispute resolution noticeboard/Archive 7#Discussion on conduct disputes
Note that in the first link above it was TransporterMan himself who first suggested that we deal only with content and not conduct. --Guy Macon (talk) 01:09, 31 March 2013 (UTC)

First of all, TPG does apply here: "When pages in other namespaces are used for discussion and communication between users, the same norms will usually also apply." as well as "All guidelines here also apply to Wikipedia discussion pages, such as articles for deletion." Regardless of what is decided regarding the "power" of volunteers, I think a better conversation to be having is when those powers should be used. As an analogy, as an admin I have a lot of technical powers, including the block button. There are circumstances where I have every right to block an editor under policy, but where blocking is not the best option. Just because you have the right to hat off-topic posts doesn't mean that that is always the best option, especially if the request is going to be declined, anyway. And volunteer actions like [8] only serve to say "Respect mah authoritah, plz" and nothing else. That is not the message that you want to send. --Rschen7754 05:07, 31 March 2013 (UTC)

I actually do agree that TPG applies here and as well at AN and ANI, as well as all the other noticeboards. And actually, what admin have are a set of special powers that they sometimes take advantage of. I have actually seen this, where an admin actually locked the Sandy Hook page to edit undisturbed and then unlocked it and watched as another Admin scolded them and left it at that (which could only be challenged if one wanted to be accused of drama or betraying a trusted admin by stabbing them in the back over the issue). As has been mentioned and needs repeating, there are no special powers given to volunteers here. So...there is no need to discuss "when" these "powers" are to be used as they are no powers, they are simply what every editor has the ability to do. We already have a extensive guideline actually, setup to help volunteers.
The analogy you used of having the right to block an editor under policy isn't even actually accurate here. Not everyone has the right or ability to block. At AN/I you wouldn't block someone for going off topic. I do not have that option here either. But you might hat a discussion for such as we do here. When to do that in exacting terms and based on such an analogy is akin to tying our hands to be trampled over. There are times when a dispute has many editors and only one volunteer. These simple tools are all we have to wrangle an entire group of, sometimes hostile, editors who want to continue a fight in a new venue.--Amadscientist (talk) 08:14, 31 March 2013 (UTC)
The last example and link in the comment above mine does not seem constructive. It was not an attempt by the volunteer to demand some sort of authoritative respect. I believe it was simply striking comments of the editor that had withdrawn from the dispute to illustrate that the comments were not being considered part of the discussion for the closer. This was being done (again in my opinion) in order not to remove them completely and simply see that reverted again. It was, in mu opinion simply another route to take instead of a complete removal. Now, I don't think I, myself, would have done that. After being withdrawn I probably would have simply removed the opening entirely as well as the editors name from the list as simple house cleaning but as this particular case was already causing disruption, I can see why that option was taken. Now, I really feel that if we are going to simply continue to point back to this last filing (which was already withdrawn by the filing editor) then we are simply attempting to continue a fight and not a discussion. Lets not go there please.--Amadscientist (talk) 08:32, 31 March 2013 (UTC)
Well screw this then. I have better things to do with my time than try to convince people of common sense. Sorry Steven, but I think I should have let that MFD run its course. I'm leaving this discussion and unwatching this page. --Rschen7754 08:46, 31 March 2013 (UTC)
"Well screw this then"? I see. can't fight a grease fire with water.--Amadscientist (talk) 09:00, 31 March 2013 (UTC)
Rschen7754, please consider the possibility that, as a person who is in the middle of a raging content dispute with other editors, you may not be unable to make an impartial judgement. Whether you mean to or not, you are coming across as someone who has 100% certainty that they cannot possibly be wrong, and that the only question is how you are going to get your way. Once again I ask you to please present your arguments here on the DRN talk page to the best of your ability, and to please consider the possibility that the arguments on the other side might possibly have some merit.
Re "And volunteer actions like [9] only serve to say 'Respect mah authoritah, plz' and nothing else.", no it says -- quite clearly -- that you will not be allowed to game the system by making a statement full of accusations against those who you are disputing with while at the same time rejecting the DRN process and refusing to discuss your arguments and seek consensus. That isn't fair to those who you have been disputing with on the article talk page. We would would very much like you to participate and try to resolve the dispute, and as a poor second choice we of course have to accept your refusal to participate and attempt to resolve the dispute without you, but you will not be allowed to ignore the rules, get in your shots against those who do choose to participate and only then announce that you won't be participating. That is not fair to those who are participating. --Guy Macon (talk) 08:47, 31 March 2013 (UTC)
I have presented my arguments, you have rejected every single one of them without considering them, so I'm not wasting my time anymore. --Rschen7754 08:55, 31 March 2013 (UTC)
Regardless of your belief that you have wasted your time here, I don't. There are issues that require a new approach, maybe not a complete makeover and burning of everything for some phoenix to rise from the ashes, but we have talked about the needs here and I don't believe that your walking away is going to end that.--Amadscientist (talk) 09:06, 31 March 2013 (UTC)
  • I think this discussion about who is right and who is wrong should be stopped. I've had a discussion with all of you individually about my take on the issue, and while I don't expect you to heed my advice blindly, I do feel that continuing discussion here about the exact same thing is not productive. Let's move on, please. Please see my post below about the ideas I have to move forward. Steven Zhang Help resolve disputes! 09:21, 31 March 2013 (UTC)
    • Point well taken. I am dropping the subject now. --Guy Macon (talk) 09:44, 31 March 2013 (UTC)

Volunteer list revisited

This has been discussed at length a number of times but may be worth discussion again. Should the DR/N do away with the volunteer list entirely? This would effect the bot and may require some additional re-programing but the list's entire function merely serves to allow the bot to recognize a volunteer when they post on a case, but it has caused problems when a volunteer merely does simple non controversial house cleaning or makes fixes to malformed filing and asking for clarifications and then a signature/signing with tildes is left. Once a volunteer signs the case is opened officially (the bot makes it an official opening by changing the status)--Amadscientist (talk) 01:10, 31 March 2013 (UTC)

I really disagree with the removal of the volunteer list - it does make it easier for the bot to maintain the page, but that's not the only reason it was created. In the early stages of my fellowship from last year, I ran the DR survey, where one conclusion was that we needed to make it easier for people to get involved in dispute resolution (the DRN guide), clearer calls to action (the buttons in the DRN header and the case status templates), and creating a list where editors can people that can help them, and where people can list themselves, thereby creating a sense of belonging (the volunteer list). I really would like to see the volunteer list remain - maybe we should trim it every 3 months, or divide it into two sections (Active and inactive volunteers). But let's not get rid of it. Steven Zhang Help resolve disputes! 09:43, 31 March 2013 (UTC)
I have been a very outspoken supporter of the volunteer list and if you feel strongly about keeping it I don't wish to make a big deal however, it has become a point of contention among certain editors that it gives the impression that we have special powers, or that we might even feel that we have some sort of special authority. I wonder if instead of an actual list of volunteers we might be able to replace a named list recognized by the bot with a simple template that is recognized by the bot? It would be used to open and close the filings. For example, when everyone has made all of their opening statements and I am ready to formally open the case I would place the preformatted template which would include the tildes already in place so all I need to do is add the template itself. We could have an opening template and a closing template perhaps something along these lines:
Template:DRN volunteer opening, which would display something like:

Hello, I am a volunteer here at the Dispute Resolution Noticeboard. I will be reviewing and assisting this case. Please begin the discussion with any compromise participants may feel is workable or begin discussing ways to find common ground. ~~~~

When closing we would just modify the existing DNR Archive top template so that the tildes are already present and add our comments to them and have the bot recognize the template and not the signatures. Thoughts?--Amadscientist (talk) 10:25, 31 March 2013 (UTC)
For the sense of community, perhaps badges like the Teahouse uses...I know "we don't need no stinking badges". LOL! But they seem to be a good idea .--Amadscientist (talk) 10:45, 31 March 2013 (UTC)
While the volunteer list doesn't give any special powers it does mark the volunteer working with that dispute as an uninvolved party with (hopefully) some previous experience at DRN. I think that is one of the reasons it should be kept. I'm all for giving the list a trim of inactive members and proposals on something new to supplement or even replace it but until something concrete is fleshed out I would keep the list. Cabe6403 (TalkSign) 10:59, 31 March 2013 (UTC)
The above is from someone that is a supporter of the list and proposes a very concrete solution that is very possible.--Amadscientist (talk) 17:37, 31 March 2013 (UTC)

Recusal / neutrality

Can we focus in on the recusal / neutrality issue? Of those involved in the current flap, it's probably the one worth spending the most time upon. How about this as the standard:

If you have had past dealings with the article or with the editors involved in the dispute which would bias your response, do not act as a volunteer on that dispute. If any editor objects to your participation in a dispute, either withdraw and ask another volunteer to replace you or bring the issue to the DRN talk page to let the community comment upon whether or not you should continue.

Short, straight to the point, easy to implement. Best regards, TransporterMan (TALK) 21:25, 2 April 2013 (UTC)

  • Agreed. Let's implement it. Steven Zhang Help resolve disputes! 06:31, 3 April 2013 (UTC)
  • Makes sense, support this addition. Cabe6403 (TalkSign) 07:26, 3 April 2013 (UTC)
  • Strong Agreement. I like that it covers both the common case (a volunteer is already involved) and the recent unusual gaming-the-system case where a participant demanded that he be allowed to violate our guidelines and demanded that any volunteer who tells him that he couldn't do that must recuse himself. In the latter case getting the opinions of other volunteers is clearly better than just saying no or just automatically giving in. --Guy Macon (talk) 11:08, 3 April 2013 (UTC)
  • Also agree. CarrieVS (talk) 11:23, 3 April 2013 (UTC)

Based on the foregoing response, I have boldly added the suggested text to the main page header and to the volunteer page. The addition to the volunteer page is verbatim from the language proposed above except that I have added, "past dealings with the article, subject matter, or with the editors involved in the dispute". The header language had to be rewritten to conform to the style of the header:

Volunteers who have had past dealings with the article, subject matter, or with the editors involved in a dispute which would bias their response must not act as a volunteer on that dispute. If any editor objects to a volunteer's participation in a dispute, the volunteer must either withdraw or take the objection to the DRN talk page to let the community comment upon whether or not the volunteer should continue in that dispute.

If anyone has a problem with either the subject matter addition or with the rewording, please feel free to object or revise. Best regards, TransporterMan (TALK) 17:38, 3 April 2013 (UTC)

Split the page

Please consider subdividing the project page, so that each dispute has its own sub-page. The current page is too long, and watch listing because of interest in a single issue results in lot of irrelevant notifications, Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 19:32, 29 March 2013 (UTC)

That's been discussed by the DRN community at least three times, most recently here, with links to the prior discussions, and just never seems to gain much traction. Best regards, TransporterMan (TALK) 19:39, 29 March 2013 (UTC)
Perhaps another reason why this "noticeboard" gets such short shrift. Make it work better or it won't work at all. The Rambling Man (talk) 20:33, 29 March 2013 (UTC)
You might want to consider removing DRN from your watch list rather than reading a noticeboard that you have no use for. Everybody is already aware of your opinion of DRN. Saying that you dislike it again and again s not necessary. --Guy Macon (talk) 16:15, 5 April 2013 (UTC)


It might work better if editors would read the actual guide to participants. But, even Arbcom is not without criticism, so yes...we could do more to make things clear and make things work better, but even then we don't have full agreement on how to do that.--Amadscientist (talk) 22:30, 29 March 2013 (UTC)

Of note: The last seven filings have been closed. That's a large portion of recent filings even if you discount the two that were withdrawn or had a resolution shortly after the filing. This shows to me that in a lot of cases, editors are simply not aware of how to make a proper filing, or at least at what point to do so. I hesitate to say we need better instruction but, perhaps we do.--Amadscientist (talk) 22:41, 29 March 2013 (UTC)
Perhaps simply making the 'Guide for participants' more prominent might help. There's a block of text in a box that's as much about volunteering as about when and how to file a case, and the collapse box for the guide almost gets lost between that and the open cases table. Most of the other noticeboards have somewhat more obvious guidance notes - in particular some have an 'are you in the right place?' section which I think is quite helpful. Of course, there's a balance to be struck between making it more obvious and not taking up too much space; possibly keeping most of the content collapsed, but splitting it into several boxes with more explanatory headings might be a happy medium. CarrieVS (talk) 23:14, 29 March 2013 (UTC)
I think CarrieVS has a very good point, and that the suggested changes should be implemented. I also would like to see more automation. Someone should not be able to file a case without naming any disputants, to pick one example. --Guy Macon (talk) 00:08, 30 March 2013 (UTC)

Perhaps I'm cynical, but I'm convinced that about 80% of people just don't read instructions or, at best, just scan over them without picking up the details. Anything short of telling them that they can't file without first taking a written exam on the rules isn't going to work. It's easier just to close the inappropriate cases than to try to make the rules more accessible. Well, perhaps I shouldn't have started with perhaps... Best regards, 03:58, 30 March 2013 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by TransporterMan (talkcontribs) 03:58, 30 March 2013 (UTC)

