Wikipedia talk:IRC/Personal views regarding IRC

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Original request for arbitration[edit]

Initiated by Irpen at 01:40, 26 January 2007 (UTC)
Confirmation that other steps in dispute resolution have been tried

Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard/IRC admin channel is the last of the multitude of places where this has been discussed. Many ArbCom members took part in these discussions.


In megabytes of the discussions of this thorny issue, no evidence has been yet given that there can possibly be any "admin-only" confidential matters that require the closed channel. ArbCom has recognized the host of problems the channel and some of its members were generating. ArbCom de-facto took steps to regulate the channel thus asserting its jurisdiction over the matter.

ArbCom is asked to rule whether there exists the need for such a channel and, if not, shut it down, at least in its capacity as an official Wikipedia-related medium. --Irpen 01:40, 26 January 2007 (UTC)

Statement by Irpen[edit]

This is not the case I was planning to launch when I talked about my planned ArbCom action recently. But I think the idea has been in the air for some time now. I will be brief since everything there is to it has been said and all sides that wanted to hear, have heard each other's arguments.

  1. ArbCom recognized that the channel has an evil side and has recently made a series of actions to alleviate them.
  2. Thereby ArbCom asserted its jurisdiction of the channel de-facto and the community accepted the ArbCom intercession, thus confirming the said jurisdiction.
  3. The matters whose confidentiality is really necessary are related to checkuser issues, some ArbCom issues and oversight issues. As such, there is a need for ArbCom and checkuser IRC or other private medium. No examples have been given for inherently confidential "Admin-only" issues to this day,
  4. while the very confidentiality of the "Admin-only" channel has been proven to be the reason of several abusive actions. 'The illusion of confidentiality created an illusion of impunity among certain regulars of the channel which resulted in severe offenses, gross incivility, violations of the WP:BLOCKing policies and other malaise.
  5. In view of this, ArbCom is asked to rule whether there is any justification to have the said channel associated with Wikipedia or the Wikimedia foundation.
  6. The decision to shut down the channel, if rendered, would not in any way violate its members' freedom of speech. Nothing prevents the small group of people most closely associated with the channel from communicating in a private medium. Such a medium will, however, have no clout and no relation to Wikipedia.
  7. As a side note, certain recusals in this case are requested.

--Irpen 01:40, 26 January 2007 (UTC)


I would like to add a word on the issue of the jurisdiction (or lack of it) raised by Fred and JPGordon. During the submission of the original, so called, "Giano case" the issues of jurisdiction were raised as objections to the acceptance. Nevertheless, ArbCom accepted that case over the concerns of its jurisdiction at the time. --Irpen 05:58, 26 January 2007 (UTC)

Statement by DragonflySixtyseven[edit]

Oh god, I'm participating in an Arbcom case. I always said that if I was ever on Arbcom, my first act would be to ban everyone who voted for me, and my second act would be to issue lifetime bans to all participants in all disputes.

Anyway. My point about -en-admins is that, when we did our high-level implementation of WP:DENY last summer - rapidly deleting the categories, the templates, and related miscellany for certain notorious repeat vandals - that could not have been successfully planned in an open forum.

Also, sometimes it's good to be able to mention deleted articles in a place where you can be confident that other people will be able to read their content. DS 02:27, 26 January 2007 (UTC)

Statement by Miltopia[edit]

A channel for discussing admin matters, if existent, should exist the same way the channels for discussing admin stuff on-wiki is - visible to everyone. Things requiring privacy don't need to be seen by admins who aren't involved anyway, and can be taken to pms and email. Are admins an official decision-making body, or just people with extra too to implement decisions? If the latter, there's no reason why everyone shouldn't be able to see their discussions.

The whole issue hasn't affected me at all, but I think this would be a good idea anyway. Miltopia 03:26, 26 January 2007 (UTC)

Statement by mostly uninvolved User:Agne27[edit]

As a non-admin, I have not been involved in some of conflicts relating to this channel but as a community member, I do share concerns about the lack of transparency with this channel. In contrast to things like the Arbitrator Mailing list, I do not see a clear need for a "closed door forum" for admins to "vent" and discuss matters that could drastically affect the community. I suppose that a fundamental question in this matter is what exactly an "admin" is and does the responsibility that the community vest upon them require for them the ability to work in isolation and apart from community oversight. I think that question affects many aspects of Wikipedia and would encourage the arbitrators to accept this case and help clarify the matter. Agne 04:46, 26 January 2007 (UTC)

Statement by MacGyverMagic[edit]

If it's the closed nature of the channel that's causing problems, then I think opening it up is a much better solution than full-out removal of the channel. - Mgm|(talk) 12:57, 26 January 2007 (UTC)

Statement by Pschemp[edit]

I can't help feeling that this case is being directed at the channel out of frustration because certain people are upset that a few specific "wrongdoers" haven't been punished enough for their actions. Since their efforts at getting those people lynched have failed, they have taken a different approach and now want to punish everyone who uses the channel. Instead of punishing a lot of innocent people who find the channel extremely useful for matters that aren't appropriate for the entire to community to hear and removing the important support system and sanity check that this channel is, they should be filing arbitration on the specific people they feel have wronged them. Were the channel closed, as someone has put it quite aptly, "the bad stuff attributed to [the channel] would happen in the private back channels instead, but the good stuff would no longer be possible..." This of course does not even take into account the fact that since this started, the channel has *vastly* improved. The remedies already in place are working, so requesting more (from a person who isn't even there to know they are working) is silliness. pschemp | talk 15:41, 26 January 2007 (UTC)

Statement by badlydrawnjeff[edit]

Whether the channel should be shut down is not in the purview of ArbCom, in my opinion. What is in the purview of ArbCom is the behavior of certain administrators, from gross incivility to secret blocks of users to the channel allowing access to non-administrators who are both trusted by the community (such as User:Werdna) and not trusted by the community (such as User:Kelly Martin and User:Tony Sidaway). ArbCom has stated that they've seen the logs. The community at large is failing or inable to act to deal with the issues, the administrators are not showing the ability to police their own regarding the channel, and that is where ArbCom is being requested to step in. This should not be intended to be a condemnation of anyone in the channel, but action against the problem elements for "off-wiki" behavior that causes "on-wiki" disruption. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Badlydrawnjeff (talkcontribs) 15:52, 26 January 2007

Comment by Drini[edit]

This is impractical almost nonsensical.

ArbCom is asked to rule whether there exists the need for such a channel and, if not, shut it down, at least in its capacity as an official Wikipedia-related medium. --Irpen 01:40, 26 January 2007 (UTC)

Ok, arbcom rules no need, shutdown. It won't change anything. People will join then "unofficial" channels like #inird . -- Drini 17:19, 26 January 2007 (UTC)

Statement by Betacommand[edit]

I do not want to make a statement I try to avoid ArbCom but this issue forces me to stray from my normal behavior. I am a regular in -admin. Saying this that does not mean that I am a cabalist and I see the need for a admin/trusted user only channel. There have been times when a situation on wiki has happened and I have one idea to handle it. But I take it to -admin and discuss it there. Some times they agree other times they talk me out of making a very foolish mistake. The issue with access to the channel is that #wikipedia has fallen to the trolls and civil discussion on that channel is almost impossible along with the issue of having logbots in that channel recording everything and posting those to the web. That includes host mask of users that don't have a cloak. that can be very hazardous as most of the time that has a user's IP address in it. In regard to access of -admin I feel that if we can trust a user that they will not post the logs without asking and not to use what new admins who ask for advice against them. Such as Newadmin joins the channel and states that that user Foo has been incivil on page blah and that the new admin is thinking about blocking user foo for 24 hours because of that. while the rest of -admin doesnt see a blockable reason. and the channel convinces the new admin to just leave a note on the users talk page instead of blocking. I do not want user who will take that conversation and hold it against the new admin. As any place on wiki that could offend the user in question and make the admin look bad. Admins go to the channel to seek advice and assistance. If we can trust a user to not spread conversation that helps no one but uses -admins for a good faith place to discuss information I see no reason that a user in good standing and good faith should not be able to request access to the channel. I have seen -admins do A LOT OF HELP to me and other new admins but I do not think it has to be admin only. But I also do not want it turning into the the troll hole that #wikipedia is a majority of the time. Betacommand (talkcontribsBot) 16:55, 26 January 2007 (UTC)

Statement by Duk[edit]

wikipedia-en-admins is usefull. It is also an official part of the english wikipedia (I'll repost this in /evidence if the case is accepted). The arbcom needs to demonstrate that the channel is accountable to the wikipedia community. They can do this by addressing the current complaints (from Giano, Irpin and whoever else there may be). --Duk 19:30, 26 January 2007 (UTC)

#wikipedia-en-admins was set up by en-wikipedians to serve the en-wikipedia community and resides in an official foundation channel. To say that it isn't or shouldn't be accountable to the en-wikipedia community is just plain ridiculous. That logic relies on 1) a weak technicality, and 2) ignores the reason and spirit in which the channel was set up - not to mention the numerous special circumstances mentioned here. There is a good essay about the perils of rigidly following process instead of actually thinking about a problem and fixing it.
The most important special circumstance that has demanded the en-wikipedia community take account of the channel is the long running Giano/Irpen case. This has dragged on and on and on, not because Giano refuses to let it go (well, unless you want to blame the victim for demanding accountability). It's dragged on because the irc leadership completely failed to provide accountability and address complaints, thus leaving it up to the wikipedia community to suffer this incredible mess. That put it smack on our plate.
On a different note - the foundation has various rules for different irc channels regarding logging - some channels may be publicly logged while others may not. To quote Greg Maxwell: Wikipedia is not an anonymity service. When someone ... behaves in ways which are obviously harmful and malicious we should disclose their information as appropriate for the protection of our users and the betterment of our community... [1] In that light, the arbcom should make public all logs of the Numerous incidents involving gross incivility. It would be a wonderfully effective deterrent of future misbehavior. --Duk 04:01, 28 January 2007 (UTC)
Factual correction: "#wikipedia-en-admins was set up by en-wikipedians to serve the en-wikipedia community" - this is factually incorrect - it was set up by Jimbo to serve Danny and the office. One of Mackensen's and my jobs is to help remind the channel of this as needed. - David Gerard 22:02, 28 January 2007 (UTC)
Then why was it proposed, discussed and given specific mandates on the Wikien-l? If it was set up by Jimbo to serve Danny and the office then why haven't they taken responsibility and addressed the problems the arbcom and the community is struggeling with? David, are you saying that #wikipedia-en-admins is not accountable to the wikipedia community? It's a simple question. I'd like Jimbo and Danny to answer this too. If this channel is someones own personal little kingdom and not accountable to the community, while drawing on all the en admins for power and influence, then we have an even bigger problem. --Duk 01:12, 29 January 2007 (UTC)
Indeed I am. And, like a remarkable number of things in Wikimedia, it depends on the person in charge not being insane, rather than on a complicated structure of big sticks to be played by wikipoliticians like a xylophone. Did you know that the daily Featured Article is ENTIRELY Raul's decision? Not yours or mine? He listens, considers and takes notice, but he is by no means obliged. And so on IRC, James listens, takes notice and considers, but is by no means obliged. This is not in fact an inherently horrible way of doing things around here - David Gerard 11:10, 29 January 2007 (UTC)
Yes, Raul runs the daily Featured Article. But if his management of it caused a huge problem that upset the community, he would be expected to fix that problem or he would be replaced. In that way, he is accountable to the community. This is a pretty basic concept, David --Duk 12:02, 29 January 2007 (UTC)

