[Foundation-l] Pissed off at en:Wikisource

Ray Saintonge saintonge at telus.net
Tue Mar 10 12:14:45 UTC 2009

The behaviour of three people in driving me out of adminship at 
en:wikisource has left me bitterly disappointed with and deeply offended 
by the length to which some will go to rid themselves of someone whom 
they personally dislike.  I cannot but view their efforts as anything 
but a series of concerted personal attacks.  The details can be found at 

The process began in the context of an annual confirmation at 
Wikisource.  John Vandenberg began stirring the pot with a series of 
five claims which were all easily refuted.  He later commented:"there is 
no expectation that evidence is provided here, nor is there a 
requirement to have attempted to "fix" the admin conduct prior to the 
vote of confidence."  This is clear hostility to any peaceful resolution.

Pathoschild did not hesitate to distort and exaggerate individual 
incidents to suit his purposes.  If I call a certain type of edit 
"useless", it can hardly be construed as a comment about the person. 
When he went so far as to say that I was belittling others, that was a 
bald-faced lie. His comment, "Of course he can reapply at any time, but 
I'll likely object then for the same reasons," tells me that he is 
willing to hold on to his grudges indefinitely.

Although, to his credit, Thomas V did not cast a vote because his 
en:wikisource activities have recently been sparse, that did not prevent 
him from dragging in old settled issues pre-dating the division of 
Wikisource into separate domains.  He did not hesitate to attack two 
individuals who supported my continued adminship.  For one he complained 
that his support was based entirely on the way I looked in a picture of 
me taken at a Portland meetup.  There was no doubt more to the IRC 
conversation than that, but I am not privy to how those 
behind-the-scenes conversations may have influenced opinions.

The grudges with the latter two individuals have been ongoing for a long 
time, and in the past year I have been more than happy to keep my 
contact with them to a minimum.  I certainly have not had the energy to 
wantonly dig up dirt on them when their confirmations came up.

The underlying issues for the complaints against me would be laughable 
in certain other projects.  NPOV issues are fairly uncommon in 
Wikisource; persistent copyvios are not an issue; no questions of 
edit-warring are involved.  Much of the problems had to do with cleaning 
up backlog, or differing views about how articles should be named, or 
banners on an author page to say that we had no works by that author 
even though that fact was already obvious because all the links were 
red.  I have also had strong differences with the more technically 
minded people (including all three named above) over technical solutions 
and how we use templates.  I happen to believe that an overuse of such 
techniques will drive away desperately needed help from non-technical 
people, and that some of the more rigid structures actually  hinder our 
ability to become a value-added project.  I have no compunctions about 
expressing my visions forcefully, or allowing for multiple solutions to 
a problem without feeling obliged to choose one as superior.  If one is 
indeed superior it will eventually prevail without being forced. Being 
an admin should not prevent anyone from strongly arguing views that are 
different from those that currently prevail, and the fear that those 
tools may be taken away should not serve to intimidate admins away from 
taking unpopular actions.  Proceeding with fairness and integrity is 
more important than popularity, and if it means that my actions will 
occasionally be reversed I'm not too worried about that

I have participated in these communities for seven years already, and my 
loyalty to their success is beyond question.  I was active on the 
original Wikisource from the day that it opened, and have always 
maintained a vision for that project that goes far beyond the current 

In the course of the confirmations I did express my willingness to 
consider mediation, but that received no response at all.  The 
Wikisource community is too small to have a regular arbitration or 
appeal process, and seeking a review from the same people who drove the 
tyranny of the majority is not likely to be successful.  They are not in 
a position to take a fresh unbiased approach to the matter.  I would 
appreciate it if someone could give a fresh look at this, and perhaps 
provide a degree of mediation.


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