Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Editor Retention/Archive 9

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Visual editor's slothfulness is an editor retention issue

Newer editors joining us now will be immediately confrnted by Visual Editor, rather than being "forced" to learn our traditional editing techniques. Visual Editor is slow. Appallingly slow.

I've politely raised the issue at appropriate forums, and basically been told "Yeah, we know it's slow, but it's really hard to fix, and won't get much faster any time soon."

If I was a new editor, I'd get sick of it and leave. Maybe that's just me, but it does bother me a lot. HiLo48 (talk) 04:11, 27 July 2013 (UTC)

  • I have a script that disables it. The only time I see it is when I'm logged into my alt accounts. With all due respect to the programmers who have worked very hard on it, I find it unusable and have similar concerns. I've been silent before now, hoping they would work the bugs out, but even with the bugs fixed I'm not very confident. Of course, I don't use WYSIWYG interfaces anywhere, so I have a bias against them and understand I'm the exception to that. At this point, I can't definitively say it will hurt retention, but that is a distinct possibility. Dennis Brown |  | WER 13:17, 27 July 2013 (UTC)
  • (Ha, you have socks, too? Is there a Denniszilla?) You don't need a script, you can disable it in your Preferences (better under Gadgets —> Editing than directly in the Editing tab IMO). But obviously that's not the first or even the fiftieth thing a new user's going to do, so I endorse the concerns. It is an editor retention issue. Bishonen | talk 13:37, 27 July 2013 (UTC).
Pharmboy was my original name before 11/08, so I have that and Farmer Brown as alts, to round out my little sock farm. Dennis Brown |  | WER 17:17, 29 July 2013 (UTC)
  • I just want to agree with Dennis I think visual editor is not helping. I do agree (and its a finding in a lot of the research) that the wikicode system is off putting BUT visual editor is not user friendly IMHO--Cailil talk 13:58, 27 July 2013 (UTC)
Visual Editor was intended to facilitate editor retention by being easier to use than Wiki markup. It has the opposite effect because it was implemented in main article space with inadequate testing. The inadequate testing is only secondarily an editor retention issue. We now have two forms of editing that are seen as user-unfriendly by different communities of users. Robert McClenon (talk) 14:03, 27 July 2013 (UTC)
  • I agree with Bishonen. Even on a 4Ghz quad core and using Google Chrome (which usually has the fastest Javascript) the VE is still horribly slow: it takes dozens of seconds at times for something to happen after a click. This has the potential to drive off more editors than anything else. Someone not using his real name (talk) 06:07, 28 July 2013 (UTC)
  • On a related note, I just noticed WP:VisualEditor/Default State RFC that seems to be directly relevant to what we are talking about here. (Thanks Kww for starting that.) ~Adjwilley (talk) 01:40, 30 July 2013 (UTC)
  • Thanks for the pointer there Adjwilley. I've added my thoughts, plus a pointer back to this discussion. HiLo48 (talk) 02:37, 30 July 2013 (UTC)
I've encountered the most problems with VE on Battleship (film). There the VE edits from IPs have constantly added nowiki tags, sometimes in useless places, like on apostrophes, and unwikilinked dozens of words for no reason. VE for my work computer resulted in a massive CPU spike, which was unbearable. It's failed from where i'm standing Jenova20 (email) 12:44, 30 July 2013 (UTC)
  • Commenting here as a watcher of the project, but someone who doesn't work on the VE team... yes, VE is pretty darn slow on large pages. But wikitext has its own pretty shockingly bad problems for newbies, problems that we tend to forget about or underestimate as people who edit markup regularly. As one data point I hope folks consider: "getting started" edits by non-autoconfirmed new accounts increased from 2,656 in June to 3,098 in July. In July, 67% of those newbie edits were with VE. While it certainly still is a beta feature with warts, it clearly is not presenting a huge hurdle to all new editors. Steven Walling (WMF) • talk 07:27, 2 August 2013 (UTC)
    • While it may have driven some curious people to experiment with it, it's not keeping them; what data we do have says that it's dramatically driving new users away, at least in its current form. See meta:Research:VisualEditor's effect on newly registered editors/Results. Of course, some of that might just be bugs and slowness, but I think that it's a mistake to automatically assume that WYSIWYG editors are always easier to use. Those interfaces can be very complicated and confusing, too, especially (as in this case) when they're built on top of a legacy system and therefore have to encompass both all the diverse (and sometimes confusing) features of wikicode and the features people expect out of a visual editor. On top of this, simply having two methods of editing is itself going to be inherently confusing at times, especially when there will inevitably be some things that can only be accomplished via one method. A massive panel of buttons and a confusing interface may scare users away just as easily as wikitext -- it may even be inherently worse. And certainly as long as links to both editors are presented, the risk that someone will click the 'wrong' one after devoting the significant amount of time necessary to learn either may end up scaring many users away -- unless wikimarkup can be abolished entirely (which seems infeasible), it's reasonable to expect that the addition of the visual editor inevitably makes Wikipedia more complicated and intimidating to new users, not less. Or, in other words: As long as wikicode is still there, the visual editor can only hide it visually; it can't really make it easier to work with. And obscuring it like that is going to actually make many things harder and more frustrating for users who try to get started with the site using the VE. --Aquillion (talk) 23:39, 2 August 2013 (UTC)
      • Did you read the Limitations section of that report? My team spends pretty much every two weeks analyzing A/B test data. The truth is, they probably shouldn't have even bothered looking at this as if it was a controlled experiment. Between the minimal length in the test (we usually look at a week, this was three days!), errors in the browser blacklist, deployments of updates mid-experiment, and plain old bugs, the data is not a good testbed for the performance of VE with new users. Steven Walling (WMF) • talk 04:54, 3 August 2013 (UTC)
        Steven, you said that the edits went up in July 2013 compared to June 2013. Don't edits normally go down in July? What's the July 2012 to July 2013 comparison? I believe that we've been overall non-bot edits have been dropping by about 5% a year for a couple of years. It would be nice to know if we've started to stabilize there. WhatamIdoing (talk) 01:19, 5 August 2013 (UTC)

Blocking of participants in this wikiproject?

I used to post here on a regular basis, but stopped in January 2013 after one of my edits here was reverted twice. Since I have been blocked indefinitely at Wikipedia in the past I am always careful about who I hang out with - I would hate to go through this experience again.

I don’t know if this happens on a regular basis on other wikiprojects, but I have noticed other participants in this project who have been blocked indefinitely:

So is it a matter of this project being a magnet to my kind of wiki-rifraf, or is there something else at work here? XOttawahitech (talk) 22:51, 4 August 2013 (UTC)

I doubt that there is any connection between edits being reverted here and the blocking of the reverted editor. That's kind of a stretch...dot ya think? What's at work here is editors doing what they do. Ive been here since the beginning and have been watching. If there was a plot to retaliate against someone or some group of someones, I think I would know about it. ```Buster Seven Talk 04:25, 5 August 2013 (UTC)
I call Bullshit Buster! I have been hounded by petty little groups of peons here almost since day one. Some of them include admin that have either been de-bitted, blocked, or banned from my talk page. Because of NPA I can't go into much detail about it but only generalize. Wikipedia is full of petty little shits that have no life except to gang up and cyberbully new and controversial editors here. I have considered leaving the projects a few times but decided to grow some balls and fight back. As of today we are 6th in http://www.alexa.com/topsites but we may slide vastly if this bullshit continues. I used to fight in article talk pages and drama boards to get the material corrected but ran into walls of canvassed groups of these little shits that went on an on with their bullshit about wp policy and reverting my edits. Wikipedia is very flawed in many ways and bullying editors by these gangs is one of the major ones. The drama boards I generally find a total waste of space as they are haunted by admin that are very power-tripping, selfish, arrogant, and petty the same as far too many editors here. There are easy ways to fix the various problems but they would need to be done at a very broad community level.--Canoe1967 (talk) 10:44, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
Canoe, without some diffs it's hard to take your rant seriously, but all I can say is if you call someone a petty little shit, you shouldn't be surprised if they call you one in response and you get upset! Everyone knows the drama boards attract, well, drama, but you don't have to read them and as long as you work on articles, you can generally avoid it. There are a number of topics I just stay well away from now because, well, life's too short. Ritchie333 (talk) (cont) 11:01, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
@Ritchie333, as a long term, frequent, participant on this page I am surprised to see you encouraging a newcomer (to this page) to post diffs here that may get them into trouble. Let’s be open about this project and who is behind it: just look at the contributers here and you will immediately see who sets the tone and who decides who is a plus to discussions here and who is not. XOttawahitech (talk) 12:38, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
Just to be clear, Canoe, by "being reverted here", I meant here----> WikiProject Editor Retention. Editor Ottawahitech inferred there was a connection between participants being reverted from WER's talk page and then those same participants, in this project, getting blocked indefinitely. ```Buster Seven Talk 11:25, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
Of those, one is a sock, Agent joined to antagonize me only and was never a positive asset here (see contribs and his RFC/U) and then you have Penyulap, who is active at Commons now and is a mixed bag. On good days, I really enjoyed him most of the time but he eventually got too pointy/soapbox-ish for his own good. See his RFA and contribs. The two other than the sock had problems that started before WER was even founded. Dennis Brown |  | WER 13:46, 7 August 2013 (UTC)