Statement by CBDunkerson[edit]

I see alot of partial and contradictory truths in this case. It is true that the 'admin channel' sometimes carries uncivil or improper discussion... and it is also true that people sometimes exaggerate this and/or launch equally uncivil and improper complaints about it on wiki. It is true that there is sometimes a need for admins to discuss matters privately... and true that any secret communication is inherently going to increase both suspicions of wrongdoing and the actual likelihood of such. It is true that this is more a matter for the community than ArbCom... but it is also true that the community has failed to resolve it (rather spectacularly). Et cetera. So, my suggestions: ArbCom should take the case and define standards for a 'Wikimedia administration' channel. ArbCom may or may not have jurisdiction over the existing channel, but it really doesn't matter... as they certainly have the authority to establish a 'new' channel... and if the design for such met with general approval the existing channel might just be 're-molded'. I think it would be possible to address the concerns raised by ALL sides by creating a moderated channel which everyone could read, but only specific ('voiced' in IRC parlance) users (presumably 'admins' from various Wikimedia projects) could write to, and having standards to take truly confidential matters to a private sub-channel (which is very easy to do). Thus, everyone could see the general discussion and verify that it was above-board, most people can't 'talk' so it keeps the channel from being spammed, and anything which truly needs to be kept private can be split out. People could even be temporarily given 'voice' to participate in discussions relevant to them. Yes, there would still be 'secret communication', but based on what I've seen I think the need for that is actually fairly rare... and IMO people are less likely to be suspicious if Jimbo comes onto the channel and says, 'I need to talk to some people about an OFFICE issue - meet me in <#PrivateChannelName> for a few minutes', than they are currently with everything on the channel being 'secret'. --CBD 21:28, 26 January 2007 (UTC)

#wikipedia-en-functionaries currently displays a spectacular lack of interest. Perhaps it could be declared more official, but you then have to interest admins in going there - David Gerard 12:45, 29 January 2007 (UTC)
Largely irrelevant. That channel is 'invite only' just like en-admins. Essentially the same setup, just with a different group of people running the show. What I suggested above would be fundamentally different in nature. --CBD 14:35, 30 January 2007 (UTC)

Statement by jbolden1517[edit]

I'd like to add here that I essentially left wikipedia for 6 months because of an IRC abuse. I'm still fundamentally alienated from the community and my level of activity even now is 2% of what it was prior to being a victim of an attack that was coordinated on IRC (I should mention I'm not an IRC user, and have probably instant messaged 20x in the last 15 years), so that while the problems started on IRC the damage was done on wiki.

While arbcom has no authority to regulate IRC it most certainly has moral credibility on this issue and further can act to counter balance abuse which emerges from IRC. I'd urge arbcom to take this case and try and set forth policy about what is or is not acceptable conduct on IRC. If lobbying is unacceptable then it should be unacceptable on IRC. If people are supposed to be voting independently then they should not be simply acting based on secret evidence on a secret forum. jbolden1517Talk 20:46, 26 January 2007 (UTC)


When you say "IRC abuse", are you speaking of #admins or something completely different? --Cyde Weys 21:27, 26 January 2007 (UTC)

I wouldn't know where on IRC it occurred. Many of the people involved in the on wiki attacks were admins, and they are heavy IRC users. My point was just testifying that there is a real issue regarding IRC (the broader case / policy), I have no knowledge one way or the other regarding this particular channel. jbolden1517Talk 17:19, 29 January 2007 (UTC)

Statement by InkSplotch[edit]

Burning down a house where conspirators once met yields nothing but a burnt out house. While I would like to see ArbCom clarify it's statement and position regarding their authority over the IRC channels (all of them bearing the Wikipedia name), the only claims I think are worthy of an arbitration case are the underlying complaints of conspiracy, improper admin behavior, and checkuser abuse. I suggest that ArbCom deny this case, since I don't suspect the more vocal complainants are truly willing to pursue those issues. They weren't in the previous arbitration involving these parties, and this new request doesn't convince me they are now. --InkSplotch 22:42, 26 January 2007 (UTC)

Statement by Alex Bakharev[edit]

I have a limited experience with the #wikipedia-en-admins, my employer forbids to use IRC on my workplace, so the most I can do most of the time is to start the client at home and read the logs. In the mid-September then there was the crisis caused by Carnildo's RFA and the blocks of Giano and Ghirlandajo explained as the consensus reached on IRC I decided to see if I am missing something by ignoring this channel and participated (mostly passively) in this channel for a week, since then I logged there a couple times more. This is my impression based on a limited experience.

80% of the time the channel is a social venue (that IMHO is nothing wrong about), 15% of the time it is a productive place helping our project. Some of the project-related things are easy to reproduce via onwiki boards, mail lists and private chats. Some are more difficult. E.g. it is easy to ask on a close channels:"Hey, do you think XX is a General Tojo's sock?" and expect to receive an answer from an admin experienced with this troublemaker. To ask the same question onwiki maybe a grave personal attack if I am incorrect. And it is sort of silly to send this question to hundreds of maillist users.

Still I was surprised that in a relatively short time I was on the channel it was quite a few times used against the principles that we are all trying to install onwiki: we are not driving productive contributors out, on the contrary we are bending backwards to keep them in; we assume good faith; wiki is not a battleground; we keep private data and especially checkuser results private; we speak openly for ourselves, meatpuppetting and conspiring are discouraged, etc. At that week I was on I saw Kelly Martin discussing private details obtained via checkuser of an admin (No, it was not Slim Virgin). I saw a sitting arbitrator (User:Dmcdevit) and a few highly respected admins discussing the way to get rid of a productive user (Irpen) via a "slow administrative process that looked like arbcom to them". I saw serious discussions that if only "we" could push through one of "ours" into bureaucrats the pesky RFA opposers would be irrelevant, I saw a significant collective work on a reply in WP:AN over the Giano's block presented as an independent review of an uninvolved admin. IMHO it is too much for a one week. I believe the channel foster a wrong culture that harms the project. There are many new admins there who a learning to believe that the way the #wikipedia-en-admins do it is the right way to do the admin job. There are users who believe that every admin measure directed at them is a result of an IRC conspiracy (I would believe too if I were in their shoes). Something should be done.

IMHO the best way would be to change the culture of the channel. There should be enough people willing to object to unwiki ideas and if necessary bring wrong actions into some wiki scrutiny. I would suggest to accept to the channels a few trusted users who are vocal critics of the channel: e.g. Giano, Irpen or Baldwindrief. I believe they are contributed enough to believe that they would not leak the logs to WikiTruth or CPlot, but they would act if there is something improper doing on there and their perspective and experience might be quit beneficial for the channel. Additionally it might be useful to allow relevant logs of the channel to be used during the dispute resolution process if the logs are necessary.

Another way would be to close down the channel. It sure would be open under another name but at least all the participants would know that what they are doing is not necessary the best practice recommended by the project. Alex Bakharev 01:45, 27 January 2007 (UTC)

The Committee's dilemma, by ElC[edit]

The Committee faces a dilemma. On the one hand, they are obligated to examine highly related misconduct that exist both on-wiki and on-irc, but on the other, by their own admission, they are (at best) crippled in exercizing authority over the latter. Thus, such cases appear forever doomed to one-sided remedies. This problematic is fundamental to the open nature of the wiki (discretion with regards to sensitive matters notwithstanding), and the question is whether members of the Committee can muster the judicial imperative (and I would go so far as to say, the political will) to tackle such issues heads-on. Which is to say, be creative in finding solutions rather than remain in semi-statis on account of the constraints of jurisdictional proceduralism. The Committee has already offered one such creative remedy, although, quite possibly, a partial one as it is likely that there are not nearly enough Mackensens to keep watch over this particular channel. The question is whether the Committee can aim at a decision that can provide some sort of closure, both for the underlying issues as well as the particulars in this case. My problem with the rational behind Fred and other members' reasons for declining is that, by defering to the community, we are effectively left with endless debate with increasingly greater chances of it becoming circular, eliptical, repeticious, and ultimately, unresolvable. I strongly urge members of the Committee to take this plunge into these unfamilliar waters, to be creative, thereby sparing the community much time& energy. El_C 00:17, 27 January 2007 (UTC)

Lack of Jurisdiction (Werdna)[edit]

The movement to shut down an IRC channel is a foundation issue (a group contact must have the channel shut down, rather than the arbitration committee). Therefore, it is my opinion that the decision to shut down this channel should be made by a foundation-level decision, or similar, rather than by the English Wikipedia's Arbitration Committee. In either case, I find it absolutely unacceptable that the English Wikipedia Arbitration Committee sees fit to regulate my off-wiki communications. I am an individual, and you will respect my right to privacy, and my right to undertake any communications that I like off-wiki. Wikipedia is not my life, and nor should it be. — Werdna talk 06:01, 27 January 2007 (UTC)


I think that, in the cases of personal attacks and incivility off-wiki, people need to exercise whatever resolution mechanisms exist on that area (in this case, speak to group contacts), rather than hiding behind the English Wikipedia's arbitration committee, which is here to regulate the affairs of English Wikipedia, and only the affairs of English Wikipedia. — Werdna talk 07:59, 27 January 2007 (UTC)

Statement by Eluchil404[edit]

I urge the committee to reject the instant case for the reasons presented most cogently above by Tony Sidaway and badlydrawnjeff. There is simply no jurisdiction here and no specific cases of on-wiki abuse stemming from the channel have been identified. A case dealing with those specific claims might be a good idea (or it might not), but trying to turn this case into that one certainly is not. The ArbCom is being asked to rule on the propriety of off-wiki communications and direct the foundation to take certain steps. It should decline. Eluchil404 07:54, 27 January 2007 (UTC)

Statement by mostly un-involved Messedrocker[edit]

Well, here it is. My first post on an RFAR ever. Someone bronze this comment, eh? Anyways, as a person who has dealt with content disputes, I have applied the philosophy that you have to get away from pointing fingers and instead deal with the issue at hand. However, I'm willing to go in the opposite direction for this: people have to remember that access to #wikipedia-en-admins is a privilege. People who abuse the privilege simply can lose it. But it's not as simple as that – there is also miscommunication problems, misunderstanding, and let's not forget the perennial accusations of cabalism.

I think, instead of being harsh and bringing out the big guns, we should be understanding of each other and open to discussion. We need to be able to convince each other that we're good people, because that's what we all are. #wikipedia-en-admins indeed has the ability to be useful, especially for coordinating administrative activities, but we, the people who have access to such an exclusive channel, ought to show the world we're a responsible bunch and not a clique of prats. Signed, your friendly neighborhood MessedRocker 08:02, 27 January 2007 (UTC)

Statement by David Gerard[edit]

This makes no sense as a case.

