Admin / experienced user flameout - how do we talk people down off the ledge?

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Admin / experienced user flameout - how do we talk people down off the ledge?

George William Herbert
Admin Rodhullandemu just retired after being blocked for blocking
Malleus Fautorum to win a dispute

For reference:
  https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Wikipedia:Administrators'_noticeboard#Block_review

On and off wiki I have mentioned before that we are really bad, as a
project, at identifying people who have worked themselves into an
angry corner and feel that they must blow up and leave, and then
talking them down and defusing the situation.  This is in my
experience the typical (or at least, a major and common) exit mode of
longtime highly involved contributors.

Our existing policy and precedent really don't address this problem.
We have had individual admins and experienced editors spot the pattern
start and work to calm situations down on an individual basis, with
mixed results.  But typically the pattern is not really recognized
until it's too late.

Posed for consideration - This is a problem worth putting more time
and effort into, and which the project will benefit significantly from
getting right over the long term.

The question is - what exactly do we do about it?


--
-george william herbert
[hidden email]

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Re: Admin / experienced user flameout - how do we talk people down off the ledge?

Charles Matthews
George Herbert wrote:

> Admin Rodhullandemu just retired after being blocked for blocking
> Malleus Fautorum to win a dispute
>
> For reference:
>   https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Wikipedia:Administrators'_noticeboard#Block_review
>
> On and off wiki I have mentioned before that we are really bad, as a
> project, at identifying people who have worked themselves into an
> angry corner and feel that they must blow up and leave, and then
> talking them down and defusing the situation.  This is in my
> experience the typical (or at least, a major and common) exit mode of
> longtime highly involved contributors.
>
> Our existing policy and precedent really don't address this problem.
> We have had individual admins and experienced editors spot the pattern
> start and work to calm situations down on an individual basis, with
> mixed results.  But typically the pattern is not really recognized
> until it's too late.
>
> Posed for consideration - This is a problem worth putting more time
> and effort into, and which the project will benefit significantly from
> getting right over the long term.
>
> The question is - what exactly do we do about it?
>
>  
You'd never want to start from here - someone leaving - but it always
anyway has to start with using "correct" language. Which here is that
someone is on wikibreak, having been upset by events on the site. We
have to remember the "wiki way", ancient wisdom. If you are upset, take
a wikibreak. You are not going to get more perspective on the site.
(This may sound unhelpful, but it isn't.)

I don't know the specifics, but AN has to take some of the cultural
blame. A relatively recent issue I initiated (which was serious) was
whisked onto AN and then to RfAr by "reactive" means. I protested
feebly, but matters were so swiftly taken out of my hands (edit
conflicts and all) I just had to be a saddened spectator.

Charles



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Re: Admin / experienced user flameout - how do we talk people down off the ledge?

Fred Bauder-2
In reply to this post by George William Herbert
It is likely the reason he got into trouble was because he wasn't
confident that others would back him up, so he did it himself. Which is,
of course, the third rail. What is missing is the knowledge that
sometimes, even if you are "right", others will not, for one reason or
another, not back you up and you will fail. And can't do anything about
it.

Fred

> Admin Rodhullandemu just retired after being blocked for blocking
> Malleus Fautorum to win a dispute
>
> For reference:
>   https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Wikipedia:Administrators'_noticeboard#Block_review
>
> On and off wiki I have mentioned before that we are really bad, as a
> project, at identifying people who have worked themselves into an
> angry corner and feel that they must blow up and leave, and then
> talking them down and defusing the situation.  This is in my
> experience the typical (or at least, a major and common) exit mode of
> longtime highly involved contributors.
>
> Our existing policy and precedent really don't address this problem.
> We have had individual admins and experienced editors spot the pattern
> start and work to calm situations down on an individual basis, with
> mixed results.  But typically the pattern is not really recognized
> until it's too late.
>
> Posed for consideration - This is a problem worth putting more time
> and effort into, and which the project will benefit significantly from
> getting right over the long term.
>
> The question is - what exactly do we do about it?
>
>
> --
> -george william herbert
> [hidden email]
>
> _______________________________________________
> WikiEN-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> To unsubscribe from this mailing list, visit:
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikien-l
>



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Re: Admin / experienced user flameout - how do we talk people down off the ledge?

