UESPWiki:Community Portal/Principles Controversy

The UESPWiki – Your source for The Elder Scrolls since 1995
Jump to: navigation, search
Semi Protection
This is an archive of past UESPWiki:Community Portal discussions. Do not edit the contents of this page, except for maintenance such as updating links.
This is a major community-wide discussion that has been resolved. Do not edit the contents of this page, except for maintenance such as updating links.

Wrye

This is the second time that Aristeo has reverted my comments on the recent spammers page User_talk:64.150.0.1. I have reverted my comments to bring them back, but at this point we need to call a time out. Aristeo if you have further objections to my comments there make them here. Unless there is a strong community agreement that my comments are out of line, you have no business reverting them. For other viewers, you'll find a little more discussion on my talk page. --Wrye 19:49, 30 November 2006 (EST)

Expanding this a bit... There are two issues here: 1) expected degree of "civility" to spammers. That's the topic on my talk page. I'd prefer not to bring it into the discussion here, because my more pressing concern is issue number 2) respect for posts by established fellow editors.

Now, I suppose that as second sysop after Dave, I could claim some "extra" seniority. However, the argument applies to any editor that has been around long enough and worked hard enough to earn the respect of fellow editors. Do not remove posts by fellow editors!!! If you don't like it, then discuss it, but don't just summarily remove it!!! In all my time as active editor and sysop, the only posts that I ever removed were spam, and stuff that was obviously dead issues, no longer of use to anyone. Yet, I've seen Aristeo remove other editors posts repeatedly.

In a related issue, I've also seen discussions archived (or simply removed) too quickly after they were resolved. Discussions should not be removed until several weeks (at least) after they've been resolved. Again, Aristeo is the person I've noticed "quick-archiving" or "quick-removing" discussions. (Two cases that come to mind was our argument about "damn" on my user page, and more recently his bid for Bureaucrat position.) The reason for leaving such discussions up for a while is that it allows less active editors time to come by, see what the shouting was about and understand what people's positions ended up being. It's part of our collective memory and it's important to leave the discussions in place just so that the memory can spread around.

Again, none of us, despite their seniority (well, other than Dave, but he's fairly hands-off), is in him/herself, the arbitrator of UESP site policy. Fellow editors should not be censored, unless there is a clear violation of well established, well agreed upon site policy. (Of course, right now, we don't have much of any policy defined. And frankly, I hope we never do. I for one, am not anxious to start censoring discussion by other editors.) --Wrye 20:29, 30 November 2006 (EST)

Hoggwild5

Wrye -- I, for one, thought your commentary on civility on the user page that started this discussion was walking the line. However, the ensuing edit war that has blossomed is ridiculous.

Wrye -- the comments above sound like you are trying to pull rank on a fellow administrator. Is that your intention? If not, you might want to revise your commentary.

Aristeo and Wrye -- As administrators on the site, whether you like it or not, you are looked to by the rest of the community as role models. As role models, your behavior should be above reproach. Unfortunately in this case, it is not. I think you both need to take a break -- you're disrupting the community, and displaying behavior that is harming your credibility as administrators. While this site is not Wikipedia, my understanding is that, when there's no established policy, we generally look to Wikipedia to resolve issues when there is no clear guidance. If I read correctly, you're both exhibiting behavior that can be considered for disciplinary action. I'm imploring you both to stop now. Thank you. --Hoggwild5 20:47, 30 November 2006 (EST)

Aristeo

Wrye, you have made some tremendous contributions to the wiki in the time you have been an active editor. For example, you created a great deal of the TES3Mod section and the TES4Mod section, both of which would probably not have been as successful without your support. You obviously have a great deal of experience, expertise, and intellect that we are all grateful for.

I am concerned, however, with how you handle yourself during heated situations. Perhaps you disagree with something that I have done, or you feel like a situation could be handled differently. That’s fine, we all have different opinions, and I realize that both of our conflicting opinions can make things a bit frustrating at times. But please consider that how you phrase things may have a negative impact on other people, and that there is (ideally) a real life person behind every username and anonymous account. All I’m asking is for you to put yourself in the shoes of the person you’re criticizing, considering the impact of the comments you are about to submit before you submit them.

I admit that I’m not perfect – I make mistakes like everyone else. I don’t think that pointing fingers at each other will help us solve anything, but instead I feel we should work together by exploiting each other’s strengths and covering each other’s weaknesses. That is what teamwork is all about, and that is how projects such as this one can flourish and succeed.

I’m sorry if I did anything to offend you or anyone else, and I hope we can put all this nonsense behind us. If you feel strongly about these things that you brought up, we should probably meet in a private or in some sort of semi-private mediation place (like IRC). That way, we can discuss our differences like the reasonable gentlemen that we are and try to come up with a reasonable solution without putting the community through any more drama or agony.

To conclude my thoughts, I want to thank you for having different opinions than me. It really helps me think and put things in a different light. :) --Aristeo | Talk 23:09, 30 November 2006 (EST)

Wrye 2

I know that this is long and tiring for everyone to read, and I imagine that a lot of people are skipping over it. But what's at issue here is not one or two minor incidents, but the core wiki philosophy of openness, so I hope that you'll take the time read and add your comments. (Note too that I've reformatted the discussion into headed sections in order to improve readability. If you object to that feel free to return it to normal format.) Now, getting on to business...

What I'm primarily concerned about here is the fundamental openness and consensus decision making that characterize the wiki. There's been a consistent drift away from that principle, marked by a number of events. The repeated intentional deletion of my comments (despite my objection) is simply the most egregious of those.

To avoid making vague accusations, following is a list of events along this trend. While the first and last of these are personal to me, the others are not, and all events show a general drift away from open discussion and towards unilateral decision and policy making, which are relevant for every contributor to and user of this wiki.

  • Editing my user page
    • Note: Yes, this ticked me off immensely, and I correspondingly spoke with unusual force to this personal affront.
    • Objection: Editing another users page because of a personal dislike.
    • Objection: Failing to discuss or make a suggestion to me first.
    • Objection: The discussion was archived while it was still fresh. Yes, the immediate issue was resolved by an apology by Aristeo and we essentially agreed not to expand the issue further, however, discussions should not be archived so rapidly.
  • Request for Bureaucratship
    • Quote (Aristeo): "Promoting someone to bureaucrat level was part of one of these discussions [at the irc meeting], and this eventually gained unanimous approval among the members."
      • Objection: No public discussion regarding this on the wiki.
    • Quote (Nephele): "The apparent urgency of this request also makes me uncomfortable. The decision-making process for a new bureaucrat should be as careful and as deliberate (if not more so) than the decision to add a new administrator. This proposal was made within hours of other proposals that the administrative privileges of all other UESP admins be revoked. I do not think that a decision this important should be made when the status of so many administrators is in doubt, nor should it made under circumstances where the impartiality of any administrators's vote is more likely to be questioned. "
      • Quote (Aristeo): "There was a few informal discussions in IRC about changing the administration system around for various reasons, none of which gained acceptance. Promoting someone to bureaucrat level was part of one of these discussions, and this eventually gained unanimous approval among the members. There was no discussion about removing all administrators except for me."
    • Objection: Lack of Public Discussion. Clearly we have a disagreement here. Since the discussion took place off the wiki, we have no good idea of what was actually proposed or by who.
    • Objection: Topic removed while still fresh. While Aristeo withdrew his request, which ended the discussion of nominal topic, the topic should not have been removed immediately (i.e. same day).
    • Objection: Topic was removed but not archived. The topic had much useful information regarding disputes and concerns. Noting Nephele's points above, and noting the powers that Aristeo was asking for, the topic was obviously of interest to any administrator or would-be administrator. Hence it should have been archived (after it had gone stale, which might take a while given its relevance).
  • Irc Discussion
    • Objection: Irc does not provide recorded public discussion.
      • This topic has come up repeatedly. Things are discussed in irc, and then someone acts on that without discussion on the wiki. If there's any dispute or question about what was said in irc, there's no record. This is fundamentally contrary to the open discussion character of wikis. I understand the utility of irc for quick discussion, but it's flaws are also quite apparent (particularly in the Bureaucratship topic above).
    • Notable quotes:
      • Quote (Aristeo, 2006/11/1, Anonymous Editing): "Yeah, this was one of those everyone agrees in the IRC room, so it must have full consensus with the community scenarios. ... I guess the lesson learned here is to talk about major changes to things on the community portal (or one of the more focused message boards) before making them -- regardless of the agreement-level of the IRC cabal."
      • Quote (Aristeo, 2006/11/19 Irc Discussion): "The IRC room is good for fast and informal discussions, which allows us to filter out the good ideas from the bad ones. We were discussing if administrative inactivity was grounds for de-adminship. That was thrown out as a bad idea. If it would have gained support as a good idea, then whoever proposed the idea would ask the wiki what they think."
    • Objection: Good sentiments, but they were immediately followed by the bread crumb change (below), again with no prior announcement or discussion.
    • Objection: Restriction of Discussion. Irc inherently limits discussion to those who have free time at the right time to make it to the meeting. This tends to lead to a smaller group who tend end up thinking of themselves as the admins/editors. Hmm, which reminds me...
      • Quote (Aristeo, 2006/11/11, Irc Meeting): "The meeting will probably be opened for everyone to watch, but only Nephele, TheRealLurlock, Hoggwild5, Ratwar, and myself will be given voice permissions during the duration of the meeting. Although the meeting will strive to be public, please don't be offended if I asked you to leave."
      • Objection: Need I say it? Explicitly exclusive meeting.
  • Bread Crumb Change
    • Objection: No prior announcement or discussion, no sandbox.
    • Again, note that this is in explicit conflict with the just previous statements that irc developments were just brainstorming to precede normal wiki discussion.

