Forum:User rights and moderation revisited

From RationalWiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search

A number of questions have been raised about the moderation system, whether it's effective and how mods are selected. Here is a space to discuss these issues (constructively, please) and try to work out some solutions. €₳$£ΘĪÐWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 21:03, 9 July 2012 (UTC)

I just wanted to say thank you. This was exactly the right move, and helped focus this into the immensely productive and calm discussion below. No one feels the need to assert themselves by being just big-sloppy-silly, and it's still casual and pleasant.--ADtalkModerator 04:06, 10 July 2012 (UTC)

A significantly more straightforward method to select mods next time[edit]

This discussion was moved here from RationalWiki talk:Moderator elections/Results.

I'm thinking of a number... LowKey (talk) 10:34, 9 July 2012 (UTC)

Mud wrestling? Scarlet A.pngsshole 10:35, 9 July 2012 (UTC)
Does Scotland have all these problems? DickTurpis (talk) 12:20, 9 July 2012 (UTC)
Yes. Bad Faith (talk) 12:22, 9 July 2012 (UTC)
No, but they don't use STV. rpeh •TCE 12:25, 9 July 2012 (UTC)

Above the line voting. - π 12:23, 9 July 2012 (UTC)

It's pretty clear this STV system isn't fit for purpose, when the results vary so much depending on the number of seats. But there's also the question of whether the whole system of seven elected mods is fit for purpose or should be adapted for more mods or scrapped altogether. ωεαşεζøίɗWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 12:26, 9 July 2012 (UTC)

ScienceTM may tell us STV is the best system, but experience on this site doesn't seem to support this notion. I'd like to see something else next time. Not sure what though. DickTurpis (talk) 12:41, 9 July 2012 (UTC)
Our problem is that we don't have enough votes for the number of available positions. STV is a good system but we're trying to do something with it that it's not really suitable for. To be honest, this whole debacle is a fitting end to a bloody stupid idea anyway. Let's just put the whole moderator system down as a well-meaning idea that failed and move on. rpeh •TCE 13:00, 9 July 2012 (UTC)
If someone wants to be mod, they could just ask and the mob debates it as we used to for crat elections. What was wrong with that? It beats the incomprehensible mess of our current voting system. Sophiebecause liberals 13:28, 9 July 2012 (UTC)
You're using the bureaucrat formula, the biggest case of HCM this site has ever seen, as a model for mods? The whole reason we have the mod system is because the bureaucrat system (which didn't even really exist) became as fiasco. The most useful thing the mods have done is replace the completely arbitrary demotion/promotion, promotion/demotion with a semblance of order (and apparently little more than a semblance, if this clusterfuck is any indication). You mention "crat elections", was there ever such a beast? I don't remember seeing one, and I never stood for one when I became a crat. DickTurpis (talk) 13:34, 9 July 2012 (UTC)
The last... five or so 'crat demotions were done using a vote. There'll be something in the Barchives somewhere. rpeh •TCE 13:43, 9 July 2012 (UTC)
I seem to remember one or two, but I thought those were the result of particular controversy, not a general method for dealing with the issue. Compare that handful to the number of crats and how they got demoted and you'll see it was an inconsequential proportion. DickTurpis (talk) 13:48, 9 July 2012 (UTC)
I'm not saying it was a good system. I was just responding to your "I don't remember seeing one" line. Frankly, though, that system generated a lot less HCM than this one. rpeh •TCE 14:03, 9 July 2012 (UTC)
I'm going to disagree, to an extent. This election saw a lot of confusion, controversy, and argument, but no real HCM. The matter of who won is now settled following a significant amount of discussion, but no real chaos. This is preferable to the wheel warring over user rights the last days of the bureaucracy brought us. DickTurpis (talk) 14:14, 9 July 2012 (UTC)
Let's just pick 9 or 7+2, folks, and finish this whole thing. I know that some folks want to take this opportunity to relitigate the entire system, again, but there isn't going to be any perfect system or perfect voting scheme. This is how things get nasty and actually turn into HCMs: self-contained small problems are spun out into big sprawling debates. If it wouldn't appear blatantly self-serving (since presumably I have an interest in maintaining my immense sweeping powers) I'd just lock this page and set up a vote on the matter elsewhere, since this is the very examplar of something that could easily turn into a vicious cycle, as norms are discarded and chickens beheaded.
Now, it's possible we have a couple of our stats-oriented folks working on a grand post to spell out the perfect voting scheme, but I doubt it. No scheme is going to be perfect. And since no one has any concrete suggestions for a better voting scheme, let's solve the immediate problem. Then if someone wants to propose elsewhere (i.e. Community Standards) some big change like elimination of the moderator system, fine.--ADtalkModerator 14:18, 9 July 2012 (UTC)
It is finished. We have our 7 mods: you, Ace, Blue, Armondikov, Weaseloid, Waiting for Godot, and Genghis. It appears the matter is settled for the next 6 months. How the next mod elections are done, as well as Board elections, is all that needs to be discussed now, or whether we even want to keep the mod system. No need to lock any pages. DickTurpis (talk) 14:26, 9 July 2012 (UTC)
All right. Well, as I said, I don't think this is a smart time or place to discuss keeping the mod system. That would be better addressed as the separate issue that it is. The reason that things get out of hand is that such arguments eventually accumulate such length that only a handful of very dedicated people read through the whole thing. To most people it starts looking like an unmanageable mess, with all sorts of suggestions, half-arguments, and resolved issues. Yet to the dedicated people, their effort and the narrative they've invested themselves in makes them start to lose a little perspective.
I won't do anything, of course - that brute force nonsense is notoriously ineffective, and I think I've only locked one page since we first started moderating, and that only for an hour. And of course I am a mod, so it'd be silly for me to shut down debate on whether mods should be retained. But I urge someone to take the initiative and start up a new discussion, focused on the voting method to use next time, and with an aim towards actual resolution.--ADtalkModerator 14:34, 9 July 2012 (UTC)
While I agree that this maybe isn't the right place to discuss new voting or moderation proposals and the discussion should be taken up elsewhere, I disagree that it isn't the right time. Right now when we're looking at everything that's been messy about this election is the best time to start thinking about what we can do about it. Around the December election there was talk about setting up moderation guidelines, restricting the nomination criteria to eliminate joke candidates and trying to eliminate sock voting problems, and there was a lot of "well, we'd better sort something out before the next election". Then fuck-all happened, and here we are again. If we're going to look at improving or replacing this system, now is the time to follow through with it. WëäŝëïöïďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 16:56, 9 July 2012 (UTC)
Having re-read your post, I see you actually suggested the same thing. I'm happy to take the initiative on this if somebody else hasn't already. ŴêâŝêîôîďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 16:58, 9 July 2012 (UTC)
Weaseloid, way back in November, I penned Essay:Moderation, in which I outlined a fairly comprehensive set of policies by which the institution of moderators should operate. It received some preliminary endorsements by characters like Ace and Ty, but never generated much discussion (probably having to do with policy fatigue from the lengthy voting standards adoption process).
There are several updates I would make to that essay, now that we've had several more months of moderators and related controversies, but I stand by the gist of it. If we ever actually want to set up a more specific moderation policy than the few sentences Trent wrote last June, I think that essay is a good starting point.
The way I see it, there are three big pillars of the debate that we should probably resolve sometime over the next few months.
  1. Should we keep the institution as it is now, with seven moderators and two alternates elected biannually? Should we alter it, or scrap it entirely and move to a new system?
  2. If we keep the institution mostly the same, how should we go about electing our moderators?
  3. If we keep the institution mostly the same, should we institute more specific guidelines to give a better idea of how it ought to function?
It would certainly avoid a great deal of argument to skip the first item, but since a vocal number are opposed to the current system, we probably won't be able to. The debate on the second and third will probably be simpler and more civil. Blue (pester) 19:23, 9 July 2012 (UTC)
In my own mind, board elections need to be brought up on a thread of their own, and discussed outside of and independent of "mod" elections, or any other wiki specific elections. There are a host of issues that impact Board elections that do not matter to the wiki, and vice versa - the most important of which is that the Board represents the foundation as a whole, which has control of several projects not just this particular wiki. Green mowse.pngGodotStop the damn screeds! 19:30, 9 July 2012 (UTC)
I'd forgotten about that essay. Personally, I'm on board with the "individual action" bit, but not so keen the "group action" angle as I still think these kinds of decisions should be made by the wider community rather than an elected body. However, first off there's question 1 above, viz the whole moderator scenario & whether it actually solves the problems it was created to sort out. The more I think about the fuss surrounding this election, the more I feel like the game isn't worth the candle.
In practice mods don't actually do much, and the general feeling is that most of the time they actually shouldn't do much. It's basically a hall monitor role. Yet because there are such a small number of places, and because it's basically all we've got in terms of what could be considered "hierarchy", it becomes this hotly contested position with much much more time & energy going into filling the role than goes into doing the job. This is what I find most damaging about the situation: site politics tends to bring out the worst in us, and we've landed up with a system that actually creates more politicking rather than effectively moderating it.
Opening up the system to a greater number of mods might help. I see no reason why there shouldn't be twenty or more. If people are happy to do the job, know the site & community well, & are largely trusted, I see no reason for them not to serve. This would cut down on the competitive nature of the selection & the inevitable disappointments & resentments. ωεαşεζøίɗWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 20:40, 9 July 2012 (UTC)
(PC - port conflict) Yes, actually most of the revisions I would make to the essay involve allowing more community input. It was written at a time when our confidence in the ability of the community to solve any problems was not high, but this discussion (excepting the few minor nasty bits) has demonstrated that we can actually act together when we don't launch into personal attacks at every opportunity.
20 mods is a bit too high in my opinion, because then we're opening ourselves up to most of the drama that went with the 'crat system and also making elections far less relevant. More mods could very well be better, though, and I'd be fine with a 10 or 11 at the most. I haven't seen a very much disappointment and resentment - in fact the two "incorrect" winners very graciously stood down without a fuss.
We should probably port this discussion to a forum or a project page... Blue (pester) 21:11, 9 July 2012 (UTC)
... which happened as I was writing that post. Blue (is useful) 21:12, 9 July 2012 (UTC)
I don't really understand all this hating on the crat system. When dramas occurred, it was usually because somebody acted unilaterally or assumed more authority than was their due (which has also happened under the moderator system) rather than because of any inherent structural flaw. And I have seen a fair amount of resentment levelled at the mod system, much more than I remember there being about crats at the time. WéáśéĺóíďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 00:27, 10 July 2012 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Well, to the last point, I don't think we can reasonably compare the criticism of the two systems because before we had mods, we only knew one system and it was the devil we knew.

The problem with the mod system is that it concentrates power in too few people without any real guidelines on how to use it or how to deal with abuses of it. The problem with the 'crat system was that it spread power among too many people without any real guidelines on how to use it or how to deal with abuses of it. It seems to me that part of the solution must be to come up with real guidelines on how bureaucrat and/or moderator and/or tech powers should be used and efficient, fair processes on how to deal with abuses of those powers.

I have never said that the moderator system is intrinsically better at this moment than the 'crat system. I've been here a very long time and I think the 'crat system was fundamentally good, but as the wiki grew larger and as people grew more distant from the 2007/2008-era traditions, the lack of enforceable guidelines and due process was a ticking time bomb that ultimately blew up in our faces last year. To an extent, the moderator system has the same potential to cause another May 2011 as the 'crat system did.

There may yet be an objective angle to take on whether or not we ought to return to the 'crat system. I think either system is workable given the necessary reforms. Blue (is useful) 02:26, 10 July 2012 (UTC)

We had far fewer problems with the crat system, and it's likely that the transition drove lots of people away. You can't take away the Porsche and expect people to be pissed. And, in reality, the crat guidelines were always better defined than the moderator position, which has always been hobbled together. Look at sysoprevoke--it really is a "tech fix" which is ironic, because people now are saying things against tech fixes--and rightfully so. (Adding and removing sysop right was a primary crat function, arguably the only function. But people don't trust only seven people to have that, which is how we've ended up with sysoprevoke.) The crat system was also far more flexible. Yes, there were problems last year, but it's unclear that purging the whole system has improved anything; there is far more bitching and moaning now that there ever was. On the other hand, that may be because of who remains after people started leaving, and/or it may be because of how people perceive their power on the wiki. sterilesporadic heavy hitter 12:50, 11 July 2012 (UTC)

Ace's idea[edit]

First past the post system. 7 mods + 2 alternates.

  • no rankings
  • electorate gets 7 mod votes and 2 alternate mods
  • most votes win.

Piece of cake. I haven't really thought this through - straight from my head so please tell me where I am wrong. AceThe Rep Grows Bigger 02:40, 10 July 2012 (UTC)

It would have to be 9 votes, not devided, or you risk one person being elected both mod and alternate. Green mowse.pngGodotStop the damn screeds! 02:45, 10 July 2012 (UTC)
Alright then. If we did that it could work, there be little to dispute and we could get on to debunking anti-science? AceThe Rep Grows Bigger 02:49, 10 July 2012 (UTC)
(EC)Actually, you could just leave 7 votes and not bother with "alternate" votes. The first seven vote-getters then become mods, while the eighth and ninth become alternates.
This is the same system we used to elect the Loya Jirga, with the alternate feature added. Objectively, it's less fair than STV, but I think we can all agree that STV may be too complex to be used on a site of this size (I'm not saying it necessarily is, just that it probably is, judging from all of the post-election debate we've seen). This proposal would bring hundreds of project-space votes to Recent Changes, though Trent could easily hide the voting page to avoid the clusterfuck like he did with the CP forum. Nevertheless, I think it's a good idea. Simple and effective. Blue (is useful)
They can filter it. Тytalk 02:52, 10 July 2012 (UTC)
We should have just done this in the first place. it is so simple and fits perfectly with the size of our site. AceThe Rep Grows Bigger 02:54, 10 July 2012 (UTC)
Well, I think Trent did what he did with the best of intentions. I do agree with you, though, Ace. (See! It's possible!) Blue (is useful) 02:57, 10 July 2012 (UTC)
With RW the size as it is the STV process seems unnecessarily complicated. AceThe Rep Grows Bigger 03:00, 10 July 2012 (UTC)
(EC) Now what? Тytalk 03:02, 10 July 2012 (UTC)
(EC) Which is exactly what I said. Now, two questions remain: 1) Should we change the franchise requirements? 2) Should we have public voting, or should we ask Nx and/or Trent to rewrite the (private) voting extension? Blue (pester) 03:03, 10 July 2012 (UTC)
Nx is part of the problem, fuck 'im. No point in pushing trent now - he seems to have had enough. Accpet the mods as they are now and do it next time. AceThe Rep Grows Bigger 03:12, 10 July 2012 (UTC)
Oh, yes, I'm talking about next time. I meant, should we ask Trent ever to rewrite the extension, or just do the voting publicly like the Loya Jirga elections? Blue (pester) 03:16, 10 July 2012 (UTC)
Extension. Secret ballot and all that. Тytalk 03:18, 10 July 2012 (UTC)
Agreed. AceThe Rep Grows Bigger 03:21, 10 July 2012 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────In that event, it's probably best if we raised the requirements for voting to avoid so many sock votes. Disenfranchising bots is a first step. People have suggested making a minimum number of edits made in the few months leading up to the vote as another qualification. Blue (pester) 03:25, 10 July 2012 (UTC)

I'm in favor of the 7 votes, top 7 vote getters win (I do better in this system, so I'm biased in any case). Making more stringent voting requirements is fine, but if people want voting socks they'll just make sure their socks meet those requirements no matter how high we set them, so it basically only kicks the can down the road. Is everyone completely opposed to open voting? I'm on the fence, but think it's getting dismissed too readily. I asked this elsewhere, and the response I got was actually somewhat favorable (or at least not entirely dismissive) of the idea, and it is probably the most effective way to mitigate the sockpuppet issue. DickTurpis (talk) 03:39, 10 July 2012 (UTC)
I didn't express my view on the matter, which is pretty much yours (viz. on the fence). There's the potential for people to not feel free to express their preferences, especially if we allow the common practice of making comments in one's vote. But it would definitely weed out known socks voting. Blue (pester) 03:46, 10 July 2012 (UTC)
I would vastly prefer a secret ballot. Тytalk 03:48, 10 July 2012 (UTC)

Throwing my two cents into the ring: I completely support this. STV is unnecessary for a site of our size. First past the post is just fine for a community that gets, what, 50-60 ballots per election? Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 03:47, 10 July 2012 (UTC)

I'm with ace.gif Also, a secret ballot is even more crucial in this system. Peter "a sarcastic remark between every mouthful" 03:51, 10 July 2012 (UTC)