David Goodman
Yes, AN / ANI is   part of the problem. The formal procedures of arb
com and the consideration by a small group of highly selected very
experienced people who devote almost their full wiki-time to it,
result after weeks or months of discussion at the most in desysop, a
one year block, and a topic ban.   The informal never-codified
procedures at AN & ANI with judgement rendered by whomever care to do
so after a moment;'s thought among   the 700 more or less active
admins, can result after a few hours  in permanent bans.  When arb com
asks for arb enforcement in an ongoing issue, they limit it typically
to blocks of one week, slowly progressing upwards. At ANI, there's no
limit. Because of this sort of problem, we long ago rejected a
community sanctions noticeboard after a brief test for the perceived
injustice of its over hasty procedure. But it seems to have crept in
again.

We have a standard question for admin candidates, what is the
difference between a ban and a block, for which the only approved
answer is, that a ban is a block that no admin is willing to reverse.
If that were followed, it would limit the bans to the undoubted
trolls.  But it is not: a ban at present is whenver a group at ANI can
get temporary consensus to have one.  This is rough justice running
amock.

I have previous expressed some discontent  with a good deal of arb
com's work, but most of it has been when they shortcut their own
procedure--they too have been carried away by the rush to dispose of
problems quickly rather than fairly.   Even at their worst, though,
they do better than the recent verdicts by the community at ANI. We
seem to have adopted the Red Queen's Rule: whoever executes someone
first settles the case.


On Sun, Jul 11, 2010 at 5:33 PM, Fred Bauder <[hidden email]> wrote:

> It is likely the reason he got into trouble was because he wasn't
> confident that others would back him up, so he did it himself. Which is,
> of course, the third rail. What is missing is the knowledge that
> sometimes, even if you are "right", others will not, for one reason or
> another, not back you up and you will fail. And can't do anything about
> it.
>
> Fred
>
>> Admin Rodhullandemu just retired after being blocked for blocking
>> Malleus Fautorum to win a dispute
>>
>> For reference:
>>   https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Wikipedia:Administrators'_noticeboard#Block_review
>>
>> On and off wiki I have mentioned before that we are really bad, as a
>> project, at identifying people who have worked themselves into an
>> angry corner and feel that they must blow up and leave, and then
>> talking them down and defusing the situation.  This is in my
>> experience the typical (or at least, a major and common) exit mode of
>> longtime highly involved contributors.
>>
>> Our existing policy and precedent really don't address this problem.
>> We have had individual admins and experienced editors spot the pattern
>> start and work to calm situations down on an individual basis, with
>> mixed results.  But typically the pattern is not really recognized
>> until it's too late.
>>
>> Posed for consideration - This is a problem worth putting more time
>> and effort into, and which the project will benefit significantly from
>> getting right over the long term.
>>
>> The question is - what exactly do we do about it?
>>
>>
>> --
>> -george william herbert
>> [hidden email]
>>
>> _______________________________________________
>> WikiEN-l mailing list
>> [hidden email]
>> To unsubscribe from this mailing list, visit:
>> https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikien-l
>>
>
>
>
> _______________________________________________
> WikiEN-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> To unsubscribe from this mailing list, visit:
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikien-l
>



--
David Goodman, Ph.D, M.L.S.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User_talk:DGG

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Re: Admin / experienced user flameout - how do we talk people down off the ledge?

Newyorkbrad (Wikipedia)
This particular situation is now the subject of a pending request for
arbitration, so I'll comment on that on-wiki (probably in the morning), but
my comments there may have some relevance to the broader issue being raised
here.

