Dear Trust and Safety team!

The following Terms-of-Use and Checkuser policy violation was reported 4 months ago, yet the offending false statements are still not removed.

The Arbitration Committee ignored my emails too, contrary to the standard Arbitration Procedures that require acknowledgment of reports within 24 hours.

According to Gregory Varnum “As is the case today, any necessary escalation of issues on the projects that reach the limits of community self-governance can still go to Trust and Safety”.

Would you like to comment on the nature of the delay?

Is it reasonable to expect that the T&S will one day resolve this violation?

Thank you in advance for your consideration,

Aron Manning

———- Forwarded message ———
From: Aron Manning Date: Mon, 26 Aug 2019 at 17:10
Subject: Re: [Community Health] Document of the failure of established community processes of enwiki to remedy obvious tool abuse
To: Kalliope Tsouroupidou <ktsouroupidou@wikimedia.org>
Cc: Wikimedia Answers <ca@wikimedia.org>

Thank you for your response:

we advise you to continue to communicate with the appropriate local community group(s) who are best positioned to address the concerns you have raised.

Unfortunately my requests and reports were not addressed for 2 months now. The editors active in the local community groups refused to answer my concerns, and blocked access to those venues (talk page, UTRS).

In the few answers there was no attempt to address or disprove the claims I made, therefore I’ll be referring to these claims as proven violations of policies. If there is doubt, I’ll provide the evidence _again _upon request. Some of these policy violations also violate WMF’s Terms of Use, therefore these issues are the concern of the Foundation as well.

  • I assume after the previous documents I don’t have to further prove there was no sock-puppetry, contrary to some claims. There’s a “short proof” below, if in doubt.
  • The first unblock request was closed with a false statement from a “close college” of the blocking admin, who revoked his decision in an hour, but did not remove the false statements.
  • The following requests were closed 2) directly or 3) indirectly (revoking tpa) by the blocking admin (“the blocking administrators should not decline unblock requests from users they have blocked” - WP:BLOCK).
  • UTRS access has been revoked (forwarded email below).
  • ArbCom failed to even acknowledge emails since the report of tool abuse on 30 June (“each message shall be acknowledged with a standard message and processed by the coordinating arbitrator or their deputy within 24 hours of receipt” WP:AC/P)

Terms of Use violation:

At the moment my only hope is the T&S would at least remove material that is in conflict with the Terms of Use: “Engaging in False Statements […] With the intent to deceive, posting content that is false or inaccurate”. The false statements of sock-puppetry are such postings.

I’ve asked the admin responsible for these false statements to remove it. He deflected responsibility with a rant (“Please, no one contact me about this editor; I’ve washed my hands of it.”), but failed to remove the false statements. I’ve asked functionaries and oversighters to remove the private link to my old, unused account; this did not happen. I had to delete off-wiki accounts to prevent outing, which caused major disruptions in my workflow.

The false statements deceived an admin to make unsubstantiated claims of block-evasion, another to revoke email rights, another to revoke access to UTRS (email below), etc. These statements caused serious harm, from which the Terms of Use protects. What action will the T&S take to ensure this protection?

Short proof of NO sock-puppetry:

A check-user claims I “abusively used multiple accounts” based on one edit, a signature, that falls under WP:TPO: “Attributing unsigned comments: You are allowed to append attribution (which can be retrieved from the page history)“. This is clearly not abuse: the signature is exactly what four tildes would have generated for the previous, amended edit.

There’s no other evidence presented, and no other “interaction” between the accounts: the old account is inactive since 20 April 2019 – effectively since 1 April – (history before 6 July), the new account active since 17 April (history before 28 April).

It’s obvious I was logged in with the old account by accident (also irrelevant, as there is no abuse). Said checkuser should be well aware of these obvious facts, if he was deemed capable and trustworthy to use the checkuser tool, therefore his claims of abuse seem to be intentionally misleading statements.

The inappropriateness of his conduct is demonstrated in the unprofessional, childish rant on the talk page, when he revoked this decision within less than an hour: “You know what, I don’t even care any more. It’s no longer a CU block, and I don’t want to have anything to do with you any more. Please, no one contact me about this editor; I’ve washed my hands of it. NinjaRobotPirate (talk) 16:21, 29 June 2019 (UTC)” It must be noted, this incident was his first encounter with me.

