Talk:Task force/Recommendations/Community health 7

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Scope beyond English Wikipedia

It might be helpful to note that this page (and recommendations/facts on it) tend to only relate to the English Wikipedia... ~Philippe 23:22, 9 January 2010 (UTC)

  • Some of them do, and some of them don't. I'll try to clarify. Randomran 23:33, 9 January 2010 (UTC)
    • The problems exist cross wiki and so binding negotiated/mediated solutions could work everywhere. Currently on Commons there is a BIG conflict about placing images in categories. This dispute has gone on for months with attempts to reach a compromise failing. There are several other issues at Commons that have stalled and could benefit from a negotiated binding process. FloNight♥♥♥ 12:58, 11 January 2010 (UTC)

Tweaking to broadening to other Foundation wikis

I see problem with decision making on all wikis. The scale of the problems is larger on Wikipedia English but as projects grow the current consensus models breaks down. Smaller wikis have different types of problems making a consensus decision that represents them.

Right now on all wikis some types of decisions are seen as final to the extent that there is a process to close the discussion/vote and make a semi-permanent or permanent decision. What we need is to find a way to bring the rest of the decision making into a model that closes, is actionable with the understanding that it will not be immediately restarted. This could include policy decisions, too. The key is to make a process that includes a large enough group of people that all ideas are represented so that people will buy in to the final decision since their ideas were fairly represented and considered.

We need to make sure that we address decision making cross wiki. There are special issues with these decisions. Meta is a wiki where some types of cross wiki issues are discussed. Changes to processes are discussed on Meta. Language barriers are a major issue in these discussions.

The Global sysop is an example of a Meta discussion and vote that has stalled for years because of problems explaining the problem, getting a representative people to write the proposal, and then closing the process with a binding vote. Looking at the current discussion page, you can see the typical problems with Meta consensus discussions. FloNight♥♥♥ 13:55, 11 January 2010 (UTC)

  • You're right, the global sysop dispute fits the form perfectly. You have basically two equal groups discussing a proposal. But there's no consensus-building, because the groups are too massive to have a reasonable discussion (and indeed, there is some interpretation that talking to a voter is "harassment"). There's also no consensus-building because that would require a commitment from volunteers that no one really wants to make. "Representative negotiation" would be ideal to scale this dispute down to something manageable, and "binding mediation" would definitely give people the incentive to negotiate instead of a vote-and-run. ... It's important that these processes have legitimacy though. Even in real life, there are always problems where stakeholders expect their representative to simply fight for their position, when negotiation always involves some degree of compromise. Randomran 16:00, 11 January 2010 (UTC)
    • This is an example of a "good" consensus discussion under the model that we are currently using.
    • While frustrating to the people involved, it is following the established wiki norms and is moving forward, though very slowly and loads of bumps along the way. This issue was discussed on talk pages for years and been re-written over and over again. Anyone that was interested could contribute there. Clearly many of the people now voting did not participate in a way that gave them a chance to express their opinion and get it into the version of the policy being voted on now.
    • The people involved are known to me, and I know that they are not locked into a version that makes people dissatisfied. And are open to tweaking it more to address new concerns raised now. But sorting out the good changes at this late stage is problematic since many people think that they are voting for a final version of the policy.
    • I think with the introduction of better processes, we can find a way to make better decisions in a more timely way and leave more people feeling better about it in the end. FloNight♥♥♥ 16:13, 11 January 2010 (UTC)
      • 100% agree. Especially the part about "many people think that they are voting for a final version of the policy". I think this recommendation is very important, because it drives large discussions away from "vote-and-run", and back towards a collaborative process. Randomran 16:32, 11 January 2010 (UTC)

Implementation on each wiki

These recommendations beg the question about how they would be introduced into each wiki. Unlike other proposals and recommendations, these need the direct buy-in involvement of a large number of editors for the process to start.

Since these recommendations directly impact day to day editing, I think something directly involving Communities needs to be put in place for them to be implemented. Do you think that we should include a suggestion for an ongoing task force or committee that would work with each wikicommunity to develop the new processes? FloNight♥♥♥ 18:19, 12 January 2010 (UTC)

