UESPWiki:Community Portal/User Page Warnings

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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.

Discussion from Blocking Policy Page

Moving the discussion (from Blocking Policy page) to here (UESPWiki:Community Portal) and retitling it since the proposed policy essentially only affects the warning on Aristeo's page. --Wrye 00:25, 27 November 2007 (EST)

Over the last 8 months, the administrators have been engaging in a practice to posts user warnings on user pages, and then to protect the user page itself. This keeps the warnings available to both the administrators and the community so that they know exactly who they’re dealing with. Still, it is a very intrusive option that infringes on people’s user pages. It has also caused some friction in certain situations.

I think that the best way to solve the problems associated with the systems are to base it on the needs of having a warning plastered on a user page. If the editor has been inactive for an extended period of time (probably around 3 months) or become a productive editor for an extended period of time (3 months), the warning can be move back to the talk page, to conform to the usual policy of blocking notices, or in the case of productive editors removed entirely, if that is agreeable to the administrator or user that posted the warning in the first place. --Ratwar 19:06, 25 November 2007 (EST)

Other than for Aristeo's page (which we just discussed last month, and I hope we're not about to rehash again), I'm not sure what you're talking about. Witness Image:Stop_hand.png. Most admins who use the warnings tend to place them on the user talk page (the default location by template) but not protect them. I tend to place on user page, but not protect them. So I'm not see this practice that you're describing.
Aside from that. If a warning has been posted and protected, then we can simply wait for the user to request that the warning be removed (at which point some discussion may be warranted), rather than act pro-actively to remove warning at an expiration date. --Wrye 19:58, 25 November 2007 (EST)
It was also done to User:ShakenMike. As for rehashing the discussion about the Aristeo page, I guess you could call it that. This is probably the main reason I'm even bothering to bring this up. I want an end to this stuff about Aristeo. I'm tired of the problems that wasted so much time early last year, and that have resurfaced yet again last month without his presence. They are nothing more than a piece of the UESP's history. He is not coming back, and thus there is no reason to continue to protect his page which draws needless attention to fighting that once occurred here. --Ratwar 20:28, 25 November 2007 (EST)
I completely agree with Ratwar. It definitely draws needless attention. He is still so high up in the Active users list that many people are likely to see it. It is not good for the site's image. It is better to move the warning to his talk page or may be even removed completely. I don't see any harm in Ratwar's suggestion of a change in policy. --Mankar CamoranTCE 08:38, 26 November 2007 (EST)
Okay, so that's two isolated instances -- not a policy. And ShakenMike really isn't an issue, so this is about Aristeo again. And we just discussed this very issue last month and the conclusion was to leave it in place and protected. Since this doesn't seem to be about anything other than Aristeo, and since we just covered it last month, I suggest that we consider it tabled for four to six months. If you really want to bring it up again then do so at that time.
The main point here is that if it's dicussed it will be a long tedious, time consuming discussion. Let's just let sleeping dogs lie. --Wrye 15:47, 26 November 2007 (EST)
I like the idea of the overall policy--it may only apply in very few cases, but it seems like a good idea to have a standardized course of action should it become necessary in the future.
Regarding the issue of Aristeo's page, I agree with Ratwar and Mankar. The location and nature of the warning draw unnecessary negative attention to past situations. It's not about Aristeo, it's about the effect the remaining evidence is having on the users who joined after the conflict and the future progress of the site. Also, as far as I know, the previous discussion about this issue was not conducted in an open, forum-style setting where everyone could share their opinions, which I have been led to believe is the preferred format for this sort of thing. I don't think we should shy away from discussing important issues just because it won't be easy. It's also probably best to take care of this sooner rather than later. We shouldn't rush things, but it won't get any better if we keep putting it off.
What we really need is to discuss the issue, come to a compromise, and move on. The longer we have this hanging over our heads, the harder it will be to tackle any obstacles we come across in the future. --Eshetalk16:59, 26 November 2007 (EST)

Wrye, from my point of view, a month is a long enough time for opinions to change, especially when those opinions were only taken from the administrators. I would also like to point out that I did not weigh in on the discussion last month, as I was busy with matters unrelated to the UESP. I think that saying a discussion that took place between 3 administrators with another merely watching from the sidelines should not be revisited by the entire community is wrong. In fact, I'd say that discussion never came to a conclusion about letting things lie, in my opinion. It was just that nobody was going to bother arguing with you at that time.

As Eshe said, this is not about Aristeo, it is about the effects that having a warning on his user page have had on users, patrollers, and administrators that only became active after the problems. Eshe and Mankar have already voiced their opinions that the warning should be moved to the talk page. They both see it as having a negative impact on the site. I am willing to bet that others feel the same way as well. --Ratwar 17:30, 26 November 2007 (EST)

