Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Enigmaman's RFA

The latest drama to hit enwiki RFA is Enigmaman's RFA. It's his second RFA, that was apparently going well. Very well actually, at 46/0/1 when it was put "on hold". Last month, a record 12 admins resigned, as well as two bots, so I'm not exactly sure if we do have enough admins at the moment. Anyway, Deskana put the RFA on hold, and posted the following message to the talk page:

I have placed this RFA on hold.

During the course of a checkuser investigation into an IP that would be editing in violation of Wikipedia:Requests for arbitration/Privatemusings#Sockpuppetry if it belonged to a user that was editing while logged out, it became apparent that this IP was infact owned by Enigmaman.

I strongly suspected that many of the supports in this RFA would be retracted if they could see the edits in question, but the privacy policy prevents me from disclosing the IP without the permission of Enigmaman. It does not seem appropriate for me, as a bureaucrat, to allow this RFA to continue when many of the supporters were unaware of the entire situation regarding Enigmaman. Therefore, I see two options.

  1. Enigmaman refuses to allow me to disclose his IP. This means that I restart the RFA with a note that the user has been making inappropriate edits while logged out, but am unable to provide diffs due to the privacy policy.
  2. Enigmaman allows me to disclose his IP, meaning the RFA can be restarted with the diffs in question in plain view for people to review.

The edits themselves aren't actually that bad, but I know the RFA crowd can be quite scrutinous when it comes to incivility. I actually think option 2 would work out better for Enigmaman, but that's just my opinion. The edits themselves were probably not blockable, but I imagine people would oppose his RFA for the edits. I probably would.

I hope people understand my actions here. They're not normal bureaucrat actions, but desperate times...

--Deskana (talk) 21:54, 6 January 2009 (UTC)

He actually took a while to post this, so people were fairly curious at to what the issue was. On IRC I asked Deskana jokingly if this was going to cause drama, he said "maybe". I think that was an understatement.

I was fairly surprised when I saw what was written. It was then revealed that Deskana had not contacted Enigmaman in private first, before posting this statement. This is similar to an incident I was involved with in 2007, when Deskana publicly pointed someone out as a sockpuppeteer, without discussing with them in private. While Deskana has not revealed any private information himself, this whole fiasco has indirectly lead the IPs to be revealed by others, through pressure, something which is explicitly forbidden in the checkuser policy. It is my firm belief that checkuser is most certainly a big deal, unlike adminship, and even oversight. Oversight is mostly random phone numbers, addresses, and libellous information about people. Nothing about the actual editors, for the most part, and when it is there is trouble (think Zoophilia). Checkuser is for making catching sockpuppets easier, not publicly humiliating good editors. Deskana's post suggests that many people would switch to oppose if they could see the edits made. This is not the case, at least so far. Several have stated they will be switching from support to strong support (as I shall be). I had a look at the edits, of course. I certainly do not see them as problematic in a way to make me oppose. They aren't Enigmaman's greatest moment, but then who am I to say anything? :-)

The whole thing was handled extremely poorly. It is obvious to all that Deskana should have contacted Enigmaman in private before publicly humiliating him on the RFA. I do not believe Deskana has the integrity skills required for the checkuser role. Tiptoety comments, asking "You feel he should resign because of this single incident? I see no pattern of mistakes or breaches of policy by Deskana, let's not get ahead of ourselves". Yes, I do. Checkuser is not like adminship or bureaucratship, where a few mistakes may be tolerated. I'm afraid this one mistake could have cost EM adminship, which he was easily on the way to getting at the time the RFA was paused. He was put under a lot of pressure, basically forced to reveal his IP, and has been unnecessarily embarrassed and humiliated on-wiki, in a situation that could have been solved without the general wiki population knowing about it. Surprising as it may seem, I agree with Jennavecia's post. The whole thing was a lot of shit-stirring for very little benefit indeed - and it looks like it'll have the opposite affect of what Deskana intended, because people will support because of how poorly Deskana handled this, and how well EM handled it. The whole thing was biased, as Deskana holds both checkuser and bureaucrat right, and apparently used both to unilaterally put a stop to EM's RFA, merely because he "suspected" a lot of people would switch if they saw the edits. I've seen the edits. My opinion has not changed at all. Well, it has - of Enigmaman, my opinion of him is higher. Of Deskana, he's a nice person with good intentions, but I feel he is not suited to continue with Checkuser.

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