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

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:

Bastique

MaxSem

User:Mike.lifeguard

Jyothis

Mercy

Jafeluv, Eptalon, Matanya, Barras, Laaknor, PeterSymonds

Melos

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

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10 Responses to “Your failure to understand basic policies seems to be a violation of policy”

  1. Moulton Says:

    Here is what I posted on Wikiversity, when a discussion came up on the use of administrative blocks against fellow scholars.

    I defy anyone to find so much as an ounce of collegiality in yesterday’s sham (and atrociously scripted) Bill of Attainder.

    Thomas Jefferson was demonstrating collegial insight when he led the civilized world in abandoning Bill of Attainder, having recognized that it’s a corrosive and corrupt tool of government that inevitably sinks any regime that comes to rely on it. Shortly after the Founders outlawed Bill of Attainder in Article I of the US Constitution, the British followed suit, abandoning both Parliamentary Bill of Attainder and Monarchial Bill of Attainder.

    It’s disturbing to witness you and other misguided officials reintroducing this antiquated relic from the rubbish heap of political history into the current practices of Wikiversity. Is this the kind of unwise practice you wish to teach to impressionable youth of the 21st Century? Can you imagine what would happen to anyone who tried to adopt and employ that hoary and unsustainable practice in the real world of an authentic 21st Century learning organization?

    Moulton 13:49, 29 January 2009 (UTC)

    • John Schmidt Says:

      Does a bad block or bad ban get imposed every time KillerChihuahua shows up? It would be interesting to have the chat logs from Freenode IRC ##wvvw so we could see how decisions are made at Wikiversity about who to block and ban.

      • Moulton Says:

        As I have said before (on more than one occasion), I defy anyone to find so much as an ounce of collegiality in such sham (and atrociously scripted) Bills of Attainder.

        Thomas Jefferson was demonstrating collegial insight when he led the civilized world in abandoning Bill of Attainder, having recognized that it’s a corrosive and corrupt tool of government that inevitably sinks any regime that comes to rely on it. Shortly after the Founders outlawed Bill of Attainder in Article I of the US Constitution, the British followed suit, similarly abandoning both Parliamentary Bill of Attainder and Monarchial Bill of Attainder.

        I am disturbed and dismayed to witness John McConomy, Tracy Walker, Mike Umbricht, and other similarly misguided officials reintroducing this antiquated relic from the rubbish heap of political history into the prevailing practices of Wikiversity. Is this the kind of unwise practice they wish to teach to impressionable youth of the 21st Century? Can you imagine what would happen to anyone who tried to adopt and employ that hoary and unsustainable practice in the real world of an authentic 21st Century learning organization?

  2. Moulton Says:

    With apologies to Bob Dylan…

    Come gather ’round people wherever you roam
    And admit that the Kool Aid around you has phoamed
    And accept it that soon you’ll be wrenched like a clone
    If your name to you is worth savin’
    Then you better start swimmin’ or you’ll sink like Capone
    For the operas we are a-stagin’.

    Come Stewards, Custodians, please heed the call
    Don’t shut down my gateway, don’t range-block them all
    For he that gets hurt will be he who was called
    There’s a battle around and it is ragin’
    It’ll soon shake your kishkes and inflame your gall
    For the operas we are a-stagin’.

  3. John Schmidt Says:

    It took over 300 years for the Church censors to apologize for the ban they imposed on Galileo. In the Camelot story, 300 years would pass before there was another chance to do battle against “Might makes Right”. How many “wiki years” are equal to 300 years?

  4. Moulton Says:

    Well, here is how I reckon the time dilation.

    In the New Testament, it took Jesus three days to resurrect himself.

    On the Internet, Caprice does it in about 3 minutes.

    So that’s a speed up factor of 480.

    So 300 years in the Advance of Western Civilization would be roughly 7 1/2 months in Cyberspace Time.

  5. Barry Kort Says:

    This remarkably insightful article by Scott Barry Kaufman has more explanatory power than anything else I’ve ever read when it comes to diagnosing and mapping out the lamentable misadventures and shreklisch dramas in my otherwise unrevealed personal life story.

    Are Narcissists Better at Reading Minds?

    • John Schmidt Says:

      Towards the end of Kaufman’s article he speculates about human evolution and the idea that human societies include a sub-population of individuals with brains that are not typical generators of empathy. Survival of our species might depend on most people having normal human empathy, but there might also be positive selection for a minority population that can “persevere toward their short-term selfish goals” even when they are hurting others. Some people are masters of deception, creating a public persona that many people are drawn to while at the same time these “masters” can secretly inflict vast amounts of harm on others.

      • Barry Kort Says:

        I’ve been reading up on the Dark Triad, about Machiavellian Narcissistic Manipulative Control Phreaks. Very familar and very interesting.

        I also was arrested by Scott Barry Kaufman’s reference to the Big Five Personality Test (“OCEAN”). Do you recall that?

        See this item on the salvaged archive of my WP talk page, which the Evil ID Cabal had maliciously deleted:

        Five of Seven, Meet Seven of Nine

  6. Barry Kort Says:

    Not only do I concur with Scott Barry Kaufman’s insights about Narcissists, I would propose to extend it to cover all of the Axis II Cluster B Personality Disorders — Histrionic, Borderline, Sociopathic, and Narcissistic.

    These categories appear to me to be gifted at emotional manipulation but profoundly lacking in ethics.

    The big unanswered question in my mind is whether their ability to form at least some elements of a Theory of Mind also establishes an untapped foundation for developing the faculty of deep ethical reasoning.

    If so, what is the ethical best practice for relating to people in the Axis II Cluster B categories so as to facilitate and foster their (presumptive innate) ability to acquire the faculty of deep ethical reasoning.

    I have anecdotal evidence that no such practice can be devised if the elements of the Theory of Mind extend to recognizing observable emotions while lacking the ability to appreciate rational thoughts, no matter how ingeniously one illuminates them.

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