Wikinews:Arbitration Committee/2010 election/Questions
|This election is concluded.|
- Instead of posing the same question multiple times on the Nominations page, please place any questions for all ArbCom candidates in a section below.
- Candidates should, in subsections titled by the candidate's name, insert their responses to questions submitted by members of the community in good standing.
- 1 General, opening, question
- 2 From BNZ to everyone
- 3 Question from Tempo
- 4 Question from Tempo Nr. 2
- 5 Question from Fetchcomms
- 6 Questions from AlexandrDmitri
- 7 Question from Benny the mascot
- 8 Question 2 from Fetchcomms
- 9 Question from Brian McNeil (talk · contribs)
- 10 Question for all from BKCW8
- 11 Last question from Fetchcomms
- 12 More Questions from BKCW8
- 13 Questions from Diego Grez
General, opening, question
In the past it has been suggested that ArbCom be abolished. Have you familiarised yourself with the dispute(s) leading to its formation, and previously heard cases? --Brian McNeil / talk 08:06, 10 July 2010 (UTC)
- I don't know all the details, not having been on Wikinews back then, but am generally familiar with the Neutralizer/MrM/other stuff that led up to its conception, and have read through both of ArbCom's previously accepted cases. Tempodivalse [talk] 00:50, 11 July 2010 (UTC)
I was around when that happened, and I recall the reasons for setting up our arbcom. I am also familiar with past cases - I was involved in one of them after-all. I do not support the abolishing proposal, however, I would like arbcom to stay like it is, dormant. Brian | (Talk) | New Zealand Portal 00:59, 11 July 2010 (UTC)
I've looked through two arbcom cases. I wasn't around for the Neutralizer issue, but I've read enough in the past to know the general gist of the issue. Although ArbCom hasn't been used extensively, I support its continued existence on the basis that it is easier to keep the committee on standby and not need it than it is to need the committee and not have it around. Gopher65talk 02:18, 11 July 2010 (UTC)
I am familiar with the disputes leading up to the creation of the arbcom, as well as its previous cases, as I was an active member of the community at that time. I was also an arbitrator during its original cases. I understand where the people who want to abolish it are coming from, however i don't think the committee's presence hurts anything, and it may well be useful in the future. Bawolff ☺☻
Although I'd skimmed the two cases before, today I started by skimming (lightly) the first nine policy water cooler archives, after which the two cases are a lot more meaningful. It seems likely that, once the ArbCom was established as a real entity by those cases, its continued existence has helped to greatly reduce how often arbitration becomes necessary — which is in itself well worth the trouble of maintaining an ArbCom. --Pi zero (talk) 06:45, 11 July 2010 (UTC)
Over the past year I have come across the previous two cases whilst browsing and so have a decent understanding of them. I'm familiar with why ArbCom was originally formed and would strongly argue against it being abolished, much preferring it sits year after year, not doing anything, but available if needed. 14:14, 11 July 2010 (UTC)
I have read and familiarised myself with the previous cases back in my previous term as an arbitrator. I can appreciate the position of those wishing to abolish the committee, however I feel as if it is a "necessary evil" on our project. In the event it is needed, it is there - but for the most time it remains dormant. This can only be a good thing. --Skenmy talk 06:53, 12 July 2010 (UTC)
I have read some, but not all, the material surrounding the beginning of Arbcom, and have read both prior cases, as well as the current one. I don't think it should be abolished; I feel that it should serve as a last resort, and I think there needs to be such a body able to place a binding resolution on an inflammatory situation. C628 (talk) 22:20, 12 July 2010 (UTC)
I have read through past case history, and do not think ArbCom should be abolished. I would prefer it to be relatively inactive due to low demand (ideally). :) -- Cirt (talk) 02:36, 22 July 2010 (UTC)
I was an active participant in the creation of arbcom and the past cases, so I am very familiar with them. As I said in my statement, I hope the arbcom remains a little used feature, but we should have it when we need it. --Cspurrier (talk) 00:29, 26 July 2010 (UTC)
From BNZ to everyone
- What is the meaning of life?
- How familiar are you with the history of Wikinews? Furthermore, in which direction do you see the future of Wikinews heading? Brian | (Talk) | New Zealand Portal 00:38, 11 July 2010 (UTC)
- Finally, how important is the dispute resolution process to Wikinews? Do you feel that it is important the community tries to resolve issues before arbcom step in? Brian | (Talk) | New Zealand Portal 23:40, 10 July 2010 (UTC)
- Writing articles for Wikinews? (Sorry, my sense of humour isn't that witty.)
- I'm fairly familiar with how Wikinews was started and how it got "off the ground" - I've looked through some discussion archives from Wikinews' earliest days and at the project proposal on Meta. I see the future of Wikinews as being where we have hundreds of editors from across the globe contributing both synthesis reports and OR, so we become a free-use, neutral alternative to the deteriorating-quality mainstream media.
