Policy talk:Universal Code of Conduct

From Wikimedia Foundation Governance Wiki


"Assume good faith...All Wikimedians should assume unless evidence otherwise exists that others are here to collaboratively improve the projects, but this should not be used to justify statements with a harmful impact."

So AGF will now be enforced on projects without AGF as a guideline? Presumably, there are projects where AGF is just an essay, where guidelines don't provide any guidance on this, or, like my home project, where there is an explicit prohibition on assumptions of faith, good or bad. Heavy Water (talk) 18:19, 20 June 2023 (UTC)Reply

@Heavy Water I have always had concern about AGF and its many, equally off-putting analogs whereby any expression of disapproval, suspicion, critique or normal human emotions like frustration put the editor into a gray area right off the bat. I'm not sure of the correct venue to raise such concerns, but in my experience this approach typically goes nowhere precisely because anyone can ignore reason, then cite AGF and a slew of other rules you're arguably in violation of when you call them a jackass. If you happen to have an incredible amount of restraint, patience and persistence and can't be cited for anything else, open-ended catchalls like WP:NOTHERE (a blatant contradiction of AGF by any reasonable interpretation) usually get the job done. AGF is enforced exactly when it is convenient for them to do so. Otherwise there are plenty of other expedient rules and essays that provide grounds upon which any given user may be summarily ejected from the encyclopedia that anyone can edit. Perhaps I'll write an essay of my own on the subject. What do you think? AP295 (talk)
@Heavy Water And since "assume good faith" only enforceable to the extent that we say what we assume, the rule could be equivalently stated as "do not question the motives of others." Without euphemistic phrasing that uses adjectives like "good" and "faith", the rule sounds exactly as Orwellian as it is. How should one make critical statements? If users are obliged to understate criticism and act as though others have no possible ulterior motive then critical discourse is severely debased. The expression of critique, discontent and frustration all go hand-in-hand and they are no less important than the expression of joy or any other "positive" message. When policy demands that users "avoid negativity" they should consider what that really means. What would we have besides a twilight zone of fawning, obsequious consumers and grinning, unchecked psychopathy? AP295 (talk)
The rest after part two is fairly straightforward and more or less amounts to "don't harass people or wreck the site". Part two strikes me as unusual because it's presented as advice. One can't interpret it as a set of positive obligations because policy statements like "Be ready to challenge and adapt your own understanding, expectations and behaviour as a Wikimedian" are nonspecific and obviously outside any given project's authority to enforce. It seems worthwhile to make the distinction between enforceable policy and statements like "Practice empathy." The needle in the haystack here is AGF, which at first appears to fit in with the rest of the ostensibly well-intended (if banal) advice but when re-worded to properly match the scope of a project's authority to enforce, turns out to be "do not question the motives of others." In compliance with AGF, I assume of course that this is all coincidental. AP295 (talk)
Indeed. Really, at least at en.wp, AGF is the rule from on high — when it's convenient. The framework of en.wn's never assume initially seems like it would turn users into a hostile bunch always suspicious of each other, but I've observed it actually lowers the temperature of community politics, even where strong interpersonal conflict is present. In fact, the honesty allowed by freedom from AGF and actual enforcement of the de jure etiquette guideline seems to make arguments clearer and allow us to summarily deal with disruptive elements, without politeness and often with what the UCoC defines as "insults". "We expect all Wikimedians to show respect for others" without "exceptions based on standing, skills...in the Wikimedia projects or movement": Even on en.wp, individuals judged not to meet WP:CIR ("skills") or vandals/spammers ("standing") don't get shown "respect". In the eyes of the community, they've lost it. And what would} "respect" entail? Apologizing when blocking them?
