Wikiversity:Candidates for Custodianship/Countrymike

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Countrymike (Talk) – D | P | B | C[edit]

Request for custodianship
I've long avoided requesting custodianship on Wikiversity because of a dictum oft repeated by JWSchmidt that custodianship is "no big deal". I recently wanted to be bold and edit the front page of Wikiversity in regards to a disturbing discovery I made that the front page had not been edited in over a year; the front page is a locked page. Custodianship would have allowed me to edit that page, so now i'm being bold again and requesting Custodianship for myself. Many in Wikiversity will know me from my constant lurking on IRC perhaps more than my edits on the site itself. I have though started two projects on WV:

  1. Web architecture for Wikis: learning project to discuss the implications of web architecture on the emergence of large scale participatory wiki projects like Wikiversity; and
  2. Ivan Illich: Deschooling Society - a Reading Group. I am also working on the Portal:Reading groups page.

Many of you may also know that I am active in the WikiEducator project where I am a beauracrat and sysop as well as being a member of the Interim Advisory Board. I also have over 2,500 edits on WikiEducator and have developed the WE Tutorial and given workshops to numerous educators and individuals on editing MediaWiki sites. I have had an account on WP since December 2001. My main goals for Custodianship should it be granted by the community are to strengthen relationships between the two projects that I am most involved with in my networked life, to continue working on developing learning projects inside Wikiversity, and to act as trusted and informed member of this community, helping newcomers become old-timers and visa-versa ;-) Countrymike 20:29, 14 December 2007 (UTC)

Mentoring[edit]

To the candidate: please list preferred mentor(s), if any. Willing mentors can list themselves, below.

The two people that I have had the most discussion/dialogue with on Wikiversity would be JWSchmidt and Cormaggio and I would welcome either one of them to mentor me. Countrymike 23:23, 14 December 2007 (UTC)

In a case like this, where the candidate has a clear record of constructive Wikiversity participation and prior experience as a MediaWiki sysop, mentorship is really no big deal. I'd be happy to be the mentor of record for Countrymike. --JWSchmidt 00:32, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
Thanks JWS, its a deal then - you and me it is. :-) Countrymike 04:03, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
Countrymike is now a probationary custodian. Enjoy the tools! sebmol ? 14:33, 15 December 2007 (UTC)

Nomination for full custodianship[edit]

I nominate Countrymike for full custodianship. Countrymike has been a probationary custodian since December 15, 2007. Countrymike has been a participant at Wikiversity for 8 months. He also participates at IRC freenode #wikiversity-en and Wikiversity:Colloquium. One day in December 2007 Countrymike commented about how he could edit protected pages if he was a custodian, but he had no plans to become a great vandal hunter. I said, "the usual deal is: if you become a custodian and you notice some idiot vandalizing a bunch of pages, be willing to block the vandal's account....other than that, we do not expect much". Countrymike has continued to be a trusted member of the community during the probationary period. Countrymike should now be confirmed by the Wikiversity community as a full custodian. --JWS 15:27, 15 January 2008 (UTC)

Comments and discussion[edit]

There will be five days for community discussion of Countrymike (January 15-20).

