Block log

Draft. If you are reading this on an archive site, be sure to check the original URL for updates, corrections, retractions, etc.

Review of Wikiversity Block log for Abd

This page is cited on the RationalWiki article on “Abd ul-Rahman Lomax,” with:

Abd wrote thousands of words on his blog about the incident, claiming he has been incorrectly blocked.[51] Do You Believe That?

As is common for RatWiki attack articles, allegations are made that may appear to be based on the source, but the source actually shows something else. “The incident” would be the 11th block, that was based on the block log. I have not written — on this page — “thousands of words about the incident,” nor is this page  “claiming that he was incorrectly blocked.” The page is a study of my block log, all blocks, and is almost entirely a collection of evidence rather than conclusions, but the summary at the top does give some conclusions. The type of RationalWiki user who writes these articles commonly confuses evidence with conclusions, and attaches to conclusions without understanding evidence. Those are really “believers,” simply believing in their own warped view of life rather than something that might provide inspiration or guidance.

A block is a happening, one was blocked or not. There are 11 blocks in the record. “Correct” or “Incorrect” are conclusions, not facts, unless we restore the lost performative. “Correct” according to whom? Two of the blocks were correct according to me. Three were incorrect according to a Wikiversity custodian, who reversed them on that basis. Other blocks — according to me, and anyone can verify — did not follow blocking policy or were based on a misunderstanding. So, on to the evidence and my prior summary:

See the page supra for a general history of my Wikiversity activity, including the periods when I was a probationary custodian. This page covers all blocks, with blocks in reverse date order, but in date order within each year section.

Overall summary:

It is a long log, but misleading. To understand it requires looking at the details.

There were a total of 11 blocks. Of these, two were clearly legitimate (Block 7 in 2015, and Block 8 in March 2011) Many of the others were clearly illegitimate or errors, and none of the others followed blocking policy.

My most recent block until the two the other day, by Mu301, was in 2015, so there was hardly an ongoing pattern of disruption. I was taking on a difficult task, and it appears that Mu301 had no understanding of it, but reacted to private complaints — and there is a faction that has long attacked Wikiversity as “hosting nonsense” — in spite of many decisions that allowed even “nonsense” if carefully presented, and custodians and experience users often help assist this.

Because of how wiki communities work, someone who has never been blocked has probably simply avoided dealing with anything controversial (such as Wikiversity governance), and likely has never questioned administrative neutrality. I was schooled in the idea that adminship was “no big deal,” and that administrators were not allowed to enforce their own opinions, and were to be held to account if they failed to recuse when action would create an appearance of bias (which tends to generate resentment, long-term — even if the administrator is not actually biased.). However, such actions were so common on Wikiversity that I only addressed a few of them, and I attempted to suggest policy that would both protect the community and custodians (who should be allowed to make mistakes, at a tolerable level). These efforts were strongly resisted.

Year by year summary (and link from the year header to details and evidence):


Block 1: : No warning, block by custodian involved in content dispute, blocking to support his position. Use of tools while involved. Dave Braunschweig wrote that he’d have unblocked except for the second block.

Block 2: No warning, block by custodian influenced by what he had just done and by anonymous complaints. From history, such complaints were to be expected. He based this block largely on this block log. Involved block, unnecessary, and the effective ban of a user without community ban process. (Leaving resources created by me without knowledgeable defense, because at the same time, he was deleting them based on an entirely new and undiscussed policy, contrary to years of precedent.)

As can be seen from what is below, there were two years with no warnings, even, until a few days before Mu301, he declared a “sanction,” which was a warning, prohibiting me from doing what other custodians had allowed. I did not violate it (and would not have without obtaining consensus first.)


Block 3: Block by Dave Braunschweig, clearly involved, again indef block of a user — effective ban — without review. It was arguable that what I had said was uncivil, but it was mild incivility compared with what has been routinely allowed. When I realized that it was still true that involved custodians could and would block when involved, with no consequences, I abandoned content building on Wikiversity and only edited to maintain some resources and, in the recent situation, to protect users from attack from outside — which clearly happened. I committed to “commenting on the issue, not the person.” There was no warning on any allegation that I violated that.

2014 October

Blocks 4-6 by rogue probationary custodian, unblocked as blocks did not follow blocking policy.  Custodian lost his tools promptly.