- I think it's important for the community to have a say in dispute resolution, it actually should be one of the first steps. As I've seen, a lot of times small arguments can be resolved this way without too much fuss. ArbCom only should come in when "all else fails" - for instance, there is a long-standing dispute between two/three users that the community can't smooth out by itself. Then someone needs to have the "final say" and put an end to things so that community health doesn't suffer. Tempodivalse [talk] 00:31, 11 July 2010 (UTC)
- Well the Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything is 42 if that counts ;)
- I have been around since 2005, I have thus lived through most of wikinews history. Much like those who lived through (and were old enough to remember the end of the cold war...). I see wikinews, finally becoming the project that we all imparted out on 5 years ago. We have something mainstream media cannot have. That’s what we need to ensure we use to our advantage
- Of course the community needs to resolve disputes. However, sometimes I think arbcom just needs to be called in. I feel that the infighting we have experienced over the last couple of months could have been handled better. No need for the community to rip its guts out. Brian | (Talk) | New Zealand Portal 00:55, 11 July 2010 (UTC)
- The Meaning of Life was a 1983 movie starring the cast of the Flying Circus. Personally I liked both The Life of Brian and Monty Python and the Holy Grail more. But it did have that great "powers of ten" based song by Eric Idle:).
- I've looked through old discussions about the path that wikinews ended up taking (the Great Licencing Debate of Aught5), and I was around for a few of the newer ones (ie, Flagged Revs). Wikinews is still young, so frankly there isn't much history to be familiar with;). I'd like Wikinews to achieve 3 general (and fairly obvious) goals: 1) continue to improve the quality of content in any way we can, 2) grow the number of contributors that we have at any one time, so that even with attrition (due to burnout) we still slowly gain users, and finally, 3) differentiate ourselves from Wikipedia News by doing the one thing that they cannot: lots and lots of OR.
- A wiki is by its very nature built upon consensus between people that might have very different opinions. We don't all have to like each other, we don't all have to even agree with each other, but we do have to work toward a common goal. The way to do that is to hash out our differences to our mutual satisfaction. Sometimes this can be achieved by simply laying out the facts and explaining your position, but sometimes the available facts allow more than one valid conclusion. People will then draw their conclusion based on their internal bias and their past experience. In that (rare) circumstance where a presentation of the facts isn't enough, a compromise solution should be attempted by *both* parties involved. Only when one or both sides have clearly shown that they are too immature to reach a solution on their own should they submit their case to ArbCom. In that case ArbCom will *impose* a nasty, nasty compromise that neither side is happy with. That's the nature of compromise. Gopher65talk 02:18, 11 July 2010 (UTC)
- 54. Since:
- I've been here for a while, and definitely absorbed much of the history. I see Wikinews slowly growing better and better like its always done. Well I don't think we will experience exponential growth like 'pedia did, we nonetheless will continue to grow, and thats all that matters.
- Wikinews, like any community full of people with diverse interests, has always had periods where contributors fight. Usually such issues eventually sort themselves out, but perhaps more formal dispute resolution could play a role. We don't know until we try.
- If I knew that, I doubt I'd be hanging around Wikinews all day...unless....
- I haven't been here as long as some of the old codgers, but am pretty familiar with its history. I can actually see Wikinews growing hugely, but it will take time. There will be a tipping point, when we have got the processes relatively accessible and easy and a decent number of contributors, coupled with the expansion of mobile internet and citizens able to report on news from the scene, when Wikinews could be one of the main news sources out there. That's what I'm aiming for; hopefully we can make it happen. 14:20, 11 July 2010 (UTC)
- The dispute resolution process is of course, very important, because naturally humans fight. However, I strongly believe that most issues can be sorted by the community as a whole and when they are, it is much more beneficial to the project having issues sorted out with everyone involved than decisions handed down. Unfortunately, sometimes these decisions are necessary and this is where ArbCom can play a role. 14:20, 11 July 2010 (UTC)
- The pinnacle of intellectual achievement is to tackle a question previously perceived as intractable, and provide an answer that, once pointed out, seems obvious. By that measure, Douglas Adams was one of the greatest intellects of modern times. 42.
- In two years here, I couldn't help picking up some of the general outlines of the history. Since this nomination, though, I'm devoting some of my copious free time each day to background study, which so far has been skimming discussion archives from the early history (and there's plenty more to skim, both here and on Meta). As to where we're going, I like Tempo's description: "hundreds of editors from across the globe contributing both synthesis reports and OR, so we become a free-use, neutral alternative to the deteriorating-quality mainstream media." We don't know, in detail, how we will get from here to there. We're making it up as we go along (how could it be otherwise?), and each step into the unknown brings new challenges; stressful growth makes for heated debates, and that's where the ArbCom helps to keep things sane.