Sounds like worthy goals to me. All of my interactions with Countrymike on IRC and elsewhere have been satisfactory. I think we should take a chance on him. I encourage some custodian to mentor him. I vote AYE. Give him a chance, we need more custodians in anticipation of soon to be arriving hordes. Mirwin 21:56, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
  • An interview with the candidate has been set up here. McCormack 16:44, 2 January 2008 (UTC)
    • The candidate added a full set of serious answers today, following on from the McCarthyism comment he made two weeks ago. I think all of it is really worth reading, as I think Countrymike reveals more about his candidacy here than he has elsewhere to date. --McCormack 11:36, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Custodianship is not a big deal. If a Wikiversity participant is trusted to not vandalize protected pages or to block vandals on sight or to help edit in the MediaWiki namespace and if an existing custodian agrees to be mentor then the participant is likely to become a probationary custodian. Given the nature of Wikiversity, I think we have to contemplate the creation of additional types of trusted functionaries beyond the types that have been found to be useful at Wikipedia. I have explored this idea at pages such as Wikiversity:Review board, specifically in the context of the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees request that Wikiversity have a policy for research. Independent of the need for supporting research activities, there is a need at Wikiversity for people who can do outreach and take on "ambassadorial functions" and be "liaisons for facilitating interactions between Wikiversity and professional educators and researchers outside of Wikiversity". So far, Wikiversity has tried to achieve "ambassadorial functions" by using an informal approach (example). I think the Wikiversity community should explore the development of additional types of community-approved functionaries and this would involve a process by which the community formally designates and approves fellow community members who are trusted to perform outreach functions for Wikiversity. It is a simple fact that informal systems along these lines already exist, largely out of view of the community. For example, existing administrators such as myself get contacted by people in the Foundation Office and asked to perform "outreach" functions such as talking to the press and collaborating with academics who are writing grant proposals involving Wikiversity. We should have a system for formalizing this kind of Wikiversity community representation, a system that makes everything transparent and gets the larger community involved. In conclusion, I think Countrymike is an obvious candidate for recognition as a trusted member of the Wikiversity community (which is why I pushed him to request custodianship and why I agreed to mentor) and I hope Countrymike will take on "ambassadorial" functions that aid development of Wikiversity. Wikiversity needs participants who can network with educators and help facilitate constructive interactions between Wikiversity, individual educators and other institutions/websites that serve educators. --JWSchmidt 15:25, 29 December 2007 (UTC)
  • To others watching my discussion with Brent, it unfortunately took a rather personal turn on 31st Dec., so I'd like to state here, clearly, for Brent and everyone else to see, where I trying to take the debate with Brent, and show that this is a positive direction.
    • Firstly, the trust issues. I don't want to close the door to the possibility of trusting Brent, but he needs to build trust with ALL of us, not just a chosen few, and he should therefore answer my questions in a forthright, direct manner designed to build trust. Whether or not he can recognize an olive branch, and value its offerer sufficiently to build a bridge, reflects his future capability as a custodian. The extent to which he engages in positive, open dialogue will reflect whether he prefers a consensus-based decision-making process or a cabal-based decision-making process. If he is consensus-minded, he would be a better custodian; cabal-mindedness (he simply doesn't bother to engage with me, because I'm not in his 'in'-group) would be a reason to reject him. Trust also means the issue that Brent is "number 2" on a 2nd website which others have long since accused of being a political front, but which, much more importantly, is the subject of a marketing campaign involving denigration of Wikiversity (User:JWSchmidt/Blog/31_December_2007). There's nothing wrong or untrustworthy about political sites per se; the danger creeps in with the "pretending to be what you aren't" and being associated with a marketing campaign that denigrates Wikiversity. Of course, Brent is not the only person who runs this site. Rather than making assumptions about Brent based on his associations, I'd rather give him a chance to clarify these associations and go more deeply into his current views on the politics of his conflicting interests and how he views his candidature in this context. Perhaps he is a critic of Erik and Wayne? I do not know. He should have the chance, and should be strongly invited, to expand on his relation with them. We need an open declaration from Brent on these issues if he is to build trust. Trust also involves the issue of the extent to which Brent can distance himself from his political leanings with respect to OER - custodians need the ability to drop their own POV, see things from other perspectives, defend the free speech of their opponents, and act accordingly. I'd also like to know from Brent what he meant by saying his intentions were (quote) "mostly good" followed by wink-smiley, apparently in the context of relations with Wikiversity - it sounds like an admission that we (or people outside his in-group) can't fully trust him (ref).
    • Secondly, the role issue: this is the issue over what role is appropriate for Brent, given his stated intentions. My position here is not anti-Brent. It is a pragmatic point that the role we give him should suit his declared intentions (if believable/ethical). Custodians have not previously been ambassadors from other sites, but it is perhaps an interesting idea. I can think of 20 or so important sites in the Open Educational Movement, many of whom are far more significant than WikiEducator, with whom we could exchange ambassadors. Perhaps we should co-opt 20 custodians all in one go from all of these sites, to avoid any suggestion of unfairly favouring Brent's site? Of course, once this suggestion is made, and once we ask ourselves why on earth these ambassadors would need admin privileges here, then it becomes pretty obvious that what we actually need to do is expand Wikiversity's Outreach Programme, perhaps beefing it up into a consultative committee of some kind and making formal appointments to it. If Brent's commitment to Wikiversity is genuine, then he should jump at this offer of a new role - both representing his own site on this committee, and perhaps helping reach out and involve further parties. In bringing in further sites which differ in ideology from his own, he could demonstrate his potential impartiality and neutrality as a Wikiversitarian, and build trust with people like myself. Perhaps after a couple of years in which Brent has proven his ability to rise above his personal beliefs on OER issues and reach out impartially, he could re-apply as a custodian? Yet another side to all this is the testing of Brent's ambassadorial skills and intentions: if he really intends to act as an ambassador, then he needs to show his willingness and ability to forge relations with those here who are most suspicious of him, rather than dodge the issues and hide his cards. A further and interesting idea here is that ambassadors are always exchanged and always hold reciprocal privileges, which would suggest that if he wishes to be an ambassador here, then his site must accept an ambassador in exchange, accord that ambassador identical privileges, and treat that ambassador with equal courtesy (me as ambassador to them?!)(thinking way outside the box).
