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What happened

3 Offwiki users blocked without warning or notice

There is a "ban Abd" discussion on Offwiki. permanent link

This was started by the owner of Offwiki, Wil Sinclair, user Wllm there. The discussion was started after Sinclair suggested I blank a page I had created in my user space, and that I "avoid conflict," and he asked me: "If you disagree with my suggestion, let me know so that I can request a remedy from the community." [1]

My response was to take this as a warning from the only administrator authorized to block, so I blanked the page, and committed to only editing in my user space, and, then, having done that, I also wrote that I "disagreed."

So Sinclair started the ban discussion. Most comment was strongly against a ban. The discussion as of about 16:18, 26 July 2014‎.

Wil invited me to comment in the ban discussion, so I did. I was not warned about any comment there, and did not violate any warnings.

However, I also emailed him last night, writing that this might be my last email, and explaining a little -- only a little -- about what was happening on Offwiki, how the mission of Offwiki required certain practices and features, and that I had set them up, and they were being dismantled.

His response was one word: "Bye," mailed at 25 Jul 2014 23:11:15 (UTC)

I saw that this morning. I also saw an excellent Offwiki page, The Water Hole created by Peter Damian, a regular Wikipedia critic, and decided to thank him for putting it there. However, when I clicked on "Email this user", I saw:

Your username or IP address has been blocked.
The block was made by Wllm. The reason given is Some users won't be invited to Offwiki 2.0. Abd is one of them..
Start of block: 00:27, 26 July 2014
Expiry of block: infinite
Intended blockee: Abd
You can contact Wllm or another administrator to discuss the block. You cannot use the "email this user" feature unless a valid email address is specified in your account preferences and you have not been blocked from using it. Your current IP address is [redacted], and the block ID is #659. Please include all above details in any queries you make.

What does my block log show? Nothing.

So, is my IP blocked? Looking at Special:Blocklist:

  • 13:33, 26 July 2014 Autoblock #660 13:33, 27 July 2014 Wllm (Talk | contribs) account creation disabled, cannot edit own talk page Autoblocked because your IP address has been recently used by "Abd". The reason given for Abd's block is "Some users won't be invited to Offwiki 2.0. Abd is one of them."
  • 00:36, 26 July 2014 Autoblock #664 00:36, 27 July 2014 Wllm (Talk | contribs) account creation disabled, cannot edit own talk page Autoblocked because your IP address has been recently used by "Just Anyone". The reason given for Just Anyone's block is "Some users won't be invited to Offwiki 2.0. Just Anyone is one of them."
  • 00:36, 26 July 2014 Justin Credible (Talk | contribs) infinite Wllm (Talk | contribs) account creation disabled, email disabled, cannot edit own talk page Some users won't be invited to Offwiki 2.0. Justin Credible is one of them.
  • 00:32, 26 July 2014 Just Anyone (Talk | contribs) infinite Wllm (Talk | contribs) account creation disabled, email disabled, cannot edit own talk page Some users won't be invited to Offwiki 2.0. Just Anyone is one of them.
  • 00:27, 26 July 2014 Abd (Talk | contribs) infinite Wllm (Talk | contribs) account creation disabled, email disabled, cannot edit own talk page Some users won't be invited to Offwiki 2.0. Abd is one of them.

The block log:

  • 00:36, 26 July 2014 (username removed) (log action removed) (edit summary removed)
  • 00:32, 26 July 2014 (username removed) (log action removed) (edit summary removed)
  • 00:27, 26 July 2014 (username removed) (log action removed) (edit summary removed)

The deletion log:

  • 00:51, 26 July 2014 Wllm (Talk | contribs) changed visibility of 2 log events on Special:Log/block: content hidden, edit summary hidden and username hidden (No muss, no fuss.)
  • 00:29, 26 July 2014 Wllm (Talk | contribs) changed visibility of a log event on Special:Log/block: content hidden, edit summary hidden and username hidden (No muss, no fuss.)

Special:Listusers shows all three users as as blocked. Contributions for Justin Credible shows only the prior block reason (the display assumes that if a user is blocked, that the reason will be the last block). Justin Credible was blocked before, twice, both for the same essential cause: ignored warning from an administrator. There was no warning in this case, and for none of the three blocked, nor any disruptive editing, beyond disagreement with Sinclair, for two.

Just Anyone, from the autoblock, apparently looked at the wiki at 00:36, 27 July 2014, shortly after being blocked at 00:32. Other than that, JA had not edited since 04:14, 8 July 2014. So why was Just Anyone blocked?

Just Anyone is a close friend of Justin Credible, later claimed to be a "sock". See /Sequelae.

