Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard/Archive252

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Should an administrator be in direct contact with a BLP article's subject?[edit]

Should an administrator be in e-mail contact with the subject of a BLP article assisting them with requests for images of them holding a notepad with their DOB for a reference for the article? If any editor is in constant contact with the subject...isn't that a conflict of interest?--Mark Just ask! WER TEA DR/N 02:50, 8 August 2013 (UTC)

Editors with a conflict of interest are not forbidden from editing an article anyway, so I don't see that it matters. If this administrator is taking administrative action against other editors to the article, and you are accusing him of having a conflict of interest, then that is another issue, but one that would have to be dealt with on a case-by-case basis. Someguy1221 (talk) 02:59, 8 August 2013 (UTC)
Editors with a conflict of interest can edit. I have no issue with that. I understand that very well. What I am asking is this. Why is an administrator in contact with the subject suggesting things that are not RS for sourcing their article on Wikipedia and giving the subject a false sense of hope that the issues involved can be resolved with a photo, uploaded by that admin of the subject holding up a notepad of their DOB with no OTRS verification request until it is pointed out. I see an issue of whether or not the admin has a grasp of our policies and procedures if this is how they deal with content disputes on BLPs. But, as I understand you there is no issue here and nothing to worry about. Cool. Thanks.--Mark Just ask! WER TEA DR/N 03:08, 8 August 2013 (UTC)
I've been in contact with a lot of people with articles on Wikipedia as part of OTRS or by some random way through which they get my email and contact me directly to help them with matters (mostly unreliable, false content). I think that attending those requests with neutrality complies with both the BLP and COI policies, as long as you take extreme care while editing the subject's article and letting them know what you can and cannot do at their behalf. I remember that, several months ago, I had an American famous rapper (whose name I'm not going to reveal) who were demanding us to remove a lot of content and then delete his page, and when he realized he could not get his page deleted, he wanted to excercise editorial oversight over it. Pretty funny-but-annoying case. — ΛΧΣ21 03:16, 8 August 2013 (UTC)
I really want to be clear here as I believe the information I am getting may be very relevant to me in the future. I may have been far to cautious with contacts I have received from BLP subjects. On this particular issue however, I am concerned that the neutrality has been breached and they are now actually creating issues that need to be dealt with, but nothing that requires admin intervention from what I see. I will advise the admin that they are not in the wrong but I do believe neutrality is still an issue they should be more cautious about. In the future I will be handling all requests from BLP subjects directly with them as having been confirmed to not be a COI issue. Thanks again ΛΧΣ.--Mark Just ask! WER TEA DR/N 03:30, 8 August 2013 (UTC)

Why do you keep referring to me as an admin? I'm an editor regarding this issue. And why didn't you notify me about this post? Thanks, Anna Frodesiak (talk) 03:38, 8 August 2013 (UTC)

I never mentioned you that's why.--Mark Just ask! WER TEA DR/N 03:40, 8 August 2013 (UTC)
It says at the top "...When you start a discussion about an editor, you must notify them on their user talk page...." This is about me, right? Anna Frodesiak (talk) 03:42, 8 August 2013 (UTC)
Nope. Its about me and my concerns. If I wanted to mention you by name it would be about you. I didn't. Its about my concerns and as it turns out, I was right in not using names as there is no issue. If I used your name it would be an accusation against you. This was asking for clarification for my own concerns and editing in the future.--Mark Just ask! WER TEA DR/N 03:45, 8 August 2013 (UTC)
It is indeed about me and also about you and your concerns. Anna Frodesiak (talk) 03:55, 8 August 2013 (UTC)
(edit conflict) Yes, it was not hard to work out from MM/Amadscientist's editing history. Why did he choose such a particularly creepy title for the thread? Mathsci (talk) 03:58, 8 August 2013 (UTC)
How was that creepy? Sure, we have an edit history and it doesn't take much to figure out that the question posted refers to a real situation, but as it was a question, not an accusation and I purposely did not mention anyone by name I also did not notify anyone.--Mark Just ask! WER TEA DR/N 04:05, 8 August 2013 (UTC)
Okay. I guess no harm no foul. :) Anna Frodesiak (talk) 04:11, 8 August 2013 (UTC)
And, in all honesty, I seriously want to be able to do what you are doing if it is acceptable. I have had situations where the subject was begging for help and I was more concerned about my being blocked, banned or yelled at! :-).--Mark Just ask! WER TEA DR/N 04:14, 8 August 2013 (UTC)
Just be honest and transparent, and follow the rest of the rules as normal. We at OTRS edit articles after talking with BLP subjects all the time. You do have to bear in mind though the privacy of the subject, and not reveal something from the emails that they intended to be confidential (I always assume they want everything to be confidential unless they specifically state otherwise). And if a BLP subject asks you to do something you're not comfortable with, just say no. Someguy1221 (talk) 04:24, 8 August 2013 (UTC)
Until this thread, it all made me very uncomfortable and I said "no" a lot--Mark Just ask! WER TEA DR/N 04:30, 8 August 2013 (UTC).
Cheers Mark. :) I totally share your concerns. I'm also really big on neutrality, avoiding coi, etc. I've been very careful in the emails and talk page in this regard. I've basically just tried to move things along, and get things resolved. I'm sorry I threw a wrench into the works, but at least I was able to bring in 3 new images and a birth month and year. I promise to remain neutral, stay out of things whenever possible, and protect Mark's privacy. Best, Anna Frodesiak (talk) 04:40, 8 August 2013 (UTC)
FWIW I've previously been e-mailed by, and responded to, the subject of a BLP - he sent me independent sources that I then used to update the article. No harm in that - or is there? GiantSnowman 16:27, 8 August 2013 (UTC)
At first my concern was getting involved with the subject. But..hey, we're not Starfleet and we don't have a non interference policy. My next concern was possibly misleading the subject, but that requires intent. Just being mistaken on how something works is not misleading the subject. Then my next concern, as mentioned by GiantSnowman was, that receiving independent sources from the subject was not being neutral if they came directly from the source, but we have been up and down that wall at COI and Jimbo's talk page over the BP incident. It seems odd to be in contact with a BLP subject, but doesn't appear to be an issue at all when handled correctly. I hope.--Mark Just ask! WER TEA DR/N 18:58, 8 August 2013 (UTC)
Yup, so no starting of any affair which ends up in dirty laundry being washed on wikipages. Agathoclea (talk) 19:14, 8 August 2013 (UTC)
  • After Joel Yanofsky was suddely declared dead some vandal, I got in touch with Joel and he provided a few sources with which I expanded the article a bit -- I fail to see how that's a bad thing. As long as the edits themselves are fine, who cares if the subject and the editor are in contact? :) ·Salvidrim!·  00:18, 10 August 2013 (UTC)

Needs two deletions ...[edit]

User:Chekkarajeev moved his userpages to projects space, then re-moved them to articlespace - leaving at least a set of redirects behind. Can someone please delete the redirects and move them back to his userspace before he starts getting talkpage messages ES&L 09:13, 8 August 2013 (UTC)

  • RAther messy that, but fixed now. I've left him a note about writing his own autobiography as well. Black Kite (talk) 12:15, 8 August 2013 (UTC)
Cheers! ES&L 13:33, 8 August 2013 (UTC)
  • ...and he's done it again. BK, or anyone else want to do the honours - only this one will unfortunately need some additional oomph behind it ES&L 09:25, 10 August 2013 (UTC)
    • I have moved it back, protected the page and left a message for the user. DrKiernan (talk) 09:44, 10 August 2013 (UTC)

Request for unblock of dynamic phone IP[edit]

Unblocked 182.249.241.37 (talk · contribs · deleted contribs · filter log · WHOIS · RDNS · RBLs · http · block user · block log) which is preferable to granting ip-block-exempt. :) ·Salvidrim!·  00:34, 10 August 2013 (UTC)
The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

182.249.43.23 (talk · contribs · deleted contribs · filter log · WHOIS · RDNS · RBLs · http · block user · block log) is a semi-dynamic IP likely shared by numerous users of the AU network or such. It made one edit in 2011 that was connected with a vandal based on the other side of Japan to me. I am not this vandal, but have nonetheless had several edits cut off after I made them (logged in) because my smartphone sometimes shares an IP that this user may or may not have edited from once almost two years ago. I need an admin to either unblock the IP or unblock logged-in edits from the IP. Cheers! Hijiri 88 (やや) 03:46, 9 August 2013 (UTC)

The block on that IP expired long ago. Why do you blame it for any of your problems?—Kww(talk) 04:23, 9 August 2013 (UTC)
Well then it must not be that one. All I know is that when I try to post from my phone, there's about a 20% chance that I will be told I can't edit, and that my block for being "hyogo"'s sockpuppet was imposed by Jayjg and will be expiring in May 2014. I don't know why, and I'm only guessing that mine is the 182 one based one edits I made logged out on my phone on other occasions. Can I get some assistance with this? Hijiri 88 (やや) 10:35, 9 August 2013 (UTC)
  • A B class block on a phone system seems way too excessive and mistargetted, so I would agree that this should be unblocked. Another option is to give you permission to edit while the IP is blocked. But you would have to log on. Graeme Bartlett (talk) 21:23, 9 August 2013 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Inactive account creators[edit]

The following users currently have the accountcreator right but are suspended due to inactivity (or other reasons) on the ACC tool. Can an admin please remove the accountcreator flag accordingly. Thank you.

Jeff G (talk · contribs). - Tool access suspended

Steven Zhang (talk · contribs) - Tool access suspended

Pgallert (talk · contribs) - Tool access suspended - No accounts created as mentioned in user rights log

Mabdul (talk · contribs) - Tool access suspended

LuK3 (talk · contribs) - Tool access suspended - No accounts created

Bility (talk · contribs) - Tool access suspended

Sonia (talk · contribs) - Tool access suspended

Bejinhan (talk · contribs) - Tool access suspended - user hasn't created any accounts recently either

Alpha_Quadrant (talk · contribs) - Tool access suspended - user hasn't created any recent accounts

NTox (talk · contribs) - Tool access suspended

TucsonDavid (talk · contribs) - No tool access (declined) - no accounts created either

Dusti*Let's talk!* 07:41, 9 August 2013 (UTC)

is there a link to the relvant policy/discussion? Agathoclea (talk) 07:46, 9 August 2013 (UTC)
Policy is listed here and the appropriate verbiage is:

Users who are no longer involved in the ACC process (meaning their ACC account has been suspended), or with the Education Program may have the user right removed at any time. Furthermore, administrators automatically inherit all the individual user rights of this user group.

Dusti*Let's talk!* 07:48, 9 August 2013 (UTC)
You can also see the current status of accounts on the ACC interface here. Dusti*Let's talk!* 07:51, 9 August 2013 (UTC)
I use the account creator tool as it enables me to edit page notices, which I tend to do quite often. I therefore request it not be revoked. Thank you. Steven Zhang Help resolve disputes! 08:12, 9 August 2013 (UTC)
I've struck Steven's name as [this RFC says

Active account creators (both ACCers and people at educational institutions creating multiple accounts) are allowed to carry this flag while they are performing their duties, and are allowed to use them for other purposes such as edit notices, overriding the rate limit, and title blacklist overriding.