Multiple voting by a Nominee for him/herself through socks should be declared a Conflict of Interest and Abuse. Now, how can allegations of such be established? nobsCorporations are people, too 12:10, 10 July 2012 (UTC)
With secret ballot, they can't. DickTurpis (talk) 12:12, 10 July 2012 (UTC)


Say, oh 100 edits in the past 2 months? Thoughts? Тytalk 03:28, 10 July 2012 (UTC)

That's quite a lot - if I was away on holiday I wouldn't be allowed to vote (my holidays are typically a month long and am usually very busy weeks either side). AceThe Rep Grows Bigger 03:39, 10 July 2012 (UTC)
Is there an issue with the franchise as it is? (Keeping in mind that a sock abuse will be possible regardless of what system we use.) Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 03:40, 10 July 2012 (UTC)
The make X edits in the last Y period of time would probably make it just a tad bit harder. Тytalk 03:46, 10 July 2012 (UTC)
75 edits in mainspace over the past three months seems like it requires a reasonable level of activity to exclude a bot, without being such a high bar that only superusers would surmount it. But maybe we should get some actual numbers in here - who would get to vote? Is there an easy way to view a list of who has made 75 edits in mainspace over the past three months?--ADtalkModerator 04:03, 10 July 2012 (UTC)
RationalWiki:Active users is available, though it isn't just those who fit the standard. --il'Dictator Mikal 04:06, 10 July 2012 (UTC)
75 mainspace edits seems high, considering a number of people here (me included, I'll admit) don't edit the mainspace much and use RW much more as a forum for discussion and social interactions. That being said, it would hinder socks who make 75 edits to their user and talk pages in a few days and are forever enfranchised. DickTurpis (talk) 04:18, 10 July 2012 (UTC)
It shouldn't be mainspace specific. I've never felt that mainspace is the heart of the site. The current franchise requirement is 75+ edits, and at least 3 months at RW. If we change it to at least 3 months at RW, and 75+ edits within the past three months (& no bots), this would eliminate sleeper socks, and also eliminate people who leave or pretend to leave the site from continuing to exert influence at elections, which I think is fair. Administrators should elected by the active onsite community. WēāŝēīōīďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 07:38, 10 July 2012 (UTC)
Okaydokey. Just 75 edits in the past three months works, then.--ADtalkModerator 21:04, 10 July 2012 (UTC)

Computer sim[edit]

Playing the nerd card sadly. I just ran a computer simulation of Ace's idea (using 75 voters, 20 candidates, 9 seats) and deduced there's a hefty chance (>20%) that the votes will be tied across the "Mod/Alt" boundary or the "alt/not elected" boundary. It's highly likely because there is a large pool of candidates compared to a small electorate. (I also ran the sim for larger groups of voters and it looks like you need to get to about 500 voters before the risk of a tie becomes < 2%).

Ace's idea has an elegant simplicity which I hate to disrupt, but tied votes would probably necessitate either a by-election (with optional full HCM) or some arbitrary tie-breaking method (with probable full HCM).

Keeping the basic idea but altering it to a straight preference vote drastically reduces the risk of ties. Franchised voters still cast nine votes in order, with vote 1 being worth 9 points, vote 2 worth 8, etc. Not as tasteful, but much less likely to produce ties. VOXHUMANA 03:49, 10 July 2012 (UTC)

Is it too hard to declare that both get in as mod if there are ties there, decide by runoff if we turn out to need an alternate position where there is a double up? Also, if we are ranking in this way do we really need to specify the number of alts? Peter "a sarcastic remark between every mouthful" 03:55, 10 July 2012 (UTC)
Obviously some tweaking is required but like Vox says, there is a simplicity which is needed for a site this size. AceThe Rep Grows Bigger 04:00, 10 July 2012 (UTC)
How did you do this sim, btw? Is it available for public fiddling? Peter "a sarcastic remark between every mouthful" 04:01, 10 July 2012 (UTC)
Ties would only matter if there is a tie for 7th and 8th place, right (or 9th and 10th, I guess)? We could have something in place for that eventuality, such as an additional mod, even. DickTurpis (talk) 04:03, 10 July 2012 (UTC)
Ties matter from the last mod place down. Even a tie for first alternate will cause a choice to be made should we find ourselves needing one. But that wont be hard - I propose extra mods for the case of last mod place, and short votes for alternates if needed. Candidates can, of course, decline to take the mod position and save us the trouble if they want to. Peter "a sarcastic remark between every mouthful" 04:06, 10 July 2012 (UTC)
Extra mods in the case of a tie for 7th would be fine. I remember when there was a tie for the LJ election, one of them voluntarily conceded, so that could always happen too. Blue (is useful) 04:12, 10 July 2012 (UTC)
Yeah but you might get some dick, like myself, kicking up a fuss....AceThe Rep Grows Bigger 04:14, 10 July 2012 (UTC)
@Peter, sorry, not public. My sim was somewhat subsidized by the NSW Government. I wrote it in Cognos Data Manager writing to a SQL Server database. VOXHUMANA 04:14, 10 July 2012 (UTC)
Pity. Ah, well, I suppose I'll just have to interrogate you instead: what were you inputing, exactly, and what kind of percentages were you getting out? Peter "a sarcastic remark between every mouthful" 04:18, 10 July 2012 (UTC)
Then we will have to vote (once the dust from the HCM that caused the situation has settled) between the tied candidates. Or if we already had 8 mods we don't appoint an alternate to the position at all. Peter "a sarcastic remark between every mouthful" 04:21, 10 July 2012 (UTC)
Or we could just decide beforehand that if two people tie for 7th then both get in. I suppose if more than 2 people tie for 7th place we can have a runoff vote. Blue (is useful) 04:23, 10 July 2012 (UTC)
I meant only for alternates, using 'everyone gets in' for 7th place ties thus meaning that there could potentially be 8 mods (who's counting?). Vox: what are the odds of 3+ way ties? Peter "a sarcastic remark between every mouthful" 04:27, 10 July 2012 (UTC)
A tie for second alternate is probably inconsequential, as the chances of the second alternate being promoted is damn slim. A tie for first alternate could be broken in some random fashion. I imagine the parties will be fine with it if it's decided upon beforehand. Another possibility could be no elected alternates, instead having the mods decide among themselves. Whoever 4 of them can agree to gets in or something. DickTurpis (talk) 04:33, 10 July 2012 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────I don't think that getting mods to pick would work very well. But how to do it randomly? Peter "a sarcastic remark between every mouthful" 04:37, 10 July 2012 (UTC)

I don't know, if the first task of newly elected mods would be to have to mutually pick an alternate they can basically agree on, that could be a good exercise in working together and compromising. I'd actually genuinely like to see how it would go. Of course, it could be a fiasco as well, in which case it might prepare us for what's coming. As for the random bit, I hadn't given it much thought, but there was some random element in the last election. Specifically which zero vote getter was eliminated first, I think. DickTurpis (talk) 04:43, 10 July 2012 (UTC)
Any random picker would need to be public, done only once, and not able to be faked. For example, creating a new page by substing in a chooser function almost works ([1]), it just fails by being fakeable. But if we did it beforehand we wouldn't have to worry about that. Peter "a sarcastic remark between every mouthful" 04:58, 10 July 2012 (UTC)

This proposal assumes that there's nothing wrong with the number of moderators & alternates, as is. I'd like to see more discussion on whether this is the case before we get too far into talking about how they're actually selected. See above. ЩєазєюіδWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 07:42, 10 July 2012 (UTC)

Changes to the moderator system, non-election-related[edit]

Now is as good a time as any to start work on creating a mod policy that goes into more detail than the sentences Trent wrote last June, if such a policy is wanted (though it appears to be, very much so). There are a number of things that a mod can do that have absolutely no guidelines or regulations and usually cause HCM whenever they're used. If I can sum up my proposal from last November and some key revisions I would make today:

In all cases except emergencies, moderators must first directly engage users involved in a dispute before taking individual action.
Acting as individuals, moderators can act voluntarily in the following situations:
All individual action must be temporary - any provisions should not exceed about three hours in length - and must take place during the development of the situation, not afterward.
Moderators may use the following tools in individual action:
  • Page protection
  • Revokation of sysop rights (sysoprevoke)
  • Blocks
If individual moderator action lasts beyond an acceptable duration, affected users may ask other moderators to restore the status quo ante.
Moderators have the power to appoint techs. This should only be done following the concurrence of at least three moderators, and applicants to the tech position are encouraged to detail exactly how they will make use of its powers.
The edit filter, if used beyond the purpose of preventing vandalism, should only be modified at the behest of the community at large. Given this, there is nothing to suggest that a moderator should not also possess tech capabilities.
No user should ever be mod-blocked with the "cannot edit own talk page" option checked, unless they are posting spam. This allows moderated users to register a protest.
Moderators who have clearly violated policy may be taken to the coop and recalled from the position. Forced removal of moderator rights can only be done by a community vote, and follows the established procedure for rights removal voting.
Techs who have abused their powers or their mandate may be summarily promoted by a moderator. They can then appeal this decision to the full body of moderators, or the community if they allege abuse by the promoting moderator.
Moderators may resign at any time. A by-election will only be called if the number of mods falls below 5.
Any moderator account which remains inactive for two months will be summarily promoted, provided that the user is warned beforehand.
  • Moderators have a duty to enforce the will of the community. They cannot go against community decisions by unblocking properly banned users, etc.
  • Should the community be in sufficient turmoil, the moderators may be directed to decide a dispute as a cohesive body rather than as individuals. This was the purpose of the Loya Jirga.
  • Moderators have an obligation to alert their peers if a situation that needs moderating arises.
  • Post hoc, moderators have an obligation to answer questions from the community about their actions or lack thereof, on a designated page.

Cue the accusations of aspie fascist rules-mongering paper-pushing tinpot dictatorship. Blue (pester) 04:46, 10 July 2012 (UTC)

Glancing over it quickly it seems mostly reasonable, and in some cases stating more explicitly what is already true in practice. However, especially for the first group of situations, saying mods can do this should not necessarily imply that other users can't. DickTurpis (talk) 04:51, 10 July 2012 (UTC)
Definitely. And the benefit of codifying practices already in use is that someone like me can't allege that a violation is no grounds for protest because there was no "actual" policy. Blue (is useful) 04:55, 10 July 2012 (UTC)
You sure seem to enjoy the characterization and no, now is not as good a time as any to monkey with something that ain't broke. I don't see this addressing a single meaningful problem; it's just poor legislative drafting and an unacceptable expansion of moderator power beyond that Trent granted. I've got to go to New York for business and won't be back until Sunday night. Unlike you, I don't have time for this shit. I work for a living and occasionally like to go outside. As I'm apparently one of the few from my side of the aisle willing to stand over your shoulder and look at this kind of unnecessary wankery, I not-so-respectfully request that you all don't do something cute like set this for a vote before we've had a chance for Trent to weigh in and for me and whoever else is inclined to review it. Nutty Roux100x100 anarchy symbol.svg 06:17, 10 July 2012 (UTC)
What Nutty said. AceThe Rep Grows Bigger 06:19, 10 July 2012 (UTC)
My dear Nutty, I am, unfortunately, tired of acquiescing to your "not-so-respectful requests" at this point, especially as they are so predictably unhelpful. Unless you're attempting to use your status as a member of the Board of Trustees to shape site policy discussions, there is no reason why I or anyone else would be compelled to continue to pay lip service to your frustratingly repetitive and contrarian analyses. Don't you think it's a little bit of a turn-off from compromise that nearly all of the ad hominems in these arguments come from your "side of the aisle" and when I'm involved? Blue (is useful) 09:46, 10 July 2012 (UTC)
Well of course I have no respect for you. Who do you think actually does? And why would you even bring the board up? Seriously. I require a justification for that. Nutty Roux100x100 anarchy symbol.svg 11:41, 12 July 2012 (UTC)
You know, guys, instead of this constant "blah blah blah authoritarian blah blah blah legislation blah blah blah wankery..." why don't you let us know specifically what's wrong with things? That might actually be, you know, helpful. Considering the vast majority of what is proposed is basically either specifying what mods already do (or are supposed to) or limiting what they can do, I, at least don't see this as some huge power grab. If I'm missing something (which I might be) let me know what it is, specifically. DickTurpis (talk) 11:52, 10 July 2012 (UTC)
I suggest the following things be removed; one is unhelpfully ironclad and the other is unnecessary expansion:
  • - any provisions should not exceed about three hours in length -
  • Should the community be in sufficient turmoil, the moderators may be directed to decide a dispute as a cohesive body rather than as individuals. This was the purpose of the Loya Jirga.
I do think it's good that mods be required to notify others about when something has arisen, and that some things we'd established be laid down firmly, like the fact that anything permanent requires a vote. I'm not so sure about the tech thing, but it's a good idea. We do need some procedure for techs, but more input is required.
I do note that the biggest job of a mod does not appear here. I think that while the initial list of problems a mod should intervene in is good, it should be replaced with the following paragraph:
A moderator's job is to spot a variety of problems and act to prevent them or end them. Because ordinary sysops can handle almost all instances of vandalism or general asshattery on the wiki, a moderator should only feel it necessary to intercede when it appears that serious wheel wars over user rights, edit wars, extraordinarily abusive posting (such as spamming), repeated abuse of blocking privileges, or repeated abuse of RevisionDelete are threatened or occurring. Moderators are not special users or better users, they are just a small set of users entrusted with a few extra tools. Those tools should always and only be used to stop nasty conflagrations, making way for the community to make the actual decisions. Moderators should never try to simply enforce their will. RationalWiki cannot be tamed.
You will note a shift in emphasis, and narrowing of moderator purview.--ADtalkModerator 06:37, 10 July 2012 (UTC)
I will note several proposed expansions of power in the guise of perpetuating custom and practice. Nutty Roux100x100 anarchy symbol.svg 06:41, 10 July 2012 (UTC)
It's not "in the guise," which implies that I am trying to sneak something in. Try to rein back some of that infamous prickliness.
Yes, some things the moderators have done based on interpretation of Trent's very loose plan have here been set down more firmly. That's the intent here. That's why it's being discussed, so if you think that the moderators shouldn't have such-and-such responsibility, then you can say so.
Side note: we should define what I call "extraordinarily abusive posting," since I don't think mods should be trying to just stop "trolling," and that's a slippery slope.--ADtalkModerator 07:01, 10 July 2012 (UTC)
In principle I support most aspects of Blue's & Ad's proposals above, and will comment further on some of the specifics later, as I'm currently on my lunch break at work & don't have time to go over it in detail. As I've said further up, I think more moderators than seven would be preferable, and could cut down somewhat on the "position of power" reputation the role is getting, but I guess the number of mods should probably discussed in a separate section. Re techs, I feel that there should be community input in who should or shouldn't get appointed rather than appointments made by mods alone. There should also be some guidelines on the tech remit, most importantly that tech abilities should only be used for fixing technical problems, or for making changes wanted by the community. ΨΣΔξΣΓΩΙÐWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 12:50, 10 July 2012 (UTC)

edit button#1[edit]

This needs a hell of a lot more of discussion. Sysoprevoke has never been even discussed, let alone sanctioned by the community. There also is no implication that editors can actually use their brains and hash things out of there own; this is essentially CP's block-first policy. This is not managing HCM; this is more micro-use of powers. The understanding is that the edit filter should be used for vandalism only; there is no discussion of power beyond that. And I think adiscussion of what a troll is is appropriate as well. The powers of the tech need to be defined, and it should be clear that use of tech powers to moderate is an abuse of power. sterilesporadic heavy hitter 12:51, 10 July 2012 (UTC)