UCoC enforcement at projects with policies or guidelines conflicting it like en.wn's will be interesting to watch unfold; I expect, per "1 – Introduction" the WMF plans to take OFFICE action when a project isn't enforcing the UCoC in favor of its own policies or guidelines.
I find it unsurprising in the three months since I raised this question no WMF staffer has responded, even when, last month, I left a message on the talk page of a staffer involved in discussions above. But I have to AGF here, don't I? Oh well. I hope someday en.wn will be successful enough for the entire community to fork off (hey, I wonder if I'll get OFFICE-glocked for saying that). Heavy Water (talk) 14:54, 13 September 2023 (UTC)Reply
Perhaps the best remedy is exposure, e.g. essays, articles, etc. that concisely and accurately describe how rules like AGF are abused to avoid accountability and worded euphemistically to serve as a debauched stand-in for principle. We have no bearing on this policy except by public critique. Most of us are hardly born critics, least of all myself. We want to cooperate and one's calling, if they feel they have one, is almost always constructive. So many people would rather not exist at all than abandon their purpose. One faces a serious dilemma because messing around with the umpteenth variation of the multi-armed bandit problem or some obscure conjecture about conformal mappings while this demented twilight zone is progressively imposed upon the entirety of western culture starts to seem like grotesque misassignment of priorities. Knowing you're right but being at a lost for words while some two-faced shyster lectures you about social justice, gender prounouns, etc. is well likely to be the most annoying moment of one's life. We are in this position partly for lack of good examples to learn from. Perhaps I should attempt to curate some, or make up a course on the subject for Wikiversity. In any case, I'm not just going to let things go their way, nor should anyone else. Orwell wrote an excellent essay, "On Politics and the English Language". The essay is accurate in that Orwell recognizes the problem and identifies many of it salient components, but it is also an imprecise and somewhat awkward essay. Even Orwell was taxed in attempting to describe and generalize the issue. Anyway, I will probably use some of what I've written here in an essay of my own. AP295 (talk)
I wondered if you were going to go there. The rejection of AGF, for en.wn, is simply a variation in its rules as a Wikimedia project, not an endorsement of right-wing politics, or any other political ideologies, for that matter. I say this to defend Wikinews' reputation. Heavy Water (talk) 23:53, 13 September 2023 (UTC)Reply
Go where? I do not subscribe to "right wing ideology", nor is anything I've written intended as a dog-whistle to imply that I do. Take my post at face value. Just because I am irritated at the media's rhetorical abuse of the phrase "social justice" does not mean that I resent or do not value social justice. Naturally I don't demand that you AGF, but if you'd like me to clarify my opinion on any given issue, then please just ask rather than make presumptions.
More importantly, nothing at all was said about wikinews or AGF that could possibly be construed as an endorsement of "right-wing ideology". There's no need to imitate the media's dramatic ritual of "disavowal", though it appears I've unconsciously done so too. It is not obvious that this pavlovian, knee-jerk reaction makes no sense whatsoever in this context here? Suppose I am "right wing", whatever that means to you. Suppose Hitler escaped to Brazil and I am his bastard grandson if you like. We were having a productive discourse. AP295 (talk)
Another instance of euphemism is the third bullet point of part 2.1: "Respect the way that contributors name and describe themselves." One assumes it means that we must use someone's preferred name and gender pronouns and the correct name of their race or tribe. That's entirely fine, but then, why doesn't it say exactly that? Since the UCoC already has a strong anti-harassment policy, would that not suffice? Otherwise it is very open to interpretation and therefore easy to abuse. If one uses preferred pronouns and names, but states they disagree that sex reassignment is indicated for gender dysphoria, are they in violation of the policy as it's worded now? If so, then fine, but then the policy should say as much. I would still comply with that rule and use the site, because it's then understood by everyone that the content is not an unbiased reflection of public opinion or consensus. How is vague, sugar-coated policy with carte blanche potential for censorship "left-wing"? How is one "right-wing" for speaking against it? AP295 (talk)