Reviewing: Of these incidents, the clearest offense was Aristeo's repeated deletion of my comments on a talk page. I.e., knowing that I disagreed with him (enough to reinstate my comment once), he deleted the comment again. However, while that is the most egregious, it also represents (as shown by the other incidents) a clear tendency to avoid open discussion and to act without consensus.

This is no small point. Open discussion and consensus action are the heart of wiki. Repeated actions by a leading editor (not to mention admin) that violates this core value is a serious problem in the community.


Pre-Answers: Now, trying to pre-answer some possible comments/thoughts:

  • Is this a personal vendetta on my part?
    • No. This is about ideas, about the core values of the wiki. My directed focus on Aristeo above is because he's the one I see most consistently violating those core principals. In particular, I have never before witnessed a senior editor censoring another senior editor's comments (much less seen such an editor immediately repeat the action). I'm still a bit shocked by it. That Aristeo would even begin to think that was an acceptable action is just amazing.
  • Am I speaking in the heat of the moment?
    • No. Again this is a reaction to prolonged and persistent pattern of behavior rather than a reaction to one particular incident.
  • Am I using my "seniority" here?
    • Yes and no. Seniority of course, does have weight, and does deserve some respect. If someone has been around longer, they've probably seen more, have more contribute. OTOH, senior's can also be boneheaded idiots. The counter to that is again, open discussion and consensus action. So, I suppose that I'm speaking as a senior against senior authority.
  • Shouldn't a disrupting discussion like this be settled in private?
    • No. Unlike computer games, life is not a simple conflict between the forces of good and the forces of evil. Well intentioned people do disagree -- and despite my criticisms of Aristeo, I firmly believe that he intends -- as I do -- to do good. The problem is that we disagree about what "good" is. The only way a community resolves such problems is through open discussion. And when the community doesn't agree, then you note your disagreement and live with it. Again, this is the core wiki value that I'm promoting.

That's it for now, but a word about specifity... It's easy to talk in general terms like "open discussion", "civility", etc. One of the problem with general language is that most people tend to agree with them. It's not until you get down to specifics that you see what people really agree and disagree with. (E.g., incivility is bad -- but is a given statement uncivil? People will disagree -- profoundly.) So if object to a point/action of mine, please be specific -- What is wrong? Why is it wrong?

One final bit of specificity... If I were to pick one point focus on, something we all should be able to say yea or nea to, it would be the one I ended my first post with:

Again, none of us, despite their seniority (well, other than Dave, but he's fairly hands-off), is in him/herself, the arbitrator of UESP site policy. Fellow editors should not be censored, unless there is a clear violation of well established, well agreed upon site policy.
And again, right now, we don't have much of any policy defined. And frankly, I hope we never do. I for one, am not anxious to start censoring discussion by other editors.)

Regards, --Wrye 03:16, 2 December 2006 (EST)

Quoting: "Seniority of course, does have weight, and does deserve some respect." -- Seniority entitles you to nothing. Respect is earned, and mutually cultivated. Demonstrate that you're worthy of respect, and it will come naturally without you having to demand it as an entitlement.--Hoggwild5 18:40, 4 December 2006 (EST)

Hoggwild, I'm really having a hard time seeing what the point of this comment is. Taking a single quote out of context and then picking it apart does not seem to help to work towards resolving any of the issues that have been brought up by Wrye. Wrye's only justification for claiming that seniority warrants respect was that "If someone has been around longer, they've probably seen more, have more contribute", all perfectly valid arguments. Wrye then want on to say "seniors can also be boneheaded idiots"... which to me says that Wrye is quite well aware that seniority in and of itself does not automatically entitle someone to respect. In particular, I do not see how anything Wrye has said amounts to him "demanding" respect as an entitlement.
I think the only way that any issues here are going to be resolved if everyone takes the time to read comments in their entirety, instead of picking out one individual sentence and overreacting to it. --Nephele 19:10, 4 December 2006 (EST)

Aristeo's Prelude

I want to ask everyone not to be haste with their reply. I predict that this is going to be the most important conversation in the history of the site, and what we say will determine its future. I highly urge everyone who wants to get involved and who is involved to meditate over what they are going to say with caution and forethought. For example, I am going to study Wrye's concerns until I can practically recite them word for word and I will consult with different people privately on this matter before I start writing. --Aristeo | Talk 04:11, 2 December 2006 (EST)

Dylnuge

Reading these comment certianly gave me some insight. I propose a new guideline, if we do not already use it:

  • 3R Rule: All editors can make no more then three reverts, regardless of administrative or registered status, of the content on a single page, except in the case of obvious vandalism.

With this rule intact, Aristeo and Wrye may have stopped this edit war a bit longer ago and aggreed to something earlier. As for civility to other users, anonymous or not, they deserve it. While it is true that a ruthless vandal seems to deserve nothing, in relatiy, there is (usually) a person or people behind those four numbers. As in real life, everything you say hurts. However, unlike real life, we can take back what we said, or even what someone else has said. The problem comes when one person says something that, while harsh, somewhat deserved, and another believes it would be best not to be heard. Of course, shielding a vandal becomes difficult. In light of these discussions, I have fixed my own edit (as anyone who read my first userpage knows, I can be irascible at times). Tolerence is a great goal for all of us to pratice, however. Reading over everything on this page certianly provides some insight, and I think it should all be summerized and moved to the wiki guidelines page (whereever that is/if we have one). But as for who is right and who is wrong, I think this is a situation that must be solely worked out by Aristeo and Wrye. The problem, of course, becomes whether to keep the text (favoring Wrye) or delete it (favoring Aristeo) in the time being. Since this user has made an apology (more accuratly, blanked 50 pages with an apology), and may actually mean what they have said, they should be treated with some respect (at least, treated without a lack of any contempt). However, Wrye's post is a single comment, and having blanked 50 pages, I assume the user(s) would expect such a commment. I think, until a decision is reached between Wrye and Aristeo, the comment should stay. (Personaly, I believe that items placed inside a userspace or talk page should be kept as long as they are not overtly rude or vulgar or offensive to certian people). --Dylnuge(talk · edits) 11:25, 2 December 2006 (EST)

PS: The 3R rule is used on Wikipedia, and that is where I got it from. Read the full guidelines Here

Aristeo, Part One

There are several topics that this controversy address, all of which can basically be divided into two parts: accusations of my actions as an administrator and the core principles and values of the wiki. I'm going to address the prior part in this first post, and I will address the second topic later on. I would like to concentrate on providing my decision processes and, more precisely, I'm going to try to justify in some sense why I did some of these things. --Aristeo | Talk 20:30, 2 December 2006 (EST)

Editing Wrye's User Page

I edited Wrye's user page without notification for two reasons. The first reason was because I believed he was inactive on the wiki and moved onto something else, so I didn't think a small change would cause so much drama. The second reason was because I believed (and still believe) that we held an unwritten profanity rule along the lines of "any words or images that may be considered profane by other readers and editors should only be included into an article if their omission would make the article less accurate, and no suitable alternatives are available". I didn't want to embarrass Wrye by telling him that he infringed policy, so I quietly changed the word "damn" to "darn" as it provided the same testing purposes that he wanted and without getting him into trouble. Needless to say, this plan backfired and I completely eliminated whatever inactivity Wrye still had.

