Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard/Archive301

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Block review for Clockback[edit]

This discussion has gotten absurdly long for something generally as straightforward as an unblock request. Add to that a previous attempt to close that was reverted and the obvious issues with canvassing and it all adds up to big mess. However, at the end of the day it seems clear that the community at large not only endorses the original block but also the revocation of talk page access. Clockback is therefor now “community blocked” meaning that only a future community discussion can result in their complete unblocking. They may still use UTRS to appeal the revocation of talk page access unless and until UTRS admins find their appeals disruptive. Beeblebrox (talk) 19:22, 7 August 2018 (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.

Clockback (talk · contribs · deleted contribs · logs · edit filter log · block user · block log)

Clockback is in real life, British journalist Peter Hitchens. He was recently indef-blocked by JzG. I will argue here that the block, while warranted, was too harsh and has outlived its purpose. The circumstances are as follows. The matter is a bit delicate, so please bear with me.

Clockback's block log is clean. The current dispute concerns George Bell (bishop), in particular, the section Child abuse allegations. Hitchens has written a lot about this matter in the British press. Clockback has sporadically edited the article in the past two-and-a-half years, largely without incident. They have also used the talk page thoroughly (I count 22 comments by them). This is by way of preamble, to stress that Blockback has been largely restrained and largely proper in their edits and discussion.

In late 2017, the Carlile report on the matter was published. Please see this BBC or this NYT article for an overview. Around the same time, there was a long discussion on how to re-organize the section in light of the report. Clockback participated in that discussion, again, largely properly. For various reasons, the editor who started the discussion didn't find the time for a rewrite (or perhaps it was a failure of WP:BOLD). So the matter rested there.

On 21 July Clockback made two edits to the article edit1, edit2. Both have edit summaries and seem like good-faith edits to me (I take no position on their correctness). They were also explained on the talkpage. Another editor Charlesdrakew reverted Clockback's edits with no explanation; Clockback reinstated the edits. On 28 July, Charlesdrakew reverted the edits again, simply saying that Clockback has a COI and should get consensus first, but no direct explanation of the revert. Clockback argued more on the talkpage, but no further discussion happened.

At this point I should mention that the two editors had butted heads in the past. Charledrakew had complained (about an earlier version) that the section gives too much space to "professional loudmouths" and that the section thus "looks like a whitewash". I take no position on whether these concerns were correct, and whether or not Charlesdrakew intended to address Mr. Hitchens. The important point is that Clockback took these comments as a personal affront (Hitchens is quoted in the section).

Things spiraled quickly after the events of 28 July. Clockback made this edit as a humourous (he says) rejoinder, which tried to express his frustration with a reductio ad absurdum. After he was reverted, he edit-warred to keep the text in. It was at this point that JzG blocked Clockback to stop the edit-warring.

I tried to mediate between the positions, and reorganized the section thoroughly. You can read my explanation here. Both Clockback and Charlesdrakew, while not entirely happy, seem to be satisfied with my rewrite.

Clockback's repeated unblock requests have been denied because the admins say that he has refused to acknowledge his improper editing. This charge is undoubtedly true, but I would ask people to read the excellent essay WP:Editors have pride. On the important matter -- namely the text of the article -- Clockback has already acceded to a reasonable consensus. One should not expect people to grovel. The block is now only punitive.

The punchline to the story is given in my !vote below. Kingsindian   07:04, 3 August 2018 (UTC)


  • Endorse initial block but support unblocking now: The edit-warring obviously needed to be stopped, and a (short) block was entirely proper. I would, however, argue that matter has been resolved satisfactorily, so the block no longer serves a purpose. Clockback's edits were driven by a sense of frustration, and were not typical of his other edits to the page, which were largely restrained and largely made in good faith.

    Also, please keep in mind that Wikipedia bureaucracy can be forbidding to a casual editor. Clockback tried to discuss his edits thoroughly, but he was not well-versed in the dispute resolution process on Wikipedia, which led to this downward spiral. For instance, he was not comfortable with starting an RfC. I promise to help Clockback on this point. (Incidentally, many other people have told me the same thing: RfCs are very confusing. I routinely see people screw up RfCs.) Kingsindian   07:04, 3 August 2018 (UTC)

