Indefinite block and desysopping by User:Danny

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Indefinite block and desysopping by User:Danny

Erik Moeller-3
I have been a Wikipedian since 2001 and a MediaWiki developer since
2002. I was Chief Research Officer of the Foundation from May to
August 2005. I initiated two of Wikimedia's projects, Wikinews and the
Wikimedia Commons, and have made vital contributions to both. I have
made roughly 15,000 edits to the English Wikipedia, and uploaded about
15,000 files to Wikimedia Commons. A list of my overall contributions
can be found at

http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Eloquence

and the linked to pages; this does not include my numerous
international activities such as conference speeches, as well as my
book and articles about Wikipedia. I have never been blocked before,
nor have I ever been subject to an Arbitration Committee ruling (in
fact, I was one of Jimmy's original suggestions for the first ArbCom,
and one of the people who proposed that very committee).

I have just been indefinitely blocked from the English Wikipedia, and
desysopped, by user Danny, under the new nickname "Dannyisme", as an
"Office Action" for alleged "reckless endangerment" which was not
specified further. I have called Danny on the phone, but he said that
he was not willing to discuss the issue, and that I should instead
talk to the Foundation attorney instead. To my knowledge, this is the
first time office authority has been used to indefinitely block and
desysop a user.

What happened?

Yesterday, Danny radically shortened and protected two pages,
[[Newsmax.com]] and [[Christopher Ruddy]]. The protection summary was
"POV qualms" (nothing else), and there was only the following brief
comment on Talk:NewsMax.com:

"This article has been stubbed and protected pending resolution of POV
issues. Danny 19:26, 17 April 2006 (UTC)"

There was no mention of WP:OFFICE in the edit summary or on the talk
page. Danny did not apply the special Office template, {{office}}, nor
did he use the "Dannyisme" account that he created for Foundation
purposes, nor did he list the page on WP:OFFICE. Instead, he applied
the regular {{protected}} template.

Given that Danny has now more explicitly emphasized this distinction
between his role as a Foundation employee and a regular wiki user, I
assumed he was acting here as a normal sysop and editor, and
unprotected the two pages, with a brief reference to the protection
policy. I also asked Danny, on [[Talk:NewsMax.com]], to make it
explicit whether the protection was under WP:OFFICE. I would not have
reprotected, of course, if he had simply said that they were, and left
it at that.

I apologize if this action was perceived as "reckless", but I must
emphasize that I was acting in good faith, and that I would much
appreciate it if all office actions would be labeled as such. I was
under the impression that this was the case given past actions. In any
case, I think that the indefinite block and desysopping is very much
an overreaction, and would like to hereby publicly appeal to Danny,
the community and the Board (since Danny's authority is above the
ArbCom) to restore my editing privileges as well as my sysop status. I
pledge to be more careful in these matters in the future.

Thanks for reading,

Erik
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Re: Indefinite block and desysopping by User:Danny

Patrick, Brad
Greetings:

I am the attorney for the Wikimedia Foundation in the US.  I work for
the Board.  Among my responsibilities is keeping the Foundation out of
legal trouble and responding to lawsuits, actual and threatened.  I have
had a long chat with Eric Moeller about the circumstances that resulted
in his ban (since reverted by someone Being Bold).  I also believe that
the misunderstanding, although in good faith, still presented a risk to
the Foundation.  

The issue of blocked articles is a complex one, and in many instances
can be the visible result of careful consideration on the part of
Foundation board members, staff, and other admins/bureaucrats/sysops who
have knowledge of the facts and circumstances.  Often the community at
large will not have any idea what the facts and underlying
considerations are.  Not everything that involves Wikipedia is public,
nor should it be.  The typical user or admin doesn't have all the pieces
of the puzzle.  Don't let hubris get the better of you.

There may be those of you who have yet to experience the American legal
system in any fashion, save for a movie or two.  Dealing with lawsuits
is what I do for a living.  Avoiding them is also what I do for a
living.  My job is to make sure that the Foundation has the best legal
advice and best options open to it to keep things running smoothly, and
to not land in court unless all other avenues have been exhausted.

The WP:OFFICE policy is still in its infancy.  People will challenge it
through their words and actions.  Everyone is entitled to his or her
opinion.  But I believe everyone who believes in the future success and
sustainability of the project must also recognize the need for judicious
use of confidentiality at the Foundation level.  The Foundation officers
and Board members have a fiduciary obligation to the organization, as I
do as a lawyer for my client.

Certain members of the community (and notably, not Mr. Moeller) have
expressed dissatisfaction about WP:OFFICE and its use.  There is a
healthy debate yet to be had about it.  We can have that debate, but I
also have to make clear that the Foundation's obligations are greater
than loyalty to any one user.  Even someone with the history of
contributions to Mr. Moeller.

-BradPatrick  

 
Bradford A. Patrick, Esq.
Fowler White Boggs Banker
501 E. Kennedy Blvd.
Suite 1700
Tampa, FL  33602-5239
[hidden email]


-----Original Message-----
From: [hidden email]
[mailto:[hidden email]] On Behalf Of Erik Moeller
Sent: Wednesday, April 19, 2006 2:57 PM
To: Wikimedia Foundation Mailing List; English Wikipedia;
[hidden email]
Subject: [Foundation-l] Indefinite block and desysopping by User:Danny

I have been a Wikipedian since 2001 and a MediaWiki developer since
2002. I was Chief Research Officer of the Foundation from May to August
2005. I initiated two of Wikimedia's projects, Wikinews and the
Wikimedia Commons, and have made vital contributions to both. I have
made roughly 15,000 edits to the English Wikipedia, and uploaded about
15,000 files to Wikimedia Commons. A list of my overall contributions
can be found at

http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Eloquence

and the linked to pages; this does not include my numerous international
activities such as conference speeches, as well as my book and articles
about Wikipedia. I have never been blocked before, nor have I ever been
subject to an Arbitration Committee ruling (in fact, I was one of
Jimmy's original suggestions for the first ArbCom, and one of the people
who proposed that very committee).

