User:JWSchmidt/Review

From Wikiversity
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Contents

Cause for this review[edit]

On 6th September 2008, bureaucrat User:SB_Johnny requested a review of the recent behaviour of custodian User:JWSchmidt following a series of bizarre events. There are three major headings under which the behaviour of User:JWSchmidt may have fallen short of that to be expected of a custodian and an editor of Wikiversity, namely: (1) page disruption/edit wars, (2) policy manipulation and (3) damaging the community. The review has taken a longer-term view of behaviour of the user in question than was initially envisaged, particularly because a longer term view will enable a better prediction of the chances of improvement of behaviour in future.

There have already been attempts to resolve the case by more peaceful means, including numerous discussions on IRC and on-wiki between JWS and many of the most conciliatory custodians. User:JWSchmidt has also been quietly asked to resign his custodian/checkuser tools, but has declined. It is felt that lesser options than this review have already been exhausted.

Comments[edit]

When you requested a review of three issues I responded. "numerous discussions on IRC and on-wiki" <-- I think it is important to describe these "discussions". Everyone should read them. We can start with Dude! in which you said "I'm not going to try to have a discussion with you". Please explain how such non-discussion-discussions could possibly resolve anything. Is it fair for you to go before the community and claim that "lesser options than this review have already been exhausted" when I've begged you and others repeatedly to tell me what was bothering you and you repeatedly refused tell me? How does your repeated refusal to tell me what was bothering you constitute "attempts to resolve the case"? --JWSchmidt 06:50, 15 September 2008 (UTC)

Purpose of this review[edit]

The purpose of this review is so that the Wikiversity community can make an informed decision about the behaviour of User:JWSchmidt, and any necessary actions. In discussions which have already stemmed from his initial behaviour, it has become clear that the community is not aware of the full extent of the issues involved, and thus are not aware of the depth and severity of the problem. User:JWSchmidt has also, on a number of occasions in these discussions, claimed that he does not view his behavior as problematic, and he has asked for evidence of any misdeeds. This review is aimed to provide this evidence both to User:JWSchmidt and to the community as a whole.

Without prejudicing the outcome of this review, the community also needs to be informed that User:JWSchmidt currently enjoys the following trusted functions: custodianship, checkuser status (which involves the ability to view private data about community members), mentor status (the ability to help create new custodians), IRC channel operator status (enables greater control of the IRC channel).

Authors of this review[edit]

Regardless of who posts this review to Wikiversity, the following custodians and bureaucrats have jointly worked on this review and take collective responsibility for its content:

Procedure[edit]

Wikiversity has no policies as regards disciplinary measures in cases of this gravity, because a case of this gravity has not yet occurred. The Wikiversity community is therefore free to agree on its own rules of procedure, within reasonable moral bounds. The community should consider, however, that if Wikiversity does not conduct itself properly, then outside institutions may become involved.

It is felt that as this is the first case of its kind, and as the rules of fair play are in the process of formation, the community should be free to discuss procedural matters. A page for this purpose has been created here: /Procedure.

It is initially proposed that:

  1. Evidence is presented.
  2. A reasonable period of time is allowed for any parties or other members of the community to discuss the evidence and respond to it. Further evidence may be admitted at this stage.
  3. Outcomes and sanctions, if any, are proposed and agreed upon, together with means of enforcement. If possible, a voluntary solution should be sought; a solution should be imposed only as last resort.

Evidence: Part 1 (page disruption / edit wars)[edit]

Case 01: Albanian sea port history[edit]

01 Albanian sea port history / Albanian sea port history/Comparing with the growth of Wikiversity
Date(s): 10th Sept 2008, 11th Sept 2008
Edit(s): [1], [2],[3] (examples)
Problem parties: User:JWSchmidt
Repairs by: User:Jade Knight, User:Erkan_Yilmaz, User:Hillgentleman
Summary: Problems caused by User:JWSchmidt: disruptive POV-pushing on a mainspace page; adding sarcastic comments about non-specific users and parodying attempts to control his editing behaviour; disrupting the project to make a point about Wikiversity politics.
Description: The page had been tagged for deletion by vote by User:Jade Knight. The page was empty at the time except for maintenance templates. User:JWSchmidt added a spoof paragraph which mixed historical allusion with sarcastic comments about “close-minded” deletionists at Wikiversity. This continued User:JWSchmidt’s campaign against any form of deletion at Wikiversity. The edits were such as to hinder sensible development of the resource.

Further developments: following this, a number of curious edits by other editors of good standing followed. It seems that other editors knew that User:JWSchmidt would revert or subvert any sensible edits, so attempts were made to continue the spoof approach while broadening the perspectives expressed in the spoofing (e.g. [4], [5], [6]). From an insider point-of-view, this may have been very entertaining. To a newcomer, it would create a bad impression of Wikiversity. This is an example of where User:JWSchmidt's dominant editorial style quickly creates an atmosphere of such concern among other editors that their whole editing style shifts almost as soon as he starts on a page. An interesting post is that of User:Jade Knight at [7] where, among other things, he says that User:JWSchmidt is behaving as if he “owns” the page: edits by User:JWSchmidt often create the feeling that User:JWSchmidt thinks he is entitled to tell other editors what they can and cannot do.

The issue of how to deal with the spoofing approaches led to a heated argument between User:Jade Knight and User:Hillgentleman – both valued editors - see Talk:Albanian sea port history. This is an example of User:JWSchmidt “poisoning the well”.

Partial resolution: User:Erkan_Yilmaz moved the spoof page to a subpage called Albanian sea port history/Comparing with the growth of Wikiversity and entered a small amount of real content onto the original page.

Discussion and response[edit]

Please do a section edit to add comments to this case. Please sign your name with --~~~~.



"User:JWSchmidt’s campaign against any form of deletion at Wikiversity" <-- As pert of my "campaign against any form of deletion" I routinely delete pages.

learning exercise. I urge everyone to look at Wikiversity:Requests for Deletion and Wikiversity:Deletion requests/Archive/1. Count the number of pages that have been discussed. Count the number of pages for which I have voted "keep". Report the data you collect on this page.

“poisoning the well” <-- I assume the charge is that I created a biased learning resource. The objectives of the learning resource were clearly stated. I allowed other editors to join in the creation of the learning resource. Another editor jumped in and expanded the exploration. Its a wiki, try clicking "edit".

There is clearly a spectrum of views along the deletionist axis, and I started the learning project as a way to study and explore part of that axis. I've personally deleted hundreds of pages, but I think Wikiversity need not reflexively delete pages that are made in good faith by Wikiversity participants. I believe that Wikiversity should make use of tools such as Welcome templates to make new Wikiversity participants feel welcome. Wikiversity is a place where even youngsters can learn to edit in a safe and welcoming environment. We need not throw someone's first edit into the trash. When I saw the attempt to throw this page away I decided to develop the page.

"disruptive POV-pushing" <-- Its interesting that some people view development of a Wikiversity learning resource as disruptive. I wonder if every time I start a learning resource from now on my guardian angel will arrive and start shouting "POV-pushing". I created a learning resource designed to explore an analogy between some historical events and wiki deletionism. Now somebody apparently wants to import and apply Wikipedia rules and pretend that I was creating an encylopedia article. Really, lets apply the standards of Wikiversity. Did my learning resource teach the intended lesson? If not, everyone was free to jump in and fix things.

"disrupting the project to make a point about Wikiversity politics" <-- Someone is going to have to build me a lesson on Wikiversity politics. In that learning resource, please list and all of the elements of Wikiversity politics. Then create Wikiversity:Policy - Do not discuss Wikiversity politics. Then I'll know which topics are banned at Wikiversity. I made a learning resource that was designed to teach a lesson. It was an exploration of deletionism. Is someone claiming that Wikiversity cannot have learning resources about deletionism? Why should my development of this learning resource "disrupt the project"? If you are not interested in the topic, just move along.

"parodying attempts to control his editing behaviour" <-- Wikiversity:Policy - parody not allowed as a learning device. Can a learning project change someone's editing behavior? Oh Nos! We can't have that.

"hinder sensible development of the resource" <-- My learning project had a clearly stated learning objective. I dispute the claim that I hindered sensible development of this resource, other people had blanked it and wanted to delete it. I saved it from death.

"To a newcomer, it would create a bad impression of Wikiversity." <-- How so? I think it is important for new visitors to know that they risk having their work thrown away by deletionists.

"User:JWSchmidt is behaving as if he “owns” the page" <--everyone was free to join in development of the page. There is no evidence of "ownership".

"The issue of how to deal with the spoofing approaches led to a heated argument" <-- lighten up and try learning, have some fun. We learn by play.

Case 02: The speedy deletion template[edit]

02 Template:delete (the main template for proposing speedy deletion)
Date(s): 5th Sept 2008
Edit(s): [8]
Problem parties: User:JWSchmidt
Repairs by: User:McCormack, User:Darklama, User:Hillgentleman, User:Jtneill
Summary: Problems caused by User:JWSchmidt: inserting inappropriate comments into a frequently used template rather than using the template talk page; hampering the proper use of a template by removing links to policies governing the use of the template.
Description: The template previously contained an error by referring to its own talk page without hyperlinking using the TALKPAGENAME magic word. Instead of correcting the technical error, User:JWSchmidt drew attention to it by adding “what page?” into the middle of the text, disrupting the proper message. In addition, the template contained two links to policy pages on which reasons might be found for legitimate speedy deletion, but User:JWSchmidt removed these two links so that future users would not know if or when to use the template. The first of these problems (talk page link / reason) was addressed by 2 custodians immediately afterwards; the second problem (deletion of policy links) went unnoticed for 5 days and was then also corrected. User:McCormack, User:Darklama, User:Hillgentleman and User:Jtneill were all involved in repairing and correcting the template.

Discussion and response[edit]

Please do a section edit to add comments to this case. Please sign your name with --~~~~.