There = taking the way en.wn regards AGF and the WMF's nature as part of a broader notion about how society should operate. With "right-wing politics, or any other political ideologies, for that matter" my intent was to clarify Wikinewsies didn't intend, in adopting Never assume, to promote any broader ideas for society (partly for your information and partly for anyone else who might then take a negative view toward Wikinews; the project has enough opponents already). I apologize for the lot of extrapolation from your comment in interpreting parts of it as repeating right-wing talking points, possibly implying you were just POV-pushing. I guess when one sees a lot of people who are just POV-pushing and happen to be saying similar things, one thinks the conclusions are obvious. I didn't intend to halt this discussion, though. I would agree the vagueness was likely written into 2.1.3 to allow for selectivity in enforcement. Somewhat related: m:User:Tom Morris/WMFers Say The Darndest Things. Heavy Water (talk) 05:19, 14 September 2023 (UTC)Reply
Thank you for saying so, I was worried that you might have decided to terminate the conversation right there. It would have been a bad example, so I'm glad that's not the case. Not that there are many young, impressionable children reading policy discussions on wikimedia's talk pages, but I've had conversations that ended in a similar manner on sites like reddit. AP295 (talk)
Not that you asked, but you may or may not be interested in an essay I'm writing on the subject of political media in the United States: https://en.wikiversity.org/wiki/Socialism/America%27s_political_idiom It's a work in progress and presently quite a mess but the point is pretty clear. I inserted a couple of comments that I made here too. The left/right dichotomy as it exists in the media (and therefore also to some extent in the public's mind) is essentially just hokum. One long-running TV drama. Pomp and pantomime. I'd go on but I'd just be repeating what I've already written in the essay, and I don't want to get off topic.
Suffice to say, that (for example) there's significant possibility Clinton was/is a serial rapist (see Hitchens 1999) and Kissinger a mass murderer (Hitchens 2001) and both go about unmolested while we are here blathering ritual "disavowals" of ideological motive for fear of reprisal is a perfect example of the demented, pavlovian behavior that we seem to feel is expected of us and that we have come to expect from others. It seems trite to complain about "political correctness", but it really is a cancer. Suppose one didn't want to humor gender pronouns or the concept of gender being different from sex. Suppose they club baby seals on the weekends. In moral terms they'd still be well ahead of the people we're expected to endorse for the sake of "political correctness". Anyone who has any genuine ideological perspective at all probably is, because they are willing to stand on principle, however misguided it may or may not be. I won't let it be implied that ideology (that is, to have an ideal) is unacceptable or anti-social. UCoC part 2 and so much other policy in that vein are, in spirit, just fine. It's the way they're worded and enforced that promotes an awful culture, but of course to isolate this problem one must insinuate bad faith, one must be negative, one must be critical. I'll be surprised if our conversation has any immediate bearing on UCoC or other policy, but it's still a worthwhile conversation to have, if for no reason other than to hash it out for readers and for our own skills in critical discourse. AP295 (talk)
Not touching that one, eh? I can understand, with your project being up in the air. But then, I'm a bit confused myself. What's the point of news if you have to walk on eggshells and avoid uncomfortable or inconvenient topics? Hitchens was no crackpot. He was the archetypal far-left pundit. Anyway, my suggestion is to do away with part two of the UCoC entirely, which I feel is strongly supported by this discussion. AP295 (talk)