I have just been indefinitely blocked from the English Wikipedia, and
desysopped, by user Danny, under the new nickname "Dannyisme", as an
"Office Action" for alleged "reckless endangerment" which was not
specified further. I have called Danny on the phone, but he said that he
was not willing to discuss the issue, and that I should instead talk to
the Foundation attorney instead. To my knowledge, this is the first time
office authority has been used to indefinitely block and desysop a user.

What happened?

Yesterday, Danny radically shortened and protected two pages,
[[Newsmax.com]] and [[Christopher Ruddy]]. The protection summary was
"POV qualms" (nothing else), and there was only the following brief
comment on Talk:NewsMax.com:

"This article has been stubbed and protected pending resolution of POV
issues. Danny 19:26, 17 April 2006 (UTC)"

There was no mention of WP:OFFICE in the edit summary or on the talk
page. Danny did not apply the special Office template, {{office}}, nor
did he use the "Dannyisme" account that he created for Foundation
purposes, nor did he list the page on WP:OFFICE. Instead, he applied the
regular {{protected}} template.

Given that Danny has now more explicitly emphasized this distinction
between his role as a Foundation employee and a regular wiki user, I
assumed he was acting here as a normal sysop and editor, and unprotected
the two pages, with a brief reference to the protection policy. I also
asked Danny, on [[Talk:NewsMax.com]], to make it explicit whether the
protection was under WP:OFFICE. I would not have reprotected, of course,
if he had simply said that they were, and left it at that.

I apologize if this action was perceived as "reckless", but I must
emphasize that I was acting in good faith, and that I would much
appreciate it if all office actions would be labeled as such. I was
under the impression that this was the case given past actions. In any
case, I think that the indefinite block and desysopping is very much an
overreaction, and would like to hereby publicly appeal to Danny, the
community and the Board (since Danny's authority is above the
ArbCom) to restore my editing privileges as well as my sysop status. I
pledge to be more careful in these matters in the future.

Thanks for reading,

Erik
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Re: [Wikipedia-l] Indefinite block and desysopping by User:Danny

Elisabeth Bauer
BorgHunter schrieb:

> I understand the concerns about the Office action, and how it may have
> posed a legal threat to Wikimedia. The issue at stake here, however, is
> not "Was the Office action justified?" Rather, I think the problem was,
> at a fundamental level, communication. Along the way, it was failed to
> be communicated that the action in question was indeed an Office action.
> Thus, it was acted upon as if it was not.

And then it is okay to revert another admin's actions without even
asking before? This seems to me a problem of lack of good faith an admin
should assume.

If Wikimedia feels the need to
> issue such an action, should it not be clearly labeled to avoid that
> very legal threat to Wikipedia that Danny was attempting to avoid in the
> first place? I hope that all involved have learned from the experience,
> but I don't think that Erik constitutes a continued threat. His action
> was borne of misunderstanding, and actions against him to prevent
> further threats are, now that the misunderstanding has been cleared up,
> unnecessary.

This was not a misunderstanding, this was lack of good faith. Erik
should have trusted danny that he has good reasons for an action which
might not be selfexplaining. If he wanted to know more, he could have
asked. And an admin who acts before he understands the situation can -
as this incident has shown - potentially endanger the foundation.

> I don't think anyone is questioning the legitimacy of the
> Office action here, but I think we all are concerned that a
> misunderstanding led to all this. Again, I ask: Should Office actions
> not be labeled explicitly as such?

It is often better to play things low and not on an official level. I
don't know if this was the case here.

greetings,
elian
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Re: Indefinite block and desysopping by User:Danny

Andre Engels
In reply to this post by Patrick, Brad
2006/4/19, Patrick, Brad <[hidden email]>:

> Certain members of the community (and notably, not Mr. Moeller) have
> expressed dissatisfaction about WP:OFFICE and its use.  There is a
> healthy debate yet to be had about it.  We can have that debate, but I
> also have to make clear that the Foundation's obligations are greater
> than loyalty to any one user.  Even someone with the history of
> contributions to Mr. Moeller.

I very much rescind this statement. Apparently the Foundation's
obligations are so important that going against them is ground for
desysopping and blocking, whereas loyalty to users is not even
important enough to tell them in advance what actions will lead to an
indefinite ban. It makes me wonder why on earth I am still cooperating
with this.

--
Andre Engels, [hidden email]
ICQ: 6260644  --  Skype: a_engels
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Re: Indefinite block and desysopping by User:Danny

Kelly Martin-3
On 4/19/06, Andre Engels <[hidden email]> wrote:
> I very much rescind this statement. Apparently the Foundation's
> obligations are so important that going against them is ground for
> desysopping and blocking, whereas loyalty to users is not even
> important enough to tell them in advance what actions will lead to an
> indefinite ban. It makes me wonder why on earth I am still cooperating
> with this.

Indefinitely doesn't mean forever.  Indefinite means "we'll lift it
when it's safe to do so".

If, on the other hand, you want to prevent the Foundation from being
able to defend itself against legal threats, then by all means take
away the ability of the Foundation to respond to legal threats.
People who put themselves into harm's way will get run over from time
to time.  You can safely assume that anything Danny does that appears
difficult to explain is probably him responding to a legal threat in
some way, since that's basically all he does anymore.  They are *that*
frequent.

Kelly
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Re: Indefinite block and desysopping by User:Danny

Andre Engels
2006/4/20, Kelly Martin <[hidden email]>:

> Indefinitely doesn't mean forever.  Indefinite means "we'll lift it
> when it's safe to do so".

So apparently Erik's presence on the Wiki was unsafe?

> If, on the other hand, you want to prevent the Foundation from being
> able to defend itself against legal threats, then by all means take
> away the ability of the Foundation to respond to legal threats.

