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Decline of arbcom?

Posted: Sat May 25, 2019 6:51 am
by NadirAli
Sorry if this topic has been posted already. If it is, please merge it.

We've been seeing the media and other websites discussing the decline of Wikipedia admins, but what about Arbcom? I read that in 2017-2018, they took on as few as six cases.

For the number of disputes and drama that occur everyday on Wikipedia, that's an extremely small amount of cases. Are these signs for the diminishing of arbcom?

Re: Decline of arbcom?

Posted: Sat May 25, 2019 5:20 pm
by CrowsNest
They've been seduced or browbeaten by this idea they only exist to examine tool abuse, convinced the community is adequately handling everything else, and so that is basically all they have looked at this year. And most (all?) cases accepted in 2019, all for tool abuse, could be dealt with by motion, suggesting that for these they are just engaged in making themselves look busy. It's a crock, issues brought to them but currently being rejected, like Stanton McCandlish and his transphobic activism, are nothing but rehashed versions of the disputes users like that had been brought before ArbCom for resolution in the past. Now, they don't see that as an issue for their Court at all, which is why that was just left to simmer, resulting in yet more disputes and gross breaches of policy, none of which got resolved by the community at all, except by telling them to "knock it off". Which they never do. ArbCom of today is entirely disinterested in what ArbCom of yesteryear did. Stanton McCandlish has not only caused all that transphobic shit this year, he has recently had to be topic banned under the sanctions of his previous Case (not done by the Committee, but in their name). Both are basically examples of the same sort of disruption in the same topic area for the same basic reasons, but Stanton is as yet untouched by their short arm of the law to revisit the issue of whether or not he should be shown the door, based on a detailed and unbiased review of his activities in the round. Quite the reverse, Stanton came very close to being elected to the Committee recently. Madness.

Re: Decline of arbcom?

Posted: Mon May 27, 2019 6:54 am
by NadirAli
Wow. No wonder vigilantism is the more popular choice amongst Wikipedians. And justifiably so.

It does for sure make things a lot easier.

Re: Decline of arbcom?

Posted: Mon May 27, 2019 1:00 pm
by CrowsNest
It was always going to end this way. The community, or at least those who loudly profess to be it, complained for years that ArbCom were incompetent idiots by not doing what they wanted. The cause of their frustration was of course that ArbCom did what they were elected to do, stand up for policy against the mob, who would rather ArbCom ignore policy to protect established users seen as doing good work (even "irreplaceable" in extreme cases), or on the flip side ignore policy and not protect those who were so effective at using policy (and stubbornness) to fend off the baying mob.

And so, almost unnoticed, instead of carrying on complaining, they decided to exploit the weakness that ArbCom is the only place on Wikipedia where voting is power. It started slowly at first, just a couple of official mob candidates. They got elected easily, despite being horrendously unqualified and unsuited. Having quickly devalued the quality of the Committee, decisions started to get weaker and weaker, the very idea these people existed to show leadership evaporated. Before too long, the insurgency became the orthodoxy.

In 2017 there were only eight viable candidates for eight seats. Five years ago this would have had the 'community' screaming that the whole thing was a sham, an establishment stitch up, an affront to true democratic choice. They sat on their hands. Why? Not apathy. They could see that with absolute lying scum like Opabina Regalis now firmly entrenched as the ranking Members, they no longer needed to worry that ArbCom would be out of step with their wishes. The measure of Opabina's character, indeed her basic inability to do anything complex like assess evidence, is indistinguishable from the sort of half-witted disingenuous game playing lying scum that had been railing against the Committee for getting it wrong for a decade.

There are still good people on the Committee, real leaders capable of defending policy, but not enough to even ensure a valid case gets accepted half the time, much less is properly progressed if by some miracle one is. We have seen what happens even when the qualified and sensible candidates are given the relative power of drafting a case decision. If it contradicts the mob orthodoxy, it is voted down by the rest of the Members, or subjected to Death By Committee. The result are utter abortions like Giant Snowman.

