Friday, 28 March 2008

Wikimania 2009 Announced

After a very very long delay, Wikimania 2009 was announced today: it'll be in Buenos Aires. Unfortunately, I know nothing about Argentina, and am only familiar with one editor from that country, so I don't really have an opinion on it. As always, I'd like to go, but whether I will is another question.

Wednesday, 26 March 2008

Single user login

Single user login has finally been implemented (for admins only). This is where it is possible to have the same user name on every project even if you haven't registered. Eventually being able to have the same preferences such as email address will be implemented. Now with a username like "Majorly", and having registered previously across multiple projects, this wasn't a problem to me since I now own every single instance of "Majorly" across Wikimedia. I feel sorry for other users, particularly those who usurped first names on English Wikipedia (Alison, Daniel, Riana and Sarah come to mind here) since these are names in common use elsewhere, and there will be conflicts. I hope that all these usurpation requests don't drive the stewards crazy :-) Yes, only stewards can usurp accounts that have been linked, by unlinking them. Normal bureaucrats like myself end up with an error message saying the account is reserved. I think the next big thing development-wise will be implementing stable revisions. I personally feel they are a good idea in many ways, but a bad idea in many others. I might write a post on it if and when they are implemented.

Thursday, 20 March 2008

ArbCom list leak

Posted on my talk page:

Here's what they think about you

"He's been prone to more than his share of drama, and acts (as he himself openly admits) as a bit of a drama magnet." - FT2

"I have significant doubts about his judgment. I think a lot of the drama that focusses around him is a result of his habit of over-reacting to minor issues. I have significant doubts about his judgment for a tool as sensitive as CheckUser." - Sam Korn

"Communication skills and temperament are important given that most checkuser and oversight work involves dealing with angry people. See also his current RFB where there have been quite a few negative opinions expressed." - Thebainer

"Majorly has extremely poor communication skills. His involvement in a situation consistently makes its worse by adding drama. If I could change one vote that I ever made, it would be my vote for Majorly as 'crat on meta. I originally opposed him due to bringing off site personal issues into his Foundation decisions. (While the vote was open, I observed him changing a RFA vote on Commons after he had a personal spat with the user who was a friend of his.) But after discussing it with him I changed my vote because he promised to never do it again. I had never really known much about him before that incident but watched him closely afterward. Unfortunately the pattern has continued with him frequently getting into spats with other users including other 'crats. He has resigned different tools on different wikis several times in a huff. He also had issues related to using multiple accounts himself that cause some users to question his trustworthiness. I can think of ten or twenty of people that I would rather give the tools to then him. I see no upside to giving him the tools and loads of problems." - FloNight

"He has poor judgment, and prolongs/inflames disputes more often than he resolves them." - Mindspillage

"His responses to the opposes [in his RFB] have been even more telling." - Dmcdevit

"He's suitable to be a checkuser. He can be very confrontational, which is not something we need in checkusers. He just won't be an effective checkuser. This is not the kind of person we want to say "This person such an outstanding Wikipedian that we feel we can give him checkuser". - Deskana

It sounds genuine. Some of it I'm not at all surprised to read, but some of it is. Users I respected, who play nice and lovely to my face, appear to have sides I never knew. Some (former) arbs I'm surprised to not see are Newyorkbrad and Raul654, but no matter. I think the point has been made.

Blocked on English Wikipedia

So last night, after nearly two years of editing I was indefinitely blocked for restoring a banned user's edits. Ho-hum. Basically, what happened is I saw Alison reverting a load of edits from one editor, and as far as I could see, they were perfectly acceptable edits. I've had issues with removing banned users edits in the past. A user, by the name of Punk Boi 8 was community banned near the end of 2006, and he returned recently as Whiteandnerdy111. He was discovered, and subsequently, Daniel basically removed everything this user ever did. Whether it was productive or not. In some cases, the user adds a reference to an article, and it is reverted back to {{citation needed}}. This is unproductive. Punk Boi 8 was banned for exhausting the community's patience. If I recall, he was about 11 years old and didn't really get the idea of Wikipedia fully, and so the idea was to impose a temporary ban until he was mature enough to contribute. Whiteandnerdy had no apparent problems, and so Punk Boi had obviously improved somewhat. If he had improved, what is the purpose, and benefit in removing perfectly acceptable edits? This is a kid I'm talking about here. He's not looking for trouble at all, just a bit clueless. I queried Daniel on his talk page, and asked him if the user had written a featured article, would he have deleted it as well? He said it was a possibility... remember folks, this is a 12 year old who is only temporarily banned until he grows up a bit. Through his sockpuppet, he has proven that he can work within our community norms, and had probably learnt his lesson.

