There is a serious backlog at WV:Changing username. There are only two active bureaucrats, and both appear to busy to handle these requests. As an ordinary user, I studied how these changes are made on other wikis as well as here, reviewed the requests, verified diffs and claims, requested additional information where needed, and made recommendations. I also created templates to make user requests create links for what is needed. However, even with the work simplified in this way, and in spite of repeated requests, no 'crat has had the time to complete the requests. This is a task that should ordinarily be done within a few days. The oldest standing request is from February.
Therefore I am volunteering to serve. I understand that my general work on Wikiversity is controversial. However, my actual use of tools as a probationary custodian has not been controversial, as can be seen by a review of my open probationary custodianship at Wikiversity:Candidates for Custodianship/Abd (full custodian). The most serious objection is that I, as an ordinary user, sometimes implement ideas in advance of consensus. Of course, any user may do this! I always understood this as the basic wiki concept.
In this case, I'm suggesting something new: probationary bureaucratship, requiring a mentor, who should be a bureaucrat. If this is allowed, and as a probationary 'crat, I would refrain from all use of 'crat tools except under the following circumstances:
Changing username and usurpations, having first reviewed the application and having made a recommendation, which stands for at least a week without opposition from any custodian. Any user may, of course, request that a custodian intervene.
Other usage with the specific on-wiki approval of another bureaucrat.
Reviewing other bureaucrat nominations, only if another local 'crat is not available for at least 35 days after the start of !voting. This is only a contingency that all 'crats are completely unavailable, that's unlikely. Similarly, under this contingency, I would only use 'crat tools with clear, demonstrated, on-wiki consensus, allowing me to do so, pending the creation of new full 'crats.
Until and unless I become a "full bureaucrat," any custodian may request removal of the 'crat bit by a steward at meta, based on diff'd violation of the above terms. I will resign at meta as soon as possible upon the request of the mentor, regardless of "cause," and the mentor may also immediately request removal at meta of the privilege, anticipating that resignation.
No bureaucrat action would be taken in anticipation of controversy. This is only intended to handle non-controversial tasks, assisting the existing bureaucrats.
Because of the nature of this request, and because of the shortage of 'crats, I am suggesting that, in this case, the mentor 'crat may accept and implement, setting whatever conditions or restrictions seen fit. In a sense, the title of this position might be "assistant bureaucrat," serving at the pleasure of the mentor, and extending the working capacity of the mentor.
Are there any other users who might consider volunteering? Any with 'crat experience? --Abd 14:58, 8 October 2011 (UTC)[reply]
Abd, I'm sorry to say this, because in many ways you are a great custodian, but I think the shortage of 'crats should be dealt with by the promotion of a non-probationary custodian, who has the absolute trust of the community. I would however, be happy to let you be given 'crat tools for a day or two to deal with the username change backlog. --S Larctia 18:16, 8 October 2011 (UTC)[reply]
That's up to the implementing 'crat, who can state that it is for a limited period. Fine with me. However, what I'll point out is that this would essentially create more work for the stewards, without necessity. Not a lot, though. If a non-probationary custodian volunteers or is nominated, we are still looking at a possible month before we'd have a new 'crat, given what's happened before. --Abd 18:27, 8 October 2011 (UTC)[reply]
There has not been community consensus to give you unsupervised indefinite access to administrative tools. I doubt there will be community consensus to give you supervised indefinite access to 'crat tools. The possible consequences of a user abusing 'crat tools are enormous: many 'crat actions can't be as easily reversed as administrative actions, and it would give you more power than custodians who have the unanimous support of the community. --S Larctia 18:59, 8 October 2011 (UTC)[reply]
While the username change request blacklog could be due to the bureaucrats being too busy, it could also be due to uncertainty as to when or even if the Wikiversity community considers it appropriate to usurper usernames. People have attempted to discuss the issue without any definitive resolution, which even when the bureaucrats are not busy has sometimes resulted in no action being taken unless the name requested was never registered. Some people have felt strongly that giving a registered username to somebody else is a failure to assume good faith. -- darklama 19:06, 8 October 2011 (UTC)[reply]
I certainly believe that usurpation should not occur if the registered user has made any edits. There are complicated decisions to be made concerning individual cases. --S Larctia 19:42, 8 October 2011 (UTC)[reply]
If there were no 'crats on Wikiversity, all of these changes would be routinely handled by stewards. If there is a problem with any change or usurpation, it would be appropriate to object on the Changing username page, not just deny the requests with a pocket veto. There has been discussion of the usurpation issue. No consensus appeared. The present situation is untenable: we have a stated policy, we have a request page, but nobody is handling the requests, either to approve or to deny. That wastes users' time and it's a scandal at meta. As to "power," well, if I violated the terms here, I'd be history quickly. But, hey, I really don't care, personally. If there is a permanent custodian willing to volunteer like this, under similar conditions as I've proposed for myself, I'd certainly support it, more easily than permanent 'cratship, for *any* custodian. Darklama, how about you?
