Wikipedia talk:Wikipedia Signpost/2010-08-30/Arbitration report

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I'm posting a few comments here as I did last week. One of the points I wanted to raise this week is that the discussion on the climate change case proposed decision talk page, although it is indeed rather large, is actually rather structured now (certainly more structured than it was last week). There is a section for statements, a section for new proposals, a section for miscellaneous discussion, and lots and lots of separate sections for each proposal in the proposed decision where comments have been made. Possibly the report was written when the discussion looked less structured. The other point I wanted to make is that there is more going on on the arbitration pages than just these two cases. Does the Signpost intend to cover the current amendments and clarifications, or do you only cover those once they have been completed? At least one of the clarifications concerns the recently closed case, which may be of interest to Signpost readers. Carcharoth (talk) 23:01, 31 August 2010 (UTC)

Yes, as of this timestamp, in the discussion section there are 108,617 words (plus 10,737 words which are archived) and 8914 words in the statements section. As the report would suggest, the version of the page was being looked at was when participants (I think primarily Tony Sidaway) started managing the page more aggressively to bring it into the state that appears now. I'm taking your comment to mean that the management and archiving process is complete now? While you're here, perhaps you could also clarify why much of this task (including archiving) was being handled by active participants of the discussion rather than clerks or arbitrators?
Re: motions, with one possible exception, we generally cover them after they have passed rather than while they are in progress (especially as some matters can be too trivial and boring to readers). But it was very good to bring this up because it seems sensible to cover them (at least in brief) while they are in the more raw phase of clarification/amendment requests - will start doing so from either next week or the week after. Cheers, Ncmvocalist (talk) 06:10, 1 September 2010 (UTC)
There is actually more to this matter of managing the discussion on the climate change proposed decision talk page than you might be aware of. If I have time after checking in on the discussion page again, I can provide diffs and links for much of the following (though some of the information about availability of clerks is from e-mails), but the sequence of events went somewhat like this:
  • (1) Preparations were made in advance to ensure discussion of the proposed decision was reasonably orderly. This included making sure that at least one clerk (Dougweller) was available, as the main case clerk was away the week the proposed decision was posted (we would have liked more clerks to be available, but that wasn't possible). I also tried to start an on-wiki discussion on how to prepare for the discussion, but that didn't get far.
  • (2) The talk page was set up with the "statements" and "discussion" sections (you can see all this in the page history). The proposed decision was posted and discussion commenced, with a high volume, as we knew it would (it is genuinely difficult to manage high-volume discussions like this).
  • (3) At some early point, User:JohnWBarber initiated the "section by section" discussion structure, which was a good move by him. A similar structure had been considered before the proposed decision was posted, but I wanted to see how things would go at first with the simpler structure. I was uncertain about the more complex structure at the time, but it turns out it was needed. I would later make changes to this structure, but it should be noted that it was JohnWBarber who set it up initially.
  • (4) It soon became apparent that the volume of comments was such that better management of the page was needed, and that those paying most attention to the page (me and Dougweller) would probably not be able to manage it fully, at least not during the week (during the week I was only able to check the page for a few hours each evening). I suggested that those posting to the page should manage the page themselves, but only NuclearWarfare and Tony Sidaway really did anything along those lines, and it soon became apparent that asking participants to manage their own discussions was not feasible.
  • (5) I also posted to one section that it was resolved and should be archived. Tony Sidaway then did some more archiving, and did several collapsing of off-topic threads. However, as he was participating in the discussions, several people objected to this, and I posted to his talk page saying that he should note concerns and leave arbitrators and clerks to take actual action. For other reasons, he withdrew from editing the proposed decision talk page, so this became moot.