  • Support unblocking, an immediate indefinite block for the first offense? No. Fish+Karate 08:38, 3 August 2018 (UTC)
    Note I'm not saying a block is wrong, just that an indefinite one is excessive. Fish+Karate 10:11, 3 August 2018 (UTC)
  • Endorse block. The tone of Clockback's response to notification of this discussion, as well as that of previous unblock requests, suggests to me that this block is still necessary. I've yet to see any indication that Clockback understands the problems with his editing; the edits for which he was blocked are symptomatic of a longer-running issue, and until there's some suggestion that these editorial and COI edits won't recur, I'm in favour of retaining the block. Yunshui  08:46, 3 August 2018 (UTC)
  • Support unblocking, an indefinite block for the first offense is too harsh.Keith Johnston (talk) 10:34, 3 August 2018 (UTC)
  • Endorse my own block obviously. I mean, seriously? An editor with a COI, adding "Nor was there any reason for a complaint to be passed to the police since, as Bishop Bell was dead, he could not be prosecuted and they had no statutory role in the affair. A complaint might as well have been passed to the Fire Brigade or to Tesco", that fails WP:COI, WP:NPOV and WP:CIR, frankly.
His other edits are to Christopher Hitchens (edit | talk | history | protect | delete | links | watch | logs | views) (COI), Peter Hitchens (edit | talk | history | protect | delete | links | watch | logs | views) (WP:AUTO, COI), Education Policy Institute (edit | talk | history | protect | delete | links | watch | logs | views) (COI, long-standing off-wiki agenda there), A Brief History of Crime (edit | talk | history | protect | delete | links | watch | logs | views) (WP:PROMO, COI), The Broken Compass (edit | talk | history | protect | delete | links | watch | logs | views) (PROMO, COI) - you have to go back ten years for a single mainspace edit that's even arguably non-conflicted, and even then it's a likely conflict given his off-wiki comments on the subject matter added at Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (edit | talk | history | protect | delete | links | watch | logs | views). Overall: WP:NOTHERE. Very definitely.
This is also as clear an example of m:MPOV as you could wish for.
If unblocked he needs to be TBANned from COI edits, which is, to a good first approximation, 100% of his editing to date. Guy (Help!) 08:58, 3 August 2018 (UTC)
  • Endorse block. Hitchens only edits in areas where he has a massive WP:COI. From his talk page it is clear he isn't going to change. -Roxy, the dog. barcus 09:16, 3 August 2018 (UTC)
  • Endorse block. As I stated on his talk page, I would need to see some evidence his behavior would change, and I haven't yet. 331dot (talk) 09:35, 3 August 2018 (UTC)
  • Endorse block. Clockback's edits...were not typical of his other edits to the page, which were largely restrained and largely made in good faith. - Kingsindian
Really? "Nor was there any reason for a complaint to be passed to the police since, as Bishop Bell was dead, he could not be prosecuted and they had no statutory role in the affair. A complaint might as well have been passed to the Fire Brigade or to Tesco" was his addition to the ARTICLE. That prose wouldn't be acceptable in news reporting, let alone an encyclopedia. If he wants to promote himself and grind his axe, he's got The Mail on Sunday for that. --Calton | Talk 10:05, 3 August 2018 (UTC)
I do not expect everyone to agree with me, but I do expect people to read properly. My comment was explicitly NOT about this edit, but the edits PRIOR to this whole unfortunate mess. Kingsindian   10:23, 3 August 2018 (UTC)
And I expected you to note that was single example of how wrong you were -- and maybe note the others who've commented about his track record, but I guess it's hard to read properly when you're up on your high horse. --Calton | Talk 10:45, 3 August 2018 (UTC)
  • Support unblocking The continuation of this block appears to be purely vindictive.Themunimentroom 13:11, 3 August 2018 (UTC) Themunimentroom (talkcontribs) has made few or no other edits outside this topic. Note: An editor has expressed a concern that editors have been canvassed to this discussion.
  • Endorse per Yunshui, Roxy, and Calton. Gamaliel (talk) 13:13, 3 August 2018 (UTC)
  • Support unblocking - surely blocking is a last-resort measure for vandals and those who cannot be reasoned with, not people an editor has a conflict of opinion with. It can be argued the editorial reverting of changes was unwarranted, and needs explanation. Otherwise, the whole edifice of wikipedia (of people setting down facts) becomes under threat. PS, I read he has a COI with the page dedicated to his brother - if this is the measure of COI then practically nobody shoudl be allowed to edit anything, as they all have a COI with the topics they care to write about! User:gbjbaanb 14:17, 3 August 2018 (UTC) gbjbaanb (talkcontribs) has made few or no other edits outside this topic. Note: An editor has expressed a concern that editors have been canvassed to this discussion.
  • Support unblocking - really believe that a temporary block is enough, this is in keeping with the spirit of openness that Wikipedia should be known for User:theheatwick 15:03, 3 August 2018 (UTC) theheatwick (talkcontribs) has made few or no other edits outside this topic. Note: An editor has expressed a concern that editors have been canvassed to this discussion.
  • Endorse continued block, as unblock requests to date have pretty much consisted of i-didn't-do-that and you're-a-bunch-of-totalitarians. --SarekOfVulcan (talk) 14:19, 3 August 2018 (UTC)
  • Procedural close we don’t accept 3rd party unblock appeals. A sanctioned editor must appeal themselves and address the issue. Every admin who has reviewed the block until now has declined to unblock, and none of them felt the need to bring it here. TonyBallioni (talk) 14:41, 3 August 2018 (UTC)
    • Also, notifications to @Yamla, 331dot, and MaxSem: as the admins who previously reviewed this block as they don’t appear to have been notified that it is now at AN for review. TonyBallioni (talk) 14:46, 3 August 2018 (UTC)
So, in a complaint about the heartless Wikipedia bureaucracy, your solution is ... more bureaucracy? No wonder Wikipedia is dying. Also relevant, in light of all the brouhaha about COI and so forth. Kingsindian   14:57, 3 August 2018 (UTC)
3rd party appeals aren’t usually allowed because they miss the point of the entire unblock process: discussion with the blocked editor. They also tend to waste a lot of energy for no reason and are dramafests that quickly become disruptive. There is nothing special about this case meriting AN review outside of the normal process at the request of someone other than the blocked editor. Their appeals will be considered on their talk page, and the advantage there for them is that they aren’t considered banned and don’t require future AN review if the unblock is declined. TonyBallioni (talk) 15:03, 3 August 2018 (UTC)
One of the purposes of WP:AN is to review blocks. Nothing substantial would change if I copy pasted Clockback's last unblock request above my own statement. It's pointless WP:BURO. And if you hadn't noticed, I have been copy-pasting Clockback's comments from the talkpage here. Kingsindian   15:06, 3 August 2018 (UTC)
No, bringing it here on your own without the active appeal is the exercise in bureaucracy: we just don’t do that except in cases of unambiguous abuse, which this isn’t. There is now an appeal on their talk. This should be handled there by discussion with them instead of being made a spectacle. TonyBallioni (talk) 15:11, 3 August 2018 (UTC)
What the hell? There's a block review of an AE case just below this section. Blocks are reviewed here all the time. I am going to ignore this trolling now. Kingsindian   15:22, 3 August 2018 (UTC)
AE blocks have to be brought either here or to AE. Unblocking without consensus leads to desysop in those cases. There is nothing special about this block. TonyBallioni (talk) 15:24, 3 August 2018 (UTC)
So, if I give you an instance of the scores of block reviews which had nothing to do with AE, and were not brought by the blocked party, you'll go away, right? How about this one? Or this one? Or this one? I can do this all day. Kingsindian   15:55, 3 August 2018 (UTC)
Here's one from just a couple days ago where the block was overturned. Mr Ernie (talk) 18:08, 3 August 2018 (UTC)
@Mr Ernie:@Mr Ernie: So what is your opinion on the block? Kingsindian   19:35, 3 August 2018 (UTC) Kingsindian   19:36, 3 August 2018 (UTC)
  • Non-admin comment The user is currently WP:CANVASSING support for his unblocking on Twitter here and here (feel free to move/remove this if I have commented in the wrong place). Endymion.12 (talk) 15:59, 3 August 2018 (UTC)
  • Endorse block, this editor doesn't seem to be prepared to participate constructively. Max Semenik (talk) 19:25, 3 August 2018 (UTC)
  • Unblock Clockback please - having read the material, he is entitled to express those views, however controversial and unpalatable they may be for some. And he has made some grave points and should not have to beg for forgiveness for expressing his, founded, views. Ours is a plural society, please reflect the same on this platform for Mr Hitchens.— Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:13, 3 August 2018 (UTC)
    • Actually no he's not. He is entitled to express his views, founded or not, in accordance with the bounds of the law while writing for the paper, or on his own website or blog or anywhere else that welcomes it. However wikipedia is an encylopaedia written based on sources. Discussions here are intended to be about how we improve wikipedia. The views of random editors of stuff unrelated to that purpose aren't really welcome. Given our goals of building a community, there's some limited acceptance of editors express offtopic stuff like their views of subjectw within reason but this needs to be limited. Notably if several other editors feel that someone's specific expression of their views unrelated to how to improve wikipedia is harmful, it probably is since it's seemingly not improving community relations here but harming them. Note that I have not looked into the details of the case other than to know it doesn't appear to involve a living person since it's beside my point. Nil Einne (talk) 21:06, 4 August 2018 (UTC)
  • Support unblocking, an indefinite block for a first offence is way too much, Huldra (talk) 21:42, 3 August 2018 (UTC)
  • Endorse block - Guy's reasoning stands up. Beyond My Ken (talk) 22:33, 3 August 2018 (UTC)
  • I will note that Hitchens has now made 4 unblock requests on his talk page, and all have been turned down (by 4 different admins) because they did not address the reason for their block. Filing multiple frivolous unblock requests generally leads to shutting off talk page access. In this case, Hitchens being a public figure may be working in his favor, as admins may be shying away from that course of action so as not to be named in the inevitable follow-up off-wiki commentary from Hitchens about Wikipedia's "autocracy" and "liberal bias" - but since that's going to happen anyway, no matter what happens now (even an unblock won't stop it), someone should just bite the bullet and shut him down. Beyond My Ken (talk) 22:43, 3 August 2018 (UTC)
  • Endorse block - Canvassing one's twitter followers in order to get oneself unblocked certainly means that a user should never be allowed to return. Icarosaurvus (talk) 22:37, 3 August 2018 (UTC)
  • Endorse block. I am sympathetic to KingsIndian's position here, as I often am. But in this case I don't agree. We have just been through the Arbcom case of Philip Cross, where we had people involved in RW disputes editing about those disputes here in WP. This is not good for anybody. If you look at their edit count you will see that Clockback has pretty much only edited about himself, his family, his books, and things he pundits about in the real world.
Back in 2015 I tried to explain COI management in WP] to him, and he replied: I've tried it and it doesn't work. You'll just have to trust me. If I restrict myself, as I have for more than a decade, to correcting errors of fact, I can't see any problem. the temptation to rewrite the whole thing in better English is immensely strong, but I have resisted it all this time and will continue to do so. I really don't see why doing this, openly, is a difficulty. That was after he had just been edit-warring completely inappropriate content into mainspace about some picture of himself. (diff, diff, diff). An unrestrained temper tantrum. His claim is also somewhat contradicted by his actual edits to the page about him, which includes things like this
At the Bell page, folks have cited the edits at Bell - the first part about A complaint might as well have been passed to the Fire Brigade or to Tesco.. Has anybody looked at the rest of that diff? It also included This was a ridiculous statement, as under English law any accused person is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
Away back in 2007 he was all up into contesting the reality of ADD in his Mail column (e.g here. And sure enough he made around 30 edits to the ADD page including beauties like this.
Clockback obviously feels quite entitled to use WP like he would a column or blog to express his opinion and have temper tantrums. Wikipedia is however not his column, and he has not given us reason to trust his self-restraint. His temper tantrum over the block, is quite in line with what I have seen of him here.
KingsIndian I do get it that WP can be difficult to understand and navigate, but for as long as Clockback has been around, he hasn't really engaged with what we do here, how we do it, and why. There are many people drawn here to edit about themselves or some other external interest. Some of them take the time to "get it"; Clockback has shown little to no interest in WP's mission but a great deal of interest in using WP as yet another platform to express his opinions. It's just not what we do here. It is fundamentally a SOAP thing. Jytdog (talk) 02:00, 4 August 2018 (UTC)
  • Endorse block Indef block is suitable for such disruptive editors. So what if he's Christopher Hitchens' brother? Wikipedia is not his soapbox, and the editor hasn't recognized what they did wrong. I think, as a whole, we were way too lenient on them - seeing that they still have their TPA intact. byteflush Talk 03:59, 4 August 2018 (UTC)
  •  Administrator note: I tried to close this as "no consensus to unblock" before sufficient time had elapsed for this to be considered a "community block" (which is a block that ends up endorsed after "due consideration" by the community, thus becoming a de facto CBAN). I did this in an attempt to avert unnecessary drama, prevent the escalation of an unintended CBAN, and to let this user retain the normal options for unblocking. Both the OP here and the blocked user have objected to the closure as too quick, and while I thoroughly explained to them the much more serious consequences of a formal community-endorsed block that has been given "due consideration", the OP has strenuously insisted that they want a fair trial. So, if the consensus to endorse the block continues to hold for a reasonable amount of time, that is a risk that the blocked user was made aware of and decided to take. Swarm 10:32, 4 August 2018 (UTC)
  • Support unblock A week would be sufficient, some people seem keen to support the block because of who he is. User:Charlesdrakew seems to be one of them and that his attacks are ignored indicates we aren't treating this case fairly and neutrally, which is another reason to unblock. ♫ RichardWeiss talk contribs 10:46, 4 August 2018 (UTC)
  • Support unblock as time served. If nothing else, they are clearly keen to discuss the matter, and they are equally clearly WP:HERE. I consider the block harsh for a first offence, and although Clockback does have a transparent COI, they apper to have been up front about it from the start, and with the exception of a couple of instances, adhered to our guidelines. Although of course WP:VOL says we do not, of course, have to do anything we don't want to do, I can't help but suspect that if they had received a litle more traction on the talk page, we might not be having this discussion. —SerialNumber54129 paranoia /cheap sh*t room 11:02, 4 August 2018 (UTC)
I would respectfully disagree with the assessment that Clockback is WP:HERE. To date, the overwhelming impression I have gotten from his edits to both articles and talkpages is that he is interested in making Wikipedia read and operate the way he would like it to read and operate, without regard for Wikipedia's community, policies or processes. I've seen no indication that he has any interest in working on the encylopedia outside of areas in which he has a conflict of interest, and there is a definite hint of righting great wrongs to many of his contributions. Yunshui  13:30, 4 August 2018 (UTC)
More to the point, a ban from conflicted edits is a de facto site ban, Clockback only edits where he has a COI and this has been the case for at least ten years. Guy (Help!) 21:35, 4 August 2018 (UTC)
  • Support unblocking - having a valid opinion on an issue is not a "conflict of interest". Zacwill (talk) 13:38, 4 August 2018 (UTC)
  • Endorse block per Jzg and Jytdog. Really now, editor has continuously edited either with a direct COI or to support their own viewpoints contrary to npov etc. Only in death does duty end (talk) 13:47, 4 August 2018 (UTC)
  • Endorse block At first I was hopeful that this might be resolved relatively quickly but it has become clear from Clockback’s umpteen unblock appeals that he has not taken any of the advice in WP:GAB and is incapable of admitting that he has done anything wrong, and is continuing to attack his “opponent.” He has given no indication that he would not do the same thing again. I cannot see how we can unblock here. Pawnkingthree (talk) 18:01, 4 August 2018 (UTC)
  • Endorse block I agree with TonyBallioni that a third-party block appeal misses the point. Discussion needs to take place with the blocked editor. Given the amount of discussion that already has taken place with them, I'm not convinced that the behavior leading to the block will not continue. The goal of a block is not punitive, but to protect the encyclopedia, which this block is doing. In addition, the behavior following the block (and relating to the block) is quite concerning to me, including the canvassing on Twitter and continued attempts at finding appeal proxies rather than handling the matter themselves per WP:APPEAL. The COI issues, editorializing, etc., don't have a place on Wikipedia and they don't seem to realize that we're here to build an encyclopedia, not a news outlet or blog. I think they should be given the standard offer and see where it leads in time once cooler heads prevail. Waggie (talk) 19:12, 4 August 2018 (UTC)
  • Endorse unblocking. I have for several years donated money to this organization with the understanding that it would be of good use for a non-profit organization such at this is in order to uphold this great informational website, available for all interested, had I known that this organization with its self proclaimed high values in the shadow uses censorship I would have never donated and will from now on never do it again until this unwrong is fixed. Quite amazing to see such a big ”trial” for what should be a small matter. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Mhellstrom (talkcontribs) Mhellstrom (talkcontribs) has made few or no other edits outside this topic. Note: An editor has expressed a concern that editors have been canvassed to this discussion.
  • So you've given lots of money, but never edited before today? 331dot (talk) 20:38, 4 August 2018 (UTC)
  • Your donations to WMF are irrelevant, and do not give your comment any more weight. If anything, what gives a comment additional weight is if it comes from a Wikipedian who has contributed significantly to the encyclopedia, of which they are examples on both sides of this issue. Beyond My Ken (talk) 23:38, 4 August 2018 (UTC)
  • Endorse block. No remorse and the posts at User talk:Clockback fail to persuade me that the block is no longer necessary to prevent disruption. Indeed, they seem to confirm that disruption is going to continue[1]. DrKay (talk) 21:19, 4 August 2018 (UTC)
  • Endorse indefinite block until Clockback’s attitude changes. I initially assumed this was going to be a partisan dispute of right wing versus left wing editors voting and was open to idea of supporting an unblock, but examining the facts and carefully reviewing his unblock requests, it is clear that this editor is disruptive and is draining of people’s time (he is behaving like the world and Wikipedia should revolve around him and he has the right to drain people of their time so he can WP:SOAPBOX his opinions (so much so he had to have his talk page access removed), instead of just editing productively and being willing to admit to mistakes. Should his attitude change only then can I support an unblock request.--Literaturegeek | T@1k? 23:43, 4 August 2018 (UTC)
  • Endorse unblock with ‘mentoring’ by myself I have changed my vote having read kingsindian’s posts in clockback’s defence which triggered me to look even more deeply into this issue and I’ve found substantial evidence of Clockback seeking consensus and working collaboratively with other editors on COI talk pages, e.g. Talk:Peter_Hitchens/Archive_4. I would agree to mentor him (in the form of helping him with disputes and pointing him to relevant policies and guidelines or instructions as a major issue he had was how to deal with image approval and dispute resolution processes, etc). I do not think Clockback is a bad lad, he cares passionately about social issues which can create biased editing but the evidence of him working collaboratively with other editors most of the time to achieve neutrality makes this less of a concern. The block has served it’s purpose to prevent edit warring and to warn him that editorialising with original ideas not supported by sources is not acceptable. Give the guy a second chance. If I am wrong, well, it is easy to just block him again. Why deny a guy a second chance, are we that unforgiving as a community?--Literaturegeek | T@1k? 00:34, 7 August 2018 (UTC)
  • Clockback has appealed, albeit disruptively in article body text, for help and guidance from editors in areas of policy and guidelines where he is still a newbie, so I think he would likely accept a mentor (someone he could come to for advice or assistance navigating complex Wikipedia rules or to help resolve a dispute).--Literaturegeek | T@1k? 00:56, 7 August 2018 (UTC)
  • Support unblock I think an indefinite block is excessive in this case. I have looked through some of Clockback's contributions. He appears to always state that he is Peter Hitchens when giving his view on talk pages, and the recent edits at George Bell seem to be uncharacteristic of his editing. Edits such as this, the canvassing on Twitter, and other similar behavior display an unfamiliarity with Wikipedia policy, but I believe his edits are fundamentally in good faith. Hrodvarsson (talk) 23:46, 4 August 2018 (UTC)
  • Endorse indef somewhat reluctantly, after reading the user talk page. I do not endorse a community-ban; perhaps once the situation has cooled down (and they've stopped trying to get randoms from Twitter to get them unblocked), they'll realize just how ridiculous contributions like [2] are, and that none of their excuses for it were believable. power~enwiki (π, ν) 00:03, 5 August 2018 (UTC)
  • Endorse block he writes: "I was blocked indefinitely, an absurd over-reaction to a legitimate bit of mild mischief entirely explained and justified by the appalling behaviour of the unpunished 'Charles'". Until he recognizes he has to follow community guidelines. -- (talk) 01:32, 5 August 2018 (UTC) User: (talkcontribs) has made few or no other edits outside this topic. Note: An editor has expressed a concern that editors have been canvassed to this discussion.
  • Endorse block (Non-administrator comment) I've looked over the George Bell article edits and Talk page discussion, as well as the discussion on Clockback's Talk page. Clockback added inappropriate content to the article, edit-warred to keep it in, and declared that he would continue edit-warring. He calls the content "mild mischief" but to my mind, mild mischief is equivalent to mild vandalism. It is appropriate to indefinitely block someone who is edit-warring to preserve their mild vandalism no matter who they are or how long they've been here. Indefinite does not mean infinite and editors are blocked indefinitely all the time for first offenses (examples include vandalism, username issues, and legal threats). It would have been rather simple for Clockback to get unblocked but instead of doing that, he's said he can't guarantee he won't do this again and is blaming the other editor. Therefore, the block is preventing further disruption. I hope that we won't see any new appeals for at least six months; if that means that this block is converted into a community ban, I support that because he has shown himself through his editing (as detailed by JzG and Jytdog) to be NOTHERE. If Clockback is unblocked I support a topic ban on COI edits. Ca2james (talk) 04:00, 5 August 2018 (UTC)
  • Endorse Unblock Ought one be indefinitely blocked for causing certain people annoyance regardless of the importance of their contributions - and, potential contributions? It seems those in charge have forced Mr Hitchens to drink hemlock and, when he refused, into exile. Apologies if I have inserted my comment incorrectly. I have a feeling of trepidation while writing this and expect to be reprimanded or 'tagged' as I have just opened an account and this is my first edit. Is this the sort of atmosphere an interactive 'encyclopedia' should instil in its more sensitive users? Crosslaa01 (talk) 12:26, 5 August 2018 (UTC) Antony (user: crosslaa01)
  • Endorse block for the original reasons plus the reprehensible canvassing. Nihlus 13:52, 5 August 2018 (UTC)
  • Unblock I've examined all of the details and I believe the Indef block should be removed. Clockback seems to have been overwhelmed by the bureaucratic and sometimes kafka-esque system of blocks and sanctions. Nobody should have to beg, and the initial unblock responses by Yamla and Max seem to emphasize process over content. Mr Ernie (talk) 18:03, 6 August 2018 (UTC)
  • I tried explaining to Clockback that there is a guide to appealing blocks, and that they are virtually guaranteed to be unblocked if they simply follow the instructions there. Reading the guide and submitting a compliant unblock request would have probably taken them less time and energy than the rambling diatribe they replied with. Swarm 20:34, 6 August 2018 (UTC)
  • Endorse block based primarily on off-wiki canvassing. I do not agree with the way Clockback handled the original dispute. However, I think that under all of the poor rhetoric, there might be (by stretching WP:AGF) an argument that he was trying to improve the project. (NB: I have fully reviewed the arguments here, and skimmed talk page and edits.) But there is no argument for the off-wiki canvassing if he truly wants to be part of the project. Again, assuming he was unaware of the policy on canvassing, after bringing that policy to his attention, he could've deleted his tweets. He has not. He asks the community to have faith in him, but he demonstrates no faith in the community or willingness to productively engage. Endorse block, though I would welcome revisiting this in a few months under the normal standard offer criteria if there is demonstrated remorse. If Clockback demonstrated remorse, I think that would be such a drastic shift from his current positions that it would warrant serious consideration by the community. Thanks to all the editors that have taken their time. --Policy Reformer(c) 00:34, 7 August 2018 (UTC)
  • Endorse Block per Ca2james. I've read through their talk page and don't find anything WP could gain by retaining him as an editor. Blackmane (talk) 04:53, 7 August 2018 (UTC)