This is the environment that explains why absolute scum like The Rambling Man can routinely break the sanctions previous Committtee's have applied to him, and nobody says a damn word, least of all the current Committee.

This recent request decline is a classic example of how a Big Beast of Wikipedia blatantly ignoring policy to act unilaterally for her own ideas of what Doing The Right Thing looks like, has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to fear from the Committee anymore..... ... =878467205

In previous years, the fact that clear and obvious breaches of policy had been identified, regardless of the specifics of whether or that particular incident was still causing controversy, would have led to a case being opened, to examine if playing fast and loose with the tools and the rules with no clear and obvious benefit to the community (as defined by the absence of any legitimate complaints), was a pattern for this specific Administrator.

As anyone who follows Bishonen knows, it is totally her pattern. She is a complete and total cowboy, she uses her powers in this fashion all the time, arrogantly daring people to do something about it if they disagree. If you're lucky you might get an explanation, but it is more typical that, as happened here, she will choose to hear what she wants to hear and double down, and if you don't like it basically you can GO FUCK YOURSELF. She's too smart to say it, but as any idiot can see, that is the effect of her actions and words, or lack thereof. She got away with not even giving a proper statement FFS.

It used to be the case that investigating the actions of Administrators who had a genuine belief their actions were right and proper and done for the best of Wikipedia, but due to their own actions they were either still completely idiotic, speaking therefore entirely to either their utter incompetence or worse, their desire to game the system. Now bizarrely, this is somehow used as a reason not to accept a case.

It would be funny if it were not so serious, how often Opabina does what she did here. First, she comes up with a fanciful version of events that is basically fraudulent, and she then places on top of that interpretations of policy that are absolutely WARPED. I mean, on what fucking planet was this a valid application of IAR? The first clue it was not, was that BISHONEN DID NOT SAY SHE WAS APPLYING IAR.

In that environment, where somehow the likes of Opabina have become the ranking members and absolute nonsense like that is ignored even by her peers, and is celebrated by the rank and file as TRUTH, then you understand why the few Committee Members still capable of actually taking sense, such as Mkdw in this scenario, still feel pressured not to rock the boat and accept the case.

Bishonen walked off into the sunset, not even remotely caring that four out of seven Arbitrators who commented said she had failed to meet what is a minimum standard for an Administrator. If the Committee had not been completely hollowed out and made to resemble the community itself, where such things don't matter because for Big Beasts the rules don't mean shit, you just need to have the balls to ignore them and stare everyone down, then a damn sight more than four would have been saying it, and they probably would have realized that this is not the first time she has received such criticism, and cares as little about that now as she ever did, and accepted a case to collect the evidence of this pattern (easily found), and then set her straight, or kick her out.

This is why the Committee does hardly anything anymore, except to accept and prosecute clear and obvious cases, shooting people in broad daylight in the middle of Fifth Avenue type cases.

The current Committee wants absolutely no part of investigating anyone, be they Administrator or Editor, who has a clear and persistent pattern of ignoring the rules for no other reason then they are inconvenient to them and conflict with their personal view of what is best for Wikipedia. Unless of course, the person is pursing an agenda that is deemed unacceptable to the cult, like genuine NPOV in areas like politics, then the rules will be used as a tool to achieve the desired outcome. In this respect, the Committee is now totally aligned with the core bunch of game playing bastards that likes to call itself the community.

See, Democracy works! The one obstacle to the mob, was eventually removed by the mob exercising their power at the ballot box.

If anyone wants to see the effect of democracy on Wikipedia, consider this......Bishonen justified her action as follows.....
None of the usual reasons for keeping a talkpage unprotected applies.
.....but as the Committee should certainly appreciate, this is an absurd case of turning the entire body of Wikipedia protection policy on its head. That a page is unprotected is the DEFAULT, it is for those arguing it should not be unprotected to give clear reasons why protection has to be applied. As had already been pointed out to her by a colleague, 'user request' is not one of them.

