Wikiversity:Notices for custodians/Archive/4

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Recommend block on

I have just been doing checkuser on spambot clean up on enWV, and I would like to recommend that the wiki looks to put a long term block on From my view of the last three months there is spambots only and about 30 of them. — billinghurst sDrewth 10:37, 8 April 2013 (UTC)

Thanks, YesY Done Special:Log/block -- Jtneill - Talk - c 12:52, 8 April 2013 (UTC)

Added a couple of the user ns spam filters

I have put a couple of the more useful user namespace orientated abuse filters into place here. They have been successfully tested at other English language wikis for a reasonable amount of time for very low false positive rate. If you don't want them, then please turn them off. — billinghurst sDrewth 06:49, 27 May 2013 (UTC)

Script error

Mr. Stradivarius has been converting various high-use templates over from template code to Lua code. However, the dependent Lua modules are not being copied with it. What's interesting is that he made his changes on on October 20, and I didn't notice the script error warnings until this weekend. So I'm not exactly sure what's causing it. It almost seems like there's module code that should be importing from Commons, and it works for awhile and then stops. I tried importing the supporting modules from Wikipedia, but there is an error in Module:Category handler that is preventing the Lua code from working. I rolled back the change to Template: Ombox for now, and that fixed one problem I was having, but there are still script errors appearing because of the Module:Category handler problem. Does anyone know who to follow up with on this? -- Dave Braunschweig (discusscontribs) 04:18, 4 November 2013 (UTC)

I had a problem with this script error too, that started this weekend. I hope I didn't import anything that caused this. - Sidelight12 Talk 13:04, 4 November 2013 (UTC)

(copied from Wikiversity:Request custodian action)

Czech listed as "undefined"

How would the link display be changed to the proper name, instead of "undefined", under "Languages"? The source shows , in the similar way to the other languages listed. - Sidelight12 Talk 15:04, 5 December 2013 (UTC)

History split

How can I split the history between two pages, in case of a content split or other reason? - Sidelight12 Talk 21:04, 1 January 2014 (UTC)

I don't think you can, not directly. I have generally left the version with the most edits as the page itself, i.e., the version being kept with its history, then I copy the other material as wikitext to the other page, with a reference to the source page(s) in the edit copying that material or at least on the new Talk page. That satisfies the license for attribution, and someone looking for that history can readily find and understand it. There should be references both ways, so future generations can fimd the source for all text, and what happened to old removed text, or at least a version of it.
However, if you really want to confuse the hell out of future generations, transwiki the page elsewhere, then reimport it to a new name. That would accomplish what you have asked for. I don't think the gain is worth the effort, but I suppose it's possible at some point, somewhere, some very complicated situation. I haven't seen anything like that. It would do "interesting" things to the contribution history of those who edited the page. —Abd (discusscontribs) 21:19, 1 January 2014 (UTC)
Oh ok, thanks. So making a copy of it would be part of it, then hide the revisions. I can't import to another wiki, since I am not a custodian anywhere else, to be able to import it back (to make a copy). - Sidelight12 Talk 21:26, 1 January 2014 (UTC)
You would not "hide" any revisions, I don't think. That would conceal context for the original editing. You would, in the single wiki version, revert to a revision or leave it as the latest, whichever, and you would copy text to the other version, referring to a permanent link or links where you got the text. Then people, if they want to see the history, can look at the other page, the one with the history.
If you used transwiki to do this, you would simply revert those two pages to different versions. I do not recommend directly using admin tools for content control, absent consensus. Especially don't hide revisions, it puts people off their feed, it makes the wiki not transparent, some will think there is some monkey business going on. That is, there should be strong reason.
As to not being an admin elsewhere, you can simply ask an admin to do it. That's what I do here when I need admin tools. I also think there may be a wiki where you can get admin tools, test wiki? It could be easy peasy. —Abd (discusscontribs) 22:10, 1 January 2014 (UTC)

Blocked User: TeleComNasSprVen

User:TeleComNasSprVen has been blocked indefinitely because of disruptive edit warring and publishing inappropriate personal information on page User_talk:Diego Grez. Edit history has been deleted (hidden) to avoid additional public review of the personal information. Custodians, however, may review the history and confirm. -- Dave Braunschweig (discusscontribs) 23:59, 15 March 2014 (UTC)

Block was lifted today. TeleComNasSprVen (discusscontribs) 22:06, 16 March 2014 (UTC)

Email privacy

On email transactions, there is a privacy concern, that it shows the email addresses (at least to the receiver), rather than having the Wikiproject relay it with username and the Wikiproject as the sender or receiver. I believe other websites use that route. Unless the mail server is run through a commonly used internet mailbox, that uses a name that is not the user's. My preferences say, "E-mail address is optional, but it enables others to contact you through your user or user_talk page without needing to reveal your identity. You can also choose to let others contact you by email through a link on your user or talk page. Your email address is not revealed when other users contact you." - Sidelight12 Talk 07:01, 28 March 2014 (UTC)