2014 March

Block 7. This block was proper, certainly within discretion. Not warned, but warning was not necessary. It was a short block, 8 hours.

2011 March

Block 8. This block was a result of actions I took in a situation which I deemed an emergency. The block was legitimate to stop what would be otherwise disruptive — and may action was disruptive, to call attention to a problem situation efficiently. So this was a legitimate block. Whether or not my action was reprehensible would require review, and that was never done. The blocking custodian unblocked a few days later because it was no longer necessary. (The emergency was eventually handled by stewards, as I recall).

2011 November

Block 9.  No warning. Involved custodian. Indef block by SB Johnny simultaneously with indef of Ottava Rima. In neither case was blocking policy followed (except Ottava had been warned a few days before, I had not been), but the unblock template languished for two years until JtNeill noticed it and asked. I stated my intention that I would stay out of governance, and later formally notified JtNeill of moving on from that, and there was no objection until much later. . This block definitely showed that, in 2011, there were some who considered me disruptive. But there were also opinions to the contrary. See details.


Block 10. 1 day, by Darklama. Unblocked because the warning had been misunderstood by Darklama.

Block 11 by Ottava Rima, desyopped because of actions like this. Unblocked because block was “quite inappropriate”)



No warning. Involved custodian. See my talk page discussion. Dave Braunschweig commented:

I would support this unblock request. The edits in question could be interpreted as a good-faith attempt to resolve a content issue. However, I am denying the unblock request, as there is a second block in place.

They not only could be so interpreted, they were so intended. As I wrote, the block was entirely unexpected, and a one-year block for two edits, with no revert warring by me (but by Dave), edits intended to clarify and resolve a dispute between Mikeu, Dave Braunschwieg, Marshallsumter (and myself, I had previously commented supporting Marshall’s position on what should have been an open-and-shut issue) This was about a small set of edits as described in detail in the unblock request. I was astonished not only that I would be blocked for such a minor “offense” but that it would be for one year.

This was a custodian using the block tool to support a personal content position, classic recusal failure, unless some emergency could be shown, which would be preposterous. This would be grounds for desysop on Wikipedia. But it quickly got worse.

No warning. Involved custodian. The linked comment:

Your long term activity at Wikiversity shows a persistent pattern of long term disruption that has been going on for the past SEVEN YEARS! This activity has also drawn a great deal of unwelcome contentious activity to our site that distracts the community from developing learning resources. The unblocks in your log show repeated attempts by our community to assume that you are making a good faith effort to improve Wikiversity despite much evidence to the contrary. I’m not going to get into the minutia of your individual actions. I’m going to make a call based on the sum of your contributions. Wikiversity is not your personal podium. Your participation here has become a drain on the resources of our community and we will not allow this to continue. –mikeu talk 21:00, 31 December 2017 (UTC)

Did he look at the “sum of my contributions”? I rather doubt it. Further, if I was ever using Wikiversity as “my personal podium,” it had stopped. I almost entirely stopped contributing as a result of the block below, showing me that Wikiversity was unsafe. Mike just proved that it was even unsafer than I realized.

The hysterical SEVEN YEARS! comment is a link to my block log, and is the occasion for this annotation. The activities varied greatly over the years. But Mike apparently does not understand the recent disruptions. I did not draw that attention. Rather it was an effort by an enemy of a Wikiversity user, Ben Steigmann (which Mike just blocked also with a similar argument) to attack him, and as part of this, the sock master — almost 200 tagged accounts on Wikipedia and many recently locked — used highly disruptive impersonation socks on Wikipedia to impeach him , referring to Wikiversity and drawing a WP adminisitrator to WV to complain and to support another sock who locally requested deletion of Steigmann’s work. I saw that and exposed it, and began to document it (this was actually affecting many users, mostly on Wikipedia but also elsewhere), and the sock master vowed revenge. I moved the study off of Wikiversity to meta because they can handle disruption there more effectively — and did.

However, the sock master discovered that he could use local mobile phone IP and stewards would be reluctant to use extended checkuser tools to identify them, but the duck test was unmistakeable. And this time, as well, the sock master canvassed on Wikipedia and drew two persons both of which had been sanctioned on Wikipedia. One for use of tools while involved with respect to cold fusion, and who had a long-term grudge against me for creating the Request for Comment that culminated in an Arbitration Committee Sanction, and the other who had been banned on fringe science topics for years.