Please stop edit warring

Please stop edit warring over the project page and discuss issues of the content of the project page here. Robert McClenon (talk) 18:59, 11 August 2013 (UTC)

It wasn't an edit war. An editor made a dramatic change to the page to remove all of their substantial (and positive) contributions to the page and I reverted it exactly once. I, Jethrobot drop me a line (note: not a bot!) 19:27, 11 August 2013 (UTC)

Retiring

I'm retiring from coming within fifty miles of this failed project. Crap like this is not helping with editor retention in any way. This project's own guidelines say to "Nip aggressive conversation in the bud if it begins in your presence " but when I tried to do that on this very page I was not allowed to do so. This project is becoming a walled garden of whining, complaining, and personal attacks strictly cntrolled by a small cadre of users who seem very comfortable dictating rules as they see fit. Consider this editor as one who was made less happy with Wikipedia by this project. Reply to this and tell me what an asshole I am all you like, I won't be reading it and you won't be hearing from me here again. Beeblebrox (talk) 01:18, 2 August 2013 (UTC)

Thanks for participating. So you claim a retirement thread is aggressive and are bitching because I reverted your closing of the thread?. Hmmmm. You have no authority to close discussion on this project in that manner. There was nothing wrong with it. Was it accurate to say they are retiring, but have not done so? Perhaps, but if you are leaving because consensus determines these issues here and don't agree with that....I cannot stop you. But blame yourself and not others for your own actions.--Mark Miller Just ask! WER TEA DR/N 01:31, 2 August 2013 (UTC)
Um, what consensus determined anything? AutomaticStrikeout  ?  01:47, 2 August 2013 (UTC)
None. There has been no discussion to close this thread. There is no aggressive behavior in the content to require closing.--Mark Miller Just ask! WER TEA DR/N 01:51, 2 August 2013 (UTC)
Amadscientist (aka Mark Miller), you were one of the main contributors to the development of WER when it was created barely a year ago. I can partly understand your concerns, but I must also concur with Beeblebrox that the project today has already become a far cry from what it started out to be. IMO, it's now mostly yet another venue for people to air their gripes, and take more swipes at admins. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 02:09, 2 August 2013 (UTC)
I think Beeblebrox is holding a grudge and creating drama more than fixing anything by that biased closing. The project is still what it started out as, but when editors are allowed to discuss issues they may be controversial....the project page says that as well.However...I do think there are several discussions that defeat the purpose of the project. But this is still Wikipedia and not some random message board and we don't need moderators here.--Mark Miller Just ask! WER TEA DR/N 02:16, 2 August 2013 (UTC)
I won't comment on his closure, but I think Beeblebrox is very brave to do anything at all in the current climate regarding admins. If some people try hard enough, he may be the next highly active admin to throw his toys out of his pram, and that would be a very sad day not only for the depleting corps of admin, but another failure for WER. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 05:22, 2 August 2013 (UTC)
@Beeblebrox: See my (perhaps TL;DR) post above. When are we going to have another 'admin cabal' beer together? Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 01:44, 2 August 2013 (UTC)
The fact that this nascent project already has 7 archives seems to indicate that it's useful. If it's as "a venue for people to air their gripes and take more swipes at admins" so be it. Joefromrandb (talk) 15:46, 2 August 2013 (UTC)
Anything that exists so people can take swipes at admins serves only to further divide the community, which is not a useful purpose. AutomaticStrikeout  ?  15:50, 2 August 2013 (UTC)
And denying people venues to express concerns is helpful how, exactly? Intothatdarkness 17:42, 2 August 2013 (UTC)
Expressing concerns is okay. Needless drama-mongering is not. There are far too many people who love nothing more than to have a reason to complain about the admins. AutomaticStrikeout  ?  18:00, 2 August 2013 (UTC)
I'm actually quite disgusted each time I have a reason to complain about the admins. Joefromrandb (talk) 18:52, 2 August 2013 (UTC)
I tend to feel the same way, honestly. Intothatdarkness 19:02, 2 August 2013 (UTC)

Doesn't matter if they are admin or IP editors. This is Editor retention, not contribution retention. We actually have a consensus to allow editor to discuss individual retention issues specific to individual editors. I agree with AutomaticStrikeout in more than spirit, but this project is about allowing retention issues to be discussed, regardless of the controversy. Labeling it "drama mongering" is, in itself "drama". Don't play into it. Address the issue and explain how this is not productive in your opinion but...we cannot shut down discussion because it looks melodramatic. How do we know when someone is right about an issue and if someone else calls it drama and everyone ignores the issue? I do feel that the continued claims of complaints about admin or other editors being drama is what really defeats editor retention. We are basically blowing off another editors concerns when we make those claims simply because we just don't care, or we just don't believe someone. It as helpful as TL:DR.--Mark Miller Just ask! WER TEA DR/N 19:06, 2 August 2013 (UTC)

My 2c

I've been so busy in real life, I really haven't been paying attention to what is going on here. Life is that way sometimes. I would disagree that the project is "admin bashing" just because it will mention the actions of an admin. If an admin can't take the heat of having their actions questioned, they need to drop their bits off at WP:BN. I can think of several admin that need to explain or be debitted, to be perfectly frank, but I don't dwell on it here. The majority of what we do here is talk about various ideas, and yes, VENT. I think that a little venting is a good thing and it is better to do it here than at the boards, where others can explain WHY something was done. It is a neutral area. I do try to steer conversations away from purely negative topics because that doesn't help anyone. But the fact is, some admin ARE bad for editor retention, just the same as some editors are bad for editor retention. They tend to make others leave. We can't solve all problems here, but they can be brought to light and maybe they can be discussed in an informal and positive way. The last two months here have only shown me that I need to be MORE direct with these individual/admin, invite them here to just talk and express concerns, but do so in a responsible and sensitive way. Pretending these issues don't exist is a fool's game.

As an admin, I will be the first to say that there is a "code of silence" whereby admin are too quick to protect their own, and we are all guilty of it to one degree or another, which is one reason I want to reduce the separation between admin and non-admin by breaking up the tools a bit. It is also why I went out of my way when I first started the project to get lots of admin involved in this project.

I like Beebs (and voted for him to be Crat at one time), and can't stop him if he or anyone else wants to leave, but he should realize that if you want a project to change, YOU change it by leadership, you don't just sit around and wait for it to change all on its own. We depend on admin to provide some leadership around here, not because the bit gives you magical knowledge, but because admin tend to be more experienced and have the tools to get things done. This project has no hard and fast rules, so no one is a victim of it. If you don't like something, you change it. Dennis Brown |  | WER 12:09, 12 August 2013 (UTC)

Wikipedia in 2021?