I support Carries suggestion, but as Transportationman states, some people will just not read it to begin with. Also, something Heatherawalls said seems to be least at times. The more text you add the less likely some people are to read it.--Amadscientist (talk) 04:56, 30 March 2013 (UTC)
Agree with that. I wouldn't suggest adding any more text, especially since so many people don't seem to read it as it is, just a formatting change. I think if what's already there wasn't entirely hidden a few more people might read it.
I've made a possible version in my sandbox; you are welcome to make changes to it. Seems like it's not needed any more, so I restored the last thing I was drafting.
I've suggested one or two minor changes to the text; the only thing added is a short sentence about where you should go with conduct disputes. The only major difference is how it's collapsed. It takes up a little more space (but not too much) so it's less easy to miss, and I think the separate boxes giving an indication of what's in them might be more likely prompt people to look. I think it'd be worthwhile, and wouldn't be much trouble to implement. CarrieVS (talk) 12:49, 30 March 2013 (UTC)
I like the current version better than mine. CarrieVS (talk) 12:04, 31 March 2013 (UTC)

Ground rules within Volunteers guide

The Volunteer Guideline contains a section titled "ground rules". It was ambiguous, because it contained rules for the volunteer, as well as rules for the parties. The entire Volunteer Guideline is a set of ground rules for volunteers. The "Ground rules" section should contain rules that are applicable to parties (within a specific case). I've tried to improve the wording to make that clear. --Noleander (talk) 12:10, 5 April 2013 (UTC)

RfC: should the DRN guideline be split into an overview page and detailed page?

DRN has had a guide for volunteers Wikipedia:Dispute resolution noticeboard/Volunteering for over a year. Recently, an editor felt it was wise to split it into two pages: an overview, and a "detailed" page. The new "detailed" page can be viewed here: Wikipedia:Dispute resolution noticeboard/Volunteer guide. The question is whether the guideline is better as a single page, or as two pages. --Noleander (talk) 01:59, 18 March 2013 (UTC)

Background - The original guideline was created a year and a half ago, and had many editors work on it. The new "detailed" guide was created two months ago, in Jan 2013. The creation was announced in this DRN talk page here but it was presented as a "manual of style" and did not attract much attention. The creator of the "manual of style" changed the DRN page top to link to the new detailed guideline instead of the original guideline. For more details about the pros and cons of one vs two pages, see the discussion above in this talk page. --Noleander (talk) 02:05, 18 March 2013 (UTC)

Comments on Guideline RfC

Single page - The guideline, in a single page, is not very big. There is no good reason to force readers to visit two pages. The new "detailed" page had some good ideas in it, and those have been incorporated into the original page .,.. so that page now includes the "best of both" pages, and it should provide one-stop shopping. --Noleander (talk) 01:59, 18 March 2013 (UTC)

  • Support a main page Volunteer Guide with link on the Volunteer Landing page. The creation of the full guide was followed by a slight influx of new volunteers at a time when the board had a huge backlog. It was the opinion of the creating editor that a full guide was needed to encourage editors already signed up to step forward and seems to have had a net positive effect. The RFC proposing editor has attempted to blank the Volunteer guide and have it deleted against consensus (and policy by asking for a housekeeping deletion after blanking [10]) even after the founding editor agreed that discussion should be attempted. This is not a controversial issue and I feel that the RFC is the incorrect route to take for a deletion of a page. It was actually suggested that an AFD be made but seems some may not be clear at this noticeboard as what route to take or suggest when a dispute arises about the deletion of a page. Ironic I know, when we should be able to suggest the proper route for this issue.--Amadscientist (talk) 02:26, 18 March 2013 (UTC)
The issue is here now as an RFC so let's settle it this way and get it over with. It's a pretty clear-cut choice between two outcomes that needs to be decided. Ditch 15:23, 18 March 2013 (UTC)
I'm not suggesting an outright deletion of the new "details" pane ... it had some great ideas in it (that were not in the original guideline). I'm suggesting that the two pages be merged. The RfC question is simply: put it all into one page? or split over two pages? --Noleander (talk) 16:15, 18 March 2013 (UTC)
  • Single page I agree with the "one stop shopping" idea. Both pages are good, so a combination of the good elements into one page is my preference. Ditch 15:23, 18 March 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for helping form a consensus on this.--Amadscientist (talk) 18:51, 18 March 2013 (UTC)
  • By the way, just to note, the RFC should probably ask if we want to return to a single page and delete the existing page, as that is really what is being proposed. To be clear, this is about reversing a bold creation made months ago that the proposing editor now objects to. As for the claim that the original bold creation did not draw attention, it has been edited by editors other than myself and there was a consensus with no opposition to it when created.--Amadscientist (talk) 02:25, 19 March 2013 (UTC)
  • Just another note. The editor who has merged content from another page needs to either revert back to before the merged content was added (as that is the point of this RFC) or add attribution for the content that is not original that was copied from the other page in some form. According to policy the very least that should be done is attribution in the edit summary.--Amadscientist (talk) 09:06, 19 March 2013 (UTC)
I've added an edit summary to the merged page that says that some of the material was taken from the newer page. Let me know if you want anything else added to the merged page. --Noleander (talk) 23:16, 19 March 2013 (UTC)
That was not an attribution. To do so you need to state that content from [[article]] was merged to [[new article]]. You didn't even name the original article properly so that editors can find it. But then your point is to delete that article as a "house keeping" issue against guidelines.--Amadscientist (talk) 08:32, 28 March 2013 (UTC)
  • One page - I like the new guide. I think that the info it has that the other page was missing, and should be incorporated into the original. But what I wouldn't like is having two pages with similar info on them, even if one is more of an intro and the other is more in-depth. We have enough issues getting a steady flow of volunteers. I'd much rather have one page where they can refer back to now and again to learn procedures of the board, than two separate pages. We want to make it simple for them. Let's not overcomplicate things. -- (unsigned from User:Steven Zhang)
  • One page : I also like the new guide, but feel it should be part of the main page where it is easy to see and easy to follow. At the worst, it should be linked from the main page, not an ideal situation, and I doubt it will be used much that way. If we want volunteers to be able to learn and use the information we have to make the advice hyper easy to access.(olive (talk) 03:12, 29 March 2013 (UTC))
Really? I didn't know people volunteering would need such hyper simplicity. But what do I know..I only wrote most of that guide. Noleander can't be bothered to make a real attribution. So obviously he is not exactly following the spirit or guidelines of the noticeboard itself. I will remain a volunteer but this experience has altered my view drastically on how this notice board is being run and I am now understanding a lot more about things I have been reading.--Amadscientist (talk) 08:21, 29 March 2013 (UTC)
This seems a little silly at this point when there are clear indications of common ground on all sides and a solution within reach. I will do a little looking into a few things here.--Amadscientist (talk) 08:43, 31 March 2013 (UTC)
I requested deletion as the author. It has been deleted. All attribution was made for everyone who had contributed as best as possible to the moved page.--Amadscientist (talk) 00:26, 1 April 2013 (UTC)