After considering the problem a bit more, I'm convinced even AGF would be relatively benign if not for the following sentence: Criticism should be delivered in a sensitive and constructive manner. This encourages people to take criticism personally. Honest and straightforward criticism of an author's work must not be taken as criticism of its author or treated as incivility, regardless of the extent to which the work is contradicted. Obviously a critique should not be barbaric, but nor should its value and acceptability as a contribution be subject to additional and ill-defined qualifiers such as "constructive" or worse yet "sensitive". Nor should it be debased by euphemism and other attempts at sparing the ego of the author, who would almost certainly prefer a plain-language critique to being patronized if they themselves are participating in good faith. I can humor gender pronouns and other such things, but it seems to undermine the stated mission of many projects if criticism and critics themselves are dispensed with simply by feigning indignation and treating their contribution as a personal attack rather than another form of collaboration, no less valuable than the next. One need not make any statement about the author so AGF is easy enough to comply with so long as a distinction is made between an author and their work. The editor is entitled to humanity, decency and other such niceties. However in publishing their work, are they not obliged to accept criticism of that work? One can hardly even call that a vestige of accountability, but merely acknowledgement that no contribution should be immune to criticism and that criticism shouldn't be subject to the possibility of arbitrary sanction by needlessly vague policy. I hope but do not expect that someone will offer a counterargument if not seriously consider removing this part of the policy, which is far-reaching in its effect. Wikipedia alone is frequently a first-page result on most search engines for any given query. If one asks the amazon echo a question, it often quotes Wikipedia. It seems there ought to be some degree of accountability at least for policy. AP295 (talk) 01:40, 9 October 2023 (UTC)Reply
I can't help feeling a bit dense for not isolating this sentence earlier. I probably would have if it were not set within the other, equally wishy-washy prose of part two, all of which makes a vaguely irritating impression and strikes me as unnecessary. But it's this sentence that singles out and places constraints upon criticism while subtly conflating an author with their work that I feel is the most harmful and which I should probably have picked up on sooner. In any case, I feel the above paragraph is a strong prima facie argument for the removal of at least that sentence from UCoC, and perhaps also for a guideline to the effect of what I've written above. While I'm not sure it will be acknowledged by those whom it may concern, I'm pretty damned sure it won't be refuted. As always, comments, concerns, suggestions, hate mail and so forth are all welcome. Personally I'm delighted by any sort of feedback. While I don't presume that I myself am worthy of anyone's attention, I find the apparent disinterest in conversation on wikipedia and its sister projects wholly bizarre and unnatural, and much of the conversation that does occur is administrative, so to speak, rather than actual discourse. I don't know how anyone could stand to be so cagey and standoffish all the time, but that's my impression of the typical editor, and this is also true of other social media sites and often in real life as well. Sometimes I feel that most people hardly even act like humans. Strange times. AP295 (talk) 03:09, 9 October 2023 (UTC)Reply
Besides AGF and the vague qualifications on critique, the remainder of UCoC part two mostly just amounts to public relations fluff. The entire section could and probably should be replaced with Observe common decency and show respect to other users. This is a broad yet clear directive that concisely sums up the whole of part two, or at least the parts that are worthwhile. Incidentally, if privileged users are not behaving in accordance with the UCoC and the issue isn't resolved on that project, what recourse do other users have? I realize that the WMF does not want to hear about each and every dispute that occurs, but it often appears that privileged users are not accountable to these rules in the slightest so long as there's a consensus among themselves. AP295 (talk) 23:36, 26 December 2023 (UTC)Reply
Hi @Heavy Water,
I have wiki-met you on the English Wikinews site where I have been sporadically contributing since I was indefinitely blocked on enwp in 2017. I wanted to tell you that I never understood why the enwn opposes AGF. BTW this is only one of the several reasons why I do not participate on enwn very often. Ottawahitech (talk) 17:17, 25 January 2024 (UTC)Reply
@Heavy Water: I forgot to mention that I have contributed to several discussions about the UCOC at WD and COMMONS IIRC, but until I followed you here I had no idea this is where members of the community can participate openly in discussion. I had assumed that discussions were taking place on META where I am infinitely blocked, so cannot participate Ottawahitech (talk) 17:34, 25 January 2024 (UTC)Reply
I guess the discussion is not taking place here, after all. This is all very strange if the wmf-staff really wants to hear our views. Ottawahitech (talk) 00:37, 6 March 2024 (UTC)Reply
@Ottawahitech: The general lack of public discourse is striking. It's remarkable not just on this page or on this website but in general. I'm somewhat at a loss to explain this as well, though political and intellectual quietism seems favorable to the status quo and I suspect it's at least in part an intentional effect of broad social engineering. People don't really talk about public matters in general. The pomp and undignified exposition that is western political media is probably designed to be somewhat repellent and perhaps as a result it has become fashionable simply not to have an opinion on such matters, i.e., to be "neutral". What you've written essentially comprises a reductio ad absurdum argument. That is to say, they do not care for our input. This doesn't mean we can't or shouldn't offer it. AP295 (talk) 08:31, 8 March 2024 (UTC)Reply
@AP295: I am not sure that the wmf-staff does not want to hear us.
I have seen several UCOC notices published on the English wikibooks and have responded to a couple, but last I looked the staff member who posted them had not responded yet.
There could be other reasons for the lack of discussion here, I think? Ottawahitech (talk) 18:13, 8 March 2024 (UTC)Reply

