RationalWiki's 2019 Fundraiser

There is no RationalWiki without you. We are a small non-profit with no staff – we are hundreds of volunteers who document pseudoscience and crankery around the world every day. We will never allow ads because we must remain independent. We cannot rely on big donors with corresponding big agendas. We are not the largest website around, but we believe we play an important role in defending truth and objectivity.

If everyone who saw this today donated $5, we would meet our goal for 2020.

Fighting pseudoscience isn't free.
We are 100% user-supported! Help and donate $5, $20 or whatever you can today with PayPal Logo.png!

Donations so far: $2200Goal: $3000

RationalWiki talk:Community Standards/Archive14

From RationalWiki
Jump to: navigation, search

For guidelines and their discussions that passed see Passed1 .

For guidelines and their discussions that did not pass see Superseded1.

Sections "in flux"[edit]

We do need to get rid of the "in flux" box eventually. These are the specific sections to which it pertains: Blue Talk 02:50, 20 August 2011 (UTC)

Old policy

How RationalWiki is run

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.

Proposed policy

How RationalWiki is run

RationalWiki is generally a mobocracy, with a few exceptions. 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 usually an expression of the community makeup, and not a set of rules or policies.

Old policy

Demoting and promoting users

Clarification: In keeping with RationalWiki tradition, an increase in the number of privileges is referred to as "demotion" and a decrease in privileges is referred to as "promotion"

Any user who is not a vandal or troll is generally "demoted" to sysop. (Remember that this is a wiki, so any damage done by a vandal who manages to be "demoted" can easily be undone.) A user can always request not to be "demoted", and bureaucrats are to respect these requests.

A sysop can only be "promoted" back down to regular editor status if they request it, or if they are causing trouble through serious vandalism, troll behaviour, or abuse of sysop abilities such as blocking. Complaints of this kind should be raised at the Administrative Abuse page, and the decision to "promote" the sysop should only be reached after a full discussion.

In some extreme cases, where a sysop is being particularly disruptive, a bureaucrat may need to "promote" them as soon as possible to prevent further vandalism or abuse, but they must then discuss their decision with others at the Administrative Abuse page, to determine whether the user should remain de-sysoped.

Bureaucrats may demote users to sysop at their individual discretion; but a user should not be demoted to bureaucrat without a proposal for such demotion having been discussed by the community. The bureaucrat nominations page is the dedicated location for such discussions.

Proposed policy

Demoting and promoting users

Clarification: In keeping with RationalWiki tradition, an increase in the number of privileges is referred to as "demotion" and a decrease in privileges is referred to as "promotion"

Any user who is not a vandal or troll is generally "demoted" first to "autopatrolled", and then to sysop by current sysops. (Remember that this is a wiki, so any damage done by a vandal who manages to be "demoted" can easily be undone.) A user can always request not to be "demoted", and sysops are to respect these requests.

A sysop can only be "promoted" back down to regular editor status if they request it, or if they are causing trouble through serious vandalism, troll behaviour, or abuse of sysop abilities such as blocking. Complaints of this kind should be raised at the chicken coop page, and the decision to "promote" the sysop should only be reached after a full discussion.

In some extreme cases, where a sysop is being particularly disruptive, another sysop may need to "promote" them as soon as possible to prevent further vandalism or abuse, but they must then discuss their decision with others at the Chicken Coop page or All Things in Moderation, to determine whether the user should remain de-sysoped.

Sysops may demote users to sysop at their individual discretion.

For the first box, I'd say we can simply replace 'mobocracy' with autocracy 'democracy'. The rest of it seems pretty accurate. EddyP Great King! Disaster! 15:06, 21 August 2011 (UTC)

Except for the paragraphs about bureaucrats... Blue Talk 04:46, 22 August 2011 (UTC)
I was referring only to the first box. I'm not up to date on how promotions are handled now. EddyP Great King! Disaster! 11:57, 22 August 2011 (UTC)

I just made a few minor edits to the sections, like replacing "bureaucrat" with "sysop" and "administrative abuse" with "chicken coop." Thoughts? Blue Talk 23:30, 16 September 2011 (UTC)

