User:Bicycle Wheel/RationalWikiWiki B
The sysops on any given wiki will often be forced to block users in order to protect the site from vandalism. The length of time the vandal is blocked for will depend on factors such as:
- The nature of their offence.
- The policies of the wiki in question.
- The personality or mood of the blocking sysop. (Though this last one is rarely made explicit.)
RationalWiki was supposed to use the Fibonacci sequence; a system designed to make the blocking process both impartial and transparent. Transparency and impartiality are assumed to have been important objectives in the early post CP days of the founders. Sadly, the process was understood by few, and used by none. It has since changed.
With the introduction of the vandal bin, the RW block process should have been reviewed, but it was easier to do nothing so nothing was done. In fact, sysops continue to pull a number out of the air and ban the user for whatever period of time occurs to them.
The fact that the vandal bin has made blocks (and certainly long blocks) largely unnecessary occurs to few sysops. RW's hordes of new sysops receive little formal instruction in the processes (such as they are).
Interestingly, when Sysops have the block dialogue box open they can read at the top,
- "If the user is purely a vandal, use RationalWiki:Vandal instead, to reduce their edit rate to 1 every 30 minutes."
and the advice:
- "Note:Sysops can move vandals into the vandal group at RationalWiki:Vandal."
appears lower down. Despite the explicit instruction to use RationalWiki:Vandal instead, chaos continues to reign with block lengths of over one year being liberally applied in December 2008.
To be fair, by January 2009 many of the long blocks had been reduced to some time in 2009. Interestingly (?) the longest outstanding unexplained IP block was applied by Radioactive afikomen and it expires in no less than 20 January 2035. We are impressed both by his assumption that Rationalwiki will still be operating in 2035, and by his apparent belief that the IP will be anxiously waiting for an opportunity to edit for the next twenty-six years.
Types of blocks
RationalWiki Bureaucrats had the power to change another user's name, and to confer or remove user rights. There were a few dozen crats on the site. Users have been nominated for 'cratship at the saloon bar or at a 'crat nominations page, where the votes usually went 6 or 7 for, 6 or 7 against, and 12 whining that there were enough bureaucrats already and RW should de-crat the inactive ones before elevating anyone else to the exalted rank. The rank of Bureaucrat was abolished by God Himself in the massive May 2011 shakeup. In late July 2012 crats came to be back, though likely due to tech oversight during the 22 July upgrade. And then they were gone. The lord giveth and the lord taketh away.
After the Saloon Bar Putsch there was one crat, who handed on the crat baton to somebody else. For the record, these sole crats were:
- prior to 13:49 - Nx crats himself via server access.
- 13:49 - Nx crats Π.
- 15:28 - with a "Whee, you're it," Π throws the Baton across the Indian Ocean to Psygremlin and decrats himself.
- 15:42 - Psy passes the baton to Totnesmartin, somewhat to the latter's surprise.
- 20:26 - Tmtoulouse informs Totnesmartin that there don't have to be any crats., because Trent made sysops able to make other sysops.
- 21:36 with the cryptic comment "King Log" Totnesmartin decrats himself without passing the baton.
- There were no crats, but sysops were able to sysop other users due to Trent adding their ability to sysop others, but not remove sysop rights.
- prior to 03:54: Nx crats himself through server access again.
- 03:54 - Nx crats Blue. She begins recratting former bureaucrats including Ty, who joins in the task,
and sanity was restored.