Wikipedia talk:Dispute resolution noticeboard/Archive 4

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Advice to volunteers

I've been looking at this so I feel ready to jump in from time to time. I saw the advice to break a problem down into small parts and deal with the most easily resolved first. Good advice if the focus is on getting people to agree. But do we not also have to consider article quality? From my experience on the boards there are many actions that editors in dispute don't see, because they are too close to the problem, or don't know about. Sometimes they think they're in dispute when actually they're looking at simple vandalism or disruption. So I suppose I would like to see some lines for volunteers saying, "Consider whether other steps need to be taken before proceeding with dispute resolution". And suggest some of those steps. Itsmejudith (talk) 08:20, 7 July 2012 (UTC)

Happy One-Month Anniversary, BP Discussion! There will be cake in the conference room.

(The Cake is a Lie.)

The BP entry is now at 1 month, 12,956 words and 91,602 bytes.

In my opinion, all three of those numbers are too large.

I would like to open up a discussion of ways we can handle this and similar cases better. Comments? --Guy Macon (talk) 05:07, 9 July 2012 (UTC)

Wow, a month, and still going strong? That's concerning. Looking at the thread, it's a dispute over the content in a particular section of the article. I would recommend using the compromise method. Use this template, and draft 0 is the text at present. The parties make drafts and discuss them on the talk page until a version is created that they can all live with. It's worked well for me in the past. On the larger issue, I think that disputes that are still open after an extreme max of 14 days need to be subpaged, to say Wikipedia:Dispute resolution noticeboard/BP discussion June 2010 or something. The average resolution time for DRN based on the stats I gathered (in the above section) is 8.6 days, but I really think we should aim for 7. A week is a long time on the internet. Perhaps at that stage we need to stop the parties, refocus the dispute and get them to list the issues they still see, and work through the issues methodically, but we really should be doing that from the start. A month is an issue - that's why I think we should all use the {{DR case status}} template - you can draw more attention to these threads with it. A timestamp below this new template has been added to the filing process - and it's essentially so one can see at a glance when the dispute was filed. Hope my opinion is of some use here. Regards, Steven Zhang Get involved in DR! 06:40, 9 July 2012 (UTC)
That is really interesting, but I wonder whether it might not have been more effective to ask the editors to go back to the talk page for a while. Or suggest to them that each side might like to draft wording in user space or on a talk subpage. The discussion seemed to go into lots of side issues. The original posting complained about one specific addition to the article, which seemed to me to be reliably sourced but potentially OS in that it was juxtaposing information from news reports in 2005 and 2010. If this had come to RSN I would have pointed that out, but of course we have no way of knowing whether that would have helped towards earlier resolution. Perhaps volunteers should be encouraged to remind involved editors when they are going off topic, or even suggest possible compromises. It would be good if volunteers could regularly debrief cases here for the purpose of continuous improvement. Itsmejudith (talk) 16:50, 10 July 2012 (UTC)
I did try to to remind involved editors that they are going off topic and suggested closing the filing[1] but that did not work. Fortunately, the archive bot archived it after 7 days of inactivity.
I really like the idea of debriefing cases here for the purpose of continuous improvement. This entry has not gathered very many comments, but if others are willing, I would like to start with discussing a recent case that I believe I handled badly. --Guy Macon (talk) 17:33, 10 July 2012 (UTC)
(edit conflict) Maybe I can offer some information. Editor Petrarchan presented the dispute on June 8 and it seems that s/he complained about bias problems within the article. On June 11 I just happened by the article and felt very strongly that the lede was in need of editing because the long list of BP's environmental problems was hardly mentioned and and even then it was watered down with several sentences of glowing praise for its green activities. I put my intentions to edit the lede on the talk page and was then asked to join in the dispute discussion. I think that once I joined the discussion, it drifted more to what should be included in the lede. Petrarchan has composed a paragraph which is a suggested addition to the lede to remedy the lack of information regarding BP's environmental history. It's at the bottom of the discussion if anyone wants to look at it. Editor Rangoon seems to be pretty much firm in his/her belief that the lede is just fine as it is. It seems to me that since WP guidelines for a lede say it should cover what's in the article, this should be solved in that manner. Gandydancer (talk) 17:47, 10 July 2012 (UTC)
In my experience the lede is always the most tricky part of a controversial article. With hindsight, it probably would have been best to ask if the board could expand its deliberations to cover the content of the lede. It may be that volunteers would have suggested that the original question be resolved first and and the question of neutrality in the lede addressed next. You seem to be a semi-involved editor, which is common, I've been one myself on many occasions. From my common knowledge of BP, I would expect the lede to mention both sides of the company's environmental record, there should be more than enough reliable sources for the pro and for the anti. COI alert: I have had dealings with the company, beyond buying its petrol; I think a lot of people have. Itsmejudith (talk) 18:02, 10 July 2012 (UTC)
@Itsmejudith: What is OS?Curb Chain (talk) 23:48, 10 July 2012 (UTC)
Sorry, that's jargon. WP:OS, original synthesis. When you put two points together, you have a good source for each, but putting them together makes an argument that you don't have a source for. In this case the impression could have been created that BP's environmental record has been continually good, though in reality there have been concerns at different times as well. Itsmejudith (talk) 23:55, 10 July 2012 (UTC)

Opposing Closure

Twice now I have asked whether anyone opposed a closure, got zero response from any of the involved editors, but got objections from other volunteers or from editors from another dispute. In both cases, nobody wrote anything after that and the dispute finally timed out.

I am thinking that if none of the involved editors object to a closure, at the very least an uninvolved volunteer who insists on keeping it open should at least try to help to resolve the dispute.

BTW, I would still like to have some discussion about what went wrong with the BP case. I don't feel as if we learned anything.

Comments? --Guy Macon (talk) 15:46, 12 July 2012 (UTC)

Regarding the BP case, I think you guys have decided that the thread needs to stay on topic. With your guys proposals, cases will stay on topic?
If someone insists on keeping a file open, they should make a good case for keeping it open.Curb Chain (talk) 06:11, 13 July 2012 (UTC)

The Beatles close

Hi everyone. I got a message on my talk page from GabeMc earlier today requesting that I reopen the recent DRN case on The Beatles. I closed the case after it was inactive for almost two weeks, and one of the editors, DocKino, has been inactive since July 1. However, in the DRN thread, DocKino said "This is a very busy week for me in the real world, so I just want to hold off until I can focus and respond in the appropriate spirit--probably Friday or Saturday" (that would be Friday, June 29, or Saturday, June 30). I think reopening would be wise if DocKino returns to editing and wishes to continue with dispute resolution, but I don't see the need to reopen it if they are inactive. GabeMc, on the other hand, wishes to restore the thread now. What do others think? Should we restore this from the archive? Best — Mr. Stradivarius (have a chat) 09:50, 12 July 2012 (UTC)

Oppose restoration: With DocKino still not editing, I do not see why the DRN listing should be restored and just sit there unless GabeMc has some new issue with another editor (and in that case a new listing would probably be more appropriate). GabeMc said at Strad's talk page that he would have commented if it had been left open, but there wasn't anything new for him to comment upon, except for a request for a fuller statement of the case by our colleague Sleddog116. We can always restore it at the request of either editor if DK shows back up. If GabeMc wants to merely make a record of what he would like to say if it picks back up, so that he won't forget it, he can always make a copy of the dispute from the archive page and put it on a drafting page in his personal sandbox and do it there. Regards, TransporterMan (TALK) 19:26, 12 July 2012 (UTC)

I really think it was closed premature. I was trying to not be a bother, and to wait patiently. DocKino stalled it out IMO. So when Doc does comes back, you want me to re-open it then, but what if he gets busy again, and stalls it out? Is that really all one needs to do to avoid dealing with a dispute? Hmmmm. ~ GabeMc (talk|contribs) 20:00, 12 July 2012 (UTC)

Well, yes and no. Yes, in that DocKino can indeed avoid dealing with the dispute like this. But no, in that if DocKino can't participate in the discussion until a consensus can be formed, you are free to revert to your preferred version of the article. As long as the article follows Wikipedia's policies and guidelines, and no editors are in active dispute over the content, then I think that reverting to your preferred version would be a reasonable step to take. It would obviously be best to find a compromise version that you can both be happy with, but this will require discussion, and if DocKino is not around to discuss things there's not much we can do on that front. — Mr. Stradivarius on tour (have a chat) 23:22, 12 July 2012 (UTC)
Update - this is now at MedCom. See Wikipedia:Requests for mediation/The Beatles. — Mr. Stradivarius on tour (have a chat) 04:42, 13 July 2012 (UTC)
Just wanting to echo everything that User:Mr. Stradivarius on tour has said. Consider User:DocKino to have abandoned the dispute.Curb Chain (talk) 06:17, 13 July 2012 (UTC)
Okay, I understand. I've copy-pasted the dispute to a word doc, and I will re-open the dispute if and when DocKino returns to wikipedia. Thanks. ~ GabeMc (talk|contribs) 01:35, 14 July 2012 (UTC)
Please don't do that.
From the instructions at the top of Wikipedia:Dispute resolution noticeboard:
"What this noticeboard is not: ... It is not a place to discuss disputes that are already under discussion at other dispute resolution forums"
This is already under discussion at
Wikipedia:Requests for mediation/The Beatles
Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard/Incidents#User:Andreasegde is disrupting a discussion and straw poll @ the Beatles talk page
--Guy Macon (talk) 02:22, 14 July 2012 (UTC)