Newyorkbrad

On Sun, Jul 11, 2010 at 8:50 PM, David Goodman <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Yes, AN / ANI is   part of the problem. The formal procedures of arb
> com and the consideration by a small group of highly selected very
> experienced people who devote almost their full wiki-time to it,
> result after weeks or months of discussion at the most in desysop, a
> one year block, and a topic ban.   The informal never-codified
> procedures at AN & ANI with judgement rendered by whomever care to do
> so after a moment;'s thought among   the 700 more or less active
> admins, can result after a few hours  in permanent bans.  When arb com
> asks for arb enforcement in an ongoing issue, they limit it typically
> to blocks of one week, slowly progressing upwards. At ANI, there's no
> limit. Because of this sort of problem, we long ago rejected a
> community sanctions noticeboard after a brief test for the perceived
> injustice of its over hasty procedure. But it seems to have crept in
> again.
>
> We have a standard question for admin candidates, what is the
> difference between a ban and a block, for which the only approved
> answer is, that a ban is a block that no admin is willing to reverse.
> If that were followed, it would limit the bans to the undoubted
> trolls.  But it is not: a ban at present is whenver a group at ANI can
> get temporary consensus to have one.  This is rough justice running
> amock.
>
> I have previous expressed some discontent  with a good deal of arb
> com's work, but most of it has been when they shortcut their own
> procedure--they too have been carried away by the rush to dispose of
> problems quickly rather than fairly.   Even at their worst, though,
> they do better than the recent verdicts by the community at ANI. We
> seem to have adopted the Red Queen's Rule: whoever executes someone
> first settles the case.
>
>
> On Sun, Jul 11, 2010 at 5:33 PM, Fred Bauder <[hidden email]>
> wrote:
> > It is likely the reason he got into trouble was because he wasn't
> > confident that others would back him up, so he did it himself. Which is,
> > of course, the third rail. What is missing is the knowledge that
> > sometimes, even if you are "right", others will not, for one reason or
> > another, not back you up and you will fail. And can't do anything about
> > it.
> >
> > Fred
> >
> >> Admin Rodhullandemu just retired after being blocked for blocking
> >> Malleus Fautorum to win a dispute
> >>
> >> For reference:
> >>
> https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Wikipedia:Administrators'_noticeboard#Block_review
> >>
> >> On and off wiki I have mentioned before that we are really bad, as a
> >> project, at identifying people who have worked themselves into an
> >> angry corner and feel that they must blow up and leave, and then
> >> talking them down and defusing the situation.  This is in my
> >> experience the typical (or at least, a major and common) exit mode of
> >> longtime highly involved contributors.
> >>
> >> Our existing policy and precedent really don't address this problem.
> >> We have had individual admins and experienced editors spot the pattern
> >> start and work to calm situations down on an individual basis, with
> >> mixed results.  But typically the pattern is not really recognized
> >> until it's too late.
> >>
> >> Posed for consideration - This is a problem worth putting more time
> >> and effort into, and which the project will benefit significantly from
> >> getting right over the long term.
> >>
> >> The question is - what exactly do we do about it?
> >>
> >>
> >> --
> >> -george william herbert
> >> [hidden email]
> >>
> >> _______________________________________________
> >> WikiEN-l mailing list
> >> [hidden email]
> >> To unsubscribe from this mailing list, visit:
> >> https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikien-l
> >>
> >
> >
> >
> > _______________________________________________
> > WikiEN-l mailing list
> > [hidden email]
> > To unsubscribe from this mailing list, visit:
> > https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikien-l
> >
>
>
>
> --
> David Goodman, Ph.D, M.L.S.
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User_talk:DGG
>
> _______________________________________________
> WikiEN-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> To unsubscribe from this mailing list, visit:
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikien-l
>
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Re: Admin / experienced user flameout - how do we talk people down off the ledge?

Marc Riddell
In reply to this post by George William Herbert
on 7/11/10 3:29 PM, George Herbert at [hidden email] wrote:

> Admin Rodhullandemu just retired after being blocked for blocking
> Malleus Fautorum to win a dispute
>
> For reference:
> https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Wikipedia:Administrators'_notic
> eboard#Block_review
>
> On and off wiki I have mentioned before that we are really bad, as a
> project, at identifying people who have worked themselves into an
> angry corner and feel that they must blow up and leave, and then
> talking them down and defusing the situation.  This is in my
> experience the typical (or at least, a major and common) exit mode of
> longtime highly involved contributors.
>
> Our existing policy and precedent really don't address this problem.
> We have had individual admins and experienced editors spot the pattern
> start and work to calm situations down on an individual basis, with
> mixed results.  But typically the pattern is not really recognized
> until it's too late.
>
> Posed for consideration - This is a problem worth putting more time
> and effort into, and which the project will benefit significantly from
> getting right over the long term.
>
> The question is - what exactly do we do about it?
>
Many, if not most, companies, major non-profit organizations and virtually
all government agencies have a Human Resources department. Or, as I have
established for many of them, a Person & Team Relations section. This
consists of a group of persons trained in the art & science of human
behavior; most especially in inter-personal & inter-group relations. They
are persons not involved in, but are knowledgeable of, the day-to-day
activities & demands of the organization. Their sole purpose is to prevent
valuable employees who are experiencing acute burnout, or feel they have
reached impasse in a particular situation, from leaving the organization.

Would this be a possibility for the Wikipedia Project?


Marc Riddell, Ph.D.
Clinical Psychology/Psychotherapy



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Re: Admin / experienced user flameout - how do we talk people down off the ledge?

Bod Notbod
On Mon, Jul 12, 2010 at 1:38 PM, Marc Riddell
<[hidden email]> wrote:

> Many, if not most, companies, major non-profit organizations and virtually
> all government agencies have a Human Resources department...

> Would this be a possibility for the Wikipedia Project?