    • Thirdly, the advocacy (spamming) issue. An ambassador is just a nice way to say "spin doctor", "spammer" or "advocate"; all the words have to do with marketing. Wikimedia projects are constantly the target of forms of vandalism which attempt to attract attention to particular websites or viewpoints. Edit-and-run vandals are easy to fix. The tougher vandals are the ones who infiltrate deeply and non-obviously into the system, manipulating content in the long term, never quite enough to become conspicuous. Many link-spam vandals never actually see themselves as vandals - they may genuinely believe in the usefulness of their edits and the validity of their viewpoints, and they may be not fully aware of policies on neutrality and the ban on advocacy. Perhaps Brent has really not realised that his "ambassadorial" platform can be seen as precisely this. There are issues which need to be explored here such as the difference (if any) between what Brent is proposing and (banned) advocacy. We need to think about an ethics code for custodians. It would be an interesting experiment to propose to Brent that custodians adopt an ethics code in which they ban themselves from ever mentioning any external site with which they are associated - would he prefer to continue with his candidacy? or remain an advocate? Which is more important to him? I would encourage Brent not to perceive this as an attack on him, but as an opportunity to reflect on his intentions, to learn from the wiki-way, and to modify his perception of himself and his goals here so that he can play a more valuable role.
    • As part of this process of dialogue, I had considered perhaps beginning a joint dialogue-style learning project with Brent on "what WikiEducator is", in which he and I debate strongly the issues involved, for the benefit of the Wikiversity community, adhering to civility and truthfulness. I think this would be a constructive process. (Note: since I wrote the draft for this, JWS has also suggested this and started the page). A second project or page which I had thought about would have been an "interview" with the candidate, rather like the interviews with some people over at Wikipedia when they run for or win organisational roles. Brent needs to realise, if he accepts these challenges, that journalists aren't tame - tough questions, and even loaded questions, are the norm. Brent isn't being victimised if I make him sweat - on the contrary, for me to even bother asking somebody tough questions is an offer to them that they can gain my respect.
  • This post is rather long, so I have transcluded it; if and when we vote on Brent's custodianship, I'll replace the transclusion with a link to tidy the page up.
--McCormack 14:04, 2 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Countrymike, You are competent as an editor and as a custodian. Does the confirmation of your custodianship imply that the role of wikiversity custodian would be expanded to include ambassadorial roles, for that is your principal candidacy platform? (Or should it be discussed in the colloquium?) Do you really think it is a good idea? And are you going to take major part in developing wikiversity outreach? Hillgentleman|Talk 21:28, 15 January 2008 (UTC)
Hillgentleman: I think that people should be comfortable requesting candidacy for custodianship along wider lines than just solely wanting access to "the tools"; learning to use the tools is a valuable asset to this community, but so are things like networking, promoting the values and projects embodied here and having the community endorse you in doing so by granting custodianship. I do hope to develop wikiversity outreach as much as I possibly can. Countrymike 07:38, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
Quick clarification: I take it that you mean "Yes it implies, (No comment on whether to discuss in collquium), Yes it is a good idea, and Yes I shall take part". Hillgentleman|Talk 15:00, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
Hillgentleman, I don't think that it implies that all custodians need be ambassadorial, but I suppose it does suggest that other criteria besides just access to the tools should be considered. Yes, it should be discussed in the Colloqium (which I'm glad to see it now is), and yes I will do my best to take part. I often do take part in outreach, but this may not be reflected in Wikiversity edits. I have long had a page about WV on WE and also created the WikiEducator page on WV; i'm always pointing people on WE to WV projects on the WE mailing list, I recently had interwiki links created from WE to WV, and have recently been suggesting to people on WE that they join in on Teemu's Composing free and open online educational resources course. Countrymike 21:00, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
Normally probationary candidates use their probationary period (or indeed the time before that) to show, very concretely, how they propose to put their words into actions. Custodians aren't normally elected on the basis of promises, but on the basis of solid actions backing up their words. It's unfortunate that you haven't really done very much about this "ambassador" thing to date, because then we could really see what you mean. Perhaps you could (right now?!) add an entire plan to the talk page of the outreach project on how you would develop it? Would you consider delaying or withdrawing your candidacy until you have had a better chance to back up your words with actions? --McCormack 11:45, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
  • <edit conflict> In my opinion, nothing could ever be presented by the candidate which could 'back up words with actions' - the success or failure of this custodianship is presented in a way that heavily hinges on something that a Wiki - a specialized piece of software that mediates asynchronous collaboration - was never designed to regulate, nor have oversight on, (among many other things). For a Wiki to grant symbolic support and autonomy for actions off-wiki, I am not entirely comfortable with, and I would say, my inclination is being heavily against it, at least, in the form that it has been presented here. Where is the delineation of one's virtual-wiki and real presence, and to what extent should these influence each other? The community hasn't a satisfactory answer, and it probably cannot supply it either. Yes, Wikiversity is an experimental Wiki, and should it choose to engage this directly with this candidacy, good luck to it. I feel that in a way this custodianship has been made much more complicated than it had to be. I regret not jumping in much earlier to suggest that we should not be examining these issues in quite a strongly coupled way. A discussion about reconsidering the notion of a "custodian" should have been initiated, and kept separate from evaluating the custodianship. What has happened now, is that we have knowledge in advance that Countrymike intends to use custodianship off-wiki in a sense, and I am not sure whether anyone can be impartial enough to evaluate this fairly. What exactly would it mean to "support" or "oppose" in this context? It has become slightly loaded. Ironically, if the candidacy was simply presented as a plain vanilla one which passed, and then, sometime later, a statement was issued to the community, (say, on the Colloquium) to the effect "I'm well connected in the real word to people who could make a difference, and I think I can get them to help us out", there would have likely been an enthusiastic support. The difference here is that this shows initiative on the part of the custodian, which does not require the community's judgment. Personally, I think we are potentially losing a valuable candidate if this does not pass, but I cannot support this wholeheartedly as it stands. One alternative might be to resubmit this candidacy a little bit later, and perhaps by that time, it would be more apparent to the community that the candidacy, in reality, does not hinge so much on what one does off wiki. In short, it is not entirely convincing that the proper mechanisms are in place to support ambassador-type functions satisfactorily, even though it has been presented with the best of intentions. More discussion is necessary, although I think we need to give this a rest for the time being. --HappyCamper 17:42, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
    Scratch all the above. I've changed my mind on a number of issues after some intense reviewing and thinking these days. --HappyCamper 23:31, 19 January 2008 (UTC)
  • When I read the candidacy I thought: "Who is Countrymike ?" since I didnt remember having talks with him in IRC or so and did not remember his edits either (probably I am just getting old or it was that my internet was gone at end of December :-)) So I had to look at the figures first.
In the time as probationary custodian Countrymike's:
  • usage of sysop tools:
  • deletion: 1
  • undo: 1
  • rollback: 4
  • no protections, no blocks
  • about 130 WV-edits (85 of them {{subst:welcome}})


