Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Today's seething idiocy

Well, the WikiDrama is in high swing today. (Apologies, but I am not going to litter this post with links. If you want to find the originals on Wikipedia, do it yourself.)

It all started with an article about some fat Chinese kid who has apparently been made the subject of Internet ridicule (certainly not a new story; happens all time). Some Internet "meme" addict obviously created the article. A deletion discussion ensued, which was eventually closed precipitously on the grounds that the article violated the "biography of living persons" policy (which it quite clearly did). However, badlydrawnjeff (hereinafter, BDJ) objected to this and initiated a series of procedural maneuvers all intended to bring the article back. Several aborted deletion reviews and deletion discussions later, the issue ended up in front of the Arbitration Committee -- but the ArbCom refused to hear the case. So the whole matter went from there to a Request for Comments, which BDJ basically refused to participate in in any meaningful way, leading to a second Arbitration case against him, also rejected.

All of this is pretty much par for the course for BDJ, who has long viewed himself as a crusader against administrative tyranny on Wikipedia, with a ready willingness to use or abuse process to support his excessive fondness of Internet memes and his extreme inclusionist tendencies. While I really don't agree with BDJ, at least he's consistent.

No, the real problem came after all of the above. After the second ArbCom case was rejected (or at least appeared to be headed for rejection), apparently there was a discussion on the infamous Wikipedia English admins channel, leading to (apparently) a decision by administrator Zsinj to ban/block BDJ. Zsinj was even stupid enough to cite IRC as the reason for the block -- despite there being endless warnings about doing that. Doing so basically guarantees endless screaming and furthermore makes a martyr of BDJ with the "we hate IRC" crowd.

So, we are faced with two possibilities with respect to Zsinj: either he is deliberately attempting to further harm the reputation of the admin's channel, or he is just abjectly stupid. In either case, it's in the interest of the IRC channel that he be removed, at least temporarily. I'm really inclined to do so, although I haven't actually decided yet -- I've elected to defer that decision until morning.

The sad thing is, I really think BDJ should be banned from deletion discussions; he is disruptive there and rarely, if ever, benefit the encyclopedia in his actions. But Zsinj's actions will make it very much harder to impose any form of community sanctions against BDJ. I don't know at this point what Zsinj's intentions were, but it's quite clear that his results were quite harmful.

At the moment, I am strongly inclined to revoke Zsinj's access to the admin's channel for one month. I won't decide on whether to actually do this until morning. And, of course, any of the other channel administrators could override me, after all.