From a number of comments, it is clear that Mike was privately requested to deal with this “disruptive Abd,” and was irritated.

The focus here is on the block log. Does it show seven years of disruption? Well, the last previous block was two years earlier. The immediate block was an error, a misunderstanding easily cleared up, unless … Mike was looking for an excuse to block, to get all those “complaints” out of his hair. Instead of defending academic freedom and long-standing traditions at Wikiversity, he went for an easier path, easier if he believes that he is not responsible to the community.

He may have been threatened with the shutdown of Wikiversity, there were noises to that effect in discussions around the canvassing. I had point that out and Mike’s response was that canvassing was not contrary to policy because the policy proposal had failed. However, I did not claim policy violation, only canvassing, which can warp a discussion, obviously so. Mike either did not understand what was happening or did not want to understand.

So two years of relative quiet, not continuous disruption as he thinks. 


No specific warning. Involved custodian. The occasion was a comment on the Colloquium. I was attempting to involve the community in a dispute over deletion policy. Another custodian had written:

Just to clarify, I am ”’not”’ suggesting that we go parlimentarian on this wiki — I was making an analogy to show how a different system deals with such matters. Every organization has to delegate authority, somehow. Dave knows a lot more than me about how it’s done here.

That was true, perhaps, Dave knows a lot more than that particular custodian, who was new. In context, this was an argument from authority that Dave’s position was valid. However, I had a lot more experience that Dave, and broader experience, in dispute resolution which is more than just how to make a decision that ends a dispute by getting rid of a participant, which happens way too often and which can cause long-term disruption. So I wrote:

Dave knows almost nothing about dispute resolution procedures on a wiki. I’ve been astonished to find that, but it’s not terribly surprising, given his history. His high activity in site maintenance would not teach him this. Wikiversity mostly avoids conflict, so one may not gain much experience in this here. Dave started enwiki and Wikiversity activity when the wiki was relatively dead, he started editing in 2012. His enwiki activity remains very thin. Many users there never see ANI, or read ArbCom cases. Consider how Dave became a permanent custodian, who made that happen? (If you don’t know, ask!) I work outside the rules, but in line with anticipation of community consensus, which is the ”real rule.” Someone constrained by “the rules” would not have been able to do what I did.

(For the record, nobody was acting on Dave’s permanent custodian discussion, which was causing a potential problem, there being no active permanent custodian, so I closed it 00:43, 19 September 2014‎ Normally, a bureaucrat does that. Where was Mike? Off star-gazing, apparently. Did anyone object about my “disruptive editing” when I did that? I saw a problem coming and acted to prepare for it. It came, some hint of it can be seen in the next blocks going back:)

Dave was clearly involved here, he was not defending someone else from “personal attack.” He was the alleged target. His block was immediately supported by Leutha, who is a probationary custodian whose mentor went AWOL, so his custodianship has never been approved by the community. However, that all became moot, because I decided, from Dave’s ability to block while involved, with no emergency, and with no consequences. There are very good reasons why Wikipedia has recusal policy; it can, if followed, make it clear that actions are not motivated by personal dislikes but rather are protecting the community or supporting the project. Without functional recusal policy, Wikiversity wasn’t safe. I’d seen many examples, this was more or less the last straw.

It’s ironic, because Dave’s block of me for pointing out his lack of knowledge of dispute resolution demonstrated that he had a lack of knowledge of dispute resolution.

I withdrew the unblock template (you can see that I denied it) while considering my actions; I decided to commit to avoiding “comment on the person,” though, in particular with custodians the person can be quite relevant, and Mike is, in his recent block, making many comments about me, that are being used elsewhere to attack me …. because they are not merely protective (though there may be  a protective motive), they are defamation, with the possible effect of impugning my reputation (which is shown by the glee with which this was immediately picked up and posted on RationalWiki). RationalWiki articles of that kind are not there to praise the person!

