[Foundation-l] Resignation as Bureaucrat and Admin from it.wiktionary ...

Sabine Cretella sabine_cretella at yahoo.it
Sat Jun 16 20:46:43 UTC 2007

Please find below the text of a blog I just published. It is the logical 
consequence following out of a chat of today. No, I don't want and I am 
not going to discuss it - the decision was just based on what happened 
today ...

What I would like to ask you if you do "new things" or start to add 
bureaucratic rules etc. to a wiki: think about what consequences this 
could have before you really do it. Often rules hinder more than they 
can do good, in particular on small projects. And it.wikt is a fairly 
small project.

Well normally Saturday is my day to work on another free project, yes, 
you know it ... it will wait to next Saturday then.

Thanks for your understanding.

Best, Sabine

-------- Original-Nachricht --------

... or: when things get crazy and you have to draw a line

I still remember my first steps on it.wiktionary 
<http://it.wiktionary.org> ... 16th of June 2004, yes, exactly three 
years ago – the first term I edited was lunedì 
<http://it.wiktionary.org/wiki/luned%C3%AC> (Monday). The almost only 
user that was seen online in these days was Paulo. He wanted to pull up 
the project, but shortly after he saw that I took things seriously he 
went away.

On 30th August 2004 the idea of an universal Wiktionary was born – 
thanks to Gerard Meijssen who then created articles of languages with 
loads of templates in there – well... the whole story would be too much 
now, but thanks to some misunderstandings and a following very long 
skype conversation today we have OmegaWiki <http://omegawiki.org>.

The Italian wiktionary was always subject to loads of spam. So at a 
certain stage, I don't remember exactly when, I became adminship ... 
well the only one then working there was me, so I was the only one who 
could have done some clean-up.

Well the spam load got more and more and it became almost impossible for 
me to do good work there ... so I started to ask for help ... some 
registered, became admins, went away. Again I went ahead alone. If it 
was not for the pywikipediabot <http://pywikipediabot.sourceforge.net/> 
I would not have been able to add so many entries to it.wikipedia since 
always the main work on it was to keep it clean from spam.

Last year then I became Bureaucrat ... well I was not really present 
anymore, but I cared about a very particular user group that before that 
started to edit it.wiktionary – most of them teens, great and wonderful 
young people dedicating their free time to free projects. I am not 
naming them one by one here, because I could forget someone and I don't 
want to do this.

Now many of you will ask themselves why I did not immediately leave 
Wiktionary when I was working on OmegaWiki (time ago called Ultimate 
Wiktionary and then WiktionaryZ). Well ... it is a bit like with a baby 
... you feed it, see it grow and then it goes, but in some way there is 
still part of your life connected to it.

But back to our very particular user group: they are most of all teens, 
partly very young, but dedicated ... and they did good. Of course not 
always, but it's a wiki, right? So you do what you can when you can. I 
admire them – they did great work. They gave part of their live to the 
project. A good group of them became admins – they came while others who 
today claim to be the only ones to be able to give rules to the project 
then were present, but did not care at all when I said: hey guys, I 
can't deal with all that anymore, I need help. No, I will never again 
allow people to say that the youth of this country is no good – they are 
great! You just need to trust them to do good and they will do it. They 
put their heart in it.

Now today I was called through my discussion pag 
<http://www.omegawiki.org/User_talk:SabineCretella> on OmegaWiki since 
someone asked for the desysop of one of the admins. He was accused of 
being not active, not cleaning up spam and copyviolations ... ok, so I 
went to the chat (yes, I have the log, but anyway it is not relevant for 
me anymore ... so: it doesn't make a difference to publish it). So I 
asked for several things, most of them not really so tragic, but a 
desysop to one of the most valuable people at the time he joined ... 
well, that was something to really talk about.

Now what I learnt is that some wikipedians (well, yes, the one asking 
for desysop is quite new to wiktionary) assume that when you become and 
admin you assume the responsibility to regularly clean up the wiki ... 
well I would say: this is perceived completely wrong. If the admins were 
paid and had to sign a contract, well then this is a different thing, 
but they are not – they DONATE their free time. Ok, then I got the 
following as the reason for "desysop": ... ma di aver lasciato 
wikizionario senza policy, senza controllo copyviol, senza importare 
decine di lemmi da altri progetti... (but to have left Wiktionary 
without policy, without checking copyviol, whtout importing tens of 
lemmas from other projects) .... UHMMMMMM ....

Is there a contract where it is written down that who is elected Admin 
(well, ok, Sysop) or Bureaucrat has to do this and otherwise he gets 
desysoped? That is plain stupid – against any sense of collaborative 
projects, against any sense of humanity. Another nice sentence I got in 
these answers was (fairly at the beginning): " invasa di bambini che 
giocavano, può bastare come spiegazione?" (invaded by kids who were 
playing, isn't this enough of an explanation?)

I can't believe it ... well maybe these teens were not perfect, but they 
did their best, nobody is perfect. I would very much like to remind some 
poeople of what the Wikimedia Foundation aims to do: provide free 
knowledge to all people in the world in their language.

Now does this stop with the contents or are we here as well to transmit 
what Free Content, Free Software, Wikis and Collaborative Projects are 
to people, young and old, who are new to it. Also this is a kind of 
education, of giving knowledge – this is social knowledge. Well it seems 
that some do not like to invest in their future ... because instead of 
starting a desysop procedure this person could have talked to them, 
explaining them and if the explanation would have been logic enough they 
probably would have agreed and co-operated. But now? How can people feel 
good to work in such an environment? Does this really reflect the 
community spirit? I would clearly say: no.

I am not willing to co-operate in future on it.wiktionary since 
obviously under these circumstances I cannot be of any help. Therefore I 
resign from my being Bureaucrat and Sysop on the Italian Wiktionary. It 
is sad and part of my life is in that project ... I don't want to see it 
die ... it would be too much. So: I am not going to go back there ... 
well with two exeptions, one of which is: just my user page will contain 
a link to this article and to the place where people can find me if they 
want to talk to me – that's all.

One word to the new Amdins and Bureaucrats: according to what I learnt 
from the chat today it seems you signed for some kind of a contract by 
being elected Admin or Bureaucrat. I will have a look in one years time 
and hopefully you will all be there happily doing what you are expected 
to do ... well: it is a responsibility you took according to your new 
policies ... so the project is waiting for you – people are expecting 
you to do your job now.

There would be so much more to say .... please, if you work on other 
projects: don't follow this example – it destroys the community. We need 
to build community, bring over the spirit of free projects, of all free 
projects. The teens of today will be among the best editors of tomorrow. 
Never consider a kid, even a 5 year old, to be too young to do something 
– they are all well able, if they have an interest and they want to do. 
Trust them to do good. They need it – they are our very own future.

And to the editors who worked on it.wiktionary during my short period 
... well during the last three years: thank you so much for your efforts 
and help – and a very special thanks to our young ones – I find it 
really special that you dedicate your free time to free projects ... 
like I already said: you are our future and the day will come, if it is 
not already here, that we will learn from you.

Thanks for your attention. And yes, of course: you will always find me 
on the Neapolitan Wikipedia <http://nap.wikipedia.org> but mainly 
working on the connection of various free projects in order to maximise 
results with the donations in time people give us. Yes, we must value 
each minute highly.

Thank you!!!

Posted By Sabine Cretella to words & more 
at 6/16/2007 10:07:00 PM

More information about the foundation-l mailing list