in the same period of time for all custodians in total:
  • 190 deletions
  • 17 protections
  • 9 blocks
Then I had a look at the candidates history in the same time on Wikieducator:
  • about 340 edits
  • revert: 1


I liked that McCormack asked questions. It helps me gather more data about the candidates past edits, though it is a selection. Thanks again to McCormack who did this for us.
Regarding the mediawiki software the difference between a custodian and a registered user is written here. Expectations in the sysop flag are by humans who assume a status/something special in the sysop flag, because the real world likes such things. But we are in the virtual world here. As it says in How are Custodians expected to act?: "Custodians are supposed to follow the same principles as every other user, including being civil, assuming good faith, and understanding what Wikiversity is. They are expected to act professionally."
  • Why were the tools not so much used ? Perhaps this indicates a problem with the explanation of the tools or when to use them appropriately ? If the tools are not used, they seem not to be needed. Or was there nothing to use the tools with ? As I read you were on holiday, but I see regularly edits in the probationary time. Or were there some other reason ? (Comparison with wikieducator for your account since February 2006: 48 deletions, 4 blocks, 0 protections.)
Erkan: I didn't find a lot of opportunities to use the tools during this period, which was probably quite quiet anyway due to falling within the holiday season. Couple of rollbacks for vandalism was about all I noted and dealt with. Countrymike 20:24, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Being active in several projects where the candidate is involved could cause problems like:
  • dedication of time for each project - and being specific for: WV ?
  • any interest of conflict might appear between a WV project and non-WV-project? Or is there actually no difference and we just make a difference ? But instead of seeing the differences, perhaps we can use Countrymike as a bridge/ambassador. But then again the question arises of: the day just has 24h and how much time will be spend with tasks where the sysops tools are used, which are the only difference between a custodian and a normal user from mediawiki point of view. Since being custodian is really hard work, which Countrymike probably knows from Wikieducator, could you also give an answer to this ?
I tend to have both WV and WE open all day long and check both regularly as well as being logged into both IRC channels. I don't really buy the conflict of interest arguement -- the two projects are complementary to each other and not in competition. To me this is about changing and challenging education and I participate in many channels that have similar goals. Countrymike 20:24, 17 January 2008 (UTC)