Fascism and democracy discussion

Could someone with more DR experience handle this one? I hope that my intervention so far has helped to clarify the issues. Itsmejudith (talk) 08:11, 13 July 2012 (UTC)

Which article? Relationship between fascism and democracy doesn't have a talk page. Still trying to find any conflict resolution workshops at Wikimania. They'll need 'em if the new technical fixes work and lots more people start editing! CarolMooreDC 10:55, 13 July 2012 (UTC)
Fascism. Itsmejudith (talk) 13:09, 13 July 2012 (UTC)
The thread seems to be heading nowhere quickly. If no-one thinks they can handle it, then should it be closed? Itsmejudith (talk) 13:28, 16 July 2012 (UTC)
Threads cannot be closed simply because someone can't handle it but after a period of inactivity, I'm sure a rational reason can be "abandoned" as a reason for closure. If threads were closed by people an editor who deemed it unwieldy that simply would be out of process.Curb Chain (talk) 22:21, 16 July 2012 (UTC)

Changing the way DRN threads are filed

Hi everyone. Recently, I released the results of the dispute resolution survey where 39% of respondents said dispute resolution is too complex. Additionally, the shortage of volunteers was ackonwledged by 52%. When asked why some hadn't volunteered, the lengthiness of threads and complexity of volunteering were some of the reasons provided.

For this reason, I've made a few changes to the DRN header which are already in place - it's very clear how to request dispute resolution or volunteer, but the wikitext window to fill out to file a thread is not. To remediate this issue, I've developed (with assistance from WMF) a form that makes it a lot simpler to file disputes, but also implements character limits, making the disputants think about what they say instead of posting a massive wall of text, and is less of a strain on potential volunteers. We should also impose a rule I think, filing party gets one statement when filing, other participants get one of no more than 400 words, and then the discussion stops until a volunteer opens the thread. This also remediates the MWOT issue - and DRN is not the article talk page, and it should not be used as such.

You can test out the wizard by placing importScript('User:Steven Zhang/DRW.js'); //DR Wizard into your scripts.js file and navigating to User:Steven_Zhang/Sandbox6. For this to work properly, it will need to be a gadget that's enabled by default - so we need a consensus here first before it can be used. It will be a trial - I have a baseline for DRN in May, testing this in August will allow me to see if it's made a difference - if it's improved things, it can be rolled out everywhere. So, what do you all think? Steven Zhang Get involved in DR! 16:36, 18 July 2012 (UTC)

Is something supposed to happen when I navigate to User:Steven_Zhang/Sandbox6? All I see is a blank page, with a source of <div id="myDRW"> </div> --Guy Macon (talk) 08:41, 19 July 2012 (UTC)
You have to add the script above to your .js Xavexgoem (talk) 08:52, 19 July 2012 (UTC)
I believe that I did, but please feel free to check my .js yourself. --Guy Macon (talk) 10:45, 19 July 2012 (UTC)
If you're using the default Vector skin, you need to put the code in User:Guy Macon/vector.js (for Vector only) or User:Guy Macon/common.js (for all skins). You can see the various .js files that are available for you to customize in your preferences, under "appearance". Give that a whirl and see if it works. — Mr. Stradivarius (have a chat) 11:33, 19 July 2012 (UTC)
vector.js did the trick Testing now. --Guy Macon (talk) 03:18, 20 July 2012 (UTC)
  • Support, as I do not like the walls of text and try to avoid them myself (as you can see) and will make it easier for everyone involved at DRN. ~~Ebe123~~ → report 02:43, 19 July 2012 (UTC)
  • Support, this is a very good idea. Condensed and simple will make it much easier. Jobberone (talk) 03:12, 19 July 2012 (UTC)
  • Support trial; I like the concept, but I'd like to see it in action in the trial before I commit to it. I admit I haven't done much DRN work, but that's partially because I've been daunted by the MWOT problem. I finally decided to bite the bullet and do it anyway, but this will make it much easier. - Jorgath (talk) (contribs) 04:07, 19 July 2012 (UTC)
  • Support, DRN is not ArbCom, as I've observed over the weeks, it's become something of a mini-committee of its own. This is meant to help resolve small content disputes. I fear that by not introducing a word-limit the façade of complexity will be given and certain disputes will be improperly redirected to other more serious venues of DR which are ultimately unsuitable for those given disputes. James (TalkContribs) • 4:04pm 06:04, 19 July 2012 (UTC)
  • Support after we iron out the bugs. This will be far, far easier for people to use than the current DRN template. (And I should know, because I wrote the current DRN template.) And I do like the text input limit, which is something not technically possible with the template. The script needs a bit more work, though. For example, commas are allowed in usernames on Wikipedia, so separating usernames using commas is going to make things break if a disputee has one in their username. Probably better to do that part using separate input boxes for each user. Second, using {{la}} doesn't work if the page isn't in mainspace - use {{pagelinks}} instead, as it works in any namespace. Also, it would be nice to make the preview look like it would on the page itself - they are kind of similar now, but it would be best if they were exactly the same. And last, I think 1250 characters for the overview might be a little too restrictive - how about making it 2000? I'm going to have lots of time when summer holidays start next week, so maybe I can teach myself some javascript and help out with the coding. — Mr. Stradivarius (have a chat) 12:09, 19 July 2012 (UTC)
  • Just a note, the limits have been changed to 2000 for description, and from 250 to 500 for "previous discussion". {{pagelinks}} is now used - but at present it's not possible to separate users by anything other than a comma, I think that's something to do with javascript itself and splitting up multiple values - and we program for the rule rather than the exception. If this trial goes well, I should be able to get some assistance from product design (people at WMF essentially) to perfect the template, but at this stage as long as it functions as expected, I think that's all we need. Steven Zhang Get involved in DR! 14:18, 21 July 2012 (UTC)
  • Support - The template looks really nice, and is simple enough for inexperienced users to use. I also like the character restriction, mas massive walls of text have made some disputes more difficult to deal with that they should be. ItsZippy (talkcontributions) 12:34, 19 July 2012 (UTC)
  • Support Very weak oppose verging on support, at least until certain issues are discussed: (1) Is there really a problem with walls of text in the request? The problem that I've seen is with walls of text in the resulting discussion, which I don't think this will cure. In the few instances when I've seen long explanations in the request, they've tended to be more useful in carefully defining the dispute than they've been harmful. I think we need to be very careful about where the wall of text problem occurs. (2) I think the instructions on the first page need to be much stronger in making clear that incivility and discussion of editors is wholly inappropriate. (And to that end, I'm concerned that the notion that this process cannot "force another editor to do something", worded in that manner, can be counterproductive: "Please limit your discussion to edits, not editors." "No, the instructions say that you can't make me do that."). (3) The prohibition against listing disputes already under discussion in other forums is also missing. (4) I note that the requirement for prior talk page discussion has been diluted to an "attempt to resolve". That will allow requests to be filed where one editor has made several attempts to get talk page discussion started, but has received no response from the other disputant. I'm not sure I'm opposed to that, but I think that it needs to be carefully discussed first. Best regards, TransporterMan (TALK) 14:47, 19 July 2012 (UTC) PS/Clarification: While I've characterized this as an oppose, it's actually much closer to a conditional support because I do really like the wizard, but I just don't want to see it put into everyday use until we've thoroughly talked it out. Since "conditional support" is usually !counted as a "support" when evaluation time comes, I'm technically making this an oppose for the time being. Any way it goes, Steven is due big props for his work on this and it does need to happen after due discussion. Regards, TransporterMan (TALK) 02:13, 20 July 2012 (UTC) Update: Enough has changed that I'm now on board. I still think further tweaking is in order before going live (but wouldn't revert if it were to happen). — TransporterMan (TALK) 14:32, 23 July 2012 (UTC)
    • Comment I believe the problem with the wall of text is not a matter of it being a constant problem but, simply that it has been used and had the potential to be a massive problem with "volunteers" who stay away due to a seemingly complicated issue of text and prose alone. The filing comment needs to be brief, to the point and on topic. Editors are not the topic and sometimes (OK...many times) DRN simply becomes another venue for editor disputes to escalate and not defuse. In short the problem attemtping to be fixed is not merely the problem of the filing editors...but the perceptions of the volunteers that feel there is a lack clear set instructions, aimed at defusing a content dispute and discouraging tactics that could discourage volunteers from participating and helping out where they otherwise may have already.--Amadscientist (talk) 19:21, 19 July 2012 (UTC)
  • Neutral - I'm not in favor of the character limit arrangement because inevitably there will be some disputes that are quite complex to elucidate. I would prefer to see a request for brevity, rather than an imposition of same. Other than that, I broadly agree with what TransporterMan has said above. -- Scjessey (talk) 17:28, 19 July 2012 (UTC)
    I've bumped it up to 2000 characters, and we can play with the limit as necessary - but we've tried requesting brevity without success. I've explained this in a bit more detail above in reply to TransporterMan's comments. Steven Zhang Get involved in DR! 14:18, 21 July 2012 (UTC)
  • Support More than just a baby step in the right direction! Thank you.--Amadscientist (talk) 19:21, 19 July 2012 (UTC)
  • Neutral pretty much per the very well phrased reservations of TransporterMan above. John Carter (talk) 00:20, 20 July 2012 (UTC)
  • Strong Support I'd love to help, but the current board is too complex. Electriccatfish2 (talk) 00:45, 20 July 2012 (UTC)

