User:JWSchmidt/Blog/14 November 2008

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Since I was not permitted to ask certain questions in a community forum, I moved those questions to this page and incorporate them into a broader discussion of related issues.

Wikiversity is the Wikimedia Foundation project where being a violator of project policy qualifies you to be sysop. How could such a thing happen and what can the Wikiversity community do about it?

The way such a thing can and has happened is that Wikiversity has been taken over by a gang of sysops who treat scholars like vandals, treat good faith contributions of Wikiversity participants like garbage and look the other way when their friends violate Wikiversity policy. These "custodians" of Wikiversity constantly display ignorance of Wikiversity policy, culture and its mission and disinterest or contempt for the special nature of Wikiversity as a center of learning. The Wikiversity community must take note of these departures from acceptable behavior and take action to correct the problem. It is not clear to me how this problem can be corrected. If you have the full support of a bureaucrat you can feel free to violate Wikiversity policy and expect to be proclaimed as "doing a great job" and be made a Wikiversity custodian. Of course, your goal should then be to become a bureaucrat yourself so that you can have the full power to give more of your fellow policy violators sysop tools, call fellow Wikiversity participants troll or "off the deep end" and suggest that they fuck off and leave the project, impose an indef block without providing a valid reason, abuse your ops power in #wikiversity-en by imposing bans without discussion, warning or a reason, remove custodianship from Wikiversity participants without community consensus, publish false charges against Wikiversity participants and use those false charges to "justify" bad blocks, bans and violation of policy (see), impose blocks and bans to prevent Wikiversity participants from defending themselves against your false charges and most important, position yourself so that you do not have to explain your actions or reply to questions about your violations of policy and the damage you do to the project.

User:Salmon of Doubt[edit]

A dramatic change happened at Wikiversity this past summer. In the first two years of the project, custodianship was generally for thoughtful individuals who had shown a devotion to the playful, thoughtful and scholarly learning environment of Wikiversity. Now new custodians are nominated and supported by existing custodians who have violated policy, who show contempt for policy and scholarship and who select fellow violators of policy as new candidates for custodianship.

See Wikiversity:Candidates for Custodianship/Salmon of Doubt for some interesting reading about this Wikiversity custodian. To put it mildly, I was surprised when "Salmon of Doubt" became a custodian. "Salmon of Doubt" came to Wikiversity and publicly announced his goal of getting User:Moulton banned from Wikiversity. For more information about Moulton and why he was targeted to be banned from Wikiversity, see this page. Besides my objection to "Salmon of Doubt"'s reason for coming to Wikiversity I also feel that he misused the Scholarly ethics template by placing it on his user page and then failed to adhere to the principles of scholarly ethics. These and other problems with "Salmon of Doubt"'s editing at Wikiversity indicate to me that he is not the kind of editor that should be made a custodian. Then there are the policy violations. "Salmon of Doubt" openly threatened to use an unauthorized bot and I believe that some of the edits from his user account were actually automated bot edits. Of course, it is hard to know if a bot is making a particular edit, but I believe that any Wikiversity participants who would threaten to use an unauthorized bot should be disqualified from being a candidate for custodianship. I believe that "Salmon of Doubt" violated the civility policy by calling Moulton a troll. I believe that "Salmon of Doubt" violated the spirit of Wikiversity:Rollback and the Wikimedia-wide guidelines for reverting edits by treating non-vandalism edits as if they were vandalism and reverting non-vandalism edits without comment (see revert discussion here).

Given the many problems with "Salmon of Doubt"'s editing at Wikiversity, it becomes an interesting question: why was he made a custodian?

Self-nominations[edit]

Should Wikiversity impose a ban on custodianship self-nominations? Many people who self-nominate for custodianship have been turned away. Most of these individuals show evidence of being immature and not interested in the Wikiversity project....they seem to imagine that the mentorship process for custodianship will provide them with quick access to the "tools" without them having to actually contribute to the project. Many of these candidates showed a clear interest in being "vandal fighters". Anyone who has their major interest in "fighting vandals" is not right for Wikiversity. These people do not care about the project and they do not correctly distinguish between obvious vandalism and good faith contributions of editors. Nor do they care about helping new Wikiversity participants learn how to edit constructively...they just want to bash people with their ban hammer.

The Wikiversity community should examine the background and editing history of all Wikiversity custodians who have ever self-nominated for sysop rights. It might be wise to make it a rule that self-nominations are not allowed. Of course, this will not prevent all problems, since we now have some existing custodians who have very poor judgment about who to nominate and support for custodianship.

Mentoring[edit]

Have probationary custodians been getting any mentoring?

Examine the history of interactions between mentors and probationary custodians. I think it is important that probationary custodians be familiar with Wikiversity policy and how Wikiversity is different from other projects. We now have "custodian mentors" who do not know Wikiversity policy and do not know how to mentor probationary custodians (example). It is an interesting exercise to trace back the origin of such "custodian mentors" who fail to function as mentors and see why they never learned to be a custodian.

Do we need some kind of test to show that probationary custodians understand Wikiversity policy and the mission of Wikiversity? At the very least, the editing history of each probationary custodian needs to be carefully examined and critically discussed. The absurd suggestion has been made that only the edits during the probationary period need to be examined. This is totally wrong. It is easy to game the system by doing nothing outrageous during the period of probationary custodianship. All edits of the candidate need to be looked at and evaluated, including those at other wikis. Further, some gamers of the system change their user name in order to hide their past editing history at other wikis. I think we have reached the point where custodial candidates need to reveal all of their past wiki accounts. In cases where candidates are clearly not revealing their full wiki background, they should be required to volunteer to have their alternate accounts checked by a CheckUser analysis prior to becoming a custodian.

