Monday, November 26, 2007

Damage control

ArbCom usually moves like me in a hundred-yard dash. Cases sit for weeks and months. But Durova has set off so many alarums and excursions that the arbs are trying to shut down the drama now. They've already started voting on proposals they hope will end the stink.

The items are mostly inconsequential, except that Durova will apparently have to go through another request for adminship now that she's resigned as an administrator and withdrawn as a candidate for ArbCom. Giano won't be punished for publishing Durova's laughable "evidence" against !!, the user she blocked for no reason. But nobody will be allowed to publish the "evidence" on WP. Which is silly because the "evidence" is easily available at Wikitruth and Wikipedia Review. Not to mention that the "evidence" is superb though unintentional humor.

Durova not only blundered with her idiotic block. She also accidentally helped reveal at least two sooper-sekrit mailing lists of powerful people on Wikipedia, up to and including Jimbo and some of the arbs themselves. These lists seem to nourish an atmosphere of ludicrous paranoia against Wikipedia Review and other criticism sites. They also apparently hatch campaigns against Wikipedia editors who don't toe the line on Fear and Loathing of WR and other Officially Disapproved sites.

The members of these lists can't be happy that clueless Durova has inadvertently revealed their existence and purpose. Even Guy Chapman, Durova's number one fan, is thundering: "Boy does Durova ever look stupid here." My guess is that just about everybody on every side wishes Durova would go away. Which is why, as I said before, I honestly feel sorry for her.


private musings said...

Good stuff, Casey,
perhaps you're aware that I'm an indefinitely blocked user who was a staunch opponent of 'badsites', and whose ban reasons noone can quite seem to agree on.
Which is odd, because my editing has been discussed on that list for a month - it transpires that I am asking arb com to review a decision already made by some of the sitting members. Oh - and they see no need to disclose this 'on-wiki' it would cause too much drama, so they just go ahead and vote.

I thought I'd also share with you the fact that the back channel communications on this one are buzzing in all directions - I've had emails from many editors, admin.s - all sorts of people who are watching closely to see where, how, and what the eventual decisions are / are made.

It's an interesting time. (personally, I'd just like to return to editing normally....) - anyhoo... We're are clearly of the same mind re:blogging..


Casey Abell said...

Good luck, but your ArbCom case doesn't seem to be going well for you. I hope you avoid the harshest sanctions. I just wish everybody would avoid drama and get back to editing articles.

private musings said...

Well, it's not so bad. I believe an injustice is occurring - but I am in no way locked up whilst trying to rectify it.
Have a look at the Giovanni di Stefano talk page right now, and compare the material with that which I supported and suggested - the article is really all that matters, and I have faith that it will be improved.

maybe you'll agree with me that though folk may be feverishly building their sand castle to be as strong as possible, the tide is coming in.

Demkar said...

Very nicely written here, it does seem they think they are in a war for survival against us, they seem to feel very threatened by the mere fact that we exist and that we offer a place for most anyone to voice criticism.

By the way, each of you is welcome to join us at the Review and offer any input you may have. Occasionally we get a little sidetracked and a few wacky theories are tossed out, but all in pursuit of the truth.

-Derktar, from the WR.

Gregory Kohs said...

I am encouraging all Wikipedia critics to take this excellent opportunity to write letters to the Editors of their local and regional newspapers. The public opinion of Wikipedia can and should be changed by these six simple points:

1. Wikipedia is the world's largest encyclopedia. It is managed by the Wikimedia Foundation (WMF), and its mission is to provide free and open dissemination of knowledge to the world, in many languages.

2. Both the WMF and the for-profit enterprise Wikia, Inc. have personnel who serve on the Boards of both organizations. Wikia, Inc. -- a company financed with $14 million in venture capital -- has filed Form 990 documents with the U.S. Internal Revenue Service that maintain there are no conflicts of interest in the cross-management of the two organizations.

3. However, it was revealed this week that Wikia, Inc. was hosting a secret mailing list comprised exclusively of hand-picked Wikipedia administrators and certain representatives of the Foundation, including Wikipedia co-founder himself, Jimmy Wales.

4. This mailing list's secret activity centered on discussion of the identities and even IP addresses of various "questionable" contributors to the Wikipedia encyclopedia, in order to build "wiki sleuthing" cases against said contributors. This past week, the list's spurious findings prompted the indefinite blocking of a long-standing valuable contributor to Wikipedia's pages. When evidence of this list was exposed by a whistle-blower (one also having a long record of writing "featured articles" on Wikipedia), that evidence was repeatedly suppressed or erased by a senior staff member of the WMF. Days later, the cited ownership of the secret list was even altered, to protect the guilty party.

5. Instead of thanking the whistle-blower, Jimmy Wales replied to him with this shocking remark, "...your behavior in terms of trolling and carrying on the way you do is unacceptable. You know this. And you will either change it or be banned from Wikipedia. You have caused too much harm to justify us putting up with this kind of behavior much longer."

6. No wonder the Wikimedia Foundation is falling far short of its fundraising objectives this year. Its management is too infiltrated with bankrupt ethics, which thoughtful people of conscience wouldn't dream of supporting financially.

Casey Abell said...

I'm not a lawyer and I don't play one on this blog, but I can't see the IRS getting very excited about the mailing lists on Wikia.

I agree that Wales and Bass looked silly in trying to suppress Durova's "evidence", and ArbCom is compounding the error. This horse departed the barn long ago.