@TransporterMan, commenting here as opposed to inline for visibility. I've had some time to think about your comments, and I'll try to address them now. The third and third points I think I've addressed (you can see that in the wizard) and I think I may have addressed your concerns that you made in point two. Your first point is more complex. For DR to work effectively in the long term, we need technical changes (to make it easier to use) but also social changes. The technical changes will make it easier to request dispute resolution, but at the same time help frame the request - and the character limit serves two purposes, to prevent massive walls of text in an initial posting, and as a result of that, make the filing editor think carefully about what they want to say, instead of rambling. We need to be able to look at a posting and get an idea of what the dispute is, not just a "wtf?".

But more important is social change. We all need to be on the same page for this to work. We should agree on a few things, to introduce ourselves on a new thread as something similar to "Hello, I am a volunteer here at DRN. <continue commenting on dispute>" - so participants as well as new volunteers can clearly see who's a volunteer and who's not. We should all become familiar with the {{DR case status}} template and use it, for the reason that it keeps new volunteers and participants up-to-date on the status of a thread. I think we need to emphasize the fact that DRN is for resolving disputes, not for continuing the discussion that was on the article talk page. The posting form has been modified to automatically create a section for listed participants to make an opening statement, but it's up to us to make it clear that after this opening statement (of no more than 400 words) the thread is "frozen" until a volunteer opens it.

At the same time, we should make an effort to look at threads as soon as possible - say within 12 hours, and if the initial thread size is reasonable, then I think it will be less likely that we will ignore it due to TL;DR. That's the social change aspect of it. I think we should aim to have threads opened in ~12 hours, resolved in 3-5 days. If something is still open after three days and the participants have gone AWOL, then we need to check up on it, 5 days and it should probably be closed. If the discussion is still active without result in 5 days, we should refer it on to mediation or a request for comment depending on the situation - I'd prefer mediation, but that's something we can discuss. I hope that we can have this implemented a few days before 1 August, and that we can all be on the same page by then. Appreciate comments and feedback. Lastly, I would like to organise a Google Hangout sometime this week for anyone that's interested - so we can chat about dispute resolution in general. Let me know what times work for you all and I'll try put something together. Regards, Steven Zhang Get involved in DR! 14:18, 21 July 2012 (UTC)

I'm not opposed to the character limits, nor the specific numbers now in place, though I think we may need to play with the numbers once we go live, but experience will show us how that works. About the social change part of what you've said, all I can say is, rather oxymoronically, that we need to think about who "we" are. "We" works well when there is a defined, committed group in charge of a project, such as MEDCOM, ARBCOM, and even SPI, but here where volunteers wander in and out I am very concerned that obtaining conformity to the standards set out in your last paragraph, above, or similar standards is problematic at best. If the template has the desired effect of bringing more volunteers into DR, perhaps those standards can work; if it does not ... well, on at least a couple of occasions since the beginning of DRN "we" has been just 2 or 3 individuals (and rarely has ever been more than 5 or 6 at any one given point in time) and those standards will not work with those numbers. Regards, TransporterMan (TALK) 14:32, 23 July 2012 (UTC)
Having some set of standards is ideal, I think. Where I work, we have KPI's - key metrics that are set as goals to achieve. It will be tough initially to meet these, but if we all work hard, we can make an impact on the perception that DR is a sinkhole. If DR looks more attractive, more people will participate over time, and the DR climate will improve and success will go up. I plan to draft a little list of targets in the next few days for August, so we have something to aim for. Let's all band together and work as a team, shall we? :) Steven Zhang Get involved in DR! 02:43, 25 July 2012 (UTC)

Discussion of wording

So far, my overall impression is quite positive. I think this will be a big help.

I do have some suggestions regarding the wording:

The first page should say

"This page is for resolving disputes about article content, not user conduct, For user conduct issues go HERE (link). Conduct issues may arise in the course of resolving content disputes, but this page is for resolving article content disputes."

Reason: The current opening page does nothing to weed out user conduct disputes. We really want to make that clear.

Then the first page asks:

"Have you attempted to resolve this dispute on an article or talk page yet?"

IMO, this should say:

"Have you attempted to resolve this dispute on the article talk page yet? (If you don't know what an article talk page is, answer NO.)"

Reason: We don't want to encourage users to try to address content disputes on user talk pages. Doing so freezes out the other interested editors, and makes the dispute invisible to those who have the page on their watch list.

When the user clicks on "Not Yet", he sees:

"It's best to discuss your concerns with the other users first, either on their talk page, or on the talk page of the article. You can find instructions on how to do this at this page, or you can ask one of our volunteers for help."

IMO, this should say

"It's best to discuss your concerns with the other users on the talk page of the article before seeking dispute resolution. You can find instructions on how to do this at this page, or you can place {{help me}} on your own talk page, and a volunteer will come to your talk page to help."

Reason: the list of volunteers is a lis of people interested in helping at DRN. Nowhere did they agree to try to help people on their own talk pages. The help me template summons a volunteer who has signed up to do just that.

As always, these suggestions are an invitation to comment, disagree, or organize a lynch party. :) --Guy Macon (talk) 04:31, 20 July 2012 (UTC)

I think these are good suggestions. I'll see if I can work them in. Stay posted for more from me. Steven Zhang Get involved in DR! 06:51, 21 July 2012 (UTC)
I've gone ahead and changed the template working in the suggestions you made. Hope that works :-) Steven Zhang Get involved in DR! 10:49, 21 July 2012 (UTC)
Looks good to me. I'd be happy to go ahead and trial the script on the main board. — Mr. Stradivarius (have a chat) 12:59, 22 July 2012 (UTC)
I'd still like to see the conduct language be stricter. Also, should all conduct matters be referred to, specifically, ANI? Finally, the question of how much talk is enough? I'd be more in favor of a mere attempt not being enough if there was a clear-cut way to address what happens when one editor makes a clear, good-faith effort to get talk started and gets no response. But there's not. Regards, TransporterMan (TALK) 14:32, 23 July 2012 (UTC)
I'm not in favour of WQA at all - we can redirect content matters to ANI or RFC/U I guess. Steven Zhang Get involved in DR! 02:43, 25 July 2012 (UTC)


Hi all, I'll be holding a session in IRC some point this coming week to brainstorm on ideas for DR. It will take place at #wikimedia-office this coming Saturday, 28th July 2012 at 19:00 UTC. Your feedback and comments are welcome. Steven Zhang Get involved in DR! 12:27, 22 July 2012 (UTC)