The wording is correct, but perhaps misleading. It indicates that if you turn on email, users can contact you by email without revealing your email address to them. When someone sends email, that page states, 'The email address you entered in your user preferences will appear as the "From" address of the email, so the recipient will be able to reply directly to you.' The recipient would only reveal private information if they respond directly. Users who prefer not to reveal their private address should not respond by email.
I just checked, and Wikipedia has the same settings and the same result. They have a better banner that highlights that the sender's address is revealed, but it's the same effect. I don't have any reason to believe there's anything we can change in terms of settings that would alter this behavior, but feel free to take a look at the MediaWiki documentation and let us know if there's a setting that covers this. Otherwise, it would be a matter of finding the appropriate forum and proposing the change, or submitting it as a bug. It may also have already been discussed and rejected. The problem with allowing anonymous email is that the wiki becomes responsible for it. By sending email as the sender, you remain responsible for your own activities.
Dave Braunschweig (discusscontribs) 13:44, 28 March 2014 (UTC)
If you wish to respond without revealing your identity, you can use any free email service, it is trivial to set one up, and respond to the email you receive using that other address. or just set up that address as your wiki email. The way the software is set up is excellent, for the reason Dave has explained. There is more. The email is quite private, checkusers can only see that an email was sent, and when, but not to whom it was sent or any other content. So if someone sends an abusive email, and denies sending it, the recipient can provide the headers to a checkuser and the checkuser can verify a mail was sent at that exact time. In my opinion, a secure checksum on the mail should also be kept, to avoid a recipient modifying an email to make it seem abusive. On that point, I don't know if anything is done. Basically, don't send an email to someone you are not willing to trust with you email address -- which could be an anonymous googlemail account -- or who might complain about the email. --Abd (discusscontribs) 15:52, 28 March 2014 (UTC)


User:Sidelight12 has been blocked for misuse of custodian tools used to harass User:Leucosticte and User:Abd. Sidelight12 may be unblocked at any point with agreement not to interact custodially with Leucosticte or Abd, and agreement not to use custodial tools in reprisal against me. There are other, more appropriate ways to handle his concerns. -- Dave Braunschweig (discusscontribs) 13:03, 16 October 2014 (UTC)

I emailed Dave and asked him not to unblock, but I think he did this before getting that mail. I asked him to not unblock to avoid wheel-warring. However, his unblocks are fully aligned with policy, all except for wheel-warring, and Sidelight was clearly wheel-warring, a probationary custodian wheel-warring with a permanent one. We will be addressing probationary custodian policy so that this becomes a cause for immediate desysop. I cannot recall this having happened before. I was emergency desysopped for an unblock, but I had discussed the unblock with the blocking custodian, and did not wheel-war. My unblock was reversed immediately by another custodian, without discussion. Technically, that was wheel-warring. Here, Dave discussed the blocks with Sidelight, Sidelight's responses were not policy-based, and Sidelight has shown clear involvement, which would ordinary require recusal.
In the voluntary WV:Candidates for Custodianship/Standard stop agreement that was used by me and another probationary custodian, it is provided that any permanent custodian may require a probationer to cease tool usage by notice on their talk page, and, in an emergency, may block first. The agreement then allowed the probationer to unblock self, which unblock would represent clear receipt of notice, and if the stop request were violated, this would be grounds for immediate desysop at meta. Dave is essentially following that procedure, even though Sidelight did not agree to it, because the procedure is really a formalization of what the community will expect if it considers the matter. Probationary custodians do not wheel-war with permanent custodians, period.
If Sidelight unblocks himself, this would ordinarily be considered use of tools while involved, and historically this has eventually resulted in desysop. Dave has provided a legitimate way for Sidelight to unblock himself, by making it an acknowledgement of a specific restriction.
The situation is not symmetrical. Dave, as a permanent custodian, is highly and routinely involved in site maintenance, and reliably and predictably so, rigorously following policy and not merely his own opinions. Sidelight is erratic, is not crucial for any Wikiversity maintenance, and never understood the role of custodian. Dave has properly notified the custodial community here of his action, which could be considered an emergency action, and there has been some draft custodian policy, providing that wherever there could be recusal failure, a custodian may act anyway to protect the wiki and the community, but with immediate consultation here or on WV:RCA. Sidelight, blocking users with whom he was in long-term conflict, did not do this at all, and also showed that he does not understand how the tools work, and he's refused to learn. His block of Leucosticte did not merely block email so that the user would be forced to do everything on-wiki, it blocked him so that he could not edit at all.
While I preferred that wheel-warring be avoided and that the matter be resolved by an independent custodian or bureaucrat, Dave's action is fully legitimate. --Abd (discusscontribs) 14:20, 16 October 2014 (UTC)

Sidelight12 has unblocked himself, blocked me, and reblocked Leucosticte and Abd. His reasons for blocking violate Wikiversity:Blocking policy. He refuses to communicate regarding these issues, and will not allow anyone involved to comment on his talk page. I've unblocked myself, Leucosticte and Abd per Blocking policy, but we seem to be running out of options here that don't involve stewards. -- Dave Braunschweig (discusscontribs) 16:19, 16 October 2014 (UTC)

