Wikipedia talk:Userboxes/Archive 6

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Request for Information

I am officially requesting of ANYONE and EVERYONE who can provide me with information regarding:

  1. Where it was determined by community concensus that Wikipedia:Userfying userboxes (which was rejected by the community), is now acceptable?
  2. Where it was determined by community concensus that WP:GUS may be used as a rationale for an editor's actions (as one might use a policy statement or guideline).
  3. Where it was determined by community concensus that NO userboxes may be created in template space. (I see this addition to WP:GUS but have, as yet, found no community concensus supporting it.)
  4. Where it was determined by community concensus that such templates that the community has determined that T1 applies to (those that are divisive or inflammatory), are to be allowed to be userfied prior to (or even after) speedy deletion.

What I am NOT asking for/about at this time:

  1. Your opinion of whether m:deletionism, m:inclusionism, or any other -ism, is "more correct".
  2. Your opinion of whether or not userboxes should exist.
  3. Your opinion of where userboxes should exist.
  4. That templates should not have fair use images. ("Fair use images should be used only in the article namespace.")
  5. That "Templates, particularly userboxes, which are divisive or inflammatory may be speedily deleted; see Wikipedia:Criteria for speedy deletion#Templates. For discussion, see Wikipedia talk:Criteria for speedy deletion#Comment on project page asked for links to Jimbo's opinions, and especially Wikipedia talk:Criteria for speedy deletion#Regarding the new Template CSD. However, Jimbo Wales has urged both caution in deleting userboxes while the policy is discussed, and, in particular, restraint in reversing others' deletions or undeletions." - Wikipedia:Requests for arbitration/Guanaco, MarkSweep, et al#Divisive or inflammatory userboxes may be speedily deleted and Wikipedia:Requests for arbitration/Tony Sidaway#Polemical or inflammatory userboxes may be speedily deleted
  6. WP:JOU
  7. WP:T1D

Please either respond here, or on this talk page. Thank you in advance - Jc37 18:05, 27 August 2006 (UTC)

  • GUS has strident supporters. It's not clear they represent or speak for the entire community. That's pretty much the whole answer to all of your questions. John Reid 13:31, 1 September 2006 (UTC)
  • It apparently not being clear is one of several reasons for these questions. - Jc37 01:44, 3 September 2006 (UTC)
    • John Reid is right. I have asked your questions MANY times, and with no response. However, User:Cyde and User:Tony Sidaway have taken the lead on unilateral implementation of GUS as if it were policy. In fact, they have made claims that it is policy. I am not familiar enough with Wikipedia procedures to know what could be done to address this problem, however, the implementation proceeds. Next move? --NThurston 13:41, 1 September 2006 (UTC)
    • The "Next move" would of course be to WP:AGF. However, I don't believe that we should blindly do so. Perhaps if you were to look through talk pages to find examples of such claims... - Jc37 01:44, 3 September 2006 (UTC)

I'd like to attempt to answer Jc37's question which opens this section. We haven't got "community consensus" on any question relating to userboxes, as far as I know. Nevertheless, a solid handful of editors are implementing GUS, for various reasons. Some see it as the closest expression of what Jimbo told us to do. Some see it as the best way to end the userbox wars in a way that causes the least grief. I would also note that the principles behind GUS seem (to me, based on many discussions) to have broad support among experienced Wikipedians. Does that answer your query? -GTBacchus(talk) 04:38, 3 September 2006 (UTC)