Was I warned before that block? Understand that I still don’t think it falls within “personal attack,” so my commitment was to avoiding the appearance. There are times when the issue is, in fact, the person. A custodian candidacy would be an example. Civility policy would then suggest avoiding unrelated, irrelevant discussion of the person. This was the edit summary for the alleged personal attack:

Comments: high site maintenance activity will not teach dispute resolution process or conflict resolution. And wikis do not delegate authority, but power.)

This was, then, discussing a relevant issue, in context.

Dave had previously gone to Request Custodian Action, two weeks earlier, with a claim of my disruption. He wrote — quite correctly, as to his own recusal obligation (absent emergency):

User:Abd is disrupting the efforts of an instructor trying to prepare Wikiversity for student use. See [1] and [2]. This needs immediate custodian attention. Based on recent hostility by Abd toward me, I can’t respond to the issue without seeming already ‘involved’. Please address both the user’s immediate concerns regarding this content disruption and the general disruptive approach by Abd as noted at [3]. — Dave Braunschweig (discuss • contribs) 12:45, 1 September 2015 (UTC)

I responded there. However, going to Request Custodian Action without attempting to negotiate — or having the patience to see if there was a real dispute actually harming the instructor — I found appalling. How about discussing it with me? He was aware then that taking action (responding to the issue) would seem “involved,” — and might thus seem improper, but intervening to resolve a dispute, if he was familiar with it, would never be improper, even if “involved.” What would have been improper would have been to threaten a block or actually block, which he knew then but obviously forgot — or didn’t care — two weeks later.

There was an extensive discussion on that RCA request. No custodian warned me. And this is what I have seen: if a custodian asks the community for support for his or her point of view, and the community does not clearly respond to their satisfaction, next time they don’t ask. Jtneill made a rare comment in that discussion. It’s worth reading.


2014 March

Absolutely. Yes. A mistake of mine and I acknowledged this. Because of the prior activity, and because it was a short block, no warning was necessary.

The edits:

A pair of edits. The situation involved another user being attacked, as I recall. A lot of the conflict with me has been rooted in my defense of other users. I thought better and:

Self-reverted. Two minutes later.

But then the user responded to what I’d reverted. And so I wrote, with summary “(Okay, since TCNSV is asking questions about me…. I do not intend to make a habit of this!)”

I self-reverted that post that he diff’s because I thought it would be better to just stay out of it. Yes, I did write that, though.So you are responding to a comment that I withdrew, almost certainly before you read it, when I’d think you’d have something more urgent to attend to.I have no reason to change my email settings. I have about 3000 pages watchlisted on Wikiversity, and I’ve told you before, when you claimed I was tracking and harassing you, that I get email notification. You [edit] a page I have watchlisted, I see it, usually quickly. Now, all you have to do is say, “I didn’t know,” and “It had nothing to do with Abd,” but, in fact, you didn’t say that. You [turn] it all around and accuse me of contriving accusations. I was explicit that it was just a hypothesis that you knew I’d see it. Now, in your favor, as to you not thinking that way, you have never, whenever I’ve seen it, had email enabled, until now. So it has not been a matter of your routine experience how email notification works. Do you think that I sit around all day and check my Watchlist and Recent Changes? No, I get email, and I get it on my iPhone. And this is all diversion.TCNSV, something led you to a pattern of highly disruptive behavior, led to you to completely disregard warnings, to become thoroughly incautious, as if you thought you could do whatever you wanted without consequences, revert as many times as you wanted, so what? And you have been going this way for some time, it’s not new, but it just got intense. If you look at that, and confront it, and address it, you could become quite a useful editor without the down side. Now, I’m going to leave you to your ruminations and negotiations.Ah, one more thing. That you linked on RCA to Diego’s faux pas, his frustrated outburst that got him blocked here, just to try to make me look bad, when it was totally irrelevant, was *disgusting*. Have you no shame?Just saying. Otherwise, good luck. —Abd (discuss • contribs) 03:20, 16 March 2014 (UTC)

This was useless, the user was not going to listen to me, no matter how clearly I say it. That he had referred to me on his Talk page while blocked was not an adequate reason for me to say more.

2011 March

There had been no warning.

