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Should the WMF have rules or policies for when banned users apply for or are part of the team that administers grants?

Last week, a discussion at the Administrators Noticeboard was opened concerning a global image-adding contest. In the course of the discussion, it was raised that a $7,000 WMF grant was awarded to help run this contest last year, and that one of last year's contest organizers (the "Project Manager & Coordinator", in fact) responsible for administering said grant was in fact ArbCom banned from English Gpedia several years ago (still in effect). Among the findings of fact for that Arb case were that the user had used sockpuppets, introduced potential BLP violations, engaged in COI editing, and repeatedly uploaded copyright violating photos (the user had their account renamed, so don't be confused by that). Admins attempting to address issues the contest introduced into English Gpedia pointed out that the fact the photo-adding contest organizer was Arb banned (in part to mishandling of photos, no less) made it difficult to coordinate fixes. There was also general dismay at a banned user being entrusted with WMF money. One admin in the discussion pointed out that another banned user has also received WMF grants, despite the fact that their bans on two projects were apparently related to misrepresenting how they were going to use the grant.

A lot of this is a year-old stuff, but in general, users banned from one or more WMF projects receiving grants raises a number of issues:

  • The WMF is essentially getting less for what its paying than if it awarded the grant to a non-banned/non-blocked user, since a blocked user is restricted in what they can actually do
  • Awarding a grant or any other trust to a banned user (especially if the grant is related to activity for which the user was banned) creates mistrust among the community from which the user was restricted in some way
  • The grant may be in-effect funding undesirable behavior by an untrustworthy recipient.

I think the WMF, if it doesn't already, needs a policy (or perhaps UCOC provision?) governing when a banned or blocked user applies for a grant (including topic bans). I think this could maybe be presented in the form of a question on the application which says "Are you under any active sanctions on any Wikimedia projects? If so, please provide diffs of what led to them and explain the circumstances of the restriction being placed against you, and why you do not think this will adversely affect the administering of the grant." The WMF should then scrutinize the answers to determine whether or not: a) this person can even be trusted; b) this person is the most effective grant recipient; c) this would look terrible to the community and strain community-WMF relations. Gross or willful misrepresentations of one's own restrictions should be grounds for that user automatically failing the grant application.

I look forward to other comments. @I JethroBT (WMF): as I was informed you were likely the best onWiki WMF person to know about grant administration and be the best person to let know about this discussion. -Indy beetle (talk) 00:30, 28 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Thanks, Indy beetle for opening this. It's a worthwhile discussion. It does seem worth distinguishing between (a) a general analysis of risk when considering a grant, which would include the trustworthiness of the grantee, any on-wiki issues which may impede the execution of the grant, and mitigation strategies to ensure it can be carried out smoothly; and (b) the generally bad feelings parts of the community will understandably feel about the foundation giving money to someone who was considered harmful enough to the project to indefinitely block/ban. I'm going to guess the former is something grant officers already look at. In this case, for example, there are a lot of people involved who could pick up the slack on any wiki one or more organizers could not edit, just like you'd get other people to cover projects in a language an organizer didn't speak (for most international projects, it's unreasonable to expect a single person to be able to oversee it in every language). That makes me think the issue is primarily (b), and if that's the case, how can lines be drawn? If someone were banned from, say, the Croatian Gpedia or Chinese Gpedia, or any of the small Wikipedias where it may be hard to overturn a single admin's decision, would they be disqualified from any grant? (I know this is not what you're proposing, necessarily, Indy beetle, though the idea that an enwp ban should be disqualifying seems to underlie some of the comments at AN). Some tricky mixing of money, community relations, and governance here. — Rhododendrites talk \\ 03:02, 28 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The issue of potential admin/community abuse (or say a really old trivial ban that's been forgotten about) is why I'm suggesting diffs and that the applicant explain their side of things, so WMF can review it. After all, based on the stories, being banned from Croat Gpedia is essentially a badge of honor and decency. With regards to a general analysis of risk when considering a grant [...] I'm going to guess the former is something grant officers already look at: Yes I'm sure they do that, but does that include block/ban history? I don't know, and I don't know to what degree WMF examines a user's behavioral history on the site. -Indy beetle (talk) 07:32, 28 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It is worth noting that as part of the Wikicology case, I JethroBT (WMF) stated,
Our team recognizes that Wikicology has contributed extensively to the Nigerian User Group, and has made good-faith efforts to plan grant proposals supporting their community. That said, Community Resources requires that grantees and committee members remain in good community standing while participating in our programs. Recent AN/I discussions ([1], [2]) highlight several concerns about Wikicology’s contributions, including copyright infringement, contributing content unsupported by citations, providing false citations, and repeated creation of autobiographical content. Persistent inappropriate editing behavior, in spite of community warnings, is inconsistent with good ambassadorship for the projects in outreach and off-wiki work. In light of these concerns, we have communicated to Wikicology that the following conditions will remain in place until these issues have been resolved:
  • Status changed to inactive on the Individual Engagement Grants Committee,
  • Removal from accounts for WMF-funded activities, and
  • Removal from primary leadership, coordination, and training roles in WMF-funded activities.
We continue to welcome Wikicology’s participation in our programs through support roles not dependent on those skills called into question by the current discussions. I JethroBT (WMF) (talk) 22:02, 20 April 2016 (UTC) Reply[reply]
This was the last the community knew about this. There have been no updates to the case page since then regarding this aspect. If the issues raised then were resolved, how and when were they resolved, and where was the community informed? Andreas JN466 07:35, 28 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
For reference, user pages on the Foundation wiki:
FloNight, you commented on the case at the time, saying, "Wikicology's future roles will be partially determined by whether and when he retrieves mentoring on Gpedia English." Did you follow events further after the ArbCom case concluded? Andreas JN466 08:06, 28 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • @I JethroBT (WMF): I second Andreas' points and have some additional questions:
    • Does the WMF regularly screen for grant applicants' standing, or did this happen in the Wikicology case because attention was brought to it by the fact of it being an ARBCOM case?
    • How does Community Resources ascertain "good community standing", when it is lost or regained? -Indy beetle (talk) 08:21, 28 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I've filed an amendment request at WP:RfAr proposing a temporary lifting of T_Cells' site ban so that he can participate in this discussion about his role if he wishes to do so. Andreas JN466 08:45, 28 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Indy beetle and Jayen466: Thanks for your questions around these circumstances, and I can understand why there would be concerns here. For those not aware, I'm a program officer with the Wikimedia Foundation's Community Resources team, where I help manage some of the funding programs we maintain. A number of people on my team, including myself, were involved with decisions around Wikicology's eligibility for funding, both during 2016 when the ArbCom discussion was taking place and more recently. I'll do my best to respond to questions below:
I think the WMF, if it doesn't already, needs a policy (or perhaps UCOC provision?) governing when a banned or blocked user applies for a grant (including topic bans).
  • The Community Resources team maintains a set of behavioral policies when evaluating a proposal and the applicants involved with it. (Topic bans would also be a relevant consideration affecting eligibility and our evaluation of an applicant's community standing, though in my experience, they haven't come up that often in proposals I've reviewed.)
Does the WMF regularly screen for grant applicants' standing, or did this happen in the Wikicology case because attention was brought to it by the fact of it being an ARBCOM case?
How does Community Resources ascertain "good community standing", when it is lost or regained?
  • We evaluate a number of factors, including active blocks, block histories, community warnings on talk pages (even if they are removed), and will try to look at applicant behavior in spaces related to the block (e.g. user talk pages, article talk pages, relevant articles, admin discussion spaces, etc.) In more serious or systemic matters, we will consult with the Trust & Safety team.
  • Blocks and bans are always an important indicator of community standing, but there are other considerations as well. A user who is not blocked, for example, may still have a long history of persistent, disruptive conduct (through frequent warnings on their talk page), and may have never been blocked at all. Conversely, just because someone is blocked or banned on a project doesn't mean they will always be incapable of constructive work on other Wikimedia projects. Importantly, we require that applicant with an active block or ban to demonstrate learning and understanding as to the cause of the block or ban by directly corresponding with them about the circumstances, and gauging what they will do to prevent that conduct in the future. This means that applicants with a block or ban cannot casually ignore the block and jump to another Wikimedia project and get funding without addressing the original block with that community and our team.
  • We also evaluate whether that applicant has demonstrated evidence of constructive work on other Wikimedia projects, especially any contributions related to the reasons for the block on another Wikimedia project.
  • Finally, we also ask that applicants make a good-faith effort to complete an unblock or unban request through relevant community processes. If the request is not approved, the applicant is not eligible for funding if the proposal requires them to contribute to the Wikimedia project they are blocked on (which would clearly not be possible anyway).
I hope this provides some clarity to the questions above about our procedures in cases where there is a block or ban. I JethroBT (WMF) (talk) 03:33, 29 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@I JethroBT (WMF): Thanks – may I ask for a little further clarity? You said at the ArbCom case (my emphases), Community Resources requires that grantees and committee members remain in good community standing while participating in our programs. Recent AN/I discussions ([3], [4]) highlight several concerns about Wikicology’s contributions, including copyright infringement, contributing content unsupported by citations, providing false citations, and repeated creation of autobiographical content. Persistent inappropriate editing behavior, in spite of community warnings, is inconsistent with good ambassadorship for the projects in outreach and off-wiki work. In light of these concerns, we have communicated to Wikicology that the following conditions will remain in place until these issues have been resolved:
  • Status changed to inactive on the Individual Engagement Grants Committee,
  • Removal from accounts for WMF-funded activities, and
  • Removal from primary leadership, coordination, and training roles in WMF-funded activities.
So (1) how and when were these issues resolved, and (2) was the community notified of Wikicology's change in status?
Also, given the history of misrepresentation that was brought up in the ArbCom case, could you (3) please confirm that T_Cells is indeed one of the World Economic Forum's Young Global Leader nominees, as it says on his Wikimedia Foundation user page? I tried to verify this online and all I found was T_Cells' own statements to this effect. In the past, he falsely claimed to be a university lecturer (and subsequently apologised to the community for that). I'll be happy to congratulate him if he was so nominated, but if he wasn't, then this indicates that the same problems that led to his site ban here are in fact continuing. Best, Andreas JN466 09:31, 29 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
^This. Also, with regards to the 2021 contest, if you can answer, how exactly did he get put on the team for that with grant funding? From one point of view, leading the team at the helm of a grant-supported contest which will greatly effect a project from which one has been's like funding editing by proxy! Unless there was some stipulation that all enwiki matters were to be strictly handled by other contest leaders. -Indy beetle (talk) 14:19, 29 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@I JethroBT (WMF): What is happening – could you give us an update please? Andreas JN466 07:45, 2 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I've reminded I Jethro that there are outstanding questions. --Andreas JN466 10:58, 6 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Indy beetle: Note that User:T_Cells is also listed as a member of the Leadership Development Working Group, a group of volunteers paid a $600 p.a. stipend each, according to the documentation on Meta, to come up with a definition of good leadership in the context of the Wikimedia movement. (See also Wikimedia-l.) Andreas JN466 14:21, 18 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Comment - Enwiki ban is what it is, a ban from the English language Gpedia. It is not a ban from all languages Gpedia. If a user is site-banned from the English Gpedia, the WMF may not fund a grant request from them for projects that are related to the English Gpedia. BUT if they are in good standing in other languages Gpedia, and the WMF is convinced that the user(s) could implement the project in that language, they may be funded regardless of our ban on enwiki. SuperSwift (talk) 19:53, 28 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