Was there a legal threat because of Erik's ability to edit articles?
Or be a moderator? I don't think so. I very well believe you if you
say the protecting of the articles was based on a legal threat. But in
that case re-protecting them, with a very short statement that there
are reasons of legal accountability to do so, seems like the way to
go. Not blocking someone who made an honest mistake in their
activities as a moderator.

> People who put themselves into harm's way will get run over from time
> to time. You can safely assume that anything Danny does that appears
> difficult to explain is probably him responding to a legal threat in
> some way, since that's basically all he does anymore.  They are *that*
> frequent.

If it is a legal threat to have Erik as a moderator or editor, that's scary.

--
Andre Engels, [hidden email]
ICQ: 6260644  --  Skype: a_engels
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Re: [Wikipedia-l] Indefinite block and desysopping by User:Danny

Jean-Christophe Chazalette
In reply to this post by Elisabeth Bauer
Not discussing the legal basis here, total trust in Brad's legal
skills and expertise.

But any action could have been done with consideration.

I'm not famous for being a member of Erik's fan club, though I've
always had respect for both his creativity and his coding ability.
Once Erik had done his mistake, even if it was in a allegedly
malicious drive, what would have been the problem with taking it easy
after Erik took his phone and called Danny ? What whould have been the
problem with re-protecting the page ASAP and telling him on the phone
to *stay away from a serious legal issue* : a seven word sentence to
say.

Now, indefinite block and desysopping at first sight ? The crucial
legal issue is one thing, displaying such an obvious amount of
contempt is another one. Next time somebody is experienced as a
troublemaker for Foundation, one can use subtility, or finesse, or
even mere common sense, instead of shooting at first sight. What could
be expected from that, apart from a new useless conflict ? I'm aghast.

The rest of my comments will go to private lists or mails, if it's
worth it - which I doubt.

villy ~~JC
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Re: Indefinite block and desysopping by User:Danny

ops-lists
In reply to this post by Erik Moeller-3
Kelly said:
> People who put themselves into harm's way will get run over from time
to time.
> You can safely assume that anything Danny does that appears difficult
to
> explain is probably him responding to a legal threat in some way,
since that's
> basically all he does anymore.  They are *that* frequent.

Put simply, you're asking us to give Danny the benefit of the doubt.
That's fair enough, but don't you think that Eloquence has earned the
benefit of the doubt, as well? Of course he has, but Danny certainly
didn't give it to him.

-strom
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Re: [Wikipedia-l] Indefinite block and desysopping by User:Danny

rfrangi
In reply to this post by Jean-Christophe Chazalette
We are talking of two guys that are quite important for Wikimedia. And
moreover of two guys that know each other. So, I just don't understand
how this could have happened, and why this hasn't been settled in a
private way.

Roberto (Snowdog)
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Re: Indefinite block and desysopping by User:Danny

Michael R. Irwin
In reply to this post by Patrick, Brad
Patrick, Brad wrote:

>Greetings:
>
>I am the attorney for the Wikimedia Foundation in the US.  I work for
>the Board.  Among my responsibilities is keeping the Foundation out of
>legal trouble and responding to lawsuits, actual and threatened.  I have
>had a long chat with Eric Moeller about the circumstances that resulted
>in his ban (since reverted by someone Being Bold).  I also believe that
>the misunderstanding, although in good faith, still presented a risk to
>the Foundation.  
>  
>
What is your qualified legal opinion regarding Eric's suggestion that
the work be labeled appropriately so that other members of the community
(or he) do not repeat this mistake in the future?

Would proper labeling reduce the Foundation's legal risks in the future?

This is not a trivial rhetorical question.  In the early days of
Wikipedia  it was often unclear in what capacity various agents such as
Bomis employees were acting.   Now with the success of the Wikimedia
Foundation in fund raising we once again have employees and professional
staff .... and there appears to be some form of communications failure
or conflict once again occuring between compensated professionals and
community volunteers.

>The issue of blocked articles is a complex one, and in many instances
>can be the visible result of careful consideration on the part of
>Foundation board members, staff, and other admins/bureaucrats/sysops who
>have knowledge of the facts and circumstances.  Often the community at
>large will not have any idea what the facts and underlying
>considerations are.  Not everything that involves Wikipedia is public,
>nor should it be.  The typical user or admin doesn't have all the pieces
>of the puzzle.  Don't let hubris get the better of you.
>
>There may be those of you who have yet to experience the American legal
>system in any fashion, save for a movie or two.  Dealing with lawsuits
>is what I do for a living.  Avoiding them is also what I do for a
>living.  My job is to make sure that the Foundation has the best legal
>advice and best options open to it to keep things running smoothly, and
>to not land in court unless all other avenues have been exhausted.
>  
>
Are you paid by Foundation funds or by personal funds of  members of the
stacked Board?

In a conflict of interest between the Foundation's responsiblities to
the pulblic as per Florida law and the Board members' personal interests
who do you represent?

>The WP:OFFICE policy is still in its infancy.  People will challenge it
>through their words and actions.  Everyone is entitled to his or her
>opinion.  But I believe everyone who believes in the future success and
>sustainability of the project must also recognize the need for judicious
>use of confidentiality at the Foundation level.  
>
Personally I do not see any need for a non profit public foundation
dedicated to legally publishing free information created by the public
at large; and located physically in the United States of America; to be
engaged in excessive secrecy.  Certainly employee social security
numbers should be kept private in keeping with U.S. laws.  The need for
secret or private communications tools such as restricted email lists,
non public meetings, etc. escapes me.  Certainly I would advise you to
comply strictly with all provisions of the U.S. Patriot Act when called
upon by warrant to cooperate with U.S. Federal authorities, unless you
enjoy small cubicle environments.

It has been my experience that often lawyers cite specific sections of
U.S. or State code or regulations or even specific phrases or case law
when informing lay people of their opinions regarding legal matters.