As he's still active, he can keep the flag - though I should mention the flag's main purpose (as it's so titled) is to create accounts. Those noted above haven't created any recent accounts, and that seems quite contrary to the initial purpose of the flag - however, consensus was already made in the link above. Dusti*Let's talk!* 08:19, 9 August 2013 (UTC)
Umm... I don't feel that he is still active. As you noted Dusti, the verbiage says

Active account creators (both ACCers and people at educational institutions creating multiple accounts) are allowed to carry this flag while they are performing their duties

The fact that he is still using them for "other purposes" solely does not include him as using them to "preform the duties of an account creator". Technical 13 (talk) 12:04, 9 August 2013 (UTC)
Errm, I hold the right as a result of a WP:RFPERM not too long ago, not as a result of ACC activity. I also created a dozen or so 6 weeks ago, so unless that already is "inactivity", your research is a bit patchy. I request that my flag not be removed. Cheers, Pgallert (talk) 14:03, 9 August 2013 (UTC)
I based it off of the fact that your ACC access is suspended for inactivity - and the fact that you haven't demonstrated a need for the flag as you haven't created a number of accounts in over two months that would cause you to hit the rate limit. Dusti*Let's talk!* 14:10, 9 August 2013 (UTC)
I think this is based on a misunderstanding. I got ACC access 3 years ago and was suspended due do inactivity. I never had +accountcreator while at ACC. I requested the right at RFPERM around May 2013 and got it. This alone should demonstrate my need for that flag, but I did create 10 accounts on 19 June 2013 from the same IP, after none of my trainees could create any more accounts due to the 6-per-day rule. So indeed all of my account creations in 2013 required the right, I could not have created any without it. Not sure where you get the 2-month threshold from, but 19 June is not over two months ago, and my education outreach activities do occasionally have gaps of more than 2 months. Next planned event is on 19 August, so please do not remove the right. --Pgallert (talk) 15:56, 9 August 2013 (UTC)
  • That RFC could have been better worded, the comments section shows there was confusion about whether active meant active on Wikipedia, or actively creating accounts. Furthermore, the RFC is silent as to the level of activity required, or what to do with those who are no longer active. At best, the RFC clearly establishes that account creator should not be granted for the other reasons. Monty845 15:29, 9 August 2013 (UTC)
I've started an RFC at WP:VPP#Removal of Account Creator user right to ask for clarification on the standards for removal. Monty845 15:53, 9 August 2013 (UTC)

Hi, I use mine to edit editnotices (last one in May) that sometimes show up in the CAT:EP queue. I don't edit much at the moment, but when I'm in a high activity phase it's nice to have. Revoking these permissions seems unnecessary if they're not being abused, especially when there is incremental benefit from just leaving them be. — Bility (talk) 18:03, 9 August 2013 (UTC)

What is the definition of "inactivity". Also, is any of those listed individuals belonging to the education program (EP)? I don't think those EP individuals should have their ACC taken away when school term starts in a month. Also, summer is usually a down time for most schools so some may appear to be inactive since January (start of winter term) because they don't teach during summer. OhanaUnitedTalk page 04:12, 10 August 2013 (UTC)

Protected template TfM[edit]

Please tag as explained at Template talk:Infobox magazine#Editprotected, ASAP. Thank you. Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 23:18, 9 August 2013 (UTC)

Done, but something's wrong: there's no TFD notice on pages that transclude the template, even if (such as in the case of Scientific American) the page gets edited to avoid waiting for the job queue. Nyttend (talk) 23:51, 9 August 2013 (UTC)

Morts623 unblock request[edit]

Resolved: Morts623 (talk · contribs) has been unblocked by King of Hearts (talk · contribs).

Morts623 (talk · contribs · deleted contribs · page moves · block user · block log) was blocked indefinitely in January 2011 by Kuru, and now wishes to invoke the standard offer. This is the text of their request (UTRS #8400), which they have agreed to have copied here:

I believe I should be unblocked because back then when I did whatever it was that got me blocked, I was a teenager. I know there were times where I did some disruptive editing and there were times I've blanked some pages, but that was a long time ago when I was a teenager. I understand what I did was wrong and I promise not to ever do it again. I would like to be forgiven for what I did.

Please review this unblock request and determine whether Morts623 should be allowed back. King of ♠ 04:54, 5 August 2013 (UTC)

  • My inclination would be to let them take advantage of the standard offer assuming they haven't socked, or done anything else wrong since their talk page access was revoked. While they clearly earned the block in the past, the conduct was the sort of thing that a couple years may make a difference.That they are asking to be unblocked, rather then socking, speaks well for them. I think another chance is in order. Maybe ask them to address the articles they created which needed to be deleted, just to make sure that problematic articles wont reoccur as an issue. Monty845 14:45, 5 August 2013 (UTC)Struck in light of CUnote. Reconsider in 6+ months. Monty845 03:09, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
  • The phrase "back then when I did whatever it was that got me blocked" gives me zero confidence whatsoever - if they don't even know why they were blocked then how do we know they will not repeat it? GiantSnowman 14:58, 5 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Unblock - Reaper Eternal (talk) 15:36, 5 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Like Monty, I think that it's an admirable display of honesty to request unblocking of the original account instead of just creating a new one (technically a policy violation, but rather easy to get away with after several years). On that basis alone, I support unblocking. Nonetheless, since we had a very persuasive unblock request the other week by someone who turned out to still be socking, a CheckUser query might be prudent. — PublicAmpers&(main accounttalkblock) 15:52, 5 August 2013 (UTC)
  •  CheckUser note: I can confirm that this user evaded their block by editing while logged out between June and July of this year. Tiptoety talk 03:05, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
    • Tiptoey - don't think I'm being mean or anything, but I tend to assume a ton of good faith. If you still remember the evidence, was it undeniably him (as in, there is absolutely no possible explanation)? If he's telling the truth and he hasn't edited in 6+ months it could've been a family member, an internet cafe, a school, etc... I think we may need more clarification from him (Morts) if there's any chance he's telling the truth. ~Charmlet -talk- 03:40, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
      • There is always another possible explanation and  CheckUser is not magic pixie dust. That said, I am sure it is him. Both the technical data and the behavioral evidence back it up. Tiptoety talk 03:49, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
    • Hmm... Well, that's a shame. Before I strike my !vote, and while being aware that you can't go into much detail about the edits, could you perhaps give us a summary of their extent? I.e., was this a handful of small edits, or something broader or deeper? (I'm aware that the former is still block evasion, but if it's only a few edits, then, who knows, perhaps it was those edits that made them remember how much they liked editing Wikipedia, and made them want to come back "the right way".) — PublicAmpers&(main accounttalkblock) 14:29, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
      • They made a handful of small edits. Tiptoety talk 16:21, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
        • Could you characterize them as productive, neutral, or provocative/destructive? Georgewilliamherbert (talk) 19:03, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
          • Neutral? They appear to be very minor corrections, like spacing between words. Certainly nothing disruptive. Tiptoety talk 02:16, 9 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose unblock - given CU results & history. GiantSnowman 14:50, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Support unblock – I'm inclined to assume good faith. It's been over two and a half years since the user was blocked, and the user's unblock request indicates (at least to me) a willingness to change their behavior. It's time to allow this user back. If the user continues to be disruptive, they can be reblocked. Heymid (contribs) 21:04, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Support unblock - I'm thinking we assume good faith and leave them some rope. I would however he very interested in Morts623's explanation of the socking plus the area they would like to edit in if they are unblocked. Callanecc (talkcontribslogs) 12:02, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Support unblock - I always believe in second (10th) chances. But in case of unblock even a small overstepping of Wikipedia guidelines should be met with a block again.--BabbaQ (talk) 12:04, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Recent socking will almost always get an oppose to unblock from me. Recent socking without it being disclosed in the request to unblock will always get a strong oppose from me. As such, I feel an unblock would not best serve the encyclopedia, as transparency is the best indicator of good intention imo. Snowolf How can I help? 10:29, 8 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose - recently evaded the block, and didn't disclose this in their unblock request. Come back in six months, as per standard offer. Lukeno94 (tell Luke off here) 20:54, 8 August 2013 (UTC)
As long as Tiptoety hasn't explained the characters of these edits (i.e. constructive, neutral, or disruptive), I'm willing to assume good faith. Also, Tiptoety states above that the user only made "a handful of small edits". While I'm not trying to encourage socking, I think we should assume good faith in this case and unblock the user. Heymid (contribs) 21:03, 8 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose  Recent socking requiring the time of a Checkuser is new disruption.  Unscintillating (talk) 12:08, 10 August 2013 (UTC)
    • It's interesting that all oppose !votes are based on the recent block evasion/sockpuppetry. Tiptoety states above that the user only "made a handful of small edits" and that the edits "appear to be very minor corrections, like spacing between words. Certainly nothing disruptive.". Heymid (contribs) 17:57, 10 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Support unblock. Per precedent with Science Apologist below. A handful of minor and constructive edits while blocked is not a major issue. Someone not using his real name (talk) 19:35, 10 August 2013 (UTC)

Discussion about unblocking Science Apologist[edit]

ScienceApologist was unblocked so no need to continue voting on it.--The Devil's Advocate tlk. cntrb. 19:07, 10 August 2013 (UTC)
The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Closing

ScienceApologist (Previously_ScienceApologist (talk · contribs)) wishes to be unblocked. His contributions have been of high quality, while there has been some issues with socking in the four years he has been blocked for socking (this has formed into a vicious cycle, the only reason his block has continue is because he wants to edit wikipedia). He also did have some bad interactions with editors in the past who have themselves, for the most part, now been blocked or left (we are talking 4 years ago after all). Considering the only issue is that he wants to edit wikipedia but can't, the easiest means of rectifying the situation is an unblock. SA is willing to accept additional requirements to provide reassurances to people: "I accept any conditions on an unblock". Thoughts? SA notified by email IRWolfie- (talk) 18:17, 5 August 2013 (UTC)