  1. As far as Wikipedia goes, the channel is on Freenode, with Freenode dealing with the group contact, which for Wikimedia is James Forrester - the individual, not the arbitrator. #wikipedia-en-admins is quite simply not a part of en: Wikipedia, even though it is closely related. The ArbCom could try to force James to act in a certain way, but I predict that one Wikimedia project trying to bend another Wikimedia project to its will would be severely problematic in Foundation relations. The ArbCom should expect to hear a lot of people above it saying "Um, no."
  2. IRC has an "evil side" insofar as human communication does. One could just as well say WP:AN and WP:ANI have an "evil side" considering the continuing poisonous personal attacks there over the past several months, of which Irpen just happens to have been making quite a few (and I fully hope such will be in the purview of this case should the ArbCom accept it). The thing to do is to deal with the poisonous people. I must ask why Irpen does not name the persons whose behaviour he objects to, including something resembling solid evidence.
  3. When dealing with poisonous people, it helps to use something resembling solid evidence rather than hearsay. Some of the "evidence" circulating (and being spammed across email and the wiki) is edited second- and third-hand logs out of context. Admins are already avoiding the channel in case some idiot takes a line out of context and tries to use it against him.
  4. The channel is not a monolithic entity. If the AC somehow convinces the Wikimedia contact it's a good idea to shut it down, the alleged poisonous people will, if existing, go elsewhere.
  5. This is actually Giano round 19. If the ArbCom accepts the case, I would hope it will acknowledge that Giano is the elephant in the room, and deal comprehensively with his conduct on the wiki, particularly the recent series of quite breathtaking personal attacks by him, and the admins who consistently unblock him and enable and encourage his reprehensible conduct.
  6. This case is possibly stupider than the signatures RFC against Tony Sidaway. But that's just a sidenote.

- David Gerard 01:20, 28 January 2007 (UTC)

Chapter and verse pertaining to IRC logs and Giano round 19, by Bishonen[edit]

Diffs and questions in response to David Gerard's statement above.
David's points 2 and 3: Something resembling solid evidence rather than hearsay. "Solid evidence" of IRC abuse (= records of events = logs) is not permitted to be published on the wiki. Such evidence has however been submitted to the arbcom, some of it by me. These logs have impressed the arbcom as showing "absolutely unacceptable" behaviour on #en-admins (statement posted on AN by Fred Bauder[2]). Are you saying the arbcom goes, gullibly, by "edited second- and third-hand logs out of context"? As I've stated here, my own evidence was "logged by myself and without one pixel edited, removed, or added...One neutral person, at my request, submitted his own logs for the same times as mine, and I hope that the two versions were compared." Do you say I lie? If the pristine state of my logs or the abuse they show is not to be accepted, what technique ought I in your view to have used for evidence of mine to become acceptable, or is it a priori impossible that it ever could be?
David's point 5: I would hope it will acknowledge that Giano is the elephant in the room, and deal comprehensively with his conduct on the wiki, particularly the recent series of quite breathtaking personal attacks by him, and the admins who consistently unblock him and enable and encourage his reprehensible conduct.. May we have some diffs for some of the breathtaking personal attacks? Here is a link to the block log for Giano II, so readers can see who these unblocking scoundrels are and the unblocking reasons they give (are they bad reasons? are they bad faith?), and also the presumably neutral blocking admins, and the reasons they give. The unblockers, one time each, are myself, Jimbo Wales, Lar, and Alex Bakharev. Leaving the special case of Jimbo Wales aside, do you have any suggestions for how to "deal with" the others ? For the sake of completeness, I should mention that the log for "Giano", the previous account, has been wiped clean, in seeming acknowledgement of the badness of the indefinite block placed by Carnildo, and I don't remember who unblocked him that time. (It wasn't me.) My memory suggests that several admins rushed to unblock. Bishonen | talk 13:38, 28 January 2007 (UTC).

Personal attacks and insistence on bad faith: [3] [4] (jump to ad hominem) [5] [6] [7] [8] (replacement of his own personal attacks, inability to recognise them as such) [9] (reversion of others' comments in discussion) [10] [11] [12] (acknowledgement of his own personal attacks and incivility, direct statement that he intends to continue) [13] (and again) [14] [15] [16] [17] [18] [19] [20] [21] [22] [23] [24] [25] [26] [27] [28] [29] [30] (refusal to retract accusations of professional malfeasance) [31] [32] [33] [34]. That's just in the last month. Any other editor behaving in this manner would have been community-banned in very short order. And all those who have acted in this manner and been community-banned have been equally convinced of the righteousness of their cause. I don't see how an editor who can make this as a serious demand can be assumed to have any social clue about how a wiki works, particularly this one. The ArbCom has noted in past cases that the problem with regular assumption of bad faith (as is evidenced here) is that the assumer then slips into strings of personal attacks (see above).
I strongly suggest to the ArbCom that, should this case be accepted, Giano be restricted to article space and have a civility parole placed upon him, with only designated admins being permitted to undo blocks due to violation of it - David Gerard 00:22, 29 January 2007 (UTC)
I sincerely hope people will take the time to click on those links that you consider grounds for a community ban. Bishonen | talk 01:37, 29 January 2007 (UTC).
As I said, that's going back one month. I could go back six, or twelve, and will certainly do so should this case be accepted. The essential point is he really doesn't get it, and doesn't belong in policy discussion pages because he demonstrably doesn't know how to comport himself. Look at his consistent assumption of "you're another conspirator!" to the many, many people who've suggested to him he'll get much farther if he stops being actively and deliberately obnoxious - David Gerard 12:42, 29 January 2007 (UTC)
See what I mean? - David Gerard 12:47, 29 January 2007 (UTC)
I, for one, did. They were in my opinion unacceptable, but it's important to remember that this is in the context of what more or less is starting to equate to a lynch mob. I'd be a little unhinged and uncivil in light of that, too. Cheers, ✎ Peter M Dodge ( Talk to MeNeutrality Project ) 01:48, 29 January 2007 (UTC)
Please don't add any more threaded discussion here. It's very reasonable that David did so, as I thoughtlessly put direct questions to him, but I ask everybody else to take comments to the talkpage. Bishonen | talk 02:00, 29 January 2007 (UTC).

Bishonen wants diffs, by Ideogram[edit]

This, this, this, "cowardice", this, this, this, this, this. Want more?

And don't you, Giano, or Irpen ever use the word "troll" in regard to me again. That's for ArbCom to decide, not you. --Ideogram 14:28, 28 January 2007 (UTC)

IMHO the use of the word "troll" on Wikipedia, should be avoided. It is not well defined and not well understood, hence for the most part, it simply results in being used or understood as a generic insult like "asshole". Paul August 20:31, 29 January 2007 (UTC)
Here's a quote from my first ArbCom candidacy questions: I think "trollery" shouldn't be an issue for Arbcom; I'd just as soon see the term kept out of Arbcom discussions at all. It's not a helpful label. --jpgordon∇∆∇∆ 00:39, 30 January 2007 (UTC)
"Trolling" and "troll" are different nouns. A person's behavior can be "trolling" (related to "trawling") without anyone trying to prosecute or defend on the charge "Are you a troll." When a person announces a judgment in advance and then asks questions that have already been answered, the result is far less the Socratic dialogue and much more the McCarthyist trolling. I will not submit diffs to show Ideogram announcing his conclusions before his questions, as this is supposed to be about IRC. Changing the subject again and again to oneself is, yet again, trawling for a fight or attention, and that is the verb "trolling." Geogre 11:26, 30 January 2007 (UTC)
Geogre, "trollery" is a noun different from both of the above, perhaps you would like to argue with Jpgordon about the distinction? Or maybe you should just drop your hairsplitting and attempt to discredit me on a page that you admit this does not belong on. Oh yes, since you hate to repeat yourself, perhaps you would be willing to strike the portions of the above statement where you repeat yourself. --Ideogram 13:53, 30 January 2007 (UTC)
P.S.: Is "trolling" a noun or a verb? Might I suggest a little quiet reflection before hitting the Save button next time? --Ideogram 14:09, 30 January 2007 (UTC)
P.P.S.: Since I hate to talk about myself, let's talk about Giano. Is this trolling? --Ideogram 14:15, 30 January 2007 (UTC)
Yes, Ideogram, that (your comment) is trolling, since this page is about views of IRC, and you want to yell about Giano, and me, and Bishonen, and Irpen. Your theme seems to be, "This user is angry." Our theme is "Arbitrators' views regarding IRC." Geogre 01:49, 31 January 2007 (UTC)
Geogre, it's really a shame that you are accusing another editor of trolling. You should know by now that saying such a thing is never productive. --Cyde Weys 01:52, 31 January 2007 (UTC)
Cyde, please see noun and verb. Ideogram, please see grammar and syntax. These are importantly different concepts. HTH HAND. Geogre 12:18, 1 February 2007 (UTC)
Geogre, please try to say something relevant, "since this page is about views of IRC". Thanks. --Ideogram 19:45, 1 February 2007 (UTC)
How interesting. If your theme is what you claim, you can cease to argue here about me, and in particular about the word "trolling". As I stated before, any time and any where you choose to attack me, I will defend myself. If you wish me to stop talking about it, all you have to do is stop attacking me. --Ideogram 02:55, 31 January 2007 (UTC)

Other's view regarding IRC[edit]

Statement by Interiot[edit]

In the past, it hasn't been clear whether Wikipedia's WP:CIVIL or WP:AGF policies apply on IRC. I believe they should be enforced even more strongly on IRC. On-wiki, individuals being discussed have a chance to read the comments about them later, and can take steps on their own to address civility problems. On IRC, the only people who can enforce CIVIL/AGF are those who are active in the channel at the time. Therefore, on all IRC channels (not just #wikipedia-en-admins — most channels have a no-logging policy), active users should be strongly encouraged to take steps to keep discussion from going too far. --Interiot 02:13, 30 January 2007 (UTC)

Question for UninvitedCompany[edit]

While this is far from a settled matter, it is my view that our behavior standards can and should apply to members of the community regardless of whether they are communicating via Wikipedia (the web site) or some other means. They apply any time we speak in public and identify ourselves as Wikipedians. They apply to all of our dealings with each other where Wikipedia is part of the subject matter.

