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STOWiki talk:Policy/Deletion/Old

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This is the talk page for discussing improvements to the STOWiki:Policy/Deletion/Old article.


I strongly recommend we review this policy, and by "review," I mean "gut mercilessly." Undeletes are easy if we end up making an unpopular delete decision. Regular talk page discussion should be enough 99% of the time to resolve disputes over delete decisions, and we can always call a vote when it isn't.

In particular, a review of the policy makes sense since doff page deletions are becoming the most common and an individual doff page isn't likely to attract enough attention to get much participation in a vote. Eyes User-Eyes-Sig.png 20:21, 5 January 2012 (UTC)

I agree 100%. --MatthewM 20:42, 5 January 2012 (UTC)

I second the OP. --RachelGarrett 21:44, 5 January 2012 (UTC)

Proposal recall vote[edit source]

This combined vote passed on March 27, 2012, resulting in the recall of this policy and the adoption of a new one.

The final vote was considered to be 6 to 2, due to a misplaced vote here by User:Drmike that was counted but which does not show up in the list below.

Votes[edit source]

  1. Recall Eyes User-Eyes-Sig.png 15:39, 15 January 2012 (UTC) - (Proposed)
  2. Recall Dukedom 19:44, 30 January 2012 (UTC) - ()
  3. Recall RachelGarrett 22:07, 18 March 2012 (UTC) - (I believe, STOWiki:Policy/Deletion/Proposed2 (edit: link updated after move) in an adequate basis for a new deletion policy.)
  4. Recall Markonian 19:01, 20 March 2012 (UTC) - (The proposed policy seems reasonable to me.)
  5. RecallDr Ishmael User Dr ishmael Diablo the chicken.gif 19:32, 20 March 2012 (UTC) - (Current policy is too concerned with the minutiae of the deletion-vote process, which can't even function properly on a small wiki like this.)
  6. Recall Ripley[<span=help title="Ripley's Talk Page">T|<span=help title="Ripley's Contributions">C] User Ripley Sig.png 06:50, 21 March 2012 (UTC) - (Agree with proposal to recall current policy)
  1. Keep Keyfob 07:23, 16 January 2012 (UTC) - (reasoning moved to discussion below)

Comments[edit source]

Note that I have written a rough draft of a policy intended to be much simpler in practice here. I am advocating recalling this policy and replacing it with the less formal and straightforward procedures in the proposed policy, because most deletion requests are straightforward and undeleting is pretty quick and easy. Eyes User-Eyes-Sig.png 15:39, 15 January 2012 (UTC)

After reviewing the original draft I proposed and discussing the matter with a couple other editors in the in-game chat room, I am now proposing a simpler draft for a replacement deletion policy based heavily on GuildWiki's deletion policy. Eyes User-Eyes-Sig.png 19:13, 30 January 2012 (UTC)

Discussion[edit source]

While I agree that the issue needs to be addressed, I disgree with some of the changes you've proposed. I don't believe Admin's should be steamrolling over the voting process and deleting pages that were changed to DELETE from SPEEDYDELETE. A change from SDEL to DEL is a call for a vote, so clearly there is some sort of issue needing discussion there. Now I can see the sheer volume of DOFFs being a problem with correction/edit/deletes and a faster process may be warranted. I think the issue has to meet certain criteria to bypass a vote. And for Admin's to choose NOT to heed an objection "if THEY feel the objection doesn't merit discussion"...and to delete anyway, therefore depriving even discussion on it's discussion page (which is btw, what it's for), never mind a vote, is in really poor taste and not at all in the "spirit of wiki". Obviously if the page contained inappropriate content, etc, not an issue, and if through discussion the person with the original objection changes their mind and says go ahead and DEL, then I'd be okay with bypassing the vote. But the way the new proposal is (currently) worded you might as well just eliminate voting all together and go from SP-DEL to Admin Review to DELETED. Objection after it's been deleted with no discussion or voting? Too bad! Please Note, this wasn't written with a negative tone; I don't want to come off as sounding aggressive, I apologize it it reads that way, it's late here and I'm sleepy :) -- Keyfob 07:23, 16 January 2012 (UTC)