  • Please see the discussion on Clockback's talk page. Further comments can be added below. Kingsindian   07:04, 3 August 2018 (UTC)
As above, please see the discussion on Clockback's talk page.
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.
  • I have suggested a topic ban as an alternative to a full block, but as Clockback is effectively a single issue editor he might not regard that as an improvement. Assuming this is Peter Hitchens, which I have no reason to doubt, he is too closely involved with the subject to edit without conflict of interest. Hitchens has long been a leading member of the Bishop Bell fan club and rants about it in his Mail blog.
While Bell is long dead the women who complained is alive and deserves respect. I have modified Kingsindian's rewrite slightly so that it does not look as if the Carlisle review is a vindication of Bell. It is not, being entirely neutral and criticising the church's treatment of both the complainant and Bell's memory.Charles (talk) 08:32, 3 August 2018 (UTC)
  • The following reply by Clockback is copy-pasted from his talkpage. Kingsindian   11:58, 3 August 2018 (UTC)

If 'Charles' cares to look, he will see that my personal link with the sign-on 'Clockback' has been confirmed by me according to Wikipedia protocols. There is no need to raise any question about the matter. My involvement in the Bell case is wholly disinterested. I have never met George Bell, am not related to him, I am not paid by him or his family. I took up this case because it seemed to me that an injustice had been done. I don't wish to boast, but merely offer this comparison for an example. Would Emile Zola have been disqualified from any role in the Wikipedia entry on the Dreyfus case, had there been a Wikipedia at the time, especially if he had intervened ( as I have done) cautiously and with referenced fact to back up my edits? ? Please note the hostile and pejorative use of the derisive term 'rants' to describe my writings about the subject. I also note his derisive use of the term 'George Bell fan club' to describe a group which includes Frank Field MP, Lord Lexden, several prominent churchmen and women, and a former editor of the Daily Telegraph, a distinguished QC and a retired judge. It has attracted support from both left and right, and from different wings of the C of E, including from the Very Revd Prof Martyn Percy, Dean of Christ Church, Oxford, and the Revd Giles Fraser. It is quite nonpartisan.

How 'Charles' can portray himself as a disinterested or impartial editor while behaving in this fashion (or how his claims to be such can be accepted ) I have no idea. I remain amused that this behaviour goes unnoticed and unrebuked, whereas my actions get me blocked *indefinitely* . This behaviour by'Charles' is of a piece with his abusive and ad hominem use of the term 'loudmouths' and his insulting use of the term 'whitewash' to describe efforts to clear the name of an unjustly pilloried person. I am not a single-issue editor, as it happens, but I do have a special and close interest in the Bell case, and ( as most of my fellow-campaigners for justice for Bishop Bell are even older and fustier and unskilled in the use of computers than I am), it has fallen to me to try to get the entry to try to reflect the considerable efforts of that campaign, and indeed its success, in overcoming the original mistaken and unjust presumption of guilt. I have always been very careful in doing so, because I understand that some people might think my intervention improper. I have only ever done so when it was clear to me that important changes needed to be made, and that nobody else would do them if I did not. I have explained myself fully on the Talk page and always been open to compromise.

'Charles' informs us: 'I have modified Kingsindian's rewrite slightly so that it does not look as if the Carlisle review is a vindication of Bell'. He then asserts:'It is not, being entirely neutral and criticising the church's treatment of both the complainant and Bell's memory'. This causes me to doubt if 'Charles' has read the Carlile report, or, as I have done, spoken to Lord Carlile about it. He cannot even spell its author's name correctly. It is a devastating rebuke to the church and the Sussex Police, and a demolition of the case against George Bell. It still amazes me that it forms such a small part of the Wikipedia entry, and that there was not, until I recently added it, even a direct link to it there. Lord Carlile said to me on the record at his press conference that he would not, were he a prosecutor in the case, have expected to secure a conviction of Bell on the evidence which he has seen (and he has seen it all). As Lord Carlile was specifically prevented, by his terms of reference, from ruling directly on the issue, this was as close as he could come to it. Charles says 'the women who complained is alive and deserves respect'. Why does he say this? I know of no occasion on which I have not shown respect to the claimant. I have never doubted that her accusation was sincere, and have never uttered a pejorative word about her, nor sought to insert anything uncomplimentary to her in the entry. Nor would I. Nor would any member of the group seeking justice for Bishop Bell. So what is the purpose of this sentence in this intervention by 'Charles'? This is about the Church, and the police, and those parts of the media which were beguiled by them, and always has been. Surely an alert and fair editor would be aware of this? Peter Hitchens, logged in as Clockback (talk) 09:26, 3 August 2018 (UTC)

  • I'll make a comment myself, because I find the situation more and more distasteful. I don't know whether to laugh or weep. See this section on the WP:ANI page, where Clockback appealed for impartial eyes on the matter. To remind people: at that point, the only talk page discussion was by Clockback, and he wasn't getting any feedback at all, except constant reverting.
What he got instead was an indef block by JzG, who says that they didn't even know that he was Peter Hitchens. If he knew, perhaps he would have seen this edit not as "editorialising" or WP:NOTHERE, but rather as a little bit of self-deprecating humour. I thought the British specialized in such humour? Or maybe being a Wikipedia admin requires one to be a humourless pedant. It was definitely wrong to try this sort of thing in a medium like text where humour doesn't carry very well. But this kind of edit deserves an indef block?
Have people completely forgotten how difficult and forbidding Wikipedia is to edit, especially for new and casual users? And when that user tries to complain or get some help, he is met with an indef, instead of someone probing beneath the surface and trying to help them out? The humourlessness, arrogance and officiousness displayed in this thread is truly distasteful.
Finally, a word about COI. Clockback has publicly declared their identity. He was not blocked for COI, but for "editorializing" -- JzG doesn't mention COI once in their block rationale, because they didn't even know that Clockback was Peter Hitchens. Now to suddenly shift the justification (but to keep the punishment) smacks of "sentence first, verdict after". It is truly a looking-glass world here in Wikipedia.
The justification doesn't even make any sense. People with a COI aren't absolutely disallowed from editing pages. I can give you tens of examples, including WMF board members and Wikipedia arbitrators who have engaged in "COI" editing in this sense. As I mentioned, Clockback waited for over half a year before making these edits -- the person who had proposed the reorganization didn't find the time to do it, so Clockback did it themselves. Anyone who has ever dealt with COI editing on Wikipedia knows that this happens all the time. I can give tens of examples (again). Kingsindian   12:29, 3 August 2018 (UTC)
  • You do know that the COI makes it worse, not better, right? Declared or not, it's over a decade since Clockback made a single mainspace edit that can be remotely plausibly argued not to be COI. So the harder you look at the problem the worse it looks. Guy (Help!) 13:38, 3 August 2018 (UTC)
  • So, even though COI had nothing to do with the block, one must keep the block, because COI? It seems to me that you have already decided on the sentence, and are looking for reasons to convict. If you apply Cromwell's rule for just 10 minutes, and cease your motivated reasoning, you might reach a different conclusion.

    And, if the real reason for blocking is COI, why not unblock Clockback, and open a real discussion here (or elsewhere) about COI, where they can defend themselves? There's no imminent disruption here which requires a block. Kingsindian   14:43, 3 August 2018 (UTC)

  • So that everyone here is aware, Hitchens has been tweeting about his block, and this block review (I won't link to every tweet he's sent, but these 2 are directly related: [3] [4]). IffyChat -- 14:34, 3 August 2018 (UTC)
  • Hmm, I'm not an expert in these things but I'm guess canvassing your Twitter followers to come to this thread and !vote here in support of unblocking will not be kindly looked upon....--Pawnkingthree (talk) 14:40, 3 August 2018 (UTC)
  • I think PH has come to realise what many of us have known for some time: that wikipedia is currently in the hands of an anonymous and somewhat oppressive autocratic elite who are accountable to absolutely no-one.
Mr Hitchens is perfectly entitled to make this subject public. Telling others about this matter is not a crime!
Those interested in "wikipolitics" might want to research the Philip Cross affair which has recently been the subject of numerous interesting discussions about the true nature of wikipedia.
I can still remember the time when wikipedia was largely a bit of fun and it really was a platform on which anyone could edit. Those days are long gone. Some pages are jealously guarded and editing them is impossible. I for one now largely avoid it. John2o2o2o (talk) 14:49, 3 August 2018 (UTC)
  • You, for one, only have 211 edits in 6 years (at least under this account name) or which only 34 edits (i.e. 16%) are to articles. The bulk of your edits (167, 79%) are to talk pages. So, really, your opinion, as someone who has done little to nothing to improve the encyclopedia, is fairly negligible. Beyond My Ken (talk) 05:08, 4 August 2018 (UTC)
  • Copy pasted from Clockback's talkpage. Kingsindian   15:00, 3 August 2018 (UTC)

I'd better respond to the various claims of 'conflict of interest' now being added on to the Kangaroo charges against me. I am probably the only living person in a position to know my father's actual function aboard HMS Jamaica in December 1943, and so perhaps nobody else could have removed the rather embarrassing claim (which my father and my brother would have hated) that my late father was in command of that fine cruiser at the time. As far as I can remember it was Captain Hughes-Hallett RN. The mistake arose from a misunderstanding of the Naval Rank 'Commander', which does not mean 'Commander of a Ship' (though some Commanders do command ships) . But if this is to be damned as 'conflict of interest', where are we? Nobody without such a 'COI' could have corrected this mistake. Should it then have been left uncorrected? Bizarre. I don't believe any such rule can be , or is consistently applied. As for my supposed crime in writing:' "Nor was there any reason for a complaint to be passed to the police since, as Bishop Bell was dead, he could not be prosecuted and they had no statutory role in the affair. A complaint might as well have been passed to the Fire Brigade or to Tesco', every word in it is absolutely true. But the qualification is only necessary because of the insistence by 'Charles' - who utterly refused to discuss the matter and who is emerging in this discussion as a thoroughly partisan and POV person on the subject of George Bell (would a topic ban be appropriate, do we think?), in retaining the pointless section on the non-calling of the police. One could likewise write, of this current dispute that the United Nations Security Council were not called in. But anyone who understood or knew anything about anything would not write that, and any editor of any sense would remove it. Peter Hitchens logged in as Clockback (talk) 14:09, 3 August 2018 (UTC)

  • Another copy-pasted comment:

I feel it is now necessary to address the behaviour of 'Charles', and were I not blocked, I would do so. It is quite absurd that I should be muzzled while he faces no criticism at all. I have noted here 1: His refusal to engage with me on the Talk pages except to allege COI against me. 2. His repeated use of pejorative and hostile terminology directed at me and my associates ' loudmouth', 'whitewash', and now 'rant' and Bishop Bell fan club'. I think this amounts to a clear declaration of hostile bias on the subject under discussion. This is made worse, in my view, by the fact that (unlike me) his real identity is not declared and we cannot know what his interest in the issue may be, if any, whereas mine is quite open and undisguised.Those here who are so anxious to condemn me, mainly for mistakenly assuming they possessed senses of humour, are now aware of the behaviour of 'Charles' and cannot therefore ignore it. By *their own standards*, is this really acceptable in someone who boasts of a 'Platinum Star' for his editing? Peter Hitchens, logged in as Clockback (talk) 14:30, 3 August 2018 (UTC)