This does need more discussion, and I don't think anyone's rushing to act here, so I think we're fine. But let's continue.
  • Sysoprevoke has been discussed, at least a bit, but to me it seems pretty important that the mods have the ability to change user rights in a way that cannot be undone by just anyone, especially here, where literally almost everyone has the power to promote and demote. If the community decides to remove an abusive user's rights, it's the sort of thing that shouldn't be undone by a single editor who doesn't agree. So far it's hardly been used at all, that I now of, so I don't think it's been abused.
  • I don't see an implication that users can't hash things out on their own, but if they can I have yet to observe it. OK, seriously, though, the moderator position has always been for cases where conflict has gotten out of hand. No one's suggesting every time two editors have any sort of disagreement mods are to rush in blowing whistles and tossing everyone into the paddywaggon. I don't know of that ever happening, either.
  • Discussion of what a troll is will probably go on forever without any real agreement; I don't think it necessarily behooves us to get into such a basically semantic argument right now. Some say Brx is a troll, others say he's just an irritating guy with a lack of social skills. Probably best to err on the side of caution. Then there's the guys with user names like "Why do liberals worship Hitler and want to kill everyone who disagrees with them".
  • The discussion on techs is long overdue. It's been my opinion from the beginning that they're too ill-defined and arbitrarily created. That they generally haven't proved as controversial as I imagined they would has led me to not worry about them for the time being, but this is a good time to figure out what the fuck a tech is, exactly. I never liked the idea of a single mod being able to grant anyone that power on a whim. Blue's suggestion that 3 mods should agree is a step in the right direction, but input from the wider community would be a good idea too. DickTurpis (talk) 13:42, 10 July 2012 (UTC)
I adopt what Sterile says and would add to it while I have a moment. Sysoprevoke has never been used of necessity as far as I'm aware and it's far from clear it was ever intended to be set by moderators. Nx and AD have both abused it to prevent wheel wars that never started and weren't even hinted at. Tech is likewise not a role that moderators ever had the authority to assign. This concept seems foreign to several of you: just because you have the ability to do something doesn't mean it's permitted or a good idea. That ambiguity (if that's even the appropriate word) led to a power grab, pure and simple. And, while I'm sure the tech role has been used for good, it has also been misused on multiple occasions by people with bad judgment and didn't adequately think things through. Since we're collectively absolutely awful at drafting rules, it makes sense to take issues one by one as they arise and ask ourselves what problem we intend to solve before we propose a change calculated to address it. Consider it like the Lean Startup where you create the minimum viable product, a deliverable that addresses a specific problem based on whatever assumptions, you observe it in the wild, and you tune it up as necessary. Pivot to something else if it fails to adequately address a problem. Or consider it like Toyota's "just in time" management philosophy where the manufacturing process and very small parts inventories are intimately related. No warehouses full of shit that may sit there unused for who knows how long that materially represent a waste of effort and resources that could have been spent on actually making and servicing cars according to present needs. Nutty Roux100x100 anarchy symbol.svg 17:53, 10 July 2012 (UTC)
Asking ourselves what the problems are with the current user rights system & how we can solve them is what we're doing here. Taking issues one by one is all very well, but the fact is that problems already have occurred multiple times under the current system, some of which you mention, so now is as good a time as any to go through them one by one & look at how we can change things. It's not going to be simple, & will no doubt require some ongoing tweaks rather than any kind of easy fix, but this discussion is a step in the right direction. WėąṣėḷőįďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 18:07, 10 July 2012 (UTC)
Uh, the solution is simple. Mods don't get to set sysoprevoke or tech. Boom. Nutty Roux100x100 anarchy symbol.svg 18:13, 10 July 2012 (UTC)
That would still leave them with several other abilities, and as you said yourself there is an ambiguity between what they're able to do and what is permitted or a good idea. WẽãšẽĩõĩďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 18:24, 10 July 2012 (UTC)

Mods never had the authority to appoint techs, Nutty? Trent disagrees: "... tech users will need to request this user right from mods ..." (from the original forum where he laid out the new system, I'm on my phone) Blue (pester) 18:52, 10 July 2012 (UTC)

I think we are discussing what is to be, not what is or was originally intended. Really, the tech role is to be useful for doing tech-things. The moderators, a role of governance and order, may or may not be the best people for apportioning that; it may be better in Trent's hands, if he's willing. sterilesporadic heavy hitter 19:56, 10 July 2012 (UTC)
I agree; Nutty, however, was talking about original intent, as he frequently does. Anyway, I think we might be giving Trent too much to do here, what with rewriting the voting extension and such. It doesn't seem like he has a lot of time to invest in the day-to-day operations of the site. Blue (is useful) 20:45, 10 July 2012 (UTC)
I was only referring to tech approval. There aren't that many, nor requests for them. sterilesporadic heavy hitter 20:52, 10 July 2012 (UTC)
The law of unintended consequences will come in to play...any technical changes will necessarily have an impact of the social aspect of the site. Just fair warning. 21:06, 10 July 2012 (UTC) C®ackeЯ
I know of the essay of which you speak (and has been ignored lots over the years...). sterilesporadic heavy hitter 21:10, 10 July 2012 (UTC)

The current ATIM page lists sysoprevoke as a community action. Blue, are you suggestion that this be changed to at the discretion of the moderator? sterilesporadic heavy hitter 21:18, 10 July 2012 (UTC)

I'm a bit confused by a few things Nutty says. He says of sysoprevoke: "it's far from clear it was ever intended to be set by moderators." I'm not sure what is meant by "set". It was created as a power which I believe only mods have, so it was clearly meant to be a "weapon in their arsenal". Like everything a mod does, it's not meant to be tossed about haphazardly, and used only when deemed absolutely necessary. If the community decides to strip an abusive user of his sysop privileges, that is a good way to make sure he doesn't get them back from a random user who doesn't like the outcome, or innocently by a party unaware of the reason they were revoked. It should not be used unilaterally unless it is absolutely necessary to bring an active HCM under control, and then it should be very temporary, which is basically the main mandate of the mods. Even in such cases, a regular promotion should be used first, and sysoprevoke only if a user rights wheel war is ongoing. I don't recall the instances mentioned about abuse by Nx and AD, so when I say it hasn't been abused, I could be mistaken. That being said, I'm not sure I understand how the power works. If I'm reading the log correctly, it was used on Nutty during his brief time-out a few weeks back after his Brx bans - put in place by Blue, a mod, but modified later by either PeterL or Tyannis, neither of whom are mods, and shouldn't be able to change that. Am I missing something?
As for techs, there is very little policy on them at all, but RationalWiki:Techs, in its whopping 3 sentences, says "Techs on RationalWiki are appointed by the moderators to do (as the title suggests) technical work." So this idea that moderators don't have the authority to appoint them is contradicted by that, anyway. Whether "by the moderators" means them as a whole or any individual mod is subject to interpretation I suppose, but to be honest I don't recall seeing mods work together on anything, except maybe a few minor things early on. DickTurpis (talk) 21:38, 10 July 2012 (UTC)

As currently written, ATIM requires a community vote for sysoprevoke, which implies it's not a usual "weapon in their arsenal." I, for one, am not in favor of that puts it as per the discretion of the moderator soley. sterilesporadic heavy hitter 21:53, 10 July 2012 (UTC)

Ah. That clause is curiously absent from Rationalwiki:Moderators; these things really should be standardized. That being said, I can see hypothetical cases in which a mod would be justified in using it for a very limited duration, for instance if a mod temporarily removes the rights of two warring users, but they are restored repeatedly by other parties. Again, that would be under the 3 hour threshold (or whatever length is decided), and the hypothetical situation is probably far fetched enough that we'd never actually see it used this way. But yes, ideally it would only be used after a community vote, and certainly only by vote if in place for any meaningful length of time. That being said, does it even work? Were PeterL and Tyrannis able to undo it, as it appears to me they were? DickTurpis (talk) 22:04, 10 July 2012 (UTC)
That's a good point. We should strike that from our amended guidelines here, then. I don't think it's necessary.
Incidentally, I am surprised to hear Nutty thinks I abused it. I can't recall any such instances, although doubtless that's because I wouldn't have done it if I thought it was abusive.--ADtalkModerator 23:17, 10 July 2012 (UTC)
I disagree. Sysoprevoke is too easily abused. What does removing sysop rights actually accomplish for warring editors? How does removing their rights prevent edit warring? I can't see how. It's also a fairly nuclear option. We give sysop rights to people who have been here for like two days. sterilesporadic heavy hitter 12:37, 11 July 2012 (UTC)
It should probably only be used for enforcement of community decision. Like when Nutty was promoted for a week. Mods shouldn't have discretion to use it at all.--ADtalkModerator 13:10, 11 July 2012 (UTC)
The only way to 100% prevent mods abusing it is to remove it from their rights, which seems overkill; it exists for a reason. If mods are mandated not to use it wen regular promotion will suffice, and even then never for more than, say, an hour, that seems enough to prevent abuse. It's not like losing one's adminship is a huge inconvenience, in general. Many of us could be stripped of our powers and it would likely take us weeks to notice (depending on how much we like using the block log to communicate with each other). Sure, it won't do anything about edit wars, but we're not Wikipedia, edit warring is the least of our problems. Our wars are more often personal - removing another's adminship and handing out long blocks. I think this is a very minor point, as the chances of sysoprevoke being necessary in a dispute are very low, and regular temporary promotion should suffice in 99% of cases, and even those should be rare. But should it be necessary, should a mod temporarily promote a disruptive user and see it repeatedly undone, I wouldn't want to see the mod punished because they technically broke the rules by using it. I think the standards should say something like "Sysoprevoke is a substantial power of the mods, and should only be used in extraordinary circumstances. Long term use will only be implemented following community decision. Any use by a moderator in settling an ongoing dispute must only take place when it has been established normal removal of sysop rights is not effective, and in such cases sysoprevoke should not be in place for more than an hour." That should prevent haphazard usage. DickTurpis (talk) 13:12, 11 July 2012 (UTC)
"Removal of sysop rights is not effective" is sort of absurd. Since essentially anyone can resysop and it happens to readily, removal of sysop rights is de facto ineffective. An hour time out doesn't seem to accomplish anything either given the tenacity of our editors. sterilesporadic heavy hitter 13:58, 11 July 2012 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────I think we're missing each other's point here. I'd rather not go into this too much because it seems a minor issue unlikely to ever be necessary, but I'll give a hypothetical example of what I'm talking about anyway:

  • UserX gets in a row with UserY and repeatedly promotes him to regular user and blocks him for a month.
  • ModA notices this and temporarily promotes UserX to stop the abuse while he tries to moderate the dispute and get people to stop being dicks.
  • UserQ and UserZ, friends with UserX, side with him and reinstate his sysopship every time it is removed by ModA. The promotion and blocking continues.
  • ModA, realizing this promotion isn't taking, uses sysoprevoke to remove UserX's sysopship for an hour, in a way that can't be undone by UsersQ and Z (or anyone who's not a mod)
  • ModA gets back to moderating. The dispute is settled or not, maybe goes to the Coop, whatever.
  • Within the hour UserX is again a sysop, and hopefully has cooled down at least, and doesn't go back to his promoting and blocking (if he does we're back to square 1, I guess. That's a separate issue).

That, I wouldn't see as abuse, and I think our standards should allow. DickTurpis (talk) 14:17, 11 July 2012 (UTC)

Sterile, nobody is proposing that mods be given the authority to use sysoprevoke willy-nilly whenever they want, just as nobody is proposing that mods be given any unlimited discretionary power (to the extent that such a thing is even possible on a wiki, where most anything can be undone by at least one other person). The proposal involves giving mods discretionary authority to use sysoprevoke provided that a controversy is developing and even then they are limited to a three-hour application of it. If mods have no discretionary authority in the short term to use their "extra set of tools" to try to nip destructive controversy in the bud, then what is the purpose of having them? Platitudes notwithstanding. Blue (is useful) 00:16, 12 July 2012 (UTC)
I don't think sysoprevoke is really necessary. To be frank, past and recent abuses of "tech fixes", which sysoprevoke was, are quite disturbing to me. Indeed, while Dick's scenario has actually happened, it's such a small and confined example, it's not clear that sysoprevoke was ever necessary before a community decision. And the wording makes it sound like "just one of the tools," not an extreme response. sterilesporadic heavy hitter 14:04, 12 July 2012 (UTC)

Some feedback & suggestions[edit]

  • Acting as individuals, moderators can act voluntarily in the following situations. Let's not tie ourselves down to just these situations. The tighter these rules/guidelines are, the more we paint ourselves into a corner & create scope for wikilawyering. These are examples of situations where moderator intervention might be required, but the mods should have discretion to act similarly in any situation where they feel it appropriate. Also, add Headless Chicken Mode to the list. We don't need to get into defining what trolling is; disruptive behaviour or conflicts may call for mod intervention, regardless of whether we specifically identify somebody as a "troll" (which often exacerbate the situation).
  • any provisions should not exceed about three hours in length. But prefereably less in most cases. A five-minute cool-down block, or locking a page just long enough to force warring editors to open up a dialogue is often all that's needed.
  • and must take place during the development of the situation, not afterward. Yes, mod actions are to stop a situation escalating, not to dole out punishment. This should be emphasised in the guidelines.
  • Moderators may use the following tools in individual action. Add RevisionDelete. There may be other things I can't think of now.
  • Moderators have the power to appoint techs. The power! Mods have the ability to add users to the tech group, as with all user rights changes. Do they have the authority to appoint them? I think it should be a community issue, since tech abilities/access have been (mis)used unilaterally on several occasions, both under the current system and previously, which causes a certain amount of needless drama. Any sitewide changes techs make (not just the edit filter) should be things that have had some degree of prior discussion & community imput, unless they're fixes to a purely technical problem or responses an emergency situation like a severe vandal/DOS attack. Also, I think it would be useful to have more information about what abilities techs actually have. As for how they're selected, I think requests/nominations for tech right should be posted somewhere where users can have a chance to comment before they're approved. Somewhat like the early system for bureaucrat selection.
  • No user should ever be mod-blocked with the "cannot edit own talk page" option checked, unless they are posting spam. Or unvolunteered personal information. Or extremes of racial abuse, obscenity, libel, harrassment, etc. In fact, lose the "not ever" angle. Yes, ideally users should still be able to edit talk while under mod-block, but there should be some room for mods to use discretion on this (bearing in mind it's a temporary block anyway). Our blocking policy badly needs updating anyway, but that can be sorted out seperately.
  • Moderators who have clearly violated policy may be taken to the coop and recalled from the position. Good.
  • Techs who have abused their powers or their mandate may be summarily promoted by a moderator. They can then appeal this decision to the full body of moderators, or the community if they allege abuse by the promoting moderator. As with how they're appointed, I think how techs are recalled should be a community decision, not a mod decision.
  • the moderators may be directed to decide a dispute as a cohesive body rather than as individuals. I'm not keen on this. The LJ never did anything that couldn't have been settled by the wider community. There's also the question of who has the right to declare a state of emergency in which the mods settle a dispute. I think this could worsen tensions rather than relieve them.

WēāŝēīōīďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 19:06, 10 July 2012 (UTC)

Add that there should be something in the guidelines covering the mod role at the Chicken Coop & in "bootstrapping" policy discussions - essentially to open discussions, keep them focused, relevant & constructive, & enact community decisions. ŴêâŝêîôîďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 23:30, 10 July 2012 (UTC)
  • These are examples of situations where moderator intervention might be required, but the mods should have discretion to act similarly in any situation where they feel it appropriate. I agree. Perhaps we can list "suggested" situations where moderators should act, but leave it open to more as you described?
  • But prefereably less in most cases. Yes, that would be good to add.
  • Do they have the authority to appoint them? I think it should be a community issue... This may be appropriate, but we really need a hard-and-fast rule that the community must be consulted.
  • Any sitewide changes techs make (not just the edit filter) should be things that have had some degree of prior discussion & community imput, unless they're fixes to a purely technical problem or responses an emergency situation like a severe vandal/DOS attack. I agree. Good thing to add.
  • I think it would be useful to have more information about what abilities techs actually have. See Special:UserGroupRights
  • somewhat like the early system for bureaucrat selection. Eh? That wasn't the "early" system, hence the drama over unilateral demotions last year.
  • there should be some room for mods to use discretion on this (bearing in mind it's a temporary block anyway) You're probably right.
  • There's also the question of who has the right to declare a state of emergency in which the mods settle a dispute. That was the problem with the LJ, I suppose. We could have avoided the May/June disaster if they were still around, I think. This is the problem with my suggestion, but I still think that having the mods as a final stopgap in the event HCM Level Zero is a good thing.
  • Add that there should be something in the guidelines covering the mod role at the Chicken Coop & in "bootstrapping" policy discussions - essentially to open discussions, keep them focused, relevant & constructive, & enact community decisions Also very good to add. Blue (pester) 01:54, 11 July 2012 (UTC)

Synthesis of this forum[edit]

We have before us several issues for which most commentators have expressed a desire to set a policy. They are, namely: restrictions on moderator powers and clarifications on moderator guidelines; use of sysoprevoke; use of the edit filter; responsibilities of moderators; the manner of election and rescinding of techs; and electoral reform for the moderator elections, including the voting method and the franchise. Blue (is useful) 04:35, 12 July 2012 (UTC)

Thank you for doing this work and parsing out the discussion.--ADtalkModerator 04:40, 12 July 2012 (UTC)
And what about the original issue, that of socks? Peter This is not my first temporal anomaly 04:45, 12 July 2012 (UTC) Nvm, I see. But we do seem to have lost focus a little. Peter This is not my first temporal anomaly 04:46, 12 July 2012 (UTC)

Moderator authority[edit]

AD suggested the following summary of what exactly mods should do:

A moderator's job is to spot a variety of problems and act to prevent them or end them. Because ordinary sysops can handle almost all instances of vandalism or general asshattery on the wiki, a moderator should only feel it necessary to intercede when it appears that serious wheel wars over user rights, edit wars, extraordinarily abusive posting (such as spamming), repeated abuse of blocking privileges, or repeated abuse of RevisionDelete are threatened or occurring. Moderators are not special users or better users, they are just a small set of users entrusted with a few extra tools. Those tools should always and only be used to stop nasty conflagrations, making way for the community to make the actual decisions. Moderators should never try to simply enforce their will. RationalWiki cannot be tamed.