Mike.lifeguard (talk | email | contribs | stats)[edit]

"Mike.lifeguard" was supported by several Wikiversity participants without any discussion of his editing history. I had long familiarity with "Mike.lifeguard" as an interloper from another wiki project who never showed an interest in the Wikiversity mission and who proudly admitted that he was not interested in functioning as part of this community other than as an outsider. It is important that the Wikiversity community examine the editing history of this custodian candidate and think about why such a poor candidate was nominated and given support without critical evaluation and discussion. Worse, questions for the candidate were deleted from the community discussion about the candidate. The community must ask: did this custodian candidate receive any mentoring? The following subsections contain an outline of important aspects of the editing history of "Mike.lifeguard".

deletion of user page content[edit]

"Mike.lifeguard" deleted a large amount of content from the user page of User:Jon Awbrey. Wikiversity participants are free to describe their learning interests on their user pages. It is common practice for scholars to describe their background and interests and doing so facilitates scholarly collaborations such as those that are welcome at Wikiversity. I was puzzled by "Mike.lifeguard"'s deletion of a large amount of content from a user page; this major edit was deceptively marked by "Mike.lifeguard" as being a minor edit. The edit summary "removing cross-wiki link placement" made no sense to me, but it seemed to indicate that "Mike.lifeguard" objected to some of the links. I returned the user page content and advised "Mike.lifeguard" to discuss his concerns at the Wikiversity:Colloquium so that there could be a full community discussion. Rather than participate in a community discussion at Wikiversity, "Mike.lifeguard" made a threat and again deleted the content. I view his deletion of user page content as vandalism and desecration of scholarly learning resources. "Mike.lifeguard"'s action demonstrated that he has no interest in working to develop community consensus and feels comfortable imposing outside views on the Wikiversity community. "Mike.lifeguard" cannot be trusted to defend the interests of Wikiversity and should not be in a position of trust (custodianship or any other).

bot policy[edit]

"Mike.lifeguard" seems to have come to Wikiversity on 23 September 2007 and admitted to making edits with a bot. The policy on bots says, "The operation of a bot requires approval." On 26 September 2007 a request was made for "Mike's bot account". The log says, "13:06, 26 September 2007 Sebmol granted bot status to User:Mike's bot account". It appears from time stamps on edits that "Mike's bot account" was used to make automated edits before it was approved. Starting on 28 September 2007 the bot started adding Template:Image copyright to pages (example). Note that these bot edits were marked "minor", but a warning about impending page deletion is not a minor edit. Further, the edit summaries such as "+nld AWB" are not informative. Also, the bot cannot read English, so even if an uploaded file is marked as being in the public domain, the bot cannot tell that the licensing information was already provided (example of required manual addition of a license template). Other mysterious messages were left by the bot such as the cryptically described "warn users". On 13 February 2008 I blocked the blot and I complained about the message that the bot was adding to many user talk pages. I had tried to follow the instructions provided by the bot, but the provided link was dead. I also did not like the idea that the bot's message included the admission that no human being had actually checked to see if license information had been provided. I believe this bot's use for dealing with image licensing should have been explained, discussed and approved prior to it being used and deletion warnings are not "minor edits". On 6 August 2008 the bot account was used to remove links from several Wikiversity pages. This use of the bot account was never mentioned, discussed or approved and constitutes a serious violation of Wikiversity policy. The fact that "Mike.lifeguard" has refused to discuss these policy violations is most disturbing of all. I certainly cannot trust "Mike.lifeguard" as a custodian where he will have more opportunity to unilaterally impose his views of what Wikiversity content should be deleted and how to deal with the problem of uploaded files that lack source and licensing information.

page deletion policy[edit]

Wikiversity welcomes new editors who might be making their first wiki edit. Some editors are very young. For some editors of the English Wikiversity, English is not their first language. Wikiversity has many pages that are lists of red links to pages that need to be created and developed. For many reasons, Wikiversity attracts editors who create useful pages but who do not add much if any content. Wikiversity should be a center for helping new editors learn how to edit constructively. In order to help welcome new editors we have tools such as Template:Welcome and expand. Wikiversity:Deletion policy makes a distinction between deleting vandalism pages and using a welcome template on pages that are created in good faith and can be useful for Wikiversity.

Mike.lifeguard deleted "Archaeology in Southeast Asia" ‎ (No meaningful content.)
Archaeology in Southeast Asia is a requested/planned learning resource at Topic:Southeast Asian history. There is no point in deleting pages like this that are likely to be re-created. Template:Welcome and expand can be added to such pages.

block log[edit]

A huge number of IPs blocked with stated reasons such as "Abusing multiple accounts" and "Open proxy or zombie". What does "Abusing multiple accounts" mean? Is there CheckUser data? Which IPs created multiple accounts? How were all these accounts shown to be "Open proxy or zombie"?

Why does it matter? First, it is the obligation of any custodian to correctly describe their custodial actions. Valid reasons must always be given for blocks. Particularly when blocking non-vandals, blocked users must be given a chance to defend themselves against charges that are made and used to "justify" blocks. I see no evidence that Mike.lifeguard agrees with these basic principles of justice that should be understood by any custodian. Of course, it is hard to see many important things when custodian candidates are allowed to refuse to answer questions about their custodial actions.

edit summaries[edit]

Custodians should set a good example but providing good edit summaries and correctly marking only minor edits as minor.

Often marks non-minor edits as being minor edits:

  • example - deletion of a user talk page, no edit summary

Often does not provide an edit summary example. According to Wikiversity policy, revert tools like rollback are "used to respond to obvious vandalism." In all other cases, an edit summary should be provided explaining the revert.

Often both marked minor and no edit summary for non-minor edits example.

refusal to answer questions as a custodian candidate[edit]

See

I'm amazed by the idea that a custodial candidate would refuse to answer questions during the community review of the candidate and would try to game the system by insinuating that the questions were not civil and that honest questions for the candidate could be dismiss as "unwelcoming", "counterproductive", "misleading" and a "tirade". I'd be more amazed if refusing to answer questions about one's participation at Wikiversity had not already been elevated to an art form by Wikiversity bureaucrats.