Thank you very much for your answer. Among other things, what troubles me with that answer is that Wikipedia is based on concensus. I've seen the straw poll, and discussed it with several people, but even ignoring the sock puppet questions for the moment, I think it (the poll) was done a bit too quietly. I've also noticed that, now that school is back in session in some places, we're starting to find many editors returning from summer wikibreaks. I think back to the X for X's (RfC, etc) that I've read, which had quite a few more people sharing an opinion than 20, and I think that perhaps we should find ourselves an actual concensus. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Jc37 (talkcontribs) 23:43, September 5, 2006 (UTC).
Saying that "Wikipedia is based on consensus" isn't entirely accurate. No amount of consensus can make us decide, for example, that Wikipedia is not an encyclopedia after all, but a fantasy football league instead. That was an intentionally silly example, the point being that consensus is only one of the foundation stones of Wikipedia, and not the most fundamental one. We use consensus decision-making to hammer out articles and policies in many cases, but sometimes decisions are handed down, and we either accept them, or pitch fits. Believing that straw polls are how things get done around here is a good recipe for getting yourself confused and upset. Many of the most influential Wikipedians stay the hell away from straw polls, and m:Polls are evil is enshrined, not as policy, but as a meta page that many of us see as core to the WP philosophy. -GTBacchus(talk) 00:30, 6 September 2006 (UTC)
To clarify: consensus is desirable, but on policy questions, sometimes we have to go over the heads of consensus and just do what needs to be done. That's how a lot of us see the userbox issue. -GTBacchus(talk) 00:33, 6 September 2006 (UTC)
(Thank you for adding my signature above) - jc37 01:52, 6 September 2006 (UTC)
(And, honestly, I don't think that it's in our best interest to re-debate the straw poll/voting is evil debate that flares up cyclicly : )
As I understand it, concensus is about discussion. Such as you and I (and others) are having right now. I've seen a lot of discussion, and a lot of heated tempers... however, it's concerning when someone uses GUS as a rationale before a final, community supported, concensus is achieved. WP:BITE aside (but only for a moment), it's reeks of not assuming good faith. It's as if there is a lack of trust that other wikipedians can actually bring a measured, thought-out, open-minded set of perspectives to the table for discussion. Has there been a fair amount of personal attacks, both indirect and direct? From what I've seen, yes, from all sides. I've, so far collected well over 1000 diffs from talk pages, various x for deletions, etc., and several hundred of those are from a single talk page. It's typically arbitrary action (sometimes in proxy by a bot) on one side, responded to by either a WP:POINT action, or talk page responses of various kinds (some civil, and many not). This needs to end and soon. (Just so you know, I intentionally didn't list or name any specific exmaples. I don't believe this page is the place for it.)
As for GUS... Note how many things that I had to specify that I wasn't asking for. That's partially because when asking one thing, that's what I have consistantly read as a response, both to my queries, and in reading talk page histories. I have genuine concerns that WP:GUS, for all it's good intentions (and I do believe that good intentions were involved, by at least some) brushes rather close to violating several of the five pillars, with grave concerns about unintentional but consistant WP:OWN violations or near violations.
This all would seem to me, from watching RfC/M/A/etc. indicative of some larger deficiencies. While Wikipedia isn't a crystal ball, perhaps we should start thinking about the future, and whether some, let's say "zealous" editors (whether admin or not doesn't matter for this thought), should be allowed to attempt to bully into place a defacto policy, and attempt, after the fact, to claim dejure. To give an example, we're running into that repeatedly on CFD. Someone wants a category deleted, so they depopulate it, there's no record that's easily found (unless you find the articles in question), so it's deleted as an empty category, and once discovered by those editors who do watch, then we have a DRV process... (Sounds an awful lot like the "delete the userbox after userfying or pasting the code to a userpage; public outcry; return response or ignore; return return response; repeat;".) Policy obviously shouldn't be made through "whatever I can get away with". - jc37 01:52, 6 September 2006 (UTC)
(I've evened out your paragraphs, per usual talk page custom.) I think you might find the conversation on my talk page, between myself and Enigmatical, interesting. It'll be some stuff you've seen before, and I suspect, some new stuff. It's the most productive conversation I've had about userboxes so far, I think. You're welcome to join in.
The way policy is made here is something to talk about, and it's neither entirely consensual, nor entirely "whatever I can get away with"... although it contains elements of both. It's more like there's some kind of amorphous understanding, which one either "gets" or not, and as long as one is perceived as "getting it" by the community of active admins, then one can get away with a whole lot. Those who "get it" tend to find consensus among themselves pretty well, but they often don't bother to do the work involved in bringing those who "don't get it" along for the ride. I don't know what one calls such a system, but it's pretty much what we've got. -GTBacchus(talk) 03:28, 6 September 2006 (UTC)