No, it doesn't seem aggressive, just a bit confusing. Let me explain why I wrote some parts the way I did and where I think you're misreading both the letter and the spirit of the policy.
Speedudelete vs. delete: Many wikis function with only the {{delete}} template. The decision of speedydelete versus the one that needs to be discussed is based on the reason given, or whatever valid reason the admin reviewing it believes applies. The point is I don't think the policy should force admins to make the judgment based solely on which template was used, because that isn't important. The reasoning and any ongoing discussion are what's important. They need to be free to try to judge the intent of the user, because it's likely we'll get one occasionally that will just throw {{delete}} up without thinking for a page where {{speedydelete}} is more appropriate. (To be honest, I was almost tempted to suggest we get rid of {{speedydelete}} for this reason, but it's pretty engrained here, so I decided against recommending that.)
That's also why you shouldn't just change {{speedydelete}} to {{delete}}, but also note in the reason that there was an objection. Otherwise, for the reasons, it may not be readily apparent that there was a change.
"Objection after it's been deleted with no discussion or voting? Too bad!" Where did you get this from the policy even before I made the changes? Even before my clarifications, it called for the admin to restore the page to open/resume discussion if an objection was raised after the fact. That's part of the point of the policy--to stop pretending that deletions are final and not easily reversible.
"I don't believe Admin's should be steamrolling over the voting process..." Democracy on a wiki, especially a relatively small one like ours, can be handled in a number of ways. This wasn't about steamrolling over the voting process, just recognizing that it's a bad way to exercise democracy for deletion decisions. This is because it creates a false dichotomy. Most delete decisions get resolved with compromise or consensus, and a policy written around yes/no voting is just plain a bad idea. That's why the new policy doesn't go into detail on the nature of the vote should things get that far, because hopefully there should be more than two options by that point. Still, if we get there on something that truly is a discussion over the deletion of a single article, having to vote is, I believe, actually a failure of a wiki's democracy. Don't confuse the attempt to (mostly) get rid of voting with an attempt to get rid of democracy, because it's an attempt to emphasize discussion and compromise over a far cruder method.
Also, I believe the written standards for admins making their own calls were pretty strict even before I clarified the new policy, but I made sure to tweak the language to close any unintended loopholes. Understand that I believe the wording of wholly without merit even for discussion to be a even harder to meet standard than most democratic countries use to convict criminals, so that pretty much means the objection has to be a case of completely transparent bad faith or doesn't even begin to explain why a deletion made according to policy should be reversed. It's not actually that much power to give an admin since it only really allows to just smack down clear abuse.
The other exception is meant not to allow a user to force a single page to be the center of a debate that has much wider-reaching consequences. The reasoning for the retention of that particular doff article could easily have affected hundreds of previously deleted doff articles, and had the discussion continued, the talk page of that single article would have been a very poor place for it to take place. So the new policy provides a way for us to separate such discussions away from the deletion of one page and get it somewhere more appropriate and visible (like Talk:Duty officer or even Project:Community portal) without getting one relatively insignificant page locked in limbo. Eyes User-Eyes-Sig.png 14:44, 16 January 2012 (UTC)
As I continue to participate in STOWiki, I have a growing appreciation for where you're coming from. I forget exactly where it was, but I recall reading that the catalyst for the proposed altering of the delete policy stemmed from the increasing number of issues regarding DOFF entry and maintenance. Why not just amend the standing policy to allow admins greater flexibility with DOFF issues as opposed to an STOWiki-wide policy change when it isn't warranted for the everything else?
Speedydelete v. Delete: I think after considering what you replied here and elsewhere, I think I would agree that Speedydelete could very well create more problems (or rather "other" problems) than it solves. I'm sure it's clear that I am new to HTML formatting and I don't presume to know the In's and Out's of it all just yet, but it seems to me that this could be avoided (or tempered, perhaps) by adjusting the Delete form/template to require both the user initiating the Delete as well as the one objecting to complete a Reason for Delete field and Reason for Objection field, respectively. This way the reviewing admin can consider both viewpoints objectively (well, as much as possible, anyway), regardless of the type of Delete used.