I have requested emergency desysop at [1]. A confirmation there from Dave will be proper, though they have been pointed to this page, confirmation from independent sysops, or a bureaucrat will be very helpful. If Jtneill requests, as mentor and 'crat, they will definitely grant desysop, otherwise stewards may want to wait for local discussion process, which, of course, cannot happen if Sidelight is blocking everyone involved but himself. --Abd (discusscontribs) 17:15, 16 October 2014 (UTC)
  • Good evening. I have proceeded with an emergency desysop of @Sidelight12: in light of their self-unblock, a clear misuse of administrative rights and a big no-no anywhere on Wikimedia. I had been loosely monitoring the situations here, and was hoping that this would not be necessary. I would have preferred if the request would have come from somebody uninvolved with this matter, as @Abd: themselves acknowledged, but I think the matter is pretty straightforward and clear. I would suggest that @Dave Braunschweig: refrain from blocking the user again, as I don't think it would help anything and just further inflame the situation (with the temporary loss of administrative privileges the original block reason is moot). I will leave a message on the talk page of the only 'crat active in the past two weeks, @Jtneill: and ask him to take over the matter from this point on, restoring the administrative priviledges according to local procedures and practices when deemed right to do so. I hope all the parties can find some way to settle this matter amicably, as wheel warring reflects badly on all the parties involved. Maybe an uninvolved administrator can take a look at the original blocks and make a decision about whether they need to be reinstated or not, and Dave and Sidelight can disengage from the matter? I see that Leighblackall, Leutha and Jtneill were all active lately so maybe they look into this? Kind regards, Snowolf How can I help? 17:32, 16 October 2014 (UTC)
  • I would also have preferred the request be by someone neutral, or, even better, by the mentor, a bureaucrat. However, even though involved, I can still make a request. Had that request been disruptive, I'd have been dead meat.
We have only one reliably active permanent custodian, Dave. We will be creating more, and we will need at least one more 'crat, also.
Dave also unblocked himself. The problem is not exactly that Sidelight unblocked himself, it is that he unblocked himself and completely disregarded the reason for the block, and continued to act where there was no emergency at all, only his negative opinion of users, and completely failed to consult the community while taking drastic actions.
It is also that Sidelight was probationary, which happens here with no vote, only the agreement of a mentor, and Dave is permanent, ratified by the community. It is also that Dave was clearly following policy and Sidelight was massively violating it. It is that Dave, where his action might be questioned, routinely reported it to the community and consulted. Sidelight never did that.
We will be improving policy clarity on this. I have never before seen a probationary custodian blatantly wheel-war with a permanent custodian. (I never did anything even approaching this when I was a probationary custodian.) It's wiki-suicide. We have had all kinds of problems, but not this one.
Thanks for your very prompt action. I expected it might take more time, a request for confirmation, etc. But your action was spot on. I was not planning on filing on meta, until the wheel-warring broke out today, I assumed that if Sidelight was to be desysopped, it would be through mentor action or normal discussion process, but that process could not take place if he was blocking everyone involved! That had to stop. --Abd (discusscontribs) 18:18, 16 October 2014 (UTC)

I apologize to the community for unblocking myself, but at the time it seemed the only appropriate solution to reduce impact to the then-reblocked Leucosticte and Abd, and posted notice of my actions here in case there were any questions. I thank Snowolf for his quick response. I see no need to re-block Sidelight12. He is an excellent editor of Wikiversity content. The only issues have been related to his custodial approach and use of tools in violation of policy, violation of proposed policy, and refusal to engage in meaningful dialog with anyone involved. I sincerely hope that he will now engage in that meaningful dialog. -- Dave Braunschweig (discusscontribs) 18:31, 16 October 2014 (UTC)

I do not agree to daves made up rules, then he keeps refering to a proposal as policy. The block was inappropriate to start with, and if I'm going to be desysoped over this, then dave needs to be desysoped too. The only way I broke a rule was by not blocking first. And to do the firsr block was inappropriate. You wanted to slant the case at meta wiki, before the whole case could be made. I made my reason in my edit. It was a gross misuse of tools by dave. - sidelight12
To be clear, Dave did not edit the meta wiki on this, as Sidelight implies. Sidelight made the same mistake there. I filed the request on meta. I did not consult with Dave first, this was my action. This was the filing and complete discussion.[2] It was not slanted, it described what was happening. Yes, there were a couple of words of conclusion. One does not file a request there without proposing action. It was acknowledged by me and recognized on meta that the filing was irregular (normally this will be done by a 'crat.)
I pointed to Wikiversity evidence, the steward took one look and acted. His immediate response was not based on a full understanding of the situation. That's common for stewards. They are not perfect. Had he erred, it could easily have been fixed by Sidelight's mentor. That is the argument I've seen over and over when desysopped users go to meta to complain. Very quickly, here, when the desysop was done, the mentor looked at the situation and confirmed that the probationary custodianship had ended. By Wikiversity policy, and long custom, Sidelight may again apply for probationary custodianship and if a permanent custodian agrees, the rights can be reinstated. At this point, though, I'd recommend against it. Waste of time. A few years of experience, learning to use the tools (such as knowing how the block tool works), how to work with community consensus, instead of acting based on "I'm right, they are wrong," maybe. Good luck, Sidelight. Wikiversity is for "learning by doing," and I hope you have learned something. I've been emergency desysopped twice, and removed by Community Review once, and I learned from it. You can, too. --Abd (discusscontribs) 17:15, 17 October 2014 (UTC)

Thanks all for your considerations and actions here. As I understand it, Sidelight12's admin user rights on English Wikiversity were removed by Snowolf (meta steward) as a temporary 'emergency' action to prevent further wheel-warring use of blocking/unblocking and to allow local discussion and consensus. As Sidelight12's probationary custodianship mentor and a bureaucrat here, I am concerned that Sidelight12's use of the block/unblock tool, in particular, has been controversial and hasn't involved more consultation with others (e.g., community, mentor), particularly given that this has been during a period of probationary custodianship. At this stage, I'm not inclined to reinstate Sidelight12's access to admin user rights unless there was a community consensus to do so. -- Jtneill - Talk - c 05:36, 17 October 2014 (UTC)