Making false claims against a fellow Wikiversity participant[edit]

"open hostility to other contributors" <-- It is not "hostility" to defend a Wikiversity participant's user page against someone who admits "I don't consider myself a member of this community" and who refuses to discuss with the Wikiversity community why a Wikiversity participant's user page content should be deleted. I have tried to work with Mike.lifeguard when our views have come into conflict, but he has consistently shown that he is not interested in finding solutions that are correct for the Wikiversity community. He prefers to impose either his personal view or the view of participants at other wiki websites. If there has been any "hostility", it is from people who come to Wikiversity from other wikis and try to delete the work of Wikiversity participants, censor their learning resources, threaten the continued existence of this project, tell Wikiversity participants to leave the project, try to get Wikiversity participants banned, stack votes, and desysop Wikiversity custodians without community consensus. I will defend Wikiversity against all of these outrages and I will point out when people like "Mike.lifeguard" game the system by falsely claiming that my defense of Wikiversity constitutes hostility.

"open hostility towards any contributor for any reason should not be tolerated" <-- It is the responsibility and duty of every Wiki participant to stop a poorly programmed bot when they discover that the bot has been causing harm. When I blocked Mike's bot I had just discovered that it had (12 February 2008) left a large number of user talk page messages (deceptively marked as "minor" edits) that required Wikiversity participants to try to use a non-functioning tool at tools.wikimedia.de in order to try to prevent their contributions to Wikiversity from being deleted. I rightly acted to block the bot and prevent it from adding anymore of these user talk page messages. My action was not motivated by "hostility". I was acting to protect Wikiversity participants from being subjected to the edits of a poorly programmed bot.

Note: These false charges of "hostility" made by "Mike.lifeguard" were part of a large number of false and distorted charges made against me. Those false charges were used to "justify" imposing an indefinite duration block on my editing, banning me from #wikiversit-en and having my custodianship terminated. "Mike.lifeguard" was a willing and enthusiastic participant in that witch hunt (see this account). "Mike.lifeguard" has also devoted himself to deleting scholarly references from the user page of at least one Wikiversity participant and has shown great industry in working to prevent Moulton from defending himself against false charges that have been made against him at Wikiversity. I've long seen open hostility to scholars by many self-styled "vandal fighters" at Wikipedia. I am left wondering why "Mike.lifeguard" is so zealous about activities such as deleting the contributions of Wikiversity scholars, making false charges against them, preventing them from being able to defend themselves against false charges.

User:Darklama[edit]

Censorship of community discussion about a custodian candidate

Note: These questions (below) have been repeatedly removed from the community discussion of "Mike.lifeguard"'s custodianship by User:Darklama (most recent censorship). Darklama claims that asking questions about the editing of a custodian candidate "harms learning". I concider Darklama's censorship to be vandalism and desecration of Wikiversity as an open wiki website devoted to learning. Censored by Darklama: User:Darklama reverted my edit of this page, treating my edit like vandalism and marked his inappropriate revert as a minor edit. User:Darklama's deceptive and inappropriate reversion violates the spirit of Wikiversity's policy on reverting edits and also does not follow Wikimedia-wide guidelines for reversions. These questions were removed from this page by User:Darklama with the false claim made that my questions are "loaded questions". I stand behind everyone of my questions as being appropriate for this community review of the candidate. User:Darklama's totally inappropriate attempt to censor this community discussion is contrary to Wikiversity as an open wiki project devoted to learning. Questions for the candidate: "these misleading questions" <-- I stand by every question I asked as being relevant to your custodianship and exactly the kind of question that should be asked on this page. Please support your charge that there are "misleading questions" by explaining how any question on this page is misleading. Have you been assured, off wiki, that you will be made full custodian and that you do not need to answer questions from the community? Do you believe that you are free to violate Wikiversity policy because you will always be protected by the custodians who support your custodianship? Have you ever been encouraged to violate Wikiversity policy by any of the custodians who support your custodianship? Based on your refusal to participate in this community review, is it safe for the community to assume that any time someone questions your editing or custodial actions you will feel free to ignore those questions and will you in the future also feel free to mis-characterize and dismiss the honest questions of Wikiversity participants as "unwelcoming", "counterproductive", "misleading" and a "tirade"? "the bureaucrat assessing the discussion will make a final determination" <-- have you already been assured by "the bureaucrat" that you will be made full custodian no matter how many times you have violated Wikiversity policy? Please identify "the bureaucrat" you are speaking of. "Wikiversity should be a welcoming, drama-free workspace" <-- what do you mean by drama? Does it count as "drama" when Wikiversity participants have their contributions deleted without a valid reason for deletion? Is it "welcoming" to delete, without a valid reason, the contributions of a Wikiversity participant? Does it count as "drama" when a Wikiversity participant comes to this project for the stated purpose of getting another Wikiversity participant banned and then upon the success of that mission is made a custodian? Does it count as "drama" that Wikiversity custodians are de-syoped without community consensus? Does it count as "drama" that a select team of Wikiversity custodians is free to call other Wikiversity participants "whiner" or "troll" or advise them to "go fuck yourself and go away"? Is it "drama" when Wikiversity participants are banned from #wikiversity-en without warning, discussion or reason provided? Is it "drama" when a Wikiversity custodian can be indef blocked without a valid reason or community discussion? Is it drama when a team of Wikiversity custodians can make false charges against a Wikiversity participant and use those false charges to "justify" blocking, banning and de-sysoping the person they made false charges against? Do you feel proud to be nominated and supported for Wikiversity custodianship by this team and do you eagerly anticipate being able to function as part of this team? Given your concern for "welcoming", of the many user talk page edits you have made, what percent have been to add Template:Welcome? How many Wikiversity pages have you simply deleted when you could have placed Template:Welcome and expand on the page? Was this edit "welcoming"? Was it "welcoming" to the Wikiversity participants when you made unauthorized use of your bot to add a template to their user talk pages telling them that their contributions would be deleted while the "explanatory" links "designed to help them avoid deletion of their work" that were in the template pointed them to another wiki? Is it "welcoming" when Wikiversity custodians block thousands of IP addresses in order to prevent a scholar from asking honest and useful questions at Wikiversity? "people feel very unwelcome here" <-- Please list these people so that the Wikiversity community can examine the reasons why people feel unwelcome. I don't understand the point you are making. Do you mean that when I ask questions about violations of Wikiversity policy then you feel unwelcome? Is that what you are trying to say to the Wikiversity community? "Many projects a shortage of users" <-- Some Wikimedians have opposed the Wikiversity project because of fears about Wikiversity "draining" participants away from other Wikimedia projects. Do you feel that Wikiversity is a "problem" because it attracts participants who might otherwise edit at Wikibooks? "worthwhile questions" <-- what, in your view, counts as a "worthwhile question"? "restate them more civilly and without the misleading preconceptions" <-- is your insinuation that that my questions were not civil? How do you define civility? "misleading preconceptions" <-- please list and describe these "preconceptions" so that we can examine the evidence and see if the evidence supports your claim that they are "misleading". --JWSchmidt 15:10, 12 November 2008 (UTC)