The following stipulation was also present in my proposal:

All individual action must be temporary and must take place during the development of the situation, not afterward.

With some helpful revisions suggested by Weaseloid, there were no objections expressed to these proposals (except one ambiguous and unelaborated reaction). Blue (is useful) 04:35, 12 July 2012 (UTC)


Several users, myself included, argued that sysoprevoke should be available as a discretionary power to moderators to use in the short run (three hours under my stipulation above) to stop wheel wars. In the long run, sysoprevoke should only be used after a community vote.

Other users suggested that sysoprevoke be rescinded as a tool entirely. It was unclear whether the community would still be able to command its use under this proposal. Blue (pester) 04:35, 12 July 2012 (UTC)

I would be very happy to be rid of it.--ADtalkModerator 04:39, 12 July 2012 (UTC)
I don't think it should be used in the short term. People can always be persuaded if nothing else to stop blocking and start arguing instead. Peter This is not my first temporal anomaly 04:45, 12 July 2012 (UTC)
As I've stated elsewhere, I think this should only be used in the short term if it's been proven that a regular block isn't doing the trick. I'd like to think this wouldn't happen, but you never know. Other than that, yes, by community decision only. DickTurpis (talk) 12:01, 12 July 2012 (UTC)
Not sure what purpose is served by this power in the short term. Someone is abusing their powers and refuses to stop, you promote them temporarily. If someone else decides to overrule you and demotes them again, then it's possible that this will be the end of it - satisfied with a petty "victory," many users will stop their previous behavior, and others can decide if it's worth the trouble of a cooping. If the abuse continues, promote again, and it might be necessary to promote the enabler, as well. But of course this is a last resort - things should not go so far, and usually calm and pleasant intercession suffices.--ADtalkModerator 12:38, 12 July 2012 (UTC)
Promoting the enabler is something I considered, and would probably work. However, it does have the disadvantage of expanding the scope of the situation, which it seems a moderator should try not to do. Also, if you have several editors already involved all demoting each other (for some reason I'm drawn to worst case scenarios) it could be a real hassle. Yeah, it probably won't happen, so I guess there's no use in making a fuss. DickTurpis (talk) 12:46, 12 July 2012 (UTC)
See above. It seems like a big hammer with no clear restrictions in the guidelines. This is a change from ATIM, which states it is to be used with community consent only, which is the minimum restriction that I would support. sterilesporadic heavy hitter 14:06, 12 July 2012 (UTC)
The whole point of this discussion is to decide upon restrictions. If you think anyone is arguing for allowing unrestricted use of sysoprevoe you haven't been reading the comments. DickTurpis (talk) 14:22, 12 July 2012 (UTC)
How does discretionary by a mod different from lack of restriction? I suppose "one hour" is a restriction, but what's to prevent a mod to keep doing it hour after hour, or if they forget to turn it off. I suppose there's some check on Mod power mostly by social control, but some of us don't see it that way. sterilesporadic heavy hitter 16:49, 12 July 2012 (UTC)
No one's saying it can be used at any mod's discretion. I'm just saying there may be rare instances in which simple promotion won't suffice. I don't know what wiki you're living on in which mods are some evil villains who will use every technicality to do whatever they can to disrupt and oppress editors here ("What's that? I can only block someone for an hour? Then I'll block them every hour on the hour FOREVER!!! And no one can stop me! BWAAH-HA-HA-HA-HA.") Hell, if you're that worried then what's to stop a mod from making every other mod, tech, admin, and everyone on the site a simple editor with no additional rights? Obviously no one's going to let a rogue mod get away with abusing sysoprevoke. Mods aren't supposed to use any of their powers unless absolutely necessary, and sysoprevoke is certainly not something they are going to have a green light to use whenever they want. The only time it could be viewed as a necessity is if a justified block is repeatedly undone by other admins. I really don't think this is going to be a problem, so I'm not going to make big deal about it. But if it does happen I, at least, will defend the mod in question. DickTurpis (talk) 18:57, 12 July 2012 (UTC)

The purpose of sysoprevoke was to deal with situations where people in this community would bring it upon themselves to randomly sysop people who the rest of the community decided should not have it. This used to be a frequent problem, but hasn't been as late. Tmtoulouse (talk) 16:55, 12 July 2012 (UTC)

Edit filters[edit]

All seem to agree that the edit filter should be used to prevent vandalism and spam. However, opinions differed on whether or not it could be used for other purposes, at the behest of the community or not. Blue (pester) 04:35, 12 July 2012 (UTC)

Another thing that seems unnecessary beyond its agreed-upon purpose, and I would be happy to see it explicitly stated that it should only be used to prevent vandalism and spam.--ADtalkModerator 04:41, 12 July 2012 (UTC)
It is a very dangerous and powerful tool. It can be used to rangeblock, disable all TOR editing, disable all editing in a particular namespace (CP would be the most likely candidate for that particular abuse) etc. etc.
My envisioned use would be to enforce "sensitive" blocks. For instance, if a user was repeatedly edit warring over, say, Arab Spring, the community (or a panel of mods or what have you) might decide that we want to keep them around, but to ban them from editing Arab Spring and related articles. Or if a user was repeatedly harassing another user's talk page, they could be banned from editing just that talk page. Or if a userpage kept being vandalized, rather than create drama at the Chicken Coop, a mod might use the filter to ban editing of the just the userpage except its owner, as Nx did for Maratrean. Blue (pester) 04:54, 12 July 2012 (UTC)
One thing I'd like is for techs to not make filters private unless absolutley nessasary - spammers even are unlikely to look, we should only be worrying about vandals for that really. Peter This is not my first temporal anomaly 04:57, 12 July 2012 (UTC)
Very much against what Blue has just suggested. That's what a short bock is for as per the mods ability. The edit filter is not needed. AceThe Rep Grows Bigger 04:59, 12 July 2012 (UTC)
I think that goes without saying. Peter This is not my first temporal anomaly 05:02, 12 July 2012 (UTC)
The edit filter is not needed for these purposes. AceThe Rep Grows Bigger 05:03, 12 July 2012 (UTC)
Note that I'm not precluding the idea that the community could be the sole meters of "sensitive" blocks, even if we remove the authority from mods. Blue (is useful) 05:07, 12 July 2012 (UTC)
I understand that its a seductive idea, but no. Peter This is not my first temporal anomaly 05:09, 12 July 2012 (UTC)
The edit filter is not needed for these purposes AceThe Rep Grows Bigger 05:09, 12 July 2012 (UTC)
I don't want to see the edit filter used like that. These kinds of problems can be handled with warnings & community action (e.g. a few days block) against users if they continue not to heed warnings. All in the open. WėąṣėḷőįďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 06:31, 12 July 2012 (UTC)
I get that the filter is powerful and therefore dangerous, but it'can be "used "in the open," by community sanction, and to efficient ends. Quite honestly to rule it out completely is cutting the community off from a very useful tool. Blue (pester) 06:43, 12 July 2012 (UTC)
If an editor has misbehaved enough to warrant a ban on editing a specific page, they have misbehaved enough to warrant a general block. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 06:45, 12 July 2012 (UTC)
What LX said. AceThe Rep Grows Bigger 20:37, 12 July 2012 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────If the community wants to use that tool, then they can use it. Mods shouldn't.--ADtalkModerator 06:50, 12 July 2012 (UTC)

3 times now Blue: The edit filter is not needed for these purposes. There are several other tools we already have without having to layer yet another tool or function on top of it. AceThe Rep Grows Bigger 07:07, 12 July 2012 (UTC)
I agree. Besides the problem that the edit filter is, by its very nature, not subject to the same kind of community oversight as blocks, if we start using it to proscribe behavior that does not warrant a general block, we will be wading into troubled waters.
For example, two years ago, I had the rather unenviable task of defending our page on Asatru against the antics of a pair of editors who more or less openly stated that they were editing the page primarily in order to attack me. Bystanders responded by suggesting that I be banned from editing the page. Had the edit filters been available at that time, I probably would have been. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 07:13, 12 July 2012 (UTC)
If an editor has misbehaved enough to warrant a ban on editing a specific page, they have misbehaved enough to warrant a general block. That's nice in theory, but in practice, what happens if the misbehaving editor is the popular cool guy? Especially if they're, for example, vandalizing the user page of a less popular editor. -- Nx / talk 09:09, 12 July 2012 (UTC)
The edit filter is completely superfluous. AceThe Rep Grows Bigger 09:14, 12 July 2012 (UTC)
Yes, you've already asserted that a couple times. Now, if you've got nothing more to say, go do something more productive and stop spamming this discussion. -- Nx / talk 09:15, 12 July 2012 (UTC)
That's nice in theory, but in practice, what happens if the misbehaving editor is the popular cool guy? Yes what does the edit filter achieve in this instance? AceThe Rep Grows Bigger 09:18, 12 July 2012 (UTC)
His misbehavior can be prevented without blocking. -- Nx / talk 09:20, 12 July 2012 (UTC)
By why do that when the page can be mod locked instead? Isn't that what they are for? AceThe Rep Grows Bigger 09:24, 12 July 2012 (UTC)
Then the user whose page it is can't edit it. -- Nx / talk 09:25, 12 July 2012 (UTC)
(EC×~10)That would probably work no worse than this proposed system, probably a lot better. If a moderator is going to act, why should that act be the physical prevention of the 'offence' in this manner, rather than, I don't know, moderating? Peter This is not my first temporal anomaly 09:26, 12 July 2012 (UTC)
Then the user whose page it is can't edit it Then block the offending user for 5 minutes with the cavet that the next block will be for 30 mins - you know, moderating. AceThe Rep Grows Bigger 09:30, 12 July 2012 (UTC)
So, now blocking users is moderating? When I did it, people were complaining that that isn't moderating. -- Nx / talk 09:34, 12 July 2012 (UTC)
Because you blocked people in an assbackwards as fuck manner. The edit filter is completely superfluous. AceThe Rep Grows Bigger 09:38, 12 July 2012 (UTC)
Blocking is not going to work, because the popular user will be unblocked by his friends and then will cry abuse, and then it'll be taken to the chicken coop, where eventually people will vote against blocking because a) the community doesn't like to give out punishments, prefering to give people 'one more chance', b) the user is popular.
Aside from that, using the edit filter to block a user from editing only one page is less drastic than blocking them completely. Would you prefer to be blocked or just prevented from editing one page? -- Nx / talk 09:43, 12 July 2012 (UTC)
The edit filter is completely superfluous. AceThe Rep Grows Bigger 09:47, 12 July 2012 (UTC)
Why? -- Nx / talk 10:00, 12 July 2012 (UTC)
There are several other tools we already have without having to layer yet another tool or function on top of it. AceThe Rep Grows Bigger 10:13, 12 July 2012 (UTC)
Not on top of it, whatever 'it' is. The edit filter is an alternative. -- Nx / talk 10:20, 12 July 2012 (UTC)
While I think you have a valid point, I honestly don't think the edit filter is a necessary tool for mods to have. There are probably some circumstances where it might be useful, but I don't think the hassle or risk of abuse is worth it. There are some possible benefits, but they don't outweigh the negatives.--ADtalkModerator 11:02, 12 July 2012 (UTC)
I'm on the fence on this one, probably because I'm not sure I was aware edit filters even existed until a couple days ago, and I'm not entirely sure how they work. Nx has a point, though, preventing a user from editing a single page they are consistently vandalizing is considerably less heavy handed than blocking the user entirely. DickTurpis (talk) 12:04, 12 July 2012 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────While the tool allows for very subtle interventions, that is precisely what makes it so powerful and so suspiciously circumspect. Mods have the same interest in protecting our home as everyone else, and so they get the same loud and broad shotgun as everyone. We keep the silenced precision sniper rifle in a cabinet, and only get it out if we all agree.--ADtalkModerator 12:34, 12 July 2012 (UTC)

Wow. Talk about power grab. The edit filter should be for vandalism only. sterilesporadic heavy hitter 14:08, 12 July 2012 (UTC)
Alright, let's stop beating around the fucking bush here. Scenario: Ace McWicked repeatedly puts and cartoon of two naked men fondling each other on RobS's userpage. What happens? We can do nothing, we can block Ace, we can protect Rob's page so even he can't edit it, or we can make it so only Ace can't edit that one page. I like the last option. It seems to me this would fall under vandalism and therefore be allowed. Or are we talking about getting rid of editfilter altogether? DickTurpis (talk) 14:31, 12 July 2012 (UTC)
In that scenario, a vote goes up on the coop. It might be to block Ace or to promote him and then protect the page, or it might be for an editfilter. The latter seems silly to me, but clearly we're not getting rid of the extension altogether (since it is, to my knowledge, very effective at keeping us free from those name-vandals for example). Whoever edits the filter in such an instance should only be allowed to do so because of the vote.--ADtalkModerator 14:36, 12 July 2012 (UTC)
But the Coop takes forever. The point of mods' immediate powers is to be able to stop these sorts of things as they are ongoing. If mod sees this currently happening (in this scenario Ace is especially tenacious (sorry Ace, I'm making you a bigger asshole than usual here, perhaps I should go back to "an editor")) what does he do as a quick fix while moderation occurs? Protecting the page might be a good option, as Rob can probably stand not to edit his user page for an hour or so, but what if it's a talk page which has other discussions going on? He can block Ace, sure, but if a mod's purview is to use the lightest touch necessary, then making a single editor not able to edit a single page for a short length of time fits the bill better than locking an entire page or blocking a user, doesn't it? DickTurpis (talk) 14:52, 12 July 2012 (UTC)
Delete the image. I guess I assume good faith in most people and that given enough time it will work out, whether formally or informally. If you want to explore every scenario, then just install CheckUser and be done with it. sterilesporadic heavy hitter 16:29, 12 July 2012 (UTC)
Then there'll be outrage because you deleted an image without discussion. -- Nx / talk 16:59, 12 July 2012 (UTC)
23 of the last 500 entries in the deletion log are files, of which there has been no protest. Inquiring minds want to know: did your socks change the course of the election? sterilesporadic heavy hitter 18:48, 12 July 2012 (UTC)
Were any of those used to vandalize someone's userpage? -- Nx / talk 19:07, 12 July 2012 (UTC)
It hardly matters; you can vandalize a page without using images. ASCII art, blanking, offensive comments, etc. The point is "delete the image" isn't going to work in every situation. If a user, any user, is repeatedly vandalizing a page, isn't limiting their ability to do so to that page a better solution than a block, which prevents them from editing any page? It sure seems less heavy handed to me. DickTurpis (talk) 19:13, 12 July 2012 (UTC)
It is an infinitely better solution, and it could even be called the perfect embodiment of the "lightest touch" that mods are infamous for not following. Blue (is useful) 19:25, 12 July 2012 (UTC)
And to clarify, like all similar mod actions, it would be temporary. No more than a few hours or whatever, preferably less. DickTurpis (talk) 19:36, 12 July 2012 (UTC)
Is the edit filter something that non-techy mods can easily learn to use? We shouldn't have abilities that are only available to the minority of mods who are also techs, or that require a mod commandeering the services of a tech. ΨΣΔξΣΓΩΙÐWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 19:41, 12 July 2012 (UTC)
Good point. It's very simple and I could easily write up a guide on how to write elementary filters. I'd suggest that if mods want to learn to use it they can easily make themselves techs (and/or they can follow the community input/mod approval proposed procedure(s) below). Blue (pester) 19:45, 12 July 2012 (UTC)
Let me point out again the edit filter is not necessary for this purpose and secondly my concern that it is being promoted by the very two people who have abused tech rights in the past. AceThe Rep Grows Bigger 20:36, 12 July 2012 (UTC)
Yeah, so glad that mods are now an elitist group with special training for powerz. Open it to everyone to the least. You'd be suprised how many people know how to use regex. sterilesporadic heavy hitter 21:04, 12 July 2012 (UTC)
And the lightest touch has always been the slow revert. sterilesporadic heavy hitter 21:07, 12 July 2012 (UTC)
Obviously, a slow revert wouldn't work in this case. The hypothetical was Ace persecuting someone with an image, and as we saw, slow reverts were not effective (nothing was, really, as long as Ace wanted to amuse himself). It has to be admitted that the edit filter would probably be the more effective and subtle tool, because it could selectively prevent a few very specific kinds of behavior.
But it is just too much power, flat-out. It can do too many things, and do them too quietly. Neither mods nor techs should have that level of power as their personal prerogative. There is a trade-off here, of course. But I think it's the sensible choice to make.--ADtalkModerator 23:32, 12 July 2012 (UTC)
Or users could, you kn w, just ignore stuff that bothers them and focus on the parts of the wiki they enjoy editing, and thus decrease the overall drama level and the need for more rules and weapons. Theory of Practice Peer-reviewed articles for everybody! 23:35, 12 July 2012 (UTC)
"Why won't people chill out" is probably about as effective as "why won't people get along." There will continue to be conflict.--ADtalkModerator 00:33, 13 July 2012 (UTC)
Admittedly I'm coming at this from the angle of someone who doesn't know exactly what the edit filter is, so that might be part of the problem. As I said, being able to block a user form one page seems preferable from blocking him from the entire site. Obviously there's a lot more to it than that, and maybe a full synopsis of what it is and how it works is in order. The concept of it doing things quietly, which I asume means without a log in recent changes, is certainly worrisome. Is there a way to institute an "edit filter lite" or something, which could do some of the more minor things, but not be too far-reaching? Now, AD, you seem to argue that the edit filter is too powerful a weapon for any mere mortal, but I believe you also said it was necessary to prevent some of our user name vandals. Who are those two points reconciled? Also, are some people arguing that mods shouldn't have the ability but Techs should? Are we talking about the same group of Techs who, at this juncture, there is no policy for appointing, and therefore could be anybody, really? DickTurpis (talk) 23:46, 12 July 2012 (UTC)
I think that mods or techs should have the tool, but that their use should be strictly limited to its agreed-on purpose, or specifically directed by a vote. Merely possessing the ability to edit the editfilter will not be dangerous, I don't think, if it is understood with ironclad strength that only the community can direct its use. And since I think we will and should continue to use it to stop the Springlyn vandals and the like, someone will have to possess the power to edit it. The parameters for that should just be strictly defined, and it should be understood that any violation is a flagrant abuse of power. --ADtalkModerator 00:33, 13 July 2012 (UTC)