May I suggest the RfC box be removed if we're done here? MIVP - (Can I Help? ◕‿◕) (Maybe a bit of tea for thought?) 21:38, 6 April 2013 (UTC)

Back to Basics - *Please Read*

Hi all. I'm sure most of you are aware of the flare-up that has occurred on DRN over the last few days. I haven't been actively monitoring DRN lately, but I am a little bit worried that we have become less effective than we were around 9 months ago. I have some ideas on how we can make things better. I'm not pointing the blame on anyone - I am responsible here too, as I have not been active in the development of DRN nor in resolving disputes. I would appreciate all of your comments and input on this, so together we can continue improvements to make DRN better. Here are a few things I think would benefit DRN and the community in general going forward:

  • A return to the human approach - This is something I've mentioned in the past, but we seem to have lost sight of it. I think this is the most important thing we need to return to doing. I think we can take a leaf out of the book of the Teahouse and see how they do things. When new cases are filed at DRN, start off by saying something like "Hi, and welcome to DRN!". It just makes this place that little bit less formal (remember, DRN is supposed to be as informal as possible. Don't confuse structure (the templates) with formality. The human aspect applies to how to handle disputants when they're flustered (read: being difficult, angry, annoyed) or aren't following the guidelines of DRN to the T. Remember, disputes are difficult things. I've been in one before, and even I got a bit of a hot head over it all, so imagine how regular editors could feel.
Our guidelines are there to aid in the smooth operation of DRN, but we need to remember that this is a Wikipedia noticeboard, not a police state, and the guidelines are just that; guidelines. If you see someone who has made an opening statement that is way too long, pop a note on their talk page asking them to trim it. This is what I do when I encounter these sort of situations, but what I do is I explain to them why I want them to do what I am asking (because long posts often don't get to the point of what the dispute is, and it is also unattractive for potential volunteers, thus a shorter statement potentially increases the chances of a volunteer picking up the dispute). Same goes for when someone makes a hotheaded comment in their opening statement, the best approach in most situations would be to pop a note on their talk page first asking them to tone it down because it could help resolve the dispute in a better way, not because "it's the rules" (If the discussion has been unattended for some time, you would leave this comment on DRN directly, but the point remains. Fight fire with water). And the same also applies if we think they have filed the dispute at DRN when it should be at (insert forum here), or when there hasn't been any prior discussions. Let's ask them for more info first, maybe the discussion about the dispute occurred somewhere other than the talk page of the topic. Perhaps they didn't know where to file the dispute, so pointing them in the right direction (on their talk page or on DRN) is the right way to go. It's a cliche, but put yourself in their shoes. Have a look over their contribution history and the history of the articles they've been editing and try and get an idea of the state of mind that they're in before you comment. DRN hasn't been as busy as it was back in May last year, but we have much more listed volunteers. I don't think lack of time is our biggest issue, so we should take our time when possible to make sure we are doing things the right way.
  • Volunteer unity (working as a team) - At DRN, as we all know, we work towards resolving the disputes of other editors, but in recent times we have had disputes between us as volunteers, and at times we have not been able to resolve these in the same manner that we expect participants at DRN in general to. If we can't follow our own rules, then we can't expect others to. We are bound to disagree from time to time, but when we do, let's do so in a civilised fashion. That way, we can set an example for others, and build stronger relationships between each other.
We also need to make the most of the volunteers we have, encourage past volunteers to become active once more while maintaining the efforts to gain more volunteers (I think that dividing the volunteers list into active and inactive volunteers, with inactive not editing DRN in a month being marked as inactive, and each month, sending reminders to volunteers have not been active to encourage them to return. This way, our volunteer list more accurately reflects those active, but doesn't offend or discourage editors by removing their names if they're a bit short on time). All in all, working as one collective group will go a long way to making this a possibility - it seems far more attractive when everyone works together.
  • Volunteer accountability - At the heart of DRN, we need to remember that volunteers have no special status or power over other editors. We need to remember that our role is to assist others to resolve their own disputes, and in the course of that effort we may give suggestions to the participants and remind them of the guidelines that we have, but we need to remember that the guidelines are self-created and Wikipedia policy trumps our guidelines. When I created DRN, I did so for two reasons; to create an informal way to resolve content disputes (and thereby create a widely recognised entry point for content dispute resolution) and create a training ground for new dispute resolution folk. Over time, things have changed into a very rigid process of ensuring that all disputes check all the boxes perfectly before we take them on, and I think we should be more flexible, but we should also be more accountable to the community and to each other.
Dealing with volunteer recusals (where a volunteer need not note they are recused, they would merely not participate) and volunteer misconduct (when a volunteer does the wrong thing) are things that have not been discussed in past, but I do think it is something we should discuss. At present there is no real avenue for "dealing with" a problematic volunteer, other DR processes like MedCab had co-ordinators that aided in the running of the process, and addressing any issues that arose. I wonder if this is something we should consider at DRN, having a handful of editors that are the "co-ordinators" and help with the day-to-day maintenance of the page. I dunno. If there are other ways we could do it, I'd really like to hear this, but I do think that we should always remember that we are accountable for our actions, both to the participants, each other and the community at large.
  • Me, and my role in all of this - As you know, I was a WMF Fellow, and my fellowship ended in January 2013. Since then, the development of the universal DR wizard was completed (from a core technical side, but some design/code expansion work still needs to be done) From now on, I will be more active at DRN, taking on cases so you can see how I do things, and I will be providing input on discussions at DRN. While I may not be a fellow anymore, I still care a lot about the dispute resolution efforts of Wikipedia (as I did before my fellowship) and this will be something that I continue to work on. If you have any questions, advice, comments, feedback or anything about me or DRN in general, please post below or on my talk page, or you can email me. I can do Skype, Gchat and mobile. I want to thank everyone who has been active at DRN over the last 18 months - it is because of all of you that DRN still is a feasible process. I don't think we need to make major changes here, we just need to get back to the basics of resolving disputes, and worry less about the other bits and pieces. I want to apologise for the length of this post, it has been on my mind for a little while and I think it would be good if we discuss these at length and decide on the best way forward.

