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Forum:Order or No Order

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It has become increasingly clear in the last weeks and months that we as a wiki have a problem: We have turned into a kindergarten of people bitching at each other instead of working together for a common goal. This is highly unproductive and many of us think it has to stop.
The last HCMs and Chicken Coop "trials" have mostly resolved around one question: Have the rules been broken by User X? And while such a discussion is sometimes needed, if it makes 70% of the recent changes it slows down the wiki (in a non-technical sense) and leads people to piss each other even more.
This is supposed to be a general poll asking the community how things should continue: Order or No Order? We need this because we normally don't get a clear picture of what the mob thinks - here is the place to create one.
I have, btw, no clue if my status here even allowes me to propose such a thing, I just went ahead because it has become a pain in the ass. --UHMrambling incoherently for 20+ years! 14:11, 9 May 2011 (UTC)

Let's have a vote/poll[edit]

Yes, we need enforcable rules[edit]

Yeah, that too. --UHMrambling incoherently for 20+ years! 14:17, 9 May 2011 (UTC)
Agree. ТyTalk. 14:22, 9 May 2011 (UTC)
  • What ADK said –SuspectedReplicant retire me 14:58, 9 May 2011 (UTC)
  • Agree w/ADK--ТyTalk. 15:01, 9 May 2011 (UTC)
  • We don't need more rules, we just need to be able to enforce them without a HCM every time or a single concern troll torpedoing the whole thing. -- Nx / talk 15:13, 9 May 2011 (UTC)
Seems to be what this vote is really about. ТyTalk. 15:15, 9 May 2011 (UTC)
  • Now we're cooking with gas. If you guys are so fucking stupid to think that trying to create more rules is going to solve this, I can't wait to watch. Occasionaluse (talk) 15:14, 9 May 2011 (UTC)
We don't need rules, all we need is for certain users to act their age. But in the absence of that, rules. EddyP Great King! Disaster! 15:17, 9 May 2011 (UTC)
  • Not necessarily more rules, but an end to the screw-rules, do whatever thr fuck I want culture. Expanded in an essay. NDSP 15:58, 9 May 2011 (UTC)
  • Agree with Armondikov; I have no particular problem with the current rules, but the current methods of enforcement are a bit ineffective. Eccentrics that we are, I am entirely unsure if changing it will help with its efficacy, but we can certainly try. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 20:21, 9 May 2011 (UTC)
  • Yes. To eliminate the lynch-mob mentality toward minority views of pandering sysops & bureaucrats. nobsdon't bother me 18:03, 15 May 2011 (UTC)

No, this is anarchy[edit]

  • I dissent only because we really have most of the rules we need. Our rules need to be codified (into a single, written document) and recognized as hard and fast, not malleable when you don't feel like following them. Blue Talk 15:27, 9 May 2011 (UTC)
That seems to be what is being said above. ТyTalk. 15:28, 9 May 2011 (UTC)
I think it's since been refined to "enforceable". Now, everything will be fine once the charter is done. ADK...I'll rinse your fib! 15:29, 9 May 2011 (UTC)
I lol'd. So perhaps the poll could be rephrased? Blue Talk 15:31, 9 May 2011 (UTC)
Um, I just did. ТyTalk. 15:32, 9 May 2011 (UTC)
Agreed. If rules are written up and even moderately enforced, maybe with a caveat of "try not to be a dick", it would be more consistent. Right now it seems like RW is becoming more like 4Chan. I can see joking around, but it's hardly motivating to get "you're an idiot" every time you contribute by those who decide they aren't bound by any rules. ~ Subsound ~ 16:58, 9 May 2011 (UTC)
Just to point out I have played the 4Chan card before. ADK...I'll graphitize your rucksack! 17:00, 9 May 2011 (UTC)
Ouch, that's not good :-( Sorry to rehash it then. ~ Subsound ~ 19:13, 9 May 2011 (UTC)

Goat, I don't care/Just let me do my thing[edit]

  • Absolutely nothing provoked this in the first place, and the end result will be fewer joke blocks. It's really hard to care, personally. ~ Kupochama[1][2] 14:57, 9 May 2011 (UTC)
I don't even find joke blocks all that funny any more. They were pretty cool in a meta way at one point, but they've had their day. --Kels (talk) 22:43, 9 May 2011 (UTC)
Well, I'm sure they're funny for them what find them funny. What ain't funny is HOURS long blocks fro first time blocks...hell if you're that concerned VB 'em. The months long blocks for people you don't like is another one I don't understand. 06:15, 12 May 2011 (UTC) C®ackeЯ