  • @Huldra: It isn't a "first offence", he has been blocked for a long-term tendentious editing, WP:COI editing, and edit-warring. Please review the details. Endymion.12 (talk) 21:53, 3 August 2018 (UTC)
  • @Endymion.12: what I meant, was that this was his first block. To go from zero blocks straight to indefinite seems excessive to me. (It can of course be warranted, but then you would have do have committed a "wikideadly sin", say Outing, or legal threat, etc. That is not the case here.), Huldra (talk) 22:33, 3 August 2018 (UTC)
  • @Huldra: Given that they apparently do not understand why they have been blocked, and have refused to acknowledge that they have done anything wrong, I would suggest this block is preventative. They have already filed four unblock requests, each of which has been turned down. Endymion.12 (talk) 23:41, 3 August 2018 (UTC)
  • Another reply from Clockback -- on the COI issue. I am simply posting the diff here, because this section is already very long. Kingsindian   18:30, 4 August 2018 (UTC)
  • What's with the freaking lines? There's no reason that Clockback's comments should be set off any differently than any other editor's. Beyond My Ken (talk) 23:42, 4 August 2018 (UTC)

This is the final statement from Clockback. Copy-pasted from their talkpage, in response to this diff from Jytdog. Any admin can assess consensus and close this block review, if they wish. Kingsindian   11:50, 5 August 2018 (UTC)

Well, where to begin? I appear now to be on trial for actions many years ago, and for my supposed attitude, though the actual block was my punishment for being foolish enough to ask formally for editorial help in a dispute with 'Charles' who still goes unrebuked for calling me a 'loudmouth', and accusing me of 'rants' 'whitewash' and equally unrebuked for repeatedly ignoring my talk page requests for discussion and his autocratic, unexplained reversions of my explained and well-justified changes, for which I had been arguing on the talk page for more than *two years*. I should have thought my long-stretched patience with him, and my readiness to compromise show clearly that I *do* try to abide by the encyclopaedic spirit . Instead of help I got an *indefinite* block, which cannot possibly, in my view, have followed proper consideration of a dispute that had actually been simmering for more than two years. Perhaps Judge Dredd here has a toothache or an ingrowing toenail, which make his temper short. The fact that I am a newspaper columnist ('someone who is a pundit in the real world')is alleged against me, thus : I am 'treating WP pretty much like treat their real world platforms '.On the first, I freely admit that many years ago, I foolishly attempted to edit the page on 'Attention Deficit Disorder;' so that it reflected the considerable disagreements on the subject and the grave scientific weakness of the case for 'ADD' and its treatment with amphetamines. I may, it is true, have lost patience from time to time. I have learned since then that entries on such issues (and even on less contentious matters too) have guardians who will not allow them to be altered and who have the barrack-room lawyer's close knowledge of the regulations which makes them impossible to fight without an army of supporters and limitless time. I have neither. I learned from this, mainly not to trust any Wikipedia entries on issues of current controversy. But also not to bother. To bring these ancient scuffles up as evidence in this case is plainly absurd. Likewise the ridiculous suggestions that I am seeking to advance my own cause in factual edits to my Wikipedia biography or my late brother's. Oh, honestly. Hilariously, before Judge Block realised who I was he was consumed with fury at me for having described *myself* as having 'sabotaged my own education', in the belief that this was a malicious, destructive edit. Well, he can't have it both ways. It *would* be a malicious edit if an anonymous person who was not me did it. But precisely because I did it, it cannot be. Doesn't this show, that by including material critical of myself in my own biography, that I am not self-seeking here?

I have a strong belief that most of the faults of the internet are caused by anonymity, and so never hide behind it. I decided, as far as I can recall, from the first that I would say exactly who I was on Wikipedia, as I do everywhere else. If I did not do this, most of the allegations of supposed COI could not be made, because nobody would know. But the implication, that I am so stupid that I cannot tell an encyclopaedia entry from a newspaper column, or vice versa, and that I think I could or should get away with interfering in entries which concern me in a way that suits my case, *while using my own name* is rather insulting. I am just not that thick. Actually almost all my edits on these sites have been tiny factual matters where editors have just git it wrong, and I know from direct personal knowledge that they have. I can't really see that this is a serious breach.

The George Bell case is, I agree, wholly different. My involvement in it is wholly disinterested, in that I am not a relative of, or a friend of George Bell, or in any way obligated to him personally. It is, however, true, that I have been prominent in a campaign to get justice for him in this case of alleged child abuse . When I say justice, I mean precisely that. If a proper fair tribunal finds him guilty as charged, I shall accept it. If it does not, and there has so far been no such tribunal, then I shall continue to demand that public bodies, newspapers etc treat him as if he is innocent of these charges, as is proper under English law. I understand perfectly that some people will view my involvement in the Wikipedia entry as questionable. That is why I have used the talk page to encourage others to make edits which I regard as essential if the George Bell page is to be accurate . For good or ill I am one of the people who is best-informed about it, and I do not see why i should kepe that knowledge udner a bushel, when i could sue it to ensure a more accurate entry. This would have been a lot easier in the absence of the abusive, unresponsive, uncompromising and openly partisan editor 'Charles'( who as well as calling me a 'loudmouth', describing my work as 'rants' , characterising my efforts to get justice for an unfairly condemned man as a 'whitewash', describing a nonpartisan campaign containing many powerless people. the Revd Giles Fraser, and some other notable left-wingers as 'right-wing' and ' establishment' sneered at a disinterested and highly serious group of people ranging from members of the Chichester cathedral congregation, a group of former choirboys at that cathedral, a former chaplain of George Bell (and decorated naval veteran of World War Two) who, though dying, yet gave testimony in his favour, the daughter of a victim of Hitler helped by Bell, several distinguished academics, a retired judge, a QC and a dissident Labour MP to the former editor of the Daily Telegraph and the Dean of Christ Church as 'The George Bell Fan Club'). I have been most restrained in my interventions. I wish others would take on the task, but most of those involved in the Bell campaign and so knowledgeable enough to do so, have even weaker computer skills than I do, many are even older, and it was left to me. The satirical edit for which I am condemned (though every word of it was true) was never intended to stand, but it was intended to break the deadlock caused by the obduracy of 'Charles'. So it did. But my formal appeal for help got me ....blocked. That'll encourage the others. Well and good, that was a risk I suppose I ran. But it was clearly a ludicrous and hasty over-reaction, and people should stop making up retrospective reasons for it. Peter Hitchens, logged in as Clockback (talk) 15:52, 4 August 2018 (UTC)

I suppose nobody cares that Calton (who has participated in this discussion, so is not uninvolved) has now hatted the above section, which includes my comment here. What gives Calton the right to go around hatting sections? Nothing is going to surprise me now. Kingsindian   15:14, 5 August 2018 (UTC)


This appears to be the investigative report mentioned above by Clockback that they seem to want to write about in Wikipedia. I have not read it all but it seems relevant here that it discusses "jounalist Peter Hitchens" on page 25, para. 110; and page 52, para. 204. Alanscottwalker (talk) 22:12, 3 August 2018 (UTC)

Wikipedia:COISELF says "If you have a personal connection to a topic . . . you are advised to refrain from editing . . ." Alanscottwalker (talk) 22:24, 3 August 2018 (UTC)

He did refrain from editing. For more than half a year, in fact. The COI guideline does not absolutely disallow editing, but expects that you discuss things on the talkpage. Which he did. Kingsindian   11:25, 4 August 2018 (UTC)
The COI guideline does not give editors with COI any authorization to go ahead and make policy violating edits under any circumstances, to the contrary, it prohibits it. Alanscottwalker (talk) 12:59, 4 August 2018 (UTC)
Let me ask you something. You make a point about COI guideline saying that editors being advised to refrain from editing directly. I reply to this point. You don't even acknowledge what I said, and go on to make another point, one which I never disputed. Are we talking to the void or having a conversation? Kingsindian   13:17, 4 August 2018 (UTC)
I thought I had replied to your point, but if it is unclear, your attempt to render null the community consensus in the guideline's various provisions advising/telling/asking/imploring/prohibiting the COI editor not to edit, is irrelevant wikilawyering. It is what should be done, it being a guideline, and that means a COI editor should do it, and 'I am not getting what I want' is not a valid reason for not doing what should be done by the COI editor.Alanscottwalker (talk) 13:36, 4 August 2018 (UTC)

COI stuff[edit]

Let me address the point about COI raised by several people, including the initial blocking admin JzG and Jytdog above:

  1. According to the WP:ANI thread which resulted in Clockback's indef block, JzG wasn't even aware of their identity when they blocked them -- within 15 minutes of their post at ANI -- indefinitely. This means that JzG never even looked at Clockback's userpage (where Clockback self-identifies). Does anyone feel that a summary "sentence" -- in which such basic material facts as the user's self-declared identity weren't considered -- might be a tiny bit problematic? We report, you decide.
An obvious example of how identity is relevant
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.

In particular, if JzG was aware of Clockback's identity, they would not have fingered this edit (cited in their ANI response), as some kind of WP:NOTHERE or "unsourced" and "editorializing" edit. The source includes the quote by Hitchens "[I] made sure I would never get into Oxbridge. It was my own fault". To render this source as "sabotaging his own education" is a perfectly acceptable WP:summary style edit. And why would JzG tell Hitchens what he does or doesn't know about his own actions?

  1. COI was not mentioned in the block rationale. Clockback made 5 unblock requests. None of the admins -- none -- mentioned COI while declining the block.
  2. Now, this new charge of COI has been added to the chargesheet. Why? Supposedly the conduct is so bad that it merits an indef block without any prior warning or discussion? Where is the disruption or imminent disruption?

I submit that this is a severe case of "bad block". If the COI issue is really important, the proper way to proceed would be to first dispose of this unrelated matter. Hopefully unblock Clockback, and then talk to them or discuss their actions at a noticeboard. See this discussion by Jytdog, for instance. I will only say here that the COI guideline does not directly disallow people from editing the articles. I said above that I can provide tens of examples of editors (including WMF board members, and sitting and past arbitrators) who have violated the COI guideline in this sense. Test me if you want. Kingsindian   11:09, 4 August 2018 (UTC)

Thanks for your response. The general issue, and then the specific one.
The general point on COI: COI guideline says that -- with a few exceptions -- conflicted editors are strongly discouraged from editing directly. I believe that this notion has fairly broad and deep consensus (there are very vocal dissenters, of course). There is good reason for this guidance and the consensus behind it. When conflicted editors edit directly, they tend to add bad content and tend to behave badly trying to retain it -- edit warring and making tendentious arguments to keep it. Accepting the restraints of the COI management system spares everybody that drama, grounded on an acknowledgement by everybody involved, that a conflict of interest is present, and needs management.
As a last general matter: I acknowledge that there are cases of glaring COI editing. WP is shot through with garbage content along with good and like any human institution has flaws and hypocrisy in its administration along with good. But I am somewhat dismayed to see you, whom I respect, making an othershitexists argument.
Now to the specifics: What I tried to emphasize in my vote, is that with Clockback we have someone who is a pundit in the real world who is a) treating WP pretty much like treat their real world platforms and not engaging with the mission of WP and the ways the community has developed to realize it and b) editing about themselves and the issues they punditize about in their RW platforms. The latter is where the formal COI is, but the former is the deeper problem, which the COI only exacerbates.
The block log says Tendentious and POV editing, including edit warring, inserting opinion as fact and heavily editorialising in articles related to controversial figures.
In my view that aptly summarizes Clockback's entire career here in WP. It summarizes a) above, and b) above helps explain why Clockback behaves this way. Many people have a hard time seeing the mission clearly and engaging with it and the ways we realize it; conflict of interest makes it yet harder yet for people to clearly see what we do here (and hard to not see WP as a soapbox/platform for promotion). Someone whose real world occupation is writing their opinions will have a very hard time. We should not unblock Clockback until he shows some glimmer of self-awareness about how incorrect his approach to WP has been. (and btw, expressing self-awareness is not "grovelling"; that is, sadly, how many tendentious, indefinitely blocked editors frame this essential part of the community reconciliation process.)
I'll add that I trust Guy's instincts a great deal. Not perfectly, and I have been on the wrong end of him shooting from the hip. But he has a great sense of whether somebody is fundamentally here to build an encyclopedia or not, and understands that good faith is not a suicide pact. He indefs perhaps quicker than most admins. I have breathed a sigh of relief after many, many of his indefs.
A question I will turn back to you:
What evidence do you have that Clockback understands or even cares about a) our mission to create an encyclopedia with articles summarizing accepted knowledge, working in a community of pseudonymous editors, and b) the way the community realizes the mission -- namely by placing authority in reliable sources, not on the opinions or claimed expertise of any editor, and striving to summmarize those sources neutrally? Jytdog (talk) 14:24, 4 August 2018 (UTC)
I'm sorry, but I can't help but notice that you didn't address a single point I raised. You say you sympathize with my points. I don't want your sympathy. And you can keep your faith in JzG. I have no interest in such things. Unless you address my points -- all directly relevant to the block -- I'm afraid, there's no use talking.

Here's a direct question: Does indef blocking a Wikipedia editor, who has been here since 2006, within 15 minutes, without taking into account their self-declared identity, without even checking their userpage, and making at least one demonstrably wrong assertion about their edits, indicate "due diligence" to you?

And what does COI have to do with anything? That's not what the block was for.