Again, the issue here is not about policy (i.e., even if we did have a general policy about when to protect warnings and when to expire them, Aristeo would still be a special case and would likely warrant an exception to the rule). So the topic here really is about removing the warning from Aristeo's page. As such, the correct place for it is on the Community Portal (since this is where related discussions have taken place in the past). Where of course it will either be newly raised for newbies, or re-raised for people who have seen it before.
I believe fairly strongly that some sort of substantially negative message should be permanently in place on Aristeo's page. While it does not have to be the current warning, a clear message is both necessary and desirable for multiple reasons. I will take the time to argue strongly for this (as I did last month) if the argument is to be continued. Other people will oppose and/or support my positions and/or raise alternate arguments. It will be a long debate and painful and tedious for everyone involved. The result may be that my point wins, in which case the warning or something similar stays (in which case we have the negativity not only of the warning, but of yet another debate). Or my position may lose, in which case, the warning will be removed, but we'll have paid the negativity cost of the debate.
For me personally, I figure that arguing will tie up at least 12 hours of my time. That's twelve hours not working on a new feature for Wrye Bash, Cobl, Wrye Shivering or one of my personal mods. It's a substantial cost for me. I would definitely prefer to not go through that again (esp. so soon after last debate). (And since my utilities and mods are also used pretty broadly, the indefinite delay of those features is also negative cost paid by my users.) Of course, other users and administrator will also participate in the debate, tying up their time and energy as well. That's another negative cost.
This is almost the definition of "letting sleeping dogs lie" -- in an effort completely eliminate a perceived negative, you'll end up raising quite a bit more negativity.
(And even the perceived negative is questionable. The only "negative" is reminding people who find the page that this site isn't Disneyland, but real life, where people do indeed have substantial disagreements. I would go further and say that there's a positive to it -- it reminds people that this is an open site -- a site which doesn't hide its past rough spots, but instead shows the way that we dealt with that through discussion and consensus. There are in fact several valuable lessons to be learned through the debates. And that fact alone makes them worth keeping.)
Now, are you sure that you want to continue this? I hope not, but if you're determined, I guess that I'll be ready to spend those twelve or so hours. --Wrye 20:20, 26 November 2007 (EST)
You're going to have to spend those 12 hours then. If you think the negative cost of the debate is to high, quit now. Especially since I think you're making a mountain out of a mole hill. The policy I'm proposing will not meant that there is no longer a warning posted in regards to Aristeo. I merely want to remove it from his user page, and place it in its original position, the user talk page.
By leaving the warning in its current position, we're not letting sleepy dogs lie, we're calling a dozing dog a sleeping one. The fact that this issue has been raised twice over the past month shows that it WILL NOT go away by pretending that it doesn't exist. I only want to put the damn thing to bed. I hope you don't continue this argument because I really don't see any reason for you to do so. I think the solution is fair that once the threat of the warning being erased from the talk page has passed the warning can be move there from the user page. This is not an attempt to hide the rough spots, or to pretend they don't exist. It is a proposal to stop treating Aristeo like the devil and more like how we would treat an other misbehaving editor. --Ratwar 22:10, 26 November 2007 (EST)
Okay. As I mentioned earlier this really belongs on the Community Portal page, so I'm moving it now. For continued discussion, it will probably take me until tomorrow night to reply. I don't have the block of time needed tonight. --Wrye 00:25, 27 November 2007 (EST)

End of moved section. --Wrye 00:25, 27 November 2007 (EST)

Begin Community Portal Discussion

This is still a general policy discussion, even if it revolves around the only example of the policy. Therefore, I request that it is moved back to the correct page. --Ratwar 01:06, 27 November 2007 (EST)
Wherever the discussion might take place, I see a consensus emerging here. Now there are three of us who are in favour of moving the warning to the talk page.
I really do not see the point in having "some sort of substantially negative message" on Aristeo's page. It is not done even to the dirtiest of vandals, and doing it to someone who contributed so much to the site is really something I can't understand. Ratwar is absolutely right. Aristeo should not be treated like the Devil. Just looking at his contributions is enough to make one realise how good he was. The user page of someone who gave so much to the site should not look like that. His elaborate defense itself is a negative message, so to say. I actually feel sorry for him that he had to get an official warning in the first place. Whatever others might think, I am really grateful to him for all the positive things he has done for the improvement of this site. --Mankar CamoranTCE 09:08, 27 November 2007 (EST)
I agree with Mankar on this one. I know that things were difficult and painful then and I fully respect the fact that those who were involved may not have entirely moved on just yet, but I think it's reached a point when the best thing for everyone is to move forward and get past all of this. Ignoring the fact that it's still causing problems is not going to help anything.
I'm not trying to defend or accuse anyone who was involved. It's easier for those of us who weren't there to support this in the interest of making some progress on the issue, but that doesn't change the fact that something clearly needs to be done. At the very least, the warning should be moved to the talk page. I personally hope for a bit more than that, but I'm willing to discuss the details of the warning with anyone who has an opinion so that hopefully we can all agree on some sort of compromise. --Eshetalk11:52, 27 November 2007 (EST)
I'll add my voice to Ratwar, Eshe and Mankar. A key question here is: what will be gained through the two alternatives? If the warning is left where it is, the question will continue to simmer and somebody will bring it up again in a couple of months. If it's moved to the talk page - with a concomitant removal of the long reply - that's much less likely to happen. Ideally I'd like to see the warning go completely but I'm realist enough to see that's unlikely and I think Ratwar's idea makes a good compromise. Mankar also makes an excellent point; if we don't use this extreme method of punishment for the sort of vandalism recently inflicted on the site by Da Best, Poodoo and chums, why should we use it for one of our most productive editors? --RpehTCE 17:12, 27 November 2007 (EST)

Wrye: Issue is Warning on Aristeo's Page

The issue here is a not general policy. There are only two pages (that I know of) where the warning was placed on the users' page and that page was then protected -- those two user were ShakenMike's page and Aristeo's page.

Ratwar claimed in his starting message Over the last 8 months, the administrators have been engaging in a practice to posts user warnings on user pages, and then to protect the user page itself. Since this was news (and contrary to my review of warnings) to me, I asked Ratwar for examples. The only two examples he gave were ShakenMike's and Aristeo's pages. And the only page that's really being discussed here is Aristeo's page. Moreover, this follows a private discussion among admins a month ago regarding removing the warning on Aristeo's page.

Hence, the issue here is clearly the warning on Aristeo's page. It is not a question of general policy. And because almost all discussion regarding Aristeo has been on the community portal, it's clear that this discussion belongs on this page (and not buried on a policy page watched by few people and buried under an innocuous title). (BTW, I am probably not helping my position by moving the page here. If anything, I think that most casual editors are more likely to prefer that the issue be buried.)

Now, having said that much, I know (roughly) what additional arguments I have to make regarding leaving the warning (or something similar) on the page -- but I don't have the time to write it right now. (Time required: at least 2-4 hours for initial message plus 2 to 3 times that to deal with follow up discussion.) I probably won't have time until this weekend. (Every other time Aristeo problems have arisen, I've interrupted my personal and my other Wrye projects to address them. I hope you'll understand that this time I'd like to place some other projects at higher priority. Besides, at least this time, we're not in the midst of Aristeo threatening to shut down the IRC chat room, lock all the other admins out, etc. I.e., it's not emergency priority.)