Perhaps if you or the office were to write up some specific
recommendations regarding how the community or the Wikimedia Foundation
or your client could avoid legal liabilities by actually complying with
the applicable laws rather than simply recommending that the Foundation
get secretive about its "private" matters we could avoid some legal
risks in the future?

In your august opinion; does arbitrary, capricious, or excessive action
towards an individual such as Eric, who has demonstrably contributed in
large positive measurable ways to the community's projects in the past
incur any legal, operational, or measurable avoidable risks for the
Foundation, the stacked Board, or their legal advisers?

I suggest the community members present on the Foundation-L mailing list
consider a placebo vote regarding whether the Wikimedia Foundation
should issue an apology to Eric and reimburse him for the long distance
calls necessary to recover his editing priveleges.

I vote Aye.  Sorry about the inconvenience Eric.   I value your past and
future contributions and I think the Wikimedia Foundation should send
you a reimbursement check for the no doubt expensive phone calls
necessary to straighten out this mess so that you can continue
volunteering your efforts to our projects.

>The Foundation officers
>and Board members have a fiduciary obligation to the organization, as I
>do as a lawyer for my client.
>
>Certain members of the community (and notably, not Mr. Moeller) have
>expressed dissatisfaction about WP:OFFICE and its use.  There is a
>healthy debate yet to be had about it.  We can have that debate, but I
>also have to make clear that the Foundation's obligations are greater
>than loyalty to any one user.  Even someone with the history of
>contributions to Mr. Moeller.
>  
>

Are the Wikimedia Foundation's obligations greater than loyalty to a
single founder or stacked Board of Directors?

In the event of a conflict do you work for the stacked Board, Jimmy
Wales, or the Foundation?  Is your client the stacked Board, Jimmy
Wales, or the Wikimedia Foundation?  What is the legal signature on
checks sent to your office in response to invoices?  Does U.S. and/or
Florida law distinguish between individuals in offices and the
organization itself?

Does the Wikimedia Foundation have any fiduciary responsibilities to the
contributing public and the public at large under U.S. law?  Are these
responsibilities defined exclusively by U.S. law or are the public
solicitations used to gather public donations considered somewhat
influential or binding in Florida State or U.S. Federal  courts?

Regards,
Michael R. Irwin
aka,
lazyquasar or
mirwin, the lying troll


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Re: Indefinite block and desysopping by User:Danny

Birgitte_sb


--- "Michael R. Irwin" <[hidden email]>
wrote:
>
> I suggest the community members present on the
> Foundation-L mailing list
> consider a placebo vote regarding whether the
> Wikimedia Foundation
> should issue an apology to Eric and reimburse him
> for the long distance
> calls necessary to recover his editing priveleges.

I have not followed the details of this, but I will
tell you what I think in general terms.  I am amazed
how many people have written this list with the
underlying idea that it is proper to immediately
revert the admin action of *any* other admin without
disscusiion.  I think that in itself would deserve
some sort of reprimand, and shows unsuitability as an
admin.  

First Eric commits what I consider a breach of
etiquette by unprotecting a page on his own.  This may
be just a difference in culture, but at WS we expect
admins to request protection/unprotection like any
other editor and a separate admin will carry out the
action.  So to unprotect a page on your own volition
is like closing a deletion where you made the original
nomination in my eyes.  Next is the fact that page had
*just* been protected.  If it had just been done by
any average admin, I would question if Eric was trying
to start a wheel war at this point. Then you add the
fact that the admin action was made by a *steward*,
which is a highly trusted position.  Now any idea the
Eric is acting in good faith is very hard to believe.
Do you really believe it is acceptable to revert a
steward on any admin action without discussion?  And
on top of that Danny is a Foundation employee who
often makes non-editorial decisions.  I don't know how
Eric could not have known he was asking for trouble.
The fact that I have seen so many responses purporting
that Eric made an honest mistake only makes me certain
that a strong message needed to be sent.  I will not
comment on the actual reprimands, because I am not
familiar with what generally warrants desysoping at
WP.  I cannot express how surprised I am that you
think Eric should get an apology.  I do hope he can be
repatriated to the project and that everyone who at
first thought his actions where acceptable realizes
their error.  

I wonder sometimes whether people involved in this
project, really take it seriously.  This is real
organization here with real concerns and a real
hierarchy.  We elect stewards for a reason, so that
when they do something it can be trusted.  We ask
people like Danny to take responsibility to do the
things that must be done for this organization.  We
must trust them.  

If you do not trust the organization, work to change
it on the big issues that your distrust stems from.
Picking a fight with every decision however will get
you no results.  People will simply tune you out.  Not
everyone (or even many people) can be aware of the
details of every decision.  If this is the reason for
any lack of trust, I think the problem is more with
you.  Because no matter who sits on the board that is
not going to change.


BirgitteSB

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Re: Indefinite block and desysopping by User:Danny

Kelly Martin-3
On 4/20/06, Birgitte SB <[hidden email]> wrote:
> I have not followed the details of this, but I will
> tell you what I think in general terms.  I am amazed
> how many people have written this list with the
> underlying idea that it is proper to immediately
> revert the admin action of *any* other admin without
> disscusiion.  I think that in itself would deserve
> some sort of reprimand, and shows unsuitability as an
> admin.

Indeed.  And that is part of the problem with the English Wikipedia
right now: it has become acceptable to revert admins without
discussion.  Attempts to declare a policy against such behavior have
been met with considerable resistance; most admins want to give people
a few "free shots" (one revert a day, one revert a week, various other
policies that would tolerate low-level wheel warring, etc.).  It is my
impression that most of our admins have a broad sense of entitlement,
without the corresponding sense of responsibility that should go with
it.  It's along the lines of "Assume good faith for me, but not for
you", which is another cultural issue that enwiki is having problems
with, to be honest (whch is another issue that comes back to the
pervasive culture of entitlement on enwiki).