___________________________________________________________________

tl;dr version of the below ~ possibly, but perhaps a shower of
wikilove is adequate.
___________________________________________________________________

No doubt *some* form of group could be set up to address such issues,
the big question is whether it would be staffed.

At Wikimania a chap from .de gave a talk on mentoring schemes. They
appear to have quite a successful one. Our "adopt a user" programme
[1] is much less so. Without care and diligence being given to the HR
idea it may well lay fallow.

What would probably be better is for people to just be more
encouraging of each other in general, more supportive and more
recognition given to editors (which was another point raised at
Wikimania). In this way at least when someone is getting frustrated
there's a counter-balancing atmosphere of positivity.

I find that I spend hardly any time feeling part of a social
atmosphere on Wikipedia. This will be in part because the community is
so vast that I don't bump into the same people very often. Joining a
Wikiproject would help, but I change my interests all the time and
won't commit to a subject area. My editing activities often feel like
floating on a vast ocean in a raft without companionship. For me,
that's OK, I'm a misanthrope anyway and I get my social buzz from
another site.

It is easy to make enemies on Wikipedia and far less easy to make
friends. It appears to me that most Wikipedia friendships arise in the
real world with meet-ups and 'Manias. But I was one of the people
writing proposals for the strategy wiki about adding social features
[2] which, one would hope, could bond people together a bit more.

It is correct to be concerned, however, that people might start
spending too much time socialising and not enough time doing work :O)

I read something recently about Facebook using our articles as some
kind of seeding facility for their groups structure. I can't find any
stories about this now (anyone?) [3]. Perhaps if we were to embrace
that, and actively collaborate with Facebook, people who have accounts
on each could socialise on the Facebook/Wikipedia mash-up leaving WP
much as it is; ie work-focused.

I'm digressing a little; to return to cases where long-term, valued
users reach the end of their tether perhaps something quite simple
like a page for people to log that they have left the project and
asking them to give their reason would give us an opportunity to get
in touch with them and try to persuade them to return (perhaps after a
wikibreak). There was a survey done recently though (also covered at
Wikimania), sent to users who had left the project and it turned out
most of them described themselves as not having left, despite not
having edited for 3 months.

The idea of a survey of former admins, to establish reasons for
leaving the project, appears to have started up in May and looks like
it's still in the planning stage [4]. Perhaps we can return to these
issues when the results are in?

In this specific case I suggest anyone that knows the user to go and
show some Wikilove.
_________________________________________

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:ADOPT

[2] http://strategy.wikimedia.org/wiki/Social_features

[3] ???

[4] http://strategy.wikimedia.org/wiki/Task_force/Community_Health/Former_administrators_survey
_________________________________________

en.User:Bodnotbod

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Re: Admin / experienced user flameout - how do we talk people down off the ledge?

Ryan Delaney
In reply to this post by George William Herbert
On Sun, Jul 11, 2010 at 12:29 PM, George Herbert
<[hidden email]>wrote:

> Admin Rodhullandemu just retired after being blocked for blocking
> Malleus Fautorum to win a dispute
>
> For reference:
>
> https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Wikipedia:Administrators'_noticeboard#Block_review
>
> On and off wiki I have mentioned before that we are really bad, as a
> project, at identifying people who have worked themselves into an
> angry corner and feel that they must blow up and leave, and then
> talking them down and defusing the situation.  This is in my
> experience the typical (or at least, a major and common) exit mode of
> longtime highly involved contributors.
>
> Our existing policy and precedent really don't address this problem.
> We have had individual admins and experienced editors spot the pattern
> start and work to calm situations down on an individual basis, with
> mixed results.  But typically the pattern is not really recognized
> until it's too late.
>
> Posed for consideration - This is a problem worth putting more time
> and effort into, and which the project will benefit significantly from
> getting right over the long term.
>
> The question is - what exactly do we do about it?
>
>
> --
> -george william herbert
> [hidden email]
>
>
You most definitely do have this exact problem and I am one of many test
cases. I find myself replying to these topics due to my still-passionate
belief in the value of the project being balanced out by my equally
convictional belief that Wikipedia culture is so thoroughly broken on this
issue that it would be truly foolish for me to try to continue to help.

As you might have already gathered from the tone of the previous paragraph,
as well as another email I recently wrote to this mailing list about it, I'm
still sufficiently sore about this that I might descend into ranting if I
get on to the topic -- I have a lot of lingering resentment about this
still, with all the attendant (and irrational) expectations of apology and
reconciliation. Suffice to say that the process of AN/I is extremely
ill-suited to handling allegations of administrator misconduct for reasons
you and David Goodman insightfully and accurately diagnose.