Preparing to 'reboot" Offwiki

Wil blanked the "Flounders" list, at [2]. He had just blocked Flounder number 2 and 3.

Wil's post there:

Well, we said we'd try things here at Offwiki, and we tried building a self-governing community based on the very vague and few A of C's. What we ended up with was endless bickering, confusion all around, and, in the moments we had left over, some sparklingly great contributions to the functionality of the site and the forums. Now, we could continue limping along like this in hopes that people will learn to just tolerate each other. But that's not what I had in mind when I built this site, it's not what I have in mind devoting all the maintenance to it, and it's not what I have in mind when the monthly bill comes for hosting the server. So I'm about to do something as unilateral as it gets; that's a perk I get from building the site, paying for the servers, and enduring all the criticism I guess I was asking for trying to do something good for the world and fun for our contributors. I'm going to reboot this site. If you don't like that, you can file your complaints at /dev/null.
For the time being, you'll see some prep work done on Offwiki 1.0 to separate the wheat from the chaff and get it organized a bit before it is archived. No worries tho, all the comments that have something to do with the actual mission of the site will make it over to Offwiki 2.0. And if you'd like to peruse all the essays on other people in the community and the mind-numbing drama, it will still be in the archives.
Stay tuned- announcements will be coming rapid-fire- and I'm looking forward to seeing almost everyone on Offwiki 2.0.

Recent Changes and Contributions for Wllm

It looks like the Recent Changes log for Offwiki, which is the way that most users would find out about the Ban discussion, was cleared. It shows no edits prior to 07:20, 26 July 2014‎. Another way they would see it would be through Contributions for Wllm. At 04:52, 26 July 2014, Wllm began to import over 2500 templates from, which filled up his contributions display, many screens deep.


See The subpage

What I made it mean

My training is to make it mean nothing.

However, this is what has occurred to me (some of this is based on "what happened" that is not covered above).