To remember what this was about, I looked at my talk page history for then. I was harassed while blocked…. SB Johnny gave this reason for the block:


You were asking for it, and you got it. Despite copious amounts of feedback from the community asking you to stop, you have insisted on marching to your own drummer and engaged in endless revert wars. You have also over the past few months engaged in campaigns against particular people that have also disrupted community growth and discussion.

You are of course welcome to negotiate this block with other custodians, but I strongly encourage you to wait it out and witness the failure of the wiki to explode without the benefit of your unilateral custodianship. —SB_Johnny talk 21:00, 11 March 2011 (UTC)

In a sense, he was correct. I was laying my wiki-body on the line by reverting repeated block evasion by a highly disruptive user, who had been placing privacy violations, in part, otherwise it was simple disruption. Request Custodian Action was not working. Appeals to SB Johnny did not work, he was annoyed. So,yes, I revert warred. I was quite willing to be blocked if necessary. However, revert warring was far from my normal practice, so there was no history of “endless revert wars.” This took place on one day, March 11, 2011.

I had been asking for custodians to look at the IPs involved and block. Apparently too much work for them. As I recall, the immediate problem was resolved by stewards. And so the situation changed, and SB Johnny unblocked. (He had set conditions and I was not willing to accept them…. ) There were still issued to be resolved…. I put them off and so did he.

2014 October

This incident was due to a rogue probationary custodian. The combined block logs of Dave Braunschweig and Sidelight12 are shown, not just my own block log. However, this sequence certainly makes my block log look a lot longer! (My blocks and unblocks are bolded)

For a long time (and maybe still) I was the only user on Wikiversity knowing how to handle disruption like this. (Certainly there may be others …. but they were absent for long periods.) I had somewhat prepared for this by closing Dave’s permanent custodianship, because we had no permanent custodians at the time who were active. That this wheel-war went on with no interference shows that the Staff was almost entirely AWOL.

Sidelight12 and Dave both unblocked themselves (and we will see that Ottava Rima did that as well) When I proposed recusal policy, it allowed ignoring recusal requirements in an emergency, if the custodian immediately requested community attention. Was there an emergency? (Both Leucosticte and I were long-time WMF users and were not going to fall apart from a short block, particularly if the only other active custodian was blocked! If this was some fragile noob, maybe it would be an emergency. Did they — or anyone, request custodian action?

Shortly before, Sidelight12 had requested that I be banned on RCA, and took this also to meta as an RfC. Both went nowhere. His comments on meta were [ revision-deleted in part]

So I went to meta for emergency desysop. But wait! Can’t that only be done by a ‘crat? No. The request by a ‘crat is normal procedure, but one can get around that, and I did, and it was effective. You can see the process in the discussion. My involvement was questioned. I simply explained and pointed out how if the action was wrong, it could easily be fixed by Sidelight12’s mentor — or any other ‘crat. See, I knew how the stewards think. Sidelight12 continued to pursue his attacks on Leucosticte. If anyone wants to know what that is about, ask. Both Dave and I were following Wikiversity policy and the tradition that local users who were not disruptive locally were not to be blocked based on opinions from outside. That principle had been attacked and defended often. After this incident, it started to break down, and in the recent disruption leading to my “sanction” and then “indef block” it has been thoroughly set aside. But back to the blocks:

2011 November

Again, no warning. Should I have known that taking a situation to Request Custodian Action, could be an indef blockable offense? Background for the request:

Ottava Rima had lost his custodian tools through a Community Review which I drafted in my user space, and which was then used by SB Johnny as a basis for an actual filing, 21 November 2010‎, closed with desysop by Mu301, 26 November 2010. (that’s a short time for a drastic and contested action, and the proposal was actually made by Adambro, . I my studies elsewhere of on-line decision-making, I would allow ten days,  because some people only check a web site or mailing list once a week). But I doubt that delay would have changed anything. I was, in that review, largely speaking for — anticipating — consensus.

A subreview on the undeletion of a page, closed with undeletion by agreement. The page has since been deleted. Wikis do this: delete material that was, in part, a basis for a decision, thus hiding the background for the decision. However, it was deleted by the author, by himself as a custodian, and who objected? Who watches the watchers? I don’t recall. The page was also cited in another Community Review. (I wrote a lot about recusal policy and recusal failure in the Review, including by that custodian. In the context, that final deletion was recusal failure. He would have known that it might be controversial. He would more properly have dropped an author request speedy deletion tag on it.)