Arbitrary Break 1

I call it an oligarchy of the popular. It reminds me of high school: the "in" crowd gets to have their own way, and those who aren't "in" get shut out of the decision making. The "in" crowd has its own way of bullying those who aren't "in" into submission. I certainly feel like I've been bullied into submission, and it's lowered my enthusiasm for working on the encyclopedia. I'm also certain that, because of my disagreements with a few powerful admins, I will never be part of the "in" crowd on Wikipedia.
This is what happens when a group, especially one of this size, tries to forego some sort of formalized decision-making process. It devolves into mob rule, and in a mob, the strongest win. Jay Maynard 13:53, 6 September 2006 (UTC)
Jay, I'm sorry, but this is just incorrect. It's not based on "popularity". It's actually based on "getting it" or not, like I said above. I have pointed out before that you're projecting your own high school bully experiences onto Wikipedia, which you really don't have to do. If you walk up to Tony Sidaway with a big "kick me" sign on, he will oblige you, but that really says more about you than it does about Wikipedia. -GTBacchus(talk) 17:25, 6 September 2006 (UTC)
The problem is that it is not possible to distinguish between those who "get it" and those who are merely in the "in" crowd objectively. There is no set of things that one must "get", and those like me who interpret the five pillars and other foundation principles of Wikipedia differently from the "in" crowd are ostracized even though they may well share the same objectives. I didn't know I was walking up to Tony Sidaway with a "kick me" sign on, and still don't believe I, or anyone else, has deserved the bullying I've gotten at his hands. Jay Maynard 18:06, 6 September 2006 (UTC)
I agree with both statements in your last sentence. In reply to your assertion that there is not set of things that one must "get": yes there is. I mean, it's pretty much set, but I don't know that it's written down in any one place. You should get what Wikipedia articles are like, and about the trifecta of NPOV/V/NOR, and how they're really three faces of one policy. You should know about consensus building and how not to edit war, and how to communicate a bit. You need to be a little bit familiar with policy and procedure, and then there's a few points of... meta-policy, perhaps, or "interpretation", if you like, which you have to "get" to really be on board in policy discussions: You have to grok the whole "deletion discussions aren't votes" thing, and demonstrate through participation in them that you genuinely think of them as discussions in which numbers ultimately don't matter. You have to understand the whole "Wikipedia policies are descriptive, not prescriptive" thing, and buy into it, to some extent, as well as m:Instruction creep. Related to that is understanding what Wiki-lawyering really is, and not doing it, as well as an understanding of the dreaded WP:IAR. (A lot of people get away without those last two and still have pretty good cred; bit of a shame, that.)
If you show that you're on the same page as most of us, regarding that stuff, you can pretty much do what you want, and you'll be safe. And it's not like a lot of us don't repeat this stuff until we're blue in the face, so you can't say you weren't told. People who refuse to accept those basic realities of Wikipedia tend to get shut out, yes. People who demonstrate that they're thinking of Wikipedia as a rule-bound legal system, or a democracy, tend to get ignored a lot. -GTBacchus(talk) 18:42, 6 September 2006 (UTC)
Right up until you got to the bit about "descriptive, not prescriptive", I was with you every step of the way. (If you don't think so, take a look at my mainspace edits.) Unfortunately, I'm convinced that Wikipedia has gotten too large and complex to fly by the seat of its collective pants, and that's exactly what the rest of what you said advocates as the ideal. It means that there's no way to make an argument that will stick if the "in" crowd doesn't buy into it - and they have all of the power.
It's precisely the fact that rules can be blatantly ignored that makes Wikipedia an oligarchy of the popular. In the end, no matter how good the arguments are on one side of an action, the popular folks can just say "Ignore all rules!" and do what they want anyway - and the folks on the other side, not being part of the "in" crowd, are powerless to get things done.
It's possible I'm too sensitive. OTOH, it's equally possible that my experiences have made me see, and speak out, against the things that the "in" crowd refuses to see. Jay Maynard 00:38, 7 September 2006 (UTC)
I'm not worried about your mainspace edits - from what I've seen you do good work - and I'm not surprised that the descriptive/prescriptive hurdle is where you draw up short. That's an odd one, and your reaction is to disagree with it, which many will treat as your "not getting" it. (I'm not condoning, or even discussing, that reaction right now.) I may not be able to convince you that the flying-by-the-seat approach is right for Wikipedia, nor do you seem inclined to just accept it, because you see it as enabling bullying behavior, and my only honest reaction to that must be to show how to effectively address the social problem within the current, somewhat anarchic model. You seem to be suggesting that additional structure will correct the problems that arise from our current lack of structure; I on the other hand feel that additional structure will multiply additional unforseen problems, and mire us all in a forest of red tape.
It'd be a pretty stupid argument if we weren't both somehow right, so I suspect the actual problem is that of striking the correct balance between order and chaos with sufficient attention to treating the individuals involved with a maximum of dignity. Balancing problems... can be tricky. -GTBacchus(talk) 02:37, 7 September 2006 (UTC)

Arbitrary break 2

Unindenting so there's more than about three words' worth of width... Allow me to drop a quote in here:

"When there is no law, but every man does what is right in his own eyes, there is the least of real liberty."
—General Henry Martyn Robert

This is exactly where Wikipedia is. Even though there may be some consensus on "what is right", it's obvious that there's a lot of disagreement. (Just look at this discussion!) I'm not advocating that a fully formalized set of rules such as the ones General Robert codified be adopted; they aren't suited to this kind of group. (They even say so.) I am, however, advocating that there be some rules that turn Wikipedia governance from a few popular people making the decisions that matter to something where everyone really does have the ability to have real influence. Jay Maynard 10:41, 7 September 2006 (UTC)