So for now, one brief comment and a question: 1) My primary objection to removing the warning is based on basic Wiki culture. It's a question of what makes a wiki work. There are some sorts of behavior which need to have large warning signs wrapped around them, saying very clearly "This is not okay. Even if you are the leading admin of the site, you will lose your privileges if you do this sort of thing." 2) The main reason that people have for removing the message seems to be that it reflects negatively on the wiki. This makes no sense to me. How does publicly noting that certain behavior is wrong reflect negatively on the site?? What are the problems that result from the warning being in place? Really, how is this negative? Are you personally upset or offended that the warning is there? Why?

--Wrye 22:37, 27 November 2007 (EST)

Regardless of whether or not Aristeo's page is the prime focus of discussion, the proposal made by Ratwar is a change to a site policy and should be discussed on its talk page. The original post to the Community Portal was enough to alert editors to the topic, whereupon they could add the talk page to their watch lists. I join with his request that this be moved back to its correct location. To address your comment and question:
1) I'd agree that warnings are in integral part of the site, but they work well on their own. If removed, they can be reinstated; if ignored, escalated. That's the tried and tested system on this and other wikis. As a side note, it's worth mentioning that when Aristeo's warning was applied, he hadn't been an administrator for about six weeks.
2) The compromise doesn't ask for a removal of the warning, simply its transfer to another page. Nor does it try to rewrite history in any way. The warning itself isn't particularly negative for the site but the combination of warning and response on what is a fairly prominent page leads people to investigate further and find all the unpleasantness that went on at the time. You yourself called for "some sort of substantially negative message", at least acknowledging that some people will regard it as such, even if you don't yourself.
Lastly, I feel I should point out that other editors also give up their time to be part of this site and have to reschedule their lives to do so. --RpehTCE 05:00, 28 November 2007 (EST)
I don't really mind where the discussion takes place, the main thing is to arrive at a consensus. I basically agree with Rpeh here. I am quite convinced that the warning should definitely be removed from the user page. That is the least that should be done to someone who contributed so much. There is actually a comment by an anonymous user "the actions of all parties involved are deplorable". I am not endorsing it, but it is true that the behaviour of all the persons involved was not perfect. Everybody makes mistakes, but the punishment should be proportional to the crime. I think here it is blown out of all proportion.
Rpeh is absolutely right about the investigation. I for one, may not even have known about these things had it not been for that warning, and it is definitely not pleasant.
Also, I don't think anyone is personally upset or offended by the warning being in place (I certainly am not). We all want to do the thing which is most desirable and beneficial to everyone involved, including Aristeo. At least, that's why I am participating in this discussion, even though it is eating a lot of my time. --Mankar CamoranTCE 10:41, 28 November 2007 (EST)