I promise that if you address my points, I'll address yours, even though I consider COI to be essentially a red herring. Kingsindian   14:35, 4 August 2018 (UTC)

Red herring? You named this section 'COI stuff' --- the account was blocked for non-policy compliant editing over years --- but that there is WP:COI, would be a probable explanation for such an editing pattern. Others think that enough talking with the editor about their problematic editing did occur before the block over those years. Indef does not mean infinite, it means address understanding (and/or formal restraints) for/of issues/pattern/policy, so that the disruption will not re-occur.-- Alanscottwalker (talk) 15:14, 4 August 2018 (UTC)
COI was not the primary reason for blocking, but the edit that triggered the block absolutely was COI (along with many other tihngs) and more than a decade of nothing but COI edits in mainspace is a great reason for not unblocking IMO. Guy (Help!) 15:30, 4 August 2018 (UTC)
Kingsindian I am sorry that you feel I didn't address your points. I feel I did. Let me walk it through:
Your first sentence: I submit that this is a severe case of "bad block".
I addressed why I thought it was a good block per the block rationale, which in my view accurately summarized what Clockback has been doing in WP. I also discussed the particulars of Guy's blocking style and how this fits with that.
Your second sentence: If the COI issue is really important, the proper way to proceed would be to first dispose of this unrelated matter.
I tried to explain that in this matter, COI helps explain Clockback's pattern of behavior, but I very explicitly said in (a) that the fundamental problem is Clockback's lack of engagement with the mission and how we realize it. I even used the little "a" and "b" to try to make the difference clear between the problem "a" and one cause of it "b". I also tried to explain (and I will elaborate here) that COI matters come to the community's attention because of the kind of content conflicted editors tend to generate, and because of how they tend to behave. There are content and behavior problems. These problems can be described without any reference to COI - violating NPOV, adding unsourced content, edit warring, tendentious arguments on talk, etc. These issues can also be addressed at ANI or by admins without any reference to COI. We bring COI into it, because if there is a COI and the person acknowledges it and how it creates problems in this particular environment, they will generally start to behave better and edit better -- the understanding by the conflicted person is essential. COI is a definable, well-understood thing. This can lead to better outcomes for everybody. I try to do the same thing when somebody edits as an advocate and creates bad content and behaves badly -- I try to help them become self-aware of their own passion, so they can self-manage it better. Advocacy is less well-defined in the real world, and much harder for everybody to think about and manage. But again, what calls attention, is the bad content and bad behavior -- the observable, diff-able things they do in WP. These are what were addressed in the block notice for Clockback.
Your third and fourth sentences: Hopefully unblock Clockback, and then talk to them or discuss their actions at a noticeboard. See this discussion by Jytdog, for instance.
I directly addressed this and said that the block rationale was solid, and Clockback should not be unblocked until he shows self-awareness that he has been using his editing privileges incorrectly - namely as an extension of how he writes in his columns and blogs without regard for WP's mission and the methods by which we realize it. He seems to be unaware (and unconcerned) with what we do here and how we do it.
Your fifth sentence: I will only say here that the COI guideline does not directly disallow people from editing the articles.
I directly addressed this.
Your sixth sentence: I said above that I can provide tens of examples of editors (including WMF board members, and sitting and past arbitrators) who have violated the COI guideline in this sense. Test me if you want.
I directly addressed this.
So... ? I do not agree with you, but I did try to speak to everything that you raised. I did try. Jytdog (talk) 15:52, 4 August 2018 (UTC)
Jytdog@ It should be pointed out that [5] would be inappropriate whoever added it. To say that someone "sabotaged" their education would require robust sourcing even knowing that it was added by the subject. This had no source. Guy (Help!) 15:18, 5 August 2018 (UTC)

───────────────────────── @Jytdog: My points are numbered. There is a big chunk of text before the "first sentence". Kingsindian   15:55, 4 August 2018 (UTC)

I'm sorry let me directly address them as well.
1) you wrote:According to the WP:ANI thread which resulted in Clockback's indef block, JzG wasn't even aware of their identity when they blocked them -- within 15 minutes of their post at ANI -- indefinitely. This means that JzG never even looked at Clockback's userpage (where Clockback self-identifies). Does anyone feel that a summary "sentence" -- in which such basic material facts as the user's self-declared identity weren't considered -- might be a tiny bit problematic? We report, you decide.
As I noted, the problem was Clockback's pattern of observable behavior. Those who are in the "content not contributor" camp and oppose addressing COI matters much if ever, should be delighted that this was based solely on diff-able observable behavior without regard for who this person is. Unmanaged COI has been (as I have now said twice) a cause of the behavior, but the problem is a deeper lack of engagement with what we do and how we do it. See discussion above about what calls our attention to APPARENTCOI in the first place -- observable, diff-able behavior.
1a) You wrote "In particular, if JzG was aware of Clockback's identity, they would not have fingered this edit (cited in their ANI response), as some kind of WP:NOTHERE or "unsourced" and "editorializing" edit. The source includes the quote by Hitchens "[I] made sure I would never get into Oxbridge. It was my own fault". To render this source as "sabotaging his own education" is a perfectly acceptable WP:summary style edit. And why would JzG tell Hitchens what he does or doesn't know about his own actions?"
I really didn't want to respond to this (which is why I haven't so far) but now that that I am, I will say "Jesus fucking christ." Think about that last sentence. So you would give people who verify their identities more authority here in WP than other editors? Shall we also give company reps more authority? Shall we just hang up our hats and call this "PRopedia"? What the hell? (first question is real; last three are rhetorical)
Calming down, and dealing with the ref and the edit -- did you look at what else he did in that diff? Look at the block of text that includes "as part of the group of reporters accompanying Margaret Thatcher After witnessing the collapse of the Communist regimes in Czechoslovakia and Romania". There is unsourced autobiographical writing. Not OK here.
With regard to the bit that you pull about "sabotage", yes that does have some support in the source and Guy was incorrect about it being unsourced; that is a valid "gotcha". However, that phrase is something that should catch anybody's eye as "color" in a BLP article and does call for examination. Looking at the source -- there is an intentionality to "sabotage" that is not necessarily present in the quote. Fucking up in a way that turns out to have longterm consequences (as passionate young people often do), and owning the fuckup and its consequences, is not the same as intentional destruction i.e. "sabotage". A lot depends on what "Made sure I would never get into Oxbridge" actually meant in that conversation. To resolve which it is, would require discussion and looking at what other sources say about it.
2) you wrote:COI was not mentioned in the block rationale. Clockback made 5 unblock requests. None of the admins -- none -- mentioned COI while declining the block.
As I noted, the problem was Clockback's pattern of observable behavior. It is appropriate that COI was not discussed.
3) you wrote:Now, this new charge of COI has been added to the chargesheet. Why? Supposedly the conduct is so bad that it merits an indef block without any prior warning or discussion? Where is the disruption or imminent disruption?
As I already have written, it is not so much a "charge" as everybody going "yep that explains some of the behavior" and "yep unmanaged COI is a problem". I have consistently been trying to separate out the long term behavior and the underlying lack of engagement with the mission and how we realize it, from this cause of the behavior. I am starting to feel like I am repeating that too much. gah.
I have written too much but I just want to end the same way I ended my !vote. Clockback has not shown they understand what we do here nor how we do it. It is a WP:NOT problem -- It is fundamentally a SOAP thing. Jytdog (talk) 17:11, 4 August 2018 (UTC)

───────────────────────── @Jytdog: I will go back-and-forth (once or twice max.) with your reply to my points (just to clarify the points). After that, as I promised, I will reply to your own points. Feel free to end the conversation any time, but let me know if you do.

Let me make a general point first. Perhaps I am unfair, but it seems to me that you're trying to find reasons as to why your position is the right one. That is not the correct way of evaluating hypotheses. So, if one is in a Bayesian model, one can have a prior (say, "JzG is usually right about COI or indef blocks, so this block is good with probability 90%."), but must be willing to update it. I don't see any updating at all here: you may concede a point here or there, but ultimately, you change no positions. None. That's not really an argument; that's just providing justifications -- what theologians call "apologetics". Sophisticated theologians can construct quite elaborate apologias.

Let's be specific now. When you say Those who are in the "content not contributor" camp and oppose addressing COI matters much if ever who do you mean? Do you mean me? I never said or implied anything even remotely like this. So why construct this elaborate strawman? Could it be that you're trying to find reasons for justifying the block, and and not updating the probability of the hypothesis "the block was made improperly"? Again, I'm telling you how it looks to me. It looks like apologetics.

Let me make a simple assertion: The identity of Clockback was indeed relevant to his editing. Everyone in this discussion agrees with this assertion. Indeed, people are now insisting that his identity is hugely relevant to the matter, because "COI! COI! COI!". So how could it not have been relevant when he was blocked? It follows directly that a basic, material fact was disregarded before passing this summary "sentence" of indef block. As far as I can determine, you never challenge this simple point. This is evidence for the hypothesis "the block was made improperly". You seem to disregard this. Apologetics.

Let's look at the "diff-able" behavior. It is not me that "pulled the bit" about "sabotage"; it was JzG. You concede that I am largely correct about the matter. Ok: more evidence for the hypothesis "the block was made improperly". But you quickly move over this concession and try to find other evidence -- which JzG doesn't cite -- for the hypothesis "the block was made properly". Apologetics.

Lastly, you read my sentence: "none of the admins ever mention anything about COI while declining unblock". You read it, acknowledge it, and skip right over it. No updating anywhere. Apologetics.

Ok, you decide if I'm being fair. Kingsindian   17:50, 4 August 2018 (UTC)

Thanks for your reply. I think smaller bites might be helpful.
Is ~think~ you are perhaps asking "was the original indef valid?" and the answer you are hearing is "based on my evaluation of this person's behavior, the indef is fine".... and that is not answering your question. Is that correct? Jytdog (talk) 18:02, 4 August 2018 (UTC)
I made several points. My first point was about irregularities in the original block. And I was pointing out that because of the irregularities, COI was not and could not be a factor in the block. Kingsindian   18:25, 4 August 2018 (UTC)
Yes you made many points. Hence "smaller bites". This was the first small bite. Which you did not make clear and instead smooshed over and brought up other unclear points. The broad conversation isn't working and a step by step one isn't working, so I don't know how to proceed with you. Jytdog (talk) 13:30, 5 August 2018 (UTC)
@Jytdog: Yes, I was directly responding to a request for a "smaller bite". You asked me to clarify what you ~think~ I'm asking. I told you what I'm asking. I actually did it once above. Here, I'll restate it for you (in the form of a direct question): "Do you think that it was proper to indef block an editor, who has been here since 2006, within 15 minutes, without even looking at their userpage, without even knowing their self-declared identity? And that one of the two diffs cited while blocking was a misreading (at best) of the source."

Every word of what I said above is true. What I have an issue is that you acknowledge these facts -- plainly relevant -- and skip over them to try to find other reasons for the block. But you are still taking the validity of the block as a given, and never seriously consider the possibility that the original indef, when riddled with this many irregularities, could be wrong.

Again, to take the Bayesian analogy, you never update the hypothesis in the face of the given evidence -- cited by the blocker, not me -- and instead try to search for more evidence in favour of the hypothesis. Kingsindian   14:14, 5 August 2018 (UTC)

A simple question to Jytdog, JzG and others who claim that COI is the real issue here. There is a big schizophrenia in this thread. On the one hand, there are people (to pick Ca2james's comment as a random example, also every admin who responded to the unblock request, also Swarm), who claim that this whole drama could have been avoided if Clockback weren't so damn stubborn and unrepentant, and if only he acknowledged that their edit (about the Tesco and Fire brigade) was improper, he cou aould have been unblocked. This is accompanied by the intonation: "indefinite is not infinite". On the other hand, you have JzG and Jytdog claiming (and people agreeing with them), that the "real problem" is the long COI record, and thus he shouldn't be unblocked because he has and will engage in COI.

