And an excellent analysis by User:WAS 4.250 on what
all the fuss is
about regarding the initial block, the private/secret list etc.
"People here who don't understand why the Durova incident was a big deal
for some need to understand that it precipitated a crisis of confidence.
A year ago (27 December 2006) we were told on by Kelly Martin on
It seems that people have forgotten (or perhaps even never
known) why #wikipedia-en-admins was created. The purpose was to
have a forum where Foundation people (Jimbo, Brad, Danny, et al)
could discuss high-priority issues requiring urgent action with
trusted admins in a non-public place. Why non-public? Because
these issues generally involved matters which were the subject
of press attention or of threats of litigation, or otherwise
prone to creating difficulties for the Wikimedia Foundation if
not dealt with quickly and, as much as possible, quietly.
Unfortunately, the channel was quickly compromised (there have
been several instances of logs being leaked to various
unscrupulous parties who have used them to try to create
embarrassment or otherwise complicate the Foundation's efforts
to avoid being embroiled in negative publicity or litigation),
and as a result, such situations are now managed through other,
even more secret, forums.
We could shut down the #wikipedia-en-admins channel, but that
wouldn't get rid of the nonpublic backchannels. It would just
change their names and disperse the participants somewhat. At
least #wikipedia-en-admins is an obvious channel name; it is
certainly more informative than one of its progenitors,
Major administrative decisions have been made, at times, in
these backchannels. Some of them have been quite momentous. In
most of those cases, the decisions that have been made have been
decisions that could not possibly have been discussed, let alone
made, on the public wiki, but nonetheless have had to be made.
This is a situation where the exigencies of real life, a
universe which is replete with dastardly beasts such as
reporters, pundits, and attorneys, force us to dispense with a
full and open public discussion because doing so is the only way
to avoid a vicious nasty lawsuit that would at best cripple and
at worst utterly destroy Wikipedia. You don't have to like this.
I'm not really all that happy about it either. But it's the way
things are, and it's not something that's going to go away any
So, anyway, that's the "vital information" that gets passed
through IRC backchannels like #wikipedia-en-admins, and why it
cannot be passed through the public noticeboards. If you're not
an admin doing crisis management for the Foundation, then you
probably don't need to be there. But it would rather nice of
those of you who are not doing crisis management for the
Foundation to at least afford the assumption of good faith to
those who are. And keep in mind that there's always the chance
that if you do see an admin do something inexplicable, it might
be a crisis management action, and that perhaps a polite private
inquiry should be your first line of action, instead of an
incendiary post to one of the noticeboards. Kelly Martin (talk)
02:51, 27 December 2006 (UTC)
The Durova incident email we read, the description of its having been
reviwed and approved, the agreement by many admins in the first hour
that the block should not be overturned except by arbcom and that the
evidence was such that it could not be given to the community for
evaluation, and the frantic efforts to delete evidences needed by the
community to evaluate the situation; all led people to doubt what we
have been told about what goes on behind closed doors around here. It
led to a crisis of confidence, a doubting that we were being told the
truth, a doubting in the judgement of the people in charge of what goes
on behind closed doors. Efforts to say take my word for it and to delete
evidence strengthened the appearance that the words were different than
the facts. You must understand that when someone questions whether you
are lying saying "I am not lying" does not help. Evidence is needed.
That is what is going on. WAS 4.250 13:55, 30 November 2007 (UTC)"
Experience is a good school but the fees are high.
- Heinrich Heine
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There is, of course, more to it than this. !! was apparently
extremely popular and managed to get unbanned roughly on that, not
because he was innocent or anything.
If Durova had decided I was the returning banned user, rather than !!,
and banned me, I would probably still be banned - I am not so popular
as to cause this kind of outcry. It's possible I could find someone
to cause a stink on my behalf and get the situation fixed ... I do
know one such person, probably.
As Interiot's Wanna-be Kate's tool will tell you, I rather like this
Wikipedia dealie. I would be kinda sad if I was told to go home and
not come back. And so I find the fact that there's a real risk of
that (even if it's small) somewhat trouble, and worth raising a stink
over. I would imagine this is at play in why a lot of other editors
are upset at the situation as well.