dave abused his tools when he blocked me. I explained what was necessary in block summary. Leucostite was a threat to the community, because of his tendency and eagerness to write dangerous material. Abd is not allowed on my page and he needed to stay blocked for. 2 weeks. I do not agree with their made up rules, so I did not post here when it was just abd and dave. The meta community needed to intervene bc its just abd and dave saying they are the community. No they do did not act in the interest of the community, this is in the interest of abd and leucostite. Dave also unblocked himself. He undid the blocks who broke the rules and needed to be blocked. I unblocked myself to block them If you see the past conflicts, I saw no use in posting here, bc its nothing but reinforcement, by abd and he has a history of making up rules as he goes. I've also seeked metawiki in the past, but no intervention then. I asked JTneil for a review of the blocks before this got this far, and I asked for his feedback recently. This whole thing needs to be looked at, not just my actions. I want a review of this whole mess, from abds behavior, to leucostites' s editing tendencies, to dave's block nature. I can take responsibility for my actions, but they also need negative consequences for theirs.I ask that Snowolf comment. - sidelight12
  • Please Close this discussion. This is a Notices for custodians page. It is not a page to argue that a custodian action was wrong. That would be WV:Custodian feedback. This is not a page to argue for a user to be banned or a custodian desysopped, that would be WV:Community Review. This is not a page to request a custodian block a user, that would be WV:Request custodian action. If wider community attention is needed on an issue, there is WV:Colloquium (which can point to those pages).
  • Dave posted here because he acted where he might be considered involved, and that requires, where possible, that the community be notified. I'd have suggested WV:RCA instead, requesting immediate review. But this was adequate. All custodians should be watchlisting both pages, and preferably receive email notifications. --Abd (discusscontribs) 17:15, 17 October 2014 (UTC)

Dave acted improperly. His unblocking and blocking, was improper to start this. This needs to be said here so the people who commented can see this. The only emergency here was that you got blocked, and action was only taken hearing your side of the story. Your abuse needs to end, and dave enables it. snowolf, can you please comment, and close if you wish; thanks.- sidelight12

To be clear, that I was blocked was not an emergency and was not treated as such, neither by me nor by Dave. The emergency was that Sidelight took up wheel-warring with a permanent custodian on the personal belief that the permanent custodian was wrong, but did not follow procedure for handling disagreement. That's "rogue sysop." Dave had warned Sidelight, if unblocked, not to block again, given the obvious involvement, and not to retaliate. Sidelight unblocked himself and then blocked me and the other user, again, and retaliated by blocking Dave. This was completely beyond the pale.
Does Sidelight have any friends he trusts to advise him? I suggest he ask them! I ask the same of my friends, and I listen. Meanwhile, I could write much more, but debate here is inappropriate, as mentioned above. I have pointed to where Sidelight may take up issues and make requests. That is not a recommendation, it would be a Bad Idea at this point, but he's free to do it. --Abd (discusscontribs) 22:13, 17 October 2014 (UTC)
unblocking you was rogue, blocking a custodian first was rogue too, so was his unblocking himself. The reason was in the block history. I don't agree to daves unblocking reasoning, when you were blocked you were to stay blocked. He doesnt set terms as whats convenient for you two. You posted on my page, the consequence is for you to be blocked for two weeks, not you and him renegotiating and dave are rogue. - sidelight12
For the record, the unblocks of Leucosticte and Abd were consistent with Wikiversity:Blocking policy item 3, 'A custodian capable of impartial treatment is recommended when possible. Other custodians should ask for a second opinion.' The second opinion was requested and received prior to the unblocks. The opinion was offered off-wiki, so I will not provide details here, but it was impartial, legitimate, and confirmed. -- Dave Braunschweig (discusscontribs) 23:17, 17 October 2014 (UTC)
That's not a policy, its a proposal. How many times do you need to be told that? I don't even think they had the whole story at the time, just your side of the argument. -sidelight12
[3], Snowolf said he missed acting on Dave's self unblock. Which rules to follow were cherrypicked by abd, to say we shouldn't block both custodians. I put the reasoning in the block, and there is no community here, and Jtneill didn't respond to anything others or I posted on his page. Leucostite immediately ran to wikibooks after agreeing to stop posting to continue writing stupid stuff. Also, the apologies that Dave gave were self serving, and insincere. - Sidelight12 Talk 09:01, 9 November 2014 (UTC)

Dave Braunschweig's inappropriate behavior

[4], Snowolf said he missed acting on Dave's self unblock, when there was an emergency. Then abd cherrypicks which rules to follow. leucostite agreed to stop writing dangerous pages here, then he immediately jumped to write them at Wikibooks. Blocking someone forcing them to agree to avoid admin actions against a user creating problematic pages was extortion. Also making up terms as they go, for their convenience, are inappropriate acts.

Comment by IP that Dave doesn't understand when blocks are appropriate.

[5] "12:47, 16 October 2014 Dave Braunschweig (discuss | contribs) blocked Sidelight12 (discuss | contribs) (autoblock disabled) for indefinite (Intimidation, harassment, or vulgar language: Misuse of custodian tools.)" He misused custodian tools, and put a false claim of harassment. If anything, Dave's and abd's actions are harassment. Hypocritically tells others don't push your values onto others, then he outright bullies his values onto others, then makes up excuses for it. [6] - Sidelight12 Talk 09:07, 9 November 2014 (UTC)

  • Dave tries to close himself by archiving, especially when a comment was made less than 6 hours before. [7]. This is sneaky behavior. - Sidelight12 Talk 02:22, 11 November 2014 (UTC)
The archiving was simply an attempt to save you from further embarrassment and give you an opportunity to move on to something more productive. If you wish to continue this activity, please move the discussion to Wikiversity:Custodian feedback, where it belongs. A notice here that you have posted there is sufficient. -- Dave Braunschweig (discusscontribs) 03:09, 11 November 2014 (UTC)
This is a completely inappropriate page for this complaint. Complaints about custodian behavior may be filed on WV:RCA,,and what was newly placed on this page was also placed there by Sidelight. I have filed a request,[9] which describes what just happened on this page. --Abd (discusscontribs) 15:37, 11 November 2014 (UTC)

Request to retain custodian status

Hi all, I've received a notice on my talk page, as I'm a custodian with a low level of activity this wiki. As a bit of background, although it's been proposed, there has not yet been a consensus on adopting a local policy on custodian activity. I remain active within the Wikimedia movement, particularly in chapter work, and would like to request some confirmation from my fellow support staff on whether there are any concerns with me maintaining this user flag. I believe that there is value in being able to offer real-world support for educators who are trying out Wikiversity in their institution, and my future involvement with the project is likely to be along these lines. --Michael Billington (talkcontribs) 11:01, 3 December 2014 (UTC)