Jay, again you repeat this idea that there's some "popular" group running Wikipedia. I've explained exactly how that's incorrect. It's not about popularity - in fact, many influential Wikipedians are rather widely disliked - it's about agreeing with and displaying one's mastery of a certain set of principles about how Wikipedia works. You've already stated that you disagree with certain of those principles, and yet rather than acknowleding that as the source of a lot of friction, you want to blame social dynamics from your high school that you're projecting onto your interactions here. This isn't that world, and the "popular kids" still aren't editing Wikipedia. This is purely about people who grok the Wiki way, and people who decide to take a position of defiance against it, as you have, in so many words. -GTBacchus(talk) 20:37, 7 September 2006 (UTC)
Oh, and perhaps a guide to what one must get to be part of the "in" crowd - that is, assuming they haven't crossed the wrong folks in the meantime - would be a Good Thing. I doubt it'll happen, since that would be too much like a document describing Wikipedia governance to survive; it seems that Wikipedia governance is something that must never be documented, let alone codified. Jay Maynard 00:41, 7 September 2006 (UTC)
Oh, don't worry. I'll be compiling this somewhere. I'm only just now working it out, so please give me a minute. It'll be a Wiki-essay of some kind, and we'll find out what people think of it. I think it's pretty accurate so far, at least as a sketch. Your idea that there's some rule against writing down the rules is contradicted by what Kelly Martin said the other day (I can find the diff if you want) about wishing there was less of a lag from actual policy to written description, and how wouldn't it be great to get a group of people together and overhaul the policy and guideline pages, making them current and non-contradictory, as much as possible. The actual case is not that there's some pathological need to work in obscurity, but that writing down the rules which, to those who "get it", amount to little more than common sense, hasn't seemed like a very important priority when there's this encyclopedia that needs writing, which is ostebsibly our reason for being here. Writing down the rules hasn't seemed very pressing because, for the most part, they work just fine, ill-documented as they are. -GTBacchus(talk) 02:37, 7 September 2006 (UTC)
Obviously, I think it'd be great if the rules were indeed written down. I think it'd be even better if they actually adhered to the Five Pillars; I think User:Jc37 has made a good case that, in at least the case of userboxes, they do not.
The problem is that rules that work fine "for the most part" aren't working in some way, and that's worse than rules that don't work at all. Jay Maynard 10:41, 7 September 2006 (UTC)
Wrong again, Jay. Every species on this planet has survival strategies which are all "rules that work fine for the most part". Look where that's got us. Evolution does not generally deal with rigid rules, and our policies are organic and evolving, just as they should be. -GTBacchus(talk) 21:02, 7 September 2006 (UTC)
On the other hand, Jay is correct that administrative high-handedness is a serious problem we've got here. It's not a problem with our decision making process; it's a problem with our willingness to coddle and enable anti-social behavior, especially from those who have demonstrated their value to the project in some other way. -GTBacchus(talk) 17:25, 6 September 2006 (UTC)
The only way to stop high-handed administrators, in the final analysis, is to put administrative structures in place that provide for accountability. Anything else merely band-aids over the problem. Jay Maynard 18:06, 6 September 2006 (UTC)
Does ArbCom count as an "administrative structure"? They're the ones who have the power to refuse to coddle and enable anti-social behavior, right? -GTBacchus(talk) 18:42, 6 September 2006 (UTC)
Sure they do. The problem is that they haven't reined Tony in, and nothing less will work. You saw the utter contempt with which he treated the RfC process. Unfortunately, I have no real reason to believe that ArbCom will do anything, and very little incentive to put together the masses of documentation they would need. ArbCom is like the US Supreme Court in that they duck every decision they can, and Tony's far too "in" to be realistically susceptible to an adverse decision there. In the end, I just don't care enough about Wikipedia to put up with the hassle, and that's largely due to Tony and Cyde's bullying. Jay Maynard 00:32, 7 September 2006 (UTC)
Why not vote in Arbitrators who will do something about this problem? -GTBacchus(talk) 02:37, 7 September 2006 (UTC)
How likely is that to actually happen? How often do they get voted on? Is anyone running for ArbCom and saying that, if elected, they'll slap Tony around a bit with a large trout? Jay Maynard 10:41, 7 September 2006 (UTC)
One third of ArbCom have terms expiring at the end of each year (i.e., staggered three year terms). Please see WP:ArbCom and Wikipedia:Arbitration Committee/Elections/December 2006. I don't believe anyone's "running" yet. I think there are plenty of Wikipedians who think that we have a problem with thuggish admins running people off. If it's made an issue, then we'll see where that leads, right? -GTBacchus(talk) 20:58, 7 September 2006 (UTC)
Hey, great idea! Let's set up a formal decision-making process. That means we will need rules on who is eligible to vote, some kind of minimum qualifications. Then, of course, to deal with sock puppets, we would need some way of verifying the identity of qualified voters. Of course, if we set the voting qualifications high enough, say 1,000 edits, sockpuppets wouldn't be much of a problem. I think you see where I'm going with this. It would all be antithetical to the spirit in which Wikipedia started, and which has brought Wikipedia to more than 1.25 million articles in the English Wikipedia. -- Donald Albury 15:01, 6 September 2006 (UTC)
I'm not disputing that it has worked. What I'm disputing is the value of "works". To me, any system that allows those in power to abuse that power, in violation of the principles stated on the site, is broken, and will result in needlessly running off productive, valuable contributors. You may well think that's not broken. I would disagree. Then again, I'm obviously disaffected, and you're not, so I doubt you'll see the problem. Jay Maynard 18:06, 6 September 2006 (UTC)
Becoming aculturated to Wikipedia has been an interesting experience for me. I'm a 'by-the-book' kind of guy, and I usually think people need to follow the rules. (I was into civil disobediance in the late 1960s-early 1970s, but it was always in a 'civil' manner.) When I first started paying attention to how rules were enforced in Wikipedia I was upset that process wasn't always being followed. Then I realized that the admins invoking IAR were trying to protect Wikipedia, and too many of the editors crying that process wasn't followed were pushing agendas that had nothing to do with building a quality encyclopedia. Now, I don't know if there is a bettter way to run Wikipedia, but I think what we have works, and going to a one-editor, one-vote sort of system won't. -- Donald Albury 23:17, 6 September 2006 (UTC)
I'm not advocating one editor, one vote. I'm advocating a system where the results are objectively reached using a simple, transparent, documented decision-making method. Anything less is going to lead to harassment, bullying, unaccountability, and disenfranchisement - and, eventually, good people leaving. Jay Maynard 00:28, 7 September 2006 (UTC)

