Wiki Community/Accusations/Talk

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Proposals for future accusations pertaining to those listed on the Wiki Community/Accusations page... If you do not agree with the proposals, add your own, let's come up with something that, while not being unchanging and unalterable, will at least allow a sense of equality and fairness for all.

Proposal I

Proposal II

These are just a proposals and were made in light of past discussions, as well as recent ones, that have only led to negative outcomes for all involved. What say you editors? Any input in this is more than welcome. We need to figure out a way to deal with these things in a neutral fashion in order to maintain the integrity of the Wiki. I know I am not alone in this feeling and we all need to find a common ground to deal with these issue as they arise.

Alternate: Directed conflict resolution. I tried to create a "non-Talk, just work" page at Friendly Cab/Talk, although it was poorly self policed... it devolved into discussion beyond the specific content, and random rants about the first amendment. One thing that might be useful is setting an arbitrary time to snapshot the poll and make changes based on that. The time can be pushed back if new proposals are made. I'm thinking three days, as that would cover weekends and weekdays. -jw

Proposal III

Regardless of the level of identity that an accuser has, or their willingness to stand behind their words, why not allow for serious accusations to be moved from the subject page to the user page of the person who left them? Their accusation stands, and in moving it an editor can add links to the page about the subject of their accusation. The subject of their accusations however doesn't have to have the accusation sit there on the page. In many cases I feel that these accusations say more about the person making them than they do about the subject of their accusation. The same technique can be used to deal with wildly off topic non-spam comments as well. This could be used for claims of food poisoning through some of the more serious claims we've seen. It could even be possible to create some new wording for adding a link from the subject page, above the comment macro, to the user page or pages of people who have had their accusations moved to their user pages. It also allows for patterns to be established like in the yoga case. True it can be argued that this denies access to the page the comment was left on by the commenter... and so should be used sparingly, and probably is not an action that should be taken by anyone with a vested interest in the subject of the page the comment was left on.


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2011-03-21 18:59:03   Something like what you are proposing sounds reasonable to me. If the software now allows it, I'd suggest some procedure for voting after a few days. Its a little cumbersome right now. Some version of Roberts Rules regarding motions/discussion/voting can give order to an otherwise chaotic process. That isn't as onerous as it sounds. You just agree that you're only going to discuss one motion at a time, allow amendments, and not change the topic until that has been resolved. Somebody is going to object to this idea, but Roberts Rules exist precisely for situations like this. —DonShor

2011-03-21 19:22:22   This proposal is COMPLETELY INAPPROPRIATE right now. Without getting to the merits of the proposal, we're still dealing with Village Cab/Talk. We should resolve the current issue before coming up with some more general guidelines. —WilliamLewis

2011-03-21 19:35:24   I don't like the notion of calling on the Wiki community to decide whether a user is trustworthy. The idea of a "mock trial" means that 1) Anyone who isn't willing to put in the time to defend their comment (or doesn't check back on the wiki for a while, so doesn't see that they're on trial) loses the right to post serious problems with businesses; and 2) anyone who gets voted down is essentially being told they aren't trustworthy by the wiki community. It's a great way to not only lose individual editors, but also to create an atmosphere of elitism in which anyone who's not a regular editor with a good reputation has no voice.

And that's not even touching on the massive range of practical issues with the notion of a "trial". —TomGarberson

2011-03-21 20:56:26   What do you mean by "validated"? Is the wiki going to decide the truth of accusations people post? —WilliamLewis

2011-03-21 21:01:35   I did a few, ranging from the silly (Tom's user page) to the fairly serious (Pizza Guys/Talk). It's all a bit tongue in cheek, but they are examples of how this might go. Anybody care to spar as a test to see if this is really a good idea? I have a strong feeling that this is REALLY inviting wiki lawyers into play for every single character, plus it's going to create an elite set of "people who watch RC determine everything", but I'm kind of curious as to what it would look like in practice. —JabberWokky

2011-03-21 21:52:09   I gotta agree with Tom and JW on this. —OliviaY

2011-03-21 21:52:38   By the way, are we going to do this same vetting and fact checking for positive reviews? —JabberWokky

2011-03-21 22:12:07   I just thought of the biggest issue with all this. The problem here had nothing to do with a method of resolution — it didn't even have ANYthing to do with the community. The only aspect here was getting in touch with the author to clarify things. Almost all of the kerfluffle occurred while we were waiting for her to weigh in. Even with a clear set of guidelines or even strict rules, the big problem was people hypothesizing and speculating before she showed up, and how it turned into a ball of non-content oriented debate. —JabberWokky

2011-03-21 23:16:36   An additional problem with both of these proposals is that they fall apart if "the accuser" or "the accused" aren't a part of the conversation. Look at the Village Taxi case—the accused and the victim are both unidentified, the accuser dropped out of the conversation (having been ripped apart before she even joined back into it, as JW pointed out), and David isn't even one of those parties, despite being the one most affected by the comment. It all comes back to the whole case-by-case thing that we've run into before. As soon as you try to formalize a process, you find a situation where the process doesn't work.