Wrye then replaced my change with a very provocative message that stated "Keep your damned stinking hands off my user page!" [1]. About a minute later he saw that his edit was a bad idea, reverted it back to his version, and left a provocative, contentious, but legitimate warning on my talk page that stated (italics to emphasize contentious part) "Reverting vandalism edits? Fine. Editing to avoid offending your simplistic idea of what qualifies as 'profanity'? Not okay. Next time, leave it be." [2] In what could have been handled quietly and with respect, he elevated the situation to the next level and created an unnecessary controversy within the community.

Seeing that a situation was created and that its temperature was way too high to handle alone, I called Nephele into the conflict to act as a third party to prevent the conversation from becoming "too hot" [3]. Notably, she said that if Wrye felt so strongly about other editors editing his user page, then he should tell them so on his user page. Also, she said that saying the word damn for the sole purpose of testing a bullet point in a table was "completely gratuitous", and that "for the sake of wiki peace" he should consider removing it. I figured that because two active administrators agreed that he should just drop the situation and take the questionable word off to prevent controversy and because Wrye was a reasonable, understanding guy, he would be humble and do what he was told. I was wrong.

Wrye's next statement proved that he was not interested in consensus nor compromise, but only in proving that he was right and we were wrong. [4] On what he labeled his "first point", he addressed why I did not do the right thing and he listed the options I had other than directly editing his user page. Although I always welcome constructive criticism, his tone suggested that he wasn't trying to be constructive and he was simply interrupting to make a point. His "second point" was a compilation of different quotes from Oblivion that had the word "damn" in it as well as other in-game scenarios that contained more offensive "bawdiness and general sexual innuendo". This was, in my opinion, compiled specifically to troll and harass both Nephele and me, and these actions should not be tolerated by an administrator. He concluded his comments with a personal insult that stated that I had "whitewashed morals", and he suggested that I should not be an active member of the community if I feel so strongly about profanity.

My reply mentioned that I opened up a discussion on the Community Portal to address the contested "unspoken profanity rule", and I tried to politely note that he was preventing any sort of diplomatic resolution from forming. [5] I thought that by doing so, Wrye being the reasonable person that he is, he would see how his comments may have been out of hand and that he would apologize for the stress he imposed on me. Instead, he demanded that I apologize to him for editing his user page, his logic being that if I truly would have wanted to cool things down I would have apologized in the beginning and that he still believed that our claims were "ludicrous" [6]. Not wanting to feed the troll, I decided to be the bigger man and apologize for offending him [7], I said that I hoped we could still be friends, and I archived the controversy.

I learned two things from this ordeal, only one of which I feel comfortable sharing. I learned that I should not edit other people's user pages unless I know they wouldn't mind, they are blocked from editing, or when I have tangible evidence that the user is inactive and cannot be reached. I used this lesson when dealing with Endareth's protected user page. I e-mailed him and asked him if I could unprotect his page, and he agreed. In another instance where this lesson applies, I placed a silly notice on top of Hoggwild5's user page as a joke to respond to a message she put on my talk page, knowing that she wouldn't create a pointless controversy out of the it. She thought it was funny, and we had a good time with our parody of Stephen Colbert's "On Notice" board. --Aristeo | Talk 20:30, 2 December 2006 (EST)

Anonymous Editing

Although Daveh was the final authority who ultimately decided that anonymous editing should be enabled, he based that decision on the recent changes patrollers and the arguments we gave to support it because we were the editors affected. I agree that the topic should have been addressed on the administrator noticeboard, and I believe that I was mostly at fault for my eagerness to get anonymous editing enabled. Wrye did the right thing and proposed his concerns to the community portal in a diplomatic and respectful matter, and we unanimously agreed to leave anonymous editing on for the various reasons stated above. --Aristeo | Talk 21:31, 2 December 2006 (EST)

Request for Bureaucratship

The request for bureaucratship can be found here: User:Aristeo/RfB.

  • No public discussion regarding [a few informal IRC discussions] on the wiki.
    • The only discussion that gained support was the suggestion to promote me to bureaucrat, and this was forwarded to the community at large. We also informally discussed whether or not one of the criteria for de-adminship was administrative inactivity, and that proposal gained unanimous opposal. If anyone feels that administrators who are administratively inactive should be de-admined, which include Endareth, Garrett, and Wrye, then propose it on the administrative noticeboard and we can discuss it from there. Otherwise, don't worry about it because it's not going to happen.
  • Clearly we have a disagreement here. Since the discussion took place off the wiki, we have no good idea of what was actually proposed or by who.
    • Nephele and I aren't worried about that disagreement and the request has been withdrawn, so I don't think it would be contributive to try to make the conflict of perspectives an issue.
  • Topic removed while still fresh. While Aristeo withdrew his request, which ended the discussion of nominal topic, the topic should not have been removed immediately.
    • I should have made a link to where I archived it. Sorry for the confusion.

--Aristeo | Talk 22:34, 2 December 2006 (EST)

Removal of Wrye's Comments

I removed Wrye's comments twice from the user talk page of an anonymous IP address who was indefinitely blocked for graffiti vandalism because the comments Wrye made were only made to flame-bait the blocked user. The first time I removed the comments, I posted them on Wrye's talk page and explained why he should be civil to all users, even vandals. [8] He replied, stating that vandals lose the right to demand civility, comparing indefinitely blocked users with people who go to jail, and then he reinstated his edits onto the user's talk page. [9] Knowing from experience (see "Editing Wrye's User Page" above) that attempts to come to a diplomatic resolution with Wrye would most likely end in failure and based on recommendations from Hoggwild5 in private chat to resist the urge to reply to Wrye's response, I quietly reverted his edit using the administrative rollback feature. He then quietly reverted my edit using the same feature, and that sparked the subject he started on the Community Portal.

The following are the controversial comments made by Wrye on the talk page of the anonymous user that I mentioned above:

Gotta say this guy is almost amusing... (LOL) Spamming the site with an "I am not spamming message." Pretty ridiculous! Then claiming a shared ip for an ip where reverse IP won't even resolve to an address, and posting a bogus "I'm not him!" message. Right. Pull the other one.

Comments like this are not only insulting and provocative to the vandal, but they are harmful to the site itself for the following reasons (source [10]):

  1. Insulting vandals is one of the surest ways to increase vandalism. If someone is doing something that you know is wrong, insulting them over it is likely to make them vandalize more.
  2. Behind every username and behind every IP address is a real life person with real feelings and emotions. Reprimand users if needed, but insulting them is not good in any manner or degree.
  3. Vandalism is not that bad of an offense because it can be easily reversed and dealt with. Incivility, harassment, and personal attacks are much worse than vandalism because they have the potential to hurt other editors and users.