I want to make clear to some, including Charles Matthews (though he is not
the only person to suggest this 'wikibreak' idea to me and others in similar
situations) that I am most definitely not on a "Wikibreak". This isn't an
issue of me getting angry and needing to 'cool down' -- it's an issue of me
coming into contact with first-hand knowledge that administrators doing
difficult work on the worst parts of Wikipedia will absolutely not find
themselves supported by the community for doing so -- to the contrary, they
will often find themselves cut down. Only a fool would continue to do
difficult administrative work in this environment, regardless of his or her
mood at the time. Although I would very much like to see the situation
improved, I have no intention whatsoever in editing in any administrative
capacity until I see evidence of improvement.

So, as I see it, the only road forward that is consistent with both my faith
in Wikipedia as a concept and my unwillingness to edit in an administrative
capacity is to make whatever small contributions I can to people like you
who want to know what is going wrong, what could be handled differently or
better, and what the experience is like for people in my situation.

- causa sui
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Re: Admin / experienced user flameout - how do we talk people down off the ledge?

Ian Woollard
In reply to this post by George William Herbert
I'm pretty sure that the main solution to this is to make the wiki
experience better, not trying to specifically treat people that are
getting frustrated's experience better.

--
-Ian Woollard

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Re: Admin / experienced user flameout - how do we talk people down off the ledge?

Carcharoth
On Tue, Jul 13, 2010 at 2:51 AM, Ian Woollard <[hidden email]> wrote:
> I'm pretty sure that the main solution to this is to make the wiki
> experience better, not trying to specifically treat people that are
> getting frustrated's experience better.

I agree. It works both ways. New editors, who may not fully understand
all the details yet, get frustrated as well. Get experienced admins,
new editors, and people who hand out advice at ANI without fully
looking into something, and you often end up with a mess. To answer
Ryan's point, I think a *lot* of built-up frustration can be traced
back to people falling into a "defend the wiki" mentality and seeing a
never-ending siege mentality stretching away in front of them.

I find the best thing to do is mix things up a bit. Chop and change.
Not so much that you lose focus, but enough that you don't become
overly focused and lose perspective. And never ever feel that you are
the only one able to do something, and if you think you are the only
person dealing with some routine task, ask for help. Get others
interested, offer to train them up if it is complex, give them advice,
and go away secure in the knowledge that whatever it is, it is now in
safe hands. It is all part and parcel of working together on such a
massive project as this.

Carcharoth

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Re: Admin / experienced user flameout - how do we talk people down off the ledge?

George William Herbert
On Mon, Jul 12, 2010 at 11:33 PM, Carcharoth
<[hidden email]> wrote:

> On Tue, Jul 13, 2010 at 2:51 AM, Ian Woollard <[hidden email]> wrote:
>> I'm pretty sure that the main solution to this is to make the wiki
>> experience better, not trying to specifically treat people that are
>> getting frustrated's experience better.
>
> I agree. It works both ways. New editors, who may not fully understand
> all the details yet, get frustrated as well. Get experienced admins,
> new editors, and people who hand out advice at ANI without fully
> looking into something, and you often end up with a mess. To answer
> Ryan's point, I think a *lot* of built-up frustration can be traced
> back to people falling into a "defend the wiki" mentality and seeing a
> never-ending siege mentality stretching away in front of them.
>
> I find the best thing to do is mix things up a bit. Chop and change.
> Not so much that you lose focus, but enough that you don't become
> overly focused and lose perspective. And never ever feel that you are
> the only one able to do something, and if you think you are the only
> person dealing with some routine task, ask for help. Get others
> interested, offer to train them up if it is complex, give them advice,
> and go away secure in the knowledge that whatever it is, it is now in
> safe hands. It is all part and parcel of working together on such a
> massive project as this.

I concur with this.  In particular, some areas of Wikipedia are
corrosive on those who participate there... new pages and recent
changes patrols, and (particularly, and particularly badly in terms of
effects) WP:ANI.

I think I've been able to tolerate ANI pretty much all the time,
though my activity level there has its ups and downs.  It's clearly
true that ANI has caused a bunch of people to end up in siege
mentality mode.

I have had to walk away from recent changes repeatedly.  The saving
grace there is that there are hundreds more backing you up there and
plenty of smart bots.


--
-george william herbert
[hidden email]

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Re: Admin / experienced user flameout - how do we talk people down off the ledge?

Carcharoth
On Tue, Jul 13, 2010 at 7:48 AM, George Herbert
<[hidden email]> wrote:

<snip>

> I have had to walk away from recent changes repeatedly.