It looks good to me. TyTy 13:52, 17 September 2011 (UTC)
Let's vote on this.--ADtalkModerator 04:43, 4 October 2011 (UTC)
We're not voting on box 1 even when we have a protocol for it. It's not done yet. Adding vague puffery like "generally" to an aspirational statement of this sort is unhelpful because it conveys no additional information other than that the author is hiding something with weasel words. This statement must be made clearly and strongly. We are a mobocracy. There is no "generally" about it. Trent has a hand-off approach, the board isn't involved in community or editorial matters, and mods are not here to be leaders or policymakers. The proposed last sentence of box 1 is false. The standards of the site are not "usually" an expression of the community make up. They are an expression of the community make up. The original was correct. If the intention of sticking "usually" in there was to empower yet unknown minorities, one of the charter statements in our community standards isn't the place to do it. Propose an amendment elsewhere. The most basic rules of legislative drafting are (a) keep it simple and, above all, (b) don't raise more questions than you answer. In this context, "usually" is the same kind of sheepish fluff as in the first sentence; it's a qualification without any purpose. The fixes to the promotion/demotion section are excellent. Nutty Roux100x100 anarchy symbol.svg 04:27, 12 October 2011 (UTC)
Agree with Nutty. The changes to box 1 add nothing & look like obfuscation. Keep the original text for these parts. Box 2 looks OK, though sysops don't usually demote users to autopatrolled since that's done automatically. WèàšèìòìďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 06:14, 12 October 2011 (UTC)
"Autoconfirmed" is the automatic group, not "autopatrolled." Blue Talk 13:40, 12 October 2011 (UTC)
Then why is it "auto"? ΨΣΔξΣΓΩΙÐWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 18:58, 12 October 2011 (UTC)
Because their edits are automatically marked as patrolled. Go to Special:UserRights. The autopatrolled group must be added by a sysop/tech/mod. Blue Talk 19:15, 12 October 2011 (UTC)
Seems a bit pointless when you could just make them a sysop. €₳$£ΘĪÐWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 19:21, 12 October 2011 (UTC)
It's an intermediate level between sysop and registered. It was only created because some people felt uncomfortable with handing out sysopship like free candy, but didn't want to have to bother with the !s in recent changes. To be honest I think it's pointless too, but it's there, so unless there's a motion to officially repeal it we should at least mention it in the standards. Blue Talk 23:56, 12 October 2011 (UTC)
Wouldn't it make more sense for auto-patrolled edits to be one of the functions of auto-confirmed editors, so it happens automatically after a while rather than users having to be given it as if it was an actual ability? WéáśéĺóíďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 00:24, 13 October 2011 (UTC)
Well, then we would have trolls and petty vandals we've not bothered to block, as well as newbies we'd want to keep an eye on, having their edits autopatrolled. I think it's better to keep autopatrolled with sysops, actually. Blue Talk 00:35, 13 October 2011 (UTC)
I find the whole patrolling business a waste of time. But if it's only going to be automated for handpicked users, I agree it should only be sysops or above rather than a separate group. WẽãšẽĩõĩďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 06:42, 13 October 2011 (UTC)
No, the point is to consolidate all power previously held by bureaucrats and sysops into the hands of me and some nerds. Hope this clarifies things. Nutty Roux100x100 anarchy symbol.svg 21:43, 12 October 2011 (UTC)
No, Nutty, I believe the intention of sticking "usually" in there was to create a loophole to allow you guys to ignore the community standards if you feel like it. -- Nx / talk 06:29, 12 October 2011 (UTC)
Who is "you guys?" I'm sure you'll come up with a diff because you're never wrong, but it really makes no sense to say that about me in particular. But I get it. You don't like me. Carry on. Nutty Roux100x100 anarchy symbol.svg 12:36, 12 October 2011 (UTC)

Franchise and vandal bin[edit]

Should vandal binned users who meet the franchise requirements be allowed to vote (obviously blocked users can't). On a side note, vandal binned users are not removed from the eligible user group, so they can still vote in moderator and board member elections, but this is an oversight, I intended to remove them from the eligible group but I simply forgot. -- Nx / talk 20:30, 4 November 2011 (UTC)