"without expectations based on age ... Nor will we make exceptions"

Is this a typo?

This applies to all contributors and participants in their interaction with all contributors and participants, without expectations based on [without exceptions based on] age, mental or physical disabilities, physical appearance, national, religious, ethnic and cultural background, caste, social class, language fluency, sexual orientation, gender identity, sex or career field. Nor will we make exceptions based on standing, skills or accomplishments in the Wikimedia projects or movement

. Gitz6666 (talk) 01:31, 7 January 2024 (UTC)Reply

@Gitz6666:, thank you for catching that. Text has been updated. PEarley (WMF) (talk) 16:59, 9 January 2024 (UTC)Reply


Section 2.1, bullet point 3, sub-bullet point 3: "using" should be changed to "may use" for consistency with the other three sub-bullet points. As currently written, this sub-bullet point is just a noun phrase while the other three are full sentences. Einsof (talk) 14:15, 25 January 2024 (UTC)Reply

This includes imposing schemes on content intended to marginalize or ostracize

Not the first person to ask, and not the first time I'm asking. What does the last UCoC sentence mean? Is this "imposing schemes" + on + "content intended to marginalize", or is it "imposing schemes on content" (which are) "intendend to marginalize". Marginalize or ostracize whom? Any real-world examples of such behavior? Translators had a hard time understanding this sentence. PEarley (WMF)?

"I could have done it in a much more complicated way," said the Red Queen, immensely proud. Ponor (talk) 17:45, 30 January 2024 (UTC)Reply

In context, the entire sentence seems redundant. Removing it would make the code less complicated still. AP295 (talk) 04:03, 2 February 2024 (UTC)Reply

I imagine translators have a hard time with the UCoC for the same reason they'd probably not be able to translate "smoke free" into "smoking is prohibited" unless they already understood the idiom. Much of the UCoC seems to be constructed in the vacuous dialect of contemporary PR, rather than by aiming for a clear and easily-interpreted set of rules. AP295 (talk) 04:17, 2 February 2024 (UTC)Reply

Proposed revisions - values both civility and scholarly inquiry

Excerpted from meta:User:Jaredscribe/UCoC, where I will be proposing more revisions for the annual review.

Policy:Universal Code of Conduct § 2 – Expected behaviour

"In all Wikimedia projects, spaces and events, behaviour will be should be founded in civility, scholarly inquiry, logical discourse, collegiality, respect for verifiable truth and for eachother. solidarity and good citizenship."

These changes are proposed for the reasons stated by Aristotle in the Nicomachean Ethics to justify his abandonment of the Platonic w:theory of forms: While both are dear, piety requires us to honor truth above our friends. --Book I chapter 6, 1096a.16. But the phrase as currently formulated in the official UCoC neglects to mention scholarly discourse, inquiry, or logic as valuable behaviors. It offers instead 5 synonyms for civility, which taken together may be used to imply and enforce "compliance" with a group consensus, which would be a recipe for w:groupthink. Jaredscribe (talk) 01:15, 3 February 2024 (UTC)Reply