But if I'm banned from the main wiki I edit for, say, bullying (a somewhat universal behavioral thing), do I get to turn around and apply for a grant while saying I'm a user on another language wiki? -Indy beetle (talk) 21:09, 28 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Also, there's a lot of small wikis out there with dubious governance. If you get banned by a bunch of rogue penguins on aqwiki, that shouldn't automatically disqualify you from getting a WMF grant. -- RoySmith (talk) 20:00, 28 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
No one is arguing for that. -Indy beetle (talk) 21:09, 28 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
But if a user banned from the English Gpedia gets a grant for organising a competition that involves edits to the English Gpedia that is a problem. In this particular case the WMF could not be convinced that the project could be implemented without concerning the English Gpedia because no attempt was made to do so. Phil Bridger (talk) 20:16, 28 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Comment. I think the issue starts at the user group level here. Affilates and projects are pretty seperated and independent from each other right now. You can be banned from one while being allowed to participate in the other (which is how it works for different projects). That's the status quo, and it should be examined more here. –MJLTalk 23:32, 28 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Comment "Persistent inappropriate editing behavior, in spite of community warnings, is inconsistent with good ambassadorship for the projects in outreach and off-wiki work. In light of these concerns, we have communicated to Wikicology that the following conditions will remain in place until these issues have been resolved" (from 2016). I remember this case as being particularly egregious. When were these issues resolved, and how? Peter Damian (talk) 20:36, 29 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Comment Size of grant matters. I would not be concerned to learn that someone with a sockpuppetry block on one project had received a $40 grant for reference books on another project without some assessment of their block. A more substantial grant is a different matter. Time is also a factor, especially if in the intervening time they have been behaving well on other projects. More troubling would be if the grant meant a return to the areas or activities where the past problems arose. ϢereSpielChequers 21:50, 29 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • I don't think a single project block or ban should disqualify people from grants related to different projects, but no users banned from a project should be involved (even tangentially) in grants that affect that project. —Kusma (talk) 10:15, 30 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Comment Are we talking about a White-collar crime or a mistrust? But for me as a Wikipedian, what look terrible to the global community is : NO ONE CHECKS WHY A USER GOT BANNED. I believe there is a lot of missue of access in many projects, so we better to stop judging users based on their block-log. Access-holders are not the [elite .Therefore, for this reason, it is better to talk about the banning of users. I don't know about the user/users mentioned by Indy beetle. But I know about jealousy among users in small projects. --Ruwaym (talk) 01:25, 1 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Comment: @I JethroBT (WMF), Indy beetle, and Peter Damian: For reference, all it takes to make someone a nominee of the "Young Global Leaders" programme of the World Economic Forum is to go on the website and nominate them.

As the website points out, "Due to the large number of nominations received, the Forum of Young Global Leaders only contacts successful candidates. Some candidates may be contacted as part of the due diligence process."

I am happy to tell you that all three of you can now add "Nominee, Young Global Leader, World Economic Forum" to your Wikimedia user pages, as I've just nominated all three of you. Just kidding. But I do think the WMF should hold its grantees and potential grantees to certain standards of personal conduct, and perform related assessments as part of its due diligence before awarding a grant. --Andreas JN466 08:51, 9 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