Wrye did make a legitimate argument on his talk page, where he says that vandals and spammers abandon any claim to receiving civility. He continues and gives the analogy that people are given basic rights to freedom, but when they infringe another person's rights they surrender their own. I believe Wrye is giving comparing apples with oranges, figuratively speaking. Every user in the world is given the privilege to edit the wiki, which can be compared to the right of freedom that every citizen is given. When a user on the wiki chooses to break the rules, they can forfeit their privilege to edit the wiki for a short period of time to indefinitely. When someone breaks the law, they can go to jail for a few months, a few years, or even for life.

The person who is in jail loses a number of rights, including the right to freedom. No matter how serious of a crime they commit, however, they still hold a collective of rights informally referred to as prisoners' rights. For example, a police department cannot deprive inmates of their right to be protected from harm or fail to provide sufficient medical treatment for serious medical conditions. [11] On the wiki, we can prevent users from editing the site if they show that they are incapable of respecting the privileges we give them, but we cannot deny them their entitlements to civility. Those who act with incivility, even when the target is an indefinitely blocked user, are subject to face the penalty for such misbehavior.

I admit that my accusal of Lurlock's comments being uncivil was false, and I apologized to him for that accusal in private. However, I still believe that they could have been phrased in a more professional and less emotional way. Wrye's statement was far from necessary, as it's purpose was to troll and provoke the user. Because of the controversial nature of the comments on the talk page, I am blanking the page with one notice that states that the user is indefintely blocked and can request to be unblocked. --Aristeo | Talk 17:22, 3 December 2006 (EST)

Wrye 3, Wikipedia Policy

Wikipedia's Three-revert (3R) rule is for article pages, not talk pages. For talk pages, editing of comments is generally not allowed. Even removing your own comments is not allowed, with the sole exception of an apologetic removal in the interest of harmony -- and even that requires a notice be left to that effect.

Quoting from Wikipedia's Talk page guidelines: Behavior that is unacceptable:

Behavior that is unacceptable Please note that the following are of sufficient importance to be official Wikipedia policy. Violations (and especially repeated violations) may lead to the offender being banned from Wikipedia.

  • No personal attacks A personal attack is saying something negative about another person. This mainly means:
    • No insults: Don't make ad hominem attacks, such as calling someone an idiot or a fascist. Instead, explain what is wrong with an edit and how to fix it.
    • Don't threaten people: For example, threatening people with "admins you know" or having them banned for disagreeing with you.
    • Don't make legal threats: Threatening a lawsuit is highly disruptive to Wikipedia, for reasons gone into at the linked page.
    • Never post personal details: Users who post what they believe are the personal details of other users without their consent may be blocked for any length of time, including indefinitely.
  • Don't misrepresent other people: The record should accurately show significant exchanges that took place, and in the right context. This usually means:
    • Don't edit others' comments: Refrain from editing others' comments without their permission (with the exception of prohibited material such as libel and personal details). It is not necessary to bring talk pages to publishing standards, so there is no need to correct typing errors, grammar, etc. It tends to irritate the users whose comments you are correcting. Never edit someone's words to change their meaning.
      • Unsigned comments:You are allowed to append {{tl|unsigned}}, {{tl|unsigned2}}, and {{tl|unsigned3}} to the end of someone's comment if they have failed to sign it. The form is {{subst:unsigned|USER NAME OR IP}}, which results in —The preceding unsigned comment was added by USER NAME OR IP (talkcontribs) ..
    • Don't change your text: Obviously you can edit or delete your own words, while you are still composing the initial text, but afterwards, you should not do so, as this will put others' comments in a different context. Even if no one has replied, someone may still have read what you have written — so think before you speak! If you wish to amend your statement, use strike-through or a place holder to show it is a retrospective alteration. Strike-through looks <s>like this</s> and ends up like this.
      • An apologetic exception: If you wish to retract a negative comment in the interests of harmony, insert a placeholder in the text such as, "[Thoughtless and stupid comment removed by the author.]", so your fellow editors' irritated responses still make sense. In turn, they may then wish to replace their reply with something like, "[Irritated response to deleted comment removed. Apology accepted.]"

--Wrye 17:46, 3 December 2006 (EST)

Wrye 4, Aristeo Does it Again

It's a long page. I almost missed this (bottom of Aristeo, Part One, removal of Wrye comments):

Because of the controversial nature of the comments on the talk page, I am blanking the page with one notice that states that the user is indefintely blocked and can request to be unblocked. --Aristeo | Talk 17:22, 3 December 2006 (EST)

And sure enough, he did.

Well, I'm beyond being surprised by Aristeo's actions at this point. I specifically brought this topic up on this page to resolve it and to cut short the edit war (said war consisting entirely of Aristeo removing my comments and my replacing them). And by the page dispute resolution rules, neither Aristeo not I should have made a further such edit to the page.

However, my point has been that the principle open discussion means that discussion pages should not be the subject of edit wars at all. This principle is in direct agreement with the Wikipedia page discussion guidelines (quoted above). Wikipedia's warning in respect to this (again, quoted in the section above) is: Violations (and especially repeated violations) may lead to the offender being banned from Wikipedia. I.e., had Aristeo done this on Wikipedia, he would now be subject to banning from it.

--Wrye 19:56, 3 December 2006 (EST)


Endareth, back from the dead

Much as I dislike getting involved in this dispute, I feel I should just make a few comments. Both Wrye and Aristeo seem to have some validity in their arguments, and I can see how their differing temperaments may be causing issues. Resolving this dispute would require both to step back slightly and acknowledge that nobody is ferpect (except myself of course!). As a (very) brief summary, Wrye feels that Aristeo is too ready to implement changes, whether that's implementing new styles/formats to pages, or editing/overwriting other edits that perhaps should be left as is. Aristeo's issue with Wrye appears to be that Wrye is a bit too emotional in style, tending at times to use more aggressive language, resulting in tending to infringe Wiki rules on abusive language.

Neither Wrye nor Aristeo denies that the other has contributed greatly to this Wiki, and it seems most unfortunate that they seem to have the knack of rubbing each other the wrong way. This results in one or the other making some (generally minor, though sometimes not so) change, causing comment and/or editing from the other, which then escalates into the problems we see.

A partial solution to this would be along the following lines:

Aristeo: Perhaps trying to slow down a little in your changes? For example, while archiving of old conversations is important for a variety of reasons, there's no harm in leaving them for another few weeks, especially if they're important. Also, having the final word in conversation can be considered annoying by some. I completely understand the compulsion to respond to a final statment from another (I have the same problem), in the interests of harmony it's worth making an effort to just sit on your hands and let it be.

Wrye: Try to allow for the fact that sometimes other people do things for reasons that they think are right. Example: Aristeo's editing of your page is one of these cases–in hindsight I'm sure he realises that it was probably a mistake, but at the time he thought he was doing the right thing by trying to make the Wiki stick to it's own rules on abusive language in a case where he thought the user was inactive. And similarly to Aristeo, try to let things be when they seem to have gone as far as they'll go.

Now obviously these are just two examples, but if you can try to just step back a little from this, and remember that you've got different temperaments, and just because you feel that something is the right way to do it, doesn't mean that others do. If you can try to think of things (even slightly) from the other's point of view, I suspect you'll find that these disputes will ease off. Now I realise that all this is me trying to impose my ideas on you, but please, for the sake of the Wiki and all of us, try to understand each other a little! You've both been doing fantastic jobs as editors around here, please shake hands, and try to just agree to disagree in some areas. — EndarethTalk 21:08, 3 December 2006 (EST)

Wrye 5 Questions and Civility

Questions to Ask: I'm looking over Aristeo's comments, and I think that they largely speak for themselves. Here are some questions which other readers might ask themselves:

  • Does Aristeo ever argue for open discussion? Does he state his agreement with such a principle?
  • Is Aristeo's repeated deletion of my comments on the spammers talk page consistent with the principle of consensus action?
  • Will Aristeo delete your talk page comment if he feels that it is uncivil, or profane?
  • What are Aristeo's principles of civility? By what standard did he rule Lurlocks post on the spammer page ruled uncivil in the first place? And by what (changed?) standard did he later rule it civil?
  • Will Aristeo refrain from quickly archiving (or removing) a discussion topic when he loses the argument?
  • Is Aristeo consistent in his claims that irc decisions are only preliminary to full discussion on the wiki?
  • Do you agree that UESP should adhere to the user page discussion guidelines quoted above?