- I'm impressed by the collection of answers others have given to this. (Note that we aren't choosing an Arbiter, we're choosing a set of them to exercise collective wisdom.) I'll expand somewhat on my earlier remarks to Brian McNeil's general opening question: The object is always to resolve things at the earliest possible step of the dispute resolution process. The ArbCom provides a terminus for disputes that would otherwise fall off the end of the process; but also, by assuring people of such a terminus, it eases the earlier steps, allowing them to be approached in a safer atmosphere, so making them more effective and reducing the frequency with which disputes reach the terminus. --Pi zero (talk) 12:04, 12 July 2010 (UTC)
- w:Meaning of life
- I have been here at Wikinews for over 4 years and am the founder of the Peer Review policy. I have seen Wikinews through good and bad - and I am immensely proud of the work the community puts in on a daily basis. I see Wikinews moving onwards and branching out in different ways - both technically and as a community, through such initiatives as Radio, TV, Accredited Reporting, and other ideas.
- It is immensely important that people first go through community resolution processes before submitting themselves to ArbCom. 99.9% of the time the community can come to an acceptable resolution. I myself have been guilty of "jumping the gun" a couple of times, and now, looking back, I can see where a community resolution would have been more suitable. --Skenmy talk 13:39, 12 July 2010 (UTC)
- I'm familiarish with how Wikinews got started--looked through some of the early discussions, stuff on Meta, etc, but I don't the exact events of the early days. I see the future as being a mix of both synthesis and OR, with a much greater proportion of OR compared to currently, as well as many more contributors, although it'll take quite a while, and I'll probably be gone by the time it comes to pass.
- Dispute resolution by the community should be the norm. Arbom should be the last resort, to be used only when the community has tried and failed to solve the problem by itself. C628 (talk) 22:20, 12 July 2010 (UTC)
- Not sure, but hopefully this will be made clearer in the future, through the efforts to ease access and spread of information. -- Cirt (talk) 02:39, 22 July 2010 (UTC)
- I am a bit familiar with the history of Wikinews, and have read some of its development at Meta and as discussed in secondary sources. In the future, I would like to see growth in contributors, in quality of articles generated, and in review. -- Cirt (talk) 02:39, 22 July 2010 (UTC)
- Dispute resolution as a process is important, but in answer to the second part, hopefully prior steps including community discussion can help to resolve issues before they get that far along. -- Cirt (talk) 02:39, 22 July 2010 (UTC)
- 42, of course.
- I have been on Wikinews since March 15 2005, just a few months after Wikinews started. The few months of history I was not here for I read soon after I joined (it was easy back then :) ). I hope that our future is one in which our contributor base and article count grow significantly, particularly our coverage of under-reported on areas. It is going to be a lot of hard work, but I think we can do it.
- Dispute resolution is very important if only because arbcom cases consume huge amounts of our contributor's valuable time, any method that consumes less time and resolves the problem is desirable and should be used before arbcom.--Cspurrier (talk) 00:39, 26 July 2010 (UTC)
Question from Tempo
- How often do you check into Wikinews (or visit our IRC channel)? Do you keep abreast of what's going on at the wiki even if you don't always edit? Tempodivalse [talk] 01:43, 11 July 2010 (UTC)
I check Wikinews on a daily basis, and I try to be in IRC as much as is reasonably possible. I normally see myself in more of a supporting janitorial roll than as a frontline journalist, but I like to remain abreast of the latest events, both onwiki and in the news. Gopher65talk 02:18, 11 July 2010 (UTC)
Way way too much. I'm usually on irc all weekdays, and sometimes weekends (I even have a small shell script to add wikinews to my /etc/hosts for times when I'm getting too distracted). Bawolff ☺☻ 06:09, 11 July 2010 (UTC)
I would say I check into Wikinews once a day minimum, visiting the irc channel less because I often can't access it. If I'm not editing for whatever reason, then visiting every day means I'm almost always up to date with exactly what's going on and who has said what. When things get interesting or I'm editing, it would be a hell of a lot more than once a day! 14:22, 11 July 2010 (UTC)
I check Wikinews generally several times a day, less during the school year, but still try to at least once a day. IRC is somewhat less, but consistently at least once every couple of days, more in the summer when I have time. C628 (talk) 22:20, 12 July 2010 (UTC)