This is a subversive process and I see no reason why anyone should hold a separate off wiki brainstorming session instead of posting ideas on talk pages.Curb Chain (talk) 23:26, 22 July 2012 (UTC)
"If USENET is anarchy, IRC is a paranoid schizophrenic after 6 days on speed." --Chris "Saundo" Saunderson
  • shrug* The foundation does regular IRC office hours, and the IRC logs are posted on-wiki. It's just a faster way of communicating, I don't see it as a problem tbh. You don't have to participate if you don't want to. Steven Zhang Get involved in DR! 01:37, 23 July 2012 (UTC)
Rather, if you have an idea, and this is what you are asking, for people to contribute ideas, there's nothing stopping them from posting here. And the foundation posts those logs, do you plan to post thosethese logs? And what happens if you don't, or you say you will but do not post thosethese logs?Curb Chain (talk) 03:35, 23 July 2012 (UTC)
Here's the link for the relevant talk page. I don't see anything that should or can be achieved offline that can't be done more efficiently and faster on that talk page.Curb Chain (talk) 03:39, 23 July 2012 (UTC)
Logs of office IRC hours are posted by WMF - this IRC discussion will likely be shifted to #wikimedia-office - it's just in the process of getting organised. The purpose of this IRC discussion is twofold - so people have time to approach me with questions and comments on my fellowship, as well as give any ideas that they have. It has more visibility than just a talk page - such discussions are generally announced on the wikimedia mailing list. I think that at this stage of my fellowship, it's a good way to get feedback and ideas from the community at large, not just people who watch these DR pages. Again, you do not have to participate if you don't feel comfortable with IRC - it's completely up to each user. Regards, Steven Zhang Get involved in DR! 04:16, 23 July 2012 (UTC)
You really should disclose you are working on behalf of your fellowship when you are, instead of waiting for people to call you out on acting outside of the scope of an editor before you disclose pertinent information.Curb Chain (talk) 17:19, 23 July 2012 (UTC)
Actually, no. We aren't newbies here. You should have read his user page. Mine too, BTW. There is a bunch of info there that I don't post in every discussion I join, so you need to look at my user page to see that I am an autodidact who has has the knack.
Is this a serious comment or sarcastic one? Steven has a history of misleading people and being unprofessional. If he is representing the Wikimedia Foundation, he should say that because he has no special powers on this project because of it.Curb Chain (talk) 03:52, 25 July 2012 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I fail to see how my posting a notice of an IRC meeting is either misleading or unprofessional - regardless of the account I do it with. Anyone can do an IRC meeting, at any time, for whatever reason - the fact that it centers around dispute resolution, which I focus on in my fellowship, is of little relevance. None of the edits I make are on behalf of the foundation - they are as a Wikimedia Fellow. I also note that no-one else has raised any concerns about my personal or professional conduct. You are free to pursue dispute resolution options against me if you see necessary through a user conduct requests for comment, or as an employee by contacting another WMF employee. I would prefer if you discussed your concerns with me, however. I don't think I am unreasonable and at times do not understand the reasons for your objections, so if you could express these to me that would be appreciated. DRN is not the venue for this, however, so I suggest this discussion be taken elsewhere. Regards, Steven Zhang Get involved in DR! 04:15, 25 July 2012 (UTC)

Ok, so you are holding an IRC meeting but canvassing participation here on behalf of official business of your fellowship, and not disclosing the purpose of the meeting is for research purposes of the fellowship and you don't see this as misleading or an abuse of power? Looking at your contributions, it is easy to see many edits are not from official business on your fellowship such as your title as an SPI clerk. And if noone raised these concerns, this may simply because they don't care. Lastly, you have not addressed why the talk page is not sufficient for discussion of ideas/brainstorming/proposals for improvement of wikipedia. I am concerned that using offwiki brainstorming does not have the level of transparency that pages such as Wikipedia talk:Dispute resolution have. In any case, it is recommended to use talk pages for discussion so you have not addressed the superiority of IRC for this sort of discussion.Curb Chain (talk) 04:54, 25 July 2012 (UTC)
Re: "And if noone raised these concerns, this may simply because they don't care", I have an alternative explanation: at least some of us have given your concerns due consideration, examined the available evidence, and have not found your argument to be compelling. If you wish to convince me that Steven Zhang has misbehaved in some way, you will have to come up with a better argument than you have made thus far. --Guy Macon (talk) 05:45, 25 July 2012 (UTC)
I am giving notification here as this is where interested parties - I do not feel this demonstrates that I have been canvassing - I have no agenda and am not trying to push a particular viewpoint. The purposes of this meeting is to give members of the community an opportunity to ask me questions, provide me feedback and give any ideas they may have. The reason that it's better than a talk page is that it requires significantly less buy-in and provides instant gratification - it's much easier for many to jump on IRC and ask me a question to which I can reply to instantly as opposed to waiting for a comment on a talk page. I disagree that this discussion will not be transparent - all office hours are publicly logged and released onto meta. Office hours are common practice - I invite you to review the page and comment on the associated talk page as you see fit. Regards, Steven Zhang Get involved in DR! 06:01, 25 July 2012 (UTC)
This is a better approach of explaining that the IRC conversation will be available publicly if you are to hold it on behalf of your fellowship. Also by stating you will make this available publicly you are making yourself accountable to that.
@Guy Macon: Steven has repeatedly claimed he would disclose the DRN survey results multiple times that he would do it "", but not until I asked on his talk page if he was willing to take this matter to ANI did he immediately post the results. Curb Chain (talk) 07:04, 25 July 2012 (UTC)
All office hours are publicly logged and posted. I posted the DR activity analysis results when they were ready, not because you threatened action - and the comments I made (referring to the statistics of DR forums that I gathered in an analysis, separate to the survey) in the thread you are referring to were details that anyone could find by doing some research - not gathered in a special report. As for the survey, it was released when it was ready - the times I said it would be released that day I meant it, but oblems with the final presentation of the survey arose had to be rectified, and postponed the results. Either way, I think we should make this discussion less about me, and more about DRN. Steven Zhang Get involved in DR! 08:13, 25 July 2012 (UTC)

Curb Chain, here is a list of areas where editors of a like-mind create ideas off-wiki:

  • #wikipedia-en-admins, which is never logged, and only accessible by admins.
  • #wikipedia-en, also unlogged.
  • #wikipedia-medcab, where a bunch of us mediators first met almost 5 years ago, may it rest in peace. Never logged.
  • email.
  • gchat.
  • Facebook.
  • Skype.
  • ArbCom internal mailing list
  • MedCom internal mailing list
  • Casual chats in the WMF office, presumably

None of these are logged, typically. With the exception of ArbCom and WMF offices, I have used every one of these to get things done on-wiki. Zero transparency in all cases, because logging was rarely necessary, because this isn't the Bilderberg meetings. There is no grand conspiracy afoot. See WP:TINC.

Steven has repeatedly claimed he would disclose the DRN survey results multiple times that he would do it "", but not until I asked on his talk page if he was willing to take this matter to ANI did he immediately post the results.

Post hoc ergo propter hoc. I saw that comment, as I'm sure a bunch of others did. That was a threat not deserving of a reply, as most threats aren't. That it was released after that comment is because it was finished after that comment. Steve, and now the rest of us, has bent over backwards to accommodate you, and never once have you WP:AGF'd. You have continued to insist on your interpretation, even after many other interpretations have been offered. In fact, during the course of your very mediations, you've been terse and insisting. During one 3O comment, you said this after your one sentence reply: "This 3rd Opinion cannot be dismmissed and must be considered towards the consenus decision making on making articles on Wikipedia. Curb Chain (talk) 08:33, 4 May 2012 (UTC)" This is outside normal protocol, to say the least, although I can't help but admire the effect it may have.

If he is representing the Wikimedia Foundation, he should say that because he has no special powers on this project because of it.

He has said that, many times. It's right there on his user page. Conducting a survey is not a special power, either. Neither is changing the way DR operates. Anyone can do these things, and you need neither special powers nor permission.

I would like to get to know you better as a contributor to dispute resolution, instead of what we're all seeing now. What's more deserving of your time? What are you defending? Xavexgoem (talk) 09:40, 25 July 2012 (UTC)

I second Xav's request, Curb. I've had a lot of trouble understanding where you're coming from and would like to understand you better. Our exchanges about how to best handle the problem of nonresponsive editors (here and here and here) have left me baffled about what you were trying to say. On the other hand, I think your comment which Xav quotes above may be a response to a discussion at the Third Opinion talk page in which I asserted that 3O's do not "count" towards consensus and linked to my essay on that topic. Still, I don't quite grasp your philosophy and approach, but would like to do so. Let me also agree that I think that the IRC discussion, or at least some agreed time for all of us to get together and discuss DR in some way, is a good idea. IRC or some other form of chat is much better for brainstorming, due to its immediacy, than doing it here. This gives everyone a chance to join in. No harm, no foul. Regards, TransporterMan (TALK) 17:25, 25 July 2012 (UTC)
Steven's work as a fellow of the Wikimedia Foundation is only that. My complaints are legitimate and I simply request that Steven to introduce his plans when he does so on BEHALF of the prescribed duty within the fellowship.
The fellowship is awarded to a few people, not to many. That fact that he has to the ability to use words such as "I have been compiling the results of the survey..." tells me:
A) he either is doing it in an official capacity
B) that indeed these statistics can be calculated by anyone
but if B) is true, then he should not use such language but maybe instead discussion from an editors point of view such as "To me, DRN is in need...". Maybe this is semantics, maybe I am nitpicking, or maybe this is a matter on behalf of the Wikimedia Foundation.
I accept Steven for giving me an explanation that there were delays after I asked for the publishing of the results. Possibly, I was the only person who did not fill out the survey but was invited to. On behalf of the surveyor, I expected him to give a reason for the repeated delays in publishing the results when he continued to use "the Survey" in discussion on this project.
When you point the finger, there are 3 pointing a back at you, Xavexgoem. You cannot accuse me of not assuming good faith when you do the same with your accusation. May interpretationsInterpretations may can be offered, but only the surveyor can offer the explanation of what really happened.
In a way, Steven has said he is representing the Wikipedia Foundation, but not clearly when he honestly is. And I don't look at user pages; maybe his friends do, but I don't. And conducting a survey isn't a special power nor is soliciating one unless you are working outside of the scope of Wikipedia.Curb Chain (talk) 20:04, 25 July 2012 (UTC)
I maintain that your continued insistence has been terse and not at all welcoming of other interpretations. "And I don't look at user pages; maybe his friends do, but I don't." This is terse and underhanded. The implication is that I'm being buddy-buddy with him, maybe one of these "friends" that check his userpage, and that you never look at user-pages, an unlikely trait in a mediator.
Finally, I should clarify: to conduct a survey like the one Steve made, you do need the WMF's stamp. Compiling statistics, no, but your reply to that was the insinuation that Steve shouldn't be doing that because he's not a statistician.
At every turn, Curb Chain. Every turn. There's little good faith to assume. Xavexgoem (talk) 06:19, 26 July 2012 (UTC)
I welcome his own explanation, not someone else's interpretation.
I take all editors equally. That is why I don't look at userpages. And this is irrelevant/does-not-explain why and when Steven Zhang acts on behalf of his fellowship and when he does not.
Finally, I did not say that Steve should not be conducting the survey because he is not a statistician. I said that he should not be using these statistics when they were not published to add weight to arguments in discussions and he agreed to it.
Lastly, please assume good faith because when you point the finger, 3 are pointing back at you.Curb Chain (talk) 07:19, 27 July 2012 (UTC)