ABorba (WMF) blocked

I have blocked ABorba (WMF) (talk · contribs) for operating ([5]) the account Scungiliman with contributions such as [6] and [7]. ~ ToBeFree (talk) 21:53, 30 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Since they didn't edit after being warned, what's the point of the block? Levivich 22:04, 30 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Preventing further disruption from someone who needs a warning to not add "fuck shit" as the short description of biographical articles perhaps. I didn't check the warning's timestamp closely, though; I thought they had continued after a warning. Anyway, if these edits have been paid by the WMF, I'd first like to see a statement from someone else than the blocked user that this has been seen by their employer. ~ ToBeFree (talk) 22:11, 30 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
That's not a valid use of the block tool. Levivich 22:23, 30 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Preventing disruption is a valid use of the block tool. ~ ToBeFree (talk) 22:25, 30 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes but these blocks obviously were not needed to prevent disruption because there were no bad edits made after the warnings. The disruption had already stopped by the time you arrived at the scene, TBF, so there was no need for a block to stop it. I get you may not have realized the timeline when you made the blocks, but now that you know, you should unblock. Levivich 22:29, 30 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I have just read their UTRS appeal and remain convinced they should stay blocked for now. ~ ToBeFree (talk) 22:34, 30 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Regardless of whether the block was too quick or hasty (or even unnecessary), I can understand why, in the heat of the situation, one would be inclined to block. What else would your reaction be if you saw a WMF account (or an account that looked like a WMF account) operating sock accounts for vandalism? If it's an actual vandal impersonating WMF, then problem solved; if it's a legitimate account, things can be clarified and the block can be removed later. But in the heat of the situation, seeing a seemingly-legitimate account vandalizing raises a lot of suspicions, and a block is absolutely on the table for stopping disruption, especially if the account really was a privileged account. I've been threatened for blocking an "unblockable" for vandalizing project pages which is not a good look: admins shouldn't hesitate to use their tools to exercise their judgement if they believe the project is in danger. —k6ka 🍁 (Talk · Contributions) 13:35, 1 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
This block might have been too quick, and probably would have been better to see if the warnings to knock it off worked. This has the appearance of dumb and careless user interface testing rather than vandalism, and blocking all 3 accounts with no warning seems overkill. *All* warnings were given after the last edit: last edit --> warning 1 --> warning 2 --> block. If it were up to me, I'd unblock now, but if the block remains, I at least think that "making sure their employer knows" is not a valid reason to keep the block; they should be unblocked, at the latest, as soon as there is an assurance that such "testing" won't recur. --Floquenbeam (talk) 22:27, 30 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
concur with Floquenbeam, this block seems premature. Andre🚐 22:31, 30 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It took me a while after the first block to notice that a WMF account is behind this, and even when I saw that an WMF account's userspace was involved, I first thought I'm dealing with impersonation. There needs to be, at very least, proper disclosure of the account ownership for all involved accounts. ~ ToBeFree (talk) 22:31, 30 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Looks like it's going to be handled thru UTRS: link. And I'd agree proper disclosure is need; not as a condition for unblocking, but as soon as they're unblocked. --Floquenbeam (talk) 22:33, 30 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
From my side, it won't be handled through UTRS. On-wiki disruption paid by the WMF, on-wiki block appeal. ~ ToBeFree (talk) 22:35, 30 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes. My assumption was impersonation. -- Deepfriedokra (talk) 16:26, 31 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@ToBeFree At the minimum they appear to also be using/have used:
plus Pineappleupsidedown (talk · contribs), though you've already blocked that one. How many testing accounts does one person need? (talk) 09:23, 1 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • There's a lot of issues here, but right now I want to narrowly comment on I'd first like to see a statement from someone else than the blocked user that this has been seen by their employer. This concerns me. I recognize that we have a unique relationship with the WMF, but the general case of requiring input from an editor's employer on an unblock request is pretty strange. -- RoySmith (talk) 22:49, 30 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Yeah, using the term "employer" there as a way to avoid repeating "WMF" had the undesired effect of making it seem like a general attitude. This is WMF-specific. If the WMF pays people to disrupt Gpedia, that seems problematic enough to make me desire the WMF knowing about the disruption done in its name on its wiki, and that's what I've meant. ~ ToBeFree (talk) 22:55, 30 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I have exchanged e-mails with T&S, with the matter to be handled "internally." -- Deepfriedokra (talk) 16:27, 31 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Good block. Policy is 100% clear that maintaining an alternative, vandalism-only account is unacceptable, and we don't usually follow the three-escalating-warnings process when socking is involved. The fact that he's employed by the WMF only serves to the remove the "sorry I didn't know" excuse – someone who's worked in WMF QA for five years should know that we don't 'test' things by vandalising live wikis. – Joe (talk) 08:26, 31 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I wouldn't describe an account that vandalises and then clears up the vandalism the next minute as "vandalism only". That said, testing in mainspace is always going to be problematic, not just because you might get blocked, but because we have lots and lots of real vandalism to train tools on, "fake vandalism" is not required and won't necessarily look enough like the real thing. Given past precedent, I would suggest that if the unblock request can't be public it would be better to make it to Arbcom rather than UTRS, as Arbcom are elected by the community, to make tough calls and negotiate terms for people's return. They also made the call when a WMF employee was desysopped but not blocked. ϢereSpielChequers 09:08, 31 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I've looked into this a bit more since my first comment. It's clear that ABorba (WMF) showed poor judgement by using non-declared alternate accounts. And even worse judgement by doing testing on a production system; that's what test wikis and unit tests are for. Or at least do it in your sandbox, not in mainspace. But I don't see this as anything beyond poor judgement. As for ToBeFree's block, I think it was a mistake, but in the heat of battle, mistakes happen. I could easily see myself making the same mistake if I saw an edit like Special:Diff/1107597956. But, once the full explanation comes out, mistakes need to be corrected. WP:BLOCKP makes it clear that the block is not needed and the accounts should be unblocked. There is no credible reason to believe unblocking these accounts will lead to "continuing damage and disruption". -- RoySmith (talk) 11:39, 31 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    "that's what test wikis and unit tests are for" I don't fully agree with that btw. I test things on production all the time. Both in and outside of Wikimedia. Sometimes it's just easier, sometimes there is no test system for it, but most of all there is just no system that can mirror what provides (activity wise, editable, all the filters, the link with the apps etc etc). I mean if you want to do a quick test on if the abusefilter for profanity by auto confirmed users triggers a notice that is displayed in the official Gpedia App for English Gpedia when you use the short description editor of the app.... this is about how you would test it. There is never going to a testcase for that scenario. However generally you should declare that you are testing something and you should make sure that the test is undone if it has any effects (which they did) and you should do it on the proper account etc etc —TheDJ (talkcontribs) 11:58, 31 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I've never looked at how the mobile apps are architected, but certainly in mobile development I've done, the app will have some way to configure which back end it's talking to. If I wanted to test "if the abusefilter for profanity by auto confirmed users triggers a notice that is displayed in the official Gpedia App for English Gpedia when you use the short description editor of the app", I would stand up a test wiki (more likely if my job was QA, I'd have one already), configure my phone to use that as a backend, and do my test that way. A big (and sometimes painful) part of scale-up is designing in testability like this. Gpedia is a top-10 website, the engineering processes should be mature enough by now to support these things.
    For sure, there are some things you can't test in the engineering environment. But those are mostly looking for edge cases that you haven't thought of and verifying that things work properly at scale. "Does an alert get displayed when an autoconfirmed user puts a profane word in the short description" is something that can and should be tested in the dev environment. -- RoySmith (talk) 12:32, 31 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    In fact, there is no Gpedia App for English Gpedia – the fact that it is multilingual should provide even more of an opportunity to reconfigure it for a test wiki. 1234qwer1234qwer4 22:40, 31 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Have you read ABorba's UTRS appeal? It gives every reason to believe that he would continue these disruptive edits if unblocked. – Joe (talk) 12:07, 31 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I do not have UTRS access, but if there's something in there which makes one think they will continue to be disruptive, then yes, the block should be maintained. That would be shocking. I'm not saying it can't be true, but it would indeed be shocking. -- RoySmith (talk) 12:34, 31 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Based on the UTRS reason given I would not be comfortable unblocking without a clear commitment to not use enwiki as a QA testing ground in this way. Dreamy Jazz talk to me | my contributions 13:27, 31 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Toby said the same thing and like Roy I find that just shocking but, yeah, if that's the case, then I agree, leave the accounts blocked. Levivich 13:46, 31 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Self-trout: Well, it turns out I do have UTRS access after all (see my talk page). I looked at the ticket (and the follow up on User talk:ABorba (WMF). I still think this didn't need to end up with a block, but, for sure, this method of testing is inappropriate. All we need is for ABora to say, "I'll find a better way to run tests and I'll declare my socks" and then we can unblock, and this could all be over before I've even had my second cup of tea this morning. -- RoySmith (talk) 13:53, 31 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    And just to clarify how long I expect this really should take to sort out, I'm literally on my way downstairs to put up another kettle of water as soon as I hit the the reply button on this. -- RoySmith (talk) 13:55, 31 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • WereSpielChequers, "if the unblock request can't be public it would be better to make it to Arbcom". All the evidence is on-wiki. This case is not within ArbCom's remit.
This looks like another case of an employee who needs The Talk with management about on-wiki conduct & use of WMF accounts. Cabayi (talk) 13:32, 31 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
They are making an appeal via UTRS so not everything is public. If the appeal is not going to be public I would rather it be handled by Arbcom than by UTRS. No offence, but Arbcom is elected. ϢereSpielChequers 14:30, 31 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
(Non-administrator comment) I do not think ARBCOM is meant to be a political solution for the admin corps to hide behind. You have expressed your opinion about this twice and reiterating does not make it any more valid. Chris Troutman (talk) 14:34, 31 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Once I realized this really is A WMF employee, I closed the UTRS ticket. Had they proven not to be a WMF employee, the actions I would have taken would have been more than a redirect to the user talk. -- Deepfriedokra (talk) 16:21, 31 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
WereSpielChequers, repeating public information in a private forum does not make it private information. There's nothing in UTRS appeal #62492 which is not already known on-wiki on one WMF project or another. The UTRS appeal was redirected to the user's talk page. Any appeal to ArbCom would be bounced in the same way. Cabayi (talk) 17:05, 31 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
UTRS is not really a private forum. Just the place those w/o TPA can go to request unblock. While I signed the Confidentiality agreement, I believe all admins now have access to UTRS. -- Deepfriedokra (talk) 17:24, 31 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • What an unfortunate situation. Just a couple things: (a) there might be times when something needs to be tested on-wiki. If it'll be disruptive, it should be clearly announced, open to comment, and justified as to why it can't happen on a test wiki. If/when that happens and the justification seems reasonable, we should be open to allowing it. (b) If the account is being used as part of ABomba's work duties, it should be declared. If it's being used for reasons that would otherwise be seen as disruptive, it needs to be declared. I do just want to carve out that it should be permissible under WP:LEGITSOCK for a WMF staffer to have a volunteer account that isn't formally linked for privacy reasons (ideally disclosed to arbcom, at least, but not absolutely required). Of course, accidentally editing your other account's userpage kind of ruins it, so this case isn't a great example. — Rhododendrites talk \\ 13:53, 31 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I wonder why they can't do it in a sandbox or user subpage. Unless the test edit must be done in mainspace? OhanaUnitedTalk page 14:23, 31 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I assume they didn't consider the possibility of us setting up a test filter for them. Which is not a good look. SubjectiveNotability a GN franchise (talk to the boss) 16:38, 31 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Noting for those without UTRS access that Deepfriedokra has declined the UTRS appeal stating that the appeal should be done on-wiki. I was going to the appeal to do this action, so I (as an individual administrator) support that decision. Best, Barkeep49 (talk) 15:18, 31 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • As noted in unblock discussion at user talk:ABorba (WMF), a little communication would have gone a long way. Apparently, this just one more example of a disconnect between the Foundation and the Community.-- Deepfriedokra (talk) 16:18, 31 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Noting what a horrendous time-sink this was at UTRS and other venues. SMDH. -- Deepfriedokra (talk) 16:23, 31 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Section break 2

  • Why is this being discussed here, rather than at WP:ANI? AndyTheGrump (talk) 18:20, 31 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Because the account being blocked was a WMF staffer. If they weren't, than ToBeFree would probably have hit the block button and posted nowhere, like happens with most other vandal accounts. * Pppery * it has begun... 18:25, 31 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Not sure I see the logic of that. If the vandalism by ABorba (WMF) needs more discussion than a simple block, it needs discussion as vandalism, in the places where such behaviour is normally discussed, rather than on an obscure village pump page not remotely intended for such purposes (see the notice at the top of this page), with less than 300 page watchers. AndyTheGrump (talk) 18:40, 31 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I hoped for the WMF to see and comment on this, so I created the thread, noticed that the header still says "Wikimedia Foundation currently does not consider this page to be a communication venue" and sent an e-mail to info@ requesting a statement regarding this thread. As the page is about "matters of significance to both the community and the foundation", it seemed to be an appropriate venue. ~ ToBeFree (talk) 18:45, 31 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Yes, but if it is a matter of significance to the community, the community needs to know be aware of it. Discussing it here seems an odd choice, and one might well ask whether doing so, rather than at a place where vandalism is normally discussed, might be perceived as preferential treatment. AndyTheGrump (talk) 19:05, 31 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I'd rather have expected a complaint about this thread being an unnecessary pillory than one about it not being enough of it. 🙂 ~ ToBeFree (talk) 19:20, 31 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Please feel free to post a notice to AN and ANI. -- Deepfriedokra (talk) 19:20, 31 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Done. AndyTheGrump (talk) 19:27, 31 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • If a Foundation employee wants to play with filters, there are numerous proper ways to do it, and this wasn't one of those. So the real question is, do we believe him? Not naming names, but this isn't the first employee to do stupid things. Dennis Brown - 19:36, 31 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Their editing history through this does not make me inclined to think that this is vandalism, and is indeed poorly designed testing. Or, at a minimum, poorly handled testing without suitable notification, agreement, and aftermath cleanup. An unblock should be conditional on both individual and WMF rapidly coming to a better methodology. Or, on the individual side, they could just agree not to do any more testing and I'd back an unblock, notwithstanding info to the contrary. Nosebagbear (talk) 20:02, 31 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I definitely believe that ABorba is a WMF employee in quality assurance - you can't have a (WMF) username without it being made for you and TheresNoTime who is a foundation employee in addition to being an enwiki functionary has also verified that this is a real employee. I also believe that ABorba edited as Scungiliman because they admitted as much to ToBeFree. I further believe that a WMF QA employee would have reasons to test abuse filters. And, sadly, I also believe that a WMF QA employee would not understand the right way to do this testing and that that they can't just test abuse filters on enwiki, even if they immediately revert their testing. We've definitely had foundation employees do stupid things but I'm not aware of anyone going rogue so mark me down as completely believing what happened here. Best, Barkeep49 (talk) 20:03, 31 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    So, "Never ascribe to malice, that which can be adequately explained by incompetence?" I feel much better now. Dennis Brown - 20:20, 31 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    incompetence is as valid a reason for a block as is malice. Gpedia best practice does not draw a distinction. --Jayron32 13:08, 1 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Just wanted to say, simply as a member of our community, (re the comment immediately above, and other comments similar to this one), I'm very glad to see the ideals of full discussion, full benefit of the doubt, due process, etc etc, being followed so ardently here. I appreciate and applaud those trying to provide real clarity, fairness, and thoughtful judgment on this. thanks. --Sm8900 (talk) 22:08, 31 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Let me add, the fact that an employee never had the idea of dropping off a note at WP:AN to say he was going to test, at a minimum, demonstrates once again that the Foundation sees itself as the rightful owners of Gpedia, and that the actual community is just a necessary nuisance, tolerated but looked down upon. It's not all his fault, but he is an employee of that system. Dennis Brown - 20:23, 31 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    ACAB. MrOllie (talk) 20:28, 31 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    No most aren't, but the system is broken. Being an admin, I'm not prone to being anti-authority, I'm just not for authoritarianism and the like. Dennis Brown - 20:33, 31 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    @Dennis Brown sticking with your "incompetence, not malice" scenario, how many Foundation employees are aware of how the communities work? If you're employed to do a technical role, how much do you learn or are taught about how the people who use the product, use it? Nthep (talk) 20:40, 31 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    That's a very good question. If it was important to the Foundation, they would have a protocol for doing live software testing that could be written down in a paragraph or two. So either it isn't important to them, or he didn't follow it. That would be the case for any IT dept, in any company. Dennis Brown - 20:47, 31 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    the actual community is just a necessary nuisance, tolerated but looked down upon and ignored until we make ourselves an intolerable nuisance. Levivich, an intolerable nuisance 20:56, 31 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Anecdotally, I remember years ago, I want to say Jimbo or someone, making small vandalism as a demo to show how it got reverted immediately, and understandably people were annoyed by this lack of empathy for the humans behind that seemingly magical reversion. So, I'm inclined to say this isn't necessarily indicative of any major position or viewpoint. It's just a stupid and foolish mistake. We all make them from time to time. As long as we can learn and grow, that's what matters most, right? Andre🚐 21:00, 31 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I don't have a lot to say or a lot of comments to make on this, but I wanted to simply say that I think that @Andrevan above shows a commendable effort to try to seek some type of positive approach and resolution, if possible. I agree that this matter is highly worthy of concern. I agree with the editors above who have taken an active approach to truly address this, as a problem, and also those who sought active communication with WMF. thanks. Sm8900 (talk) 22:03, 31 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I support the block. Sockpuppeting to insert vandalism into live articles is not an appropriate method of testing anything, especially for a Foundation employee. In fact, under these circumstances we should consider a community ban. The Foundation exists to support Gpedia, not to vandalize it. Sandstein 08:52, 1 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The following accounts are  Confirmed by checkuser:

The amount of password resets that I see on Pineappleupsidedown makes me think it may be shared. --Guerillero Parlez Moi 12:54, 1 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • I've been following this for a few days before making my feelings public. Here is the real crux of the issue: I am fine blocking all of the sock accounts; but what we need to decide is "Do we, going forward, believe there is likely to be continuing abuse from the person running the main account?" If AND ONLY IF we believe the answer to that question is a clear "yes" do we need to maintain a block on the ABorba (WMF). I am willing to be convinced by Aborba that they have learned their lesson, and believe them if they say unambiguously that they will no longer do this anymore. I don't see the need to maintain such a block if Aborba understands the problem that led to the block, and agrees to stop the problematic behavior. A condition of the unblocking should be a clear 1-account restriction as well. --Jayron32 13:12, 1 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    A QA tester with a one-account restriction? Srsly? Levivich 15:51, 1 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Well, maybe they should have done their job properly. The consequences of fantastic incompetence are not negligible. There are 100 ways a QA tester could have done this, up to and including publicly telling everyone exactly what they were doing, having clearly identified QA accounts, perhaps with a clearly identifiable naming scheme and where such accounts are listed at their main account explaining what they are and what they are doing, etc. If a person behaves in a manner indistinguishable from a vandal or a troll, there is no reason for them not to expect to be treated that way. Legitimate quality control tests are welcome. Covert breaching experiments are not. --Jayron32 15:47, 2 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    If a person behaves in a manner indistinguishable from a vandal or a troll, there is no reason for them not to expect to be treated that way. So like if they use the word "shit" in mainspace edit summaries, we should treat them as a vandal or a troll?
    Are you familiar with WP:TECHALT and WP:TESTALT? TESTALT says (bold added) The second account should be clearly linked to the main account, except where doing so would interfere with testing or training. That line was added in 2013--that's how long we have officially recognized that sometimes, disclosing test alts would interfere with testing or training.
    Covert breaching experiments are not welcome, actually, it's not covert -- just because we don't know about it doesn't make it covert, the WMF knew about it. But also, red team testing is not a breaching experiment. Yes, most testing should be done in testing environments, and in-prod testing should usually be done with disclosed alts and with testing programs announced and test edits marked, but there is absolutely a necessary place in QA testing for intentionally vandalizing mainspace with undisclosed alts making unmarked test edits. It doesn't need to be done with the particular text string that was used here (IMO), and I'm not sure if this was that type of testing, but it doesn't take a genius to figure out that one reason someone might want to vandalize a short description is to test whether and how that vandalism propagates to other places that copy enwiki article short descriptions, even if or even after the vandalism on enwiki is removed: e.g., does reverting the short desc vandalism on enwiki also clear up the vandalism that was copied elsewhere? Like I said, I don't know if that's what they were doing here, but it doesn't take a lot of Assume Good Foundation to imagine that this was legit testing.
    This was not "fantastic incompetence", it was a simple mistake. The person who made this mistake did not act like a vandal or a troll, and it's a WP:PA to suggest such, and they certainly shouldn't expect to be treated by the rest of us as such, not after identifying themselves, which, let's remember, they did 6 minutes after they were asked.
    You've personally used more profanity in your mainspace edit summaries than this user has. Your outrage is unwarranted. Levivich 18:25, 2 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Good block. Very good. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 13:48, 1 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I disagree and I fear this is turning into a witch hunt. WP:BLOCKP is clear that blocks are "to prevent imminent or continuing damage and disruption to Gpedia". Many of these accounts have either zero edits or haven't edited in almost a year. There's no evidence that there is any "imminent or continuing damage or disruption". Accounts like that are regularly left unblocked at SPI.
    I also object to the use of the term "vandalism" regarding the edits made by these accounts. WP:Vandalism (which ranks as policy) makes it clear that vandalism is editing ... deliberately intended to obstruct or defeat the project's purpose. That's clearly not what was going on here. Poor judgement, sure. Contrary to best devops practices? IMHO yes. But certainly a good faith attempt at testing the software, and as the policy says, any good faith effort to improve the encyclopedia is not vandalism. -- RoySmith (talk) 14:57, 1 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Agree with RoySmith. Andre🚐 15:00, 1 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    My views partially align with RoySmith here; I think so long as assurances are made explicitly that the behavior that led to the fully justified block are going to cease, I see no problem with unblocking. The block was fully justified, but that doesn't mean it continues to be justified forever. --Jayron32 15:07, 1 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I agree with RoySmith. Sm8900 (talk) 15:17, 1 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Me too. Levivich 15:50, 1 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I concur. I feel like this is a collective effort of Reichstag-climbing, motivated by general collective dislike of the WMF. I also believe the block was justified, but these further condemnations are unnecessary. 🌈WaltCip-(talk) 16:41, 1 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    @WaltCip, agreed. Sm8900 (talk) 18:55, 1 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Concur with Roy Smith. This went from "Hey, we might have a WMF staffer vandalizing on a sock, we need to block them(valid block reason)" to "Well, we know it was testing, but we now demand answers from WMF before we unblock this staff member(not a valid block reason)". The answers can come, but the block needs tochanged for clarityFrederalBacon (talk) 17:30, 1 September 2022 (UTC) could go. FrederalBacon (talk) 16:53, 1 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    You have not read their e-mail request to the Unblock Ticket Request System. There are multiple voices above for keeping up the block for now because of text you have not read. ~ ToBeFree (talk) 17:11, 1 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    There's nothing particular wrong with the unblock request, it's just not developed. Let's not pretend it concluded with, "I'm going to vandalise regardless of what you think". In reply to FrederalBacon, we don't need to hear from the WMF, however (note to ABorba (WMF)), we do need to hear from ABorba (WMF) to ensure we don't have a repeat. This is standard procedure. Until ABorba engages in any discussion, even an unblock request, they're not going to get unblocked, and any other live testing or editing is not going to go down at all well. For the record I don't think it was a great block. This could probably have been resolved with a cordial chat. -- zzuuzz (talk) 17:17, 1 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I agree with everything you said regarding hearing from the editor (obviously). I'm just saying that some of the voices above also appear to be voicing more frustration with the foundation than with the testing.
    And to TBF, I know I have not read it, nor will I, obviously, I'm not an admin. I'm just saying that, from where I sit, it appears as though the block, while legitimate when placed, could be lifted without any further disruption to the wiki, and I think that's a growing sentiment. FrederalBacon (talk) 17:23, 1 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    @Zzuuzz that's somewhat disingenuous. They did try to engage in discussion. They filed a UTRS ticket. We shut them down by closing the ticket a little over an hour later. -- RoySmith (talk) 18:08, 1 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I agree with some of that. They were clearly directed to their talk page, which I think is probably appropriate, and we've heard nothing from them since. Nothing, that is, except another test edit. -- zzuuzz (talk) 18:17, 1 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    He was asked, quite appropriately, to continue the unblock discussion on-wiki. That is not being "shut down". – Joe (talk) 18:40, 1 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    This could probably have been resolved with a cordial chat. Is the key take-away from this episode. The thing that sticks out is that when ABorba (WMF) was asked a question, he answered in 6 minutes and the next thing that happens is he gets blocked, and now we've blocked all his test accounts. That was unnecessarily harsh. I don't know what he wrote on UTRS but if it were me, I'd have written "FU guys I'm trying to do my job here WTF". ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Levivich 18:08, 1 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    @Levivich He wrote something far more polite and professional. -- RoySmith (talk) 18:11, 1 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Albeit amounting to basically the same thing. – Joe (talk) 18:39, 1 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    @Levivich, @RoySmith, those are very good points. @Joe Roe, with all respect, what he chose to write in actuality does not amount to the "same thing" as the hypothetical phrase imagined in an earlier comment above. I hope you don't mind my saying that. I respect your views and concerns fully on this. thanks. Sm8900 (talk) 18:42, 1 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    How do you know? UTRS can only be accessed by admins, can't it? – Joe (talk) 18:46, 1 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    @Joe Roe, thanks for replying and engaging here. I was making a much simpler, and abstract point; namely if a comment is phrased politely, then it does not amount to the "same" thing as a comment that is noiticeably less polite. I was simply noting that as a general principle. i hope you don't mind my own small comment, which is meant to simply reflect and cogitate, as it were, upon this small aspect of this topic. Sm8900 (talk) 18:49, 1 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Yeah same like always. Just angry ppl trying to torch the foundation any chance they get —TheDJ (talkcontribs) 19:11, 1 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Well, to be fair, Wikimedia Foundation Inc. is pretty horribly corrupt and bad. --MZMcBride (talk) 23:54, 2 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'm glad this was resolved, however, I'm curious why my username showed up with checkuser? If there was any activity that led to it being flagged, or there is anything I need to change about my testing. I don't make any changes to articles except on testwiki or my sandbox, or my own test user talk pages. Please advise. EdTestCommons02 (talk) 21:13, 1 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@EdTestCommons02: Emailed -- Guerillero Parlez Moi 21:19, 1 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

