Talk:Task force/Recommendations/Wikipedia Quality 2

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Thread titleRepliesLast modified
Disadvantages013:11, 7 August 2010
Recognition of content builders005:38, 29 January 2010
Shocked105:37, 29 January 2010
Quality and talk pages505:24, 29 January 2010


On EN wiki it is already difficult to get anyone through RFA, I fear if this was implemented it would make it more difficult for good contributors to become admins. At the moment they are one of the few groups who can succeed at RFA even as a self nom provided they are civil, have read up on the wiki jargon and give a couple of examples where they would use the tools.

Currently RFA enables people who start as good writers to get more involved in the community. As they finish writing what first brought then here they can start looking at the wider community and if articles for creation, protection policy or the appointment of Autopatrollers attracts their attention they can move in that direction. If we define "senior editors the best we can hope for is that they get delete and restore in order to do history merges. But why not make them admins, and give them the block button if once in a while they might need to use it?

The idea behind Adminship is that this is a set of extra tools for trusted users, and once people have the set they may choose to get involved in areas that they may not have thought of at the time of their RFA. Unbundling and dividing the toolset would make sense if there was a part of the toolset that had historically caused problems with admins misusing it out of inexperience - but the reason why admins have had to be desysopped on EN wiki almost invariably relates to tools they were asking for at RFA. I fear that this extra complication would increase the Byzantine nature of our community structure whilst limiting the effectiveness of some of our best editors.

WereSpielChequers13:11, 7 August 2010

Recognition of content builders

Edited by 0 users.
Last edit: 11:05, 24 January 2010

Adding a parallel status of "senior editors" would give some recognition to the people who actually build content and not merely maintain it (as admins do). It makes perfect sense to request officially-recognised senior editors to mediate minor content disputes in articles they are not already involved in. If this form of dispute resolution fails for some article, there are existing dispute resolution measures to fall back on.

Speaking as a retired sysop on the English language Wikiepdia, I've seen many fellow admins get promoted for their ability to do the janitorial tasks more than editing. While blocking users and deleting trash is important and does require some level of community trust and responsibility, many sysops are far from the best volunteers Wikipedia has. For many, the very label and extra "powers" have somehow become a status symbol of sorts - it can get to their heads and some go on insane power trips.

So it seems that we are recognising these janitorial tasks and giving extra powers and titles, etc, to those doing routine fix-up jobs, but actual good editors, who often will have absolutely no interest in deleting images or dealing with vandals, are left with no official recognition. Makes perfect sense to me to recognise good editors and diminish the idea that sysops are the exemplary users.--Konstable 11:05, 24 January 2010 (UTC)

Konstable11:05, 24 January 2010
Edited by another user.
Last edit: 14:11, 28 January 2010

1. I'm shocked that Wikimedia is considering creating a system of "senior editors". It seems to go against the wiki concept. All the bureaucracy becomes increasingly irrelevant if a system is in place that essentially identifies a set of community approved editors -- it becomes an encyclopedic version of Furthermore, the "community of users" is not in a position to perform peer review on individual editors. Going to a system like that would be fundamentally going back to the system Wikipedia originally envisioned, and the founders subsequently objected to, before it came up with the actual wiki concept as presently understood.

2. Votes for "Senior Editor" will always remain a popularity contest. There is no mechanism that would not cause more problems than it solves. Consider: peer submission would imply existing Senior Editors in a given field vote new Senior Editors into their ranks. General collection of "votes" would consist of "barn star seniority". It also overturns the assumption that decent work by non-senior or non-regular editors will be evaluated impartially by the wider community of users.

3. Since senior editor status is about past as much as future performance, the number of senior editors vis-a-vis everyone else actually determines & modifies the function of senior editors and what they are implied to be capable of. This is a serious problem. If, as originally proposed, "tens of thousands" of senior editors are envisioned then you're looking at barn star seniority. If, OTOH, senior editors are supposed to be experts in the field to "guide any changes" made to high quality pages, then you might as well move to the "definitive publishable article" system where a peer-reviewed expert is voted in and editing is closed off after a page reaches A or FA status. If senior editors are merely supposed to guide content discussion to ensure quality work and mentor junior and infrequent editors (the rest of us), then you're looking at an entirely new and parallel system to the consensus-edit-rewrite process.

4. This new thread interface is the worst they could have picked. (I, and most people I know have always loathed the Google thread interface, but I guess with the near-ubiquity of Gmail, most people expect Wikipedia to look like the "Internet they are used to" when they open up their inbox.) More to the point, it crashes my browser entirely on my old computer (not just the discussion pages but the pages linked to LiquidThreads, such as (Google threads do not). This is a serious access issue.

Where and to whom should I address this issue? Interestingly, the threads for commenting on LiquidThreads are LiquidThreads themselves, and the Wikimedia policy discussions are in LiquidThreads so I have no access to read those on my other computer. Replying and searching for ones reply and trying to figure out which threads are nested where is slow as molasses on this computer, to boot.