Post-Deletion Objection & Steamrolling Democracy: I was referring to your proposal, not the original policy. The Discussion page of an article tagged for deletion is the place for an objecting users' case to be made. That can't happen should an Administrator encounter and delete the tagged article, killing the chance for an open discussion. I also haven't seen any mention being made of notifying the articles creator that the page was tagged and/or then deleted.
Assuming that is true and the deletes are executed without notification, it stands to reason that most objections won't be fully realized and made until after an Administrator expedites the deletion. There won't be a need for them to wait because per your proposal, Administrators "who feel a page is suitable for speedy deletion may simply delete the page", regardless of the type of Delete used, and that "Administrators are not required to heed objections to deletion". So then anyone objecting to an article tagged for deletion after it's deletion has been expedited has no course of action other than to "leave a message on the talk page of the administrator responsible for the deletion indicating why the article should be restored". And even then, it's still up to the deleting Administrator (mind you, who then at this point has already deleted said article once before) to decide on the value and intent of the article.
And should that particular Administrator feel discussion is now warranted (which would be unlikely, because again, this Administrator saw fit to delete said article once before), your proposal warns that "Ultimately, the decision rests with the administrators", who will then vote and decide among themselves. So any potentially unsubstantiated issue as well as valid ones will still have be voted on, potentially drawing it all out longer and seemingly not as transparent.
Proposal Disconnect: There also seems to be something of a disconnect where you say your proposal "doesn't go into detail on the nature of the vote should things get that far, because hopefully there should be more than two options by that point." First of all, where does it say that there should only be two choices in a vote? Things are not always Yes or No, I agree that things are usually more complex and warrant multiple choice. I don't see anything wrong with that. But you lose me on the hoping for "more than two options" part. More than two options for what part, exactly? None of that, however, validates or warrants the elimination of voting. I do not see how the proposal demonstrates "an attempt to promote discussion and compromise" over objected articles tagged for deletion when this same policy proposal is writing in the advancement of Admin abilities intended to expedite the deletion of the same articles that this proposal is supposedly attempting to promote discussion and compromise over.
The fact is, your proposal speaks more to delete objections and how to handle them than the original policy does while at the same time undermining the process and impeding votes from coming up at all. And I am not confusing about your attempt to get rid of voting with an attempt to get rid of democracy, what I'm confused about is how the your ends justify the means, so to speak. Quite frankly, it sounds like you are writing this proposed revision for your own purposes/agenda, rather than what benefits the community as a whole.
I don't know what the attitude is toward democracy and voting in other countries nor do I believe it to be a "crude" process. Furthermore, I don't really see how one can even compare an STOWiki Administrator deciding the merit and worthiness of a discussion with what your opinion on how much or how little it takes undisclosed democratic nations to convict criminals. (At least in a democratic court there is a jury of peers.)
Standards: At the end of the day, regardless of whatever standards an Administrator is supposed to operate on, there isn't anything binding them to it. They can choose to listen or ignore as they see fit, ultimately making the wiki less open. I'm not in any way advocating throwing the doors open and letting everyone do whatever they want, it just seems to me like it's more productive (in both solving AND preventing issues) when you have the appearance of promoting open dialogue and discussion.
Formatting for Prevention: If DOFF entry/and or maintenance is the root of this policy adjustment proposal, I think it makes more sense to add an amendment specifically for DOFF issues. But why not attack it from the other end? It makes sense to me to start looking at what the tagged issues are and identifying where the user is coming from and adjusting the form or template (or better yet the format as a whole) on how content is displayed and delivered. And I suggest this with STO content-related issues in the forefront of my mind; I'm not referring to spammers or troublemakers that make intended erroneous changes or deletions. In those instances, it's reasonable and expected to act instantly.
