Wikinews:Dispute resolution/Users Borofkin, Mrmiscellanious, and others

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Statement by User:Borofkin[edit]

There seems to be a great deal of tension surrounding this user and his participation in this project. He is frequently accused of various violations of policy and of not editing in good faith. Likewise, he often accuses other users of vandalism, not editing in good faith, and manipulating discussions to attack him personally.

There has been a great deal of discussion on article talk pages, user talk pages, and WN:ALERT. There has been article revert wars, and user-block wars. I'm not pretending to be impartial, as I too have been in conflict with this user. I'm posting to this page because I would like the community to consider the problem in a more formalised way, and attempt to build consensus to try and prevent further conflict.

I am not trying to attack this user, I'm trying to prevent further conflict. This may mean the user has to modify his behaviour, and it may mean those in conflict with him need to modify their behaviour. My prediction is both.

I would like to clarify that I don't consider myself to be directly in dispute with Mrmiscellanious. I don't know if it is acceptable on the dispute resolution pages, but I would like to see all users who have an issue to post a statement here.

I have removed the diffs that I posted previously, and will only comment on events in which I was personally involved.

Dispute over block for 3RR[edit]

The incident of note when I felt myself to be in conflict with Mrmiscellanious was his defence of "reverting vandalism" when he was blocked for 3RR of Full extent of Abu Ghraib detainee abuse revealed. This incident disturbed me greatly, because I found it extremely difficult to believe that MrM, with all his experience and knowledge of policy, really thought that he was reverting "simple vandalism" as defined in WN:3RR. I always try to assume good faith, even when edits are bizarre or possibly malicious, but to see a long-term and respected contributor put so much effort into getting himself unblocked when the policy violation was obvious was too much to handle.

As I have said above, I don't consider myself to be currently involved in any dispute with MrM, however this incident has caused me to sympathise greatly with those who are or have been in a dispute with him, and is my main motivation for bringing this whole matter to the dispute resolution pages.

Editing style[edit]

Much of Mrmiscellanious' work on this wiki involves dealing with vandals, cleaning up articles, and working with other contributors to remove bias from articles. This is vital work, it isn't easy, and by its nature will regularly bring him into low-level conflict with many users. However, my general impression is that Mrmiscellanious has an unnecessarily abrasive and agressive editing style. I frequently find myself becoming angry upon reading talk page comments from him, because they are abrupt and confrontational. Other administrators seem to be able to take a cleanup or NPOV'ing role without creating so much ill-feeling.

To put it simply, I wish he would try harder to be nice. I wish that rather than going into abrasive-confrontation-mode, he would withdraw, and try to involve more people in these low-level disputes.

Response by Mrmiscellanious[edit]

Statement by User:Neutralizer (and reinsertion of evidence previously presented)[edit]

I have now included below all the information that was placed initially by Borofkin and SIP (and later deleted).


Statement[edit]

  • These 18 minutes of edits tell it all. A new contributor was yelled at by MrM on the article talk page; then MrM accused him of being my sockpuppet; then MrM blocked him for a non-existant 3RR on the same article MrM was aggressively editing; and even after Brian proved the anon lived 1,000 miles away from me, MrM did not offer any apology at all to the anon. Is it any wonder the anon came to this point? "I am finished here fully and absolutely". And this happened just 2 days ago.This is typical of MrM's rude behaviour and its damage to this project.[1][2]
  • These edit comments by Mrmiscellanious in the incident above are also typical of how he drives new users away; "THIS IS THE LAST TIME I AM REVERTING THIS. KEEP THIS TAG UP, THERE IS NOTHING IN THIS ARTICLE THAT STATES WHAT THE TITLE STATES."and this classic, which is almost humourous in its revelation;(cur) (last) 22:32, 1 March 2006 Mrmiscellanious (Not my job to look at sources.)
  • Overall, MrM makes the experience of wikinews much more combative and annoying than it should be,imo. He uses personal attacks,threats of blocking,page protections and actual blockings to force articles to the tone and/or content that he wants.
  • I will also say I do not expect this process to succeed as all previous attempts to address the MrM issue have been sabotaged/bogged down/individualized or deflected by MrM's supporter(s) which is why his behaviour has continued unabated and unremorsed for so,so long. Neutralizer 13:10, 4 March 2006 (UTC)

Accusing contributors of vandalism when they are making good faith edits[edit]

[3]

One incident was defence of "reverting vandalism" when the user was blocked for 3RR of Full extent of Abu Ghraib detainee abuse revealed.