Civility: While I believe the question of civility is a side issue in this discussion, I'll make a few comments...

First I'm not particularly happy with the this word, because it is not well defined -- it tends to be very cultural (note that on Wikipedia's Civility page the term is not defined, instead only examples are given. Which is why I asked people to be fairly specific about saying what I've done wrong. So picking what I can find of Aristeo's specific criticisms:

  • Spammers Page
    • As I said clearly several times, my comment was not and is not uncivil. I'm not sure if Aristeo even grasps the point that we disagree on this, since he has never recognized it. (E.g., has not said "Wrye and I disagree about what qualifies as incivility.")
    • My quote again is this: Gotta say this guy is almost amusing... (LOL) Spamming the site with an "I am not spamming message." Pretty ridiculous! Then claiming a shared ip for an ip where reverse IP won't even resolve to an address, and posting a bogus "I'm not him!" message. Right. Pull the other one.
    • Point one. The spammers claim is ridiculous. (In fact, the spammer has already admitted to doing it (see his Busted, I guess... comment). Ridiculous is not insult if it's true -- which it is.
    • Point two: Aristeo claims that Wrye's statement was far from necessary, as it's purpose was to troll and provoke the user.
      • This is just false. To the contrary, I was laughing with the spammer, not at him. I was a little reluctant to compliment him, but the blatant irony of the action was amusing.
      • One might claim that my tone was unclear -- were it not for the fact that I prefaced it with "Gotta say this guy is almost amusing..." In other words, I explicitly state that I'm amused, and the 'gotta say' indicates ruefulness.
  • Examples of 'damn' in Oblivion
    • In countering Aristeo's arguments against the use of the word 'damn', I listed a number of examples of where's it's actually used in the game.
    • Aristeo's reaction to this is: This was, in my opinion, compiled specifically to troll and harass both Nephele and me...
    • In other words, Aristeo is regarding me as trolling and harassing him and Nephele, because I'm presenting facts in support of my argument. I really don't see any other way of characterizing that exchange.

Final Point:

Again, as before, if I were to pick one point to focus on, something we all should be able to say yea or nea to, it would be the one I ended my first post with:

Again, none of us, despite their seniority (well, other than Dave, but he's fairly hands-off), is in him/herself, the arbitrator of UESP site policy. Fellow editors should not be censored, unless there is a clear violation of well established, well agreed upon site policy.

I'm pleased to see that Wikipedia's user talk guidelines (quoted above) goes even further than this, and would happy to support it's adoption here.

--Wrye 23:01, 3 December 2006 (EST)

Nephele

There are alot of different issues that have been brought up during this dicussion. I'd prefer not to get into the details of what has happened during the various incidents that have occurred up until now: in hindsight it is always possible to find fault with anybody's actions; those incidents have already been discussed in great detail; if I were to also discuss each of those incidents, my comments would be twice as long. Instead, I'd prefer to spend the effort talking about what can be done in the future to improve the wiki and prevent any new conflicts.

The discussions indicate to me that there are probably a few changes that need to be made in UESP policies and/or guidelines. I'd like to try to separate out what the relevant issues appear to me to be, and discuss them one by one.

I hope I haven't overlooked any key points that anybody has made, or otherwise ignored an important chunk of the discussion. I've been trying to keep up with everything, but that can be difficult with so many long, detailed contributions.

--Nephele 01:11, 4 December 2006 (EST)

Archiving

It seems that a policy on archiving talk pages is needed. The policy needs to balance

  • The need to give all editors on the site a fair opportunity to participate in discussions.
  • The need to prevent discussion pages from becoming overwhelmed with out-of-date discussions.

I'd like to propose:

  • In general, talk page discussions do not get archived until the discussion has been inactive for at least one week (inactive meaning no new additions to the discussion).
  • Anytime a discussion is archived, there should be a clear link from the original page to the archived page.
  • Any editor should be free to edit any archived discussion. If an editor feels it is appropriate, the discussion can be moved back to an active page. Or a new discussion can be started, that includes a summary of what was previously said with a link to the archived discussion.

I think one week is a good interval for most decisions, since it should ensure that even editors who only have one free day per week will have a chance to participate. I am not fundamentally opposed to a longer interval before archiving is allowed. My main reason for proposing one week is that I don't immediately see any additional advantages gained by waiting longer than one week. But if others are more comfortable with a longer interval, I would fully support it.

One possible exception to these rules is a particularly long, involved discussion such as this one. I think that at least one week should be allowed to go by before a conversation like this one is moved elsewhere. I understand the motivation behind some of the proposals that were made to move this conversation, but it is too easy for a quick move of a conversation like this one to be misinterpreted (for example, as an attempt to move the conversation out of the public's attention). The whole purpose of the community portal is to discuss issues of general importance to the community; moving a discussion elsewhere just because it generates too much interest seems somewhat counterproductive. Waiting one week provides most editors with the opportunity to see that there is an important conversation taking place.

After one week, I could see moving a particularly lengthy conversation (especially one with the potential to be continue to be active for an extended period) to a subpage. The key contributors to the conversation should all be in favour of the move before any move is done. And a heading should still exist on the original page with some type of clear statement like "This discussion is still active but has been moved to a subpage (with a link to the subpage). All members of the community are welcome to continue to participate in the discussion on the subpage".

Although this archival policy would also be useful for user talk pages, I believe it is ultimately up to the user who owns the talk page to decide what to do on their talk page. These policies could be used as guidelines for user talk pages, but they are not rules that users must obey. (Also note that I am just talking about the issue of archiving dicussions here... I've discussed the issue of cleaning up uncivil comments separately).

Addendum: I just wanted to clarify that I'm not proposing that all discussions must be archived after being inactive for a week. Rather, I'm suggesting that in cases where archiving appears to be warranted (for example, because the talk page is more than 32 kb in size), that at least a one week interval must have elapsed before archiving is allowed. --Nephele 02:26, 6 December 2006 (EST)

Civility

I think everyone agrees at some basic level that the wiki should be a place where people feel free to contribute without being harassed or otherwise made to feel needlessly unwelcome. The problems I see are:

  • How are "civil" and "uncivil" defined?
  • What is an appropriate response if you think that someone's comments were uncivil?

I personally think that actions (editing, deleting, reprimanding an editor, whatever) are only warranted when there is clear, unambiguous proof that an editor said something inappropriate. To me this is just another aspect of one of the wiki's core principles: assume good faith. Assume that the editor made their comments based on good intentions, unless there is clear evidence otherwise. Just because the editor did not choose to say the same thing that you would have does not mean that editor's comments are wrong. Assuming that an editor was upset or was trying to be antagonistic is not a valid justification for an edit; even concern that somebody else reading the comments might be upset by them is not justification.

So at what point do comments cross the line from just being an honest attempt to express dissatisfaction to becoming inappropriate remarks? The list of clearly "bad" comments that I started to come up with included personal insults and and abusive language. Then Wrye posted the Wikipedia excerpt on the topic; I thought that gave a pretty good definition of what is inappropriate. I would be in favour of adopting similar guidelines on UESP.

On the other hand, in several of the cases that have been cited above, the statements that were made (and then censored or reprimanded) really just came down to a statement of the facts that had occurred, colored somewhat by the editor's point of view. And the fact is that at times negative things need to be said. There is no way to have a complete discussion if the participants feel like they are forbidden from saying that they don't like an idea. And censoring people just because they don't choose the right words to express that they don't like an idea (or someone's actions, etc.) just stifles conversation. Furthermore, editing someone else's contributions can be seen as a declaration that your judgement is better than theirs, which can in and of itself be somewhat insulting to the person whose comments you are editing. Does it help the situation to insult one person just to avoid the possibility that another person might be insulted? I don't think so.