Okay. So there's good support for enforcing rules. Now let's fucking grow some testicles and actually do it. Seriously, strip people of the ability to unblock themselves and block them for an hour or two if they start acting like a cunt. ADK...I'll jostle your bingo! 16:04, 9 May 2011 (UTC)

Nx has already started. I fully support his actions. EddyP Great King! Disaster! 16:06, 9 May 2011 (UTC)
I noticed that he beat me to it by about 10 seconds. Also, little protest from me. ADK...I'll vitiate your teabag! 16:08, 9 May 2011 (UTC)
Would you like your cratship back ADK?ТyTalk. 16:11, 9 May 2011 (UTC)
Nope. If a new system comes out of this, I'd rather earn it back. ADK...I'll castrate your cowbell! 16:17, 9 May 2011 (UTC)
Alright. I doubt that would take long though. ТyTalk. 16:18, 9 May 2011 (UTC)
Uhm, shouldn't we wait a bit longer? Not that I'm not all for it (with that little voice I have), but the "has allready voted here"/"is a member of RW" rate is bit low. --UHMrambling incoherently for 20+ years! 16:40, 9 May 2011 (UTC)
It's nice to know that you only need 2 hours to decide that an issue has been decided... --Eira OMTG! The Goat be Praised. 06:00, 12 May 2011 (UTC)

Community doesn't scale[edit]

I think one of the main issues is that the way the site is currently run doesn't scale to the size of the community. In the last month alone we have nearly doubled our traffic, and while this doesn't translate 1:1 with new active users there is certainly an increase in the size of the community, and it is only getting bigger. This introduces several element into RW that have to be taken into account. The first are things we have talked about before, such as not being able to know everyone, unstated rules and standards being implicitly known and accepted by everyone, etc. But there are some external factors that will start to come into play as well. When we are no longer a little dark corner on the internet that no one pays any attention to we become a larger target for trolls and other disruptive people. We also become a potential platform for cranks and crazies to voice their one true theory and get some attention.

The community as a whole seems to recognize that we need to be able to act to end disruptive behaviors, and we do have a lot of rules about it all ready. The problem is that no one is really empowered to enforce these rules. The Loya Jirga was a start, but it is too unwieldy and slow to really deal with the dynamics of the community. We really need individuals that can act on their own volition to stop disruptive behavior while its happening. Things like deleting comments meant only to incite or personal attacks, temporary locking of pages, or even temporary promotions/demotions and blocking.

I don't think we can just say the sysops or crates can start doing this, as we have not really instilled these powers in those people. I think we need a new user right that is empowered to break up disruptive behavior. This will of course take some planning. They will have to ultimately be answerable to the community, and can't act in situations they are involved in, etc. Tmtoulouse (talk) 18:03, 9 May 2011 (UTC)

