[WikiEN-l] Fred Bauder "clarifies" on attack site link policy

Daniel R. Tobias dan at tobias.name
Sun Jul 1 13:40:42 UTC 2007

Recently, [[User:Kamryn Matika]] asked on the RfA page for 
clarification regarding the ban on linking to attack sites imposed in 
the MONGO arbitration; the specific situation she was involved in was 
the insertion of a link to source the [[Essjay controversy]] article. 
Fred Bauder has now responded:

-- begin response --
Arbitration rulings are not policy. They apply only to the specific 
situation considered, in this case, a link to dem attic. Inserting 
such a link into Wikipedia is a blockable offense, although, a 
warning is appropriate if it seems the user was unaware of the status 
of that site. In your case, the 24 hour block seems appropriate as 
you were apparently both aware and warned. Fred Bauder 21:31, 30 June 
2007 (UTC)

Attempts to generalize the remedy in that case into more general 
policy have not been happy. I don't think it is good general policy. 
Such a remedy should only be applied in egregious circumstances, 
after a hearing which considers the particular site. Fred Bauder 
21:31, 30 June 2007 (UTC)
-- end response --

Unfortunately, this response is full of contradictions.  Bauder is 
claiming that the ruling in question is "not policy", that it applies 
only to a "specific situation", and shouldn't be "generalized" and is 
not "good general policy"; furthermore, it should be applied only in 
"egregious circumstances" to particular sites that have been 
considered in a hearing.  However, he is also saying that it's proper 
to block Kamryn because she was "warned"... regardless of the facts 

1) the link she inserted was not to a site that has been the subject 
of a specific hearing
2) the link was arguably a relevant and proper reference for the 
article in which it was being inserted, and not an "egregious 
3) a "warning" that is not backed by valid policy is not a valid 
basis for a block, or else anybody could "warn" anybody about 
anything based on their own pet peeves, and expect it to be enforced. 
Can I just order people not to use the letter "w" any more, if I 
don't like it?
4) "Enforcing" this non-policy on relevant links to source an article 
seem to be precisely the sort of thing that's an 'attempt to 
generalize' the ruling in ways that are not 'good general policy'.

Furthermore, Bauder followed up his response by editing Kamryn's 
original posting to remove the link to the particular instance she 
was discussing.  This link was to a Wikipedia diff, not directly to a 
so-called "attack site", and was necessary for readers to understand 
exactly what is being discussed.  In doing so, he also reworded 
Kamryn's comments, putting in a reference to "the outlawed site" that 
wasn't there before (and doesn't make sense, since the original link 
wasn't actually to the specific site that was "outlawed" in the 
original ruling).  Of course, with the link to the diff removed, it's 
hard for anybody to actually check on this, and see that the link was 
to a different site than the one covered specifically in the ArbCom 
ruling, and what context the link was made in.

Incidentally, today's New York Times Magazine article on Wikipedia 
includes a specific mention of Encyclopedia Dramatica and its attacks 
on Slim Virgin.  I guess if anything that even refers to an attack 
site is itself an attack site, then The New York Times is now an 
attack site.

== Dan ==
Dan's Mail Format Site: http://mailformat.dan.info/
Dan's Web Tips: http://webtips.dan.info/
Dan's Domain Site: http://domains.dan.info/

More information about the WikiEN-l mailing list