  • Comment. No recommendation, at the moment. But unblocking would set a precedent - sock until the community gets tired of dealing with it and you're unblocked. One would think that the best way to convince the community that you intend to follow the rules would be to - wait for it - follow the rules. UltraExactZZ Said ~ Did 18:37, 5 August 2013 (UTC)
No socking in at least the last two months. IRWolfie- (talk) 18:38, 5 August 2013 (UTC)
But he socked for the previous 3 years 10 months? GiantSnowman 18:39, 5 August 2013 (UTC)
I don't follow your wording. There have been instances of socking in the last 4 years, but not in at least the last two months. Also, as far as I am aware, SA did not sock before this while unblocked. What are you preventing by having him blocked? IRWolfie- (talk) 18:43, 5 August 2013 (UTC)
You say he has been blocked for 4 years but hasn't socked for 2 months. That implies he socked for 3 years 10 months. GiantSnowman 18:47, 5 August 2013 (UTC)
I did not imply, you inferred, and I don't agree. If I said you hadn't socked for at least the last 2 months, it doesn't mean you were socking before that. It means what I said, that in the last 2 month period there were no socks. IRWolfie- (talk) 19:17, 5 August 2013 (UTC)
But he has socked - numerous times, as you say so yourself in your opening post. GiantSnowman 19:26, 5 August 2013 (UTC)
No I didn't. I said "there has been some issues with socking", that isn't the same as "numerous times". Can you focus on the unblock request itself rather than whether I implied X or Y. IRWolfie- (talk) 19:39, 5 August 2013 (UTC)
Apologies for thinking that "issues with socking" isn't all hunky-dory. GiantSnowman 20:00, 5 August 2013 (UTC)
(ec) For those in the audience who haven't been following this matter closely, could you provide a bit more information and context?
  1. Is there a link to the original discussion (AN/I or ArbCom or what?) that led him to be blocked/banned(?) in the first place? Could someone provide a brief description of the events that led him to be banned/blocked?
  2. Regarding block evasion with socks, when and how many? When was the last one?
  3. On reasons why an unblock would be a good idea, can the justification be expanded a bit beyond 'most of the people he was fighting with are gone'? (I mean, I suspect that there are at least a few new editors who might disagree with ScienceApologist now.)
  4. Regarding the desire for an unblock, where or how did he make the request? Does he have any statement that he would like to make on his own behalf?
  5. What has happened with previous unblock requests, if any?
  6. What conditions, restrictions, or topic bans was he under prior to his block/ban, and would there be any such restrictions if he were unblocked?
I'm not trying to shoot down this request, nor to pre-judge or imply a preference for any particular outcome, but there's a lot of information missing. TenOfAllTrades(talk) 18:45, 5 August 2013 (UTC)
  1. Wikipedia:Requests_for_arbitration/Fringe_science#Motion_to_sanction_ScienceApologist. I did not edit wikipedia until late 2010, so you will need to ask an arbcom member or such for an exact account. Anything I say will be based on reading the various logs and old arbcom cases.
  2. Wikipedia:Sockpuppet_investigations/ScienceApologist. Timotheus Canens (talk · contribs) appears to have indicated that Eliminatesoapboxing (talk · contribs) was the last sock.
  3. SA makes very high quality edits to both astronomy/science articles as well as fringe subjects. Even if he were not permitted to edit articles directly, his advice he could provide at WP:FTN would be invaluable.
  4. His desire for an unblock is stated all over his userpage, and in his recent ArbCom request (ArbCom rejected the request on the grounds of jurisdiction; indicating that it was not an arbcom block and things should be taken to AN/ANI or similar).
  5. His last unblock [1] was rejected stating he had a block log that was too long and that an unblock would not be considered.
  6. The initial block was for 3 months per Wikipedia:Requests_for_arbitration/Fringe_science#Motion_to_sanction_ScienceApologist. That has since expired. New restrictions are up for discussion here, so I can't answer that question. IRWolfie- (talk) 19:12, 5 August 2013 (UTC)
This was also discussed last week at Wikipedia:Arbitration/Requests/Case [2] --Anthonyhcole (talk · contribs · email) 22:20, 5 August 2013 (UTC)
  • non admin second chance !vote/do not oppose unblock, but don's support either a 3 month block, from 2011, extended to true infinity seems excessive in the absence of a arbcom decision or wider consensus of a community ban. Certainly the repeated socking is problematic, and while block avoidance is troublesome, he was not using the socks for otherwise nefarious purposes (trying to swing consensus etc). I think a Wikipedia:Standard offer, with a very short leash can be appropriate, especially in light of the judgement that his edits are generally of high quality. Per the discussion above, he has not socked for 2 months : When is the last time he was caught socking? The standard offer suggests 6 months. Could the 2 months be counted towards this, and reset his block to 4 months? Or in a worst case scenario give him the full 6 months starting now? Gaijin42 (talk) 19:31, 5 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Extend standard offer - this would be a terrible precedent to set. If there's any reason this is a "special case" then reduce the sock-free period required from 6 months to 3, but some indication that this user is willing to play by the rules is needed. Basalisk inspect damageberate 19:54, 5 August 2013 (UTC)
Agreed. We've gone down this road before. "You made me sock because you kicked me out" is one of the least compelling arguments I can think of. If he can show the self control to follow the standard offer for the full six-month period, that's much more compelling, and even then I'd like to see a CU run just to be sure. Other times we winked at block evasion it has not ended well. Beeblebrox (talk) 20:57, 5 August 2013 (UTC)
  • I have a couple questions before I weigh in. How have the confirmed SA socks behaved? (The only one I can recall is the one who kept trying to delete Wikipe-tan.) Have his socks been editing constructively or engaging in disruption? What are the most recent socks that we know of? Mark Arsten (talk) 21:14, 5 August 2013 (UTC)
  • I think pointily is the best way to describe it. NativeForeigner Talk 21:33, 5 August 2013 (UTC)
I don't think any of the socks were identified as being problematic. i.e if they weren't socks they would not have been blocked, IRWolfie- (talk) 21:51, 5 August 2013 (UTC)
  • I agree the standard offer is the way forward here. If an editor can't comply with our straightforward policy on socking for six months then that isn't very promising for any possible return to editing. As noted above Eliminatesoapboxing (talk · contribs) was still editing two months ago. Hut 8.5 21:20, 5 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Comment - here is the information on SA:
Block log
Declined ArbCom Unblock request
SPI records
Note that Checkuser confirmed that SA used two socks as recently as two months ago.
I don't believe that he has shown he can abide by rules, and would oppose a standard offer.
Disclosure - SA and I have a negative history. I'm not going to go into anything else on the matter or discuss the history. GregJackP Boomer! 21:56, 5 August 2013 (UTC)
Calling it "declined arbcom unblock request" is kind of missing the point of why they declined. They referred the case to AN (as I mentioned above). IRWolfie- (talk) 07:44, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
Would you have rather I called it a "rejected" request? I did not contradict your statement that it should go to AN. In any event, SA's pattern of repeatedly violating rules that he doesn't agree with bodes ill as a reason for unblocking him. GregJackP Boomer! 11:21, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose unblock - Support standard offer - If SA really has changed, six months of no socking (verified by CU) would be sufficient to give him another chance. If think he has things to offer to the encyclopedia, if he could just moderate his behavior. Beyond My Ken (talk) 22:42, 5 August 2013 (UTC)
  • SA has done excellent work in defending the encyclopedia from crankery, but the avalanche of nonsense with the continual arrival of "new" editors ready to argue the same points over and over wore him down. I support any unblock appeal from SA that includes a brief statement explaining how he will deal with that problem. I would suggest, for example, that if a group of new editors were to start using Homeopathy to promote the sale of bottles of water to cure disease, then SA should just walk away after doing a few reverts or posting a dozen comments in a week—leave it to someone else. We routinely unblock disruptive editors who have no record of improving the encyclopedia, and per WP:ROPE, there is no problem with unblocking SA who does have a long record of improving the encyclopedia. Johnuniq (talk) 22:55, 5 August 2013 (UTC)
  • The argument that someone should be unblocked because we can't permanently stop them from evading their block is not sensible, and should be rejected out of hand. The sustained socking and unhelpful editing behavior set out at Wikipedia:Sockpuppet investigations/ScienceApologist/Archive appears to indicate that not much has changed since the conduct which led to the block (as set out at Wikipedia:Requests for arbitration/Fringe science#ScienceApologist). As such, I see no grounds to unblock, so I oppose this proposal. WP:STANDARDOFFER obviously applies, but it would also need to be accompanied by a convincing commitment to avoid the conduct which led to the block. Nick-D (talk) 08:44, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose unblock - having looked into this further, I feel an editor who cannot go 2 months without abiding by basic rules (i.e. no socking!) should not be unblocked at this time. Standard offer applies - 6 months is the minimum for me. GiantSnowman 08:56, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
Then why not support, at a minimum, changing the indefinite block to 4 months? The issue is that his current requests are being rejected out of hand [3]. IRWolfie- (talk) 10:41, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
Because what if he socks again in that time? Indefinite =/= forever, as you full well know. Evidence 6 months of sock-free-ness and then we can review. GiantSnowman 10:44, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
One might argue that a reduced to four month block doesn't mean "Don't sock for four more months" but "Don't get caught socking for four more months". The difference is not insignificant. UltraExactZZ Said ~ Did 12:13, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Support unblock. Two points: You might call Science Apologist the AndyTheGrump of his time. Kww's rationale, also at the recent RFAR, for keeping him blocked is interesting, almost provocative: "If this were an ideal world, I would simply ban most of the editors that SA disagrees with, as that would eliminate both the edit warring and things like Wikipedia's excessively gullible point of view towards crystal worship, homeopathy, electric voice phenomena, vaccine hysteria, and similar topics. This isn't an ideal world though, and SA's contributions, while nearly invariably right, served to galvanize the forces intent on inserting these things into articles. … I've advocated banning all pseudoscience advocates from Wikipedia before, and continue to believe that's the best solution. Until we do that, though, SA's presence is counterproductive."[4] (Please read the whole.) As with Swift's Modest Proposal for eating babies, it's logical, I have to reluctantly agree with the reasoning, but is there really no other way? What will blocking the defenders of the wiki do — what is it doing — to article quality? I'm getting really cynical about this project and its openness to "crystal worship, homeopathy, electric voice phenomena" etc. Secondly, in his recent unblock appeal to ArbCom, Science Apologist says he wasn't socking, but other people at his institution were using the same IP or "user agent" (I don't even understand what that means) and that he has no way of ensuring that the same thing won't happen again in the next four months.[5] Therefore he fears never being able to benefit from the Standard Offer. His tone is a little uncertain; if I understand it, he's not denying all socking, but only the more recent cases (supported by checkuser like the others). If there are technical or other reasons for not assuming good faith and believing him, can someone explain them to me, please? Bishonen | talk 12:11, 6 August 2013 (UTC).
    • Just to answer the "user agent" question, a user agent is some piece of software you use to do stuff on the Internet. When you edit Wikipedia or otherwise browse the Web, you fire up Internet Explorer or Safari or Firefox... this is your user agent. Each piece of Web-browsing software identifies itself to the websites with a string of characters that provides the name of the piece of software, its version number, etc. so that the website can deliver Web pages in a format that works with your browser. This user agent string is one of the things checkusers use to determine if two accounts are coming from the same computer, or possibly coming from a bank of computers all managed by the same IT department. For more detail, take a look at User agent. Zad68 13:07, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
      • Thanks, Zad, but I only wanted to indicate that I didn't wholly understand what I was quoting — I didn't mean it greatly matters what "user agent" means. My actual question right at the end, though, "If there are technical or other reasons for not assuming good faith and believing him, can someone explain them to me, please?", is something I'd really, really like to know, and I wish somebody would address it. Are there any checkusers or otherwise technically savvy people reading this thread? Furthermore: I think ScienceApologist should be invited to take part in this discussion, as he did in the RFAR. I have told him on his page that I'd be happy to move any comments he makes on his page to this thread. Though I think it's a silly long way round, mind you. In my opinion he should be unblocked for the purpose of taking part here in the normal fashion. (Only here.) Bishonen | talk 20:46, 6 August 2013 (UTC).
  • Comment. Let me throw some more random numbers in - If SA is worthy of a standard offer now, but just has to wait four months... I dunno, why not throw him to the wolves now (so to speak) and see how he does? The more I think about this, the more I come to think that we either need to unblock him now - or not at all. UltraExactZZ Said ~ Did 12:17, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose community unblock. The check-user information being disputed in not public. It's up to ArbCom to decide whom to believe. Someone not using his real name (talk) 16:03, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
You appear to have missed the point that they just rejected to take this case and explicitly said it was up to the community to decide. Whether you believe they should have decided it or not, they are not going to. Beeblebrox (talk) 17:16, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
I did not miss it. It's Arbcom's job to handle cases like this, where some important info is not public. Punting to AN shows a lack of some desirable attributes in the current Arbitrators. They are also supposed to handle the intractable cases and act as the final venue of appeals for blocks/bans. Given the length of the block log and other editing sanctions previously affecting Science Apologist, this is one such case that ArbCom should handle. Someone not using his real name (talk) 22:00, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Support unblock: Bishonen's and Kww's reasoning pretty much is echoed by me here. He's an editor of the highest calibre, which is why I volunteered to proxy for him back in 2009 under ArbCom permission. I'm amenable to a shortened standard offer (October 1st is the latest I'd support the standard offer to). Sceptre (talk) 16:35, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose. The most recent sockpuppet edited on June 5, just two months ago. SA should show more restraint, like not socking for six months, before being welcomed back. Binksternet (talk) 16:47, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
  • I'd support unblocking now, per Johnuniq above. Instead of deciding how many more months he should be made to sit on the sidelines, we should welcome him back now, and focus instead on how SA can do what he does well, without causing such a wake. Instead of using "can he stay away for 4 more months" as a measure of whether he's able to adjust his approach, why not use "can he adjust his approach" to measure it? Work out some reasonable terms with him, unblock, and see how it goes. --Floquenbeam (talk) 17:22, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Unblock - Meh, why not? The incivility is academic as long as we keep editors like Malleus around, so that's not a valid reason to keep a proverbial "vested contributor" on the outside looking in. So what we're left with is the socking, a topic that personally I feel differently than I may have a few years ago. If a person is socking so that they may return to genuinely contribute content...or to see to it that bad content is not retained in article-space...then that's a still frowned-upon but ultimately redeemable reason. Socking to continue grudges, troll, harass, vandalize, etc... is the bad stuff. So let em back in with promises to stick to one account and let's see how it goes. Tarc (talk) 20:09, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
    Why did you try and drag me into this Tarc? Eric Corbett 20:20, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