About the session

Some things I'd like to see discussed, if not in this session then in a future one and not necessarily in this order:

  • A discussion of how DR is, or should be, different from forums such as WP:RSN, WP:BLPN,WP:COIN, WP:RSN, WP:CCN, WP:ELN, and the rest of the non-conduct alphabet soup.
  • A discussion of the need, once all the dust settles, to reform the WP:DR page.
  • A discussion of whether or not there should be conduct DR of some sort at a level below WP:ANI or whether the problems with WP:WQA are going to plague any forum below that level (or, for that matter, whether the DR community ought to concern itself with conduct DR at all).
  • Whether actual talk page discussion should be required prior to DR, or just a good faith attempt (and, if so, how to deal with disputes in which one editor will not engage in discussion).

This is meant to supplement, not exclude, the current issues concerning DRN changes. Best regards, TransporterMan (TALK) 21:05, 25 July 2012 (UTC)

In response to each one of your points:
  1. DRN is an miscellaneous non-conduct/content noticeboard
  2. There is no need to reform WP:DR. Probably go to Wikipedia talk:DR if you feel it necessary.
  3. No, no and no
  4. Yes, and no and not necessary to discuss.Curb Chain (talk) 07:32, 27 July 2012 (UTC)

Wheel Hub Motor

Looking at the way this exploded into a wall of text (2500 words, 15K characters) in the three hours before TransporterMan made the first comment by a volunteer, I would like to explore some possible options for dealing with this sort of problem. Clearly they are simply continuing the dispute from the article talk page at DRN.

The first thing that comes to mind is to expand Steven Zhang's script so that instead of a normal edit window they get one space-limited place to make their initial point.

Another possibility is to delete, move, or collapse the wall of text.

Comments? --Guy Macon (talk) 20:40, 24 July 2012 (UTC)

  • Delete - I agree 100% with your conclusion that this is simply a continuation of dispute from the article and associated talk page. I vote to delete the whole mess. Ebikeguy (talk) 20:47, 24 July 2012 (UTC)
Just so the inevitable replies to the above don't go off-track, This page is for discussion about how we dispute resolution volunteers should handle various situations (which the above comment is). Editors in current disputes are welcome to comment, but I want to make sure later replies are not about the specific Wheel Hub Motor case but rather how to handle future cases like it.
Simply deleting the case entirely is not an option. Someone asked us to help resolve a dispute and that is what we are going to do. Sometimes the person being complained about is the problem, sometimes it is the person doing the complaining, and a lot of times it is a little of both. In all cases, we want to try to help resolve the conflict. --Guy Macon (talk) 21:29, 24 July 2012 (UTC)
If the IP were blocked sooner for sock puppetry, personal attacks, and disruptive editing, the disupte would be over that much sooner. If it weren't such a confusing, bureaucratic process to get them blocked, they wouldn't have the opportunity to post so many 8,000 character off-topic rants in the first place. This person came to Wheel hub motor to disrupt Wikipedia, and they carried their trolling on to several user pages, and then other forums like DRN, succeeding in their intention to draw as many others in as they could. It doesn't have to be that way. --Dennis Bratland (talk) 21:35, 24 July 2012 (UTC)
So, keeping in mind that this page is for discussion about how we dispute resolution volunteers should handle various situations and not about the specific Wheel Hub Motor case, are you suggesting that every time anyone posts too much text at WP:DRN we should block them? --Guy Macon (talk) 22:35, 24 July 2012 (UTC)
I'm saying it's a meta-issue. It doesn't matter if the problem is happening at Talk:Scientology or WP:DRN or any other board. The page doesn't need a special policy to deal with disruption which is already covered by broader Wikipedia policies. Instead of spending time re-inventing the wheel by having a local policy to cover it, it's better to recognize cases like this early and help get them quickly resolved at WP:ANI or WP:SPI or what have you.

Or put another way, the volunteers here should express their dissatisfaction with the admins who sat back and watched this person carry on a campaign of disruption, leaving the problem in the lap of DRN. DRN volunteers don't have the tools to deal with such a campaign of deliberate trolling and disruption, but admins do, so it wasn't a failure on DRN's part; it was a failure on the part of the admins, and a failure of Wikipedia's overly complex process. --Dennis Bratland (talk) 01:09, 25 July 2012 (UTC)

Disruptive as in repeatedly shifting the topic to disruptive editors (when by an amazing coincidence you just happen to be in the middle of a dispute with a disruptive editor) after I have repeatedly stated that I want to discuss the entirely separate issue of multiple editors posting a wall of text before the first dispute resolution volunteer arrives at the scene? This talk page is not here for you to air your complaints about how admins handle disruptive editors. Could you please stop hijacking this discussion by bringing up your hobby horse and let me talk with the other dispute resolution volunteers about the problem of a case instantly exploding into lengthy threads as soon as it is filed? --Guy Macon (talk) 02:19, 25 July 2012 (UTC)
Nobody is hijacking "your" thread. I just see the problem differently than you. --Dennis Bratland (talk) 03:15, 25 July 2012 (UTC)
  • Oppose all What Denis Bratland said all above is correct. DRN functions perfectly fine. All the other Wikipedia policies deal with situation like this appropriately and DRN cannot fix them. It is outside our purview and is a conduct issue. AlosAlso, Guy Macon, stop accusing Dennis Bratland for hijacking this thread. ThisHis points are valid and is constructive contribution to discussion. I also noticed you didn't WP:SIGN your post in the section immediately above this one.Curb Chain (talk) 04:08, 25 July 2012 (UTC)
  • "DRN functions perfectly fine" - according to who? Have you done any research on the operation of the dispute resolution noticeboard, or is this just your personal opinion? I have data that overwhelmingly contradicts your opinion, and is the basis for many proposals that currently exist on this page. This is primarialy a meta discussion on how to improve DRN - specific cases are not the reason for this thread, and we should try to keep this discussion as open as possible. Steven Zhang Get involved in DR! 04:43, 25 July 2012 (UTC)
Most things have problems and some things cannot be solved. This is my opinion as much as it is your opinion that editors need to constantly solutions to unworkable problems.Curb Chain (talk) 07:09, 25 July 2012 (UTC)

Wheel Hub Motor II

(Restarting because some individuals don't want me to discuss the question below and insist on discussing the unrelated problem of disruptive users and perceived failing of administrators.)

Looking at the way Wheel Hub Motor exploded into a wall of text (2500 words, 15K characters) in the three hours before TransporterMan made the first comment by a volunteer, I would like to explore some possible options for dealing with this sort of problem. Clearly they are simply continuing the dispute from the article talk page at DRN.

The first thing that comes to mind is to expand Steven Zhang's script so that instead of a normal edit window they get one space-limited place to make their initial point.

Another possibility is to delete, move, or collapse the wall of text.