Bullying[edit]

The user is frequently accused of editing in a rude, obnoxious, agressive, and bullying way. Below are some examples of edits that could be considered bullying.

[4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11]

Misuse of Admin authority; uses wrongful Blocks in his edit wars[edit]

Most recent example was MrM. falsely accusing me of being an anon # 65.1.149.41 (who apparently turns out to be about 1,000 miles away from me). Then he blocked me on the basis of his off base assumption. In fact he blocked each of us separately for 3RR; when both of us combined were not 3RR. Only after I was able to contact other admins on Irc who showed him I was not the anon did he remove the blocks; In the meantime the anon was so annoyed he said he'd never come back (how many Opaluses have we lost) . MrM's behavior to the anon on the article history page is particularly offensive with these particular comments;

Mrmiscellanious (Not my job to look at sources.) and

Mrmiscellanious (THIS IS THE LAST TIME I AM REVERTING THIS. KEEP THIS TAG UP, THERE IS NOTHING IN THIS ARTICLE THAT STATES WHAT THE TITLE STATES.)

To top it off, he even refused to apologize for the false accusations and unwarrented block.

22:58, 1 March 2006 Mrmiscellanious blocked "Neutralizer (contribs)" with an expiry time of 1 day (3RR violation on Saddam_Hussein_admits_to_requesting_trials)

22:58, 1 March 2006 Mrmiscellanious blocked "65.1.149.41 (contribs)" with an expiry time of 1 day (Violation of 3RR; IP address used by Neutralizer)

[12] [13]

I am also including SIP's edit below which Amgine and Chiacomo deleted. If SIP puts in his own statement then he can move this edit to go with his statement, if his wishes.

False claim of unsourced, blocking authority[edit]

I would also like to clarify that, as with Borofkin, I don't consider myself to be directly in dispute with Mrmiscellanious.

Response by Mrmiscellanious[edit]

Statement by User:Vonbergm[edit]

Like the other two users above, I do not consider myself as being in "direct conflict" with MrM, but I have had several run-ins with MrM and take issue with some of MrM's behaviour in these situations that I consider damaging to Wikinews. I also have increasing difficulty assuming good faith on some edits of MrM and found myself getting increasingly agressive in responding to preceived ("allegedly") disruptive behaviour of MrM. I have challenged MrM on many of the points outlined below before (e.g. [15], [16], [17]) without ever coming to any agreement. This is why I would like to take this opportunity to utilize this formal process to get input on the problems I see in MrM's behaviour, and possible responses to it. Hopefully this will help avoid similar situations in the future.


Agressive edits based on misinformation[edit]

Being bold and making agressive edits can help avoid lengthy discussions or cuts them short by moving the article forward. When made in good faith, bold edits are sometimes the only way to come to a reasonable compromise in a timely fashion. For this to work it is necessary that the edits are informed. If they are not, then the edit in question is simply disruptive.

Misinformed edits happen. It is safe to assume that every regular contributer has made an edit that was not supported by facts. We are only amateur journalists with limited time and resources and, given how a wiki works, the ramifications of such edits are relatively minor. Usually the error is caught and corrected, and people get seldomely hung up on this.

Taken by themselves, these two editing scenarios are harmless or even useful. Taken together, they are extremely harmful to the project. Agressively insisting on false information makes it next to impossible (for me at least) to assume good faith. Some examples