It seems like a pretty rare kind of problem--most people who get binned tend not to really hang around. That said, I look at voting as something that should involve "members in good standing," and vandal-binned users aren't really "in good standing." B♭maj7 (talk) Anachronistically anachronistic 20:34, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
I doubt anyone seriously would try to count the vote of a vandal-binned user. Blue Talk 20:48, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
The voting extension does. Anyway, better to clarify this now. -- Nx / talk 21:02, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
Ah. Is Trent now the only one who can change it? Blue Talk 21:11, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
Yeah, though it's simple, the vandal bin already removes autoconfirmed. Ponder Stibbons talk Wizard's hat.svg 21:13, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
Forgive me if I'm being authoritariofascist again, but I think this falls under the category of things Trent can do of his own prerogative. Blue Talk 23:58, 16 November 2011 (UTC)
Agree with Blue to the extent it's a real problem, which Nx says it isn't. Nutty Roux100x100 anarchy symbol.svg 16:33, 17 November 2011 (UTC)
Uh, I'm not following you. What did I say isn't a real problem? -- Nx / talk 18:49, 17 November 2011 (UTC)
I misread your description of the way the extension works. Nutty Roux100x100 anarchy symbol.svg 19:20, 17 November 2011 (UTC)

Mission[edit]

I propose we add a mission objective about controversy within science.--"Shut up, Brx." 23:37, 16 November 2011 (UTC)

Is our mission to cause it or avoid it? WéáśéĺóíďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 00:02, 17 November 2011 (UTC)
Can you say what exactly you're proposing? As in, a draft of the language? Blue Talk 00:07, 17 November 2011 (UTC)
I reckon we should have articles about Rusty Spotted Felidea and Otters. Aceace 00:44, 17 November 2011 (UTC)
I propose we don't add a mission objective about controversy within science because we're not a general science encyclopedia or clearing house. Discussing mere controversy isn't remotely implied by our aim of analyzing and refuting pseudoscience and the anti-science movement, as there's no strong correspondence between controversy, pseudoscience, anti-science, or crankery. Lots of people disagree on things in science without being anywhere near the fringe we're committed to exploring. Few of us are even competent to do what you suggest. Given the utter lack of any formal scientific, theological, etc. qualifications many of us have, the only reason we even get to write on these subjects on RW is because nobody else does. If we did include exploring controversies within science in our mandate we'd be covering material that's handled so very much more competently in a very much more timely fashion on any number of blogs written by professionals in their fields. Nutty Roux100x100 anarchy symbol.svg 16:32, 17 November 2011 (UTC)
Well, with regards to CPR, a few of us are competent enough to cover developments on the subject, in this case the reluctance of the American Heart Association to adopt compression-only CPR as the only CPR. And it certainly feels on-mission--"Shut up, Brx." 03:50, 24 November 2011 (UTC)
Controversy within science is way beyond us.--BobSpring is sprung! 12:27, 24 November 2011 (UTC)
How about the media's perception of scientific controversy?--Tiberius Gracchus.jpg. 14:39, 24 November 2011 (UTC)
"Shut up, Brx." B♭maj7 (talk) Anachronistically anachronistic 14:42, 24 November 2011 (UTC)
Excuse me?--Tiberius Gracchus.jpg. 14:52, 24 November 2011 (UTC)
Well, regardless of whatever the hell just happened above, I'd say that the media overblowing scientific discoveries or competing theories would be very on mission--Tiberius Gracchus.jpg. 15:32, 24 November 2011 (UTC)
Adding to or changing the mission would be a very big step which would need extensive discussion and the requirement for the change would need to be apparent to the majority of members of the wiki. It's not something to be changed lightly or on a whim.
On the other hand, if you have an idea which is clearly "on mission" and you feel you would be able to withstand a "mission challenge" on the talk page then why not go ahead with it?--BobSpring is sprung! 16:36, 24 November 2011 (UTC)

Post editing your own comments.[edit]

I'm pretty sure that we used to have a strict rule what said that you couldn't go back and edit your own comments in a discussion to make yourself look more smarter, less stupid or less wrong. But the current version seems to be more ambiguous. We've recently seen both the cold fusion chap and one of our Islamic contributors doing this.

I suggest that we explicitly state that you cannot edit your own posts after they have been responded to. --Bob"What can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence." 09:28, 29 March 2012 (UTC)