At Wikiversity speedy deletion is for obvious vandalism, obvious copyright violations, or have other content that is obviously harming Wikiversity. There are continual attempts to use templates that apply Wikipedia's rules for deletion, such as listing these criteria: [nonsense and unsuitable]. I fixed the template to reflect Wikiversity's deletion rules by removing the wording that originated at Wikipedia. I also think it makes sense to have users of deletion templates provide a reason when they use the template. --JWSchmidt 09:37, 15 September 2008 (UTC)

Case 03: The main page[edit]

03 Main Page/Introduction 0.5 (this forms the text at the top of the main page)
Date(s): 22nd August to 10th Sept 2008
Edit(s): [9], [10]
Problem parties: User:JWSchmidt
Repairs by: User:McCormack, (User:Jade Knight wanted to help, but had no ability to edit protected pages)
Summary: Edit dispute with another custodian on a protected page; adding links to the top of the main page which link to inappropriate claims about another custodian; misuse of edit summaries for antagonistic POV-pushing.
Description: The Wikiversity introduction on the main page was originally worked on by 4 custodians from March to June 2008, with proper establishment of consensus. User:JWSchmidt twice attempted to link the word “students” to Wikiversity:Student Union, a page to which he had added inappropriate claims about another custodian (see report elsewhere). By editing the main page with this hyperlink, he was attempting to draw substantial traffic onto his spoof page about the other custodian. One of these attempts was accompanied by an edit summary with inaccurate claims about the other custodian.

Discussion and response[edit]

Please do a section edit to add comments to this case. Please sign your name with --~~~~.



The "Student union" page was created on 21 June 2006. As outlined at History of Wikiversity, the Wikiversity project was not approved until August 2006. In order for the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees to have some idea of what Wikiversity could become, a few "starter pages" were made for Wikiversity and connected by this template. The "Student union" page was created as one of a few main portals for Wikiversity participants; see the original Student union from the time before Wikiversity existed as an approved project.

In January 2008, it was proposed that the "Student union" page be deleted. At the deletions page, the reason for deleting this page was said to be: "This page is an ancient relic from a time when it looked like a good idea. It's unlikely this page will ever be developed, and it might encourage silliness." At that time, there was a link from the word "Students" in the introduction section of the Main Page to the "Student union" page (see this version). In my view, there are a few types of visitors to Wikiversity that we should anticipate, including students and teachers. We should have a link on the main page for new visitors who self-identify as students. When I noticed the proposed deletion, I objected to the proposed deletion of the "Student union" page.

On April 21, 2008, the link to the "Student union" page from the word "Students" in the introduction section of the Main Page was removed, a change that had been in the works since 19 March, but which had never been discussed. This month, when I noticed that the link had been removed, I created the link again and I started the "Student Study Project of the Month".

On September 4, almost nine months after starting the effort to delete the "Student union" page, the deletion tag was finally removed.

On September 5, the link to the "Student union" page from the word "Students" in the introduction section of the Main Page was again removed and plans were made to turn the "Student union" page into a totally inappropriate redirect to a page that does not even mention students.

Summary. In January, an attempt was made to delete the main Wikiversity portal page for new student participants. In April, with no discussion, the link from the introduction section of the Main Page to the "Student union" page was removed. Additional attempts have been made to prevent students from being able to follow a link from the main page to the main Wikiversity student portal. I have to ask: why would anyone work so hard to disrupt student participation at Wikiversity? I think we should have a link for students at the top of the main page.

Edit summaries. User:McCormack called me a troll (in the #wikiversity-en chat channel) and told me that he refuses to talk to me, leaving me with limited communications channels such as edit summaries. I'd be happy to stop sending messages to McCormack by way of edit summaries if he agrees to discuss his efforts to disrupt student participation at Wikiversity.

Also, note that McCormack continues to do the same thing that he is complaining about when I do it. Hmm..let me think...there is a word for this...

Case 04: Jon Awbrey user namespace abuse[edit]

04 User:Jon Awbrey , User talk:Jon Awbrey
Date(s): 8th and 9th Sept 2008
Edit(s): [11], [12], [13], [14], [15] (examples); consensus decision on meta
Problem parties: User:JWSchmidt, User:Jon Awbrey, User:Moulton
Repairs by: User:mike.lifeguard
Summary: Reverting User:Mike.lifeguard (a bureaucrat and checkuser on other projects) without discussion and reinserting questionable external link farms; colluding with or condoning the issue of non-specific threats against User:Mike.lifeguard; discouraging the continued participation of User:Mike.lifeguard; ignoring Meta decisions about cross-wiki spamming.
Description: This case has been under discussion at meta and involves the cross-wiki abuse of the user namespace by User:Jon Awbrey. User:Mike.lifeguard blanked a block of external links posted by User:Jon Awbrey as part of a cross-wiki spam deletion exercise. User:JWSchmidt reinserted the spam without discussion or establishment of consensus. He should at least have added a deletion request tag and/or referred the issue to a vote/discussion and/or left a talk page comment of a suitable nature. Following this reinsertion of spam, an inappropriate discussion was started on the talk page, involving User:Moulton and User:JWSchmidt. An essential piece of background to the following edits is that User:JWSchmidt and User:Moulton were both logged on to IRC where they were discussing the issue together, and where they had been closely working as a team for some weeks. The User:JWSchmidt edit on the talk page does not constitute a threat; however it goes beyond the issue of spam reversion and makes it clear that User:Mike.lifeguard is not welcome on Wikiversity. The User:Moulton edits, the more serious of which are signed with a false name, are non-specific threats (e.g. “be afraid, be very afraid”) and made at almost the same time as the User:JWSchmidt edits, while both Moulton and User:JWSchmidt are intertwined in discussion on IRC. The feeling emerging from this incident is that User:JWSchmidt has “groomed” Moulton by exchanging sympathy for his Wikipedia woes in return for User:Moulton acting as a proxy for User:JWSchmidt on Wikiversity – i.e. doing things in pursuit of User:JWSchmidt’s aims which User:JWSchmidt himself would stop short of. The best reason for seeing things this way is to consider whether User:Moulton would ever have had reason to go against User:Mike.lifeguard by himself; of the two, only User:JWSchmidt had a history of conflict with User:Mike.lifeguard.

Further background: there is a history of antagonism by User:JWSchmidt against User:Mike.lifeguard, which includes a block by User:JWSchmidt of a bot used by User:Mike.lifeguard . This kind of behaviour is not in the long-term interest of Wikiversity, as it undermines the substantial behind-the-scenes technical support received from the Foundation, especially as regards the thousands of attempts made by spam bots and spammers every day to undermine all the Wikimedia projects.

Resolution of issue: User:Mike.lifeguard reverted as per consensus decision on meta - see [16]

"User namespace abuse" is the term being used for this case on meta.

Discussion and response[edit]

Please do a section edit to add comments to this case. Please sign your name with --~~~~.



I should say that while there can be legitimate disagreement about the correct course of action in this case, open hostility to other contributors is unacceptable. Since I don't consider myself a member of this community, I can certainly appreciate differing points of view on this issue, and indeed I attempted to have those views expressed at Meta - those attempts were pointedly rebuffed. The behaviour here is of concern, not his opinion (while I think he's wrong, that's not at issue). – Mike.lifeguard | @meta 01:32, 15 September 2008 (UTC)



"reinserted the spam without discussion or establishment of consensus" <-- I dispute the characterization of this user page content as spam. Scholars often like to let people know about their interests. Wikiversity explicitly invites participants do share their interests by making use of their user page. I find it truly offensive to characterize a scholar's attempt to share their interests with Wikiversity as "spam". "without discussion or establishment of consensus" <-- unlike the person who rudely violated Wikiversity standards and deleted this user page content, I called for discussion of the content at Wikiversity.

"He should at least have added a deletion request tag" <-- Why?

"inappropriate discussion was started on the talk page" <-- I stand by this, as far as I know, it is the only comment from me on that page.

"closely working as a team for some weeks" <-- Moulton is my friend and a prized scholarly collaborator.

"makes it clear that User:Mike.lifeguard is not welcome on Wikiversity" <-- Mike is welcome here when he is working with the Wikiversity community in accord with our mission.

non-specific threats (e.g. “be afraid, be very afraid” <-- I cannot answer for another, but I think Multon was clearly commenting on the fact that Wikiversity should be afraid if outsiders feel free to censor our project.

User:JWSchmidt has “groomed” Moulton by exchanging sympathy for his Wikipedia woes in return for User:Moulton acting as a proxy for User:JWSchmidt on Wikiversity <-- alternatively, you see two scholars objecting to censorship

history of antagonism by User:JWSchmidt against User:Mike.lifeguard, which includes a block by User:JWSchmidt of a bot <-- If I block a bot that is putting bad templates on user talk pages, that does not mean that I have shown antagonism to anyone.

"attempts made by spam bots and spammers" <-- Anyone who can not distinguish between
1) a Wikiversity scholar putting useful information on their user page and
2) a spam bot
has a serious problem.

"Resolution of issue: User:Mike.lifeguard reverted as per consensus decision on meta" <-- I do not recognize the authority of Meta to delete user page content that Wikiversity participants welcome.

"open hostility to other contributors is unacceptable" <-- I agree. Mike's repeated deletion of this user page content was unacceptable hostility directed at a Wikiversity participant.

--JWSchmidt 03:54, 19 September 2008 (UTC)

Case 07: The consensus deletion template[edit]

07 Template:deletion request (the template which tags a page for deletion by consensus)
Date(s): 11th August 2008 to 1st September 2008
Edit(s): [17], [18], [19], [20], [21], [22]
Problem parties: User:JWSchmidt
Repairs by: User:McCormack, User:Adambro, User:Darklama
Summary: Edit-warring with other custodians and editors; repeatedly inserting large amounts of opinion-text into a widely used template rather than using an appropriate forum for his views such as a talk page.
Description: Prior to 11th August, this template was OK. On 11th August, User:ViperSnake151 made some design changes, not content changes. User:ViperSnake151 was doing a number of template design improvements at the time. User:ViperSnake151's edit drew User:JWSchmidt's attention and User:JWSchmidt made this edit [23] which was problematic for two reasons: firstly, the box title didn't fit the content any more, and second, the box content started to move in an anti-deletionist direction rather than being just neutral. Nobody did anything for a while. 20 days later, User:Adambro spotted the first of these problems (title misfit) and undid the change - however he left the anti-deletionist content alone. User:Adambro's edit was small, harmless and undoubtedly a small improvement - see [24]. User:JWSchmidt promptly reverted User:Adambro, insisting that a "reason must be given". Actually what was going on here was that User:JWSchmidt wanted a reason to be entered on the template using a parameter, but the template had no parameter, and User:JWSchmidt didn't know how to edit templates to use parameters. Basically, the argument was over the introduction of a parameter which neither of User:JWSchmidt (nor perhaps Adambro) could programme in. User:McCormack (custodian) stepped in and restored User:Adambro's edit as well as making a few further changes to the template - reformating, and making User:JWSchmidt's content edits of 11th August more neutral in tone. At the same time, User:McCormack created the talk page for the template and opened a discussion of the edits. Instead of using the talk page, User:JWSchmidt promptly started using the template itself as a talk page with this large edit [25], transcluding his opinions into every page currently up for deletion. This was probably the first truly "disruptive" edit on this page, because by repurposing the template as a discussion forum, User:JWSchmidt disrupted the functionality of Wikiversity and forced his agenda. The template couldn't actually be left in that state, regardless of points of view. The first person to step in and correct the problem was User:Adambro, who reverted User:JWSchmidt's edits. User:JWSchmidt immediately reverted User:Adambro and this time left a larger essay in the middle of the template: [26]. The template was now at 340 words or so and many times larger than a template should be. User:JWSchmidt's sarcastic comment for his edit was that the template "was not long enough". User:Adambro then reverted User:JWSchmidt. User:JWSchmidt then reverted Adambro again, leaving a yet longer essay in the middle of the template (370 words). At this point, User:Adambro was on 2 reverts and User:JWSchmidt was on 3 reverts. User:McCormack did not block or revert User:JWSchmidt, and instead left a note on the talk page about the edit war and backed off. At this point, another custodian (User:Darklama) took up the problem of putting the template back into order after the disruptive edits by User:JWSchmidt. See User:Darklama's edits here [27] where he removes User:JWSchmidt's essay and tries to improve the template. User:Darklama (template programmer) introduced the "reason parameter" as well. User:Adambro changed User:Darklama's edits and removed the reason parameter – but the presence or absence of the parameter should have been discussed on the talk page first. There are arguments both ways between User:Darklama and User:Adambro and these edits were good faith. User:Darklama reinserted the parameter and continued to improve the template programmatically. User:JWSchmidt then returns and starts inserting essays into the middle of the template again - this is once again disruptive editing, and the edit summaries are not exactly polite towards User:Darklama. User:Darklama finally reverts User:JWSchmidt, referring to User:JWSchmidt's "anger and frustration". The war stopped at this point.

