RationalWiki:Loya Jirga

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The Loya Jirga is were RationalWiki's elected body of editors, whose sole purpose is was to end continual blocking and vandal binning disputes.

Current members[edit]

There are were seven members, chosen by the mob on a regular basis once. The membership was:

Case One[edit]

  • Please sort out the mess that has developed recently over what to do with "trolls" and "abuse" and all that crap I really can't be arsed to even mention. It's going on too long and the differences of opinion as to what to do are far too wide. It's clear that there are certain individuals and/or users who seem to only want to make life on this site extremely difficult - notably Neveruse's socks that BON, the cheerleader and MC or whoever - I can't keep track of the sockpuppetry here, it's too much. Do we ban them outright, do we revert them and do we outright ban Nx for doing, well, I don't know what Nx has done to get under the skin of so many people but surely we can task the LJ to find out and decide. Scarlet A.pngpostate 10:26, 6 June 2010 (UTC)
    • +1 - David Gerard (talk) 12:57, 6 June 2010 (UTC)
    • +1 - as a wikipedian sysop i see this has gone on long enough. keep in mind that not all cheerleaders are trolls and one of my friends is a sysop here who is useful and may return so don't ban her. Cheerleader Not Troll (talk) 20:45, 6 June 2010 (UTC)
    • votes++ - MARCVS ANTONIVS 20:56, 6 June 2010 (UTC) While I'd prefer it if we just did something else, we have made it abundantly clear that this is impossible.

Powers and issues[edit]

The LJ's powers are described here. The relevant powers in this case are:

  1. Take appropriate action against trolls. This includes binning, unbinning, and (if necessary) blocking.
  2. Assist in editor disputes. Their involvement should be a last resort, resorted to after attempts at discussion.

The powers page explicitly forbids the extension of the powers beyond this point. (I have argued before that some extension of these powers might be a good idea)

The LJ has been requested to: "sort out the mess that has developed recently over what to do with "trolls" and "abuse" and all that crap I really can't be arsed to even mention."

Considering the nature of the LJ's powers and the nature of the disputes in question, and rewording the request we have received in clearer language, there would seem to be two issues.

  • There are a group of editors who are considered to be trolls by some other editors, and there is a feeling held by some that some sort of action should be taken against these alleged trolls.
  • Some editors have already taken unilateral action against the alleged trolls and this has led to those editors being criticized in the administrative abuse area.

It would seem that the first issue would come under power one and the second under power two.

Before going further, could we have some agreement that these are the issues which the LJ is being asked to involve itself in. --BobSpring is sprung! 19:15, 6 June 2010 (UTC)

LJ only below this line[edit]

Should non-LJ editors wish to comment please use the talk page.

Assuming that we are being asked to act as outlined above I would suggest that we do the following:

  1. Agree a clear definition of what we regard a troll to be. I would suggest something like "shows a repeated and consistent desire to disrupt the site."
  2. Examine the edits of the editors in question (or ask for evidence from the site) to see if they fit this definition.
  3. Decide on an appropriate action if they do fir this description.

We need to do these things in this order.--BobSpring is sprung! 21:09, 6 June 2010 (UTC)

I think we've got a couple of problems dealing with this. First of all, I suspect a lot of this arises since the rules concerning trolls is fundamentally broken (not to imply it ever worked), due to bending over backwards to make sure everyone bending over backwards to make sure they have "free speech" whether they are acting in good faith or not. This results in people resorting to kludges to find some way to deal with the problem since straightforward ways are closed to them. It's hard to fix this because of the piecemeal nature of the site sometimes, where it's practically expected for people (including long established members) to essentially ignore mob decisions and override it with their own. To make matters worse, there tends to be active resistance to imposing rules because they might be restrictive, or in hypothetical cases make us "as bad as CP", and of course the trolls are a part of this conversation with the same amount of say as people who care about the site, and either nothing gets done, or something is done with either no way to enforce it or with a vague mandate full of loopholes.
So I suppose what it comes down to is, is this too fundamental a question for just the LJ, and will anyone listen to any recommendations that come out of it? Or should we ignore the underlying problems and just deal with the specific cases of a couple of editors? --Kels (talk) 21:32, 6 June 2010 (UTC)
Kels, I think the rules make it so that the community HAS TO listen to LJ recommendations, correct me if I'm wrong--but knowing this bunch, that might mean absolutely nothing. As for whether we should deal with specific editors or adopt a more general stance, I think we need first of all to acknowledge that unless we are willing to go the route of rangeblocks, something NOBODY wants, there's nothng we can do except allow for trolling comments to be undone/oversighted. P-Foster (talk) 21:40, 6 June 2010 (UTC)