Picking up on the "walking away" bit.

There are, of course, those who find themselves *unable* to walk away.
Either because they are deeply involved, or because they find
themselves being drawn back time and time again. Or because they enjoy
the drama. I've fallen into that trap a few times myself. I'm sure it
is in some essay somewhere, but the ability to be able to walk away is
an important one (though not allowing yourself to be *bullied* away of
course).

The other aspect is that different users exhibit different levels of
maturity depending on their current state. Being able to ease past
that without responding in kind or allowing your frustration to show,
is one strategy (though calling people out for any immaturity is also
important, you need to pick the right place and moment). Remonstrating
with someone in the middle of a discussion about something else ends
up being a distraction. I find it best to try and refocus people on
the substance of what is being discussed, and then to take up the
other issues later.

Carcharoth

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Re: Admin / experienced user flameout - how do we talk people down off the ledge?

Ryan Delaney
On Tue, Jul 13, 2010 at 12:25 AM, Carcharoth <[hidden email]>wrote:

> On Tue, Jul 13, 2010 at 7:48 AM, George Herbert
> <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> <snip>
>
> > I have had to walk away from recent changes repeatedly.
>
> Picking up on the "walking away" bit.
>
> There are, of course, those who find themselves *unable* to walk away.
> Either because they are deeply involved, or because they find
> themselves being drawn back time and time again. Or because they enjoy
> the drama. I've fallen into that trap a few times myself. I'm sure it
> is in some essay somewhere, but the ability to be able to walk away is
> an important one (though not allowing yourself to be *bullied* away of
> course).
>
> The other aspect is that different users exhibit different levels of
> maturity depending on their current state. Being able to ease past
> that without responding in kind or allowing your frustration to show,
> is one strategy (though calling people out for any immaturity is also
> important, you need to pick the right place and moment). Remonstrating
> with someone in the middle of a discussion about something else ends
> up being a distraction. I find it best to try and refocus people on
> the substance of what is being discussed, and then to take up the
> other issues later.
>
> Carcharoth
>
>
I don't think this can be regarded as any kind of permanent solution.
Walking away would have done nothing in my case because I was the one being
hounded.

- causa sui
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Re: Admin / experienced user flameout - how do we talk people down off the ledge?

Carcharoth
On Tue, Jul 13, 2010 at 4:50 PM, Ryan Delaney <[hidden email]> wrote:

> I don't think this can be regarded as any kind of permanent solution.
> Walking away would have done nothing in my case because I was the one being
> hounded.

I'm actually not familiar with what happened in your case, but I did
include the caveat of "not allowing yourself to be *bullied* away".
The point being that you can walk away from a flashpoint and calmly
make your point later. Walking away is not "do nothing" but "don't act
in anger", and "sometimes its really not worth it". The latter I would
apply to intractable naming disputes. The amount of effort and debate
that gets expended on naming debates is, in most cases, just not worth
it. Cost-benefit analysis and all that.

Carcharoth

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Re: Admin / experienced user flameout - how do we talk people down off the ledge?

Ryan Delaney
On Tue, Jul 13, 2010 at 9:14 AM, Carcharoth <[hidden email]>wrote:

> On Tue, Jul 13, 2010 at 4:50 PM, Ryan Delaney <[hidden email]>
> wrote:
>
> > I don't think this can be regarded as any kind of permanent solution.
> > Walking away would have done nothing in my case because I was the one
> being
> > hounded.
>
> I'm actually not familiar with what happened in your case, but I did
> include the caveat of "not allowing yourself to be *bullied* away".
> The point being that you can walk away from a flashpoint and calmly
> make your point later. Walking away is not "do nothing" but "don't act
> in anger", and "sometimes its really not worth it". The latter I would
> apply to intractable naming disputes. The amount of effort and debate
> that gets expended on naming debates is, in most cases, just not worth
> it. Cost-benefit analysis and all that.
>
> Carcharoth
>
>
I don't intend to constantly redirect attention back to myself and my
problem(s), but it's my only direct frame of reference and as it was my last
real on-wiki experience, it's a bit fresh in my mind.

So to speak more generally, what I'm trying to draw your attention to is the
idea that there are much more profound cultural problems on Wikipedia than
that "we need to make it more fun" or "People who are getting angry need to
take a break and cool off." David Goodman did a rough-and-dirty diagnosis of
the problems with what is going on at WP:AN/I, which now that I take a look
at it is just as bad as ever. In general, I found the widespread assumptions
of bad faith combined with mob justice appalling to say the least and it
thoroughly erased whatever belief I had that I could depend on community
support. I don't see why any other administrator discussed in this thread,
or any of the others who find themselves subjected to ad-hoc firing squads
on AN/I, should feel any differently.