ON TOPIC Comments? --Guy Macon (talk) 05:53, 25 July 2012 (UTC)

I think that this comes down to policing DRN and making it clear what sort of conduct we expect from participants - at the moment we're quite lax - so participants know no better. It's up to us to make it clear that DRN is NOT a talk page - it's a place to go to resolve disputes with the assistance of uninvolved parties. I'll write up a set of guidelines for volunteers that I hope we can all agree to, and be on the same page by August 1. I cannot do any DRN in August - otherwise I'd skew the data - so hopefully we can clear out some of the DRN posts before then (I'll help). Anything that's still been open for more than five days here should be assessed, if stable the dispute should be sent back to the talk page, if there is a clear idea on what issues are still unresolved, filed at MedCom. One of the problems with DRN (among many) is that disputes carry on here for too long. Creating quicker turnover will improve things, in my opinion. I don't have stats on that yet, except from the assessment I did in May where disputes that were looked at quicker had a better chance of success than disputes that were very time consuming. I also think that disputes are so bad by the time they get to MedCom, and thus they have a low success rate - so early escalation to MedCom may remediate this. But yeah, short of my ramble here, setting clear expectations of participants is key. Steven Zhang Get involved in DR! 06:54, 25 July 2012 (UTC)
While I like clear instructions a lot, I like an edit window that won't let you enter any text past N words or N characters a lot better. Don't ask them to be concise. Force them. Enforcing limits is what software is good at. --Guy Macon (talk) 06:46, 26 July 2012 (UTC)
True, but such a technical restriction would likely be shot down by the community. This is a social problem that should be resolved with a social solution, not a technical one, imo. We will just need to be firm about it. We need to band together and work as a team, and next month I'll offer as much support as I can. I don't claim to be a huge expert at dispute resolution, but I'll do the best that I can. But it will require teamwork to improve dispute resolution, and more volunteers. I say we write up a list of expectations for participants and volunteers and agree on it before Aug 1. Steven Zhang Get involved in DR! 07:43, 26 July 2012 (UTC)

Use RfC volunteers at DRN?

SZ mentioned that there is a shortage of DRN volunteers. One thought: there is a very large list of RfC volunteers at Wikipedia:Feedback request service (FRS). An RfCBot automatically notifies a few of those volunteers when an RfC is created in their subject matter area. I can see several ways the FRS list could be used within DRN:

  1. DRN volunteers could manually notify persons from the FRS list, when a new DRN appears within an FRS subject-matter area
  2. A DRN volunteer could create an RfC within the DRN and the RfCBot would then notify the FRS volunteers
  3. A new "mini RfC" could be created that would be put within the DRN (it would be tiny: perhaps only one sentence), and the RfCBot would be enhanced to also respond to these mini-RfCs, and thus notify the FRS volunteers. (Note: #3 is the same as #2, but avoids the huge RfC box within the DRN).
  4. An RfC could be created on the article Talk page, and the DRN could be suspended while the RfC takes place in the Talk page.

I'd wager that many of those volunteers in the FRS would be happy to help out in DRN occasionally, but many of them may be unaware of the DRN. --Noleander (talk) 05:09, 26 July 2012 (UTC)

Do you think it would be worthwhile to manually post some sort of invitation on their talk pages? If so, I would suggest one per day so as to avoid a bunch of new volunteers all arriving at once. --Guy Macon (talk) 11:20, 27 July 2012 (UTC)

Refusals to discuss

There's a discussion at Wikipedia:Administrators'_noticeboard#Reversion_after_failure_to_discuss which affects DR and in which this community may be interested. Best regards, TransporterMan (TALK) 15:48, 26 July 2012 (UTC)

Load time getting rather slow

I notice that the page is getting rather large, and the load time is lengthy, even for my rather speedy internet connection. I recall that SZ said he was thinking of shifting the page format to a sub-page transculsion system like SPI or FAC. It may be time to consider planning for that effort. --Noleander (talk) 17:31, 26 July 2012 (UTC)

No-discussion filings

I object to the reduction, without any discussion here, of talk page discussion from being required to merely attempted. Regards, TransporterMan (TALK) 20:58, 28 July 2012 (UTC)

Where's that? Steven Zhang Get involved in DR! 21:01, 28 July 2012 (UTC)
What the wizard says on the next page if you click "Not yet" on the first screen: "It's best to discuss your concerns ... If you have already tried to discuss this issue already and have received no response from others, you may go back to the previous page and file a request - but this must only be done if you have attempted to discuss the issue first." It also contradicts what still in the page header. Regards, TransporterMan (TALK) 21:19, 28 July 2012 (UTC)
Right...but if there's an issue that they've tried to discuss on the talk page, and no-one has responded and they want more input? Should we not look at those situations? Steven Zhang Get involved in DR! 22:15, 28 July 2012 (UTC)
There's no dispute if there's been no discussion, merely (a) an edit war, (b) a no-consensus situation, (c) an editor needing advice who needs to go to editor assistance, or (d) an editor who needs to file an RFC to get more people involved in the discussion. By chiming in here, we're subverting the goal that the primary method for editing Wikipedia should be collaboration. Best regards, TransporterMan (TALK) 22:22, 28 July 2012 (UTC)
Should we direct them to RFC instead? Steven Zhang Get involved in DR! 22:34, 28 July 2012 (UTC)
Only after I fix it again, if I can. See Wikipedia:Administrators'_noticeboard#Reversion_after_failure_to_discuss. Regards, TransporterMan (TALK) 23:09, 28 July 2012 (UTC)
So we keep it how it is for now? Or just remove the comment - we need to provide some avenue for a dispute like this to go imo. Steven Zhang Get involved in DR! 01:03, 29 July 2012 (UTC)

Word limits

If the first two disputes listed with the wizard are any indication, we need to cut the word limits way down. (And what keeps the second and third responders from responding at any length they care to? The wizard only seems to limit the filer, not the responders.) These are walls of text which are far more intimidating than anything under the old system. Perhaps it was just luck of the draw. Regards, TransporterMan (TALK) 21:19, 28 July 2012 (UTC)

If this is how we're going to have to do it, I have a real problem with that. What if they say no? What if the listing editor responds before a volunteer can talk the responder into abbreviating? Regards, TransporterMan (TALK) 21:27, 28 July 2012 (UTC)
I think this is where social change comes into play - make the standards we expect clear and enforce it. There aren't any technical ways to restrict the amount of content that's added, but I think something like an edit filter would be unwise. Let me work on a few things and I'll see what I can do. Steven Zhang Get involved in DR! 21:31, 28 July 2012 (UTC)
Enforce it how? Consider this:
  1. A files,
  2. B responds at 4,000 words,
  3. Volunteer tells B to cut it down to 2K,
  4. B argues,
  5. A responds before B cuts it down,
  6. B gives in and cuts it down, removing part of what A responded to,
  7. Confusion reigns in any number of different ways.
or what if B just tells the volunteer to stick it?
How is this less, or less complex, work for those who volunteer here or who are thinking about volunteering here? Could the listing script or whatever it is (I'm not a coder) at least put a button in each of the X's opening statement boxes which brings up a character-limited form for them to use to put in their opening statements? I know that could be easily evaded, but at least it would be something. If that doesn't work, then the X's opening statement title lines ought to say "X's opening statement. Limit to 2000 words, longer statements will be deleted in their entirety."TransporterMan (TALK) 21:50, 28 July 2012 (UTC)
A technical limitation would be extremely hard to do - I've put something in the edit notice as well as the opening statements section about limiting statements to 2000 characters. Steven Zhang Get involved in DR! 22:18, 28 July 2012 (UTC)
Short-term-fix: Look at how arbcom enforces wording limits. Just say "one X word / X character statement per person until a RDN volunteer looks at it." Then run a word or character counting bot that posts the count at the end of each statement. If they go over, warn then truncate.
Longer-term fix; I don't buy the assertion that a technical limitation makes word limits hard to do. It's basically repeating the code used for the initial statement. The problem is dumping them into a normal edit window part way through. It isn't difficult to automate the entire filing -- just tedious. --Guy Macon (talk) 23:55, 28 July 2012 (UTC)
This is all true - but I think we should see how this goes first. We've made it clear that people need to keep their statements short - we haven't really had this in the past. If this doesn't work straight away, we will see if a social change does the trick - it will involve putting our foot down now and then, but I'd like to try this approach first rather than going nuclear on it all. Steven Zhang Get involved in DR! 01:00, 29 July 2012 (UTC)
I agree. --Guy Macon (talk) 04:42, 29 July 2012 (UTC)


Re: TransporterMan's suggestion that X's opening statement title lines ought to say "X's opening statement. Limit to 2000 words, longer statements will be deleted in their entirety", the more I think about it the more I like it. We would also want to discuss truncation vs. deletion, and we really need to to figure out how to give the user an indication of current word count, but it is a great idea.

We could do the same with user Y and user Z, and at the bottom of each statement we could have a notice saying "Do not respond until this case is evaluated by a volunteer and marked 'open'." and change our tags so cases start tagged "unevaluated" and then become "open" when looked at.

Many of these wall of text cases are the result of a heated battle on the article talk page, followed by one side filing at DRN during the heat of battle, followed by another heated battle on the DRN page. By forcing the opponents to slow down and take a short break after posting their initial statements, everyone has a chance to calm down, and it gives us volunteers a small, manageable case to start with.