Discussion and response[edit]

Please do a section edit to add comments to this case. Please sign your name with --~~~~.



"Edit-warring" <-- I was making good faith edits aimed at improving the template.

"inserting large amounts of opinion-text" <-- I stand by the inserted text. I was adding text in order to make the template reflect Wikiversity policy and culture.

"started to move in an anti-deletionist direction rather than being just neutral" <-- This deletion template was being misused. People were not reading and following Wikiversity deletion policy. In order to fix the problem, I was adding more information to the template.

"User:Adambro's edit was small, harmless and undoubtedly a small improvement " <-- I still believe that when a page is marked for deletion the reason should be given right on the page.

"User:JWSchmidt wanted a reason to be entered on the template using a parameter, but the template had no parameter, and User:JWSchmidt didn't know how to edit templates to use parameters" <-- I don't care how the reason for deletion is provided. I could have changed the template to add a parameter, but I did not think it was important that I do so. In my view, these templates make it too easy for people to mindlessly delete pages. In many cases where this template is misused, I think Wikiversity participants should not use this deletion template at all. Rather, they should contact the editors who made a page and discuss how to improve the page.

"using the template itself as a talk page" <-- I was collaboratively editing the page and all of my edits were good faith attempts to improve the template.

"User:JWSchmidt disrupted the functionality of Wikiversity" <-- this template had a history of being used by people who were not following Wikiversity policy, so I was trying to improve the template and prevent further misuse of the template.

"The template couldn't actually be left in that state" <-- Why not? I still prefer the version I created.

"many times larger than a template should be" <-- I do not agree. Instructions need to be provided.

sarcastic comment for his edit was that the template "was not long enough" <-- Factual comment.

"left a note on the talk page about the edit war" <-- I participated on the talk page and explained my attempt to improve the template. I was editing collaboratively, not edit waring.

As discussed here, on September 1 I was constructing a learning exercise about page deletion and long standing problems related to page deletion at Wikiversity. My edits to the deletion template on September 1 were a good faith attempt to improve the template and help Wikiversity participants use the template in harmony with Wikiversity policy and our culture.

User:JWSchmidt's "anger and frustration" <-- I admit that it is frustrating when Wikiversity participants delete the good faith contributions of their fellow editors.

Case 08: The student union[edit]

08 Wikiversity:Student Union
Date(s): 1st to 5th September
Edit(s): [28], [29], [30] (examples)
Problem parties: User:JWSchmidt
Repairs by: User:Salmon of Doubt, User:Jade Knight, User:Erkan_Yilmaz, User:McCormack, User:Dark Mage
Summary: Repeatedly publishing provocative and false claims about another admin in a parody-style page; linking to this spoof/attack page from the main page; edit-warring against numerous other users, with 12 consecutive reverts; attempts to exert page ownership; ignoring consensus over the fate of a page; publishing wild conspiracy theories.
Description: The Wikiversity:Student Union was created by User:JWSchmidt in August 2006 after the creation of Wikiversity. The page was quickly abandoned and never developed, except for the odd vandalism and revert.

In January 2008, the page did not seem to fit with anything else happening at Wikiversity, and during a revision of pages in the Wikiversity namespace, User:McCormack (custodian) could think of no way of repurposing the page and asked the community to think about deletion on the deletion requests page; the page was correspondingly tagged with a deletion proposal. The proposal was discussed slowly over about 3 months with an emerging consensus, shared by User:McCormack, to keep and repurpose the page significantly, with a name change. User:JWSchmidt asked for extra time as he wished to create a replacement portal himself; the request was granted, but as User:JWSchmidt then left Wikiversity for 7 months, nothing was done.

When User:JWSchmidt returned to Wikiversity, rather than creating a proper student portal as he had originally asked to be able to do, he revived the obsolete deletion proposal by User:McCormack as a centrepiece of an attack against User:McCormack as a “deletionist”. Despite the clear and long-met consensus on the issue of keeping and repurposing the page, User:JWSchmidt insisted that there was a deletionist conspiracy afoot. He then added material to the page which took the form of a “learning project” about “User:McCormack’s deletionism”, which was only thinly linked to the page title. Finally, he edited the main page at the top to link to his spoof project about User:McCormack. See: [31]. This version of the page suddenly made new and previously unknown claims about the “importance” of the student union page in order to fuel a conspiracy theory of falsehoods about User:McCormack damaging Wikiversity. User:JWSchmidt accompanied his material with an image subtitled with the slogan “encourage silliness”. User:Erkan_Yilmaz (custodian and bureaucrat) immediately removed the personal references to User:McCormack from the page, but left the remaining material (deletionist conspiracy theories) intact: [32]. User:JWSchmidt responded by lengthening the anti-deletionist advocacy sections: [33]. Examples of text from the conspiracy theory include “Right now, the Wikiversity Student union is under attack by deletionists who cannot stand the idea that students might participate at Wikiversity.”

The page remained in this state for 4 days. After a cooling-off period, User:McCormack reverted the page back to its original state, citing incivility. User:McCormack also closed the deletion proposal as per consensus (keep), removed the deletion proposal tag, added a clean-up tag which reflected the consensus reached during the deletion discussion, and opened a discussion on the talk page for discussing improvement of the page. User:JWSchmidt reverted User:McCormack at [34], claiming that his materials were genuine “learning activities” (although the page was in the project namespace and entitled as something other than a learning page). User:JWSchmidt’s new edits included an image which brought User:McCormack’s name back into the page, clearly marking User:McCormack out as the alleged conspirator against Wikiversity. User:Salmon_of_Doubt almost immediately reverted User:JWSchmidt with the edit summary “Don't use wikiversity project pages to get into meta fights with other participants. The removed content will serve to distance new users from this project” ([35]). User:JWSchmidt reverted User:Salmon_of_Doubt at [36] almost immediately. User:Jade Knight reverted User:JWSchmidt about an hour later, agreeing with User:McCormack and User:Salmon of Doubt, and describing User:JWSchmidt’s edits as “hostile”. User:JWSchmidt reverted again within about 15 minutes (his 4th revert against 3 other editors on the same day). The new version was a substantial extension of his previous conspiracy claims. User:Jade Knight reverted User:JWSchmidt about 30 minutes later. An hour later, User:JWSchmidt reverted again (5th revert). User:Salmon of Doubt immediately reverted User:JWSchmidt. User:JWSchmidt reverted Salmon of Doubt (6th revert). User:Salmon of Doubt and User:JWSchmidt then went quickly through further mutual reverts, until User:JWSchmidt was at his 12 revert and User:Salmon of Doubt was at his 7th revert. The final resolution was when User:Salmon of Doubt moved the User:JWSchmidt-material elsewhere and left a link on the page instead.

The material moved from this page to a more obscure location had a brief shelf life. User:JWSchmidt did not bother to edit it, as it was no longer prominent for other users to find. Some of the main Wikiversity users modified the material so that effectively none of the insinuations, attacks or conspiracy accusations remained and the page became unrecognisable and harmless. User:JWSchmidt made a copy of his material in his user space instead. User:Dark_Mage began building a proper student portal about a week later.

Page ownership claim: an intense IRC discussion with User:JWSchmidt by some custodians paralleled these edits. During this conversation, User:JWSchmidt argued that as he created the page, he knew what its purpose was (and therefore by implication was entitled to determine its content). The deletion proposal, although for “keep”, clearly found differently, however, agreeing on a student or participants portal where learners could be guided to all learning resources.

Discussion and response[edit]

Please do a section edit to add comments to this case. Please sign your name with --~~~~.



Reply from JWSchmidt[edit]

This "case" is very close to the core of the difference of opinion between McCormack and myself. I have previously discussed this difference of opinion here. Short version: McCormack does not want Wikiversity to welcome students. He has worked hard to turn Wikiversity into a place where learners are not free to stumble upon this website and try to learn how to participate in a wiki community. In contrast, I feel that Wikiversity should welcome students and help them learn how to edit and make use of wiki technology to help them explore their learning goals. From before Wikiversity was launched, students were identified as one of the major groups of expected Wikiversity participants who should be welcomed and helped to participate constructively. Since McCormack does not agree that this welcoming of students should happen, he has tried hard to delete the main welcome page for students (the "student union"), remove the link from the top of the Main Page to the main welcome page for students and, when those efforts failed, he even tried to turn the the main welcome page for students into a redirect to another page that does not mention students. I have resisted McCormack's efforts. For my defense of Wikiversity, I have earned McCormack's ire. He called me a troll and told me that he will not talk to me. When he could not find a way to destroy the Wikiversity invitation to student participation he created this "review", a long list of false and distorted charges against me. He gathered a small group of other Wikiversity administrators who were willing to sign their names to the false and distorted charges against me. They used their false and distorted charges to "justify" blocking me from responding to all their false and distorted charges. They used their false and distorted charges to "justify" calling in a Steward to remove my custodial status. There was never any valid reason to block me and there was never any community consensus to remove my custodial status. The Wikiversity community has so far removed the bad block that was imposed on me. In my view, my custodial status was wrongly taken away and should be returned. Mu301, SB_Johnny, Cormaggio and McCormack made false and distorted charges against me and misused their custodial power block me from editing and remove my custodianship and have tried to "justify" their actions by pointing to the false charges they made against me. This is sickening and the most horrible abuse of power I have ever seen in a wiki community. Those who have made these false and distorted charges against me refuse to discuss these charges. They seem to expect me to confess to the false charges they have made against me or else "go fuck yourself and go away". I will not go away. I must face the sickening task of responding to all these false and distorted charges.