Thanks for your time, Steven Zhang Help resolve disputes! 14:36, 31 March 2013 (UTC)

I'm on my way out the door to have brunch with family so I'll make this brief and return later this evening. First, as I stated, the idea of being extra friendly like the Teahouse is something I fully support. We already do something like this with our opening with an introduction, but we need to extend that to the body of the dispute and while just adding that to the quick guide on the page is a good idea, we have to change the actual culture here as well.
Working as a team and respecting each others hard work is a must and that has been a real issue here and needs to be discussed at length and how we can achieve some goals in that direction. I agree very strongly with that.
I am a firm believer in accountability, I am against punishment and accusations being trumpeted over facts. If we want to discuss accountability we must address how that is even determined as a need. It was said here that a volunteer needs to recuse themselves if thee is even a perception of accusation of conflict or conflict of interest. No. That could be so abused I can't even begin to express myself on the problems that could create, not just this recent situation. Some serious look at those making such demands is required and I firmly believe that to discourage such we may need to adopt a sort of boomerang effect to be sure such accusations are only made when the contributor is doing so in true good faith. Administrators have no special authority here or any where on Wikipedia and like all of us need to remember that we all have the same investment in the project, the encyclopedia and resolving the dispute.
As you know, I came to you some few months ago when the backlog became overwhelming and we were desperate to get help. I pinged every single volunteer on the list and then went to create a more detailed guide to assist new volunteers feel more confident in helping out here. This has been incorporated into the volunteering guide. I understand that family comes first and I don't feel you need to apologize. We all have varying views on how things should be handled but I only hope we will continue to use our guidelines and procedures of Wikipedia and remember that consensus is the most important tool we have. Have a good day, and I return a little later.--Amadscientist (talk) 18:03, 31 March 2013 (UTC)
Steve, I hope you don't mind a minor semi-retired editor joining in with a limited outside view ( and do move this if it gets in the way). I'd been wondering whether to suggest the guide and FAQs be extended but really, what I wanted to do was to challenge the DRN volunteers' perception of their clients' experiences.
Let's say I've been an unimportant participant (obviously the following example is pure fiction) in a never-ending discussion. I've just received a very formal notification on my talk page of a "Dispute resolution discussion". There's a guide for participants with it, containing all sorts of instructions that I must remember and lots of warnings. I go to the appointed place and find more formality; it seems I must provide a statement. I feel as if I've been sub-poena'd, though the room is more like a meeting room than a court. At the head of the table is a man with a gavel, who tells me to sit down and keep a civil tongue in my head. I wish someone would hit the pause button because I have a few questions.
Do I have to be here? Is this like ANI where I can be blocked in 10 minutes? Quick, to the FAQs! Ah, not quite like ANI. If I don't participate I'll merely be judged as uncollaborative and not interested in consensus-building.
Why is this even happening? The editor who's dragged me in here delights in argument. They're not here to build an encyclopedia, they just take an unholy delight in wasting the time of anyone on their shit-list, which happens to include any Wikipedia administrator and - oh no - probably any poor sap who volunteers here. And I can't say a word about any of that. Isn't there anything I can do to have this dismissed as vexatious or something?
The charge-sheet's ridiculous. If we're going to resolve anything, it won't be by accepting that warped account of the dispute. But how am I going to point out that this sort of misrepresentation and strawman agrument is what other editors have been struggling with and I was trying to walk away from (until i got dragged here) without being struck out and asked to leave?
Will the volunteer be any good? Surely they've been trained to handle situations like this, surely they've been through some sort of approval process, got some experience? Surely wikipedia wouldn't just let any well-meaning bumbler or tin-pot hitler wield the gavel? Oh no, did I say that out loud?
Wait. I recognise that volunteer. He couldn't help two saints decide who goes through a door first, though he might help them kill each other. Can we get another volunteer please?
What do you mean, the Volunteer has no special powers? This is their space, they're controlling our interactions here, telling us what we can and can't do and say but demanding our involvement, our responses.
How long is this going to carry on? I don't want to come home tomorrow night and find another stack of questions, and the same the next night, and the same the next.... Maybe I should just stop bothering with Wikipedia.
I'm not suggesting that everything be solved all at once. But I'm hoping a little more clarity and a little more understanding of the effect of being drawn into DRN might go a long way. NebY (talk) 21:26, 31 March 2013 (UTC)
I think this sums up the DRN dramaboard with staggering precision, NebY. Nicely put. The Rambling Man (talk) 21:31, 31 March 2013 (UTC)
I think NebY expressed real concerns in a neutral manner. Calling it a drama board doesn't help the matter. It is in fact a form of escalation Ramblingman and does nothing to resolve any issue.--Amadscientist (talk) 23:07, 31 March 2013 (UTC)
Freudian slip. The Rambling Man (talk) 09:29, 1 April 2013 (UTC)

Is there any actual evidence that we have become less effective than we were around 9 months ago? While there are always things we can do to make DRN better, it really seems to me that the "DRN is broken" hypothesis and the corresponding "I know in my heart that DRN needs to change in ways A, B and C and thus I feel no need to seek consensus on the subject" attitude are based upon nothing more than subjective feelings. Now it may very well be that those subjective feelings are correct, but it is also possible that what you or I think is best for the disputing parties and for the encyclopedia differs significantly from what actually is best for the disputing parties and for the encyclopedia. In my opinion, this need careful thought and discussion instead of "ready, fire, aim." I'm just saying. --Guy Macon (talk)

I looked at recent archives and judge successfully closed cases/unsuccessfully closed cases, and based success off that. I can always do the in-depth analysis of cases like I did in my fellowship if needed. The suggestions I am making are just that, suggestions. They're not edicts. I did think very carefully over what I wrote so I do think that we should discuss our way forward from here. I'm going to organise a Google Hangout with the DR community sometime this week (likely 21:00 UTC on the 2nd of April) but I will provide a definite time soon. I think a face to face chat (or audio only, or observing and text) is a good way for us to move forward from here. Regards, Steven Zhang Help resolve disputes! 08:04, 1 April 2013 (UTC)
Just to be clear, I really like your suggestions. I think they make a lot of sense. I have some opinions about how DRN should operate, but I wouldn't want my opinions to be implemented without first seeking consensus either, because I could very well be wrong.
If anyone is interested, my view pretty much boil down to three things. One, I really think that the cooling off period while we wait for everyone to make a statement is important, and that parties to the dispute should not be allowed to jump the gun. Two, I think that the "discuss article content, not user conduct" rule is important, and leads to a far greater success rate. Three, I think that letting violations of these two rules sit there without being collapsed creates an overwhelming temptation for the other parties in the dispute to respond with a rebuttal, then there is a reply to that reply, and soon DRN is an extension of the article talk page with all the same arguments and accusations -- and by definition these are disputes that they could not resolve by doing that. I fully realize that some folks really don't like that last one, and I think we should all sit down, present our best arguments, and try to come to a consensus on it. --Guy Macon (talk) 09:20, 1 April 2013 (UTC)
We would address the third item by early intervention. Keeping a close eye on DRN as we do would allow us to take the course of action that I suggested. We pop a note on their talk page as soon as we spot it, and before it gets out of hand. Nip it in the bud. If we don't spot the dispute until it's already gotten out of control, hatting and striking out comments will just fan the flames, where an approach to deescalate the situation would be better. Steven Zhang Help resolve disputes! 09:30, 1 April 2013 (UTC)
While I disagree with Guy about the need for hatting/redaction of incivility (see my statement, below) I do agree with him on most else and especially with the idea that DRN is not broken in any fundamental kind of way. Steve, the fact of the matter from my real world experience with dispute resolution is that the majority of disputes that come to DR simply do not settle. (And of those which do, most would have eventually settled even without DR.) Even if your statistics were to show a change, then my first guess would be that it's simply a matter of ebb and flow: sometimes more settle, sometimes more do not, it's just the luck of the draw and the phase of the moon. Best regards, TransporterMan (TALK) 15:27, 1 April 2013 (UTC)

Response from DR/N Volunteer Amadscientist

I think that Steven will want to address NebY, but I want to take a minute to respond.