    Because like it or not, you're the standard by which uncivil-but-productive editors are judged. Be proud of your standing, you're essentially blockproof. Tarc (talk) 22:18, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Support unblock I'm with Bish, Floq and Tarc. Seems he's on the side of the angels, with some rough edges, so let's unblock, restrict a bit if we must, and help him to help us. Begoontalk 20:24, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose unblock, support standard offer: I'm sorry, but 2 months of not being caught socking, following socking on and off for nearly 4 years, is not convincing enough. If they make it to six months without a sock being clocked, then fine, unblock them. Until then, no; there's a reason the standard offer exists. Lukeno94 (tell Luke off here) 20:24, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose unblock The lengthy block log is extremely troubling. SA has failed to explain what went so horribly wrong last time and how they plan to avoid repeating their mistakes, nor have they have provided any evidence of cooperative editing on another Wiki project. These are pretty much standard conditions for lifting this sort of block. A Quest For Knowledge (talk) 21:54, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Last sock barely 2 months ago? No thank you, if the user can show that they can stop socking for 6 months, then it should be considered, otherwise, no way. Snowolf How can I help? 22:01, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
    • He is still denying that that account was his [6], even though it was blocked by an ArbCom member and checkuser. Which is why I think the community shouldn't handle this appeal. Someone not using his real name (talk) 22:16, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
      • Socking is almost always denied. The system is setup so that some users are entrusted by users entrusted by the community to look at certain technical information to locate additional accounts. If they say somebody is socking, we can only take them at their word, not having access to said information ourselves. ScienceApologist is free to take this to other venues, but I see no reason not to oppose an unblock based on a CU block. Snowolf How can I help? 10:35, 8 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose I see no reason to believe that this will work any better now than it has in the past.—Kww(talk) 23:42, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
When in the past? IRWolfie- (talk) 00:15, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Allow him to edit under 0RR for his own edits, 1RR for other edits. The discussion here about socking is total distraction, it's not a relevant problem if someone who was banned ages ago makes constructive edits here as an IP. Per WP:IAR we are actually not even allowed to make a problem out of this unless it poses a problem for the actual content of Wikipedia. The real problem with SA was that he has problems with engaging with editors who he strongly disagrees with about content issues, particularly on topics related to pseudo-science and alternative medicine (which is for a large part based on pseudo-scientific concepts). He would insist on having things his way, which then unnecessarily polarizes the editing climate. I.m.o., the best way to deal with this issue is to let him stick to 0RR for all his own edits and 1RR for all other edits. Under such a regime, he won't be able to go about his business as he was used to; obviously if you are under 0RR it's pointless to write a text in an article that only you are prepared to defend. So, for him to participate in editing would require him to discuss with other editors what a reasonable compromize text would be that has enough support that it would stick without him being able to fight for it.Count Iblis (talk) 00:56, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Science Apologist (SA) has always been good for the content of Wikipedia. He adds good content and removes bad content. SA is also one of the best editors I have ever seen at spotting articles in the science, fringe science, and pseudoscience areas that have problems with POV pushing. I support unblocking SA as soon as possible. Cardamon (talk) 01:08, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Update: I've invited SA to take part here via his talkpage, but he has declined with thanks. People might be interested in reading his reply here. Furthermore, I've asked above if there are technical or other reasons for not assuming good faith and believing him when he claims he despairs of being able to benefit from the Standard Offer because other people at his institution have used the same IP and he has no way of ensuring that the same thing won't happen again in the next four months. It seems difficult to get an answer. I've tried in vain to find a checkuser on IRC to ask for input here, and have now e-mailed a couple of them. Bishonen | talk 10:49, 7 August 2013 (UTC).
  • For someone who is so eager to edit Wikipedia that they use numerous socks to evade a block, they do not be so keen to make a case for themselves at their own talk page. GiantSnowman 10:58, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Bish, I'd possibly be in support of an unblock, were it not for what strikes me as a very implausible denial of those socks. A user agent is the identifying string of a browser, it's not like an IP address (that could easily be shared) and can often be quite unique. Coupled with the obvious knowledge of Wikipedia shown by those new accounts, and their return to SA's general areas of interest, in my opinion it is completely implausible that they weren't his socks. Checkusers are used to the problems of shared IP addresses, which is why that is not the only evidence they rely on, but instead a combination of all factors - and in this case it all adds up to socking. --Errant (chat!) 11:17, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
User agent strings are unique by browser and version, not by browser installation. They can be modified by browser add-ons. Common user agent strings are far more widely shared than IPs, and they are trivial to spoof anyway. Reaper Eternal (talk) 15:46, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
So, if I were to edit as an IP from my university account, if I log out and go home and someone else logs on into his unversity account on the same computer and he were to edit Wikipedia, that would leave an identical signature if that other user were to use the same browser? Count Iblis (talk) 16:19, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
With a common networking setup you could be on different computers on the same network, so long as they have the same browser installed. - MrOllie (talk) 16:32, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
Mostly true; however User Agents report operating system too. And Checkusers understand these things; so if we have a UA/IP match, with new accounts who clearly know how WP works, editing within the same areas SA has an interest... --Errant (chat!) 08:17, 8 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Unblock: I actually believe what he says and am all for giving people another chance. What has the project got to lose - other than some valuable content.  Giano  15:38, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Unblock with a one-account restriction (which account to unblock will be his choice). This restriction should include no editing by IP either. Reaper Eternal (talk) 15:43, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
  • I frankly do not believe him for a moment. Technically, one of the new crop of socks overlaps with him on a fairly static residential IP, not an IP address from an educational institution. Behaviorally, the naming convention of the new crop of socks are pretty much identical to Redshiftimprove (talk+ · tag · contribs · deleted contribs · logs · filter log · block user · block log · CA · checkuser (log)), a sock SA admitted to last time around. No, he's been socking and lying about it. T. Canens (talk) 16:38, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Much can be said in defense of any editor willing to keep the wackos, fringe POV pushers and charlatans at bay. Sometimes in the face of incessant POV pushing from the lunatic faction, we need editors that are fearless. I say unblock him, limit him to one account and 1RR.--MONGO 17:47, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Current !vote tally
Unblock (13) - IRWolfie, Sceptre, Tarc, Begoon, Cardamon, Giano, Reaper Eternal, Johnuniq, Floquenbeam, Bishonen, MONGO, Vsmith, Δρ.Κ.
Oppose (6) - GregJackP, Someone not using his real name, Binksternet, A Quest For Knowledge, Kww, T. Canens
Standard offer (9) - Gaijin42, Basalisk, Beeblebrox, Hut 8.5, Beyond My Ken, Nick-D, GiantSnowman, Lukeno94, Snowolf
Realizing that this is not a vote, at present there does not seem to be significant community support for unblocking SA. At most, a standard offer is the best option he seems to have. Anyone should feel free to correct the tally if I made a mistake somewhere or if I misread someone's position. GregJackP Boomer! 16:59, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
Bishonen and I support an unblock...and Bishonen is able to summon an army the likes of which has never been seen before on this earth.--MONGO 17:57, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
Some of it has never been seen before on this earth; some just not for 350 million years... Georgewilliamherbert (talk) 20:58, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
Considering the dramatic nature of your history with SA (I am unsure if I it is something which can be discussed on wiki, someone can ping me with clarification), do you really consider it prudent for you to take part in this discussion? IRWolfie- (talk) 22:23, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Unblock per the above, the discussion on his talk and for the good edits to technical articles since Sept. '04. Per his rather problematic block log, I'd suggest he avoid the problem areas: focus on the science and avoid the fringe. WP is a bit different than 5-8 years ago. Vsmith (talk) 17:57, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Unblock Per all the unblock comments, and more specifically those by Bishonen, Johnuniq and Sceptre. This is a very unusual case. As Bishonen mentions, it is widely acknowledged that SA's edits were mostly correct and that he fought against fringe-science advocates. This is an imperfect situation where a defender of the wiki galvanised the fringe science forces and got in trouble. But this is also an imperfect world with all the cruft currently present at our fringe-science articles so we should not aim to find the perfect solution. Hopefully, under the proper safeguards, SA will not antagonise others as severely as he did in the past. Therefore I support the imperfect but appropriate solution of unblocking SA subject to the appropriate restrictions and caveats. Δρ.Κ. λόγοςπράξις 18:02, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Unblock - per well-argued sentiments from Bishonen. Make it clear that he's on a very short leash and needs to avoid his former pitfalls. NorthBySouthBaranof (talk) 19:51, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
  • I remember following discussions regarding SA's methods of trying to keep this an encyclopedia that doesn't try to convince its readers of anything (except its mission to stick to reliable sources). Some of SA's methods have proven to be ineffective, obviously. I think SA realizes that and is able to adjust his behavior. These past seven years, I've followed several bold editors (admins and non-admins) who dedicate a lot of their time, brains, and effort against tilting of articles toward points of view on or outside the fringes of an academic body of scholarly and scientific sources. Some of them are quite effective without getting banned (though very few of them never get in trouble). If SA's methods don't change, it probably won't be difficult to raise it here and have SA re-banned. I really hope that won't happen. Anyway, Unblock.---Sluzzelin talk 21:15, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Unblock: Per Bishonen's spot-on argument. I see a diamond in the rough here that's worth keeping rather than discarding. The rough edges might need some polishing, but the value of this editor to the project has been well demonstrated. God knows we need all the help we can get in dealing with all the fringe promoters who often overwhelm the project. While I normally take a very dim view of socking, no real malice was intended or harm done in this case. Would recommend some mentoring perhaps. Dominus Vobisdu (talk) 21:23, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Unblock. Oy. I don't edit Wikipedia very often anymore, but really wanted to chime in here. I remember that SA was sorely missed when he was sent out. If he edits disruptively now (after 4 some-odd years) it will be trivial to block him again. Wikipedia pseudoscience articles will be better off in the meantime for his work. Good luck. HiDrNick! 21:28, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Comment From what I can tell, based off his block log and the list of sanctions here, he has been blocked for two years, not four, because he violated an AE topic ban on edits relating to pseudoscience and fringe science. The topic ban was indefinite and, presumably, would still be in effect following an unblock unless stated otherwise. Unless he commits to abiding by the topic ban or the topic ban is lifted along with him being unblocked, then to unblock him would be irresponsible. Either this is a proposal for an unblock and lifting of his topic ban or SA has made some reasonable commitment to abiding by his restriction.--The Devil's Advocate tlk. cntrb. 22:01, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
Yeah, but some of us are trying to look at whether the guy wants to contribute positively, and how he wants to do that, and whether we feel long enough is long enough, rather than wikilawyering blather. He identifies and edits against fringe nonsense, and there's precious few prepared to take the bullshit that goes with that. When the project is prepared to look at the real issues instead of the sort of rules mongering nonsense you allude to, I'll be a happier bunny. Ymmv. Face-smile.svg. Begoontalk 00:12, 8 August 2013 (UTC)
No "rules mongering" involved. This is common sense. He was subject to a topic ban, his block being for violating it and then saying he would continue to do so using socks, and most unblock votes do not explicitly address that. Unless his topic ban is addressed here, this vote is just asking for trouble. I don't think you should let someone back into the candy store unless you address the previous issues resulting from their candy-fixation.--The Devil's Advocate tlk. cntrb. 01:01, 8 August 2013 (UTC)
Ah, ok. Lovely opinion, but I'll support someone prepared to defend the encyclopedia against fringe crap over any of your nonsense, any day. Reasonable people can differ, and I do, from that. Always. Begoontalk 01:12, 8 August 2013 (UTC)
@The Devil's Advocate. No, the topic ban, imposed on January 14, 2011, was not indefinite. It was for one year, [7], [8], and there were criticisms of it at the time, with which I agree. Cardamon (talk) 01:21, 8 August 2013 (UTC)
Tim extended it to indefinite after the socking and, either way, the ban is supposed to reset when he gets unblocked. It is a perfectly valid point that the topic ban has to be addressed in some way for any of this to have meaning. If he is unblocked without either a commitment to respect the topic ban or an agreement here to lift it then we will just be right back where we started. Some clearly support an unblock provided that he stay away from the topic area and others seem to support letting him return to the topic area so it is not as if everyone supporting an unblock agrees on the matter.--The Devil's Advocate tlk. cntrb. 04:26, 8 August 2013 (UTC)
I see your point. Cardamon (talk) 01:57, 9 August 2013 (UTC)
The topic ban was not extended, the block was. IRWolfie- (talk) 15:26, 9 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Unblock with no restrictions SA was a prolific and intelligent editor who had some behavioral issues, but 4 2 years is a long time to mature. We'll lose nothing by giving him a chance but have a lot to gain by welcoming him back. Noformation Talk 22:13, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Comment The evasive, non admission, non denial of most recent socking here suggests that SA does not intend to be open and honest. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 22:22, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Standard Offer. jps (as he now signs himself) is putting on an act of injured innocence; if he is unwilling to admit that he has done anything wrong, there is no reason to expect his behaviour to improve. He has been attempting to deflect attention from his numerous socks by an unconvincing attack on the reliability of the CU process. Most of the rest of us make do with one identity and try and control our annoyance with other editors. It would be a very regrettable precedent if jps is somehow exempted from these obligations. SamuelTheGhost (talk) 22:47, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Unblock - Ultimately we have to decide what is better for the 'pedia - SA's adherence to sourcing policies support the notion that he will be a net improvement. As far as battleground behaviour, anyone who edits in these area knows the difficulties of keeping things collaborative rather than confrontational. As far as options, I don't think the Standard Offer is viable, both for reasons SA has outlined above concernin IP edits, but also the committee would have seen fit to follow it (which they haven't). Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 22:51, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
NB: Current tally then 20 for unblock, 6 for Standard Offer, and 10 opposing. Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 22:54, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
  • I have mixed feelings on this one. I'm inclined to believe T. Canens about the socking; it seems more likely than not. On the other hand, I feel pretty strongly that ScienceApologist is a significant potential benefit to the project, and for that reason it's worth exploring ways to make this work - even though, yes, he's accumulated a lot of blocks and yes, he's almost certainly not leveling with us about the socks.