I'm just curious, how exactly is this supposed to work, and what exactly does it mean? --Cyde Weys 22:58, 30 January 2007 (UTC)

One goal of our behavioral standards is to create an environment in which people can collaborate. If a person's actions on an off-site forum make on-wiki collaboration impossible, then even without the ability to regulate the off-site forum, the Arbitration Committee can enforce remedies that would keep the conflicting parties separate on-wiki and minimize the friction between them. These might be article or process bans, bans on certain types of discussion (analogous to the Everyking-Snowspinner remedy), or complete bans in extreme cases. Unfortunately, we cannot completely stop editor A from engaging in personal attacks on editor B (ED is a good example of this reality) but we can make sure that editor B is not obliged to simultaneously work smilingly with editor A on Wikipedia. Christopher Parham (talk) 23:25, 30 January 2007 (UTC)

How does this have anything to do with dispute resolution? You're talking about social legislation here. When did the Arbitration Committee arrogate to itself this kind of power? Mind you, I treat others with respect and would like others to, but I'd never see such expectations as those quoted above as being within the mandate of the Arbitration Committee. Mackensen (talk) 23:21, 30 January 2007 (UTC)

"They apply to all of our dealings with each other where Wikipedia is part of the subject matter." Uh, so are you going to start censoring people's blogs that discuss Wikipedia? What about discussion on Skype? No offence, but Arbcom does not have the authority to censor or requlate behaviour on the entirety of the internet, which is what this statement implies. This kind of general sweeping assumption that Arbcom has such power is arrogant and absurd. IRC is communication tool. It is in itself, not evil. Again I say, If certain people have misbehaved, then this should go through the steps of dispute resolution. Burning down the entire villiage while trying to find one witch is unacceptable. pschemp | talk 18:45, 31 January 2007 (UTC)

  • I'd say that you're grasping at straws, there, as ArbCom only acts on Wikipedia. If your blog were linked to from Wikipedia pages and were called an official place for Wikipedians to comment, and then if you used your blog to hit enemies and select friends, it would be ArbCom's business to either #1 Unlink to that blog, #2 Sanction you for any on-wiki actions that resulted from your off-wiki actions on the wiki itself. Why does Wikipedia link to and grace an area where no Wikipedia expectations can apply? Why do we do that with this private playground and not your blog? What is it that makes this playground Wikipedia? If it's going to be an official link from us, it should be at least somewhat like us, and this is particularly true if we're talking about the putative "administrators" IRC channel. Geogre 12:22, 1 February 2007 (UTC)

Question for Kirill Lokshin[edit]

The notion that off-Wikipedia attacks are somehow a different animal is therefore flawed. If one attacks a fellow editor, it matters not one bit whether that attack happens to be delivered via talk-page message, email, forum posting, or full-page ad in the New York Times; the important thing is that it is delivered, and that the result is a decreased ability to collaborate on the encyclopedia-writing process.

Yes, but what if it is not intended for delivery? The intent of posting anything on-wiki is that everyone will read it (or at least with the implicit assumption that anyone can read it), thus the prohibition on personal attacks, the enforcement of civility, etc. But what if one says something unkind of another user in a private communication such as an email, PM, IM, phone call, etc., and it ends up "making the rounds" as it were like we saw with certain IRC logs? Was the intent really the same? Personally, I find it ridiculous that certain arbitrators think they should get involved anytime any Wikipedian says something bad of another Wikipedian ... anywhere. Can't you see how utterly unenforceable this is? You're only going to be able to catch the occurrences that are leaked, of course, which make up less than 0.1% of all negative things said about Wikipedians, certainly. Hell, I've talked with people I know in real life about on-wiki events and people that are pissing me off, and I'm sure that people on "the other side" of this are saying exactly the same kinds of things in private emails and their private IRC channels (which do exist). I really would like some sort of clarification on exactly what kind of jurisdiction ArbCom thinks it has, because frankly, it's starting to look ludicrous. If one Wikipedian criticizes another in a forest, does the ArbCom make a sound? --Cyde Weys 00:11, 31 January 2007 (UTC)

  • In this vein, I have mentioned certain problematic editors (Gen. Tojo, etc) to my father. And my father has since become a registered, semi-regular editor. Is that okay? DS 00:18, 31 January 2007 (UTC)
Generally speaking, something only makes its way to ArbCom because someone complains; by a neat coincidence, the only people who typically complain about attacks are the victims. So anything that's truly private—by which I mean that the party being attacked never finds out—isn't really something we'd hear about anyways. (That's not intended as an encouragement of private attacks, of course; but, on a practical level, they're not something that's going to wind up on the ArbCom's plate.)
More fundamentally, the point at which something comes before the ArbCom is generally once it begins to cause some substantial disruption to the functioning of the project (or some part thereof). There is obviously a wide range of possible behavior involved here, and I, for one, have no intentions of trying to play the Thought Police; but outside attacks that have significant on-wiki reprecussions are something that needs to be dealt with, just as any other form of disruptive behavior—intentional or not—would be. Kirill Lokshin 01:38, 31 January 2007 (UTC)

A minor question for UninvitedCompany[edit]

Steve, you say the following:

Freenode previously recognized Jdforrester as a group contact and gave him elevated chanop status for all #wikipedia-related channels. Jdforrester remains the highest-level chanop for #wikipedia-en-admins (and many other #wikipedia and WMF-related channels) by default even though he is no longer a group contact.

Since when is James not the Wikimedia Group Contact? I must have missed that memo. He is still listed on m:IRC Group Contacts as the Chair, too. - Mark 02:12, 31 January 2007 (UTC)

Re: Statement by UninvitedCompany[edit]

Words cannot express my admiration for this statement. --Ideogram 02:50, 31 January 2007 (UTC)

Minor comment on UninvitedCompany's statement[edit]

Bravo! Kosebamse 05:28, 31 January 2007 (UTC)

Some thoughts[edit]

One of the fundamental issues here is that the Internet is blurring the private and public spheres. When I copy a music tape and give it to my friend, that is a private matter which the RIAA cannot control. When I place an mp3 on a website and hundreds of people download it, what was formerly a private activity becomes more public, and a struggle for control arises.

When I tell a friend on the phone, "User X is an asshole", that is a private matter which no one can control. When someone states on an IRC channel "User X is an asshole" and hundreds of people hear him, what was formerly a private activity becomes more public, and a struggle for control arises.

It is absolutely true that no one can enforce Wikiquette on a private conversation over the phone. It is also true that no one can enforce a ban on logging of IRC channels.

One of the ways the Internet is changing our world is that everything is recorded.

I want you to think about that.

I came to the Internet in 1985. One of the new things then was Usenet, perhaps you have heard of it. Today you can access it via Google Groups.

The flamewars from those days were legendary. We were all intoxicated by the ability to say whatever we wanted to an audience of strangers. We thought we were protected by our anonymity.

We were not.

People lost their jobs over things they said on Usenet. Even worse, every word that we thought was transitory, that we thought would disappear into the ether, has been recorded and can be searched today on Google Groups.

Today the same thing is happening on Wikipedia. Even though everyone is warned that their words will be recorded for all eternity, they think they can get away with saying things they would never say in person.

And IRC will become like this as well. Do not assume that IRC can obey they same laws of privacy that face to face conversation does. IRC, like much of the Internet, exists in that gray area between the public and private spheres.

I hope all parties concerned will think carefully about these issues.

--Ideogram 05:51, 31 January 2007 (UTC)

Supplemental comment with own thought by Teke[edit]

Very well said. I can think of some things that I said back in the late '90's when I was a highschooler on message boards. Lo and behold, some of those most obscure posts I can find at This is human communication, and as such is flawed to start. All channels aside, this is at the heart an interpersonal conflict involving less than a dozen parties at it is core. I, for one, as a user of -admin do not appreciate being a periphery in such a dispute. Teke (talk) 01:33, 1 February 2007 (UTC)

We are better off if one more crucial issue is addressed more prominently[edit]

The Arbitrators' statements so far posted address the major problems with admins IRC channel and offer some solutions that will hopefully be implemented. However, in addition to the problem of appalling incivility (even profanity) and personal attacks at the channel, extensively discussed in the Arbitrators opinions, there is another, perhaps, even more crucial problem for the functioning of Wikipedia that is originated from the channel: the malicious onwiki actions prepared or even staged and orchestrated at the channel behind the curtain of its secrecy.

The most damaging aspect of it are IRC-prepared or implemented blocks of the users. Needless to say how damaging those are to the community of the editors. Besides, the perceived by some secrecy of their activity at the channel allows to do, say and plot things one would just never do onwiki as one can be accountable by what was said at WP:ANI while some IRC members may think that at IRC anything goes as no one can be held accountable due to logs being kept secret (that such secrecy of the logs is an illusion is a separate question though).

ArbCom has been made aware of several instances when specific blocks were prepared and discussed over the IRC or even of the discussions about how to "get rid from" certain users in the best possible way, be it by filling the block log with slurs or making it through an ArbCom itself ("slow and grinding process"). ArbCom can take the case in front of it now but limit its scope to the cases of IRC engineered onwiki actions that violated the letter and the spirit of the policies like WP:BLOCK, WP:CANVASS, meta:Privacy policy. I am not sure to which degree the latter is within the ArbCom purview but the other two certainly are as these are on-wiki issues purely of the users' behavior. ArbCom may request that such case needs to be submitted separately (do we need to protract this even more?). Or ArbCom can provide us with its view on such activity through the statements of the Arbitrators at this project page.

I, for one, care much more about content writing users being abusively blocked or planned to otherwise be "gotten rid of" than of someone simply calling users offensive names in their absence. While the latter is simply improper in a civilized society, many of the channel's participants who were obviously tolerant to incivility as the rogue users were not called to order. However, the damage from someone somewhere calling their opponents names with the onlookers approvingly laughing or remaining silent is nothing compared to the damage of abusive blocks, discussions rigged through canvassing and users being baited and purposefully driven into blocks through a coordinated action orchestrated behind the curtains.

This is the activity that is very much affecting the Wikipedia (web-site), it is a user behavioral issue and is certainly within the ArbCom's purview. I respectfully request Arbitrators to address the issue in their statements. --Irpen 07:00, 31 January 2007 (UTC)

I completely concur with Irpen, and have seen logs supporting his statement. Giano 07:20, 31 January 2007 (UTC)

Part of the purpose of the #wikipedia-en-admins channel is to permit open and frank (but respectful) discussion among administrators of behavior problems on the wiki and the best way to respond to them. As I note in the project page, in such cases it is important that the rationale for any ensuing decisions be made public rather than referencing an IRC discussion as the only justification for a page protection, blocks, or deletion. As such, as a principle, there is nothing wrong with discussing a block on IRC prior to making it. Legitimate goals of such a discussion would be to confirm the propriety of the block from a standpoint of policy compliance, to be sure other administrators agree it is necessary, and indeed to determine who is the best administrator to make it. I believe Irpen refers above to an IRC log with discussion that culminated in Giano being blocked on the Wiki. This is problematic, or not, depending on whether Giano's block was justified on its merits at Wikipedia (the web site). This is in itself a convoluted matter, separate from the IRC-related issues I raise here, and I offer no opinion on it at this time. I believe that the Arbitration Committee would be able to address this effectively if it were raised as an independent RFAR, since it is not as divisive as the topic I address here. The Uninvited Co., Inc. 13:00, 31 January 2007 (UTC)


These are very serious charges. I have not yet seen the evidence supporting them. --Ideogram 07:15, 31 January 2007 (UTC)

ArbCom have seen the evidence and I simply request that Arbitrators address the issue, including whether they see it and, if so, what remedies they propose, if they choose to do so.

One possible remedy is to do a full-blown ArbCom case against the specific users with the evidence page, workshop, discussions all over again and people going nuts over this all. Another way is to simply acknowledge the problem and propose the general remedies, like a permanent prohibition of such discussion at the channel. Yet another option is to conclude that the problem does not exist in reality and is purely Giano's (and Irpen's) paranoia.