Although the basic premise of making the wiki an inviting place for everyone to participate is a good one, I feel that censoring other editor's comments is just as uninviting/unwelcoming as insulting an editor. Constantly "cleaning up" people's discussions turns the wiki into a forum where people are afraid to contribute because they might get harassed for accidentally saying something the wrong way. I think it is far better to have a more open atmosphere where people feel that their comments really are appreciated and taken in their best possible light than to have an atmosphere where nothing politically incorrect is ever said just because everyone is too afraid to contribute.

Consensus

As with civility, I think consensus is also a topic where everybody probably agrees with the basic premise: decisions on the wiki should be made based upon a community consensus, rather than based upon an individual's preferences. But "the devil is in the details". The questions I see are:

  • What procedure should be followed to achieve consensus?
  • Is an established consensus necessary before making a change to the wiki?

My proposal is that:

  • It is up to an individual editor's discretion to judge whether a change is controversial.
  • If the editor feels that the change is controversial, a discussion about the topic should be started. If necessary, create a sandbox version of the proposed change to demonstrate the proposal.
  • If the editor feels that the change is not controversial, proceed to make the change without starting a discussion.
  • However, any change made without first asking for a consensus is best considered to only be a proposed change.
    • The editor should be prepared to undo the change if it is determined that the community does not like it.
    • Changes that will require a lot of work to undo should be avoided or, if undertaken, the editor should make it clear that they are willing to reverse the changes.

Basically, I don't see any way to come up with clear standards for what requires community approval before being done, and what doesn't. Requiring that all edits be approved first is not productive: 99.9% of the edits made on the wiki are done without any type of prior consensus. Even widespread edits generally do not warrant any type of initial consensus; for example over the past couple days I've made multiple changes to the template Template:Oblivion Places Summary that affected hundreds of pages. Hopefully nobody thinks that these edits were controversial. Any type of requirement that edits affecting multiple pages need to be pre-approved would just turn the wiki into an overly bureaucratic environment where improvements are stifled by all the rules.

Short of any way of unambiguously defining what needs to be pre-approved and what does not, the only other alternative is to rely upon the judgement of editors. The implication is that if you see an edit that somebody made that you do not like, you should start by assuming that they thought the edit was non-controversial. Criticizing the editor for not first reaching consensus does not, in my opinion, help to resolve the situation. Instead start a discussion of the edit, treating the edit as a proposed change, just as if it had been done in a sandbox. I think if everyone can contribute to the dicussion from that perspective, it will foster a more constructive environment for reaching a consensus on what should now be done.

IRC

IRC is a useful tool for discussing ideas, but I do not think it should ever be relied upon as a forum for making final decisions. It is a great place for asking for feedback on ideas, getting necessary information from other editors, or general brainstorming. But it has some severe limitations:

  • IRC is not available to all members of UESP, for a wide variety of different reasons. Since the whole reason for using IRC is enhance UESP (not replace it!), UESP contributors should not feel that they must participate in IRC to be full members of the community.
  • The number of people who can participate in IRC at once is very limited. Conversations with more than about four active participants become unwieldy.
  • It is difficult to take the time to clearly phrase opinions on IRC. Any opinion that takes more than one sentence to explain just doesn't work on IRC, because the chances are that someone else will chime in before you've finished what you want to say.
  • Permanent records of IRC discussions are not available. And I don't think that the solution is to permanently save IRC talk; I think that goes against the informal nature of the medium. Instead, it is better to just accept that as a limitation, and rely upon other forums for permanent records.
  • It is very easy to misinterpret IRC conversations. It is a real-time interaction yet you have no idea whether the other participants are even paying attention. In particular for decision making, it is impossible to ask "does everyone agree?" and have any concrete idea what people's answers mean.

Again, I'm not trying to say that IRC should not continue to be used as a forum for discussions. But I do not think that a UESP discussion should ever be based upon "decisions" made in IRC. If a topic discussed in IRC is important enough for followup on UESP, a new discussion should be started on UESP.

When starting a topic on UESP, the editor should summarize their point of view on the topic, but only their own point of view. I believe that in a wiki environment any attempt by one person to state what other people think about the topic is counterproductive, no matter what the source is for the information. In other words, stating that "everyone in IRC agreed with this idea" is not a good justification for an action. You may honestly believe that everyone agreed, but it is just likely that only two people expressed agreement but both of them misunderstood what the proposed idea was. Since everyone on IRC (or at least everyone involved in UESP-related decisions) is also a UESP editor, it is far better to let them speak for themselves on UESP than to assume that you know what they are thinking.

In other words, what I am suggesting is that any topic that comes up on IRC and warrants followup should be separately discussed on the UESP wiki. All contributors from the IRC conversation should individually express their opinions in the UESP wiki discussion (even if it's just to say, "yes, I agree"). It's not a dramatic change from what's been done in the past, but my hope is that it will be enough to reinforce that the wiki is ultimately where decisions need to be made, not IRC.

Aristeo, Part Two

This is part two of my two part series concerning the present day issues regarding the wiki.

Unresolved Matters

Before I begin part two, I would like to address some things that came up after I was finished with part one of my series.

To Endareth
Wow, that was unexpected! I almost spit coffee all over my monitor when I saw your edit in my watchlist!
Yes, I've been told I tend to have that effect on people! ;-) — EndarethTalk 00:20, 5 December 2006 (EST)
Welcome back to the wiki! I think you have some wise suggestions. I realize that I can be impatient at times, and that sometimes leads to me making changes rather quickly. The bread crumb trail style was supposed to be a small change to the Common.css file that evolved into a massive change to the separators and the addition of the the " → {{PAGENAME}}" things. I'm not sure what you mean about me having to make the "final statement" when a situation is resolved though, but I'll keep an eye on myself and make sure I don't do it anymore.
To Wrye
Yes, Wikipedia does say that removing another person's comments is not allowed. However, official policy on Wikipedia suggests that users should "remove offensive comments on talk pages" [12], because they remain in the edit history and anyone can refer to them later on if necessary.
In Conclusion
Over the course of this discussion and during some personal experiences on the wiki, I have learned a very important fact about Wrye:
Wrye is not interested in diplomatic resolutions, but only in stressing his views and annihilating his opponents' views, even if he must resort in insults, trolling, or pettiness to do so.
In a way, this could be seen as a good thing. Not a pleasant quality, of course, but it could be put to good use. Also, everyone seems to be in favor of giving him a "get out of jail free" card because the evidence I provided against him wasn't as black and white as I would have hoped for. Fair enough. Now I would like to concentrate on the "good part" of this conversation where we get to discuss the foundations of the wiki and the values and principles that we hold.

Introduction to Part Two

As I stated in the introduction of part one, I would like to express my thoughts in two parts. The first part defended against some of the legitimate, but perhaps contentious claims made against me. Part two is going to concentrate on the policies and the values of the wiki and add to the previously mentioned points by Nephele and anyone who beats me to expressing their concerns below this message.