There were sub-reviews. I notice now that I did not propose desysop for Ottava, I had merely documented the issues. Desysop was proposed by Adambro,  22 November 2010, so it was only four days to close.

I did not support speedy close. I did support desysopping, for reasons explained there. In that discussion, one can see the effect of canvassing, and how it was properly handled and how it was (attempted) to be improperly handled. This all becomes relevant later, with Mu301 tossing the traditional practice in the trash.

(“Disruption” is not, to me, Bad. Useless and harmful disruption is obviously to be avoided. In general, I did not propose deysop, but review and community decision, based on documented fact, with evidence. That documentation can be necessarily lengthy. It can be boiled down, but that is extra work. Those who don’t have the patience to spend a few minutes reading, or a few minutes more checking links, will assume that if someone spent the hours — sometimes days — necessary for such compilations has an axe to grind and will simply reject it all as cherry-picked or biased. Perhaps. Perhaps not. Wiki means “quick” and this is the fatal flaw of wikis: quick decisions with avoidance of actual study. It is slowly killing the promise of Wikiversity. In any case, RfD and CR can be “disruptive.” And sometimes the status quo is better overturned. Otherwise entire societies stagnate and die.)

Meanwhile, SB Johnny had, 8 June 2011, deprecated the long-standing policy on how probationary custodians were created, on the grounds that there had never been a vote, it had simply been listed as a policy without vote (and not only without opposition, it was used extensively for many years).  I reverted this, and it seemed that SBJ had accepted this. This policy was very important to Wikiversity, because it was a path toward developing fresh custodians, training them, as it were. What ensued largely broke Wikiversity, as badly and more deeply than the consequences of the interference of Jimbo Wales earlier; the result was, by 2015, only two active custodians, both probationary, with the mentor neglecting supervision. New probationary requests were being ignored.

The problem with no voting had been discussed before, in 2008, with some discussion in 2010, and no consensus for deprecation, only questions. I immediately created a discussion on the Talk page. Convert “policy” to “proposed policy”?

In the discussion, there was reference to Wikiversity:Community Review/Custodianship process. There was no consensus or even majority agreement for deprecation of the policy, so I concluded:

The reduction of the page from policy to proposal did not stand. The page is presently policy, and should not be changed without consensus. I second Jtneill’s suggestion. However, I don’t think the policy is broken, and I’ve suggested a change, self-reverted with [5], that could address some of the difficulties experienced last year and earlier this year. I will discuss this in a section below. —Abd (14:57, 31 July 2011‎)

There was no opposition then. However, the same flawed arguments was then brought up again, even though the apparent consensus was to work on improving the policy…. which, however, went nowhere.

The See Talk was apparently to the prior discussion, archived shortly thereafter (bad idea to archive recent discussions!) since this idea was now being repeated. Normal procedure was indeed to have a “vote.” However, this policy was created and posted as policy without a vote, and was clearly an unanimously, as far as I was able to find, approved and used by the community, from then on and frequently. Notice, one minute after my revert:

Standard procedure was that any change to a policy page without consensus was improper, though if made in good faith, calling it “vandalism” is uncivil. The change to the policy page without consensus (i.e., on a conclusion that all policies must have a vote or are invalid, even if there was total consensus when established. Making the change without that consensus was arguably vandalism, then, but I did not make that claim. It was merely wrong, in my opinion, but I did not revert war, once it was clear that there was some sustained opinion to be discussed. Ottava started the new discussion with ad hominem arguments:


(and there was another grossly uncivil comment above that.)

When I was blocked, discussion toward improving  the policy entirely stopped. In 2015, I gave the history and announced my restoration of the policy template. This was not opposed, and I also proposed a major change, and this was actually accepted by consensus and there is then more story to tell. Something else happened, and it was while I was again blocked. Nobody stood up for Wikiversity independence, bottom line. The policy is now obsolete, but nobody has fixed it, or is it obsolete? It could still be followed, and if the WMF thinks that it creates a legal risk, they could intervene, but they never did, and there is still a probationary custodian without community approval, and nobody appears to care. Wikiversity was once a relatively vibrant community, with strong independence.