This also opens up another possibility. A volunteer could respond without taking away the preliminary tag and say something like "User X, your statement only contained complaints about other user's conduct... (etc. etc.) and has been deleted. Please write a statement that follows the guideline at the top of this page (link)."

Besides the obvious benefit of starting with statements that are reasonably sane, this also has the advantage of putting someone who refuses to follow any rules in an endless loop of deleted initial statements (we can close it after some number of those) and it gets everyone used to the idea that this is going to be more structured than a talk-page free-for-all.

Once we have decided that we really do want to impose some structure on the participants we can figure out the exact structure we want -- my ideas above are just my ideas -- and codify the desired structure into the instructions so it doesn't look like a volunteer being arbitrary. --Guy Macon (talk) 09:03, 29 July 2012 (UTC)

Just checked the board, and it looks like we are already doing most of what I describe above. See in particular the Political positions of Mitt Romney filing. Great minds think alike? :) --Guy Macon (talk) 09:31, 29 July 2012 (UTC)

Opening DRN threads as volunteers

Hey - just an idea - we're all pretty much doing it - opening comments like "I am a volunteer here at DRN" - which is great, but do we all think we could add something like "Hello" to the start? I know it seems silly, but it's been tried and tested at the Teahouse and makes it a teeny bit more personal, it changes it from "I am an official sounding person at this board" to "I'm an editor too, just here to help resolve a dispute". Make sense? I won't be crying myself to sleep if not everyone does this, but I think it would be a good idea. Cheers, Steven Zhang Get involved in DR! 11:54, 29 July 2012 (UTC)

I like it. Would "Hello, I am.." be best or should it be "Hi! I am..." or perhaps "Greetings. I am...". Or I could just write "Greeting and Felicitations, my Good Gentleperson!. I am a Dalek Supreme here at..." :) --Guy Macon (talk)
Hello or Hi works. Not the last one :P Steven Zhang Get involved in DR! 22:10, 29 July 2012 (UTC)
Curses! Foiled Again!! I tell you, there is a vast wiki-conspiracy to stop me from becoming the Official Wikipedia Dalek Supreme! :) --Guy Macon (talk) 01:14, 30 July 2012 (UTC)

DRN "gateway" criteria - theory vs. practice

Guy Macon offered an invitation to discuss DRN processes here, as they specifically relate to an open case I am involved with, and I see that I might have need to take him up on that.

The DRN page offers some guideposts with a concise set of criteria for determining what should, or should not, be brought to settle at DRN:

What this noticeboard is:

  • It is the first port of call for resolving small content disputes. If it's something we can't help you with, or is too complex to resolve effectively here, our volunteers will point you in the right direction.

What this noticeboard is not:

  • It is not a place to deal with disputes that solely concern user conduct - they should go to the admin's noticeboard - however, we do accept disputes where conduct issues arise in the course of content disputes.
  • It is not a place to discuss disputes that are already under discussion at other dispute resolution forums - but the issue must have been discussed extensively on a talk page - not just through edit summaries.
  • It is not a place that issues binding decisions on content - we focus on resolving disputes through consensus, compromise, and explanation of policy.

Here are some questions that arise, and some things that I see as deficiencies with how cases are being processed:

  1. What is small? How many edits? How many bytes? Is a reversion of (-10,676)‎ bytes, comprising multiple edits, a "small dispute"?
  2. What is the threshold for determining that discussions have broken down on an article's Talk page? Has an edit been discussed "extensively" if less than an hour has passed, with no Talk entry at all from one of the parties?
  3. Who decides that user conduct is at issue, and when is that determination made?

What I see happening in a case I am involved in right now is that there are four parties, including the initiator, and all three of the respondents have pointed out that this isn't a content dispute at all. Further, it should be clear that there is nothing small about it, and that Talk discussions were bypassed. The case fails every test for eligibility, yet our volunteer mediator (bless his heart) is intrepidly attempting to proceed into resolution of the particulars, as though we were squabbling over a dangling participle.

So, what I'm getting at here is that application of the "gateway" criteria, for entry into this process, might be improved. Belchfire-TALK 21:43, 29 July 2012 (UTC)

Those are excellent questions, and I really appreciate input from someone who is in a dispute rather than a volunteer.
We are trying something new, and some or all of what we are doing may very well be a bad idea. So there are two questions about the current dispute:
  • Is it working? Going badly wrong? Too soon to tell? We may want to rethink things, and your input wuold be quite helpful.
  • Does it match the instructions at the top of the page? If it doesn't but it is working, we need to change the wording at the top of the page.
As for "all three of the respondents have pointed out that this isn't a content dispute at all", I only count one. Could you be so kind as to quote the exact language where they made that claim?
If, as you claim, this is not a content dispute, how do you explain the following edits? Diff1Diff2Diff3Diff4Diff5Diff6 That sure looks like a content dispute to me. --Guy Macon (talk) 22:09, 29 July 2012 (UTC)
Am I allowed to explain the edits since this is a talk page? ViriiK (talk) 22:11, 29 July 2012 (UTC)
This is a talk page for discussing ways of improving the way DRN works. Any comments about that are welcome. Don't worry, nobody is even thinking about why you made those edits or whether they were correct. The above is just to establish that a content dispute exists after another editor claimed that there is no content dispute. The "talk about article content, not user conduct" bit works two ways; nobody is allowed to complain about your conduct either. This is true whether or not the complaints are justified, and I am not implying that they are or are not. --Guy Macon (talk) 22:23, 29 July 2012 (UTC)
Virii, let's keep this discussion focused on DRN processes. I'm not comfortable starting a lengthy sidebar here, it looks bad.
Guy, it's sort of a sticky wicket, isn't it? The goal of keeping DRN focused on content is laudable, even necessary to its success. But surely I don't need to explain that many, many disputes begin on articles other than the one that is brought here. If the diffs you present depicted the first time Virii, Lionel and myself had ever encountered the other user on Wikipedia, that would certainly be one thing. But that is not the case here. I am doing my level best not to say bad things about anybody, but you did ask.
Which is why I asked rather pointedly: Who looks at user behavior? And when? In this case, you have 3 out of the 4 users telling you clearly that there's much more to this than content. What will it take to convince you to at least consider the possibility?
Now, in keeping with my remarks to Virii, I would like to return all discussion of the case back to the main page, where nobody will feel left out. I just wanted to respond to Guy's direct question. Belchfire-TALK 22:27, 29 July 2012 (UTC)
Comments very much appreciated. After this is all over, I would like both of your opinions on what what went well and what needs fixing. --Guy Macon (talk) 22:32, 29 July 2012 (UTC)
When editors disagree about content, there's a tendency to try to recast it as a behavioral problem. This is counterproductive. Ultimately, the problematic behavior is that the other editor isn't doing what you want them to, and making it personal only makes it worse. Still-24-45-42-125 (talk) 00:10, 30 July 2012 (UTC)
Yes, that is true, and everyone at DRN will try to make that aspect better. Making it more personal makes the discussions ruder, and makes them harder to solve. ~~Ebe123~~ → report 01:53, 30 July 2012 (UTC)
I completely agree. When someone makes it personal, it's tempting to return the favor, but I doubt that ever leads to better articles. Still-24-45-42-125 (talk) 02:33, 30 July 2012 (UTC)

Critique of DRN process

Since you seem open to honest and constructive criticism, I'm going to volunteer some.

It happens that editors can be involved in disagreeing over content without being able to pin down the reasoning for the mutual opposition. What they really need is someone to mediate, extracting that reasoning and putting it on the table so that the issues can be discussed on their merits.

If this process isn't followed, what instead happens is that both sides dig in, and all that's left is to count how many editors have each view. But Wikipedia is about rule-based consensus, not voting, and this doesn't ever deal with the underlying cause, so the problem repeats itself.