The following are topics that I plan on addressing:

  • Defining Consensus
  • Open Discussion
  • Community Role of Adminship
  • Wikipedia as a Guideline

Incivility and Wikiquette

Defining "Civil" and "Uncivil"
According to Dictionary.com, civility is defined as "courteous behavior; politeness". This means that in order to be civil, you must show good manners and show gracious consideration towards other contributors. Your actions should also be purified from what is considered to be coarse, vulgar, or debasing.
If you fail to meet any of these criteria, are your comments considered to be uncivil? Not necessarily. Is it possible for comments to be not civil, but not uncivil either? I think so. Is it acceptable to be in this grey area? Not at all.
Introducing Wikiquette
Something I have meditated on upon before writing this entry is that all of the contributors on the site strive to be civil. Anyone who tries to be uncivil would quickly be eliminated. What we need are guidelines to help users present themselves as polite and courteous. Wikipedia is already a few steps ahead of me on this idea, check out some of their article's such as Wikipedia:Etiquette, Wikipedia:Please do not bite the newcomers, Wikipedia:Do not feed the trolls, and Wikipedia:Do not insult the vandals.
I think we should combine the concepts introduced in all of these articles and the concepts introduced in this discussion (or at least the good ones) into an article such as [[UESPWiki:Wikiquette]] or UESPWiki:Etiquette. We could include principles and guidelines on how to present yourself as civil, what to do when people around you are being uncivil, and how to engage vandals, newcomers, and other unpleasant people. This shouldn't be something to be used for purposes of ranting, but for good, meaningful suggestions that other members can use as guidelines. I would like to be able to use it constantly to remind myself how to use proper etiquette, remind others how to use proper etiquette, and to contribute to so I can share experiences with others when I have to learn something the hard way.
I would appreciate any suggestions or comments on this suggestion. --Aristeo | Talk 15:30, 6 December 2006 (EST)

Seniority and Power

Power equals responsibility.
Around 1995, the site was born. Daveh had the ultimate and final authority on how the site was designed and administrated because he was the only one working on it. Unfortunately, as the only person with the power and capability to work on and administrate the site, Daveh was the only one who could be responsible for it.
To solve this problem, he devolved his power to edit the site to everyone in the form of this wiki. Everyone can edit it, and therefore everyone is responsible for its content. This worked very well, as the content could not have been as complete and accurate without it. However, we still had a problem because Daveh was still the only person who could administrate the site. If a crisis were to occur while Daveh was away, such as if someone went on a page blanking frenzy, the project could suffer major damage in many different ways without someone with the ability to contain the situation.
How did he solve this problem? He devolved power. He gave the ability to administrate the site to Endareth, Garrett, and Wrye, and later to Nephele and me when they became inactive. Administrators have the ability to administrate some aspects of the site, and editors have the ability to assemble the content of the site. Although Daveh still has the power to do these things, we can't point the finger at him if they aren't done because he's no longer solely responsible.
Daveh has still has not devolved some powers out, so he remains responsible for maintaining these powers. Some of these powers include making sure the server is working adequately, installing upgrades and extensions to the wiki when necessary, promoting and revoking privileges, and making the final arbitrary decisions on issues that cannot be decided via consensus (which he hasn't exercised as of yet). Although many argue that some of these powers should remain with Daveh, there are advantages and disadvantages to not devolving these powers. A good example of a disadvantage is something that happened today, where the server slowed down to a halt because of the build up of open connections. All that was needed to fix this problem would be a restart of the server, but since Daveh is the only person with this ability, we had to wait half the day for the problem to be fixed. If other members had the ability to restart the server, this would have been solved much sooner.
Seniority does not equal experience.
The seniority system is a bad system to have on a wiki because it implies that one person's opinion is more important than another person's opinion based on age. Both opinions need to be weighed by their merits alone, not by the merits of the people making them.
Seniority, for our purposes, can be defined as "precedence of position, primarily precedence over others of the same rank by reason of a longer span of service"[13]. Seniority cannot be an acceptable method to rank contributors in the community because that would mean that some newcomer who came here and made one edit in February 2005 would be ranked higher than all of us. Adminship, likewise, is not a rank in the community, but merely a technical ability that isn't given to everyone. Edit count can't be used to rank contributors because not all edits can be weighed the same (ex. Some are minor, some are major, some are vandalism). If we can't use any statistical methods to determine the rank of contributors, then how do we rank each other?
We rank each other by our experience. Experience is the knowledge and practical wisdom that is gained from what one has observed, encountered, or undergone. [14] Observing conversations such as this one will expose you to new perspectives and lessons that other people had to learn the hard way. Encountering obstacles on the wiki, whether those obstacles are content related or community related, gives you experience and lessons on how to better encounter similar obstacles in the future. To undergo and endure through difficult situations can teach you important lessons the hard way, but these experiences are usually the most applicable and vital.
So how do we rank each other with experience? We don't – or at least not publicly. However, when you see a comment made by a knowledgeable and wise contributor, you will have much more respect for their opinion than you would with a newcomer. For example, Larry Sanger, one of the people who helped assemble Wikipedia, is given a lot of respect and has quotes all over Wikipedia because of his experience and wisdom. Seniority can contribute the amount of experience a person has, but experience is not governed by seniority. --Aristeo | Talk 17:23, 6 December 2006 (EST)

Nephele, Brief Question

In blanking User talk:64.150.0.1, I believe several important comments were deleted. In particular, I made a suggestion on that page in response to the user's question about lifting the block. Now that the user has again suggested that he/she would like to contribute to the wiki, I would like to reinstate my previous comment. In other words, I still think that lifting the block would be premature, and think it should only be considered after the user has shown some clear interest in making constructive edits. And I think that the user talk's page is the most appropriate place to discuss questions related to that user's block. However, the controversy around that page at the moment has made me very reluctant to unilaterally make any changes to the page (even though, to me, my comments seem unrelated to the rest of the edit war, they were deleted as part of the edit war). So, I would like to first find out whether anyone, and in particular Aristeo or Wrye, has any objections to me responding to this user's latest comment by adding back in my previous suggestion? Or does anyone have alternative suggestions as to how/where to discuss issues specific to what should be done about this user's block? --Nephele 15:19, 4 December 2006 (EST)

Go ahead and make whatever changes you want. You should tell him that the block will have to be discussed with Daveh, since he's the one who made it. I suggest that we leave him blocked for at least seven days and have him unblocked on a Saturday. Also remind him in as nice of a way possible that we will not tolerate any more attacks, and if he attacks the site again we will report his actions to his internet service provider. Unless we won't, of course, then just omit it. --Aristeo | Talk 16:18, 4 December 2006 (EST)
Aristeo, why Saturday? Just wondering, but aren't all other days of the week just as good? And how do you plan to report it to the ISP we can't even get a traceroute to resolve? --Dylnuge(talk · edits) 17:38, 4 December 2006 (EST)
Good point. Actually, do ISPs even accept reports of wikispam? I checked Wikipedia's entry, and the only reported acceptors of wikispam reports are the major search engines. The rest of my quick search also failed to reveal anything -- but it was a quick search and I certainly could have missed something. --Wrye 20:53, 4 December 2006 (EST)
Nephele... Well, having argued vociferously, that it should never be necessary to ask such permission, I can hardly deny it, can I? (LOL) Please feel free. I do think that it would be a mistake to unblock such an obvious spammer any time soon -- I strongly expect that the result would be "Attack the Spambot, Part II". But I've been wrong before... --Wrye 20:53, 4 December 2006 (EST)

Ratwar, Stop Gap Solution

Alright, I've been away for a week or two (and I'll probably be back for a week then away for a week again), so I'm comming into this a bit late. From where I stand, I see many different things that have caused this discussion, and I would like to cover them one by one, with a proposed solution.

Lack of Communication
There needs to be a greater use of the feature here at the UESP to facilitate communication between different editors. I believe that the current system we have in place isn't good enough to an handle the discussion. Instead of cluttering up the Community Portal, I propose moving discussions on policy, large projects, and member privileges (in the first stages) over to the UESP-General Section on the forum, and allow guests to posts on that section of the forums. There will be a link to each forum topic on the Community Portal Page. Also, any new policy changes need to be discussed with all active administrators as well as a few members to make sure all of them understands the policies, so we don't disagree on these. This will allow archiving to become a time activated happening.
The IRC Channel
Should not be used to discuss wiki policy in any definitive form. That should be left on the permanent record on the forums or the wiki.
Major Changes other than Policy
The community should be given at least a week's notice on these. If we've got to wait to delete unused redirects, we need to wait to make major changes, such as the bread crumbs change.
Civility
Right now, we lack a clear cut definition of Civility. That has to change. Until then, whatever the first administrator on the scene believes is civil should stand unquestioned. We must assume good-faith until we have a definition of what lack of good faith is. Once such a definition is in place, it needs to be agreed upon by all the administrators, and any new administrators that are promoted/appointed/elected must also agree to the definition. That is the only way it will be slightly enforceable. This same model shjould be used to define other policy decisions.
Consensus
This relates back to the Lack of Communication. It must be built by communication.