I have a mixed perspective. As a network administrator myself, I start with the principle of least privilege. Users who don't have any intention of acting as custodians don't need to be custodians. On the other hand, there is little to no risk to this project in having trusted individuals with the ability to block and delete, even if they don't use it. You've done good work at Wikiversity in the past, and I don't have any concerns with you maintaining the flag.
That said, I have been frustrated at times over the past year that those with custodian rights haven't stepped up / stepped in when their trust and experience could have quickly resolved issues that instead had weeks of pointless debate as others waited for support that never came. I realize that's been an ongoing issue at Wikiversity, exemplified in part by the very discussion you noted. Perhaps it's the nature of wiki communities in general, but it is frustrating none the less.
It would seem that the easiest way for you to address the notice yourself would be to engage in some custodial activity, even briefly, to show you are still interested in being a custodian. -- Dave Braunschweig (discusscontribs) 14:31, 3 December 2014 (UTC)
I've been there, Dave. FWIW, in my experience things have rarely become less pointless or silly when "elder custodians" are brought in (in fact the contrary is just as likely). --SB_Johnny talk 14:59, 7 December 2014 (UTC)
Thanks for the wisdom. I appreciate your perspective. -- Dave Braunschweig (discusscontribs) 16:41, 7 December 2014 (UTC)
Hi Michael, good to hear from you, how've you been? I think you probably became "active" by the stewards' definition when you made the post above. --SB_Johnny talk 14:59, 7 December 2014 (UTC)
I've been doing alright (As you can see, I do still log in ;) ). As there does seem to be a bit of a process to this, I will still post on the relevant page to let the stewards know that I intend on sticking around, as I fully expect to be getting back to some custodial activity in the new year. --Michael Billington (talkcontribs) 04:49, 19 December 2014 (UTC)
I'm handling the removals right now, and yes, you will be considered active enough to retain the rights (also considering that there are no objections from the community either). --Rschen7754 05:16, 23 December 2014 (UTC)


FYI,, also known as Boxingfella, Boxingfella2, and other aliases has begun harassing users at Wikiversity. He has a longstanding feud with a Wikipedia sysop that has spilled over here. In addition, he is now harassing Wikiversity custodians (at least me) with password resets. -- Dave Braunschweig (discusscontribs) 22:28, 31 December 2014 (UTC)

Probationary Custodianship

User:Abd has expressed interest in probationary custodianship. Based on his editing history, user support interest, and actions as a custodian previously, it seems likely that his efforts would reduce custodial load on others (with deletes, imports, moves without redirect. etc.) and would also address some maintenance issues he sees that others often ignore. It also seems likely that at some point his passion for defending users whose editing habits are outside generally-accepted norms will lead to controversy. Since we as custodians seem to be working well together at this point, I wanted to ask you all for feedback before responding to Abd's request. If you have any concerns about Abd's role as a probationary custodian, please respond or send email so that I may understand your perspective.

For others in the community, I understand that Abd's role as probationary custodian might raise concerns. But this is specifically a custodian support request rather than a community support request. The community's opportunity for discussion would come later, per Wikiversity:Probationary custodians. Thanks!

Dave Braunschweig (discusscontribs) 21:13, 28 April 2015 (UTC)