I think we should just let NX do whatever the hell he wants to with the edit filter behind the community's back. It's what's bound to happen anyway. Theory of Practice Peer-reviewed articles for everybody! 21:21, 12 July 2012 (UTC)

Nx and Blue. They should be in charge and we can be the peons. AceThe Rep Grows Bigger 21:26, 12 July 2012 (UTC)
Yeah, why not two moderators and use socks to rig the election. That's it. sterilesporadic heavy hitter 21:32, 12 July 2012 (UTC)
Guys, is it really so hard to believe that I am not trying to grab needless power so I can rule the wiki with an iron fist? That I might have, you know, something other than self-interest in mind when I make these suggestions? I'd thought we could make it past accusations of authoritarianism at every turn. Blue (is useful) 23:42, 12 July 2012 (UTC)

Edit filters edit break[edit]

WTF? Edit filters? I'm gone for like a year, and you all suggest taking the biggest dump of all time on RW and its heritage and tradition? FUCK THAT NOISE. --Eira OMTG! The Goat be Praised. 22:02, 24 July 2012 (UTC)

It's been there since 2010. Тypassive-aggressive sigs are the best sigs 21:58, 24 July 2012 (UTC)
Yes, Ty. But back the fuck and realise that Puellanivis is referring to it's use in moderation. AceThe Rep Grows Bigger 22:00, 24 July 2012 (UTC)
Yes, Ace. But my scheme is even more sinister. After I use the filter to moderate my way to dictatorship, I'll use it to implement Night Mode. The plan revealed! Blue (pester) 22:19, 24 July 2012 (UTC)
Thanks for that Blue - with you introduction here with that comment in response to my explanation as to what Eira was referring you have lost all authority to ever complain I am pushing grudges. Why, you can't help yourself it would seem in returning to arguments of the past. Well done, Blue. AceThe Rep Grows Bigger 22:22, 24 July 2012 (UTC)
Uh, this debate is less than two weeks old. Your grudge is over events that transpired well over a year ago. That makes you wronger than wrong. Blue (pester) 22:31, 24 July 2012 (UTC)
Like I said, well done. And why do I have to repeat - I hold no grudges against you, I wasn't even around during that event. Thinking you're bitch and unctuous cunt does not require on to hold a grudge. AceThe Rep Grows Bigger 22:37, 24 July 2012 (UTC)
Let's review the situation. Eira made a comment decrying the suggestion - my suggestion - of using edit filters as something like the end of RW. I responded snarkily. It didn't matter what silly thing you'd said in the interim, because I was replying to the substance of Eira's comment. I was not injecting commentary into a topic that had nothing to do with me or my actions, nor was I doing so while attacking you. For you to accuse me of "pushing grudges" against you is not only ludicrous, but plainly dishonest. Blue (is useful) 22:44, 24 July 2012 (UTC)
It didn't matter what silly thing you'd said in the interim, because I was replying to the substance of Eira's comment. Hmmmmmmmm, I could have sworn your comment started - Yes, Ace... AceThe Rep Grows Bigger 22:53, 24 July 2012 (UTC)
Hey, crazy bitch. I don't care whose idea it is, it's a horrible one that will only bring down RW. Doesn't matter who says a bad idea, it's still a bad idea. (antithesis of ad hominem here?) I don't think it's part of anyone's plan to become dictator of the wiki, or anything like that, but rather that it just attacks the core traditions and heritage of this site. --Eira OMTG! The Goat be Praised. 22:54, 24 July 2012 (UTC)
RW's heritage is embracing spammers and abusive usernames? That explains a lot. Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 23:28, 24 July 2012 (UTC)
Shall we demand that you change your username then? I mean "Stabby the Misanthrope"? ... that's obviously abusive... --Eira OMTG! The Goat be Praised. 05:54, 31 July 2012 (UTC)

Moderator responsibilities[edit]

My proposal to codify these responsibilities for moderators were generally well-received:

  • Moderators have a duty to enforce the will of the community. They cannot go against community decisions by unblocking properly banned users, etc.
  • Moderators have an obligation to alert their peers if a situation that needs moderating arises.
  • Post hoc, moderators have an obligation to answer questions from the community about their actions or lack thereof, on a designated page.

The following proposals concerning the maintenance of the institution caused no objections:

  • Moderators may resign at any time. A by-election will only be called if the number of mods falls below 5.
  • Any moderator account which remains inactive for two months will be summarily promoted, provided that the user is warned beforehand. [...]
  • Moderators who have clearly violated policy may be taken to the coop and recalled from the position. Forced removal of moderator rights can only be done by a community vote, and follows the established procedure for rights removal voting.

  Blue (is useful) 04:35, 12 July 2012 (UTC)

You lost me at "banned users". Utterly. ħumanUser talk:Human 02:50, 13 July 2012 (UTC)


There seemed to be the most disagreement about the tech position. The following options were presented and argued for regarding the election of techs:

  1. The ability to add the tech group should be rescinded from the moderators and allowed only to Trent
  2. Moderators should only appoint techs after community approval
  3. "Moderators have the power to appoint techs. This should only be done following the concurrence of at least three moderators, and applicants to the tech position are encouraged to detail exactly how they will make use of its powers." (My proposal)

And regarding the removal of tech rights:

  1. "Techs who have abused their powers or their mandate may be summarily promoted by a moderator. They can then appeal this decision to the full body of moderators, or the community if they allege abuse by the promoting moderator." (My proposal)
  2. "[H]ow techs are recalled should be a community decision, not a mod decision." (Weaseloid)

All seemed to agree that techs should not make sitewide changes without community input (except presumably in anti-vandalism/spam stuff). Blue (is useful) 04:35, 12 July 2012 (UTC)

Agree with weasel here - not really a mod issue. Techs can make more techs, btw. Peter This is not my first temporal anomaly 04:45, 12 July 2012 (UTC)
While this isn't entirely a mod issue, it is related, as regardless of how it's decided, it seems it will have to be the mods who actually create a Tech (or I guess another Tech can). This certainly needs to be decided, as it appears Techs have quite a number of powers that are open to abuse, and we have no system for appointing them. This is an HCM waiting to happen (OK, I've been crying wolf about them since they were created, and nothing much has happened yet, but just you wait). I think the "Trent only" option is a non-starter. Trent has been wanting to step away from his position of running Bartertown for a while. The "3 Mod" option isn't bad, as it prevents a mod from acting unilaterally, but still can be done without a huge hassle. I like the idea of community input, but I'm not sure how it would work. Do we want a weeklong vote for each one, or do we want to streamline the process. If we do have a vote, do we need to basically open up the mod election process each time, or do we have an open vote as we do in the Coop? A lot of people seem strongly opposed to anything but secret ballot for mods; would it be different for Techs? Should we have a forum in which the community can present support or opposition, but isn't entirely a vote, and the mods get to decide based on this input? There seem to be quite a few options here, but the mod creating one on a whim (which seems to be the current de facto method, if not the de jure one) should go. Also, should Techs have the ability and/or right to create other Techs? DickTurpis (talk) 12:14, 12 July 2012 (UTC)
Why should moderators, who are for preventing and working on order, have anything to do with techs, who deal with site functioning? The only overlap is for vandalism. Trent ultimate is in charge of site functioning from a technical perspective. I'm also not sure that all of are mods are capable of assessing if some is capable of being a Tech, while Trent is. We also aren't exactly expanding our Tech pool in droves anyway; I think Trent can handle it. Given previous confusion of at least one of our moderators on the different roles, I think some separation is in order. sterilesporadic heavy hitter 14:14, 12 July 2012 (UTC)
Someone has to have the actually physical ability to make someone a Tech. We could limit that to Trent only, but I don't know if Trent even wants this. Hell, Trent could get hit by a truck tomorrow. It seems then that mods will likely have to at least have this ability, the question being when they can use it. At their own discretion seems to be how its working now, and no one likes that, least of all me. It is true that the Tech job is one in which actual computer skills are needed, so a general popularity contest (i.e. election) might not be the best method either. I'd say if someone wants to be a Tech they write a brief proposal on why they should be and what skills they have. The community then has input, coming out as either for or against, or just making general comments and asking questions. Somehow out of that jumble we reach a conclusion, a process the mods (for lack of anyone else, and assuming we aren't handing Trent sole authority on this) may have a hand in. In the end, the box is clicked by a mod, because someone has to do that. Or we could leave it 100% up to Trent. DickTurpis (talk) 14:43, 12 July 2012 (UTC)
Requiring community input is a terrific idea, but the community really shouldn't have to have a drawn-out vote on appointing techs. How about this as a synthesis: someone writes a proposal for why they should be a tech, the community comments, and based on that commentary, if three mods agree, they can make the decision. Blue (is useful) 19:29, 12 July 2012 (UTC)
Dick, it's "Trent gets hit by a bus", get with the program, that's the line I've used for years. Well, not here, but with him. Blue, isn't three mods an "undermajority"? And what do you mean by "vote"? As far as I have seen, the Tech position has been abused more than used. I say kill it. Let the Board, who own this place, appoint people who can edit the software that runs it. ħumanUser talk:Human 02:54, 13 July 2012 (UTC)
Techs can't edit the software, as they have no server access. Blue (is useful) 02:56, 13 July 2012 (UTC)
Sorry I fucked up which vehicle eventually kills Trent; I wasn't aware there was an official meme, but of there's a pool, I'm calling drone strike. But sure, if we go with Blue's proposal, 4 mods makes more sense than 3, in a way. Though there have seen some somewhat absentee mods in the past, and the idea of there being 7 active mods might not reflect reality too well. Considering the number of mods we have is still being debated, setting a number here might be premature. DickTurpis (talk) 03:05, 13 July 2012 (UTC)
How many of our mods really have the ability, for example, to assess if someone has the ability to use the edit filter? Why would we presume that they would? sterilesporadic heavy hitter 12:56, 13 July 2012 (UTC)

Moderator elections[edit]

The Ace McWicked Plan[edit]

Several commentators expressed support for an election method under which each voter would get seven votes and would deliver all or none of them to one or more candidates. As to what would occur in the event of a tie for 7th place or alternate, a few solutions were proposed:

  1. Letting all tied users become mods, regardless of how many mods created
  2. Letting both tied users become mods in the event of a two-way tie, but have a run-off vote in the event of a three- or more-way tie
  3. Randomly select a winner

Voxhumana ran several simulations and argued that the chance of ties would greatly decrease if each voter received seven differently-weighted votes.

In any event, to preserve the secret ballot, Trent would need to be asked to write a new voting extension. Blue (pester) 04:35, 12 July 2012 (UTC)

Don't reinvent the wheel as far as voting goes, there are many people with far more understanding of the system that have proposed multiple voting methods. Don't like STV, propose a better alternative that has actually been parsed. There are so many things that can go wrong with a voting system. Tmtoulouse (talk) 04:47, 12 July 2012 (UTC)
I think I understand STV as well as most others, and I think that in an optimal scenario we would stick with it. Others seem continually baffled by it and object to the seemingly fickle nature of delivering different results depending on the number of seats used (7 vs 9 in this case). Blue (is useful) 04:59, 12 July 2012 (UTC)
I would suggest a complete and comprehensive explanation of how the STV werks, perhaps on the polling page itself in a collapse, so as not to be obtrusive for those well aware of how it works, but there, nonetheless, for the terminally clueless, such as myself, who're likely to have forgotten how the damn thing goes since they haven't used it for six months.--05:16, 12 July 2012 (UTC) C®ackeЯ
While I understand STV, I'm still not a huge fan of it being used in this situation. It is confusing. Even most of us who understand it still need a computer program to give us the results. In the last two elections we haven't had the rundown of how the votes are eventually allocated, as we're supposed to. (We did initially for this election, but not for the amended results with 7 seats instead of 9.) The threshold for election is small, meaning even one or two socks can swing an election. I think the other way is worth a try. DickTurpis (talk) 12:57, 12 July 2012 (UTC)
I think what has to be emphasized with STV is that it's likely that only your first or second vote that will count, and that the effectiveness of your vote decreases almost exponentially as you go down the list. (I was naive to this until recently.) In many ways, it feels like the most fair system, although I don't know what the alternatives are. sterilesporadic heavy hitter 16:40, 12 July 2012 (UTC)

Is there now a formal Candidate Questions Forum where the electorate is invited to pose questions to mod candidates, such as disclosure of the names and number of sockpuppets a candidate has? The candidate then goes on record as responding, lying, or ignoring the voters concerns. nobsCorporations are people, too

There is neither such a forum nor a requirement that candidates or mods answer any questions. Blue (pester) 03:14, 13 July 2012 (UTC)
So lets make one! Start a new thread! We must have one but lets vote on it first. How many questions to people get though? We need some rules first, but we need to vote on those too...and so forth... AceThe Rep Grows Bigger 03:18, 13 July 2012 (UTC)
I was just answering Rob's question, Ace. Remember what I told you about injecting your grudge into unrelated discussion? Blue (pester) 03:19, 13 July 2012 (UTC)
I hold no grudges, Blue. What makes you think my fairly accurate description of RW's current incarnation has anything to do with you? AceThe Rep Grows Bigger 03:22, 13 July 2012 (UTC)
If anyone wants to ask questions of the candidates they are of course free to. The campaigning page might be the best spot to do that for now. DickTurpis (talk) 03:24, 13 July 2012 (UTC)
There should be a Rationalwiki:Moderator elections/Candidate questions forum established as part of the process. Participation could be voluntary for a candidate, and let voters decide on a candidates willingness to participate in an established process. Likewise the truthfulness and candor of a candidate can be vetted by voters. nobsCorporations are people, too 03:25, 13 July 2012 (UTC)
That is dumb. People can already ask all kinds of questions as they please, and it's all on record because this is a wiki. We don't need formal protocols for their own sake.--ADtalkModerator 11:20, 15 July 2012 (UTC)
UNLESS we want them! C®ackeЯ
Right. A candidate could avoid questions from the public unless there is a way to allow for public input and voluntary participation from candidates. The Candidate statement page could have a Q & A section where the public is invited to ask questions of individual candidates. nobsCorporations are people, too 18:17, 15 July 2012 (UTC)
If someone wants to do that, they already can! We don't need a rule!--ADtalkModerator 21:54, 15 July 2012 (UTC)