Meanwhile, if there are any problems with any of my recommendations on the standing requests, surely a responsible user here will comment and point them out. The recommendations have been sitting for over a month. --Abd 23:39, 8 October 2011 (UTC)[reply]
Abd, why didn't you ask a steward on meta to sort out the backlog ? It doesn't look like such a lot of work to remove it, and it wouldn't be controversial for them to get involved as the 'crats here obviously don't have the time to do it. Simone 12:00, 9 October 2011 (UTC)[reply]
The stewards can't intervene unless we have a policy (or the equivalent) explicitly saying they can do so. See below. --SB_Johnnytalk 23:35, 10 October 2011 (UTC)[reply]
Indeed. It would have been rather less drama if we'd discussed doing this on the colloquium or elsewhere rather than going through with this nomination for a position which doesn't exist. I'm pretty sure there would be community consensus for stewards to deal with this sort of thing, simply because most of the usurption requests aren't really to do with Wikiversity editors, but more to do with wikimedia users trying to get "perfect" unified logins. --Simone 09:46, 13 October 2011 (UTC)[reply]
Abd, you're currently a probationary custodian, and perhaps you shouldn't be. You are not a "full" custodian because there was no consensus to put you in that position. If we were to create the position of "probationary 'crat", we'd need to discuss it first. Also, if the backlog really bothers you, bring it up on the colloquium for discussion. For the record, another probationary custodian (User:Thenub314) happens to be a 'crat on Wikibooks (userpage), so if this is an emergency (and I'm not convinced that it is), he would be by far a more suitable candidate than someone who is clearly not quite trusted by the community. --SB_Johnnytalk 22:13, 8 October 2011 (UTC)[reply]
Sure, though Thenub314 has been seriously inactive, both here and on Wikibooks. Nevertheless, I'd support it. "Perhaps shouldn't be" a probationary custodian? Perhaps, but, on the other hand, perhaps I should be a permanent custodian, but I elected to accept your proposal for continued probationary status in order to resolve the issue without unnecessary contention. I can push buttons as a probationary custodian as easily as a permanent one. My proposal here would allow me to operate, in a limited way, in full view of the community, plus any additional restrictions (including immediate removal of the bit by the mentor or any 'crat, on request at meta with reference to this discussion, could be added by the mentor. How about you as a mentor, SBJ? --Abd 23:39, 8 October 2011 (UTC)[reply]
For what it is worth, I am less inactive then edit histories might suggest. I do try to keep an eye on things here and at WB. Much of my wikimedia time has been more focused on hacking texvc these days. If you've noticed any new bugs since they rolled out 1.18... that is sadly my fault. But if you've noticed any improvements (archaic greek characters, \sen finally working, etc) that is also largely my fault. So I spend the majority clicking preview for some test case in a sandbox... usually not logged in. But overall neither of us is a great choice, better to promote someone who is already a custodian. Thenub314 03:35, 14 October 2011 (UTC)[reply]
I definitely vote Darklama for 'crat. (Also, Pedro for President!)
Agree that we may need to clarify the policy. Perhaps someone can gather all the material in one place, and put it to a one month vote with the result becoming at least temporary policy?
My understanding of the steward situation is that stewards will not intervene where we have local crats. I don't see that as an argument for temporarily removing 'crat flags from inactive crats - just for having more local crats. --Draicone(talk) 16:23, 9 October 2011 (UTC)[reply]
+1 for Darklama. How about you, Draicone?
OTOH, we could also just add a note to the local policy allowing stewards to flip the name in cases where the target account has no edits at all. I'm personally just not comfortable usurping an account that has edits for the sole purpose of unifying a name, particularly when it seems unlikely that the person asking isn't likely to participate here anyway. If the person asking has already made more contributions than the target account, that's a different story. There was a CR about that some time back, and consensus seemed to be on the side of preserving old accounts iirc. --SB_Johnnytalk 10:22, 10 October 2011 (UTC)[reply]
Too busy at the moment. I could do a weekend, but not much more. Maybe next year.