I don't think that's necessary. RW only has these role-related problems because it decided to define itself in CP terms right from the start. Downscaling everything back to normal levels - taking cues from Wikipedia roles and rights - and granting appropriate responsibilities to those groups is much more simple than adding an artificial new layer on an already creaky structure. –SuspectedReplicant retire me 18:09, 9 May 2011 (UTC)
I'm with you both here. As SR implies, under the current sysopships-for-all system everyone has the power to do whatever they want and no-one has any responsibility. But as Trent says, we need people capable of and responsible enough to rise above arguments and friendships and lay down a decision that will be followed. We should scrap mass sysopship, reduce the number of crats and actually have some people who can make decisions. EddyP Great King! Disaster! 18:15, 9 May 2011 (UTC)
The fact that not everyone can know everyone else and know what is going on is important when it comes to blocking. Someone can come along and undo something when it was done for a good purpose. We need these decisions to be in the hands of people we can trust to do the right thing. And while I don't under any circumstances want to be in the situation where we ban people for questioning actions (as I was at a site once, which lead me to telling a senior admit to ram their shiny iron fist up their arse) we need to be in a situation where someone can say "no more discussion, this is final". Now, this isn't just being called for now. It's been asked for but always there's this ego-maniacal Old Guard contingent that blocks and opposes it and then does everything that they can to fuck it up. ADK...I'll delete your zoot suit! 18:18, 9 May 2011 (UTC)
We agree on that. On most sites, that role is taken by sysops, with 'crats only being responsible for assigning and removing other rights. Removing everybody's sysop rights and assigning them to an elected group (doesn't have to be the RWF or LJ - it could be separate - or not, whichever people prefer) is my suggestion. –SuspectedReplicant retire me 18:21, 9 May 2011 (UTC)
(EC)I agree. Blocks for anything but vandalism should still be discussed amongst all users and the mob should be able to recall sysops and crats. SR - I think it should simply be a case of we hold elections for a set number of crats and sysops, then everyone but them get their rights removed. I think that we should have an elevated user group for most users though - including rollback and stuff like that. Basically I'm repeating what TheEmperor proposed. EddyP Great King! Disaster! 18:24, 9 May 2011 (UTC)
So we should really strip everyone but Trent of 'crat powers and start electing ASAP. If people want them back and the status and responsibilities it would entail, they can apply for it and convince everyone else. ADK...I'll feel your electron! 18:28, 9 May 2011 (UTC)
In fact, I'd say that should anyone hand me 'cratship back that will be the first thing I'd do. ADK...I'll absorb your magnet! 18:32, 9 May 2011 (UTC)
Agreed. Eddy, I think the difference between this and TheEmperor is that his structure gave people several more rights by default. Otherwise, yes, they're pretty similar. –SuspectedReplicant retire me 18:35, 9 May 2011 (UTC)
We should probably wait for the current shit to blow over and then bring this up for a vote. EddyP Great King! Disaster! 19:29, 9 May 2011 (UTC)
Do it now and everyone gets even more polarised, do it later and people say there isn't a problem at the moment. But mayhaps I'm cynical. NDSP 19:34, 9 May 2011 (UTC)
Yeah, we couldn't do it right now. Maybe a week or so for things to simmer down. Aboriginal Noise What the ... 19:40, 9 May 2011 (UTC)
NDSP is kind of right, though. If anything is going to happen, it needs to happen when people are up for it. ADK...I'll riot your cauldron! 20:08, 9 May 2011 (UTC)
Actually I think we should start working on this now. At least we should be clear on what exactly we consider the problem to be and how exactly the proposed solution will resolve that problem. For instance we are proposing that we reduce the number of crats/sysops - I've got no problem whatsoever with this. But are any of our problems actually being caused by too many sysops? What problem would reducing the number of sysops eliminate?
On the other hand I certainly agree what we need to create a group with some sort of final authority who will be able to step in and end disruption. Disruption seems to be being caused by (a) concern trolls/socks whose real agenda is chaos and (b) single-issue editors who have their own axes to grind.
With regard to the first set it may be time to re-introduce check user. With regard to the second I guess we'd need to be a bit firmer with the mission statement stuff. Creating a select group to manage these two activities could be the solution.--BobSpring is sprung! 20:16, 9 May 2011 (UTC)
The problem is indirectly contributed by too many sysops and crats. The only way to enforce anything is through blocks. Everyone being sysops means blocks are useless. We can remove sysop rights but... there are many people who are crats and might disagree and undo it all. Ergo, enforcing rules is pointless. That's the problem outlined as best as possible. Take Occasionaluse, who was de-sysoped and blocked by Nx for calling Lily and dumb bitch and generally fueling this fire. That was undone by Nutty minutes later after a fairly effective quiet time. But hey, if that makes it boring and authoritarian, so be it. I'm up for that. ADK...I'll optimize your calculator! 20:20, 9 May 2011 (UTC)
(EC)Reducing the number of 'crats and sysops would only make positive progress if those positions are invested with responsibilities, among them the enforcement of rules. And we need to have rules to enforce, of course - we currently have none, which is where so much drama comes from. Blue Talk 20:20, 9 May 2011 (UTC)
(EC), but they said it better =(. NDSP 20:22, 9 May 2011 (UTC)
(e/c)The main problem that the current setup has is wheel-wars. There's no way of enforcing a cool-off period because everybody can undo their own blocks. If only sysops can block/unblock, a quick 15-minute block is often all that's needed to force two people to step away from the keyboard and discuss things.
(e/c)CheckUser... no. If anybody is really going to put in the effort required to get two accounts to sysop level (assuming we drastically reduce the numbers) then they'll be able to use proxies well enough to keep them separate. –SuspectedReplicant retire me 20:23, 9 May 2011 (UTC)
And introduce LQT, since every other reply on this bloody thread starts with "(e/c)"!!!!!!! –SuspectedReplicant retire me 20:24, 9 May 2011 (UTC)
As I said, I'm cool with it as long as we are clear on the problem it is resolving. If we are that's fine. True, but checkuser makes it a lot more hastle.--BobSpring is sprung! 20:24, 9 May 2011 (UTC)
ADK, no one doubts that you have no qualms with authoritarianism, especially so long as you are guaranteed authority. Concentrating power could very well concentrate the problem, especially if the problem now has checkuser/bannerhammer at the ready. Occasionaluse (talk) 20:25, 9 May 2011 (UTC)
But more importantly why are you, Occasionaluse, opposed to it apart from the fact your dickishness wouldn't last five seconds. I have no intention on regaining crat powers unless others decide to give them to me, so I currently am not part of the solution. ADK...I'll jerk your noun! 20:27, 9 May 2011 (UTC)
For the sake of argument, let's say that power doesn't corrupt. I agree with you completely! Occasionaluse (talk) 20:29, 9 May 2011 (UTC)