  • [18] (Note edit summary: "Remove image, does not enhance article, messes with layout, is not even a "new" photo, AFAICT." and subsequent comment on talk page: [19])
Exceptionally agressive edit. The question of whether or not the picture should be included was ongoing on the talk page. Despite this MrM seems comfortable to make a "bold" edit, altough he only has weak reasons ("not enhance", "layout", picture takes up "bandwidth") and throws in the uninformed statement (easily contradicted by the sources) that the picture is not "new". The "AFAICT" in the edit summary and the "I believe" in the comments on the talk page indicate that he himself is not very sure on this, putting further questions why he would make such an agressive edit based on so little information.
  • This block of edits [20] ignored concerns raised on the talk page and changed the character of the story in a way not founded in the sources. In particular, moving a key paragraph sceptical of some information to the bottom and inserting the word "earlier" is a deliberate attempt to go against the information in the sources (which imply the opposite temporal relationship) to push a POV. At the time I did not feel like imitating MrM's agressive editing behaviour and simply complained about this on the talk pages [21]. The article remains with information that is contradicting the sources.
  • Changed the title 4 times ([22], [23], [24], [25]) in less than a day (to exactly the same title!) while refusing to take part in discussions about the title [26] for a good portion of the time. The fact that the title he proposed "Report: Bush authorized NSA surveillance of international conversations" misses the main point (that US citisens are targeted while they are in the US) makes this quite concerning. His insistence on the "Report:" exemplifies his obsession to relativise statements challenging his POV. (Other examples to this point below. In this case the information was verified independently by two sources cited in the article early on.)
  • Changed title 3 times ([27], [28], [29]) to same title "Spain issues arrest warrant for three U.S. soldiers accused of killing two journalists in 2003", adding the "accused of"-phrase. This is are his only edits of the article. He makes one edit [30] to the talk page explaining his reasons for insisiting on the "accused of" formulation despite the fact no parties question that the soldiers killed the journalists and ignores the further discussion. He prevails with his unilateral approach of repeatadly changing the title and ignoring discussions on the talk page. A good example of the type of behaviour that practically forces escalation if other people are not willing to simply give up their oncerns.

Disruptive behaviour / POV pushing[edit]

If MrM's behaviour would be consistent in his actions independent of the political flavour of an article, one could argue that MrM's is merely trying to enforce cite policy. In many cases MrM does point out problems with articles and helps improve the wiki. This explanation breaks down when one is confronted with MrM's double standarts. These large discrepancies in his behaviour force the interpretation that much of his agressive editing practices are driven by his POV. I want to add to the examples given above.

Some of these discrepancies are so big that MrM's statements reach into the grotesque. For example he has been an animate advocate on the question on "reliable sources". He has insisted that sources like LA Times, Washington Post or NY Times are not "credible" ([31], [32]) and made clear he will only accept on "government documents" as sources (when the reporting is critical of the government). While this insistance in itself is already absurd (especially applied in this particular instance, see this [33] for the discussion on the talk page), it appears malicious when compared his defense [34] of a (right-wing) blog [35] as a "credible" source.

More (although less clear-cut) evidence for POV-pushing can be found when it comes to disparate use of language. For certain kind of news he insists on inserting words like "alledged" or the like to relativise the validity of statement that is "unverified". While it is important to correctly attribute information, he pushes this point ad absurdum in certain instances [36], while he completely ignores this point in other instances [37] (note the missing "alleged" before "target", despite lengthy discussions pointing out that there was not even reliable information what entity fired the missile, let alone what the target was).

I have not been directly effected by some of the problems of MrM's dealings with policy, but have witnessed some of them as they developed on the talk pages of articles I was involved in. Thus I do not want to discuss these in detail but just point out three mayor issues that disturb me regarding this. The first is the disparate application of policy, employing aberrant interpretations of policy when convenient [38], and neglecting policy in other cases [39], which makes it difficult not to suspect that a siginificant portion of his motivation to enforce policy is derived from POV and personal grudges. The second point is MrM's inability to recognize his own mistakes as exemplified here [40] . I firmly believe that the open recognition of ones mistakes and taking responsibility for them is a prerequisite for improvement (at least when this statement is interpreted in a culture-sensitive way). The third is the "John Wayne Syndrome" exhibited here [41] where it becomes evident that MrM sees himself as the lone guardian of the wiki, the last fortress, and if he faulters the whole wiki will slide into chaos. This is an extremely harmful attitude (and very un-wiki) and needs to be straightened out.

Goal[edit]

The above is not trying to be a "fair" evaluation of MrM's behaviour. I have focused entirely on my interaction with MrM. The articles that I participated in are focused quite narrowly on issues that can be labeled as "controvercial" and thus have a greater potential for conflict than average articles. Moreover, this is not a fair representation of MrM's behaviour on these particular selection of articles either. I have witnessed numerous cases where MrM has pointed out problems in articles that I had previously overlooked and where he helped improve the quality of an article in a constructive fashion. I have seen examples where he has made changes to his own edits when problems were pointed out to him. There is no doubt that he has made valuable contributions to this wiki.