They also overlook the root question: are we talking about judging the truth of the matter asserted (which is what seems to be proposed in #1), or simply trying to figure out whether the commenter believes his/her comment to be true?

If it's the second option there, IMO it comes down to an evaluation based on various factors (I don't remember which talk page I brought some of these up on previously and I'm too lazy to go through my edit history... if anyone remembers, lemme know). Some possible factors (termed "indicia of reliability" in hearsay evidence issues in the courtroom, obviously adapted to the wiki context):

If we wanted to take that approach, I'm sure we could come up with a useful, non-exhaustive list for reference in future cases. The thing is, it would need to be understood that the wiki doesn't work on precedent. As is quite obvious, looking at the Village Taxi discussion. As I noted elsewhere, in previous cases like this, folks wanting to see an accusation removed (Don, for example, although I don't mean to pick on you) have said that they'd accept the comment as long as the person who left it would come back and stand behind it. Here, Ashley did exactly that, but it's not adequate. And that's fine—that's appropriate, given the nature of the wiki, of accusations, and of the community decision-making process. It's a fluid thing. That certainly has its downsides, but I think it's necessary.

If you try to add rigidity into the, you either need to create a firm hierarchy to make the decisions or build a set of rules. And speaking from professional experience, it's virtually impossible to create a set of transparent rules that doesn't invite rules lawyering and, ultimately, the potential for abuse. It's also exceptionally difficult to craft rules that actually cover all the eventualities. That's why the court system is so effing huge. I don't think I've ever heard a figure for just how much case law there is out there, but it's got to be many, many millions of pages—most of it interpreting interpretations of interpretations of the rules.

So... my lengthy ramble nearly concluded, I'll sum it up. I don't think trying to establish a fixed procedure is feasible for something like this—at least, I haven't seen a way I think would work. The wiki does not lend itself to that approach, and I think it would lead to either extensive rules lawyering or (at least the perception of) unfairness in many if not most cases. If we want to try to create a foundation to work from the next time something like this comes up, I think the best bet would be to take a look at what sort of factors are useful to consider for evaluating these cases for quick-reference, since it's bound to come down to arguing based on those points anyway. —TomGarberson

2011-03-24 21:30:13   I'm not convinced by either proposal. Clearly the current methods are prone to problems but I hardly feel a wiki jury or similar is a solution. Frankly, I'm at a loss as to what a good solution would be other than making every effort to make every effort to ensure the commenter and any other involved parties every opportunity to explain the who what when where why and how of the issue. If said parties won't engage... that's where I'm at a loss. —ARWENNHOLD

2011-03-24 21:51:48   Could a "suggested method for resolving conflicts" micro be developed to put at the site of a potential problem? A macro like the "new business owner page" for instance. It could go to a page with some rough guidelines as suggested above on this page. It wouldn't have to be officially endorsed I wouldn't think. I found setting up a talk page for my page very helpful, and actually quite satisfying in the end. And having on a page where my business wasn't affected during the debates made it much easier for me to stay calm, it is my complete livelihood after all. —Davidlm

2011-04-22 18:56:15   I feel I am with the consensus here, neither of these seem flexible enough to handle the majority of problems. I am not impressed by either, though the first gives the general feeling of what we do currently. —MasonMurray

I've kinda been working on something. Before I dive into it, though, I want to just float a general idea. The Wiki tries to be a resource for the community—ostensibly the whole community. In order to keep it welcoming for the whole community, are there times when fairness should factor into content? Is subjective truth (belief in what you're saying) enough? Or are there times when something firmly believed might be bad for the community the Wiki serves? Are there some issues that are better dealt with elsewhere? I'm sure there are a number of people who believe the answer is a flat out no, and I respect that. Just wanted to float it. If there seems to be some interest in the idea, we can get into the sticky issue of just what constitutes "fair." It seems like that could be an unnecessary time sink if the community doesn't like the base idea.

An added thought: if not fairness, is there some way we can frame discussions for accusations that's more relatable for new wikizens than "whatever the community decides"? For someone who's the subject of an accusation, coming here and trying to defend yourself in light of a host of people telling you that you've got no control over someone else's comments (but you're equal to everyone else on here! But don't you dare touch that comment until the Wiki has decided what's going to be done with it!), it's got to be pretty rough. Having a meaningful frame of reference—"fairness" or something else—could be a huge advantage.—TomGarberson

Anything further on this?

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