  • In general it is good that the candidate's mentor is supporting him, since the mentor should have had a close eye on the candidate. And probably will also continue doing so later on.
  • We should be open to anyone. Even people, who we do not consider as being yet ready for custodian can change their habits. This can be a learning project too - in one kind of way. I guess a sysop flag can also be reverted when the community feels afterwards that the flag does not suit the human or ? ----Erkan Yilmaz (Wikiversity:Chat, wiki blog) 16:47, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
Erkan, you may note that there are at least 4 or 5 custodians who are no longer active on the project at all. Countrymike 20:24, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
Hello Brent, thank you for your explanations above. About the inactivity: that is true. And if the inactive custodians would be around here, it would be better than not being around. WV would profit from this, I am sure. We could think of ways to make them participate more again perhaps ? ----Erkan Yilmaz (Wikiversity:Chat, wiki blog) 20:54, 17 January 2008 (UTC)

My goodness! I came here from the colloquium, and am honestly stunned by the diatribes here. Just 3 quick comments:

  1. I doubt my own logs are much beefier over the past month... should I be desysopped for inactivity? There's really just not that much to do on Wikiversity when it comes to actually employing custodian tools, because we don't have 1,000 vandals per day.
  2. I can't imagine anyone thinks that Countrymike would use sysop tools to hurt the project, and as far as I'm concerned, that's the threshold for custodianship.
  3. Interpreting the "custodian position" as being an "ambassador position" is fine too. "Custodian", in my view, means nothing more than "trusted user who understands what Wikiversity is," and he (or I, or anyone else) is more than welcome to do outreach as a "trusted user who understands what Wikiversity is."

Seems to me this is a tempest in a teapot caused by making mountains out of molehills, and we need to resist the temptation to try to drown the moles with the bathwater and dropping the baby in the process. --SB_Johnny | talk 18:15, 16 January 2008 (UTC)

