Fwd: BASC status and transparency

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Fwd: BASC status and transparency

Filipus Klutiero
Following https://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikien-l/2015-August/111154.html I am hereby disclosing a message I sent to the BASC 2 months ago, which unfortunately remains entirely current AFAIK.

No one has indicated whether the bug is known or not.

-------- Forwarded Message --------
Subject: BASC status and transparency (was Re: [arbcom-appeals-en] Appeal by Chealer)
Date: Mon, 18 May 2015 16:25:21 -0400
From: Filipus Klutiero <[hidden email]>
To: Chris McKenna <[hidden email]>, English Arbitration Committee mailing list (appeals) <[hidden email]>



Hi Chris,

On 2015-05-17 17:09, Chris McKenna wrote:
> Thank you for writing to us. The Ban Appeals Subcommittee will now consider your appeal and report its decision to you in due course. The current turnaround time for ban appeals can be checked at <http://enwp.org/WP:BASC#turnaround>. While I appreciate that you would like more precision than that, we are unable to be more specific as the length of time an appeal takes depends on many factors including the availability of individual members of the committee and the specifics of the appeal.

What I meant was not that a single measure was insufficient. I was just pointing out that as for any static document which contains "Currently", reliability is limited. Rather than "Currently, you can expect [...] ", this could read - for example - "As of December 2014, you can expect [...] ", or "Currently (last updated December 2014), you can expect [...] ". That would make appealing... more appealing ;-) In this case, one may get the information from page histories, but this is less trivial with templates.

While we're at it, according to our own article on tilde, the usage we make does not exist in English. Also, "you can expect" is vague - it would be best to say - for example - that the average time is x, or that the vast majority of appeals are processed in x, depending on what was meant (apparently the latter).

> We do not make appeals public as a matter of course as this is not normally in the interests of all parties, and in some cases would compromise privacy.

I did not mean to say all cases should be entirely public - I can understand some privacy issues. But I do not see why a public process would not "normally" be "in the interest of all parties" - or at least, in the project's interest, which is what we should consider. Speaking for my case, it would certainly be at least in my interest for the appeal to be public.

Then again, if the subcommittee wants to keep some or all of its internal communications private, that is a lesser issue. Simply opening external communications would solve most of the transparency problems, including the one which prompted this discussion, i.e. the capacity of potential users to evaluate whether an appeal would be heard (and secondarily, how fast) without requiring someone else keeping an up-to-date assessment (though that could remain a useful indicator to get a quick idea). As a bonus, potential users could evaluate the appropriateness of appeal results.

I rarely (less than once a month on average) make a benevolent online contribution to a project if I cannot do so publically, unless that is due to exceptional circumstances (say a buggy ITS). As a radical transparency advocate, I may not be a reference, but I am surely not alone.

Of course, if you care about the possibility of appealing privately, supporting both options can complicate your work or require investment. I honestly believe though, that for a project which champions openness like Wikimedia, and for an activity as critical as ban management in an open wiki, this should be seriously considered. The WMF might be able to allocate resources to help implementing this.


Finally, regarding the submission problem I noted, my third attempt to submit worked, unlike the first 2 which failed quietly. Even though there was no error, and even though I had never used Email this user before, it was relatively obvious that submission had failed since there was no confirmation (and I had requested an email copy which did not arrive). Still, I am willing to help if that issue is unknown or not fully understood yet. I was using Debian 8's Iceweasel 31 in the first attempts. I made the successful attempt using Chromium, so this may be browser-specific.
>
> [...]

> For the Ban Appeals Subcommittee,

Thank you
>
> *---
> Chris McKenna (Thryduulf)*
> [hidden email] <mailto:[hidden email]>
>
> Unless otherwise noted, opinions expressed in this email are solely my own and do not necessarily represent the views of the Arbitration Committee as a whole.
>
> On 17 May 2015 at 17:50, Chealer <[hidden email] <mailto:[hidden email]>> wrote:

> [...]


--
Filipus Klutiero
http://www.philippecloutier.com



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