I submit that the latter is simply rationalization after the fact (I have given proof of it above, and won't repeat it here). The former is wrong because Clockback has already accepted my rewrite; all he wanted from the start was impartial eyes on the article, because he was making no headway in the talkpage discussion. Instead, he got a kick in the face from JzG. I do not support his edit-warring -- but the conduct deserves pity, not contempt. Also, see this comment by Clockback. Kingsindian   05:14, 5 August 2018 (UTC)

How many times do I have to explain this? The original block was for WP:TE/WP:DE/WP:EW (and WP:POINT, frankly, and possibly WP:CIR, certainly WP:NPOV, WP:V, WP:RS), the block review that you instigated has shown that in addition to being tendentious and disruptive, all this user's edits for the past decade are also WP:COI, despite numerous past warnings, and many are WP:PROMO. This is a user who simply does not accept our COI policy and who views his opinion as ineffable truth (m:MPOV). Add WP:NPA and (of course!) WP:NCR, leading to TPA removal, and I am left thinking that the only reason for unblocking at this point would be for comedy value, to see if he can collect the full set of policy violations before the next inevitable block. Guy (Help!) 12:55, 5 August 2018 (UTC)
Nice series of blue-links you have thrown there. Considering that you were demonstrably wrong on one of the two diffs you cited in your block, I wouldn't crow too much about WP:CIR. As for the claim that it's only a matter of time before the next "inevitable block", clearly, Wikipedia administration is completely useless, since Clockback has never been blocked before. Indeed, an undeclared probably paid/COI editor merrily edited Education Policy Institute and never bothered to even post on the talkpage, while Clockback did discuss the matter extensively on the talkpage. Now Clockback is indef blocked while nobody gives a fuck about COI. Out of sight, out of mind. Nice work. Kingsindian   13:29, 5 August 2018 (UTC)
We're done here. Guy (Help!) 15:02, 5 August 2018 (UTC)
User:Kingsindian, ok, the small bite. The block. So Guy's statement at ANI, in its entirety, was "I have blocked Clockback (talk · contribs · deleted contribs · logs · edit filter log · block user · block log) based on a review of contributions, which skew heavily towards highly biased editorialising e.g. "sabotaging his own education" and "Nor was there any reason for a complaint to be passed to the police since, as Bishop Bell was dead, he could not be prosecuted and they had no statutory role in the affair. A complaint might as well have been passed to the Fire Brigade or to Tesco". This looks like a case of WP:NOTHERE, WP:RGW and m:MPOV. Undoubtedly WP:TE, and the opinions are unsourced." at 08:24. That was a response to Clockback's OP made at 08:09. I've already quoted the block notice made at 08:21 (this is where you got the "15 minute review" thing) but will do it again here: Tendentious and POV editing, including edit warring, inserting opinion as fact and heavily editorialising in articles related to controversial figures.
So. you have accurately pointed out that the last sentence of the ANI statement is only half-correct (one of the two, was unsourced). Guy cited two examples. I do not believe that these were meant to be exhaustive, but rather examples. Anybody can click through large edits in Clockback's contribs and find those and the others and reach the same conclusion that Guy did, as expressed (with an error) in his ANI note or his block note, each of which focus on Clockback's lack of engagement with the mission and how we realize it. Without considering who he is.
So I find the initial indef very valid. I figured since 2015 that this is where he would end up. That is my actual a priori here... based on my own past interactions with him and having considered his contribs before. If it ever would come to a drama board, he would not survive. Too many bad edits, too ignorant, too arrogant. (I always find it so weird and kind of sad when intellectuals make a bunch of drama about losing editing privileges when they have obviously not spent any time trying to understand what has made WP possible and write things that are just ...silly, yet said with such gravity.)
Now, in addition you seem to be saying that Guy's analysis of Clockback's contributions would have reached a different conclusion, if Guy had taken Clockback's identity into account.
I have a sense that you (and some others who have !voted to unblock as well) want to cut much more slack to people who come here who want to edit about themselves, especially if they do it under their real name. Be somehow more simple and gentle about things; smoothing over rough spots where they get caught and then kind of scooting them on their way. Like one would do with a child. If that is where you are coming from, part of me finds that lovely. And (if that is correct) there is something good there about not taking this whole thing too seriously. Is that at all accurate? Jytdog (talk) 03:53, 6 August 2018 (UTC)

arbitrary break[edit]

───────────────────────── @Jytdog: Thanks for answering my direct question. In your opinion, JzG's block rationale was not supposed to be exhaustive, just illustrative of something fundamentally wrong with Clockback's editing. JzG sensed something was wrong, but they couldn't pinpoint it since they didn't know Clockback's identity. JzG themselves says roughly the same thing. Please let me know if I've misunderstood you. Ok, let's take this position seriously, and address it. And this reply will address your initial points as well.

For just a moment, consider the following hypothesis seriously: "Clockback is in the 95th percentile of COI editors. His edits are restrained, largely justified, largely beneficial to the encyclopedia, and any harm they did is minimal." You may respond with disbelief: "WTF Kingsindian? Are you mad?". Well, I am indeed mad, but am I right? Let's apply Cromwell's rule.

For evaluating such a hypothesis, one needs to look at all the evidence, not scattered diffs. And then we update the probability of the hypothesis accordingly. Space does not permit me to offer a full accounting, but here's what I'll do: I'll take three articles which Clockback edited, and look at all the edits they made to the article, as well the edits they made to the talkpage. Note that these are the articles which JzG and Jytdog themselves cited, so I am taking the hardest possible sample.

Article 1: Education Policy Institute: This was the state of the article before Clockback edited it. It was largely written by, as I mentioned above, a likely paid/COI editor. JzG seems to have indef blocked the editor after I pointed it out, but that was never my point. Clockback pointed out on the talkpage that the article nowhere mentions the link between this organization and the Liberal Democrats. They discussed this matter on the talkpage. This information is present in the lead of the article now. I count this a clear case of WP:HERE.

Article 2: Peter Hitchens The edits to this article go back a long way. I will only look at the edits post-2009 -- namely those discussed in Talk:Peter Hitchens/Archive 4 and Talk:Peter_Hitchens. I count at least > 90% support for my hypothesis. Let's take a look.

Examination of talkpage edits
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.
  • This section: As far as I can see, Clockback is > 95% right. And they thanked the editor who fixed the problem. No issues.
  • This section: Clockback is entirely correct. Another editor implemented the suggestion. Clockback thanked them. No issues.
  • This section is trivial and no importance.
  • This section is WP:FORUM thread started by some random editor, and is of no importance. It is largely civil.
  • This section is entirely correct. We discourage such cases of "Jew-tagging" on Wikipedia.
  • This section. Hitchens is, let's say, at least 80% correct. All good-faith arguments. No issues that I can see.
  • This section is complicated. I think we can all agree with the assertion: "The Peter Hitchens article is improved if there's a photo there". Clockback went to great lengths to try to achieve this end, and it was finally met, albeit after lots of teeth-gnashing. See also, this section, where editor Maproom helped them out by cropping the photo. At least a few of Clockback's edits were improper. This was due to frustration with WP bureaucracy, which does not excuse it, but mitigates it. Here's the main thing. The edits improved the article, and did minimal harm. I count this > 50% WP:HERE.
  • This section is purely discussion with the editor and Jytdog. I see no direct effect on the article, so it's hard to judge. It's probably best if I simply don't comment on this.

Now to article space:

Article space edits
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.

First, a general comment. I count 21 edits by Hitchens in the past 500 edits. This means that to an overwhelming extent the article does not have any kind of spin that Hitchens themselves put on it. It is largely written by other, independent editors.

Now specific edits. I can't look at all 21 edits (this reply is already too long), so here's what I'll do. I'll look at the 1st, 6th, 11th, 16th and 21st edit.

  • 1st Simple date correction. Entirely proper.
  • 6th This is the edit JzG cited. As I mentioned, JzG was > 90% wrong about this.
  • 11th Simple correction. Entirely proper.
  • 16th Bad edit. Jytdog calls this as a "temper tantrum". I have discussed this case just above (see the discussion about the photo).
  • 21st Simple edit, add photo. Entirely proper.

Article 3: George Bell (bishop): I'll carry out the same procedure. First look at talk space edits, then article page edits. Again, I submit that there's > 90% support for my hypothesis.

Talk page edits
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.
  • This section. As far as I can see, Clockback's comments are entirely proper and civil. They are very restrained, and they first ask other people to make the edit. The other editor Relentlessly apologized by saying that they didn't have the time before, but helped Clockback out by fleshing out their contribution. Clockback thanked them. Editor Charlesdrakew averred that the section gives too much weight to certain things, and Clockback discussed it politely. This is a classic content dispute. Another editor GroupCohomologist added material on the German Wikipedia based on the entry here, and thanked Clockback for their contributions. Regardless of who is right and who is wrong, Clockback is almost certainly WP:HERE in this section.
  • This section is where relations between Clockback and Charlesdrakew deteriorate. As anyone knows, this is often what happens when there's a content dispute. Clockback is almost entirely civil and on-point here. WP:HERE again.
  • This section is about the Carlile report. Clockback discussed the matter thoroughly on December 17. They waited 2 weeks. Almost nothing happened: the article contained a very short (and completely weaksauce) sentence about the findings of the Carlile report. Clockback discussed on the talkpage again, imploring someone to fix this state of affairs. In response to this, a new-ish editor finally made a somewhat substantial edit to the article about the findings of the Carlile report. Clockback waited another six months for their next edit, and explained it thoroughly on the talkpage. I have discussed the aftermath in my opening statement, and don't need to repeat it here. WP:HERE or no? You decide.

Now to article space:

Article space edits
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.

I will only consider the edits PRIOR to this unfortunate affair. As I have already said, a (short) block for edit-warring is entirely proper in the circumstances. No dispute there. Therefore, I will look at the edits prior to 26 Nov 2016. Clockback made 27 edits in total (most of them are copyedits). I'll consolidate the copyedits and discuss them all.

  • This edit is the very first discussion of any criticism whatsoever of the Church's decision. This was the state of the article at that point. WP:HERE, clearly.
  • Another criticism. WP:HERE clearly.
  • This edit is from a House of Lords declaration. It's a primary and not a secondary source, but the source is WP:RS. One can find secondary sources discussing the matter. Example, a BBC article.
  • Clockback added several more criticisms, which might have been a bit too much (hence Charlesdrakew's protestations). But it is clear that there was a LOT of criticism of the affair. One can WP:AGF here and call it 50% WP:HERE.
  • This edit is not good, and might well fall under "editorializing". Perhaps I can add some context here, now in the light of the Carlile report. The Carlile report criticizes the police action (in a serious though understated manner typical of lawyers), and especially the use of the word "arrest", which he says was very prejudicial, and likely led to the whole mess with the Church. Clockback makes exactly the same point, somewhat clumsily -- only once -- Charlesdrakew reverted them, and they didn't repeat it, but rather discussed on the talkpage.
  • This edit is not ideal, because it's a primary source and probably not WP:RS. However, secondary sources can be found easily. Example from The Guardian. Let's say > 80% WP:HERE.
  • This edit is the connection of the George Bell case to the wider case of historical abuse. Jytdog calls a similar edit of their own "important context". WP:HERE.
  • This edit is the first reference in the article to the Carlile review. WP:HERE.

Punchline: I have tried to make a case for a hypothesis: "Clockback is in the 95th percentile of COI editors. His edits are restrained, largely justified, largely beneficial to the encyclopedia, and any harm they did is minimal." On its face, it looks absolutely absurd and is rejected vehemently by the "endorse block" people here. Consider, please, that you might be mistaken. Kingsindian   12:17, 6 August 2018 (UTC)

If I can interject here, Kingsindian: I am convinced clockback’s editing is good faithed, but he has adopted a battleground mentality such as recruiting people via his twitter account to come here and vote against his being blocked and other issues (this could well be due to a lack of familiarity with our policies). Many of his contributions were indeed helpful and he has the potential to be a productive editor, without the drama. I am not convinced there were major COI issues, outside of him being emotional about social causes and issues - especially as he was open about his identity and was willing to use talk pages. If he could familiarise himself with our policies and guidelines, and agree not to repeat certain problematic behaviour, I would likely, after the standard six month period, support a later appeal to lift the block. I would like to be pinged if a future appeal is submitted. You are making me think Kingsindian, and making me look closer at what motivates clockback’s editing, and I think behind the emotion and drama is a decent guy who means well and cares about injustices and people, it is just the community doesn’t want the associated drama is the issue.--Literaturegeek | T@1k? 14:18, 6 August 2018 (UTC)
Your good faith does you credit, but all the available evidence is that Hitchens edits only where ha has a COI, and many of his edits (e.g. to the articles on his work) have very strong overtones of self-promotion. His interest in Wikipedia appears entirely restricted to advancing his off-wiki agenda. Guy (Help!) 14:51, 6 August 2018 (UTC)
On this COI page, Talk:Peter_Hitchens/Archive_4, taken as a random example, he is interacting diplomatically and seeking consensus with other editors. He is definitely opinionated which could be seen as biased in several subject areas he edits, but this is not necessarily the same as having a COI. I am not in denial that he has behaved poorly and warranted being blocked. However, I would have liked him to have talk page access so that I could discuss some concerns I have and offer advice, but that right was taken away from me.--Literaturegeek | T@1k? 15:49, 6 August 2018 (UTC)
Hi Kingsindian. Your description of my perception of the initial block is not correct, but I don't want to quibble about that. The bulk of the post seems to be what you have been wanting to say for a while now, and I am glad you have had the chance to say it.
Before I respond, would you please clarify if this "95th percentile of COI editors" language is based on some data or if we have data to evaluate it with, or if that is just use of the anchoring tactic/rhetoric (and by that please read "bullshit")? If it is the latter I would be happy to have a conversation about a hypothesis like "Clockback's behavior as a conflicted editor has not been unreasonable" or the like.Jytdog (talk) 15:52, 6 August 2018 (UTC)
@Jytdog: "95th percentile" just means "better than the vast majority". I don't have any hard data on this, no. But as you know, I have been a regular at the site-that-should-not-be-named, and have seen tons of COI editing on Wikipedia. So I believe my general impression is not entirely inaccurate. Kingsindian   16:26, 6 August 2018 (UTC)
OK. :) I am happy to have a conversation about how his behavior fits in the range of conflicted editor behavior, based on our experiences/observations of conflicted editor behavior. I have real world stuff today; will respond tonight. Jytdog (talk) 17:16, 6 August 2018 (UTC)
Jytdog, how about supporting an unblock with mentoring? I just changed my vote to this, and I offered to mentor and I imagine Kingsindian might help as well. Clockback actually asked for Wikipedians to help him so should accept mentorship, albeit in a disruptive fashion of inserting this appeal into the article text! I assume Kingsindian feels a likely injustice is occurring here and would like people to reevaluate the situation and how they voted, so.....--Literaturegeek | T@1k? 00:49, 7 August 2018 (UTC)
I don't think Clockback has any interest -- not a whit -- in understanding what we do here and most importantly, how and why. I tried back in 2015. You can bring a horse to water... Jytdog (talk) 03:09, 7 August 2018 (UTC)

───────────────────────── OK, so let's look at their edits to the EPI article and its talk page.