Probably no need for oversight for most stuff, unless it's got personal details, threats and other really serious stuff in it. But allowing trolling comments to be removed either to the archives or just plain deleted is something I can get on board with. I'd go so far as to say that a user should be able to delete comments on their own talk page if they can back up that they're trolling comments. Certainly there are enough actually rational eyes that can prevent, say, RobSmith from deleting any comment he doesn't agree with or similar abuses. Most of the users here are adult enough not to screw with it just to prove a point. --Kels (talk) 21:51, 6 June 2010 (UTC)
I think I am in broad agreement with what Kels says in her comment immediately above this one. We don't really have any effective way to positively remove a "troll" from the site, however, deleting (on one's own user talk page) useless talk page interference or moving it to its own section (on more general topic talk pages) seems acceptable to me. If there's a grey area it's whether they should be archived or not. ħumanUser talk:Human 22:28, 6 June 2010 (UTC)
I too agree with Kels. Do we need a definition of trolling, or will a common-sense idea prevail? I know Huw did not like the definition I suggested elsewhere: "Trolling shall be defined as edits made with the sole intention of attacking, disparaging or insulting individual users or the commuity at large, edits made with the intent of sowing discord among users, or edits made with the intent of undermining the stated objectives of the community.". P-Foster (talk) 22:47, 6 June 2010 (UTC)


I'd probably add something about it being persistent in there, since isolated comments probably wouldn't be called trolling by anyone reasonable. Otherwise, I'm cool with it. --Kels (talk) 23:07, 6 June 2010 (UTC)
I have a problem with a definition that requires divining the poster's "intent". I think we are going to have to fall back on common sense, sadly, but offer the mob a decision that it's ok for them to delete extraneous garbage, especially on their own talk pages. I'd really to wait to hear from the rest of the LJ to see if there are any other good ideas, of course, before "taking a stand" myself. How long are we going to give ourselves to reach a "decision", by the way? ħumanUser talk:Human 23:39, 6 June 2010 (UTC)
A troll is persistent, hence intent is irrelevent. What I mean is, by the time it gets to banning stage then its been going on long enough that intent is clear. Acei9 00:10, 7 June 2010 (UTC)
I think the we need to decide clearly what a troll is first. Only after that should we consider what action is appropriate. Incidentally, when we get to the "what action is appropriate" bit, the question is what action is appropriate for us. Saying what action is appropriate for others is making site policy and goes beyond our remit. --BobSpring is sprung! 06:40, 7 June 2010 (UTC)
Sorry Bob, I don't think I followed a word of that. I might have got it. But seriously, I am lost. ħumanUser talk:Human 07:21, 7 June 2010 (UTC)
OK.  :-) Sorry it wasn't clear. I'll try again. We have been given the power to deal with trolls. We have not been given the power to tell others how to deal with trolls as we do not have the power to change site policy. (We could, of course, sponsor a new site policy in respect of trolls at community standards.)--BobSpring is sprung! 07:26, 7 June 2010 (UTC)
Bob, I suspect you underestimate the powers accorded to the assembled LJ. I think this forum was built by the mob to once in a while "interpret the constitution" aggressively. That said, I don't think our job is to block or censure "one user" so much as to clarify "policy". Best of luck to us. ħumanUser talk:Human 08:09, 7 June 2010 (UTC)
Bah, we need action, not round about endless discussion. We know what the problem is, let us fix it. Persistently uncivil members will be warned, warned again, blocked/vandaled/what have you. If we give a user enough time then we'll know if they are just a troll or a good faith editor. Acei9 07:32, 7 June 2010 (UTC)
Bob is right--as I understand the LJ, it's supposed to rule on specific cases, not set site-wide policy. If somebody wants to ask about, say, MC specifically, that's one thing. If someone wants a new rule on trolls, that's another. On the other hand, Ace is right--somebody needs to take the bull by the horns and fix this--maybe draft some amendments and set up a referendum? Or is that too much talk and not enough action? P-Foster (talk) 07:39, 7 June 2010 (UTC)
Sorry PF, for the confusion, but it's hard to know you are ToP unless one of us remembers and makes it clear, or unless your sig at least makes it clear. I will now have to re-read all this shit since I thought you was an interloper. ħumanUser talk:Human 08:05, 7 June 2010 (UTC)
no problem. If you wanna make me a sig that says "Formerly TOP," I won't object. Buggered if I can be bothered...P-Foster (talk) 08:07, 7 June 2010 (UTC)
I deleted my shit commetns, and made an equals sign up above for your user names. Nuff for me for now.
Dealing with our current trolls is easy, we know who they are. This ain't the UN. Acei9 08:09, 7 June 2010 (UTC)
Who are they? And did you bring drugs? That was your portfolio, after all... ħumanUser talk:Human 08:12, 7 June 2010 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────"[We're] supposed to rule on specific cases" ok. What case have we been asked to rule on? BONs, cheerleaders, and MC seems like a strange combination. Can we ask the mob (the other five editors) what specifically they would like us to "rule" on? ħumanUser talk:Human 23:57, 7 June 2010 (UTC)

