Arbcom ban appeals: a sadistic joke?

Since tomorrow is Valentines’ Day, shall we talk about the arbcom?

It always frightens me to see the ghost of a banned user and in the absence of any hard facts, imagine all kinds of unspeakable horrors.

At the same time, I’ve seen badmachine around somewhere and remember him as being technically savvy, kind to newbies, polite, and able to quietly fix problems with unobtrusive techie things.

This is from Barbour’s site:

So he wrote to arbcom about his ban and they didn’t respond.  Eight months later he wrote again.  After another eight months, he got a response from SilkTork saying “oh we thought you would have given up by now”.

Not much transparency here from the arbcom.

Has there ever been a successful appeal?  Where is it? How would you know?

I’m getting some Stanford Prison Experiment vibes on this one.

I wonder what is “template redirect vandalism”?


Arbcom on the half shell

The arbitration committee is now proposing to change the naming of cases. The most popular option to date is…wait for it…to name the cases after flowers.

This is taking a page straight out of Orwell’s 1984’s “Ministry of Love” or Miniluv, also known as “the place where there is no darkness”, where the protagonist, Winston Smith was tortured until he learned to love Big Brother.

beaufitication commiittee2

Given the arbcom’s history with women, I’ve got a great suggestion for the new arbcom’s very first case:.  How about “venus flytrap”.

venus flyatrap SBotticelli1

See also “Darkness at Wikipedia“, or for that matter Darkness at Noon.

Merry fucking Christmas, from arbcom with love

This is just sad.  I’m looking at the “Conduct of Mister Wiki editors” arbcom case and I see they have set the schedule to extend through the Christmas season.  If Salvidrim and the other paid editor were planning any seasonal festivities, well, they will spend the holiday twisting in the wind instead, waiting for the arbcom ax to fall. You can bet the arbitrators will be taking a break.

This isn’t just about paid editing, it’s about Wikipedia’s past history with Salvidrim.  And it looks like his relationship with the women power users, not to mention cab drivers, has been quite rocky.

Salvidrim’s response has been sad too, dropping f-bombs throughout the arbcom pages, typing a new cringeworthy mea culpa on his user page, then inexplicably taking the blame for the other editor, even though the offline communications screenshot shows otherwise.  Kind of awkward, that.  The other editor turns him on to a paid editing gig and gets dragged to arbcom for his trouble.  But Salvidrim is a sysop and the other editor is not. If arbcom turns their attention in that direction, the guy is toast.

This case has something for everyone.

The anti-COI crowd has their pitchforks and torches out, but the quarry is too often out of reach, the litigious paid editing syndicates of India harassing arbitrators in their place of work, but themselves untouchable by the law.  This gives them a home grown although much more boring target to make an example of.  It functions as a sort of SLAPP suit, making paid editing so much of a nuisance and potential liability that only the most obnoxious paid editors, like Wikipediocracy and India Against Corruption will be willing to tackle it.  The WMF strategy should be the opposite, to make paid editing so clearcut and risk free that even the most unsophisticated blundering idiot can succeed at it and drive the assholes out of business.

The anti-gamergate crowd should be happy too.  Common decency is finally coming into fashion.  As the Banner/Milo  playbook becomes clear, and the former 14-year-old trolls turn 18 and start publishing their gamergate confessionals, the 30-somethings who were hangers-on to the movement, perhaps themselves victims of a cycle of abuse, where the abused becomes an abuser, have been left high and dry with no excitement in their lives.  Will they finally develop any empathy for women, or will they be stuck forever trying to reclaim their misspent youth? As always, everything starts with self-respect, but unfortunately the arbcom’s usual sub-dom dynamic leaves little room for that.

How about some nice thoughts and prayers. Here is three minutes of Arvo Pärt, “the most performed living composer in the world” with the Magnificat Antiphon for December 19.

Arbcom election: Top candidate gets 54% of the vote

Я считаю, что совершенно неважно, кто и как будет в партии голосовать; но вот что чрезвычайно важно, это – кто и как будет считать голоса.
I consider it completely unimportant who in the party will vote, or how; but what is extraordinarily important is this—who will count the votes, and how. –Joseph Stalin, 1924 ¹

In most places 60% is an F.  But at the arbcom elections, you can get 28% of the vote, and still be a winner.

The arbcom of course got different results, for which they need a labyrinthine explanation, three footnotes, and an elaborate mathematical equation to justify.

But here are my numbers, below.  Look at all the neutral votes.  These are sucker votes, they aren’t counted at all, they’re just there to give the appearance of legitimacy, and for insiders to give the advantage to other insiders who know how the votes are counted.

And whatever happened to poor Alex Shih?  Everyone else got 1991 votes, but he only got 1958.  Why did 33 voters refuse to check any boxes at all for him, and for him alone? lol, waves at DoRD ², but now BU Rob13 has the exact same number of support votes as the guy directly below him?  What are the chances of that happening.