In 2021, Wikipedia will be 20 years old. Thinking about the future—where we've been and where we're going—what will Wikipedia (the project) be like in 2021? What will Wikipedia (the community) be like in 2021? I'd like to know people's thoughts about the Wikipedia of the future. Thanks. 64.40.54.156 (talk) 01:58, 7 August 2013 (UTC)

My guess (and fear) is that a combination of factors will mean that Wikipedia is overrun with paid editors and POV warriors who have learned to abide by the letter of WP:CIVIL. There will also be a large group of social networking people who exchange barnstars and who discuss topics of interest. These groups will drive out good editors, and Wikipedia will decay. The factors leading to this depressing scenario (in no particular order) will include the visual editor and Flow, the growing popularity of Wikipedia, the growing recognition that winning an edit war can be highly beneficial (see BP and its talk page for one example), and the inability of the community to deal with obvious problems—what is needed is a group of admins who issue "shape up or ship out" notices (very neutral and polite ones, with no silly warning icons, but with teeth). Johnuniq (talk) 02:30, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
Paid editors, paid political operatives, conflict of interest editors, corporate spokespeople, CREWE, etc. will become so entrenched and hidden that the reader will be hard-pressed to find any important article that isn't sculpted and shaped to the customers wishes. Of course the reader won't know. The reader will still think Wikipedia is written by volunteers. But the volunteers will all have left...heartbroken. ```Buster Seven Talk 05:46, 7 August 2013 (UTC) ,
YEP — Preceding unsigned comment added by 122.109.122.177 (talk) 14:34, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
I read the CREWE material. I, and I am certain I am not alone, have had to protect articles I have written against persons associated with article subjects. In spite of the fact that Wikipedia bows to no outside entities and we police ourselves, I have not always won against these people. I will, in all fairness, say I have run into people who agreed with Wikipedia's right to tell the truth, once I explained in edit summaries or talk pages that I used properly sourced material. If Wikipedia becomes overrun with the stuff mentioned in CREWE, it will be damaged, if not destroyed. I don't look for controversy, but sometimes subjects have legitimate negative information about them that must be written if Wikipedia is to be objective. Bill Pollard (talk) 20:45, 9 August 2013 (UTC)
If the culture of the English Wikipedia remains as it is in 2013, then Johnuniq's and Buster Seven's sad predictions are likely. (The culture may change in that time.) If their predictions come to pass, one reason will be the subculture of editors who whine about power-hungry admins interfering with content creators. This subculture makes many admins hesitant to issue the "shape up or ship out" notices. My own opinion is that "the community" is unable to deal with obvious problems because "the community" is elusive, and that paid editors and civil POV warriors should be dealt with either by the ArbCom or by a tier below the ArbCom (not currently in place). "Community consensus" doesn't work. Constant complaining about power-hungry admins doesn't help. Robert McClenon (talk) 19:05, 11 August 2013 (UTC)
Are you really implying Robert, that what you call "power-hungry admins" should be allowed to interfere as they will with content creators, and that scrutiny of their behaviour should not be allowed? Perhaps Johnuniq has a better handle on things when he says that the really damaging people on Wikipedia are those who come here, not write the encyclopaedia, but to social network while they put down the people who are here to write the encyclopaedia. --Epipelagic (talk) 22:43, 11 August 2013 (UTC)
I do not mean that power-hungry admins should be allowed to interfere with content creators. I will point out, first, that content creators do not always have problems with admins. Some editors who are excellent content creators do not allow themselves to be taunted into using foul language. I will point out, second, that, while I agree that there are power-hungry admins who are too quick to block, the constant complaints about the culture of admins make many admins hesitant to deal with problematical editors in general, including the editors who come here to social-network and the editors who come here as paid shills. I think that individual admins who are too quick to block should be dealt with. However, whining about admins in general will not, in the medium run or long run, benefit content creation. Hostility to admins in general and disrespect for admins in general will create an environment that is tolerant of the social networkers and the paid editors. Some admins should be dealt with and restrained or desysopped, but complaining about admins in general doesn't benefit the content creators, but the problematical editors. Robert McClenon (talk) 23:57, 11 August 2013 (UTC)
I don't know what this "whining" is that you keep referring to. If admins perform in a proper manner, complaining about it deserves to be called whining. But as a group admins do not and cannot perform in a proper manner, because the system they are trying to operate from is systemically flawed. These structural defects underlie much of the hostility and disrespect that admins receive. Good admins are as much the victims of these systemic failures as are good content builders. I'm wondering if you are misreading objective criticisms of the system and confusing them with whining? If you scan through the archives in the relevant notice boards you will find many threads where the systemic failings of the current system have been clearly set out. No remedy seems possible, since admins who do not want the terms of their adminship changed gather together and block any constructive proposals. --Epipelagic (talk) 03:22, 12 August 2013 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────You know, I can't help but feel that there are things in this discussion that re-enforce one of my main contentions about the problems that Wikipedia seems to have. The RfA process is somewhat flawed. I do not understand why there is so much emphasis on content creation in the RfA process. Writing and administrative duties do not have very much in common at all. Why is it important that a admin candidate have written x number of articles or had y number of edits in mainspace? Someone who mainly writes in userspace, but does so in a positive and helpful manner, is, IMHO, a far better potential admin than someone who can crank out the content but has less than desirable people skills. If you make people who have as their strongest skill the ability to understand, motivate and unfortunately sometimes, to control, other people's behavior administrators, I think we would see far fewer "power-mad" administrators. Creative people frequently (not all of course) have issues dealing with other people. Having lived around highly talented musicians all my life, I know that those wrapped up in creativity frequently lack people skills. And of course, we must have those people here writing and doing it well. If we could only find a way that the people who are good at motivating motivate and let the the people who create create, we will have found ourselves a better system. Gtwfan52 (talk) 18:01, 13 August 2013 (UTC)

I think there might be a coming leadership problem. I saw a WP page that noted that over 50% of Admins have been inactive for at least 3 months (meaning 5 or less edits). I know one Admin who is noted to be the Director of a WikiProject and the last time he edited was in February 2013. And the page still says to direct all inquiries to him. That same article stated there were only 600+ active Admins on the English Wikipedia.
While I've run into a couple of Admins who I thought could have been more effective in the way they handled situations, it doesn't seem like 600+ is enough Admins to cover the disputes that emerge from the 4M+ articles, talk pages and policy pages of Wikipedia. I realize that this is the Talk Page about Editor Retention, not Admin Retention but it might be useful to survey the 700+ inactive Admins and see
  1. Are they taking a break and planning to return,
  2. Have they "burned out" on Wikipedia, and
  3. What led them to quit as an active contributor (had they achieved what they wanted to achieve or was it a specific incident that soured them on WP)
It would also be useful to know the average time between becoming an Admin and becoming inactive. Are these long-time Admins who have moved on to other projects or editors who wanted to reach Admin status and quickly found out that it was more of a responsibility than they expected?
Just some issues I think WP has to consider for its long-term vitality. NewJerseyLiz Let's Talk 14:45, 17 August 2013 (UTC)

Kiefer.Wolfowitz and Ironholds ArbCom case closed

One banned, the other desysopped. Plenty of food for thought for this project, I think, given that both editors are pretty dedicated content contributors [1]. Any ideas for ways of not allowing clownish behavior of long-term contributors to escalate to the level where they get nuked by ArbCom? Someone not using his real name (talk) 02:06, 15 August 2013 (UTC)

Are you talking about admins capable of defusing user problems with creative people skills? Being constructive is not part of the job definition for an admin on Wikipedia. The culture is geared more to applauding the adversarial admins who confront dedicated content contributors with knee jerk blocks and put downs. --Epipelagic (talk) 06:54, 15 August 2013 (UTC)
I'm an on and off contributor at Wikipedia but I've studied conflict and have tried to recently defuse a similar situation on WP. It seems like when the editor issues are ego, belligerence and a total deafness to constructive criticism, there is only change when the editor takes a Wikibreak (of at least a week) and comes back, resolved to put past grudges behind them. I think this doesn't happen often enough. I have told one editor that they are likely to receive a ban but he is so convinced of the rightness of his "cause" (since there is an appeal to higher, WP policies), that this just doesn't seem like a real possibility to them. He or she takes occasional breaks and they return less argumentative and caustic but it usually reemerges in time.
I think one of the worst problem with editors and Admins who are easily outraged, who lash out at fellow editors and who nurse personal grudges, is that they often have a "fan club" who attack anyone who tries to chastise the guilty party and calls for them to attack civilly. There is one misbehaving Admin I've seen who is surrounded by enablers who support every move she or he makes. I suggest that if an editor or Admin has a personal relationship with one of these "defenders" and that they let them know they aren't helping the situation, this might help things from escalating. NewJerseyLiz Let's Talk 14:27, 17 August 2013 (UTC)
I think disruptive but otherwise dedicated content contributors should realise that their content contributions are neither a licence for, nor a 'get out of jail free' ticket to be abusive; while admins should realise that the confidence demonstrated in them by the community at their RfA also includes behaving with maturity and responsibility and leading by example. It's a shame that such things have to escalate to Arbcom before they do realise that what they are doing is inappropriate, and if they finally land there, it's because they have been testing the the community's patience too glibly. At that stage, their fan clubs are of little help. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 03:11, 24 August 2013 (UTC)
Isn't it time to recognise that WP doesn't really care about retaining editors, only about attracting new ones? Eric Corbett 20:16, 24 August 2013 (UTC)
Possibly Eric Corbett but then wouldn't that be an assumption based on only a handful of experiences? It seems to me that Wikipedia in general is interested in retaining editors, but who should be retained is always going to be an issue and a question not all will agree on. To me the question is always, will a block be a benefit to retaining others. Sometimes it is.--Mark 20:21, 24 August 2013 (UTC)
"There is one misbehaving Admin I've seen who is surrounded by enablers who support every move she or he makes. " Just one? I could name multiple admins that fall into that category. PumpkinSky talk 00:56, 25 August 2013 (UTC)
Isn't the WMF obsession with new editors, rather than good editors (either by retention or by development), already generally recognised? Andy Dingley (talk) 02:37, 27 August 2013 (UTC)
Possibly. It's even a theory that I've supported for a long time and that's why I'm so keen to see quality rather than quantity of both articles and editors, and that's why I feel perhaps that some control over the way AfC submissions are processed is necessary. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 03:04, 27 August 2013 (UTC)

