Guild Wars Wiki talk:Elections/2011-06 bureaucrat election/JonTheMon

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The death of a sysop[edit]

I admit being slightly out of date, but my impression of you is that you are a very active sysop and user, often one of the first to stride into the fray during times of crisis. I have always felt that it is a great pity that we have policies put in place in such a way that either some of the best candidates cannot stand a fair chance of being elected due to the risk of losing a good sysop or get elected and then feel the need to sit on their hands to retain the appearance of neutrality.

What are your thoughts on this issue and how do you intend to act if you are in fact elected? 11:57, 19 June 2011 (UTC)

Generally I categorize sysop activities in one of two ways: personal or impersonal. Personal would be disputes between users and impersonal would be most maintenance tasks and vandalism. A lot of my current work falls under the latter, and it'll just mean I'll give the other admins a chance before I deal with it ;-) For the former, I tend to fill either an interpretive or timeout roll in heated arguments, meaning it shouldn't affect any eventual arbcomm that it may turn into. As for any bans related to the former activities, that would be curbed, but I'm usually handing out bans around the same time that other sysops would hand them out, so it's not a huge issue, imo. --JonTheMon 03:49, 20 June 2011 (UTC)
Some people have recently suggested that there are lots of situations in which a bureaucrat (or sysop) ought to recuse themselves, particularly when the admin has a history with the person under discussion. However, being fair is not the same as being neutral; having strong opinions before an event does not disqualify someone from fulfilling the duties of their role. We don't expect judges to step aside because they are hearing the case of a repeat defendant; we shouldn't expect admins (including BCs) to turn away from helping to resolve an issue simply because they had already been involved. And, in some situations, we should be glad that they are familiar with the detailed circumstances.
There are two simple test questions we can ask to decide whether an admin is too biased to work on a case:
  • Does the admin stand to gain from the outcome?
  • Is the relationship between the admin and the contributor so toxic or so friendly that the admin cannot be fair? This includes whether the admin might feel compelled to bend over backwards to avoid the appearance of favoritism (or dis-favoritism).
Tennessee Ernie Ford (TEF) 04:04, 20 June 2011 (UTC)


Were you accused, how would you answer to trolling/goading users on their own talk pages? Please answer clearly, honestly and without any preconceptions of the intent of the question. Teddy Dan 19:05, 27 June 2011 (UTC)