Arbitrary Break 3

Well, this is fun, I randomly pop in and see a huge discussion with multiple references to how I've been "bullying" people. I don't particularly feel it necessary to defend myself against this ludicrous accusation, other than to say that Jay is coming onto Wikipedia with an entirely different schema than what most people are using. To Jay, it's high school all over again with "in" crowds and "out" crowds, bullying, etc. To the rest of us ... it's about writing an encyclopedia. --Cyde Weys 00:49, 7 September 2006 (UTC)

To borrow a line: "Well, there you go again." Would you please stop assuming I'm not here to write an encyclopedia? I'm not one of the most prolific editors around here, to be sure; my real life takes too much time for that, and you are largely responsible for my lack of interest in devoting more time to it. Even so, I do contribute, and both the "MySpacer" attacks and the continued assumption that I'm not here to write an encyclopedia completely ignore that.
I'm calling it as I see it. Your actions during this whole affair have been bullying, and there is most certainly an "in" crowd and an "out" crowd. Of course, the "in" crowd never sees it that way. Jay Maynard 01:10, 7 September 2006 (UTC)
Confucius says: There are two types of people: those who think there are two types of people, and those of us who know better. Actually, I doubt Confucius ever said that... -GTBacchus(talk) 21:34, 7 September 2006 (UTC)
Okay, so let me turn it around on you. You don't like being accused of not helping to write the encyclopedia when you are helping to write it, so how do you think we admins feel when we constantly get accused of being bullies when we're not bullies? --Cyde Weys 23:28, 7 September 2006 (UTC)

Ebb and Flow

(moved to sub-section) Interesting discussion. I see a couple problems. The first is that, even though I've mentioned the five pillars, by what I am reading, it doesn't look like anyone read them. It might be useful for all of us, including those who "get it" to brush up. So, here goes (starting without indent):
"All of Wikipedia's official policies and guidelines are based on five pillars that define Wikipedia's character:"

Take note of the word All. Next, let's click the link and take a quick look at what makes a policy:

"How are policies started? Much of Wikipedia policy dates from before the year 2002. Policy change now comes from three sources:

Currently proposed and previously rejected policies can be found in these categories:

Next up,Wikipedia:How to create policy:

"How to propose a new policy See also: How are policies decided?

To propose modifications of existing policy, use the talk page of that policy.

  1. First, check existing policy to see if any relevant policies already exist.
  2. Create a new page with a rough draft of your proposal. Try to include:
    • A statement at the top explaining what you're proposing
    • A brief summary of your proposal. Make sure it's actionable.
    • An explanation of the reasoning behind the proposal.
    • Add the {{proposed}} tag to the top of the article. This will add a notice and add your proposal to Category:Wikipedia proposals
  3. Get feedback!
  4. Work towards establishing consensus.
  5. If a policy or guideline discussion is still problematic or inconclusive after discussion, it can be re-listed at Wikipedia:Requests for comment/Policies to invite further review and discussion."

But wait... WP:GUS isn't even policy. So what do we do when someone suggests that we do something that isn't policy? Well in looking over the 5 pillars (which covers All policies), I think pillar 5 might be appropriate. A single sentence (and some links to a few essays):

"If the rules prevent you from improving or maintaining Wikipedia's quality, ignore them."