New editor

User talk:Hog1983 seems to be getting a hard time. Some on this project may wish to provide a little encouragement and guidance.--Canoe1967 (talk) 19:48, 24 August 2013 (UTC)

I spent time reading through his Talk Page and it seems like he is getting more advice and hand-holding than any new user I've seen. Yes, he's erred and faced blocks, but people are there to explain what caused them and what he should do next. Liz Read! Talk! 02:12, 25 August 2013 (UTC)

Random section break

Well, PumpkinSky, although I've edited on WP on and off since 2006, it's only been since July that I've spent a lot of time here, enough to recognize the names of other users. Usually, and I think this is true for most casual editors, I worked in a solitary environment, doing rather non-controversial edits like typos, grammar changes and fixing dates. It's only since I've been looking at Wikipedia as an organization that I've tried to understand how users collaborate together (or don't). With approximately 40,000 active editors (5 edits over 3 month period) on en.wiki, there is bound to be conflict, it's a matter of setting long-term goals for WP and deciding what's necessary to achieve them. I read on one WP page that there are only about 2,500-4,000 very active editors (100 edits over 3 month period) on en.wiki so I think the priority is not just to a) attract new editors, b) retain very active editors but also c) change active editors to very active editors. I think a combination of all three approaches is called for but I don't hear much about strategies for the last factor. But maybe this is a conversation for another section/thread. Liz Read! Talk! 01:53, 25 August 2013 (UTC)

Hmm, that's not how I'd define active and very active, but eh. At any rate the number of editors who actually control or try to control goings is much lower. I'm curious what you think of the ideas stated here. PumpkinSky talk 02:02, 25 August 2013 (UTC)
Well, it turns out my guesstimates (and memory) were faulty and the numbers are somewhat lower. You can see the details at User stats on en.wiki.org.
As for the link you shared, I really am not up to speed on the history of WMF, the highs and the lows along the past 12 years, so it's difficult for me to evaluate whether or not they have reached their goals. One thing I have noticed is that I've gone back to some of the more important disputes over the past 9 years and even in 2004 there were editors saying how Wikipedia has strayed from its original purpose and was going downhill. I saw similar comments in 2006, 2009, 2011 and today.
It has something to do with the lifecycle of an online community member...you begin with casual involvement, decide to be more active, then the learning curve is steep as you try to master the policies and norms. Then comes a period of productive activity but, after a while, one encounters conflict and people with authority fail to live up to the expectations people have for them. Then, people who you met when you first began interacting with others get frustrated or bored and either retire or act out and are banned. The idealism you began with and belief in the project is now tarnished because, when you come down to it, Wikipedia is people collaborating and individuals can let you down, disappoint you, be hypocrites, take offense and be rude, be obstinate, flake out, in a word, be human beings working in a largely anonymous environment. Maybe Wikipedia then stops being fun and becomes "work". At this point you either a) decide to leave and put your efforts towards some alternative activity, b) go "deeper" into your commitment to WP/WMF or c) continue to edit on WP (usually within a niche field) without any illusions you might have had before that WP is a rational, bias-free, fair or noble project.
So, it's inevitable that ones relationship to work on WP will change over time and that there will be editor attrition, not only due to burnout but because of real life commitments taking precedence. But that doesn't mean that editor retention isn't a worthy pursuit it's just important to realize that, whatever is done, some people will leave. But it's crucial to listen to what they have to say about their experience on WP because while there might be disappointment, they often can spot problems that those who are too wrapped up in the busywork of editing, might not see. Hope this wasn't TL;DR. Liz Read! Talk! 02:46, 25 August 2013 (UTC)
There's validity to what you say but it's not the whole story. It truly is worse now. Arbcom has lost it's compass, they don't arbitrate they just try to get reelected and as far as I'm concerned arbcom should be abolished. The crux here was all the mess from last year. It used to be possible to at least sometimes effect meaningful change and now you can't get squat done. Then there's the whole Raul FA Fiefdom mess--ugh, let's not even go there. The community is totally dysfunctional. I probably fall into your niche group. PumpkinSky talk 11:16, 25 August 2013 (UTC)
You have an insight to the workings of Arbcom that most of us don't. Perhaps one of the problems with the committee is that newly elected members weren't aware of what they were letting themselves in for. For one thing, I've heard it's a huge time sink, and for another, having met plenty of them in person, there are some who quickly got disenchanted with the whole thing, while they all have very different perceptions of their work there and that of the committee as a whole. Some Arbcom decisions leave the community hugely dissatisfied while other verdicts may be appropriate. There is a lot of other work that goes on that we don't even get to hear about. I can only criticise their public operations. What goes on on their mailing list might gain them a lot more respect - but we'll never know unless we become one. One thing is for sure, some kind of 'arbitration' body can't be thought away - what would it be replaced with? (and I think that's actually a rhetorical question). Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 18:03, 26 August 2013 (UTC)
Thanks, Kudpung กุดผึ้ง, this is all news to me. I've only recently begun following dispute resolution cases so I'm unaware of any previous ARBCOM decision-making. I was blissfully unaware as an IP editor. I was just talking about regular editors, staying or going, not ARBCOM. But I'm sure whatever controversy existed in the past is not written in any history of Wikipedia.
I do agree that it's inevitable there is some higher authority to serve as an ultimate arbiter of difficult and complex cases. I'd rather have a committee than put an individual in this position. And it's also inevitable that some decisions will not be popular. There is no way to settle some disputes without alienating some editors. Some will think you're too lenient, others will think you're being too tough. Liz Read! Talk! 00:28, 27 August 2013 (UTC)
NO first time arb knows what they're getting into. It is a HUGE time sink. Plus it makes you a super target (something I'm the primo example of). What the public sees is only a fraction of what really goes on. Abolish arbcom--hell yes. It wouldn't be any worse than it already is. PumpkinSky talk 01:35, 27 August 2013 (UTC)
Arbcom's the worst "job" I ever had here, with the possible exception of checkuser, but then that was back in the dark days when Essjay and I were handling about 95% of the requests. That much checkusering turns you paranoid. I suspect the relevance of Arbcom to the average editor is about the same as what it's always been: zero, though I'm sure some arbs would try to argue otherwise. It can be worse, by the way; I don't think you were around for Wikipedia:Quickpolls. Hello, by the way. Haven't see you around in a while. Mackensen (talk) 02:34, 27 August 2013 (UTC)
Hi Mac. Yea, long time no see. Lately I'm just wait for my Grace Sherwood FAC to finish and Sergeant Reckless to make GA. PumpkinSky talk 20:24, 27 August 2013 (UTC)

(edit conflict)::::::It is abundantly clear that many Arbcom decisions affect the way the average users think Wikipedia is run. Some decisions which Arbcom makes may appear to be asynchronous - it's why perhaps the committee appears to be too lenient in some cases and too strict in others. That said, decisions that result in blocking, banning, and desysoping may serve to reassure a greater community that their interests are being represented, while those on the receiving end of sanctions, especially those who have demonstrated excellent and prolific content work, will obviously not be happy with the result. There are the constant claims that the committee does too little to sanction admins and Arbs, but when they do there are of course the counter claims that they were wrong to do so. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 03:11, 27 August 2013 (UTC)

This is all why they need to apply consistent standards and they don't--they is why they are now so unpredictable. The Admin Protective Society is clearly more influential than it used to be. Admins get off scott free today for things they'd have been hammered for a few years ago. PumpkinSky talk 20:22, 27 August 2013 (UTC)

lets make the wikipedia edit guideline exam

I think we should create mini exams where one can self-test their knowledge of the different categories of Wikipedia guidelines. I tried to create such a thing but found myself woefully incompetent and 100% inexperienced at making tests. Thus far I've found 3 possible formulas:

  • to divide the questions over the guideline categories,
  • to describe a scenario and have the student multiple choice the correct response,
  • to have questions where one is to write-out a popular short hand like POV, NPOV, OR, ANI, 3RR

The idea is that one can self-diagnose not knowing the guidelines. After completing the test, if you want to, you can post your score on your user page with a nice template. This will help other editors understand you. It gives the new editor a fair chance to impress us. We could actually tell them they did something right for a change.