There was another Community Review on Ottava Rima filed 16 February 2011‎ by LauraHale, seeking that Ottava Rima be blocked. Ottava responded with “lies.” So he was accusing a LauraHale, a respected user, of lying. No notice of that by any custodian, no warning, and the CR was closed by Mikeu, with

Given that Ottava is no longer editing at this time [1] I am archiving this Review since there is not much point in continuing a discussion about perceived problematic editing that is no longer occuring. —mikeu talk 16:00, 5 March 2011 (UT)

The link is to Ottava’s talk page, 23 February 2011 “(note – gone – good bye for now)”

This was classic wiki foolishness. Retiring in the middle of process that might result in a sanction has been done many times. Then the user, when the smoke is clear, comes back, taking up the same pattern of behavior. The process should have been completed, given that both Laura and Ottava had made serious charges. Not editing for two weeks? This was not a request about old behavior, it was recent.

In any case, see the Request Custodian Action filing,

Before that, there was this filing by Ottava. November 7, 2011. Ottava was continuing to be disruptive, with me as the target.

This was the discussion SB Johnny used to support the block:

Well I see Abd and Ottava Rima both think editing privileges need to be revoked or restricted again. I suggest both be blocked on the grounds that Wikiversity’s mission is best achieved when participants aim for mutual understanding and focus on solutions, and concerns like this are best resolved through discussion with the other person first. I suggest both of them remain blocked until demonstrated they mutually understand each other, and they come up with a solution for working together that they both agree with, instead of having custodians or the community get involved. — darklama  16:19, 27 November 2011 (UTC)

Yes Done. This seems to be the most reasonable suggestion made on this page. —SB_Johnny talk 20:54, 27 November 2011 (UTC)

That “reasonable suggestion” was entirely contrary to blocking policy and common sense. It proceeded from an interpretation that the conflict was personal on both sides. In fact, it was never personal on my part. However, Ottava was pursuing an agenda of revenge, and it continued long after this. His goal was to get me blocked, so he was being handed exactly what he wanted.

Ottava Rima had been warned about his comments about me, November 17, ten days earlier, by darklama. So he was warned and violated the warning, and I did what I’ve been explicitly allowed to do, a year earlier: go to RCA for custodian review, and I was indef blocked for it. In that talk page discussion, Ottava also accuses a user of being a sock of mine. Later, Ottava wrote:

From Ottava Rima talk,”Abd is a proponent of the fringe theory of Cold Fusion, and will create multiple accounts and do whatever he can to wage war against 99.9999% of the world who realizes that his ideas are nonsense. Ottava Rima (talk) 23:27, 18 May 2013 (UTC)”

I will cover this elsewhere, but I created one non-disclosed account, years earlier, to test Wikipedia checkuser practice. My hypothesis, that non-disruptive accounts were now being checkusered without a request (the prior policy had been that checkuser would not be employed unless there was some kind of disruption), was confirmed. That account was Energy Neutral. It was block and ban evasion, but was it editing disruptively? It made some edits to two pages related to cold fusion, one to Energy Catalyzer, about what turned out to be a fraud, and my edits were insisting on reliable source, and a handful to the codl fusion article. There was no public complaint. Wikipedia Sock Puppets of Abd has two entries, this one and Abd sock (a test account created legitimately).

In fact, among scientists who study the issue, probably a majority at this time support the reality of “cold fusion,” which is not a theory, it’s a collection of anomalous observations. There is a simple theory, which I wrote about, published under peer review in a mainstream journal. That theory has been extensively confirmed. But there are many Wikipedia editors who think what Ottava said.

The puzzle under the: if my filing was improper and disruptive, why not a warning and perhaps a short block? Ottava had been warned and disregarded it. I had not and was not. There had been an attempt to negotiate a ban, which I had rejected. earlier in the year, on an entirely different issue (see the earlier block discussion). It would have prohibited all RCA filings. Basically, if I see someone trashing the wiki, adding privacy violations, revert warring by IP, do nothing?

Ottava was mangling a policy page, and it stayed mangled for some years as a result. Does it matter that SB Johnny had made the same change? I don’t know, but SB Johnny never acted like Ottava. He participated later in the discussion I opened up in 2015 and did not object to my restoration of policy status, and we found consensus on a way forward.