Having been performing a small portion of cleanup for a while with an aim to continue, more help is great! --Marshallsumter (discusscontribs) 22:29, 28 April 2015 (UTC)
  • Thanks, Dave, for consulting the administrative community. It can't hurt.
I just looked at the Wikiversity:Probationary custodians page. That was a proposed policy that was radically changed by one user and never accepted as edited. Actual practice required no community review to create a probationary custodian, and such review has been rare. It required only a mentor acceptance and a bureaucrat action. The actual practice, long-standing, is at Wikiversity:Custodianship. That was marked policy 12 February 2007, was clearly accepted by the community at a time -- without a formal "vote," it was added to a list of policies by a 'crat -- and is what has been done ever since.
It was deprecated to "proposed" 26 November 2011, without discussion; I reverted with "See talk," and was myself reverted. Because this was an incipient revert war, with incivility, I went to RCA to request custodian attention, and was indef blocked (along with the other editor). And so the policy remained deprecated in spite of abundant evidence that it had been accepted as policy without objection for years, other than one not-sustained effort to deprecate it to proposed.[10]
Review occurs when the probationer is up for permanent custodianship. There are problems with the policy, which can be addressed. The proposed policy does not handle them. --Abd (discusscontribs) 01:47, 29 April 2015 (UTC)
Honestly the easy solution is to set up an "assistant" usergroup (I think the usergroups need to be single-word, and "probate" sounds a bit off), that users can be added to by a 'crat, but then removed by any "full" custodian in a no-drama way if someone is unable to rein in their enthusiasm over a problematic issue. For Abd in particular, he could just stay in that usergroup for a couple years until he's got a better track record of keeping things simple. --SB_Johnny talk 12:13, 1 May 2015 (UTC)
  • What happened here, so far is that we have two so-called "active" crats, User:SB_Johnny and User:Jtneill. The traditional probationary custodianship procedure was very simple, and it was marked policy for many years, until demoted by SB Johnny to proposed (which eventually led to a disruptive user agreeing with that, my report to WV:RCA of that action (editing existing policies without consensus was often considered disruptive, but this one depended on a wikilawyered definition of policy), and then my indef block, SB Johnny, for asking for custodial attention. That made it simple! (And that desire for simplicity was explicit in the block suggestion and reason.) (my block log, this was the block of 27 November 2011.) (I have annotated my block log at User:Abd/Block log) Long before I edited Wikiversity, I wrote that a corollary of w:WP:IAR was that "if you have not been blocked, you are not trying hard enough to improve the wiki.")
  • I was blocked for two years, in spite of an open unblock request, in spite of at least one (I think there were two) requests from the community for my unblock. (Mostly, community discussion had died, there was no-consensus on the request, but SB Johnny had clearly enunciated the basic principle as "blocks should require consensus, not unblock," which he then proceeded to ignore when I was involved, both with the block when it I unblocked, and with my own block, whereas his unblock of a controversial user (after discussion) was with his friend, User:Thekohser.) (These are all normal human behaviors. Do not mistake this for a condemnation of SB Johnny, nor of anyone.)
  • Everyone agrees that the proposed assistant usergroup is a great idea. There seems to be consensus that any permanent custodian should be able to add a user to the group, and any permanent custodian can remove the right. The only difference between this and existing policy is that presently bureaucrat action is required for addition, and steward action for removal. Historically, the bureaucrat action was always a rubber stamp. Highly disruptive users have been probationary custodians, SB Johnny, in particular, mentored one. (And did, in fact, ensure he had the candidate's agreement to removal at his discretion, and did remove the right when it was called for.)
  • When I was a probationary custodian, I agreed to the Wikiversity:Candidates for Custodianship/Standard stop agreement designed to make it far easier to stop a rogue custodian. It still required steward action, but set it up for the steward decision to be straightforward and easy. SB Johnny refused to use the process, when he claimed I was going rogue, and instead made a steward request. The request was initially refused, but was then acted on when User:Thenub314 argued for it. All of that drama was unnecessary, based on undiscussed disagreement with a single action of mine (where I unblocked a user, after discussion, and following our clear traditions, where SB Johnny's block was not based on our policies, and where Thenub314 reblocked, without discussion, which was wheel-warring, while he accused me of wheel-warring.) It vastly complicated something that could have and should have been very simple.
  • Sometimes situations are not simple. Sometimes they take research and study, and if someone does that research and study and reports the results, SB Johnny and some others will respond with tl;dr. And if one just presents summary conclusions, they are not believed. This is a classic wiki problem.
  • This is the simple situation: We have a policy, and we have bureaucrats refusing to follow it. That, in fact, is a safeguard in the system, but as soon as I say that, I'm making it "complicated." Life and reality are complicated! The safeguard is there to protect against what?
  • A rogue or inattentive permanent custodian who will mentor a disruptive user and not restrain the user.
  • I know of one custodian who has clearly done that: Jtneill. He has ignored complaints, many times. He was my mentor and ignored complaints about me. He neither asked me to change my behavior, nor did he support me.
  • (Complaints, in fact, were not addressed to him; they were addressed to the community, through highly disruptive process.)
  • He was also the mentor of User:Sidelight12, likewise, and did nothing even when there were reports of major problems on his Talk page, and eventually Sidelights' behavior went completely beyond the pale. Only later, when it was all completely obvious, did he suggest that Sidelight12 should not continue as a probationary custodian, which was already a done deal because I'd acted. However, he could have renewed the probationary custodianship. We had mentors who provided zero guidance. And then the mentee was blamed, but the mentee believed that the mentor supported; after all, the mentor had not objected to the mentee's behavior!
  • He is also the mentor of User:Leutha who was never approved for permanent custodianship. Jtneill wrote, in 2011, that he was thinking of not recommending Leutha.
  • This was a setup for failure, an irresponsible mentor. I had, to be sure, email communication with my later mentors (Jtneill and [[User:Draicone) and I have not reviewed that correspondence. I was emergency desysopped by my first mentor User:Ottava Rima, allegedly because the period had expired. The real reason was that I had short-blocked him for incivility, and his reaction to this set up his loss of custodianship. He blamed me for that, and his later Wikiversity activity was almost entirely directed at getting back.
  • Jtneill confirmed that this short-block was within legitimate custodian discretion, and Ottava promptly filed a Community Review seeking removal of Jtneill's rights. This should be obvious: if you stand for the community, you will take flak. Absence of controversy probably indicates a weak stand. Few can manage to be universally popular without this compromise. In fact, I've never seen it. In my training, we were told that if nobody had shot at us, we probably were not up to anything worth wasting ammunition on.
  • (This is not an excuse for undisciplined disruption. That someone shoots as us does not make us right. It simply is not a proof we are wrong. Jtneill is taking the shooting as proof that I'm not accepted by the community, or that my acceptance should be demonstrated. But that guts the probationary custodianship process, deliberately designed to be non-disruptive. That requirement for community acceptance was a major push of Ottava Rima, who attempted to force it more than once.)
  • Jtneill and SBJ were, as well, radically inattentive when it came to bureaucrat duties, which would be easy to document. We would quite possibly find it easier to get things done if we had no bureaucrats. (There is another bureaucrat who has been very inactive. He is about to hit the global rights removal procedure for inactivity, which takes years.) The problem with bureaucrats and adminstrators who are inactive is that they are not familiar with the actual, current situation on the wiki, and may tend to act knee-jerk. The other side is that with long experience, they may develop gravitas. However, that will show in the way in which they explain their actions. It will inspire broad confidence. Further, they will respond to requests!
  • The proposed userrights change will allow the custodial community to handle problems collectively. The Standard Stop Agreement allowed anything from a simple request to stop an identified activity, to blocking to get immediate attention, if I were acting rogue (and then my unblocking myself without following due process would immediately lead to desysop, stewards recognize that without delay). But I was not acting rogue, and in spite of what was claimed at the time, I was not wheel-warring. There was no emergency. The drama was created by SB Johnny. I took a controversial action after discussion. SB Johnny acted precipitately and blamed it all on me.
  • I have not taken my new probationary custodianship request to the community because it is not an emergency. I consider the policy (that deliberately bypasses "community approval") far more important than my personal user rights. I can do almost all of what I want to do here, without custodian rights. I routinely request custodial action, and those requests are almost always granted. The vast majority of my actions as a custodian were not controversial. And what I do here has been just as controversial, when I've not been a custodian, as when I've been one. (In fact, as a custodian, I've been more careful, less likely to IAR, because custodian actions can be intepreted as actions of the community.)
  • To stand for the future of Wikiversity, I must take actions that some will oppose. Endless discussion is not action. It is well-known on Wikipedia: if you want to become an administrator, avoid acting sincerely to improve the project, do not follow Wikipedia Rule Number One with anything that anyone might oppose, do not even propose such. If you do, you will not get the supermajority required.
  • The Wikiversity process is the only one I've seen that bypasses that highly restrictive limitation (which, among other things, does not protect the community; it simply creates a body of administrators who avoided allowing the community to see their true colors before electing them, and then they can be extraordinarily difficult to remove, sometimes even if abuse of tools has been egregious. We have a similar problem here, I may document it. We have a custodian (I'm not naming now) who made certain promises in the candidacy (which might have been sincere at the time, I'm not a mind-reader), who then acted quite the opposite. And this has caused damage. (Most of what he has done is fine. Some of what he's done has been not-fine.)
  • I have spent many days researching the history of Wikiversity. I know what happened here. I do not have merely the narrow slice of my own direct experience. And so I may say a lot, on occasion. But it is all, for me, about engaging and empowering the Wikiversity community.
  • Wikis, which often start out being very good at enabling the community, always devolve into oligarchies, unless protective structures are set up. When we see problems, our human tendency is to try to find someone to blame. This or that user or administrator is "disruptive" or "abusive." However, the user or administrator would have no power to cause sustained harm if the community were awake. So ... the problem is us. We do not stand for our own power. We are quite happy to leave difficult problems to others. "It's too complicated. I don't have time. Surely X users or administrators can't be wrong. Not my problem. tl:dr."
  • And there goes the wiki.
  • I want to see if there is custodian response here, before taking this to the Colloquium or Community Review. We have administrators and bureaucrats who ignore policy, and reviewing, today, Wikiversity:Candidates for Custodianship/Abd (full custodian), I see clear examples. There are basic policies which are ignored. And the community allows it. Is, then, "consensus" contrary to the policies? No. This has never been explicit, it is probable that it is mostly overlooked. --Abd (discusscontribs) 19:08, 29 August 2015 (UTC)