We do not need another thread here where we all discuss this one more time. This has already happened and people are aware of each other's positions on that. I simply request the issue to be addressed somehow and request the Arbitrators to do so. --Irpen 07:25, 31 January 2007 (UTC)

Forgive me for being dense, but I have not actually seen a statement from any ArbCom members acknowledging the events you describe. UninvitedCompany's statement clearly acknowledges that personal attacks occurred, but curiously does not mention any of the far more serious accusations you make. I await enlightenment. --Ideogram 07:30, 31 January 2007 (UTC)
Well as Irpen cannot post logs, and I at the moment am not minded to, I think this situation needs to to de-eccalate. So you are just going to have to be patient. Giano 08:43, 31 January 2007 (UTC)
I can be patient. --Ideogram 10:03, 31 January 2007 (UTC)

Is this an Official anything?[edit]

If this page (the main page here started by UC, not the comments on the talk moved from the rejected case) exists is just because some arbcom members have strong personal opinions about IRC, why is it being hosted in RFAR namespace? Why does it say opinions of "arbitrators"? Its quite clearly not the opinions of all arbitrators, nor is it anything more than a few short essays that are purely personal opinion. The hosting it here gives the appearance of it being official, which is misleading and wrong. This should be moved to the userspace of the people making statements, because that is all this page is in the end. It is not related to any accepted case. The role of arbitrators is not to pontificate about their personal views in non-existent cases. The use of such hrases as "findings of fact" indicate they are trying the case in an official manner. pschemp | talk 19:02, 31 January 2007 (UTC)

I think it's a very useful. The most important thing it tells us is that the assumption of good faith is very, very important, and that whenever it is abandoned, then wild accusations may be accepted as fact, and witch hunts will inevitably follow. --Tony Sidaway 19:20, 31 January 2007 (UTC)
Useful or not, it isn't acceptable practice to try cases that don't exist in arbcom namespace. This belongs in people's personal userspace.pschemp | talk 19:24, 31 January 2007 (UTC)
I don't think this page is part of trying any case, except to the extent that any page anywhere might be relevant to some case someday. ArbCom was confronted with a complicated situation in which some of the members questioned whether they had jurisdiction, and others believed they might have jurisdiction but it would be unwise to exercise it. As part of what appears to be a compromise, a couple of the arbitrators voted to decline/reject the case brought by Irpen but stated that they would set forth their views on the matter on this page, which can be viewed as a convenient extension of the discussion on RfAr. These arbitrators' hope is that setting forth their views and inviting community discussion might resolve some of the issues that are presently unsettled and have raised concerns. Whether the page is captioned in "arbitration space" strikes me as, under the circumstances, being of slight importance (they are welcome to set up a page in my userspace for all that I care about how the page is captioned). Declining the case but holding this discussion may wind up being one of those compromises that satisfies no one; but arbitrators are chosen in part to be community leaders, and while I am not certain that the arbitrators will be able to bring closure and peace to this set of issues, as far as I'm concerned they are certainly welcome to try. Newyorkbrad 20:20, 31 January 2007 (UTC)
I don't seems an awful lot like the US Supreme Court declining to hear a case, then half the bench going on 60 Minutes for interviews. Uninvited Company prefaced his comments with a disclaimer that not all the ArbCom agreed with him, but several other arbitrator's posted "me too's" after his rather length essay. This seems more divisive than conducive to me. For example, he directly refers to James (a fellow arbcom) making personal attacks and gloating on the IRC channel. If this is the log I'm thinking of, it was already posted on-wiki some time back and James defended himself at the time. (I don't recall the details, but I believe it boiled down to being taken out of context, and an attempt at self-deprecating sarcasm)
I'm in fair agreement with the offical votes to accept/reject the case on the main page as they are now, because I'm not happy with how the case was proposed. As discussion continues on and on, however, I think there might be some kind of case here...but I wish someone (arbcom, Irpen, someone?) would frame it in a more palatable way so the committee can tackle it properly. Posting individual arbiter views like this are just going to continue encouraging people to draw sides, rather than reach any sort of conclusion. In fact, an undercurrent of UC's comments suggests to me that part of the reluctance to hold a new case at this time might be that an arbcom member would be the subject...he didn't say this, but it feels implied to me. I really don't want to see this errupt again 3 months from now with people crying, "but these arbcom people sided with me!", "but we don't trust them, because these arbcom people sided with me!" etc., etc.
It's been said before, ArbCom looks at behavior. IRC Channels don't have a behavior, the people who use them do. I think a case either needs to focus on people - James, Kelly, Tony, whomever, or this page should be shut down and we just walk away. --InkSplotch 20:51, 31 January 2007 (UTC)
There is a certain amount of validity to what you say. On the other hand, while I am probably as guilty as anyone of sometimes analogizing ArbCom procedures to real-world legal proceedings, I don't think that ArbCom is really to be analogized for behavioral purposes to the Supreme Court of the United States. Newyorkbrad 21:00, 31 January 2007 (UTC)
Oh well it's an ill wind that blows nobody good. Here is one of the IRC stalwarts in her usual full flow of venom [35]. Giano 22:57, 31 January 2007 (UTC)
Oh and just in case anyone is wondering "and some anonymous coward (my guess is Giano, but it could just as easily been any of the other members of the witchhunt coalition) has declared that Steve Dunlop should be removed as a checkuser ombudsman for having the temerity to conclude that my use of checkuser on SlimVirgin was consistent with policy" I've never been anonymous in my life - she will have to look to a different end of wikipedia! Giano 23:14, 31 January 2007 (UTC)
Meh. "Powergrabbers" and "useless dramaseeking reprobates" ain't too bad; I was half-expecting something nasty. ;-) Kirill Lokshin 23:21, 31 January 2007 (UTC)
it is though truly amazing, even I did not know that Dacid Gerard's checkuser on me had shown up "created multiple accounts, and possibly been subjected to impersonation" - perhaps she can read David's mind! I'm unaware anyone that anyone has ever tried to impersonate me - that is flattering - Gosh where - do tell us David Giano 23:26, 31 January 2007 (UTC)
  • Maybe we need to start treating links to Kelly's blog like we do those to ED or WR. She seems to have a great deal more affinity with that kind of mindset than an encyclopedist's. —Bunchofgrapes (talk) 23:24, 31 January 2007 (UTC)
  • Why is anyone continuing to make this an issue of Kelly? Kelly is gone from en-wiki. --Cyde Weys 23:31, 31 January 2007 (UTC)
  • Is she? I recall her speaking fondly of her many editing socks in #wikipedia-en-admins. —Bunchofgrapes (talk) 23:32, 31 January 2007 (UTC)
  • She remains with us in spirit. Giano 23:33, 31 January 2007 (UTC)

Discussion of Kelly at this point is off-topic and unproductive. I ask all participants to note that these people seem unable to drop their personal animosities in order concentrate on more important matters. --Ideogram 02:24, 1 February 2007 (UTC)

Personally I give up. It seems no comment can be made that doesn't end up with the same old bickering underneath it. This is reason enough to me to demonstrate that quasi-offical personal comments by arbitrators about a case that hasn't even been accepted is not acceptable behaviour as it only promotes more bickering. Start an arb case against a person y'all, or keep your mouths shut. (And that includes arbitrators.) pschemp | talk 02:48, 1 February 2007 (UTC)
I am sorry you feel that way. I do believe that Giano et. al. have substantive points to make, if they would only stop getting distracted. --Ideogram 02:53, 1 February 2007 (UTC)
Then they should start an arb case against whomever has offended them or shut up. Period. (And "oh, but the logs are private" is not an excuse. The nathanrdotcom case is being deliberated in private, so it can be done.) pschemp | talk 02:56, 1 February 2007 (UTC)
Perhaps you are right. --Ideogram 03:03, 1 February 2007 (UTC)

I would have preferred that the ArbCom have accepted the case and gave us a ruling and a set of remedies that could be used as a guidance in the future. However, lacking that, arbitrators giving their view on the matter to the community is, IMO, the second best thing and is certainly better than just doing nothing.

Above, I expressed the concern that the problem of the malicious activity that falls to Wikiepdia (web-cite) from IRC is not addressed prominently enough and in response the arbitrator agreed that such issues, unlike the existence of the channel, are doubtlessly within the ArbCom's purview but he would rather see a separate case if those are to be addressed even though the ArbCom is not limited in its action to the original case scope. I do agree with Pschemp, though, that ArbCom's addressing the behavior of people based on the narrower user specific evidence would be the right thing to do. I don't see, however, why this requires to start this all over through submitting a new case and protracting this matter. --Irpen 03:07, 1 February 2007 (UTC)

Pretty simple really. Because you started a case about the IRC channel, not anyone's specific behaviour. Filing a case on someone's behaviour is totally different. The case you filed has been rejected. That means you have to start a new one. pschemp | talk 05:47, 1 February 2007 (UTC)

Next Question[edit]

Various people on this page (that this is the talk page for) have claimed the remedies put in place (reshuffling of ops and banning of certain topics and personal attacks) aren't working. Where is the evidence for this? Many of the people claiming this are not even on the channel. I have seen absolutely no evidence of continuing problems in the channel since this was implemented. In fact, I have seen the opposite and seen ops ask people to leave who weren't playing nice. I hate to accuse you of not telling the truth, but there are no facts that support the assertation that "abuse" continues. pschemp | talk 19:28, 31 January 2007 (UTC)

I don't think they ever honestly cared about reforming in the first place. They just wanted to have an axe with which to bludgeon other people's reputations (and that could not be effectively be fought against, because if you're being accused of doing all sorts of things in private, really, how can you prove that it's all lies?). Any actual issues of the truth of what is going on are irrelevant to them. --Cyde Weys 23:28, 31 January 2007 (UTC)

wooo wooo wooo here come the personal atacks again, Giano 23:39, 31 January 2007 (UTC)
Ah the cabalry has arrived. Giano 23:30, 31 January 2007 (UTC)
Hush, Giano. Next Cyde will tell us all about Assuming Good Faith. (It's only for the little people, though.) —Bunchofgrapes (talk) 23:35, 31 January 2007 (UTC)
Lovely expression that Giano 23:45, 31 January 2007 (UTC)
This thread appears unlikely to be productive based on the direction it has taken. As for whether improvements to the functioning of the channel will alleviate the problems, it is probably too soon to say. Newyorkbrad 23:35, 31 January 2007 (UTC)

I'm starting to feel like Alice through the looking-glass or something. Dear reader, do you see David Gerard, some ways above, citing edits by Giano like this one or this one as "breathtaking personal attacks"? Yes? OK. Now, do you see Cyde's analysis of "their" diabolical motives just above here—which are motives of pure unreasoning malice, it appears—and "their" methods—which are telling lies ? Has anybody admonished Cyde? Gently pleaded with him to stay away from this favorite topic, even? (I would do that myself, if I wasn't already one of "them" and thereby fit only to be flamed if I open my mouth, never to be listened to.) Or, incongruous thought, has anybody warned him of an NPA block, even? Not so far. Nothing here, nothing on his page. Cyde hasn't in fact been blocked since May 2006. What an edifying contrast to that rude Giano's block log. David, you who have to fight for breath when Giano lets out horrendous personal attacks like "I am wondering how much longer the arbcom intends for this deplorable mess to continue" or "please go and advise elsewhere", have you been as impressed as the rest of us with Cyde's civility over the past few months? Any plans for requesting the arbcom to institute a "civility parole" against him? The baiters and blockers of Giano, how about you, are you composing civility warnings to Cyde as we speak? Oh ye diplomatic neutral people like Newyorkbrad, who reproaches the thread itself, not any of the people, do you have any notion of getting your feet wet on this page? Bishonen | talk 01:35, 1 February 2007 (UTC).