Let us show the plebes how worthy we are[edit]

Let's try to keep this intelligent and considered. Haha. But seriously, if the first convention of the LJ is just a miniature version of site-wide "HCM", then there's no point. At least, up above, I agreed with Kels. That's a first (on this sort of shit anyway). ħumanUser talk:Human 08:15, 7 June 2010 (UTC)

Kels is right, what a fool I was to defy her. Acei9 08:20, 7 June 2010 (UTC)
Kels is wise. This is going to remain a bit subjective, but there's really no getting around that. I don't think that talk posts should be getting routinely removed unless the person is always "known" as a troll and has been asked to sod off, or if the nature of the stuff is bad enough to warrant deletion because it's a personal attack, personal info, or illegal. I would say though that if we agree that someone is persistently malicious we should have no worries about deleting any talk page post they make outside of their own talk page. The talk page of a troll should remain their own unless they post stuff that would break our general policies. I think that denying them a voice is the best way. That at least prevents them from harassing people, and it lessens their fun by making it difficult for others to take their bait. We really shouldn't worry about becoming CP. We're kind of slowly divorcing ourselves from that site, and it's the rationale that counts. --ConcernedResident omg ponies!!! 10:34, 7 June 2010 (UTC)
Agreed. I remove all MC posts as it is and seems to be working just fine. Acei9
We'd all get along much better if we started with the assumption that I'm always right. That said, I'm in agreement with pretty much everything in this section, if there's a reasonably clear pattern of trolling and disruption for its own sake (or to prove some obtuse point), then I'd say go ahead and delete comments, vandal bin the individual and short blocks (why isn't there a 1/2 hour option on the list, it goes straight from 5 minutes to an hour, I think) as needed. That's probably the best we can do, anyway. --Kels (talk) 21:58, 7 June 2010 (UTC)
@CR, yes indeed. One could leave a troll on one's talk page and "ignore" it only to have 27 posts by other people reacting to it. @Kels, the block lengths are all based on pi, so they go from 314 seconds to 3141 seconds. So feel free to tuck 31 minutes in there if you want. ħumanUser talk:Human 23:35, 7 June 2010 (UTC)
I would, but I don't know how. I assume it has to do with sacrificing goats under the full moon, and I'm almost out. --Kels (talk) 23:38, 7 June 2010 (UTC)
I think it's somewhere like mediawiki:ipb-dropdown or some such. ħumanUser talk:Human 00:00, 8 June 2010 (UTC)

By "remove all MC/troll posts" does that mean that should someone troll on, say, Kels's talk page, that I am free to delete said post on site, or is that her decision? Does the rule only apply to article pages? P-Foster (talk) 00:30, 8 June 2010 (UTC)

I would personally say "yes, go ahead", at least as far as my page is concerned. After all, if I really want to know the latest slobberings from MC or Rob or whoever I can just go look at the history. --Kels (talk) 00:43, 8 June 2010 (UTC)
How about a short template people can put on their talk pages giving permission to delete/revert junk posts? ħumanUser talk:Human 01:56, 8 June 2010 (UTC)

Case closed[edit]

So the LJ returns a decision. As per Toastie on the talk page, "obviously vile comments can be deleted by anyone. Others leave up to the person who's talk page it is. Article talk pages: delete the vile; ignore the trivial." The Local Jumpsuits have spoken. PS, Where is our "add new section" button? ħumanUser talk:Human 07:58, 8 June 2010 (UTC)

I have added for you. It works by adding the phrase NEWSECTIONLINK with the double underscores either side, like the TOC, and NOTOC commands. Scarlet A.pngpostate 13:14, 9 June 2010 (UTC)

Closing comments[edit]

For myself, I like that we did not "limit" editors' so much as we "liberated" them. ħumanUser talk:Human 14:01, 8 June 2010 (UTC)