Where should this discussion happen: I believe that UESPWiki talk:Blocking Policy is a much more appropriate place for this discussion because it is a discussion about proposed changes to the contents of the page UESPWiki:Blocking Policy. Ratwar's initial implementation, with a message here alerting the general community to the discussion seemed like it was more than sufficient to cover any problems of visibility. I don't see that it helps current contributors to the discussion or future editors to have the discussion on the Community Portal. Specifically:
  • The discussion is about the contents of the section UESPWiki:Blocking Policy#Blocked Accounts; it is followup to earlier discussion at UESPWiki talk:Blocking Policy#Deleting Warnings; future discussion about the Blocking Policy will be on UESPWiki talk:Blocking Policy. It is easier for everyone if all of the related discussion is kept together instead of being spread unnecessarily across other pages (especially once the Community Portal is archived, trying to find any related discussion left on this page will be pointlessly difficult).
  • This does directly affect current policy, and in particular current policy that is at the moment completely ineffective and useless. The Blocking Policy states that deleting warnings from talk pages should be tolerated; the talk page states that current policy is to move deleted warnings to user pages. However, events with Aristeo's talk page effectively invalidated that consensus, at least my opinion. As a result, there is no way that the Blocking Policy page can be updated until there is a discussion about that policy. And in the meantime, none of the recommendations are being followed. For example, Poodoo deleted all the warnings from his user talk page; the warnings were reinstated, and they were not moved to his user page. This has happened repeatedly and clearly shows that what is currently written in the Blocking Policy is not considered to be useful by editors. The only way to fix the policy and make it useful is by having a discussion such as this one about what should be done with user warnings. The problem is far larger than just a single example of one editor's user page.
  • Wrye also points out another problem with the current policy: that he believes warnings should be placed on the user page instead of the talk page. That is not what is currently stated at UESPWiki:Blocking Policy#Blocking an Account or at UESPWiki:Messages. If the community is currently not even in agreement about where warnings should be posted, that is another issue that in my opinion should be resolved. Again, it is a general policy issue that affects the content of a specific policy page and therefore is appropriate for that policy's talk page.
  • There is no precedent for moving every discussion mentioning Aristeo to the Community Portal. Many past discussions involving Aristeo occurred on pages other than the Community Portal; they were never all moved over here and consolidated (for example, UESPWiki talk:Consensus). As Wrye himself said, there is no imminent crisis here that requires a higher profile for the discussion; nothing drastic is going to happen if a decision isn't reached in, say, 48 hours. Therefore I don't see why this discussion warrants being singled out for special treatment.
General Policy on Warnings I don't want to divert the discussion unnecessarily, and there is obviously already more than enough that needs to be figured out here. But I do feel that there is a more fundamental problem here with warnings and that tackling the superficial issues without addressing the underlying problems will only allow for a temporary fix.
The basic problem here in my mind is a paradox with the user warnings: warnings should not be modified yet they must be placed on the one page that the "warnee" is free to modify.
  • Warnings must initially be placed on the user talk page, so that the user is notified that the warning exists. The user talk page is the only place where an edit is guaranteed to trigger the wiki's notification system, namely that hideous orange bar that appears the next time the user views any page on the site. Posting warnings on a user page (i.e., on User:Nephele instead of User talk:Nephele does not have the same effect. There is no way to know that an editor has seen a warning posted on their user page, and I do not feel that it is appropriate to block an editor if they never saw the warning.
  • The user talk page is the only page that the editor is allowed to modify even after being blocked. This is necessary to allow appeals of blocks or another necessary discussion about the account's status.
Both of these features are hard-wired into the wiki code; it's not just a matter of inconsistent wiki guidelines.
Until we can find a fix for this paradox, we will constantly have to deal with problems involving editors deleting or otherwise altering their warnings. Moving a deleted warning to a user page was a proposed solution to the problem, allowing the warning to remain visible but yet be in a place where the editor could not alter it. However, it's far from ideal:
  • The warning can still initially be modified; this fix can only be implemented after there's been a problem. Why not prevent the problem in the first place?
  • There are basic questions of whether a user page should be unnecessarily altered, which have already been brought up specifically with regards to Aristeo's page.
  • Two separate pages (both the user page and the talk page) need to be checked to find out an account's history.
  • It then produces secondary problems such as those that initiated this discussion: how long should the warning stay on the user page instead of the the talk page.
The solution I'd like to propose would be to prevent warnings from being modified in the first place, allowing warnings to be safely posted and kept on the user talk page. I believe this would be possible if we implemented a new extension: ProtectSection. Assuming that the extension works as advertised ;), it should allow the warnings on a user talk page to be protected using ... tags, while still leaving the user and anyone else free to modify the rest of the page. If we were to implement it, I'd suggest:
  • All the default warnings and blocked messages would be modified to automatically insert the protect tags on every new warning.
  • Move all warnings/block messages currently on user pages to the talk page and add the protect tags.
  • Any time when an existing warning needs to be modified, we would retroactively add the protect tags (i.e., if a user deletes their warning, the editor who reinstates the warning would add the tags at that time). But I don't think it's necessary to systematically go through and update the thousands of existing warnings.
  • Change the users with permission to modify the protected contents to include patrollers as well as just admins. There are likely to be cases where two editors simultaneously add a warning to a user's talk page, but then the duplicate can't be deleted because it's automatically protected. Not to mention problems with typos in warnings that need to be fixed (i.e., [1], thanks GuildKnight!). Limiting the pool of editors to just patrollers and admins is more restrictive than would perhaps be ideal, but seems to me like the most acceptable alternative.
It makes me somewhat uncomfortable that the page describing this extension has a big warning notice across the top. However, I don't think we need 100% hacker-proof security; we're not trying to protect confidential data. As long as the code isn't completely ineffective, then I think it does what we need: it makes it non-trivial for an editor to tamper with a warning message.
Aristeo-Specific Issues I don't want to try to provide a comprehensive response to this discussion. But I would like to cover a few points:
  • Aristeo's page is creating negativity every day. Even if senior editors like myself and Wrye don't see it (because we never visit the page) other editors are clearly visiting the page and are unhappy with what it says about our site. I don't think that those editors' concerns should be dismissed just because other members of the community aren't equally affected. Ignoring the problem is definitely not a case of "letting sleeping dogs lie".
  • The last thing that I want is to go through this whole discussion, reach a compromise that nobody likes, then end up having to restart it all again in three months because the community is still unhappy with the situation. I bring this up because multiple contributors to the discussion have made comments such as "I personally hope for a bit more than that;" "Ideally I'd like to see the warning go completely;" "That is the least that should be done." I really don't want to jump the gun and escalate this discussion into something even larger than it needs to be. But I would just like to ask everyone contributing to be absolutely sure that if they agree to the compromise reached at the end of this discussion that they are willing to consider that to be the final decision on this issue. If what's currently being discussed is only a temporary half-measure, I'd rather get all the problems out in the open now. It may be unpleasant, but it's less unpleasant than spending every day from here out worrying about this issue, just to have to face the unpleasantness later.
  • Just for the record, the "anonymous user" who made the comment "the actions of all parties involved are deplorable" was User:Hoggwild5, who was definitely not a casual bystander to everything that happened. I don't want to get into rehashing everything that was said in discussions months ago, but I would advise those of you reading through past events to keep in mind that there is often more going on than what is evident from the wiki records alone; this one comment is a perfect example of that.
--NepheleTalk 17:50, 28 November 2007 (EST)
Ratwar actually admitted that he brought this up because of Aristeo's page, and I joined the discussion only because of that. I don't care what is done to vandals and such, you can impale them if you want (just joking!). Anyway, as per Nephele's wish, I'll give my honest opinion on it:
What was done to Aristeo wasn't right, in my opinion. He should not have been treated like that. As I have already said, I admire him for all the contributions he has made. The way he was treated is not good for the "community spirit". He was actually treated just like any other vandal. We are a community, after all, and I don't consider vandals as members of the community, but Aristeo certainly was, although he kept saying he wanted to leave. I personally think the official warning was unwarranted. He looks like a sensible guy. Things could have been explained to him in an unofficial manner. Also, I am not even sure what was interpreted as a personal attack in the said discussion. One thing I can think of is, "Also, Wrye, we don't have any need for your smart-ass remarks", this was definitely not the right thing to say, but is it actually a personal attack? I am not sure. As I already said, in a community these things should be settled amicably. Unfortunately, it didn't happen. Aristeo has actually requested (pleaded even) for the warning to be removed, at least for the contributions he has made. Unfortunately, that was ignored as well. The rest, as they say, is history. That's why I personally would like the warning to go completely.
Another thing I'd like to clarify here, I have absolutely nothing against any of those involved. As everybody knows, I don't know Aristeo personally. It is the others I know better, especially Nephele, who has actually been very nice to me. So I am not defending Aristeo because of any personal preference. I am a neutral here.