    People who work in the trenches to keep Wikipedia's scientific content serious and accurate don't typically wind up with FA stars or other visible badges of merit. Mostly, they end up with frayed tempers, lots of enemies, and scroll bars on the sides of their block logs. I'm going to invoke what I'll call the "Matisse rule": we've gone much further out of our way to accommodate much more divisive and toxic editors than ScienceApologist, so why be chintzy here?

    Everyone has their "pet cause" - the editor for whom you'll advocate a third or fourth or fifth chance because of their potential to benefit the project. I guess this is mine, and on that basis I'd support an unrestricted unblock. In fact, I've considered simply unblocking ScienceApologist myself, but frankly I'm not active or invested in this project enough anymore to take responsibility for monitoring him and responding to complaints. So there it is. MastCell Talk 23:02, 7 August 2013 (UTC)

  • Comment. GregJackP, I think you should detail as much as you are able the conflict you had with ScienceApologist (SA) off-wiki. I think the participants here would want to know about it as it might influence their opinions on the person behind the SA account. Cla68 (talk) 23:22, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
No, I'm not going to discuss what lengths SA went to silence someone he disagreed with. I don't have a problem with someone else discussing it, but I'm not getting into it. GregJackP Boomer! 12:01, 8 August 2013 (UTC)
If that is the case; long story short, GregJackP sued SA IRL. IRWolfie- (talk) 00:26, 10 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Support Unblock - Having seen the valuable edits made by JPS over the years, and thinking very much along the lines of MastCell's comments two pars above this, I support his unblock. Yes, I am mindful of his history, but I also saw the pledge he gave on his talk page today saying "I am committed in the future to stick to a single account.....". Moriori (talk) 00:11, 8 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Support Unblock - Frankly should not have been blocked in the first place just for doing the right thing the wrong way, but "no good deed goes unpunished". Many people have trouble tolerating injustice, we can't really be surprised he took the block badly. Four years older and presumably wiser, it's time that he had a chance to demonstrate it.LeadSongDog come howl! 00:30, 8 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Question to SA Can you please tell use what went so horribly wrong the last time you were allowed to edit Wikipedia and how you plan to avoid such mistakes in the future? A Quest For Knowledge (talk) 00:40, 8 August 2013 (UTC)
    • That's a good question, but as someone who has spent a little time looking at a few arguments from those wanting to use Wikipedia to promote fringe nonsense, an even better question would be "how can any editor defend the encyclopedia and stay sane?". That sounds flippant, but I mean it sincerely—the current model is broken because it relies on a few good editors who struggle unassisted, but who then are thrown to the wolves when they inevitably cross the normal edit warring or civility lines. There is another issue, namely that defenders-of-sanity sometimes get carried away and want to label everything that is not mainstream science as FRINGE. For example, Talk:Ghost/pseudoscience has a lot of babble over whether Ghost is a "pseudoscience". In some cases, an editor known for their advocacy of crankery will go to a less-obvious page and will start an issue there. Those correctly opposing the crank on crank articles, may then get sucked into a pit of despair where they end up overstating their case, and that leads to lack of support from third parties, which leads to frustration, which ends up with blocks. I do not know what happened in SA's case, but what I've described has been a factor for some—there is no good way to handle all the advocacy that occurs in articles. Johnuniq (talk) 01:42, 8 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Support because, really, what could go wrong? He'll have a million eyes scrutinizing his every move if he is unblocked, so what harm could he do? Despite his, at times, obnoxious behaviour SA is one of the good guys and we have a long history of finding reasons to excuse worse behaviour from worse people. Reyk YO! 01:23, 8 August 2013 (UTC)
Oh. A voice of reason. That's it, really Reyk. I wish I could have summed it up so succinctly, except to repeat - He's one of the good guys. Begoontalk 01:40, 8 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Neutral As I said on SA's talkpage a week and a half ago, I'm not entirely opposed to giving him another chance and I "think there's a need for [SA's] type of work here and [his] return is likely a net positive". SA and I have some history; for example, he called for a community ban for me on ANI a few years ago (no supports) and continues to characterize me in ways that I feel are personal attacks (e.g., he called me a fringe advocate on his talkpage just a week and a half ago). Historically, we had some disagreements over how to handle medical controversies, where, to simplify, in many cases the dispute is not about whether something is characterized as fringe but rather whether the characterization should be repeated over and over, include controversial original research, or emphasized in particularly nasty language. Nasty language rarely sticks, leading to recurring arguments until the wording is toned down. Unfortunately, some people who do not edit in science areas at all (such as User:Kww, who believes all "fringe advocates" should be banned, but largely focuses on editing pop music articles) endorse the methods without getting into the weeds of what is going on. With SA, there's apparently little grey area: you're either an ally or an enemy. He's never made a secret of the fact that he is on Wikipedia to right wrongs and as a crusading knight does glorious battle. There's also a bit of a Puck or Loki persona in the way he continually tests boundaries. If he had shown a somewhat different attitude when I commented just recently, I would be happy to support him. But he doesn't really show a different attitude. As I mentioned to him, it is "theoretically true that people have agendas, but to go around imputing motives and hidden agendas to everyone around you is socially dysfunctional" and also that the "prevailing mood around here is that the drama needs to be contained, not inflamed". Hopefully, my neutrality on this issue doesn't ignite a longstanding grudge (to be fair, I think SA is more mature than that). II | (t - c) 01:51, 8 August 2013 (UTC)
  • I freely admit that I don't edit science articles much, and it's primarily because I can't deal with them without becoming so wrapped up in the conflict with other editors that it makes me angry and mean. People don't seem to realize that what they normally see here on Wikipedia is my warm, gentle, and fluffy side.—Kww(talk) 02:16, 8 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Well, thanks for the mature response. I don't want to distract from the topic, and I believe you and I discussed this before a long time ago. My comment about you probably feels like a personal attack and I expected you to respond with more indignation. It is not intended as a personal attack and I'm sorry I even had to make it. However, you hold a very extreme and my opinion very wrong view on this topic and I don't think you can reasonably expect it to be unchallenged. To be fair, my knowledge of your edits goes back only a few months (which I checked before I commented) and a vague prior recollection in one of your adminship runs a while back. 99.9% of scientific articles are completely uncontroversial most of the time and there are quite a few simpler ones which would welcome your attention (alas, I've been remiss lately). I'm not saying I'm a heavy science editor (especially lately), and lately I've spent much more time on finance and law. There are issues with fringe views, yes, but calling for a broad swath of the population to be banned (through who knows what mechanism) is not the right approach. This would presumably be the union of such editors, and would thus encompass the gamut of those with diverse views from those concerned with Bisphenol A (whose alleged toxicity is regarded as a fringe position in some circles) to Tea Party fans and Obama birthers. It kind of sounds like run-of-the-mill sensationalizing, which isn't really helpful. II | (t - c) 02:46, 8 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Unblock - long overdue, enough already and per Bishonen above.Volunteer Marek 03:02, 8 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Unblock Let's give him a chance. If he turns out to be a net negative, he'd be blocked pretty fast. If he turns to be a net positive, then we just gained a new asset. If we don't take the risk to lose, we will never win. — ΛΧΣ21 03:06, 8 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Support Unblock - productive editor, usually following the rules, lets give him the second chance. It is easy to hit the block button if his behavior would not be constructive Alex Bakharev (talk) 03:24, 8 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Support unblock per Vsmith, MastCell and others. His contributions to science articles were an asset to wikipedia. If problems did arise after being unblocked, his editing would be under scrutiny. Mathsci (talk) 03:38, 8 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose Unblock Once again, we have someone here who is claimed to be so special that the rules don't apply to him, despite his crimes. No one's irreplaceable and the project can live without his contributions until he proves he can follow the same rules as the rest of us peons are forced to. Jtrainor (talk) 04:53, 8 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Support unblock. He tripped over his own feet years ago and was blocked for far too long a period to be 'preventative' - what exactly has it prevented? More good would be done by an unblock. StaniStani  05:10, 8 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Support unrestricted return to editing. Given his response to my question on his talk page. --Anthonyhcole (talk · contribs · email) 06:18, 8 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose; lying about obvious socks (see T. Canens comments) undermines any commitment to abiding by the rules. I'd have supported but for this. --Errant (chat!) 08:21, 8 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose unblock, suggest standard offer like everyone else gets. Rationale: Bad precedent to set (sock until people get fed up and let you come back), uneasy about all the "defending the wiki" twaddle (this is an online encyclopaedia and we use sources and consensus, not brute force to resolve our differences), fundamentally do not trust this user who has broken our rules, been sanctioned, lied and cheated and now wants to come back. No; do six months without cheating your sanction, then come back and tell us how it will be different this time around. Otherwise we will just have more drama and wasted time. --John (talk) 10:10, 8 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose unblock. I have had runs in with socks of SA. An interesting one was User talk: Junjunone. Although at first the decision was that Junjunone wasn't an SA sock [10], he was later determined to be a SA sock - [11] and User:Previously ScienceApologist. He was masquerading as a new editor, but I think this allowed him to show his true colours. He was arrogant and rude (see e.g. last para[12] - another editor's response to a Junjunone attack), but was given the benefit of the doubt being a new user. He also tried to change Wikipedia policy (see Wikipedia:Ask an expert - this from a supposedly new user) to allow experts (i.e. him) to adjudicate on pages. This of course is like Scholarpedia, so I really don't know why he just doesn't sling his hook and go to work for Scholarpedia.