I mean, FUCK, there is no such thing as a list of reasons why a page should be unprotected, only a requirement that the valid reasons for protection no longer apply. If Bishonen genuinely believe this is the protection policy, she is incompetent. She doesn't believe it, she knows it's garbage, but she is merely following the established pattern that the community and virtually all the current Administrators less powerful than her are more than happy to accept whatever garbage she says, largely because they don't want to be wiki-beaten up for disagreeing with the almighty Bishonen.

The Arbitration Committee had an opportunity here to investigate the root causes as to why Bishonen, an Administrator, seems so comfortable talking utter shit to justify an obvious abuse of policy. They declined the opportunity. Literally declined it. It should be absolutely no surprise then, that now it has become the norm for the sort of utter scum ordinary editor that Bishonen has previously protected with her abusive ways, have now begun to parrot her bullshit.....
Tony knows only too well how many times my talk page has been vandalised, including filthy comments about my wife. There's no reason to unprotected it, unless of course The Duke of Nonsense wishes to create a sock to carry out such bile, undetected. CassiantoTalk 17:02, 20 May 2019 (UTC)
....and it was no surprise then to see one of the Committee members who don't know or don't care that it is wrong and gave Bishonen free reign to continue her cowboy ways, turning up to endorse it......
Cassianto has expressed a desire for the semi protection to remain and for you to leave him alone. Please respect that and drop the matter. ♠PMC♠ (talk) 17:52, 20 May 2019 (UTC)
Is it a coincidence that Bishonen, Opabina and PMC are all women? Probably not. The theory that the women who rise to the top of Wikipedia typically only get there by being even more corrupt than then men they need to displace, holds. Arrogance is what it is, having the sheer balls to say something absurd and simply expect others to accept it, or resort to pitched battle to prove you wrong. Not a common female trait, but quite clearly being selected for by the evolutionary forces of what works for the Wikipedia community.

Cassianto (editor)==Bishonen (Administrator)==PMC (Arbitrator). All as corrupt as each other, telling people black is white and to move on, nothing to see here, if they think differently. The theoretical difference in their level of trust and implied clue arising from the differing statuses, now only a theoretical.

This same patterns of the Committee simply aping the worst elements of the so called community in how and why they decline Cases, can be seen time and again.... ... d_requests

It took a long time, but it is clear, this fish didn't rot from the head, it began with the tail, and now the rot has progressed right to the head.

These days, anyone who submits an ArbCom case that is not a clear cut case of "tool abuse", really is an idiot on a fool's errand. The message that it is a complete waste of time has been received by most of the community, for whom submitting a Case was never an appealing prospect anyway. Now it is only those too naive (newbies and Robert McLennons alike), or entrenched combatants, who even try. Not a great look for a project that purports to be self-governing.

Re: Decline of arbcom?

Posted: Mon May 27, 2019 1:25 pm
by CrowsNest
You will know ArbCom is fixed, is if an Arbitrator ever requests a Case, to test whether their own theories of what is right and proper as a mere observer of any given situation, is shared by their colleagues. Obviously they would then recuse from deliberating, but they would be the one submitting the evidence and leading the workshop.

The question of whether Bishonen is a rogue actor is the perfect test case of whether the mob really has captured ArbCom, Bishonen being the closest Wikipedia has to a leader of the mob. The trigger for the request would be the inevitable next recurrence of her doing what she wants, how she wants, and fuck anyone who objects, be they an ordinary editor or Jimmy himself. One last chance to let the community, at least those not already in Bishonen's gang, see if their highest court really is fit for purpose anymore.

You can bet your life her lieutenants like RexxS (who would not have had a chance of becoming an Administrator if it weren't for the parallel forces of corruption having had their effect on RfA), would try their very hardest to disrupt said case, doing anything and everything to avoid the premise even being tested, much less in a calm and considered fashion. And that will be the perfect time to test whether ArbCom Clerks are worth having around.

