User:Cormaggio/Moulton's block

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This page is to document the events leading up to Moulton's block from Wikiversity and the wikiversity-en IRC channel. I also intend to give my own reflections on the matter. However, please do add to the substance of the "cases", as well as adding comments. Cormaggio talk 09:18, 16 September 2008 (UTC)

Moulton's block from Wikiversity[edit]

On 14th September 2008, User:Jimbo Wales blocked User:Moulton from Wikiversity for "incivility", adding a note on the Colloquium.

Moulton's activity[edit]

Moulton has been blocked several times from editing Wikipedia [1], which he sees as unjustified. He has maintained some information about the block, and on the events leading up to it, on his Wikipedia talk page. In July 2008, User:Moulton and User:WAS_4.250 created a project on Wikiversity to explore the ethical management of the English Wikipedia.

Moulton's practice of publishing details of wiki editors' real names, jobs, and email addresses (ie 'outing'), was brought into question early on - during posts to the foundation-l [2] [3] [4], and on his talk page, eg this, this, and this thread.

After an edit war with Salmon_of_Doubt on the "Case Studies" page (see page history), and another on Salmon of Doubt's talk page - adding hostile comments such as this - I (Cormaggio) tried to engage both of them on the talk page, during which I asked Moulton about whether he considered his behaviour was appropriate for a civil environment, or even ethical. I also raised my concerns on his talk page. Moulton repeatedly ducked the question of whether his behaviour was appropriate, saying that he was engaging in a "game of chess" or a "lunatic drama", which he claims was purely a result of Salmon's editing (and not his own).

Moulton was also asked to be more civil and mature by WAS_4.250, cofounder of the ethics project; whereupon Moulton asked WAS_4.250 to leave the ethics project, calling him a "hypocrite".

Moulton continued to make fun of people who criticised him on Wikiversity, including through the use of songs - for example, see from this onwards. But he has reserved his most potent attacks for the people with whom he has fought on Wikipedia, and the Wikimedia Foundation - for example, on a thread on his talk page, Moulton asked Was_4.250 to:

"..obtain a permanent injunction against IDCab barring them from ever going anywhere near Picard's BLP, the related article on Affective Computing, or Moulton's en:WP User page. I am not asking for any of them to write Picard (or me) an apology, as I don't imagine they are capable of feeling even a tinge remorse for their atrocious and unmitigated travesties under the watchful eye of the cognizant officers of the Wikimedia Foundation."
(Note: there is a lot of material here which will be incomprehensible to the uninitiated in all of this. 'IDCab' refers to a group of editors Moulton perceives as forming a 'cabal' around Intelligent Design-related articles on Wikipedia; 'BLP' is a biography of a living person; and 'Picard' is w:Rosalind Picard, whose Wikipedia article Moulton was working on before his block there.)

Since his block, as before, Moulton has continued to post hostile comments, eg, as well as personal information which has had to be oversighted (see Wikiversity:Request_custodian_action/Moulton's_talk_page). For some previous community discussion of his activity, see also Wikiversity:Request_custodian_action/Requests_relating_to_Moulton, and there is another review space at Wikiversity:Community_Review#User:Moulton.

Cormaggio's reflections[edit]

I left some early reflections at Learning_from_conflict_and_incivility/Cormaggio.

Comments or questions for Mu301[edit]

  • Please comment on the thesis that an indefinite block without community review amounts to a monarchial Bill of Attainder — an unwise and corrosive governance practice which the Founders expressly deprecated, eschewed, and excluded when they drafted the US Constitution, on the historical insight that such an ill-advised practice is likely to sink any government that adopts and employs it. —Barsoom Tork 14:30, 29 September 2008 (UTC)

General discussion[edit]