I must admit there were times when I wondered whether he was simply winding up mainstream astronomers to see how uncritical they were, so I completely agree with a quote by Henry H. Bauer: "ScienceApologist gives a self-description that raises the suspicion that he, she, or they is or are in reality a Trojan Horse designed to discredit all who claim to defend science. I could not reach a conclusion as to whether or not this self-description was written satirically, because it is so perfect a send-up of the most extreme scientism — "scientism" being the quasi-religious belief that contemporary science is the place to get true answers to everything." Aarghdvaark (talk) 11:13, 8 August 2013 (UTC)
If Hank Bauer is complaining about ScienceApologist, then SA must be doing something right. Change my !vote to unblock at once!. :P MastCell Talk 18:31, 8 August 2013 (UTC)
Oppose unrestricted unblock based on the obvious problem of sockpuppetry. John a few edits above does a really good summation of why. Having said that, I wouldn't mind the standard offer being extended, as John said above. Anything else would, unfortunately, indicate we are willing to let certain editors violate rules without real consequences, and I think that would be a very very bad precedent to set. John Carter (talk) 15:39, 8 August 2013 (UTC)
BTW, I would perhaps personally be open to allowing some sort of limited return, such as perhaps allowing him to edit only in a certain, predetermined, range of articles, or under mandated editor review, which might allow him to edit talk pages but not articles themselves, or some similar measures. Beyond that, if he's looking, maybe one thing Science Apologist might consider in the time until the standard offer comes into play is to maybe generate lists of articles found in reference sources, like I have started with a few pages like Wikipedia:WikiProject Christianity/Encyclopedic articles. I think that having such pages available, indicating what reference and other highly regarded sources cover what topics, might in and of itself be extremely useful in lots of arguments, and, honestly, speaking from experience here, if it is four months until the standard offer becomes an option, he might still be working on his first such list then, although, with luck, he might be closer to being finished than I am with some of the similar pages I've already started. John Carter (talk) 18:40, 8 August 2013 (UTC)
Regarding your initial comment, John, we already bend the rules or excuse violations for certain editors in light of mitigating factors. You yourself have argued at great length for exemptions and special treatment for specific editors, based on your assessment of the quality of their contributions. It's not a matter of setting a precedent, because the precedent has long since been set - a process to which you've contributed. It's just a matter of whether this particular editor's potential upside warrants another chance. MastCell Talk 19:22, 8 August 2013 (UTC)
True, and I am actually rather much in support of keeping editors who are facing potential sanctions. And, actually, I also argued for keeping this particular editor around in the past as well. I believe that there are differences though between trying to keep someone who is currently here still around, and lifting a block ban that has been put in place already. I do think that, once the axe as fallen, as it were, we are more or less bound to adhere to it, barring special circumstances or some sort of limited ban liftings as I have proposed in the past. And, if SA is reading this, regarding the second point, if you (or anyone) can find reference or textbook or similar sources that deal extensively with pseudoscience, bad science, and related topics, believe me, having some sort of index of the best of the existing sources out there on various topics is I think something that will help resolve a lot of disputes, and might also help in the creation of more directly relevant content. John Carter (talk) 20:03, 8 August 2013 (UTC)
Unblock (30) - IRWolfie, Sceptre, Tarc, Begoon, Cardamon, Giano, Reaper Eternal, Johnuniq, Floquenbeam, Bishonen, MONGO, Vsmith, Δρ.Κ., NorthBySouthBaranof, Sluzzelin, Dominus Vobisdu, HiDrNick, Noformation, SmokeyJoe, Cas Liber, MastCell, Moriori, LeadSongDog, Reyk, Volunteer Marek, ΛΧΣ, Alex Bakharev, Mathsci, Stani, Anthonyhcole
Oppose (11) - GregJackP, Someone not using his real name, Binksternet, A Quest For Knowledge, Kww, T. Canens, Jtrainor, John, Errant, Aarghdvaark, John Carter, Lord Sjones23
Standard offer (10) - Gaijin42, Basalisk, Beeblebrox, Hut 8.5, Beyond My Ken, Nick-D, GiantSnowman, Lukeno94, Snowolf, SamuelTheGhost
As before, feel free to correct. GregJackP Boomer! 18:49, 8 August 2013 (UTC)
I have clarified my !vote. I support standard offer, but do not oppose a straight unblock with a short leash if that is the general consensus. Gaijin42 (talk) 19:30, 8 August 2013 (UTC)
My comments are incorrectly tallied. I stated that no socking in 6 months would mean that it might be discussed, not that it should be granted. I am straight in the oppose camp. Snowolf How can I help? 20:05, 9 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Unblock on short leash. Agathoclea (talk) 19:16, 8 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Unblock Already. John lilburne (talk) 20:08, 8 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Unblock; pseudoscience masquerading as true science is one of the biggest problems with Wikipedia currently. Unblocking this editor will help fix that, regardless of history, and well certainly be a net positive IMHO. StringTheory11 (t • c) 00:40, 9 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Questions for SA I would appreciate hearing SA's answers to my questions, and I would like SA (not somebody else) to answer in their own words. @Previously ScienceApologist::
  1. Can you please explain to us what happened the the last time you were allowed to edit Wikipedia what went so horribly wrong that it required your ban?
  2. How do you plan to avoid such mistakes in the future?
  3. Can you also provide evidence of collaborative editing on another Wiki website?
These are pretty simple, straight-forward questions that anyone seeking an unblock of this nature should be able to answer. Failure to do so will mostly like be seen as more evidence to deny your request. Thanks. A Quest For Knowledge (talk) 02:27, 9 August 2013 (UTC)
A question for A Quest For Knowledge - can you show or tell me where you've edited collaboratively on this project - and/or give some indication of collaborative encyclopedia-building? Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 03:08, 9 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Unblock on short leash, our science content will ultimately benefit. - LuckyLouie (talk) 03:02, 9 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Support unblock. Generally good contributions from someone who desires to make good contributions. bd2412 T 03:17, 9 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Has SA really stopped socking? There is an IP edit [13] which is from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, which is where SA now works, and Plasma cosmology is a page he has edited and socked on many times in the past. It would be a stupid thing for him to do, but SA has previously shown complete contempt for editors, Wikipedia rules, and even the sensible thing to do. It is the sort of ironic thing he would enjoy doing: sock, whilst appealing against a ban because of his socking. Aarghdvaark (talk) 03:57, 9 August 2013 (UTC)
  • So, ..., he's a wikipediholic. He has made a promise to do no more (unsigned) IP edits if unblocked. I say, take him at his word, give him rope, I don't see great risk to the project. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 04:12, 9 August 2013 (UTC)
  • So, ..., he gets blocked for socking, continues to sock, and you are in favour of unblocking him because he promises to do no more socking if unblocked? This is really weak and sets a very bad precedent, and most organizations have to follow precedent to show that they are not discriminating against people (or editors in our case). I realise some people think him a star editor, but the point is the rules need to be applied especially to those people. Aarghdvaark (talk) 07:36, 9 August 2013 (UTC)
  • No, that's not the point; the point is the rules are supposed to be ignored if they prevent us from improving Wikipedia. Not sure who started the canard that people are saying SA should be unblocked to stop him socking (thus setting a terrible precedent of "rewarding socking") — Nick D, was it? — but it doesn't become any truer for being repeated. If you look at the unblock arguments above, you'll find the main reason people support unblocking SA is that we want his help defending the quality of the encyclopedia from fringe POV-pushers such as yourself. Nobody expects you to be in favour of that. Bishonen | talk 13:10, 9 August 2013 (UTC).
  • Hmmmm, I thought that IAR was repealed a few years ago when it was decided that besides being an encyclopedia, Wikipedia is also a Big Brother contest where people get thrown out, can get let back in etc. etc. based on ad hoc social rules. Count Iblis (talk) 20:42, 9 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Support unblock mainly per MastCell. I am also inclined to believe the CheckUser results (Edit: I'm not a CheckUser, so I only know the CU details that were discussed on-wiki), and I consider socking one of the worst offenses on Wikipedia. But as others have noted, the unblock will likely be a benefit for the encylopedia, and he has agreed to stop socking, thus WP:IAR. The unblock can come with restrictions if we decide that (it could be even something like "you may only comment at WP:FTN" if anyone finds the support for that) and if it turns out we're wrong then a quick reblock will follow.
For the record, I haven't really made any points that weren't already mentioned above. However, I object to the attempts to votecount and this pushed me to comment. Arc de Ciel (talk) 06:44, 9 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Support unblock, I'm still concerned there may be some gaming and battleground efforts, but the concern isn't large enough to expect things to go so wrong we need to uphold this block to protect the 'pedia. In the tradition that CU information is never revealed, I can't say anything about socking issues. Martijn Hoekstra (talk) 07:37, 9 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Comment: after reading the above, my instinct is to just close this discussion and unblock, which would be exactly the sort of thing WP:IAR is there for. Instead, I'll just point out that a lot of those opposing are confusing "socking" (using more than one account to sway discussion or otherwise cause multiple-personality mischief) with "evading a block while trying to do something you (rightly or wrongly) consider constructive", which is what Mr. Apologist apparently has been doing. "Socking" is extremely disruptive to consensus-oriented communities (and otherwise just plain annoying on web forums and such), and curtailing that sort of disruption is one of the reasons we need to have checkusers around the place (the other reasons being spambots, deranged yet computer-savvy vandals, etc.).