After this he left the false statements on the user and talk pages. I’ve asked him to remove these claims on the talk page and in email. The statements are still there after 2 months, and talk-page-access was removed. Seeing this blatant personal attack, it requires little explanation that this incident and the preceding interrogation was part of an ongoing harassment, that was detailed in previous letters. All of which started with a debate in a simple title dispute (Move Review), that escalated to wikilawyering, then a sudden block by an admin, who threatened me with a block after complaints about his conduct.

The issues I’ve reported are far bigger than a single new editor being harassed, and punished with blocks and false statements of sock-puppetry. These issues are a generic experience of less-connected users, that include new editors, casual editors, and those who purely focus on editing the encyclopedia, not on their “social standing” in the community. This is a big part of the editing community, and these issues are one of the root causes of the Community Health problems, that the WMF has been researching for years.

There were editors bullying me before. In one case the blocking admin sided with the bully and closed the ANI report (that listed 3 edit wars), without reviewing it. This editor was warned for edit warring 6 times… I wasn’t the first of his victims. Such preferential treatment is one reason why the current “self-governing” community processes don’t work. Many editors - blocked or lost interest - could tell similar stories, but are seldom aware of the WMF’s efforts to improve this situation.

This is a difficult case

It is unlikely that enwiki community processes would ever remedy this harassment and tool abuse. The responses so far show a pattern of ignoring complaints, recurrent hounding, time wasting procedural declines, time wasting accusations, and victim blaming instead of attempts to resolve the situation.

The Foundation might not be in a position to put a stop to this high-profile harassment, but I do hope the Fram drama started a process of communication between the Foundation and the ArbCom to handle these cases. As these admins are well-known, so-called “unblockables”, the community’s response to these reports will be significant. In previous cases (Fram and Ritchie) the community mostly asked for transparency. This case can be held transparently: the policy violations are proven with public, on wiki evidence, and the private alt account is no longer private…

The community also asked for cooperation with ArbCom. This would be beneficial for the acceptance of the Foundation’s involvement, and also a precedent for future cases. Given the current state of community health, one can expect many cases in the future.

I would not have been forced to contact T&S, if ArbCom was to adhere to the its own procedures by answering the reports of tool abuse. ArbCom has escaped it’s responsibility for 2 months, to “act as a final binding decision-maker primarily for serious conduct disputes the community has been unable to resolve” (WP:Arbpol). This would be enough reason for an office action, yet I have good faith that a cooperation between the Foundation and the ArbCom will bring better results, and wider community acceptance. This would be a great improvement for the community’s trust for the ArbCom and T&S.

Next step to a resolution:

To minimize the drama created by the community, I suggest the minimal necessary actions to prevent further damage:

  • I hope the false statements will be removed without further delays (should have been done on 2 July by the functionaries). This action requires no special privileges other than not-being-blocked.
  • To stop the harassment, the least impactful solution is one-way interaction bans for the abusive admins Bbb23 and NinjaRobotPirate. Although they violated many policies in this case, they are also depended upon by the community. If they are reminded of the high standards and accountability expected from administrators, and change their conduct accordingly, the community might accept this mistake from them.

There are a few admins, who sided with their abuse, and wasted my time with improper actions and some false claims. If they have the decency to not repeat such mistakes, I’m happy to leave these events in our past.

Regarding my original block: The blocking admin failed to provide evidence for his claims for 2 months now, violating WP:Adminacct policy. On the other hand I have provided ample evidence, that my block is an unjustified punishment. This block was effective for 2.5 months, that would be time served multiple times for the allegations made before I was blocked.

I would suggest the blocking admin to unblock me, to minimize the time wasted with these procedures (he ignored my requests so far). Any other admin could unblock me, but those who reviewed my requests, failed to do a neutral assessment. ArbCom also has the rights to unblock, thus I would suggest the T&S to remind ArbCom of their responsibility to uphold policies, even if that means to disagree with their chosen checkuser in high position. If they deem it necessary, I’m open to a proper, public trial. It’s up to them to waste their own time.