section break 3

  • WP:NOTLAB is policy, not "best practices". —Kusma (talk) 19:36, 1 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    NOTLAB says Gpedia is not a public laboratory and talks about research projects and researchers. QA testing is not that. Let's not lose sight of who User:ABorba (WMF) is and what he was doing: he is our employee, testing our website for us because we pay him to. He is not some third-party researcher. The WMF is not some third-party organization. The money that pays him comes from the donations that are made by donors who are donating to support the community, and it's spent by trustees who we elect (btw everyone go vote if you haven't already). The testing is for our benefit (readers and editors). Yes, he was "doing it wrong", but he's not a vandal, or a sockpuppeteer, or a researcher, or a WP:PAID editor--all of which he's been accused of. Levivich 19:47, 1 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I don't see a huge difference between "researching" Gpedia software and doing QA "testing" if the resulting edits are the same. —Kusma (talk) 20:08, 1 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    When your doctor pokes a hole in you and drains out 10cc of blood for analysis, that's "testing". When a random stranger comes up to you on the street, pokes a hole in you and drains out 10cc of blood because they're curious what will happen, that's "assault". -- RoySmith (talk) 20:27, 1 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Yes, I'd rather have tests done by someone I know to be my doctor (who tells me that they are doing a test) than by a random stranger (who doesn't tell me). Which gets us back on topic: tests and test accounts need to be properly declared. —Kusma (talk) 20:30, 1 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I hope a constructive outcome to all of this will be the requirement for all WMF accounts (and by extension, their test accounts) to be properly identified — a couple of lines of who/what/why is all that's needed... I dare say that would have prevented a lot (if not all) of this — TheresNoTime (talk • she/her) 20:32, 1 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I agree but isn't that already a requirement and the issue here is the WMF's (or a particular team's?) compliance with those requirements? Levivich 20:33, 1 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    That commitment came eight years ago. Sdrqaz (talk) 20:41, 1 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    @Sdrqaz and Levivich: ah, quite right, thank you — everyone (new) just seems to do it as an onboarding step now Face-smile.svgTheresNoTime (talk • she/her) 20:44, 1 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    @TNT: but I agree about coming to a constructive outcome here, I just sort of think the need for policy changes or clarification is more on the WMF's side rather than the enwiki side. Maybe an email should be sent out to testers reminding them of the rules about disclosure of alt accounts, etc., and asking them to make sure all their test accounts are in compliance. (cc JBranaa (WMF)) I share another concern that AndyTheGrump raised at ANI which is that I don't quite see why QA testing would require the use of the test text string "fuck shit" in mainspace rather than some other text string that would be less disruptive, and that sort of makes me question whether the WMF should review the parameters of exactly how they test in production in mainspace on the largest wiki that millions of children read (for example have they considered testing on noindex'd test articles). Levivich 20:56, 1 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Agree, 1) do automated and manual testing first in lower environments like integration and staging, 2) if you must test in production, all test accounts must be labeled and known to admins, 3) if you have to test abuse filters, surely there's a less disruptive way Andre🚐 21:13, 1 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    @TNT, acknowledged. We will be working to better align our processes with what we've learned here. JBranaa (WMF) (talk) 18:44, 2 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    To go with this analogy, while our initial reaction may have been understandable, now that we know that the person who poked us who we thought was a random stranger was in fact our doctor, we should let go of his collar. Levivich 20:35, 1 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Please. The community complains of aches and pains and is ignored by said "doctor" whom we did not hire. The "doctor" lives the high life from our hard work but you find it important to bend your knee for this malpractice? Chris Troutman (talk) 20:43, 1 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Going with the whole doctor thing, your doctor made a surprise house call to give you a colonoscopy... I mean, let's not pretend it was OK. It was a bad idea. But apologize, stop doing it, salt the earth and move on. Right? Andre🚐 20:46, 1 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    You're right, going with the analogy was a bad idea. Levivich 20:50, 1 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I have a better analogy. Would you be willing to tell your Congressman (or Congresswoman) about the trends of property values on the block where you live? ok, now how about a random stranger? ok, now how about if a random stranger started asking you some pesky questions, and when you waved them away, you then found out that the erson was your local congressman? you'd run after him to have a friendly chat, right?
ok, so think of WMF as your local Congressman, or any local politician. almost everyone finds politicians annoying in some way; however, when a politician takes an actual interest in some local item, usually people prefer to cooperate.
I see the WMF as dirrectly analogous to one's local elected officials; in general, we would probably find them annoying, however, most people would agree that they still serve some useful purpose. I hope no one minds my small excursion into analogies here; however, I have used this analogy to explain the WMF quite a bit, and when the topic of general irritation with WMF comes up, this is one way that I like to view this whole topic, and this whole issue in general. thanks. --Sm8900 (talk) 21:05, 1 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I agree in general. I think though like any good politician, WMF needs to understand and cater to some public sensitivities. Admit the "mistakes were made" and put in place protocols and plans to avoid it in the future. It's a PR problem. Andre🚐 21:14, 1 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Here's another one User talk:EdTestCommons02-- Deepfriedokra (talk) 19:11, 1 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Unblocked. Let's cut this out now — these obviously aren't vandals, the project is not in imminent danger, so you're all able to slow down and engage in discussion. — TheresNoTime (talk • she/her) 19:52, 1 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I'm not convinced that was appropriate; as an employee of the WMF, you are WP:INVOLVED. BilledMammal (talk) 09:30, 2 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I've been a volunteer much much longer than a member of staff, will always be a volunteer first and foremost and try to use this dual-role to vocalise community concerns internally. With my volunteer hat on I'm an admin, a local functionary and a global steward, whereas my staff hat only consists of the ability to write software for y'all — I'm more than capable of separating my thought process between software development and administrative actions, and although I'm very careful to hold myself to an overly restrictive definition of "involved", unblocking one account after chewing them out a little just ain't it Face-smile.svg you'll note I'm fairly unimpressed by all of this, on both sides, so it's not like I'm here to bang the Foundation drum. Hopefully this goes some way to reassure you, but please feel free to follow up on my talk page (or WP:AN I suppose!) if not — TheresNoTime (talk • she/her) 00:27, 3 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Aside from the account issues, testing on real wikis is yet another symptom of the WMF not properly resourcing the existing test environment that we already have. The "code stewardship request" for the Beta Cluster illustrates multiple volunteer and WMF developers explaining why it's useful and why it needs more support, and nothing from WMF upper management. Legoktm (talk) 19:45, 1 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Absolutely. It isn't like the WMF doesn't have the budget to set up a proper mirroring test environment, including capacity to simulate traffic if that is what these tests require. It seems clear to me that this is a management problem. This is a consequence of bad practices required by ABorba's superiors. MrOllie (talk) 20:51, 1 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Agreed, he is just a worker, not the architect of this flawed test strategy. Andre🚐 21:15, 1 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

At a minimum, all of these test accounts need to disclose:

  1. That they are running tests on behalf of the WMF
  2. Who owns them

To comply with WP:SOCKLEGIT. The owner needs to have an unlocked WMF account with a name and contact information. --Guerillero Parlez Moi 20:35, 1 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

(Non-administrator comment) Unless the project is about edit summaries and the testing needs to take over the entire edit summary field in order to have a valid test result, I would expect any such live testing to use the edit summary field to clearly label it (maybe with a bit of shouting) AS A TEST, and to include a link to a page on mw or meta or wherever the case may be, where one could find a project page describing the particular testing going on. The project page should also list previous project testing on, and why stopping there wasn't sufficient, and it had to be continued live. Presumably, it would be accompanied by a Project talk page, where any Gpedia editors who were discommoded or had other comments could register their thoughts and get feedback. Mathglot (talk) 03:40, 2 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • That is exactly correct. In a normal world, the WMF employee would simply drop a note at WP:AN with their WMF account saying "I'm about to test the profanity filter using account User:WMFtestguy, so these edits will probably need RevDel afterwards." Maybe even add "I will be testing on the article Richard Hurtz" or "I will be testing several articles/pages". Then in the edit summary, start with "WMF test - (other text if they want to test the filter in edit summaries)". This is just so simple, so common sense, and really doesn't require extended conversation ahead of time. This is why I say they have no respect for the community. It doesn't even dawn on them to communicate with the unwashed masses called "the community". They just dump their garbage on our lawn and walk away. Dennis Brown - 11:45, 2 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Statement from Jan (WMF)

Moin. First, many thanks to @Guerillero:, who notified T&S. Let me briefly share an update on where we are at and to be transparent about my email reply to him earlier today, too:

  • The community did the right thing being initially cautious, especially given that the accounts in question did not have the traditional features of a Foundation work account (WMF-name and disclosures on the user pages about the purpose).
  • The problem is both one of Foundation's long-standing work account naming policy (the features are mandatory for staff and contractor accounts working on community wikis) and of reasonable community expectations about being notified beforehand. On Wednesday, T&S will join the call of the team the accounts belong to, Quality and Test Engineering, to help the team resolve the issues. They have been very responsive, and ahead of the meeting, my initial take is that the incident mainly occurred because folks weren't fully aware of the account naming policy, its history, and related expectations.
  • The team has agreed to not conduct further tests until both these issues have been resolved.