"Repeatedly publishing provocative and false claims about another admin in a parody-style page" <-- I created a learning resource that aimed to inform Wikiversity participants about the attempts being made to remove Wikiversity's invitation to student participation. "false claims" <-- what false claims did I make? I described that actions of McCormack as he tried to delete the student union page, remove the link from the main page to the student union page and turn the student union page into a redirect to another page that does not mention students. "about another admin" <-- it is irrelevant that McCormack is an admin except for the fact that he can edit the protected Main Page and remove (without discussion) important links such as the link to the student union. "parody-style page" <-- The page can be seen here. There is one sense in which this page might correctly be called a parody; that is, the page was made to "to broaden understanding of" the attempts that were made to remove Wikiversity's invitation to student participation.

"linking to this spoof/attack page from the main page" <-- It is clear that McCormack did not want the Wikiversity community to be aware of how he had worked so hard to remove Wikiversity's invitation to student participation. I am sure that most Wikiversity participants agree that Wikiversity should invite the participation of new Wikiversity visitors who self-identify as students. McCormack knew that he could never gain community consensus for the removal of Wikiversity's invitation to student participation, so he needed to work secretly to remove the link from the Main Page to the main welcome page for students. When he did not get away with that trick, he did not want attention focused on his attempt to turn the main welcome page for students into a redirect to a page that does not mention students. "spoof/attack page" <-- I described McCormack's actions. A standard way to game the system is to shout "personal attack" when you do not want your editing held up for community attention. McCormack is a master of gaming the system and his penchant for "spicing up" his false and distorted charges ("cases") with false labels such as "spoof" and "attack page" is just another indication of this. McCormack knows how to "push the buttons" of other wiki editors and gather a lynch mob. This is truly sickening behavior, particularly at a wiki that should be a beacon of scholarly integrity and where disputes over content should be resolved by consensus and honest discussion.

"edit-warring against numerous other users" <-- I dispute the charge that I edit warred. I created a learning resource. A few other editors did not like the learning resource I created. They attempted to edit-war in order to prevent me from creating a learning resource that showed how an effort was being made to remove Wikiversity's invitation to student participation. This is a perfectly valid learning resource of great relevance to Wikiversity participants who self-identify as students.

"12 consecutive reverts" <-- McCormack is intentionally making a false claim here. I was editing the page to create a learning resource. Other editors did often try to prevent me from constructing that learning resource by reverting my edits. I continued to build the learning resource as was my right as an editor. If McCormack wants to seriously defend this false charge he needs to define what he means by a "revert" and show that my edits meet that definition.

"attempts to exert page ownership" <-- This is another false charge. I invited other editors to contribute constructively to the page.

"ignoring consensus over the fate of a page" <-- False claims were made about consensus while I was adding content to the page. I pointed out the fact that the claims of consensus were false and I continued to develop the page.

"publishing wild conspiracy theories" <-- eh? "a deletionist conspiracy afoot" <-- In the learning resource I made, I described McCormack's attempt to delete the student union page. "to fuel a conspiracy theory of falsehoods" <-- McCormack needs to list the falsehoods. All I did was describe his actions. “Right now, the Wikiversity Student union is under attack by deletionists who cannot stand the idea that students might participate at Wikiversity.” <-- I stand by this description of what was happening at the student union page. The fact is that there is a small group of deletionists at Wikiversity and some of them were trying to destroy the student union page and remove Wikiversity's invitation to student participation. I would prefer not to describe this as a "conspiracy", I think it is more instructive to describe such behavior as a manifestation of "Wikipedia Disease", a misguided attempt to apply Wikipedia's standards for content deletion to Wikiversity.

700 words to respond to all the false and distorted charges just in McCormack's summary of "case 08". Are we having fun yet?

"the page did not seem to fit with anything else happening at Wikiversity" <-- I suppose that what McCormack means by "anything else happening at Wikiversity" is his extensive effort to remove Wikiversity's long-standing cultural practice of welcoming new visitors who self-identify as students and the system we had for inviting them to participate at Wikiversity as editors.

"during a revision of pages in the Wikiversity namespace" <-- McCormack has put through a vast number of unilateral changes to key Wikiversity pages as part of his effort to change Wikiversity from what was in the approved project proposal. McCormack's extensive campaign to re-make Wikiversity in his own image even includes petty gestures such as putting a big red X on the approved project proposal page. I stood up against his effort to pervert the Wikiversity project and so he made up a bunch of false and distorted charges against me and got me blocked, banned and de-sysoped. The damage done by McCormack has been very large and it will take a long time for the community to recover from the damage he has done. In my view, every one of his edits needs to be carefully evaluated by the Wikiversity community. In my view, much of what he has done here is not in the best interests of the Wikiversity community and should be un-done.

"User:McCormack (custodian) could think of no way of repurposing the page" <-- McCormack chafes at the idea that it is so hard to delete the work of other Wikiversity participants. Generally he has contented himself to "repurpose" pages that he knows he cannot delete. This means removing the original purpose of the page and re-writing the page to reflect McCormack's personal vision of Wikiversity. In the case of the "student union" the very name of the page was a problem for McCormack. He cannot stand the idea that there is a page at Wikiversity designed as a meeting place for new Wikiversity visitors who self-identify as students. He thinks that nothing good can from giving students a chance to congregate and explore their personal learning goals and interests. For McCormack, the only solution was to destroy the student union page, so he had to propose it for deletion.

"but as User:JWSchmidt then left Wikiversity for 7 months, nothing was done" <-- this is one of the standard methods by which deletionists game the system at wiki websites...they invent artificial time limits for wiki page editing. The truth of the matter is, that when I started to develop the student union page, McCormack swung into action to prevent me from developing the page. He only wants to destroy that page or, when that fails, "repurpose" it to remove its name and its function from Wikiversity. Yes, I had an unexpected and heavy workload, so McCormack complains that months went by without me editing the page he wanted to destroy. In my view, the student union page was well-designed for its simple but important function. That function was to make new Wikiversity participants who self-identify as students feel welcome and start shifting their thinking from being a student to being a wiki editor and Wikiversity participant. I felt no burning need to change the student union page until McCormack continued to make attempts to destroy the page and remove Wikiversity's long-standing cultural practice of welcoming new visitors who self-identify as students and destroy the system we had for inviting them to participate at Wikiversity as editors.

"rather than creating a proper student portal as he had originally asked to be able to do, he revived the obsolete deletion proposal by User:McCormack as a centrepiece of an attack against User:McCormack as a 'deletionist'" <-- I can agree that there are many positive things I could be doing at Wikiversity if I did not have to deal with all the problems McCormack has created. I was in the process of collaborating with other Wikiversity editor to develop the main portal page for students when I was blocked from editing at Wikiversity....a bad block that has been "justified" by pointing to the false and distorted charges made against me by McCormack. "he revived the obsolete deletion proposal" <-- I described McCormack's ill-conceived attempt to delete the student union page as part of a learning resource that documented his many attempts to remove Wikiversity's long-standing cultural practice of welcoming new visitors who self-identify as students and destroy the system we had for inviting them to participate at Wikiversity as editors. "an attack against User:McCormack as a 'deletionist'" <-- McCormack is an expert at gaming the system, in this case complaining that he is being "attacked" if someone calls his editing to the attention of the Wikiversity community. Describing someone's editing is not an attack. The term "deletionist" is widely used an understood in wiki communities. There is a spectrum of positions from deletionist to inclusionist and I know how to use these terms. If McCormack is made uncomfortable by my use of the term "deletionist" he should stop trying to delete the good faith contributions of other Wikiversity participants. Of course, his vision for Wikiversity does not include welcoming the good faith contributions of other Wikiversity participants, so there is going to be conflict: I will always challenge the deletion of good faith contributions of Wikiversity participants. Rather than discuss his desires to delete the good faith contributions of other Wikiversity participants, his approach was to make a long list of false and distorted charges against me and use those false and distorted charges to have me banned, blocked and de-sysoped. I will never allow this methodology to become acceptable practice at Wikiversity....McCormack's methodology for dispute resolution is toxic to the basic principles of scholarly learning that Wikiversity stands for.

"Despite the clear and long-met consensus on the issue of keeping and repurposing the page" <-- I dispute the claim that there was ever any consensus on "repurposing" the student union page.

"User:JWSchmidt insisted that there was a deletionist conspiracy afoot" <-- If McCormack wants to make this charge against me he needs to list the edits where I "insisted" that there is a "deletionist conspiracy afoot". There are a few deletionists at Wikiversity whose actions I have challenged. I will continue to challenge Wikiversity participants who pursue their desires to delete the good faith contributions of other Wikiversity participants. Wikiversity is not Wikipedia and we do not need to adopt the criteria and standards for deletion that are used at Wikipedia or any other wiki. Wikiversity welcomes new editors helps them become good wiki editors. Page deletion is for vandalism, certainly not a tool for McCormack to use in his efforts to adjust Wikiversity to his own personal mission in violation of the existing Wikiversity mission and policies.

"a 'learning project' about 'User:McCormack’s deletionism', which was only thinly linked to the page title" <-- In my view, it is likely that every new Wikiversity visitor who self-identifies as a student will be interested to learn about McCormack's efforts to destroy the student union page. The student union is a fully appropriate place for a learning resource about McCormack's attempt to remove Wikiversity's long-standing cultural practice of welcoming new visitors who self-identify as students and destroy the system we had for inviting them to participate at Wikiversity as editors.

"his spoof project about User:McCormack" <-- This is another false clam by McCormack. Wikiversity has had a long history of having a prominent link from the top of the Main Page to the main student portal page. McCormack secretively worked to remove that link in the hope that nobody would notice when he removed it. I was busy in the real world but when I returned to Wikiversity I noticed McCormack's trick and I returned the link. "spoof project" <-- I know of know meaning for the word "spoof" that can be used in the context of the learning resource I made for the student union page. My learning resource informed Wikiversity participants about McCormack's attempt to remove Wikiversity's long-standing cultural practice of welcoming new visitors who self-identify as students and destroy the system we had for inviting them to participate at Wikiversity as editors.