my question is do you feel comments made you by mike.lifeguard disquality him from the position? I note, curiously that you have not yet stated your opposition to mike becoming a custodian. I'm not sure I understand that.--JoliePA 17:43, 14 November 2008 (UTC)

Please see the section deletion of user page content, above. I plan to add my "vote" to the community discussion page as soon as I list the supporting evidence on this page. It would be better to have the evidence and a full discussion on that page, but due to censorship of that page it is not possible to do so. --JWSchmidt 19:06, 14 November 2008 (UTC)
update: see. --JWSchmidt 05:12, 15 November 2008 (UTC)

Jade Knight (talk | email | contribs | stats)[edit]

This probationary custodian should come up for community discussion near the end of November (assuming that his mentor does not "forget" to nominate the candidate for full custodianship). Just as was the case for the other two recent probationary custodians, I will have many questions for this candidate (hopefully those questions will not be deleted from the community discussion page). It is not too early for Wikiversity participants to begin to examine the editing history of this probationary custodian. --JWSchmidt 14:41, 15 November 2008 (UTC)

Indeed it is not too early! I fully encourage you to ask your questions now, either here or on my talk page. I should think I would be glad to answer them. The Jade Knight (d'viser) 11:41, 16 November 2008 (UTC)
Sounds to me like you would be better off starting a blog post to ask questions of Jade Knight now. That way you got plenty of time to work out what you want to ask, formulate your thoughts and like Hillgentalman suggested on the talk page, work on making what you want to say more focused and presentable. Also this way you could just link to it when the times comes up without being in a hurry to write and feeling like your being misunderstood, misinterpreted or like people are getting the wrong impression. --darkYin yang.svglama 13:33, 16 November 2008 (UTC)
I appreciate your advice. I suppose you and I have different ideas about the meaning of "focused and presentable"...for me it is close to: "Open, honest, direct and to the point, even when saying what people do not want to hear". In any case, I never ask questions in a community forum unless I honestly want an answer, so I am interested in finding ways to ask my questions that will actually result in the questions being answered. I'm still puzzled about why I should have to work at this. I'd always imagined Wikiversity as a place where honest questions would automatically get honest replies. During all the time I worked to start this project and during its first two years of existence I never imagined or thought about the idea that honest questions about the actions of Wikimedians would be ruled unwelcome at Wikiversity. I'm still in a state of shock and disbelief that this is now the state of affairs at Wikiversity. Even worse, for some "special" Wikiversity custodians, policy violations are acceptable and they never have to respond to questions about their outrageous behavior. This amazing double standard constitutes a sickening and sad state of affairs. --JWSchmidt 19:13, 16 November 2008 (UTC)
I'm not sure how to explain it exactly, but I think it has to do with the writing style or composition you use. What you wrote here and on most of this page has a better writing style and composition to it that makes understanding what your trying to communicate easier. The key points are easier to determine, you've broken up things into sections and paragraphs, made more use of elements of writing that make following and understanding your writing easier. There is more space and organization in the writing which makes keeping track of where a person was in their reading easier and allows a person to rest their eyes and catch their breath. These different qualities make each part of your writing seem focused and presentable.
The section above called Darklama is an example of one that fails all this. Everything seems forced together unnaturally, no breaks or space in the writing to catch ones breath and rest ones eyes. There is no pause or separation in the writing to tell where one point ends and another one begins. With everything together a person can easily lose track of what your points are, what your trying to say or ask, and as a result what you consider important is lost and what you want answered is not communicated effectively. Overall to me the writing style doesn't look like something that anyone can seriously be expected to read, answer and learn from.
For myself I have only noticed an appearance in this trend in writing in the last three months. I know writing isn't always easy, but I know you can do better because I've seen it. I feel like I shouldn't need to say any of this. I've seen you write better and you do write better at times, but you don't stick to it for some reason lately and I don't understand why you haven't. I think other people feel the same way and that is probably why things have changed as they have. I also think this is why some actions/behaviors have been considerable acceptable lately that you find puzzling, unfair and sickening. For better or worse this is probably the reason why you feel there is a double standard and why I don't. --darkYin yang.svglama 21:36, 16 November 2008 (UTC)
There are several things going on here. One is, I do not always have time to make a pretty presentation. Another is, I have learned that perfectly reasonable edits are often reverted or deleted at Wikiversity for no good reason, so I often feel like there is no point in taking the time to make content look nice. Finally, if I make an orderly presentation of a rational argument then it is often ignored; this leads me to search for other ways to engage people in discussion. "I feel like I shouldn't need to say any of this" <-- Yes, I know this has become the mantra of many custodians at Wikiversity. Why should any of you ever have to say anything when you can just revert, delete, block, ban and desysop as you see fit? In fact, this quickly leads to a "bunker mentality" in which you can no longer discuss your past bad actions and all honest discussion that might lead to correction of past problems is avoided. Rather than answer simple and direct questions (even if they are not nicely formatted) you find an endless array of excuses for not answering the questions. You easily end up spending more time explaining why you did not answer the questions than it would have taken to just answer the questions. This is the absurd stone-walling displayed by all abusers of power and it is what ultimately allows honest people to see what is happening and to rally and defend themselves against corruption. "why you feel there is a double standard and why I don't" <-- History teaches that humans have an endless capacity to "justify" (to themselves) anything from slavery to treating good faith wiki edits as vandalism. This is why societies make laws against slavery and why wiki communities make rules saying "only use vandalism cleaning tools to clean up obvious vandalism". Everything works fine until people in positions of trust stop following these kinds of sensible rules. --JWSchmidt 15:17, 18 November 2008 (UTC)
Your taking what I've wrote out of context. The reason I feel like I shouldn't have to say any of this is because you demonstrate on a regular bases an ability to communicate clearer. So my attempt to explain how and why the writing and composition can lead to problems, seems like something you would already know about, are aware of, and have decided to do anyways. Now unless I'm taken what you've wrote out of context too, sounds like your reason for doing so is because you feel people are going to ignore/dismiss it anyways and you no longer know how to get people to listen to you. As I tried to explain above, the writing style and composition is part of why people aren't reading what you've written, and if they do manage to read it, why they are still not understanding what your trying to say. People are likely to be unable to respond to what they cannot read and may interpreted the action/decision to go ahead anyways as being just as disruptive.