Another reason I am interested in this is, history is one of my favourite subjects. I like to probe the depths of everything. So I read the dispute from a historian's perspective, and not for any other reason. I actually read a lot of stuff even otherwise.
That's all I can say right now. If anything is still not clear, I'll be happy to explain. --Mankar CamoranTCE 10:33, 29 November 2007 (EST)
Given that the reasons behind the warning have been repeatedly questioned over the last month or so, I opted to post a general response to Aristeo's comments at Aristeo's user page.
But to respond more specifically to Mankar's comments. Aristeo was never treated like a common vandal. He was given countless chances over a five month period before finally resorting to an official warning. On the other hand, his actions were in my opinion far more damaging to UESP than a common vandal. UESP's most valuable resource is the community of editors who contribute to the site, without whom there is no possibility for continued improvements and growth to the site. Someone who acts in a way to damage that community does far more damage than a simple vandal, who only temporarily alters the site's content (but can not even permanently remove information, because it is all stored in the wiki history). Even if Aristeo's intention was never to damage the community, it is nevertheless unquestionable that the "dramas" he kept intitating were damaging the community. And there is no way to simply click "revert" and repair that type of damage; the editors who chose to leave the site may never return. --NepheleTalk 14:46, 29 November 2007 (EST)
I'll have to agree with Nephele, as I stopped editing (until recently) because of the Aristeo situation. Aristeo did damage the community a lot when he left and many users close to him left. Others left because they were stopping fights between Wrye and Aristeo. Frankly, I think we should just fix the Warning system and forget about Aristeo. Whether you unwarn him or not, do you really think he is going to come back and be an effective editor? --Timmeh 18:54, 29 November 2007 (EST)
This is really a responce to Nephele's first post and Mankar Camoran's latest one. I mainly agree with Nephele's points, but I have one problem with the Protection Addon. If it is only usable by admins, it usefulness is limited. If it can be used by anyone, what happens when a vandal finds it? My other point I would like to make is that the Warning, even if it is moved to the talk page, should stay in place. There is NO reason that Aristeo should be granted a belated pardon for his actions, and I can't support that type of action.
Now, in response to Mankar, Aristeo caused countless hours to be spent dealing with the issues he brought up for 'the good of the community'. His arguments were often based on flawed logic and false pretenses. He also had a habit of attecking those that disagreed with him. As for personal attacks, I remember the following: "Based on the last two reactions I recieved, it would seem that I proposed to resurrect Hitler! Nephele and Ratwar: Try to address the issue, not whether or not I should have brought it up in the first place.". "Ratwar and Wrye: Your responses were pretty big disappointments, but I guess I shouldn't have expected anything better.", and "Also, Wrye, we don't have any need for your smart-ass remarks. If you don't want to help, that's fine, go eat a banana or something. Just don't interupt this discussion anymore.". None of these by themselves is enough to draw a warning, but after all three (along with the problems Aristeo had caused before), I felt a warning was justified. I believe that my actions on issuing Aristeo a warning have made the UESPwiki a better site with more information, a more friendly community, and much less arguing. --Ratwar 18:59, 29 November 2007 (EST)
Again, I won't have time to post a longer reply until this weekend (probably Sunday). Meanwhile, I'm glad to see that Nephele has posted a brief respose regarding Aristeo on his user page. (Another good review is Nephele's older summary of problems (now archived) on the De-Adminship Request.)
A couple of comments in the meantime...
1) Objectivity != Neutrality Objectivity is very desirable in discussions -- one must be able to step away from one's immediate interests and desire to defend one's earlier actions, and objectively evaluate the arguments of the other people. Obviously it's easier for people who are originally neutral (not involved in the argument) to be objective. However, The very advantage of neutrality, means that at the end, you're no longer neutral -- you've looked at both sides closely and objectively chosen one or the other. Granted in some cases, you will find the two sides to be equally balanced in right and wrong, and so can't favor one over the other. But in this case, I'm hard pressed to see how someone could objectively look over the littany of problems caused by Aristeo (again, see Nephele's summaries above) and find the two sides equally balanced at the end. Can you really read over all that, and think "Yeah, they're both equally right/wrong." at the end?
2) This is interesting (from Mankar above): Aristeo has actually requested (pleaded even) for the warning to be removed, at least for the contributions he has made. I was under the impression that other folks had said that Aristeo had moved on. Apparently not.
3) Negativity I asked this earlier, but I haven't seen any responses to it, so I'm reposting:
The main reason that people have for removing the message seems to be that it reflects negatively on the wiki. This makes no sense to me. How does publicly noting that certain behavior is wrong reflect negatively on the site?? What are the problems that result from the warning being in place? Really, how is this negative? Are you personally upset or offended that the warning is there? Why?
Note: Mankar said: "Also, I don't think anyone is personally upset or offended by the warning being in place (I certainly am not)." So, if no one's upset or offended, then what's negative about it?
--Wrye 23:37, 29 November 2007 (EST)
Just to clarify one point, you can find Aristeo's request here. Unfortunately, I won't be able to take any further part in this discussion (see my user page). I'll be happy with whatever conclusion is reached. --Mankar CamoranTCE 05:31, 30 November 2007 (EST)
It's negative because every new reader assumes Aristeo was mistreated in some way and this reflects badly on the people involved at the time. I've heard views ranging from "It was the right decision but it wasn't done very well" to "He was hounded out - if anything (another person) should have gone" and various stages in between. If there's a new editor that doesn't share that view, I've yet to hear from them.
It's negative because the perception, at least, is that Aristeo is being punished as revenge for having the temerity to argue his points. I don't quite believe that, but it's clear that others do.
It's negative because others made far wilder comments with no consequences (For instance, one of Hoggwild's replies was so extreme Aristeo distanced himself from it even though it was supportive of his position).
It's negative because the debate is going to happen again and again.
From my point of view there simply isn't enough evidence on the site to justify what happened. I realise that there are things I don't know about what went on but on the other hand, you can't expect people to accept a bad situation on the basis of insufficient evidence. We have a compromise on the table that will hopefully suit everybody. Let's be positive for once and move forward with this new idea.
--RpehTCE 06:00, 30 November 2007 (EST)
I believe I've already responded to several of rpeh's points, if not in this discussion than on Aristeo's user page and I don't see that anything will be gained by repeating those comments yet again. As for the other points:
  • Re: "It's negative because others made far wilder comments with no consequences" Frankly to me that's like comparing apples to oranges and trying to make orange pie. Hoggwild's negative comments were made in January and February during a period when, as I have already stated, no warnings were given to anyone involved in the discussion. One reason for the lack of warnings was the knowledge that there were offline issues that were fueling the animosity. Another reason is that approaches other than warnings were being pursued at the time.
    However, I do not believe that a decision in January or February to not give out warnings then binds everyone's hands into permanently deciding that warnings can never be used. Warnings may not be appropriate after only two months of constant debate when other means can still be tried, but they do then become appropriate after five months of constant debate when other means have been exhausted. Conversely, deciding to give one person a warning in April does not then automatically mean that every person who made a statement in February needs a warning. I will never sanction retroactively giving someone a warning months after the fact; to do so would be pointlessly acting out of revenge.
  • Re: "It's negative because the debate is going to happen again and again". I sure hope that's not the case. As I said above, I would like to get this debate resolved now for once and for all. Insisting that this debate is going to restart again later isn't going to help resolve the current situation.
  • Re: "you can't expect people to accept a bad situation on the basis of insufficient evidence" Well, yes, you can when there is no reason to reopen the initial decision and no advantage to be gained from doing so. An administrative decision was made six months ago based upon the best information available at that time. No attempt was made to document or preserve all of that information because there was no apparent need to do so. It is unreasonable to now expect to be able to reopen the case and provide everyone with all of the original facts. And I don't see any possible reason for wanting to reopen the case: the fact that Aristeo was given a warning is not going to change. I'd rather try to stick to figuring what are options are now for further action and stop second-guessing what options were or were not available six months ago. --NepheleTalk 12:31, 30 November 2007 (EST)
Nephele, I wasn't the one who brought up Aristeo; I was replying to Wrye's request for an answer about negativity in the hope that we can finish with that and move on. I was simply reiterating what has already been said and implied and I certainly wasn't threatening anything. Once this is done one way or the other, I'll be very glad to let the matter drop but the fact is that unless some kind of fix is put in place, the same issue will be brought up by somebody in six months' time.
Perhaps I didn't make my point well enough. The truth is that as far as negativity is concerned, it doesn't matter whether or not a mistake was made at the time. The proof that the current situation leads to negative thoughts and feeling is being spelled out in great detail on this page at the moment. It also seems to be the fact that most new users perceive a mistake, even if that perception is false. As I have said several times, hopefully we can all agree to Ratwar's compromise and then move on. I'd like nothing more than to have this over and done with and to move on to the details of a new policy, but as one person has implied they have problems with the sort of changes you're suggesting (which seem almost entirely fine to me), it seems we have to deal with the specific before we can move on to the generic. --RpehTCE 13:55, 30 November 2007 (EST)