I trust that the T&S can persuade enwiki ArbCom to instate the one-way IBANs on Bbb23 and NinjaRobotPirate, remove the false statements, and unblock me. If this is not feasible, I request the IBANs as secondary office actions directly from T&S.

About the problematic admins

The blocking admin Bbb23 is a great asset to Enwiki, his “service” is strongly relied upon: he stopped thousands of disruptive / abusive accounts since 2015. At the same time, he blocked quite a few potentially good editors without proper process and explanation of rules, giving an impression of a Wikipedia, that’s not open to new editors. He seemingly forgot about civility standards, regularly “biting” new editors. He also fails to justify his actions, when asked to, and has a combative attitude, when disagreed with. There were several reports of his actions on Administrator’s Noticeboard, and he’s know for prematurely closing reports of misconduct of admins/editors he knows, which was also noted by ArbCom. He also reportedly uses the checkuser tool - without good reason - to “fish”, and sometimes blocks multiple editors using the same IP, and edit-a-thons (school projects), that he finds suspicious. His “contribution” to the encyclopedia’s content is very questionable: to this day he has removed 6.3 MB content from article namespace, positive contributions included. That’s a massive net negative, even if we account for reverting vandalism. It is doubtful that he alone can neutrally decide, with proper knowledge of the topic, that all that content is inappropriate for the encyclopedia. It is questionable, whether his first-place activity in SPI outweighs the damage he does to the content and the community with his conduct.

About NinjaRobotPirate: maybe his supporters will, but I can’t say good words. I only had a short discourse with him, when he interrogated me, intentionally lied about sock-puppetry, and exhibited unprofessional attitude, while trying to downplay his responsibility. He breached my privacy by leaking the name of my unused account, that can be linked to off-wiki accounts, and used for outing. He violated the checkuser policy and abused the community’s trust. This has been reported to the ArbCom and then the Ombudsman Commission months ago. It’s a simple case, but there was no progress since. If the ArbCom fails to accept this case again, I will suggest the T&S remove his checkuser rights as an office action: he is clearly not responsible enough to be trusted with the tool.

Note: this is just to recall, how serious the policy violations are, not a report of these conduct issues, therefore the evidence to these claims is not repeated now. Some of it has been presented to the ArbCom, and to Trust and Safety in previous letters.

Please respond to this letter within a reasonable timeframe. The escalation of tool abuse to harassment could have been averted with a timely response when it started.

Kind regards,

Aron Manning

On Sun, 28 Jul 2019 at 16:42, Kalliope Tsouroupidou <ktsouroupidou@wikimedia.org> wrote:

Hello Mr. Manning,

Thank you for contacting us. We have received all emails you have sent through to our team in the course of the past month or so.

The issues you have described in your communication to us are a local community governance matters, which fall outside of the Foundation’s remit. We respect the autonomy of the Wikimedia communities and, as a rule, do not interfere. As such, we advise you to continue to communicate with the appropriate local community group(s) who are best positioned to address the concerns you have raised.

Kind regards,

K.

On Tue, Jul 23, 2019 at 10:14 PM Aron Manning <aronmanning5@gmail.com> wrote:

To Trust and Safety team,

The Enwiki community has issues with decreasing number of editors, and new editors pushed out. As a fairly new editor I have experienced this first hand, yet I have great belief in the WMF’s efforts to create a healthy environment for contributing editors. To help these efforts, I provide this case as a document of the failure of present community processes of the English Wikipedia.

This case is the result of a title dispute escalating to unexpected proportions. We were in correspondence with ArbCom since 20 June about this issue. On 30 June it escalated to obvious tool abuse, that was reported to ArbCom the same day. There was no acknowledgement, answer, or any action taken since then. The forwarded email below is the latest request to ArbCom, and a proof of these statements.

With little insight one can tell, the enwiki processes will never unblock my account, therefore I hope to help the WMF with these documents to better understand the issues of Enwiki, and use this knowledge to improve community health.

The incident on 30 June is evidence of obvious tool abuse by a checkuser, a highly regarded and trusted position. The checkuser himself backed out of his action within an hour: “You know what, I don’t even care any more. It’s no longer a CU block”.

