Archive for March, 2011

Your failure to understand basic policies seems to be a violation of policy

March 25, 2011
Wikicop Barnstar

Building a collaborative learning community by bashing community members with the banhammer.

In the previous blog post, I mentioned abusive Wikimedia Functionaries, with particular emphasis on misguided sysops. Abusive sysops drive away honest Wikimedians while attracting more misguided souls who want to be Wikicops who can play with their toy banhammers.

Here, in this post (Part I of a two part series), we can also explore the actions of misguided stewards who systematically disrupt the educational mission of the Wikimedia Foundation.

Two primary technical tools of the stewards are blocking and oversightingStewards are also responsible for extending or removing administrative privileges to other WMF functionaries, in accordance with the Guidelines for Stewards.

The block tool makes it possible to prevent vandals from editing at wiki websites. At Wikiversity, since the Hostile Takeover in 2008, the block tool has also been used to block fellow Wikiversity community members. It is interesting to read the reasons that are given for blocking well-known and long-standing wiki community members. The first such block at Wikiversity was for “intentionally being offensive.” We can ask what the blocking sysop thought was “offensive.” Here is how the blocking sysop described the situation: “Moulton’s like that uncle who always gets drunk and acts inappropriately at family gatherings“. What is an objective account of the situation?

Some Wikipedians violated the Wikimedia Policy on Biographies of Living People (BLPs, for short; see this account). Some of the policy-violators from Wikipedia had gone to Moulton’s otherwise obscure personal blog to harass him and thereby revealed that they were using their work computers to carry out online harassment. In an effort to save their jobs, they wanted to prevent Moulton from linking to his personal blog where there was evidence that they had violated the terms of their employment.

Moulton was stalked off-wiki by misguided Wikimedians who subjected him to vicious online harassment. Why? Because Moulton objected to their violation of the Wikipedia policy on Biographies of Living People. Moulton was unjustly blocked from Wikipedia, in a sham action without due process, for trying to fix damage done to Wikipedia and to the subjects of BLPs by policy-violators.

Moulton found his way to Wikiversity and worked with the resident scholars there on a learning project that explored how it is that Wikipedia can be exploited to publish false information about people.  After diagnosing the systemic corruption, Moulton proposed a remedy based on the introduction of Best Practices for Managerial Ethics for WMF-sponsored projects, to ensure that the projects remained true to the published Charter, Vision, Mission, Values, and Policies of the Wikimedia Foundation.

One of the policy violators from Wikipedia created a puppet account and began disrupting the learning project that was exploring ways to improve Wikipedia. Another such puppet account was created and declared the intention of getting a Wikiversity community member banned from participating. Several disruptive Wikipedians came to the Wikiversity community chat channel and tried to get Moulton banned.

Jimmy Wales, then a steward, blocked Moulton.

Here is how one “insider” described part of the secret off-wiki decision-making process that led to this bad block:

1. Jimbo threatened to shut down Wikiversity if we didn’t block you.
2. We told him no.
3. Jimbo threatened to shut down Wikiversity if we didn’t block you.
4. We told him that if he was so interested in you being blocked, he should do it himself.
5. Jimbo blocked you, and said it was done on our behalf.

Steward actions must be transparent and respect consensus at wiki communities. Jimbo set the standard for misguided application of the steward tools. The disruptive effect of Jimbo’s misguided use of his stewards tools was discussed previously.

The part of this story (Jimbo’s Misadventure) that has yet to be revealed is how a gang of BLP policy-violators from Wikipedia managed to game Jimbo into imposing a bad block at Wikiversity, a block imposed against consensus, a block imposed on a Wikiversity community member who had not violated any policy. Will Jimbo ever tell the world who asked him to block Moulton? Who continues to try to hide the truth? Who continues to try to silence Moulton?

More videos about the sad and abusive culture of Wikimedia wikis.

Sadly, misguided stewards like Jimbo frequently make decisions in secret and implement them against community consensus. There should be an exploration of Wikimedia Stewards, their misguided actions and the vast damage that they have done to the mission of the Wikimedia Foundation…but who has the time to try to fix such a corrupt system? Worthy of investigation:






Jafeluv, Eptalon, Matanya, Barras, Laaknor, PeterSymonds


Your failure to understand basic policies seems to be a violation of policy

2010: Jimbo again threatened to close Wikiversity. And why not? It worked wonders in 2008! Related reading.

2011: Is there openness as long as decisions are made in secret, off wiki, about how to block and ban honest Wikimedians?

Image credits: The Wikicop Barstar was made using 3D-printed-ban-hammer.jpg by Eagleapex and Barnstar Admin.png by Carn et al

Growing Pains

March 19, 2011
Decline in active editors at Wikipedia

Decline in active editors at Wikipedia.

In an earlier blog post, we explored the role of Sue Gardner’s support of Jimbo Wales in his misguided disruption of the Wikiversity community. Sue Gardner, Executive Director of the Wikimedia Foundation, recently offered some comments about the decline in the number of editors at Wikipedia (see the graph). She talked about “growing pains” and the attempt by the Wikipedia community

“to integrate the newbies while at the same time striving to preserve the ability to do its work. It does that by developing self-repair and defense mechanisms – which in our case, turned out to be things like bot- and script-supported reverts, deletions, user warnings, and complex policies.”

Sue Gardner did not mention the deeper and more systemic problems. Before 2006 new editors were welcomed to Wikipedia and given a chance to learn how to edit collaboratively. After 2006 a cadre of misguided sysops had been deployed — sysops who delete rather than discuss and block rather than edit. A good example is what happened to Moulton, a Wikimedian from academia who tried to correct a violation of Wikipedia’s policy for Biographies of Living People. For his trouble, Moulton was blocked from editing and banned from all Wikimedia wiki projects by Jimbo Wales (related blog post).

Of course, the policy-violators continue to disrupt Wikimedia wiki projects along with the abusive Wikimedia Functionaries who blocked and banned Moulton. Sue Gardner gave her full support to Jimbo’s disruptive interventions into Wikiversity community affairs. Given such sickening behavior by toxic Wikimedia officials, is there really any surprise to see a decline in the number of active editors? Is there any way for honest and conscientious Wikimedians of integrity in these dysfunctional wiki communities to protect themselves against the Barney Fife Tin Badge Syndrome that I call Wikipedia Disease?  Or is it better to abandon WMF-sponsored projects as hopelessly regressed into the Dark Ages?

Related reading: Ting Chen on declining trends in editing activity.