To respond to Ratwar's earlier comments about the Protect Section extension. Ratwar raised a good point about just who will be allowed to add protect tags to pages. Until the extension is installed I don't know for sure how it will work. But it seems that extending the privileges to include patrollers as well should basically take care of issues.

  • If only people with privileges can add the tags, then the editors who place most warnings will be able to protect the warnings; other editors could still add warnings but they just wouldn't be protected until a patroller/admin adds the tags.
  • If anyone can add the tags, then in cases of abuse, any patroller would be able to delete the improperly protected content. It might take a bit longer for a patroller rather than an editor to be able to revert the edit, but I also wouldn't expect that too many vandals would have any idea that the tags exist.

The only other options that I've been able to come up with so far would involve customizing the wiki code; besides the extra initial work there's the long term concern that every customized tweak to the PHP makes it harder for Daveh to upgrade the wiki software. One possibility that I've considered is adding code to treat any "User_talk:xxx/Warning" subpage specially: modifications to any such page would trigger the user notification system, and any such page would automatically be transcluded into the User talk page (without any need to explicitly add {{/Warning}} to the page). By default, all warnings would be placed on the Warning subpage (i.e., the warnings at UESPWiki:Messages would all be modified); the subpage would not need to be protected (just the difficulty finding it would be a big enough obstacle to prevent most editors from tampering with it). But the Warning page could then be protected using standard wiki protections if necessary. That's just one incomplete idea; I'm sure there are other variations possible.

Personally, I'd prefer to experiment with the Protect Section extension first and see whether it basically works. But if other editors think it's worth discussing other options, that's possible, too. On the other hand, if everyone else would rather just deal with the one case of Aristeo's problem and not try to find a more comprehensive solution to the issue, I'm not sure it's worth putting in the effort of trying to modify PHP code. --NepheleTalk 16:29, 30 November 2007 (EST)

I know that this discussion is very touchy, and it has gotten way off topic at times, but now that it seems that everyone has had their say, I thought I'd put in my two cents (for whatever that's worth).
First of all, I am an outsider to the whole Aristeo situation. I joined in October '06, and though I started some heavy contributing a couple of months later, I didn't pay any attention to the situation until it was over with.
From what I've seen, it looks like everything was handled exceptionally well by the responsible administrators. I think the right thing was done, and I think it was done in the right way. I do not think anyone was treated unfairly at all and the decisions that were made seem like a logical progression of events.
As far as the warning on Aristeo's page goes, that's a hard one. I can definitely see why it would be beneficial to new editors to be able to see that no matter how active you are on the wiki or what positions you hold or once held, there are some things you just cannot do, and that there are repercussions for those types of actions; however, I can also see why some new editors could read it as a negative message.
  • If casual editors come across Aristeo's page and see that he was threatened with blocking, then they may not be familiar with how to research the situation to see if it's something they agree or disagree with. They may be so put-off by seeing that the editor with the 5th most edits on this wiki was dealt with in this way that they may not have an interest in researching it, and we may lose another contributor.
  • If editors have to navigate to Aristeo's talk page to see the warning, on the other hand, they (I would think) would be more familiar with the way a wiki - and a wiki community - works, and would most likely be able to come to a conclusion that would not discourage them from contributing to our wiki.
As far as the protect tags go, I like having regular warnings that anyone can add and also having the option of using protect tags by Administrators and editors with Other Administrative Roles. --GuildKnightTalk2me 20:49, 1 December 2007 (EST)