That will never happen. Not in an environment where the few Arbitrators left who stand for policy are not even allowed to file their own Arbitration Enforcement reports any more (a necessity when the community and its encyclopedia that they exist to protect and serve has become so corrupt or so afraid that nobody else reports obvious breaches). Ironically that Arb was Gorilla Warfare, who of course has seemingly also now been persuaded that it is better to roll over and accept what the mob wants, being the first Arbitrator that declined to accept that Bishonen case.

Re: Decline of arbcom?

Posted: Sun Jun 02, 2019 10:31 pm
by CrowsNest
Early indications are that this case is probably going to be a great example of ArbCom of 2019 finding any way they can to not accept a case that ArbCom of 2009 would have absolutely accepted. ... 9830#p9830

No 'tool abuse', see.

How ridiculous that this is only still a dispute because fifteen years of previous Committees saying 'casting aspersions is wrong', 'treating Wikipedia as a battle ground is wrong', 'being absolute dicks is wrong' has basically been ignored by the very Administrators these geniuses want to send it back to.

Re: Decline of arbcom?

Posted: Fri Jun 07, 2019 12:32 pm
by CrowsNest
Actually, there is finally a Case on the 2019 socket that doesn't involve the mystical 'tool abuse', but is a classic example of this sort of dispute the Committee used to deal with. ... n_politics

It takes a lot of wading through, but soon enough the basic issues becomes clear....the SNC-Lavalin affair article has become a battleground, with experienced editor Curly Turkey dominating affairs, taking advantage of the fact his opponents are less experienced to try to game them out of the arena through all the usual wiki-warrior tactics of evasion, diversion, provocation and domination. This hasn't happened, ironically because his opponents, while inexperienced, are not blind to his intent. The dispute itself could have been resolved easily if the wider community and it's Administrators cared enough to separate the warring parties and give their own views, but Wikipedia being what it is, there are simply not enough experienced editors willing to do that. So, in a case of a Turkey voting for Christmas, he has filed a Case himself, and part of the reason this dispute exists is because he has such an inability to see how his own conduct is sub-par.

Now, in the old days, the Committee would have waded through the evidence and realized that the biggest problem here, other than the general failure of Wikipedia's model, is Curly Turkey. As the experienced editor he has no excuse for not following the rule book, and he would have to face at least a year long ban for the gravity and persistence of his efforts to toxify this dispute, given he has seemingly fallen back into bad habits, per his block log. He might have taken some comfort in the fact other editors less experienced might be subject to lesser sanctions, probably topic bans. Then again, with him out of the arena, they might have been given the benefit of the doubt and be allowed to see if they can get to grips with the rule book themselves properly in a Turkey free environment.

The thorniest issue would what to do about Littleolive oil, who, despite being unfailingly polite, has shown a tendency toward the dogged holding of some pretty bizarre interpretations of policy. This is serious, because she is an Administrator, and the fact she doesn't seem to have done much to ensure the rule book was followed, constrained as she would be by her involvement, says a lot. To avoid a scandal, but to get the point across, I think she would probably have got some kind of generic reminder. The whole case would be wrapped up with an appeal for the community to set up a formal mediation on the two or three specific points of dispute, and remind Administrators that they do have a role on Wikipedia, and if they simply want to just stand around with their thumb up their ass, they can probably do that somewhere other than Wikipedia.

Now, even though it was accepted, the way this case will go today, is markedly different. A clue is in the title chosen - they've grabbed a broad scope of "Canadian politics", even though there's been no reason to think this extends to any other article, certainly not one unrelated to the locus of the dispute. This hints to the fact the only actual sanctions will be to place the whole topic under Discretionary Sanctions, pointless for just one article, and especially so when it is one Administrators generally don't give a fuck about even though it was subject to a month long AN/I report (it is telling that El_C, the only Admin to come on the scene latterly, is simply threatening DS). Indeed, DS can actually be harmful in disputes like this because they merely increase the tactical power of experienced battlers like Curly, who will also relish the way his opponents inexperience in their use, soon works against them.