I was hoping it wouldn't be necessary, but I can dig into the thread in the unlikely event it might help. Pschemp has clarified that her comment at the top is directed at comments made "on this page (that this is the talk page for)," which means comments by the arbitrators, and principally Uninvited Company who expressed the view that matters on the channel are still unsatisfactory. I am sure Pschemp will correct me if I have misinterpreted her comment, and otherwise UC will either comment or not as he chooses. Cyde's imputation of ill motives to other Wikipedians who have criticized the channel I believe to be unjustified. I find no reason to credit his theory that people who have objected to the tone and conduct on the channel were anything other than genuinely aggrieved—whether or not Cyde (or anyone else) had occasion to believe that they had cause to be (as the ArbCom's statement of a week or so ago indicated they to some extent did).
In the arbitrators' comments and in some other threads on this page, I thought some progress was being made. This thread did not and does not seem calculated to advance that goal, which is why I said that it was not going to be productive and shouldn't be pursued. Newyorkbrad 01:58, 1 February 2007 (UTC)
Indeed. I asked a very specific question, and most of the response here is irrelevent to that question. I'm sorry to see that it has degraded into the same old bickering again. pschemp | talk 02:43, 1 February 2007 (UTC)
I have reason to doubt Newyorkbrad's neutrality since he seems quite happy to name names as long as they are not Giano, Irpen, or Bishonen, but I entirely agree with him that this thread is unproductive and should not be pursued. --Ideogram 02:31, 1 February 2007 (UTC)
Ideogram, I would like to ask you to review this comment [36] and consider removing this one, on the same principles. --InkSplotch 02:37, 1 February 2007 (UTC)
If any of these participants want a dirty mudslinging fight in which old wounds are reopened and salt rubbed in them I will graciously oblige them. If they want a productive discussion in which we treat each other with respect and focus on substantive issues I will also be happy to cooperate. --Ideogram 02:46, 1 February 2007 (UTC)
Fight fire with fire? It doesn't help. It just makes a bigger fire. Approach the issues with respect, even if you can grant individuals the same, or walk away. I don't apply this just to you Ideogram, but to everyone here. This conflict exists because every so often someone feels the need to espouse their opinion on someone else. Giano is this, Fred Bauder is that, think better thoughts about this person or nasty thoughts about that person and all it's doing is pissing people off. My God, I think if everyone could just keep their opinions on each other, positive or negative, to themselves for one week, this page would be archived into antiquity and we could all go back to editing. Maybe you can't...maybe you feel so strongly about someone you can't let it go without seeking justice. Fine. Request arbitration against them. Them and their behavior, not their hangouts, their editing patterns, their favorite color, or whether their dog pissed on your lawn. Otherwise, let's drop it. Set it down. Back away. And any time you bump into someone from this conflict, avoid them. Try your best not to interact with them.
I made an article the other day. I took a stub and turned it into an article. Well...a less stubby stub of an article. But I made something, and small and ugly though it may be, I'm proud of it. I'd much rather be making little articles and being proud of them than watching people I feel are very important to this project tearing each other apart. Again. --InkSplotch 03:05, 1 February 2007 (UTC)
You don't want a big fire. I understand and respect that. Unfortunately, I must admit to you that I personally don't care whether there is a big fire here or not. There are more important things in life than this tempest in a teacup. Let Giano, Irpen, Bishonen, and Geogre tell me what kind of discussion they want, and I will give it to them. --Ideogram 03:17, 1 February 2007 (UTC)
Yes, and the most important thing here is Wikipedia. So can anyone tell me how picking fights on this or any other page is helping the project? You're not winning any ground, Ideogram. No one is. Because no one's fighting a useful battle...they're shouting into the wind. I will say it again, and now I will say it to you directly. If any of those people you've listed have done something that you just cannot walk away from, take it to RFC. Take it to RFAR for real. But please, stop the verbal fist fights. It's ugly and it's not helping anything.--InkSplotch 03:43, 1 February 2007 (UTC)
Um, this meta-discussion is not helping anything either. I'm afraid we will have to agree to disagree. --Ideogram 03:48, 1 February 2007 (UTC)
For the record, Ideogram, I found your comment above on this page under the heading "Some Thoughts" very reasonable and well-written. I wish we could have kept the tone at that level. Newyorkbrad 02:42, 1 February 2007 (UTC)
Thank you Newyorkbrad. You have renewed my respect for you. --Ideogram 02:46, 1 February 2007 (UTC)


[edit conflict] I'm ugly enough to know that appeals for peace in the middle of a bun fight usually just results in laughable derision. But here goes.......I think Uninvited suggestion warrants some serious discussion. Shall we change policy to allow off wiki violations of on-wiki policy be arbitrated by the committee? That's clearly an extensive debate that our energies might be better put towards rather than biting chunks out of each other here. Giano and James F, cyde, kelly are unlikely to be reconciled in this century, the calls for santions from both sides (and I'm hardly neutral here) are unlikely to result in any productive action because the issue is devisive to the community as a whole. I've read calls for peace before in situations like this and loved-up appeals for unity are nauseating to those users who are so pissed off about things, so this isn't an appeal to anyones better nature, it's pragmatic. The bigger picture is citizendium is now running its pilot. Wikipedia needs to improve it's quality or possibly flounder, this threat is behind Danny's challenge etc.etc. I'd rather be trying to sort that out than throw buns in here so lets have a truce. Accept we draw a line under the past (now acknowledged) improprieties and get on with it. Admins, please have some respect for you established writers (apologies heal many wounds). Writers lets avoid the wayward admins - with Arbcom authority extended in the way suggested, we gain more protection from 'rogue' action (and lets try and be civil). [running for cover]. :-) --Mcginnly | Natter 01:56, 1 February 2007 (UTC)

  • I think you have a good idea. I am quite prepared to bury the hatchet, I always have been, and forget outstanding questions such as this [37] so long as I'm left alone by the occupants of #Wikipedia en admin. If I have an assurance that no #admin member will ever again bombard me with templates and blocks following "IRC discussions" etc I am happy to forget the past. So long as the "prvate discussions" do not concern me or any of my friends - I could not care less what they do there any more. Giano 08:44, 1 February 2007 (UTC)
I'm going to hold you to that, Giano. In particular, I expect you to never mention or talk to Kelly Martin or Tony Sidaway again, either directly or indirectly. --Ideogram 08:54, 1 February 2007 (UTC)
Do you know Ideogram? I sometimes wonder what you are doing on this page at all? In fact sometimes you seem les than helpful. Perhaps if you allowed those concerned to deal with these things without your input, things would be sorted soomer and more easily. Now I suggets you but out and let people who know what they are doing sort it - OK? Giano 11:15, 1 February 2007 (UTC)
Nice example of burying the hatchet. --Ideogram 11:20, 1 February 2007 (UTC)
Please stop baiting. I feel that now the problems of IRC#admins have had a very good public airing, people are now forming their owm opinions of that channel without further help from me. So now is probably an opportune moment to calm things down a notch or two. Unless I'm attacked by the occupants of #IRCadmin here or on IRC again, I will try to say no more on the subject. Giano 12:22, 1 February 2007 (UTC)
Too bad you didn't think of that before deciding to attack me. And after declaring you were ready to "bury the hatchet", even. --Ideogram 19:50, 1 February 2007 (UTC)
Ideogram beleive me, If it were not for the Atlantic, I would indeed meet you and happily bury the hatchet. As that happy event is unlikely to take place, just but out, and accept as far as I'm concerned peace has broken out. OK? Giano 21:38, 1 February 2007 (UTC)
You do not decide who gets to participate here. --Ideogram 21:53, 1 February 2007 (UTC)
You are quite right. Good Night! Giano 22:11, 1 February 2007 (UTC)

A disturbing enlargement of scope[edit]

While I broadly agree with much of The Uninvited, Co.'s statement, I think the desire to extend Wikipedia policies, particularly on civility, to "anywhere the community gathers" represents an over-extension of the Arbitration Committee's authority, for two reasons.

First, the civility policy, as written, applies itself to "the conduct of editing and writing edit summaries, comments, and talk page discussions on all Wikipedias". Attempting to extend that policy to, in essence, all public utterances of Wikipedians regarding one another seems to me to extrapolate far beyond anything intended by the policy at present. This is further complicated by the indistinct boundary between "public" and "private" space on the Internet, which suffers from the sorites paradox. If I send an email to two friends eschewing circumlocution and saying "That SOB X is violating BLP and making up sources again," this is presumably a "private" communication. If I send it to five people? Ten? There seems to be immense potential for wikilawyering the gravity of an offense up or down. Kirill Lokshin, above, has suggested that this is not a problem, because the Arbitration Committee does not intend to become the "Thought Police," and will not attempt to enforce civility in off-wiki behavior until it becomes "significantly disruptive" on Wikipedia. Frankly, this makes me even more concerned about the matter. Selective enforcement

Second, it's by no means clear that the Arbitration Committee is equipped to analyze off-wiki evidence. Within Wikipedia, we have fairly reliable mechanisms for connecting people to their actions. Trying to determine the connections between some pseudonym on- and off-wiki is tremendously uncertain, and invites allegations of conspiracy, bad faith, etc. which cannot be proven and will add to, rather than detract from, the bad blood surrounding any such uncivil expression off-wiki. If ArbCom sets itself up to make an extensive examination of off-wiki personal actions, the cases in which it does so are likely to be far more tangled, vituperative, and uncertain than has hitherto been the norm.

Taking Uninvited's statement at face value, it seems that the principal problem here is that #wikipedia-en-admins, while closely linked to the Wikipedia community and considered a useful resource by many, does not reflect the consensus of that community with regard to certain matters. The remedies suggested in "Changes to IRC decisionmaking structure," viz., the development of a community process to select the IRC group contact (which would presumably be arranged at Foundation level?) and the acknowledgment that Kelly and Tony are not, since the last "Giano" ArbCom case, "trusted" in the sense of the Wikipedia community, and should not have access to the channel while they so remain, seem to me to deal with the problem as currently presented. For the reasons I've explained above, and because these changes are not the direct responsibility of ArbCom, I don't think this should become an opportunity to promulgate a very significant change in Arbitration policy. There may, as noted, still remain the residue of an arbitrable dispute over the legitimacy of blocks and user conduct apart from the issue of how IRC is to be managed, but no such case has as yet been filed. Choess 02:50, 1 February 2007 (UTC)