- causa sui
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FT2
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Re: Admin / experienced user flameout - how do we talk people down off the ledge?

FT2
The expectations upon admins are the pivot point for that. See [[
User:FT2/RfA <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:FT2/RfA>]].

Any ideas how we can get somewhere like that?

FT2




On Tue, Jul 13, 2010 at 11:55 PM, Ryan Delaney <[hidden email]>wrote:

> So to speak more generally, what I'm trying to draw your attention to is
> the
> idea that there are much more profound cultural problems on Wikipedia than
> that "we need to make it more fun" or "People who are getting angry need to
> take a break and cool off." David Goodman did a rough-and-dirty diagnosis
> of
> the problems with what is going on at WP:AN/I, which now that I take a look
> at it is just as bad as ever. In general, I found the widespread
> assumptions
> of bad faith combined with mob justice appalling to say the least and it
> thoroughly erased whatever belief I had that I could depend on community
> support. I don't see why any other administrator discussed in this thread,
> or any of the others who find themselves subjected to ad-hoc firing squads
> on AN/I, should feel any differently.
>
> - causa sui
>
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Re: Admin / experienced user flameout - how do we talk people down off the ledge?

geni
On 14 July 2010 02:07, FT2 <[hidden email]> wrote:
> The expectations upon admins are the pivot point for that. See [[
> User:FT2/RfA <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:FT2/RfA>]].
>
> Any ideas how we can get somewhere like that?
>
> FT2
>

Well to start with you could chuck your requirements out of the
window. Your requirements like most at RFA are selecting for 3 things

1)some degree of editing skill
2)Not appearing to cause trouble
3)A decent set of wikipolitics skill


It's two and three that cause the problem. Anyone whith a decent set
of wikipolitics skills is going to archive 2 by playing safe going
along with the flow and not challenging things. Almost anyone actually
passing RFA is going to have got into the habit of going along with
the ah "bad faith combined with mob justice". The people who might
actually try to challenge such things are unlikely to pass RFA because
either they lack the wikipolitics skills needed in order to pass (you
would tend to fail them under the "nor into politicking" clause among
others) or because they are not prepared to use them in a way that
would let them pass.

Upshot is that we have for some years now been promoting a bunch of
admins who will go with the flow rather than challenge low level bad
behavior by admins and long standing users. The tiny number of rebels
and iconoclasts left are from years ago and have little to day to day
stuff.

--
geni

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Re: Admin / experienced user flameout - how do we talk people down off the ledge?

David Goodman
Frankly, I see that as unwarranted pessimism. The sets of people who
want to change things and people who want to cause trouble are not
identical, though there is a substantial intersection. Admins who have
the lack of judgement to try to force their desired change into policy
by using their arbitrary power of their ability to bully people, are
at least as much a problem as the over-conformist. Indeed, I think it
my role as an admin to be a conformist, and do only what is generally
supported. When I want to work to get something different, that has to
be done without the presumed immunities and special power of an
administrator.

To a certain extent the role does require tolerated the other admins,
but that is just analogous to the requirement that an editor tolerate
other editors. In both cases, the difficulty is that we have no usable
sanctions until things become outrageous. Mild disapproval over the
distance of the internet is very easy for someone to ignore entirely,
until they have gotten themselves into an impossible position.

My personal view remains that we should not tolerate insult even from
the best and most established editors or administrators. A more
civilized environment in these respects will help us get many addition
new good editors and administrators to replace the ones who can not
work in an acceptable fashion. Joining in a collective work is not the
place for displace of individualistic irascibility, even when
accompanied by genius--such people are very important and very
valuable, but they should be working creatively-- and independently.



On Tue, Jul 13, 2010 at 9:54 PM, geni <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On 14 July 2010 02:07, FT2 <[hidden email]> wrote:
>> The expectations upon admins are the pivot point for that. See [[
>> User:FT2/RfA <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:FT2/RfA>]].
>>
>> Any ideas how we can get somewhere like that?
>>
>> FT2
>>
>
> Well to start with you could chuck your requirements out of the
> window. Your requirements like most at RFA are selecting for 3 things
>
> 1)some degree of editing skill
> 2)Not appearing to cause trouble
> 3)A decent set of wikipolitics skill
>
>
> It's two and three that cause the problem. Anyone whith a decent set
> of wikipolitics skills is going to archive 2 by playing safe going
> along with the flow and not challenging things. Almost anyone actually
> passing RFA is going to have got into the habit of going along with
> the ah "bad faith combined with mob justice". The people who might
> actually try to challenge such things are unlikely to pass RFA because
> either they lack the wikipolitics skills needed in order to pass (you
> would tend to fail them under the "nor into politicking" clause among
> others) or because they are not prepared to use them in a way that
> would let them pass.
>
> Upshot is that we have for some years now been promoting a bunch of
> admins who will go with the flow rather than challenge low level bad
> behavior by admins and long standing users. The tiny number of rebels
> and iconoclasts left are from years ago and have little to day to day
> stuff.
>
> --
> geni
>
> _______________________________________________
> WikiEN-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> To unsubscribe from this mailing list, visit:
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikien-l
>