  • Reply to comments made above on this page (HappyCamper 17:42, 16 January 2008): "For a Wiki to grant symbolic support and autonomy for actions off-wiki....in the form that it has been presented here". <-- As far as I can tell, "the form it has been presented here" is not significantly different from what has been going on in Wikimedia projects for the past four or so years. Wikimedia volunteers perform outreach duties and when people from outside of Wikimedia want to talk to a volunteer they often seek out community-designated functionaries rather than other editors who have never been evaluated and discussed by their wiki peers. In that sense, every community decision about granting an editor access to MediaWiki sysop tools is implicitly a decision that involves a potential change in the candidate's chances of performing outreach in the future. In my view, what is unusual in this case is that there is explicit discussion about outreach rather everyone leaving the topic in background. So far, the Wikiversity community has had little constructive discussion about how to deal with the challenges of outreach. I put my general comments on outreach at the Colloquium. I think what we need to discuss is not exactly "reconsidering the notion of a custodian". I think we need to think creatively about the nature of community-designated functionaries and if there are new types of functionaries that are worth having at Wikiversity. "it is not entirely convincing that the proper mechanisms are in place to support ambassador-type functions satisfactorily" <-- This is a general failing of Wikimedia and is not really the topic of discussion for this page. I previously started a page for discussion of new types of Wikiversity functionaries, but that was oriented towards the needs of research policy. Maybe we should start to make use of Wikiversity:Outreach for a serious discussion of "ambassador-type functions". --JWSchmidt 20:53, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
    • Round and round we go, and it seems the "policy people" want to drown out the "content people". Mirwin and I on the same page as content creators, McCormack (contribs) and JWS (contribs)(other contribs) arguing on principle. No offense to either of you (and Countrymike's contribs on that "other wiki" are just like yours here), but you (and Countrymike) seem more interested in helping people make content than you are in actually generating content. That's fine, BUT: constantly leaving links to Wikiversity:Outreach isn't the same as collaborating with fellow Wikiversitans to make outreach happen, and arguing about whether the Wikimedia Foundation should promote Wikiversity over WikiEducator should be done on the foundation mailinglist (and last I checked, I am the only one who even brought it up!).
    • I (me, personally, SB_Johnny) am just as happy having Countrymike speak for our project as I am having JWSchmidt or McCormack speaking for our project. I (same disclosure) would be even happier if it was mirwin or myself, but we're usually too busy creating content. Content is what people expect to find or create when they come here, and the two of you have to stop worrying about policies and welcome templates so you can spend your policy-making energies on just helping people make content. Every choice we make as a community will affect what comes next as our community (and content) moves toward. God only knows how we made it out of the "beta" phase, but here we are, and if we want to preserve what we've created, we can't start saying who can do what and when they can do it: certainly not this soon, and hopefully never. This sort of politics is toxic. All we need do is stick to the principles: anyone can edit, anyone can create, and anyone can say what they will about us. The only question for Countrymike is whether he'll speak for us in a kind and supportive way, and I can't imagine he'd do otherwise, because even though he's taken a beating here (did you really mean to accuse him of spamming?????), he's still here being his kind old self.
    • I vote that we never have this sort of conversation again.--SB_Johnny | talk 23:17, 16 January 2008 (UTC)

Quite a lot of discussion going on here. As a more or less inactive custodian on WV with a fairly neutral perspective on the issue (nobody has perfect NPOV, and to claim as much would be in violation of NPOV!) I'm going to pitch in a couple of points here. Please note that these are entirely my opinions, however are based on my understanding of the general policies accepted on WV and the issues at stake here.