I had rather hoped this discussion would not turn to a painful evaluation of the old conflict, though I suppose it might have been inevitable. The only thing I can say on that subject is that what's done is done. It's a shame it had to happen, but it could have been a lot worse. And again, I'm not here to blame or defend anyone, and I'm sure the other editors who joined the site after the conflict would say the same.

On the issue of Aristeo's warning, I can understand the benefits of having it. My first instinct with the thing is to take it down because it's caused so much trouble, but I do see the reason in points others have made in favor of keeping it. While I dislike the idea of making an "example" of Aristeo, part of the reason we have warnings in the first place is to demonstrate (to those who need it) what is considered inappropriate behavior in this community.

GuildKnight's example is actually one I hadn't thought of, and strikes me as yet another reason why the warning ought to be moved. My experience was entirely different; when I saw the warning for the first time (I believe I found it through the Active Users listing), I was shocked that anyone could have done something so awful to the people I respected so much to deserve that warning. Of course, this was purely a reaction to seeing the page--I had no idea about any of the events leading up to it. My point here is that I know exactly what it's like to see that page and get an entirely inaccurate first impression of things. I think it's important to try to prevent other people from making the same mistake I did. (And by "mistake," of course, I mean making wild and terrifying assumptions about wiki history. I do not and have never considered it a mistake to respect those who have been a part of that history!)

Moving the warning will, I hope, prevent this sort of thing from happening as often in the future. It will be clear to anyone who sees the warning on Aristeo's talk page that such offenses are taken seriously, no matter who you are, how long you've been here, or what you've done. I think it should be obvious that personal attacks are not acceptable, but I also think it's obvious that "a lot" is not one word, and I've run across that problem more times than I can count! Putting the warning on his talk page will make it that much less accessible to the casual surfer, which will lead to fewer questions about what happened. Also, since it would no longer be on his user page, it wouldn't stand out as drastically from other warnings, which again will help prevent the subject from being brought up again and again.

And finally, to make a topic leap, I like the idea of protect tags, as well as the suggestion that they be available to admins, patrollers, and users with similar roles. I also agree that the tags should be thoroughly tested before we start trying to use them, so Nephele, if you're volunteering yourself for that, I certainly won't try to stop you ;). --Eshetalk03:15, 2 December 2007 (EST)

The Protect Section extension definitely looks like it'll be worth investigating. We'll need to check that Patrollers can add the tags but that not everybody can (as pointed out by Ratwar); if we decide to use them more widely than just on warnings, we need to check on the effects of transclusion, and we need to do some tests to check that there aren't sneaky ways around the protection (eg, adding another edit then reverting to a stage before the tags were applied).
Having thought about it over the past few days, I think we might need to look even more deeply about the warning system in any case
  • At the moment, anybody can give a warning and that's usually okay but there has been the odd case (this for instance) that caused controversy. I think having all editors able to warn about unacceptable behaviour is useful, but do we need clearer guidelines about how to spot different types of vandalism?
  • Should we look at expiring warnings? In the case of a warning on a dynamic IP address, it could mean that a brand new editor accesses the site only to be presented with the Orange Bar linking to a page telling them they're a vandal. Not a very warm welcome.
  • For that matter, what are we actually trying to achieve with a warning? It seems to be that there could be two basic types of warning - a) Warning the user that they've overstepped the site's boundaries and b) Warning the rest of the site about a disruptive user (this pretty much includes the first). The second type probably need the sort of protection that the new addin would bring, but could it not be acceptable for a user to delete the first type? This would be the equivalent of a parental ticking-off; you don't have to carry around a sign when your mum tells you off for biting your nails!
I don't want to over-complicate any new policy, but since different people seem to interpret the current policy in different ways, we might need to spell things out in a bit more detail than we currently have. --RpehTCE 09:13, 2 December 2007 (EST)

Above, a lot of separate questions are being mixed together. In order to clarify issues and positions, I'm starting this new section and dividing it into separate questions. --Wrye 18:17, 2 December 2007 (EST)

Follow up. I knew I was underestimating the amount of time required. (Wishful thinking.) I've been considering the protect section approach (I've looked over the php code -- it's fairly short). As far as I can tell:
  • It won't protect the page against moves.
  • I think that a manual revert would not work (since a manual revert works just like a regular revert). However, a rollback would probably bypass the protection.
  • Major Con: It can be circumvented in a number of ways. E.g., just wrapping it in a hidden div will hide it. Or it could be moved to the bottom of the page, made small, blacked over, probably moved off the page, etc.
  • I also don't like that it introduces another level of authority into the site. Wiki's are best kept fairly flat in authority. Right now we basically have three levels: Dave, admins and users. (While patrollers have additional tools, they don't have additional authority.)
I still need to finish reviewing various comments over the last few days. After that, I'll work on replying. But first, dinner. --Wrye 21:12, 2 December 2007 (EST)
On second thought... Never mind. In other words, doing a personal cost/benefit analysis, I figure it's not worth it for me to spend more time on this. Have fun.
Well... One final comment on the issue. I talked with Nephele briefly about the problems that I just raised with the protected section solution. She suggested an alternative which would involve an automatically transcluded subpage. I haven't considered the idea in depth, but from brief consideration, it sounds like it would avoid most (if not all) of the circumvention. Personally, I still prefer (for several reasons) the current situation (where the notice is first posted to the talk page, and then moved/protected to the user page if it is deleted). However, I won't argue the point further.
(PS: I've removed the additional question sections that I added earlier since I won't be using them.)
--Wrye 01:33, 3 December 2007 (EST)