Wikiversity:Probationary custodians provides an appropriate approach to probationary custodianship. Serious concerns have been raised, and Abd would be wise to withdraw his request rather than pursuing behaviors that have a net negative effect on Wikiversity. Forcing this issue is likely to result in an undesirable outcome for all concerned. -- Dave Braunschweig (discusscontribs) 23:22, 29 August 2015 (UTC)
I thank Dave for his response. This is the reason I have not pushed it. For years, faced with failures on Wikiversity to respect consensus (policy violations often represent that), I elected to avoid disruption by "not pushing it." I'm considering that the net effect of this has been harmful. Notice that it was practically suggested that I go to the Colloquium for consensus. The "appropriate approach" Dave points to -- twice in this discussion -- was a disruptive proposal at a time when we already had an official policy, and that official policy is what Wikiversity has actually followed, before and since, except for now. This is the first time not followed. So ... this is not some petty issue. It is about the core of how Wikiversity operates.
My claim is not that we should always follow policy. This is not mere wikilawyering. However, the policy has a purpose, a function, and the status quo is frustrating that purpose and function, and it's time to resolve this. Either policy is accepted, or policy should be changed.
By the way, as it stands: Custodianship Policy.
So if someone wants to change the policy, this time, it's going to the community. If the policy stands as created and used for nine years, no need for that community discussion. The behavior that "pursued" has "a net negative effect"? I can document a pile of such behaviors, that have been tolerated for many years, frustrating the community, frustrating many. It's time we resolve these issues, not keep sweeping them under the carpet. Because I know how to do this, I have a responsibility to do it. My goal is consensus, but not a fake consensus created by most people shutting up and not standing for what they believe. A real consensus, that is, then, powerful, and that creates a vibrant community.
Any other comments? --Abd (discusscontribs) 01:22, 30 August 2015 (UTC)
If I am understanding this correctly, Abd is asking for SB_Johnny to turn on Custodian powers for Abd based on the consensus for the "assistants" group, with Abd being its first member. This is okay with me. But, ultimately it may be up to SB_Johnny. --Marshallsumter (discusscontribs) 03:08, 30 August 2015 (UTC)
Yes. No user is obligated to act contrary to belief in the welfare of the community -- or their own welfare. What SB_Johnny does is indeed up to SB_Johnny. However, SB_Johnny could defuse this possible disruptive issue, immediately, by following policy. That's his right. He might do it, I've seen him do things like that, in the past. Jtneill could, as well. If they are worried, they could ensure that there was an agreement in place, with someone trustworthy, as SBJ did with Wikiversity:Candidates for Custodianship/Salmon of Doubt, an example of creative use of voluntary agreements to handle possible problems. Salmon of Doubt was a highly controversial user. There was opposition to the candidacy. It was essentially ignored, by SB Johnny and the 'crat who implemented. --Abd (discusscontribs) 04:59, 30 August 2015 (UTC)
I think a quick look ar Abds response to talk suggestion above illustrates why it would be unwise to extend Abd's responsibilities on Wikiversity: After it has been pointed out that Abd should learn to keep things simpl his response is 11.806 bytes long and makes 24 separate points. I think that we should allow him the chance to develop a way of responding to situations rather than setting up an "assistant" usergroup to accommodate such a controversial candidate. I would second Dave Braunschweig's suggestion above that this request is withdrawn. Leutha (discusscontribs) 09:21, 30 August 2015 (UTC)
Sorry, just saw this. Did the new usergroup get created (with the bugzilla request and all that jazz taken care of)? --SB_Johnny talk 14:31, 17 September 2015 (UTC)
Not that I know of. Abd is currently indef blocked for personal attack(s) on Dave. Suggestions? --Marshallsumter (discusscontribs) 15:02, 17 September 2015 (UTC)
I saw, I was just wondering if anything ever came of the bugzilla request for the usergroup. No suggestions come to mind, though it does look like same-old same-old from his recent activity. --SB_Johnny talk 15:54, 17 September 2015 (UTC)
There's no record of any request on Bugzilla for a Custodial assistants group. This may have been me dropping a ball I didn't know I had. My last request on Phabricator about turning on math functions needed for PlanetPhysics went into confusion or nowhere. For the latter I believe there's a resource here that turns on or off math functions for Wikiversity. There may be something similar here I can use for the Custodial assistants group. --Marshallsumter (discusscontribs) 16:40, 17 September 2015 (UTC)
If or when I find such resources I'll ask at the Colloquium first in case there are any concerns. --Marshallsumter (discusscontribs) 17:06, 17 September 2015 (UTC)