Yes, I'm thinking of a case that I'm involved in, but I see it happening in other cases as well, and it disturbs me. I hope you take this as a genuine attempt to help you improve the DRN process. Still-24-45-42-125 (talk) 05:09, 30 July 2012 (UTC)

That does make sense, and is what we try to achieve at DRN - the problem is that long posts given by parties can make it easy for a volunteer to lose track. I think framing discussion in a very specific way can help in this matter - it's worked in mediations I've done in the past, but needs a uniform approach to be successful. Every dispute is different though, and we do the best we can. Thanks for your comments :) Steven Zhang Get involved in DR! 07:57, 30 July 2012 (UTC)

I've never been in dispute resolution, but I agree with framing the discussion. My $0.02 of speculation would be that you should require the statements from all people to be explicit as possible, e.g. you could have more than just one person write an overview of the dispute (or alternatively more than one person endorse a particular overview). Or perhaps require people to split up the opening comments into three parts, one for a description of the dispute (with injunctions for neutrality, and including what they see as the key point(s) of difference), then one for a description of their position on that dispute, and one for their interpretation of their opponent's position on that dispute (with the injunction that you cannot cite only your opponent's behavior). I suppose that might also be too complicated, but I think it should make clarification of misunderstandings more likely to occur right away. Arc de Ciel (talk) 09:48, 30 July 2012 (UTC)

I think it's possible to have a streamlined but uniform approach. The key is not in creating a sprawling, ornate system that drags all disputes out forever, but in restricting what can be discussed. Editor personalities and behavior must be off limits. Motivations are in scope only to the extent that they are defined in terms of Wikipedia policies. Vague statements along the lines of "I like that version better" or "We just don't need a section on that" are worse than worthless. While "me too!" must be allowed, it shouldn't count for anything. After all, what matters are the merits of the argument, not how popular it is.
If, for example, there were a half-dozen people who all believe that Obama is a Muslim and insist on sticking it in into his bio, that shouldn't be mistaken for a genuine consensus, even if only one editor is crying foul. WP:BLP beats WP:IDONTLIKETHAT. If someone won't explain their reasons, we must conclude that they have none. And if their explanation is vague, perhaps a bit of the Socratic method is in order.
While I admit that many of Arc's specific recommendations could definitely be helpful, particularly if they're combined with some of the better ideas I've found in RFC's, I prefer to focus on the overall goal and trust you to find the right ways to achieve it. Anyhow, thank you for listening. Still-24-45-42-125 (talk) 14:45, 30 July 2012 (UTC)

Minor quibble

Hey all - just a minor quibble - the two status templates for closed threads are {{DR case status|resolved}} - for a dispute that has been successfully resolved, and closed, and {{DR case status|closed}} - when a case was not successfully resolved but has been closed. Can we please put {{DRN archive top}} below the {{drn filing editor}} template, but above {{pagelinks}}? It will help me a lot when I analyse effectiveness of DRN for August. Thanks again! Steven Zhang Help resolve disputes! 22:38, 30 July 2012 (UTC)

Focus on the Family#Recreational drugs

This dispute was not resolved because the mediator-endorsed wording violates WP:NPOV. The conclusion was decided on the basis of a show of hands, not compliance with policy, and there was excessive haste to close. The bottom line is that the dispute resolution effort failed, so I'm going to have to escalate to the next step. Still-24-45-42-125 (talk) 01:20, 31 July 2012 (UTC)

If the consensus is against you (which it clearly is in this case) and no policies are being violated, then you need to accept the consensus or attempt to convince the other editors to change their minds. If, however WP:NPOV is being violated, that trumps consensus. The question, of course is whether WP:NPOV is being violated. The place to go to get a determination on that is Wikipedia:Neutral point of view/Noticeboard. I advise becoming very familiar with Wikipedia:Neutral point of view/FAQ before filing. --Guy Macon (talk) 05:34, 31 July 2012 (UTC)
Thank you for the advice. I'll look into it, including a closer reading of WP:NPOV with this case in mind. Still-24-45-42-125 (talk) 05:59, 31 July 2012 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Dispute_resolution_noticeboard/Archive_39#War_on_Women - can others take a look here?

Hi all. I've been asked about this thread on my talk page - from my reading of the dispute it appears a consensus was reached and therefore was resolved. Would others mind giving their 2c on the issue - it definitely looked resolved to me but we may need to boot it to MedCom if it's still unresolved. Regards, Steven Zhang Help resolve disputes! 06:12, 31 July 2012 (UTC)

I was involved and brought the issue to attention but many editors did not actually go for Collect's definition and thus it wasn't solved. If anything an outside editor on the talk page favored the other solution; we were mostly waiting for an outside opinion in dispute resolution. CartoonDiablo (talk) 06:18, 31 July 2012 (UTC)
As a wise editor once said, "disagreeing with the consensus does not mean the consensus is invalid." – Lionel (talk) 06:50, 31 July 2012 (UTC)
A wiser editor said, "anyone can claim consensus, but that don't make it so". In the interim, I suggest that you not edit war. Still-24-45-42-125 (talk) 06:56, 31 July 2012 (UTC)
For convenience, here is a timeline:
22:30, 24 July, last comment by CartoonDiablo
00:29, 25 July, last comment by any involved party (Brangifer).
13:28, 28 July, Steven Zhang asks if it should be closed as resolved.
10:43, 29 July, Lionel replies saying he thinks it has been resolved.
11:49, 29 July, Steven Zhang says he will close it.
06:05, 31 July, CartoonDiablo says no consensus was reached and asks Steven Zhang to re-open.
--Guy Macon (talk) 07:02, 31 July 2012 (UTC)
Guy, you're right that it quieted down and Lionel requested closure, but he was wrong to do so, and doubly wrong to claim that a consensus existed to support his version of the words. I think he misled you, although I won't guess as to whether it was intentional. Still-24-45-42-125 (talk) 07:09, 31 July 2012 (UTC)
"I suggest that you not edit war"--I never edit war. And I have the block log to prove it. – Lionel (talk) 08:32, 31 July 2012 (UTC)
My block log is as clean as yours. Still-24-45-42-125 (talk) 09:08, 31 July 2012 (UTC)
Multiple editors supported Collect. You don't know what you're talking about. "I think he misled you"--give it a rest. Everyone knows who you are now.– Lionel (talk) 08:34, 31 July 2012 (UTC)
Multiple editors opposed Collect, too. Not that it matters, because it's not a vote. Still-24-45-42-125 (talk) 09:08, 31 July 2012 (UTC)
It's also not a filibuster. Belchfire-TALK 09:19, 31 July 2012 (UTC)
I believe that CartoonDiablo has raised some serious issues that do not deserve to be dismissed so lightly. Still-24-45-42-125 (talk) 09:24, 31 July 2012 (UTC)
I have not expressed an opinion on whether this should be re-opened, but criticizing Lionel for writing "I think we have consensus for Collect's proposal" does not seem fair. He is allowed to think there is a consensus even if he is wrong (I am not implying that he was or was not) and to say so if asked. Perhaps one of you should have chimed in to disagree if keeping this open was important to you. I have closed many DRN cases after three days with no comments. This went four and a half. Again, I am not saying it should or should not be reopened, but the closure was ordinary and usual. --Guy Macon (talk) 10:00, 31 July 2012 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────I'm not criticizing him for believing there was a consensus. Still-24-45-42-125 (talk) 10:03, 31 July 2012 (UTC)

The criticism is for wrongly closing an unsolved dispute, not whether or not he/she thought incorrectly. That aside, this is a different circumstance because unlike a stale discussion this was said to be resolved when it wasn't. CartoonDiablo (talk) 22:55, 31 July 2012 (UTC)
Why do you think it is wrong to close an unresolved dispute? We could re-label it from closed-resolved to closed-unresolved, but clearly you had given up on trying to find a solution, as evidenced by you not making any comments between 22:30, 24 July and the closure notice at 11:49, 29 July. --Guy Macon (talk) 05:58, 1 August 2012 (UTC)
I don't think we gave up on it we were just waiting for an outside opinion, so far as I can tell everyone made their point. Obviously I'd prefer to have it re-opened but having it categorized as unresolved is fine as well. The problem is if it's listed as resolved it will smack in the face of many who don't see it as resolved and don't see it as a valid consensus. CartoonDiablo (talk) 07:49, 1 August 2012 (UTC)
That makes sense to me. Steven Zhang, do you have any problem with marking it as closed-unresolved while we discuss whether to re-open? --Guy Macon (talk) 12:42, 1 August 2012 (UTC)

DRN for August

Hi all. As some of you may observed, a few changes took effect today. A bot has started editing the page and will help withe the maintenance and monitoring of threads here - it will perform many functions that we used to need to do. It will also maintain a case status page that will keep us up to date on how DRN threads are running. It's located at Template:DRN case status - I advise everyone to watchlist it. Any cases that are unresolved after five days, not due to inactivity and has a substantial dispute (with some substance) should be referred to formal mediation - we need to keep things turning over quickly. I won't be doing much DRN this month - as it would directly influence the results of my analysis. I'll finish the volunteer guide in the next day or two, but I'm counting on all of you to pitch in here. Do us proud! I'll still be around if you have any questions or need advice, but for most of this month I may spend my time analysing other DR forums and so on. Let's make August a great month and show just how well we're doing! Regards, Szhang (WMF) (talk) 13:28, 1 August 2012 (UTC)

How does the bot determine who is a volunteer and who is not? Can it distinguish between a volunteer and a disputant who the listing editor has failed to list as a party? Regards, TransporterMan (TALK) 20:02, 1 August 2012 (UTC)
Hey there, the bot checks the list of volunteers at the volunteering page and determines it that way - hence I've emphasised the need to add oneself as a volunteer in the header. Szhang (WMF) (talk) 20:23, 1 August 2012 (UTC)