I want to (would like to) hear ideas for questions, which edit guidelines you consider to be most important and in what order.

You get the general idea. Please help. :) 84.106.26.81 (talk) 19:52, 26 August 2013 (UTC)

discussion

BITE seems to be a really hard one to learn. I would put that at the top, then Reliable sources, then the notability policy, then neutral point of view, then civility.84.106.26.81 (talk) 19:52, 26 August 2013 (UTC)

Designing tests around the application of editing policies and guidelines would be remarkably difficult. First, I would argue that designing tests would be problematic as these principles change over time-- not substantially, but perhaps enough to make any one test less helpful than it ought to. Second, the application of policies and guidelines is highly situational, which means any questions would need to be pretty well-described. Even then, there are legitimate disagreement amongst editors about the application of policy and guidelines. One only needs to look over discussions currently happening at Talk:Chelsea Manning to see substantial disagreement over balancing WP:MOSIDENTITY and WP:COMMONNAME. There is also a difference in being able to answer test questions and actually judge real situations on your own without the benefit of a multiple-choice system. I, JethroBT drop me a line 06:05, 27 August 2013 (UTC)
See v:Wikipedia/Quizzes.—Wavelength (talk) 06:29, 27 August 2013 (UTC)
The first one shouldn't be hard. Most guidelines are obvious enough to guess the right answer. I would want at least the first test to be so easy that any long term editor would know all the answers. 84.106.26.81 (talk) 18:32, 27 August 2013 (UTC)

help make up questions for the test

  • A new user has managed to enrage an administrator. Who is right?
A) The administrator
B) The user
C) Both
  • 4 million people showed up for an event but you cant find any news paper article or other usable sources.
A) The article topic doesn't meet notability
B) The article topic meets notability
C) The consensus between editors determines if the article should be created or not

84.106.26.81 (talk) 19:52, 26 August 2013 (UTC)

  • Which resource is considered the most important?
A) Articles
B) Donations
C) New users
  • POV stands for:
A) Neutral Point Of View
B) Policy Of Views
B) Point Of View

84.106.26.81 (talk) 18:32, 27 August 2013 (UTC)

  • your question here
A)
B)
C)

Users History2007 and PiCo

I have no idea why User History2007 not only retired but vanished and User PiCo announced today he had made his last post [2] but this is terrible news for the project. They were both highly knowledgeable editors in the fields of Christianity, the Bible, history of Christianity, etc., who whatever their personal beliefs may be, are able to edit neutrally in controversial areas and fight off constant disruption to important articles in those areas by cranks and fringe theory pushers. Without History2007 and PiCo I fear the cranks will soon dominate. Smeat75 (talk) 18:48, 10 August 2013 (UTC)

In History2007's case, too many sockpuppets were a big issue. For both I think pov editing was another factor. Dougweller (talk) 09:26, 12 August 2013 (UTC)
A few weeks later, my prophecy has come true, in spades, with current frenzied attacks, I guess I can use that word here, on a whole range of articles to do with Jesus and Christianity, as discussed in the current AN/I thread. It is very sad that History 2007 and PiCo got so fed up with pov editing that they quit, they were invaluable, I wish I had never got involved in this area in wikipedia as it involves constant fights. I think the mechanism for dealing with POV pushers on these kind of articles is too weak and they should be dealt with much more quickly, basically as soon as you see someone who has had an edit reverted on an article about Jesus go to the talk page of the person who reverted and say "Why did you do that? Don't you know that the Bible says that Jesus was a flying spaghetti monster?" that person should just be topic banned from the subject area right then, not out of censorship, but because you can immediately see that they are not here to build an encyclopedia but wage what they imagine to be a brave battle against religious obscurantists. I could see instantly what was in store, fights all over the place, an/i discussions, long drawn out processes going on for months, at the end of it they will be indefinitely banned or topic banned, why not just do it to start with instead of wasting everyone's time and driving away knowledgeable, unbiased editors who have better things to with their time that deal with this sort of disruption by people who most of the time don't really know what they are talking about.Smeat75 (talk) 02:50, 1 September 2013 (UTC)

A good deed

Back in December of last year, a new WER member signed up with the comment,“It constantly strikes me how much more successful Wikipedia would be with just a little more encouragement between editors.” Each week since January 2013 a new EotW award has been presented, and a handful of WER members have, each week, visited the new recepients talk page to offer congrats. WP:Wer has almost 150 members who expressed interest in retaining editors. Can you imagine the editor goodwill and uplift if just 10% of our members reached out to the EotW each week? The weekly infobox announcing the current EotW is prominently displayed on the Project Page. Let them know that they are appreciated. Try it---You’ll feel good! ```Buster Seven Talk 23:23, 26 August 2013 (UTC)

Thanks, Buster Seven, I wasn't aware of EoTW. Liz Read! Talk! 00:33, 27 August 2013 (UTC)
This weeks Editor of the Week is Editor Mohamed CJ. Stop by his talk and give him a "way to go". ```Buster Seven Talk 17:49, 1 September 2013 (UTC)

Reaching out to the past

I have an idea that might be appealing to some of the members of this project. It doesn't need an organized committee or anything like that, but can be done by various editors working independently of each other. My idea is that you could try to reach out to retired editors who still have the "Email this user" function enabled and ask them if they might be interested in returning (obviously, don't bother someone who has made it clear that they want to be left alone). You could send out an email once a day or once a week or whatever you prefer, but it would be interesting to see how many editors we might get back this way. AutomaticStrikeout  ?  16:17, 13 August 2013 (UTC)

This would be useful if (a) an editor has clearly indicated what change(s) at Wikipedia would cause him or her to return (or to consider returning) and (b) there is clear evidence of the desired change(s).
Wavelength (talk) 16:55, 13 August 2013 (UTC)
No one asked me, but the reason I returned from being more-or-less retired & gone was that someone reached out & asked for my help in getting an article to FA quality. In other words, someone cared whether or not I contributed. So I'm back, in a modest way, trying to find & add sources to various articles. (Since I would read Wikipedia on a regular basis--despite everything, there are a lot of informative &/or well-written articles here--I was reachable, & making the occasional copy edit. If anyone bothered to ask for my help editing.) However, I am not going to make any edits I believe would be contested because (1) I'm jaded from dealing with the aggressive attitudes around here, (2) I believe a lot of the policies taken for granted here are obsolete or the product of people wanting to prove they are important -- & yes, I'm guilty of doing that -- & (3) I don't have the time to research & debate disputed content. -- llywrch (talk) 17:15, 12 September 2013 (UTC)

Another editor lost through bullying

I am deeply concerned to see one of the latest retirements, Smerus, a prolific contributor to classical music and opera. This is precisely what this project is designed to avoid happening. We can't afford to lose mature editors of this calibre. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 03:10, 3 September 2013 (UTC)