I have, and probably will in the future, edited out typos in my talk page comments. I do this to make me look smarter - to make me look like the guy who not only knows the difference between their, they're and there but actually applies that knowledge. My problem with our Islamic friend, and others, is the way they edit their talk page in the same way that  K e n  D o l l  might edit an article which, as you imply, makes it hard to respond to.
As such my reading of this 'rule' is that editing of talk page comments is frowned upon except to remove minor typos where this does not affect the meaning or content of the comment. Even then this should be done sparingly and, when doing so, the time stamp of the comment should not be altered. Jack Hughes (talk) 10:29, 29 March 2012 (UTC)
You have my vote on that. Redchuck.gif ГенгисmaraudingModerator 10:49, 29 March 2012 (UTC)
You can always leave a remark like (edited for typos ~~~~~) at the end of the comment... larronsicut fur in nocte 10:53, 29 March 2012 (UTC)
So
Similarly, users should not delete or change another user's comments on a talk or discussion page, with the following exceptions:
  • Obviously vile comments made for the purposes of trolling, and of a user on his/her own talk-page, as described above. The obviously vile trolling comments may either be deleted or enclosed in a collapsible box using the "trolltop" and "trollbottom" templates.
  • Posts from users who have been blocked from the site, but are circumventing the block by using an alternate IP address or sockpuppet account. Deletion of such posts is mandatory, as this is considered necessary for the proper enforcement of blocks.
Becomes
Similarly, users should not delete or change any comments on a talk or discussion page, with the following exceptions:
  • Obviously vile comments made for the purposes of trolling, and of a user on his/her own talk-page, as described above. The obviously vile trolling comments may either be deleted or enclosed in a collapsible box using the "trolltop" and "trollbottom" templates.
  • Posts from users who have been blocked from the site, but are circumventing the block by using an alternate IP address or sockpuppet account. Deletion of such posts is mandatory, as this is considered necessary for the proper enforcement of blocks.
  • Editing one's own comments for minor typos where this does not affect the meaning or content of the comment. The time stamp of the comment should not be altered. Consistent and repeated minor edits are still frowned upon. Please use the preview button.
OK? Jack Hughes (talk) 13:00, 29 March 2012 (UTC)
Looks good to me. 86.154.6.228 (talk) (Sophie at the radiio station) 13:07, 29 March 2012 (UTC)
I like it, yes. Blue Talk 14:00, 29 March 2012 (UTC)
To be a whiner baby for a second, I've done things like used a word or phrasing I didn't really like and didn't really notice was 'eh' until the post button was pressed. What constitutes changing the meaning, or a non- minor typo or error-correction? Would rephrasing to the same end (replacing 'like' with 'similar to', for instance) count as an acceptable error? Or would I have to note 'edited for precise phrasing' if I make such a mistake? I try my best to get it right the first time, but I guess once you spend some time at the copy-editing desk you're scarred forever and can't stop seeing things you should have added or tightened up. ±Knightoftldrsig.pngKnightOfTL;DRsufficiently advanced argument still distinguishable from magic 14:06, 29 March 2012 (UTC)
More fucking rules. What brought on this proposal and why is a new rule better than simply reverting and asking someone to stop because, you know, changing the substance of comments in a discussion is unseemly? Nutty Rouxnever mind 14:12, 29 March 2012 (UTC)
Because of tosspots going "you can't stop me because it's not in the rules, nyer nyer nyer." Sophiebecause liberals 14:16, 29 March 2012 (UTC)
I wouldn't take Nutty too seriously here. Now that I've expressed my support for the idea, there's no way in hell he'll support it too. Blue Talk 14:24, 29 March 2012 (UTC)
Blue: nice try. Sophie: we can stop them. One person doing something that obviously contrary to the community ethos is going to get beat down in a heartbeat. But whatever. I've expressed my preference for letting culture and practice stand in place of hard and fast rules. A big part of my objection is that we all suck badly at drafting rules, especially Blue. She's particularly terrible at it. Nutty Rouxnever mind 15:12, 29 March 2012 (UTC)

I like Jack's idea but I'd say that we should add something to the effect that you can edit any post of your own in any way you like immediately after posting and as long as it has not been responded to.--Bob"What can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence." 16:10, 29 March 2012 (UTC)