A change to the franchise requiring not only 75 lifetime edits, but 75 edits within the three months before the election was widely supported to reduce socks voting. Disenfranchising bots was a definite reform. Blue (is useful) 04:35, 12 July 2012 (UTC)

No one appears seriously opposed to this, which is good.--ADtalkModerator 11:04, 12 July 2012 (UTC)
While not opposed, per se, I'd draw your attention to my post in the "How Many Mods?" section below about the number of electors compared to the number of mods. Restricting the franchise will make the voters per moderator level even more ridiculous than it currently is. rpeh •TCE 11:14, 12 July 2012 (UTC)
I think a ridiculous ratio is fine if it eliminates a few sockpuppets. Disenfranchising bots should be uncontroversial and done as soon as we can. Again, the only issue there is that someone could "un-bot" their bots for 2 minutes, vote, and the re-bot them, perhaps without notice. And even if noticed, if they say "but they didn't vote while they weren't bots!" how can we prove them wrong? DickTurpis (talk) 13:00, 12 July 2012 (UTC)
Yeah, it seemed like social pressure would have been enough, but Nx proved that wrong.--ADtalkModerator 13:02, 12 July 2012 (UTC)
This will help but not fix the problem, but have no idea for a better solution. sterilesporadic heavy hitter 16:42, 12 July 2012 (UTC)


This is a minor thing, but I'd like it if we could list candidates in the dropdown in reverse-alphabetical every other election, or something similar like that (whatever's easiest). I think that being near the front of the alphabetized list has probably unfairly helped me a lot, so it makes sense to eliminate that factor if it's reasonably simple to do so.--ADtalkModerator 13:05, 12 July 2012 (UTC)

I'd like to think we're smart and rational enough that we're not falling into that trap. Just to be sure, I'd like to change my handle to AArdvark during election season. DickTurpis (talk) 13:08, 12 July 2012 (UTC)
In marginal cases, alphabetical bias has been shown to be a factor in election outcomes. Here is a paper. But maybe I am being silly, I don't know. Thought it was worth a mention in case it was just really easy to do.--ADtalkModerator 13:12, 12 July 2012 (UTC)
Given the success of WaitingforGodot and Weaseloid I'm not entirely sure this is a problem. Blue (is useful) 19:20, 12 July 2012 (UTC)
I don't think your reasoning is very good here. Just because several people far down on the ballot were elected does not meant that their position didn't hurt them.--ADtalkModerator 23:25, 12 July 2012 (UTC)
Yet is there a way to fairly resolve this? Even if we randomized the order, and provided that you're correct, there would still be bias toward the top of the list. Blue (is useful) 23:44, 12 July 2012 (UTC)
Right now I don't think there's any evidence that listing order has made any difference on this site. AD, you do well because you're a stand up guy who has an iota of sense and seems to take the job seriously without taking it too seriously. Ace does well because he's a fun guy we all like and has that "bad boy" edge without being actually dangerous (good looking guy too; that can't hurt). Tell you what, we'll run this guy next time around and see how well he does. If he's a mod in 6th months, I will issue you a formal apology for doubting your analysis. DickTurpis (talk) 00:08, 13 July 2012 (UTC)
We can take an easy step to just minimize this bias. I'm not saying people like myself, Ace, and Blue wouldn't have won otherwise. But it might well have been a factor for a lower-information vote who started with #1 and went on down, picking the first name he saw that he recognized and liked. A slight bias does not mean the voters are stupid or that the mods are illegitimate or anything else like that, it's just a slight bias that seems like it could be easily reduced by swapping back and forth between alphabetical and reverse alphabetical. Yes, it won't be eliminated and will never be decisive, but that doesn't mean it doesn't exist.
I don't want to make a big deal out of this, though, because if I'm the only one this bothers, then I'm probably blowing it out of proportion. :)--ADtalkModerator 00:23, 13 July 2012 (UTC)
You know, now that I think about it as applied to STV, you may have a point. People who think "I'm going to vote for Dick Turpis, because he's totally awesome and I want to have his babies, but also AD, Ace, Blue, and that punk guy from Minnesota!" might see you and Ace ahead of me and make you guys #1 and #2, relegating me to something like #4, which is basically a wasted vote, even though I am clearly their #1 choice. This seems to be very obviously what happened numerous times. Misunderstanding how STV works can only compound this. Another reason to go to "The Ace System" (which, less face it, was proposed by numerous people before Ace stuck his name on it). DickTurpis (talk) 01:13, 13 July 2012 (UTC)

How many mods?[edit]

There seems to be a widespread assumption that seven is the correct or most desirable number of moderators, but there has never had an adequate explanation why. I don't think is enough. For one thing, there should be at least one mod around at any time, in case some sort of shit kicks off. Ideally there should be more than one, so that when a mod steps in, others can see what's going on & comment if they thinbk the other mod is acting unfairly. I also think the small number of mods gives the role an undue weight. The community grows & changes, but the same few longstanding editors continue to be either elected or close runners-up, leaving smaller chances for anyone new emerging. This can lead to the perceptions of an oligarchy or cabal. The elections are unnecessarily competitive, since candidates have to convince the community not only that they're competent for the job, but that they're better than those other guys. I would favour about twice as many moderators, maybe more. The best solution would be some kind of election system where the number of mods appointed would be roughly proportionate to the size of the electorate. WeaseloidWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 06:56, 12 July 2012 (UTC)

In the election we just had there were 21 candidates and 74 non ballots. Remove the known socks and you end up with ~65-67 votes. I dare say there are some unknown socks that would reduce the ballot pool further. That means we're already electing fully a third of the candidates who stand (not even including alternates), and over 1 in 10 of the franchise. Personally I think those figures are already absurdly high. LowKey might have been trolling as usual when he suggested "This result shows that there are too many mod positions", and I certainly don't agree with his line of reasoning but I think he has a point.
Seven seems to me to be the upper limit for the number of moderators given the number of active users. There are already enough mod-level arguments going on without adding two more people and increasing the potential for strife by 9!-7! rpeh •TCE 07:45, 12 July 2012 (UTC)
I think seven is a decent number, as well. But anything between five or ten is also acceptable. There shouldn't be any philosophical problem, with that, after all - the only reason I disliked the old 'crat "demote everyone" system was just because it seemed to be really obviously not working as it failed in spectacular fashion every two months. Clearly we don't dislike numerous mods/crats on principle. Remember, mods aren't leaders or superusers except in the most informal sense - they are elected only because indiscriminate gifting of their very mildly increased power was causing trouble.
Plus, there are easily two dozen people that I'd happily trust as mods. So even as many as ten would seem perfectly acceptable to me.--ADtalkModerator 12:44, 12 July 2012 (UTC)
It's hard to justify a certain number, unless check of one mod by others. Certainly some minimum and some maximum are reasonable. One thought would be a percentage of active users at the time before the election, which would level some swings in site activity. sterilesporadic heavy hitter 16:44, 12 July 2012 (UTC)
Plus, there are easily two dozen people that I'd happily trust as mods. So even as many as ten would seem perfectly acceptable to me. I don't see the logic here. If you trust two dozen or more people, why should less than half of them get the job? WẽãšẽĩõĩďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 18:45, 12 July 2012 (UTC)
Here's the thing with this proposal. Not everyone agrees that particular editors are trustworthy. There are some particularly controversial editors who might well be elected with a lower threshold. A number like 7 - which still means that over 10% of our voters are mods - means that people need a great deal of approbation from all or most corners to be elected. The bureaucrat system served us well when the weather was fair, but keep in mind that a 'cratship was essentially a friendship bracelet. A very notable editor was/is of the strong opinion that if he had a button that said he could exercise a power, then he had the right to exercise that power because RW "has no rules." That was the 'crat system embodied - everyone had the rights, so in theory, nobody did. Didn't work out so great in practice.
The point of my ramble is to say that I am strongly opposed to expanding the number of mods beyond 7, and have been since before the system's inception when I proposed to limit the number of bureaucrats to 7. Blue (pester) 19:58, 12 July 2012 (UTC)
Not everyone thinks the mods are trustworthy, and I still don't see what's the magic of 7. Who says it didn't work out in practice? There was far, far, far less conflict than there is now. sterilesporadic heavy hitter 21:11, 12 July 2012 (UTC)
Why 7? Why not 10? Why not go back to having 'crats again? AceThe Rep Grows Bigger 21:24, 12 July 2012 (UTC)
Again why seven? What's so magical about this number in particular? All I can find to back this up is - from the original proposal - "a set number of individuals . . . Let’s say 7 people". That and presumably the legacy of the useless Loya Jirga. Blue, your argument jumps back & forth between issues about the number of mods/crat & what;'s expected of them. You suggest that the problem with the bureaucrat system was the lack of any firm criteria or standards on how crats were selected or should behave, therefore there shouldn't be more than seven mods? If the problem was lack of guidelines, we introduce some, like we're already doing here. That doesn't prove that seven is a more sensible number than any other. €₳$£ΘĪÐWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 22:34, 12 July 2012 (UTC)
Sterile, I disagree that the 'crat system produced less conflict (maybe comparing '07 with '12, but that's not a lot) or is inherently better than the mod system. Keep in mind that I would fully support returning to the 'crat system provided that we actually make an attempt to introduce reforms that would prevent another May/June-type conflagration. Blue (pester) 23:53, 12 July 2012 (UTC)
introduce reforms that would prevent another May/June-type conflagration Make sure Blue isn't a 'crat. Problem solved. AceThe Rep Grows Bigger 23:58, 12 July 2012 (UTC)
What problem would that solve, Aceykins? Blue (is useful) 00:00, 13 July 2012 (UTC)
It would have stopped you wheel warring over Human's 'crating of sterile. And it just sounds sensible. AceThe Rep Grows Bigger 00:03, 13 July 2012 (UTC)
Why are you trying to restart the battles last summer, Ace? Good gods, it's been over a year. Blue (is useful) 00:08, 13 July 2012 (UTC)
You asked what problem it would solve and I told you. Don't ask if you don't want an answer. AceThe Rep Grows Bigger 00:09, 13 July 2012 (UTC)
I was talking about a future problem. We can't fix problems that occurred in the past. That's how we understand spacetime now, at least. Blue (pester) 00:20, 13 July 2012 (UTC)
Future problems like the May 2011 can be avoided by making sure Blue is not a 'crat. AceThe Rep Grows Bigger 00:25, 13 July 2012 (UTC)
Do you realize how stupid that sounds or are you under the influence? Blue (pester) 02:00, 13 July 2012 (UTC)
What's stupid about it? AceThe Rep Grows Bigger 02:02, 13 July 2012 (UTC)
You might have very well said "future problems like the May 2011 can be avoided by making sure Human is not a 'crat" (unilateral demotions), or Armondikov (mass de-crattings), Nx (mass de-sysoppings), or SuspectedReplicant (starting the Trial of Human), and it would be equally valid. Nobody wants to re-fight those battles. Except you and Nutty and Human and assorted grudge-holders. Can we just, at long last, put this to rest? Blue (pester) 02:07, 13 July 2012 (UTC)
Blue, you utter liar! YOU started the "trial of Human". My contempt for you has reached a new level. ħumanUser talk:Human 03:59, 13 July 2012 (UTC)
My involvement (as SR) in the trial of Human came before I realised what the motives of certain people were. If I could take that all back, I would. rpeh •TCE 05:38, 13 July 2012 (UTC)
Yeah, could have said those things but I am talking to you specifically and you were the one warring with Human over something that technically wasn't against community standards at the time (if I remember right). AceThe Rep Grows Bigger 02:18, 13 July 2012 (UTC)
Now you're arguing that you can do anything that's not explicitly against the standards, regardless of precedent broken or asshattery involved? Anything to defend you and your friends, Ace, even a complete reversal of personal opinion over the course of two days, right? Blue (pester) 02:24, 13 July 2012 (UTC)
Not what I am arguing at all but your reaction to it was ridiculous. Defend my friends? What rubbish, I have been harshly critical of Human in the past (and he was pretty damned cross about it too). Which personal opinion was reversed? AceThe Rep Grows Bigger 02:32, 13 July 2012 (UTC)
Scenario A: Human unilaterally demotes an editor. I reverse it, assuming that precedent is on my side and unilateral demotions are not on. You and Human argue that since it wasn't against the standards, Human was within his rights to do it.
Scenario B: Blue unilaterally put an edit filter in place. Ace reverses it, assuming that Blue doesn't have the authority. Blue argues that since there is no official policy, she was within her rights to do it.
Is there a substantive difference here? Blue (is useful) 02:38, 13 July 2012 (UTC)
The scenarios are not equivalent. Do you realise I was made a 'crat by fiat? The others has been also without such hoo-ha and bellyaching? There was precedent here. The edit filter in the manner you used it had none and, as I said, not equivalent considering the people involved, the functions used and the rules of the day. Not even closely equivalent. AceThe Rep Grows Bigger 02:41, 13 July 2012 (UTC)
I was made a 'crat by fiat too (several users' fiat, actually). But none of the recent 'crats leading up to May had been by fiat. That practice had largely died off by the time Human realized he had a button and was feeling generous toward Sterile. But honestly, who still cares about this? It was a big argument on a website that happened over a year ago. Even I put aside most of my grudges a few months out. If you want to debate the merits of the 'crat system please do, but don't inject your grudge against me into that discussion. Blue (pester) 02:47, 13 July 2012 (UTC)
Once again, Blue lies through its teeth. ħumanUser talk:Human 04:01, 13 July 2012 (UTC)
Actually I wasn't trying to open said grudge - we got here quite organically. Hell, I wasn't even around during that disaster - I was in Thailand. But your position on this is bullshit, and that goes for your fucking stupid edit filter idea which is largely opposed. AceThe Rep Grows Bigger 02:50, 13 July 2012 (UTC)
"...are you under the influence? " I'll assume that question is rhetorical. DickTurpis (talk) 02:14, 13 July 2012 (UTC)
The 'crat system worked when the wiki was smaller, less diverse, and contained about 90% bitching, moaning, and drama. It largely revolved around who Human liked and how drunk Trent was at any given time. Not a sustainable system. DickTurpis (talk) 00:02, 13 July 2012 (UTC)

"Not a sustainable system." No less so than what we have here, and it involved a lot less work. Theory of Practice Peer-reviewed articles for everybody! 00:07, 13 July 2012 (UTC)

No reason this isn't sustainable; though we do need to work out the specifics. It did hit the retail market in an unfinished state, I'll admit (and said at the time) but we're working on that now. The Old Boys Network of the past really has been outgrown. But if anyone wants to get back to the subject of this section, I see no reason for to restrict us to 7 mods, though I do think there needs to be a reasonable limit. The more we have, the greater the chances for serious conflict within the mods themselves, which woud just be more headache for everyone. DickTurpis (talk) 00:13, 13 July 2012 (UTC)
"though we do need to work out the specifics..." We've had the mods for more than a year. If the specifics haven't been worked out by now, maybe that's because nobody cares enough about the institution to put the effort in. How many editors do we have? How many votes were cast in the last election minus Nx's socks? Theory of Practice Peer-reviewed articles for everybody! 02:31, 13 July 2012 (UTC)
I'll be the first to admit a ragtag gang of atheists tends not to be the most organized bunch. Some people care, others don't. In general people tend not to care as long as things are going their way, but do a pretty quick about-face when they don't. If we're going to have mods (and it appears for the time being, we are) it's best to decide what exactly that means. If we're not, and we go back to the old anything goes model, we need to prepare for "I can do whatever I want!" - "I can too!" - and when they contradict one another, it's a mobius strip of fuckery. DickTurpis (talk) 02:41, 13 July 2012 (UTC)
I'll be the first to admit a ragtag gang of atheists tends not to be the most organized bunch We are also quarrelsome and socially challenged. AceThe Rep Grows Bigger 02:43, 13 July 2012 (UTC)
Goddamnit! I hate it when I prove Kenny right! DickTurpis (talk) 02:45, 13 July 2012 (UTC)
Dick, look at this page. Look at Blue's talk page. It's a moebius strip of old grudges, insults, beefs and fuckery now. Nothing is getting done. Theory of Practice Peer-reviewed articles for everybody! 02:44, 13 July 2012 (UTC)
Yeah, it's your standard portion of bitching pissants. It isn't HCM though. People arguing is fine. Healthy even. I don't see any wheel warring going on. DickTurpis (talk) 02:48, 13 July 2012 (UTC)