> First Eric commits what I consider a breach of
> etiquette by unprotecting a page on his own.  This may
> be just a difference in culture, but at WS we expect
> admins to request protection/unprotection like any
> other editor and a separate admin will carry out the
> action.  So to unprotect a page on your own volition
> is like closing a deletion where you made the original
> nomination in my eyes.  Next is the fact that page had
> *just* been protected.  If it had just been done by
> any average admin, I would question if Eric was trying
> to start a wheel war at this point. Then you add the
> fact that the admin action was made by a *steward*,
> which is a highly trusted position.  Now any idea the
> Eric is acting in good faith is very hard to believe.
> Do you really believe it is acceptable to revert a
> steward on any admin action without discussion?  And
> on top of that Danny is a Foundation employee who
> often makes non-editorial decisions.  I don't know how
> Eric could not have known he was asking for trouble.

I also find it very hard to believe that Erik was acting in good
faith.  I remain utterly perplexed by many of the comments in this
discussion, especially the ones from members of the Board, who I would
normally expect to refrain from contradicting their valued employee so
obviously; normally when a valued high-visibility employee makes a
mistake (and I am not saying that Danny did) the public statement
comes in the form of a carefully worded press release from the
organization as an entity, not as offhand rebuking comments from
random Board members, and normally the affected employee is informed
in advance.  But I guess I'm used to a more professional approach from
a leading non-profit organization.

> The fact that I have seen so many responses purporting
> that Eric made an honest mistake only makes me certain
> that a strong message needed to be sent.  I will not
> comment on the actual reprimands, because I am not
> familiar with what generally warrants desysoping at
> WP.  I cannot express how surprised I am that you
> think Eric should get an apology.  I do hope he can be
> repatriated to the project and that everyone who at
> first thought his actions where acceptable realizes
> their error.
>
> I wonder sometimes whether people involved in this
> project, really take it seriously.  This is real
> organization here with real concerns and a real
> hierarchy.  We elect stewards for a reason, so that
> when they do something it can be trusted.  We ask
> people like Danny to take responsibility to do the
> things that must be done for this organization.  We
> must trust them.
>
> If you do not trust the organization, work to change
> it on the big issues that your distrust stems from.
> Picking a fight with every decision however will get
> you no results.  People will simply tune you out.  Not
> everyone (or even many people) can be aware of the
> details of every decision.  If this is the reason for
> any lack of trust, I think the problem is more with
> you.  Because no matter who sits on the board that is
> not going to change.

I can't say much more than that I agree wholeheartedly with the above comments.

Kelly
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Re: Indefinite block and desysopping by User:Danny

Michael Davis-4
Kelly Martin wrote:

> I also find it very hard to believe that Erik was acting in good
> faith.  I remain utterly perplexed by many of the comments in this
> discussion, especially the ones from members of the Board, who I would
> normally expect to refrain from contradicting their valued employee so
> obviously; normally when a valued high-visibility employee makes a
> mistake (and I am not saying that Danny did) the public statement
> comes in the form of a carefully worded press release from the
> organization as an entity, not as offhand rebuking comments from
> random Board members, and normally the affected employee is informed
> in advance.  But I guess I'm used to a more professional approach from
> a leading non-profit organization.
>  
Whatever statements have been made by Board members, including this
statement, are made by them as individuals and only carry whatever
authority the community deems appropriate for that individual.  And you
are right, a more professional organization would handle these matters
quite differently.

Michael
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Re: Indefinite block and desysopping by User:Danny

Kat Walsh
In reply to this post by Birgitte_sb
On 4/20/06, Birgitte SB <[hidden email]> wrote:

> I have not followed the details of this, but I will
> tell you what I think in general terms.  I am amazed
> how many people have written this list with the
> underlying idea that it is proper to immediately
> revert the admin action of *any* other admin without
> disscusiion.  I think that in itself would deserve
> some sort of reprimand, and shows unsuitability as an
> admin.
>
> First Eric commits what I consider a breach of
> etiquette by unprotecting a page on his own.  This may
> be just a difference in culture, but at WS we expect
> admins to request protection/unprotection like any
> other editor and a separate admin will carry out the
> action.  So to unprotect a page on your own volition
> is like closing a deletion where you made the original
> nomination in my eyes.  Next is the fact that page had
> *just* been protected.  If it had just been done by
> any average admin, I would question if Eric was trying
> to start a wheel war at this point. Then you add the
> fact that the admin action was made by a *steward*,
> which is a highly trusted position.  Now any idea the
> Eric is acting in good faith is very hard to believe.
> Do you really believe it is acceptable to revert a
> steward on any admin action without discussion?  And
> on top of that Danny is a Foundation employee who
> often makes non-editorial decisions.  I don't know how
> Eric could not have known he was asking for trouble.
> The fact that I have seen so many responses purporting
> that Eric made an honest mistake only makes me certain
> that a strong message needed to be sent.  I will not
> comment on the actual reprimands, because I am not
> familiar with what generally warrants desysoping at
> WP.  I cannot express how surprised I am that you
> think Eric should get an apology.  I do hope he can be
> repatriated to the project and that everyone who at
> first thought his actions where acceptable realizes
> their error.
>
> I wonder sometimes whether people involved in this
> project, really take it seriously.  This is real
> organization here with real concerns and a real
> hierarchy.  We elect stewards for a reason, so that
> when they do something it can be trusted.  We ask
> people like Danny to take responsibility to do the
> things that must be done for this organization.  We
> must trust them.
>
> If you do not trust the organization, work to change
> it on the big issues that your distrust stems from.
> Picking a fight with every decision however will get
> you no results.  People will simply tune you out.  Not
> everyone (or even many people) can be aware of the
> details of every decision.  If this is the reason for
> any lack of trust, I think the problem is more with
> you.  Because no matter who sits on the board that is
> not going to change.
>
>
> BirgitteSB

I agree with Birgitte here, and I've left in the whole post because
I'm responding to all of it.

First of all, English WP has been in a bit of upheaval lately about
undiscussed reversal of admin actions, so it should be on someone's
mind even without knowing that it is Danny.