I do share your concerns about the extension of Arbcom power in such a way. I think its about getting the right balances of pro's and trying to mitigate the cons. I'm not sure your concerns regarding selective enforcement are as horrific as you imagine. I would have thought, whether or not to enforce an action, is a decision that can be made as part of a two-stage (quasi-)legal test. 1. Is there evidence of off-wiki rule breaking? 2. Is there evidence of a demonstrable link between that evidence and on-wiki actions? As to equipping Arbcom to deal with off-wiki evidence, for our 'official' IRC channels why not insist users log-on with their on-wiki names? I believe a suggestion has been made to create an on-wiki unredacted log available for view to admins only and may be used as evidence. This seems sensible in principle; although the Kafkesque question of how a non-admin user is supposed to be able to complain about a conversation he knows nothing about needs answering. The devil's in the detail here, but I'm not sure the principle is that flawed. To settle everyones nerves about 'the past' - declare an amnesty, but resolve from now on we play our cards with open hands and without the revolvers under the table. --Mcginnly | Natter 09:57, 1 February 2007 (UTC)
We have to remember that this is not any old private space. In fact, it's not a private space at all. It is a public space created by Freenode to serve Wikipedia, and it is a very specific subsection of that which has caused problems. Wikipedia links to these IRC channels from WP:IRC and describes them as semi-official. We make one of them semi-exclusive and thereby seem to suggest that it's superior, selective, and better in all ways to the rest. If we are going to link to the channel with Wikipedia pages, then that puts it (the link, if nothing else) within the scope of ArbCom (only because, if I were to unilaterally delete WP:IRC or edit out the "bad" channels from it, an edit war would erupt that would go immediately to RFAR), and if this is a place created at our behest to "serve" us, and we find, instead, that it is hurting us, that it is home to people who do not "belong" according to the rules of the place, and if we are told that there will be no change of anything in operation of the place without the permission of a user who does not have to listen, then we have a right to question why we're linking and to enforce Wikipedia's expectations and rules there.
IRC is half in and half out of Wikipedia. Whenever those with ops there are jostled toward on-wiki rules, they may insist on the separation. When people there jostle the rest of us toward independence, ArbCom and others have the right to insist on the connection. What's clear is that we can't have it both ways, can't have it "not Wikipedia when it suits us" and "is Wikipedia when it suits us." The half in/half out status can only work if there are clear enough delineations of what that means to prevent abuse in both directions. No blocking someone for what they said on IRC, and no blocking someone because people on IRC urged it. No blocking for "personal attacks" made on IRC, and no personal attacking on IRC. Geogre 12:36, 1 February 2007 (UTC)
Since the responses have been directed towards IRC, let me be clear and say my comment wasn't intended as a paean to license on IRC: I agree that the present situation, where IRC is considered an important tool by the Wikipedia community but is *not* ultimately responsible to that community, is not acceptable due to the actions that have taken place. I support the whole section entitled "Changes to IRC decisionmaking structure". Having established that the community will have the power to choose the Freenode IRC contact with intervals, the community should also have some sort of power, direct or indirect to define policy for the IRC channels. Whether it's solely in the hands of the contact, or the policies are developed directly on-wiki by consensus as with our policies about the wiki, the Freenode IRC channels do need some sort of civility policy to stamp out the abuses described here.
My concern is principally with the more general parts of Uninvited's statement, which seem to me to open the scope of ArbCom enforcement and consideration far, far beyond simply #en-wikipedia-*. Obviously, one mayn't use external webpages simply to transfer one's personal attacks off-wiki: if X writes at a blog, "Y is a feeble-minded illiterate" and then goes to Y's talk pages and says, "Here's what I think of you: [link]", that's clearly a personal attack which it's in our best interests to curtail. If X writes the same thing to blow off steam and goes on working, and Y later finds it by himself, it's much less clear that the community should involve itself in telling X to mind his tongue. Now, maybe that's what Uninvited and Kirill meant all along, that people couldn't make personal attacks on-wiki by use of content or expressions off-wiki. If so, I think there needs to be some consideration of the wording, because as the statement stands, it seems to me to be an invitation for parties to introduce all kinds of material, technically exchanged by "gathered Wikipedians", that may or may not be jejune to what's happening on-wiki (e.g., the Usenet feuds that sometimes boil over into here, like r.s.p-w), and also to make allegations of identity that will be very difficult for the Committee to prove or disprove. By all means, set the wheels in motion at Foundation level to bring IRC under authority of the Wikipedia community. But let's be careful about extending the scope of what is arbitrable, because wikilawyers will certainly make hay of it. Thanks to you both for well-considered responses. Choess 16:28, 1 February 2007 (UTC)

First, thank you Geogre for concentrating on the important issues. I hope you will continue to do so.

We have to remember that this is not any old private space. In fact, it's not a private space at all. It is a public space
Please see my comments above. It is neither wholly a private space nor a public space.
it is a very specific subsection of that which has caused problems.
It is a very specific few users in that specific subsection who have caused problems. ArbCom asserts measures have been taken to deal with them.
We make one of them semi-exclusive and thereby seem to suggest that it's superior, selective, and better in all ways to the rest.
I find it hard to believe anyone would think #admins is "better in all ways to the rest". The newly created #wikipedia-en-functionaries is also semi-exclusive and to my knowledge no one thinks it is "better in all ways to the rest".
If we are going to link to the channel with Wikipedia pages, then that puts it (the link, if nothing else) within the scope of ArbCom (only because, if I were to unilaterally delete WP:IRC or edit out the "bad" channels from it, an edit war would erupt that would go immediately to RFAR), and if this is a place created at our behest to "serve" us, and we find, instead, that it is hurting us, that it is home to people who do not "belong" according to the rules of the place, and if we are told that there will be no change of anything in operation of the place without the permission of a user who does not have to listen, then we have a right to question why we're linking and to enforce Wikipedia's expectations and rules there.
That's an incredibly long and hard-to-read sentence. Can I ask you to do some copyediting before posting next time?
I'm not sure what you mean about "people who do not 'belong' according to the rules of the place". Part of this debate is about what the rules of the place are.
There have in fact already been changes in the operation of the place. It was precisely announcement of that fact that started the current discussion.
No blocking someone for what they said on IRC, and no blocking someone because people on IRC urged it.
There has been no evidence presented showing that this occurred.
No blocking for "personal attacks" made on IRC, and no personal attacking on IRC.
No personal attacks here either, please. --Ideogram 21:05, 1 February 2007 (UTC)
Hello, I think uninvited has referred to the "catch 22" of users not being able to present logs as evidence - so you are correct, no evidence has been presented to you. That's not to say evidence hasn't been presented to Arbcom (I understand it has - what they made of it I don't know). I think Geogre is refering to people on the #admin channel who aren't admins, but I don't pretend to speak for him. --Mcginnly | Natter 00:05, 2 February 2007 (UTC)
Yes, Irpen and I discussed this earlier. He claimed the evidence has been presented to ArbCom, and I noted that ArbCom has not made any public acknowledgement of this. Until they do, I have to regard these claims as unproven. --Ideogram 00:17, 2 February 2007 (UTC)
In fact, there are a few users. Measures have been taken. I do not think they are sufficient, as they are a set of keys to a different lock. We added ops, but this suggests that insufficient numbers were the problem. They were one problem, of course. We have not amended ops. We have asked, politely, that people comport themselves well. This assumes that people were ignorant of these expectations before. I do not believe they were, given the way they altered their discourse as soon as Jimbo showed up. I have written a longish bit on why there is a temptation inherent to a chat forum that will move toward complaint, and from complaint to a sort of hater's chic. Unless there are people always watching to ensure that there is no character assassination, always watching to make sure there are no prosecutions without the defendent present, and with the ability to stop the bad talk, we may swap out Kelly and David and Tony and Cyde talking about "idiots" who need to be "killed" for another group doing the same thing.
One way out is transparency, which would require getting rid of the "invitation only" status of "admins." Another way out is "accountability," which means the ability to log and to present any and all logs on Wikipedia as evidentiary matters in dispute resolution. Neither of these is likely. The third way out is a set of expectations and behavioral guides that are to be enforced not by "special" overusers, but by all users. This is the only one that is possible, short of killing the IRC channel links altogether.
The argument that "people will just make another" is spurious. First, it's disproven by the argument itself. If it's no big deal, then people wouldn't fight like their lives were at stake to keep it from happening. The fact that they do suggests that they don't believe their own argument. The argument that "it's faster than AN/I" is also spurious, because IRC only gives you access to people online, on IRC, and active at that one particular moment, which is hardly going to be a fair, equal, or accurate representation of administrators. It will, instead, give disproportionate effect to the views of the loudmouths who haven't anything else to do (like edit or tweak or gnome or work at jobs). Is this the segment we really want to have that kind of effect? The argument that it's "easier than AN/I" is similarly ridiculous. Getting in, explaining in 64 character lines, and giving links is nigh impossible.
However, chatting and meandering and trash talking is easy. Encouraging everyone to vandal hunt is easy. Validating the most anti-"vandal" over all others is inevitable. The result is paranoia and distortion of our ranks.
Oh, and yes, I was referring to Kelly Martin, who is not an administrator but who, at the time of this case, still had "ops" at the administrator's IRC channel, and Tony Sidaway, who is not an administrator, but who, again, had "ops," and Greg Maxwell, who is not an en. administrator but had "ops" at the en.administrators IRC channel. This case was the better chance, I thought, because it avoided vilifying and exscoriating specific persons to focus on the medium that pushes toward abuse. Knocking out those three users would not solve the problems inherent in the medium and its queer relationship to Wikipedia. Geogre 03:10, 2 February 2007 (UTC)

Geogre's "fight"[edit]

Since Geogre saw fit to attack me on the MfD proposal, which has now closed, I think it would be nice for me to have the chance to defend myself, since he is so vocal against "character assassination" and "prosecutions without the defendent (sic) present".

You are "responding" with a "fight" here to something said to you? Didn't think so. So, why are you here? David Gerrard's (sic) citations didn't answer the question at all, as there were no personal attacks in them. In fact, they rather seriously indicted David's understanding of either "personal" or "attack." Now, please go on inserting comments randomly wherever they will do least good. Tell us how you feel about Giano again. In fact, you should feel free to do so everywhere. After all, there is some small chance that someone, somewhere, talking about something else, might want to know. Geogre 02:46, 2 February 2007 (UTC)
Was Doc talking to you? Why was your comment relevant? Why are you attacking David Gerard? Are you unable to let people read the diffs and decide for themselves? I rather enjoy your assertion that I have no right to respond to your "randomly inserted" comments. Hmm, you did tell us how you felt about Irpen, Giano, and Bishonen's statements, an opinion that was not at all relevant to the topic being discussed. Say, I don't suppose you have a prior relationship with Irpen, Giano, and Bishonen, do you? Do you claim to be an objective judge? And if you read very carefully, you'll note that I never mentioned my personal opinion of Giano in that comment anywhere. I am content to let the facts speak for themselves. Apparently you are not. --Ideogram 09:34, 2 February 2007 (UTC)

Geogre, I offered you a choice. We can have a "hair pulling and shin kicking" fight, which you claim to abhor, or we can have a reasonable discussion. No sooner had I thanked you for taking positive steps towards the latter than I find you engaged in hair pulling and shin kicking on the MfD.

Why are you so eager to discredit me? Why are you incapable of putting aside your personal animosities in pursuit of larger goals?

Your recent ArbCom election run was most instructive. I personally tried to frame my vote in the most positive way possible.

However, when Kelly Martin entered the race, you attacked her like a rabid dog.

You know, Kelly Martin had no chance of winning. But the number of people who cited your vitriol in their votes against you was staggering. You probably would not have won either, but I estimate you lost up to fifteen percent approval as a direct result of your actions. What is worse, a large number of formerly neutral observers now view you negatively.

So, are you in fact incapable of focusing on what is important, or do you just not care?