  • 1st diff 4 Nov. 2016. Unsourced addition of "closely associated with the Liberal Democrats. No edit note
  • 2nd diff. 16 Nov. 2016 Inappropriate unsourced editorializing in mainspace. No edit note.
  • 1st and only talk page contrib 26 Nov. 2016. A bunch of unsourced opinion and speculation including What is more the EPI received corporate donations of almost £300,000 in its last recorded year. Given its governance, it seems more than possible that these donations came from supporters of Academy trusts..
  • 3rd diff to article 5 December 2017. Terrible edit. Strips tags without addressing the issues including the "COI" and "primary source" tags. Adds unsourced opinion from 1st diff again. Adds a bunch of primary sources -- in fact only primary sources (!) and content based on them. Adds content about their "current" leadership. The next day the edit was very rightly reverted.
  • 4th diff. 7 December 2017. Again restores the Liberal Democrat thing, now sourced... wait for it.. to his own blog post entitled.. wait for it.. "How Many Journalists Realise what the Education Policy Institute Is?"

I do not consider anything there as good faith, aiming for the mission, or even remotely concerned with how we generate content here in WP. It is a perfect example of him abusing WP like it is his own soapbox/blog.... Jytdog (talk) 04:25, 7 August 2018 (UTC) ───────────────────────── @Jytdog: Ok. Let's do look at the edits to the EPI article. Let us first establish the truth of the matter (is the truth important, or isn't it?). Educational Policy Institute was rebranded from "CentreForum", which was indeed very closely associated with the Liberal Democrats. This information is present in the lead section of the article now (the sources aren't great though -- I'll update them). This claim is extremely true, and extremely relevant. Here is proof of it, having nothing to do with Hitchens, all in reliable secondary sources:

  • Channel 4 News Incidentally, the source they quote, Mark Pack, describes "CentreForum" as "the closest thing the Liberal Democrats have had to a think tank".
  • Schools Week Please read the entire article -- it's all about the matter.
  • The Economist ...Centre Forum, favourite think tank of the "small state" wing of the Liberal Democratic party...

Ok, having established the truth, we now look at ALL of Clockback's edits.

We first note that at the time Clockback edited the article, there was no mention of this extremely relevant and extremely true fact. Indeed, Clockback's initial attempt to add this information was reverted by ... wait for it ... the likely undeclared paid/COI editor who I mentioned before (and who is now indeffed), and who never bothered to discuss on the talkpage -- and who also didn't use an edit summary for a single edit.

After being reverted, Clockback opened a talk page discussion about the matter. What you call "unsourced speculation" is actually the truth -- editor Seaweed confirmed its truth in the discussion itself. Clockback says in effect, please update the article to acknowledge this extremely relevant and extremely true fact, and says that he will wait till December 15 (twenty days after his post), so that someone gets around to it.

Editor Seaweed makes some edits to the article, but as you can see from the version here, there is STILL no mention of the extremely relevant and extremely true Lib Dem connection.

One year later, nothing had been done. Clockback tries to add the completely relevant and completely true information again. I don't understand much of the edit, because Clockback actually says that In June 2016 CentreForum became the Education Policy Institute – focusing its research on education and young people’s mental health, and making clear it is an entirely independent, politically impartial organisation. This is the opposite of the point which Clockback has been trying to "push" into the article. So I interpret this as trying to provide some amount of WP:NPOV -- perhaps this is simply too much WP:AGF from my side. The edit was, overall, clumsy (as you note) and was reverted.

As of this moment, the article is still in a terrible state. It could easily qualify to be in the "Crap articles" and "Obvious paid editors are obvious" threads on the un-nameable site. However, one thing is for sure: the person who was trying to add extremely true and extremely relevant information to the article has been indeffed. Kingsindian   06:31, 7 August 2018 (UTC)

WP:COI does not contain an exemption for situations where you don't get what you want, and Clockback's talk page commentary makes it absolutely clear that he will follow COI rules only as long as he does get what he wants - pretty much as you outline above, in fact. Soon we will have namespace-based blocking, at which point we can change the block to mainspace only and that will be fine. He only edits where he has a COI, he does not respect COI policy if he doesn't get his way, so we can control that with a mainspace block when it becomes available, thus we get the "benefit" of his talk page commentary (I am not convinced, but you seem to be and I take that on trust) without the problems caused by his COI edits to the encyclopaedia itself. Guy (Help!) 09:10, 7 August 2018 (UTC)
He has heavily edited George Bell (bishop) and was reasonably blocked for policy violations on this article. What is the alleged COI on this article? To me he has formed an independent opinion (without a COI) which might be POV and possibly biased and has been vocal publicly in his opinions but I don’t think having a strong opinion constitutes COI.--Literaturegeek | T@1k? 09:32, 7 August 2018 (UTC)
WP:COI says: "Wikipedians must place the interests of the encyclopedia and its readers above personal concerns", it further covers actual, potential, and apparent COI: Here, "journalist Peter Hitchens" -- the person -- is in the apparent Bishop George Bell Report, "journalist Peter Hitchens" is mentioned material in the report's investigation of the topic of George Bell (bishop). One may be forgiven for not knowing that "Peter Hitchens" is discussed in the apparent report, if you just read Clockback's representations of wanting to write about that report on the George Bell (bishop) Wikipedia topic, and that this User read the entire report, because Clockback apparently fails to disclose on Wikipedia that "journalist Peter Hitchens" is actually in the report - a seemingly telling omission by Clockback of relationship and connection to the George Bell (bishop) Wikipedia topic. -- Alanscottwalker (talk) 13:37, 7 August 2018 (UTC)
That is not a COI, he is mentioned in the report because he has a POV and pushed it in public, but doing so is not a COI - if it is then somewhere between 99% and 100% of WP editors on Donald Trump articles need topic banned as a matter of urgency, but who then will edit the article.... Anyway, Peter Hitchens is just mentioned briefly in the report and he did not have any involvement, to my knowledge, in writing that report. He doesn’t have to disclose he is mentioned in the report since it is irrelevant. In fact, even if he had wrote the whole report by himself he could still cautiously cite it, per WP:SELFCITE. Still not seen any evidence he has a COI in George Bell article, in other articles he edited, sure.--Literaturegeek | T@1k? 14:01, 7 August 2018 (UTC)
No, it is WP:COI. Come on, now. You obviously have no proof that many Trump editors are also writing about Trump reports in which the User is discussed, nor any basis to claim that. You may somehow think and contend "Peter Hitchens" is irrelevant to the Bishop George Bell report and topic but that is just your baseless unsourced contention, because the investigator included "Peter Hicthens" in the report making, "Peter Hitchens" relevant -- your "lack of involvement" claim is also misleading, again because "Peter Hitchens" is there in the report, which is involvement. I was coming back to expand that I did find Clockback disclosed on the talk page that he is a "partisan" (and therefore he was reluctant to write in the article) on George Bell, which is a type of disclosure, even though he did not disclose "Peter Hitchens" is in the report. His reluctance to edit was correct (he should have stuck with that and not edited) because that is a type of WP:COI editing, you can't be a party, and be discussed in reports about the topic, and also write about it. Alanscottwalker (talk) 14:51, 7 August 2018 (UTC)
Sorry for not being clearer: My reference to Trump editors was about people having a significant POV and then editing the Trump article, i.e. having a POV and pushing it is not a COI, I did say being mentioned in a report you had no control over is irrelevant to COI. I read the COI page and quoted SELFCITE to you, it is your opinion that is unsourced to policy and guidelines. Yes, partisan, as in biased (like 99% of our Trump editors) which is not necessarily the same as COI - and your example of him preferring to use the talk page rather than edit the article because he is partisan shows evidence that he was trying to work with people, not against them, but things obviously went south and he was justifiably blocked. The question is whether this block should be indefinite or if he deserves a second chance. I have been persuaded that he deserves a second chance. Can you link to policy or guidelines that prevent him from using that source he is mentioned in? I linked you to WP:SELFCITE on WP:COI page; he could have edited the article even if he wrote the report himself. It appears there are other editors who have the opposite POV to Clockback who helped to maintain NPOV, so I am not overly worried about that article being turned into a POV monster. --Literaturegeek | T@1k? 16:24, 7 August 2018 (UTC)
Your odd-diversion to WP:SELFCITE is nonsensical because it has no basis in fact, here. (Similar to your made-up Trump claims). Yes, the WP:COI guideline says use common sense, the common sense that arises when an editor says they should not be writing on the topic, and the facts here are, the report makes "Peter Hitchens" relevant to, connected to, and in relationship to the George Bell topic. Alanscottwalker (talk) 17:04, 7 August 2018 (UTC)
User:Literaturegeek and User:Alanscottwalker... i kind of struggle with "COI" being applied to Hitchens with respect to the George Bell article. What is very true, is that Hitchens was very embroiled in the real world dispute over the church's handling of the allegations. I noted here at the Bell talk page that the noted Carlile report (the definitive "postmortem" on the church's handling of the matter) had a paragraph that said: There was a perceived problem that people such as the journalist Peter Hitchens, who recently had described Bishop Bell as a personal hero, would regard the Church as ‘caving in’ and would cause a media storm if the Church was insufficiently robust in its position. In this context, it was recommended that it was important that the Church openly should say that it had ‘settled a claim’, so that it was clear ‘there has been a legal test and an investigative threshold has been set’." The report overall found that the church "oversteered" its process toward a position sympathetic to the woman, for several reasons. This was apparently one of them.
Somebody that involved in a public dispute has no business getting involved in directly editing the topic. It is really an WP:ADVOCACY issue more than COI per se. If you check his edits to that page they are a continuation of his real world raw advocacy. In other words, exactly like his edits to the EPI page, but this time on steroids.
I will say that edits like this (which is also full of unsourced opinion) encroached on BLPCOI by changing "female victim" to "female alleged victim" which is moving very much toward dehumanizing her - a living person. (the "alleged" was restored by him again here... it remained until I did this, changing it to simply "the woman"). In fairness to Hitchens I think he generally tried to be respectful of that person. But that kind of advocacy edit pretty much trampled on her.
It is really abuse of WP as a soapbox. Which is what I have been saying all along. Kingsindian has been framing this as some kind of strict COI claim, but this is not what I (at least) have been emphasizing.
I also call your attention to the recent Arbcom case, Wikipedia:Arbitration/Requests/Case/BLP_issues_on_British_politics_articles, which is a bit different as it involved WP:BLPCOI (which is only marginally at play here with Clockback, if at all) but yet relevant, as it was about somebody abusing Wikipedia as a soapbox with respect to recent British politics. I have had that case very much in mind through all of this, as I reckon (I am only reckoning; I do not know) Guy did; Guy brought that Arbcom case after having been involved in administrative matters relating to it prior to that. Jytdog (talk) 17:54, 7 August 2018 (UTC)
It's the old common sense adage 'don't become part of the story'. When you are part of the story because the independent report discusses you, there is a conflict when you seek to write encyclopedically on the story that you are now part of. (All the more so, because we can't dislcose in our encyclopedia article, 'Dear Reader, I'm 'so and so', I was involved here and here is my take, and opinions of what went on . . .', to give the reader a tip-off) As for a more general case of opinion-writers coming here to cite themselves and/or write up their own opinions in Wikipedia, it seems doubtful anyone could think that's a really good idea under any of our alphabet policies. -- Alanscottwalker (talk) 18:21, 7 August 2018 (UTC)
No, he does not say that he will follow COI rules only as long as he gets what he wants. You keep repeating this unfair claim without any proof. In fact, Clockback was not very happy with my rewrite of the George Bell article (I was almost entirely ignorant of the matter, so my rewrite wasn't very good). But he accepted my rewrite as a reasonable compromise position. On the matter of the EPI, he happened to be right on the facts of the matter, so he tried to insert the extremely true and extremely relevant information very infrequently, after nobody had done it for a year after he had posted on the talkpage. This is a massive failure of the supposed ideal COI process: "oh just make your points on the talk page and we'll deal with it. If you actually dare to edit the article, we will screw you.". Doesn't being right actually count for anything? Or are we all just wikilawyers here? Kingsindian   09:44, 7 August 2018 (UTC)
You appear to be the only one who disputes this interpretation of his talk page statements. Have you ever read his column? I need to check the article to see if "opinionated" is actually his baptismal middle name. Guy (Help!) 19:14, 7 August 2018 (UTC)

Kingsindian, in the EPI edits, you seem to have missed that at the time they inserted the LibDem claims, this was already outdated. You give sources supporting their addition, but all these sources are from before the change of affiliation. When they made this change in Nov 2016[6], they reverted the article to the situation before June 2016[7]. When a think tank has officially severed its ties with a political party and has become independent, it is not a "factual" or "neutral" edit to remove "independent" and replace it with "is [...]closely linked to LibDem". It was wrong in 2016, and the way they readded it in late 2017[8] was a lot worse, both the contents, the extreme COI source, and the edit summary. Defending these edits as "the person who was trying to add extremely true and extremely relevant information to the article" is a very charitable view of what was clearly one element in his pattern of COI editing, ignoring the changes made to the structure of EPI earlier and casting it again as the political thinktank it used to be, with his own unreliable POV blog as source. Trying to argue for unblocking based on the edits to EPI seems very misguided. Fram (talk) 10:14, 7 August 2018 (UTC)

@Fram: Clockback's point was that "independent" is a self-described label, nothing more. When an organization which was started by Lib Dem politicians, was very closely associated with Lib Dems, and even now is headed by a former Lib Dem politician (David Laws) some people might feel that calling it "independent" is a bit much. I see the same sort of fights over whether to call B'Tselem as "leftist" or "started by leftists". Go to the talk page and see these arguments. Nobody claims that people who wish to insert this kind of stuff should be banned from the B'Tselem page. The EPI article contains a big section on the history of EPI, where there is a throwaway sentence about it being a liberal think tank. Isn't a sentence or two summarizing this section appropriate in the lead?