Information Systems and Computer Applications

I have a class of 15 - 20 students who are starting work on Information Systems and Computer Applications. Tuesday evening is the first class meeting, so there could be some creative editing for awhile as they learn their way around. Just wanted to let you know. -- Dave Braunschweig (discusscontribs) 02:34, 19 May 2015 (UTC)

I'll make sure to know so I don't mess up again like before with another class. --Atcovi (Talk - Contribs) 10:41, 19 May 2015 (UTC)

Edits under protection and request process

Today I noticed that the Edit under protection box on WV:RCA had two open requests. So I looked and found:

  • Most requests took a ridiculous amount of time for edits that were uncontroversial and that would take a minute.
  • There was a request still undone that had been open since 8 December 2013. It was a simple edit, and, yes, it was one of the few requests that had Template:Editprotected included. So that means that for almost two years, this category has had an open request, unhandled.
This and other recent events have raised in my consciousness that we don't need more administrators! We need an active community that leads, because actual usage of admin tools usually takes minutes, if the community sets it up. One of my Wikipedia adventures was clerking w:Mediawiki talk:Spam-whitelist because requests were sitting there for many months, for something that really should be routine. If a regular editor asks for a blacklisted page to be whitelisted, it should take no more than a few hours. Instead, admins would argue with the user as to whether the page was "necessary" or not. That's really a decision to be made by the editors of articles, and sometimes they just want to discuss a link. The blacklist administrators were making it difficult for themselves, creating more work, which they then avoided doing, but making themselves guardians of content. That is not the best administrative role.
So I'll be making structural suggestions out of this. I am not writing this to berate our volunteer custodians. Really, the community has largely abdicated its responsibility to run the wiki, thinking that is the job of administrators. And when administrators do it, what do we get?
We get standard wiki practice, which readily can become less than welcoming to new users. It is not bad administrators, it is unstated but assumed duties laid upon them. I did it too, when I was a custodian. I considered it my duty to watch Recent Changes, to supervise everything happening on the wiki.
Bad Idea!
However, I do request this of all administrators who are active:
  • Once a day, when possible, review the action request categories. Requests should receive a response quickly. Such responses do not need to be extensive, nor to take a lot of time. If a request is not prepared, ready for action, advise the requestor how to prepare; for example, "please discuss this on the Colloquium," or the like. Then disable the request. It can be renewed later. If you don't know what to do, ask. I.e., ask for another opinion and leave the request template in place, because if custodians are examining these categories, another will see it if you leave it open. Just expressing your "I don't know" will show the user that their request is being taken seriously. And you will then have the relevant page on your watchlist.
  • Following these ideas, all requests should be handled quickly, even if only to suggest further action to the user.
  • When you handle a request, note this with the request, so that others don't waste time checking it out. Template:Done and a signature will do the trick.
We used to have many "speedy deletion" requests open. It's poor process, because we then stop paying much attention to the category. I know what happens. One looks at the request, doesn't know what to do, so one puts off doing anything, and then it is lost in the avalanche of more events. We have become extremely proficient at handling speedy deletions, without becoming deletionist. --Abd (discusscontribs) 00:57, 4 August 2015 (UTC)
I added some examples of poor process from Wikipedia, but it's far enough off topic here that I've removed it, it can be read at [11]. --Abd (discusscontribs) 01:42, 4 August 2015 (UTC)
  • Update. I've been expanding the open requests box on WV:RCA. This is intended for requests that should be promptly attended to. If any custodian looks at such a request and believes it should be discussed before being done. the speedy template should be removed, reason given. Template:Delete may be replaced with Template:Proposed deletion, or removed. Template:History merge may be replaced by Template:Merge to (which proposes discussion). When custodians put this off, requests accumulate and then get less attention. Speedy requests may now be seen in a single glance by looking at WV:RCA. --Abd (discusscontribs) 17:21, 28 August 2015 (UTC)
  • Operational note. The cached version of WV:Request custodian action/Header is routinely not updated, so the box display will be obsolete. So I added a "purge cache" link to the table. Clicking on that link will purge the cache. It also opens up the Header page, so one sees the updated box. When acting on a request, one may also wish to purge that page cache afterwards, to clean it up for other custodians. Anyone can do that, though. --Abd (discusscontribs) 16:41, 29 August 2015 (UTC)