--Ideogram 09:47, 2 February 2007 (UTC)

I do not see what relevance this has to the discussion. Ideogram, if you want to discuss other users this is not the place for it, could you please have this conversation elsewhere? Catchpole 10:50, 2 February 2007 (UTC)
I have said what I needed to say. Whether Geogre chooses to respond is up to him. --Ideogram 10:53, 2 February 2007 (UTC)

A modest proposal by Durova[edit]

Vote with your feet. DurovaCharge! 22:37, 1 February 2007 (UTC)

I'm not sure what you mean, care to expand?--Mcginnly | Natter 00:10, 2 February 2007 (UTC)
Additionally, it's arguable that people voted with their feet long ago. Take n=total number of administrators, then nn=number active on en.admins. n-nn=persons voting "no." I think we're just a tad over supermajority. Geogre 11:53, 2 February 2007 (UTC)
I beg to differ on that point. First, of the 1,105 administrators as of this post, only 97 are marked inactive on Wikipedia:List of administrators. And of those 97, a rough count I just made shows that about 18 of them seem to have left due to on-wiki issues. Admittedly, some of the rest may have left for a multitude of reasons, and I may have missed a few where I wasn't aware of the actual circumstances around a situation. Also worth noting is that the inactive administrators on that page have not been updated in 3 months; I'm sure a few more have left since. But I think the stats show at least a trend, that most administrators leave not because they're disgruntled with the project, but because they just have too many other things going on. Of the admins I looked at, many had job or school issues (notably, Lord Emsworth hasn't edited due to college), and others just moved on to other sites, as often happens on the internet. Sure, there are those who don't like the way the project goes, but I'd say that the majority of admins have and do support Wikipedia today. Ral315 (talk) 15:46, 2 February 2007 (UTC)
I think you have misunderstood the meaning of "nn". Geogre defined "nn" as the number of active users of the admin IRC channel. Paul August 18:00, 2 February 2007 (UTC)
Ah. Mea culpa. Ral315 (talk) 22:08, 2 February 2007 (UTC)
"n-nn" cannot be said to be the number of admins who want the channel shut down. It is possible for there to be admins not on #admin who still feel it is worth keeping, and many, probably most, who just don't care. I do agree, however, that if everyone left #admin (and, say, went to #wikipedia-en-functionaries) that would be an effective demonstration of the community's will. --Ideogram 18:10, 2 February 2007 (UTC)
I'm not on IRC, nor do I intend to go there. And in my view the existence of this page is a strong reason for the people who are there to leave. Whether or not this IRC acually is a breeding ground for indecorous conduct, it has raised serious concerns that the vast majority of Wikipedians have no means of verifying for themselves. I suspect that casts too long a shadow to be worth it. Rather than quibbling over whether log excerpts were selected out of context or whether the channel falls within ArbCom's purview, step back and see how this situation appears to the average editor. Does IRC produce anything wonderful that cannot be emulated via less controversial means? DurovaCharge! 17:49, 2 February 2007 (UTC)
Surely you are not proposing that we abandon IRC altogether. --Ideogram 18:18, 2 February 2007 (UTC)
Personally I do, although I don't recommend that extreme for everyone. I prefer maximum transparency and only have e-mail enabled because I couldn't have gotten sysopped without that (sometimes individual users have to make confidential disclosures). The particular problem with admin-only IRC is its lack of transparency, and the partial transparency through log leaks only compounds the problem: it makes other users who don't have the option of joining curious and suspicious. There's certainly the potential for misuse and there's also the appearance of impropriety. What does admin-only IRC accomplish to overcome those drawbacks, and is there no other venue that could provide the same benefits? I've never seen a straight answer to that question. DurovaCharge! 21:21, 6 February 2007 (UTC)
There will always be communications of various degrees of transparency, from face-to-face to email to IRC to on-wiki. Furthermore, I believe this is desirable, as there will always be issues that benefit from preliminary discussion with a limited audience in order to hammer out ugly details before being presented to a wider audience for full discussion and approval. I find I use the full range of communication options in my work for MedCabal.
As for "admin-only" IRC, the new #wikipedia-en-functionaries is a proposed alternative that is not admin-only. --Ideogram 05:11, 7 February 2007 (UTC)

Other arbitrators[edit]

Are other arbitrators planning to post to this page? The one that comes to mind for me is Raul654, who is one of the more active IRC users, though I'd certainly appreciate all arbitrators' opinions on the issue. Ral315 (talk) 03:10, 2 February 2007 (UTC)

I'm trying to compose something. But I have been very busy elsewhere. And I am finding it slow going. As for other arbiters, if you feel strongly enough, you might want to express your desire more directly. Paul August 18:08, 2 February 2007 (UTC)

Will it matter?[edit]

I think that if closing, or logging, or any othermajor change is made to the admin IRC channel, it will make little difference, but what little difference it makes will be negative. Simply, bad behavior will move to private channels, out of reach of ArbCom, etc., while good behavior will be eliminated or deterred by whatever changes are made. If a group of admins wants to make trouble - perhaps to "punish" a problem user, or to push a particular POV, or whatever, it's not at all hard for them to "conspire" on their own; either via emails, or private off-wiki IRC channels, or in any number of other ways.

The problem isn't the admin IRC channel, it's admins who act badly. Argyriou (talk) 23:09, 2 February 2007 (UTC)

True, but I assume this is the source of uninvited deliberately vague 'wherever wikipedians gather' phrase. The idea is if, when people are wearing wikipedian hats, they act in contravention of policy and implement those acts on-wiki, then Arbcom can act if they are presented with sufficient evidence. --Mcginnly | Natter 23:30, 2 February 2007 (UTC)
I suspect that the move to private channels will make evidence-gathering that much harder, too.
In general, I don't think the IRC "abuse" problem is so great that we need to make a general policy change rather than just dealing with abuse as it happens. There does seem to be an under-addressed problem with administrator abuse in general, but IRC is only a part of that. Argyriou (talk) 00:22, 3 February 2007 (UTC)
But the suggestion put before the community by these committee members is, should they be able to enforce wikipedia policies on other fora. In principle, it seems sensible that they should, not least because of Kirill's concerns about maintaining a collegiate atmosphere. The boo-hiss from the sidelines and the knowledge by the protagonists that such behaviour is outside the scope of sanction is clearly undesirable to me. Maybe you feel the problem isn't too great to warrant action, but for me, the principle that it should warrant action is compelling enough. --Mcginnly | Natter 02:05, 3 February 2007 (UTC)

A very small number of comments on this[edit]

Since I'm mentioned in Uninvited Company's report, I'll comment on that.

Somebody has raised my access level from 5 to 10 on #wikipedia-en-admins. I've never asked for or used this access level (which is a chanop level) and seeing that it has been used as a pretext to attack the channel I have asked several times for it to to lowered to 5. Uninvited Company has the access level to do this himself if he wants (I do not and I haven't had any luck in my requests for this to be done).

There is no problem with the channel that I am aware of; throughout the latest brouhaha it's continued to serve as a useful medium for facilitating day-to-day operation of the wiki. There are certainly some moderately serious problems with the wiki that cannot be resolved from IRC, but if the arbitration committee isn't able to resolve them I don't think I'd have much success either. --Tony Sidaway 04:53, 3 February 2007 (UTC)

Dom fixed it for me. So no more grounds for moaning, eh? :) --Tony Sidaway 05:17, 3 February 2007 (UTC)

Movement of page[edit]

Now that the page and its talk have moved (although I do wonder if sleeping dogs should be allowed to lie, that has not stopped me in the past), is the WP page open to personal position statements regarding IRC by non arbitrators? ++Lar: t/c 14:17, 6 February 2007 (UTC)

'Tis a wiki - so I'd guess so.--Docg 14:22, 6 February 2007 (UTC)
grin. But the page says arbs only. Guess that's the first thing to fix then, and see if it gets reverted. :) ++Lar: t/c 14:57, 6 February 2007 (UTC)

Please post to the talk. Let's keep the page itself for Arbs. Yes, we are all equal but some are more equal than the others and especially the arbs. Strange that Dmc, who often gives rather personalized opinions as an arb, like what he likes or dislikes, "wants" or does not want, chose to make everyone equal in this case.

I am reverting this unproposed and undiscussed move and, Lar, please post your own opinion here at talk. At the side note, I would be interested to read it as well. --Irpen 20:31, 6 February 2007 (UTC)

Irpen, you are not an arbitrator. No actual arbitrators objected to the move. If you want the page to stay edits by arbitrators only, dmcdevit would seem to have much more authority in moving the page than you. You just said yourself, "Lets keep the page itself for the arbs." pschemp | talk 21:11, 6 February 2007 (UTC)

Please note that the Arbitration Committee formally rejected hearing a case related to this matter. This means Committee has no comment, positive or negative. Further comments by an arbitrator are fine, but any arbitrator who would still like to comment on the matter speaks only as an editor like everyone else, and does not speak from their position as an arbitrator, or for the Arbitration Committee, and such personal opinions do not belong in the subpages of the Arbitration Committee, lending them undue weight. For an arbitrator, it is very important not to conflate their position as arbitrator with their place in the community as just another editor. Irpen, I would suggest that making attacks on my character because you disagree with a page move is unhelpful; if you have concerns about a different matter, please contact me personally. Dmcdevit·t 21:40, 6 February 2007 (UTC)

Pschemp, fine by me as long as opinions of Arbs posted to the main project page, like the ones by UC, KL, PA and FB are not diluted by the opinions of those "fickle and ill-informed users" (like Irpen among others). Views of Arbs on this extremely important and controversial matter are very crucial to know as well as the notable fact that some arbs choose to remain silent on the matter. As long as comments of other users remain at talk, I don't care which space this all belongs.
Dmcdevit, please stop complaining endlessly and baselessly on my "attacking your character". You bring this up every time there is an attempt to give any valid criticism of your actions or positions, be it on recusals or disagreeable page moves. At least I make those points publicly and stand by them, unlike discussing behind the IRC curtain (by some) about "getting rid from Irpen through a slow and grinding process which looks like an Arbitration". When running for an ArbCom you spoke about being thick-skinned and open minded. Accusing baselessly of an attack is an attack in itself but I am also thick-skinned. --Irpen 22:32, 6 February 2007 (UTC)
I don't know about endless, as I've never seen such comments between you two before, but up above you suggest some are more equal than others and your statement, Strange that Dmc, who often gines rather personalized opinions as an arb, like what he likes or dislikes, "wants" or does not want, chose to make everyone equal in this case, suggests that Dmcdevit conflates his position as an Arbitrator when it suits him. That strikes me as an attack on his character. If you do not mean it as such, could you revisit that statement above and try and clarify it for the rest of us? --InkSplotch 23:08, 6 February 2007 (UTC)
I am not sure what is so unclear in my words that requires "revisiting".
I addressed now and previously several specific issues of his actions as an Arbitrator that I find questionable, namely :
  • attempting to affect cases from which he had to recuse
  • refusing to recuse from cases where he is personally involved (at least as seen from the statements submitted to the case even if he denies that)
  • returning and even making motions (!) in the cases where he has already recused
  • discussing over the IRC with non-arbs how to "get rid from" a wikipedia editor through arbitration (remember the user in question is an arbitrator himself), with the latter incident being specifically related to the issue at hand
Those points were raised and even if one disputes the validity of all or some of them, those are specific questions to the propriety of one's actions not the attacks on one's character. --Irpen 04:14, 7 February 2007 (UTC)