@Jaredscribe: While I agree with the spirit of this, I think that all of these things are predicated upon critique. "Civility" is often used somewhat euphemistically to mean agreeableness, itself favorable to assent. If anything, the UCoC needs a statement that protects critique and critical contributions. It also has far too many redundancies. Generally it contains too much redundant or meaningless PR language. Christopher Hitchens put the point rather well when he wrote " In place of honest disputation we are offered platitudes about “healing.” The idea of “unity” is granted huge privileges over any notion of “division” or, worse, “divisiveness.” I cringe every time I hear denunciations of “the politics of division”—as if politics was not division by definition. Semi-educated people join cults whose whole purpose is to dull the pain of thought, or take medications that claim to abolish anxiety. Oriental religions, with their emphasis on Nirvana and fatalism, are repackaged for Westerners as therapy, and platitudes or tautologies masquerade as wisdom." Of course he wasn't talking about Wikimedia, but the point is no less relevant here. AP295 (talk) 08:16, 6 February 2024 (UTC)Reply
Yes - Civil, logical, scholarly critique should be protected, even when it is in dissent to whatever opinion is prevailing. Have you considered writing an w:WP:Essay with you opinions? Do you have a user page somewhere with a manifesto? A proposed rewrite of the w:WP:Civility policy? I concur that there is a need for this, and my proposal was a start. You may contribute to my m:User:Jaredscribe/UCoC#Commentary and Analysis, if you wish. Jaredscribe (talk) 03:57, 11 February 2024 (UTC)Reply
A manifesto? Do I strike you as a Ted Kaczynski? I hope that's not the impression I give. I would like to see a provision that protects critical contributions and another rule that prohibits dishonesty. AP295 (talk) 19:37, 12 February 2024 (UTC)Reply
Though since you've asked, I do have a relevant essay on wikiversity, https://en.wikiversity.org/wiki/Policy_and_Standards_for_Critical_Discourse. It's a critique on the design and policy of popular user-driven websites. I may end up moving it if wikiversity ever improves the documentation on content organization and namespaces and I figure out exactly how to organize my essays. However, I am blocked on wikipedia and the essay is only partly about Wikipedia anyway. AP295 (talk) 00:51, 14 February 2024 (UTC)Reply
They are not predicated upon critique, but upon conduct and discussion. Not all discussion must or should be critical, although critique is one aspect of discussion that should be protected when it is done competently and in good-faith. Much critique on wikipedia is not done that way, in my experience, which is the motivation for guidelines like this.
I propose that all dialectic - including talk pages, edit summaries, user talk pages, in person meetups, multiple live drafts (as in w:WP:Bold-refine - should be founded in "scholarly inquiry" and "analytical discourse" ('logical discourse'), which includes critique but starts before goes far beyond it.
Jaredscribe (talk) 23:32, 18 February 2024 (UTC)Reply
Again, I agree with the spirit and think such a change would be an improvement, but that's not saying much. Deleting the sentence entirely would be better yet. Phrases like founded in scholarly inquiry still amount to wooden language. That is, non-specific and somewhat meaningless. A statement such as I suggest would protect dissenting contributions and critique without such ambiguity. AP295 (talk) 12:46, 20 February 2024 (UTC)Reply
I should say though that I'd be quite surprised if they obliged my request in the near term. It's not as though the people who make these decisions are oblivious to these points. On the contrary. Hitchens also had something to say about this, (or rather Chomsky did, but I don't have Chomsky's original quote) "Noam Chomsky, a most distinguished intellectual and moral dissident, once wrote that the old motto about “speaking truth to power” is overrated. Power, as he points out, quite probably knows the truth already, and is mainly interested in suppressing or limiting or distorting it. We would therefore do better to try to instruct the powerless. " It's irritating how often I have to cite Hitchens. It makes me look like a fanatic (which I'm not), but I suppose I should be glad to have at least one 'authority' to cite. Anyway, the points should still be made, and one should not presume they're lost upon the decision makers. AP295 (talk) 08:32, 6 February 2024 (UTC)Reply

U4C Charter

Will the U4C Charter eventually be moved to this wiki? Just wondering. Adrianmn1110 (talk) 11:48, 2 May 2024 (UTC)Reply

While things remain under development, we are keeping much of that on Meta-Wiki. However, if @PEarley (WMF) is open to it (ultimately - it is up to the Trust & Safety team) - that is something we can certainly do at some point. --Gregory Varnum (Wikimedia Foundation) [he/him] (talk) 20:20, 6 May 2024 (UTC)Reply
Sorry, meant to ping @JEissfeldt (WMF). Force of habit - apologies. --Gregory Varnum (Wikimedia Foundation) [he/him] (talk) 17:11, 21 May 2024 (UTC)Reply

Admins/sysops issuing a block should be required to cite the offending diff(s) and the specific (official) rule/policy violated in the block log message

(Edit: I made an RfC on metawiki for this proposal after making some changes and refinements to it, and anyone is welcome to comment there if it's still open: [1] AP295 (talk) 23:40, 25 May 2024 (UTC))Reply

It's the minimum amount of record-keeping and organization required for public accountability. Otherwise it can be quite hard for an observer to determine why a user was blocked and whether or not the user actually broke any rules, let alone to collect data in aggregate for research, journalism, or other study. It would only take a moment for the blocking admin to record this information. They wouldn't have to provide every single offending diff, only enough to show that the action is justified. AP295 (talk) 07:03, 12 May 2024 (UTC)Reply