Deletion Reversibility & Reality: And in conclusion, I don't really see how your proposal provides for marking clearer distinctions between tagged article discussions that are part of a greater issue and those that are not, nor do I see how that idea or intention could ever get to that point and when Administrators expedite a deletion. You also can't reply as you did above with saying part of the policy is "to stop pretending that deletions are final and not easily reversible" when the proposal you submitted closes with "Decisions on a deletion, regardless of whether or not it has yet happened, can only be considered final if a a minimum of two administrators believes one of the following is true:
  • All objections to the deletion are wholly without merit even for further discussion.
  • The decision made reflects, preferably, the group consensus, or failing that, the majority opinion.
  • All reasonable efforts to find a consensus, compromise, or majority opinion have been made and have failed."
That sounds like finality to me and would seem to contradict, or at least be in conflict with, your desire to advocate against "pretending that deletions are final and not easily reversible." Like I said at the beginning, I actually agree that it needs addressing. But it's the talking-out-of-both-sides-of-your-mouth that is confusing and I'm just not certain that what you're proposing really "fixes" anything.-- Keyfob 12:28, 30 January 2012 (UTC)
I apologize for some of the confusion here. No, it's not just about doffs; doffs simply make the problems with the current policy worse (which is why three of the four currently active admins thought it should be reviewed [the fourth hasn't yet made his opinion known], and why I tried to suggest an alternative to get a discussion going). The problem here is that all this discussion here so far has been applicable to pages where there's actually participation in a delete discussion, and I'm seeing more the reverse. Someone puts the delete template up, maybe even bothers to put up a vote, and then it just stalls. The current policy is looking for a three-vote margin and hence is relying on the assumption of active participation, so to follow the letter of the policy, we aren't actually supposed to proceed. It may be a good policy for a large wiki; it's too formal for a small one.
The policy also centers around templates designed for yes/no votes. They may let people provide reasoning, but as an example, our anonymous editing vote had four options along a scale, and the compromise option was the one that won. I can't see any language in this that allows for a third option, since the language regarding what actually closes a vote is dependent entirely on yes/no vote margins.
As for the rest of your argument, it really seems to center around "admins can't be trusted to act in the best interests of the community, so we need to straightjacket them." In other words, because they could abuse a policy, it seems to follow that they will?
I can further modify the language to make clarification of the situations I'm trying to avoid, such as:
  • Being able to quickly delete a page/file that was clearly made by mistake, i.e. typos, completely unused files, regardless of whether the uploader/editor use delete or speedydelete. In other words, allowing us to infer intent where it seems obvious.
  • The other indications are really meant as nothing more as protections against obvious bad faith (which, due to STOWiki:Assume good faith, is the only kind we really can make such actions against), and I have no problem further modifying the language to make that clear.
  • It occurs to me that I'm against deleting talk pages with any kind of deletion discussion, but didn't think to add that to the policy, so that would be another thing I should add.
Frankly, as another alternative, I'll put an even simpler one up for recommendation: [1], but I'll note even that simple policy wasn't followed 100% because admins would immediately delete where it made common sense to: i.e. user requesting deletes of their own userspace pages, requesting deletes of pages that were obviously created mistakenly.
My only desire is writing the proposed policy the way it is was to avoid having to predict and enumerate every common sense exception that might come up. I wanted to avoid a bloated policy, and yes, I wrote one that relies on the idea that the community can trust its admins. I believe for a small wiki environment, policies should be written that way, and the bureaucracy and formality are best placed in policies for admin selection and oversight. (And I fully acknowledge that STOWiki's current policies have us flying by our seat of our pants on that, though I don't think that's actually uncommon for small wikis.)
So in the end, I believe it's less about trying to frame policies to prevent every possible abuse of power (which given your arguments, I think I'd have to do to satisfy the requirements you seem to be laying out) and more about making sure you have admins you can trust and who you can trust to watch each other. That's where I see a contradiction in your arguments; you write about the spirit of wikis, yet you can't assume good faith on our part (or maybe just mine)? If that's the truth, it seems like we have more to discuss. Eyes User-Eyes-Sig.png 13:54, 30 January 2012 (UTC)