According to the Administrator's noticeboard on Wikipedia he's been permanently banned from that site and other wikimedia sites - what is the situation on this site is he banned completely for being uncivil or is it a temporary ban which the foundation have initiated. Dark Mage 09:59, 16 September 2008 (UTC)
As you know, Wikipedians are not a source of reliable information. Whose testimony are you relying on to propagate the hypothesis that Moulton has been "permanently banned" from Wikipedia? Have you examined that testimony to see if it's accurate and supported by solid evidence and sound reasoning? Have you sought evidence to refute or falsify that remarkably popular hypothesis? Here, for example, is some testimony by another WP admin who is more conscientious in gathering and reporting reliable information:
Just a clarification. Moulton is not, and never has been, banned. ViridaeTalk 11:06, 18 June 2008 (UTC)
Can you discover why that kind of accurate testimony is so hard to find on en:WP?
Barsoom Tork 12:04, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
All blocks can be undone - this is not a Foundation directive; it is an "action by Jimbo". All actions that are not done as a result of a legal concern (eg removing libelous comments), are subject to local community approval. However, in an exceptional situation like this (and Jimbo's "God king" actions are very much the exception), it's best to take a lot of time to consider what's been done, and how we can move forward. Cormaggio talk 10:40, 16 September 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for answering my question, though my comment on the Colloquium still applies I'll continue to support the block. Dark Mage 10:43, 16 September 2008 (UTC)
My own personal opinion (based on private discussions with a number of Wikiversitans) is that Wikiversity is still in development and that it's certainly not large enough to absorb the fractious drama inevitably generated by the "Wikipedia Ethics" project, which, given its current state could not possibly move beyond personal agenda-driven soliliquys. For the Wikiversity remain engaged in it is to risk further alienating the remaining project leaders and will erode any community left. Moulton has continuously demonstrated that he is only interested in his own ends, achieved only by "outing" people on the Wikipedia project and, quite likely, anyone who wants to disagree with him too vehemently. No project based on that sort of bullying and fearmongering can possibly succeed. Bastique 18:07, 18 September 2008 (UTC)
Bullies and fear-mongers should be indef blocked and not allowed to chase off the rest of us. Both here and at Wikipedia. If Wikipedia had had more arbcom decisions like w:Wikipedia:Requests for arbitration/C68-FM-SV/Proposed decision, then this ethics project would never have been needed. WAS 4.250 09:18, 19 September 2008 (UTC)
Pardon me if I reply here about cases like that and this ambient discussion. I find it peculiar that when someone becomes a sysop it is stated that it should be 'no big deal.' That case shows where one becomes desysoped, so on reciprocal action it is also 'no big deal' to desysop. I'm sure many won't like to hear that as they are forced to consider it. A case like and many others try to make the desysop action a big deal, as if the weight of its remedial solution is enough show of punishment. If one doesn't have these 'no big deal' bits, they tend to get blocked instead of being desysoped for such behavior. It is easy to see the desysop action becomes equal to a get out of jail free card. Since it can be weighted like this, it is hard to say such delineated outcomes for equal cause is does not create a sense of alienation. It does.
     The only way to solve this I believe is by a technical change. There should be other options besides the admin tools now available. Some maybe have read User:Dzonatas/Ethics_and_MediaWiki and have learned of technical changes that can be done rather than other silly accusations games. I can easily think of tools to take away someone's privilege to link externally. There are ways to take away someone's privilege to change the way their name appears. The are ways to force them where they can only use Harvard references instead of in-line links. There are ways to fine tune what pages are editable, like and allow/deny list. There are ways to limit edits per day. I can go on, but I think it is obvious that it is not just Wikiversity that still is in development. There are avenues yet to be explored. I think it is irresponsible to continue to blame someone or another when there are many options available as technical changes, as it clearly does not tell the truth. As remarkable accomplishments as the software has allowed, the truth is the software still sucks needs major improvement as a civil platform.
     There was something said in the IRC conversation by Wales. Yes, it got around. It was about the "hug" comment. In a way it sounded as if Wales tried to sincerely sound as if he didn't know what else to do. I'm surprised about that since I can clearly point out technical options that probably wouldn't create such alienation. To further point out, I don't have the time myself to program all these extra options and not be paid for it, as it appears what happened to me on Wikipedia has affected my ability to earn money. When you know I have 4 kids to support, I can testify that Wales's hug is not enough. Maybe I'm just more attuned to seek options and not give up. Dzonatas 16:20, 19 September 2008 (UTC)

Moulton's block from IRC[edit]

On 15th September 2008, User:Guillom kicked Moulton from the wikiversity-en and wikiversity IRC channels for "repeated incivility, posting logs without permission". This was done on request by several Wikiversity custodians - User:Cormaggio, User:Mu301, and User:SB_Johnny.

Moulton's activity[edit]

Cormaggio's reflections[edit]

General discussion[edit]

Is this permanent? --McCormack 09:22, 16 September 2008 (UTC)

I don't know. My log says:
[9:38pm] guillom set a ban on *!*n=Moulton@*.bos.east.verizon.net.
[9:38pm] Moulton was kicked from the chat room by guillom. (repeated incivility, posting logs without permission)
I think that may mean a permanent ban (please confirm either way, anyone who is familiar with IRC administration). If it was a permanent ban, I think this may need to be discussed further by the community. Cormaggio talk 09:33, 16 September 2008 (UTC)

I think a few conditions need to be put on Moulton, and any time he fails to meet them, he is booted from IRC for a small period of time (6 hours?): Don't use the term "Po Mo Theater". Don't call KC a dog or address her in any terms besides her being a human. Be courteous to SB Johnny. Feel free to add some others. :) Ottava Rima (talk) 15:56, 18 September 2008 (UTC)