I hope that in this process MrM can understand what parts of his behaviour are harmeful to this wiki as they are a siginificant contributor to the edit wars and conflicts he has been involved in, and that he can improve his behaviour to avoid the problems outlined above. I am sure that MrM also takes issue with some of my behaviour and I am looking forward to hearing some of these issues and doing my part to help improve this wiki.

Response by Mrmiscellanious[edit]

Statement by User:Cartman02au[edit]

I currently am not personally involved in a dispute with MrMiscellanious, but as with others can sympathise with those who do.

In my experience, MrM does not edit collaboratively with other users. On a recent article StrangeInParadise and I were working on New South Wales set to adopt harsher anti-cannabis laws, MrM made changes which affected the quality of the article without discussing it on article's talk page. In fact, MrM made only one entry on the talk page during the period the article was worked on and that entry was unrelated to the changes he made.

Also of concern are attempts by MrMiscellanious to interject his POV into otherwise neutral articles. Again, in the article above, MrMiscellanious removed sourced material [42] in an attempt to slant the article to his own POV [43].

Again referring to the NSW cannabis article and MrMiscellanious' involvement is a 3RR block which I strongly objected. MrM applied a 4 day block for what he at the time claimed to be a 3RR violation [44]. According to WN:3RR the maximum block for a 3RR policy violation is 24 hours. When questioned about this MrM claimed that he had the right to block for longer as it was a repeat violation [45]. Unfortunately, the 3RR policy affords administrators no such allowances. When challenged about the block later, MrM claimed that he made the block in accordance with disruption conditions of WN:BP. Frankly, he can not have it both ways.

The recent incident where MrMiscellanious was blocked for breaching 3RR also gained my attention. MrMiscellanious repeatedly reverted Full extent of Abu Ghraib detainee abuse revealed in obvious violation of 3RR. The amount of effort MrMiscellanious put into having his block listed was ridiculous given such a simple policy violation.

MrMiscellanious' recent objection to my administratorship [46] also demonstrated to me that he will bully users where possible to get what he wants. In his objection he claimed that "Quite disturbing comments have been made on his account about administrators in general". When asked if his comments were in regards to my opposition to the 3RR block against StrangerInParadise and a question I posed on the misc water cooler page [47][48] he told me that those were the main reason for his opposition.[49].

The final issue I see with MrMiscellanious are comments like this - If that's the case, than I have no problem with telling you to join Indymedia, and get the hell out of here - you are no longer welcome. --MrMiscellanious (talk) – 23:42, 26 February 2006 (UTC) [50] these are inappropriate (especially for an Administrator) and counter-productive. It seems to be as soon as MrM doesn't get his own way he becomes aggresive towards other users which is most certainly not in the spirit of wiki.

Addition to statement - March 7, 2006[edit]

Despite another administrator removing userboxes from the site. MrM has created a solution of his own (see [51], [52] and [53]. He was also requested to remove these "userbox alike" images from his userpage, but instead replaces them with different ones. - Cartman02au (Talk)(AU Portal) 09:05, 7 March 2006 (UTC)

Pursuit of WN:RfAr[edit]

I am going to withdraw from "dispute resolution" as it is pointless when MrM has been given a week to at least acknowledge it and has failed to do so. I have requested arbitration on WN:RfAr - Cartman02au (Talk)(AU Portal) 09:29, 12 March 2006 (UTC)

Ditto; Neutralizer 02:17, 15 March 2006 (UTC)

Response by MrMiscellanious[edit]

Statement by User:International[edit]

I welcome this initiative to make a dispute resolution of various acting of Mrmiscellanious here on Wikinews. My opinion is that Mrmiscellanious have by far crossed a line on what is appropriate behaviour both as editor and as administrator and made my and others effort here less constructive and sometimes unplesant. The other users statment already contain most of my issues with Mrmiscellanious so I will wait until these are correct adressed. I just add one example of Mrmiscellanious behaviour that i find very wrong.

Manipulative behavour to make other disrupt site[edit]

Mrmiscellanious used Dragonfire as a tool for sitedisruption by persuade Dragonfire to violating 3RR. Dragonfires statment of the events on his userpage. Amgine blocked Mrm and 3other users. Consequences of that dispute was also that a user [54] left wikinewsproject. It is still unsolved.