I'm happy with explicitly approving steward intervention, but I'm not sure if they'll be happy with that - I suspect part of the policy basis was to avoid burdening stewards. Also, I agree with the concern that we shouldn't just rename accounts for the sole purpose of SUL (unless, of course, WMF tells us to). m:Help:Unified login suggests that renames are "subject to local policy" but also has an underlying theme that the user with the greater claim to a wiki identity gets the username. Perhaps the solution is to simply encourage people to have a look around and make a few edits, improving the wiki and making the decision easier. --Draicone(talk) 13:24, 10 October 2011 (UTC)[reply]
(edit conflict with below) I've considered asking stewards. Problem is that SBJ did do two recent username requests, one simple name change and one usurpation, where the users asked him directly on his user page.. Stewards will assume that this means we have at least one active 'crat, and are likely to decline. (And I've seen them suggest that if we have inactive 'crats, we should remove the bits.) To me, the biggest problem here is that we have a page for users to request a name change, which implies that we will do this from requests on that page. But mostly, we don't. I went to fr.wikiversity and requested usurpation of Abd there. Took one day. --Abd 00:18, 11 October 2011 (UTC)[reply]
For the record, I have begged Darklama publicly and on IRC to run for Bureaucrat a few times in the past and he always refused. Ottava Rima (talk) 23:21, 10 October 2011 (UTC)[reply]
For the record, even if I did accept the Bureaucrat tools, it wouldn't make a difference without at least a temporary usurper policy. -- darklama 00:09, 11 October 2011 (UTC)[reply]
We can generate that policy, I would if I had time. We do have existing practice. I'll open an Assembly topic on this, in addition to using existing procedures for policy development. But I can't do this today, for sure. --Abd 15:19, 13 October 2011 (UTC)[reply]
To be explicit, none of the pending usurpation requests involve a target username with edits. Review of the old discussions shows some sentiment -- with practically no support -- on keeping old usernames even without edits, but it's not at all clear that this was carefully considered. Debate was mostly over what appears to have been a totally theoretical situation: a requested usurpation of an account which has edits. That is apparently rare, rare enough that it might be foolish to declare a policy. I agree with SBJ that we could explicitly allow usurpation of no-edit accounts, given certain considerations. If I'm correct, only one user may have an SUL account with a given name. I'd personally want to see real examples before pulling policy out of thin air, or some other place. --Abd 18:59, 10 October 2011 (UTC)[reply]
It's not "theoretical", Abd: the CR came about because there was such a case (and I know there were a few more as well). If you want to start another CR on the narrow issue of letting the stewards push the buttons on what are generally not local issues anyway, I'd support it, and I'm sure it would pass with flying colors.
Just for the benefit of those who don't understand the problem: Single User Login (SUL) was put in place only a couple years ago, and probably should have been put in place long before then. The SUL problems really only become problems when there are very old accounts that use a name that might also have been used on another WMF wiki. I hope that makes sense. --SB_Johnnytalk 23:35, 10 October 2011 (UTC)[reply]
Thanks for clarifying this for others, SBJ. However, I'd looked for examples. You are referring to Wikiversity:Community Review/Usurpation of usernames, which appears to have arisen out of discussion on Wikiversity talk:Changing username which was raised as a theoretical question, and I've found no reference on either page to an actual case in dispute. Usurpations have been routinely handled, including a recent one by you, SBJ. If the CR was based on an actual case, nobody bothered to mention it. Reviewing Mu301's edits around that time, I found User_talk:Little_Lewis. This would have been a request for a usurpation where the target account had many edits. Apparently it never became one, it was withdrawn. This was explained at . Little Lewis was successful at usurpation on en.wiki, where an account named Lewis had no edits and is now Lewis (usurped). This may or may not have been our User:Lewis.
It is obvious from many examples that we have a defacto policy of not denying applications for usurpation where the target account has no edits and the other niceties are satisfied. Darklama, there is a "policy" to follow, existing practice. --Abd 00:46, 11 October 2011 (UTC)[reply]
Abd, the CR was indeed started because of a particular case, see User:Doug's contribs for details.
It's rather annoying to be accused of dishonesty for no particular reason here. I was there, so I remember. You weren't, so you don't remember. --SB_Johnnytalk 19:51, 12 October 2011 (UTC)[reply]
SBJ, I do not suspect and have not accused you of dishonesty. I've noted that reference to a precipitating case was missing, and you had not, until now, supplied it.
