UESPWiki:Administrator Noticeboard/Archives/Proposed Policy: Prohibiting Interactions

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Proposed Policy: Prohibiting Interactions

Please note that the proposed policy has now been enacted. It can be found at UESPWiki:Interaction Ban.

I'd like to propose officially prohibiting Elliot and rpeh from interacting with each other, in any way, on the wiki. Both have been told as much, unofficially, many times. Given that past requests have failed to resolve the situation, a new approach is clearly needed. There is wikipedia precedent for the proposed restrictions, for example this motion or this finding from their arbitration committee.

A secondary proposal, if the community first agrees with the interaction prohibition, is to remove all current warnings from rpeh and Elliot's talk pages that are related to past incidents between them (or sanction any past edits that have already removed such warnings, as appropriate). The removal would not be intended as any type of statement about the correctness of the original warning. Rather, it is to help both editors feel that they are being treated equally under the new policy. Furthermore, it allows existing discussions such as Request to remove warning to be closed; otherwise, this new policy will effectively bar the complainant from making any further contribution in his appeal process.

Restriction Enforcement

Under this proposal, the next time either Elliot or rpeh violates the restriction prohibiting any interaction, the violator gets an official warning. After the warning, any further violations by the same editor will result in the editor being blocked for a week. The editor will continue to be blocked for a week at a time, as many times as necessary.

As long as the other editor does not respond or do anything to violate the restriction, the other editor will receive no warning and won't be blocked -- this policy will result in no black marks on your record if you comply with the policy.

The primary purpose of the block is to enforce a time-out/cool-down period, and thus prevent the typical rapidly escalating back-and-forth edits. The warning/block is also critical to make it clear to the other editor that he does not need to take any action in response to the violation. Therefore, it's important that we (the administrators) intercede whenever there is a clear violation, even if it's relatively minor (especially given the hope that this policy will reduce the fallout produced by a violation). Furthermore, if other community members notice a violation that has not been addressed by an admin, they should report it here (a simple link to the questionable edit is sufficient; any type of additional explanation is likely to cause extra problems).

Personally, I don't think a pre-warning or advance notification of the new policy is necessary for either editor, given that it's clear that both editors monitor the Administrator Noticeboard. But it others feel differently, someone could post an unofficial notice on each editor's talk page as soon as this policy is considered official.

Restriction Details

Prohibited actions under the proposed restrictions would include:

  • Making comments about the other editor, indirectly or directly, on articles, on discussion pages, or in edit summaries. Substitutes for names (e.g., "you know who") would count as making an indirect comment.
  • Making any edit to the other editor's user page, user talk page, or user subpages.
  • Undoing any edit made by the other editor.
  • If these rules are violated to the point where one editor gets warned or blocked, then the other editor is also prohibited from making any references to that warning/block. Any type of comment seems likely to be interpreted as gloating or otherwise exacerbate future arguments. I want to stop this cycle, not create new ways to perpetuate it.

Furthermore:

  • Elliot and rpeh must do everything possible to avoid derailing other community discussions with their conflicts. So if, for example, rpeh has already contributed to a discussion, Elliot needs to (a) think carefully about whether any contribution is appropriate (e.g., is the information new and important to the discussion) (b) wait long enough (e.g., 24 hours or more) before responding so that it's clear to everyone the comments are not being made hastily or emotionally (c) make absolutely sure that the comments are on topic and do not violate any of the above prohibitions. The same recommendations apply to rpeh if Elliot has already contributed to a discussion.
  • Elliot and rpeh can edit an article previously edited by the other editor, but only if at least 24 hours has passed -- and even then, cannot simply undo the other's edit(s). This condition is to ensure that the restrictions don't effectively make every article on the site off-limits for editing, given both editors' extensive contribution history.

Finally, for this to have a realistic chance of working, I think some form of the above proposal to prevent disruptive edits by anonymous editors needs to be in place. We need to be able to remove and prevent any external provocations that could possibly be interpreted as either editor trying to circumvent the restriction.

Discussion of Proposal

Before wrapping up, I'd like to suggest if rpeh or Elliot wish to respond to this discussion, that they limit themselves to constructive comments that are strictly on the topic of this proposal. I doubt it's necessary to discuss or even make any further reference to the events that have led up to this point. Regardless of who was right or wrong in the past, I believe the community primarily wants to prevent future incidents -- or, if that's not possible, allow clear action to be taken against the person truly responsible.