Here's what we need[edit]

We need an old fashioned Skype chat for everyone. Call the old cabal, and the newer cabal as well. Call the roller of big cigars! Let's get everyone to talk face to face (or at least voice to voice) just this once. Everyone's less of a shithouse bastard when you actually need to converse. It's been far too long. More than a year, I'm sure. We all have Skype accounts, don't we? If you don't, get one, they're free. The usernames are there, you just need to ask what they are. I've got a few beers in me, and some wines as well. Even Human acts human when you're talking directly (though not less drunk, but that's a good thing!). Which of you motherfuckers is with me here? DickTurpis (talk) 03:01, 13 July 2012 (UTC)

Where's the "like" button on this damn website? ħumanUser talk:Human 04:03, 13 July 2012 (UTC)
I'm at work trying very hard to figure a PR strategy for an upcoming conference. If I don't get the numbers they need then on my head it'll be...otherwise I'd be keen AceThe Rep Grows Bigger 03:04, 13 July 2012 (UTC)
Honestly, Ace, in what sort of Third World pseudo-English is that even a coherent sentence? DickTurpis (talk) 03:09, 13 July 2012 (UTC)
I work, need PR strategy, must make people attend conference, if no attend I trouble. AceThe Rep Grows Bigger 03:11, 13 July 2012 (UTC)
I'd be keen but I don't have any of the necessary equipment for Skype. Blue (is useful) 03:12, 13 July 2012 (UTC)
Like a computer connected to the internet? You're such a dumbass. ħumanUser talk:Human 04:08, 13 July 2012 (UTC)
more than that. Sophiebecause liberals 17:48, 15 July 2012 (UTC)
No face? AceThe Rep Grows Bigger 03:13, 13 July 2012 (UTC)
With multi-person Skype even a face is superfluous. A computer is essential, but I'd hazard a guess we all have access to those. DickTurpis (talk) 03:15, 13 July 2012 (UTC)
(EC) Any microphone I try to use bursts into flames upon hearing the guttural, deathly tongue of Mordor in which I frequently mutter to myself. Blue (pester) 03:17, 13 July 2012 (UTC)
And now you are just full of shit. Bring it on. I can easily host a 20-person Skype chat. ħumanUser talk:Human 04:08, 13 July 2012 (UTC)
I'm sorry Human, do you mean to imply that Blue was not 100% honest when she said microphones burst into flames when she speaks into them? I think you owe someone an apology. DickTurpis (talk) 04:25, 13 July 2012 (UTC)
I do. Human, I'm sorry, I lied about my microphone problem; it's just my face is so ugly that cameras that record my horrible visage always shatter into a thousand screaming pieces. Blue (is useful) 04:59, 13 July 2012 (UTC)
Ash nazg durbatulûk, ash nazg gimbatul, ash nazg thrakatulûk agh burzum-ishi krimpatul. DickTurpis (talk) 03:20, 13 July 2012 (UTC)
Gu kibum kelkum-ishi, burzum-ishi. Akha-gum-ishi ashi gurum. Blue (is useful) 03:23, 13 July 2012 (UTC)
I may have to admit defeat in a a geek-off here. Thankfully, that may be a win/win situation. (Though googling that phrase does at least let me know what I'm dealing with). DickTurpis (talk) 03:28, 13 July 2012 (UTC)
you people sicken me. I am going to have a beer I think. Stimulate my PR creativity. AceThe Rep Grows Bigger 03:30, 13 July 2012 (UTC)
I drank all my beer a while ago. I'm on wine now. Whisky or rum is fast approaching. DickTurpis (talk) 03:32, 13 July 2012 (UTC)
My receptionist wants to go out and buy champagne for everyone but I just want beer and to ponder. AceThe Rep Grows Bigger 03:34, 13 July 2012 (UTC)
Champagne is shit. One of my best friend's favorite drinks is sparkling rosé. I have to suppress the urge to kick him in the nuts every time we drink together. DickTurpis (talk) 03:38, 13 July 2012 (UTC)
Wait, what? Him? Nuts? Fuck him up, he sounds like a queer. AceThe Rep Grows Bigger 03:45, 13 July 2012 (UTC)
In that sense he does. However, he is the only one of that close circle of friends who has produced solid evidence that he has fucked a woman, in the form of a tiny human female. The rest of us just have our old hearsay society. (Yeah, I cannot conclusively prove the offspring is his, but he's my friend and I have to give him benefit of the doubt.) DickTurpis (talk) 03:54, 13 July 2012 (UTC)
Wait, he had a child or fucked a woman who was tiny and human? AceThe Rep Grows Bigger 03:55, 13 July 2012 (UTC)
Very possibly both, but certainly the former. DickTurpis (talk) 03:58, 13 July 2012 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────If I can get my copy of Skype to work for over ten minutes, I can do text-based chat. I suppose that doesn't really help toward what Dick was proposing. Blue (is useful) 01:25, 14 July 2012 (UTC)

No. I want you to wear headphones when I yell at you. Nutty Roux100x100 anarchy symbol.svg 01:34, 14 July 2012 (UTC)
(: Blue (is useful) 01:37, 14 July 2012 (UTC)
Text based chat? Aren't we doing that right now? Jesus, what sort of computer do you use, an Apple 2E? DickTurpis (talk) 01:45, 14 July 2012 (UTC)

Exploration of the edit filter[edit]

There's been quite a lot of talk about the edit filter on this page, but it has occurred to me that I, and I assume many others, dont really have a clear idea of what the damn thing is. So far I've learned it can do the following:

  • Prevent a user from being able to edit a certain page.
    • This seems potentially useful, as it is less heavy handed than a full block, if someone is just being troublesome in one particular place.
  • Make a user see a warning before editing a certain page.
    • Seems pretty minor, as far as powers go, but of questionable usefulness.
  • Prevent certain usernames from being created
    • It's been pointed out that this is pretty useful, and has stopped a lot of accounts from being created whose sole purpose is to troll specific users or praise Hitler
  • Level a small city [citation needed]

It seems it has other far-reaching powers, though what they are doesn't appear to have been made terribly clear. RationalWiki:Edit filter is rather vague on what it does and how. It's being discussed like the One Ring; it clearly has great power, but it's never explained exactly what that power is. It's also been said that it does things "quietly", which I guess means without leaving an obvious log, which is certainly a significant issue. Is there someone in the know who can explain factually and neutrally what it can do, how it works, and where its greatest potential for abuse lies? A discussion as to whether mods, techs, neither, both, or whatever should have this power isn't going to be terribly useful until those participating know what's being discussed. DickTurpis (talk) 00:04, 14 July 2012 (UTC)

The abuse filter works by looking at all the information about the action being taken, such as the username (or part of it), the user rights of the user, the page name, the namespace, any text added etc, and matching it to a set of conditions. The full list of potential outcomes is here, but they include the prevention of the action, the displaying of a warning, the blocking of the user attempting to do so, promotion of the user, and even apparently rangeblocking the user. It's an extremely powerful tool. Peter This is not my first temporal anomaly 00:21, 14 July 2012 (UTC)
So yes, it can really do anything you want (perhaps more useful would be a list of what it can't do). It does things quietly in that other users are unlikely to know what's going on unless they check the applicable log. Changes to the filter appear in RC, but as almost all are private you can't actually tell what's been changed. The power to do that kind of thing corrupts, so the one ring comparison is apt. Peter This is not my first temporal anomaly 00:40, 14 July 2012 (UTC)
Give it to us, Deagol. It's my birthday and I wants it! DickTurpis (talk) 01:00, 14 July 2012 (UTC)
Heh. Was that in any of the books or just the movie? I can't remember. Peter This is not my first temporal anomaly 01:02, 14 July 2012 (UTC)
Books. I'm sure it's not an exact quote, though, just what I can do from memory. DickTurpis (talk) 01:04, 14 July 2012 (UTC)
The applicable log is Special:AbuseLog. It's only secretive in the sense that it doesn't appear on RC. The reason it's been called "quiet" is because it is much less likely to cause a wheel-war over blocks and page protections, which are indiscriminate. The filter is "quiet" because it can be used so far fewer users or pages are affected. Blue (is useful) 01:12, 14 July 2012 (UTC)
Blue, give it up. AceThe Rep Grows Bigger 01:13, 14 July 2012 (UTC)
Give it up, liberals! Blue (pester) 01:23, 14 July 2012 (UTC)

Anyway, am I right in thinking this awesome power, this trifle Sauron fancies, is in the hands of a handful of Techs at the moment? How is that not a problem? DickTurpis (talk) 01:43, 14 July 2012 (UTC)

I think the discussion is surrounding its broader application as a moderating tool. AceThe Rep Grows Bigger 01:44, 14 July 2012 (UTC)
Sure, and the discussion seems to be going in the direction of not giving mods this tool at all, which isn't a terrible decision. In the meantime we have a group of people with little oversight, who apparently can be appointed at the whim of any mod, able to destroy any trace that Ace McWicked ever existed (OK, maybe I'm overstating its power at this point). I mean, who the hell is AltezaAzul? DickTurpis (talk) 01:48, 14 July 2012 (UTC)
Well, the name means "Other Blue."--ADtalkModerator 01:57, 14 July 2012 (UTC)
The userpage claims otherwise. Peter This is not my first temporal anomaly 02:16, 14 July 2012 (UTC)
I guess I could have answered my own question by clicking the page, but anyway, so it seems Blue had her Tech rights taken away but her sock didn't? Why did her sock need these powers anyway? I guess the specific answers aren't as important as the fact that the Tech system is, well, not even coherent enough to be described as a system. What are we going to do about this? DickTurpis (talk) 02:25, 14 July 2012 (UTC)
How was Ace to know? Blue would probably have made her sock a tech to test something, as you do. Yes, the tech system needs codifying in some way. Peter This is not my first temporal anomaly 02:44, 14 July 2012 (UTC)
The tech system needs codifying? Sounds to me like MOOAARRR RRRUUUULLLLLEEZZZZZZZ!!!!!111!!1!!!1!!! DickTurpis (talk) 03:22, 14 July 2012 (UTC)

Looking at the edit filters in place none of them need to be private so made them public, at least the ones actually enabled. The only time you need to "private" them is in cases like the goatse vandal where seeing what we put in would negate its effect. And those can be used on a temporary basis. Tmtoulouse (talk) 03:16, 14 July 2012 (UTC)

10 and 11 should also be private. -- Nx / talk 06:16, 14 July 2012 (UTC)
I highly doubt spammers are checking our edit filter configuration to see what urls they can post or not. Tmtoulouse (talk) 06:39, 14 July 2012 (UTC)

What now?[edit]

As this is in danger of stagnating with nothing being achieved, I suggest we move forward with drafting some moderator guidelines based on what we can agree on. We can then either carry on squabbling about the other issues, or put them to one side for now.

There are various pieces of drafted wording further up this page which can be gathered together with the original moderator outline (see RationalWiki:Moderators and Forum:Moderators) to be worked into guidelines. There seems to be broad agreement that the roles of moderators should be to moderate conflicts, take action to prevent or limit HCM, oversee or bootstrap policy & coop discussions, and enact community decisions. Actions taken by mods on their own initiative (blocking, locking, desysoping etc.) should be temporary measures, to deal with a situation which could get ugly, and should be no more restrictive than necessary (i.e. no longer than necessary, warnings first, blocked users can still edit their talk page if appropriate). Decisions to block or remove user rights for longer should be taken by community rather than mods.

Re the aspects of the role we're still not agreed on, the following proposals can be filed under "controversial".

  • Use of sysoprevoke
  • Use of edit filters for warnings and restrictions
  • Moderators making group decisions on behalf of the community, in the event of turmoil

A few of us have suggested that these things would be useful, although I haven't seen anyone claim they're essential, and so far at least as many editors have opposed them as supported them. So I suggest shelving them for now. If we come up against a situation later where we think "wow, that thing could have really helped us out here", maybe we can revisit the issue then.

That leaves the following issues undecided, which we should try to settle before the next election, if not sooner.

  • How many moderators are appropriate?
  • How should they be elected?
  • How should techs be selected?

ΨΣΔξΣΓΩΙÐWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 17:54, 18 July 2012 (UTC)