So building on Jack's:
  • Similarly, users should not delete or change any comments on a talk or discussion page, with the following exceptions:
  • Obviously vile comments made for the purposes of trolling, and of a user on his/her own talk-page, as described above. The obviously vile trolling comments may either be deleted or enclosed in a collapsible box using the "trolltop" and "trollbottom" templates.
  • Posts from users who have been blocked from the site, but are circumventing the block by using an alternate IP address or sockpuppet account. Deletion of such posts is mandatory, as this is considered necessary for the proper enforcement of blocks.
  • Editing one's own comments for minor typos where this does not affect the meaning or content of the comment, or where they have not been immediately responded to. The time stamp of the comment should not be altered. Consistent and repeated minor edits are still frowned upon. Please use the preview button.
  • In all other circumstances you should not edit talk page comments.
This is all a relatively minor clarification to existing policy.--Bob"What can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence." 17:00, 30 March 2012 (UTC)
I'm with Nutty on this one. We don't need intricate rules to cover every grey area; it will just end up with more wikilawyering. Do we honestly need a rule about correcting typos? I've seen people correct other editor's typos on talk pages & not get shot down for it. ΨΣΔξΣΓΩΙÐWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 19:20, 30 March 2012 (UTC)
I simply raise the point because it has come up a couple of times recently and one user has been blocked for it. It's not a major addition and it clarifies the situation.--Bob"What can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence." 19:49, 30 March 2012 (UTC)
And we've just blocked another user for doing it (I think).--Bob"What can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence." 20:18, 30 March 2012 (UTC)

Not rules[edit]

PFoster, you misinterpret the project here. Let me explain. These are not rules but "Standards". Any relation to anything anyone may do is purely coincidental. Besides we agreed long ago, that the editing of comments who no one had yet posted a reply to, is tolerable if not desirable. Also a special exception exists for particularly amusing editors who are morally handicap where they can delete whatever they want. The mob shall be encumbered by no memory. Unicow (talk) 04:43, 31 March 2012 (UTC)

No second chance in Saloon bar[edit]

The Saloon bar has too much chance of edit conflict so if any re-edit is done it must be when adding another comment. Feel the shame and correct your brain! Unicow (talk) 04:43, 31 March 2012 (UTC)

Journalistic objectivity[edit]

I think you would do much better to (as you do) trash NPOV but to espouse

which is the traditional notion that NPOV attempts to re-invent (and practically copyright). Objections? If no objections in the next few days, then I will update the page to that effect.--Amorrow (talk) 05:48, 10 May 2012 (UTC)

This wiki loves its snark, and the SPOV is highly entrenched. As for objectivity:
Journalistic objectivity can refer to fairness, disinterestedness, factuality, and nonpartisanship, but most often encompasses all of these qualities.
We are not disinterested, for one, and I don't think we fit the other categories very well either. Peter is procrastinating. 05:53, 10 May 2012 (UTC)
Well, OK. Thanks for the prompt feedback. Hey, have you considered installing the ability to embed YouTube vidoes? That can be pretty snarky, in the style of, say, Encyclopedia Dramatica. See, for instance, http://epawiki.org/wiki/index.php?title=Felisa_Wolfe-Simon . --Amorrow (talk) 05:57, 10 May 2012 (UTC)
We have already got that:
Peter is procrastinating. 06:03, 10 May 2012 (UTC)
I suggest not mentioning ED as a example of how to run a wiki--il'Dictator Mikal 06:03, 10 May 2012 (UTC)
Even journalists are somewhat shaky on if journalistic objectivity is really ethical or not or what it should even mean. For example, say you have a story about geology. Do you have to give 'fair' time to a flat-earth creationist as well as a geologist? Or is it fair to refuse that time to the flat-earth creationist, due to the fact that the viewpoint isn't actually true? ±Knightoftldrsig.pngKnightOfTL;DRlongissimus non legeri 06:03, 10 May 2012 (UTC)
What I am trying to emphasize is that Wikipedia's (or specifically Jimbo Wales') invention of "NPOV" was just a pathetic attempt to pretend that he invented anything that he can claim credit for. He now benefits from the many decades of the concept as developed in proper schools of journalism (you know, the high-quality stuff that people win Pulitzer Prizes for and stuff like that). The Wolfe-Simon page is a semi-serious attempt to identify what so many people are annoyed by her. Thanks for the heads-up that you do embedded video (I simply looked for the YouTube extension in the wiki "Versions" special page, but you have some other extension that enabled this useful, snarky thing).--Amorrow (talk) 06:12, 10 May 2012 (UTC)
What Peter said. Also, since you last edited we have introduced certain formal voting procedures, so that you have to hold a policy vote before modifying the Community Standards. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 06:22, 10 May 2012 (UTC)
We've always had to have a vote on them. It's not anything new; when we revamped the Standards back in 2009 we voted. Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 16:34, 10 May 2012 (UTC)
Hell, we !voted on them when we first wrote them. ħumanUser talk:Human 01:03, 11 May 2012 (UTC)