I check Wikinews at least once a day, usually more. I try to be aware of what's going on on-wiki, but in the interests of sanity, time, and usefulness of my participation, I try to maintain a fairly high threshold for getting involved in things. Exceptional situations have sometimes lead to periods of more intense involvement. --Pi zero (talk) 01:24, 14 July 2010 (UTC)
- I check into Wikinews usually at least once per day. I try to keep abreast of issues, look over ongoing discussions of note. Available by email through emailthisuser, a bit more frequently than that. -- Cirt (talk) 02:41, 22 July 2010 (UTC)
I usually check Wikinews multiple times a day (my browser history says I loaded RC 15 times today) and even at my busiest last year I still managed to check Wikinews daily. Most of the time though I only have a few minutes to read and thus the editing has to wait until I have more time. --Cspurrier (talk) 00:50, 26 July 2010 (UTC)
Question from Tempo Nr. 2
- How much do you think an arb has to be "involved" in a given issue in order to recuse himself from it? If you're the subject of a case, then that's pretty obvious, but what if, for instance, you had just commented a few times on an issue? Is that enough to make you feel obligated to not participate? Tempodivalse [talk] 03:12, 11 July 2010 (UTC)
Generally if both parties feel that I am ok, then I won't recurse. If one of the parties feel that i should, i probably would recurse. I generally do not feel that a couple minor comments is sufficient, however every case is different, and it depends on the situation. It is also important to note that in a small community like ours, it would be rare for an issue of arbcom magnitude not to be noticed by everyone in the community prior to the case. Bawolff ☺☻ 06:24, 11 July 2010 (UTC)
I would prefer that arbs are as uninvolved as possible, which is something I try to do anyway, unless something needs to be said. Large disputes will inevitably involve most people and so I wouldn't force an arb to not take part just because they had made a comment. On the whole though, the less involved the better and that would be something I would expect all arbs to ensure happened. 14:25, 11 July 2010 (UTC)
(I've already addressed this more or less in my own question section above, but may as well comment here as well for clarity.) I don't feel an arb should recuse just for providing an opinion or chiming in on an issue. You're almost always going to have opinions on a given topic, there's really no difference in whether you say them out loud or keep them to yourself. Unless you become a direct participant in the dispute by taking an aggressive stance and conflicting with other users, it's usually possible to be objective about it and consider all points of view fairly regardless of your own POV. Wikinews is small and close-knit, and unless you're totally estranged from it, you're going to come into some sort of contact with a high-level dispute sooner or later - which is why I don't feel our recusal expectations should be as stringent as those of, say, Wikipedia. I'd personally only recuse if I could not be certain I'd look at all sides of an argument objectively, or if other arbs thought it would be best for me to do so. Tempodivalse [talk] 18:12, 11 July 2010 (UTC)
ArbCom is suppose to be used only when all other dispute resolution options have failed. Part of the dispute resolution process is have other members of the community chime in with suggestions on how to resolve the issue. Given that there are what, 60 of us (tops), that would make it very difficult for an ArbCom member to be completely uninvolved in a dispute. With the exception of cases where an obvious conflict of interest exists, I'd personally recluse myself only if other members of ArbCom felt that I should (a majority wouldn't be necessary, nor would they need to vote. Just ask, and I'd comply.), or if I felt that the nature of the case was such that my personal biases would cloud my judgment. Gopher65talk 00:39, 12 July 2010 (UTC)
Are ArbCom members not part of the community? Do we not encourage community dispute resolution before an ArbCom case? I will not remove myself from a case for providing an opinion - assuming other ArbCom members are happy with me sitting in on a case. --Skenmy talk 13:44, 12 July 2010 (UTC)
Given the size of the community, I think it is highly unlikely that there's going to be uninvolved arbitrators, especially if the dispute has gone on long enough to reach Arbcom. Unless I was involved in initiating the dispute, I wouldn't recuse myself unless asked to by another Arbcom member, or any memebr of the community provided they were sufficiently convincing. C628 (talk) 22:20, 12 July 2010 (UTC)
My value to Wikinews is (borrowing some words from gopher, under an earlier question) in a supporting role, rather than frontline journalism. (All things can change, but that's true right now, anyway.) If I curtailed involvement in issues simply because they might later come before ArbCom, that could significantly reduce my net value to the project. So I won't curtail my involvement for that reason.