Surprisingly, he left the false claims of suck-puppetry on the user pages, and failed to correct this mistake after numerous requests through the Functionaries mailing list.

The original block of my main account is not discussed in this mail, only this escalation. That block also raises many questions of admin accountability, as the blocking admin refused to justify his actions - as required by WP:ADMINACCT policy - for 3 weeks now, and he was WP:INVOLVED, as he threatened me with blocking in a former conflict, where I questioned his neutrality (premature close of ANI and ANEW cases) and civility. Details on this in an upcoming document.

Yours sincerely,

Aron Manning

———- Forwarded message ———
From: Aron Manning <aronmanning5@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, 23 Jul 2019 at 18:11
Subject: Re: WP:ALTACCN declaration - Conflict with an admin and indef block
To: arbcom-en <arbcom-en@wikimedia.org>

Dear Arbitrators,

I’ve declared my 2 inactive alternative accounts to the ArbCom on 28 June, as required by WP:ALTACCN policy (“Editors who have multiple accounts for privacy reasons SHOULD consider notifying a checkuser OR members of the arbitration committee IF they believe editing will attract scrutiny”). These accounts were never used to act as different persons (aka. sock-puppets), the simple proof being that the publicly declared alt account (AManningTalk) was inactive, and the old account (undeclared for privacy reasons) was used in a far different topic, weeks before the main account. To prevent any further bad-faith attempts to claim this as sock-puppetry, detailed proof is provided below.

I wonder if there is an official explanation from the ArbCom: why my 3 accounts are still stating the denigrating false accusation of “sock-puppetry”. I’ve reported to ArbCom on 30 June this incident, when a fairly new checkuser NinjaRobotPirate - appointed by ArbCom - violated the WP:ALTACCN and the checkuser policy (“Note that alternative accounts are not forbidden, so long as they are not used in violation of the policies (for example, to double-vote or to increase the apparent support for any given position).”) and disrespected the ArbCom (“Since you’re so enamored of Arbcom, you can appeal to them. This is now a CU block” - diff)

When I declared my alt accounts to the ArbCom I assumed in good faith, such violation of policies, and abuse of admin tools would not happen, or at least the ArbCom will uphold the policies and protect a new user from abuse.

If there is an official explanation why the ArbCom failed to uphold the policies, and allowed their appointed checkuser to commit tool abuse, threaten and harass a new user, please share it within 48 hours. After that this request is considered disregarded as numerous previous requests that the ArbCom failed to even acknowledge for weeks now.

Detailed proof:

There are no other edits, nor other accounts at this time, besides those presented above. Any claim of sock-puppetry, or violation of policies is just outright false. In the future I’ll be referring to this as a fact proven on quite a few occasions now. Evidence based attempts to refute these claims are welcome, and will be answered by the applicable policy citations and further evidence if necessary. See Graham’s diagram at WP:DR#Discuss_with_the_other_party.

Yours sincerely,

Aron Manning

On Fri, 28 Jun 2019 at 01:32, arbcom-en <arbcom-en@wikimedia.org> wrote:

This is to acknowledge receipt of your message, the contents of which have been circulated to the committee for consideration.

I have made a note of these accounts on our internal list. Please note, you have already publicly linked on your user page AManningTalk to your main account, Aron Manning. In looking NinjaRobotPirate’s question to you which was in response to your unblock request, NinjaRobotPirate is a checkuser and has access to view all accounts you have logged into, whether you choose to publicly declare them or not.

For the Arbitration Committee,

Mkdw

On Thursday, June 27, 2019 at 5:57:38 PM UTC-5, Aron Manning wrote: > > Dear Committee members! > > Per WP:ALTACCN I’d like to declare - **only to the Committee - **alternative accounts that I do not wish to link publicly: > > AManningTalk > > Mongusius > > Naturally I did not and do not intend to use these accounts inappropriately. A recent _peculiar _inquiry made necessary to declare these, before it would be turned into another reason for a block. Please treat this information privately, thank you. > > Please confirm receiving this letter. > > Yours sincerely, > > Aron Manning

Kalliope Tsouroupidou
Operations Manager, Trust and Safety
Wikimedia Foundation