But now we have a quandry. If the actions of GUS follow Pillar 5... Then those who oppose GUS have 2 options within the 5 pillars:

  1. Follow whatever rules ARE policy, and ignore GUS.
  2. ALSO follow pillar 5, and ignore the claim that GUS is policy.

Interesting. Both counterpoints lead to ignoring GUS.

This would be all well and good... One side taking actions to follow GUS, and the other side taking actions, while ignoring GUS.

  • But what if there are concerns that GUS conflicts with existing policy?
  • Or, what happens when one side or other takes an action that is disagreed with on the contrary side?

Well, let's check the Pillars. Pillar 4 would seem to be the obvious choice:

"Wikipedia has a code of conduct: Respect your fellow Wikipedians even when you may not agree with them. Be civil. Avoid making personal attacks or sweeping generalizations. Stay cool when the editing gets hot; avoid lame edit wars by following the three-revert rule; remember that there are 5,596,206 articles on the English Wikipedia to work on and discuss. Act in good faith by never disrupting Wikipedia to illustrate a point, and assume good faith on the part of others. Be open, welcoming, and inclusive."

Now I don't think anyone will argue that Pillar 4's been rather ignored by more than a few (except to use it to assault "the other side"). Just comparing that entry to this talk page shows that rather clearly.

So now,we have 3 issues:

  • GUS conflicting with existing policy
  • Disagreement between those following GUS and those ignoring it
  • several and varied violations of Pillar 4 (WIkiquette)

What do we do now?

Well, there's a link at the bottom of the page entitled Wikipedia:Resolving disputes

Sounds like what we're looking for. And it lists all the steps that we should do.

  • 1 Avoidance
  • 2 First step: Talk to the other parties involved
  • 3 Second step: Disengage for a while
  • 4 Further dispute resolution
    • 4.1 Informal mediation
    • 4.2 Discuss with third parties
    • 4.3 Conduct a survey
    • 4.4 Mediation
  • 5 Last resort: Arbitration

Well, in GUS's case, avoidance isn't an option. There is no way for the counterpoint perspective holder to "improve" a deletion, except to restore it, nor to "improve" userfication, than to restore it.

So then, it's time to talk (step 1). Let's assume good faith and ask some questions.

Oh, the claim is that GUS is policy. But (scratches head) it specifically says that it isn't policy on the WP:GUS page. And further, since WP:GUS hasn't gone through any of the steps listed above, it's even easier to determine that it isn't a policy.

So, perhaps it's a misunderstanding... Point that out. Either be ignored

(which violates this from Pillar 4:

  • Don't ignore questions.
    • If another disagrees with your edit, provide good reasons why you think it's appropriate.)

Or receive verbal abuse (also directly violating pillar 4).

So now what?

well, let's look at step 2, since step 1 seems to be failing. Disengage for awhile. Ok, take some time off.. Remove anything related to userboxes from the watchlist. A week goes by. Let's see what's been going on... And we discover that whole page listings of userboxes have been deleted. That there have been several TfDs which had a result of Keep, which a GUS follower decided to interpret as Userfy. Take some time to read various XfDs, and innumerable talk pages. All seeming to point to an apparent collapse of the pillars, and any semblance of process. GUS not only hasn't gone away, several others have been bullied by those following GUS to believe that GUS is policy. And just a seeming general sense of maliciousness pervasive throughout(though apparently not as of yet widespread), in all violation of WP:AGF.

Obfsucation, and misdirection, and misrepresentation, and bullying, and and and... Something's really starting to look amiss...

No, I don't think disengaging worked.

Ok, let's try to avoid the trend, and STILL attempt to WP:AGF, and try to ascertain where the concensus for GUS being a policy is. Ask questions. Get all sorts of responses that have nothing to do with the question about concensus. Hear about WP:JOU (even though he repeatedly only commented about inflammatory and divisive userboxes, and about advocacy) Or hear how "everybody's doing it". Or any number of replies that simply don't answer the direct question: "Where it was determined by community concensus...?"

Then receive answers that it wasn't, and further that it doesn't have to be, policies aren't made that way. Scratch head befuddledly, re-read all the previous examples, and many more, and then ask where they get that idea. But no response except "that's just how it is", and if you were "in the know", or at least "get it" you would know...

What? If we were in the know, then we would know? - Okaaaay.

Though that leads back to where do we find the knowledge?

Or how about the disturbing:

(Those who "get it" are allowed to do whatever they want... - accidental misquote) "If you show that you're on the same page as most of us, regarding that stuff, you can pretty much do what you want, and you'll be safe."