Questions, comments anyone? --Ratwar 16:11, 4 December 2006 (EST)

Wrye 6

I agree almost entirely with Nephele's post. Long, but well spoken. And she uses bold less frequently than I do, which is good. [Ummm... Just to be clear... I picked the name "Wrye" in part because I have a "wry" sense of humor. So, if there was criticism there, it was against myself for using bold too frequently.]

In fact, despite the length, the only thing that I disagree with is on allowing editors to edit archives. In general, archives should be verbatim copies of the discussion. I.e., it's a record of a finished conversation, it should not be altered further. While it could be argued that you might edit the archive for readability, the discussion was readable enough at the time it was live, so such does not seem necessary. And it's better to err on the side of caution. BTW, I checked Wikipedia to see what they had to say:

Neither provide any specific guidance on this, I think largely because it's self-evident that the talk page should not be further substantially edited. However, I believe that edits for readability are allowed. (See the discussion page for the "how to archive" article.)

In regards to moving the page, the week suggestion seems reasonable. The first post was last Thursday, so moving it this next Thursday would fit that proposal. (For readability, in doing the move, the heads could be promoted from level 3 to level 2, but other than that I don't see anything that needs to be changed.) So that deals with my objection. I believe that only leaves Endareth's objection.

I think that Ratwar's points are largely compatible with Nephele's. But I may well be assuming too much.

--Wrye 22:57, 4 December 2006 (EST)

Endareth again

One very important thing that I feel needs to be said: For the sake of the community, can we continue to make the effort to avoid personal attacks? I realise that this whole section is a dispute between two people who by now have probably taken a fair degree of dislike to each other, but so far the animosity has tended to be restricted. I think it's a good sign of the maturity of those involved that this hasn't degenerated into a flame war, and would hope that this continues. The moment we get editors swearing at each other, the community starts to dissolve. Now I may be pre-empting something that may never occur, but it's important enough that it needs to be said. *Steps back off soapbox, trips, falls on face!* — EndarethTalk 00:29, 5 December 2006 (EST)

Dylnuge Pointing out the Semi-Obvious

Just in case no one else has actually noticed, the user (64.150.0.1) has posted an apology on their talk page. They also mentioned (in the title) that they saw all of the comments (most likely refrencing this argument). No reason worring about this instance any more. Besides, history still exists anyway. We should still think about potential future instances. --Dylnuge(talk · edits) 18:31, 5 December 2006 (EST)

Addressed. See UESPWiki:Administrator Noticeboard#64.150.0.1 - Requesting Unblocking, User_talk:64.150.0.1, User:64.150.0.1/Info, and User_talk:Daveh#Anon Unblock Request. --Aristeo | Talk 02:39, 7 December 2006 (EST)
Good job. I noticed the Wikipedia stuff a bit earlier. Seems like some of the edits are not harmful, but most are. In addition, shared IP discussion has happened there as well. I think this IP may actually be shared, however it still never made good edits. Suprised Wikipedia hasn't given this IP a permanant block (I think that is not their policy over there). Either way, I aggree with Nephele. If anyone on the IP has actual contributions, they can put them on their talk page. --Dylnuge(talk · edits) 21:20, 7 December 2006 (EST)

Aristeo's Conclusion

Instead of expanding on some of the ideas behind consensus and community, which I may or may not do in the future, I will briefly go over some of the issues discussed and my thoughts on them. I will also give some final tips to everyone that should make future conflicts easier to deal with and not as drawn out.

Unresolved and Resolved Issues

Bread Crumb Trails
I don't really care where they go. I like how they're not in the way of the content anymore, but if you all feel like they would be better placed where they were before, then that's fine.
Removing Bad Comments
It appears that the agreement here is that unless someone posts something like "you stupid loser!!", then we leave all comments regardless of their civility.
Final Arbitrator for the UESP
Wrye mentions that there is no final arbitrator for the UESP. It would be hard to make an arbitration system, because all of us that would be a part of it (probably the active admins) would be involved in the disputes. Daveh can't be an arbitrator because, frankly, he is not an active editor on UESP. Therefore, I'm afraid we'll have to just sort everything with discussion until consensus can be reached.
What is civility?
Civility is the combination of diplomacy and politeness.
Community portal subpaging
Not my favorite method of sorting, but it's better than discussing everything on a 120+ KB page of spaghetti code.
Patrollers
Whatever works. My concerns for it were discussed elsewhere on the page, but as long as everyone involved is fine with the implications that my concerns address, and since it doesn't affect my permissions, then it's fine with me.

Final Tips

  • In an edit war, always pick the less extreme revision to stick with until the arguement has been resolved. Simply making an arguement in your defense does not entitle you to revert back to your edit.
  • Don't get in conflicts. Use diplomacy to discuss issues, and your opponent will be less defensive and more likely to compromise with you.
  • If you do get in a conflict, seek resolution. If you get into a conflict with a troll, don't try to compromise with them – just get out of the conflict.
  • Even though incivility is not a blockable offense here, you should still remain on your best behavior at all times and remind others to do the same.

And that's all I have right now. I might post something indirectly related to all of this later, but we'll see. :) --Aristeo | Talk 16:22, 18 December 2006 (EST)

Moved from Community Portal --Wrye 22:47, 19 December 2006 (EST)

Graye's Addendum

I beg your indulgence while I intrude in this discussion and your pardon for dragging it back into the light. I do so for manifold reasons, one in particular: I am disappointed to have read this.

While there are myriad points I desire to elaborate upon, I shall desist. This is due in part to my own lethargy, though moreso as Nephele has already concisely stated the very things I would say.

As such, my comments are truly for Wrye and Aristeo alone: I respect you both. Perhaps that means little, or nothing, but I want you to understand that I do. The contributions each of you has made to this site and the Elder Scrolls community in general are staggering...however, more than that, it is your dedication that commands my respect. The contributions you make would be trivial were they not backed by a genuine source of passion for the TES world. This article alone is proof of that, amongst other things: below the bickering, each of you honestly cares for this site and its future. Keep that in mind...

This may earn me some flack, however, I feel it best to put this in writing.
Perhaps it would be wise were each of you to consider a period of absence. A break, or sabbatical if you prefer, might be enough to allow you the proper space to cool off and grant the community a respite from this contention. I quote from Wikipedia:
"Sometimes you just need to walk away. There are over a thousand administrators here and countless numbers of users who can take over for you. Do not let an edit war supersede your personal Wikipedia time. Take a time out from an edit war that gets too hot; work on other articles, or take a break from Wikipedia in general."
In relation to the UESP, I would amend such to:
"Sometimes you just need to walk away. There are other administrators here and countless numbers of users who can take over for you. Do not let an edit war supersede your personal time. Take a break from the UESP in general."
A change of pace is, on occassion, all that's required to recognize the futility of conflicts such as this and, more importantly, how little they truly matter. I do not mean to demean the words spoken herein, nor the users who have taken part in this discussion, but merely to point out what has disappointed me the most: that an 81 kilobyte document has been created to debate who is "right" and "wrong." This is not an attempt to insert any grand philosophy discussion into this already over-long page, but simply to point out the obvious. The fact is, the UESP is a wiki concerning The Elder Scrolls, a line of computer and video games. We're not talking about human welfare or the future of mankind, we're talking about pixels on a screen. Please consider taking a break, both of you. Your dedication to the UESP is admirable, however, there is much more to experience of greater import.

Creating Guidelines

I'm slowly working on trying to extract some of the issues that have been discussed here and create guideline pages for future reference. So far, I've created two:

The intent is for these to be guidelines that summarize the opinions of the community as a whole. If similar questions ever come up, the guideline pages should be a place to which editors can refer. I'd like to encourage the rest of the community to read through these pages, provide feedback on the opinions expressed, and help to decide whether or not these guidelines are appropriate for UESPWiki. --Nephele 01:33, 8 January 2007 (EST)