[WikiEN-l] Fwd: RFA has gone weird

David Gerard dgerard at gmail.com
Fri Oct 6 12:52:03 UTC 2006

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Fred Bauder <fredbaud at ctelco.net>

Please forward to wikien-l at Wikipedia.org


On Oct 6, 2006, at 6:31 AM, Steve Summit wrote:

> David Gerard wrote:
>> As I said, it'd be nice if most editors could get it without
>> ever-increasing requirements on RFA...
>> (Now, that's an interesting question: how voting pages of this
>> sort get ever-increasing requirements, and what to do about it.
>> FAC is another.)
> It's an interesting aspect of human nature.  Those requirements
> *always* tend to creep.  When you have people whose job it is to
> set and enforce policy, and once they've set and enforced a given
> level of policy, they *have* to raise the bar or invent new
> policies, to give themselves something to do.  It's what they do.
> If everything's humming along smoothly with the bar at a given
> level, and everyone is so used to it that there's hardly any
> enforcement to do, it's remarkably difficult to sit back and say,
> "Wow, everything's working so well, I guess we can go home early."
> It's hard to let a system just "sit there and work".  There's an
> overwhelming urge to say, "Okay, what more can we do?"

The Arbitration Committee did not delegate responsibilities to the
administrators because the system was "sitting there working". What
was happening is that we had no remedies other than outright banning.
It was not working well to ban people from the site who were only
disrupting one article. Creation of partial remedies tailored to
particular situations like probation gave alternatives, but also gave
power and responsibility to administrators. As we rely on
administrators more it is reasonable to be more careful. However the
criteria being used in RfA often don't seem real rational.


> Somehow, these proclivities are no less present when the
> regulators and monitors are volunteers whose available time
> for the task is limited and precious.  And if anything, it's
> the self-appointed regulators and monitors who have the greatest
> tendency to get overly passionate about the job and go overboard
> with the requirements.
> As I believe H.G. Wells once wrote, "The lawgiver, of all beings,
> most owes the law allegiance.  He of all men should behave as
> though the law compelled him.  But it is the universal weakness
> of mankind that what we are given to administer we presently
> imagine we own."

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