I heartily endorse this observation. I have been blocked from the English Wikipedia as a result of mob action that was orchestrated by two individuals and which masqueraded as “community consensus”. When first appealed a third individual wrote an assessment of my actions which were not only totally unsubstantiated, but were verging on the libellous. When I have tried to get myself reinstated I am told “Admit your faults”. When I ask “What were my faults”, all that I get is a deafening silence. Martinvl (talk) 21:33, 14 May 2024 (UTC)Reply
"I have been blocked from the English Wikipedia as a result of mob action that was orchestrated by two individuals and which masqueraded as “community consensus”" How would I know? Maybe it's obvious, maybe it's not obvious. Maybe you deserved it. Maybe you didn't. I'm not going to investigate though.
Loaded questions like "what were you blocked for?" would not be necessary if there were a basic record. Sometimes they even do cite the information in the block log. Most of the time they don't though. AP295 (talk) 07:51, 15 May 2024 (UTC)Reply
But assuming you were blocked dishonestly, thanks for your support. I should have realized sooner that poor record-keeping is what allows unaccountable blocking and abuse. Otherwise it would be obvious to anyone who simply checked the log. Even in the cases where one can quickly figure it out, it's impossible to automatically associate blocks with diffs for research purposes. In many cases it involves finding a handful of archived pages or past versions without any links. It is impractical. I really doubt the volume of banned editors would pose a problem, as it would only take a moment to add this info. It is not laborious. I anticipate one objection might be the (trivial) inconvenience of entering the information, but in that case the rule could apply only for editors with accounts and exclude IP editors, who are usually given short-term blocks for things like vandalism. There's no excuse whatsoever not to do require this. Of course I'm open to counterarguments, but as I see it the only reason one would object to this is because they intend to abuse blocks and issue them for reasons other than rule/policy violations.
Like I mentioned, in a few days I'll start an RfC on meta. I'm presently on a short-term block on meta, so I'll have to wait a few days but feel free to make one yourself and link/quote this topic. (unless you really did deserve your ban, in which case you may not be the best representative, but I welcome your input in the upcoming RfC at any rate.) Otherwise leave it to me, but if I don't make one for whatever reason (hit by a bus, block extended, etc.) you should do so yourself. This would probably fix the problem of sysop/admin abuse on wikimedia projects so I consider it kind of important. Hopefully more than just us two will show interest. At the very least, it would look suspect to reject this idea, for reasons I've already mentioned.
"Admit your faults". Users are practically never given the chance to appeal on the basis of policy. Rather, a user blocked unfairly is expected to validate and endorse this abuse to make it appear credible. Actually all blocked users are expected to do this as a matter of course. I doubt those who use their admin/sysop privileges dishonestly or abusively really want to argue on the basis of policy as opposed to the far more convenient presumption that their actions were appropriate and the user's were not, so the process is applied indiscriminately to make it a de-facto standard. Of course, one only really learns this after they've been blocked. The relevant behavioral guidelines [2] give one the superficial impression that when users are blocked unfairly, the mistake will be rectified immediately, "If there is agreement that you may have been blocked unfairly, you may be directly unblocked ". Yet they quickly go on to qualify this, "but this is very rare unless there genuinely were no prospective grounds for the block. Usually the blocking admin's judgement is respected if there is any question of doubt". Notice the doublespeak here. What they've said can be equivalently stated: your block won't be considered unfair if it's plausible, i.e. if it's something they can get away with, you will remain blocked. The lack of a basic record with diffs and policy citations protects this plausibility, as a proper record would make it instantly apparent whether or not it was justified and remove any ambiguity or presumption of guilt, which is the only standard they seem to be held to. It's all vague enough to be believable, and plenty of users who are blocked do deserve it, so unfair blocks are more or less impossible for the user to contest. They should also change that part of the guidelines. There's no honest reason for this additional qualifying sentence. Why wouldn't they just say that if your block was unfair, you'll be unblocked. Does that not suffice? Wouldn't that be the sensible thing to do? Also, look at the euphemistic phrasing, blocking admin's judgement is respected if there is any question of doubt. This is a presumption of guilt and should be removed, or just stated as such so that they cannot maintain this pretense of fairness and concern. AP295 (talk) 00:16, 16 May 2024 (UTC)Reply
