During my brief stint as a moderator, I've came to notice that the guidelines have been largely ignored, and that things have been ran by whatever the admins think at the time, which is okay in some cases, but not others.
First of all, the guidelines are buried in the middle of the clunky and cluttered front page. Nobody is going to read them. They should be much more visible. They should not be far below a page people rarely read.
Now I'm going to provide some examples of the rules being ignored.
The KOM incident
Although sparked by me, I think that the Knight of Malta incident was handled wrongly. When it comes to bans, the rules state that:
- Blocking is the punishment for vandalism, spam, trolling, sockpuppetry, harassment and other offenses.
- The penalty varies depending on the severity of the offense.
- The first time a rule is broken, users will usually be given a warning or a ban lasting for up to 1 week
- The second time a rule is broken, users will usually be given a ban lasting for up to 1 month
- The third time a rule is broken, users will usually be given a ban lasting for up to infinity.
Knight of Malta was banned for harrassment and "conspiracy", and I'll speak about harrassment first. I will be the first to say that he is an awful person, and he's a disgusting homophobe. Luckily I was away at the time or I would have most likely not been able to keep my compsure. However, nobody was harrassed by him, he was just spouting some pretty reprehensible views. "Conspiracy" is not a valid ban reason. He was banned for 6 months, let alone a week, which is the customary length. I understand that emotions were running high but the rules should be sticked to. Technically a rule wasn't broken but that's up for debate, and I'm not here to change the rules - only let them be followed.
Then, he proceeded to sockpuppet, which is also irreprehensible, but the circumstances should've been looked at first, and it should have been booted up to a month, then infinity, rather than immediately jumping to the strongest punishment.
Also, when it comes to sockpuppeting - Alan has sockpuppeted more than KOM has, but the most he got was a day's ban, because he is a well liked user here. To add to it, he became a moderator not long after. This isn't another dig at Alan, but I think that the rules should be universal, we don't get to pick and choose things we don't like.
Other minor incidents
Although long ago now - when it comes to underaged users, there's a double standard. People like Lonix have been allowed to stay but Toad and others got booted for it. Consenus should be found and it should be stuck to.
Beta - Although resolved, recently Beta went and warned a few users for not naming pictures. This was not a rule, and they had simply done it because a few users had expressed annoyance with it. Although once pointed out, Beta stopped, but this is a symptom of the weird 'make it up as you go along' approach the admins have taken.
Aiothai - In the recent J E B ! spat involving the Normalcy and Jeb Bush scenarios, Aiothai had made a scenario that could possibly qualify as "ASB", but he disagreed. Although it was resolved, this is another symptom of this problem, but thankfully now ASB has a strict definition. However, we cannot continue to have spats about these things, all of these problems can be prevented by clarifying and following the guidelines. Another part of this spat was staff, which is my next issue.
As part of Aiothai's compromise, he had promoted Beta and Eledec to the position of Bureaucrat, a position that can only be removed by the user themself, and the wiki's highest and most prestigious position. Aiothai should not have been able to promote these two without the consent of other users. Staff promotions should have a vote, ala the HHW system, and it should be stuck to. Another example with this was the Alan vote, with many users clearly dissenting, (2-5 or something I believe) yet he was promoted anyway. This isn't a slight at Alan, but at the system. (Just going to add that while I was promoted without an official vote, many users had clearly voiced support, so I don't think I'm a hypocrite), and this was without input from people such as Aiothai. I keep banging this drum but proper votes should be held on staff promotions, by the incumbents only or by all users, I don't know. That's not what I'm here to discuss.
Thanks for coming to my Ted Talk. I am not attacking any single user here, as in every single case, the intentions were good, but I believe misguided. Of course, this is my own personal opinion, but I think that we should stick to the guidelines more, and make them more easily accessible.
(Sorry for any grammar mistakes should there be any, I've been up for around 26 hours :P)