I don't really see how a reasonable person can respond reasonably to that question: it's a hypothetical of a hypothetical; the answer would also vary wildly depending on the context. It's also akin to asking someone how they would respond to questions about whether they are still beating their spouse. Plus, there's no direct relationship between that question and the role of a Bureaucrat.
A more fruitful hypothetical might be, "how would you respond to a user's request for intervention based on a claim that they were being trolled/goaded on their own talk page?" (It would also be fair to ask the question of all candidates rather than single out one, especially if the questioner has already voted against that candidate.)Tennessee Ernie Ford (TEF) 19:49, 27 June 2011 (UTC)
I'm sure you're aware by now that the way I communicate through text often represents my intentions poorly, at best. I find the circumstance is less hypothetical than one may think, only how I worded the question. I worded it the way I did specifically to avoid controversy, or at least flippancy/bias. Thank you for trying to rephrase it for me, though. Were I less prepared, I would certainly have adopted your iteration.
The relationship between the question and BC status lies in how one behaves toward other uses, given the tools they (would) possess. When those in the service of maintaining order are given the tools to forcibly remove others, it is important to know whether those who serve purposely place others in positions to be forcibly removed. While sysops possess that same tool, BCs are given more discretion in how it is used. Please correct me if I'm wrong.
The potential existence of evidence can turn a claim into fact. Some users make a point of not making "claims" they cannot support simply because most others (particularly those in a position to act on such claims) treat the word "claim" with flippancy. It would likely be "fair" to ask the question of all candidates, but I only have reason to ask one. When one asks a candidate for election if they participated in an event they were "claimed" to have been seen doing so while the same could not be said of any other candidate, should the same question be asked of them all? If so, I wouldn't mind asking the other candidates the same question. Teddy Dan 20:44, 27 June 2011 (UTC)
You are wrong, bureaucrats are strongly discouraged from banning users. User Felix Omni Signature.pngelix Omni 21:21, 27 June 2011 (UTC)
It seems like there are two questions here with each having a different spin on the bcrat role. The first relating to accountability (how would you deal with accusations) and the second on mediation (how would you deal with potential trolling among other users). Of the first, I would have to look at the edits in question to see how the intent came across and whether it could/could not be considered trolling. At that point, unless it gets upgraded to arbcomm, I would be under the same jurisdiction as other users. If it got to arbcomm and I was an active party, I would (logically) excuse myself from the panel. For the second question, it depends on a lot of factors. My general opinion is that issues where "trolling" gets thrown around are often smaller issues exasperated by an irritation cycle. Breaking the cycle is hard, but can often be done by time and distance. Generally I limit ruling on a troll until there is a general and repeated pattern of a single user/group escalating a situation. --JonTheMon 21:24, 27 June 2011 (UTC)
Thank you for answering my question as best you could. I feel asking any more or digging any deeper could possibly be misunderstood or stray too far from benefiting this election process, so I'll leave it here. I've seen the word "troll" mistakenly hurled in my direction enough times to have learned by now not to "voice" more direct concerns or opinions. Good luck. Teddy Dan 21:51, 27 June 2011 (UTC)
Uh, if I read this correctly (do I?) this refers to the sort of incident I recall happening on another wiki: a sysop posted something on a user's talkpage which led the user to hurl a clear personal insult at the sysop, and then the user was blocked. The sysop was accused/believed to have done this to have a pretext for blocking the user, i.e. that was their intention all along. This can obviously also be done with 2-person (or more) tag team, with one doing the provoking ("trolling"/goading) and somebody else doing the banning, with no penalty applied to the provoker.
Now Dan clearly wants to avoid the impression he's accusing you of doing that. What (I think) he wants to know is: if somebody accused you of doing that, how would you react?
The simplest answer you could give is
  • "I don't know, do you think anybody would want to accuse me of that?"
Taking the question more seriously than that involves figuring out what Dan is fishing for. Possible answers could be
  • "I'd think the accuser was trolling me and have him blocked for NPA violation."
  • "I'd examine my role in the conflict on that talkpage critically and possibly apologize."
  • "If I was goading him, he probably deserved it."
  • "All of the above, depending on the situation."
I can't really say anything about why Dan is asking you this; it seems possible he has ulterior motives that are not apparent to me. Depending on what you believe his motives to be, you might want to decline answering this question, [or ask for more information] -- given that this is in fact the question Dan meant to ask you, i.e. if my interpretation is right. Dan, is it? --mendel 22:49, 27 June 2011 (UTC)
No, this does not refer to any other wiki. While I do thank you for rephrasing my question in a clearer fashion (Yes, that's the gist of it), I find the answers you've offered to be a bit unfair. The first and third imply that the accused is infallible/irreproachable and the second implies that, only if the accused accepts responsibility or guilt, said accused may so little as apologize or do nothing. This then becomes yet another discussion about accountability. Seeing as this is an election process, it is relevant. However, it is my desire to avoid potentially detrimental discussions. An answer you could add would be "I would ask an impartial fellow editor to review the discussion and, were unfavorable evidence found, I would take responsibility for it by either apologizing or stepping down from my position." This answer is neither flippant or self-righteous. It is fair and reasonable, given the tools at the accused's disposal and the potential for which they can be (ab)used.
Jon answered my question to the best he interpreted it, however seemingly vague. I probably shouldn't have asked it, since these elections/positions are really only significant to the editing process and I haven't much cared for that/this particular side of this wiki in months for reasons both local and off-site(ish). I actually regret asking the question. Though, still, thank you Mendel for clarifying it for me. Given my history of raising valid concerns and their aftermaths, I dared not say it so plainly.
I will clarify my motive for such a question. This is an election process to provide a user with more tools than previously allowed and greater authority to use the tools they had. How one uses those tools is important. Whether one is an acting cause in whatever situation requires the use of those tools is equally important. I came here (to this page) to discern Jon's intentions regarding his potential behavior as a bureaucrat. No other motive. No other agenda. No other interest. As witnessed and addressed numerous times, how I communicate through text betrays my intentions on a regular basis. Not sure? Ask. Think you're sure? Ask, anyway. I will tell you. Teddy Dan 02:59, 28 June 2011 (UTC)
I still think you are misunderstanding the role of bureaucrat on GWW. As far as sysop tool usage is concerned, bureaucrats are effectively crippled. From GWW:ADMIN: Bureaucrats may only use sysop powers to deal with an ongoing situation and if no normal sysop is available. Additionally, they may delete pages at any time in accordance with the deletion policy. Bureaucrats are only allowed to block in emergencies, specifically for edits that impair the ability of users to access wiki content, such as vandalism. Emmett 07:12, 28 June 2011 (UTC)
I was indeed under the wrong impression. I thought I'd read something within the FAQs or somewhere to the contrary, but it was probably misinterpretation or someone on a talk page somewhere talking nonsense. I retract my question, as it is no longer necessary to this election process. I also thought Felix was being typically comical in his reply. My bad. Taking you seriously is like Russian Roulette, yo. lol 07:40, 28 June 2011 (UTC)
After reading all of the above, I, for one, as a user of this Wiki, am satisfied that Jon has an excellent understanding of both the duties AND the responsibilities associated with the position of BC. Regarless of the REASON this question was asked, his answer, while necessarily vague in specifics, clearly indicated his maturity and a conciseness of thought that a BC needs to do this THANKLESS job. After all, when a BC needs to be involved, the issue has already blown way out of proportion, and neither party is going to be "pleased" with the result. It is the nature of the "beast" that some anonymity is expected and tolerated, and that allows us all to both speak, write and act "out of character" so to speak. (And, too often, the concept of "mature reflection" is tossed out with the "bathwater"-------resulting in a 4-alarm fire instead of an ember to p*** on).Undouble 18:42, 3 July 2011 (UTC)
I disagree that being vague indicates maturity. To be honest, it was the "conciseness of thought" that almost failed to answer my question. I simply didn't find it beneficial (or safe) to clarify. I also disagree that being vague, under any circumstances beyond personal privacy, is necessary for any candidate during an election. In fact, I find absolute clarity to be both necessary and required of every candidate during any election. Unfortunately, such is so rare that the average voter overlooks its importance. I've discontinued any pursuit of the question and nobody else has pursued it in my stead. Any further discussion of the question or how it was answered, unless contributing new information, is unnecessary. After reading through what I've just typed up, I find it possible that one could sense passive aggressiveness. Rest assured that it isn't there. This is just how I type. My fingers are jerks. No hard feelings. Teddy Dan 00:02, 4 July 2011 (UTC)