Causing me to understand the quick logical leap to comparisons to an Orwellian existance, final solutions, Stalinistic communism, etc. Personally, I think Pogo Possum might be more accurate: "We have met the enemy, and he is us."

Let's backtrack a minute and look at the 3rd pillar:

"Wikipedia is free content that anyone may edit. All text is available under the GNU Free Documentation License (GFDL) and may be distributed or linked accordingly. Recognize that articles can be changed by anyone and no individual controls any specific article; therefore, any writing you contribute can be mercilessly edited and redistributed at will by the community. Do not submit copyright infringements or works licensed in a way incompatible with the GFDL."

Let's click on this link: "articles can be changed by anyone"

"You can't stop everyone in the world from editing "your" stuff, once you've posted it to Wikipedia. As each edit page clearly states:

If you don't want your material to be edited mercilessly or redistributed by others, do not submit it. [emphasis added]

If you find yourself warring with other contributors over deletions, reversions and so on, why not take some time off from the editing process? Taking yourself out of the equation can cool things off considerably. Take a fresh look a week or two later."

"warring over deletions, reversions and so on"... Sounds like what we've been witnessing.

We keep hearing that WP:GUS is supposed to "end the war"... When all it's doing is prolonging repeated violations of WP:5P.

I think it's safe to say that WP:GUS is in no way a compromise, and in no way has it reduced tension. I do think it's increased the frustration and disgust level on all sides, though, I am sure, for varied reasons.

To paraphrase the character Eva Peron from the musical Evita (Don't Cry for Me, Argentina) - All I have to do is look on this page to know that every word, is, true... - jc37 05:34, 7 September 2006 (UTC)