These are all essentially content disputes. A blunt instrument like an indef block is not the way to deal with them. Again: Clockback waited for over a year before someone did something about the points he was raising. Correct or not, it was certainly not a wild claim, and certainly not made in bad-faith. Kingsindian   11:31, 7 August 2018 (UTC)

This is not about the removal of "independent", but about the insertion of the political affiliation as a currect fact, after this was no longer the case, and sourced to his own blog which makes it quite clear that his point was not simply the removal of "independent". "it was certainly not a wild claim, and certainly not made in bad-faith." YMMV. Fram (talk) 11:34, 7 August 2018 (UTC)
The edit did both things. The second part, to be clear, was calling it "closely linked to the Lib Dems and the Academies movement". I have already given the connection with the Lib Dems. As Hitchens points out in his blog, the latter includes notably Sir Paul Marshall, Chairman of ARK Schools and also Chairman of EPI, and Sir Theodore Agnew, a Trustee of EPI and also chairman and sponsor of a multi-academy trust based in Norfolk. Again, the claim is neither wrong, nor wild, nor made in bad faith.

One can debate if and how to present these things in the lead. There's a section on EPI's history, maybe it should have been presented there first, and then summarized in the lead. But these kind of disputes all the time on think tank/NGO articles (I already gave the B'Tselem example, and can give many more). These are essentially content disputes. Kingsindian   12:04, 7 August 2018 (UTC)

That would be Paul Marshall (investor), who left LibDem in 2015 (i.e. before the edits under discussion), and Theodore Agnew, Baron Agnew of Oulton, who never was a LibDem (as far as I can tell) but a Conservative? In what way is Agnew, past trustee of the rather more conservative Policy Exchange think tank as well (founded by Michael Gove and Francis Maude), evidence that EPI is a LibDem affiliated think tank? Oh right, because Hitchens says so on his own blog... he is cherry-picking evidence (taking the LibDems as evidence that it is a LibDem thinktank, but ignoring the non-LibDems, who are not important enough to counter the political affiliation but suddenly are important enough to establish the "academies movement" connection), to support his POV. Since that is all he has done here this year (and, as discussed here, in 2017 as well), and he gives no indication of changing this approach in the future (in the many declined unblock requests), I see no reason to unblock him. Fram (talk) 13:10, 7 August 2018 (UTC)
I have argued enough here, and I am rather tired of the whole thing. Do what you wish. This will be my last comment. Kingsindian   14:26, 7 August 2018 (UTC)
Did Kingsindian meatpuppet edit the disputed claim into the EPI article? -- 2603:3024:200:300:280C:B160:52AA:3448 (talk) 17:03, 7 August 2018 (UTC)

Can somebody restore Clockback's user talkpage access?[edit]

There is a strong consensus that the talk page access removal is endorsed. Alex Shih (talk) 10:28, 5 August 2018 (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.

I told Clockback that he can respond to the points raised here on his talkpage, and I'll transfer them here. It's somewhat tedious, but working. I have done this process before with other blocked users. For some reason admin Jpgordon has swooped in and removed talkpage access. They are not responding to messages, so I suspect they're offline. Can some admin restore Clockback's talkpage access? It hurts nobody and makes this process fairer. Kingsindian   19:22, 4 August 2018 (UTC)

  • Endorse TPA removal. If jpgordon hadn't removed TPA, I would have. The discussion there was not productive and Clockback had taken to canvassing for support on the above discussion. They may use UTRS. 331dot (talk) 19:27, 4 August 2018 (UTC)
You want to remove talk page access in the middle of a block review? Why? What possible justification could it have? Kingsindian   19:49, 4 August 2018 (UTC)
I'd say that the discussion above seems pretty clear in terms of a result and the reason for it. 331dot (talk) 19:55, 4 August 2018 (UTC)
Who are you to prematurely close the discussion? Nobody died and made you king. Ridiculous. Kingsindian   20:27, 4 August 2018 (UTC)

I am flabbergasted, frankly at the amount of correspondence this issue has generated. The individual who has been blocked (from his own talkpage) has revealed his identity as Peter Hitchens. Mr Hitchens is, and has been for many years a well known and respected journalist in the British media.

The arrogance of anonymous admins such as "331dot" and "jpgordon" is frankly staggering. Have you people nothing better to do than bully other users? Mr Hitchens is perfectly entitled to talk to others about issues affecting his life and you have no right of any kind to prevent him from doing so. What are you people? Some sort of Orwellian thought police brigade?! What moral right do you have to dictate to other users of this platform? I disagree with you 331dot. Are you able to handle that? Can you bear to have others disagree with your position? (That is a rhetorical question).

This episode, to my mind highlights a very big flaw in the functioning of wikipedia. Namely, that certain users who have an elevated status: "admins" are able to act without impunity. I believe that in order for wikipedia to work effectively, these individuals must be subject to some sort of public accountability. Perhaps the elevation to admin status should be accompanied by a requirement for them to reveal their true identities (as Mr Hitchens has done) in order for others to hold them truly accountable. They should not be able to simply hide in a cowardly fashion behind their aliases and bully other users. John2o2o2o (talk) 20:13, 4 August 2018 (UTC)

Jpgordon isn't anonymous. He's J P Gordon. DrKay (talk) 20:20, 4 August 2018 (UTC)
John2o2o2o You are certainly entitled to your views. I am perfectly capable of handling disagreement, that isn't the issue here. 331dot (talk) 20:26, 4 August 2018 (UTC)
  • Who are you "331dot"? And thank you, but I don't need your permission to express a viewpoint.
Mr Hitchens is also entitled to his views. You should immediately restore his access to his page and leave him alone. In my humble opinion. And the issue at hand here is the high handed actions of "admins".
Furthermore, I have never heard of J P Gordon. Perhaps you would like to explain to me (and again this is a rhetorical question, not requiring an answer) in what area of public life J P Gordon (whoever he or she is) has any power or authority over Mr Hitchens? John2o2o2o (talk) 20:38, 4 August 2018 (UTC)
  • Odd that you (213 edits in 6 years), of all people, should question the bon fides of 331dot (admin, 73,070 edits in 6 years) and jpgordon (admin, checkuser, 62,984 edits in 14 years). What the hell have you ever done in the service of Wikipedia? The most you've ever edited an article was 4 edits to Ancestry of Elizabeth II. It appears that all you really do is chat on talk pages (78.4% of your total), where you like to present your own opinions as an "professional genealogist" as being more reliable than reliable published sources, claiming you discovered facts before the first published mention of them, and failing to give your sources when asked to (i.e. [9], [10], [11], [12]) Other editors can make their own assessment of what that makes you, except, at the very least, it makes you someone who is not at all conversant with Wikipedia policy, and really has no place at the table for this discussion, because, frankly, you don't know what you're talking about. Beyond My Ken (talk) 00:11, 5 August 2018 (UTC)
  • I wasn't granting permission; my permission is irrelevant. 331dot (talk) 20:41, 4 August 2018 (UTC)
  • @John2o2o2o: See my reply to People are allowed to think whatever they want. Outside of wikipedia, they are allowed to say whatever they want within the bounds of law and if wherever they are saying it allows it. On wikipedia, the primary purpose of discussion is to improve wikipedia. There is some limited tolerance of other discussion but it's inherently limited and any discussion which harms wikipedia is not welcome. Notably we consider that it's harmful to use your talkpage when blocked for anything other than requesting an unblock which includes responded to any unblock discussion but does not include canvassing others to help you get unblocked. In fact canvassing is a more harmful use of you talk page than a lot of other nonsense that goes on on blocked editor's talk pages. (Canvassing is harmful regardless of whether you're blocked.) Note that as I said below, I have no specific opinion on anything that went on here. Actually what I said to 185 still applies. I have not looked at the specifics and frankly probably won't be doing so. I am simply dealing with your apparent belief that wikipedia is a free for all where people can talk about whatever they want. It isn't. In the modern age, there are so many forums and social media, plus the easy ability to start a blog or website where people can do that stuff. And as I understand it, the subject is a journalist anyway likely giving them even more avenues. Nil Einne (talk) 21:45, 4 August 2018 (UTC)

Jpgordon removed talkpage access and immediately went offline, leaving no response to messages. What kind of WP:ADMINACCT is this? On these grounds alone, the action should be reversed. This whole matter is bringing out the absolute worst in Wikipedia. Kingsindian   20:44, 4 August 2018 (UTC)

Admins or any user are not required to be on Wikipedia 24/7. People have lives and are all volunteers here. 331dot (talk) 20:46, 4 August 2018 (UTC)
Nobody asked them to be on 24/7. However, if they have to leave, they should at least have the decency to not take admin actions at the last moment, actions which directly impede an ongoing discussion. It's rather sad that I have to explain this to you. Kingsindian   20:51, 4 August 2018 (UTC)
If we required admins to be online for several hours or more after their actions, we would surely have a lot of problems because things simply aren't being done. It's entirely reasonable for an admin to take non contentious actions just before they expect to go offline, and it surely happens many times every single day. I agree it can be problematic when an admin takes some contentious action and then is offline for a prolonged period although speaking generally, it's easy to see it's not always going to be obvious when an action is contentious. Nil Einne (talk) 21:10, 4 August 2018 (UTC)
They left less than 15 minutes after, not "several hours" after. And are you saying that removing talkpage access in the middle of a block review is an example of a "non-contentious action"? Meanwhile, here's what WP:ADMINACCT says: Administrators are expected to respond promptly and civilly to queries about their Wikipedia-related conduct and administrator actions and to justify them when needed. They could have posted in this thread to say that they're leaving, and maybe someone else could have handled it. A hundred things could have been done. I'm rather stunned that people are defending this behaviour. Kingsindian   21:17, 4 August 2018 (UTC)
15 minutes or a few hours is largely besides the point. Ultimately if someone is not online for a few hours, there's no guarantee they are going to be online to deal with any fall out. Even a few hours doesn't guarantee it although if it takes a few hours for anyone to notice there's a reasonable chance it's not that important that timely action results. Do you not understand what 'speaking generally' means? In case it's still unclear I have no specific comments on the specific actions here. They are completely besides my point. I was simply replying to obvious nonsense suggesting something which would be extremely harmful to wikipedia namely that admins should not take action unless they expect to be online to deal with any fallout. This is clearly utter nonsense and I can't believe anyone would actually say that. And let me repeat for the last time, I have no specific comments on what happened here. They are entirely besides my point. I only wished to deal with utter nonsense express on AN suggesting something which would be incredibly harmful to wikipedia. If a page clearly needs to be protecting because of persistent proxy vandalism, or a non proxy vandal is going on a vandalism spree or whatever other nonsense that clearly requires quick admin action, I should not have to waste my time finding an admin who is going to be online in 15 minutes or whatever the fuck time period someone thinks is necessary. And yes this is a big deal to me because I live in NZ and at certain times of editing, somewhat less in than in the past but it still happens, there are a lot fewer admins around. And I don't like wasting my time dicking around with IRC or whatever the fuck you think I should waste my time dicking around to find an admin to take action who is going to be around for however the fuck you think they should be to take action which anyone who has spent any time on wikipedia knows is needed and does not need someone to hang around for. Nil Einne (talk) 21:31, 4 August 2018 (UTC)
Related: UTRS appeal #22275. SQLQuery me! 21:49, 4 August 2018 (UTC)
  • "Disgusting" I do not think that word means what you think it means. Perhaps you meant "disgraceful", which would not be true either, but would at least be apt. Beyond My Ken (talk) 00:16, 5 August 2018 (UTC)
  • Any admin who wants to is welcome to restore the user page access. I know nothing whatsoever of this conflict other than what I was drawn to as a result of the request for unblock. Just like his unblock requests, the verbiage on his talk page did not seem to be addressing the reasons for his block, and did not seem to me to be going in a useful direction. As far as "who is jpgordon", well, I'm probably one of the least anonymous editors on Wikipedia; I've been entirely public in my networked life since the early days of usenet and BBSing. But that's meaningless here. The question is asked, "in what area of public life J P Gordon (whoever he or she is) has any power or authority over Mr Hitchens?" That's easy. I'm one of 1,211 administrators on Wikipedia, and, like each of us could, I exerted blocking authority regarding the Wikipedia user account identified as