Secondly: Erik is an intelligent person who generally knows what's up.
I would think seeing Danny protect a page and want to lay low about it
would be a hint to wait for more information to be clear first. Danny
is not generally one to stub and protect articles simply because he
doesn't like them, and knows well enough that what he did is outside
normal procedure. Why this one? And Erik is not generally one to go
about monitoring page protections. Why this one?

Even unmarked: when I see something fishy, done by a steward, a
longtime contributor, and an employee of the Foundation, and he seems
hesitant to talk about it, I am inclined to first give him the benefit
of the doubt. And then there is the normal courtesy you give to any
other admin by asking about their actions first. Even if it were
simply Danny acting as an editor, it is not so important to unprotect
that it needs to be done Right Now, before you've found out what's up.
If he's left it a while, and still no explanation is forthcoming and
there's no indication that anything is up, that's different.

WP:OFFICE is pretty much a invitation to every troll on the wiki to
come and make noise -- and now, apparently, to grab the deleted
material and post it elsewhere. It's been Slashdotted; we can't claim
we don't know about it, and it's not exactly something we want. (Yes,
good editors are questioning, too, but they are doing it sanely.)
While it has been a good barrier to prevent admins from mistakenly
undoing Danny's admin actions there, it has failed to be a means to
handle potential problems in a discreet manner and instead only draws
more attention to it. This seems to have been an attempt to try to
minimize public attention and be sure the problematic material was not
more widely distributed. It didn't work, but it was a reasonable
attempt, though unclear.

The immediate slam of a response was harsh, and has made something
seemingly intended to be low profile into more drama than even an
office protection. (The response would be completely appropriate if it
were explicitly an office protection; I will accept that it wasn't
fully clear.) But like the protection itself, "indefinite" blocks
often mean "until the situation is resolved". (I note that protections
have no time limit; they're all indefinite.) A "whoa, hold on, we need
to clear some things up before this goes any further" is called for in
this case with the knowledge than blocks can be lifted and situations
talked out.

In general: I am not opposed to the office keeping some things secret.
I'm not an employee of the Foundation nor am I a lawyer, but I have an
inkling of what such people do and I don't believe it is their
obligation to inform me or anyone else without a direct interest about
the full details of every sticky situation that comes up. If Danny
acts upon a potential situation, I believe that it is legitimate
without having to grill him about the exact details, as I don't think
it makes any sense for him to waste his time on situations that are
not, and if I stop thinking that Danny and Brad and Jimbo are acting
in the best interest of the project, then there is no point in my
continuing to participate. I expect to be informed where I should have
a say in the outcome, but legal issues are partially what we have a
Foundation *for*.

The communication could have been done better and the lack of clarity
about it caused problems; experiment failed. However... Erik is
reinstated and the misunderstandings cleared up, yes? The article is
protected, marked WP:OFFICE, and will be cleaned and restored in due
course as such usually are? Yes? Good. Now for the problem of how to
handle these situations without becoming a troll magnet in the
process.

-Kat

--
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Mindspillage  |  G/AIM:LucidWaking
mindspillage or mind|wandering on irc.freenode.net | email for phone
The good traveller has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving
-- Lao-Tzu        Wikia: creating communities - http://www.wikia.com
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Re: Indefinite block and desysopping by User:Danny

Ray Saintonge
In reply to this post by Michael R. Irwin
Michael R. Irwin wrote:

>Patrick, Brad wrote
>
>>The WP:OFFICE policy is still in its infancy.  People will challenge it
>>through their words and actions.  Everyone is entitled to his or her
>>opinion.  But I believe everyone who believes in the future success and
>>sustainability of the project must also recognize the need for judicious
>>use of confidentiality at the Foundation level.  
>>    
>>
>Personally I do not see any need for a non profit public foundation
>dedicated to legally publishing free information created by the public
>at large; and located physically in the United States of America; to be
>engaged in excessive secrecy.  Certainly employee social security
>numbers should be kept private in keeping with U.S. laws.  The need for
>secret or private communications tools such as restricted email lists,
>non public meetings, etc. escapes me.  
>
While I believe in more openness, I don't think that your prosecutorial
tone is warranted.  Some confidentiality is needed, but those who
suppress information with inadequate explanation have to accept the
consequence that people will complain loudly.

>Certainly I would advise you to
>comply strictly with all provisions of the U.S. Patriot Act when called
>upon by warrant to cooperate with U.S. Federal authorities, unless you
>enjoy small cubicle environments.
>
That's remarkably inconsistent of you.  You begin by complaining about
excessive secrecy then contradict yourself by supporting a piece of
totalitarian trash that would impose just that, notably in forbidding
people who have received information requests from letting anyone know
that they have received such requests.  When it comes to circumventing
laws the U.S. Patriot Act is fair game.

>It has been my experience that often lawyers cite specific sections of
>U.S. or State code or regulations or even specific phrases or case law
>when informing lay people of their opinions regarding legal matters.
>
Not always.  Most speak from authority and are willing to exploit that
logical fallacy to its fullest.  If you demand verifiability it comes at
a price.

>Perhaps if you or the office were to write up some specific
>recommendations regarding how the community or the Wikimedia Foundation
>or your client could avoid legal liabilities by actually complying with
>the applicable laws rather than simply recommending that the Foundation
>get secretive about its "private" matters we could avoid some legal
>risks in the future?
>
Clarifying the parameters of confidentiality would be a worthwhile
debate.  Simply doing things because one is in a position to know that
it should be done in secret is not enough.  Even the most trusted people
need to be accountable.