    OTOH, and in all fairness to those opposing, I don't know why the guy was blocked in the first place. It's probably a good idea to include that in the first paragraph of the unblock request, since eyes tend to easily glaze over on these noticeboards. --SB_Johnny | talk✌ 21:59, 9 August 2013 (UTC)

  • He was blocked for evading a topic ban from the area and threatening to continue to evade said topic ban. That topic ban was subsequently extended to indefinite and would still be in effect unless we agree here to lift the topic ban as well. So far, people are just talking about the block and SA is being coy about the topic ban on his talk page. As the topic ban was a discretionary sanction it would have to be lifted through a community decision or an appeal to AE or ArbCom.--The Devil's Advocate tlk. cntrb. 22:49, 9 August 2013 (UTC)
  • SB_Johnny; no, socking includes block evasion. Explicitly so :) But that's by the by; the point is he is lying, and not even well, about recent block evasion, and so does not deserve the respect and trust required to unblock. IMO. --Errant (chat!) 00:05, 10 August 2013 (UTC)
Considering SA is known for his work on fringe theories, perhaps you may wish to clarify your position on fringe theories and pseudoscience TDA? IRWolfie- (talk) 00:29, 10 August 2013 (UTC)
My only concern here is that there is an elephant in the room being completely missed by most. At first my inclination was to vote unblock, but then I saw that he was blocked for evading a topic ban that is still in effect and feel it is unwise to unblock him without having the topic ban addressed in the appropriate manner. That is all there is to it. Unfortunately, most people have not made any comment about that topic ban, presumably because you did not mention it in your opening comment. I imagine that is because you did not get yourself sufficiently informed as indicated by your mistaken claim that he has been blocked for four years for socking, rather than the two years for which he has actually been blocked. Appeals that begin without all pertinent information being provided should not be decided on until everyone participating is clear on the situation, especially if there is also significant misinformation in the appeal.--The Devil's Advocate tlk. cntrb. 04:16, 10 August 2013 (UTC)
...or perhaps not. Still, you at least answered a question that hadn't been asked, and thank you for that. For my part, having examined quite enough of the situation to be satisfied that I understand it, I'll clarify my position on the "topic ban". It should be removed, if it is indeed determined that it still stands (I don't believe it does, having already expired, from what I can see, and it seems pretty wikilawyerish to me to think otherwise). As Reyk points out, there will be many eyes on his edits, and I trust the community to do the right thing. Begoontalk 05:04, 10 August 2013 (UTC)
The topic ban was made indefinite when SA got blocked. If you are going to snark at someone you should at least make sure you read what the other person has already said.--The Devil's Advocate tlk. cntrb. 05:44, 10 August 2013 (UTC)
Goodness, sorry you took my comment as snarky. I didn't intend to upset you, just giving my view. I disagree with your reading of the situation, but you're obviously keen to believe the topic ban should still apply, and you're obviously entitled to argue for that. Peace and stuff. Begoontalk 05:51, 10 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose  Given the recent socking, there has been no change of behavior.  Unscintillating (talk) 02:42, 10 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose any claim of supporting science until such a time as he realises that participating in the Wikipediocracy fun-time of Scientology, fringe science, and just general craziness, is a total opposite to whatever he claims to believe in. Please come back when you learn enough to stay away from people like that! --Demiurge1000 (talk) 02:51, 10 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Support unblock – SA was an excellent contributor of science material and was almost always correct on fringe material but struggled with POV-pushing and being frustrated into incivility. I hope he has learned that being goaded into incivility is unhelpful as it allows POV-pushers to play the victim. His contributions are valuable and I would welcome SA's return to the editing community. EdChem (talk) 02:59, 10 August 2013 (UTC)
Will we be discussing unblocking the goaders now? Or were they never blocked? HiLo48 (talk) 05:47, 10 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Unblock per Reyk; there will be so many eyes on his editing that I don't believe there is any chance of previous issues occurring without being noted straight away. We've nothing to lose here, I believe. Black Kite (talk) 03:15, 10 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose I'm unclear whether this thread is actually supposed to be closed or not, I'm commenting here under the assumption it is not even though either way it doesn't look like it will make a difference but I think it should be said. It seems clear that SA generally has excellent contributions. However he also has behavioural problems in working with editors acting in good faith but who's views he disagrees with that cause problems in a collaborative encyclopaedia where we generally aim to welcome people who are able and willing to work constructively. In fact, as I and others have noted before, he his contributions at times cause people who are sympathetic to his POV to feel far more sympathy for the other editors. While many of his contributions are very welcome, not all of them are, and his apparent inability to stop socking (and yes, editing when you're blocked is socking) suggests he will still have problems when he returns, whether his socking is because a lack of self control or an unfortunate belief we can't do without his edits. While I'm aware SA denies some of the socks are his, I ultimately trust the CUs more than a I trust him. (In fact as others have noted and I assume most are aware, his claiming it's not him of course makes it harder to trust him if we believe the other side, as is always the case with this sort of thing.) The thing which pushed me from a weak oppose or neutral to a clear cut oppose (and why I decided to comment here even though the uncertain status of this thread) is as I also noted in the arbitration request, I also have concerns that he seems to think extending the blocks for socking was intended as a form of punishment which suggests an unfortunate fundamental lack of understanding of our blocking policy and more importantly, a lack of understanding why his socking is harmful and would lead to the community not to trust him. In that discussion User:IRWolfie- suggested that SA would not be fluent in policy because of their absence, but this is missing the point since 1) As I indicated, the bigger problem is that he doesn't seem to understand the harm his socking causes both to Wikipedia and to people's willingness to trust him to edit here, this is not a matter of policy. 2) Our policy has not changed, blocks haven't been intended as punishment for a very long time (for ever?), way more than 4 years. 3) If he is going to sock, he should at least try to understand our policies, particularly the policies that relate to his editing like why we do not want him to sock, and why we are likely to extend his block if he socks. 4) Even if he had not do so in the past, I would expect him to try to at least have a basic understanding of our policies particularly policies that relate to his past behavior and to blocks before he asks to return. Nil Einne (talk) 17:52, 10 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Unblock per MastCell. -Nathan Johnson (talk) 18:20, 10 August 2013 (UTC)

closing[edit]

This has been open since Aug. 5, so I will be closing this now. I have read through it once, but it will take a bit of time to sort through everything and evaluate consensus. I will post my results as soon as I have reviewed all the material. — Ched :  ?  02:22, 10 August 2013 (UTC)

You are a fine man to close such a discussion, Ched. Your presence here is very welcome! --Demiurge1000 (talk) 02:53, 10 August 2013 (UTC)


SA request results:

principles I've reviewed


comments
  • After reviewing this situation I have decided that community consensus is to unblock the current account of User:ScienceApologist which is now User:Previously ScienceApologist after 5 days of discussion. Those who oppose the unblock do have valid reasons in the history of the account/person in the sense that there were difficulties, and even to the extent of policy violations in the past. However, there is not only overwhelming support for an unblock in numbers, but there is also solid reasoning even if it lies in the WP:IAR due to the ability to provide content to the project. There seems to be little dispute that SA contributed quality content in the past. I will be unblocking after posting this notice. My rationale is listed below, and it is quite possible that I've missed some individual items; but I think the bulk of it speaks for itself. I came. I saw. I read. I've made my own determination, and will respond to any complaints as time permits.