  • (6) Over the long weekend (it was a bank holiday in the UK) I spent a fair amount of time going through the page and moving sections to fit in the "section by section" discussion area and retitling them and leaving notes about the moves, and including redirects using the "see also" template, as needed. That wasn't completely finished (the administrator bits are still all in one area, which is probably best), and it is an ongoing task because people post new sections without realising that they should be posting to a section-specific area of the discussion. I also split the findings and remedies discussions apart, and added links to the archived discussions and unarchived some of them. Overall, I probably did most of the discussion management in the end (not the case participants, as you said above), and I ensured that all the archived material was linked to from the main discussion page, so none of it is missed by other arbitrators reading through the page.
  • (7) The case clerk (Amorymeltzer) was meant to be back this week, but informed us by e-mail that he has been delayed, so we have asked for another clerk to step in and help Dougweller, and I and other arbitrators will be continuing to help where needed (though I will be away myself this weekend).
  • (8) The drafting arbitrators have been following the discussion and changes have been made (as you said) and more changes are planned. The volume of the discussion did surprise me somewhat (though as I said, we knew it would be high), but I think it is reasonably manageable in terms of reading through it, and I for one will be reading through the whole discussion page as I vote next week, though I hope the volume has died down somewhat by then.
Hopefully this is sufficient to answer any questions you or readers of the Signpost have. Carcharoth (talk) 23:50, 1 September 2010 (UTC)
I don't want to take too much of your time on this, but there are a few diffs that I think would add some value with respect to (1), (4), and if I'm mistaken, (5). I've responded to those points that may require a bit more information/clarification.
  • (1) You mentioned that preparations were underway in advance - do you mean between the time when the workshop was closed (19 July) and the PD was posted (23 August), or do you mean earlier than that? At which point in time did you try to start that discussion you refer to?
  • (3) So beyond the distinction between statements and discussion, it was another participant, JohnWBarber, who set some structure, but you later made changes to this?
  • (4) At what point in time did this become apparent? How much time had elapsed from the moment you suggested participants manage their own discussions?
  • (5) Rather than some archiving since the PD was posted, my understanding is that as before the report date, all archiving that has taken place was done by Tony Sidaway (except for a single unarchiving by you some two days later, which was during the time you refer to in (6) - after midday on the 29th). That, as I suggested above, was 10,700+ words. Is my understanding accurate?
  • (8) Indeed; in some ways, the PD phase (with its talk page alone) has represented tricky and lengthy dispute resolution on many levels. :) I'm sure that many readers and participants are also hopeful that you and the other 7 arbs will, in addition to PD talk page, also revisit other relevant venues/input (eg; arb talk pages, workshop, community comments, etc) before voting; that is, some points may have been made more effectively there while others tried to avoid partisan bickering and certain influences.
As always, thank you for your input (this is very helpful). It is likely that the next report will be written before the PD is complete. Ncmvocalist (talk) 06:04, 2 September 2010 (UTC)
I can provide more diffs, but I don't have time right now until Wednesday for anything more than the following (and even then I will be voting on the case for most of next week). For the preparations, see what was done to the evidence and workshop pages and talk pages to update them. The discussion regarding the PD talk page was on the 'general discussion' page (and its talk page) and linked to from the PD talk page. Regarding: it was another participant, JohnWBarber, who set some structure, but you later made changes to this" - that is correct, though the possibility of a more detailed structure had been considered (in hindsight that was overly complicating the statements section and not paying enough attention to how the rest of the discussion would be structured). In the end, after taking advice from other arbs and clerks, I decided to take a simpler approach at first, as starting off with a complex structure could have been seen as trying to over-manage the discussion. The suggestion that participants manage their own discussion was made by me here (though I may have suggested it earlier as well). The archiving comment was a few minutes earlier and was here. Archiving discussion that took place after the PD started turned out, in my opinion, to be a mistake. I had intended to unarchive more than I did, but only ended up unarchiving one section and ensuring that all archived sections were linked from the current discussions. In general, meta discussion or notes about managing the PD talk should be available in the 'meta and preliminaries' section on the PD talk page. Carcharoth (talk) 09:00, 4 September 2010 (UTC)