I also promised Guerillero to circle back with an update after the upcoming meeting. I am happy to share that follow up here, too, if there is an interest. Best regards,--Jan (WMF) (talk) 17:06, 2 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Hi JEissfeldt (WMF), Thank you very much! In addition to account naming and notifications, I'd hope for an agreement not to insert obscene references to copulation or similar vandalism simulations into mainspace articles at all. There are surely less disruptive ways to test edit filters, and there's no reason to believe that the community would deny or object to the creation of a test filter for a custom keyword such as "WMFTESTFILTERBLOCK". As the team has agreed not to conduct further tests until the issues have been resolved, I'll remove the three blocks I have placed for now lacking a preventative need. ~ ToBeFree (talk) 17:38, 2 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thank you, ToBeFree, your proposal strikes me as very sensible and I will raise it on Wednesday. The team has done lots of good work helping to improve software before it reaches the community wikis. That wasn't always the case at the WMF before this team was created. So we should be able to work out a way for them to do their work without unnecessary disruptions, especially in the main space. Best regards, --Jan (WMF) (talk) 17:57, 2 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Agreed, and maybe the QA team needs to publish their test plans 24h or 48h in advance and allow experienced admins to object. And maybe they shouldn't do this kind of testing on prod at all but make a test environment. Andre🚐 17:58, 2 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@JEissfeldt (WMF): I think you're missing an important element here, which is that, putting all the issues with accounts and lack of disclosure aside, enwiki has a longstanding policy that says making disruptive edits for research or testing purposes isn't acceptable; see WP:NOTLAB. We're a real encyclopaedia on the real life internet and we don't want our readers to open up a biography and see "fuck shit" under the heading, even if it's only for a few minutes. As several editors who work in tech have said above, running tests on your production environment is unprofessional. – Joe (talk) 07:29, 3 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
re I also promised Guerillero to circle back with an update after the upcoming meeting. I am happy to share that follow up here, too, if there is an interest. – I would personally be grateful for that update after the meeting. Best, KevinL (aka L235 · t · c) 12:13, 3 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@L235: Noted :)
@Joe Roe: We agree on both points. I have never met anyone in my nearly two decades here who thinks testing in production is a good pathway. That the testwikis themselves sit in the production cluster, too, just illustrates the larger problem of technical debt (of which our testing infrastructure itself is basically part). If you are interested in my personal views on the latter, I outlined them - including the caveat that I naturally don't speak for Product and Technology - during the Board's community office hour in April (the relevant community question gets read out at 1:00:22). Best regards, --Jan (WMF) (talk) 06:13, 5 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Moin, @L235, Joe Roe, Andrevan, Guerillero, and ToBeFree: thank you for your patience while I discussed your concerns with the Quality & Test Engineering team. They were very interested in your proposals how to improve their work here and agreed to:

  • Rename their test accounts to align with other staff accounts, making them easily identify-able for the community (T&S will help with that next week).
  • Publish disclaimers explaining the staff accounts purpose on the related user pages (same, T&S will help implement that change).
  • Explore publishing the rules under which they conduct tests that they need to do on this wiki. They would like to invite your feedback on two questions:
  • Would the technical village pump be an acceptable home for brief announcements for local tests?
  • Would you be interested in joining them in a call to discuss the rules - and the technical limitations they work under that are forcing them to conduct some tests in production - before they take effect?

T&S can help put a call together if you are interested in the conversation. Best regards, -–Jan (WMF) (talk) 07:25, 8 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

That's good enough for me as a step in the right direction, I'll let others chime in. No need to join the call, I already have enough on my plate to manage on my actual job. Andre🚐 15:12, 8 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
From my point of view the technical pump makes sense as an announcement place. But I think there needs to be broader onwiki documentation about why production testing is sometimes necessary rather than just discussing it on a call. This could live here, on meta, or mediawiki, and then linked to as appropriate. If a call does end up being organized I would be interested in joining. Best, Barkeep49 (talk) 15:29, 8 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'm not completely sure how this became a T&S issue, but yes, I'd be happy to be on a call to discuss this sort of testing. -- RoySmith (talk) 15:36, 8 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thanks again 🙂 The upcoming renames and userpage disclosures are probably the most important step; I'm happy to see them on a tangible timeline supported by the T&S team. Regarding the announcements/explanations/discussions, I guess as much as possible of them should be held on-wiki (too), where I'd happily participate. I'm also happy to see Barkeep49 and RoySmith, both of whom have programmed userscripts implying noticeable technical competence, joining the call if there is one. I'm thankful for the kind invitation, but I'll stick to written English. ~ ToBeFree (talk) 18:34, 8 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@JEissfeldt (WMF); I would be more than happy to jump on a call with you and them to workshop a proposal -- Guerillero Parlez Moi 07:03, 9 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Hey folks, circling back on this with an update. Anthony has provided a list of 10 test accounts to the T&S team. We have just renamed to have them standardized and dropped a disclaimer on each of their userpage. The accounts are User:QTE-Test1-WMF,...and User:QTE-Test10-WMF. We will send out a doddle to Barkeep49, RoySmith, Guerillero and folks who are interested to the call together with Jean-Rene Branaa, Engineering Manager for the Quality and Test Engineering team and Jan from the T&S to discus the rules and where to post. Thank you.--Wikimedia Foundation office (talk) 11:33, 12 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thanks for that. Are these logins for individuals, or role accounts? Certes (talk) 11:45, 12 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The disclosures on their user page say they are "role accounts", so I would presume the latter. Dreamy Jazz talk to me | my contributions 13:53, 12 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Hello, I looked at the page history of user talk pages of the accounts which are being renamed. I found that there are still several accounts which looks like test accounts. They are Scblr (talk · contribs), UserTesting1 (talk · contribs), Viladedoggo (talk · contribs), Talktest2 (talk · contribs), Tannerjs91 (talk · contribs), HeyDimpz (talk · contribs). Some of these accounts also edits other user talk pages which those accounts also looks like test accounts. They include WikiEditorSam (talk · contribs), JoNewbie (talk · contribs), Climadeo (talk · contribs) (see its user talk page history, there are test accounts and a staff editing its user talk page), UserTalkTest (talk · contribs), Dbrant testing (talk · contribs), Scblrtest (talk · contribs), Scblrtest2 (talk · contribs), Scblrdev (talk · contribs). I don't know whether those accounts are being created by other staffs but I believe that they are likely test accounts. (talk) 08:44, 15 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Some of these accounts have disclaimer for working with the WMF in their user pages. Are those accounts required to be renamed? (talk) 09:16, 15 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
At first glance for most of the accounts: yes, I suspect. My folks will be sorting them together with that (different) team based on the rules and the results of the upcoming conversation with Barkeep49, RoySmith, and Guerillero. Best regards, --Jan (WMF) (talk) 07:20, 16 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I have a suggestion on the test accounts to be created in the future by staffs. As accounts owned by staff should have the "WMF" tag, which is in the title blacklist, I suggest to grant some staffs an account creator flag to override the antispoof. It also allows to check which staff created the test accounts. (talk) 02:57, 19 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I would hope that this is essentially unnecessary, since staff already have the ability to override the title blacklist through the Staff global group. stwalkerster (talk) 14:32, 19 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Comment by a Community Member

I have a few comments. First, in looking over the election materials, I think that there is some insight into what is wrong with the Foundation's attitude. They ask the candidates what radical changes should be made to the Foundation or the Movement. Some of us didn't sign on to a Movement. Some of us think that the Foundation is the corporate structure for managing a large data center in support of various stakeholders. Maybe the fact that the Foundation thinks that it is the vanguard of a Movement is part of the problem.

Second, it appears that, perhaps because it thinks that there is a Movement that will change the world, the Foundation hasn't tried to stay in touch with its stakeholders. Each of the wikis has at least two communities of stakeholders, the readers and the editors. We are the largest and most active community of editors, and we might be similar to some of the other communities of editors and might also be able to provide insight into the largest community of readers. The live English Gpedia is on servers that belong to the Foundation, but the encyclopedia belongs to its communities. (So go and test somewhere else.)

Third, you aren't showing that you have a clue as to how to change the world if you don't know how to manage your own data center, but are in the data center business. (So go and test somewhere else.) Robert McClenon (talk) 05:33, 3 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I agree with the general thrust of the comments by Robert McClenon. The monetary value of the Wikimedia Movement has been created entirely by the volunteer editors, especially the diligent, long term editors who contribute to Gpedia in English. German, French. Japanese. Spanish, Russian, Chinese, Portuguese and Italian. Not to criticize the editors who contribute in other languages, but the editors working in these languages I have mentioned contribute the vast majority of the useful content, and the English version in paricular is heavily viewed in countless countries worldwide, since English is consided the lingua franca of business and academia in countless countries. To summarize, the volunteers who are actually creating the monetary value are solely responsible for the financial clout that enables the WMF staffers to receive their generous San Francisco based salary and fringe benefit packages. If the staffers were responsible for creating excellent encyclopedic content, the entire project would fail in short order, because the majority of the staffers have shown little interest and less expertise in actually creating encyclopedic content in multiple languages. That would be OK if the WMF staffers showed respect for the people who volunteer (in part) to allow them to receive their generous salary and fringe benefit packages. Based on my 13 years of trying to interact with WMF staffers, my experience is that the more cash that the WMF hoards, the less interested the WMF staffers are in meaningful collaboration with the various volunteer communities, and the more inclined they are to focus on interaction with fake community representatives who are all about grant programs instead of genuine support for the broad communities of editors. It is really sad to see how badly WMF money is misallocated, and what poor results there are for their paid outreach efforts. The bottom line is that financial incentives attract careerists, not genuine encyclopedia editors. Cullen328 (talk) 06:37, 3 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Agree in general. The more money there is, brought in by fundraising campaigns widely thought to be misleading, the more it becomes the glue that keeps the movement (!) together, and the priorities and ethics and mindsets change beyond recognition.
The availability of "easy money" earned in large part off the work of others has a corrupting influence all round. The other day I compared the top salaries in the Wikimedia Foundation's 2018 Form 990 versus the 2020 Form 990. I found (please check ...) that from 2018 to 2020 –
  • the CEO's total compensation incl. benefits increased by 7% (to $423,318),
  • the DGC's and GC's by 10%,
  • the CFO's by 11%,
  • the CTO's by 17%,
  • the CAO's by 22%,
  • the CCO's by 25%,
  • the CT/CO's by 28%, and
  • the CPO's by 32%
– all over a two-year period when the annual US inflation rate was reportedly at 2%. All but three (the GC, CTO and CT/CO) were the same person in 2020 as in 2018. I'm pretty sure those are better raises than most donors got – including this pensioner last year with $18 to his name, who promised he'd donate as soon as his social security check would clear. Andreas JN466 07:05, 3 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The questions for the videos were proposed and voted for by community members here: m:Wikimedia Foundation elections/2022/Community Voting/Questions for Candidates#Proposed Questions. So the phrasing in this case was down to a volunteer. This said, I'm not sure who first started speaking of a "movement". I'm not overly fond of the term. People used to refer to the "project(s)"; that seems to have become less common as references to a "movement" have increased. Andreas JN466 06:47, 3 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Robert McClenon: Is this supposed to be under the thread about ABorba? – Joe (talk) 07:33, 3 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
User:Joe Roe - Yes. I put it here on purpose. It was brought by their testing on the live English Gpedia, which is why I told them to go and test somewhere else. Yes. That test is indicative of a grandiose attitude by the WMF. Robert McClenon (talk) 07:49, 3 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Robert McClenon: I'm a little confused for how the board election and the idea of a Wikimedia Movement(TM) relate to the attitudes of the staff members on the Quality and Test Engineering team. I mean, they all feel like very separate issues? –MJLTalk 05:24, 4 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
This has a high degree of pot calling out elitism of kettle. —TheDJ (talkcontribs) 10:29, 3 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