If I haven't taken what you've said out of context, your lack of effort is the sort of thing that would encourage more people to support the belief that your intentions are not good. Why make an effort and try to communicate more effectively? Besides what I've already said, because more people are likely to listen if you try to make an effort to do so. Why should anyone make an effort to read and understand your writing when you won't put any effort into writing it? Why should anyone put any effort to listen to you when you won't put any effort into listening to them? Why should anyone make any effort to respond and communicate with you when you won't put any effort into it yourself? These are the things that cause cooperation to break down and harm Wikiversity. Other people are just as frustrated and feel just as ignored as you do, and feel like their not being listened to either. Effective communication is a two way street. If you feel ignored doing things that are likely to get you more ignored isn't the answer and isn't going to get you listened to more. Unlike some people, I think admitting or acknowledging to yourself some responsibility for the lack of communication and effort is more important than playing some blame/responsibility game. If you could take some responsibility and acknowledge for yourself what you could of done instead and make an effort to improve your part of the communication gap than other people are likely to do so as well. I don't feel like I've done anything wrong, but that hasn't stopped me from trying take some responsibility for myself by trying to see if I can help you understand how writing and communication can effect how people act and respond to you. Nobody has asked me to do this, nobody has made me feel obligated to do this, and there is no bunker mentality at work. History has also shown how communication can effectively sway people and can cause people to be listened to or ignored. --darkYin yang.svglama 16:30, 18 November 2008 (UTC)
"I don't feel like I've done anything wrong" <-- and why should you? It is now acceptable at Wikiversity to treat good faith contributions of Wikiversity participants as if they are vandalism...as long as you have the support of those who freely wield their ban hammers. What we need now is the Wikiversity:Good excuses policy which can include, "I thought your questions could have been better organized, so I treated them like vandalism" and "Your learning resource upset some people so I hit you with an indef block" and "I got tired of listening to you so I banned you from the chat channel and told you to fuck off" and "I wanted to get rid of you so I had you desysoped without community consensus". "communication can effectively sway people" <-- all you have to do at Wikiversity is make false charges against those people you want to condemn and praise your friends as "doing great work" after they violate policy. These pointers should be recorded in Effective communication. But I am starting to "get it": when others call me a troll and say that they will never talk to me again or when others refuse to answer my questions or when others make false charges against me or when other custodians violate policy then it is clear....the "solution" is that I need to improve my communications skills. Right, that goes right to the heart of the problem. --JWSchmidt 16:23, 19 November 2008 (UTC)
I think effective communication is the key to reducing how people respond to you. I don't know if its the heart of the problems you want addressed, I just don't think answers or much in the way of any response that you'd find useful will be forthcoming until you find a way to communicate more effectively. Communication noise and some pages listed under Topic outline of communication might be a useful starting point. --darkYin yang.svglama 00:14, 20 November 2008 (UTC)
"reducing how people respond to you" <-- I don't know what that means. "I just don't think answers or much in the way of any response that you'd find useful will be forthcoming until you find a way to communicate more effectively." <-- So, it is your view that when I ask simple and direct questions I cannot expect a response because I need to learn to communicate. Your position is illogical: a simple and direct question about a custodian's editing should always be answered, not meet with silence of excuses for not answering. The problem is clearly that you and others have adopted the position that you do not need to explain your actions, actions which include violations of policy and abuse of your positions of trust and responsibility. Is it fun living in a bunker where you do not have to respond to questions? --JWSchmidt 15:15, 22 November 2008 (UTC)
No my view is that your communications lately have been far from simple and direct. Perhaps you have even attempted to oversimplify things to the point of making most of your communications impossible to understand, and giving the impression that you are making arrogant generalizations. I think your position is illogical and some people may feel the same ways about your actions and position lately that you seem to feel about other people's actions and position. I think people believe that you are making excuses and that you have taken on a "its you against the world" mentality. There is no "us", everyone on this project is an individual with their own views and positions. You are free to believe whatever you want and you may feel your attitude, actions and beliefs are justified, but if you continue to expect results than I think you will continue to be disappointed. This will probably be my last reply because your writing continues to be disappointing. I'm sure you'll take that to mean what you want it to mean. I wish you luck on your journey to enlightenment. --darkYin yang.svglama 17:05, 22 November 2008 (UTC)
"most of your communications impossible to understand" <-- Please make a list of "my communications" that you find impossible to understand. "making arrogant generalizations" <-- Please make a list of what you view as my "arrogant generalizations". "your position is illogical" <-- What position are you talking about? "you are making excuses" <-- Please provide me with a list of "my excuses". "you have taken on a 'its you against the world' mentality" <-- This is a common way for people to game the system and avoid a discussion of their abuses of power...it should be listed at the Wikiversity:Excuses policy page: "we can ignore questions from JWschmidt because he has adopted a 'its you against the world' mentality".....while you are at it, be sure to add, "we can just ignore JWschmidt when he points out our policy violations because his communications are impossible to understand" and "we can ignore questions from JWschmidt because he is making arrogant generalizations" and "we can ignore JWschmidt because his position is illogical" and "we can ignore JWschmidt because he is just making excuses" and "We do not need to reply to JWSchmidt because when he points out our violations of policy his writing is disappointing". --JWSchmidt 17:12, 23 November 2008 (UTC)
I don't see questioning the motives of any questioner as answering the question. Do you realize that darklama is trying to help you out here? Assuming good faith might be a good place to start... people generally don't respond well when you aren't willing to do that. --SB_Johnny talk 16:43, 22 November 2008 (UTC)
"Do you realize that darklama is trying to help you out here?" <-- No I had not noticed any help, but then, I do have a problem recognizing what you think of as "help" as actually being help.....for example, when you "try to help me" by making false charges against me and then you expect me to either admit to your false charges or fuck off and leave the project. --JWSchmidt 17:12, 23 November 2008 (UTC)
I also think it would be much better if you simply discussed issues with Jade Knight during the probationary period, rather than waiting until the confirmation. If nothing else, this would help to establish a record of how he responds to criticism. --SB_Johnny talk 14:09, 16 November 2008 (UTC)

