Wednesday, 16 April 2008

RfA ideology

One of the many, many reasons RfA sucks is the ideology many people have. These are editors who, instead of coming to the request to look for reasons to support, will look for reasons to oppose. This is the complete wrong way to go about things. When RfA was created, it was not so much as a poll, more of an "OK then", perhaps like rollback. If people had an objection, it was done in reluctance, and normally with a good reason (not "he forgot to sign his self nomination acceptance" or "doesn't have enough edits to WP:AIV", but more like "he's only been here a week, maybe after a month's experience"). Some people actually set out to find a reason to oppose. I find this crazy. Why the negativity? Is it some sort of power thing, where it makes people feel better by opposing someone? I can't think why people seem to feel it necessary to look for reasons to oppose someone, instead of support. This is why supports tend to be more "votey" than opposes. Supports should be automatic, and the editor should be promoted bar any significant objection. Those who mass oppose who complain when someone questions their oppose, will sometimes say "Why don't you question the supports without a rationale?" The answer is, it should be up to the opposers to show a proper argument, and not the supporters. Adminship should be given unless there's a significant opposition, and it should be up to the opposers to prove that the user is unsuitable.

Sunday, 13 April 2008


I attended a meetup in London today. It's my fourth one altogether, and I enjoyed it a lot. It's great to talk to people you see online in real life, and have a proper chat. I think that if there is a meetup being organised near you, make an effort to go to it. They really are good fun, and I'd highly recommend it.

I've only met UK Wikipedians so far though, so hopefully my scholarship application for Wikimania will be accepted, and I'll be able to meet a wider range of people.

Tuesday, 8 April 2008

Bot Approvals Group

Something that really irritates me is the Bot Approvals Group (or BAG). The job of the BAG is to basically, as the name states, approve (or not approve) bots. I don't know if this is still the case, but the BAG are a self-appointed little group who basically control which bots do and don't get to do stuff on Wikipedia. At one point, there were "mini-RfAs" that allowed people to join this little group. Following an MfD, they promised reform (much like Esperanza lol) and made the process more open - anyone can simply add themselves to the list. But it appears they've reverted back to the old "vote for me" way. I think bots that do get approved need some sort of technical knowledge in some ways, but I think bots and the approval process are one of the most overlooked features on Wikipedia. Why would that be? Well, most bots go unnoticed (with perhaps the exception of vandalbots and archivebots). We just take all their hard work for granted (well, the coder's hard work, but you know what I mean). The approvals take part on this page. You may notice the lack of voting and the very few editors participating in the discussion. Indeed, the page cries out "Please remember that all editors are encouraged to participate in the requests listed below. Just chip in - your comments are appreciated more than you may think!" Right, unless you have a BAG badge, and then your comments aren't considered
nearly as important. Consider the stark contrast to RfA - people are literally falling over one another to vote on as many RfAs as possible. Why is this? Is the bot page not advertised, or well known? Could it be that people are scared to comment on bots, because bots are "scary and evil" and if you let a bad one slip through it could destroy the wiki? On Commons, the bots are done on the same page as the RfAs. This makes sense to me - it's a bureaucrat's job either way, and having them in one place seems pretty sensible. Maybe to keep the page's loading time low, the transclusions could be turned to links? I just think the BAG is an utterly pointless waste of space. I'm currently participating in the discussion here, where I have proposed it be disbanded. Please comment there if you agree with me.

Monday, 7 April 2008

Optional RfA questions

Inspired by a comment by JayHenry, I created the RfA cheatsheet. Basically, I HATE optional RfA questions. I can just about tolerate questions that actually require some thought to answer, and are about the candidate. What I hate are what I call "stock" questions - copy and pasted to every RfA. Examples are "What do you think of WP:IAR?" and "When should cool down blocks be used?" There are problems with lots of pointless RfA questions. Firstly, it puts unneeded pressure on the candidate. The questions are described as optional, but they aren't really. People will oppose. Secondly, good answers don't show anything. All they prove is that someone is an RfA regular, or read the recent archives of successful requests. People don't actually have to have read the policy to answer the question - just look at the RfA below for a perfect answer! Reword it a bit, and there you go! With this cheatsheet, I intend to spoil the users' who are obsessed with pointless RfA questions fun. By giving "perfect" answer guides in one easy place, there will be no need for useless questions anymore! Now don't get me wrong, I don't want ignorant admins, which is why I haven't actually written an answer (I'm an RfA regular, barely familiar with any policies when I wrote the guide, by the way). I've linked to the policies involved, and given hints and ideas on what and what not to say. For those who say it's a bad idea, it's no worse than reading a few recent successful RfAs. It's just in one neater page. Goodbye, optional questions!

Friday, 4 April 2008

NotTheWikipediaWeekly MFD

This MFD is one of the most ridiculous I've seen in recent times. It's of the latest NTWW episode, which contains conversations with Somey (Wikipedia review admin), Moulton, and Greg Kohs. Apparently, the episodes are allowing banned users to contribute to Wikipedia via ogg... the banning policy does not state that users cannot speak on to Wikipedia, and if this is a convenient loophole then so be it. As most people know, I disagree with the part of the banning policy, where banned users edits are reverted on sight. If a user comes back and edits productively, they should just be left to get on with it. If they are discovered, then block them fine, but leave the edits. Anyway, NonvocalScream, an editor (at least under this name) here since January nominated the page for deletion. Luckily, most people are seeing sense and voting to keep, but there are some (who I expected) who are voting to delete. Which doesn't make much sense - they are voting to delete something that no banned editors have touched, or even spoken on! As I stated on the page, the ogg files are going to stay regardless of what happens to the page, as they are hosted on Commons, a separate site to Wikipedia. This nomination is completely pointless, won't achieve anything apart from drama, drama and more drama, and all it's done is given more publicity to NTWW - which is good.