support unblock
  • IRWolfie (proposed), Bishonen, Sceptre, Floquenbeam, Tarc, Begoon, Count Iblis (with restrictions), Giano, Reaper Eternal, MONGO, Vsmith, Dr.K., NorthBySouthBaranof, Sluzzelin, Dominus Vobisdu, HiDrNick!, Noformation, SmokeyJoe, Cas Liber, MastCell (with some reservations), Moriori, LeadSongDog, Reyk, Volunteer Marek, Hahc21, Alex Bakharev, Mathsci, Stanistani, Anthonyhcole, Agathoclea (with eyes on), John lilburne, StringTheory11 , LuckyLouie (with short leash), bd2412, Arc de Ciel, Martijn Hoekstra, EdChem, Black Kite, Nathan Johnson . (45)
oppose/ keep blocked
  • Beyond My Ken, Nick-D, GiantSnowman, Someone not using his real name, Binksternet, Lukeno94, A Quest For Knowledge, Snowolf, Kww, T. Canens, Jtrainor, Errant, John, Aarghdvaark, John Carter, Lord Sjones23, Unscintillating, Demiurge1000, (18)
comment
  • UltraExactZZ, TenOfAllTrades, Gaijin42, Basalisk (leaning toward keep blocked without further assurements), Beeblebrox (wants CU), Hut 8.5 (favors block), Errant (possible with an understanding), The Devil's Advocate, SamuelTheGhost, Cla68, ImperfectlyInformed (neutral), Aarghdvaark, SB_Johnny (understands both sides),

Ched :  ?  03:50, 10 August 2013 (UTC)

  • Thank you for engaging with us in this discussion, Ched. It's good see see you back again. --Demiurge1000 (talk) 03:57, 10 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Thank you Demi ... and as I've made my efforts, I'll let someone else actually close the thread. — Ched :  ?  04:21, 10 August 2013 (UTC)
  • For the record, although I gave only a qualified support of an unblock above ("I support any unblock appeal from SA that includes a brief statement ..."), my qualification was satisfied in a subsequent discussion at SA's talk, so I support the unblock. Johnuniq (talk) 04:33, 10 August 2013 (UTC)
  • For the record, I should be in the "support unblock" category. Cardamon (talk) 05:01, 10 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Comment
The socking policy is a complete joke. It needs completely rewritten. If someone wants to edit you can't stop them. We have all these people creating socks and all these people chasing them. It's a never ending cycle with the policies we have in place. In cases such as this, it's best to let them have the account they want and keep an eye on them. I support this unblock. PumpkinSky talk 11:01, 10 August 2013 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Heads-up to all editors using Gmail for e-mail[edit]

Posting here because I know that many administrators, and other editors who watch this page, use Gmail for their Wikipedia e-mail accounts. Please feel free to cross-post this as appropriate.

Within the past two weeks, I have noticed that a large percentage of my WP-related e-mails, mostly from mailing lists but also including individual messages, has been directed by Gmail into my spam folder rather than my inbox. I discovered this when I didn't receive an important message that someone had forwarded to one of the lists, and on checking my spam, found dozens of messages that were not actually spam. I know that many other users have encountered the same problem recently.

If you have a Gmail account, you should check your spam folder to see if it contains any messages you want to read. If you have sent an e-mail to a Gmail address recently that hasn't been answered, this may be a reason why. Newyorkbrad (talk) 15:48, 7 August 2013 (UTC)

The reason seems to be that many Gmail users have been marking messages from Wikimedia mailing lists "as spam". Gmail tracks every instance of a Mark as spam button being pressed, and uses the data to train its Bayesian filters; the tipping point was recently reached for lists.wikimedia.org, and now Gmail treats WMF lists as a spam threat. To cut a long story short, the only way to stop this from happening in the long term would be for you to select all the WMF list messages that are in your spam folder, and to then hit the Not spam button. AGK [•] 15:57, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
I keep on top of my spam folder and haven't had a single WP-related e-mail in there - but probably simply because nobody is e-mailing me :( GiantSnowman 16:08, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for this notice, I had a few messages in there, including one asking me to confirm addition to a mailing list; now I know why I haven't received anything from the mailing list.--SPhilbrick(Talk) 17:26, 7 August 2013 (UTC)

As a note - you can create a Gmail filter for the To: address for each mailing list, with the property set of "Never mark as spam", which will prevent this from happening. I had this for most but not all of my WMF list subscriptions, and as far as I can tell the ones I already had set that way were still delivered OK, but many of the others didn't. Georgewilliamherbert (talk) 19:08, 7 August 2013 (UTC)

There's something I'm not understanding here. Do people really first join WMF mailing lists and then mark the messages they get from them as spam? It sounds kind of insane. Like first buying groceries and then stuffing them in a trash bin on the way home. [Thinks about it.] Well, I suppose if you join a WMF mailing list you're most likely already insane anyway, so why not. Bishonen | talk 20:17, 7 August 2013 (UTC).
The Google spam filter is tagging the incoming WMF mailing list emails as spam and jettisoning them into the spam folder. As many critical emails are being missed, in the oversight and checkuser mailing lists for example, it's important to note the issue so others are aware that there is a problem. --Jezebel'sPonyobons mots 20:41, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
(edit conflict) Yeah, that is... weird. Could the Foundation maybe get in touch with Google, and see if they're willing to tweak the algorithm for us? Companies like Google have a long history of making special exceptions for the WMF when it comes to these things; and I imagine Google doesn't want to be in the position of disrupting the operations of projects it has a strong symbiotic relationship with (i.e., they give us loads of money, and also use tons of our data). (Pings @User:Philippe (WMF), User:Mdennis (WMF), User:Jalexander) — PublicAmpers&(main accounttalkblock) 20:46, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
Wow I'm glad you all said something. I just checked and I had 6 messages (2 from today) in the Spam folder. Kumioko (talk) 20:49, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
A similar problem has been discussed on the wikitech-l mailing list. Johnuniq (talk) 22:23, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
The same thing does also happen on Microsoft's Outlook. I checked my spam folder just in case, and out popped some Wikipedia sent messages. 『Woona』Dear Celestia... 18:14, 10 August 2013 (UTC)

Science Apologist's indefinite topic ban from pseudoscience and fringe science[edit]

Tim has lifted the topic ban and made it retroactive to the time of SA's unblock. Now all those adorable ducks are in a cute little row. Go forth, my child, and sin no more.--The Devil's Advocate tlk. cntrb. 02:28, 11 August 2013 (UTC)
The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Concomitantly with the block, User:Timotheus Canens had imposed an indefinite topic ban [14] on Science Apologist's editing of pseudoscience and fringe science topics. The discussion recently closed on this page only addressed the issue of unblocking Science Apologist. Judging by the edits of Special:Contributions/Eliminatesoapboxing, which two check-users said it shared a residential connection with Science Apologist, it seems rather obvious that Science Apologist intends to edit the areas from which he was topic banned. Please discuss below if the indefinite topic ban still affecting Science Apologist should be lifted or not. Someone not using his real name (talk) 19:28, 10 August 2013 (UTC)

  • Plus, Science Apologist has edited in the topic area after his unblock [15]. Technically, this is also a violation of his topic ban. Someone not using his real name (talk) 19:30, 10 August 2013 (UTC)
  • It's clearly a violation of their topic ban. There's no other way to spin it. That last thing you would want to do after being unblocked for repeated socking offenses, is to violate your topic ban. But that's apparently what's happened. Personally, I'd rather give SA an opportunity to self-revert. If he wants to appeal his AE topic ban, he should file a request at AE. A Quest For Knowledge (talk) 19:41, 10 August 2013 (UTC)
    • Quite a few technical violations of policy by Science Apologist have been forgiven by the community in the unblock discussion above, so I think it would be more useful if this discussion focused on whether his topic ban should be lifted or not rather than delve on the most recent minor infraction. Someone not using his real name (talk) 19:48, 10 August 2013 (UTC)
  • [edit conflict] Quest for Knowledge, I'm confused. The account was blocked as a sock, and SA was recently unblocked by community consensus. Why would we add a new sanction now for something that one of the socks did some time ago? Nyttend (talk) 19:50, 10 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Nobody's asking for a new sanction. SA is already subject to this topic-ban. A Quest For Knowledge (talk) 20:17, 10 August 2013 (UTC)
  • The charges here and on SA's talkpage that he has now violated Timoteus Canens' old topic ban are simply wikilawyering, as can be seen from the AN discussion which led to SA being unblocked above. As I pointed out on SA's talkpage when The Devil's Advocate and A Quest for knowledge tried there to re-ignite their much-ignored attempt to raise the topic ban above, a majority of the people who weighed in on the unblock discussion were asking for SA to be unblocked precisely so that he could again become a bulwark against POV editing by fringe and pseudoscience zealots.[16] While the topic ban wasn't mentioned much in the discussion (except by The Devil's Advocate, who went on about it rather, yet failed to interest anybody), it goes without saying that an unblock based on that discussion includes a quashing of the topic ban. Nothing in the discussion suggested that we were working up to saying something like "Welcome back, we really want your help, but you must not touch the areas that we want your help with." This horse was dead from the start. I disagree with Someone not using his real name that there's any need to start whipping it all over again. Bishonen | talk 19:54, 10 August 2013 (UTC).
  • There is no active topic ban to be lifted. Let me quote the very start of the unblock discussion: "What conditions, restrictions, or topic bans was he under prior to his block/ban, and would there be any such restrictions if he were unblocked?" -TenOfAllTrades, me: "The initial block was for 3 months per Wikipedia:Requests_for_arbitration/Fringe_science#Motion_to_sanction_ScienceApologist. That has since expired. New restrictions are up for discussion here, so I can't answer that question." No sanctions were agreed on in the discussion, and it was for just the unblock. Now he is unblocked, that is all. IRWolfie- (talk) 20:02, 10 August 2013 (UTC)
Firstly, TenOfAllTrades asked a question, that is not a determination. Secondly, after I stated the above, that any restrictions were up for discussion, we had the discussion, where people suggested SA should be unblocked precisely so that he can continue to edit in the area of fringe theories. No restrictions were agreed upon. The summary does not mention any restrictions on the unblock, TDA got no traction in pushing that. IRWolfie- (talk) 20:09, 10 August 2013 (UTC)
The indefinite topic was imposed by User:Timotheus Canens invoking the authority of WP:Discretionary sanctions. According to ArbCom [17]

Administrators are prohibited from reversing or overturning (explicitly or in substance) any action taken by another administrator pursuant to the terms of an active arbitration remedy, and explicitly noted as being taken to enforce said remedy, except:

(a) with the written authorization of the Committee, or
(b) following a clear, substantial, and active consensus of uninvolved editors at a community discussion noticeboard (such as WP:AN or WP:ANI). If consensus in such discussions is hard to judge or unclear, the parties should submit a request for clarification on the proper page.
I did not see a clear consensus to lift the topic ban in the above discussion. Perhaps we should wait for Timotheus Canens to comment however, as he may lift the sanction himself. Someone not using his real name (talk) 20:16, 10 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Even though I opposed SA's unblock, I will say that there should be no new topic ban imposed without community consensus, and it is simply common sense that any old topic ban expired when the indef was lifted. GiantSnowman 20:06, 10 August 2013 (UTC)
    • No one is asking for a new topic ban. SA is already under an existing top ban which has not been lifted. A Quest For Knowledge (talk) 20:19, 10 August 2013 (UTC)

This is an incident, incidents should be at ANI. IRWolfie- (