--
David Goodman, Ph.D, M.L.S.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User_talk:DGG

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Re: Admin / experienced user flameout - how do we talk people down off the ledge?

Fred Bauder-2
In reply to this post by geni
> On 14 July 2010 02:07, FT2 <[hidden email]> wrote:
>> The expectations upon admins are the pivot point for that. See [[
>> User:FT2/RfA <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:FT2/RfA>]].
>>
>> Any ideas how we can get somewhere like that?
>>
>> FT2
>>
>
> Well to start with you could chuck your requirements out of the
> window. Your requirements like most at RFA are selecting for 3 things
>
> 1)some degree of editing skill
> 2)Not appearing to cause trouble
> 3)A decent set of wikipolitics skill
>
>
> It's two and three that cause the problem. Anyone whith a decent set
> of wikipolitics skills is going to archive 2 by playing safe going
> along with the flow and not challenging things. Almost anyone actually
> passing RFA is going to have got into the habit of going along with
> the ah "bad faith combined with mob justice". The people who might
> actually try to challenge such things are unlikely to pass RFA because
> either they lack the wikipolitics skills needed in order to pass (you
> would tend to fail them under the "nor into politicking" clause among
> others) or because they are not prepared to use them in a way that
> would let them pass.
>
> Upshot is that we have for some years now been promoting a bunch of
> admins who will go with the flow rather than challenge low level bad
> behavior by admins and long standing users. The tiny number of rebels
> and iconoclasts left are from years ago and have little to day to day
> stuff.
>
> --
> geni

Yes, that does seem to be the main requirement, a successful candidate
must never have taken a stand. This for a job that requires taking
stands.

Fred



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Re: Admin / experienced user flameout - how do we talk people down off the ledge?

George William Herbert
On Tue, Jul 13, 2010 at 7:58 PM, Fred Bauder <[hidden email]> wrote:

>> On 14 July 2010 02:07, FT2 <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>> The expectations upon admins are the pivot point for that. See [[
>>> User:FT2/RfA <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:FT2/RfA>]].
>>>
>>> Any ideas how we can get somewhere like that?
>>>
>>> FT2
>>>
>>
>> Well to start with you could chuck your requirements out of the
>> window. Your requirements like most at RFA are selecting for 3 things
>>
>> 1)some degree of editing skill
>> 2)Not appearing to cause trouble
>> 3)A decent set of wikipolitics skill
>>
>>
>> It's two and three that cause the problem. Anyone whith a decent set
>> of wikipolitics skills is going to archive 2 by playing safe going
>> along with the flow and not challenging things. Almost anyone actually
>> passing RFA is going to have got into the habit of going along with
>> the ah "bad faith combined with mob justice". The people who might
>> actually try to challenge such things are unlikely to pass RFA because
>> either they lack the wikipolitics skills needed in order to pass (you
>> would tend to fail them under the "nor into politicking" clause among
>> others) or because they are not prepared to use them in a way that
>> would let them pass.
>>
>> Upshot is that we have for some years now been promoting a bunch of
>> admins who will go with the flow rather than challenge low level bad
>> behavior by admins and long standing users. The tiny number of rebels
>> and iconoclasts left are from years ago and have little to day to day
>> stuff.
>>
>> --
>> geni
>
> Yes, that does seem to be the main requirement, a successful candidate
> must never have taken a stand. This for a job that requires taking
> stands.
>
> Fred

I failed my first try, and could have failed my second if I hadn't
made a serious effort to ameliorate a negative perception from taking
a stand earlier.

The edge of the knife that we must balance on is both being willing to
take stands, and be open to feedback from the community and from other
admins if we take the wrong stand.  Balancing there all the time is
very hard.  Being willing to admit you're wrong on something and still
come back the next day willing and ready to make a hard call on its
merits is not easy.


--
-george william herbert
[hidden email]

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