  • There would definitely need to be people who are ready to implement it. I'm not sure it would need buy-in in the sense that we'd need 80-90% of the community who is willing to accept it. Ideally, we want the community to accept this voluntarily. But seeing as the community already has so many problems deciding issues and building a consensus, we are facing a circular problem here. The community must come to an agreement in order to fix the community, but we must fix the community in order for the community to come to an agreement. Even though I have some faith in the community to do the right thing, I'm also a little nervous because of the community's "unhealthy" state. Randomran 18:38, 12 January 2010 (UTC)
    • The Foundation Board does not directly administer the wikis so there must be people on each wiki that will make it happen or it will not get done. There needs to be some type of process put in place for these to get actioned. How do you see that happening? FloNight♥♥♥ 19:21, 12 January 2010 (UTC)
  • We'd probably need a handful of dedicated people to implement it. Might be best to start with a pilot program. You'd need a group of people to design a new dispute resolution page not unlike "RFC", and then a dedicated group of people to run it. Either a group of administrators or a group of mediators (for projects that have them). Randomran 21:04, 12 January 2010 (UTC)
  • I'm just making my presence felt as Random made me aware of this discussion with a note on my talk page. I confess I don't feel competent to help with this. I, fortunately, manage to avoid disputes on en:wp. Where I have encountered them I'm generally chilled out enough not to raise the temperature and try my best to be a good citizen, I take a deep breath and count to ten before submitting if I have to :o)
My instinctive response is that I feel we have policies in place to deal with most disputes and where there is a hard case I'm sure we can point to more general principles.
I think conflict is inevitable on Wikipedia. We see plenty of disputes in the field of science in the wider (ie non-wiki) world; we quite often hear of respected scientists arguing in a very public manner, sometimes through the medium of articles in the mainstream press, sometimes in the courts. I think dispute is an inevitable part of recording knowledge; professional historians don't agree on everything either.
Nevertheless, I understand the motivation for tackling it: the air of hostility is felt to be driving people away. Looking at the recommendation I don't see anything that seems unreasonable, anything is worth a try.
So, to address the question of implementation, I think it's a question that (had we had fuller, more active task forces and hence more recommendations) would apply to lots of recommendations that aren't primarily of a technical nature. I'm not sure what the answer is but an ideas arises: going on the assumption that this might be a cross-recommendation problem (ie, how do we get communities to accept strategy consensus) we could set up a dedicated page to discuss this and advertise it on Village Pump. Maybe call it something like Implementation of Strategy Recommendations? --Bodnotbod 13:34, 19 January 2010 (UTC)
I think disputes are inevitable too. What doesn't have to be inevitable is repetition and burnout, though. I think getting some feedback from other groups about implementation would be a good idea. I don't know that the other task forces are going through the same thing. But we could start with our stuff, and maybe others would follow suit if they wanted some help. Randomran 16:03, 19 January 2010 (UTC)
The only way I can think of avoiding repetition is not archiving perennial debates on the talk pages, or archiving them but leaving a summary of previous consensus. Perhaps a further innovation could be that any article content that asserts something which has been endlessly warred over could provide an inline signifier which links to the discussion(s) that took place.
For example, if there's perennial discussion over whether the article subject wore a red or blue hat it could say "X wore a red hat[see discussion]".
I think for many things that are discussed ad-infinitum there ought to be reputable sources that have given both views, so both views could be placed in an article with their relevant citations. --Bodnotbod 18:52, 19 January 2010 (UTC)
Err, I probably didn't articulate myself well enough. Repetition has more to do with people bludgeoning each other with opposing viewpoints, rather than building consensus. This is a much more "meta" activity that transcends articles. Most of the recommendations here aim to finally force the opposing viewpoints to stop arguing, and start working out a compromise. Randomran 21:21, 19 January 2010 (UTC)

My recommendations which I believe will improve community health

These are my recommendations which I believe will improve community health. 1. Give tougher sactions to Users blocked over a short period which act in bad faith as a appose to INDEF blocked Users which act in good faith. 2. Instead of plan to achieve these recommendations in 5 years, plan to achieve them in 6 months. These 2 things combined will be a very large improvement if not for Wikimedia then the standard wikipeida to say the least. These are my recommendations. mcjakeqcool Mcjakeqcool 16:20, 23 January 2010 (UTC)

I disagree with the time period these targets should be reached within 6 weeks. 11:09, 24 January 2010 (UTC)
It is probably not possible to do them all in six weeks. But since many of the ideas are things that can or will be implemented by volunteer editors, there is no reason that people need to wait to begin working on putting the best ideas into action. FloNight♥♥♥ 11:25, 24 January 2010 (UTC)
Perhaps User:FloNight is correct? However it should be completed asap. mcjakeqcool Mcjakeqcool 17:14, 25 February 2010 (UTC)
I still sustain that it should be completed asap. Mcjakeqcool 09:59, 5 April 2010 (UTC)