Altering Blocking[edit]

Would their be any way to prevent sysops from unblocking themselves but leave all their other powers intact? That seems to be one of the two big issues along with arbitrary 'crat rights. Sysops can do basically anything without consequence because they can simply unblock themselves. There are now enough people here that a ridiculous ban will be undone quick enough. If we do that and implement some sort of election system (not just a post on the Chicken Coop) for crats, our two biggest issues will be solved. Then it's just a matter of actually following our own guidelines and getting back to the damn articles again. Klaus Vos (talk) 22:45, 9 May 2011 (UTC)

But there are enough sysops that someone will decide that the block was unfair, not like the reason, be the blockees friend or simply not like the blocker and unblock. Someone will undo the block. EddyP Great King! Disaster! 22:57, 9 May 2011 (UTC)


Anyone familiar with the computational chemistry program Gaussian may know that at the end of each log file it spits out it places a quotation of some kind. The one that has literally just finished this minute reads:

All things are difficult before they are easy. We learn so little and forget so much. You will overcome obstacles to achieve success.

I don't believe in that fate crap, but I choose to take this as a sign. ADK...I'll masturbate your ox! 19:23, 9 May 2011 (UTC)

Another proverb, which I think is apt to you personally: "As long as I'm part of the solution, I'm opposed to the problem". Occasionaluse (talk) 19:27, 9 May 2011 (UTC)
(EC) I fear it will be our Mount Everest. --UHMrambling incoherently for 20+ years! 19:31, 9 May 2011 (UTC)
I agree UHM. That is why Ace and I should take our rightful places as leaders of the wiki. Only with the right people in charge can Everest be climbed. DamoHi 20:19, 9 May 2011 (UTC)
Only if Ace stays sober. --UHMrambling incoherently for 20+ years! 22:34, 9 May 2011 (UTC)
Ace staying sober! Ha ha ha ha ha! Oh dear... ha ha ha. Even in the depths of HCM we can find amusement! –SuspectedReplicant retire me 22:39, 9 May 2011 (UTC)
The way things have been going lately... ТyTalk. 22:42, 9 May 2011 (UTC)
At your service mylord random user on RW I wouldn't yet call a friend. --UHMrambling incoherently for 20+ years! 00:35, 10 May 2011 (UTC)

I'd just like to mention[edit]

When I wrote the first draft of the Community Standards in May 2007, I called them "rules". Trent moved them to the current title and we ran with it - and I embraced his vision. It worked well for a long time, and perhaps still does. Perhaps indeed we as a community have outgrown the old way of not running things. But I think that is less of an issue than that there have always been people here who really want to have things run by the book, not by the seat of our pants and a general of community. The latest "crises" have been provoked by people who are more interesting in creating drama than the quality of the mainspace articles and the health of the community (come to my party Friday and Saturday!), rather than a bunch of new users who have no idea how the place works.

However, Trent seems to be making another executive decision and changing how our user rights are organized this time. While I respect his many years of dedication and sweat equity, he no longer owns the site. The Foundation does. No one has asked Trent to step in and unilaterally rewrite the user rights groups - yet. I am sort of running off topic here, but let us figure out, somehow, in the way we always have, what changes we want. There is no hurry, despite some peoples' opinion to the contrary. Let's do it, and do it well, and in a considered fashion, then if we need server side changes, we can ask Trent or Nx to do them for us. ħumanUser talk:Human 05:53, 18 May 2011 (UTC)

One short note: It may be what we've been seeing of late is a lack of "institutional memory", the unwritten set of traditions that us RW1.0ers know well but to the n00b isn't going to matter: what they see is this wiki motoring about without a person at the helm "wandering" aimlessly.
Now, I remember trying to get all the silver off of the etch-a-sketch screen...I could never do it, oh, I'd start but after about (usually) an eighth of the way I got bored with RIGHT, down a half notch then LEFT, so I'd start meandering with the thought that "so what if I take twice as long to get this done than the other way, at least it's not so fucking boring!"
RW does meander a lot, but that's the way we had it set up, what looks like fun to do? then do it. Something not catted? so what? someone who likes doing that will do it....eventually. Why do we have a need to get everything "done"?
That said, Yeah well maybe it's time to get a bit more regularity in the thing? I'm not quite fossilized to the point of immobility, but the wiki is like a supertanker, trying to get it to turn on a dime isn't going to happen, and if it happens it's not going to end well.
Heh, your metaphor just ruined three beautiful beaches on the French Riviera... ħumanUser talk:Human 06:28, 19 May 2011 (UTC)