  • First, JWS notes that custodianship is not a big deal. It isn't. If he needs the tools, and he isn't going to abuse them, we give him the tools. If he does abuse them, we take them away. That's how WV's approach to democracy works and that's why bureaucrats are perfectly normal members of the WV community.
  • This then means that there is very little, if any, implied faith in a custodian as an ambassador for WV. Custodianship is simply taking care of the wiki, and probably is more about spending hours importing pages from wikibooks than engaging in major decision making. Being accepted as a custodian shows some basic trust from the community. However, at present, with no real standards for custodianship, as well as JWS doing a lot of the decision making in this area, I feel it would be inaccurate to suggest all custodians are automatically considered trustworthy ambassadors for WV. We don't have a WP-style RFA process with very careful scrutiny from such a broad range of users to the point where POV pushing is destined to fail, so we have to be careful what assertions we make about our custodians.
  • Following on from this, at one point here in this discussion an issue of NPOV and the potential for a relationship with WE to undermine WV was raised. This is totally irrelevant to Countrymike's custodianship. If there is any evidence of such a relationship undermining WV it should be brought to the community's attention and it should be dealt with on consensus. It is not a matter to be taken lightly, and it's not something we can confine to IRC as we do for quite a few of our policy debates.
  • Countrymike's role as an ambassador for WE raises another issue altogether. I discuss it here as it is potentially relevant to his custodianship. It seems to be generally taken for granted by some of the members of the community that granting Countrymike custodianship is granting WE custodianship. It isn't. Countrymike is not WE, although he does have strong ties to it. We must trust him to take NPOV seriously and have a clear seperation between his role on WE and his role on WV. If he fails in this respect, we warn him about it. If he fails again, he is unfit to be a custodian and he loses the mop, to use the WP phrase for the event. However:
  • And this is the key issue here. WV is an open community. We welcome open discussion, we welcome open suggestion for change, and we welcome intelligent debate. Personal attacks, POV pushing etc. are not tolerated. But unless Countrymike has significant evidence of this in his history (my recent response to one of his comments notwithstanding) we begin by placing basic trust in him and we do not make premature judgements of him. The period of probation for custodians would ideally be six to eight weeks, as the candidates themselves have proved themselves reasonable editors, and we need six to eight weeks to assess their approach to custodianship. However, we cannot start assuming that he will attempt to undermine WV or to abuse his power, and this is part of the spirit and culture of WV.
  • There was also a question of WE's relationship with WV being about little besides stealing traffic. Allegations of this nature should be avoided at all costs, however an assertion to the contrary is essential. If the WE representatives here, presumably starting with Countrymike and Mackiewg, were to start a page in the Wikiversity namespace documenting what exactly it is this relationship would involve from there side, in simple terms, and the WV representatives do the same, the community would see what exactly is going on. A lot of the controversy here seems to be because of a lack of understanding of WE's side of the debate; clarification would be very important, and should probably start with Countrymike. Of course, allegations must be responded to, to which I pose this question to Countrymike - 'will you respect NPOV in your dealings as a WV custodian? I have no reason to suspect otherwise, however a simple answer to this question should put to rest the minds of some who have contributed to this discussion.
Dracione, yes. I have just spent some time reviewing the policies on both WP and WV and will respect NPOV or otherwise as a participant in learning projects disclose my biases. Countrymike 01:29, 20 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Finally, this brings us to a key issue of culture between WE and WV - as above, this custodianship should have no impact on WV's culture. If WE culture starts creeping into policy through Countrymike, so be it. Wikis are ever changing worlds. If any negative impacts come about, I trust the community will act quickly, and if it cannot there is little reason to accept more custodians than it needs and than it can handle.
Dracione, While participating in debate around policy is not something I shirk from, actively authoring policy is not particularly my forte -- what is becoming somewhat clouded in this debate is that I really want all the OER projects to succeed, and that I'm willing to volunteer the time to help develop interesting and engaging learning projects, use the mop(s) where needed, to help clean-up, organize, categorize and make sense of Wikiversity, and to promote this project throughout my network where appropriate. I'm truly surprised by what I think someone referred to as the tempest in a teacup that my candidacy has stirred amongst a few users. Countrymike 01:29, 20 January 2008 (UTC)

Any responses directly to me should probably be CC'd to my email inbox, draicone at gmail, as I infrequently monitor my watchlist pages due to my present lack of time. --Draicone (talk) 12:15, 19 January 2008 (UTC)


  • Symbol support vote.svg Support - looking forward to working with Countrymike here. --HappyCamper 23:28, 19 January 2008 (UTC)


YesY Done I'm closing this nomination as successful. After having read the comments made here, the interview, the "discussion part 1" and the discussion at the Colloquium, I've come to the conclusion that there is no significant obstacles to Countrymike being given the status of custodian. Taking on an ambassadorial role does not conflict with acting as a custodian, those two roles don't really overlap either. The concerns expressed by one user about NPOV, loyalties, spamming, etc. are interesting, they are however hypothetical and demonstrate a somewhat pessimistic perspective not particularly helpful in developing Wikiversity further. Assuming good faith is a cornerstone of Wikiversity and it's something one should not forget simply because one doesn't agree with all the activities someone engages in or someone doesn't fulfill a role exactly according to the picture one has of it It's the differences and diversity of opinions and viewpoints that, in the end, will make sure Wikiversity keeps progressing as a useful project. sebmol ? 12:48, 20 January 2008 (UTC)