Again, all community members are welcome to provide feedback; it helps if you can start your comment with Support, Oppose (or Comment, etc.) as appropriate.

Consensus: Oppose. There was, however, general support for a permanent change in policy rather than a one-time interaction ban. Robin Hoodtalk 03:46, 21 June 2010 (UTC)

Timmeh's Alternative Proposal

We could just give them a month to shape up or get out, with the punishment for not doing so is a 3 month block or something. It's not the nicest option, but honestly it's gotten to the point where a block for either/both of them may be better for the wiki in the long term. If I were to see them not at each others throats for a month, maybe my opinion might change. --Tim Talk 03:42, 6 June 2010 (UTC)

Consensus: None. Votes were even (based on an assumption of support from Timmeh himself). In the absence of consensus, existing policy stands. Robin Hoodtalk 03:49, 21 June 2010 (UTC)

Modification to Original Proposal

In response to the above feedback, I've posted the proposed text for a new, more general policy at User:Nephele/Sandbox/6.

I'm guessing the most likely issue with the new text is whether it's sufficient to have two administrators agree. So I've highlighted that phrase in green as a semi-placeholder. Basically, I think that for it to be useful as an official policy, it has to be possible to enact the policy without a full community consensus -- otherwise we're effectively re-introducing the policy every time we try to use it, which defeats the purpose of creating a general policy in the first place. Two administrators seemed like a reasonable minimum requirement. However, that requirement can easily be changed without invalidating the rest of the proposal, so if the primary issue is that requirement, could we still get consensus on the rest of the text, and then spend more time refining the details?

I think that what I've posted is about as general as we can get and yet still have a policy that will help in the current situation. The fundamental problem here, as I see it, is that the Elliot-rpeh incidents always start with actions that are acceptable under wiki rules. That's basically why it's been so hard to take action in any of the past incidents. Any type of general solution, that affects all editors, will either be too vague to make a difference or else will prevent other editors from making necessary edits. Imagine, for example, trying to come up with a specific, enforceable set of rules about when it is acceptable to undo another editor's edit -- for any rule you could come up with a dozen exceptions when the rule should be broken. In normal situations, we need to give editors some latitude to judge what is best.

As a result, I think any proposal to deal with this situation has to acknowledge that it is not typical -- it has to place restrictions solely on Elliot and/or rpeh that do not apply to other editors. If we want to stop the incidents, we need some non-subjective way to say "this edit is going to provoke an incident" -- only then we can say the edit isn't allowed, and take action if someone breaks the rule. The most obvious way to identify a problematic edit is "if this edit involves both Elliot and rpeh".

My primary objective with this proposal is to find some way to make the next incident not be a repeat of the last few dozen incidents -- I'm not hoping for a universal solution. If I'm correctly understanding what's been said so far, everybody agrees that there is a problem here, and everyone agrees that the problem is likely to happen again unless something is done. But at the moment, nothing really has changed, and as long as that's the case I can't help but assume that this will keep happening over and over again. If anyone thinks that further policy changes, for example, to the Etiquette page would be helpful, those suggestions can still be brought forward. Or if a future proposal makes this non-interaction restriction obsolete, we can revoke it. But we need to start somewhere.

--NepheleTalk 20:14, 6 June 2010 (UTC)

Discussion of Modification

To help us make some forward progress, could contributors explicitly state their opinions on the following points:

  1. Overall: Do you support/oppose the overall intent of the proposed policy?
  2. Requirements: Do you support/oppose the specific requirements necessary before this policy can be enacted, in other words, is it enough for two administrators to agree that a pair of editors need this restriction? If not, what is the minimum requirement that you think should be necessary?
  3. Apply now: Do you support/oppose applying this policy to rpeh and Elliot?

I think that increases the chances of being able to get this policy in place to handle our one current situation, after which we can spend more time refining the details of when/how it might next be needed.

Overall:
Consensus: Support.
Requirements:
Consensus: Support.
Apply Now:
Consensus: None. In the end, this weighed slightly in favor of Oppose, but not enough to call it a clear Oppose consensus.
Consensus: Support. I interpret the above to mean that the policy is good and should be put into place. However, there is ambiguity as to whether this should be immediately enforced in regards to Elliot and rpeh. As such, no immediate action should be taken against either party, however any future interaction concerns between the two would fall under the new policy. Robin Hoodtalk 04:02, 21 June 2010 (UTC)