My best guess is that my involvement in issues won't increase, by much, the likelihood that I'd have to recuse myself. The basic reasons to recuse myself (barring exceptional circumstances) would be that I'm uncomfortable hearing the case, or someone else — or the community at large — would be uncomfortable with my hearing the case. The community, having in this hypothetical situation put me on the ArbCom, would probably not be uncomfortable unless I've been expressing actual bias on the issue. If I have been expressing bias, I might have recused myself even if I'd kept my opinions to myself, because my opinions would make me uncomfortable with my impartiality. --Pi zero (talk) 03:34, 16 July 2010 (UTC)
Important and difficult question. I would say this depends on the views of other Arbitrators, if any other single arbitrator voices concern, the user in question should recuse. When in doubt as to questions of impropriety, recusal is the best option. -- Cirt (talk) 02:42, 22 July 2010 (UTC)
Unless our arbcom members are completely inactive, it is highly unlikely that we will ever have a case in which a member is not involved to some degree. If we are to have a functioning arbcom, we need to trust the committee members to use their own judgement in deciding if they need to recuse themselves. Unless the member make an obviously wrong call, I would support their decision either way and I hope the rest of the community would as well.--Cspurrier (talk) 01:01, 26 July 2010 (UTC)
Question from Fetchcomms
- What does being a member of the ArbCom mean to you? Is it something you would enjoy, or is it a duty? Is it both, or something else? —fetch·comms 18:29, 11 July 2010 (UTC)
I regard serving on the ArbCom as being something of a duty, yes, but maybe a bit of a community service too. The way I look at it, you're volunteering to be a part of that fire extinguisher hiding in the corner. You hope never to have to use it, and most of the time you don't, but it's still there. I probably wouldn't classify it as being particularly "enjoyable", especially if a difficult, drama-filled case arises - but maybe it is a bit, in the sense that it's nice to be able to serve the community. Certainly, the ArbCom hat isn't something you should use to consider yourself "above" other users or throw your weight around. Tempodivalse [talk] 18:46, 11 July 2010 (UTC)
To me, being a member of the ArbCom shouldn't mean anything most of the time. Most disputes should never reach that sort of level. However, a fact of life is that they will occasionally, which is where ArbCom comes in. I wouldn't say it would be something that Arbs should enjoy-the position does not mean you have any extra power, other than at a time when as a committee you are making a decision. Therefore, I guess one could say it was a duty-but that is very different to a chore. It would be something I would be happy to do, not because I enjoy it, but because it would benefit the community as a whole and would hopefully lead to a solution to the problem that presented itself. I hope that makes sense! 18:50, 11 July 2010 (UTC)
ArbCom doesn't mean anything to me, as such. It is neither a duty nor an enjoyable task; ArbCom is simply a dispute resolution process. It is the process that is important, not the individual members; membership does not convey any special rank or privilege. Those of us here are simply offering our services as (hopefully) impartial judges, in preparation for the unlikely and unfortunate event that an unresolvable dispute emerges between two or more members of the community who are in good standing. Gopher65talk 00:39, 12 July 2010 (UTC)
I am always proud to serve a community in any capacity - to me ArbCom feels like being granted a technical flag, i.e. I am being entrusted by a community to serve on the highest authority on the local project. That, to me, is a responsibility, not an right or something to throw weight around. --Skenmy talk 13:45, 12 July 2010 (UTC)
Being on Arbcom to me is rather like serving as a sysop/admin or 'crat--it's not a status symbol or anything, but just an additional duty one is entrusted with. It's a duty, certainly, and I wouldn't imagine it being enjoyable, drama never is, and Arbcom is by definition involved with drama. It's, like sysop/admin, just another hat you wear as part of your service to Wikinews, one that only really matters when it's needed, and doesn't matter in the slightest at other times. C628 (talk) 22:23, 13 July 2010 (UTC)
Most of the time, all it would mean to me would be a continuing low level of background reading. A somewhat tedious chore undertaken for the sake of the project (as preparation for the chance that it might turn into an intense job undertaken for the sake of the project). The comparison with adminship (et al.) makes a good point —it's not a status symbol— but there's also a point at which the comparison breaks down. Part of being granted adminship is that the interface suddenly has a lot more controls to avoid clicking accidentally, that lead to things like blocking users and deleting pages — technically reversible damage, but damage nontheless. Being on ArbCom isn't much like that except within an ArbCom proceeding. Outside of that context, membership in ArbCom only confers power to damage one's own status with the community (potentially resulting either in future recusals or, in extremum, resignation from ArbCom). --Pi zero (talk) 02:30, 17 July 2010 (UTC)
Questions from AlexandrDmitri
- What five qualities do you possess which would make you a suitable member of the next Arbitration Committee?
- What is the single most important contribution you have made to Wikinews over the past year?
- I feel that there are only two qualities that matter in an ArbCom member: 1) the ability to take a step back and analysis a problem from an non-personal, impartial perspective, and 2) possession of at least the minimal level intelligence necessary to analysis the problem in question. I think I can be impartial, and I have a minimal level of intelligence. wait... ... what?
- It's not possible to unbiasedly judge my own actions. There is an inherent conflict of interest that makes reliable self-judgment impossible. That said... uh... I wrote an article, and I rarely do that. So I suppose that was probably more important than what I normally do. Gopher65talk 02:54, 16 July 2010 (UTC)
- Logical analysis of the issue at hand; put it into perspective and analyze it from viewpoints related to ArbCom, policies, and the community; willingness to recuse; experience with quality writing on controversial topics; help in development of current WN:REVIEW system, experience writing and reviewing articles. -- Cirt (talk) 02:47, 22 July 2010 (UTC)
- 'Dewey Defeats Truman' incident in California State Senate election was a fun contribution and interesting article to work on. -- Cirt (talk) 02:47, 22 July 2010 (UTC)
Question from Benny the mascot
What role do arbitrators have in the community outside of the committee's official business? Would you consider ArbCom members to be de facto "leaders" of our community?