>I suggest the community members present on the Foundation-L mailing list
>consider a placebo vote regarding whether the Wikimedia Foundation
>should issue an apology to Eric and reimburse him for the long distance
>calls necessary to recover his editing priveleges.
>
"Placebo vote" sounds like an interesting concept.  I interpret such a
vote as one designed to make people feel good without accomplishing
anything. :-)

>>The Foundation officers
>>and Board members have a fiduciary obligation to the organization, as I
>>do as a lawyer for my client.
>>
>>Certain members of the community (and notably, not Mr. Moeller) have
>>expressed dissatisfaction about WP:OFFICE and its use.  There is a
>>healthy debate yet to be had about it.  We can have that debate, but I
>>also have to make clear that the Foundation's obligations are greater
>>than loyalty to any one user.  Even someone with the history of
>>contributions to Mr. Moeller.
>>    
>>
>Are the Wikimedia Foundation's obligations greater than loyalty to a
>single founder or stacked Board of Directors?
>
>In the event of a conflict do you work for the stacked Board, Jimmy
>Wales, or the Foundation?  Is your client the stacked Board, Jimmy
>Wales, or the Wikimedia Foundation?  What is the legal signature on
>checks sent to your office in response to invoices?  Does U.S. and/or
>Florida law distinguish between individuals in offices and the
>organization itself?
>
This sounds like cross-examination to me.

>Does the Wikimedia Foundation have any fiduciary responsibilities to the
>contributing public and the public at large under U.S. law?  Are these
>responsibilities defined exclusively by U.S. law or are the public
>solicitations used to gather public donations considered somewhat
>influential or binding in Florida State or U.S. Federal  courts?
>  
>
The public accountability of a broadly funded multinational organization
is a seriously difficult question.  It comes as no surprise that legal
and other professional expertise hired by mangement will support
positions favorable to management.  Membership in The Foundation is very
weakly defined, and is mostly based on being an editor.  An early
provision would have had one board member elected by a paid members, but
that has never been developed.  Membership rights and powers are
probably as strong as the rights of minority shareholders in for-profit
corporations.

It's a no-brainer to say that Florida corporate law applies to the
operation of the Foundation, because that is where it is incorporated.  
The tax law of each separate state controls the right to solicit funds
in each state; that can cause a registration nightmare.  While the
Foundation can solicit foreign donations, these will not normally be tax
deductible for those foreign residents.  Tax deductibility in those
countries requires, among other things, some kind of administrative
organization in that country.  This is often accompanied by rules to
prohibit the export of donated funds.

I am often highly critical of the current management format, but I can
also see enough dangers in a totally democratic system to be wary of
such a model.

Ec

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Re: Indefinite block and desysopping by User:Danny

Florence Devouard-3
In reply to this post by Michael Davis-4
Michael Davis wrote:

> Kelly Martin wrote:
>
>>I also find it very hard to believe that Erik was acting in good
>>faith.  I remain utterly perplexed by many of the comments in this
>>discussion, especially the ones from members of the Board, who I would
>>normally expect to refrain from contradicting their valued employee so
>>obviously; normally when a valued high-visibility employee makes a
>>mistake (and I am not saying that Danny did) the public statement
>>comes in the form of a carefully worded press release from the
>>organization as an entity, not as offhand rebuking comments from
>>random Board members, and normally the affected employee is informed
>>in advance.  But I guess I'm used to a more professional approach from
>>a leading non-profit organization.
>>  
>
> Whatever statements have been made by Board members, including this
> statement, are made by them as individuals and only carry whatever
> authority the community deems appropriate for that individual.  And you
> are right, a more professional organization would handle these matters
> quite differently.
>
> Michael



Writing a press release ?

Sure. Which level of energy and time does that require ?
First, the board needs to discuss this together. See where they agree.
When they agree, they should contact the comcom. Have the comcom write a
press release. Put it on the board wiki. Vote. Then publish.

At the minimum, two weeks. If all goes well.
In other words, forever. Needless to say that this will never get done.
If only because we have other things to take care of. This might be
possible in an organisation where the board has nothing to take care of
other that doing a yearly meeting with petits fours and champaign. Not
exactly our organisation.


The Foundation is less than 2 years old Karynn.
When I consider the travel already done, I am amazed. When I joined, the
Foundation was nothing. It did not existed at all. All it had was
basically a couple of servers, a dozen domain names and a highly visible
and appreciated president.

That was all.

Board members had to fit.

As a board member, I followed the principles which drove me as an
editor. I tried to listen to people the best I could. I tried not to
offend people too much. I tried to inform people as much as I could
whilst respecting confidentiality when it was required. I tried to
organise things when nobody was organising them. I spoke loud when no
one had the guts to speak loud. And I spoke plain when no one spoke
plain. I tried to give ideas.

I never claimed to be a professional. I only tried to help the best I
could a project I loved and found fabulous. I would have helped more as
a board member if I had been given the opportunity to act as a board
member as the job is defined in more "professional" organisations. It is
not the case.

The more I think about it, the more I think you guys can be very happy
with a valued highly visible employee.

Ant

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Re: Indefinite block and desysopping by User:Danny

Mark Ryan
In reply to this post by Kat Walsh
On 20/04/06, Kat Walsh <[hidden email]> wrote:

> WP:OFFICE is pretty much a invitation to every troll on the wiki to
> come and make noise -- and now, apparently, to grab the deleted
> material and post it elsewhere. It's been Slashdotted; we can't claim
> we don't know about it, and it's not exactly something we want. (Yes,
> good editors are questioning, too, but they are doing it sanely.)
> While it has been a good barrier to prevent admins from mistakenly
> undoing Danny's admin actions there, it has failed to be a means to
> handle potential problems in a discreet manner and instead only draws
> more attention to it. This seems to have been an attempt to try to
> minimize public attention and be sure the problematic material was not
> more widely distributed. It didn't work, but it was a reasonable
> attempt, though unclear.

Maybe Danny etc. need to start getting developers to remove revisions
of WP:OFFICE articles directly from the database, if we continue to
have the problem of dirty admins leaking deleted material.