One of the most common errors of thought is to turn a situation with nuances and grey areas into a black and white dichotomy. It's certainly a good way to polarize a discussion, and reduce the chance of mutual understanding. I'm certain I'm guilty of it, partly because it's contagious - once someone presents something as a dichotomy, it's very easy to respond to them in the language they've already set up, rather than having the meta-discouse of trying to address that language. Thus: once Jay suggests that there's a "popular kids crowd" and "the rest of us", it's much easier for me to try to replace his dichotomy with a different one (those who grok the mysterious "Wiki way" versus those who don't), rather than the better response which would be to highlight the true complexity of the situation, in which hundreds of people are having thousands of interactions with varying levels of understanding and courtesy. By failing to do that, I grant him the right to set up a dichotomy, and so in a way, we all lose before we've begun.
Above, you say that "all [GUS] is doing is prolonging repeated violations of WP:5P. That's simply untrue. That's not all it's doing. It's also getting a lot of userboxes userfied, which would be difficult to construe as a policy violation, since it's just people hosting code of their own free will. Another thing GUS has done is lower the level of animosity considerably - there's a lot less userbox fighting going on now than there was in April, for example. As soon as GUS was adopted, it was like a valve being opened, and pressure just rushed out, which really helped a lot of people's moods. I don't know what you're basing your claim on, that it hasn't reduced tension. That seems prima facie incorrect to me. I also don't understand how it's "in no way a compromise" when it is, in clear fact, a compromise. Userboxes still exist, which is a concession to the pro-ubx side. They're being moved out of template space, which is a concession to the anti-ubx side. These concessions are significant enough that most people participating in the userbox war have dropped it, considering the issue resolved. I acknowledge that it may not have reduced your personal level of tension, but saying that "all GUS is doing" is bad seems to me like a poor way to reach understanding among ourselves, compared with a more balanced appraisal that allows for colors other than black and white.
One more thing for now: "those who 'get it' are allowed to do whatever they want." This is simply false. Nobody but Jimbo is allowed to do 'whatever they want' at Wikipedia. I've seen too many people de-sysopped and have books thrown at them by ArbCom, and these are people who "got it", but made some kind of really bad judgement anyway, after being trusted as influential members of the community. Until you've seen that happen a few times, it might be very easy to believe that it doesn't happen. It remains true that those who can find it within themselves to accept a few principles of how Wikipedia works find it very easy to navigate this world, and those who won't accept those principles meet with unending static. Most of us, of course, exist somewhere in between. -GTBacchus(talk) 21:31, 7 September 2006 (UTC)
"all [GUS] is doing is prolonging repeated violations of WP:5P"
Let me restate that, because it apparently didn't come across as I meant.
  • From my observations, GUS is fostering prolonging an environment in which repeated violations of WP:5P are disturbingly increasing.
I have to simply disagree with your assessment of the "pressure release". I think the summer happened, and many people took wikibreaks. And also, to be honest, there does come a point where you just look up and say "You know what? I guess I just don't care that much". So "compromise" becomes coup de tat through apathy. And yet, not all are apathetic.. Some are disgusted, some are frustrated, and some are gettting angry. "Tempers" was used by someone else on this page, I just quoted it. As for me, it's simply a situation of What's fair and just, vs what really appears to me to be an injustice. If you want to see a similar situation: WP:DENY. I wonder if this is a start of a trend?
"those who 'get it' are allowed to do whatever they want." - I apologize, I misquoted you from above: "If you show that you're on the same page as most of us, regarding that stuff, you can pretty much do what you want, and you'll be safe." Though I believe it has similar sentiment.
On a different note, I have other concerns about WP:OWN and userfying userboxes. once they are moved to a subpage or a user (especially the catalogues), not only do the categories related to them get filled with users who obviously do not wish to belong to such categories (and yes, there is a technical solution to this, that few to none are doing), but also it now becomes part of "their" userpage. While GDFL applies even to userpages, it's been stated over and over that people can do pretty much whatever they wish with "their" userpages. There is even a special speedy tag just for removing user sub-pages. This is, in my opinion, simply an unacceptable "solution".
So now that I've clarified (hopefully) those two apparently confusing sentences, what else do you think about the above? - jc37 22:50, 7 September 2006 (UTC)
"If you show that you're on the same page as most of us, regarding that stuff, you can pretty much do what you want and you'll be safe." You mistook the sentiment, if you took it to mean that some people get some kind of license. The intended sentiment was that once you're on the same page as other experienced Wikipedians, you aren't going to want to do things that are problems, for the most part, because you'll know better how the system works. I'm sorry if I didn't express that very well. Please see: Wiki:Three Levels Of Audience (from WikiWikiWeb) for something close to what I'm trying to say, only more well written.
I guess I don't understand the WP:OWN problems you're seeing. For one thing: have any such problems arisen, or is this hypothetical? (I'm not saying it would be invalid if it hasn't happened yet; I'm just asking.) I don't see how the solution to any such problem wouldn't just be to remind everyone that none of us owns anything here. If someone deletes something you were using, just recreate it in your own userspace. What am I missing?
What do I think about the rest of the above? I don't know, several things, I guess. Everything about incivility and people failing to treat each other well throughout this dispute, you're preaching to the choir as far as I'm concerned. I see no excuse for not treating every other Wikipedian with full respect and dignity, all the time. (I'm sure I fall short of that myself, but I keep trying, and I'm open to being told when I screw up.)
It seems that, besides the issue of some people being dicks, your main problems is that the written policy isn't necessarily very informative as to how things actually go down around here. That's partially true, and becomes more true the more one assumes that our policies and guidelines have the character of strict rules. I agree that we do a pretty poor job of communicating to newcomers how this website really works, and I'm working on improving that. For example, I think very few policies are actually proposed and debated to the point of acceptance without being tested first, by some people just starting to act like they're already policy, and seeing how it works out. It's just pretty hard to say what effect a policy will really have until you put it into play and find out how it interacts with everything around it. If we all realize just how darn reversible every action here is, it should be pretty easy to let people try things out, because we can always change back later if it doesn't work.
I don't know, am I addressing your main concern here? Your post was long, and it's possible I missed the central point. Please let me know. -GTBacchus(talk) 23:20, 7 September 2006 (UTC)
"It seems that, besides the issue of some people being dicks, your main problems is that the written policy isn't necessarily very informative as to how things actually go down around here."
Do you mean problems or concerns? (presuming concerns).
For the former, it's not just how people have acted, but that it's becoming the standard to continue to act this way (with no end in sight). Setting up incivility as a standard (because one feels that that how an admin should act) is a "bad thing".
For the latter, "how things actually go" doesn't mean that how they are going is an acceptable way. Compare to corruption and graft of Boss Tweed's Tammany Hall in the US. (The comparison is an analogy of "how things go", not as a direct comparison of tactics.)
Please inform me if I am misunderstanding, but your statements very much sound like you don't believe that the 5 pillars comprise policy (how things should go). - jc37 18:57, 9 September 2006 (UTC)
You're right to substitute "concern" for "problems". That was poor proofreading on my part. Regarding the concern about incivility, I agree with you wholehearedly, that we're giving the impression that Wikipedia enables and even encourages incivil behavior from some users. "Setting up incivility as a standard", is a good way to put it. I'm with you on that one.
Next, I'm a little confused on the second point. Whether the written policy reflects the reality of how Wikipedia runs in one question, whether that reality is acceptable or in need of reform is another one. I certainly do believe that the 5 pillars do comprise policy. What have I said to give you the impression I think otherwise? Rereading my previous post, I don't see it. I mostly suggested that "our policy and guidelines don't have the character of strict rules". I mean that they're not an algorithm or an axiomatic system or something. The rules are a little bit fluid, or squishy, but that doesn't mean the five pillars aren't at the root. -GTBacchus(talk) 19:09, 9 September 2006 (UTC)