None. I already touched on this in a previous answer. ArbCom is a dispute resolution mechanism. As long as it is peopled with individuals who are at least vaguely reasonable it doesn't matter who is on the committee. Being on the committee doesn't confer anything other than, "this editor is trusted by the community to be relatively impartial". That's it. Gopher65talk 00:07, 15 July 2010 (UTC)
Question 2 from Fetchcomms
- What is your view on Wikinews:Assume good intentions? Does it have a place in ArbCom? Why or why not? —fetch·comms 18:25, 12 July 2010 (UTC)
As I see it, AGI is an attempt to craft something that will reduce interpersonal conflict within the project, which makes it a potential ally of the dispute resolution process. In its current form, it's only an essay, so neither failing to apply it nor misapplying could in itself make a case that would come before ArbCom (although consequences of those things might). Should ArbCom itself assume good intentions? I'll put a pin in that and get back to it.
As I understand it —and as I think it should be— AGI is trying to limit itself to interpersonal relations, and is specifically trying to not apply to any decisions about publishing content or about user privileges. That goes to an important point about how AGI should work. The incident that led to AGI's creation was about blocking a user, which is a matter of user privileges and therefore is not subject to AGI. Where AGI comes into the equation, I think, is that —as it appeared to me, on the outside looking in— people's failure to extend AGI to the user was spilling over into the discussion about whether to block. The actual evidence available, which is the appropriate basis for decisions about privileges, did not support the block; the motivation for blocking was (again, as it appeared to me) an assumption of bad intent unsupported by evidence. Hence, AGI should damp out the positive feedback loop that fuels such witch hunts.
It remains to be seen whether we can craft an AGI principle that will do the job we want it to do without causing users to misapply it to things it shouldn't apply to. I have made some contributions to the attempt, including the suggestion that it be called AGI instead of AGF (and I hope to make more... oddly enough, my Wikinews time seems to be occupied with something else, at the moment).
BTW, at the intersection of this question with the earlier one about recusal (which I haven't responded to yet): if after all this I were to end up on ArbCom, and a case about AGI were to come before ArbCom, my opinions about AGI —to date— would not compromise my ability to hear the case dispassionately, and therefore my public statements about AGI (including this one) probably wouldn't require me to recuse myself from the case — depending on the detailed context of the case (and every ArbCom case is likely to have a peculiar context).
Back to the application of AGI by ArbCom. Given the careful limits on AGI as I understand it, I think AGI is good practice when dealing with other people, and anyone dispassionate enough to serve on ArbCom would be doing it anyway, regardless of whether there's a page advising them to (and regardless of whether or not they are for or against having such a page). --Pi zero (talk) 21:32, 12 July 2010 (UTC)
Assuming good intentions when interacting with other users is a good thing, and I've come to the conclusion that, when applied correctly, it overall helps boost community morale and health. During an ArbCom case, while one should of course examine all evidence critically, I do think AGI should be applied in the sense of, for instance, not concluding that a user's intentions were bad without strong proof to support it. A good arbitrator would probably do this anyway, without it needing to be codified. Tempodivalse [talk] 22:16, 12 July 2010 (UTC)
My views on AGI are threefold, and very simple:
1) Assume that new (and existing) editors are acting in good faith until evidence to the contrary presents,
2) AGI doesn't mean "trust people to do the right thing", it means "first, assume that mistakes were made through ignorance and stupidity, not ill intent". We're all ignorant and stupid sometimes, so keep that in mind when dealing with others, and finally
3) It doesn't matter if someone is acting in good faith if their contribution is not up to par. We assume good faith of people, not content, and most definitely not sources *cough*DanRather*cough*. Regardless of whether or not a contribution was made in good faith, if it is bad, revert it and deal with hurt feelings later. Wikipedia articles are never 'finished' as such, meaning that they can afford to have errors exist in their articles for years, as long as they are corrected eventually. This is news, not an encyclopedia; we have a deadline, they don't. Because of their lack of deadline they can afford to AGF of content. We can't. Gopher65talk 00:16, 15 July 2010 (UTC)
As for the second part of the question:
By the time a dispute has escalated to the point where the members of the Arbitration Committee need to be woken from their coffins and put to work, AGF/I is already out the window. One or both of the parties involved is already ignoring AGI, or else the activation of the ArbCom would never have been needed. Gopher65talk 00:51, 15 July 2010 (UTC)
Not sure if this is fully formulated. It is useful at present, as an essay, in order to explore and debate these issues. Would want to be quite cautious, regarding moving this page further up to a guideline or policy page. Appears to need quite a bit more significant discussion to hash out multiple issues of concern to multiple members of the community. -- Cirt (talk) 02:50, 22 July 2010 (UTC)
Question from Brian McNeil (talk · contribs)
- Question How does the apparent, current, decision of the ArbCom to allow the community to delete a draft policy which was formulated in response to a prior dispute heard by the ArbCom, sit with you?