Summary[edit]

What qualifies an editor to become a custodian at Wikiversity? We are in an era during which those users who violate policy are the ones who qualify for custodianship. Mentorship of new probationary custodians is no longer taken seriously. Just have the right friends and you can join the ranks of custodians who are free to violate policy.

Suggestions:

  • Wikiversity custodians who violate policy must be held accountable for their actions
  • the editing history of probationary custodians should be examined and discussed by the community before there is a vote
  • at the very least, probationary custodians should be asked to read the Wikiversity policy pages
    --JWSchmidt 05:12, 15 November 2008 (UTC)
Great ideas. The Jade Knight (d'viser) 21:39, 18 November 2008 (UTC)

Discussion[edit]

"What qualifies an editor to become a custodian at Wikiversity?" I think this is a good question. The edits/behaviour/attitude of ML to which you point give some cause for pause, however much of this seems to have occurred outside the period of candidacy (?) and I am personally inclined (for better or worse) to AGF WRT likely benefits of good to be achieved for the WV project by ML having access to custodian tools. The bot issue is really more about bot rights/usage isn't it, as opposed to custodianship? My sense is that ML's edits during WV probationary custodianship indicate that he has acquired greater understanding of the 'learning project' nature of WV. I think we miss e.g, Erkan's liberalism and yours at the custodian level and we need a balance. ML's strengths seems to more 'conservative' and we need these too. Just some thoughts. Thanks for engaging, sharing, and questioning - and feel free to move this to wherever you think is more appropriate. -- Jtneill - Talk - c 03:10, 15 November 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for adding your comments here. Since you commented (03:10, 15 November) I have updated this page. One of the items I added was a critical perspective on your mentorship of "Mike.lifeguard". I'd be interested to hear if you think you were adequately mentored and if you provided any guidance to "Mike.lifeguard". --JWSchmidt 14:26, 15 November 2008 (UTC)
That's fine, I appreciate the feedback. It's the first time I mentored anyone and hopefully I learnt some things along the way - getting the dates/times right hopefully might be one of them! Smiley.svg. McCormack gave me a lot more mentoring on and off-wiki than I gave Mike.lifeguard (and I sought more). Part of this was that there was a big difference in levels of wiki/WMF project experience between mentor-mentee in those two cases though. Partly because of this I invited more of a community approach to mentoring and, for example, see your efforts also somewhat in that category. I have read I think most of what you've written around Mike.lifeguard and I think there are lots of useful ideas we could work on for the future. One practical thing that I can think of that might improve the quality of custodianship mentoring would be to have a more disciplined/ordered reading list process related to policy. I feel like I had a reasonable look around Mike.lifeguard's edits here and on Wikibooks in particular and personally, currently feel comfortable with him having custodian tools on WV. However, I also respect the views of those vastly more experienced on WV and in technical matters. In general, I think tend to evaluate edits themselves on their merits rather than editors per se. I hope this helps - please feel free to suggest what else I might/could/should have done better in "mentoring" ML. I'd appreciate it. Maybe add that to my talk page, but up to you. -- Jtneill - Talk - c 23:54, 16 November 2008 (UTC)
"your efforts also somewhat in that category" <-- I am no longer allowed to mentor probationary custodians. I was desyoped by a gang of custodians who published false charges against me and used those false charges to "justify" removal of my custodianship, without community consensus and in violation of policy. "evaluate edits themselves on their merits" <-- I'm not sure what you are trying to say. It sounds like you are comfortable with policy violations as long as you agree with what was accomplished by the policy violation. In contrast, I am sickened that Wikiversity has been taken over by a gang of custodians who have adopted that attitude. If we want to improve custodial mentoring we need a process that selects for honesty and against corrupt candidates who think they are free to abuse their power and the trust of the community. It is a sad day when the custodial ranks already contain a gang that feels free to abuse their power. They can just continue to grant more policy violators custodianship and continue to desysop anyone who gets in their way. Under these conditions, mentorship is a sad joke. --JWSchmidt 14:42, 18 November 2008 (UTC)
re: "evaluate edits themselves on their merits" - what I meant was that, in general, I'm interested in edits as units of analysis more so than users as units of analysis. Obviously if a distinct pattern of edits forms by a particular user (e.g., vandalism), then this may warrant attention at the user-level. I can see that you're very concerned by some such user-level "patterns" (as indeed others became concerned about your user-level edit patterns). But I am wary of the fundamental attribution error. And I find it suspicious in both the supposed case against you and the supposed cases you raise against others that a much larger number of "good edits" have edits by users involved go largely unmentioned. Gottman's research on relationships suggests a 5:1 ratio or high of positive to negative interactions is needed to sustain an intimate relationship into the long-term. Not sure how well that applies to wikis, but the principle may have some value - i.e., that things fall apart once the ratio goes too low. I do think it was one of User:Erkan Yilmaz's user-level patterns that we could all learn from; that he upped the positive side of the quotient. This isn't at all to say that scrutiny shouldn't be brought to bear - I'm interested to learn about specific edits and decisions, etc. that could be better - and also about ones that improved our collective endeavour - the more specific, the better IMHO. -- Jtneill - Talk - c 15:57, 18 November 2008 (UTC)