I assume the current arbcom case on "infoboxes" (which is full of frustrating aspects) is directly related to his retirement. I'm not sure if "bullying" is a reasonable description, but I think I know what you mean. Fwiw, here are links to his comments, evidence, workshop, and the Proposed decision FoF and Remedies that involve him (only the PDtalkpage has much further discussion about him).
I'm not sure what this project could have done to prevent his retirement, beyond getting involved in the infobox dispute/discussion years ago (which unless handled perfectly might just have sped the problem along, as "people taking sides" is exactly the problem that I assume you refer to by "bullying"). (And also this project would have had to helped with all other sources of frustration, because infoboxes are probably just the proverbial straw.)
Note that admin User:Ched has also retired (effectively) today (at least partially related to infoboxes).
Also (as a tangent) bcrat User:WilliamH retired yesterday (I'm not sure why).
Life is full of sadness. The only things that help are friends, art, and change (time, epiphanies, alcohol). –Quiddity (talk) 04:33, 3 September 2013 (UTC)
(EC) I agree that something needs to be done...some kind of intervention needs to be implemented. But, in this case you mention, it seems to have happened out of the blue. I've only glossed over some of the particulars, and I don't know where the bullying took place, but it seems like no one could have predicted a retirement. Maybe, had we known, we could have gone to the page or pages where the bullying took place and applied some "peer pressure" on the bully to tone it down. Bullies in real life usually stop bullying if most of the people in the vicinity say, "OK. That's enough. It's time to stop bullying." One of my early bad experiences was a "bully-fest". And what saved the day (and my WikiCareer) were some veteran editors that appeared and leveled the playing field. I wasn't alone with just my inexperience. Had they not shown up I too may have retired after only a short stay. ```Buster Seven Talk 04:50, 3 September 2013 (UTC)
The Smerus retirement is doubly disturbing, because one highly respected member of Wikipedia and British society, Tim riley, and a prolific editor of classical music articles, also nearly retired not so long ago because of people's behaviour. Users need to realise that Wikipedia is not only all about soccer, video games, Anime, and Manga. Those who would like to see a reduction in the number of admins/crats, or indeeed the total abolishment of the admin/cratsystem need not worry about Arbcom or community desyoping, they seem to be getting their own way anyway. 05:59, 3 September 2013 (UTC)Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk)
Most of the bullying here is done by administrators, which is why it can't be stopped. Reform of WP's governance is an urgent problem that very few care to address for fear of spoiling their chances at RfA. Eric Corbett 07:01, 3 September 2013 (UTC)
I have great respect for Smerus and said so, always, although we disagreed on topics. It looks to me like he resigned over the arbcom "findings" about him, which are not supported by the evidence. --Gerda Arendt (talk) 07:27, 3 September 2013 (UTC)
I doubt very much that most of the bullying is done by administrators, a few maybe (I certainly am aware of some) , but the ratios and behaviours of admin/non-admin users is too disparate. Gang-bashing of admins by the community on the other hand, is a widespread phenomenon and just as silly as children who believe all teachers are monsters. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 07:53, 3 September 2013 (UTC)
That is overstated Kudpung.... there is some but not a lot of undeserved "gang-bashing" of admins by the community. But there are grievous inadequacies of the admin system which are deliberately and systematically sidelined by the admin community, who often seem more interested in preening themselves than facilitating content building on Wikipedia. Unless or until the admin community is willing to address those inadequacies they cannot expect much respect from the non-admin community. Personally, I feel ashamed of the admin community. --Epipelagic (talk) 11:38, 3 September 2013 (UTC)
The overstatement is this: ...there are grievous inadequacies of the admin system which are deliberately and systematically sidelined by the admin community, who often seem more interested in preening themselves than facilitating content building on Wikipedia. If you would like to see the system changed, you are welcome to start an RfC proposing your changes; as the number of editors far outweights the number of acive admins, you may well even garner support. Editors who simply make nonconstructive criticisms that are not founded on facts will not help to get things changed - indeed, due to heckling from the sidelines, interest in making reform to adminship has been lost in the past by smome editors. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 00:29, 4 September 2013 (UTC)
You have been around long enough to know that is not how it works at all Kudpung. The system has become Orwellian, and I do not understand why you have allowed yourself to become an apologist for it. --Epipelagic (talk) 22:05, 8 September 2013 (UTC)
I certainly have been bullied by one of the most notorious admins for pointing out that one of his decisions went against the majority view of the community. I was already to leave after Arbcom refused to answer my questions but someone else has taken the case back there. I'll see of Arbcom discover some willingness to reign Sandstein in, if not I'm off.--Peter Cohen (talk) 20:53, 7 September 2013 (UTC)
ArbCom don't appear to be addressing Sandstein in any of the current cases. I have had nothing to do with him but whenever I've noticed him he's been being an arse hole to someone. But perhaps that's a biased sample and I only get to see the very rare instance where he makes a poor call. If you have a good overview of his performance, are you in a position to construct a convincing case, with diffs, that might persuade the community to reign him in? If so, would you consider doing that and putting it before an RFC? --Anthonyhcole (talk · contribs · email) 21:41, 7 September 2013 (UTC)
Ah. I see you're discussing him at C&E. --Anthonyhcole (talk · contribs · email) 22:08, 7 September 2013 (UTC)
I did take him to AN/I a month or two back. He sabotaged things by saying that he was taking the issue to C&E and the thread got archived without being closed. Meanwhile Arbcom also decided to sit on their hands and so the C&E thread also got archived with no definite conclusion. My view is that rather than going quietly I can make it plain who has driven me away and this means that next time Sandstein's name appears people will remember. Too many good contributors just resign without pointing the finger. Basically I had a "clean record" until Sandstein slapped the Scientology warning on me. To the best of my knowledge I have never edited a Scientology article or taken part in a Scientology-related discussion but Sandstein wanted to play the same game on me as he had just played on The Devils Advocate for pointing out that he was acting against community opinion. I have no desire for my name to be associated with Scientology but Sandstein has done so because I questioned his judgment. There was a thread somewhere else (I think on a beaurocrat-related page) where other admins commented on how Sandstein goes ape-shit whenever one of them undoes one of his actions. If Arbcom and WMF aren't prepared to rein him in, then my view is that they deserve to preside over a dying project where all the useful contributors have upped and gone and only the game-players are left.--Peter cohen (talk) 22:51, 7 September 2013 (UTC)
Obviously it's your call; but if you think the guy is toxic - and there are a number of editors who do - getting him to return to article-writing full time for a year or two while he reflects on the way he respects people may be a better (and more satisfying) response that walking away. You needn't construct the whole case, you could open the RfC with what you know and invite others on AN or ANI to add to it.
He does a great deal of work here and is obviously well-intentioned so I can't see ArbCom really doing anything with him - they appear to rely on him to keep a lot of trouble at bay that might otherwise come flying back at them.
I don't have enough knowledge about him to support an RfC, but if you think that course might be fruitful, it's an option. --Anthonyhcole (talk · contribs · email) 00:30, 8 September 2013 (UTC)
From what I have seen, Sandstein seems indeed to have a seriously disturbed track record focused on draconian punishment. Can anyone point to cases where Sandstein has given content editors the benefit of doubt, or shown skill at applying alternatives other than draconian punishment? An RfC would be a waste of time. Admins and arbitrators have free reign on Wikipedia to abuse mere content editors as they will, and no admin or arbitrator in the history of Wikipedia has ever has their privileges removed for such abuses. If content editors don't like it, their only redress lies in their freedom to leave (as so many of the best do). --Epipelagic (talk) 12:11, 8 September 2013 (UTC)

Smerus was one of the best music contributors that Wikipedia has ever had. Unfortunately he felt that the action of ArbCom’s AGK in asking for evidence against him (and me) — after the evidence stage of the case had finished — exposed him unfairly to attacks from members of WikiProject Quality Article Improvement. He was left with the familiar choice of deciding to defend himself by laboriously fighting it out diff by diff, opting to ignore the whole thing and do nothing, or simply leave. He felt the right choice was to leave. Kleinzach 08:27, 3 September 2013 (UTC)