"new and previously unknown claims about the “importance” of the student union page" <-- McCormack has systematically worked to ignore, obscure, and bury the history of Wikiversity and its approved project proposal. I suppose McCormack feels it is terribly unfair any time someone points out the fact that his vision of Wikiversity is at odds with the approved project proposal and the policies that have been developed by the Wikiversity community. Since McCormack does not like Wikiversity's long-standing cultural practice of welcoming new visitors who self-identify as students and destroy the system we had for inviting them to participate at Wikiversity as editors, he sees no “importance” of the student union page. He cannot even use the term “importance” in the context of that page without putting it quotes because he so dislikes the idea of students coming to Wikiversity to pursue their personal learning goals.

"fuel a conspiracy theory of falsehoods about User:McCormack damaging Wikiversity" <-- What are the "falsehoods" McCormack is thinking of at this point? Is he claiming that it is false that the student union page was designed before Wikiversity launched and then functioned successfully for years as the major student portal at Wikiversity? Is he claiming that he did not try to delete the major student portal at Wikiversity? Is he claiming that he did not remove the link from the Main Page to the major student portal at Wikiversity? Is he claiming that he did not try to turn the major student portal at Wikiversity into a redirect to a page that does not mention students? Is he claiming that ha has not done damage to Wikiversity by pushing his extensive attempts to remove Wikiversity's long-standing cultural practice of welcoming new visitors who self-identify as students and destroy the system we had for inviting them to participate at Wikiversity as editors? My learning resource that described McCormack's actions was simply a way to bring his actions to the attention of other Wikiversity participants. McCormack did not want the community's attention placed on his actions because he knows that most Wikiversity participants do not support his personal view of what Wikiversity should be.

"an image subtitled with the slogan 'encourage silliness'" <-- As a biologist and an educator who has spent decades studying learning, I recognize the importance of play in human learning. McCormack seems to believe that Wikiversity is a place for structured learning like you might find in some regimented conventional classroom of 1900. McCormack cannot stand the idea that students might engage in "learn by doing projects" such as the learning exercise I created at the student union page. According to McCormack we must ban all silliness from Wikiversity...learning certainly cannot be fun.

"User:McCormack reverted the page back to its original state, citing incivility" <-- McCormack's claim of incivility was another false claim made by him against me. This is another standard method for gaming the system in wiki communities....it goes hand-in-hand with claiming that any description of an editor's edits is a "personal attack". Similarly, any any description of an editor's edits can always be called "incivil". When you are gaming the system in this way, you never have to provide evidence of an attack or of incivility, you just complain to other editors that you have been "attacked" by someone who is "incivil". The goal is to find a clueless sysop who will believe you an ban the person who has "attacked" you. McCormack gamed the system well and got me banned, blocked and de-sysoped. So far, the Wikiversity community has removed the bad block against me...there was never any reason to block me from editing. An attempt has been made to point to the false and distorted claims made against me in order to "justify" banning, blocking and de-sysoping me. These efforts continue to this day and are the reason why I have to take the time to refute all of the false and distorted charges that have been made against me.

"User:JWSchmidt reverted User:McCormack at [34]" <-- A rather standard definition of "revert" in the context of a wiki is, "Reverting involves returning a page to a previous version." The edit that McCormack is here calling a "revert" produced the following substantial changes to the page. In particular, this was the change from my previous edit of the page. McCormack needs to tell us what definition of "revert" he is using and how my edits fit that definition. My edits cannot be called "reverts" by any definition I am aware of. I was engaged in the process of developing the student union page. Many of the edits made to that page by other edits were reverts made in an attempt to prevent me from developing the page.

"claiming that his materials were genuine 'learning activities' (although the page was in the project namespace and entitled as something other than a learning page)" <-- as I developed the page I created a learning resource tat described how McCormack had tried to delete the page, remove an important link to the page and turn the page into a useless redirect. I included learn by doing activities in the learning resource I made. There is no reason for McCormack to put "learning activities" is quotes and pretend that this was not a genuine learning resource. I make no apologies for adding a learning resource to a page in the Wikiversity namespace. The student union page was a good place to inform Wikiversity participants about McCormack's attempt to destroy the student union page...I cannot think of a better place. In my experience, students are greatly stimulated to learn when they are told about attempts to deprive them of learning opportunities and resources.

"clearly marking User:McCormack out as the alleged conspirator against Wikiversity" <-- I was providing an accurate account of the history of the student union page. If McCormack wants to call himself an "alleged conspirator against Wikiversity" then he is free to do so, but he should not clutter up a review of my editing with his subjective labels for his own actions. The learning resource I made does not use the word "conspirator". McCormack's self-selected terminology does raise the question: was someone acting as a "conspirator against Wikiversity"? That is food for thought and it is interesting that the thought was on McCormack's mind.

"The removed content will serve to distance new users from this project” <-- I do not agree. In my experience, students are greatly stimulated to learn when they are told about attempts to deprive them of learning opportunities and resources.

"User:JWSchmidt reverted User:Salmon_of_Doubt at [36] almost immediately." <-- Another false claim. My edit was not a "revert". My edit did not return the page to a previous version of the page...I continued to develop the page.

"describing User:JWSchmidt’s edits as 'hostile' " <-- This is another common way to game the system at wiki communities: claim falsely that another editor is motivated by hostility. I was developing a learning resource for Wikiversity and other editors tried to prevent me from developing the student union page. I was not hostile. I'll leave it as an exercise for objective observers to judge if there was hostility coming from the editors who wanted to destroy the student union and prevent me from creating a learning resource that described those attempts to destroy the student union.

"User:JWSchmidt reverted again within about 15 minutes (his 4th revert against 3 other editors on the same day)" <-- It is not clear which of my edits he is calling "reverts". McCormack needs to define what he means by "revert" and show that specific edits I made were really reverts. He has not done so.

"User:Dark_Mage began building a proper student portal about a week later" <-- I dispute McCormack's claim that the original student union page was not a proper student portal. I still prefer the original version over the page made by Dark_Mage.

"Page ownership claim....User:JWSchmidt argued that as he created the page, he knew what its purpose was (and therefore by implication was entitled to determine its content)" <-- McCormack never explains where I made this claim. The truth is easy to find, since I invited other people to work with me to develop the student union page. "agreeing on a student or participants portal where learners could be guided to all learning resources" <-- I do not agree that this was ever agreed on...that is not the function of the student union page.

Summary. McCormack was not happy that I prevented him from destroying Wikiversity's long-standing cultural practice of welcoming new visitors who self-identify as students and that I foiled his attempt to destroy the system we had for inviting students to participate at Wikiversity as editors. McCormack was not happy that I created a learning resource that described his effort to delete and otherwise disrupt the main Wikiversity student portal page. It was entirely proper for me to defend the long-standing invitation extended by Wikiversity to new student participants. The learning resource I created was a very useful learning resource for student participants at Wikiversity. Because I have prevented McCormack from undermining the mission of Wikiversity he called me a troll and made a large number of false and distorted charges against me. He used those false and distorted charges against me to get me banned, blocked and de-sysoped. I will continue to refute all of the false and distorted charges McCormack against me. It makes me physically ill to read the false and distorted charges McCormack manufactured and to think about the damage he has done to Wikiversity. I hope that by answering all these false and distorted charges I can help the Wikiversity community avoid this kind of witch hunt in the future. --JWSchmidt 23:18, 19 October 2008 (UTC)

UNDER CONSTRUCTION

Case 09: The "browse" page[edit]

09 Wikiversity:browse
Date(s): 1st September 2008
Edit(s): [37]
Problem parties: User:JWSchmidt
Repairs by: User:Jtneill
Summary: Insertion of complaints about a page at the top of the page, rather than on the talk page.
Description: The Wikiversity:browse page is linked from the sidebar of Wikiversity and is therefore accessible with just one click from any other page on Wikiversity. It is a very high profile page. The browse page allows access to pretty well every categorised page on Wikiversity, using multiple routes.

On 1st September, User:JWSchmidt inserted perspectively skewed comments into the introduction at the top of the page. The comments made the page take on a "vandalised" appearance as if a college student had experimented with the text. The comments contained complaints about the page which were false. One complaint was that despite its 1000's of links, the page deliberately or conspiratorially hid content - such as freshly created content. In fact the page contained a visible link to the "freshly created resources" category. The complaint also unjustifiably implied that the only way to get listed on this page was to create "featured" content. In fact featured content was linked to with only one of many hundreds of visible categories. The complaint then ended with a "warning" to users not to trust the page and accused the page of bias, although the page was actually generated programmatically from the category system.

The page was repaired by User:Jtneill (custodian) about a day later.

JWSchmidt comments on "The browse page"

My edit provided useful balance to what was an existing deceptive claim about the Browse page. The Browse page originally functioned to facilitate the development of Wikiversity content. Before I made this edit, many of the most important links from the Browse page to Wikiversity content had been systematically removed from the Browse page. 99.9999% of Wikiversity remains to be imagined and created by Wikiversity participants. An effort had been made to hide that fact from Wikiversity participants and pretend that the Browse page need only link to a particular subset of Wikiversity content, without retaining the original major emphasis of the page on content development. It is deceptive and damaging to Wikiversity to try to pretend that content development and welcoming new contributors is not the most important thing for the Browse page to accomplish. "The comments made the page take on a "vandalised" appearance as if a college student had experimented with the text" <-- It is an interesting claim that correcting an existing bias on an important page causes the page to look "vandalised". This is an interesting way to game the system: "repurpose" a page to subvert its original purpose (doing damage to the Wikiversity project in the process) and then charge that any attempt to correct the problem is vandalism. "The complaint also unjustifiably implied that the only way to get listed on this page was to create 'featured' content." <-- This is a false charge: no such implication was made. "The complaint then ended with a 'warning' to users not to trust the page and accused the page of bias, although the page was actually generated programmatically from the category system." <-- It is irrelevant to point to what is on the page. The point of my edit was to draw attention to important links that had been removed from the page. It is interesting that I have been charged with page ownership for adding a learning resource to a page, but other Wikiversity participants can "repurpose" an important Wikiversity page to subvert its original purpose and then charge me with vandalism for challenging that repuposing and correcting a bias on the page....gee...that almost seems like someone has .... claimed ownership of the Browse page. This is strangely similar how I could not be permitted to return a long-standing link to the Main Page after it had been secretly (with no discussion) engineered out of existence by McCormack. "Insertion of complaints about a page at the top of the page, rather than on the talk page" <-- McCormack wants the power to determine where all Wikiversity content is located. It serves his purpose to hide from the Wikiversity community all complaints about his disruptive editing. I prefer a direct approach to confronting McCormack's "repuposing" of pages. Why should he be free to make deceptive claims on important pages without any balance provided right there where it is needed? It is particularly silly for McCormack to suggest that more use be made of talk pages. McCormack called me a troll and told me that he refuses to talk to me. If I were dealing with a normal member of the community who was willing to discuss matters, then talk page discussions would be a viable option. However, McCormack is part of a special team of custodians that does not have to be civil and follow policy, so I feel free to defend Wikiversity from his disruption using the direct method of editing Wikiversity pages so as to correct problems that McCormack has created. In order to game the system, he makes false charges about my editing such as implying that my edit is apparent vandalism. --JWSchmidt 15:54, 23 October 2008 (UTC)

Discussion and response[edit]

Please do a section edit to add comments to this case. Please sign your name with --~~~~.