Resolution[edit]

I am have good fait in Mrmiscellanious change in behaviour. But it should be documented in this dispute resolution and stated by Mrmiscellanious what he actually agree to and clearly define what he agree not to continue to do. International 18:42, 9 March 2006 (UTC)

Response by MrMiscellanious[edit]

Statement by User:Mrmiscellanious[edit]

A very wise wiki editor once said, "I think you have to take the crap dished here without comment." [55]. Although the user was talking about the comments on the RfdA, I think it is plausible for it to apply here, as well. Therefore, I will not make a statement - not as long as I am a party in any disputes - as it is disrespectful for the fellow editors who are here to make a statement. I am not interested in doing such. You do whatever you want, but if you're expecting a statement from me, I'm not going to provide one. --MrMiscellanious (talk) – 00:47, 15 March 2006 (UTC)

Response by Borofkin[edit]

Response by Neutralizer[edit]

Response by Vonbergm[edit]

Thanks for at least acknowledging our attempt to solve this issue. I ask you to reconsider as I feel that this process here is much more likely to result in some solution acceptable to everyone involved as opposed to anything coming from arbcom which is doomed to leave either you or us unsatisfied. If there is anything I can do to change your mind, let me know. --vonbergm 03:25, 15 March 2006 (UTC)

And I really do not understand your statement (except for the last sentence), so maybe I am missing some essential part of what you are trying to say...

Response by Cartman02au[edit]

It is unfortunate that you feel that way, but there are issues that need to be sorted out. My choice to go to the ArbCom was after you failed to respond for seven days, only after eleven days do we get a response which shows you are unwilling to co-operate in the process developed by the community - Cartman02au (Talk)(AU Portal) 02:19, 15 March 2006 (UTC)

Response by International[edit]

I was going to respond but Mrm editconflicted me with his answer to mediation so I dont say anything (?) International 20:12, 15 March 2006 (UTC)

Request for Mediation[edit]

It appears that comments by parties to this dispute are complete, or sufficently complete.

Will there be mediation on these matters?

I would like it to be known, that as an ArbCom member who would recuse himself from this issue, that I would volunteer to mediate. That is, firstly if Mrmiscellanious wants to go to mediation with myself acting in that role, and secondly, if there is no objection from other parties to the dispute.

So the question is, MrMiscellanious do you want to go to mediation with myself acting as the mediator, or perhaps some other person, or no mediation at all? -Edbrown05 03:29, 15 March 2006 (UTC)

Ed, you ask "if there is no objection from other parties to the dispute". Yes,Ed, I do object. Five users requested RfAr 3 days ago and are just waiting for Arbcom to finish your current work with Amgine as requested by Bawolff. We waited 12 days here at DR for a reponse from MrM. and this is what we got today from MrM.; "You do whatever you want, but if you're expecting a statement from me, I'm not going to provide one." In addition, I really worked hard on my arbitration statement for about 5 hours today(you should see all the edits it took me to get it right) so yes, I do object. Neutralizer 09:09, 15 March 2006 (UTC)

If MrM will accept mediation I would think the ArbCom would likely deny or postpone the request. --Chiacomo (talk) 06:24, 15 March 2006 (UTC)

I am happy with any mediator that is acceptable to MrM. - Borofkin 06:30, 15 March 2006 (UTC)

Same here. I fear that in this case arbitration has the strong potential to leave people unhappy and drive them away from the project. --vonbergm 06:39, 15 March 2006 (UTC)
Ok, count me in on the mediation, even at this late date. vonbergm convinced me its the right thing to do. Neutralizer 18:41, 15 March 2006 (UTC)

I refuse any requests for "mediation". --MrMiscellanious (talk) – 19:51, 15 March 2006 (UTC)

Thanks for the offer Ed, but it appears that it is pointless - Cartman02au (Talk)(AU Portal) 20:38, 15 March 2006 (UTC)

Next step in dispute resolution[edit]

General discussion[edit]

Whats next, any idea?International 20:23, 15 March 2006 (UTC)

If there are "innocent bystanders" with the strong belief that mediation would be preferable to arbitration, maybe they can convince MrM to change his mind. Otherwise it's back to writing articles until arbcom looks at this. --vonbergm 20:37, 15 March 2006 (UTC)
Yes, articles. Here I come! International 20:44, 15 March 2006 (UTC)