I'm having a hard time understanding the relevance to this page of the "research on relationships" that you mentioned. This page is about custodianship as a position of trust within Wikiversity. Your argument seems to be that a few policy violations are acceptable as long as you have a generally favorable opinion of a custodian. I suppose the natural corollary is that if you do not like someone, then they should be desysoped. This seems like the same kind of argument that for so long kept sexual predators in positions of trust within the Catholic church...as long as someone was doing "good work" for the church then a few felonies could be over-looked. I find it sickening and shocking that such an attitude for complacency has taken root in Wikiversity in the face of policy violations and blatant abuse of power. During this year at Wikiversity, custodial tools designed to deal with vandalism have been used to revert and delete good faith contributions of Wikiversity participants, scholarly learning resources have been banned, censored and deleted like vandalism and Wikiversity participants engaged in scholarly learning projects and working to support the Wikiversity project and its policies have been heaped with false charges, blocked without valid reasons, banned from #wikiversity-en, desysoped in violation of policy without community consensus. Violators of policy are now in control and have established a pattern of making other violators of policy custodians. You seem comfortable with all of this, I am not. --JWSchmidt 15:44, 19 November 2008 (UTC)
I think this is clearly not how things are at Wikiversity: Custodians can make a few minor mistakes and have them be overlooked, but blatant and egregious violations of community trust result in Custodians losing their tools. Take Emesee, as one such example. The Jade Knight (d'viser) 09:37, 20 November 2008 (UTC)
"Take Emesee, as one such example." <-- I'm glad you are ready to examine such examples. I will have many questions for you about this and other examples when your custodianship is up for community discussion. --JWSchmidt 15:31, 22 November 2008 (UTC)
Looks to me like Jade Knight has requested on more than one occasion that you let him know about your concerns so that he can discuss them with you. You've replied by warning him that you'll be taking the "gotcha" approach during his review. This may affect how your comments and concerns are weighed as the discussion comes to a close: are you trying to help him improve as a good custodian and contributor, or are you just out to get him personally? --SB_Johnny talk 17:39, 22 November 2008 (UTC)
"warning him that you'll be taking the 'gotcha' approach" <-- It is impressive how you tell me to Assume Good Faith and then you continue to feel free to invent and publish false claims about my editing. This sounds like more content for the Wikiversity:Excuses policy. We should add, "feel free to ignore questions from JWSchmidt because he is just playing 'gotcha" when he points out violations of policy" and "ignore complaints from JWSchmidt about out violations of policy because he is just motivated by his desire for revenge against his enemies at Wikipedia and the foundation". "are you just out to get him personally?" <-- No. After reading this page the obvious conclusion is, "JWSchmidt is just out to get Jade Knight"? I think it would be informative for the community if we added this as a case study at Wikiversity:Assume Good Faith. You can explain how you looked at my efforts to encourage the community to examine the editing history of candidates for custodianship and how you reached the good faith conclusion that I was out to get Jade Knight. Personally, I'll be very interested to see your account because from my perspective it is offensive and absurd that you would suggest that I am motivated by a desire to "get Jade Knight". Yes, I'd really like to see how you reach the conclusion that I spent years helping to create Wikiversity and develop Wikiversity as a center for online learning just so that I could "get Jade Knight personally"....right....obviously. --JWSchmidt 16:45, 23 November 2008 (UTC)
Hey, I'm just calling it as I see it. You've repeatedly made it clear that you have concerns about Jade Knight, Jade Knight has repeatedly invited you to discuss that with him, and you've repeatedly blown him off and hinted that you'd let him know later when it's time for the review. I think it would be much better if you simply expressed your concerns so that he could respond to them and grow from the experience. Worth a try? --SB_Johnny talk 17:48, 23 November 2008 (UTC)
JWSchmidt, I have been ready from the very beginning to examine such examples. If you have recommendations or feedback for my edits here at Wikiversity, I would be more than happy to hear them in a timely manner. If I am making mistakes, I want to know as early as possible so that I might correct my course appropriately. That is the entire point of a "probation" for Custodianship, you know. The Jade Knight (d'viser) 07:09, 23 November 2008 (UTC)
Are you asking me to help mentor you? Sorry, but your mentor went to the trouble of publishing a bunch of false and distorted charges against me and used those false charges to "justify" having my custodianship removed...without community consensus. I can no longer be a mentor for probationary custodians because the policy violators and abusers of power are in control of Wikiversity. As I recall, you voiced your support for the bogus excuses (provided your mentor and his team) that were used to "justify" blocking me from editing. "I want to know as early as possible" <-- I do not have time to follow you around checking on your edits....I'm still faced with the sickening task of spending my precious wiki time replying to all the false and distorted charges made against me by your mentor.....with "me too" support for those twisted charges thrown in from you. --JWSchmidt 16:45, 23 November 2008 (UTC)
Since when did we settle on the idea that only an "official" mentor can engage in mentoring? Is that why you want to be a custodian, John? Do you need an official position before you're willing to help someone grow? Would you support someone's bid to becoming a custodian if they acted like you are now? --SB_Johnny talk 17:48, 23 November 2008 (UTC)
"why you want to be a custodian" <-- I'm willing to help with tasks such as cleaning up vandalism at wikis where I participate and I feel that mentoring probationary custodians at Wikiversity is an important responsibility for existing custodians. I also find the ability to view deleted pages useful, because some wiki participants needlessly delete useful pages. "the idea that only an official mentor can engage in mentoring" <-- I think you are trying to insinuate that I would not be helpful to other wiki participants outside of the formal Wikiversity custodian mentoring system. That is not true and and it seems like a violation of Assume Good Faith for you to suggest it. I was clearly discussing the fact that only custodians can be listed here. "Would you support someone's bid to becoming a custodian if they acted like you are now?" <-- How am I acting? Standing up to a gang that published false charges against me and used those false charges to "justify" blocking, banning and desysoping me? Calling for the Wikiversity community to examine and discuss policy violations by custodians? Why shouldn't I support someone who did such things? More to the point, why don't you? --JWSchmidt 16:21, 25 November 2008 (UTC)