It's nice to finally see Cullen328, Robert McClenon, and others now using the very argument I've used a hundred times over the past 4 years that goes something like: "The WMF is more interested in its pursuits of becoming a socio-political movement than supporting its volunteers with necessary software that makes the whole thing work. It's not what I signed up for" Be careful what y'all say though about these WMFers on their celebrity salaries and junkets, it was my repeating a totally innocent but extremely accurate comment of Cullen's that was 40% of what led to me being desysopped. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 07:31, 3 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Many of the WMF's socio-political goals are reasonable ones which I share, but diverting readers' donations to them is as immoral as lining their own pockets. The WMF continues to grab so much power from the communities, one inch at a time, that it can dictate whatever terms and conditions it likes. Our only recourse is to stop editing. At least Gpedia is safe in one way: The WMF can now afford to hire paid editors to replace the volunteers it seems hellbent on driving away. Certes (talk) 19:05, 3 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Community members meeting about QA

RoySmith, Guerillero, and I took up Jan (WMF)'s invitation above to have a meeting where we could discuss changes to avoid this kind of situation happening again. We met earlier today. It was, from my perspective, a very productive meeting. Coming out of the meeting there was a commitment to (among other things):

  • Better transparency and identification of WMF staffers doing testing, including on-wiki documentation of the work
  • When an edge case needs to be tested - as in the situation that sparked this where there needed to be testing of accounts that were not autoconfirmed - that there be notification at WP:VPT at least 1 business day in advance
  • Linking to the relevant phab ticket in the edit summary whenever possible (an example where not possible: when something involving an edit summary is being tested)
  • Not just test on enwiki because it might be the most convenient solution but because it's truly necessary to do accurate testing.
  • Renewed documentation and training for testers so they understand what's expected on enwiki (which is not always the same as other wikis)

I expect some of these to happen quickly - Jan has already begun working on elements to be hosted here on enwiki - while the last two pieces might be more medium term projects. But on the whole I found the foundation staffers we talked with to be open to hearing the community perspective and eager to be productive collaborators. If I missed anything I hope someone else fills it in. Best, Barkeep49 (talk) 21:48, 20 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

My take on things is pretty much the same as Barkeep's, and his bullet list jives with my own notes. I'm happy with the way the meeting went and I'm fully confident that WMF will soon have improved processes in place to make things run smoother in the future. On the enwiki side, I think we all came away with a better understanding of the constraints under which the WMF QT&E group works and how they will on occasion require testing in a live environment. And I think the WMF folks now have a better understanding of what particular issues got enwiki folks so excited. -- RoySmith (talk) 22:31, 20 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I agree with what Barkeep and Roy said. I came away from this meeting thinking that JBranaa (WMF), from the testing team, was extremely open to our input and wanted to get it right. If anything, he was less thrilled about future testing being done on enwiki than Barkeep, Roy, and myself were. -- Guerillero Parlez Moi 07:34, 21 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thank you again @RoySmith, @Guerillero, and @Barkeep49 for taking the time to meet with us. I found the discussion very informative and as Guerillero noted above, I want to use what we learned during this situation to improve how we do things in the Quality and Test Engineering team as well as influence how development teams do things as well. Looking forward to working more with you and other members of the community. JBranaa (WMF) (talk) 16:21, 22 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Wikimedia Foundation English fundraising campaign - October pre-tests

Hi everyone,

As previously mentioned here, I will continuously inform you of pre-tests on English Gpedia as the Wikimedia Foundation prepares for the English fundraising campaign later this year. As part of the English campaign we test our infrastructure on a regular basis throughout the next few months and you might see banners every now and then on Gpedia if you are not logged in.

The scheduled dates for October are (you can find the September ones in this post):

  • 3rd-10th of October - a low level week long test (During the test, a banner will only be shown to users 5% of the time until the maximum of 10 impressions (1 big and 9 small banners) is reached.)
  • 13th of October - a 100% traffic three hour test
  • 17th - 24th of October - a low level week long test
  • 27th of October - a 100% traffic three hour test

Generally, before and during the campaign, you can contact us:

Please let me know if you have any questions.

Thanks you and regards,

JBrungs (WMF) (talk) 11:08, 14 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Copied from Gpedia:Village pump (miscellaneous) by * Pppery * it has begun... 22:54, 14 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@JBrungs (WMF): Can you provide a list of banners that you plan to run? BilledMammal (talk) 04:39, 15 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes I will share those closer to the time - most likely in early November. Best, JBrungs (WMF) (talk) 06:15, 15 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@JBrungs (WMF): Thank you, but I was referring to the ones being run in October. BilledMammal (talk) 09:45, 15 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@JBrungs (WMF): Is there a list of all banners that were run in September? Looking at m:Special:CentralNotice, only the current campaign is shown, not the ones that were scheduled to run earlier in the month. BilledMammal (talk) 14:32, 25 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Hi @BilledMammal,
I just saw this message (I was on holiday for a week). The test banners are clearly a lot in volume so let me check with the team to see what they say and could potentially do. I will get back to you next week. Best, JBrungs (WMF) (talk) 11:30, 27 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

September banners

For reference, the banners run between 2022-09-23 20:00 and 2022-09-25 20:00 on enwiki for readers from Australia, Canada, Britain, Ireland, New Zealand and the United States. 10% of pageviews for logged-out readers include a banner, up to ten times per reader.

September banners
Platform Example Banner
Desktop B2223_092423_en6C_dsk_p1_lg_txt_cnt To all our readers in Country,

Please don’t scroll past this. This Day we interrupt your reading to humbly ask you to defend Gpedia’s independence. 98% of our readers don’t give; they simply look the other way. If you are an exceptional reader who has already donated, we sincerely thank you. If you donate just $2.75, or whatever you can this Day, Gpedia could keep thriving for years. We ask you, humbly: please don’t scroll away. If Gpedia has given you $2.75 worth of knowledge this year, take a minute to donate. Show the world that access to reliable, neutral information matters to you. Thank you.

B2223_092423_en6C_dsk_p1_lg_txt_mLgOpening To all our readers in Country,

Please don’t scroll past this. We know we're interrupting your reading, so we'll get straight to the point: This Day we ask you to protect Gpedia's independence. 98% of our readers don't give; they simply look the other way. If you are one of our rare donors, we warmly thank you. If you donate just $2.75, or whatever you can this Day, Gpedia could keep thriving for years. We ask you, humbly: please don’t scroll away. If Gpedia has given you $2.75 worth of knowledge this year, take a minute to donate. Show the world that access to reliable, neutral information matters to you. Thank you.

B2223_0923_en6C_dsk_p2_sm_dsn_cnt We ask you, humbly: don't scroll away

Hi. This isn’t the first time we’ve interrupted your reading recently, but only 2% of our readers give. Many think they’ll give later, but then forget. This Day we ask you to protect Gpedia. All we ask is $2.75, or what you can afford, to secure our future. We ask you, humbly: Please don’t scroll away. If you are one of our rare donors, we warmly thank you.

Mobile B2223_092423_en6C_m_p1_lg_txt_cnt To all our readers,

Please don’t scroll past this. This Day we interrupt your reading to humbly ask you to defend Gpedia’s independence. 98% of our readers don’t give; they simply look the other way. If you are an exceptional reader who has already donated, we sincerely thank you.

If everyone reading this donated $2.75, we could keep Gpedia thriving for years. The price of a cup of coffee is all we need. We’re a nonprofit, and the 58 million articles that compose Gpedia are free.

We don’t charge a subscription fee, and Gpedia is sustained by the donations of only 2% of our readers. Without reader contributions, big or small, we couldn’t run Gpedia the way we do.

That’s why we still need your help. We are passionate about our model because at its core, Gpedia belongs to you. We want to make sure everyone on the planet has equal access to knowledge.

If Gpedia provided you $2.75 worth of knowledge this year, please take a minute to secure its future by making a donation. Thank you.

B2223_0923_en6C_m_p2_sm_amt_DoubleCTAs275and25 Hi. This isn’t the first time we’ve interrupted your search recently, but 98% of our readers don't give; they keep reading. This Day we ask you to help us sustain Gpedia. All we ask is $2.75 if you can afford $2.75, or $25 if you can afford $25. We ask you, humbly: Please don’t scroll away.
B2223_0923_en6C_m_p2_sm_amt_4then2 Hi. This isn’t the first time we’ve interrupted your search recently, but 98% of our readers don't give; they keep reading. This Day we ask you to help us sustain Gpedia. All we ask is $25 if you can afford $25, or $2.75 if you can afford $2.75. We ask you, humbly: Please don’t scroll away.

BilledMammal (talk) 14:32, 25 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Wikimedia Sound Logo: What is the Sound of all Human Knowledge?

