crossposting to wikipedia-l as this is an international issue
as a totally non-en person, admin on other wikis and actually working
"behind the scenes", I would like to give my view on what I believe is
needed, and why an en-admin-only channel and list won't help to the
extent that is needed. This is long, but please bear with me.
Let me try to make this more concrete.
) receives a lot (and here I
mean "A LOT") of complaints.
Those range from:
"there's a mistake in this article, please fix it", to:
"You're defaming me, delete this article/those revisions, or I will
sue you!" through
"this page is an enormous copyvio from my site!"
with as Sam Korn already pointed out, various degrees of civility.
The problem is the following:
Only a few people have agreed to help on OTRS. It's one thing to spend
hours editing wikipedia, it's another to want to spend hours alone on
a boring screen answering (most of the time) crazy emails. We have
appealed to the en population several times (why en? because it is the
one most attacked, but actually, other wikipedias are suffering from
the same problem, and as we grow, these will get bigger and more
numerous) and have gotten only very few answers. Fine, I can
The people who *are* working on OTRS are for some "good editors", for
others "better e-mail answerers" than "editors" (me, for example). In
the end, I think anyway that we *will* have to pay someone to answer
those emails. As I speak, there are 280 unanswered emails in the
info-en queue. Probably most of these are spam, but even sorting spam
takes an awful lot of time.
What happens is this: you get an email with a complaint, you go see
the page, realize there's about 2 hours of work on the page, and get
discouraged. Because on one hand, you can't really go "public" with
the complaint (it's, after all, an email, gives personal information
etc.) and on the other, you *know* that something needs to be done.
Here you have two options:
-either you take the two hours to fix the article, but then, there are
still 279 emails to be answered in OTRS.
-or you go to a person you know, who you think could be good at fixing
Here two options again:
-the person you chose to tell does have two hours and can fix the article
-they don't and it gets forgotten
and maybe a third one:
-They don't have the time, go to other people, the "issue" is somehow
broadcasted, makes the front page of USA Today... and you know the
So what's the solution?
I don't think that the solution is en-admin-only anything. I think the
solution is something that would be more like:
- The wikipedia community at large realizes that there *are* problems
with some articles
- The wikipedia community at large *knows* who is: "good at NPOV",
good at "speedy deleting", good at "cleaning histories", good in
"Famous people stuff", good at "sourcing an article".
-The wikipedia community at large *does* agree that something needs to
be done to clean up Wikipedia in a (sorry, but it's true) hidden kind
-The wikipedia community at large decides to "appoint", "elect",
"designate" (whatever suits the wikipedia community at large) a few
trusted users who are reknown for the things listed above and agrees
that they should all get together on one list where the people working
behind the scenes (in OTRS) can just forward the email and are *sure*
that it is going to be taken care of in a timely and discreet fashion.
NB. This list should not be of 800, it should not either be of 20, I
am thinking something along the lines of 50-70 people from all across
the wikipedias (because there are problems that may be repercuted from
one language to the other- see tron for example), admins and
non-admins (I can cite at least 5 people on fr who are not admins whom
I would trust to do that kind of stuff better than many admins).
I am not sure how we can do that without ever falling in the "clique"
type thing. But how different is it from all the "associations" of
every kind that I have come across on en? Not sure.
What I am sure of is this: either the wikipedia community at large
acknowledges the problem and tries to find a solution *together*, or
we'll end up (not tomorrow, but soon enough) by having to "pay" some
"NPOVers", or "history-cleaners", or choose them in a cabal-fashion,
to do the work. Because the work to be done is there and most of it
has to stay a little private.
The idea is to have people who know how to do this stuff (NPOV,
sourcing), who are recognized for doing it well, who can get together
on an article and work together on it when the complaint comes in, who
are ok with doing it as part of their "normal" participation on
wikipedia. The only thing is that their "work" will be a little
directed. ie. "Please look at these 20 articles, that are a copyvio of
this site". They can be tasked with asking people outside the list to
help them etc.
This is what it's all about.
Hope this long email helped a little, and that it will spark ideas...
I am for my part, short on ideas about how to deal with this stuff,
and afraid that some day it will backfire in a much nastier way than
just the front page of USA Today.