--berr, 28 January 2010
  1. I don't see how "All the bureaucracy becomes increasingly irrelevant ..." is a bad thing: surely it is highly desirable to have less bureaucracy and more encyclopedia?
  2. That "the "community of users" is not in a position to perform peer review on individual editors" and "Votes for "Senior Editor" will always remain a popularity contest." is true enough, and that is the Achilles heel of the proposal: for it to work, there must be a mechanism to avoid just that vote.
  3. It is indeed the intent that senior editors are not experts on the topic, but trusted users committed to the core values "... supposed to guide content discussion to ensure quality work ... [so that we]'re looking at an entirely new and parallel system to the consensus-edit-rewrite process." And surely that is a good thing: where the "consensus-edit-rewrite process" bogs down and produces nothing that is worthy of an encyclopedia then something new is called for. That is common sense. - Brya 05:36, 29 January 2010 (UTC)
And yes, this LiquidThreads is indeed a bad idea, to put it mildly. - Brya 05:36, 29 January 2010 (UTC)
Brya05:36, 29 January 2010

Quality and talk pages

The Talk page can lead to improved quality of articles on WP. Although this mechanism is working already after a fashion, its benefits would become more apparent with better discipline.

My observations are based upon technical articles, and not articles of a more general nature.

Discussion of technical articles requires some expertise. Generally speaking Administrators lack sufficient expertise to intervene as Administrators so as to regulate the technical content of such discussion. However, they could be of great help in regulating the conduct of such discussion, particularly by enforcement of guidelines governing behavior such as WP:NPA, WP:Civil and so forth. Unfortunately, they often consider themselves capable of administrating content-related guidelines like WP:POV, WP:NOR, WP:Soap; WP:Fringe and so on. The uninformed actions of an armed belligerent destroy Talk page discussion, and lead to adversaries trying to cultivate bureaucracy instead of discussion.

It is my view that creating a cadre of "senior editors" will exacerbate such abuses of Talk pages, because such "senior editors" will be hard to identify, and will tend to stray beyond their true expertise. Instead, the already existing Administrators should be encouraged to focus upon maintenance of interchange on Talk pages, and regulate conduct to facilitate useful exchange.

Guidelines may need to be improved to guide this intervention. For example, the use of content related guidelines like WP:POV, WP:NOR, WP:Soap; WP:Fringe and so on, by Talk page participants should be required to provide explicit backup using WP:Diffs (and not be used as unsupported pejoratives to stifle talk). Catcalls, sneers, cheer leading, me too's, and other crowd psychology behavior should be clamped down. That is, a regulation of conduct is needed, not a judgment by Administrators as to the validity of assertions.

It is my view that Talk page discussion can lead to better articles, and will be more able to do so if a focus upon guidelines that catalyze discussion, rather than regulating its content, are enforced strictly, universally upon all participants, and at an early stage. Authority must be directed at conduct, not content.

Brews ohare20:03, 21 January 2010

Well, firstly the behaviour of admins won't necessarily be in the least affected if this recommendation would be implemented. They can monitor conduct anyway, and they probably should do so.

Also the "senior editor" (as envisioned here) is not intended to be an authority on the particular topic he is asked to help out with: he is supposed to be an experienced Wikipedian, with a commitment to the core values. He is supposed to help guide the process of putting together a quality page.

But indeed much will depend on the details of how this is implemented; how to test for "commitment to the core values"? What powers will the senior editor get. Etc. - Brya 05:57, 22 January 2010 (UTC)

Brya05:57, 22 January 2010

The "senior editor" would be a trusted user, selected for skills and experience, and for commitment to core polices (NOR, NPoV and V-policies).

I believe this is exactly opposite to what is needed to improve the quality of WP. It simply introduces some more administrators that can bully Talk page discussions when their "expert" status is misapplied.

A better approach is to encourage existing Administrators to focus upon conduct, not content. That means NOR, NPoV and V-policies should not be the focus, because they require judgment of content. Rather CIVIL, NPA, AGF, DIS and so forth should be the emphasis. If Talk pages become useful discussion pages, instead of being used for entertainment and ego satisfaction, the articles content will reflect sensible consensus instead of the opinion of the (possibly) arrogant majority or oligarchy. Prompt and unbiased policing of bad behavior (easily done without reference to content, and based strictly upon conduct) will catalyze actual discussion in place of the present Jerry Springer Show tactics. It also will bring in participants with something to say that cannot be bothered with a melee.

Brews ohare20:20, 22 January 2010
  1. You are repeating yourself
  2. "Prompt and unbiased policing of bad behavior (easily done without reference to content, and based strictly upon conduct)" may avoid "the present Jerry Springer Show tactics." but will in itself not avoid users from sabotaging discussions. It is quite possible to be completely unconstructive while maintaing a perfectly polite mien. - Brya 06:02, 23 January 2010 (UTC)
Brya06:02, 23 January 2010

Yes, not all problems are solved, particularly deliberate sabotage. But some problems would be solved, possibly the worst.

Brews ohare07:45, 23 January 2010

Yes, but it is a separate point. Both policies could be pursued independently. - Brya 04:46, 24 January 2010 (UTC)

Brya04:46, 24 January 2010