In terms of editor specific sanctions, in these straightened time where experienced editors are thin on the ground, it is almost unthinkable that an experienced editor like Turkey will be viewed more harshly for their infractions and record of recidivism. It is more likely the Committee, certainly the likes of Opabina, will gloss over the evidence and happily see him as a hero standing up to people who want to fuck with Wikipedia's neutrality, even though there is very little evidence this is being done deliberately or with malice (they will, for example, take no notice of Turkey's sweeping allegations of a conspiracy). As has already been tried by the transphobe Stanton McCandlish, a narrative where Curly has only been pushed to grumpiness by his opponents' CPUSHing, a fanciful portrayal already debunked by the evidence, which shows he attacks pretty much straight out of the box and his opponents, while often wrong, are listening to him more than he listens to them. At the very least, he will probably escape with a final warning, while his opponents will either face the same or worse.

Nothing will be said or done about Littleoliveoil, because she's a tiny little women, who has apparently been so busy elsewhere she's not even proferred any evidence to back up her more serious claims, and what she has filed is, well, informative as to her role. Obviously there won't be any recommendations to settle the disputes using formal mediation, in part because a Mediation Committee is one of the many things the dying Wikipedia community has seen fit to dispose of as superfluous to the only real dispute resolution mechanisms they want, AN/I, and ArbCom. This dispute is a perfect example of there being a need for an intermediate step which goes into more detail than AN/I but is quicker and less burdensome than ArbCom.

It could be said that ArbCom should not have accepted the Case at all in the state it was presented, just pass a Motion holding it in abeyance and calling for the closure of the various open RfCs, to see if that calmed things down. It probably wouldn't have, but the fact they didn't spot that the lack of resolution by Administrators was at least partially causing the issue here (one RfC was closed by El_C, but even that was a week overdue, and ended with the entirely unsatisfactory 'no consensus'). Who knows, perhaps the Committee were eager to be seen to be doing their job, conscious that they had not actually taken a non-tool abuse Case all year.

The big picture in terms of the overall decline of ArbCom, is that the scene was set here when Curley arrived and proceeded to fight LegacyPac when the article was in its infancy, who has since been banned for unrelated reasons. Initially it was a short block, but later upgraded to indef. The upgrading Administrator Drmies took great pride in the fact he was only virtue signalling, he had absolutely no interest in examining the user's wider conduct issues, and had LP been a little smarter he probably could have secured an unblock and been free to dive back into this dispute, making it even worse.

Drmies is a perfect example of the 'not my problem' (but I will opportunistically swoop in if it benefits my rep.) attitude that pervades the Wikipedia Administration, meaning the rule book and DR best practice remains merely a long forgotten bystander in disputes like this. This attitude of course bled into the Committee when the community unwisely elected him as an Arbitrator. They declined to keep him there, but only narrowly. He hails Opabina as his inspiration. She is still there, and she will probably do what she always does in this Case, namely make shit up regarding what actually happened, and support whatever outcome fits her preference that good decorum and rules compliance be made secondary to boasts of good intent by whoever is the longest serving contributor on scene (i.e the Turkey).

It is mildly interesting that the two drafters are women, and the Case features a women Administrator, albeit acting as an editor. Any hopes this might lead to a more enlightened view of who did what and how to unjam the logs is probably misplaced given the history of this Committee already, and of course the presence of Opabina too, who very much does not live up the hopes of a women driven revival of Wikipedia's fortunes (except when using her Seat to defend the fraudster Jess Wade and any who assisted her).

Re: Decline of arbcom?

Posted: Sat Jun 08, 2019 12:01 am
by Abd
I fully gave up on Wikipedia in 2011 when I realized that ArbCom was corrupt, and it clearly got worse. The election method is defective. It is called Approval-at-large and is well-known to generate unrepresentative results. ArbCom, instead of being fully representative of the community, will represent a majority faction (or even plurality), relatively disempowering everyone else. Mob rule. Predictable, from the structure, which was set up by people well-meaning but terminally naive.