I agree completely that it was wrong that an arb asked for more evidence. I don't agree with "exposed him unfairly to attacks from members of WikiProject Quality Article Improvement." I am a member of the project and refused to say anything against him: "I have intentionally not supplied any evidence against (!) any editor, many of whom I respect, and still don't want to do that. (Was it a mistake? I am interested in understanding, not "remedies".)". - Other members provided evidence, not "attacks". He didn't leave then. The evidence was boiled down to a so-called "finding" which I consider unfair. He didn't leave then. A comment mentioned that "finding" as "succinct understatement", he left then. Fairness is missing, see yourself. --Gerda Arendt (talk) 08:44, 3 September 2013 (UTC)
I should feel sorry if the above were to be the last word on this topic and therefore have come back from the dead briefly to harry those who venture to speak in my name or pretend to identify my motives. Gerda of course would not be the first person to assume 'post hoc, ergo propter hoc', and like many of them she is wrong. I initially chose not to demean myself by answering a slew of attacks made on me, and charges levelled against me by an arbitrator, both of which took place after the evidence in the arb case was closed. I did not even know at the time I left whether both charges against me were determined or not. But on thinking it over last night, I realised that I shouldn't play games where the rules are arbitrarily changed, and that to argue about this was merely to lower myself to the level of my persecutors. Vale.--Smerus (talk) 13:18, 3 September 2013 (UTC)
Buster says above "I don't know where the bullying took place". You could have a look at Wikipedia:Arbitration/Requests/Case/Infoboxes/Proposed decision with enough links etc to supply several months' worth of reading material. This situation has been going on for years. Another user says above "Wikipedia is not only all about soccer, video games, Anime, and Manga". In the contentious field of Christian origins, Biblical scholarship, historicity of Jesus, etc., the two most valuable editors, History2007 and PiCo both recently retired, because, Dougweller says on this page, they got fed up with constant pov editing. These articles are under constant assault by a never ending stream of pov pushers, to try to keep fringe ideas picked up from internet blogs out of them is something that becomes almost a full- time job, trying to counter obvious trolls involves time-consuming, repetitious procedures that you have to spend ages gathering "evidence" for, and drag on for months or years. I completely disagree that the problem is caused by admins bullying, it is caused because the procedures for dealing with bullies and trolls are much too weak. They don't work, WP is failing to keep its best editors, at least in the areas I am familiar with.Smeat75 (talk) 13:21, 3 September 2013 (UTC)
That's because, writ large, Wikipedia doesn't give a shit about retaining its good editors. You notice that this only becomes about "retaining experienced editors" when one that particular editor considers valuable quits. In some areas, as Smeat75 points out, POV pushing is a major issue. In others, lack of admin competence is a major issue. I'm frankly more concerned by the loss of Ched, who was one of the few candid Admins out there. But whatever. There's far too much policy OWN for any real change to ever take place. Intothatdarkness 14:00, 3 September 2013 (UTC)

I just want to say that I agree with Kudpung and Kleinzach that Smerus is a first-rate editor whom we can ill spare. I am dismayed to see him withdrawing in the face of recent developments. – Tim riley (talk) 17:03, 3 September 2013 (UTC)

Tim is right (as usual). Another sad day for Wikipedia. Edwardx (talk) 19:27, 3 September 2013 (UTC)
  • More than a sad day. While I think it's inadmissible to lose mature adult editors of social, academic, and professional standing who are able to contribute to traditionally important encyclopedic articles and bring them to FA, I find it absurd that they might allow themselves to risk being baited into issues that may either result in blocks, bans, or voluntary retirement. I've been provided with links, for example, to some of the discussions about the use of infoboxes in FA about composers; this took some time to read up, and although I did not read as I would when closing an official RfC, I do not recall detecting any actual consensus. Suffice to say that I had peer reviewed some of those articles and the issue of the presence or absence of infoboxes didn't even cross my mind. Any other editors who do great work for the project, both on, and especially off Wiki would also probably be best advised to avoid any controversies that would end in them being blocked, particularly bearing in mind the caveat that the Arbcom system might be flawed and that findings of the committee may possibly not always be appropriate under the circumstances, even if it means backing down from the bickering. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 02:33, 4 September 2013 (UTC)
Committed contributors are the most vulnerable of WP editors. Smerus didn't go looking for controversy. It came to him. Once the infoboxes started appearing on Wagner articles it was clear there would be trouble. I don't think it's reasonable to expect a serious principal contributor, one who has spent time developing high-level articles, to ignore unsatisfactory ancillary material placed directly on the same pages. Kleinzach 05:34, 4 September 2013 (UTC)
Late to a lot more discussion than I have time to read, let's please look at facts of one example (and even before doing so I repeat they I have no plans to experience more of these, so will not add infoboxes to operas other than "my own"):
Götterdämmerung, an "infoboxes started appearing" because I ("bullying editor"?) thought that to look at real discussions would help the discussion of the arbcom case. Why was it "clear there would be trouble"? Was it "unsatisfactory ancillary material"? I think we had a fair discussion after Smerus reverted the infobox, his one and only edit to the article, where he was certainly not the "serious principal contributor, one who has spent time developing high-level articles". --Gerda Arendt (talk) 22:12, 8 September 2013 (UTC)
That's exactly right. It's hard to ignore it when a bullying editor pushing an agenda come what may plonks his tanks on your lawn. Okay – not truly "your" lawn, and we all recognise WP:OWN. But I wish the WP authorities would make better allowance for explosions, (minor, me judice) such as those for which Smerus was in the dock, provoked by uncolleaguely colleagues with no respect for, as Kleinzach says, the work of "a serious principal contributor, one who has spent time developing high-level articles". We need to change the whole emphasis of policing WP to encourage the constructive and punish the destructive. – Tim riley (talk) 19:11, 4 September 2013 (UTC)
Well said Tim... you have just articulated a rare voice of reason that will however get lost among the din of social networkers and admins preening themselves and moral crusaders clamouring for blocks, blood and dramah. Orphaned and disoriented by this chaos are the relatively few serious content builders here to write the encyclopedia. But that is just how it is now. There seems to be no possibility of change for the better. --Epipelagic (talk) 20:03, 4 September 2013 (UTC)
This is not just a subjective opinion that is shared by content editors. By any measure Wikipedia is in decline. Kleinzach 03:11, 5 September 2013 (UTC)
Evidence, Please. --Guy Macon (talk) 04:05, 5 September 2013 (UTC)
Well, it's more complicated than that. (Isn't it always? May I ironically point out that reductionist descriptions can be misleading, this close to the infobox topic? ;)
The evidence: Active and New editor numbers. It's not dramatic, but the English and German Wikipedias have been experiencing a small slow decline for a few years, whilst most other languages are slowly (and a few rapidly) growing.
On the other hand, Yes, there is always going to be continual turnover, of people retiring/moving on/passing away/changing priorities/etc.
However, En.wiki does have a problem with incivility (unfriendliness) putting people off. There's a fair amount of abstract (and even specific) mudslinging in this thread, as a case in point. Most negativity isn't insightful or productive - or is phrased in a way that provokes argument rather than thought - I wish we'd all hesitate a little more often, before hitting "save" on an inflammatory post or reactionary reply. –Quiddity (talk) 05:45, 5 September 2013 (UTC)
Hear, hear ```Buster Seven Talk 05:53, 5 September 2013 (UTC)
  • It takes two people to have a fight. If Smerus was an innocent victim of bullying, nobody here would be talking about how he was provoked (so it's OK to get into a fight) or that he is a first-rate editor (so it's OK to get into a fight) or that others have done worse and got away with it (so it's OK to get into a fight) or that he owns the articles in question (so it's OK to get into a fight).
Nine Arbcom members support a finding that Smerus has degraded the quality of infobox discussions (with one oppose and one abstain)[3], Eight Arbcom members support a remedy reminding Smerus to conduct himself in a civil manner.[4] and there is currently a six to five split over indefinitely prohibiting Smerus from removing or discussing the addition or removal of infoboxes[5], with six votes needed for prohibition. At which point Smerus decided to leave Wikipedia rather than accept those quite reasonable restrictions. I hate to say it, but that action convinced me that he was never going to stop getting into fight with jerks and assholes. Yes, the jerks and assholes should be banned, but there are always new jerks and assholes to fight. --Guy Macon (talk) 22:30, 4 September 2013 (UTC)
Except that Smerus in philosophical mood had already talked of leaving as a result of infoboxes and metadata wars (and warriors) back on 16 June on Sphilbrick's talk page: User_talk:Sphilbrick/Archive_35#Infoboxes.... Scarabocchio (talk) 03:58, 5 September 2013 (UTC)
I'm chagrined to note that I did not respond to that post. In fact, the first time I recall reading it is today. That troubles me, it is not my nature to ignore posts on my talk page. It isn't that I read it and declined to respond, I missed it. It may or may not explain, but I note my next post starts "Sorry I burnt out." I do not know first-hand of the contributions made by Smerus, but I have seen enough references to know how sad this is.--SPhilbrick(Talk) 12:08, 5 September 2013 (UTC)
While it is unrelated (AFAIK) to the specific thread topic, I just received this note, which ruined my already sad day.--SPhilbrick(Talk) 12:39, 5 September 2013 (UTC)
While I have little knowledge of the Tea Party movement case, it may be that the treatment of the two users was similar. Here is one of the three posts that ArbCom sanctioned him for: [6]. He was sanctioned for expressing his opinion, not for edit warring or breaking any specific rules. The "reminder to conduct himself in a civil manner" was perhaps reasonable, but the charge that he "degraded the quality of infobox discussions" had no basis in fact. (There was little or no quality in those discussions for anyone to degrade.) The 'remedy' meted out was disproportionate. It's possible that ArbCom wanted to punish two users from each side of the dispute to demonstrate fairness, but the scope of Smerus's involvement was much less than that of the other three parties. He shouldn't have been caught in the net. Kleinzach 15:55, 5 September 2013 (UTC)
That encapsulates the case perfectly. I find Kleinzach's supposition that "ArbCom wanted to punish two users from each side of the dispute to demonstrate fairness" sadly convincing. Heigh ho! But let us press on, ladies and gentlemen, as best we can! Tim riley (talk) 16:48, 5 September 2013 (UTC)
Another factor is the ridiculous use of WP:OWN. The people who drove Smerus away would complain about the analogy that tanks were parked on his lawn and start bleating about their favourite bit of policy or guidance or whatever it is. The thing is the policy should not be used to allow editors who don't give a fuck about a particular area of content to come and interfere with subject experts. Smerus has a music-related PhD, and has been published and given talks in music-related areas. It's perfectly legitimate for another big contributor in the area to argue in favour of a new way of presenting our content but not for a troublemaker to come in and try to foist his stylistic preference on us.--user:Peter cohen (User talk:Peter cohen) 20:47, 7 September 2013 (UTC)
"but not for a troublemaker to come in and try to foist his stylistic preference on us"
First, I'm not sure who "us" is. Second, I think you are implying a destructive intentionality where none exists. I have no doubt that there are some Editors who have an axe to grind but as an Editor who wandered in a topic area that was definitely owned by two other users (every edit by any other person was always reverted), I think that ignorance is more likely rather than the users being trolls.
After arguing about the value of my edits which were reverted, I ceded the territory to the other Editors who were acting as watchdogs. I don't know who knew the subject better but, basically, they cared more about it than I did as they responded to every edit that occurred and I didn't have that much invested. I can see where they might think I was a "troublemaker" who was upsetting their carefully crafted and protected articles but I really was trying to be helpful. For better or worse, an Editor can choose to maintain a vigilant watch over articles they care about or they can let go of control (or something that lies between those two stances). Liz Read! Talk! 21:47, 7 September 2013 (UTC)
We/Us are the editors associated with the various classical music projects and the troublemaker in this case is someone who has had two one-year bans at least one, if not both, of which followed ongoing disruption of our project and articles in the content of which he had no interest. I don't necessarily agree with what everything his opponents said but he was trying to impose a maintenance overhead on us when there was no willingness displayed to accept that overhead.--Peter cohen (talk) 22:57, 7 September 2013 (UTC)
  • I'm not committing myself to anything, but as Arbcom is the highest Wikipedia authority, what if any, is the process for appealing an ArBcom decision? Does anyone know without me having to wade through pages of blurb? Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 08:43, 6 September 2013 (UTC)
Thans, that's what I thought. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 21:54, 6 September 2013 (UTC)