Do I have to be here? NebY asks: "Is this like ANI where I can be blocked in 10 minutes? Quick, to the FAQs! Ah, not quite like ANI. If I don't participate I'll merely be judged as uncollaborative and not interested in consensus-building".

  • I think that, out of anything I have heard so far is what may well be the most important. I think this does need to be stressed. "Do I need to be here?" No. If a person receives a notification as a listed participant they need to be aware that this is just a dispute about content and how to resolve whether to include/exclude material in an article or discuss issues relating to that content. No one is required to participate and there is no punitive action that takes place on Wikipedia or the DR/N.
    • How to address this= We need to add that to the header near the top and in a friendly manner. The formality of the header is to look professional. We had a peace dove graphic that I made for the project and board to try and convey something less formal and show in visual what the goal is here but it has been removed. We can leave it out or do something different. But the notice to participants does not need the attached guides. Steven felt that they collapsed guides were not accessible enough and has them un-collapsed now but adding that to a notice would be too much and is to much now if it causes the contributor who receives it to perceive it in a negative manner. It should make the editor feel either neutral or, if possible, better, not worse about the situation. I think making it clear that they do not required to participate. There is a discussion archived where the wording was discussed and made more urgent sounding I think. It should be loosened to not make the participant feel they are being summoned.

Why is this even happening? NebY asks: "The editor who's dragged me in here delights in argument. They're not here to build an encyclopedia, they just take an unholy delight in wasting the time of anyone on their shit-list, which happens to include any Wikipedia administrator and - oh no - probably any poor sap who volunteers here. And I can't say a word about any of that. Isn't there anything I can do to have this dismissed as vexatious or something?"

  • This is something anyone may feel but is out of the control of the volunteer in most ways, but the above applies. You don't have to be here. Period. Part of the process with volunteers is to assess the dispute. Review and read over what is happening and determine a number of things. Is this the right venue? Who are the participants in the dispute? Sometime people are left out and some who don't have much involvement and some with none at all. The volunteer needs to be able to figure out these things as well as what the actual content issue is and as much background as possible. A well prepared volunteer can resolve the issue better but they may also be able to answer questions as well.
    • How to address this= We should be encouraging participants to ask the volunteer questions if they are unsure what is going on as well as engage throughout the discussion more.

The charge-sheet's ridiculous. NebY asks: "If we're going to resolve anything, it won't be by accepting that warped account of the dispute. But how am I going to point out that this sort of misrepresentation and strawman agrument is what other editors have been struggling with and I was trying to walk away from (until i got dragged here) without being struck out and asked to leave?"

  • Believe it or not, it isn't that common to actually be asked to leave a discussion and even after being asked and one decides not leave, all we can do is separate the individual from the dispute. We would simply collapse the comments where necessary if it becomes distracting, if not disruptive. Individual tactics of participants is something everyone seems to focus on too much. The "straw man" argument is a tactic. There are others. Stating that another is actually using "tactics" in the discussion is not constructive. Participants come to DR/N with the understanding that they need to be calm and civil. Seriously. Coming here in a rage and then using that rage to deal with the dispute simply causes conflict and escalates the situation. Participants have requirements are simple and easy to follow. Again that first issue applies. You do not need to be here. If you are feeling dragged into something, DR/N may not be of help. It may need admin intervention. We do attempt to recognize that as part of the volunteer's assessment to determine if another venue is appropriate.
    • How to address this= Just being warned the wrong way can leave some editors the impression they being belittled. Warnings need to be nicer and address the person, not the number in line. All of the most controversial things are the collapsing of comments and being asked to leave the discussion. These should be the tools of last resort, but in any situation on Wikipedia like your very own talk page, you have the ability of at least asking someone to leave the discussion. Participants should always bear in mind our editing policies at DR/N and realize that tendentious editing is not acceptable and volunteers should remember to assume good faith. We need to remind all the sanctions such as blocks apply to anyone on Wikipedia, so DR/N as well as all noticeboards are not safe haven or sanctuary from sanctions. Volunteers have no different tools than the average editor has available.

Will the volunteer be any good? NebY asks: "Surely they've been trained to handle situations like this, surely they've been through some sort of approval process, got some experience? Surely wikipedia wouldn't just let any well-meaning bumbler or tin-pot hitler wield the gavel? Oh no, did I say that out loud?"

  • All of Wikipedia is a volunteer effort but I believe Steven Zhang is formally trained in dispute resolution and volunteers have varying levels of training or experience from personal/professional life or even just a simple interest in the process. Any process that requires passing through a system would need consensus and would most likely formalize the DR/N more than is intended.
    • How to address this. I think volunteer page like the Teahouse would be nice. Have an image the volunteer chooses and a small amount of detail in their own words what experience or level of interest one has specific to Dispute resolution. We should also encourage specific reference sources to review. We don't do that now, but it is a good idea to help those with less understanding and show something new to those with experience.

Wait. I recognise that volunteer. He couldn't help two saints decide who goes through a door first, though he might help them kill each other. Can we get another volunteer please?

  • A conflict of interest with the dispute or with the contributor is currently something DR/N does indeed consider and practice: "As long as you are not involved or have any strong conflicts of interest in the case or the involved parties you can pick any case to help with.". If an editor believes there is a conflict or a conflict of interest, as always, it is upon them to demonstrate, not just a perception but something that can clearly show a solid and strong or even mild to actually ask someone trying to help to recuse themselves if the are not involved in the dispute at the article or with an editor. I see editors recuse themselves openly at the DR/N filing. I have recused myself on one page that I was editing when the same subject came up and told at least one editor I would recuse myself from any DR/N filing if they ever went to the venue because I was her in a least two.
    • How to address this=An emphasis on neutrality and recusing from cases where there may be close association between the volunteer and article or editors. Volunteers are subject to Admin intervention like any other editor. If you really believe there is an need, AN or AN/I is available per WP:DDE-Dealing with disruptive editors.