Okay - we've all had a pause for thought. There seemed to be a general view that the Protect Section extension was an idea worth investigating but what about some of the other ideas people have put forward? --RpehTCE 02:26, 9 December 2007 (EST)

Restarting is a very good idea. It is now clear Aristeo himself doesn't care what is done to his page, so I don't want to make a fool of myself by continuing to defend him. What a waste of time it was! Or may be not... at least now we know what Aristeo thinks of it. That's one positive to come out of this discussion. There are better people to think about what is good for the site, so I won't poke my nose any further. --Mankar CamoranTCE 11:20, 9 December 2007 (EST)
Wow, it's nearly been a month now.... Given all of the time and effort invested in this discussion by all the contributors, I would like to see it brought to some type of conclusion, rather than being left in a neglected limbo. Especially because my worst nightmare would be to have to rehash all of this a few months from now just because this discussion was never concluded. So here's my attempt....
First, from reviewing what everybody has said, it seems that the following statement represents a reasonable consensus of everyone's opinions:
The warning (and presumably the associated discussion) can be moved from Aristeo's user page (User:Aristeo) to his talk page (User talk:Aristeo), but only if the warning remains in place on the talk page, and in particular if some mechanism is put in place to ensure that the warning is not deleted.
Hopefully that doesn't misrepresent anyone's opinions, and hopefully Aristeo's recent contribution to the site hasn't caused any dramatic changes in opinion since the original discussion.
That said, though, it still leaves a major problem of how to move forward and make any changes, since we don't have a mechanism in place to prevent warnings on talk pages from being deleted. I'd hoped to have a bit more time over Christmas to investigate alternatives, but unfortunately that wasn't the case. I got far enough to figure out where the difficulties lie with any type of custom PHP coding solution, but not far enough to work out solutions ;) So I think if we want to make any progress in the near future, the Protect Section extension is the only real option. I realize that some concerns have been raised about the extension. However, I also think that overall our patrolling system can effectively deal with any problems that come up: any abuse one way or another (including those mentioned by Wrye) will be noticed by a patroller and can then be fixed.
So what I'd like to propose is:
  • We ask Daveh to implement the Protect Section extension, and make the extension available to patrollers and admins.
  • We add some documentation of the extension to UESPWiki:Protection Policy in which it is made clear that:
    • Only patrollers and admins are supposed to add or remove protect tags.
    • Anyone else who uses the tags will be asked to stop and, if necessary, officially warned.
    • The protect tags are only to be used for warnings and official notices on user talk pages.
    • Any other use of the protect tags needs to be discussed by the community first.
  • UESPWiki:Blocking Policy will also be revised to state that official warnings and messages should not be deleted or removed from user talk pages, and that the protect tags are to be used as necessary to enforce this rule.
  • The warnings and other messages listed at UESPWiki:Messages will continue to be used as is, i.e., protect tags will not automatically added to any such messages.
  • However, if an official message is deleted or otherwise tampered with, a patroller or admin will at that point add protect tags to the message.
  • Aristeo's message will be moved to his talk page. Given that Aristeo has previously deleted his warning message (and given the draft consensus I just provided), protect tags will immediately be added to the message. Aristeo's user page will be returned to a non-protected page.
  • Other messages on user pages will be left in place for now. If a request is made related to one of these messages, we can discuss what to do at that point. Or a general decision about them can be made at some future time, once we have experience with the protect tags (or other alternatives).
  • Then we watch and see what happens....
This is only an incremental and possibly somewhat conservative step forward, chosen in part because of the concerns that have been raised about the protect tags. Based upon what happens, various aspects of this can of course be revised (or the entire system thrown out if need be). If the protect tags work well, we can discuss whether to expand their use; if the protect tags are a constant hassle for whatever reason, we can move on to plan B. The primary advantage of this approach is simply that it seems like the easiest way to implement something now (or somewhat soon) and move on :)
Any reactions? In particular, are there any reasons why this shouldn't be implemented? I'm guessing, in part from the lack of commentary over the last month, that many contributors to this discussion would like to move on (or already have moved on!). And I don't want to force everyone to invest a lot more unwanted or unnecessary effort into this. In other words, I'm not expecting much response, and I'll assume that any lack of response means "no objections." --NepheleTalk 02:30, 9 January 2008 (EST)
That all sounds good to me. In particular, the proposals look like a good way to move things forward. What would you think of also adding protect tags to a couple of other pages with instances of warning-removal that spring to mind? I know we won't be able to remember all such cases but we may as well get the ones we can. –RpehTCE 05:15, 9 January 2008 (EST)
Yep, good point. Having a few more guinea pigs on which to test the protect tags can't hurt ;) --NepheleTalk 18:46, 9 January 2008 (EST)
Uh, just wondering. I read little parts of this discussion, and I just want a summary that's about 2 sentences or less that will give me an idea of what is going on. I'm just confused haha. Thanks. --Playjex 20:39, 9 January 2008 (EST)
Frankly, at this point it would probably be best for you to review the entire thing yourself, Playjex. So much has happened already that I don't think you can blame those involved for not wanting to summarize it for you ;). Informed input is of course welcome, but I think the "informed" part will have to come from your own efforts. --Eshetalk20:46, 9 January 2008 (EST)
Ha, okay. I'll look over it tomorrow. I'm too tired now. Thanks. --Playjex 21:27, 9 January 2008 (EST)
Sounds good to me. --GuildKnightTalk2me 22:23, 10 January 2008 (EST)

OK, the recommended changes have now been implemented. So I'm ready to declare this discussion concluded. If there is any followup related to the use of protect tags, I'd suggest that a new discussion be started on an appropriate policy talk page, such as UESPWiki talk:Protection Policy. --NepheleTalk 00:44, 10 March 2008 (EDT)