Brainstorming-stage proposal: Method for consensus building

I wrote a proposal which is still in the brainstorming stage, w:Wikipedia:Method for consensus building. Its topic appears to be within the scope of this task force, but not the subject of any current proposals I've seen here. So I'll bring it to your attention and ask for feedback and suggestions. Ikluft 02:23, 14 March 2010 (UTC)

Well, you guys are on your own. The Wikipedians deleted a bunch of the templates I created to experiment with developing changes. I give up trying to assist or contribute further to this dysfunctional community. Ikluft 19:12, 4 April 2010 (UTC)
I feel this is a very cynical view to take, wikipeida should work together to improve on being a 'dysfunctional community'. Mcjakeqcool Mcjakeqcool 15:14, 1 May 2010 (UTC)

Template:CB-support2 Template:CB-support2 Template:CB-support1 Template:CB-support1 Template:CB-support Template:CB-support0 Template:CB-support0 Template:CB-neutral Template:CB-neutral Template:CB-oppose0 Template:CB-oppose0 Template:CB-oppose1 Template:CB-oppose1 Template:CB-oppose Template:CB-oppose2 Template:CB-oppose2

Done. Do you still feel that wikipeida is a 'dysfunctional community'? Mcjakeqcool 15:48, 6 May 2010 (UTC)
I feel a template that supports those who need it is a good thing for wikipeida as a whole. I feel that it may help the likes of Ikluft who think wikipeida is a dysfunctional community and help wikipeida function to there standards. I am postive about wikipeida and the future of wikipeida at the moment, but if a template can make wikipeida a better more postive place that is the best thing to do. Mcjakeqcool Mcjakeqcool 23:53, 11 November 2010 (UTC)
Glad there is wiki:love as far as the templates are conserned but do you User:Ikluft still feel wikipedia is a 'dysfunctional community'? Also happy new year have a piece of piping hot fried chicken. Mcjakeqcool 00:04, 20 January 2011 (UTC)

[Foundation-l] Organization on Wikipedia that deals with content issues.

Recent discussion on the perennial proposal. --Nemo 13:52, 16 August 2010 (UTC)

I feel the main problem is there has not been ENOUGH discussion recently and if I have a proposal to make is that there is more discussion expecially in the Wikipediamedia task-force. Mcjakeqcool Mcjakeqcool 23:28, 28 February 2011 (UTC)

Consensus products: guidelines, directives, and article layout-pages

The concept of "representative negotation" seems good, and could be assisted by having a range of documents generated. Beyond guidelines, there are other documents which could be written by a consensus group:

  • Directives: a set of numbered documents which stated the decision on each issue.
  • Layouts: a set of talk-page subpages that recommend the layout of each article being debated during the consensus process.

Although the prior creation of guidelines (such as the prior "Naming conventions (Macedonia)" guideline) has worked in some cases, creating a guideline document might be overkill in other cases.

Suppose for example, there was a major dispute about Newton-versus-Einstein in light optics, with excessive details about the other physicist being inserted into their articles. A dispute resolution might determine a directive and 3 layout-pages of articles:

  • A directive would be issued that comparisons between Newton/Einstein would be limited to extra spinoff articles, rather than attempt, to elaborate comparisons, with detailed sections in their bio articles.
  • A set of 3 layout-pages would result from the consensus group:
  • The "Einstein" layout-page would limit the article to have at most 1 paragraph about Newton's theories of light.
  • The "Newton" layout-page would limit that article to have at most 1 paragraph about Einstein's theories of light.
  • A new layout-page would be created for article "Einstein versus Newton on light theories" (as the page to contain all the extra details about that controversy).

By the use of those 4 document pages, the results of a consensus group could be focused into immediate action. By comparison, it would have become extremely awkward for a consensus-group to have issued, yet another, guideline document (such as "Guideline for Einstein-Newton articles"). Instead, the short directive page, with the 3 article layout-pages, would be a more concise solution.

See the related proposals:

Think of guidelines, directives, and layout-pages as 3 types of tools, where a group could choose which tools would best apply in each situation. A directive would be a dated document which clarifies a decision, at a specific time. However, in the long term, it might be good to create a comprehensive "Guideline to articles about physicists" which could generalize the Einstein-Newton controversies, in a broader, multi-article manner, to any detailed views of one physicist against the other. A Guideline could be considered to be a more general and complex "tool" to affect a larger number of articles. However, a consensus group could just write a directive document to resolve a dispute, and nothing more in that particular case.