One last observation: I almost missed it, "If there is agreement that you may have been blocked unfairly, the operative word here being "agreement". So it only takes one user to veto an unblock. Not that it seems there's ever much disagreement among sysops/admins. They typically just all agree with one another, and certainly I've never seen an admin come to a user's defense against other admins. Perhaps this is just a belt-and-braces approach, just in case. As you can see though the entire process is designed to allow abuse. There is no real policy on wikipedia. They just do whatever is convenient. Having no consistently and fairly enforced policy makes it easily exploitable and it probably serves as a tool of propaganda for various private interests, which are known to resent law and order. You can never say that someone might be acting in that capacity, per w:WP:AGF, which demands credulity from the user and can be equivalently stated as "do not question the motives of others". The whole site is screwed up and stacked against the well-meaning editor, and my suggestion here would be a good start to fixing it. Do I think they'll accept it? Maybe. Probably not. (not really) Yet I have to ask anyway. One must maintain the expectation of fairness, even if one does not anticipate they will receive it. Anything less is nihilistic. AP295 (talk) 00:47, 16 May 2024 (UTC)Reply
Gotta say though, I might just leave after I make the RfC. There are far too many two-faced, mean-spirited people here. Not only do I suspect many of them have ulterior motives, but they are often spiteful just for the hell of it. It's a shame all the public ever sees is the marketing. One wouldn't have a clue just looking at the rules, front page, or even most talk pages. Just look at the main page here on WMF, which has quite an air of officiality and gives the impression it's a highly-ordered and well-managed site. I couldn't tell you how many times I've seen just awful behavior (some of it I suspect due to ulterior motives, but also largely just spiteful, guttural, crude and blatantly in violation of so-called policy.) One is treated as a nuisance for honest editing. As just a single example, look at my appeal on my wiktionary talk page, which has gone ignored for months. The pretenses of social responsibility and community give wikipedia and other projects a public image that is really quite undeserved. Personally I'll never feel a pang of social obligation ever again looking at the fundraising banners. AP295 (talk) 01:33, 16 May 2024 (UTC)Reply
I agree with this idea. Adrianmn1110 (talk) 09:05, 16 May 2024 (UTC)Reply
Pretty much every other site works this way. Users are blocked for one or more specific contributions. What's the point of a block log in the first place if it's full of meaningless entries like "Clearly not here to built an encyclopedia"? That isn't how a fair community is run. The talk page message they leave rarely contains much info either. The appeal process fits neatly into the pattern of abuse I described above, as even the standard offer is apparently conditioned on your "affirmation" of the blocking admin's original misconduct, i.e. "explaining what one did wrong". Consider also how difficult it would be to apply oversight without a real block log. Doesn't that suggest nobody really ever double checks or re-evaluates these blocks? AP295 (talk) 20:56, 16 May 2024 (UTC)Reply
As far as I can see, the ideal structure would be for the block log to contain the diff to the posting where the block is imposed and the this posting should in turn contain a diff pointing to the original accusation which in turn should contain diffs that justify the accusation.  If any of these diffs are missing, the block should be declared null and void as the to verify a meaningful acknowledgement is missing. Martinvl (talk) 21:03, 18 May 2024 (UTC)Reply
I'm not sure I follow. At any rate, it should positively identify which contribution(s) a user was blocked for and cite specific policy. Hardly a tall order. An alternative to citing diffs would be a simple tool that allows one to highlight text on a permalinked page (the most recent version at the time the block is issued), but there's little reason that diffs wouldn't do for the time being. Either would allow easy positive ID of the 'offending' contribs as well as their context. Anything less is neither transparent nor conducive to public accountability. AP295 (talk) 15:51, 19 May 2024 (UTC)Reply
Even just requiring a permalink to the relevant page(s) at the time the block is issued and linking the relevant policy would be a great improvement, for practically zero effort. AP295 (talk) 16:29, 19 May 2024 (UTC)Reply
I suppose either diffs or permalinks would work. It would be effortless to do this, and crucially, it would enable both accountability for individual actions as well as data collection for research. In the latter case, one could identify biases, censorship and other trends in the aggregate, which would otherwise be difficult to recognize and substantiate. These projects reach millions of people. They present themselves as open to public participation and no doubt many users presume content is subject to public scrutiny. Both editors and the public are owed a degree of transparency. AP295 (talk) 18:05, 19 May 2024 (UTC)Reply

I wonder if a meta wiki RfC would be a better venue for this discussion. I suppose I'll wait a few days and see if any functionaries reply here first, but this page oddly does not seem to get a lot of traffic. It's quite strange this isn't already required, even just for the sake of convenience so that sysop and admin decisions can be evaluated at a glance by stewards, or whoever it is that's responsible for making sure they don't go batshit (hopefully someone). I suppose it suggests that blocks are rarely if ever subject to oversight. Hardly reassuring. AP295 (talk) 07:14, 12 May 2024 (UTC)Reply