What do you mean, the Volunteer has no special powers? NebY asks: "This is their space, they're controlling our interactions here, telling us what we can and can't do and say but demanding our involvement, our responses".

  • We have a number of noticeboards that work in different ways. This noticeboard itself serves a purpose to allow editors to attempt an informally mediated discussion. There was some talk of using subpages but I don't know how popular the idea was. Watching some of the other more complicated filings can be intimidating to new and experienced editors. A mediator is expected to attempt to guide and help a dispute. Strong issues with policy and guidelines in the actual discussion could require using some tools of common use within Wikipedia guidelines, some use of dealing with inappropriate content.*How to address this= Emphasize that the editors to role is neither submissive or aggressive and that everyone is on an equal footing but the volunteer is a guide whose purpose is to keep things on track using the tools Wikipedia allows the average editor, knowing that they are to be used to help the discussion, not hinder it. Neutrality is still the goal.

How long is this going to carry on? NebY asks: "I don't want to come home tomorrow night and find another stack of questions, and the same the next night, and the same the next.... Maybe I should just stop bothering with Wikipedia."

  • One of Wikipedia's core principles is discussion. They can be of varying length, but we have set a two week limit by consensus. If the dispute is not resolved it is suggested to the next logic venue. Wikipedia can be difficult and editors can be hard to deal with. Some people want to stay and some want to go for many reasons, but DR/N's purpose is to help. Not everything can be helped but we take the time to give a venue for that discussion with volunteers that should understand the policies and guidelines, capable of locating, linking and explaining a reasonable summary of why it is being applied and in as friendly a manner as possible. But the volunteer is sometimes here to say "stop".--Amadscientist (talk) 03:45, 1 April 2013 (UTC)
I was going to reply in depth but Amadscientist has gotten here first, and I largely agree with his comments. I just have a few things to add.
  • The header is there to, in my mind, make the FAQ as unnecessary as possible - editors should be able to jump right in to DRN and participate, even as a volunteer. It was designed this way after careful discussion, but isn't mandatory to participate at DRN.
  • If an introduction to the dispute given by the filing editor is way off the mark, say so. There's no need to start it with "User:Example is suck a dickhead, that's not how the dispute is at all!!!". Something like "I don't agree with the description of the dispute given by User:Example, the way I see the dispute is blah blah blah" or words to that effect. Nothing with giving your side of the story, or disagreeing on how it has been described. There's just no need to call people asshats in the process.
  • The volunteering model at DRN was something I gave careful thought, and overall the model in place works well. When DRN was formed, a handful of experienced mediators from the now-defunct Mediation Cabal started participating here, and we serve as informal mentors for the newer users. We have an in-depth guide for volunteers that was written to ease the learning curve and make it easier to get involved, and we have the talk page where newer volunteers can ask for advice and support from more experienced ones. The other thing, DRN creates a many-to-many relationship between volunteers and participants, so if one volunteer does misstep, another can right the course. We have volunteers that have been doing DR for years, others are newer. In the past, there has been discussions about formalising the role of clerks, and creating entry requirements, but bureaucracy was always cited, and there is the desire to keep DRN as inclusive as possible. More oversight of volunteers would be a good idea, but there would be the question of who would do so - all volunteers here are treated equally, whether they've been here from the beginning or are only new. I'd welcome ideas here. (Amadscientist is right, I hold a Certificate IV in Mediation. I actually took it initially because I hoped it'd make me a better mediator here)
  • Volunteers having no special powers is a result of past discussions where potential bureaucracy was cited as opposition. Reminding editors of talk page guidelines (which apply on DRN) and general policy and guidelines I don't think falls under special powers.
Lastly, I really like the idea to create a Teahouse style page for volunteers. Let's discuss this a little bit more, but I think we should do it. Steven Zhang Help resolve disputes! 09:26, 1 April 2013 (UTC)
I was thinking of something where we have the listed volunteers with an image of the volunteer's choice and a self made introduction similar to the Teahouse Host page. Editors can have "at a glance" info for each person helping. We could even have a Dispute resolution Question and Answer page separate from the noticeboard talk page similar to the Teahouse Question and Answer page.--Amadscientist (talk) 12:20, 1 April 2013 (UTC)
My thanks to all; I hadn't expected such consideration. I just hope you feel it's been a little productive for you. Amadscientist, I especially appreciate that you didn't just "take a minute to respond" and outline actions too, you also went ahead and made significant improvements to the template, the header and the FAQs. Before I leave you all to it, may I just revisit one point? It may be a cultural difference (maybe something to do with the different ways that judges and prosecutors are appointed in the US and the UK) but if I was a participant at DRN again, I might be wary of a volunteer that I remembered as being argumentative or obstinate elsewhere, say on a dramaboard like ANI. This might be unfair of me, especially if it was a long time ago or a rare event and I wasn't directly involved anyway, but it would colour my responses to your interventions and make your job mysteriously harder. But there'd be no point in my mentioning it, because any hint that I was asking you to step aside and let another volunteer to take over, well it seems that would just raise the temperature.
Oh, one last question - would it be worth occasionally collecting feedback from participants after the case is closed? And now I am done. Thanks. NebY (talk) 18:52, 1 April 2013 (UTC)

Notice template

I made a bold edit to the template to make it less intimidating, more inviting and friendly and added a section about not be required to participate.

Hello! There is a DR/N request you may have interest in.


This message is being sent to you let you know of a discussion at the Wikipedia:Dispute resolution noticeboard regarding a content dispute discussion you may have participated in. Content disputes can hold up article development and make editing difficult for editors. You do not need to participate however, you are invited to help find a resolution. Please join us to help form a consensus. Thank you! --Amadscientist (talk) 06:08, 1 April 2013 (UTC)