Evidence: Part 2 (policy manipulation)[edit]

Introductory comments[edit]

There are 5 known cases of User:JWSchmidt declaring policy without consensus, and a 6th case of enforcing a policy as official when it had not been written. For perspective: there are only 3 policies on Wikiversity which have been validly officialised by consensus - most official policy has been made by unannounced unilateral declaration by User:JWSchmidt. Some official policy also exists as a Wikimedia Foundation requirement (local project consensus not admitted).

The cases of improper policy officialisation are all slightly different. In one case a clearly rejected policy was reintroduced; in another the consensus was too low for rejection/acceptance; in a third case the vote had been in favour of the policy, but the policy had not been officialised for an unknown reason (possibly voting was too low); in a fourth case the policy was never voted on at all but just written by User:JWSchmidt; in a fifth case a policy had been discussed in a small group, but never written down at all despite being enforced by User:JWSchmidt against other users (this particular case is not cited below).

In a final case, a custodian discovered what User:JWSchmidt had done within a few months and reverted, but not without considerable resistance from User:JWSchmidt. During this episode, User:JWSchmidt withheld the information that he had improperly officialised a number of further policies. The further cases slowly came to light over a year later.

In addition to these cases, there have also been problems with policy enforcement. User:JWSchmidt has tended to apply and enforce policy to suit his purposes, and has easily done this on a project where most users are inexperienced. A form of argument that has been used during debate is this: "it is true that policy says that X is not allowed; but X has two meanings and the policy only means one of these, and what I am doing is the other" (an example of this argument was where "X = advocacy").

Reply from JWSchmidt[edit]

I will respond to each of these "cases", below, but I need to respond to the "Introductory comments", above. The custodians making these charges about "policy manipulation" either do not understand how a wiki website functions or they have published these charges against me as part of their strategy for making a bunch of false charges and then banning, blocking and desysoping without allowing discussion of their false charges. In my view, the custodians making these charges should know how a wiki works, so these absurd charges cannot be excused by their ignorance. It is truly sickening that the normal process of developing policy for a wiki and applying policy is here called "policy manipulation". --JWSchmidt 19:25, 5 November 2008 (UTC)

Case 21: The "cite sources" policy[edit]

21 Wikiversity:Cite sources (policy)
Date(s): 14th February 2007 ; 17th July 2007 (edit dispute)
Edit(s): [38], [39]
Problem parties: User:JWSchmidt
Repairs by: User:SB_Johnny, supported by User:Jade Knight
Summary: Declaring a rejected policy to be an official policy; reverting another admin who tried to correct this; arguing in favour of ignoring consensus and ignoring formal votes.
Description: On 17th July, 2007, there was an edit dispute between User:SB_Johnny (custodian) and User:JWSchmidt about whether Wikiversity:Cite sources was an official policy or not. User:JWSchmidt had tagged it as official policy in February, despite a 1-4-1 vote against (4 against, 1 for, 1 neutral). User:SB_Johnny reverted in July when he discovered what User:JWSchmidt had done . User:JWSchmidt reverted back again the same day ([40]), with the edit summary “because it is not a vote......if there is no argument made, the vote does not count”. User:JWSchmidt’s argument is based on a finer point of Wikimedia “law” that in a vote, it isn’t necessarily the numbers but the weight of the arguments which counts. As the votes were accompanied only by short comments, User:JWSchmidt ruled the votes invalid, and then imposed his own “office action” with no discussion and no notification to the community. User:SB_Johnny entered a discussion with User:JWSchmidt on both of their talk pages on July 18th - e.g. a response by User:JWSchmidt is at http://en.wikiversity.org/w/index.php?title=User_talk:SB_Johnny&diff=prev&oldid=140810 where he asks User:SB_Johnny to “educate himself”. User:JWSchmidt’s argument is that consensus does not count, and that his arguments stand until someone can find better ones (who is to be the judge of that?); User:SB_Johnny argued that User:JWSchmidt’s procedure was wrong (anti-consensus). User:Jade Knight supported User:SB_Johnny ’s revert (talk page comment). User:SB_Johnny reverted again and the policy remained “proposed”. However the policy should have been tagged as “rejected”.

This case is a good example of User:JWSchmidt making explicit his preference for his own arguments over consensus.

Discussion and response[edit]

Please do a section edit to add comments to this case. Please sign your name with --~~~~.



Reply to case 21[edit]

The Wikiversity:Cite sources policy was created the day after the launch of Wikiversity and there has never been an argument made against the good practice of citing sources. The Wikiversity community was specifically tasked by the Wikimedia Foundation Trustees with the creation of a policy for research. "with no discussion and no notification to the community" <-- The charge that I "manipulated policy" without discussion and notification is absurd. From the start of Wikiversity I engaged in discussions of Wikiversity policy (exercise for the reader: count the number of posts I made to the Wikiversity:Policies talk page on the first day of Wikiversity's existence). Creation of research policy was made an explicit priority by the Foundation and I made sure that the community was aware of the on-going effort to develop research policy (for example). In March 2007 there was a very well publicize community meeting for review of the drafted research policies. After that meeting, it was time to make the policy structure official.

A part of the research policy calls for citing sources. In may of 2007, I made a template that listed the research policy pages at beta Wikiversity. Like the research policy, fundamental and long-standing Wikiversity policies such as Wikiversity:Reliable sources refer to and depend upon the Wikiversity:Cite sources policy. A week after making an organizational template for beta Wikiversity policy, I got around to the task of making a similar list of policies for the English language Wikiversity. I made a selection of the existing policies that I judged to be non-controversial and gave them the label "official". Two months later, User:SB Johnny decided that Wikiversity:Cite sources should not be official policy based on votes that had been cast without any reasons given. I stand by the principle that consensus is reached on the basis of reasoned arguments, not simple yes/no voting. I still have not seen a reason offered for why Wikiversity:Cite sources should not be official Wikiversity policy. That policy is fundamental to the Wikiversity mission and it is absurd for it to be stripped of the "official" designation without any valid reason for demoting it.

"consensus does not count" <-- This is an absurd charge. Consensus is not established in a wiki community by simple yes/no votes. If there is no reason given for a course of action, there can be no consensus for that course of action.

"the policy should have been tagged as 'rejected'" <-- I find it truly alarming that the four Wikiversity custodians who published these false and twisted charges against me believe that citing sources should not be part of Wikiversity policy. I call on them to defend this incredible position.

It is now a long-standing and continuing source of shame for the Wikiversity community that we do not have Wikiversity:Cite sources as an official policy. This is directly due to User:SB Johnny who violates policy at his own discretion, struts around saying "I can get away with things that nobody else can get away with" and he has also refused to help develop critically needed policies such as Wikiversity:Privacy policy. The damage done by such resistance to the development of needed Wikiversity policies is huge and continuing. I feel it is important for the Wikiversity community to carefully examine the actions and motivations of of Wikiversity custodians who systematically undermine the Wikiversity project in this way while at the same time making absurd charges against me suggesting that I "manipulate policy". --JWSchmidt 19:25, 5 November 2008 (UTC)

Case 22: The "verifiability" policy[edit]

22 Wikiversity:Verifiability (policy)
Date(s): 14th Feb 2007
Edit(s): [41]
Problem parties: User:JWSchmidt
Repairs by: n.a.
Summary: officialising policy without consensus and without notifying the community
Description: Known voting: in one place, the voting was 1-1 (1 for, 1 against); in another place it is 2-1. Either way, this is far too little participation for approval of a policy. Those policies which were agreed on at the foundation of Wikiversity were officialised by User:Trevor MacInnis in late August 2006; the later tagging by User:JWSchmidt was not sanctioned by the community.

Reply for "case 22" by JWSchmidt

As for "case 21", Wikiversity:Verifiability is one of a group of policies that is important for Wikiversity and the Wikiversity research policy that was explicitly requested by the Wikimedia Foundation Trustees. I make no apologies for my efforts to develop Wikiversity and the research policy and other related policies. The charge that I "manipulated policy" by my good faith efforts to find collaborators to develop these policies, hold community discussions about these policies and finally to designate them as official is absurd and sickening. That such absurd charges have been used to "justify" blocking, banning and desysoping me is outrageous. The "verifiability" policy interlocks with the Cite sources policy and both should be official policy. They both support the research policy and other scholarly activities at Wikiversity. Even if a policy is marked as official it is always open for discussion and modification or removal. Wikiversity was created with a mandate from the Foundation that we develop a research policy within six months. I took this seriously and worked to complete the research policy. Other Wikiversity participants have obstructed policy development by voting "no" without discussion and making flat negative statements such as "This policy is highly premature", without providing a supporting arguments. In my view, such negative votes and statements that are not supported by reasons cannot be claimed to prevent other Wikiversity participants from being bold and acting in good faith to establish a minimal set of policies designed to show the Foundation that Wikiversity had acted to provide the policy that was requested by the Trustees. --JWSchmidt 16:00, 18 November 2008 (UTC)

Discussion and response[edit]

Please do a section edit to add comments to this case. Please sign your name with --~~~~.


Case 23: The "reliable sources" policy[edit]

23 Wikiversity:Reliable sources (policy)
Date(s): 14th Feb 2007
Edit(s): [42]
Problem parties: User:JWSchmidt
Repairs by: n.a.
Summary: Officialising policy without consensus and without notifying the community
Description: The voting on this policy had been 4 in favour and 1 against. However the discussion was never wound up and the participants did not say whether they thought that consensus had been reached. Those policies which were agreed on at the foundation of Wikiversity were officialised by User:Trevor MacInnis in late August 2006; the later tagging by User:JWSchmidt does not appear to have been sanctioned by the community.

