[WikiEN-l] The cart before the horse: policy changes
dzonatas at dzonux.net
Fri Feb 10 14:18:15 UTC 2006
February 10, 2006
Would you be bold and update policy? Does it seem bolder to take
administrative action without proper justification? This is what needs
to be addressed.
The foundations of wikipedia are based on (a) discussion, (b)
discussion, and (c) discussion. Somewhere along the way was inserted
others option: (d) block and (c) end of discussion.
There are many reasons to start discussion, and there are some reasons
to block, and there are even better reasons to continue discussion.
Would you rather block and end discussion or attempt to follow the
foundations and allow for discussion?
Let's get to the point and work with that (to avoid a lengthy business
like letter). Sometimes when the block is done, it puts the cart before
the horse. The block is given but no discussion to justify the block is
done until (maybe) some later time. Given that wikipedia is open
content, the only justification that seems applicable for such swift
action is if continual vandalism is in progress, and the block is the
only way to stop it. However, blocks are given out much easier than that.
We have examples of where blocks are given out that are not based on
technicalities of policy, and I'll provide evidence below:
It took about 10 minutes for a user to make a 3RR report and for the
block to be instated. Reason: "Blocked for 24h for 3RR on the Template.
Not technically 3RR on the Talk because the first edit wasn't a revert,
just a total waste of everyones time. Dzontas: please learn to get along
with people. D's complaints about personal attack I judge totally
unfounded. William M. Connolley
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:William_M._Connolley> 22:21, 9
February 2006 (UTC)." [
Further discussion with wikipedians on #wikipedia led to the belief
where the block was almost entirely undone. The block for the template
was found as not valid since the first edit was not a revert, so both
technically were not 3RR.
Discussion continued on the #wikipedia to justify a block. It took about
a half hour to find any decent justification. It took about an hour to
pinpoint justification, which isn't explicitly stated in the Three
Revert Rule policy.
I agreed to a block on the basis that once one person contests an edit
then discussion must follow on the talk page about the edit, like to
find consensus before another edit. This is the policy change to make
that would make this much clearer. The 3RR has implied such but it
doesn't explicitly state it; although, a 3RR block has been used
regularly on this basis. "The point is," it wasn't obvious.
The policy change would make it obvious.
Also realize in the case above, the user that made the 3RR report never
did discuss the reason for his revert. Discussion did happen on the talk
page, but none of the discussion specifically addressed the edit summary
of the revert. The question about the reason for the revert was avoided
and a block handed out instead. This needs also to be covered in policy
to make sure that relevant discussion on the talk page justifies any
revert; otherwise, they are subject to count towards a 3RR rule block on
the person that doesn't answer the questions to justify that person's
I know by this process I have actually exploited a common tactical
revert-war technique. That is to revert, not discuss the revert, and let
the other user edit again until there is enough edits to make a 3RR
report. An admin might block upon it, as in the above case proves it
happens. Also, in the above case, the edit summary stated "gr" and later
"grammar" but the user never stated the point of exactly where he
thought the grammar was wrong enough to justify a revert - it is a
personal attack to just comment without reason on someone's grammar,
Thanks for you time to read this. I plan to post diffs on this activity,
but not on this mail-list.
The block is the cart while the horse is the discussion. The horse needs
to pull the cart -- it doesn't seem right other way around.
I also expect mutual application of such policy. To continually apply it
to some wikipedians while it is not equally applied to others implies
seditious activity against wikipedia and wikipedians.
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