~Mark Ryan
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Re: Indefinite block and desysopping by User:Danny

Essjay
I agree entirely. Given that the devs are quite busy, perhaps something
could be written up to allow this to be done with the developer flag
(the one that actually shows up on Special:Listusers), so Danny could do
it himself without having to either involve the developers each time, or
go messing around in the database itself. A restricted access log (like
the checkuser log) could be provided if desired. I have no idea if this
is doable or not, but it seems like a decent proposal to me.

Essjay

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Essjay
Wikipedia:The Free Encyclopedia
http://www.wikipedia.org/



Mark Ryan wrote:

> On 20/04/06, Kat Walsh <[hidden email]> wrote:
>  
>> WP:OFFICE is pretty much a invitation to every troll on the wiki to
>> come and make noise -- and now, apparently, to grab the deleted
>> material and post it elsewhere. It's been Slashdotted; we can't claim
>> we don't know about it, and it's not exactly something we want. (Yes,
>> good editors are questioning, too, but they are doing it sanely.)
>> While it has been a good barrier to prevent admins from mistakenly
>> undoing Danny's admin actions there, it has failed to be a means to
>> handle potential problems in a discreet manner and instead only draws
>> more attention to it. This seems to have been an attempt to try to
>> minimize public attention and be sure the problematic material was not
>> more widely distributed. It didn't work, but it was a reasonable
>> attempt, though unclear.
>>    
>
> Maybe Danny etc. need to start getting developers to remove revisions
> of WP:OFFICE articles directly from the database, if we continue to
> have the problem of dirty admins leaking deleted material.
>
> ~Mark Ryan
> _______________________________________________
> foundation-l mailing list
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>
>  
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Re: Indefinite block and desysopping by User:Danny

SJ-5
In reply to this post by Florence Devouard-3
On 4/20/06, Anthere <[hidden email]> wrote:

> The Foundation is less than 2 years old Karynn.
> When I consider the travel already done, I am amazed. When I joined, the
> Foundation was nothing. It did not existed at all. All it had was
> basically a couple of servers, a dozen domain names and a highly visible
> and appreciated president.

A few servers, three fewer projects...


> That was all.
>
> Board members had to fit.
>
> As a board member, I followed the principles which drove me as an
> editor. I tried to listen to people the best I could. I tried not to
> offend people too much. I tried to inform people as much as I could
> whilst respecting confidentiality when it was required. I tried to
> organise things when nobody was organising them. I spoke loud when no
> one had the guts to speak loud. And I spoke plain when no one spoke
> plain. I tried to give ideas.

And your speaking loudly and plainly, and your respect and visibility,
and your ideas, are all enormously appreciated.  The Foundation would
not be the same without you.

--Sj
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Re: [Wikipedia-l] Indefinite block and desysopping by User:Danny

Michael R. Irwin
In reply to this post by rfrangi
Roberto Frangi wrote:

>We are talking of two guys that are quite important for Wikimedia. And
>moreover of two guys that know each other. So, I just don't understand
>how this could have happened, and why this hasn't been settled in a
>private way.
>
>  
>
If you review the Wikimedia Foundation's solicitation for public funds
and the various project mission statements you will find there is nobody
on this planet that is not quite important for Wikimedia and its projects.

Miscommunication happens all the time in human projects.   The larger
and more complex a project gets the greater the potential for
miscommunication.  Wikipedia is arguably the largest most complex
project ever undertaken in human history or that will ever be undertaken
in human history.

Knowing each other is not necessarily helpful.  Perhaps the problem is
not miscommunication but actually disagreement regarding fundamental
project policy, effective methods, cultural imperatives, national law,
or international conflict.  Some people do not naturally get along even
when they share missions, values, or previous agreements or cordiality.

I think Eric is German but I could be mistaken.  As a result of some
extreme conflict early in the project I do not choose to interact
privately with the God King, his employees, or influential cabal
members.  Therefore I do know anything of Eric or Danny other than via  
a few public emails encountered semi randomly.

I think Danny is a Wikimedia Foundation employee and probably resides,
works and is a U.S. citizen.  I do not know if foundation policy allows
employees to interact in Wikimedia projects via sockpuppets,
anonymously, etc.  If one applies the mission statements to the extreme
then obviously we would not wish to subtract access to Wikimedia
Foundation employees' knowledge without somehow verifying somone else
knows what they know regardless of how much it improves operational
efficiencies or progress towards our stated goals in the short term.

So arguably one can discern a situation might arise where one party
might be subject to the U.S. Patriot Act while another party is not.  
One might be required by Act of Congress to keep these matters private
as directed by agents of the U.S. Government allegedly acting in the
National Interest while a German (or other) national might or might not
be required by their government or local Patriots, freedom fighters or
terrorist organizations to comply with arbitrary dictates of U.S.
officials acting in violoation of their oaths to protect and defend the
constitution of the United States.

Disregarding the above high level issues let's go back to an easier case
of a simple conflict between Foundation policy mandated (perhaps
privately or unilaterally) by the God-King (or his lawyer or a warrant
from U.S. secret police citing national defense and the U.S. Patriot
act) and some other community participant.  If the root cause of the
conflict appears to either party to be fundamental and likely to crop up
again in the future then one party might prefer to discuss it in public.

If one party has found the other party to be unlikely to engage fairly
in private discussion (by that party's personal standards or that
party's interpretation of the published standards of the Wikimedia
community) then they might prefer a public discussion to bring some
third party influence and/or accountability into the negotiations or
discussions.

If you require further complicating factors,  imagineering, or rampant
speculation to gain insight regarding how this type of situation might
happen feel free to change the email subject in your reply and we can
continue this discussion on another thread to avoid confusing the
specifics of this situation with abstract discussion of human or legal
factors that might affect public policy at Wikimedia projects.

Incidentally, an easy answer obviously is embodied in the assume good
faith policy.   This works well to shut up neophytes in initial
debates.   It does not work so well with experienced community members
who have a personal or public data base to consult if assuming good
faith has not worked out well in the past.

Also of possible interest can be comparisons of public and private
databases.

Regards,
lazyquasar




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