I have a lot of respect for some arbitrators, but I do agree that the process itself is highly, highly flawed, and can often lead to findings that are excessively harsh and disproportionate to the issues, particularly as elections, combined with a long term off office, cannot guarantee all arbitrators will be good. Adam Cuerden (talk) 10:18, 9 September 2013 (UTC)

Carrying out our WER mission

I think it's time someone step in and help out in the situation of User:Miss Bono. First read her entire talk page, and then this. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 13:43, 5 September 2013 (UTC)

I am not going to retire, Kudpung, we have dropped this situation... I don't want to cause so much mess anymore. Thanks. Miss Bono [zootalk] 13:48, 5 September 2013 (UTC)
Good to hear it Miss Bono. Hurrah! WER Works! Jenova20 (email) 14:46, 5 September 2013 (UTC)
Also see behind the scenes WER efforts. It works! ```Buster Seven Talk 15:56, 5 September 2013 (UTC)

There's been a rash of people jumping ship recently, Ched's one, Nathan2055's another. Maybe it's something in the water or everyone's worn out from Infoboxes and Manning. I think we just need to remember that sometimes, Wikipedia isn't really that important, and taking the weekend off can work wonders. Have fun, people. Ritchie333 (talk) (cont) 17:00, 5 September 2013 (UTC)

Now I am thinking about joining myself to WER to help others. Mmmm I don't know O_o. Miss Bono [zootalk] 17:41, 5 September 2013 (UTC)

It's not a bad idea. The more the merrier Jenova20 (email) 17:56, 5 September 2013 (UTC)
It's an excellent idea. I'm not an official member here, but I do drop by, and I help informally with editor retention when I can. I am simply "not a joiner of things". Fiddle Faddle 10:22, 6 September 2013 (UTC)
I think there is a big difference from taking a Wikibreak (especially if one edits on a daily basis) and "jumping ship". In particular, if one has been working all summer, through the Manning explosion of words, one needs to log off for a while. I usually find if I'm busy with other projects (like, uh, work), I return to work on something completely new, where I can see progress and stay away from the noticeboards. It reminds me of why I started editing years ago. And you know, if someone reverts me, I don't argue about it, I just move on. There is lots of work to be done. Liz Read! Talk! 21:22, 7 September 2013 (UTC)
I could add that there are a lot of other things beyond wikipedia itself which can use a lot of work. I've been uploading a lot of older PD reference works relating to religion, philosophy, etc., up to commons today, with, honestly, several more such books waiting to be added. I've also been going over some more recent reference works. Guess what? We are still missing or have badly undeveloped content relating to several significant areas around here. Indigenous Australian and native American culture spring to mind most quickly here. One thing that I think might help a lot of people who get too caught up in some areas is to do what Liz says, and start on some other topic that interested them. I know Wikipedia:WikiProject Missing encyclopedic articles has been kinda dead for some time now, unfortunately, but I really do think that, for a lot of people, showing them some other things they could work on developing, maybe, at least sometimes, with sources readily available, like say on wikimedia commons, that might help provide some editors in trouble a few other ideas that they could work on for a while, particularly if they are caught in a major conflict somewhere else. John Carter (talk) 23:03, 8 September 2013 (UTC)

The pantry is bare

Lets all take a break from trying to figure out why editors are retiring left and right and do something to congratulate some fellow collaborator that you know or have worked with. For the first time this year the Nomination Page is empty. Editor of the Week is a recognition award for unsung heroes: editors who do excellent work in improving Wikipedia while typically going unnoticed. A recipient of Editor of the Week ideally has one or more of the following characteristics:

  • Writes or significantly expands articles on a regular basis.
  • Cleans up articles by, for example, adding sources, expanding citations with the necessary information, aligning prose with the manual of style, or improving the quality of the prose through copy-editing (such as making the text more concise and removing redundant wording).
  • Serves as notable voice of reason in discussions with other editors.
  • Performs behind-the-scenes work, not normally seen by the general community.

```Buster Seven Talk 19:19, 5 September 2013 (UTC)

  • TY Editor Khazar2 for your timely 9/8 nomination. ```Buster Seven Talk 13:06, 8 September 2013 (UTC)
I can't think of any off-hand. Editors I've known productively in the past have disappeared. The only traffic left is increasingly back-biting. A sad few are left fending off the trolls. Increasingly little productive work goes on, either from the big names or the occasional contributors. Andy Dingley (talk) 22:39, 8 September 2013 (UTC)
And on that cheery note I added another name, who admittedly has gotten some recognition before, but at least in my eyes probably not as much as she's earned. John Carter (talk) 22:56, 8 September 2013 (UTC)

Million Award

Editors here may be interested in the Million Award, a new initiative to recognize editors of Wikipedia's most-read articles. It's a fun way to thank the editors who bring either core topics or high-demand pop culture content to GA and FA status, and to remind these editors of the literally millions of people their work serves.

Do you know any editors who might qualify? Then give them one of these...

Million award logo.svg This user won the Million Award for bringing Mars to Good Article status.
Million award logo.svg This user won the Quarter Million Award for bringing Franz Kafka to Featured Article status.

... today! -- Khazar2 (talk) 12:56, 8 September 2013 (UTC)

Seconds needed

There are currently 3 editors nominated that require seconds to move into "the Q". ```Buster Seven Talk 05:40, 19 September 2013 (UTC)

The current Editor of the Week

is MusiCitizen an invaluable asset to Wikipedia through his excellent work. Drop by his page to congratulate him and consider an editor you feel would deserve to be Editor of the Week. Go to the nomination page and get the ball rolling to give a deserving editor a pat on the back for a job well done! ```Buster Seven Talk 15:23, 22 September 2013 (UTC)