Reply to "case 23" from JWSchmidt

Wikiversity:Reliable sources is an interlocking policy with Wikiversity:Verifiability and Wikiversity:Cite sources. These three policies work together to make sure that reliable and verifiable sources are cited to support information on Wikiversity webpages. These policies support the Wikiversity research policy, which was explicitly requested by the Wikimedia Foundation Trustees. As discussed above for "case 21" and "case 22", the charge that I manipulated policy by working to develop Wikiversity:Reliable sources and designate it as official policy is absurd and part of an orchestrated attempt to pile up false and distorted charges that would be used to "justify" blocking, banning and desysoping me. I stand behind my efforts to develop this and other important policies at Wikiversity. That normal good faith wiki editing and development of the Wikiversity project is called "manipulation" is truly sickening. --JWSchmidt 16:27, 18 November 2008 (UTC)

Discussion and response[edit]

Please do a section edit to add comments to this case. Please sign your name with --~~~~.


Case 24: The "rollback" policy[edit]

24 Wikiversity:Rollback (policy)
Date(s): 13th Jan 2007
Edit(s): [43]
Problem parties: User:JWSchmidt
Repairs by: n.a.
Summary: Inventing his own policies and officialising them without any notification to the community
Description: Wikiversity:Rollback was written by User:JWSchmidt in September 2006 and tagged as official policy by him 4 months later. There is no known discussion or vote on this policy. It is not known whether this policy was ever even brought to wider community attention. In September 2008, User:JWSchmidt invoked this policy against other admins during his disputes. User:Darklama, User:Jade Knight, User:Emesee and User:McCormack (3 admins and 1 major user) have all expressed doubt over this “policy” (talk page) during the course of 2008.

Discussion and response[edit]

Please do a section edit to add comments to this case. Please sign your name with --~~~~.



Reply from JWSchmidt for "case 24"[edit]

Tools for quickly reverting vandalism are a useful feature of MediaWiki. There have always been wiki participants who are tempted to use the vandalism reverting tools for purposes other than reverting vandalism, so it is important for wikis to have policies that say only use these tools for reverting vandalism. I stand behind the idea that Wikiversity should have such a rule. Treating good faith edits as if they were vandalism by using the revert tools is truly offensive in a community such as Wikiversity where we are dedicated to learning and using discussion to settle any disputes. The fact that there are Wikiversity custodians who feel it is their right to use the revert tools on good faith edits of Wikiversity participants is truly alarming, but only a symptom of the larger problem of abusive custodians who make a habit of misusing their power. I am proud to take a stand against those who treat good faith edits as if they were vandalism. I call upon all Wikiversity participants who want to use the revert tools to revert non-vandalism as if it were vandalism to come forward and explain to the Wikiversity community why you feel it is your right to do so. I find it truly sickening that four Wikiversity custodians with charge me with "policy manipulation" because I have worked to make sure that the anti-vandalism revert tools are only used for their intended purpose. --JWSchmidt 17:51, 23 November 2008 (UTC)

Case 25: The "custodianship" policy[edit]

25 Wikiversity:Custodianship (policy)
Date(s): 12th Feb 2007
Edit(s): [44]
Problem parties: User:JWSchmidt
Repairs by: n.a.
Summary: Officialising policy before adequate consensus has been reached, without vote and without notifying the community.
Description: There is not known ever to have been any vote about whether to accept or reject this policy. No consensus was ever achieved. On the contrary, this was a policy which many editors had opinions about and which needed further discussion. Additionally, the edit comment for this status change fails to state what was being done here.

Discussion and response[edit]

Please do a section edit to add comments to this case. Please sign your name with --~~~~.


Reply by JWSchmidt to "case 25"[edit]

The rules for custodians were worked out by means of a large number of discussions and collaborative editing. The rules for selection of custodians and the description of what custodians do was needed for the growth and functioning of the Wikiversity community. The claim that marking a needed policy as "official" is in some way "policy manipulation" is absurd and this charge was only manufactured in an attempt to assemble a large number of false and distorted charges that were then used to "justify" blocking, banning and desysoping me. I'd be interested to see any reason for why the custodianship policy should not be listed as official policy. Marking the policy as official was a formality that I could not imagine causing an objection. My edit summary "it seems to work" still seems adequate to me. What more needed to be said? I think the Wikiversity community should closely examine the actions of Wikiversity participants who, rather than help develop needed policies, have obstructed their development, tried to prevent them from being marked "official" and have even ignored them and violated them. Marking a policy as "official" does not end discussion of the policy, editing of the policy or even prevent the policy from being removed if the community has second thoughts. I reject the idea that the only way to move ahead at Wikiversity is by having votes. I admit to making a large number of edits, many more important than marking the custodianship policy as official without first holding a vote. Votes might be useful under some situations, but for most wiki editing there is no use in holding a vote before making an edit. --JWSchmidt 18:58, 23 November 2008 (UTC)

Case 36: Attempts to impose a learning model "policy"[edit]

36 Attempts to impose a learning model "policy"
Date(s): since the foundation of Wikiversity
Edit(s): [45]
Problem parties: User:JWSchmidt
Repairs by: attempts by User:Cormaggio and User:McCormack
Summary: Imposing a particular self-written learning model known as "the Wikiversity learning model" and/or "learning by doing" as a policy-like requirement by claiming that the model had been "approved" by the board.
Description: The edit by User:JWSchmidt at [46] ("This page is about the alternative learning model that was requested by the Board of Trustees and approved by the Board of trustees, allowing Wikiversity to be launched.") and the reply by User:Cormaggio at [47] (saying that User:JWSchmidt's claim was untrue) state the crux of a problem that has dogged Wikiversity since its foundation. User:JWSchmidt wrote a learning model concept and attempted to enforce this as if it was a Wikimedia Foundation requirement. One of the most widespread statements on Wikiversity is "Remember, Wikiversity has adopted the "learning by doing" model for education." [48], [49], [50], [51] (all User:JWSchmidt template edits). The wide substitution of these templates propagated the statement throughout Wikiversity.

In addition to written propagation of the statement, User:JWSchmidt lobbied extensively throughout his time at Wikiversity for the sole pursuit of this model, and opposed or ridiculed ([52]) users who thought differently.

The first problem with this pattern of behaviour is that it was based on a false claim of authority and lacked consensus. Even if the learning model had been a good one, neither the board nor the community sanctioned it, and attempts to question the model should not have been stifled.

The second problem with this pattern of behaviour is that the model was confused and lacking in direction; it and may have significantly hindered Wikiversity's development and alienated potential users who could not relate to what Wikiversity appeared to be trying to do.

Note: the "learning model" is not known to have been listed as an "official policy"; it was enforced as a "board requirement".

Discussion and response[edit]

Please do a section edit to add comments to this case. Please sign your name with --~~~~.



Reply by JWSchmidt to Case 36[edit]

User:McCormack has worked hard to ignore, undermine and replace the Wikimedia Foundation-approved Wikiversity project proposal. User:McCormack is not interested in Wikiversity as a wiki where learners are encouraged to participate and learn by editing and participating in "learn by doing" projects. All Wikiversity participants should become familiar with the history of Wikiversity and the two Wikiversity project proposals. I challenge the validity of suggestions such as those by McCormack and in these comments by Cormaggio that 1) the learning model of the original Wikiversity project proposal was not rejected and 2) that the "learn by doing model" of the approved project proposal was not approved. Having said that, nobody has objected to allowing exploration of additional approaches to using Wikiversity to support learning. The only problem is that McCormack tried to write the "learn by doing model" out of Wikiversity. I prevented him from writing the "learn by doing model" out of Wikiversity. In retaliation, McCormack manufactured a large number of false and distorted charges against me and found three other custodians to assist him in using those false and distorted charges to block, ban and desysop me. This is truly outrageous and sickening behavior. I did not, and will never, allow McCormack to push through his plan for how to dis-invite learners from Wikiversity and replace it with his personal alternative vision of Wikiversity. Because I stood in his way, McCormack called me a troll and told me he would never discuss Wikiversity issues with me again. Rather than discuss his plan to change the Foundation-approved Wikiversity project, he set about trying to have me removed from the project. For my defense of the Foundation-approved Wikiversity project, I have won the privilege of having to deal with the team of abusive custodians assembled by McCormack including one who proudly assets that I should have been blocked without reason and never unblocked, one who calls me a "whiner" for protesting the bad block that was imposed on me and one who told me to fuck off and leave the project if I cannot adapt myself to the abuses of power exercised by this gang of policy-violating custodians. It is truly sickening that these misguided custodians accuse me of "policy manipulation" for defending the Foundation-approved Wikiversity project proposal and the idea that Wikiversity is a wiki where learners can learn by editing. --JWSchmidt 18:58, 23 November 2008 (UTC)

Evidence: Part 3 (damaging community)[edit]

Case 05: Alienation of User:Adambro[edit]

05 Alienation of User:Adambro
Date(s): 31st August 2008
Edit(s): [53], [54] (examples)
Problem parties: User:JWSchmidt
Repairs by: n.a.
Summary: As part of a long-term campaign of excluding certain types of user from Wikiversity, User:JWSchmidt set out to discourage User:Adambro from editing and appears to have successfully driven away the user for the time being.
Description: User:Adambro had been editing on the Wikiversity:Requests for Deletion page. It appears that User:JWSchmidt was using this page to track down non-anti-deletionist users and harass them. Sarcastic comments about User:Adambro’s IT knowledge were left on that page (e.g. http://en.wikiversity.org/w/index.php?title=Wikiversity:Requests_for_Deletion&diff=next&oldid=310184) on and around 22nd August, with comment spilling onto User:Adambro’s user page on 31st August. User:JWSchmidt first described User:Adambro as being “rude” (for proposing page deletions). When an apology on behalf of Wikiversity was issued by a custodian, User:JWSchmidt immediately countered by implying that User:Adambro was part of a “toxic” Wikipedia culture and that this culture was “not welcome” at Wikiversity. User:Adambro has not edited since that day.

Discussion and response[edit]

Please do a section edit to add comments to this case. Please sign your name with --~~~~.


Case 06: Treatment of other users who vote to delete any material[edit]

06 Treatment of other users who vote to delete any material
Date(s): 21st August 2008, 12th September 2008
Edit(s): [55], [56]
Problem parties: User:JWSchmidt
Repairs by: n.a.
Summary: Generally being offensive and sarcastic towards editors who support deletion of any page.
Description: On Wikiversity:Requests for Deletion (21st August): comments such as “get a life” and “Oh, but they might learn how to participate at a wiki....we can't have that!”