A bit more context. Just a few days earlier, SB Johnny, who had long been opposed to my custodianship, and who had had the tools removed as an emergency measure on meta (when there was no emergency, I had unblocked Poetlister, and SBJ wheel-warred to reblock without consultation), had closed my permanent custodian vote, which had substantial community support. That page shows more broadly that some in the community very much opposed my work, and some supported it, some very much. The pretense was created that I ignored consensus. The long block helped support that idea.

Now, the unblock. The unblock template stayed open on my Talk page from filing 27 November 2011, until  00:48, 9 September 2013‎:

Unblock request

Hi Abd, I’m reviewing outstanding unblock requests. Please let me know if you still wish to be unblocked and what, if anything, you would do differently in order to avoid the community concern that lead to the block. — Jtneill – Talk – c 00:48, 9 September 2013 (UTC)

Yes, I’d have removed the template if I no longer wished to be unblocked.
As you can see above, I began the work of documenting what had happened to lead up to the block, and I abandoned it, because it became quite apparent that nobody cared, so, right or wrong, it was wasted effort.
To avoid what led to the block I have a clear intention: not to become involved in Wikiversity governance and general maintenance. It was not welcome, even where I was enforcing long-established policy.
I will work only on educational resources of interest to me and value to users. –Abd (discuss • contribs) 19:15, 9 September 2013 (UTC)

Almost two years with an open unblock template demonstrated how broken Wikiversity was. So I wrote something simple, and JtNeill unlocked. Substantially later, I wrote this to JtNeill:

James, you unblocked me possibly in consideration of a promise, I’ll repeat it here:

To avoid what led to the block I have a clear intention: not to become involved in Wikiversity governance and general maintenance. It was not welcome, even where I was enforcing long-established policy.
I will work only on educational resources of interest to me and value to users. –Abd (discuss • contribs) 19:15, 9 September 2013 (UTC)

That was my intention at the time. However, gradually, I have indeed become involved in what could be called “governance and maintenance.” There has been no disruption, and it seems I’m being effective, with the active cooperation and collaboration of the community.

Nevertheless, please let me know if you have any concerns. You may warn me about any behavior, and you always have the right, as an unblocking administrator, to undo your action. You do not need a reason. I will remain grateful in any case, for all that you have done for me and the project.

And I assume you will return to activity soon, so, welcome back! –Abd (discuss • contribs) 19:11, 26 January 2014 (UTC)

There was no objection at the time, neither to this shift in intention, or to my participation, and it was only raised later by people attacking my participation as violating that original “promise,” they have called it. (Usually without citing the withdrawal, or claiming that the withdrawal was “breaking the promise,” or with language like that.) I took many actions in that area, enjoying consensus — usually! but not always, and wikis are based generally on [[w:WP:BRD]], that is, many actions do not require expressed consensus in advance. That is part of the basic “wiki” concept.


Warned by Ottava.  02:55, 9 September 2010 (UTC)

I think this was the only block where there was a warning! Notice, however, the block was 16 minutes later. What had I done? the warning:

You make an edit to a proposed policy or policy page like that without clear consensus, you will be blocked. You edit war over it, you will be blocked for more than 24 hours. Cut it out. [[User:Ottava Rima|Ottava Rima]] ([[User talk:Ottava Rima|talk]]) 02:55, 9 September 2010 (UTC)

Standard wiki process. Policy pages will often be protected. However, good-faith edits are not a block cause, unless those edits are actually disruptive. Later, Ottava edited a policy page without consensus…. Editing a “proposed policy” is normal, with the standard caveat: the goal should be to find consensus. It can be far more efficient to use [[w:WP:BRD]]. Without revert warring, of course!

The talk page discussion SBJ mentioned: He wrote that the block was “quite inappropriate.”

At 3:11, Ottava blocked me and reverted. Use of tools while involved and to support a personal position, and revert warring. Naught.

I was disagreeing with Ottava. I was not, revert warring after warning, clearly.

SBJ quite properly unblocked and

Yes. Darklama blocked based on a misunderstanding of SB Johnny’s warning. I don’t think I need to go more into this. 1 day block. Even though in error, that’s relatively harmless, unless someone, years later, jumps to conclusions based on the number of block log entries.


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