Now bearing this in mind, I saw Alison do a similar thing. She was reverting articles back to a really poor state (e.g. full of tags, poor prose etc) simply for the reason the user who improved them was banned. I have a gut feeling that even if this user had reverted vandalism, they'd revert back to the vandalism rather than let his edit stay. Anyway, I asked her on her talk page, and reverted a few of her reverts back to an improved version of the article. I was told not to, but with no clue as to why not. I never received any kind of indication about the problem, just a "trust me, you don't want to go there". Daniel told me to email arbcom. The only problem with that is arbcom tend to ignore what I have to say, so I expected the same again. SirFozzie reverted me, then I reverted him... then East718 popped up out of nowhere and blocked me (yes, this is the same East718 who thought it a great idea to bot edit the main page up to 5000 revisions, so obviously a history of great judgement). I received several emails about this - still nothing from Alison, as though I'm expected to know the history of all this. I have received an email from JzG who has informed me more clearly of the situation. If I had been informed, I'd have stopped so much sooner. But no one bothered to. I emailed Alison, but she has not replied. I indicated on my talk page I don't intend to continue editing. I'm not sure I want to continue. I have had nearly two years editing, and my block log is now scarred with something as bad as this. No one warned they'd block me (well Alison did, but was too late). I'd have stopped; I'm not stupid, and have better things to do if people want to make Wikipedia's articles worse.

There's a thread about this over on Wikipedia Review; as I write this there's been over 1000 views. Believe me though, being in the middle of Wiki-drama is no fun at all. I don't want these things to happen - they just happen. I'm sorry for all the problems I caused with this.

EDIT: Alison has very very sadly resigned from both checkuser and admin. While not directly responsible, I was the one who started this business, and it should be me not her.

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Species bureaucrats

Something funny I noticed whilst browsing around today here. If you don't get it, there's 6 (5 if you don't count Maxim) RfBs up, and they are all passing!!! Not only this, they are proposing *gasp* that all admins should be bureaucrats! Wow, oh wow! This is the kind of thing that certain individuals would retire over on English Wikipedia should such a thing be implemented. I mean, gosh, RfAs and user renames might get done a bit faster! It sounds dreadful! I wrote a short essay here that I think everyone should read. Basically, it sums up how it is easier to be a bureaucrat than an admin. I am a bureaucrat on Meta-wiki (amazing I know...) and trust me, it means basically nothing. I mean, it's Meta-wiki, hardly one of the major wikis (although we do host a lot of potential WP:BEANS pages). But if someone was to propose all admins became bureaucrats, I'd strongly support it. Bureaucratship is not a big deal at all, and those that think it is need to get their facts straight. If we trust someone as an admin, we can trust them as a bcrat, simple as that.


Last night I took part in a Skypecast for NotTheWikipediaWeekly, a newish "rival" to Wikipedia Weekly. I saw took part, but spoke about perhaps 10 words. It was mostly dominated by Sue Gardner giving us her side of the latest foundation scandal (as suggested on Danny Wool's blog). I suggested afterwards to Privatemusings that we had both Danny and Sue on together - would be pretty interesting, as one of them is clearly not telling us the real facts, and as was pointed out, Danny is a pretty respected person (or was at one point). What could possibly be gained by lying about issues like Jimmy and the foundation credit card, and his personal love life?

Monday, 17 March 2008

Upcoming Board elections

It's that time of year again. Yes, it's the Wikimedia Foundation Board Elections! Well, not for a few months, but preparation is well under way. There's place for three members: the current chair, Florence Nibart-Devouard, Domas Mituzas and Michael Snow are all due to end their terms in June. Last year I voted for several people, but I think Eloquence was the only one who was elected (and then left). I hope there's a good selection this year, I thought the last year's candidates, whilst they had their charm, they didn't seem to have that "spark". I'm not sure if I could support any of the three due to end their terms, with the possible exception of Florence, simply due to my being completely unfamiliar with them - and I'm not too keen with the idea of being added to the Board without a vote in the first place.

New blog

Due to certain events, I am temporarily "semi-retired" from Wikipedia. I say temporary very easily, since I've "retired" more times than I can count. This time though, it isn't through choice as such. Following "problems" in real life, and on the wiki, I've decided to step back and do something else for a while. However, I'm still highly interested in the community and the various events going on, and I intend to document them right here, with my own opinion on the subject. I've only ever had one blog in the past, which lasted a long time - hopefully this new one will be worth it.