On Wed, 19 Feb 2020 at 22:35, Andy Mabbett <andy(a)pigsonthewing.org.uk
I have just come across a case on en.Wikipedia where
the daughter of
an article subject added details of his funeral (his death in 1984,w
as already recorded) and his view about an indent in his life.
As well as being reverted, she now has three
templates on her talk
> page; two warning her of a CoI, and sandwiching one notifying her of a
> discussion about her on the COI noticeboard. These total 4094
> characters or 665 words.
This is a topic that's seldom discussed and somewhat taboo in certain
areas, therefore not many people are aware of what experiences many
newcomers have. These events go generally unnoticed, but if you were
wondering why editor retention is a constant issue, the pattern that lies
behind this single case you brought to our attention is a top reason.
I've tried to help in a similar case of a footballer unknown in
English-speaking countries. She was repeatedly reverted without the edits
being evaluated or the rules being explained. She never returned and I was
frowned upon by the admin, who was involved, for trying to help.
I've noticed this "shoot first, ask later" pattern in many cases, not just
with newcomers. Unfortunately, this is all too common and a contributing
factor to the toxicity.
I've noticed the following issues:
1) The general unwelcoming treatment of newcomers: "noobs" are considered
lacking the proper understanding and necessary knowledge, unless they jump
right into RC patrolling, which is not the sign of a new editor.
2) The lack of protection given to newcomers: "You have no rights" being
explicitly said to one newcomer, that I recall.
3) Preferential treatment and authority bias: the experienced/established
user is "trusted", thus must be right, therefore unwelcoming - and often
hostile - conduct is not considered uncivil or it's "not actionable".
4) The excessively vilifying application of the most frowned-upon rules
such as COI, socking. Editors tagged as such are treated the same
regardless of the effect of their actions and whether that has caused any
damage, which can scale from none to introducing bias to many articles for
Currently, there is no effort to mitigate these issues, to improve the
policies and community practices. It's also a problem that while the
"biting newbies" and "civility" policies are very well written, these
almost never applied and definitely not in the protection of newcomers. By
that I don't mean these should always result in sanctions, but that the
community - and primarily who get involved with handling disputes - should
take these seriously, approach with a neutral mindset and remind the
editors about our policies, but that almost never happens and such
complaints are either ignored or blindly decided in favor of the editor
with more supporters, enabling the abuse of newcomers.
Tl;dr: newcomers don't enjoy the safety net created by editors who know
and care for each other and the community processes are not set up to
create a welcoming and/or safe environment, this purpose is not manifested
in any kind of endeavors or practices. If the WMF and the movement take the
Mid-Term target of a welcoming environment seriously, that's a difficult,
long-term target that will take a lot of effort.