AC2020: Overview (full)

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I have been put in a situation where I am obligated to pester ArbCom and ask you to take time out of your busy schedule to redress an injustice. I was involved in a very minor squabble with an administrator (El C) over the latter's Edward Colston page block of me for allegedly "edit warring".

The ultimate reason I was blocked was for pointing out on El C's talk page that he had been contributing for 27 hours straight without a single 30 minute break, which I consider unhealthy both for El C (none of my business, really) and for the encyclopedia (and those who contribute to it). This is a fact that nobody has disputed. After El C got some sleep, he removed the partial block.

This was also after Tony Ballioni had escalated the matter into a major dramatic incident at AN, calling for me to be site-banned. He took the time to dig through all of my block record, dredging up a lot of bad memories, starting with the Sagecandor affair, followed with the Tryptofish/Kingofaces43 affair and continuing with the tag-teaming in American politics affair. He did not present matters that way, choosing instead a rhetorically-charged presentation of the squabble on El C's talk page, and using the lines in my block record to paint me as an evil actor for having brought to light a good number of serious irregularities, about which a good number of people now -- both publicly and privately -- have asked me to present evidence to ArbCom. Up until now, I have not sought redress for these decisions of en.wp's lower "courts" or policing actions by individual administrators. But now, my hand has been forced by MastCell not respecting my request to be given until the weekend to reply to this latest prosecution. (link to AN thread) I would therefore ask that ArbCom take a look at this initial statement and the AN thread to determine the scope for the case: for example, should the talk page squabble Tony brought to AN be treated separately from the badly flawed GMO/AmPol cases that brought people to pile onto the thread?

One thing I particularly regret in the course of that thread was an unguarded and very uncharacteristic use of the term "pissed off" when I tried to point something out quickly before going to work on four hours sleep the morning after Tony's filing. My hope had been to slow people down and get them to look at the facts, rather than at his highly rhetorically-charged opening statement. Obviously, I knew this would be reverted, but I did not think that given that I had explained that I was very busy, people would freak out to the degree that they did. I recognize too that I should regret using the term "lynching" more than I do; it's only a website.

The thirteen people who used this post as part of their justification for permanently banning me from the site that anybody can edit did not seem to understand that I was just trying to do something quickly before work and apparently actually thought that I was trying to deceive them. In fact, this constitutes a majority of the initial 25 ban votes. This was tactically very dumb on my part. My only "excuse" is that I was a bit panicked by seeing old familiar names among the first people supporting a site-ban as well as by Drmies' rhetorically-charged and evidence-less comment that I should "repudiate my hounding" of El C. I had to take the time at work to debunk this false claim of hounding, which Drmies was good enough to retract.

  • Thirteen* people used my quick indication of the rhetoric being used as either their only reason or part of their reason for site-banning me
  1. Sashi just edited my initial post changing my words about his behaviour to suit him, and referring to it as a “lynching”. -- Tony Ballioni
  2. I highly suggest editors look at the diff. Aside from the edit summary describing this report as a “lynching”, it’s basically multiple swipes at various editors and administrators. -- Symmachus Auxiliarus
  3. Purely disruptive, should be blocked for that alone -- Amory
  4. editing another's signed comments like that would be enough all by itself for me to block -- Cryptic
  5. This was it for me. -- Callanecc
  6. I can't believe Sashi changed Tony's opening post, and changed it in the way that he did. [1] What is that, suicide by admin? (diff since Bishonen later thought better about this post and edited her post to remove the word "suicide" after the next person had responded)
  7. SashiRolls' bellicosity and the resulting disruption have been an intractable problem for far too long. Attacking El_C and deceptively editing TonyBallioni's post are the latest in an exhausting series of misconduct by this editor. -- MrX
  8. The only reason for changing the opening statement of this section could possibly be that this editor wanted to be banned. -- Phil Bridger
  9. ... their deceptive editing of TB’s opening post is the last straw. -- P-K3
  10. I find their attempt to modify the discussion here particularly egregious. That level of deception combined with the lack of awareness (did they think we wouldn't notice) and contempt for the community is clear evidence that we are unable to trust them and that their editing cannot be safely continued. -- Nick (in charge of admissions to IRC/admin)
  11. I'm quite frankly stunned at the deceptive editing in this thread alone. -- stwalkerster (another IRC/admin?)
  12. And this is beyond the pale. -- Hut 8.5
  13. This blatant disregard for discussion guidelines and civil discourse (e.g. replacing "American politics topic ban" with "Pissed folks off working on Media Coverage of Bernie Sander" in the filing of this AN thread), are just not acceptable. -- Mark H21

I should have been more patient and had more faith in the system. Soon enough, a number of people expressed serious doubts about the even-handedness of Tony's presentation of my post-Sagecandor/Cirt actions on the site. Some of these people are aware of the details of one or more of the individual cases, others probably were not. It is a notable fact that the one motion that had overwhelming support in the AN thread was to refer the matter to ArbCom rather than decide it at AN. This was not mentioned in MastCell's close. Neither was the fact that El C himself did not seek any sanction for the matter at the heart of the case. (diff)

Many people piled onto the AN thread in the first hours of its being opened at 00:41 on a worknight in France (where I live), perhaps because it was a prime time for people to visit drama noticeboards in the US. By the time I left for work the next morning about a dozen people had called for a ban. Within fourteen hours and thirty minutes, the !vote stood 25-0 in favor of a block (24-1 in favor of a siteban).

Once people began to look into it and evidence had been added, it became apparent that there was more to the story. In the subsequent 42 hours the !vote was 13-23 against a siteban. The final 6 hours were primarily focused on alternative matters:

  • Should I be blocked from dramaboards? (clear no)
  • Should I be given a final warning? (clear no)
  • Should the case be kicked to ArbCom? (clear yes)

When I left work Thursday evening, I saw that the case had been closed after a rapid series of dramatic comments from Tryptofish (Admin abuse! Admin abuse!), who was banned from interacting with me in the first admin (El C) action involving me (on May 20, 2019) since my return to the site (Tony later lifted this ban). Trypto says on their userpage that they have left the site, but somehow he managed to get the last word in on the case in order to argue with Britishfinance's conclusion (and in summary...) that the AN thread and the matter should be sent to ArbCom.

The premature close did not respect my request to be given until the weekend to respond to the charges without the pressure of my full-time job. I was not able to point out, for example, that El C had previously indeffed me (only to see his reason for doing so invalidated by the community), a fact that had direct bearing on my irritation with their changing 3RR rules to 2RR for the page block, then leaving the block active after full protecting the page (making it purely punitive). I did try to calm matters down early in the case by encouraging people not to "torment" El C with the matter at the heart of the affair (after Floquenbeam threatened to block anyone who brought it up): In the interest of de-escalation... now that it's been brought to light, I don't see any point of continuing to torment El C with it. Also, I notice El C has been entirely absent from this case, where he is presented as the victim. I wonder under what conditions they would be willing to pardon me for looking into their edit history to see how long they deliberated before blocking me (it looks like it was 17 minutes) and discovering what I discovered. I mean is it really worth banning someone over? (source)