- Specifically; do you feel that this was the right thing for the ArbCom to do? Should the ArbCom not have overruled the deletion, insisting the community whitelist clearly defined types of userboxes that are acceptable on the project? How would you look on a near-rerun of the Amgine - Brian dispute due to frivolous, non-project-oriented userboxes being created? --Brian McNeil / talk 06:17, 14 July 2010 (UTC)
Here is my reading of the recent decision: The earlier decision stands, and the ArbCom has put the ball back in the community's court. The ArbCom makes decisions which the community then enforces; the ArbCom is for decision-making, not enforcement. The reason the community enforces those decisions is that the community wants the ArbCom to be the final authority in disputes. So far, the community has not directly addressed whether or not it wants to see the earlier decision overturned; therefore, there should be a community discussion of whether we want such a policy and if so what it should be. A sufficiently strong consensus that the community would like to see the earlier decision overturned would then be taken by the ArbCom as encouragement to do so.
It's important to recognize that the dispute brought before the ArbCom was between Benny and the ArbCom. With twenty-twenty hindsight, that's not the optimal way for things to have gone. It would have been better if Benny had brought the question to the policy water cooler, for just the sort of community discussion that I think the ArbCom is implying should take place, and if that discussion led to a community consensus that the community would like to see the earlier decision overturned, then a petition would be made to the ArbCom — and if it were to get that far, I hope it would be called a "petition" rather than a "dispute".
I think the community can move forward with this reading of the decision, to good effect all around. Frankly, the only reason I'm not rushing over to the policy water cooler to start a constructive discussion right now is that, in order to think out properly my own thoughts for such a discussion, I'd really like to take another look at the recently deleted policy page — which I can't do at this moment because I'm not (yet (knock wood)) an admin. --Pi zero (talk) 14:46, 14 July 2010 (UTC)
- I have to say, 'thank you for such a well-judged response'. As you obviously understand, I have misgivings that community "churn" will lead to repeats of dramas that should have been buried. Your response, so far, gives me a high degree of confidence you could well-serve the community as an arbitrator. -- Brian McNeil (alt. account) /alt-talk • main talk 20:54, 14 July 2010 (UTC)
I'm going to answer this question in a generalized sense, rather than talking about this specific case.
ArbCom is the final dispute resolution mechanism, and its judgments are final... assuming that nothing changes in the community. But times change: user attrition occurs, people's opinions change, and the needs of the community change. For that reason I think that it's possible for ArbCom to make a perfectly valid judgment that is supported by the community, only for circumstances to change years later, requiring that judgment to be overturned. When such situations occurs I think that the proper course of action is to get clear community consensus on the matter — and that coming to consensus should involve as many active members of the community as is reasonably possible. Then, and only then, should the matter be taken up with ArbCom, who should — seeing that community consensus has been reached — overturn their original ruling.
We see this kind of thing happen all the time with ArbCom-like groups in real life (supreme courts, etc). IRL user attrition occurs (old people die), people's opinions shift over time, and the needs of society change. Any responsible court will modify its past judgments to best reflect the current will of those they serve. If they fail to take this course of action when needed they cease to be a court of the people and become a tool of despots and cabals. Gopher65talk 00:39, 15 July 2010 (UTC)
Question for all from BKCW8
- Question How closely is your freedom of expression tied to your freedom of the press? BKCW8 talk 06:44, 14 July 2010 (UTC)
- Question What are your greatest weaknesses and how will they affect the functioning of the Committee?BKCW8 talk 06:46, 14 July 2010 (UTC)
- Freedom of Expression and Freedom of the Press aren't directly linked (well, it depends what country you live in I suppose), but there is an indirect connection. When the press falls victim to censorship, it almost always means that personal expression is soon to follow... or that it's already gone.
- My greatest weaknesses are Cheese and Chocolate. And possibly Star Trek. *hangs head in shame* Well, I've admitted that I'm a trekkie, so I might as well just withdraw my candidacy now... :P. Gopher65talk 00:20, 15 July 2010 (UTC)
- Freedom of expression and freedom of the press are very important issues, and in some countries are tied together due to the interrelatedness of associated freedoms, or in some cases unfortunately, lack thereof. I would say both are equally important in order to produce important reporting on issues of note and concern to the reading public. -- Cirt (talk) 02:54, 22 July 2010 (UTC)
- I would like to have more time to contribute more articles, and write and review more. Hopefully I will get to do this soon, and perhaps even with regard to a bit of original reporting. -- Cirt (talk) 02:54, 22 July 2010 (UTC)
Last question from Fetchcomms
- Is there a (Wikinews) cabal? Why or why not? Is the existence/nonexistence of a cabal here a good thing? Why or why not? —fetch·comms 21:47, 15 July 2010 (UTC)
Wikinews isn't big enough to have a cabal. Good natured (non-evil, formed-with-good-intent) cabals only form when a group becomes large enough that getting full consensus of the community is difficult for practical reasons. IE, Wikipedia: can you imagine trying to get a full community consensus on Wikipedia? It couldn't be done. The initial 'statement of position' threads alone would be overwhelming, and that's ignoring the necessary arguments that would follow as consensus formed; no one could possibly read through all those threads, due to the sheer number of people on Wikipedia. So a cabal of people interested in policy decisions naturally comes together. And another cabal interested in What Articles To Include In Wikipedia also forms... in fact multiple cabals of that type currently exist on Wikipedia:P (yay for deletionists and inclusionists!).