23:48, 6 July 2010

I really think this is an important area. I like the idea of using outlines as a way to settle long-standing disputes. Mind you, creating an outline for a special case has a way of creating a weird precedent. If we create a special layout for comparing two physicists on theories of light, do we start to creep into articles comparing two physicists on theories of quantum physics, then another two physicists, then two economists on the great depression, then eventually we start getting "comparison between X and Y expert"... I think it's a good idea, but the execution is key. I'd love to help out.

I really like the representative mediation concept too. I think we could try to put it together on the English Wikipedia, and get some level of buy-in from the community to make it a standard process. An outcome of these discussions could be a "guideline", or if more narrow, a "directive". Really, I think we need to build support for the idea of a "social contract" on Wikipedia, and all projects. The idea that we can resolve disputes by creating a voluntary agreement between a number of editors, and start to draw other like-minded editors into the same compromise on the premise that both sides have made reasonable trade-offs.

02:50, 7 July 2010

At the core, I think that there has not been a method for turning decisions into written directives and article layout-pages. Plus consider the prior dilemma: any article could be totally rewritten, so it would seem futile for a decision to pinpoint an article's content when it could be re-written away. It is imperative that articles be based on a "solid" foundation of layout-pages, which a consensus group could modify to enact their decisions. Otherwise, consensus decisions are like "herding water" and that must have been demoralizing to groups who studied the issues and had no document which could cause a decision to become "binding" about article contents.

Another major danger: we must beware the legal liabilities of Wikipedia, if a content-control process is established, then any libelous remarks (in an article text) might be seen an officially released text from the Wikimedia Foundation management. Hence, the decisions offered from negotiation, by a consensus-group, must be handled as advice to the editors, rather than a gateway which authorized the release of exact (libelous) content in articles. For those reasons, we need some legal advice about how to word a guideline, which gives a step-by-step process, to resolve content disputes about articles (without being viewed as controlling libelous content).

I don't mean to imply "wait until the lawyers come" (NO), but rather, a guideline, for a content-dispute process, should expect to be modified to avoid connecting Wikimedia personnel as being liable for various editors' written remarks linked to that guideline. Such changes in wording, to avoid legal liability, should be simple, if we remember that the results of a content-dispute are advice to editors acting in good faith.

05:10, 7 July 2010

I like everything you're saying. I always tend to focus on "how could this go wrong", and to me it could go wrong if we get into instruction creep, and do directives on stuff like "naming convention for Barack Obama versus Barack Hussein Obama versus Barry Obama". But I think that's easy to resolve if we just establish a threshold where a directive is more appropriate than a localized or small decision.

I might also prefer the term "social contract". "Directive" sounds like it's coming from the top down, and it isn't (nor should it). It should represent something that a bunch of diligent, good faith editors arrived at after some discussion, and agreed between them was a fair way to handle a contentious issue.

But yes, I think you're onto a fantastic idea. Yeah, let's deal with contentious subject areas by having editors discuss layouts and conventions. And, where necessary, provide legal input (I'm thinking of libel for BLP debates). We just need to offer some guidance about how to use it for good, not evil.

18:46, 7 July 2010

Brainstorming-stage proposal: Method for consensus building

I wrote a proposal which is still in the brainstorming stage, w:Wikipedia:Method for consensus building. Its topic appears to be within the scope of this task force, but not the subject of any current proposals I've seen here. So I'll bring it to your attention and ask for feedback and suggestions. Ikluft 01:14, 14 March 2010 (UTC)

01:14, 14 March 2010

Sorry - the "add topic" didn't do what I expected. I added this text again in the page content above.

02:31, 14 March 2010

I'm really glad you're working on this. I'm avoiding Wikipedia like the plague at this point in my lifecycle. (I consider this strategy wiki a career change, a place where I can do what I enjoy, and encounter less bad faith spoiler behavior.) So I won't be posting there. But I hope you continue to get feedback.

I think you might be better off distilling your idea down to the main point. Some headings like "discussion starts as normal" and "discussion continues" are obvious. I've learned that most editors aren't going to read every proposal in detail, and "long" is synonymous with bureaucratic and complicated. It looks to me like your main point focuses on what the next step is whenever no consensus is reached. I'd simplify and summarize the other stuff, and drill into that heavily.

IMO, that is the major problem. Most of the time, editors can discuss in good faith, or can get feedback from other editors who want to move the discussion forward. The problem occurs when people reach no consensus. A spoiler isn't just someone who disagrees -- that's to be encouraged. A spoiler is someone who continues to push the same solution over and over, but refuses to acknowledge that it will never gain support. Whatever we do, we have to encourage people to gradually come to the middle.

02:44, 15 March 2010