You're forgetting that I was opposed to your block, JWSchmidt. The Jade Knight (d'viser) 04:35, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
Am I? You gave your support here for the idea of blocking me for "disruption". I view many of your comments on the "community review" page to be truly alarming and offensive. For example, you characterized my defense of myself as a "rant". You have also called my complaints about the bad block that was imposed on me as "whining". During community discussion of your custodianship I intend to question your judgment about when to use anti-vandalism tools to revert edits, when to perform page deletions and page moves, when to impose blocks and other topics that are relevant to your candidacy. --JWSchmidt 16:21, 25 November 2008 (UTC)
Did you even read the diff you posted? I said (in that very diff) "I do think he should be unblocked" (bold added)! I have never thus far supported blocking you at Wikiversity. I also am (and have always been) open to frank feedback on my actions and editing style at Wikiversity—if you think something is amiss with how I do or have done things, it is a disservice to me and to Wikiversity to refuse to bring them as you notice them, so I may have a chance to improve the way I edit! The Jade Knight (d'viser) 16:38, 25 November 2008 (UTC)
As a matter of fact, I was the only individual who has disagreed with your editing patterns who stated there (in the initial comments section) that you should be unblocked! The Jade Knight (d'viser) 16:44, 25 November 2008 (UTC)
To go into more detail: I had nothing to do with the decision to block you, and it bothered me from the beginning. I did consider some of your actions highly inappropriate, but I have never voiced support for any decision to block you, even for a moment. The Jade Knight (d'viser) 16:53, 25 November 2008 (UTC)
Of course I read your edit where you said "if he continues to be disruptive, he can then be reblocked". The point is I was never disruptive and I never should have been blocked, yet you voiced support for blocking if "he continues to be disruptive". "I have never thus far supported blocking you at Wikiversity" and "if he continues to be disruptive, he can then be reblocked" seem like contradictory statements to me. Further, in that thread, when Moulton made valid points about how I was blocked and not allowed to defend myself you argued that he was wrong. I must question the idea of custodianship for anyone who would argue against allowing people to adequately defend themselves when they have been subjected to a bad block, as I was. "I did consider some of your actions highly inappropriate" <-- Well, it is clear that you and I do not agree about many things. I suppose if I prevent you from deleting the good faith contributions of other Wikiversity editors or if I make a learning resource that upsets you then you are free to decide that I have done something "highly inappropriate". Fine. In my view, your attitudes and your actions suggest that you are unsuited for custodianship and I intend to examine these issues if your mentor nominates you for full custodianship. --JWSchmidt 17:27, 26 November 2008 (UTC)
A great many Wikiversity participants, including myself, considered some of your edits in the past extremely disruptive. I said that, if you acted in a way which was disruptive in the future, you could be reblocked (implying that I would not oppose such an action in the future, if it were necessary). This is not the same as supporting an active effort to block you—I, to date, have never supported any effort to block you. Please do not confuse (or conflate) potential future possibilities with the past. Moulton had argued that you'd been given no opportunity to defend yourself. He was wrong: you always had an opportunity to defend yourself on your talk page, and you had, for a while before your (inappropriate) block, the opportunity to defend yourself at large (as you have now again). If you recall, I specifically insisted that you be given the opportunity to respond at the "review" page with your rebuttals—I did not think it was fair that you be forced to reply on another page (and am unsure why you did not take the opportunity to reply on that page). Among those who disagree with your actions, JWSchmidt, I would count myself among your strongest advocates. The Jade Knight (d'viser) 00:12, 27 November 2008 (UTC)
While you are certainly welcome to discuss appropriate concerns at my review, I find it sad and somewhat disturbing that you are unwilling to give me advice on ways you feel I could improve my contributions at Wikiversity in the meantime—you present yourself as being fixed on treating this as a punitive matter, instead of as an opportunity for growth. The Jade Knight (d'viser) 00:12, 27 November 2008 (UTC)
I am interested in how all of us can do WV things better. I do not equate this with being comfortable with policy violations. -- Jtneill - Talk - c 10:48, 20 November 2008 (UTC)
"do WV things better" <-- start by finding and supporting custodian candidates who have worked to build Wikiversity, not candidates who have violated Wikiversity policy and proudly proclaimed, "I am not part of this community". Take responsibility as a mentor to actually do some mentoring. Critically discuss the editing history of custodian candidates and do not silently stand by when such discussion is blocked or avoided. We are not talking rocket science here. --JWSchmidt 15:31, 22 November 2008 (UTC)

2009 update[edit]

Sadly, little has changed at Wikiversity since last year. Adambro was made a full custodian after refusing to answer questions about his actions as a probationary custodian. Wikiversity is still in the grip of two bureaucrats who are themselves abusive policy violating admins and who continue their scheme to stack the ranks of Wikiversity custodians with fellow policy violators. If you enjoy bashing innocent wiki participants with your might ban hammer then you should come to Wikiversity. Show the Ruling Party that you are willing to misuse your bot and stand ready to do favors for the Party bosses, favors that show you support their abusive ways. Be sure to conspire off-wiki with the Party bosses against honest wiki participants. Do not bother to learn about the Wikiversity project or follow Wikiversity policy. After you become a probationary custodian do not worry about having to answer for your policy violations. The Party bosses will make sure that you never have to explain your policy violations and abusive actions. Enjoy! --JWSchmidt 18:08, 5 August 2009 (UTC)