  • Sinclair made a great pun when he renamed "Founding Friends" as "Flounders." It's possible to learn rapidly from "floundering," but Wil didn't learn, as to his fundamental and common blunder, rash and undiscussed action, compounded with reactivity. He shows no sign of progress on that.
  • Sinclair does not trust anyone but himself. He did not trust the community he invited. He would not allow the community time to create the structures it would need to become coherent. The only other administrators he appointed were, after he desysopped me -- without discussion or emergency -- Justin Credible and Omar. He just blocked Justin Credible for no stated reason. Omar was explicitly restricted to only handling spam and vandalism. Justin had not abused admin tools, period. He feared it, that's all.
  • Sinclair makes grand pronouncements of high ideals. His actual performance is far, far from his ideals. He condemned another for minor deviations from his ideals, whereas he handled the same situation in the same way, later, only with a more abusive response, by far, but takes any pointing out of how he is inconsistent, as unfair criticism that he must "endure," instead of an opportunity to actually stand for the ideals.
  • When we stand for high ideals, the universe will demonstrate to us how far short of them we ourselves fall. We then have an opportunity to create genuine transformation.
  • Sinclair 's response is to shut his ears, and, clearly, to attempt to hide what he does.
  • He officially turned the ban issue over to the community. He did say that he wanted an answer in "24 hours." The community pointed out that this was not turning it over, that turning it over includes trusting the community to decide when it was ready to decide. But the community decision had become obvious, quickly: no ban.
  • The possibility of some kind of restriction voluntarily assumed by me was within what might have been a result. But any such restriction would still have allowed me to edit my user space, that was pending as a constitutional right, absent rules violations.
  • I had, in fact, voluntarily committed to a restriction that should have addressed every possible concern. But with the community settling on no ban, that restriction would have been headed for an end -- unless it then negotiated some restriction. It was probably not going to do that.
  • Part of my goal was to demonstrate alternatives to banning, particularly one often missing on Wikipedia: voluntary restriction. Respect people, they tend to respect back. Disrespect them, they can become enemies for life. One arbitrary, involved indef block on Wikipedia created the Scibaby sock farm, over 1000 socks and counting. The cost of that was massive. For Scibaby, fun, a hobby. Bad Idea.
  • It had become clear: description of history, with minimal and rational conclusion, in order to suggest administrative review, was "essays on other people," to be prohibited on Offwike. Except Sinclair frequently did it.
  • He likely had in mind the draft Admin Request I had created for a user who had outed and doxxed. Wil was moving toward a requirement that all complaint about users be handled off-wiki. Which means that "the community" cannot handle ban issues, Offwiki would have a star chamber, with private decision, and no public explanation. Wikipedia dysfunction enshrined and made policy.
  • It would also require that grounded study of Wikipedia would become impossible, so discussion must take place in an abstract zone, not rooted in evidenced reality. (It is possible to anonymize study to some level, but every edit on Wikipedia is attributed, one cannot verify evidence without exposing the name of the editor; nevertheless on Wikiversity we developed defacto standards for "wiki studies" that avoided problems.)
  • Sinclair actively attempted to conceal the fact that he just blocked Flounders number 2 and 3, him being number 1, with a unilateral pronouncement that they will not be invited to Offwiki 2.0.
  • It is certainly his right, but, as well, it's my right to point out that, as it stands:
  • Wil Sinclair is a liar and a hypocrite and if he has authority at a wiki, he will abuse it. He cannot be trusted. He is not a deliberate liar. He almost certainly believes what he writes, but he is radically incautious, and keeps himself sufficiently upset that he doesn't have what it takes to face the reality of what he does.
  • He is asserting that his paying for the server bill, and the time he devoted to maintenance, gives him the right to do whatever he pleases. That he is the site owner does give him the legal right. However, the goal of Offwiki was creating discussion and examples of better structure and policies for Wikipedia, and, from the beginning, Sinclair proclaimed that the site belonged to the community, not him. He lied. When push came to shove, he claims ownership, trumping the community, with no necessity.
  • When Jimbo Wales intervened against consensus, the global community demanded he surrender his Founder tools, and he caved. Wales kept the non-intrusive tools so he can still see whatever happens, it is still a privileged position, but not a harmful one, and possibly useful.
  • I likely devoted far more time to Offwiki than Sinclair did, even if his time wasted is included, dealing with matters he should not have touched with a ten-foot pole.
  • I just started this wiki. It took me a few hours given that I made many mistakes, not having installed MediaWiki for maybe 6 years or so, and was working with a new domain host and an add-on domain instead of a directly hosted one. As to paying for the domain, that was likely less than $10 or so per year, and I just purchased a year's hosting for pile of domains for $60.
  • No, the investment is one of time, and Wil is clueless how to prioritize his time, and let a community handle the rest. They would advise him, and he could sit back and watch. He thought that he had to read every word, real-time, and it all upset him.
  • There was no emergency. Nobody was suing him or threatening it. He was being overruled by the community, but not on something crucial, the ban of a single user. To him, however, it was crucial. He needed to get rid of Abd. He wasn't willing to allow the community to handle this, it was "failing" to satisfy him. That discussion was demonstrating high consensus. (I was surprised some of it.)
  • I was planning, after it settled, to write a "consensus report" based on the discussion. That would have been presented to the community as the foundation of a "result.". It's quite a piece of work to write such a thing from a lengthy discussion. It probably would have taken me as much as a day. And then the community would have rejected or approved it, edited it, whatever. (I may write that report, here.) In the end, community consensus -- or lack of same -- would have been documented. And then take that and put it together with delegable proxy, and there would be a wiki decision-making system that would be fully reliable, would actually maximize consensus, and would be efficient. No need for train wreck discussions at all.
  • (Consensus reports can take a train wreck as an input. Delegable proxy will probably prevent them. This is why this Offwiki Project has been started here, at the reopening of the BP wiki, focused on Free Association/Delegable proxy organizational principles and structure.))
  • Wil was not willing to allow time to demonstrate what Wikipedia needs. (ArbCom does write reports, but not "consensus reports." The ArbCom reports are executive committee actions, based on "approval voting." The preparation of consensus reports would drastically increase ArbCom efficiency and reliability.
  • So, from the sequence on Offwiki, it is possible to derive high insight into Wikipedia problems.
  • Wil is claiming that the Offwiki 1.0 content will not be deleted. We will see. He also claimed that no users would be blocked except for vandalism and spam. After it became clear that he was clueless in making that claim, and then later, he also claimed that he would not block me, unless, of course, the community approved it.
  • I was going to write that Offwiki is tragic, but, of course, that's a disempowering story. Offwiki stands as a clear example, an efficient demonstration, of what happens when one rejects Wikipedia standard practice without understanding the basis for it. Wil very efficiently demonstrated this. We will benefit from that experience.
  • Wil's final comments in the ban request are indicative. Wil has not learned the central lesson of Offwiki.
  • Wil wrote, in the ban discussion: [3]
I know I'm sounding like a broken record, but this is a big change for the community, and it bares repeating. This is not my decision, and I will not be overriding the consensus of the community under any circumstances. It was my proposed remedy, but my opinion hold no more weight than anyone else's in actually making the decision. 20:59, 24 July 2014 (UTC)
  • A day later, he "implemented his proposed remedy," contrary to a supermajority against it, and not based on any evidence or argument, in fact, for no stated reason at all.
  • "Under any circumstances." Unless I feel like it. Liar, liar, pants on fire!