On September 13, 2022, the Wikimedia Sound Logo Contest was launched. In the tradition of the movement's visual logo contests, the Wikimedia Foundation has organized a contest to select, this time around, a sound logo to represent all Wikimedia projects. To learn more about the initiative, visit

  • The first phase, for submission of proposals, will be open until October 10, 2022.
  • Voting, open to all, will take place in December of this year.

(!) If you want to learn more about sound logos, need help with your submission, or if you have a good idea but don't know how to capture it, join our workshop on September 29 at 15:00-16:00 UTC. Sign up directly on Zoom or check the contest meta page.

CalliandraDysantha-WMF (talk) 22:24, 14 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Copied from Gpedia:Village pump (miscellaneous) by * Pppery * it has begun... 22:54, 14 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

English Gpedia user group?

It's rather difficult to miss the underlying feeling in some areas of the English Gpedia that the Wikimedia Foundation is perhaps not listening as closely as it should to y'all — most recently, this has surfaced in topics such as PageTriage and the fundraising campaigns. I can certainly share some aspects of this feeling, and try to surface this constructively where I can.

The formation of a Wikimedia user group for the English Gpedia would, among other things, allow for a delegate to attend the Wikimedia Summit and voice concerns directly to decision makers. I'm no fan of complex bureaucracy, and as such can offer no suggestions as to how a delegate would be selected/how the user group should run etc, but I did want to surface the idea and see if this is a direction y'all would consider investigating — providing the "message" doesn't get spread too thin, more opportunities for discussion can't be a bad thing.

For transparency, I am employed by the Wikimedia Foundation, but consider myself a volunteer first and foremost and make this suggestion as such. I think this is the most appropriate village pump for the topic, but please do feel free to move it if not. — TheresNoTime (talk • they/them) 13:22, 20 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Potentially this is "too much and not enough". If the Wikimedia Summit winds up as an influential forum within the movement then one delegate from this community would be a tad farcical given the proportion of Wikimedians who are active here and how we differ on several key things, but having that one delegate risks people thinking that that forum somehow represents this community. I'm fairly confident that a number of attendees will be active on this wiki, but they won't be there to represent us and may not have views that would be mainstream here. I detect something of a governance flaw in this project, user groups thematic orgs and chapters all have their roles, but if they each start sending people to a meaningful summit then we risk some people realising that they potentially have multiple routes to the summit; (the chapter where you live, a couple of subject based ones and now a project based one or two). The more attractive being at that summit becomes the more we risk a proliferation of such orgs, some of which won't do much other than send one of their own to an annual jolly. ϢereSpielChequers 19:57, 20 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It’s not there for the same reason as that the en.wp editors don’t have a conference of their own. No one wants to organize it. The ppl who want to organize things are all already doing that. All the ppl who don’t want to organize things are the ones complaining all the time. —TheDJ (talkcontribs) 20:06, 20 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think a single user group for all of the English Gpedia is the wrong size. I think smaller subgroups of the English Gpedia, say functionaries, NPP, AbuseFilter rule helpers/maintainers, DYK enthusiasts, WikiProject <whatever>, etc. would be a much better fit for the user group model. Legoktm (talk) 05:02, 21 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Legoktm: The meta:English Gpedia Functionaries User Group is in the works. -- Guerillero Parlez Moi 07:38, 21 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
That is fantastic. Legoktm (talk) 17:45, 21 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Given that worldwide, Gpedia is pretty synonymous for the en.Wiki; given that the en.Wiki is the one WMF project that probably generates most of the donations; given that fundraising is based largely on the claims of maintaining an ad-free encyclopedia, perhaps the representatives of NPP should be given a loud voice. NPP is the only firewall that prevents scams, spam, attack pages, and pure junk and nonsense for entering the corpus. This vital function needs more attention from the Foundation. Its presentations have constantly been denied at a string of real Wikimanias and again its importance was played down in a recent live streamed Board of Trustees Zoom session. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 18:01, 21 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    @Legoktm and I were talking yesterday about user groups and I specifically mentioned that NPP would be an enwiki user group that I think should exist. So I agree with his point above that enwiki probably needs several user groups, and I agree with you (and him) @Kudpung that NPP should be one of them. Best, Barkeep49 (talk) 18:09, 21 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Open letter to the WMF about Wikimedia Commons

Hello, there is an open letter in preparation, directed to the WMF. We want to improve Wikimedia Commons. Please have a look at the draft text here, and please comment on the talk page. Ziko (talk) 11:33, 21 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Ziko, total waste of time like this. WMF will just spend a couple grand and fart another Human Rights Policy.Alexis Jazz (talk or ping me) 12:13, 23 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Open letter to the WMF and the BoT about NPP

Signed by over 400 editors and admins, the NPP team officially launched their appeal yesterday to the WMF and the Board of Trustees to do something about the unaddressed bugs and feature requests for the suite of PageTriage software. It has been signed by over 400 editors and admins. Unable to cope with the increasing flood of inappropriate new articles due mainly to the expansion in the use of Internet and smart phones, the reviewers can no longer guarantee the claims of accuracy, neutrality, and free of spam that the WMF is otherwise so proud of in its flagship encyclopedia. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 17:46, 21 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Board of Trustees election results

The results of the recent Board of Trustees election have been announced at m:Wikimedia Foundation elections/2022/Results. Certes (talk) 11:46, 22 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Thanks for giving the link :) Dreamy Jazz talk to me | my contributions 21:37, 22 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Cabals, stonewalling and the WMF is A-okay with that

WP:Cabals are a running gag, but in my experience they are quite real. Here are two cases where I was the target and got stonewalled by them. One on Commons, one on Phabricator. Neither is English Gpedia, but both impact all projects which includes English Gpedia. And I'm not sure there's any reason this couldn't happen here.
Now whatever you think of me, what I did or what I deserve doesn't really matter. I'm not here to complain about that, I have no open sanctions against me. The problem is communication, or lack thereof.

In March 2020 I used an alternative account to make some comments that, in hindsight, weren't productive. They weren't harmful, they just didn't contribute to the project, but hindsight is always 20/20. So it was stupid. I used an alternative account to avoid legal harassment from a party known for dubious behavior in that area. The account was a screaming DUCK for anyone who knows me at all (which I did on purpose), but I figured it should be sufficient to avoid legal harassment.
One of the things I said using the alternative account was "I'm afraid me and ol' Betsy will have to 'interrogate' some people in relation to this matter." which may seem somewhat threatening out of context, but in context it was word salad. The "ol' Betsy" (which to the best of memory, to the degree there was any coherence at all, referred to my imaginary horse) was keeping with the theme of the Wild West as set by the party I was commenting on, Web Sheriff. What it ultimately meant was "I'll have to ask the photographer", which I did. Which was helpful.
A simple "what the hell?" mail could have straightened all that out. Instead, I was blocked out of the blue 4 days after the fact by the Commons checkuser team. The rationale given was "this is a group action/decision by the Commons CU team" which notably isn't a rationale. The CU team never actually bothered to tell me personally what it was about, causing User:1989 to ask at c:User talk:Trijnstel/Archive/2020#Alexis Jazz.
As things kept going, the checkuser team implied I made off-wiki death threats towards them: Diff 407320695. When AFBorchert asked as directly as it gets "Were these personal threats made off-wiki?", Krd answered saying "Please allow me to not further comment on the case. There is nothing to add from my side. Thank you." Good job dodging the question, he could have saved some time by just saying "no". I hadn't contacted them off-wiki. Admin Magog the Ogre said "AJ has made physical threats of violence against community members and has several times now threatened all of the checkusers. This is no longer a matter of polite discussion. We've moved into legally actionable territory." which I can't classify as anything but fantasy.
Long story short: wheel warring, admins Zhuyifei1999 and Majora resigned as admins and this is the one case over 1 year old in the m:Ombuds commission/2022/Report Feb-Apr. WMF legal had no interest, as far as I can tell/guess because technically nothing illegal happened. Legally speaking, Commons checkusers were forced to make thoughts about their physical safety during this case after personal threats. is opinion. Nobody knows what goes through anyone's head and it doesn't specify who made the personal threats, many admins receive some on a regular basis from random LTAs so that's plausible.
The shocking part is that it's all a charade. The "ol' Betsy" comment was never revision deleted, was only blanked at my own request after the block and the checkuser team, as far as anyone knows (and inquiries were made, but again, stonewalling), never got in touch with m:Trust and Safety nor reported me to the authorities. Simply put: nobody ever took "ol' Betsy" as a serious threat, or if they did, they ignored every guideline in existence.

You'd think that was an isolated case. So did I. Until User talk:Alexis Jazz#So I got this mail from User:TechConductCommittee.
I got a warning from mw:Code of Conduct/Committee/Members which includes several people who work for the WMF. This is the textbook definition of a cabal. They vote for their own members, no community input, they make their own rules (the committee determines its own procedures) and sanction people based on those rules. Cabal. The mail didn't specify what I was being warned for exactly. It said "We recently received a report regarding several of your recent comments at Wikimedia Phabricator, related to VisualEditor." but didn't link any of them. So over time, I pinged all the members of the committee to ask for -at least- some links. The one who delivered the message I pinged more than once. Nobody ever responded. I still have no clue which comments they were talking about or why some anonymous reporter had a problem with them. Not knowing who reported it made me rather paranoid. I can't talk to anyone I was in discussion with at the time without thinking "was it you who didn't have the guts to just engage in a constructive conversation?". In the same period I received a request from PPelberg (WMF) to join a voice chat about development issues. I was considering it, quite excited even, but after that mail I had to decline. I have discovered various bugs since that mail which I no longer bother to report on Phabricator. I can't imagine that to be a good thing for the project overall. Some are just waiting to hit production as I often discover bugs on beta cluster. All that because the TechConductCommittee can't be arsed so cough up some links. That's just pathetic.

This wasn't on enwiki (though it does affect enwiki indirectly), but is there any reason it couldn't happen here? Somehow, the WMF is totally A-okay with all this. And the community effectively has no instruments whatsoever to deal with it.

As illusive as a stonewalling cabal

I wish I had a solution, but I got nothing. Cabals that resort to stonewalling are untouchable. To balance the sadness of this post, here's an unrelated video of a cat trying to catch the red dot of a laser pointer.Alexis Jazz (talk or ping me) 14:32, 23 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

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