On Wikiversity:Colloquium (12th September): "And of course, it is the heart and soul of Wikiversity, as a project devoted to learning, to tell a new participant that since their editing is "less than ideal" they should stop subjecting us to their garbage." [57] together with an image of Senegalese schoolchildren subtitled with "From The Wikiversity Guide to Learning: when your students try to write and they make a mess, tell them they have produced garbage and throw their work in the trash. Then tell them, "I meant 'garbage' in a good way" (the word Wikiversity was substituted with "deletionist" in another posting of the same material at [58] ).

Note: http://en.wikiversity.org/w/index.php?title=Wikiversity:Requests_for_Deletion&diff=next&oldid=317114 is sockpuppetry by User:JWSchmidt.

Discussion and response[edit]

Please do a section edit to add comments to this case. Please sign your name with --~~~~.


Case 31: Sockpuppet User:Trout of Doubt[edit]

31 Sockpuppet User:Trout of Doubt
Date(s): 31st August 2008
Edit(s): User_talk:Trout_of_Doubt, Special:Contributions/Trout_of_Doubt, and this edit.
Problem parties: User:JWSchmidt
Repairs by: unknown (IRC discussion)
Summary: Creating a sockpuppet with a name intended to antagonize another user with whom User:JWSchmidt was in dispute.
Description: When the sockpuppet was created by User:JWSchmidt, there seems to have been an attempt to disguise who it actually was – see user contributions at Special:Contributions/Trout_of_Doubt. The name itself was a parody of a real user called User:Salmon of Doubt, with whom User:JWSchmidt was in active dispute at the time. One intention of the sockpuppet may have been to post stupid comments as a parody of User:Salmon_of_Doubt. One of the sockpuppet’s edits was on a page proposed for deletion and suggests the sockpuppet might have been intended to bolster User:JWSchmidt's anti-deletionist activities. The sockpuppet activity was stopped after about 4-5 days, apparently under pressure from unknown custodians on IRC. In the end the sockpuppet did little other than cause annoyance. For more detail, the page User_talk:Trout_of_Doubt shows the irritation and bad atmosphere caused by the use of this sockpuppet.

Discussion and response[edit]

Please do a section edit to add comments to this case. Please sign your name with --~~~~.


Case 32: User:Mike.lifeguard's bot account[edit]

32 Blocking User:Mike.lifeguard's bot account
Date(s): 13th February 2008
Edit(s): [59], [60], [61], [62], the block log for 13th February 2008.
Problem parties: User:JWSchmidt
Repairs by: n.a.
Summary: Block of a bot without adequate reason and/or contrary to (foundation) policy; anti-deletionist POV-pushing; antagonisation of a valuable bot operator.
Description: Blocks are normally only made against vandal accounts or accounts where disruption of Wikiversity is imminent or likely to continue. The bot was blocked with the reason given at [63]. However the references given in the reason do not appear to support what User:JWSchmidt said, nor was the reason, even if true, adequate. A discussion ensued on the bot’s talk page between users User:Mike.lifeguard, User:SB_Johnny and User:JWSchmidt. It appears there was no policy under which to block the bot. In addition, the bot had finished its work, so even it had been doing harm, which it wasn’t, then it wasn’t going to do any more harm. The arguments given by User:JWSchmidt in the ensuing discussion may be fallacious. The block action was an overreaction. The block discussion reveals strong links to User:JWSchmidt’s known anti-deletionist activity. There appears to be a long-term pattern of antagonisation of User:Mike.lifeguard by User:JWSchmidt because User:Mike.lifeguard’s cross-wiki bot activities are regarded as “deletionist” by User:JWSchmidt. The discussion reveals comments aimed at discouraging future use of bots by User:Mike.lifeguard.

See also resumption of argument on 12th Sept 2008: [64]

Discussion and response[edit]

Please do a section edit to add comments to this case. Please sign your name with --~~~~.


Indeed this case is why my bot has not run any tasks here since the date of unblock. I have stated to User:SB Johnny (for whom I have run bot tasks on numerous occasions) that I will not run a bot here without a strong consensus (such that User:JWSchmidt cannot get away with similar hostility). Again, I can understand disagreement over the issue here (and actually I am partly to blame), but the behaviour is unacceptable - open hostility towards any contributor for any reason should not be tolerated. – Mike.lifeguard | @meta 01:54, 15 September 2008 (UTC)

Case 33: Inappropriate use of the Wikiversity IRC channel[edit]

33 Inappropriate use of the Wikiversity IRC channel
Date(s): Two phases: August 2006 to January 2008 (alone); from August 2008 (with User:Moulton).
Edit(s): Evidence: this would have to be given in the form of short witness statements from visitors to the IRC channel; regular visitors are more likely to be aware of what has been happening.
Problem parties: User:JWSchmidt; since August 2008, aided by User:Moulton.
Repairs by: n.a.
Summary: Inappropriate use of the Wikiversity IRC channel
Description: The IRC channel is one of the keys to User:JWSchmidt's domination of Wikiversity. With the exception of a 7 month period from January to August 2008, he is constantly present and usually active on the channel, being by far its most active user. Some of the observed problems are as follows:

Phase 1

  • flooding/domination of IRC
  • pushing his POV in every conversation, relentlessly and constantly
  • "gatekeeper" function: using the channel to pull newcomers over to his way of thinking, or alienate them if not
  • directing users to his own preferred content on Wikiversity

Phase 2 (with Moulton)

  • exhausting other users to the point where they quit the channel (e.g. User:Jayvdb on 13th Sept 2008; earlier in the same week, User:JWSchmidt and User:Moulton drive User:SB_Johnny off the channel; User:KillerChihuahua and User:Salmon of Doubt again on 13th Sept - departure followed by howls of derision from User:JWSchmidt and User:Moulton.)
  • activating his channel operator status to intimidate his opponents and give newcomers an enhanced view of his importance
  • damaging the atmosphere with opinions levelled against Wikipedia, against "deletionism", and about his own alleged victim-role
  • garnering support and disseminating false information about his opponents at Wikiversity

Particularly since mid-August 2008, User:JWSchmidt and User:Moulton have combined to turn this channel into a soap opera devoted to their agendas. Despite visits and appeals from other custodians and people from within the Foundation, this behaviour has become ever bolder and more bizarre. Most of the other cases in this review, serious as they may be in their own right, can be viewed simply as "small-scale over-spillage" from the operatic atmosphere on the IRC channel. The danger is that if unchecked, what is now happening on IRC will spread into the entire culture of Wikiversity.

Theoretically the IRC channel should be a neutral chat environment where contributors can help each other on an equal basis.

Discussion and response[edit]

Please do a section edit to add comments to this case. Please sign your name with --~~~~.



Case 34: Partnership with User:Moulton[edit]

34 Partnership with User:Moulton
Date(s): mid-August 2008 to present.
Edit(s): See text below.
Problem parties: User:JWSchmidt, User:Moulton
Repairs by: n.a.
Summary: The intense relationship between User:JWSchmidt and User:Moulton is fundamentally disrupting the way Wikiversity functions and creating an atmosphere which will alienate existing and new users.
Description: User:Moulton is a blocked user on Wikipedia (now on Wikiversity as well) and bears strong grievances against many Wikipedians. He sought to use Wikiversity as an outlet for his feelings and an advocacy platform for his campaigns against particular Wikipedians. Part of his campaigns includes something called “outing” – i.e. the publication of information about the real world identities of Wikipedians. Moulton has used Wikiversity to “out” Wikipedians and publish unpleasant allegations about them in the guise of “learning materials”. This use of Wikiversity has been controversial throughout the Wikimedia projects and is damaging the reputation of Wikiversity. His behaviour led to blocking from Wikiversity by intervention of User:Jimbo Wales on 14th Sept 2008.

User:JWSchmidt, who holds admin status at Wikipedia, is also an aggrieved Wikipedian ([65]). He is upset about what he regards as deletionist policies at Wikipedia, and he has tended to regard Wikiversity as a refuge for people and materials removed from Wikipedia and he supports the use of Wikiversity as a place to “study” Wikipedia in the sense of campaigning for change.

Beginning in August 2008 User:JWSchmidt started talking to User:Moulton pretty well round the clock. The IRC channel was more or less continuously blocked by User:JWSchmidt and User:Moulton. The intensity of these conversations resulted in mutual encouragement of each others’ misbehaviour: User:Moulton's activity spread across Wikiversity into areas where he had not previously been active and where User:JWSchmidt needed to push a point, while User:JWSchmidt increasingly adopted the operatic style of User:Moulton in the unsympathetic way he treated his perceived opponents. The subjects of conversation on IRC were mainly their enemies at Wikipedia and the foundation, methods of investigating their enemies, and methods of bringing their enemies to ridicule through thinly veiled “learning projects” about them hosted on Wikiversity. Their everyday dialogue on IRC was full of abbreviations, euphemisms, insider references, jokes about editors, insults, innuendo and schemes.

This teamwork had a number of consequences: it skewed opinion formation at Wikiversity; it handicapped any resolution of the problem through coordinated action by other users; it enhanced the dissemination of misinformation and propaganda. User:JWSchmidt's custodian status, combined with the small size of the Wikiversity community, meant that controlling User:Moulton became impossible for other members of the community, resulting in the outside intervention of User:Jimbo Wales to block User:Moulton.

Discussion and response[edit]

Please do a section edit to add comments to this case. Please sign your name with --~~~~.



Case 40: Alienation of users from other projects / from editing[edit]

40 Alienation of users from other projects and/or from editing
Date(s): all
Edit(s): n.a.
Problem parties: User:JWSchmidt
Repairs by: n.a.
Summary:
Description: Before and during the course of the preparation of this review, the people responsible for this review have been approached by users from outside Wikiversity who may wish to join the project. We cannot name these users ourselves. However it is felt that these users may be staying away from the project due to User:JWSchmidt and the way he has "run" Wikiversity (the feeling being that he is indeed "running" the place), and it is felt that these users would be more interested in contributing to Wikiversity if these problems were addressed.

Please sign in the "discussion" section below (i) if you are an existing contributor and ever felt your editing potential reduced by User:JWSchmidt or the atmosphere and system he has created, or (ii) if you are active on other projects but are skeptical about contributing here at least in part due to the issues connected with User:JWSchmidt's behaviour.

Discussion and response[edit]

Please do a section edit to add comments to this case. Please sign your name with --~~~~.