That's just what happens in large communities; a hierarchical command structure emerges, first in the form of public or (possibly unintentionally) secret cabals, and then, eventually, in the form of either a dictatorial group or an elected group. That's just life:P. Government isn't created, it's an emergent process that occurs any time a group becomes too large for simple consensus decision making to be effective. It's a natural process.
But on Wikinews? We're not big enough for cabals or governments. We're still a tiny village where group consensus is not only possible, but desirable. So no Cabals for us.
More Questions from BKCW8
- Question To say that wikinews is free from a cabal is foolish, what other foolish things will you say prior to the ArbCom election? BKCW8 talk 11:32, 16 July 2010 (UTC)
- Question What would you suggest that the non-cabalistic members of Wikinews do if those in the cabal seize the ArbComm in this election? BKCW8 talk 11:32, 16 July 2010 (UTC)
- Question Does Wikinews have a Governor-General to dismiss ArbComs when they have lost the support of the people? If Not, Why Not? BKCW8 talk 11:35, 16 July 2010 (UTC)
- Question If there isn't a Governor-General of Wikinews, will you (if electioned on to the ArbCom) move to instate me as the first Governor-General of Wikinews? If Not, Why Not BKCW8 talk 11:35, 16 July 2010 (UTC)
- other foolish things include:
There is no cabal sam I am
There is no cabal, even when eating green eggs and ham
There is no cabal here or there
There is no cabal anywhere
- Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.-- Cirt (talk) 02:57, 22 July 2010 (UTC)
- Participate more on the project across multiple varied capacities. -- Cirt (talk) 02:57, 22 July 2010 (UTC)
- No. Hopefully it would never come to this. If an issue arose, there would first have to be a significant depth of discussion among the community here, and perhaps even an RFC at Meta about it. -- Cirt (talk) 02:57, 22 July 2010 (UTC)
- No. See above. -- Cirt (talk) 02:57, 22 July 2010 (UTC)
Questions from Diego Grez
- Respecting the recent incidents with User:Saki, what would be your decision in a case like this? Ban or 'mentoring'? Diego Grez return fire 20:09, 16 July 2010 (UTC)
- In the case you are elected Arbcom, what do you hope to do? Why? Diego Grez return fire 20:09, 16 July 2010 (UTC)
- There's an important point to be made here. Our ArbCom is for dispute resolution. We aren't electing a legislature. ArbCom isn't for dictating policy (note that the userbox whitelist was specified to have an initial state, but ultimately a whitelist can say anything from "all userboxes are allowed" to "no userboxes are allowed"), and ArbCom isn't even for deciding issues (note Users Cartman02au et al v Mrmiscellanious#Remedies).
- My only comment on cases like Saki's in general is that, in general, every such case needs to be considered specifically. The devil is in the details.
- Regarding the specific case, I do have something to say about my non-involvement in it. At the time, I was very glad to not be involved in such a clearly unpleasant business. There's one thing about that that I really regretted afterward. I came very close to remarking at the time that AGI was being misapplied to aspects of the situation that it should not have been applied to (somewhat the opposite of the Matthewedwards debacle, in which AGI was not applied to the one aspect it should have been applied to). I should have made those comments. I might have botched the way I said them, and made people mad at me, and not improved the outcome of that particular case — but risk of failure doesn't justify not trying (a principle I'm also using for these questions).
- If elected to ArbCom, I would hope to do some background studying as preparation in case ArbCom action were ever needed, and never be called on to make use of that preparation — because resolving things without needing ArbCom is better for the community. --Pi zero (talk) 16:19, 17 July 2010 (UTC)
- Ideally the latter, but proceed with caution due to the large amount of prior socking and possible more recent socking issues. Also ideally would be best to address all this on the user talk page of the master account. -- Cirt (talk) 02:59, 22 July 2010 (UTC)
- Answered above. -- Cirt (talk) 02:59, 22 July 2010 (UTC)
- Assuming Saki has indeed "reformed" from past misdeeds and honestly wants to contribute constructively, I'd probably support some form of mentoring. From what I've seen so far, there's no conclusive indication Saki is trying to intentionally hurt Wikinews. But we should exercise caution regarding his socks and keep a close eye on him, nonetheless.
- I don't think there's a lot to do, really. I'd probably reread some previous arbcom cases to refresh my memory about previous disputes and how they were handled by the committee. Tempodivalse [talk] 03:19, 22 July 2010 (UTC)