Candidate Support Neutral Oppose Total Votes Percentage Result
KrakatoaKatie 1072 681 238 1991 53.84% Two-year term
Callanecc 820 933 238 1991 41.16% Two-year term
Opabinia regalis 810 900 281 1991 40.68% Two-year term
Worm That Turned 751 924 316 1991 37.72% Two-year term
RickinBaltimore 639 1053 299 1991 32.09% Two-year term
Premeditated Chaos 593 1055 343 1991 29.78% Two-year term
BU Rob13 598 1009 384 1991 30.04% Two-year term
Alex Shih 565


997 396 1958




Two-year term
Mailer diablo 552 1038 401 1991 27.72%
SMcCandlish 663 837 491 1991 33.30%
The Rambling Man 593 751 647 1991 29.78%
Sir Joseph 444 876 671 1991 22.30%

So who are these people just elected. Nobody ever sees them, nobody even knows who they are. And yet they will be given absolute authority to do whatever they want, without oversight.

Arbcom election 2017: who voted?

The Wikipediocrazies have been bragging about how many of their socks have voted in the arbcom elections. So far, a couple of their members have copped to two, at least in public, but I suspect the number is much higher than that. A number of Wikipedians have been known to have had over 200 socks.  So how many would it take to sway an election?

The election had 1,993 voters,  2,109 votes (you can vote again to change your vote), 116 votes discounted as double votes, and 2 voters struck.

So who was struck and were they a sock.

The first one struck was User:Fox, an admin on English Wikipedia. Previous user names were Garden and Foxj. No clue.  There is no RFA for Fox, Foxj, or Garden. The mystery deepens.

The other is Dr Lindsay B Yeates: over a thousand edits, last edit was in April.  Again no clue.

These are not the socks you are looking for.

Arbitration committee freaks out over a space

scales of injusticeI’m not going to say anything about someone wiping their user page and replacing it with a cryptic comment containing the f-word in huge brown letters, but since Salvidrim seems to follow some of the comments here, I’m just going to say that if a move is controversial or contested, someone should nominate it at WP:Requested moves … hmm, this looks like the instructions here:  {{subst:requested move|NewName or ? question mark|reason=put reason here}}…

Oh dear, this must be the disputed edit moving Studio 71 to Studio71. Somehow it seems hugely symbolic of what Wikipedia has become, that the arbitration committee would freak out over a space.

This is even better than the apostrophe stuff.

Oh I forgot to ask if anyone approached him on his talk page before dragging him off to arbcom, but….never mind.

Attack on women philosophers

Saint Sophia, or Σοφία, the female personification of wisdom

Really this stuff is getting old, and it’s so commonplace I hesitate to even write about it. But since Sashi gave me a shout-out over on Proboards, I will give it a shot.

Here is the usual situation. Someone starts an article about some woman at an editathon, and some patrollers, usually some kids who don’t know anything about writing articles, decide that women can’t possibly do anything “notable” and proceed to try to delete the article.

I wrote about one such situation here, where a group of amateur patrollers decided to target a March 8 International Women’s Day editing event just because it was for women. One typical deletion discussion was at Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Risa Horowitz, which pretty much sums up the arguments.

A typical sentiment:

“I would like to point out how demoralizing nominations like there are to new editors and projects like Art+Feminism, and I wonder if deleting is really the best we can do. Is it really not possible to improve articles like these?”

art feminism delection thread

Several articles were deleted several times, mostly without discussion. But the end result was that out of some 26 articles created, 25 are still blue links.

Now, to Sashi’s link. Just for reference, the article is philoSOPHIA, and the issue has now been brought to the arbitration committee for clarification.

In this particular case, I would say that first, SV is a very experienced editor, and that I would hate to find myself on the opposite side from her on anything, no matter how trivial. Second, if she has had to invoke discretionary sanctions for this, she has already lost. Many women will not edit at all except at editathons, and in particular they see Wikipedia “governance” as being rigged against them and want nothing to do with it. That there is now a “clarification request” at WP:AE is not a good sign. It is also not a good sign that Manchester regular RexxS has shown up, as well as hardcore gamergator Masim, and perennial arbcom candidate Salvidrim, also associated with gamergate-friendly sites. If this was just some random inexperienced patrollers, it could have been handled on the talk page or at AfD, but the entry of these individuals raises the stakes, as it also raises questions.

The previous tactic was to try to delete as many articles about women as possible, and if they could not be deleted, at least attach some templates to the top of them, to make them look bogus, and discredit the subject.  But there have been some new patroller tools come down the pike as part of the anti-harassment grants, so does this represent a change in tactics against the GLAM crowd?  Are the usual harassers turning back to arbcom as their traditional power base, and testing its strength and loyalty?

The situation itself is clear cut. Two individuals are edit warring. They should be stopped, but as usual, no one will stop them, because gender. They have invented a policy out of whole cloth, and should be told to start an RfC if they want this as a policy, not to try to shortcut the consensus process through arbcom, but instead they being treated like royalty, like this is already a real policy. Because there are women involved, as well as academics (a newbie with a PhD in philosophy), this has become a culture war, and the haters will be given an opportunity to drive them off.

The actual RfD policy is at WP:BEFORE:

“If there are verifiability, notability or other sourcing concerns, take reasonable steps to search for reliable sources.
“The minimum search expected is a normal Google search, a Google Books search, a Google News search, and a Google News archive search; Google Scholar is suggested for academic subjects.”

A search of Google books for “philoSOPHIA: A Journal of Continental Feminism” turns up a good 10 pages of references. These dudes could have added some sources. Instead, they chose to disrupt the article.

Note: still waiting for the creation of Julkaisufoorumi or rather the translation from the Finnish, which Headbomb rather petulantly insisted remain a red link. The source was quietly removed by his editwar buddy Randykitty in this mass edit.