I want not approve on it, I think polite post.
But in all seriousness, great work. "Bootstrapping" discussions like this is tiresome stuff, as I know firsthand. I agree that sysoprevoke, edit filters and the Loya Jirga powers can be filed away for discussion at a later date, but we should still set a temporary policy for the first two, so people at least have an inkling of when to (not) use them.
As for "how many mods," I still favor seven. If we put in place enforceable policies on the manner of election and removal of moderators, I would be open to having lots more.
Other electoral systems would be easier for everyone to understand, true, but STV is the fairest system. Trent is also unlikely to want to reinvent the wheel for the voting extension, for good reason.
Either tech appointment should be subject to the agreement of multiple mods (3 or 4), or the community at large in a system like our bureaucrat elections or Wikipedia's RfAs. Blue (pester) 02:10, 19 July 2012 (UTC)
Stop fucking pushing your edit-filter orgasm. The vast majority don't want it used as a moderation tool - policy complete. AceThe Rep Grows Bigger 02:14, 19 July 2012 (UTC)
Stop attempting to silence dissent with various argumenti ad populum. Blue (is useful) 02:17, 19 July 2012 (UTC)
Don't play cute - read the fucking page. AceThe Rep Grows Bigger 02:19, 19 July 2012 (UTC)
You know as well as I do that there's no measurable consensus on this issue. Your assertions that "the vast majority don't want it" are backed by comments by several people on this page, but not an actual poll. Blue (pester) 02:22, 19 July 2012 (UTC)
So, based upon what we know the edit-filter isn't wanted as a mod tool. AceThe Rep Grows Bigger 02:23, 19 July 2012 (UTC)
Why don't you put five minutes' effort in and provide some evidence for that blanket assertion? I'm sure you can find it. Blue (is useful) 02:26, 19 July 2012 (UTC)
Don't play cute - read the fucking page. AceThe Rep Grows Bigger 02:29, 19 July 2012 (UTC)
Here's the link. Since you have overwhelming support, why don't you go ahead and add a prohibition against moderating with the filter? Blue (is useful) 02:31, 19 July 2012 (UTC)
What part of don't play cute did you not understand? The edit filter is not required nor wanted as a mod tool based upon the views expressed on this page. AceThe Rep Grows Bigger 02:33, 19 July 2012 (UTC)
What's stopping you from adding the prohibition to the Standards, then? Blue (pester) 02:35, 19 July 2012 (UTC)
Because it isn't part of the mod tool-box. AceThe Rep Grows Bigger 02:38, 19 July 2012 (UTC)
As mods can easily make themselves techs, it can easily be added to the toolbox. Blue (pester) 02:48, 19 July 2012 (UTC)
The edit-filter is not required nor wanted for a moderating tool. I don't need to add it to the community standards because if you use it as such I'll take the ability away from you. AceThe Rep Grows Bigger 02:49, 19 July 2012 (UTC)
Taking away tech powers is not required nor wanted for a moderating tool. If you use it as such I'll take the ability away from you. (See how easy it is to make these kinds of assertions?) Blue (pester) 02:51, 19 July 2012 (UTC)
The edit-filter is not required nor wanted for a moderating tool. I don't need to add it to the community standards because if you use it as such I'll take the ability away from you. AceThe Rep Grows Bigger 02:52, 19 July 2012 (UTC)
Are you a child? Blue (pester) 02:55, 19 July 2012 (UTC)
Nearly 32. I have had a good run too. AceThe Rep Grows Bigger 02:56, 19 July 2012 (UTC)
And you never learned that simply repeating the same comment verbatim doesn't further your argument? Blue (pester) 02:58, 19 July 2012 (UTC)
Repetition works. I see below you have conceded that the edit-filter shouldn't be used as a mod tool. Thanks. AceThe Rep Grows Bigger 03:03, 19 July 2012 (UTC)
Thanks for the summary, Wealoid! I agree that we should shelve those three controversial issues for now, and we should hold some votes on the other issues. Let's agree on some options for the votes.
How many mods? Seems like good options would be 7, 10, and 20? That seems to generally represent a reasonable range of views. There still exist a few people who want to just dump the whole system, too, but I'll get to that in a moment.
How should they be elected? Not sure, but I suppose "Current system" will be one of the options, as well as whatever a brief summary of the other plan listed above.
How should techs be selected? "A majority of mods can appoint or remove a tech" might be one option (yikes), "The Foundation should select them and remove them" is another (my preference), and a third "Maintain the status quo and ad-hoc system".
Finally, there's the issue of keeping the mod system. Sterile, Ace, and Human have been arguing that we should just dump the whole thing as a failure, and that things have been worse with it than before. I think that it's true that things were golden under the old crat system a long while ago, but they kept getting worse and didn't seem likely to improve. Still, this is largely perceptual, since it's impossible to measure (even a collation of each system's HCMs would be beside the point, since it would miss a lot of low-level cronyism and abuse). But I do think that the community should hold one final, big vote on this thing. I just don't think it should be right now or bundled up in this, since the hassle of settling issues and the recent election and kvetching will be prejudicial - "Remember the good old days when we didn't have to deal with this?" So I would suggest holding a vote on the three issues above now, quietly and calmly, and then in two or three months holding one big solid vote on the mod system as a whole: keep or trash? It will yield better conclusions all-around, and we can settle it.
Thoughts?--ADtalkModerator 02:40, 19 July 2012 (UTC)
Well done, AD. AceThe Rep Grows Bigger 02:42, 19 July 2012 (UTC)
Ace, I said about the same things as him, but you had to inject grudge material about the edit filter into your response to my original comment. See the pattern?
AD - For selection of techs, why did you neglect to mention community approval (like our 'crat elections or WP's RfAs)? Also, a vote would be my preference, but there is a sizable faction vehemently opposed to voting on anything nowadays. Blue (pester) 02:46, 19 July 2012 (UTC)
Because AD doesn't want to use the edit-filter. Why do you mention grudges? AceThe Rep Grows Bigger 02:50, 19 July 2012 (UTC)
AD: I agree that we should shelve those three controversial issues for now
Blue: I agree that sysoprevoke, edit filters and the Loya Jirga powers can be filed away for discussion at a later date
Where in my post was I "fucking pushing [my] edit-filter orgasm"? Blue (pester) 02:52, 19 July 2012 (UTC)
Glad to see you have realised the edit-filter is not wanted nor required as a mod tool. AceThe Rep Grows Bigger 02:55, 19 July 2012 (UTC)
This is not a productive discussion.--ADtalkModerator 02:59, 19 July 2012 (UTC)
No it isn't, and I'm sorry I let myself take Ace's bait and go down to his level for a bit there. Blue (pester) 03:04, 19 July 2012 (UTC)
Blue, that's a good idea. I'll add that to my list of options.
How many mods?
  • 7
  • 10
  • 20
How should they be elected?
  • Current system: STV via Swedish-Benzelkruger system (not actually a thing)
  • ?
How should techs be selected?
  • "A majority of mods can appoint or remove a tech"
  • "Community vote."
  • "The Foundation should select them and remove them"
  • "Maintain the status quo and ad-hoc system"
More thoughts?.--ADtalkModerator 02:59, 19 July 2012 (UTC)
For number of mods percentage of active users/voters? Or maybe no limit (ala elect new ones old ones stay on till they retire/removed)? Tmtoulouse (talk) 03:01, 19 July 2012 (UTC)
Should mods also be techs AceThe Rep Grows Bigger 03:03, 19 July 2012 (UTC)
For vote options the only real alternative I have seen is approval voting, but we also have the issue of voting eligibility, voter registration, sock puppets, etc. Tmtoulouse (talk) 03:07, 19 July 2012 (UTC)
Edited:In the spirit of our own standards, which read, in part:RationalWiki is a mobocracy. Some would use a tautology to describe it ("The way things are done around here is the way things are done around here"). But the most helpful description is that, in the course of numerous talk page discussions and edits to articles, a rough consensus emerges. Hence the standards of the site are ultimately an expression of the community makeup, and not a set of rules or policies. Please keep in mind that the standards below are only an approximation of the site's working practices.: "How many mods"? As many as we had crats--in other words, no determined number, let it evolve organically. "How should they be elected"? They shouldn't. If a mod sees a potential mod comin' through the rye, they should be ambushed and modded and let the mobocracy sort out any disagreements. "How should techs be selected?" This one is a little dicey, given what comes wiith those powers.. Someone should show cause that they have need for tech rights, and the Board should do what it thinks is right to ensure that there are enough techs going around. Beyond that, I'm open to suggestions.Theory of Practice Years of being an atheist: 30. Instances of persecution on that account: 0. 03:16, 19 July 2012 (UTC)
Good plan. I like the ToP doctrine. AceThe Rep Grows Bigger 03:17, 19 July 2012 (UTC)
If a mod sees a potential mod comin' through the rye, they should be ambushed and modded and let the mobocracy sort out any disagreements. Extremely regressive policy here. One of the reforms we got out of last May (before the arrival of the mods and techs) was a requirement that the community at least appear to be consulted before a demotion was made to 'crat. This system of approval before demotion was actually in place for a while before the big kerfuffle, but it was uncodified.
the Board should do what it thinks is right to ensure that there are enough techs going around If a moderator truly intended to hurt the site, they could accomplish it rather quickly because we have complete control over user rights. In order to prevent this possibility, the power to appoint techs would have to be rescinded from mods; Trent would have to make techs server-side at the behest of the Board (who don't meet that often anyway). If a tech account then went haywire, nobody would be able to stop it except Trent, who is not always watching 24/7. I think your idea is good in theory, ToP, but in practice it could be needlessly complicated and possibly dangerous. Blue (pester) 03:30, 19 July 2012 (UTC)
well, we'd better vote on setting the parameters to convene a committee to discus potential procedures for a consideration of a revision of the community standards, because there is obviously a growing gap between those theories and their practice. Theory of Practice "the standards of the site are ultimately an expression of the community makeup, and not a set of rules or policies." 03:34, 19 July 2012 (UTC)
I don't know where I offended you, but it wasn't my intent. Blue (pester) 03:41, 19 July 2012 (UTC)
Ergo This system of approval before demotion was actually in place for a while before the big kerfuffle, but it was uncodified. I was wrong to kick of last May in wheel warring with Human.
If a moderator truly intended to hurt the site, they could accomplish it rather quickly because we have complete control over user rights ADK and Nx actively hurt that site. AceThe Rep Grows Bigger 03:33, 19 July 2012 (UTC)
You do remember how after Armondikov mass de-cratted everyone, I was the one who fucking restored everyone's cratships? Blue (pester) 03:37, 19 July 2012 (UTC)
I remember being on a beach in Thailand at the time. AceThe Rep Grows Bigger 03:38, 19 July 2012 (UTC)
That doesn't excuse selectively remembering only the parts which cast me in a negative light. And how was Thailand, I hear it's very nice over there. Blue (pester) 03:43, 19 July 2012 (UTC)
(EC)Ergo, How should voter eligibility be determined?
  • All accounts with 75 lifetime edits and 3 months since registration [status quo]
  • All accounts with 75 edits in the 3 months before the election
For sock puppets, there's this question too: How should the "eligible" usergroup work?
  • All eligible accounts are implicit members and can vote [status quo]
  • Accounts that aren't [known] sock puppets must be manually added to this usergroup in some way
  • [Known] sock puppet accounts should be added to a usergroup which prevents voting, i.e. like "voterevoke"
Blue (pester) 03:16, 19 July 2012 (UTC)
All this eligibility bullshit makes RW sound like the UN. Jesus, this is a small website not a fucking new democracy. AceThe Rep Grows Bigger 03:19, 19 July 2012 (UTC)
Tmtoulouse raised the issue and I responded. Ace, everyone knows you don't care for these discussions, so I'm not sure why you continue to actively participate in them. Blue (pester) 03:34, 19 July 2012 (UTC)

Edit button #17[edit]

"...standards of the site are ultimately an expression of the community makeup, and not a set of rules or policies." Theory of Practice Years of being an atheist: 30. Instances of persecution on that account: 0. 03:21, 19 July 2012 (UTC)

There is an issue that some of these things are contradictory or moot depending on what other options are choosen. If we move to have no limit on mods, appointed randomly then voting methods and eligibility are pointless. We need to figure out how many mods first, limited or unlimited, how limited, etc. Then voting methods, then eligibility makes sense to talk about. Tmtoulouse (talk) 03:41, 19 July 2012 (UTC)

Hyperbole aside, I suggest the most practical next step is to setup a vote for how the mod system should look. Status quo, permanent appointments, voting but fewer/more mods, percentage based, etc. etc. Once that is settled the other questions of voting methods, eligibility, and rights narrow in scope. — Unsigned, by: Tmtoulouse / talk / contribs 04:14, 19 July 2012 (UTC)
Personally I favour an open-ended number of mods. I don't think a small fixed number is in the spirit of mobocracy, & in fact most sites don't limit their number of mods or admins, so that the number can increase with the community. & I think that some sort of approval voting system would be fairer than any competitive vote in which there are only a small number of winners. WēāŝēīōīďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 07:22, 19 July 2012 (UTC)
I think it's pretty clear that further discussion is not going to be very helpful right now. It is time for a vote. Or a vote about a vote. Or something, anyway. Peter This is not my first temporal anomaly 07:30, 19 July 2012 (UTC)
Discussion is the most important part of the process. When people start saying "no more talking, just vote", we end up with messy inconclusive results. WéáśéĺóíďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 19:05, 19 July 2012 (UTC)
I should have stressed the "or something" part more. Point was that the discussion, on this page at least, was then going nowhere but turdblossomland. Peter This is not my first temporal anomaly 09:20, 20 July 2012 (UTC)

For what it's worth[edit]

The entire situation we are in now was predicated on some really bad decisions by a handful of users. Now, I wasn’t on site at the time and wasn’t around for the fallout either but in the simplest terms we are now debating about systems that were forced on the site by people misusing the rights they had. This, in my opinion, means the Moderator system has no legitimacy whatsoever. All these discussions about ‘eligibility’, ‘how many moderators’ and the like are hollow, empty and worthless. Nx and ADK should have been strung up. It’s fucking embarrassing watching this formally grand place get overrun by boring rule makers desperate to feel good about mindless bureaucracy because their own miserable lives are so bereft of real interactions with people that they need to express their neurotic leanings here. It’s a god damned fucking tragedy and since the last attempt managed to bring us this far I am itching closer and closer to doing myself and just to end this horrible experiment. AceThe Rep Grows Bigger 03:46, 19 July 2012 (UTC)

Nx and ADK were not the ones that imposed this "hollow, empty and worthless" system. It was my proposal, based on a month+ of community feedback after watching the existing system fail repeatedly after a change in the number and relationships of users. I think the view that the old system was fine till that one event is selective memory and people seem to have very rose tinted glasses on viewing the past. The supposed rule making has been pretty damn limited too. There is very little substantial differences between the way things are run now and in 2007, feel free to offer actual specific examples to contradict what I say. 99 percent of the "meta" discussion I have seen is nothing but unsupported conjecture from all sides. Sometimes you need rules, for example, eligibility. If your voting for people to do things you have to discuss voter eligibility. Even if its "no standards" (which is ridiculous, shall any spam bot that makes 1 edit be allowed to vote for board members?). Tmtoulouse (talk) 03:53, 19 July 2012 (UTC)
It was still predicated on a particular event which, had it not happened I don't believe we'd be here. And this system sucks. You accuse me of rose tinted glasses? The site is in as bad shape now than it has been at other times. AceThe Rep Grows Bigger 04:00, 19 July 2012 (UTC)
Just for kicks I went to the very first archive in the community standards discussion, and the meta discussion about policy is pretty damn similar to what we have here (minus the sniping between a few users, and a smaller number of people). Also the policy proposals were far more cumbersome and complicated then anything proposed here. See the Fibonacci blocking scheme discussion. Again I restate my thesis, there is substantially little change in how things are done now and in the first weeks of the site. The biggest being the issues we face are much more clear and distilled with much more specific and practical suggestions. Tmtoulouse (talk) 04:02, 19 July 2012 (UTC)
I stand by what I said. This is fucking hopeless. AceThe Rep Grows Bigger 04:03, 19 July 2012 (UTC)
Feel free to offer evidence or specifics at any time, as I have noted in more than one place, taking random pot shots at people trying to be proactive is both rhetorically and practically limited. Try making some counter proposals too, might find some traction then. Tmtoulouse (talk) 04:07, 19 July 2012 (UTC)
Like I have said in more than one place also - this is fucking hopeless. AceThe Rep Grows Bigger 04:10, 19 July 2012 (UTC)

In the mean time though[edit]

How exactly would a non-fixed number of mods work? Are we talking 'everyone who gets more than n votes' here? Peter This is not my first temporal anomaly 07:55, 19 July 2012 (UTC)

Some possibilities: each election sets x% of active users elected mods, each election we increase the number of moss by x, and don't get rid of previously elected mods (not sure this is feasible), turn the mod position into a less-powerful bureaucrat in three old style of unilateral and random demotions or use community approval voting, etc. Blue (is useful) 08:03, 19 July 2012 (UTC)

Back from work[edit]

Setting up a vote, with revised list of prospective questions. I am not including the above proposals where there are an indefinite amount of mods, which will fall into the "get rid of the whole system" plan. In two months, the major system vote will include that as a sort of blend of the crat and mod system, as well as "retain the current mod system," "restore the system of anarchic crats," and "no system." Proposed questions and the choices: How many mods?

  • "7"
  • "10"
  • "20"
  • "Roughly the number of eligible voters, divided by ten."

How should they be elected?

  • "Current system: STV"
  • "Simple voting: each voter may cast seven equally weighted votes for seven candidates."

How should techs be selected?

  • "A majority of mods can appoint or remove a tech."
  • "Community votes may appoint or remove any mod."
  • "Techs should be merged into mods."
  • "The Foundation should select them and remove them."
  • "Maintain the status quo, ad-hoc system."

Who is eligible to vote?

  • "The current system: any editor whose account has existed for more than three months and who has more than 75 edits."
  • "Only those editors who have made at least 75 edits within the last three months."

Please avoid the temptation to vent your frustration here with squeals about how terrible everything is or how much you hate someone. If you disagree with someone's suggestions and then follow them around just to disagree with them, it makes you look petty and destroys your ability to appear like an intelligent commentator. Also remember that we want to distill this vote down to choices that represent the broadest range of options, but once we get much beyond four or five different choices, it reduces the mandate behind any eventual decision: voters get dispersed among slightly varied options, and extreme and non-representative results become increasingly more likely.--ADtalkModerator 08:04, 19 July 2012 (UTC)

Point of order, Mr. Chairman - questions with several choices can easily be dealt with by using instant runoff voting as we did for the voting standards votes. Blue (is useful) 08:09, 19 July 2012 (UTC)
Point taken! Alas, I am not so smart!--ADtalkModerator 08:12, 19 July 2012 (UTC)
(EC×2) Can we have this on a new page? This is getting kinda long, and if we can put it on a project page we could do a bit better when it comes to separating the arguing from the serious proposals.
As for techs, how's an "anyone with the powers can add them if they are prepared to take responsibility for that action, and removing tech rights is treated identically to sysop rights" option? Peter This is not my first temporal anomaly 08:14, 19 July 2012 (UTC)
Okay, shifting to a new page.--ADtalkModerator 08:18, 19 July 2012 (UTC)
Forum:Productive_voting_construction--ADtalkModerator 08:20, 19 July 2012 (UTC)

Captcha? WTF? for registered users?[edit]

WTF is wrong with this place. I know I called it a cesspool when I left, but no one has particularly done anything to make anything better in any way shape or form... it's like all the shit was just left to rot... --Eira OMTG! The Goat be Praised. 22:02, 24 July 2012 (UTC)

How bout taking it down a bit? There is no captcha for registered users after 2 or 3 days, or a particular number of edits. And it's not many. and most people will change a new user's rights instantly if they ask. --Green mowse.pngGodotWhat is your fucking defense of automatic guns, again? 22:08, 24 July 2012 (UTC)
In order of most to least probability:
  1. Your ‎Puellanivis account still wasn't autoconfirmed, and so was still running up against capatcha
  2. The upgrade has borked capatcha
  3. Fascist authoritarian plan to stop you editing.
Peter This is not my first temporal anomaly 22:12, 24 July 2012 (UTC)
A quick look at teh logs suggests that "puellanivis" has never edited here. You have to at least edit, to remove the captcha. It's a simple way to keep advertisement trolls from running amock.--Green mowse.pngGodotWhat is your fucking defense of automatic guns, again? 22:16, 24 July 2012 (UTC)
This is why we can't have nice things. Theory of Practice "the standards of the site are ultimately an expression of the community makeup, and not a set of rules or policies." 22:23, 24 July 2012 (UTC)
Indeed, I was editing with the wrong account. My bad. --Eira OMTG! The Goat be Praised. 05:26, 25 July 2012 (UTC)