This is the case. That's appalling, SBJ. User:BewareofDoug filed the request on 2 December 2008. The request seems to have sat there until 30 August 2009, when Mikeu asked BewareofDoug about emailing the target user (and an apparent sock of the user). BewareofDoug responded the same day. Nothing was done until Jtneill finally did the usurpation on 12 February, 2011. The CR was never closed. Over three years to handle what should be a relatively routine request.
BewareofDoug did participate in the discussions. In any case, the Doug case shows that a usurpation can be done even if the usurped account has edits. Nobody complained about it. And all of this is a red herring. The current usurpation requests do not involve any target account with edits. So even this supposedly "controversial" case was ultimately uneventful. The original discussion at Wikiversity_talk:Changing_username#Usurpation_is_against_assume_good_faith_.3F was started on purely theoretical grounds, it seems, as I noted.
Doug, by the way, is a sysop on en.wiki. Perhaps our extreme bureaucratic inefficiency is part of our outreach program? --Abd 22:53, 12 October 2011 (UTC)[reply]
It's not appalling, there was simply no local consensus to allow somebody's name (with contribs) to be usurped. I have no idea why it was done in the end at all, since the various discussions prior to that (and there were others on the colloquium and elsewhere over the years) seemed to lean against it. Simply making a policy one way or another is what needs to be done.
Again, since the vast majority of the requests seem to come from people who just want to have a "perfect" SUL, rather than to consolidate their contributions here with their contributions elsewhere, perhaps it's better to let meta handle those. --SB_Johnnytalk 23:14, 12 October 2011 (UTC)[reply]
Then we should have instructions on Wikiversity:Changing username to reflect our actual practice and so that users don't waste their time. However, we do have actual practice, usurpation is not seriously controversial when there are no edits in the target account, and no sustained objections have been raised in any real situation. It is just totally unreliable, the lack of attention from 'crats is obvious. This is the problem with those discussions: hardly anyone is paying attention to them. This whole procedure was backwards. Real case (Doug): practically no discussion. Hypothetical situation: wasted inconclusive discussion.
Just noticed. Your comment here, SBJ, was unbecoming of a bureaucrat. This is not looking good. --Abd 23:05, 12 October 2011 (UTC)[reply]
I'm not really sure what bearing that has to do with this situation. --Simone 09:54, 13 October 2011 (UTC)[reply]
Just sayin.' Briefly. It's related, because it shows the attitude of one bureaucrat, which is certainly having an impact on cleaning up the mess at Changing username, which was the occasion for this candidacy. My candidacy was a long shot, intended as much to call attention to the need, in the hopes that a permanent custodian would volunteer. There are other possible solutions, that won't be decided here. I'll confine myself to saying that, had we behaved more responsibly, as a community, with respect to the applications made, it's likely we'd have garnered additional user participation. There is a lot of need for coordination with Wikipedia, and we've been needlessly irritating Wikipedia administrators, instead of making them feel welcome. That increases the attitude among WMF volunteers in general that Wikiversity is unreliable and flaky. --Abd 15:19, 13 October 2011 (UTC)[reply]
Strong oppose - Plus, there is no such thing as a "Bureaucrat mentorship", so putting that down there shows that you are further unqualified. You aren't even an actual admin/custodian, so you definitely don't have any right to ask for Bureaucratship. Ottava Rima (talk) 23:19, 10 October 2011 (UTC)[reply]
If my suggestion that there may be such a possibility as "probationary bureaucratship" disqualifies me, then, indeed, I'd be disqualified. And if the community prefers no 'crats (in effect or in actuality) to a probationary crat, perhaps one who may be restrained by any custodian (as per, say, something like Wikiversity:Candidates for Custodianship/Standard stop agreement), then, again, no problem. Easily, my work as a 'crat could be subject to very tight restrictions, simply allowing me to do certain specified actions, with violation of that resulting in immediate removal of the privilege. However, I'm in no rush, I'm just not withdrawing this candidacy because no other workable alternative has been proposed. --Abd 23:40, 25 October 2011 (UTC)[reply]
The difficulty is that the community has not trusted you with full custodial rights, but as a 'crat you can add full custodians, 'crats, etc. Once done this is not something that can be undone locally. So it is rather different then a probationary custodianship, in that other custodians that disagree with you can undo your actions. Given WV's history for drama, I think this is not a good idea. Thenub314 02:03, 26 October 2011 (UTC)[reply]