Response by TransporterMan

  • First, hatting/removal: I have no opinion about, and do not care to read through the wall o'text above about whether or not hatting or removal can be done entirely without reference to our guidelines. I am opposed to it, because it is simply a very bad idea. This current contretemps illustrates why it is a bad idea: it detracts from and interferes with why we're here. Admonishments (which I try to give in neutral terms without pointing at any individual disputant) work 99% of the time and don't draw the volunteer into conflict with the very people s/he is trying to reason with. My opposition falls mostly, however, into the "I think it's a bad idea, so I won't do it", category. If I had thought it was so horrible a thing that it ought to be opposed altogether, I would have said something to those who were doing it or brought it up for discussion here on the talk page. As I said earlier, I wasn't aware that it had been changed on the volunteering page; if I had spotted that — and I do not believe that change was proposed or discussed here before it was made — I would have said something at the time because I do think it's a bad idea and shouldn't be encouraged by our guidelines. But I thought folks were just doing it on their own initiative and was willing to give them the benefit of the doubt over the control of their "own" cases. I do think it has now become too aggressive and is being employed too early, but at the same time I think the latest flap was a tempest in a teacup that had a lot more to do with personalities than the way DRN or WP works.
  • Second, recusals: I'm all for some kind of requirement that a volunteer be neutral as to the individuals and dispute that s/he is dealing with. This need not be anything elaborate: 3O's statement simply reads, "Third opinions must be neutral. If you have had dealings with the article or with the editors involved in the dispute that would bias your response, do not offer a third opinion on that dispute." Done. No more than that is needed, and we certainly don't need any elaborate system of declaring your recusals, or providing a system to challenge a volunteer's neutrality, or anything like that. If volunteers had some special status, maybe, but we're just volunteers.
  • Third, volunteer disciplinary system: No, for the same reason; to create such a system would be to imply that you need some kind of special status to work here. If a volunteer is seriously out of line, the DRN community can give a word-to-the-wise or if it's in violation of general WP policy/guidelines, it can be taken to ANI.
  • Fourth, everything else: Meh. Friendliness: I hate required friendliness. Courtesy, neutrality, avoidance of incivility are absolutes for volunteers, but forcing volunteers to be friendly or cheerful is absolute nonsense. If you want to build it into the automated processes, fine, but don't make me do it unless you can find a way to make all Wikipedians do it (and good luck with that, compadre). New requirements or processes: Fine, so long as they don't make working here more difficult, more cumbersome, or harder to learn. We already have trouble getting enough volunteers. Each step which makes getting started harder or makes working here harder is a step that is a disincentive to obtaining and keeping volunteers. Coordinators: As long as there are some old-timers like Steve and me around regularly to provide continuity, I'm so-so on this idea, and I'm not sure it's a good idea even if we're not. Coordinators, however much you say they're just firsts among equals and have no special authority, tend to have too much control. Teamwork: Community, collegiality and respect, yes, teamwork (other than perhaps for special, temporary purposes), no.

That's enough. Curmudgeonly, TransporterMan (TALK) 15:11, 1 April 2013 (UTC)

"the wall o'text above about whether or not hatting or removal can be done entirely without reference to our guidelines"? It was in our guideline and it to general guidelines but you can still be opposed to it. There is good argument to why that causes an problem so I would hope it be more limited and warnings made more a priority, but I wouldn't excluded and basic tools anyone else has here.--Amadscientist (talk) 22:00, 1 April 2013 (UTC)
Recusal has always been apart of neutral editing. I have seen others recuse themselves. I have recused myself.--Amadscientist (talk) 22:04, 1 April 2013 (UTC)
I'll be honest. I don't get exactly what TransportationMan is concerned with. We are not going to have the "Friendly police" but if you don't like the thought of being as nice as possible for a board than I can understand that and I tend to agree. I could go either way. I can be nice and I can be cut and dry, sarcastic and direct. I'll go whichever way consensus determines. Try answering a few questions at the Teahouse to see what I mean.--Amadscientist (talk) 22:11, 1 April 2013 (UTC)
I've changed "friendly" to "professional" and "as nice as possible". We can't be the Teahouse, but we can try to remember we want to do the opposite of escalation at least--Amadscientist (talk) 23:58, 1 April 2013 (UTC).--Amadscientist (talk) 23:58, 1 April 2013 (UTC)
Absolutely. I'm making a distinction between being entirely courteous and civil, on the one hand and which I think is a must, and being forced to be friendly (or cheerful), on the other. Think of a idealized high school teacher in the 1950s or 60s: courteous, civil, stern (but not mean) or kind when needed, perhaps even a bit humorous (though never at the expense of others), but neither friendly or aloof. Changing the subject: About hatting/redaction being in our guidelines, can you, Amad, or someone else enlighten me on how it came to be in our guidelines? It sure wasn't there the last time I looked and it's existence in the current guidelines seems to have come in as part of the consolidation of the two guides. Perhaps more pointedly, can someone point me to where it was discussed here at this talk page or at least announced here? Best regards, TransporterMan (TALK) 14:57, 2 April 2013 (UTC)
Most of the time I simply ask questions and attempt to direct the discussion without making too many decisions/statements of my own unless something is a policy violation or a 3rd opinion type stance is needed. Occationally with somewhat 'rowdy' participants I find it's more effective to directly demand things (such as, all editors please give 100 word -no more no less- statements on X) as the more authoritive tone is what is needed in that discussion at that time.
Regarding hatting stuff, the only times I have hatted stuff was either when people started discussing before the case had been opened and all people involved had presented statements or when a discussion was taking place within someone's statement. In those situations I hatted and directed the discussion to the appropriate place (talk page and discussion area respectively).
That level of hatting I think is suitable as it simply prevents the discussion being fragmented however I'm not a fan of hatting/removing peoples comments regardless of incivility. I will remind them to focus on the content and, if necessary, ask them to remove/strike their previous comment. This has worked in the past with individuals voluntarily removing and rewriting statements.
I think part of the issue comes with the way participants view they are being treated, for the most part we should have a peer-to-peer relationship with them and only very occationally take on a authoritive role. Usually when you respect people as a peer you will get the respect back. Cabe6403 (TalkSign) 15:10, 2 April 2013 (UTC)
I'm also not a big fan of hatting/deleting for incivility. I do think it's warranted for really gross incivility - racism, for instance. 'Procedural hatting' of discussion in the wrong place or before the case is opened is a different thing entirely, though, and I don't have any problem with that. CarrieVS (talk) 15:59, 2 April 2013 (UTC)
Just to be clear, I was not advocating hatting incivility. I tend to just ask the person to stop doing that. Most users know not to respond with incivility of their own. The issue I am concerned with is extremely controversial topics and with the parties to the dispute violating our "talk about article content and not user conduct" rule without being uncivil. On the article talk pages it often happens that those in the dispute are so invested in accusing others and defending themselves from accusations that they lose sight of the article content. Take a look at how I handled Wikipedia:Dispute resolution noticeboard/Archive 66#Adolf Hitler for a good example of what I am talking about. They had been tearing each other apart on the article talk page, but when faced with a place where they had to discuss article content only, everything calmed down and there was a lot of cooperation. I am not saying that every dispute needs such a firm hand guiding the participants away from nonproductive accusations -- most do not -- but I think that the disputes with the most animosity and hard feelings do. Again, I might be wrong, and I don't want us to just do it the way I think it should be done, but rather to seek consensus on this. --Guy Macon (talk) 16:34, 2 April 2013 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── If a situation requires a firmer hand than normal, we can always play it on a case by case basis if required. But that shouldn't be the norm, we should try to keep things as flexible and open as possible. Steven Zhang Help resolve disputes! 02:39, 7 April 2013 (UTC)