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Essay:All Sysops Are Bastards

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Essay.svg This essay is an original work by FuzzyCatPotato.
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Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority: still more when you superadd the tendency or the certainty of corruption by authority. There is no worse heresy than that the office sanctifies the holder of it. That is the point at which ... the end learns to justify the means.
—British conservative and aristocrat John Dalberg-ActonWikipedia, in an 1887 letter


I believe RatWiks are too swift to ban/bin a "vandal" or protect a page from "vandalism".

Check Special:Log/block. Most vandals now get 9-hour or 3-day bans, often for a singular incident of vandalism.

This is unnecessary and against RationalWiki's democratic spirit.

  • Unnecessary: A vandal should only be banned if they repeatedly vandalize articles. The rollback button does well enough for 1 or 2 incidents. A ban is only necessary if it seems like they're dedicated to breaking articles.
  • Democratic spirit: Early RationalWiki refused to ban vandals, even dedicated ones. Why? Early RationalWiki was founded by Conservapedia expats who were banned there. They viewed banning as a form of censorship. Indeed, it is. Often, RatWiks ban people whose "vandalism" is that of altering the ideological tone of an article. This is mere ideological policing -- the kind we mock Conservapedia for.

My solution to this problem:

  1. Create a page (say, RationalWiki:Most Wanted List)
  2. If a user wants to ban another user, they must post a (small) explanation on RW:MWL featuring the word Yesban and a template (say, {{banproposal}}). After doing so, they can immediately ban the user.
  3. If other users protest, they should post a response to the explanation featuring the word Noban.
  4. I'll write a bot (say, User:Cabal Intelligence Agency) to scan RW:MWL and Special:Log/block. The bot will unban users who [1] don't have majority support behind the ban or [2] are banned more than the given time and will [3] reban users who it has unbanned.

The goals are twofold:

  1. Make banning more annoying to do and easier to undo and thus reduce bans overall.
  2. Make banning more visible & democratic and thus reduce ideology-based bans.